Disclaimer: NCIS and its characters belong to other, more creative (and richer) people and/or entities, not little ol' me. No copyright infringement is intended, no money is being made.
A/N: This is an Alternate Universe:
Kate is not dead
Ziva is temporarily assigned to NCIS. Ari was stealing the trigger mechanism for Hamas, and was trying to kill Gibbs, but he never went after Kate or any of Gibbs' team. Ziva did eventually believe what her half-brother was doing and killed him. All this happens in the past and is just background, just an explanation of why she's there.
As always, thanks to my beta, Rinkle, who corrects my punctuation, makes helpful suggestions and asks "huh?" when I babble. The inspiration for this story goes to ResearchGeek on TWoP, who suggested a story where Ziva must atttend a Mary Kay convention. It's not exactly that, but the idea set the gears in my little mind awhirring.
Thank you for the wonderful comments and support. Final notes at the end of the chapter.
The two female agents stormed into the house, front door slamming, purses thrown down. Tony sat in his wheelchair, trying to stay out of the way, watching Ziva stalk into the master bedroom and slam the door. Kate stalked to her room, the door slamming behind her. Shaking his head in amusement, Tony wheeled himself into the den.
Establishing contact with MTAC, Tony waited until Gibbs appeared on the screen.
"What's going on, Tony."
"Kate and Ziva are going to kill each other," said Tony, wryly. "The tension is so thick around here you can barely walk through it. On the bright side, Ziva's skin is silky smooth."
Gibbs chuckled. "Did they get any information?"
Tony nodded. "Kate did. I'll let her tell you, though. It's on tape, if we need evidence for trial."
As if on cue, Kate entered the room, followed closely by Ziva.
"Boss wants to know what you got," said Tony, wheeling back a little from the screen to allow Kate in front.
"There's a shipment of a new product expected tomorrow morning," reported Kate. "Some sort of shampoo and conditioner. According to Julie Sanders it's a very special formula; some secret ingredient that requires 'special security' during shipment. They don't want any competitors getting hold of the product to analyze it in its testing phase."
"I'd say they're expecting a new batch of drugs, Boss," Tony said.
Nodding, Gibbs looked thoughtful. "Do we know where or what time?"
"No, Julie was vague about that. I don't think she knows, she's counting on the distributor." Kate was apologetic.
"Did you get the name of the distributor?" Gibbs frowned at Kate's answering shake of her head.
"Bendel's Shipping," Ziva interjected.
Kate looked over at her in surprise. "You don't have to mingle to get information," said Ziva. "I found a shipping order in one of Julie's desk drawers."
Tony hid a smile as Kate glared at Ziva.
"Good work, Ziva," Gibbs said. "You too, Kate." Both women said 'thank you' at the same time.
"Boss," Tony spoke up, "may I please take these torture devices off? My arm itches like crazy and my right leg keeps cramping up."
Shaking his head, Gibbs replied, "Not yet, Tony. McGee noticed a suspicious car passing in front of your house a few times earlier today, and another one parked down the street. We think you're being observed."
Ziva looked surprised. "But why? We haven't done anything suspicious."
"You're new in the neighborhood. You're getting into a group with questionable practices. That alone might have sent up a red flag." Gibbs started to leave the room, "Keep doing what you're doing. Act married, or something like that." The signal from MTAC was cut off abruptly.
Turning toward the two ladies, Tony grinned broadly. "Threesome, anyone?"
Three o'clock in the morning and Tony was still awake. His arm was driving him crazy, he couldn't shift very well with the brace on his leg and Ziva was snoring like a motorboat.
Sighing to himself, he tried to ease onto his left side, carefully pulling his braced leg up and over to rest slightly in front of him. His left arm stuck straight out awkwardly, hanging over the edge of the bed. Ziva snorted in her sleep and spooned up against him, throwing her arm and leg over him. Tony sighed again as she resumed snoring, this time in his ear.
