By Liss Webster
"Even in the middle of this dangerous situation, with their very lives on the line, Tommy couldn't help but be aware of Lisa. Her curves were pressed tightly against him, and he felt himself react helplessly."
As Ziva walked to her desk, casually reading aloud from the hefty hardback she was carrying, the two men across the room froze, eyes wide.
"Zee-vah?" Tony recovered first, and near as dammit leapt across the room, reaching out a hand for the book. "What've you got there?"
Ziva pulled back, quickly, and looked at him suspiciously. "Just a book, Tony," she said innocently. "It is very… interesting."
Across the room, Timothy McGee paled, and swallowed uncomfortably.
"Uh, Ziva, where did you get it from?"
Tony edged closer to the book, eyeing it eagerly. "Uh-huh. Whatever. Ziva, do my eyes – and ears – deceive me, or is that Probie's book?"
"It is the new novel by Thom E. Gemcity, yes."
"But it's not out yet!" protested McGee, really, really wishing that he had woken up with tonsillitis. Or a broken leg. Or, y'know, dead. "It's not out till next week!"
"Next week, Probie?" Tony's attention swung round to McGee. "Isn't next week when you're supposed to be in Hawaii?"
"I do recall him mentioning something about Hawaii," chipped in Ziva.
"There was talk of beaches."
"And girls. Didn't we photoshop a picture of McGoggles in swimwear?"
"And a lei."
"Oh yes. The lei." Tony and Ziva exchanged glances, then the pair once again focused on McGee.
"Ziva," began Tony, prowling behind McGee, "is it possible that McGee timed his holiday to coincide with the release of his new book about us?"
"I think there is a very great probability," replied Ziva. "Do you suppose, Tony, that he is embarrassed about what he wrote?"
"Embarrassed… or ashamed, Ziva?"
"Is that true, McGee?" asked Ziva, shaking her head solemnly. "Are you ashamed?" She opened the book again. "Are you ashamed that you said Tony 'flaunted his relationships with a string of available women, when really he simply desired the companionship of one woman, with whom he could be himself, and forget about the embarrassment of his… insufficiencies.'"
"Yeah, McGee, are… wait, what?" Tony's head jerked round, a look of horror on his face. "IWhat/I does it say?"
"It's not based on anyone real!" protested McGee weakly. "Anyway, I didn't write that."
"Give that here!" ordered Tony, dodging round McGee, but Ziva was quicker and danced backwards, still reading.
"'After all, the women were merely a ruse, designed to keep ugly rumours about Tommy's manhood at bay.'"
"There are no rumours about my manhood!" Tony's face was outraged as he made a grab at the book, this time succeeding in wrenching it from Ziva's grasp. "Let me see that!"
He flicked over the page that Ziva had been reading. "'With the key elements of the cipher in place, McGregor quickly typed the message into his computer, and let the sophisticated algorithm he had built speedily decode the CIA's instructions to their best assassin. The CPU whirred and hummed as…' This has nothing to do with my manhood."
Ziva smirked. "It is a matter of… literary interpretation, yes?"
"Yeah, well, my manhood will stand up to anyone's literary interpretation."
Ziva's eyebrow quirked upwards. "Is that a promise, Tony?" His expression was confused for a moment, and then realisation dawned, and something that might have been a blush washed over his cheeks, before his normal machismo asserted itself.
"Damn straight it is! And McGee can take that to the…" He broke off, frowning. "Hey, where is our little McAuthor?"
The bullpen was empty, bar the two of them. Timothy McGee was nowhere to be seen. Tony and Ziva looked around. Then they looked at each other.
Tony raised an eyebrow.
"At a guess…" said Ziva.
"…Hawaii," completed Tony.