"Holiday traffic. I'm telling ya, if we don't leave now, we'll be late."
Ziva glared up to where Tony paced, making a show of checking his watch. "Are you really trying to give me driving advice?"
He laughed, circling around to lean against Gibbs' desk. "If I were giving advice, we'd start with the basics sweetcheeks. Like speed limits. Or driving on the right side of the road."
"You will never let me live that down will you?"
She scowled, but he could tell she was repressing a smirk.
"Tick tock, tick tock," he whispered a few seconds later.
She didn't bother glaring at him again but continued to pound away at her keyboard. "Tony, we are three miles from the station and can be there in under five minutes."
"It's one of the busiest travel days of the year. It's gonna be packed."
"Which is why you're driving. You can circle while I find Tali. But first I need to finish this report!"
Then she'd be free, for four whole days. She couldn't remember the last time the team had been off for a holiday - a fact that Gibbs forcefully reminded Vance when the Director asked their team to be on call for the long Thanksgiving weekend. And Ziva was grateful; this was the first time Talia would be returning to DC since starting her job at a New York publishing firm last month. Ziva had taken the train up twice already for a quick visit, but she was looking forward to celebrating her first Thanksgiving as an American citizen with her sister and her adopted family.
"Hey, shouldn't you guys have left already?"
Ziva sighed quietly, ignoring the question, but she could almost hear Tony's grin as he turned to look at McGee and Abby.
"Speed racer says we'll be leaving shortly." His brow furrowed as if he suddenly realized something. "Aren't you supposed to be at PT?"
McGee slung his bag over his left shoulder, smiling widely as he swept his other arm around in a large circle. "After six weeks, had my last session on Monday. I am back to normal!"
Ziva knew what was coming a full second before Tony even opened his mouth. "Well, relatively speaking…"
"No jokes DiNozzo!" Abby cut in, pointing a finger warningly at him. "Tim is lucky to be alive!" She snaked her hand into the crook of McGee's elbow, and he shot a smug smile across the bullpen as Tony just rolled his eyes.
"Are you sure I can't bring anything more tomorrow?" Abby fretted, dragging Tim across the bullpen to stand in front of Ziva's desk.
"Abby, you are already bringing three sides dishes and two desserts. That is more than enough, thank you."
"Okay then, I'll be there at noon with bells on!"
That distracted Ziva from her report, and she looked up, confused.
"She doesn't mean that literally," McGee offered, but then quirked an eyebrow at Abby. "Do you?"
She grinned, giving Tony and Ziva a little wave as she pulled McGee towards the elevators. "Well, I do have this one awesome pair of platform boots -"
"You still here?" Gibbs voice carried loudly across the squad room and Ziva groaned.
"I wouldn't be if there weren't so many interruptions!"
Gibbs strode in, reaching around and turning off her computer screen. He ignored her huffed protests, flipping off the desklamp next. "Nothing that can't wait til Monday Ziver. Family first; go pick up your sister."
She sighed in resignation, finally grabbing her bag and giving the older man's arm a quick squeeze as she passed. "You are bringing the rolls. You promise you'll be there?" she asked quietly.
"I said I would," Gibbs said gruffly, but she heard the sincerity underneath and knew he meant it.
Tony nodded to Gibbs and then followed Ziva to the elevator. "You know, I really don't mind just dropping you two off tonight."
She rolled her eyes. "I told you already; we both want you to stay for dinner. I'm not simply using you as a chauffeur."
"Well that's true. In fact, I think your exact words were that you kind of like having me around."
She gave him a little shove when the elevator doors opened and then stepped in beside him. "Perhaps," she shrugged nonchalantly, but her expression was playful. "Besides, Tali is quite anxious to catch up with you, even though I can't imagine why. I think you talk to her more than I do."
Tony put on his best innocent expression. "Moi?"
"Mmmhmmm. I'm still trying to figure out who's the biggest gossip between you, Abby and Tali."
"We're usually talking about you, you know," Tony teased.
"Yes, I'm well aware," Ziva chuckled as they stepped out into the biting wind that howled through the parking garage.
"God next year we're all going to Aruba for Turkey Day. Sun and white sandy beaches," Tony grumbled, rubbing his hands briskly together as he climbed into his car.
Ziva settled into the passenger seat and turned the heaters on full blast. "I don't know. Celebrating Thanksgiving at home. Ducky's marinade and Abby's turkey trot and you and Gibbs arguing about football while Tim pretends he understands the game. And now, sharing it with Talia. Everyone I am grateful for under one roof...that is my ideal Thanksgiving."
Tony glanced over to see a contented smile playing on Ziva's lips. "Yeah," he amended softly as he pulled out of the Navy Yard and into gridlock. "Yeah I guess that sounds pretty perfect to me too."
They crept forward in traffic, riding in comfortable silence for a minute before her fingertips gently tapped the back of his hand that rested on the console between them. "Aruba for New Years?" she added, and Tony met her gaze then with a grin of his own.
"It's a date."
It was the age old question of where to end the story. I had a long, emotional epilogue in mind, but in the end short and sweet won out. I know it's a little bit vague, but that's deliberate, and I can pretty much promise this universe will continue on at some point...if nothing else in a series of random one-shots starting with Thanksgiving Day and maybe even Aruba... :)
To all the loyal readers, thank you for sticking with me through this story! It was a joy to write, and I am so thankful for all of the positive feedback and encouragement along the way.
Happy reading! ~ Jules