A/N: Yep, I'm doing it. I'm doing one of those contrived 'investigation that takes them out of DC' stories. In my defense, I've been inspired by the first two seasons, which I re-watched for the NCIS Guidebook (shameless plug alert!), and in which the team travels a lot. They even shared a house on base once, and I hold it up as evidence for this not being any more preposterous than what we'd get on the show. And anyway, I've contrived this not so much to get Tony and Ziva into close quarters for some lovin' (although that will probably happen, because I owe LittleSammy), but so that they can have a bunch of conversations. I like writing Tony/Ziva conversations.
Once again, this is set out of canon.
"Love," Tony DiNozzo said to Tim McGee. "Love will keep us together."
The corner of McGee's mouth lifted. "Think of me babe, whenever," he threw back, adding a wink.
They both turned to Ziva David, who bit her lip as she searched for the right words. "It is something like—"
"Just the lyrics, Zee-vah," Tony cut in, and held up a finger. "First warning."
Ziva looked to McGee for help, but the baby-faced agent just shook his head. This was a competition, and he wouldn't be offering any assistance. There was $20 on the line.
Ziva sighed and hummed the tune to herself. It was so unfair, she thought. She hadn't grown up with all these ridiculous songs like the other two had, and they wouldn't accept any of the songs she suggested. They'd made rules that at least two players had to know each song, and each song had to be in English. How was she supposed to compete when—
"Come on, Ziva," McGee said.
"Some sweet-talking girl comes along?" Ziva tried. She knew she was right by the way both her colleagues' faces fell.
"Singing a song," Tony said absolutely tonelessly.
"Don't mess around, you just gotta be strong," McGee said, then threw to Ziva.
"Stop," Gibbs said, delivering the next line of the song as he strode through the bullpen with a coffee in his hand. He allowed himself a fleeting moment of amusement as his three agents went silent, and looked around at each other with surprised suspicion. It wasn't usual for Gibbs to play ridiculous games with them…and he wasn't. It was just a convenient way to shut them all up. He glanced over at DiNozzo as he reached his desk, and easily pinpointed the moment that his senior agent opened his mouth.
"I'm not playing your stupid game, DiNozzo," Gibbs pre-empted. "I need you all to stop. We got a body."
Each of his agents stood up and opened their drawers to reach for their badges and guns. Gibbs nodded to himself with satisfaction at the well-oiled machine he'd turned them into over the years, but this time, he needed something different from them.
"Grab your gear," he started as normal. "And then go home and pack."
"Pack?" McGee echoed.
"Where are we going, boss?" Tony asked, a look of trepidation on his face. Trips he'd had to pack for in the past had been pretty hit and miss. For every night of naked Ziva in his bed in Paris, there was an iguana in his bed in Cuba.
"Pearl Harbor, Hawaii," Gibbs said. He tossed a thumb drive to McGee and gestured at the plasma screen. "Three kids found dead in their beds on base."
He noticed the wary looks that passed between his agents, but couldn't immediately work out why they were suddenly so somber. McGee got the files displayed on the plasma, and Gibbs used the clicker to pull up the ID cards of all three victims.
"Petty Officer Steve Woods, Ensign Noah Silverman and a supply clerk, Shaun Hill," Gibbs relayed. "Killed on separate occasions over the last month. Our office down there started investigating, but Vance has them on a high profile smuggling case and they don't have the manpower for that and a triple homicide."
Tony and Ziva joined Gibbs by the plasma for a better look at the shots, as Gibbs clicked through to crime scene photos of each man lying seemingly peacefully in bed.
"I thought you said they were kids," Ziva said.
Gibbs glanced at her, and then gestured at the screen, as if it were all the evidence he needed to back him up. "Well, yeah, Ziva. The eldest is 22."
Tony opened his mouth, Gibbs was sure to make a joke about Gibbs' advanced years, but Ziva discreetly elbowed him and the teasing twinkle in Tony's eye vanished.
"Cause of death?" he asked instead.
Gibbs glared him down in punishment for the unmade comment as he answered. "Asphyxia caused by drowning."
"Boss?" McGee questioned. His confused tone matched the looks on his colleagues' faces. "Well, they're in their beds. Their dry beds."
"Yeah, I see that, McGee," Gibbs said, sighing as though he was employing a great deal of patience by entertaining this line of questioning. "Could be why the ME ruled their deaths homicides."
"You think someone held their heads in a bucket of water of something?"
"That's what we're gonna find out, McGee."
"In Hawaii," Tony double-checked, making sure he hadn't made that part up in his head. "Hula girls, tiki bars, surfing and Magnum P.I.?"
"And dead bodies, DiNozzo," Gibbs reminded him, not so gently.
Tony held up a finger, as if he were making a mental note, and then quickly turned and headed back to his desk with a grin. He grabbed his backpack, gun and badge again as scenes of sun, sand and a bikini-clad new American citizen ran through his head. Sure, work was still the priority, but Hawaii was Hawaii. And if they wrapped it early, he might be able to take a day's leave and drive up to Magnum's house. It was one of those things he'd always meant to do but never had the time.
He spun away from his desk with a little too much enthusiasm, and bumped right into McGee who was blocking the exit between his desk and the filing cabinet. The younger agent's arms were crossed over his chest, and his eyes held a warning glint that made Tony pull back slightly and look to Ziva for help. But his partner was standing next to McGee with the exact same warning expression…except on her, it was ten times scarier.
