Characters: Ziva, Abby, Gibbs, Tony, McGee
Summary/Note: Written for NFA's Secret Santa 2011 for MoreZabby. Some license taken with the building. But who doesn't. Hope you like it Hannah! Brief bit of French is translated at the end. This developed a bit of angst I didn't intend, oops.
Ziva stood in the middle of the room, her phone on the bench filling the small space with music. Her right hand lay on her stomach as she shuffled along with the rhythm, her hips swaying along. "One two, one two three," she counted quietly. "One two, one two three."
Abby rapped quietly on the wall, trying to subtly attract Ziva's attention. The music seemed to make her uncharacteristically unaware of her surroundings as she did not even twitch in Abby's general direction. Abby flipped the light switch a few times and Ziva instantly twirled around to face her. "Sorry," Abby said, wringing her hands. "Gibbs sent me to get you since you weren't answering your phone. Didn't mean to intrude or anything. Didn't know you danced. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I mean what can't you do?"
"Apparently," Ziva interjected into the pause, "Get you to stop rambling." Her teasing smile belied the ostensible harshness of her words. Having gathered her things she held open the door for Abby to precede her out. "Thank you for coming to get me though. Better you than one of the guys, yes?"
Abby laughed at the thought. "Somehow I think Tony's already seen the inside of the Women's Locker Room." Her overly dramatic tone gave the phrase a veneer of mystical wonder. She straightened up, becoming perfectly prim and proper. "And Gibbs is far too gallant for any such shenanigans."
"It means...I guess mischief is the best way to put it. But sometimes it's a good thing, and sometimes it's a bad thing."
As the pair rounded the corner and neared the bullpen McGee caught up to them. "Shenanigans?" he asked curiously.
"It is nothing McGee," Ziva explained.
"Just talking to Ziva about locker room shenanigans," Abby added.
"Secret ladies' locker room shenanigans," Tony whispered, half in remembrance and half in awe, closing his eyes and leaning back in his chair as if picturing a scene. "Just imagine them, dressed on—" a wadded up ball of paper struck him in the back of the head. Startled, he immediately sat up straight and looked around.
Gibbs strode into the bullpen. "Daydream's over lover-boy. Caught a break in the Martinez case. Director wants two of us to meet with the lead investigator from the FBI and the others to start processing a possible site where he may have been held. DiNozzo, you're with me." He turned to Ziva and McGee. "You two, the scene."
"Sure thing boss," McGee chirped. He smirked slightly at Tony. "He needs a firm hand sometimes, I understand."
"Does that still count as a Gibbs-slap?" Ziva whispered to Abby as she picked up her gear.
"Gibbs-slap 2.0," Abby quipped as they walked away. "Now with new and improved long-range paper technology."
"Phew!" Ziva exclaimed with relief as she sat back down in her chair hours later. "They did not tell us it would be that remote."
"Getting soft in your new American life?" McGee teased, though he looked even more worn.
"I am not 'soft,'" she protested "I was just not expecting it to be quite like that."
"Well going on what I saw earlier," Abby interjected, startling McGee who hadn't seen her lurking in the corner, "I imagine you've got to have pretty soft hands, at least when you want to. Otherwise your partner might not appreciate your manhandling them in what usually should be a tender moment."
"Wait, what?" McGee sputtered, his mind clearly struggling to make the connections between what she said and what she meant.
Abby rolled her eyes. "McGee. Mind. Gutter. Out. I was talking about dancing."
"Er, of course," he agreed.
"Speaking of dancing," Ziva stated, "I have an extra ticket to a Christmas party at the Latino Cultural Center tomorrow night if anyone is interested. Javier canceled on me."
"Ooo," Abby teased, intrigued. "Who's Javier?"
"A friend," Ziva replied. "A gay friend if you must know. Very good dancer."
"Sorry, I can't," McGee told her honestly. "Courtside seats to see the Hoyas take on the Terps."
"College basketball," Abby explained, forestalling Ziva's inevitable query. "Tony would be jealous."
McGee just smirked and said nothing.
"Anyway," Abby said to Ziva, "I'd be happy to go with you. Can't promised my dancing skills are anything special though. Sometimes I mix up my merengue with my macarena. Well, not literally, I just like the alliteration."
