Disclaimer: Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm…toasty.
Spoilers: None whatsoever. Maybe just tidgelets. Nothing that will ruin your life.
Summary: McGee shares and then suffers the consequences while out on a date.
"Ooh, I can't believe you got a reservation here! I thought I heard you wrong when you said Chez Rodolphe!" Pamela was thankful that she'd dressed in a skirt for work today rather than her customary trousers, as her department's meeting with the curator had gone long and she had not had time to run home to change more than her shoes before her date. She smoothed the front of her blouse self-consciously, praying that she hadn't missed an embarrassing stain during her once-over in the bathroom mirror.
Tim, looking slightly more formal in his suit and tie, smiled as he opened the restaurant's door. "Yeah, I've, um, heard nice things about it. My, um, publisher…recommended…likes it."
"Are you hoping to bump into her here?"
"Oh my God, do you see her?"
She settled a comforting hand on his upper arm. "Relax. I don't even know what she looks like." His eyes continued to dart around the restaurant as they approached the maître d', so she said, "Reservation for two under McGee."
"I'm sorry, but I don't see that name."
The snippy tone of the maître d' seemed to bring Tim's focus back. "No, I confirmed the reservation for six-thirty three days ago."
"We have nothing all night for any McGee."
"No, can you please check again?"
"I apologize, sir, but…"
"Hey, slick, check under 'Gemcity' at seven."
Tim regained his deer-in-the-headlights look of terror as he turned to the man who had interrupted the uncomfortable exchange. "What do think you're doing here?"
The man ignored Tim, saying to the maître d', "Right, we'll be in the bar, so don't forget that Mr. Gemcity and his lovely friend will be wanting their table at seven." The man threw an arm around Tim's shoulders in a way Pamela remembered her older brother doing, making her feel wary as she trailed them into the bar. "Shouldn't have confirmed your reservation at the office. So, McSecret, why've you been hiding your girlfriend away from us for the past two months?" He glanced over his shoulder and flashed her a toothy smile. "Because I think you should be proud a lady like this consents to be seen with you."
He gave Tim a shove in the direction of a dark-haired woman in a black dress at table near the bar, who stood to kiss his cheek and whisper in his ear. Pamela didn't have time to wonder about their relationship as the man offered her a chair. "I gotta say, you don't really seem all that mysterious…Pamela, right?"
"Yes. And you would be?"
"Tommy." He reached for the woman in the black dress and pulled her away from Tim to the other side of the rectangular table. "And this is Lisa."
"From Deep Six?"
Pamela glanced at Tim, whose deep blush served as confirmation. "Not exactly. These are my co-workers from NCIS, Ziva David and Tony DiNozzo. They think they resemble characters in my novel."
Tony had to cover his mouth to prevent the sip he'd just taken from spraying the table. Ziva smiled, but contained any laughter as she extended her hand across the table after taking her seat. "It is very nice to finally meet you. I apologize for the ambush tactics, but McGee has been unusually evasive."
"It's nice to meet you, as well." Pamela pulled her hand from Ziva's surprisingly firm grasp. "Tim never gave me the impression that he was particularly social with his colleagues." Ziva and Tony shared a look Pamela couldn't quite read, and as Tim was still looking rather red, she volunteered, "Maybe it's just been a timing thing. We've been to dinner with some other friends and his sister."
"Yeah, Sarah's great." Tony leaned back in his chair and took another sip of his martini. "Totally cleared of those pesky murder charges."
"DiNozzo, don't even…"
Tony flinched, though it didn't seem to be in response to Tim's tone. Pamela couldn't decide if his comment about Sarah had just been a poor joke before Tony continued, "Hey, speaking of evasive, I thought you usually kept your NCIS identity secret. Like Batman, but nerdy."
"They have been together for three months," Ziva said. "Even you could not make excuses that long."
He frowned at her, but his smile had reappeared when he turned away. "Hey, McGee, maybe you should head over to the bar to order some drinks for you and your lady friend. And refills for us."
"We will not hurt her, McGee."
He seemed more alarmed than comforted by Ziva's comment as he reluctantly moved the few steps to the bar, which explained why he hadn't asked Pamela what she wanted; he was usually very good about things like that, even though she always got the same thing. She gave him a little wave before turning to note that the mood at the table changed considerably.
Ziva began the conversation. "McGee must really like you to have hidden you away for so long."
"Yeah." Pamela wondered if her idea of defensive would work on suddenly serious federal agents. "It's mutual."
"He is a good man. You are very lucky."
"I couldn't agree more."
"Tony and I may seem friendly now…"
Pamela couldn't stop herself from saying, "This is friendly?"
"…but you need to understand that McGee is family to us."
"Let's not go crazy," Tony interjected. This was immediately followed by another pronounced flinch.
Ziva continued as if the interruptions had not occurred. "We care about what happens to McGee. It is important that you know that."
Pamela maintained eye-contact, wishing her ideas of Lisa from Deep Six were not so clear. "I understand."
"Good." Ziva nodded emphatically and finished the last third of her drink.
Tony seemed disappointed. "That's it?"
"What did you expect?"
"Uh…well, not Jell-O wrestling, but, uh…" Another flinch. "So, Pam, what do you do?"
