"Why would you make McGeek dinner?" (Tony)

"I like to cook." (Ziva)

Fragments: Dispatched

By Jaz

'Boxed In' Episode Summary: Ziva and Tony get locked in a storage container during a firefight with the bad guys, and it's up to Gibbs to come to the rescue. The running joke during the episode is the dinner party that Ziva threw the night before where it turned out she invited the entire team with the exception of DiNozzo.

A/N: The thought of Tony being purposely excluded made me so mad I could barely stand to watch the episode again! So this is a totally irreverent AU piece to help me cope. Be forewarned - contains major character death, though it's all in good fun - I promise. I hope you all enjoy it in the spirit in which it was intended. :-)

~0~

Gibbs looked up from his computer as he heard the sound of Abby's voice entering the bullpen, and he had to admit he was surprised when he saw with whom she was conversing. It was no secret to anyone that Abby had not exactly embraced Ziva as Kate's replacement, not that Kate could be replaced, but it was nice to see the goth was at least starting to make an effort. The Mossad officer had been with the team for almost five months now, and it looked like she'd be around for a while. His ears perked up as he heard the topic of their conversation.

"I didn't know you like to cook," Abby said, her voice betraying her skepticism.

"I love to cook!" Ziva exclaimed. "It helps me to relax. I have enjoyed trying several new recipes since coming to America. Did you know there's an entire network that shows nothing but cooking shows?" She walked behind her desk, but made no move to sit.

Abby nodded. "Yeah, I heard about that, although I don't watch much. Except for when The Naked Chef is on," she smirked as she twirled a pigtail absently.

Gibbs bit back a grin as McGee's head popped out from behind his computer. It was only the fact that Tony was in the men's room that kept that particular comment from being pounced upon. He watched as Ziva bit her lip in uncertainty.

"In fact, I have been thinking that I would love to cook for you – for all of you," Ziva amended, including Gibbs and McGee in her glance. "Perhaps this evening you would like to join me for dinner? Say, seven o'clock?" she said almost shyly.

McGee was the first to chime in with a yes. Not only did he seem to like Ziva, at least when he wasn't terrified of her, but Gibbs knew the promise of food was generally enough to entice him into almost anything.

Gibbs also nodded, curious to see how good the young lady's cooking skills really were.

Even Abby was won over, and she smiled at the Israeli. "Sounds great," she replied with her normal enthusiasm. "My hearse is in the shop, though, so I'll have to get Tony to give me a ride."

"Oh, no," Ziva stammered, her face darkening. "It's just that, well, you see, I do not . . . um, I do not plan to invite DiNozzo."

Gibbs senses went on high alert, and he stood behind his desk, watching Abby closely, waiting to see her reaction. Out of the corner of his eye he saw McGee stand as well, his hand hovering near his gun drawer.

Ziva continued on, oblivious to the sudden tension in the room. "I mean, I realize he has been part of this team for a long time, but he's just so, what is the word, annoying, yes? Irritating?" She looked around the bullpen, noticing the sudden silence, and realized briefly that she had might have made a fatal error in judgment.

Gibbs had his own gun drawer open in a flash with the weapon in his hand, but he knew it would be too late. "Abby, no!" he roared, bringing the weapon to bear.

He heard the soft 'thpppt' of the silencer just a moment before he watched the Mossad officer start to fall backwards, a look of startled surprise frozen forever on her face. She landed behind the desk, only her feet visible in some gross caricature of 'The Wizard of Oz'.

He looked immediately to Abby, seeing her standing there with her small pistol still smoking in her hands, and he lowered his own weapon, noticing McGee did the same. "Damn it, Abs, what did you have to do that for?" he said in exasperation.

Abby turned to him, dumbfounded. "Gibbs! You heard what she said! What did you expect me to do? She thinks she can just come in here, plop herself down at Kate's desk and try and worm her way onto the team, leaving Tony in the dust? I don't think so, mister! Not on my watch! Nobody messes with my Tony!"

