"Tell me again why I'm dressed like this?"

"Because it's a costume party, Ziva. A party Tony tricked us into attending, but a party nonetheless." Abby stepped back from the Mossad officer to appraise her handiwork. She motioned for the other woman to spin around. She looked over the black and red corseted top, grey plaid bondage skirt, and platform Mary Janes with skulls on the toes before nodding her approval.

Ziva spun slowly as she tried to get used to the feel of various leather bands and heavy dangling metal. "But why THIS, exactly?"

Crimson lips spread into a devious grin. "Because you came to ME for help. I've always wanted to give you a good goth makeover! Besides, it'll be fun. No one will expect us to show up dressed like each other." She gestured at her own snug tan hooded sweater, camouflage cargo pants, and Ziva's special infrared scanning sunglasses settled atop her hair left free of the usual pigtails.

"That is true. Seeing Tony and Timothy's reactions will make this all worth it."

"The boys won't know what hit 'em! Especially when they get a look at you in that skirt. Now come on, we have to go take care of our makeup. Or in my case, get rid of it!" Abby grabbed Ziva's hand and tugged her toward her small bathroom.

***

FOOF: close up of their joined hands

***

"Does it really take you this long to get ready every morning? It took me forever to figure out all these chains and strappy things. And the zippers. There are so many zippers, and they don't seem to have any purpose!"

Abby laughed slightly at Ziva's look of exasperation. She pulled half of the agent's rich curls up into a ponytail before answering. "It doesn't really take me too long anymore. I'm used to it, after all. As for the zippers, I have no good answer for you. They're just fun. Gives me something to play with. Or someone else." She winked at Ziva in the mirror and adjusted the second ponytail until both were symmetrical.

"Ah." Ziva looked back with a knowing smirk. Then she studied the effect of the heavy kohl eyeliner and smoky shade that Abby had so expertly applied. It was quite a change, but she had to admit that it looked good. She looked up at the renewed rustling beside her.

Abby was digging around in a drawer looking for something. She made a small triumphant noise and straightened up with a lipstick tube held in each hand. "So, do we want to go with black or red?" She bit her lip and tilted her head slightly as she tried to picture each option. "Red! Definitely red for you."

Ziva took the proffered tube and carefully applied it as Abby turned her attention to scrubbing her own face clean of her usual makeup.

"So, about those zippers…"

***

The party was already in full swing when the two women reached the house Tony had directed them to. Ziva rang the doorbell twice before Abby shrugged and bumped her aside with her hip. "No point, c'mon!" She yanked the door open with one hand and tugged Ziva along with her into the house with the other.

In seconds, they heard a familiar wolf-whistle and Tony sauntered up in a Magnum, PI costume. "Helloooo." He tugged down his sunglasses to leer over the tops of the frames. "I knew there was a reason I invited you two! Ziva, you naughty little minx!"

Tony reached out toward the straps dangling from the short plaid skirt. A split second later he was wincing as Ziva clenched the pressure point at his wrist painfully. "Try it and die, Tony," she hissed with a menacing glare.

Tony gulped and fixed his attention on the other woman. "Hey Abbs, looking good! She been teaching you those super spy tactics of hers? I could teach you a little something about covert ops myself."

Abby chuckled and raised an eyebrow. "Covert, Tony? Don't you mean pervert?"

"Ouch, Abbs. That hurts!"

"Mmm. I'm sure you'll find someone here who can kiss it and make it better."

"I think," Tony looked over Abby's shoulder distractedly, "I already have. Catch you ladies later!"

The women shared a smirk as he hurried away.

"Oh, look. There's Timothy!"

McGee's eyes lit up when he noticed the women looking over at him. He quickly excused himself from conversation and headed over to greet them. "Wow! You two look… wow!"

"You look quite dashing yourself. Though the hat… who are you supposed to be?" Ziva looked quizzical as she studied the strange looking accessory.

Abby bounced on her toes and raised her hand. "Ooh, I know! Sherlock Holmes!"

"Very good, my dear Watson." McGee replied in his best British accent. The two chuckled at their little joke then turned to explain it to Ziva. They all chatted briefly until the girls decided it was time for some drinks.

