Bitter and Blue
By: Mahiri Chuma
Disclaimer: I don't own anything NCIS related – though I really wish I did, and *if* I did, oh the whumpage there would be!
Summary: Tony decides Tim needs some cheering up. Tag for Endgame. Tony/Tim friendship. Team bonding.
A/N: If you haven't heard Michael Weatherly's Bitter and Blue yet, go now, it's fantastic.
Bitter and Blue
Tony tossed his backpack to the side of his desk and bent over to listen to his messages and collect the day's reports. It hadn't taken long to process the crime scene and the witnesses had been most forthcoming; as expected of the director of Washington DC's NCIS.
Now, the day was approaching its end. Lee Wuan Kai was dead and he had a mountain of paperwork to do. He would surely be spending a good portion of his night sorting through the political tape and filling out a plethora of mindless forms. He stretched and prepared himself for another marathon of a night; so much for those lonely Magnum PIs laying in wait on his coffee table.
He heard a shuffling of papers and his attention was pulled to his left.
He hadn't even noticed the other man's presence. He stood for a moment, regarding the junior agent who seemed equally oblivious to him. He was hunched over his keyboard, his attention alternating between the computer screen and a stack of pictures from the investigation.
The man sighed and Tony couldn't help but notice how tired he looked. His face was pale, his eyes were heavy with fatigue and his shoulders were hunched painfully. He looked miserable.
Tony thought for a moment and, coming to a decision, put the cumbersome files back down onto his desk. Before he set his plan into motion he had to see a certain forensic scientist.
Half an hour later Tony returned to find the junior agent in the exact same position he had been in when he left.
Tony tiptoed quietly across the small expanse between their desks and came up behind the younger agent.
He looked over McGee's shoulder and caught a short look at the pale face of a pretty little redhead peeking out from under various other pictures.
"You sure know how to pick 'em, Probie." Not in the best of tastes, in terms of appropriate jokes, but it would do the job.
McGee sighed and continued typing not even sparing a glance at the other man.
"I don't have time for this, Tony."
Tony checked his watch, the time irrelevant.
"Well, I do." Tony moved around to the other side of the agent's desk and promptly sat down on the edge, displacing some of the photos with the sudden motion.
"What was it about her? Those dainty little feet, the red hair, the glint in her eye that said 'treachery' and 'danger.'"
Tony eyed the junior agent as he continued to type away as if he wasn't even there, perched on his desk and talking about this rather undesirable topic.
"To think, you could have been Mr. and Mrs. Smith. That makes you Brad Pitt, Probie. Never thought I'd see the day but it's here, and it's glorious."
McGee blinked, the glow of the computer bright on his tired face.
"I mean, I was jealous at first but I think I'm fine with playing the Vince Vaughn character this time. But only this time."
Tony watched carefully as McGee's left eye twitched and his fingers paused before rapidly continuing their efforts.
Tony innocently thumbed through the photographs laid out before the agent before moving on to fiddling with a pencil and then pulling at the drawers in the desk.
"I have to hand it to you, Probie, I was a little surprised when she showed up here. I thought she had to be one of your hallu –"
"Damn it, Tony!" McGee's fist had flown down making a loud thumping sound and his chair banged against the thin metal of the drawers behind him as he stood abruptly.
"I don't want to hear about your stupid movies or how I screwed up right now!" He threw his hands up wildly, "I know I screwed up!"
Tony sat silently and watched the man wave an arm around, unsurprised with McGee's outburst. He had been poking the proverbial lion with a stick, after all.
"I'm sure this is great entertainment for you, Tony." He pointed at his senior agent with a generous amount of hostility, "I mean why would I get the girl? How could I have been so stupid to think anyone but Agent DiNozzo would get the girl?"
"Just shut up, Tony! Just shut up!" He yelled, his voice sounding terribly loud in the silence of the empty room.
"Gibbs and Ziva aren't here right now. There's no audience so you can just stop!"
McGee sighed, his hands shaking as the worst of his anger passed. He had never been one for outbursts. When they did happen they were short lived and often enough he said things he would later regret.