Ziva leaned in to him. "We are warning you right now, DiNozzo," she began in a low voice that his twisted brain found undeniably hot. "If you make one more Magnum reference on this trip, McGee and I will set fire to your entire DVD collection and toast you over the flames. Understood?"
Tony chuckled as though it were a joke, even if a sizeable part of him believed her. "What are you talking about? You think I have to find a reference for every situation? I have some self control, you know."
"No, you don't," McGee said with a shake of his head. "Especially when Magnum is involved."
Tony gave him an annoyed look. "Don't jump on board just because she threatened you, McJudas. Stand up for yourself."
"I stand with her on this."
Ziva reached out and grabbed Tony's tie in her fist before yanking him closer. "No Magnum," she warned through gritted teeth.
"No Magnum," Tony promised, and pried open her fingers.
"Don't make promises you can't keep, DiNozzo," Gibbs threw over his shoulder as he left the bullpen. "Wheels up at 0700."
Tony smoothed his freshly creased tie against his shirt and frowned at Ziva's challenging gaze. "Bright and early, boss. Can't wait," he called back.
"Uh, guys?" McGee said, breaking up Tony and Ziva's impromptu staring competition. "We should go see Abby before we leave. You know she won't forgive us if we don't say goodbye."
Down in her lab, Abby sat slumped down on her office chair, arms and legs crossed and pouting at her three friends standing in front of her. The industrial metal music that usually assaulted them from her speakers had been replaced by a dirge, and she'd twisted her springy pigtails from the morning up into twin buns on top of her head. It was fair to say that the forensic scientist was not pleased with what her friends were telling her.
"So, you're leaving again," she stated, disappointment etched in her face.
"Not for long, Abs," Tony said. "Promise."
"That's what you always say," Abby said, narrowing her eyes. "And then you always come back one short."
"Abby," McGee started, but Abby cut her hand through the air.
"No! How many times do I have to tell you all? Bad things happen outside of DC."
"Nothing's going to happen," McGee insisted.
"You always say that, too."
Ziva stepped forward, and put on the voice she always used when she was trying to calm down an irrational Abby. "It is just an investigation, Abby. We do the same thing here every day."
Tony backed her up. "Right. And when was the last time any of us got hurt during an investigation?"
Abby stood up and put her hands on her hips as she narrowed her eyes at him. "Last week when you got winged by that guy you were chasing down at the marina."
Tony winced as his argument started to fall apart. "Right, winged. It was barely a scratch."
"He won't even scar," Ziva said, helping to downplay it.
Tony nodded. "Right. I mean, it still hurt," he said, pouting just enough to make Abby's eyes soften and her head cock to the side in sympathy. "But it barely counts as an injury."
"But it was!" Abby cried. "Someone always gets shot or kidnapped or…loses their bags when you guys travel."
"Tony and I were in Paris in January," Ziva reminded her. "And nothing happened."
Abby cocked an eyebrow. "Oh, somethin' happened," she said knowingly, causing Ziva to look at the floor and Tony to put on his best poker face.
"We'll call you every day," McGee promised.
Abby's shoulders slumped. She knew there was nothing she could do to stop them from going, so she sucked it up and nodded glumly. "Okay. I guess I'll just have to bring out the brooms again." She frowned. "I'll have to get new faces for them though since someone drew on them."
It was McGee's turn to bring out his innocent face under the weight of Tony and Ziva's glares.
Abby gave them each a tight hug, but lingered with her arms around McGee. "Promise you'll all stay safe, Timmy."
McGee squeezed her back, and missed the amused look that passed between Tony and Ziva. "I promise, Abby. You don't have to worry."
"No, I don't have to," Abby agreed. "But I will until you all set foot back in my lab, safe and sound."
As soon as her friends left her lab, Abby sat back down again, facing the door, and awaited the inevitable arrival of Gibbs. When he did appear, Abby didn't say a word. She just looked at him with big, worried eyes and a quivering bottom lip.
Gibbs softened his gaze and gave her the kind of smile he'd give Kelly when she had a nightmare. He leaned over and kissed her temple sweetly. "Nothing's gonna happen, Abs," he said gently. "I promise."
Abby wanted believe him, but still had to check in with his gut. "You're not getting any hinky feelings, right?"
"Nope," Gibbs replied with a little shake of his head. "All clear."
She nodded, and a little smile stretched her lips. "Will you call me?"
"Will you take photos?"
He gave her a rare, full smile. "Probably not."
Abby shrugged in agreement. "Yeah, that's more of a Tim thing. And Tony, but he doesn't take very good shots. Except for the ones he takes of Zi—uh, ze Eiffel Tower!" she finished in a forced French accent, trying to cover for her friends, even if she wasn't clear on what, exactly, she was covering up. "Yeah, he took a bunch of those in Paris and they were pretty good."
Gibbs' face was unreadable, so Abby quickly changed the subject. "Do you think you could get me a little novelty hula girl for my dashboard?"
"I'll see what I can do," he said, and gave her a final wink before he turned and left her alone.
Chapter 2 is posted now. This is me shamelessly trying to hook you in a little more.
For the record, I don't think a damn thing happened on that night in Paris. But I'm using it because I need a break from writing 'getting together' stories, and Jetlag is a convenient place to point to where something may have started.