"I'm an art historian." She pretended not to be annoyed by the nickname and to be excited about sharing more about a job that couldn't have interested this idiot less. "I do a lot of restoration work on paintings for the Smithsonian. I'm working at the National Portrait Gallery at the moment."
"In-teresting. Hey, how long does it take to make a couple martinis, huh?"
Ziva rolled her eyes before resuming a friendly, conversational tone. "Portrait restoration? Do you have to grind your own pigments?"
Pamela was somewhat taken aback by Ziva's question; had this woman actually been threatening her a few moments ago? "Well, I…"
"Drinks will be here in a minute," Tim said, nearly crashing into the table in his hurry to return. "Hope everyone here is getting along?"
"Swimmingly. We were just about to learn all about your girlfriend's exciting career." Tony traced the rim of his empty glass with his fingertip, producing a shrill tone.
Tim smiled as he sat. "Yeah! We actually went behind the scenes last weekend."
"Well that must have been a banner day."
Pamela could see that something bad was about to happen to Tony under the table again, so, in spite of the fact that he probably deserved it, she changed the subject. "So are you two really the basis for Tommy and Lisa?"
Tony and Ziva answered, "Yes," with Tim's simultaneous, "No!" as the drinks arrived.
She gave Tim the look she'd learned melted him. "They did provide some of the inspiration, true, but they aren't really the…"
"Drink your Chardonnay, McLiar-liar, pants on fire."
She laced her fingers through Tim's. "You're really saying he's not Tommy?"
Feeling like they were finally gaining an advantage over Tim's colleagues, she asked, "So how long have you two been dating?"
Ziva quirked an eyebrow, but Tony was the one who answered, "We're just friends."
"If that," she added.
"They definitely have their moments."
Ziva seemed offended. "What is that supposed to mean, McGee?"
"What? Nothing!" Pamela could feel Tim's grip on her hand tighten. "I just meant that when you guys aren't getting along, you, um…"
Everyone at the table turned to the maître d', who had just appeared at their table. Tim looked relieved that his explanation would not have to continue. "Yes?"
"We have your table ready a few minutes early, if you would like to…"
Pamela found her hand trapped in Ziva's dangerously firm grip again. "It was very nice meeting you. Enjoy your dinner."
"Thanks. Maybe next time we can all have dinner together."
"Of course." Ziva moved to kiss Tim's cheek again, though he seemed more alarmed about the prospect of that future dinner than the gesture.
Tony didn't get up, but reached across the table to shake her hand. "Keep in mind that you're probably too good for McGeek."
"I don't think I agree with that, Tony. But it was interesting meeting you."
She looped her arm through Tim's as they followed the maître d' into the restaurant proper. "I can see why you didn't introduce me to them sooner."
He smiled at her. "I hope they didn't scare you away."
"If anything, I'm amazed you're so normal, working with them every day."
"They can be…look, I know that tonight wasn't exactly a shining moment for Ziva and Tony, but they've got my back." Pamela was surprised by the vehemence in Tim's voice, even if it was gone by the time they sat down at their table. "Can we talk about something else?"
She reached over to take his hand. "I'm glad they care. Now I don't have to worry as much about you when you're at work."
He smiled. "Right. So how did your department meeting go?"
Ziva shook her head as Tony failed to hold the door open for her as they left the restaurant bar shortly after finishing their second drinks. McGee and his date were briefly visible at their table in the rear of the restaurant, looking like they were enjoying each other's company. "She seems nice. And she did not flinch when I kissed his cheek."
"Yeah, that was a good touch." He sighed heavily. "So no more ambushes?"
"I do not see why. Her background check was clear and she seemed like a pleasant person."
"Pleasant," Tony scoffed, "and boring. Hey, maybe she is right for McGee. Of course after tonight, we'll probably have to crash the wedding."
"I am sure we will get to know her better before that occurs." She glanced up and down the street, not clearly remembering where he had parked. "Will you just drive me home?"
"Wanna grab something to eat first?"
"Sure. I am quite hungry." Mostly, she wanted something on top of the two vodka martinis in her otherwise empty stomach.
Tony was scratching his head. "What's around here and cheap?"
"Oh, perfect. I could for some double bacon cheeseburger deliciousness. But you're paying."
"I paid for the drinks!"
"Yeah, and you pinched me under the table about five times." He rubbed his upper thigh. "I'm gonna have a bruise in the morning."
"Seven times. A normal person would not have needed so many reminders."
"Whatever. And we're not sharing fries this time because you hogged them all last time."
"Please. You just filled up on peanuts…"
"Ziva, you're supposed to eat the peanuts! That's why they put them out!"
"Just like you are supposed to throw the shells on the floor?"
"Well, I don't know if you're supposed to, but you can!"
She grabbed his arm and dragged him in what she hoped was the correct direction. "It is shocking we were even allowed into Chez Rodolphe for a drink."
Tony leaned against her slightly as they walked. "Restaurant like that…he really likes this Pamela, huh? So we're giving her a stamp of approval for the moment?"
"I think she and McGee are a good fit."
"Still, hope he's coming out with another book soon. Did you see the price of a steak at that place?"
"Do not worry. You can impress a woman just as much at a less expensive restaurant."
"I'll try to control myself with the peanuts." He opened the door for her as they arrived at Five Guys.