He gathered the chair from the floor and pulled it back towards his desk. He gathered the few papers that had gone astray during his tirade and promptly sat back down allowing another heavy sigh before placing his fingers over the keyboard.
"You know, this reminds me of the Ballad of -"
Tim had hoped Tony would have taken the all to obvious hint and left him to wallow in his current moment of self-pity. Tony shifted, leaning over the desk to fix the unevenly stacked set of photographs.
Tony had never been good at taking hints.
"Tony, I've got a lot of work to do." He had returned to his rather well practiced stoicism and continued the menial labor that was form filling.
"C'mon Probie, let's get a drink. I'm buying and I know a great place and I'm sure there will be a few die hard Gemcity fans." Tony waggled his eyebrows at the prospect and then found himself zoning out for a moment, "Die Hard…"
"It wasn't a request, McCasanova." McGee pressed the last key a little harder than necessary and looked up at his 'superior' in annoyance.
"You're ordering me to have a drink with you?" He watched Tony in slight disbelief as he crossed back over to his own workspace.
Tony gathered his jacket and gave a short glance at the terrifying stack of files. They could wait, by now he was the leading champion of filing reports and he was pretty sure he held some sort of record when it came to speed.
"Yes, Probie, I am."
McGee rolled his eyes choosing to ignore the ridiculous 'order.'
"Don't you have some Magnum PI or CSI to catch up on?"
Tony slung his pack around his shoulder and made his way back to McGee's desk, reaching over and promptly turning off the monitor. McGee lifted his hands from the keyboard in exasperation.
"First of all, why would I watch CSI? I don't want to go home and watch my day minus the gratuitous violence and smokin' hot criminals. Second of all, I'm caught up to Magnum PI, I know every episode inside out. There is no catching up to do when it comes to Magnum, Probie." Tony took a moment to take a breath and straighten his jacket. "Now, let's go, that is an order."
McGee quirked an eyebrow.
"You're not Gibbs, Tony." Tony snorted and took on a suddenly serious expression.
"No, I'm senior field agent." McGee let out a defeated sigh and abandoned the files with a groan. The fact that Tony held no authority outside of criminal investigations seemed null in this situation. He gathered his things and turned the small desk lamp off and promptly followed the other man to the elevator. He hoped he wouldn't regret this.
The two men descended to the basement and McGee's brow furrowed in slight confusion as Tony exited without saying anything.
"You got something for Abby, Tony?"
"Nope. You coming, Probie?" McGee hovered at the back not ready to face further questioning or even the bone-crushing hug that was to come. Or worse, a therapy session.
"I'll just wait here."
"Probie!" McGee sighed for what must have been the one hundredth time that night and he hoped he was just imagining his nostrils beginning to burn from the oh so familiar scent of neroli oil.
He entered Abby's lab and couldn't help but feel somewhat surprised.
Tony had his head in one of Abby's coolers and McGee could just barely make out his muffled voice.
"I thought I said no cannoli oil, Abs." Abby walked across her lab lighting a candle in the shape of a human skull.
"Neroli, Tony! And it helps reduce stress and flat-"
"I got it Abs. I'm pretty sure that stuff was the reason for half the building going home with a migraine, myself included."
Abby raised a finger, her back to McGee and her pigtails bouncing as she turned her music on, the level far more tame than it's usual eardrum piercing level.
"Look on the bright side, Tony! The air quality was never better!" Tony chuckled and finally pulled what he was looking for out of the fridge. He hefted the small cooler of beers up and out of sight behind one of Abby's plasmas.
Abby whirled around suddenly and McGee nearly jumped.
"McGee! You came!" She rushed over to give the man a hug and frowned when he put a hand up, stopping her in her tracks.
"Sorry, I don't -" He gave her an apologetic look before continuing, "well I didn't have much of an option."
Abby's eyes narrowed and she whipped around once more, pointing an accusing finger at the Italian across the room.
"You said he came willingly!" Tony's head poked out from around the partition, his hands clearly occupied.
