Leroy Jethro Gibbs smiled as he swept past the doors into autopsy, quirking an eyebrow at the wisp of gray hair hovering over the spread-open entrails of a cadaver.
"Got your hands full today, Duck?"
The doctor popped up from his work, pressing his spectacles back against the bridge of his nose.
"I'm afraid you're early, Jethro. I've only just started my preliminary work on this strapping fellow here. That blasted Mr. Palmer has been absent for most of the morning—something to do with his mother's cat vomiting up chunks of melted crayon and I am in over my head with samples to be taken and—"
"Take it easy, Duck. Just stopped by to give you these."
With a heavy thwack, Gibbs set two folders down on the doctor's desk.
"Two possible suspects already? And I thought you only started working the case this morning," said Ducky, furrowing his eyebrows. "Why are you giving these to me?"
"No, not suspects, Duck," Gibbs explained, circling the autopsy table. "A pair of agents who've recently had some professional difficulties. The director has a critical, foreign op in mind for these two and he'd like be prepared for any possible roadblocks."
"And you'd like me to profile them. Anyone who we know?"
Gibbs smiled again, turning back towards the door.
"Just a Jane and John Doe."
"Be quiet and let me do the talking, Tony."
Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo groaned and rolled his eyes to the ornately decorated French ceiling as his partner stalked towards the hotel reception desk.
"Bonjour, Madame," began Ziva David. She stood in front of the hotel's reception desk, her voice drawling and lovely as she spoke in flawless French. "Je m'appelle Émilie . Voici mon associé Théo Dubois. On vient d'arriver des États-Unis. Je crois qu'on a réservé deux salles avec vous pour ce semaine."
The receptionist, an older, coiffed French woman with powdered, blushed cheeks and striking, plum-colored lipstick, leaned over the counter, eyeing them both suspiciously.
"Hi, there," said Tony, shouldering his bag as he flashed the French woman a large grin. He ignored the glare Ziva shot him from the corner of her eye.
The receptionist relaxed and settled back into her seat, every once in a while furtively batting her eyes at Tony as she exchanged pleasantries with his partner.
"Il ne parle pas le français?" the receptionist asked when he moved away from Ziva's side.
"Pas un mot. Il a grandi aux États-Unis," Ziva replied, rolling her eyes slightly as the woman's eyes leered after her partner's form. She cleared her throat. "Madame, mes réservations?
After poking around the lobby, Tony hurried back to the desk moments later as a volley of Hebrew curse words burst from his Ziva's lips.
"Woah, woah… take it easy," Tony said, grabbing his partner's shoulder and restraining her from lunging at the receptionist. "What troubles you, my ninja?"
Ziva shook him off roughly, instead firing another angry mouthful of words at the receptionist over his shoulder. The woman responded in her thickly accented French with just as much vigor and the two adversaries glared at each other for a few more moments before Ziva turned to Tony. The words rushed from her lips, her voice steaming with anger.
"The hotel apparently misunderstood our reservation and only promised us one room. She—" Ziva glared pointedly at the receptionist. "—informs me that they are completely booked for the week and cannot offer us a second room." She paused. "Do you think Gibbs would fire me if I shot her?"
Tony smiled, releasing a small chuckle. He swallowed, straightening himself to full height before he advanced towards his partner, entering her space.
"No worries, Agent David," he said, giving her arm a reassuring squeeze. "I don't have a problem sharing."
As soon as the last word had left his mouth, Ziva snapped her eyes up to look at him. Her brown irises shone brightly in the Parisien light, her jaw clenching with tension. She pinched her eyes together slightly. "We will not be sharing, Tony."
She turned, grabbed her bag, and walked determinedly towards the elevator. Tony's smile fell from his lips, all his charm suddenly wilting. He scratched his head, staring after his partner as she handed her bags to the conciearge and stood, arms crossed and body stiff, in the tiny European elevator.
Meanwhile, the receptionist stretched back in her chair as she watched the pair of them, clucking her teeth as she said: "Oh, dommage."
"McGee, I miss Tony and Ziva," a certain goth forensic scientist pouted, hugging Bert the Hippo to her chest. She stood next to her partner-in-crime, Tim McGee, looking up at him with pleading almond-shaped green eyes.
"Abby," McGee rolled his eyes, smiling slightly. "They've only been gone for what—ten hours?"
He stood typing for a few silent moments before he flinched, Abby's nose right beside his cheek. McGee blushed.
"I think you should video conference with Tony, McGee."
"Because I think we should check up on them!"
"Well, I'm sure they've already reported to the Director, who's probably already relayed the information to Gibbs so why don't you go ask him?"