Just as he was starting to relax and fall asleep, Tony heard a sound outside the bedroom door. Instantly alert, he strained to listen more closely. There was a sound of someone bumping into furniture and soft muttered curses. Tony smiled. Kate couldn't sleep either, she was wandering around the house in the dark. The door to the bedroom started opening quietly, and Kate carefully poked her head in.
"Trouble sleeping?" whispered Tony.
Kate slipped into the room. She nodded, and whispered, "Yes."
"Want to join us?" Tony gave her a boyish grin.
Kate gave him a disgusted look. "No, I don't think so."
"Then get out," Ziva's voice came from behind Tony.
"Now, sweet cheeks," scolded Tony, "be nice."
Kate started speaking in a normal tone of voice. "I've been thinking."
"Think in your own room," growled Ziva, turning over with her back to Kate and Tony.
Kate ignored her. "How clueless can Julie be about the drugs coming in via shipments of Vera Sue make-up?"
Tony shrugged. "I don't know, you've had the most contact with her, did she look like she was faking being a ditz?"
Ziva mumbled, "It's hard to fake something like that. Oh wait, you're pretty good at it."
Tony chuckled. Kate scoffed, "He's not faking."
Ziva sat up quickly. "See, there she goes again."
"What?" Kate looked at her indignantly.
"You're putting Tony down again. He's not stupid, you know."
Kate looked surprised. "Are you defending him?"
"Okay, let's get back on topic." Tony tried to sit up, but decided it was easier to roll onto his back.
"Yes," replied Ziva, "he's too gentlemanly to defend himself in this case."
"What?" exclaimed Kate.
"Ladies, LADIES…" Tony's voice rose.
"Why are you always putting him down? Even when you compliment him you have to add a little ringer on the end."
"That's zinger, and I don't think this is the right time or…"
"I'm trying to defend you, stop correcting my slang!" Ziva whacked Tony on the shoulder.
"Why does it bother you so much?" demanded Kate. "Oh no. Don't tell me you like Tony."
"It sounds like you're asking her if she likes serial killers," said Tony, indignantly.
"Almost as bad," retorted Kate.
Tony was about to reply when the bedroom door burst open and three black-clad men with guns and powerful flashlights burst into the room. The three agents were blinded by the glare of the lights in their faces.
"Nobody move!" yelled one of the men.
Ziva was starting to grab for the gun under her pillow when she was struck from behind. Tony snarled and struck out, but he was hampered by the brace and cast. He was stunned by a vicious right cross. Kate was struggling against one of the gunmen who had her pinned against the wall.
In a matter of minutes the three agents were lying tied up on the bed. Duct tape had been placed firmly over their mouths, the curtains were drawn and the lights were turned on. Tony, Ziva and Kate blinked at the sudden change in lighting.
"What do we do now?" asked one of the men.
"We have to keep them out of service until the shipment arrives," replied the leader, a short, burly man with a thick Columbian accent.
"Do we kill them?" the third man asked, pointing his gun purposefully at Tony's head.
"I don't know, I have to think."
"Think?" exclaimed the only American of the three assailants. "Now, you have to think?"
"Shut up!" snarled the leader. He pulled Tony up by the front of his shirt, bringing his face close to the bound agent's. "If you want the women to remain untouched, you'll answer all of my questions honestly." Tony nodded.
"Johnny you stay here and watch the women. Tomas and I are going to have a conversation with this man in the other room." The two men dragged Tony into the living room, closing the door behind them.
Ziva quietly worked at the tape binding her wrists, watching the gunman in the chair carefully. She could tell that Kate was doing the same. Voices filtered in through the door, and the sound of flesh hitting flesh, causing Kate to flinch instinctively. The two women continued to carefully loosen their bonds, stoically ignoring the sounds of the beating taking place in the living room. Ziva nudged Kate, indicating the gunman with a movement of her eyes when Kate looked over at her. Kate nodded, and started to struggle weakly, feigning difficulty breathing. As she sounded more and more distressed, Johnny put his gun down and approached her warily. Moving swiftly, Ziva reached out and struck the man in the head, knocking him out instantly and sending him sprawling across Kate's body. Quickly untying her ankles, Ziva released Kate and, together, they tied the gunman up.