Abby followed Ziva as she wove her way through the crowd and into the short hall leading into the kitchen. If it was even possible, she thought the goth ensemble made the agent seem more imposing and dangerous than ever. Not to mention sexy…. The scientist was still a little surprised that Ziva had agreed to go along with her idea in the first place. Surprised, but pleased. She smiled to herself and decided to have a little fun with the other woman. She reached out and tugged at one of Ziva's dangling straps.

"Tony!" came a disgruntled growl as Ziva turned and automatically pushed the offending body against the wall. Her eyes widened slightly when she realized it was Abby she'd shoved but she didn't back away.

Abby was momentarily startled at Ziva's swift response. She could feel the agent's taut muscles pressing her to the wall, but it was the look in her brown eyes that really had her pinned. The look was dark and dangerous, challenging. Abby wasn't going to back down though. She stared boldly back at the agent and a slow sexy grin found its way to her lips. Still refusing to look away she spoke softly. "Not Tony."

"So I see."

"Sorry to disappoint."

"You haven't." Ziva backed off just enough to allow her gaze to wander leisurely along Abby's body then back to meet piercing green eyes. Their eyes locked again and Ziva leaned in closer for a long moment. Finally, she pushed off against the wall and cut her eyes toward the kitchen. "Come. I'm thirsty."

***

Everyone had fun as the night wore on. Tony had managed to snag the woman he'd spotted earlier and was doing his best to impress her on the dance floor. Abby also gave in to the draw of the music and danced around on her own before cutting in for short turns with some of the more familiar faces. Ziva enjoyed several drinks while she stuck close to wall and indulged in some people watching. Though she found the idea of a costume party ludicrous, it was pretty amusing. She made a sort of game of profiling the partiers according to their costume choices. McGee joined her briefly and she let him in on her game. He proved to be quite a good resource when it came to some of the more obscure costumes. Eventually though, he was drawn away by a woman in a dark fairy outfit who wanted to talk about some computer game.

Growing bored of her own game, Ziva turned her attention to Abby. She was impressed with the spunky girl's grace and easy confidence on the dance floor. Abby looked so carefree as she swayed and rolled her body along with the music. Ziva let out a tiny sigh, envious of the other woman's ability to simply let go and immerse herself completely in the joy of the moment. She couldn't remember a time when she'd ever allowed herself that kind of abandon. So much of her life had been about control, discipline, and caution. But, she thought, Abby seemed to be rubbing off on her. Ever since the scientist finally warmed to her, Ziva found herself relaxing just a bit. Her lips twitched in a wry grin as she acknowledged that just a few months earlier there wouldn't have been the slightest chance that she would attend such a party, or that she'd have been tricked into it in the first place. It also didn't escape her attention that Abby seemed to know as many people at the party as Tony, if not more. She strongly suspected that she'd been in on it the whole time.

Abby appeared suddenly at Ziva's side, breaking her from her thoughts. "Come dance with me! This is a party, after all!"

"I don't-"

"Nonsense. Everyone can dance. Besides, I bet there's a party animal lurking inside of you just begging to get out!" Abby smiled and poked Ziva playfully. "Now come on. Just one dance, that's all I ask."

Stern brown eyes searched hopeful green ones until finally giving in. "Fine. One dance."

***

"Well, I had a lot of fun. How about you?" Abby peered through the dark at Ziva as she unlocked the doors of her hearse.

"It was interesting, to be sure."

"But did you have FUN?" Abby bounced impatiently as she started the engine.

"Yes, I did. It was especially fun to see Tony flailing about on the dance floor. Do you think he knows that his dancing closely resembles a seizure?" Ziva imitated his jerky, spastic movements, causing them both to grin.

A comfortable silence settled over the car as Abby carefully navigated the way back to her apartment. She glanced over a few times and noticed Ziva's slim fingers fidgeting with a chain that draped across her lap. "I suppose you're more than ready to trade those in for your own clothes, huh?"

"Mm…yes. That will be nice. I was just sitting here wondering if it would take me as long to get out of these things as it did to get into them."

"Oh. Well that sorta depends."

Ziva turned to face Abby and narrowed her gaze. "On?"

Abby smiled wickedly but kept her eyes trained on the road ahead of her. "On whether you have help."

***

FOOF: Close up of a pile of clothes scattered at the foot of a bed, camouflage and plaid clearly visible.

***