Finding Escape in Movies

It was just another day in the NCIS bullpen.

"Why are you so dressed up, McGee?"

McGee refused to acknowledge Ziva's question. He just continued to look at his computer screen and continue to type. Unfortunately for McGee, Ziva was not the type to be ignored. She rose from her desk and walked until she stood a foot from McGee. She leaned in, close enough now to put her investigative skills to good use. She sniffed the air like a bloodhound looking for a scent. "You're wearing cologne."

McGee unraveled, unable to continue typing under the former Moussad agent's close scrutiny. He looked her in the eye, though not with as much strength as he would have liked. "I like cologne."

She was quick with an answer. "But you never wear it." She sniffed the air again. "Aftershave, too."

McGee was truly unsettled now. "How do you know what I smell like so well?"

It was in this moment that Anthony DiNozzo strolled in. Ziva jumped away from McGee like she'd been caught doing something wrong. "What are two you doing?" Tony's interest moved too fast for either to answer before his curiosity picked out a new target. "Why are you so dressed up, Probie?"

McGee's worry increased, he never did well when the two paired up against him. Ziva smirked. "That's what I was trying to figure out."

DiNozzo quickly joined in, noting the cologne and aftershave just like Ziva. For once, McGee wished they weren't so damn good at investigative detection. Suddenly DiNozzo's face lit up like a light bulb went off inside his head. "You have a date."

He wanted to deny it but knew it would get him nowhere so he just sighed. "Yes, I have a date tonight. Can we just drop it now?"

DiNozzo's wide grin indicated they would not be dropping anything until Gibbs showed up. "What's she look like, Probie?"

McGee glared. "Looks don't mean as much to some of us, Tony."

He laughed. "That means she's a dog." Tony translated for a less amused looking Ziva. "Come on, Probie. You're a famous author now. Even you should be able to manage as semi-attractive female. Nothing in my league, but still."

McGee and Ziva glared at Tony for that comment. Ziva decided to take a different approach, going back to her desk. "What are you planning on doing for this date?"

McGee still glared at Tony, but decided to answer Ziva's question. "Dinner and a movie."

Tony laughed again, and returned to his desk. "How unoriginal. No wonder you have so many lonely nights."

McGee felt it necessary to defend himself. "I'm taking her to Rivera's, had to make the reservation weeks ago! The movie is in that new theatre too, the Seasons."

Ziva looked impressed at McGee's mention of Rivera's, but Tony shook his head at the sound of movie theatre. McGee bristled again. "I suppose you know the best movie theatre in town."

Tony's look changed. "No. I hate movie theatres."

Both Ziva and McGee were shocked. How could a man with so much movie knowledge hate movie theatres?

Before they got the chance to question this startling revelation, Gibbs walked in. "Got a dead petty officer. Grab your gear."

Tony didn't mean to let his dislike of movie theatres slip. He knew it would only lead to questions. He was more than willing to give his teammates every detail about his new blonde's shapely legs and loud screams. He was a little less inclined to give them any real information about himself.

It wasn't that Tony disliked movie theatres for any particular reason (sticky floors, over-priced snacks, armrests that impede making out) it was just bad associations.

Despite living in a mansion, as a kid Tony hated being at home. His mother was like a ghost even before she died. If his father was home, he was usually drunk and disapproving. If he wasn't it only reminded Tony of how alone he was in the world.

So, he went to the movies. Every time his father yelled, he would go. Every time his newest stepmother would try to buddy up with him, he'd break a few dollars out of his piggy bank. Every time he just needed to escape, he found his way to the nearest theatre.

He didn't mean for it to turn into a daily thing. He had no desire to become so recognized by the theatre staff. He just wanted a few hours out of the house to lose himself in a world where the good guys always won.

As his family troubles grew, his obsession for cinema did as well. He began to lose himself in movies at home too, when he couldn't escape to his theatres. Still he did visit his second home any chance he got.

It wasn't until he began dating that he discovered a distain for movie theatres. In his inexperience he relied on the traditional dinner and a movie formula as much as any other guy. But his dates always questioned his familiarity with the theatres. Why did the staff know him so well? How did he know his way around so well? Why did he go to so many movies? His escape had turned into a trap.

He didn't want to answer these questions. He had no desire to open up about his disaster of a home life, especially not on a first date. So he began to avoid theatres like the plague. He thought of different activities for dates, and actually won more of them for his refreshing creativity. He still did dinners but refused any movies unless viewed on a couch.

He didn't want to share any of this with his team anymore than he wanted to share it with the Sarahs and Nicoles. So when the questions came, he answered them with a million lies about uncomfortable chairs, disgusting floors, and even told a story about getting banned from one for "inappropriate amounts of public displays of affection". He told them everything but the truth, escaping from his family once more.