Tony steps off the elevator and looks around the almost empty squad room. They were down to bare essentials now, this being the last week of the move. Most of the computers with the exception of one on each desk and the plasma on the wall had been removed and taken over to their new office at Quantico. Not immediately seeing his team mates Tony saunters into the conference room for a cup of coffee and hopefully a doughnut, and stops in his tracks when he sees his friend and co-worker Tim McGee sitting at the table.
"Did you lose a bet, Probie?"
Tim looks up at him and smiles. "Nope, not yet anyway. I just have to finish counting these and then I can go get ready for the day ahead."
Tony looks at him and laughs. "Seriously? You have to count all those?"
Tim nods his head and Tony keeps laughing, "You had to have lost a bet in there somewhere McCounter."
Tim smiles serenely, "Not that I'm aware of Tony. It's just a simple matter of doing inventory. Why? Do you want to do it?"
"Me? Do inventory? Do I look like a pea-counter, Mcgoo?
Tim just keeps stacking and Tony sighs as he watches him work. "Does Gibbs know you're in here?"
Tim nods in affirmation and Tony grins, "Oh so that's it. You pissed off the boss and now he's making you pay by doing inventory."
Tim shakes his head and Tony leaves the room. He heads for the squad room where Gibbs is looking through a report on his computer. The boss is sipping his coffee as he jots down a note on the yellow pad beside him.
"DiNozzo, where ya been?" Gibbs asks casually and Tony gulps, knowing that Gibbs probably knows exactly where he's been for the last few minutes.
"Umm, watching McGee count stuff in the conference room."
"Inventory. He volunteered for it actually." Gibbs takes a sip of his coffee watching Tony's reaction.
"Why would anyone volunteer to count that much stuff?"
Gibbs looks up at him and silently adjusts his glasses. Tony gulps and hurriedly goes to sit down at his own desk before he's asked to go volunteer to help Tim.
"Tony! You're here!"
"Hey Abbs, what's up?"
"Not much, getting ready to pack up my lab including Major Mass Spectrometer. You wanna come help me?"
Tony looks towards Gibbs who nods in agreement. The grand exodus from the Navy Yard to Quantico has been taking place for several weeks and there isn't much left for the MCRT to do aside from cold cases as they wait for the last of their equipment to be shipped over. Abby's forensic tools and computers are among the last to be shipped due to their importance if a case should arise.
Tim comes out of the conference room, rubbing his eyes and Gibbs points to his desk drawer, silently telling the young male agent to put his glasses on. Tim nods as he complies. He then looks at Gibbs who smirks and shakes his head. Tim smiles at Ziva as he wishes her a quiet good morning and heads back to the conference room.
Ziva looks up from her desk where she's been working on a cold case. "Why would McGee volunteer to do inventory Gibbs?"
"He likes to keep busy Ziva. This is just another way that he can. Besides the Director asked him if he would."
"You let the Director have him for a day?" Ziva's confusion is clear as she gazes at her boss in question.
"Couple of hours at least, unless we get a call out."
"You are plotting something." Ziva states firmly as she watches his face.
Gibbs says nothing as he sips from his coffee cup and continues reading, making notes as he does so. Ziva goes back to her cold case, looking up every now and then, wondering at the secretive smirk on her boss's face. Whatever is going on, she has a feeling that she's glad she's not in the middle of it.
Tim slips out to the janitor's closet and carries another box into the conference room. He actually doesn't mind doing inventory, as it frees his mind to think of other things. Inventory is mindless addition and something he's done several times in the past in attempts to get rid of writer's block or in this case, fixate on the case file that's also on his laptop which is sitting on one of the counters in the conference room.
He's seen an anomaly and he can't quite put a finger on just what that anomaly is. The problem is how often he gets interrupted by other NCIS employees as they come in to get coffee, or something out of the vending machine which is currently the last one in the building and is also in the conference room.
A temporary inconvenience to be sure, but it is the interruptions that keep Tim from finding that one little anomaly. A glance at the long lines on the conference room table make his eyes brighten as he quickly punches in some numbers and he raises his hands in triumph as he hastens out of the room eager to verify his findings with Gibbs. The boss smiles and nods as Tim shows him what he's discovered.
"Good job, do you want the lead on this one Tim?"
Ziva watches as Tim straightens with pride at the thought of taking the lead on a case. She knows how rare it is that he does so and for the boss to offer him the chance to do so is clearly tempting. She misses however the glint in those emerald green eyes and he shakes his head slowly.
"You sure about that McGee? I can always have DiNozzo take over for you. I'm sure you've got everything clearly marked." Gibbs sly innuendo brings Ziva's gaze to their boss who has a twinkle in those ice-blue eyes. Looking back at Tim, she sees a corresponding grin on the younger man's face, but he shakes his head and Gibbs pulls out his cell phone to bring Tony back upstairs.
