Ok, this is a little cracktacular. It popped into my head this afternoon and fought its way into my hard drive. Minor spoilers for Jet Lag and Jack Knife. I suppose I could have fit it into And So It Goes, but it seemed a little off key for that piece. Established TIVA, but very mild. Hope you enjoy.
He had rested his eyes only for a moment when he was jarred back to something resembling reality by the sandwiching of his body between two others in the booth. He didn't open his eyes but felt the room careen sideways as the alcohol flooding his veins reminded him why he had sworn off the vile liquid the last time this happened.
"Do you think we need to drag him out of here by his hair?" slurred a husky female voice.
"I don't think Tony would appreciate losing any hair, especially considering how proud of it he is," a male voice answered that sounded suspiciously like a probie slurring his words a little as well.
The right side of the booth began to bounce. Up. Down. Up. Down. Tony squeezed his eyes shut even tighter as he contemplated strangling the black haired oh-so-cheery Abby beside him. His head lolled against the back of the booth and he thought for the hundredth that evening that no female was worth this-- this what? This feeling in his gut? The sickness threatening to bubble up his throat? A spinning head?
This God awful feeling of vulnerability?
The bouncing continued as McGee ordered them another round of shots from the waitress, who was no doubt, not amused by the over exuberant excitement brought about by the selection of the band that was currently thumping its way through Tony's nauseous body.
"We could call Gibbs," suggested Abby.
"Despite your favorite status, Abs, even you know that is a really bad idea."
"Hhhhmmm. Who else could we call? I'm thinking someone a little more assassin-like. Do we know someone like that, Timmy?"
"I don't know, Abby, sounds like someone we might know. Maybe a former Mossad assassin perhaps?" McGee teased back.
Tony felt Abby's breath on his cheek as she whispered, "Where is Ziva right now, Tony? Something you wanna tell us?"
"He seems tongue tied, Abs. I don't suppose his drunken stupor is the result of a little bout of jealousy over Damon Werth. What do you think, Abby?"
"I'm thinking that I may kill the both of you before the night is over if you don't shut up," Tony finally snapped, but didn't bother to open his eyes or move his head. His body was otherwise occupied by trying to ride the tsunami sized waves rolling around in his head. If he just concentrated on breathing, maybe he would not be sick all over the table.
"Should we let him in on Ziva's little secret, Tim?"
"No. No way. This is way more fun." Tony could hear the smirk and would have slugged him if he had the energy to do so.
The waitress arrived with three tequila shots, limes and salt. She looked at DiNozzo and said, "He's cut off."
"No worries, ma'am! We have no intention of letting his shot go to waste, do we, McGee?" Abby's slurring was intensifying. The waitress eyed her suspiciously thinking that maybe the odd-looking black haired girl might need to be cut off as well. Abby flashed her most charming smile usually reserved for Gibbs, and the waitress decided to leave them alone. For now.
"Well, Ziva should be here soon, she can explain it him." That got his attention.
Still not moving, Tony mumbled, "Ziva is on her way here?"
"Yes, Tony, will that be a problem for you?" That sounded suspiciously like Ziva's voice.
Standing beside the booth, Ziva took in the scene before her. Shot glasses, limes and salt granules littered the table. Also strewn amongst the mess was a red sharpie and dozens of cocktail napkins with various forms of chicken scratch on them from tic-tac-toe to chemical equations. She narrowed her eyes when she spotted evidence of the red sharpie scrawled across Tony's arms.
Abby watched Ziva take in the evidence and quickly blurted, "In the interest of going green, Ziva, we decided to stop wasting napkins and use Tony's arms."
"Really, Abby, because it sort of looks like you are playing a fraternity prank on hi-" She stopped when she saw the words TONY LOVES ZIVA in red block letters just beneath the crook of his elbow.
"I don't suppose DiNozzo is going to wake up long enough to drink his shot. May I?" Ziva asked.
Abby clapped her hands. "Now it's a party."
The waitress made her way back to their table when she saw an addition to their party. Ziva ordered them another round. When in Rome…
"And we will have a glass of water for the party pooper over here, s'il vous plait," Ziva called out.
Ziva pointed to the declaration of love written on Tony's arm and looked at Abby. "I suppose you are responsible for this?"
McGee answered instead of Abby, "Do you really think we believed the couch story, Ziva?"
Ziva's eyes widened, "Tony and I-we are not-we did not-" she stuttered.
"Um, ok, Ziva. Don't worry, our lips are sealed," Abby gave her an exaggerated wink.
"Ok, what is going on here?" Ziva looked confused.
"Oh, well we didn't bother to tell Tony that reason you couldn't join us right after work was that you were helping your neighbor move some furniture. He sort of made the assumption that you were with Werth. And well, since he wouldn't admit to it bothering him, we let him believe it," Abby explained.
"Yes, we interrogated him thoroughly, Ziva, but you know, Tony, he held out. Gave nothing away. He didn't even succumb to the oldest interrogation trick in the book," McGee added.
Ziva's eyes narrowed. "And what technique would that be, McGee?"
McGee and Abby looked at each other and the burst into song in unison, "Tony and Ziva sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marr-"
"Enough!" Tony finally opened his eyes and sat forward, steadying himself by gripping the edge of the table. The table fell silent. For a nanosecond. McGee and Abby burst into hysterical giggles all over again. Even Ziva wore a faint smile. Tony had no doubt that it would only take another shot or two before Ziva joined them in their hysteria.
"Uh oh, Timmy. Daddy looks mad. We better leave mom and dad to talk this out for awhile." She hopped out of the booth and grabbed McGee's hand dragging him behind her like an unwilling victim to the dance floor.
Meanwhile, two shots in and Ziva felt a comforting warmth spreading through her body. She could not remember the last time she played with them like this. It was definitely before Somalia. Maybe even before Jenny's death. She ordered another shot for herself and another glass of water for Tony who seemed to be sobering up before her eyes.
She felt free. Silly. And something resembling happy. She went with it.
"I did not see Werth tonight, Tony." She quickly glanced around to make sure Abby and McGee were otherwise occupied and placed her hand on his cheek and kissed him. Briefly. Gently. That kiss spoke volumes. A kiss full of promise.
He gave a look as though he were measuring her up. "Okay," he said and actually dropped the matter. She had to get one last dig in, though.
"Now be a good boy, and stop sulking." And with that she gave his cheek a playful smack and turned her attention back to the duo making their way back to the table.
"Look what I scored," Abby announced gleefully. In her hands was an assortment of limes, cherries and orange slices. Not to mention the miniature plastic swords and paper umbrellas she had stuffed into McGee's pockets.
"I distracted the bartender and Abby actually stole fruit from the end of the bar."
Ziva quickly grabbed the Sharpie stained napkins and spread them on the table for Abby to display her buffet of fruit. Abby fished around in her bag until she found a deck of cards. None of them were entirely sure of the rules of the game since they made them up as they went along. It involved cards, movie lines, song lyrics and of course an assortment of shots varying in color.
Tony called out, "It's Mega Maid. She's gone from--"
"Suck to blow!" Abby and McGee finished.
"Ziva, you drew a seven. Drink!"
Just then the band began a cover of American Pie and the gang paused in their game to raise their glasses, loop arms around each other's shoulders and sing along at the top of their lungs. Each of them forcing the horrors of their daily lives to the back of their minds as they enjoyed the company of their peers for the first time in what seemed like years.
Thanks for reading! Reviews welcome and appreciated.