"McGee!" exclaimed Abby, headslapping him. "Stop making excuses!"
"Excuses?! Isn't video-conferencing unnecessarily a waste of resources? And hey—why did you headslap me?!"
"Ugh," Abby growled, stomping her feet impatiently. She squeezed Bert a little tighter and he gave a loud fart. "Aren't you interested to see what Tony and Ziva are doing in Paris, McGee?"
McGee pinched the sides of his mouth together in confusion.
Abby headslapped him again.
"Move over," she said, pushing him away from her computer screen. "If you won't do it, I will."
McGee resurfaced, glaring and pointing a finger at her.
"Abby—if you headslap me one more time today—
"You'll what?" She smirked hugely as he waggled his finger at her. "Tattle-tale on me to Gibbs?"
"Well, no, but—"
"Hi Tony," exclaimed Abby, smiling as the Senior Field Agent's pixel-like form appeared on the screen. "I miss you! Where's Ziva?"
"Probably downstairs strangling the hotel receptionist," Tony said, checking his hair in the re-feed image.
"Why, what'd he do to piss her off?" Abby grinned.
"She screwed up our hotel reservation and only gave us one hotel room instead of two. So now Ziva and I have to share and lets just say crazy-ninja-chick is kind of off the wall about that right now."
Both Abby and McGee popped up in front of the screen now, exclaiming simultaneously: "You're sharing a room?!"
"Uh, yeah," Tony confirmed, raising an eyebrow at the both of them. "And lets just say that wasn't what Ziva was expecting…"
Abby chewed her lip in anticipation as Tony trailed off. She nudged McGee in the side for dominance of the computer screen. As a smudge of black lipstick scraped onto her teeth, the Senior Field agent stared pensively off into space while he spoke.
"… I don't even know why she's so mad."
Suddenly, Abby and McGee gasped and lunged towards the screen, each coming to the same realization.
"Are you sharing a bed, too?!"
As Tony gawked at the two of them wrangling for possession of the computer monitor, the connection went dead, the screen black. Leroy Jethro Gibbs emerged from behind the desk, holding a cup of coffee in one hand and an unplugged electric cord in the other.
"Gibbs!" they both exclaimed, scrambling to appear productive.
"We were just—working!"
"McGee was just filing through the physical evidence—"
"And I was just about to go over the blood spatter patterns—"
"You know, you didn't need to hit him so hard."
"Well excuse me for the fact that I don't swing lightly at potential suspects!"
"Yes, Zee-vah, 'potential' being the key word."
"We had no way of knowing he was not involved, Tony!"
Tony looked up to meet Ziva's furious gaze. He should have known it would have been better to leave her in the hotel. She'd been acting jumpy, pacing the hotel room like a caged animal the entire afternoon. Wallowing in a sea of Ziva's anger, Tony had sprawled out on the bed and pretended to read some Parisien health magazine (it was in French of course). When finally he had mustered the courage to speak, suggesting she might calm herself a little by cleaning her weapon, she had rounded on him, swearing in multiple languages before she stomped from the room and proceeded to inflict her wrath on the hotel staff downstairs.
Sighing a little bit before getting to his feet, Tony removed his fingers from the pulse point of crumpled man at his feet.
"He's gonna be out cold for a while. What do you suppose we do with him, Agent David?"
"He will be awake soon, Tony."
The Senior Field Agent raised his eyebrows.
"Oh and in the meantime we should just leave him here to be robbed by some thugs?"
Ziva, frowning and drumming her fingers against her arm, would have never normally suggested anything so careless. Okay, something is definitely hinky with her, Tony thought inwardly.
"Well, I guess we could always bring him back with us to our hotel room?" she laughed sardonically. She slid him a look from the corner of her eye. "You do not mind if he sleeps in between, do you, Tony?"
He glowered darkly at her.
"Somehow, I don't think we'd all fit," he said, puncturing each word with a little dose of venom. So that's what this is all about? He thought.
Mouth open, Ziva tipped his face towards his own, her cheeks tinged with red, her dark, molten eyes churning beneath the surface. His blue gaze just as scalding, Tony stared back, finding it almost impossible to hold back the tongue lashing behind his lips. Half of him wanted to wanted to slap her for being so insufferable.
Each feeling even more uncomfortable and uncertain than before, a moment later they hoisted the man onto their shoulders, walking out of the alleyway in silence.
Z: Hi, ma'am. My name is Emilie . This is my partner Théo Dubois. We just got here from the United States. I believe we have two rooms reserved with you for this week.
Receptionist: He doesn't speak French?
Z: Not a word. He grew up in the States… Ma'am, my reservations?
Receptionist: Oh, yes.
Receptionist: Ooh, too bad.