Title: Cheers and Jeers
Characters: Tony, Ziva, McGee, Gibbs
Summary/Note: Tony is in search of a companion to go to a hockey game with him. Ziva is the lucky woman. Any slamming of any sports team is not intended as an insult, merely the view that some in the story would realistically possess. Written for NFA's Secret Santa fic exchange, 2008.
Tony strode into the bullpen, looking entirely too perky for eight in the morning. "Sooooooo," he started, drawing out the word as long as possible. He whipped out two tickets with a flourish, and continued. "A very appreciative woman gave me two tickets to the Caps game tonight. Center ice, fifth row."
"Appreciative?" Ziva asked with a smirk, as McGee tried to stifle a snigger. "For what Tony?"
"For changing her tire on the Beltway during rush hour Ziva," Tony replied, enunciating the innocence of the act. He rolled his eyes, as if in affront that she dared think it was anything else. "And besides," he added, "She's married. To a guy on the team, hence the tickets."
"Somehow I don't think that would stop you," McGee teased, looking up briefly from what he was working on on his computer.
"Don't you have some hacking or something to be doing Lord Probiemort?" he retorted.
"If you're going to mark your territory DiNozzo," Gibbs said as he walked in. "Please make sure not to do it on the carpet."
"Well I was going to ask if anyone wanted to go to the hockey game tonight," Tony explained. "But I'm not sure McGee deserves it."
"Just as well Tony," McGee responded. "I've got plans."
"What, World of Warcraft marathon with your online buddies tonight?" Tony jabbed, still sore about the teasing he received.
McGee just turned his head back to his work and let it slide.
Tony began to turn his gaze towards Gibbs.
"Don't even think about it DiNozzo," Gibbs said, not even looking up at him, but just knowing what Tony was going to say.
Tony turned to Ziva.
"I will go Tony," Ziva stated at his almost pitiable childish pleading look. "I have found I quite like that game."
"You like hockey?" Tony asked, surprised.
"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth Tony," McGee cautioned.
"I'm not, I just didn't think of Ziva much as a hockey person," Tony explained.
"Men hitting each other in a sport and it is condoned and even encouraged?" Ziva rationalized. She gave a small grin and added, "I am surprised you did not make the connection earlier." She cocked her head and asked, "What does that phrase mean anyways? Why are you looking at horses mouths in the first place?"
Gibbs, who was enduring this chatter with greater tolerance than usual as it was a slow day (at least for major crimes) spoke up. "You're not supposed to inspect the teeth of a horse that you've been given as a gift. There is supposed to be honor enough that the giver wouldn't give you an unhealthy horse." He gestured to his mouth and added, "You tell a horse's health by its teeth and mouth. Most animals for that matter." He picked up a file and started to walk out of the bullpen, but at their blank stares he briefly paused to explain, with a wry smirk, "Horse traders in the family." He continued on, oblivious to the fact that his explanation didn't actually help.
"Right," said Tony slowly, evidently still lost. "Anyhow, should be a good game."
Tony led Ziva down the steps, glancing at the letters on the floor to find their row. "H, G, F, E, here we are," he announced. He gestured for her to proceed him into the row. "These two seats right on the end." He glanced around at the other occupants of the row. "Hopefully they won't need to get out too much, I hate having to constantly get up for every little kid that has to pee."
"But it is easier for you to get up when you want to," Ziva pointed out.
"Ah," Tony countered, sounding like he was explaining a key factor of life, "But the beer comes to me."
By this time the opposing team had made its way onto the ice, with little fanfare and much booing from some of the more intense Washington fans. The booming voice of the announcer came over the loudspeaker again, as spotlights flashed on the ice. "Aaaand now, your Washingtonnnn Capitaaaaaals!" The arena filled with cheers as the players skated out.
Ziva joined in the cheering, sticking two fingers in her mouth and whistling loudly.
Tony looked at her and said, "You are just full of surprises Miss David."
"I do sometimes enjoy being a part of the crowd Tony," Ziva replied.
"Actually, I meant the whistling," Tony elaborated. "Didn't know that was one of your talents."
"Oh I have not showed you all my talents," Ziva teased.
Tony seized on this and got her back with, "Oh really? And what have I been missing out on?"
"Wouldn't you like to know," Ziva responded with a secretive smile, turning back to the ice to watch the opening faceoff.
The hundreds and thousands of possibilities running through Tony's head were pleading with him to respond with, "Yes, I would like to know," but he managed to keep himself from asking. He settled back to watch the game, but caught the almost gleeful look on Ziva's face when one of the Washington defenders dealt someone a vicious check into the boards. He was pretty sure it was due to the hit and not any heretofore unseen passion for Washington sports, as he saw a similar look appear on her face when that defender received a retaliatory check soon after. Tony was jolted from his thoughts by the sound of a siren.