"Abs, the man's a glutton for self-punishment."
McGee rolled his eyes and shifted as Abby took his bag, tossing it aside and then took his hand and pulled him towards the back of her lab.
"Guys, it's late, we all have stuff to do and –"
"I won't hear another word of it, Timmy! Now sit!" He didn't so much as sit as he was pushed into a lumpy beanbag chair. Where Abby kept these things was anyone's guess.
He pushed himself up and looked up at the screen. The start screen to Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City played out in front of him on a loop. Three controllers stretched out in front of him and a stack of empty plates sat idly by the Playstation seated on the floor.
"We're playing … Grand Theft Auto?" It wasn't a complaint. He had always enjoyed the virtual stealing of cars, picking up hookers and beating of cops but now that he was a special agent it all seemed extremely unethical.
"You got it, McGeek. How else are we law-abiding citizens supposed to get our frustrations out?"
Tony passed him a beer and leaned back, controller in hand. He stopped as if in thought for a moment and turned towards him.
"Just … don't tell Gibbs."
Abby plopped down between the two men, Bert in her lap and a Caff-Pow in one hand. She stretched out, reaching for the two remaining controllers and deposited one in McGee's lap.
"Ready?" Abby grinned, ready to kick some NCIS butt.
"Wait! Smell that?" Tony sat up, sniffing the air, his hand signaling for silence despite the fact that it in no way effected his ability to smell.
"Looks like your neroli oil isn't up to par, Abs."
Abby elbowed McGee and was shushed by Tony.
"Pizza. I smell pizza." Just as the words left his mouth Ziva came around the corner with two pizza boxes looking slightly flustered.
"What took you so long, David?" Tony relieved her of her burden and pulled the plates apart, placing them in front of his teammates and serving them the cheesy goodness.
"Well, Tony," she shrugged of her jacket and took a seat next to McGee, accepting a paper plate that threatened to spill it's cargo on her lap, "I was on my way home when you ordered me to go pick this up and then I had to wait for it. That is what took me so long."
"Excuses David." He stuffed an unhealthily large serving into his mouth and closed his eyes in ecstasy.
"He ordered you? I think you're getting a little liberal with your authority, Tony."
"Shut your trap, Probie. That's an order." Abby giggled as Tony shouted once again through a pizza filled mouth.
McGee felt his own lips turn into a smirk and he looked down at the controller. Despite how much Tony ripped him apart and how much Ziva could put her foot in her mouth or how over concerned Abby could be, they always seemed to come together in the end.
"So," he offered having initiated conversation for the first time that evening, "are we gonna play or watch Tony stuff his face?"
"Yes, I have seen Tony hog-out enough."
"Pig-out, Ziva!" Tony said through another mouthful. Ziva wrinkled her nose in disgust as he chewed noisily before swallowing and laying greasy hands on the controller.
Abby made her way through the start screen, having taken initiative and selected their multiplayer game.
"You're not playing, Ziva?" McGee asked as Abby alternated between weapons.
"I only have three controllers, Probie." Tony leaned forward as it came his turn to make his game selections, "besides, Ziva's about as good in game as Palmer would be in the field."
"I do not see how my poor video game skills relates to real field work, Tony."
"It doesn't," Abby butt in, taking a long sip of her highly caffeinated beverage, "he knows you'd eat his lunch any day."
Tony let out a rather dignified grunt.
"Why would I eat his lunch? I have seen what he eats and I would never put that in my mouth."
"It's an expression, David." Ziva gave a small, 'ah' and fell silent watching as the game began and McGee quickly proved to be quite skilled.
Over the next hour and a half they barely spoke save for the occasional 'No, no. no!' or 'you can't do that!' Ziva had retreated after the first ten minutes to make popcorn and escape the chaos. Abby was balancing her attention between her Caff-Pow and her controller, taking terribly long, brain freezing sips as she bit her bottom lip in concentration. McGee had been cool and collected, his fingers moving adeptly over the controller and poor Tony couldn't seem to sit still, rising up and down and clenching and moving his controller as if his own movements would influence those of his avatars.