"I am sure you will be fine," Ziva assured her. "And you do not have to dance if you do not want to. Though I hope you will."
A blaring sound pierced the air, emanating from Abby's pocket. She pulled out her phone, checked the screen, and said, "Results should be in by now on that unknown substance."
"In case I do not remember to tell you later," Ziva said, "It is at 8. I will call them to change the name for the other ticket."
"Great!" Abby exclaimed brightly, bounding off back to her lab.
"Mais, de l'autre côté il faut aussi qu'on voie les couleurs de la même façon que Van Gogh. Son état mental a déterminé ses choix. Il—"* Abby's hand came down gently on Ziva's shoulder, cutting her off mid-sentence. Ziva looked up. "Abby!"
"Only you would be discussing things in French at this kind of event," Abby joked. She nodded to the man across the table. "Who's your friend here?"
"Isaac Feuzeu," he said, standing up and smoothing out his suit jacket before offering her his hand.
"Abby Scuito. Hope Ziva here wasn't intimidating you with her awesome lingual skills. I swear she knows how to say something in every language."
"Abby..." Ziva protested.
"No no," Isaac said. "She more than held up her own in the conversation. It was good to have someone to practice with. My father is from Cameroon but I do not have many opportunities to drag out my French. Well. I won't interrupt you two ladies any longer. Have a pleasant evening." He drifted off through the crowd near the dance floor.
"Hope I didn't interrupt anything there," Abby fretted, coming to sit across Ziva. She adjusted her lacy black skirt to fit in the confines of the chair. "He seemed nice enough, though kind of in a hurry to leave."
Ziva shook off the comment with a wave of her hand. "I do not really know that much about Impressionism. I think he was looking to...win with me."
"Score. But close. In that case I feel twice as bad. I mean everybody's got needs you know? I hate to think I've hurt yours just because I showed up."
Ziva leaned over the table, calmly placing her right hand over Abby's left. "Abby, it is alright. I came here with you yes?" A moment passed in silence until Ziva stood up, her hand trailing off Abby's. "So, what do you say to a drink? I hear they have some excellent Argentinian wines." She held her arm out for Abby to take.
Abby giggled and stood up, looping her arm through Ziva's. "Thank you kind sir." They ambled over to one of the several makeshift bars that had been set up.
Ziva's eyes roamed the selections. She bent down to read a note beside a large punchbowl. "Egg...nog? I think I have heard of that before but I do not believe that I have ever actually had any."
"No time like the present then." Abby turned to the bartender. "Two please." Before Abby could even hand Ziva her glass a man stumbled up to her, clearly drunk.
"You have pretty eyes," he slurred. "Wanna dance?"
"No thank you," Abby said politely but firmly.
"Why not?" he whined.
Ziva stepped between them, poised to physically intervene if he became more threatening. "I believe the lady said no."
Drunk or not the man couldn't help but realize he was going to get nowhere. "Fucking dykes," he spat at them angrily before walking away.
Abby froze, too stunned to bother to correct him.
The bartender's eyes shifted between the two of them, clearly at a loss as to how to respond to what had just happened. "Sometimes I think the words 'open bar' just bring out all the creepers," she offered.
Abby unfroze slowly and shot her a reassuring smile, handing Ziva her glass as they walked away.
Ziva looked uncertainly at Abby for a moment but took the glass and sniffed at it carefully. "There is no actual egg in here, yes?"
"Sometimes. Depends on the recipe I guess."
Ziva stopped. "Abby, are you alright?"
"I'm fine. People like that though...I don't mean drunk people but people like, well, you know, there's just no point in talking to them and that's sad. Whether they're right or wrong about their assumptions, they'll never hear anything but their own voice trumpeting inside their head. Imagine how much of the beauty and the...and the joy of life they're missing out on by carrying that attitude around." Abby shrugged. "Their loss I guess, but it doesn't make it any easier to witness."
