Tony DiNozzo was running late. A winter storm had knocked out the power the night before, and his alarm had neglected to go off that morning. While he was hopping around his kitchen, trying to get his shoe on, his phone vibrated against his counter top. He nearly fell trying to get to the phone, giving up on his shoe for a few seconds to pick it up.
A picture of a Gremlin flashed back at him. He answered the phone with an exasperated, "What, Palmer?"
"Um, hi, uh, Tony?"
"Who else would it be?"
"Uh, yeah, so, uh, Breena was going to give me a ride. But, uh, got, um, called in to, uh, seminar or something and…"
"Jimmy, I am already a half an hour late. If Gibbs doesn't kill me, he could very well shoot me. So, either you spit it out or hang up."
"I need a ride," Palmer said with a sigh.
"Don't you have a car?" Tony grumbled sitting at his kitchen table. He balanced his phone between his shoulder and ear, pulling his shoe onto the wrong foot.
"It's buried. Under snow. A lot of snow."
"Did you try digging it out?" Tony questioned with forced calm, pulling his shoe off and placing it on the right foot.
"Yes, I did, until the…the plow came."
"Why didn't you call Ziva?"
"She's already at NCIS, and I didn't want to get her into trouble."
"And you didn't think, maybe, I'd be at NCIS."
"Well, Ziva said you hadn't arrived yet. And…" Palmer trailed off. "Please, Tony. I…I don't want to make Doctor Mallard anymore mad at me than he already is. I mean, between getting us lost at the last crime scene and losing the Tibia to that body…"
"Fine, Palmer," Tony sighed taking pity on the 'Autopsy Gremlin.' "I'll be there in fifteen."
"Thank you, Tony. Thank you. And if there is anything…" Tony hung up before Palmer could finish his sentence. Tony wasn't mad at Palmer so much as he was for being late. And the prospect of taking the fifteen minute detour to Jimmy's would only make him later. So, with another grumble, Tony pulled on his other shoe, dragged himself to his feet, grabbed his keys off the counter, and headed out the door…
Palmer paced back and forth across his apartment floor, periodically checking his watch. Tony did say fifteen minutes, it was two minutes past. If Ducky didn't kill him, there was no doubt that Gibbs would.
A knock sounded, causing Jimmy to jump. He raced toward the door, pulling it open to reveal a slightly shivering Tony.
"DiNozzo what took you?" Palmer asked stepping back to let him in.
"Well, Jimmy, seeing as the plow blocked off ninety percent of the parking places in this city. I had to park four fricking blocks away."
"Would you, uh, like some coffee?"
"No, Palmer. I would like to be at work right now. Nice, toasty NCIS headquarters. I would like to see Ziva, Gibbs, hell, even McGee; as long as he was standing someplace warm." Tony shivered again. "Let's go."
"Let me just grab my bag." Jimmy scooped his backpack up off his couch, and followed the grumpy DiNozzo out the door.
It was freezing out, his glasses frosting over within minutes of stepping out the door. Jimmy was damn lucky he actually made it to Tony's car. He thought he heard DiNozzo say something, but the wind carried Tony's voice away.
Once in the car, the heat taking forever to kick on, Tony made the twenty-five minute drive to NCIS. Jimmy tried to make small talk, usually Tony was up for that, but today it seemed nothing would lighten DiNozzo's sour mood.
Once in the Naval Yard, after being waved through by the bundled up security guard, Tony parked next to Ziva's Mini Coop and got out. He pulled his bag from the back seat, grumbling when he almost slipped on some ice, and started carefully fast walking toward the building. Palmer tried to keep up, but slipped twice, and opted to adopt a granny shuffle.
By the time he made it to the building, DiNozzo had just stepped into the elevator. Impatiently, he held the doors for Jimmy, tapping his foot. Once the doors were closed Tony's phone rang.
"Yeah, Ziva?" he was quiet for a second, Palmer just able to make out Ziva's voice. Then he said, "We'll be right there."
"Yeah, Palmer, we." He pressed the third floor button and the elevator jolted to life. Seconds later the doors opened to reveal a very annoyed Ziva. Before Tony or Jimmy could exit the car, Ziva stepped in and pressed the button to the lobby.
"What's up?" Tony asked as the doors slid closed again.
"You are late," Ziva said slowly.
"Way state the obvious, David."
"We have a body," Ziva responded ignoring Tony. "Gibbs wants us to meet him at the crime scene."
"Us? As in, me too?" Jimmy asked curiously, meeting Ziva's eyes briefly.
"No, Palmer, we're gonna leave you in the parking lot," Tony snapped sarcastically.
"Ducky has already made it to the crime scene and asked me to bring you along." Jimmy was impressed by how Ziva wasn't letting Tony's foul mood get to her. Of course, he had a feeling, sometime down the line her patience would wear thin.
They made it to the parking lot (and Jimmy was proud to say he only slipped once, but did not fall) in a matter of minutes. Ziva had had the keys in her hand, intending to get in the driver's side of the van. But before she could open the door, Tony had already snatched the keys out of her hand.
"I don't think so."
"Tony, we are already late as it is. Letting me drive will get us there faster."
"No, letting you drive will get us there in pieces." Tony gestured around him, "And this weather we don't need speed."
Ziva huffed, fixing Tony with one of her 'death' glares. Jimmy wondered if Tony would have a face if looks could kill. "Is this how it is always going to be? You denying me the chance to drive."
"Yes, if you continue to drive like a maniac. Besides, I am the Senior Field. Meaning I get full reign over the van, Probationary Agent David."
"And how am I going to get any better if you do not let me drive, Special Agent DiNozzo?"
Before Tony could respond Jimmy raised his hand and said, "Uh, it's kinda cold out here. And, um, if you guys want I could drive." Palmer didn't know whether to be mad or relieved when they ignored his suggestion and continued their argument…
Twenty minutes later, Jimmy sat in between Ziva and DiNozzo while Tony drove. Palmer hadn't wanted to say anything; the tension in the van could be cut with a knife. So he opted to stare out the windshield watching as the buildings slowly morphed into trees.
"Will you at least let me use the camera? Or am I ill adept to use technology, too? Am I too maniacal to dust for prints? Are you afraid I will corrupt the blood samples if I touch them? Perhaps I should sit in the van while you and McGee collect evidence." Ziva had had kept a steady stream of these little comments since they had gotten on the road.
"You know what. If it'll shut you up. You can drive on the way home. I'm sure McGee will enjoy your company," Tony snapped glancing over at Ziva.
"At least McGee lets me drive," Ziva snapped back.
"Well, if I were McGee I'd have a death wish, too."
"You are not even watching the road."
"I am watching the road just fine…"
Jimmy felt the tires slid before he could full comprehend what happened. The next thing he knew they were tail spinning towards a bank of snow, Tony trying desperately to get the van under control, but to no avail. And as the van slammed headlong into the bank, Palmer jolting forward and cracking his head on the dashboard, his glasses breaking on impact, everything went black…
I have no excuse as to why me and Benny are publishing this story right now. Other than we are really tired, it's almost two in the morning here, and did I mention we are really tired? :D Oh, and we like Jimmy and are sad that he isn't featured in more episodes.
So, please let us know if we should continue, we do not own anybody remotely familiar, and thanks for reading.
Bye... (**Benny waves crazily**)