A/N: Okay, I've done it again – please let me know what you think.
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Tim looked up from his report. Ziva was looking at him. Ziva was looking at him suspiciously. That was not good. If he was not so tired, he might actually be nervous. As it was, just didn't have the energy for nervousness. Irritated he could do, though – Ziva had been picky and demanding all day. They'd solved a pretty big case yesterday – a Lt. Commander had been stuffed in the trunk of a car and they had almost not found her in time. The case had been rough and tiring. Today they'd all been dragging their way through the standard paperwork. Now, it was nearing 5 o'clock and he was feeling antsy. He was so ready to go home.
"What?" he snapped. "What is it that you think I did this time?"
"What do you think I think you did?" she narrowed her eyes at him. "You did do something! What!"
She looked a little angry. Tim flushed with frustration. He couldn't deal with this right now – he just wanted to finish his report and go home.
"Ziva, I –"
"Oh, will you two knock it off? I'm trying to concentrate here!" Tony called without looking up from his tetris game. McGee shared a 'look' with Ziva. Gibbs hadn't been any better than the rest of them and Tony's constant antics didn't help.
"You do look pretty focused," Tim observed. He stood up and walked over to Tony's desk, casually leaning over his shoulder. Ziva joined him a second later. "What level you on?"
"Not now, McGee! I'm busy!"
"Hmmm." Ziva stood on her tiptoes, peering over Tony's other shoulder. "He is being very serious, yes, McGee? Those blocks are coming down pretty fast – he must be on a very big level"
"It's 'high level', Zee-vah," Tony corrected distractedly.
Ziva smiled maliciously at Tim. McGee raised an eyebrow – what Ziva was proposing was risky. Ah – what the heck, he was too tired to worry about how whiny Tony would be later on. This was just too easy to pass up. Besides, they'd put up with Tony all day – they were entitled to some revenge.
"I think you're right, Ziva," he agreed. "I'll bet he's close to winning. He just has three levels to go!" Tim leaned against the back of Tony's chair, jostling its occupant.
"Hey!" Tony exclaimed.
"Do not mess him up, McGee," Ziva admonished and pulled on McGee's arm, causing Tony to endure another sharp jolt.
Tony squawked loudly causing both field agents to snicker. The senior field agent frowned and hunched over his cell phone. Exchanging another look, McGee and Ziva leaned in closer so they culd still see the game.
"You know, Tony," Ziva purred into Tony's right ear. Tony's fingers fumble a bit and she smiled. "Gibbs is going to be very unhappy when he sees you playing a game."
"She's right, Tony. I bet Gibbs is going to walk in any second now," McGee baited.
"What do you think Gibbs will do to him, McGee?" Ziva's question was casual and uninterested. Her smile was cruel – but with just a tad more good humor than there had been earlier. Tim was enjoying this, too.
They watched as Tony fought an uphill battle with the rain of colorful blocks, barraging him with 'helpful hints' and 'thoughtful' reminders about Gibbs imminent wrath.
** * ** * ** * **
At the far end of the bullpen, Gibbs watched as Ziva and McGee harassed his senior field agent. The two had been unbelievably grumpy all day – their arguing alone had driven him to three extra coffee breaks, before lunch.
He had to admit, though, that he hadn't been in the sunniest of moods, either. He was surprised Tony hadn't gotten fed up with the three of them. Instead, he had, quite patiently, played the peacemaker all day. Gibbs smile fondly when he heard Ziva laugh. Tim was grinning fiercely. Gradually, the tension eased out of their postures.
Gibbs glanced at his watch – there was still a good thirty minutes left to go before he could send them home. Well, at least he wouldn't have to listen to his two junior agents fight like cats and dogs through it. Tony really deserved a drink after this.
** * ** * ** * **
Tony had 'died' twice before Gibbs strode in complete with his coffee and foul mood.
"Guys! Go away you keep messing me up!" Tony yelled in mock frustration. He felt his two teammates back away slowly.
"How's that for messed up, DiNozzo? Back to work." Gibbs stomped over to his desk.
McGee and Ziva shared a smug glance before hurriedly following suit. Neither remembered their earlier hostility towards the other.
And neither missed Tony's satisfied grin as he rubbed the back of his head. Mission accomplished. He frowned slightly. It had almost been too easy. A cursory glance at his boss told Tony that his ploy had been detected – and appreciated. He smiled – at least there was one person that didn't think he was a complete idiot.
Truth be told, even though his frat-boy persona had its uses, he was getting kind of tired of being treated like the court jester by McGee and Ziva. He thought that after 'the Talk', they'd realize that he wasn't really as juvenile as he acted.
There was one obvious solution to that problem – Tony cringed just thinking of it. Still, if he wanted them to take him seriously… Tony sighed. It wasn't really fair to act one way and expect his friends to treat him another. After all, he just needed to prove that he was capable of mature behavior, not maintain it indefinitely.
Tony nodded to himself. He'd made his decision. He, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, would be completely serious and mature for one whole week. If that didn't prove his point, then nothing would.
With a determined air, he swiveled his chair around and opened his drawer for a pen – which he found after sorting a small assortment of items, such as his can of silly string, his back up can of silly string, his collapsible back scratcher, a neatly folder whoopee cushion, and etc.
He could so do this. Piece of cake. Just one week.
Oh, who am I kidding? I'll never make it, he thought. Still, he was unwilling to change his decision. He needed to make his point – his team needed to know the Truth.
Just one week - Tony whimpered.
** * ** * ** * **
Gibbs observed Tony silently over the top of his reading glasses. He saw DiNozzo smile as McGee and Ziva hastily seated themselves at their desks. He was no doubt pleased that they weren't bickering anymore. Then, unaccountably, he frowned.
Gibbs frowned, wondering what was going through Tony's head this time. His agent glanced up and Gibbs quickly put on his approving and appreciative glare causing DiNozzo to smile. Yep, he really did deserve a drink.
Gibbs pretended to go back to his work, but something didn't feel right. He continued to stare at DiNozzo, but covertly this time. He was wearing his Thinking Expression (well, that's what Abby called it). It was a decidedly unhappy Thinking Expression. Tony glanced up at McGee and Ziva. Both agents were hard at paperwork. The unhappy Thinking Expression intensified and Gibbs furrowed his brow. What could possibly be bugging DiNozzo this time? He asked himself.
DiNozzo was usually satisfied with himself after tricking someone into a better mood. He'd just tricked two someones, so, by Gibbs' record, he should be fairly content. Unless –
Oh, holy crap!
Gibbs had it. He knew what was bugging Tony. And – shit, shit, shit – he knew it did not bode well for the fragile team equilibrium that Tony usually kept in balance. Tony kept it balanced through a steady stream of antics and jokes and stupid questions and movie references. But, despite that, Tony needed to know that his friends understood him and, more importantly, could respect him.
So, to achieve this, Gibbs knew Tony was about to try something that was doomed to fail spectacularly.
Tony was going to try to be serious.
Gibbs also knew that there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it. Sighing, Gibbs readied himself to relay the bad news to Ducky and Abby – at least he had allies this time around. They'd all three work damage control until Tony was able to work out of his 'serious' funk.
McGee and Ziva, as the only two 'first timers' were in for an… ordeal.
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A/B: Ach, my muse played a nasty trick on me. This was going to be a quick one shot, but I now realize this is going to be a nice multi-chapter fic. I think I'll make it part of a "One Week" series along with that other fic I'm currently working on…. *stares intently at the ground* Um, so, guys… about that other fic… some chapters may be a tad delayed, but if you get fed up with waiting (on either story) blast me a review and I'll try to accommodate.