If you're all alone

When the pretty birds have flown

Honey, I'm still free,

Take a chance on me…

ABBA—Take A Chance On Me


September 2nd. It was a Saturday.

It was the day that changed my life forever.


"Hello, Tony," I greeted him, and he pulled me into his arms for a quick hug before we walked together into school.

"Hey, Ziv," he answered, his arm left casually around my shoulder. For just a moment I let my head fall against his shoulder, trying not to imagine anything more than friendship—God knew he didn't—and then I pulled away.

Encountering the rest of our friends, he dropped his arm, and I allowed myself to miss the weight. "Hello, Kate. Abby. Tim." I gave each girl a brief hug and nodded my head to Tim, who still wasn't quite comfortable touching friends who are girls.

Of course, the moment I had finished hugging her, Abby half-attacked Tony in a hug. I looked away and tried not to let my face color in jealousy.

"That's the one thing about summer that I hate," said Kate. "We never get to see each other."

"Ugh, agreed," said Abby, who had apparently finished her assault on Tony. "We need to hang out more."

"We were together every weekend," said Tony.

"But not every day!" said Abby with a giggle, and I had to look away again.

It wasn't that I didn't like Abby—her quirky style and peppy attitude is contagious even to those who dislike Goths. I just…wished she wasn't all over Tony. All the time.

I could have used a lesson in sharing.

Besides, I had reasoned to myself countless times, it wasn't like these girls were really my friends. They only tolerated me because Tony liked me, and they were both enamored with him. Tim seemed to like me, too, or at least he didn't hate me like most.

The beautiful foreigner, too smart for her own good. That was what I had been labeled upon entering Capital High School in Washington, D.C, halfway through junior year. Upon realizing that simply because I was Israeli did not mean I was stupid, I was placed in all AP classes, where I encountered wide eyes and distrusting whispers. Before I could blink, everyone knew my father was the Israeli ambassador and that I was richer than most of them combined.

Embarrassed, I kept my head down and stayed out of the way…at least until Tony found me.

Anthony DiNozzo was—and probably would have continued to be, had it not been for senior year—the school's class clown, and one of the most popular boys in school. On top of that, he was fairly smart. Smart enough to be in my AP Calculus class, anyway. Not smart enough to understand what was going on.

One day, about a month after my arrival, I was late leaving class because my folder had accidentally "fallen" on the floor. With a sigh, I resigned to pick it up, but my hand found another already at the task.

"Here," said the boy, who I knew and couldn't understand why he was talking to me. "Dropped?"

"Not by me," I said quietly. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

I lifted my bag onto my shoulder and began to leave, Tony behind me all the while.

"Did you understand the lesson?" he asked quietly. "I thought I had it, but when I checked my answers, they were all wrong."

I looked up and was surprised to find his eyes earnestly meeting mine. "Let me take a look."

"Thanks," he said with a grateful smile. He held out his paper and I reviewed it as we walked to our next class. After a moment, I found the problem and explained it to him.

"Oh," he said, a goofy grin on his face, as though he couldn't believe his own stupidity. "I get it. Thanks a lot—Ziva, right?"

"Right," I answered, a little surprised.

"I gotta go, Ziva," he said.

And without another word, he headed off to his next class.

I thought for certain he would never speak to me again, but the next day he sat next to me in Calc. And then the next day. And then the next. By the end of the week, I'd given him my phone number so he could call with any questions he had. By the end of the next week I was sitting with him, and his friends, at lunch.

Tim was the polar opposite of Tony—he was a total nerd. Already taking mostly college classes when I met him, he mostly stuck to himself, only occasionally putting in a comment. He had first become friends with Tony through Abby. Abby, the oxymoron in living color, had become friends with Tony through Kate Todd, the final member of our lunch table. Kate and Tony had been childhood friends, and Kate was probably the only girl in school who could keep Tony in check.


Presently, we headed to the office to pick up our schedules for the year. I was dismayed to discover I only had lunch with Tony the first half of the year and nothing with him second semester. I did have a single class—AP English Literature—with Tim, along with lunch, and nothing but lunch with either Kate or Abby.

"At least we all have lunch together," said Kate as we left the office.

"First semester, anyway," said Abby. "Then Tony here's gotta go and leave us." She fake-punched him in the arm (a ritual I still didn't understand.)

"So not my fault, Abbs," he said, a grin lighting his features. "Gotta have a study hall for basketball season."

"Why?" asked Kate, although we all knew the answer.

"Weight room," said Tony, turning on the charm for a girl walking by, who blushed.

I tried not to roll my eyes.

The warning bell rang, signaling the end of our time together. Briefly Tony gave a hug to Kate and Abby, and lastly myself, and I couldn't help but think that maybe he held me just a bit longer…? Maybe not.

He headed off to his first period, anatomy, and I headed the other way to Spanish, wondering all the while if I would ever get a chance.

A/N: Very little plot here, I know. It'll start soon. Enjoy this nonsense in the meantime.

A/N 2: I know I suck at updating. Sorry =/ Dear Death…may or may not be finished over Christmas break. So. Happy holidays, btw.