A/N: As a way of introducing myself to the NCIS fandom and sparking ideas, I'm entering a few of the NFA challenges. This one is the one due first, so it's the one I'm working on first. Makes sense right? Right.
I'm trying to figure out which secret here is the actual secret. All of them maybe?
Disclaimer: The characters here are owned by CBS. I am not CBS. Not even close.
Summary: Tony had a few wishes growing up, only one of which came true. Written for the I've Got A Secret Challenge. Slight Tiva, barely mentioned.
Pizza, alcohol, and reality TV.
It was a pretty good combination, really. Except for the fact that Tony didn't much care for reality TV. He was a story man himself, and got enough 'real life' daily, thanks a ton. Anyone who thought this Survivor stuff wasn't reshot and somewhat scripted was delusional.
He hadn't watched it all season. He had no idea the relationships that had developed, or who was planning on betraying who.
That was where the research had come in. The number of sites that gave him detailed summaries by episode was just a little frightening. Useful, yes, but still had shaken his faith in humanity.
It was important that they didn't know he was pretending. That he hadn't religiously followed this show, hadn't developed a crush on the last girl remaining. Since it was his party and he was the one that insisted they come over for "only the biggest event on television this side of August", he'd look rather silly if they figured out he didn't care in the slightest who won.
Things had just been so busy lately, what with Gibbs leaving and then coming back, and people getting shot at, and people getting broken and captured by crazy ladies in prison and…it had been almost four years since Kate died.
It wasn't that he thought that anyone had forgotten this. Tony knew that Gibbs would probably take a flower to that rooftop, and he knew that Tim had a drawer full of poetry he'd written for the friends they'd lost that he read on those days.
Probie didn't know that Tony had broken in to his desk while waiting for him one morning, but that was fine. Despite popular belief, Tony did know there were some lines not meant to be crossed.
Abby would light a candle for her, probably, and keep it burning all day. Their resident Goth called herself a creature of darkness, but deep inside the light was a comfort to her.
This party wasn't Tony's way of remembering Kate, exactly. That could wait until the actual day. This was…was wish fulfillment, really. Their line of work was dangerous. Probably more so than regular cops because their bad guys usually knew how to shoot. He didn't need the reminder of Kate, or Jenny, or any of their other friends to realize that he could lose any of them any day.
And maybe it was because it was so close to the anniversary that he had made up a reason to invite them over. Usually he might have waited until he actually did have something of interest—a movie he liked being shown on TV, the Superbowl, March Madness.
Or maybe he'd made one up because Tim had just gotten released from the hospital. The concussion he'd gotten from his fight with the ex-marine they were chasing hadn't even been that bad, really. He was just supposed to be supervised that night, and not allowed to sleep for more than a couple hours at a time.
Tony didn't have the heart to send him back to his apartment alone. He knew that Tim could always call his sister, she was only minutes away, but his Probie had been in that fight because he was watching Tony's six. So, with the excuse that McCheap didn't even have a coach for them to sit on, he'd dragged Tim home with him, and begged for Ziva and Abby to come along. To supervise the Probie and make sure his lameness didn't rub off on anything, of course. And even then just because they couldn't miss the Survivor Finale--- an event he remembered seeing advertised—and if they went home neither of them would watch it, and he couldn't work with people who had been so sheltered.
He'd read the summaries quickly while ordering pizza, just enough to ramble on like he knew something at people who knew even less than he did.
Ziva had asked many questions about the point of it all. Abby had gotten a kick out of the very idea of reality TV; her comments forcing Tony to act hurt, for which he'd received a hug. Tim had just sat there, looking a little lost while he sipped his apple juice.
It was only the two boys awake now. They'd stuck in 'Anatomy of a Murder' on Abby's insistence when she'd dug it out of the back of Tony's collection. He couldn't even remember where he'd gotten it. Obviously, it hadn't been quite what Abby was hoping as she and Ziva were now both soundly asleep on Tony's bed. This would result in a fair amount of teasing in the morning.
"You can go to sleep if you want, Probie. I'll wake you." He wasn't planning on sleeping a whole lot, anyway. He wasn't tired, and his DVD collection could obviously do with some reordering.
"You don't watch Survivor." It was stated so simply, in a whisper, but even concussed it didn't sound like a question.
Tony didn't bother treating it like one. "That obvious, huh?"
"Just not your thing." Tim frowned down at his empty glass. "Not my thing either, really. Why'd you say you did?"
"Dunno. Was a good excuse to order pizza?"
Tim 'hmmed' softly in response, half-asleep already. Tony couldn't help the small grin that spread over his face. It was…nice; this feeling of his apartment having life in it. Growing up in his family's house, huge and empty even when there were a hundred people in it, he'd wished for many things. He'd wished for a new bed, and a tree house, and to make his father proud of him.
He'd wished, hardest of all, for a brother or sister to fill up the space.
It must have been pretty far down the list of those to be granted, because it had taken almost thirty years for him to get it. But as soon as he'd been brought on to NCIS, Kate had started mothering him and he'd just known that it was what having a big sister was like. Someone who wasn't afraid to tell you the truth, who hated you but laughed with you at the same time.
It had only taken a few minutes in Abby's lab for him to decide that having a little sister was the best and worst thing in the world. He loved her hugs and lived to make her laugh, but the thought of her upset or hurt tore his insides to pieces.
And McGeek, of course. Someone to fight with in a way he couldn't with any of the girls. They'd had more of than their share of scuffles outside of work, especially recently. When they were fighting anyone else in the world, though, Tony knew he could count on his Probie to be right beside him, ready for action. They tormented each other, always trying to make the other as miserable as possible, and yet…if Tim was interested in something that Tony didn't know, he looked it up. Partly because it's easier to tease about what you understand, but mostly so they could talk about it.
He lived to torment the younger agent, but never wanted to see him actually hurt or upset. In fact, he went out of his way to make sure that didn't happen, like he did with Abby. Because McGee was his responsibility, his Probie, his…little brother, really, though he could barely think the words without shaking his head at the horrible clicheness of it all.
Ziva was something else entirely. Something he didn't even want to contemplate yet.
They were his family, from Gibbs on down, and he would do anything to keep them safe. Because he was the big brother, and that was his job. They didn't have to know he thought of them that way, that they were an answer to a childish wish.
Hearing a light snore from the other end of the couch, Tony stood to collect the items he'd put on his dresser earlier—a blanket, an alarm, and a digital camera. After all, what kind of big brother would he be if he didn't get some blackmail out of this?