Discllaimer: Llamas llove to llie about llegally owning llovely tellevision shows.
Spoilers: Not particularly.
Summary: McGee needs a ridiculous favor from Ziva.
Tony sat at his desk, feet up, wondering who the jackass was who had changed the end of Daylight Savings. And why no one had bothered mentioning it to him. It did explain why the Eagles' game had started at the bizarre hour of 2PM on Sunday afternoon, but… Actually, it was kind of nice being the only one in the bullpen; he could sit, doing nothing but enjoying his peppermint hot chocolate without the risk of being yelled at or mocked for enjoying a peppermint hot chocolate. So what if the coffee guy thought it was a girly drink. Jerk lost his tip by saying so. And it wasn't like it was a cosmopolitan or fuzzy navel or something. It was in a solid cup, so you couldn't even tell it was topped with whipped cream and pink and white sprinkles! Well…at least there were no marshmallows in it. Hey, marshmallows would be a pretty good addition. The next time he was at that coffee shop, he could tell that coffee jerk that his girlfriend, no, his wife had really liked the peppermint hot chocolate and wanted to know if there was any possibility of marshmallows. The only problem with the plan that he could foresee was finding a wedding ring to make the wife story believable. Coffee guy probably hadn't noticed he wasn't wearing one today, especially since he'd picked up his drink with his right hand. This was so going to work. Maybe if he reversed his college ring, assuming it still fit, he could convince…
Tony tossed his empty cup into the garbage and tried not to look excited that the elevator was opening. He was not going to be voluntarily showing up at the office an hour early at any time in the near future. Why was his head not this unpredictably manic when he was at home alone? Maybe he should keep a spare DVD or six in his desk for occasions like this. He didn't recognize the person behind a giant bouquet until they were almost in the bullpen. "McGee, what's with the flowers?"
"Um…" McGee's gaze darted around the room, doing everything but making eye contact. "What flowers?"
"Probie, anybody ever told you what a terrible liar you are?"
"Don't prove my point for me or anything."
McGee sighed dramatically before setting the bouquet on the desk across from Tony. "They're for Ziva."
Tony swung his feet off his desk as panic settled in a cold gastrointestinal lump. Then he remembered inviting Ziva to a play a nice dinner a week from now over a month ago. "Either you're getting a jump on her birthday or…early Chanukah gift?" He approached Ziva's desk to get a better view of what looked like a seriously expensive bunch of flowers wrapped in cheap cellophane. "Do people give flowers as a traditional thing? I always wondered, y'know, because with the eight crazy nights it must get expensive…"
McGee cut him off, "They're a thank you gesture."
His interest piqued, Tony made a grab for the bouquet and got a palmful of thorns for his trouble. "For what?"
"For a favor I'm planning to ask her."
Nursing his scratched hand, he muttered, "Lotta roses in there for a…wait a sec. Ziva hasn't done this favor for you yet and you're bringing her flowers?"
"You're trying to bribe Ziva into doing something you don't think she'll do!" Tony sauntered back to his seat, feeling slightly less bad for not picking up a second peppermint hot chocolate as a surprise for his partner this morning; it would have been cold by the time she arrived anyway, plus it would have screwed up his story for the coffee guy tomorrow. He decided he really should have gone for the large instead of the medium. In the meantime, McGee was slinking toward his own desk, so Tony resumed his relaxed position with his feet up. "Geez, McGreen Thumb. Unless you're asking her to help you pick out a more flattering tie, I think you'd have more luck with a bottle of wine and a knife."
McGee took the time from slipping out of his coat to look appalled. "If you had to ask Ziva for a favor you'd get her drunk and threaten her?"
"What? No! I mean that's what I'd give her as a bribe, if I needed one. Not that I'd need to bribe her to get her to do me a solid."
"Do you a solid? Do people really say that?"
"Solid what?" Tony grinned at Ziva as she looked at them both questioningly. "And why are there flowers on my desk?"
"McGee's trying to butter you up," Tony offered, as McGee seemed unable to get past anything but vague stammering.
She picked up the bouquet and looked at it carefully. "I do not see any butter with these. And why are you trying to put…" she scrunched up her nose in a way Tony found surprisingly alluring, "put butter on me, McGee. It sounds kinky."
"Hinky," McGee muttered.
"Oh no, I think she got that one right. I seem to remember her saying she likes Honey Dust," Tony suggested, reveling in McGee's deepening blush. "Or I know this place you can get this chocolate body paint that really, well, it's fun and, uh…" Ziva's unblinking stare was starting to make him wonder if the heat in his own cheeks had reached a point where it was visible. "Well, you can…with the chocolate…and it tastes…like, uh, chocolate, so…"
"Hm." She was suddenly much closer than he'd realized, leaning over his desk. "You smell like chocolate."