Tony suddenly tossed his controller and crossed his arms quite reminiscent of a scorned child. His avatar lay on the ground having suffered an inordinate amount of gunshot wounds by McGee's hand.
"That's it, McButton-Smasher is cheating!"
"Maybe he is just more skilled than you are, Tony." Ziva smiled, popping a piece of popcorn into her mouth.
"There are a lot of adjectives that describe Probie here. Disturbed. Strange. Sweaty. But never skilled."
Abby and McGee continued for a moment more before Abby too succumbed. She leaned back in a huff and grinned as Bert made himself known, the flatulent-like noise filling the silence.
"Well, as interesting as it has been to watch Tony pick up prostitutes and McGee win over and over again, I believe I am going to hit the wheat."
McGee smiled as Tony leaned his head back and gave a loud 'ha.'
"Same difference." She gathered up her jacket and pulled her hair back before tossing her small pack over her shoulder.
"But Ziva, you're gonna miss Abby's Spectacular Forensics Labs Cinema's showing of Mr. and Mrs. Smith!" She pulled the DVD from between herself and the beanbag, chair waving it in the air like a baton.
"A movie, Abs?" McGee groaned, he really did have a lot of work to do and he couldn't help but give Tony a glare at his choice of film.
"Probie, it's Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie." Tony said as if that should answer all questions and invalidate any complaints.
Abby mustered her best pout and puppy dog eyes.
"C'mon, Timmy!" McGee rolled his eyes. Abby could probably sell him a torture session if she really tried. He gave her a small 'fine' and was rewarded with a squeal and a hug.
Ziva cleared her throat from the side of the room, her face wearing a kind smile as she buttoned her jacket.
"Abby, McGee, enjoy your film. Tony," she paused and shuddered as he reached for a very cold looking piece of pizza, "good-night."
The three remaining moviegoers said their goodbyes and settled in for the film.
As the movie played McGee felt his worries grow a little lighter. Next to him Abby leaned forward enthusiastically as she shared a bowl of popcorn between herself and Tony. He couldn't help but smile as he watched her eyes light up, one hand running fingers through her black pigtails. No matter how bad it got, Abby was always there.
Ziva, though no longer present, had her own interesting way of showing she cared. Though she could seem as though she were only approaching a situation with logic, as the mighty ninja assassin she was, she always managed to offer a few kind, meaningful words and her calming touch.
And then there was Tony. The man that tortured him mercilessly every single day since he became a field agent and yet he seemed to be the great organizer of their impromptu movie screening and night of social bonding. He was the man that would one day ridicule him, insult his novels and mock his tastes and turned it around the next day by sharing stories of him peeing his pants and trying to pull him out for a drink.
He didn't understand it and didn't think he ever would. He was just going to enjoy it while it lasted which by his estimate was until tomorrow morning.
Tim felt his eyes droop as he allowed himself to relax for the first time in two days. He felt the tension in his muscles dissipate; the stress was still there but it wasn't nearly as terrible as the migraine inducing strain he had felt that morning. He felt his breaths even out and before he knew it his eyes were closed; even sooner after that he was asleep.
Tony heard the sounds of soft snoring and turned to see McGee asleep, his head tilted backwards and his mouth open slightly. Abby shifted next to him cooing at the sleeping junior agent.
"Aww, Timmy." Abby ran off, presumably to find a blanket and Tony inched closer.
"Probie," he whispered. No response, " McGoo."
Deciding to try his luck he moved even closer and raised his voice a bit.
"McGeek, your computer's on fire." Still nothing.
Abby returned and Tony whipped around with a mischievous grin.
"Abs, go get a bowl of warm water, now." Abby placed the blanket over the prone agent, tucking Bert in the crook of his arm and turned towards Tony to give the senior agent a light shove.
"We will not play pranks! Not tonight! Even if I want to. Make me pinky swear!" Tony sighed and completed the childish motion when she stuck her pinky in his face.
