Genre: Humor, maybe Crack!fic. It's kind of borderline.
Characters: The Team
Summary: Tony's opened a pool to predict who will be the new woman in Gibbs life.
Parings: Many suggested, all het.
For the NFA Challenge: Anticipating Season 8
Warnings: Spoilers for season 7
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS or any of its characters.
After Aliyah, I learned that I should not try to anticipate the events of the next season. Other than Ziva returning (which was pretty much a given) I had just about everything else wrong. So for this challenge, I decided not to try anything serious. In fact, since the characters are the ones who are anticipating the new season, it may not even fit the challenge requirements. But the bunny wouldn't leave me alone, so here we are in…
McGee returned from lunch to find a paper on his desk that read 'Holly Snow, by mid October—Drew Lawson.'
"Tony, do you know what this means?" Tim read the note aloud. "Does this embezzlement case somehow involve Holly Snow?"
"Give me that." Tony plucked the piece of paper from Tim's hands. "For someone who works in Intel, Lawson is pretty clueless. I'm the one running the pool."
"What kind of pool? Wait." Tim stopped Tony's reply. "Do I want to know?"
"I'm surprised you don't know already. Half of NCIS is involved and I've even had a few calls from the FBI. I started an office pool to wager on Gibbs' next significant lady."
Tim looked around for their boss to appear or a lightning bolt to strike Tony down. The latter might be more merciful.
"Relax, he's meeting with Vance." Tony answered Tim's look.
"That's a good thing or you'd be toast."
"So who will you bet on?"
"Keep me out of this. Do you think that your position as Gibbs' surrogate son is so secure that he won't headslap you into the concussion you so greatly deserve?"
"Suit yourself. If you would put your analytical mind to use, you might just figure it out. There's quite a bit of money involved now."
"Not interested." Tim sat down and prepared to ignore his coworker.
Tony perched on the edge of Tim's desk. "Then there is the prestige that comes with being the one who has the correct prediction."
"Keep talking." Tim turned to face Tony.
"You'd be showing you're observant and insightful, that you have the 'gut' good investigators develop. You'd be showing us all that you can even read the great enigma that is Leroy Jethro Gibbs."
Tim looked interested despite his fear of Gibbs' wrath. "I'll think about it and let you know."
"Excellent." Tony grinned.
The next morning, the MCRT was called out to Rock Creek Park where a couple of runners had found a dead petty officer. Ducky was bending over the man with a liver probe in his hand. "Poor boy, we've been called out to this very scene so many times that to us it seems like a cliché. It wasn't one for you, though, was it?"
"TOD, Duck?" Gibbs asked.
"He appears to have expired around 0500 this morning. As for the cause, I need to get him back to autopsy to be certain. But if I were to hazard a guess, I would say that he bled out from this gun shot wound to the chest." Ducky stood up. "We're ready to move him, Mr. Palmer."
"Thanks." Gibbs was called away by a phone call from the director about the embarrassing number of naval and marine personnel ending up dead in this recreational area.
As Palmer was wrapping up the body, he looked around carefully to be sure he wouldn't be overheard. Gibbs was still on the phone and Ducky had wandered back to the van to put his bag away.
"Tony, is the pool still open?"
"Why yes, Palmer. Whom do you fancy?"
"Joann Fielding around Thanksgiving."
"What?" Tony made a face. "Don't you think that would be kind of weird for Gibbs to date his mother-in-law?"
"Your pool didn't specify the kind of relationship, you just asked which woman would become important in Gibbs life. I think that it will be Mrs. Fielding. You saw how they connected when that Navy captain was murdered. He went through a lot to be sure she was taken care of." Jimmy smiled happily. "I predict he'll be thinking about her around the holidays, become sentimental, and get in touch with her again."
"Yes, because that has worked so well with his father." DiNozzo rolled his eyes.
"Hey, that relationship is getting better, and that's what the holidays are all about. Connecting with the past. Healing."
"Do you watch Dr. Phil much in your spare time?"
"Mr. Palmer has spare time?" Ducky had returned quietly. "I am surprised that between the time he must spend with school, work, and his beautiful young lady, he has the opportunity to spend any of it watching the daytime drivel on television."
"N-no, I don't, but you know hospital TVs…" Jimmy's voice trailed off.
"Indeed. Get our guest back to the van for transport to NCIS, would you?"
"Yes, doctor." Jimmy wheeled the gurney back to the van.
Ducky motioned Tony aside. "I've had ample time now to consider the options and I believe I'd like to enter my prediction into the pool."
