The Class of '96
By Liss Webster
"This is gonna be great." Tony looked like someone had brought on birthday and Christmas all at once.
"A Marine is dead, DiNozzo. That's not great."
"Of course not, boss," said Tony, only marginally abashed. "But this is a Marine who died at McGee's high school reunion. I'm just pointing out the silver lining here."
"I don't understand," said Ziva, a frown of incomprehension creasing her forehead. "How is this a good thing?"
"Ziva, Ziva, Ziva." Tony shook his head. "High. School. Reunion. This is going to be beautiful. I wonder if there'll be pictures. There'll be pictures, right?"
"Pictures of what?"
"McGeek. To be precise, teenage McGeek." Tony was practically rubbing his hands together with glee. "Oh man, you couldn't ask for better ammunition."
"Maybe he was not a geek in high school."
"Not a geek in high school?" said Tony slowly, the words seeming to spell out a totally alien concept. "Our McGee? Ziva, the other geeks will have worshipped at his feet. He will have been the uber-geek."
"So…" Ziva considered Tony's words. "He will have been despised by many of his peers, but ended up with a cheerleader, yes?"
"Yeah, that's… No! What?" Ziva looked proud.
"I have been watching some movies, Tony. It is the way it works. The geek gets the beautiful girl, in all these movies."
"Oh, in the movies, yeah. That's the beauty of the high school genre. But see, Ziva, these movies are made by men who were, themselves, high school geeks. The cheerleader thing is wish-fulfillment."
"So… no cheerleader for McGee?"
"There were no girls at all for McGee. It was ritual humiliation and his head down a toilet."
Ziva nodded thoughtfully. "Water torture. I have used it. Very effective."
"And we're here." Tony's voice was not at all higher than usual. Gibbs and Ziva exchanged a quick glance of mutual amusement.
"Ziva, crime scene photographs. DiNozzo, get the equipment." Gibbs marched towards the high school entrance; Tony tossed Ziva the camera and started getting out the usual equipment from the back of the van.
"On your six, boss!" He gathered the cases into his arms, and hurried after Gibbs, into the Benjamin Franklin High School, educator of Special Agent Timothy McGee.
"Gun shot sounded at ten-oh-four exactly," reported McGee, looking considerably relieved to see the rest of his team. "Looks like Steve – Corporal Johnstone, I mean – died immediately. I went through the list of attendees, and it looks like everyone who came is still here. None of the school staff are around, as far as the organisers know."
"Anyone touch the body, McGee?" McGee shook his head.
"No, boss. Everyone sort of drew back, and I was on the scene, so…"
"Did you wave your gun, Probie?" asked Tony suspiciously.
"Of course he showed his badge, DiNozzo. This is a crime scene."
"I'm just saying, boss…"
"Yes, Tony, I showed my badge."
"Of course you did, McGee," said Ziva, setting off the camera flash in Tony's face, smiling as he blinked furiously. "It is a good thing, yes, to show that you have authority and stature, and are no longer a boy?"
"And he has a Porsche."
"He is a federal agent, Tony."
"He has a Porsche, Zee-vah! McGee, tell me you drove the Porsche." He slapped his forehead. "What am I talking about? This is your high school reunion! Of course you drove the Porsche."
"Yes, fine, I drove the Porsche. What do you want, Tony?" McGee's voice was aggrieved. Tony grinned.
"I'm just really enjoying this."
"We can see that, DiNozzo," said Gibbs, slapping the back of Tony's head. "How about you pay a little more attention to the dead Marine on the floor!"
"Yes, boss. Sorry, boss."
"Er, hi there." All four agents turned in concert, none of them having noticed the man approaching. He had left the clusters of reunioners currently occupying the far end of the school gym and now stood, scratching one arm tentatively.
"So, we were wondering if we would be able to go home soon?" He met Gibbs cold, hard, look, and ducked his head. "It's just that, er, it's kind of…"
"What Chuck here's trying to say is that I'm sure you don't need to keep us all here," said a second man, coming up behind his fellow class-mate. He was tall, well-built and blond. Football-player, was Tony's estimate. Bully, was Gibbs'. Coward, Ziva's. The man flashed a perfect white-toothed smile. "Whaddya say, McGeek?"
Tony stepped up to the man, all traces of humour gone from his expression. "Did you just refer to Special Agent McGee as McGeek?" The man laughed.
"Well, sure. I mean, it's just…"
"Do you realize the consequences of behaving in this fashion towards a federal agent?"
"What? What consequences?"
"I get very, very annoyed," cut in Gibbs, voice flat and expressionless. "You'll be able to leave when we say so. Until then, you'd best join your classmates." The men stood, indecisive. Ziva nodded at them.
"You can go now," she said pleasantly. They went.
Ducky and Jimmy Palmer arrived on the scene, and dealt with the body. Ziva and Tony took statements from the class of '96. Eventually, NCIS had done all it could do at the Benjamin Franklin High School, and prepared to leave.
"Thanks for your cooperation," announced Tony loudly. "If we need anything else, either Special Agent McGee or a member of his team will be in touch." He headed for the door, McGee and Ziva close on his tail.
"My team?" murmured McGee.
"Don't ever mention it again," warned Tony. "Do, and you will regret the consequences. You know what I can do, Probie." McGee nodded solemnly. He did indeed know what Tony could do.
As they reached the door, Ziva suddenly swung round, and engaged McGee in a kiss. Not just any kiss. The kind of kiss that stays in the memory. Hot, passionate, steamy, with the promise of things to come. She broke off, flashed a demure smile at the blond man standing nearby. "I was a cheerleader," she said brightly, and walked out of the gym. Tony and McGee stared, speechless, at each other for a moment, before being galvanized into action and rushing after her.
"Ziva! A cheerleader! Really? Do you have pictures?"
NB – I don't know when McGee would have graduated high school – I took a fairly uneducated guess. Hopefully I am not blatantly contradicting the show!