This story is based on a picture I found, which can be seen at the livejournal account of imaginary iby. It's not necessary, but I find it a nice compliment.

There's a shout out to fellow Australians in this!


Tony stepped out of the elevator, a confident grin on his face and a large black box in his hands. His jacket was draped over the box, and he hurriedly made his way to his desk to take it off.

Putting the jacket on his chair, he carefully adjusted the shiny silver bow that sat on the top of the parcel, inspecting for any damage. Happy that the jacket hadn't hurt the bow, he patted the box affectionately.

"This is the year," he said, triumphantly.

Ziva looked up from her chair curiously. "What?"

If possible, Tony's grin got wider. "I've finally found something for Abby's birthday other than black roses. She's going to love it!"

"Abby loves black roses though."

Tony nodded. "Yes, but she also loves surprises. For the past three years, I've come up with nothing, but this year, I have something so cool she's going to bounce right out of her boots. I'm telling you Ziva, this is the year."

Ziva looked at him skeptically. "It doesn't matter what you get her Tony. You should just resign yourself to the fact that ultimately, Gibbs' present is going to be better."

Tony scowled, patting the bow defensively. "Yeah, well, the boss can help her in ways we can't."

Ziva quickly looked down at her work. Tony's sixth sense kicked into gear; the sense that told him Gibbs was standing behind him. He didn't know why the sense didn't activate earlier, perhaps warning him of Gibbs' imminent arrival but he'd learnt to resign himself to the situation.

"Morning bo-" the word was cut off by a swift smack to the back of the head.

"Yeow!" Grimacing, he rubbed his head. Once Gibbs had made his way to the elevator, his picked up the box with renewed determination. "I'm going to go give this to Abby."


Tony entered the lab, a bounce in his step. He was pleased to see the usual array of flowers in Abby's fridge, content in the knowledge that this year, he wouldn't be part of that trend.


The sliding door beeped and Abby came out from the inner lab.


She ran to him, hugging him awkwardly around the box.

"Careful! Don't want to squash the gift."

She withdrew her arms, an excited glint in her eye. "Oh, a surprise!"

He presented it to her with a grand, enthusiastic gesture. "Happy Birthday, Abbsy."

She took the box from him and put it on the table that she usually laid evidence on. "It's so big, Tony! You're not one of those people who mind if I tear the wrapping, are you?"

"Tear away with reckless abandon, oh black clad one."

With a laugh, she slid a nail underneath a piece of cello-tape. Peeling it away, she gripped a sizeable chunk of shiny black paper and ripped. An unpleasant noise filled the lab, but it quickly gave way to a squeal.

"Oh my god, Tony!" She squealed again and threw her arms around him.

"You like it?" he asked through a laugh.

"I love it! We have to try it now."

Tony nodded. "I'll go get some supplies. Give me ten minutes."


Abby and Tony sat on desk chairs, their feet propped up on the table. There was a strange, yet pleasant smell in the air.

"I'm stuffed."

Abby patted her stomach. "Me too." She looked around. "What're we going to do with all this?"

Tony shrugged. "Call the others?"

She turned to reach for her phone, but it was too far away. "Can't move. Too full." Sighing, she pushed off from the table with her feet, rolling the chair to the phone. She picked it up and pressed 1. "Gibbs? Hey, can you come down to the lab? Bring McGee and Ducky and Ziva. Oh, and Palmer too. The Director if she can spare five minutes."

Ten minutes later they all came traipsing into the lab. Taking in the sight before them, they stopped in their tracks.

"What's all this?" Ziva asked, picking up a slice of bread.

"Well, Ziva. This is Tony's present."

On the table sat a large shiny black toaster. Boldly printed on the side was a picture of a skull and crossbones in white, with writing on the bottom happily proclaiming, "Sweet toast of mine."

"It actually burns a picture of a skull and crossbones onto the bread! Isn't it just the coolest thing you've ever seen?"

A ding was heard, and toast popped out of the toaster. Waving a hand over the top to cool it, she pulled a browned piece of toast out and showed it to them, in a manner reminiscent of a game show hostess explaining a prize. It was true, in the middle a picture was visible, slightly darker than the rest of the slice.

"We're full. Since Tony pilfered every loaf of bread in the kitchen, we have heaps left and thought you might be hungry. There's butter, jam and vegemite."

Ziva tilted her head to the side curiously. "What's vegemite?"

Abby laughed. "It's a spread from Australia. It's really yummy."

Tony scoffed. "It's death warmed up, Abs."

"Either way, come have some!" Her excitement was infectious, and Jimmy found himself reaching for the jam.

McGee and Ziva ducked out into the hall and returned with a few chairs, wheeling them to the table. Ducky, McGee and Jenny sat down, whilst Ziva inspected the vegemite curiously. Palmer had become the designated server, so he busied himself with toast. Gibbs just stood behind Abby, his hand on her shoulder, thumb rubbing slowly against the curve of her neck.

Analyst Terry Kramer was standing talking to translator Michelle Williamson in the hallway outside the lab when he heard a shriek.

"Palmer, don't drop it!"

Laugher erupted from the lab.

"What do you think they're doing?' he asked.

Michelle shrugged. "Who knows, they're a weird bunch."