"Okay, which lady do you think will catch Gibbs eye?"
"There's a cute little Scot I've seen talking with Gibbs lately, Eve by name. He seems to be rather attracted to her; I'd say he does something about it by September 21."
"Who's Eve?" Tony looked confused.
"Surely you've noticed her Tony. She's the one walking around in the five and a half inch heels." Ziva joined them having finished bagging the evidence.
"I still don't know who you're talking about."
"And you call yourself an investigator."
"No, that's what I call him." A voice came from behind them.
"Boss, we… I…" Tony stuttered.
"Are we done here?"
"Then pack it up and get the evidence back to NCIS."
"On it, Boss."
"Feckler in Legal just gave this to me to pass on to you." Tim handed several bills to Tony. "He thinks it will be M. Allison Hart in December. After all of the trouble she gave us this year, I'm surprised anyone would bet on her."
"She's very attractive and she's been hanging around here quite a bit. I think she fancies Gibbs."
"But you do remember how she obstructed our investigations?"
"Yeah, but that changed mid year. Now that Colonel Bell is dead, we don't have to worry that she'll be taking orders from him."
"But she may be taking orders from someone else. She was awfully close to that Mexican official, Alejandro Rivera." Tim wasn't as trusting.
"That's even better. It puts an air of mystery and danger around her; Gibbs might find that rather intoxicating."
"I don't know." Tim turned to continue to his desk. "How did I become your accomplice in this?"
"You're my sidekick, my wingman. You're the Tonto to my Lone Ranger, the Mike Wazowski to my James P. Sullivan."
"If we're going to start on the Disney movies, why don't you say compare us to Woody and Buzz Lightyear? I'd say there were quite a few parallels. Buzz is newer, he has better gadgets, and weren't you worried that I'd replace you when I first started here?" Tim smirked.
"Okay. I think you're taking the allusions thing a bit far." Tony pointed at his chest. "What I'm trying to say is that I am the senior field agent and people see me as being in charge while you generally follow my lead. They're going to believe that you are involved with whatever I start."
"Maybe I should make a change this fall, too." Tim retorted. "Until then, how am I going to get out of this? I don't want to get caught. Gibbs isn't building a boat right now and the Christmas toys are gone. He might have taken up medieval carpentry. A rack to stretch out uncooperative agents would fit in nicely with atmosphere in his basement."
"Gibbs doesn't need a rack when he has the glare. Come on, what's the worst that could happen?"
"I could be sent out to be agent afloat without my motion-sickness pills."
"I've been there, done that. It's not too bad."
"You were going nuts trying to get off your ship." Tim snapped.
"Relax, it's not going to happen. Do you think I want to get caught? We're being very careful." Tony turned back to his computer. "And now let's get back to work on this case before Gibbs returns and asks us what we've been up to. I'm getting a weird vibe from the wife."
"You might be right. I checked out the petty officer's financial records. He doesn't have much himself, but he stands to inherit quite a bit of money from his grandfather. They had a prenuptial agreement that states she'll get none of that money in a divorce."
"It's always the wife, isn't it?"
Ziva walked into the squad room where DiNozzo and McGee were working. "Why did Dolores in Human Resources tell me to tell you she's 'in with CGIS Special Agent Abigail Borin by October 9?'"
"Hmm. She's creeping up in the rankings." Tony pulled out a file and made a note.
"You shouldn't be surprised; they have a lot in common and she's a red head." Tim responded.
"Haven't you heard that opposites attract?"
"Yeah, but it doesn't always make for the best relationships. Trust me."
"What is going on here?" Ziva looked confused.
"Tony's started a pool for people to speculate on the lady Gibbs will be involved with next year." Tim informed her.
"How does this work?"
"You select the woman, predict a starting date, and pay twenty five dollars to enter the pool." Tony replied.
"So all of NCIS have become voyeurs scrutinizing the romantic life of a very private man and you are exploiting the situation by gambling on it like a sporting event?"
"It's not like that at all." Tony hastened to correct her. "People care about him and are genuinely interested in what's happening to him. This is just harmless conjecture."
"Then you would not mind if Gibbs were to find out?"
Tim gulped and pointed at Tony. "It was his idea. I had nothing to do with it."
Ziva raised an eyebrow and smirked.
"Ziva, you never tell the person you're betting on about the pool; it might affect his behavior. We're all being very discrete." Tony explained.
"I do not think you will be able to keep this a secret." She shook her head "It is your wake."
"Funeral, Ziva; not that it will be. Who would you choose?"