"Woohoo!" Ziva cheered. Evidently the Caps had scored.
Tony cheered loudly, hoping to cover up the fact that he had not really been paying attention.
"Did you see that Tony?" Ziva asked, pointing at the ice.
"That's what they pay him for Ziva," Tony replied, the vague expression covering all possibilities of who had scored. He kept his eyes glued to the ice from the next faceoff, determined to not be caught inattentive (to the game) again.
There was a break in the game for commercials, a so called "TV timeout." Ziva looked around the arena, noting the crowd, and stated, "There are a lot of people here. You would think there would not be so many on a Wednesday night."
"Well it's a rivalry game," Tony explained. "And you get a lot of people who come down for the game since the two cities are so close."
"Ha ha," Ziva said with a smile. She pointed to a hand painted sign hanging from someone's box seat, which read: PUCK FITTSBURGH. "That is clever," she added.
"What?" Tony asked, searching for the place she was pointing to. "Oh," he said as he saw it. He snorted when he realized what it meant. "That's a good one."
The game started up again, and was relatively uneventful, at least as far as goal scoring went, for the remainder of the period. In the break the team mascot came out with several assistants to throw t-shirts into the stands. As Murphy's Law would seem to dictate, Tony felt they were throwing them to every part of the arena but where they were sitting. Not that he needed a t-shirt, but it would be nice if they would at least throw one close to him, rather than avoiding their section. He'd never caught anything thrown at a sports game, unless you counted that one fly ball he caught at Phillies game once. They were down to one last t-shirt, and the girl just flung it over the side of the glass, and turned to follow the mascot off the ice. Tony, as if by sheer instinct, leaned into the aisle, reached up with his right hand, and snagged it. He sat back down and unfurled it. "Nice," he noted with simple approval. He held it out to Ziva.
"You are giving it to me?" Ziva asked.
"Would look kind of funny on me," Tony justified with a smirk. "Little small don't you think?"
"Aww, that is sweet," Ziva said with a smile, taking the shirt from him. She immediately put it on over the long sleeved shirt she was wearing. They both fell back into silence, waiting for the game to begin again.
The second period began with a bang, as someone was checked hard into the boards right in front of them. "Woah!" Tony exclaimed. He glared at the Pittsburgh player and yelled, "Easy there Crosby! How'd you like me to slam [i]your[/i] face into the glass, huh?"
"Is that not the whole point though?" Ziva asked. "To shove the other guy out of the way so you can get that puck thing?"
"Well, yeah" Tony conceded. "But if he puts Ovechkin out of commission…" He let the sentence trail off, trying to come up with a suitably nasty threat. Not able to come up with anything realistic as he wouldn't really be able to carry it out anyway, he threw out a simple explanation, "He's our best player."
"Yes, he does seem very good," Ziva acknowledged, understating the situation.
At the next break in action a montage of Cupids and hearts came on the screen. "It's time for the Kiss Cam!" the announcer proclaimed. A frame of hearts stayed on the screen, as cameras panned to couples in the crowd, some of whom awkwardly acquiesced, if only to a kiss on the cheek, but most of whom were happy enough to comply. A kid sitting behind them tapped Tony on the shoulder, and said, "Hey, you're on the Jumbotron!" He pointed up at the screen, which was indeed showing Tony and Ziva's faces.
"Just ignore it," Tony said. "The camera will turn away when they realize we're not interested."
"Would it be so bad though?" Ziva inquired. "It is not like they are asking us to make a lifetime commitment." She shrugged and added, "And a kiss is just a kiss right?"
Tony would be lying to himself if he didn't admit that he would enjoy it, even if nothing else came of it. Feeling all too like a teenager about to kiss a girl for the first time, and not liking the implications, he shrugged as if it was nothing and said, "Sure."
By this point the camera had since moved on, but no one seemed interested in telling them that.
Tony reached his hand out to Ziva, pulling her face in towards his, telling himself that it was not a gesture of affection, but a practical move to steady himself. When their lips met there were no sparks or fireworks going off, just two people who thought about each other far more than they cared to let on. The blare of the horn indicating that the next period was beginning jerked them apart, but it took several more minutes before they could shake the dazed feeling off to bring their attention back to the game. Even then he'd be hard pressed to know exactly how the score ended up at 5-2, in the Capitals' favour. As they left the arena and eventually went their separate ways their minds lingered on that kiss, the impetus for things to come.