Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters. I'm just borrowing them. I'll have them home before midnight.
Song is These Arms of Mine, by Otis Redding
It was a Sunday afternoon and Ziva David was spending it hiding in Abby's lab. Gibbs had ordered her to go home hours ago after the team had arrested a petty officer for dealing drugs on base that indirectly led to the death of a lieutenant's wife. He had believed himself to be invincible, whether due to his young age or illegal activities, Ziva wasn't sure. But when he resisted arrest and started throwing punches, Ziva decided to show him just how fallible he was. When the petty officer took a swing at her, she dodged the blow and then brought her right fist up into his gut before kneeing him in the face. A perfectly reasonable use of force, she believed. The petty officer had already smacked McGee in the face and aimed a gun at Tony before being disarmed. Her actions had merely incapacitated him to protect the safety of her team. So she thought.
Gibbs hadn't seen it that way. Instead of thanking her for a job well done, he ordered her to go home and cool off. He didn't want her around for the interrogation, and he didn't want to see her for the rest of the day. Of course she'd argued against his decision, but that had just made things worse. Grumpy Gibbs had turned into Extra Pissy Gibbs, and Ziva had given up. Sort of. When she got in the elevator, she hit the button for Abby's floor instead of the garage. If she wasn't allowed to watch the interrogation, she would watch the science.
Abby was happy to have the company so long as Ziva kept her hands off Abby's babies. Ziva was happy to comply. She wasn't really into computers. So while Abby ran tests and made comparisons, Ziva sat on a workbench, her legs dangling beneath her, and restlessly played with her pocket-knife.
"Tell me again what went down?" Abby said.
Ziva rolled her eyes at the stupidity of it all. "We entered his home and identified ourselves. He was in the kitchen in the process of making a sale. We surprised them both. Gibbs was closer to the seller, and cuffed him. The petty officer pulled a gun from his pants." She waved her knife around to make the point. "Then there was an awful lot of yelling. He aimed the gun at Tony, McGee disarmed him, he punched McGee in the nose—"
"Pushed me into the wall," Ziva continued, "and ran for the back door. Tony blocked his path, he turned on me, and I punched him in the stomach before kneeing him. Then he went down and Tony cuffed him."
Abby made a thinking face. "Seems like a lot of effort to grab one guy. Maybe he was getting high on his own supply."
"That would not surprise me."
Abby scoffed. "Idiot. Everyone knows you don't dip into your own product." At Ziva's raised eyebrow, she quickly added, "I mean, I don't know it. But I've heard it."
"I see. It would explain why he then hit on me in the car."
Abby spun around to face her. "Hit on you like…hit on you?" She mimed punching. "Or hit on you like…let's get x-rated in the back seat."
"That kind," Ziva said.
"Crazy mood swings? Yeah, he was probably high." She went back to her microscope. "Did Gibbs smack him?"
"He was not there. He rode with McGee and the buyer. Tony and I took in the seller."
Abby stopped focusing on the microscope, and arched an eyebrow. "Really?" Now that was interesting. She couldn't imagine that Tony'd taken that very well. "So, is Gibbs interrogating him?"
"Tony," Ziva replied.
Abby snorted. "Makes more sense."
Ziva frowned, not following the logic. "How?"
Abby looked up from her microscope and gave Ziva a precious smile. How could the woman be so naïve?
"Well, because Tony gets kind of intimidating when he's angry."
Ziva thought about that. "I do not think Tony was angry."
Abby nodded confidently. "He was."
"Did you speak to him?"
"No, I just…" Abby groaned to herself. How could she say this delicately? "I am making an assumption based on your account of what happened, my understanding of the things that make Tony tick, and the fact that Gibbs sent you home before sending Tony in there."
Ziva's frown got deeper. "I don't understand."
Abby smirked. Right now that was probably the truth. If only she'd just stop and think about things a little deeper, and let herself accept the conclusion. If only she'd read the tension on Tony's face for what it actually was.
"You got smacked into a wall," Abby stated. "And a guy hit on you."
"Tony doesn't like it when people treat his partner that way. He gets cranky. He gets shouty. And he would've told Gibbs how anxious he was to take the lead on this." She shrugged. "And, you know, Gibbs is good at reading you guys. He would've known Tony was upset and decided to use it to his advantage."
Ziva shook her head. "Tony was not upset that I was pushed. I trained as a Mossad agent. A small time drug dealer hardly poses a problem to my safety."
"Well I know that, and you know that. And the boys do know it as well. But…" Abby struggled to find a way of delicately pointing out that Tony was crazy in love with her and hated it when anyone else got their hands on her, no matter what the intention. And that while Gibbs may not be fully aware of how deep the feelings ran, he knew enough to capitalise on the bond between the partners.
Ziva still stared at her in question. Abby took a slightly different track.
"Do you listen to much Otis Redding?"
Ziva's face was impassive. "I assume you are referring to a singer."
"A great singer," Abby elaborated. "And he did this beautiful song about—" She stopped when she heard the elevator doors ping. Her eyes went wide. "Gibbs. Hide!"
Ziva launched herself off the bench and threw herself under a large table in the corner. It was where Abby kept her futon for emergency nights spent in the lab. Ziva flipped down the sheet of black cotton that provided privacy and darkness, and held her breath. Sure enough, Gibbs walked into the lab just a second after Ziva took cover.
"What've you got, Abs?"
Abby did her best to sound innocent, but she was terrible. "Hey! Gibbs, how're you doing? Sucks to work on a Sunday, huh?"
Gibbs obviously knew something was up. "Well yeah, Abs. But hopefully the work you're doing will give us all early marks."
"Ha! Like in school. Funny…" she trailed off, and a moment later Ziva heard rapid tapping on her keyboard. "So far I can tell you that the drugs you found on the petty officer at the time of arrest have the same chemical makeup as the drugs found on Mary Walker. They're definitely from the same seller, and probably the same batch."
As Abby and Gibbs talked about the drugs, Ziva thought about what Abby had said. Was Tony really angry because some stupid boy had pushed her into a wall, then hit on her? Frankly, Ziva found that offensive. Since joining the team she had shown them all that she was not some delicate flower in need of protection. In fact, she had no doubt that out of the four of them she was by far the most adept at hand-to-hand combat, and fending off unwanted advances. Why would they worry about her?
When Gibbs left, Ziva waited for the ding of the elevator and Abby's word before crawling out from under the table.
"He knew I was hiding something," Abby stated.
"Yes, I believe so."
"You should go, Ziva. He'll be back soon. You never know when, and you rarely hear him coming, but he'll be back."
Ziva believed her. "Thanks for the company," she said, and headed for the door. After a few steps, she turned back. "Abby? Why does your pillow smell like Tony?"
Abby smiled. Ziva must really be crazy about him if she could still smell his cologne on a pillow Abby herself had used at least six times since Tony napped there. "He needed a place to hide, too. I'm gonna email you something tonight, Ziva. When you get it, we'll talk more."
Ziva shrugged and headed for the garage.
As soon as she got home, Ziva checked her email. Abby had sent her a mp3 with a note: Did you really have no idea Tony felt like this? She loaded it onto her iPod then hit play as she began to sort her washing. Not two lines into the song, she stopped what she was doing and stared at the wall in shock.
These arms of mine
They are lonely
Lonely and feeling blue
These arms of mine
They are yearning
Yearning from wanting you
And if you
Would let them hold you
Oh, how grateful I will be
"Oh, crap!" Did that mean…? "He loves me?"
Ziva closed her eyes and thought of rule number 12.
They were in so much trouble.