Set during and after episode 7.20, Moonlighting.
McGee didn't exactly have a better track record with women than Susan Grady had with men. His was worse, when you thought about it. (Not that that was the sort of thing that warranted a ton of thought, but still.) Her naivety on matters of the heart meant that she didn't get dates, his meant that got dates with people trying to kill him and everyone he loved. Big difference.
Okay, so maybe his record wasn't quite that bad. And Susan hadn't been trying to kill McGee. Yet. But you could never tell. When these things went south, they went south fast. For somebody who wasn't watching, wasn't ready for it.
It wasn't like Abby was jealous, no matter what Tony…and Ziva…and Ducky were trying to imply. She didn't even like McGee like that, not anymore. She didn't think of him as having the potential to be a hinkily sexy good time, she thought of him as…well, as McGee. Just…he was…well, a constant, you know? Like Gibbs, but McGee-shaped.
The fact that she wasn't about to discuss their history didn't mean anything, either. It was nobody's business what did or didn't happen, and when or where it might have, and of all people Ziva was asking her that, in the same room as Tony, and who did they think they were fooling? Abby had seen Ziva thwack Tony in the side when he started on that poorly thought-out train of thought, and she knew what it meant. She'd certainly done that sort of thing enough to McGee. Not that it meant the same thing. But, yeah, she was familiar with the general gesture.
She refused to accept the role of protective hen or overprotective panther, but if she had to pick one, it would definitely be panther. Panthers were way cool.
McGee pulled a paper towel from the dispenser and stared at himself in the mirror. He was angling his face from side to side when Tony came in and caught him at it.
"Looking for zits, McPimply?"
McGee rolled his eyes and tossed the paper towel in the trash.
"I haven't had acne since I was a teenager."
"Which was…how many days ago? I get confused with all that online killing."
"Not in the mood, Tony."
"Okay, fine. I'll just be about my business."
When Tony came over to wash his hands, McGee was still there, quirking one eyebrow and then another at the mirror. "And now you're scaring me," Tony said.
"What is it about this face that makes it a homing beacon for crazy women?" McGee muttered.
Tony snorted. "I've noticed a wacky glimmer in your eyes from time to time. Kind of glazed over. Like maybe your brain switched to virtual reality mode."
"Is this about Susan Grady? I thought I saw her walking away from you."
McGee looked sheepish.
"No," said Tony. "Tell me you didn't."
"You did. I can see it all over your beacon. You asked her out, and she"—Tony surveyed McGee clinically—"she turned you down." He laughed. "Trust you to get rejected by somebody that into you."
"I said watching her work made me want to know more, and she said she didn't think I was serious."
"How'd you say it?"
McGee waved the question aside. "Doesn't matter."
"Oh, it does. With women, the how always matters."
"Who are you, Dear Abby?"
Tony nodded appraisingly. "Bringing Abby's name into it. Interesting."
"How did you ask? Act like I'm her."
"There's a mood-killer." McGee sighed. "Okay." He rolled his shoulders a few times. "I said, 'Seeing you in action…you know, you doing what you do…it's interesting to me, I'd like to know more.'"
"No, it's great. All it was missing was a pat on the head."
"I was serious."
His partner shrugged. "I don't think you were."
"Not you, too."
"I think," began Tony, eyes sparkling, "that you have underlying feelings for…."
"Oh, says the man who can't stop flirting with…."
"Shut up," Tony whispered urgently. "She could come in here any second."
They both leaned back and narrowed their eyes.
"You knew who I was talking about," said McGee.
"You knew who I was talking about," said Tony.
Moving as one person, they broke eye contact and rushed back to their desks. Ziva found them both astonishingly quiet for the rest of the day.