Ziva picked up the abandoned weapon and turned off the lights in the room. Carefully, she slipped the door open, giving a slight sliver through which she could see the living room. The two Columbians were standing over a bruised and bloody Tony, who was barely able to sit in the chair they had placed him on.
"Who sent you," growled the leader, pulling Tony's head up by his hair.
"I don't know what you're talking about," murmured Tony through split and bloody lips. "I'm home on medical leave…" His words cut off as he was back-handed, blood spattering against the wall.
"I'm getting tired of this game," growled the irate man. "I'll let Tomas and Johnny have their fun with your women."
"No," Tony's voice was raspy. "I'm telling you the truth…" Tony tried to stall until he could figure a way to distract the men from the two women. He was knocked off the chair by another vicious blow, his vision started to narrow as he fought to stay conscious.
There was a sudden commotion, a gunshot. People were struggling and Tony received an accidental kick to the head that sent him further into unconsciousness. Yelling, furniture breaking, bodies being thrown around… it all seemed hazy to Tony, as he lay on the floor.
Gentle hands turned him over and he found himself looking up at the concerned face of his boss.
"Tony, you okay?" Gibbs searched the face of his senior field agent, noting the cuts and bruises, the dilated pupils.
"Boss?" Tony's voice was slurred.
"It's okay, Tony," reassured Gibbs. "Just lie still. We'll get you to the ER."
Tony struggled to sit up. "Ziva… Kate…" Gibbs pushed him down gently, motioning to the side. Ziva and Kate floated into view and Tony breathed a sigh of relief. "You two okay?"
"We're fine, Tony." Ziva cupped his cheek. "Kate and I took care of the guy in the bedroom. We were about to charge the other two when Gibbs came in like the Calvary."
"That's cavalry," corrected Tony absentmindedly, his eyes closing.
Gibbs shook him slightly. "Stay awake, DiNozzo. You probably have a concussion."
"Right, Boss." Tony struggled to keep his eyes open.
Fifteen minutes later Gibbs stood back and watched the EMT's load Tony onto the ambulance. He looked over at Ziva and Kate manhandling two of the gunmen as they turned them over to the MP's. The third was going to the hospital, victim of a probable concussion.
"Come on," he said to the two female agents. "Let's head for the hospital, make sure Tony's hard head is intact."
"I can't believe this is happening," Julie Sanders wailed in dismay. "Mr. Rodriguez was the best distributor I ever had, he was so polite and helpful."
"For a drug dealer," muttered Kate under her breath.
"And you're both Federal Agents?" Julie looked at Kate and Ziva.
"I'm afraid so," replied Ziva, not bothering to explain she was on temporary assignment.
"And you don't want to become Vera Sue Ladies?" The woman looked like she would burst into tears any second.
"I'm afraid not," Kate said sympathetically, patting Julie on the arm.
Sniffling, Julie looked hopefully at Ziva. "Well, maybe you could be a model in our catalogue, for Vera Sue's Moisturizing Facial Mask and lotions?"
"I'm sorry," Ziva demurred, "but I don't use your products."
"Well, no one needs to know that!"
Ziva walked off, shaking her head in disbelief.
Kate smiled. "You'll have to excuse her rudeness. She's Israeli."
"I heard that!"
fin The End
A/N: No, I'm not shipping Ziva and Tony. Ziva does tend to touch Tony more than Kate did. I realize I may have offended some Kate fans. I do believe that Kate was sharper with Tony, insulting his intelligence and his abilities. He wasn't innocent, but he was more playful and teasing, like an annoying brother.