"Right, well…" He brushed some papers off his desk into his wastebasket to cover his peppermint hot chocolate cup, even though he suspected she had been through some kind of Moussad breath identification training. "We're not talking about me right now. We're talking about McGee and his unsolicited flowers, uh, and dairy products."
"I still do not understand why butter is…"
"Can we drop the butter?" McGee interrupted her.
"Hey, have you ever noticed that when you drop toast on the floor it always lands butter-side down so it picks up the maximum amount of floor crud?"
"Tony, can you…go away so I can talk to Ziva?"
"Oh, I don't think so, Probie. Anything you wanna say to Probie, Jr., you can say in front of me."
McGee found a whole new shade of red that made Tony worry some kind of catastrophic cardiovascular event was imminent. "DiNozzo…"
"I already saw the flower-bribe. What could possibly be worse?"
"My cousin Stacey is getting married."
"And what? You're mourning the six-toed, duck-billed children that might have been?"
McGee turned away and said to the partition, "I need a date for the wedding."
"And you think…" Tony tried unsuccessfully to contain his laughter. "Ziva, are you hearing this?"
To his surprise, she was flipping through a planner. "When is it, McGee?"
He kept his eyes down, but turned with an uncomfortable smile. "Two weeks from Saturday in the afternoon."
"Hm." Tony waited expectantly, hoping to hear an excuse up there with hair-washing, but he was disappointed. "All right. I will have plenty of time to find a dress before then."
Quelling his first instinct to offer to help her pick out a dress, maybe hang out in the fitting room while she tried a few on to help out with zippers and smoothing out wrinkles and…yeah. The continuing conversation in the bullpen faded into the background as he delved into his imagination. She'd need lingerie to wear under it and that Victoria's Secret catalogue that had arrived two nights ago was fresh in his mind. What color would it be? That red and black set he'd seen on page five could work. He tried to picture her in all red, but the dress in his head was determined to stay on his bedroom floor while she modeled the bra and panties, which was fine by…oh, not good office thoughts. In fact, given how women seemed to respond to weddings, McGee's bedroom floor could be… wait, was that why McGee's smile had suddenly gotten so big and smug? "No!"
Ziva raised an eyebrow. "You do not have to get so excited. I do not think my choice of prime rib over lemon chicken is something that should upset you."
Tony ran a hand through his hair, trying to crush the thoughts back into his head. He turned to McGee, saying somewhat resentfully, "Don't you know any other women, Probie?"
"Not like…" McGee's blush returned as he mumbled the rest of his thought inaudibly.
"Didn't quite hear you there."
Making a face Tony associated with ripping off a band-aid , McGee launched into a rapid explanation, "Look, my cousin Greg is a stockbroker in New York and he always shows up to every family event with some model from Italy or Brazil or somewhere and just once I would like to…I can't bring some stranger to meet my family and I can't go through another reception where I only get to dance with my mom, my sister, my spinster Aunt Muriel and the most desperate bridesmaid," he finished, taking a deep breath.
"So your plan is to counter 'foreign model' with 'crazy Israeli'?" After a not-so-surreptitious ogle, Tony added with a grin, "Yeah, that might work. My only regret is that I won't be there to see it. Unless…does your sister have a date for this shindig?"
"You are not dating my sister."
"Aw, c'mon, not even as just a little one-off thing?"
"She did say you were much cuter than Tommy," Ziva volunteered supportively.
"Tony, you can't go with my sister."
"I'm not trying to seduce her, McGuardian. I just can't see another perfect chance to meet la famiglia McGeelia so opportunely. And they'll get to meet the senior agent you can't stop telling them about."
"Gibbs will be coming as well?" Ziva asked as McGee sat at his computer and ignored them.
Her self-satisfied smile reminded him why he was so eager to invite himself to McGee's cousin's wedding, so he let the jibe go. "I'm fun at weddings, Probie. I've got great stories, I look good in a suit and I'm not too proud to do the Electric Slide after a few drinks. A few more and I'll even do the Chicken Dance."
"I thought you were trying to convince McGee why you should come rather than remind him why he would prefer not to have you there."
Tony lowered his voice so only Ziva, who was perched on the corner of his desk, could hear him. "You really want to be stuck in some poorly decorated Elks Club hall with a clan of McGeeks for a whole afternoon? You know you'll be happy to have me there when the conversation turns into an argument about Star Wars or something."
"I am sure McGee's family is perfectly pleasant."
"As sure as I am that I can survive a Saturday afternoon without you."
He frowned. "Well, can I see the pictures at least?"
"Sarah says okay," McGee suddenly announced through gritted teeth.
Ziva was the one to ask, "What?"
"I saw her online, so I IM'd her to tell her about Tony's dumb idea and she…you're really going to go to this wedding with my sister?"
Tony was focused on Ziva as he answered, "Absolutely. So…what are you planning on wearing?"