"You're no fun." Tony stood and leaned backwards, cracking his back. Abby, sensing his imminent departure popped to her feet and stretched out her arms. Tony leaned in, accepting her bone-shattering hug.
"Thanks for the help, Abs." He checked his watch and cringed. He had a lot to do. "I owe you one, now get some rest!"
Abby clicked her heels together and gave Tony a mock salute.
"Yes sir, Gibbs, sir."
Tony made his way towards the door, gathering his gear on his way. He gave a final glance back at his two friends. Abby was shutting things down, dimming the lights and turning off her various monitors. McGee remained oblivious to the world; Tony couldn't help but smirk, he was going to have quite the crick in his neck.
"Tony." Abby's voice stopped him, his hand hovering above the doors handle, "It was really, well, nice of you to-"
"Goodnight, Abs." Tony winked and made his way to the elevator with a smile while Abby pondered how much like Gibbs he could be.
McGee rubbed his eyes and moved his shoulder, wincing as it cracked and the muscles pulled and twitched uncomfortably. Well, that's what he got for falling asleep on a beanbag chair on the floor of Abby's lab.
He managed to shower and changed his clothes. Tony could never make fun of him again for keeping an extra pair of clothing in his desk ever again.
He walked over to his desk and settled in. He turned on his monitor and eyed the steaming cup of coffee at Gibb's desk. It was always unsettling to see the towering pillar of caffeine minus his Boss. It was like a warning that somewhere he was watching, waiting to descend upon them barking orders and with plenty of head-slaps to go around.
With that in mind he got to work. He thumbed through the files on his desk and began to feel a small amount of panic when he completed the first pass and came up empty.
He heard Ziva's arrival as she walked up to his desk and cleared her throat.
"You have lost something, McGee?" She peered over his desk as he dug into the bottom drawer.
"My files from the Kai case. If G-"
"McGee." McGee slammed his desk draw shut and popped up, hitting his head before coming face to face with Gibbs.
"Boss." How could he have misplaced the files? Gibbs was going to kill him…
"Looking for something?" McGee tried to keep calm as he riffled through the various irrelevant papers on his desk.
"I seem to have –uh – misplaced my report, but I'll h-have – "
"You filed them this morning, McGee." Gibbs took a sip of coffee and tossed a sheet of paper on his desk, "run a BOLO, let me know what you find."
"Uh – on it, Boss …" McGee nodded numbly as Gibbs returned to his desk. Ziva raised her brows, giving him a smile before returning back to her desk.
"DiNozzo." McGee looked up as Tony came in. He didn't have his usual pack and was wearing the same thing he had been the day before.
"Yeah, Boss." Tony jogged across the room tossing a set of keys on McGee's desk.
"You're with me. Interrogation Room."
"Another beautiful morning scaring the truth out of criminals. On it, Boss." Tony said with only a trace of fatigue.
Then it clicked.
McGee almost wished it hadn't as he realized what must have happened. Tony had done his paper work for him. What on earth had possessed him to do something like that? Tony would never let him hear the end of it.
"Tony?" McGee hazarded, the keys in his hand all but forgotten.
"Gas the Mystery Machine, McLadyKiller. We might have a mystery to solve." Tony's voice was light and held no sign of McGee's impending life debt.
McGee offered a quiet 'alright' and watched as Tony and Gibbs stepped into the elevator. As the doors closed he spied Tony's grin and the beginnings of a headslap.
He looked down at the keys and smiled, thoughts of the previous days events far from his mind.
"I'm thoughtful and gloomy and bitter and blue …"
End Scene. I hope you all enjoyed that little vignette. I love Tony and Tim together and really wish the show would work more with their friendship. They need their cute friendship moments. I apologize for not updating any other story I say I will update, these stupid mindless drabbles pop into my head and it's goodbye productiveness.
Also, I do not own the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, obviously … I'd be way more lucrative then I am if I did and a thousand more times cool. Hope you all enjoy NCIS tonight, I know I will! Review if you have a moment as I really appreciate it, good or bad!