Gibbs shook his head gently. "Yeah, Abby, I know. You're right, of course. It's just – well to be honest, it's a mess. McGee, get Ducky up here. We need to dispose of the evidence, and we'll need his help to hide the body."

Tony chose that moment to return from the men's room and he took in the sight before him, seeing Ziva's legs sticking out awkwardly from underneath her desk. He immediately turned to the forensic lab tech.

"Abs, what the hell?"

Abby shrugged at him unrepentantly. "She pissed me off," she explained simply.

Tony rolled his eyes and let out a long exhale. "What happened to not leaving any forensic evidence? We talked about this last time, Abby," he said, as if he were reprimanding a small child.

"Didn't want to wait," she answered, a petulant expression forming.

Tony glanced from Abby to Gibbs to McGee, noticing the slight satisfaction on the face of all three of his team members. "What did she do?" Tony asked no one in particular.

McGee chose to answer. "She was having a dinner party for the team."

Tony looked at him in confusion. "She that bad a cook?"

"Nooo," Tim hedged, not sure he wanted to be the one to say it out loud.

Gibbs came to his rescue. "She wasn't inviting you, DiNozzo."

Tony's green eyes shot to Gibbs face, seeking confirmation, just noticing the team leader's own weapon was still drawn. He nodded, a grin forming. "Ah," he said, glancing to where Abby stood balancing on the sides of her feet. "Nice shot, Abs," he said, the smile growing.

Abby preened under his compliment. "Thank you!"

Gibbs shook his head fondly, watching the antics of his team. Part of him had hoped that Ziva might have lasted a little longer, but in retrospect, he'd known it was only a matter of time. He used his chair to climb onto his desk and let out a loud whistle. He spoke calmly and clearly. "We've dispatched another Anti-DiNozzo Offender. Use the south corridor to the holding room – you all know the drill." It was an exercise the entire agency had practiced relentlessly and put into employment far more times than Gibbs would like to recall since Abby had proclaimed herself to be DiNozzo's personal protection advocate. He jumped down from the desk and came face to face with Abby, holding out his hand.

She happily turned over the weapon, and he pulled out a handkerchief and began methodically wiping it clean of prints. "I thought you'd been banned from carrying in the building after what happened to Vivian," he commented idly. "When did you start again?"

Abby pretended to think. "I don't know – what day did Ziva get here?"

Tony came over to her and gently placed both hands on her shoulders, looking directly into her eyes. "It's not that I don't appreciate this. You know I do," he explained, "but you've got to promise me that next time somebody says something nasty about me, you'll count to ten before you react, okay?"

"But Tony," she whined.

"Ah!" he said, pointing a finger at her. "Promise me? And then, if you still need to, use the untraceable snake venom we talked about. We're running out of places to hide the bodies, Abs." He put his arm around her shoulder and began leading her away from the scene, allowing Gibbs to get in and lend a hand with the drop cloth McGee had pulled from the filing cabinet.

"Okay. I promise," she said, pouting.

"Pinky swear?"

She scrunched up her face at him, deliberating. "Pinky swear," she nodded solemnly.

"Good girl," Gibbs commented from where he was lifting the body onto Palmer's stretcher. "Now let's clear out of here so the clean up crew can finish, okay?" He moved over to where Tony and Abby stood waiting for McGee, growing impatient. "Today, McGee?" he snapped.

"Coming, Boss!" he said, stopping at his desk and digging in one of his drawers for an envelope filled with cash.

Tony nodded towards the envelope. "So who won the pool?"

McGee did a quick check, his face falling. "Gibbs. Who else?" he added under his breath, handing the envelope over to his boss.

Tony reached over and clapped McGee on the shoulder. "Buck up, little Probie," he consoled, indicating the second envelope in the younger agent's grasp. "There's still the Director."

~0~

A/N: My apologies to Ziva fans everywhere – please don't flame me! It was not really her I was mad at as much as at the show's writers for making her do such hideous things because they were deluded enough to believe that any of the show's fans would enjoy seeing Tony's feelings so ruthlessly trampled on all for the sake of humor. IMHO, poor taste indeed. If you must flame anyone, can you send it their way? Pretty please?