"Me? If I were to predict anything, it would be that he will be too busy dealing with Paloma Reynosa to become involved with any other woman." Ziva turned. "I am going to leave so you can conveniently talk about me behind my back. If you need me, I will be in autopsy."
"Thanks, Ziva." Tony watched her leave. "Probie, have I mentioned that several people have turned in predictions that pair Ziva and Gibbs together?"
"No, I'm not and that's not all that's hinky; quite a few have bet on Gibbs and Abby breaking Rule 12. Fornell says it's going on already."
"Gibbs and Abby?"
"They've worked together for a long time and they've always been close." Tony looked at him meaningfully. "Very close. Now with…"
Tim cleared his throat before Tony could continue. "Speaking of Abby."
Tony turned to see her entering into the room. "Hey, Abbs. What brings you up to visit us?"
"I have some results from the evidence you brought in this morning. The petty officer was killed with his own weapon, the one found at the scene. And there was no luck with fingerprints, it was wiped clean."
"I suppose that would be too easy."
"Yep, you're going to have to work for this one."
"Thank you for the update, but did you have to come up here to tell us this? Couldn't you have just called?"
"I could have, but that's not the only reason I came up here." Abby pulled up a chair and looked around before she spoke. "I heard about your pool on Gibbs, but you're missing out on some of the action. A number of people have asked if you would be starting one for Ziva's new man. I've already heard speculation about Chad Dunham, Damon Werth, and even Fornell at the FBI."
"Really? How about someone closer to home?" Tim suggested. "Like me. We were stuck in an elevator all night together."
"Because the power was off." Tony smirked. "I spent a night in Paris with her."
"Because NCIS was too cheap to pay for two rooms."
"Guys, no one would bet on either of you because the consensus is that you would have made your move by now if you were interested or if you weren't too afraid of breaking Rule 12." Abby leaned over. "Jimmy didn't want to go on the record, he's afraid of what Ziva might do if she found out, but he suggested that she already has something going on with Ducky."
"What?" Tony sputtered.
"Well, think about it. She saved his life when she first joined the team. Depending on which culture you reference, he either owes her a life or she's responsible for his. They definitely had a bond from that point on. He was the first one to really treat her well."
"Except for me." Tim interjected.
"True, but they're both world travelers and both have mysterious pasts." Abby leaned in even closer. "Jimmy says that we didn't really see the way Ducky acted when Ziva was gone, because he hid out in autopsy most of the time, but Jimmy did. Ducky was a mess. And once Ziva returned, whom does she open up to about the things that happened on the Damocles? Ducky."
"That's just…" Tony couldn't find the words to express himself.
"Well, are you interested in starting another pool?" Abby sat back.
The men looked at each other. "Ziva an American citizen now, but she's still likely to kill us if she were to find out." Tony decided.
"Slowly and with great agony." Tim agreed.
"We're taking a big enough risk on Gibbs." Tony concluded.
"Chickens." Abby smirked and walked away.
The MCRT was getting ready to go home at the end of the day. Their case with the dead petty officer had been resolved quickly. The wife didn't do it, the butler had. The wife's uncle worked as the butler for the household of the wealthy grandfather. The situation had prompted Tony to make all sorts of allusions to the movie Sabrina, which were stopped only by Ziva's threat to silence him using random office supplies. He was disgusted with the petty officer's treatment of his niece and had arranged to meet him in the park to talk. They had argued, the petty officer lost control, and then attacked the older man. He was shot during the resulting struggle for the weapon.
"Leaving already, DiNozzo, McGee?" Gibbs looked up as the two handed their reports to him.
"Yes, Boss." Tony replied.
"What are you two up to?"
They exchanged nervous looks, "What do you mean, Boss?" Tony's voice faltered.
"Where are you going?" Gibbs clarified.
"We're having a movie night at my place to compare the original to the 1995 version of Sabrina." Tony held back a sigh of relief. "Would you like to join us? There's a really cute redhead in the remake."
"No. I thought you'd be going to the gym." Gibbs locked eyes with Tony. "I've heard some talk about the two of you and a pool."
"The gym?" Tony quickly made up a story. "No, not tonight. We go on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I need to keep Probie in shape."
"No, It's more like I'm keeping DiNozzo in shape." Tim laughed nervously.
"Okay. But be careful which gym you choose. I wouldn't want you to go swimming in dangerous waters, so to speak."
1) Thanks to akaeve for letting me borrow Eve.
2) And about the redhead in the movie-I didn't realize this until I wrote the end of the case in the story, but Lauren Holly played Elizabeth Tyson in the 1995 version of Sabrina.