Seeing that their prime real estate had been occupied in their absence Ziva steered them over to a tall circular table. She put down her glass and looked pointedly at Abby, shaking her head. "I do not know how you do it. You manage to care for everything and everyone you cross paths with even if they do not show you the same affection. It is true that guy does not know you like I do but that anyone would act like that to anyone else, let alone someone as genuinely kind as you, it is disgusting. Yes there are worse problems in the world, but something about that...it is different with you."
"Thanks Ziva. Really." That moment the brass band struck up a lively tune. Abby smiled brightly. "Now, how about you show off some of those dancing skills?"
"Agreed," Ziva said. She enthusiastically joined the large circle of dancers that had already formed, Abby a little more reluctantly.
Abby kept a carefully eye on the feet of the other dancers, trying to copy what they did. She had a decent sense of rhythm, but incorporating movements she was unfamiliar with was another matter altogether.
Ziva laughed at her scientific attention to detail. "Do not try so hard. It is more the feel of the dance."
"Easy for you to say," Abby grumbled. She narrowly avoided knocking ankles with the man next to her, kicking right when she should have kicked left.
The song ended with a resounding horn blast and the crowd on the dance floor applauded as they dispersed into smaller groups. "That was not so bad was it?" Ziva said. A new song and Ziva cocked her head, listening intently for a moment before she moved so Abby could see her whole body clearly. "Now this is more with the hips. Like that video McGee took of Tony playing with that round thing."
"The hula hoop."
"Yes, like that." Ziva stepped forward and backward, her hips tilting enticingly. "One two three, one two three. Try it."
Abby stepped and swayed in time to the beat, but couldn't quite make it look the same as when Ziva did it.
Ziva watched her efforts with a pensive look. "Hmm, perhaps there is another way I can show you." She reached out towards Abby. "May I?"
"Um, sure." Abby didn't know exactly what Ziva had in mind but she trusted her implicitly.
Ziva placed her hands on Abby's hips, alternating moving them to the music. "See, it is almost like you are isolating your hips from the rest of your body and just moving them."
Ziva slowly moved her hands away as the song ended. "I think that you can do it on your own now."
"But what if I don't want to," Abby murmured to herself. She focused back on Ziva and asked suddenly, "Would you like to walk around a bit? I know it's a bit cold out but there's an amazing light display at Dupont Circle that's worth seeing."
"The cold does not bother me if it does not bother you."
Abby led the way out of the building, stopping to pick up their coats from the coat check and to carefully bundle up before heading out. Once outside she stuffed her hands in her coat pockets and nodded to the right. "It's this way." They walked down the sadly snow-less streets in companionable silence for several minutes until Abby spoke. "You know, I think there may have been a point to that guy's drunken rambling."
They stopped at a crosswalk as a lone car sped by. They crossed over to the edge of the circle, sparsely populated with others dropping by to look at the lights. "Abby, just because you can see potential worth in a person does not mean you have to believe that anything they say has worth. And it is not as if he said very much anyhow."
"No I mean more something he implied. And that Isaac guy seemed to pick up on it too. You know what if, what if all this time we've been talking and joking assuming one thing, but there's been something else going on. What if, somewhere along the line, something changed? Maybe somewhere, and I don't know where or when or anything, but...maybe I stopped joking?"
"No, you don't need to say anything. In fact it might be best if you don't say anything. I can pretend this was all in my head. Just chalk this up to a little too much eggnog and we can just forget any—" her words were smothered as Ziva's lips captured hers. Her split-second of surprise gave way to joy as she let her lips do a different kind of talking, trying to pour back all the affection she had received.
They broke apart, looking uncertainly at each other for a moment. Ziva grinned broadly. "I guess I found a way to get you to stop rambling yes?"
Abby's insecure expression fizzled into laughter, pulling Ziva close and laying her head on her shoulder. "Yes, yes you did. Just don't go trying that when McGee starts one of his technobabble rants."
"And risk your ire?" Ziva teased. "Never."
They walked over to the center, joining the growing crowd of peaceful revelers as an impromptu carol session began, content to take comfort in each other and not worry about over-analyzing one of the purest and simplest emotions. Love.
Who sends this song upon the air, to ease the soul that's aching? To still the cry of deep despair and heal the heart that's breaking.
*But on the other hand you also have to view the colors in the same way Van Gogh did. His mental state determined his choices. He—