Traditional Southern Meal
Disclaimer: Don't own it. Wish I did, but I don't.
Author's Note: Here's the last chapter of this short-story.
Tony awoke early; not as early as McGee and Abby, however; he heard them in the kitchen doing what he hoped was cooking.
He was laying in McGee's guest bed holding Ziva tightly to him.
Thankfully, her snores weren't as disturbingly loud as they had been during their undercover assignment. Which made him a little suspicious that she had been overdoing the snores just to get on his nerves.
He couldn't believe that he had woke before she did, but he used his time to observe the sleeping assassin.
Through some miraculous restraint, they had managed to not follow Abby and McGee's example the night before. Instead, they had just sat and talked and, at Ziva's request, cuddled until they finally fell asleep.
Tony could feel Ziva beginning to wake up and he watched, waiting for her eyes to open.
When they did, he greeted her, "Morning, Sweetcheeks."
"Boker tov, My Little Furry Bear," she smiled groggily, before he kissed her.
Tony had noticed the smell wafting into the room from the kitchen down the hall.
He took several very theatrical sniffs before saying, "I think Probie and Abby are making breakfast, wanna go?"
She nodded and together they sleepily wandered into McGee's kitchen.
"Good morning, guys!" Abby smiled.
Tony and Ziva nodded greetings.
"Did you two have a good night?" McGee asked, raising his eyebrows.
"Yeah, we did; and we didn't even have to resort to what you two did," Tony shot teasingly.
"Wow, Tony DiNozzo slept with a woman without having sex. I'm impressed," McGee replied.
Ziva and Tony shared a smile.
Tony walked over to where Abby was cooking. He looked at the pile of golden-brown rectangles of fried dough and the three more still in the frying pan.
"What's this?" he asked, reaching for one.
"Don't touch!" Abby held up the spatula as if to hit Tony with it, "They're beignets. French doughnuts. New Orleans food."
Tony then walked over to where McGee was cooking, "How 'bout you, McEmeril?"
"Very creative, Julia McChild," Tony teased.
"Haven't you gotten tired of calling me insults based on my last name?" McGee groaned.
"Never, Mc...what's another famous chef?"
"Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Masaharu Morimoto, Cat Cora, Paul Prudhomme, Justin Wilson...I gar-on-tee!...Oh! I like Paula Deen, she's a chef! Ooh! Ooh! Alton Brown! He's like Bill Nye meets a super chef! He's awesome!" Abby ranted.
"McRachael Ray!" Tony shouted proudly.
Ziva shuddered, "I cannot stand her."
"Join the club," Abby laughed.
Soon, Abby finished frying and covered the beignets with powdered sugar and they all sat down to eat.
"So, what do you think Gibbs is gonna do?" McGee asked.
"About what?" Tony asked, mouth full of scrambled egg.
"About how he's the only one on the team not breaking Rule 12," McGee replied.
"In fact, two members of the team are breaking Rule 12 within the team," Abby said, sending a pointed glare at the other couple.
"I do not believe we ever said we were together," Ziva argued.
"You didn't deny it," Abby said.
"You can't deny it," McGee added.
Tony shrugged and leaned over to kiss Ziva.
"Tony!" she shouted, pushing him away.
"Oh, come on, Ziva! They know!" Tony laughed and pulled her into another kiss and she didn't resist.
Abby and McGee teased them with 'oooh' and 'awww' and, after continuing too long, 'blech', 'ewww', and 'get a room!'. They finally broke apart, but Tony kept his arm around Ziva.
"We should all get together later and have a big, traditional, Southern New Year's meal!" Abby shouted.
"What is in a Southern New Year's meal?" Ziva asked.
"Fried cornbread, collard greens, black-eyed peas, hog jowl; you don't have to eat the hog jowl, Ziva-" Abby explained.
"What's hog jowl?" Tony asked.
"Uhhh...It tastes like bacon," Abby stuttered.
"I didn't ask what it tasted like, Abby, I asked what it was."
"....I think it's pig cheek...," Abby said quietly. McGee made a gagging noise and sputtered some egg onto the table.
"That's not kosher," Tony grinned to Ziva.
"I do not keep kosher," she replied.
"I remember," he smiled, thinking back to when they first met. They gave each other a long, meaningful look.
"Ahem," McGee called. Tony and Ziva ignored him.
"Hey, lovebirds, cut it out!" Abby shouted, Tony and Ziva snapped from their moment and Abby asked, "So, are you guys gonna come have lunch with us?"
"Yeah, sure," Tony agreed and Ziva nodded.
Tony and Ziva arrived back at McGee's at around one in the afternoon.
Abby opened the door, hugged them, and ran back to the kitchen with McGee.
Ducky was seated on the couch discussing something with Palmer.
Tony sat on a recliner and Ziva perched on the arm. He pulled her down so the was leaning across his lap, she giggled and Ducky looked over, giving them a knowing smile.
Someone else knocked at the door, Abby answered with Jethro jumping up from his bed next to Tony and Ziva's recliner.
When Tony saw who had arrived, he hissed, "Abby!" She ran over and bent down to hear his whispers while the new visitor greeted the dog.
"What is Gibbs doing here?"
"It's a family dinner, silly," she smiled, skipping back into the kitchen.
Neither Tony nor Ziva made an attempt to move; Gibbs was going to figure out sooner or later, they reasoned, it was best to get it out of the way now.
Gibbs and Jethro walked into the living room and sat next to Ducky, the dog at his feet.
He soon looked over at Tony and Ziva; from the look in his eyes, they could tell that if they would have been in range, they would have been headslapped into oblivion.
They sat down at the table for lunch, Tony's hand on Ziva's thigh and McGee's arm around Abby.
Gibbs stared daggers between the two couples.
"I propose a toast," Ducky said, standing and raising his glass, "To new beginnings!" The others held up their glasses, too.
"I've got a toast for ya'," Gibbs began, "To keeping it out of the workplace." He glared at Abby and McGee first then glared, harder, at Tony and Ziva.
The four nodded and mumbled agreement.
They all knew that Gibbs didn't fully approve if their relationships, bur they had to take what they could get with Gibbs.
Everything was going to work out just fine.
A.N.: I love beignets! Love them! Love them! Love them! They are my favorite breakfast!
The food is really the traditional Southern New Year's meal, or at least its what my family makes and we live in Arkansas. It's one of my favorite meals of the year. I like to put mustard on the fried cornbread. Yum! As I mentioned earlier, I was in Hot Springs on New Year's and they didn't have most of this stuff! I was so disappointed! We ate a brunch at the Arlington Hotel and they had black-eyed peas but none of the other stuff.
We ate the black-eyed peas, spinach frittatas for the greens, and bacon for the hog jowls, and David put black-eyed peas on a waffle instead of cornbread...he got some weird looks. But I'm okay now because Dad made a late New Year's dinner for me.
This chapter/story is for Walker. His family's going through some rough stuff right now. I hope that everything works out for the best.
Thanks for reading. Please review!