Down in the lab, Abby almost jumps for joy when Tony's cell goes off, signaling for the man to go see Gibbs. She loves having help when packing, but Tony's constant distracted state over the fact that McGee was doing inventory, was a bit disconcerting, especially when he managed to knock over a set of test tubes that thankfully were empty. No one had gotten hurt but it had been too much even for the forensic scientist. She gives him a hug in thanks for trying to help her pack and then turns to the mess on the floor with a sigh of resignation as well as relief.
As Tony steps off the elevator, out of habit he looks up at the plasma and is surprised to see new data streaming across the screen.
"Tim cracked his golden goose." Ziva says as she stands next to him.
"Golden egg," Tony says abstractedly as he reads what Tim found. A soft smack has him automatically rubbing the back of his head as he turns towards Gibbs with a frown.
"Go bring him in. McGee's agreed to stay here and finish up his project while you two go do this."
Tony frowns at that thought. "Why would he do that boss?"
Gibbs gives him a patented glare over his glasses. "Do you really want to take over the inventory, DiNozzo?"
Tony gulps and grabbing Ziva by the straps of her pack almost runs to the elevator. Ziva waits til the elevator is heading towards the garage and their vehicle to ask him why he thinks Tim wouldn't want the lead on the case. Tony shrugs and they head out to the junkyard where Tim's information would eventually pan out and several hours later they arrive tiredly but successfully back at the Navy Yard where Gibbs is just hanging up his cell phone.
"Another case boss?"
"McGee needs a quick hand putting some last minute stuff into boxes. Finish your report and then DiNozzo you can go help him with the crating of everything. Vance has said we're done thanks to Abby and McGee finishing the inventory. I'll take care of things down here."
Ziva looks from one to the other clearly still wondering what is going on. She just knows that something is up, something hinky as Abby would put it. She finishes typing her report up and then stealthily heads up to the conference room where Tony is putting bars of soap into a box. Gibbs snaps a picture behind her and she watches as Tony stops what he's doing, looking first at Gibbs who is smiling in triumph at successfully taking the picture. Ziva then looks towards Tim whose smile just keeps getting broader as Tony stares down at what's in his hands and the boxes in front of him and then looks up in horror at his boss who has turned and is heading for his desk.
Showing the picture to Ziva, who immediately starts giggling, Gibbs smirks before saying "DiNozzo, you're under Cardiac Arrest, good going McGee," and heads back towards the squad room. Tony glares at Tim who is still putting stuff into boxes. Tony smacks Tim on the back of the head and the younger man grins at him. It's not often that Tim can pull a prank on the senior agent and for Gibbs of all people to have helped him meant that Gibbs has been in on it the entire day.
Ziva stops giggling and follows Gibbs back to his desk. He's got a bit of a following around his desk, namely Vance, Ducky, Abby and Jimmy and Ziva watches as Abby takes Gibbs phone and downloads the picture onto the plasma.
Tony's face is framed by several stacks of Lever 2000, the silver soap boxes looking like the bars of a jail cell. His hands are clasped just right around two more soap boxes, making it look Tony was grasping the bars and trying to plead his case. Tony shakes his head knowing what had led to the day's events.
He and Tim had been arguing over who should drive when a sharp whistle from Gibbs had grabbed both of their attention and the lead agent had handed the keys to Ziva who had grinned wickedly at that time. Now however she's confused as to why Gibbs would do this.
"It's for Red Cross Month." Tim explains as he comes up beside her, with several boxes in his hands and Tony nods as resignation sets in. Every year the NCIS teams make a donation to the American Red Cross and other charitable organizations. As none of the teams know when they'll be called out on a case, several years ago Ducky had come up with the simple plan: be the arresting officer of a "suspicious" culprit. That culprit then has to end up behind bars before the end of the first week in March.
That agent/culprit is then "jailed" for the rest of the next week with others putting in money to raise "bail" for the him or her. The money is then contributed to the Red Cross for the work they do throughout the year. Ziva is still confused. "Why would you not want to be the first agent then Tony? It should be an honor yes?"
Tim smiles, "It is an honor Ziva, and even Gibbs has done it on rare occasions."
Vance looks at him, "I didn't think you could pull it off McGee. From what I've been able to gather, no one has been able to corner DiNozzo since he was a probie."
Tony glares at Tim who is still smiling a bit secretively and then turns to Gibbs, "You gave Probie a false cold case: you told him to target me."
Gibbs smiles at him, "Nope. Tim's case is legitimate. The fact that he managed to do not only that but also inventory for Vance was just a coincidence."
Tony groans as he thinks about the other aspect of being the "jailbird". He's not allowed to drive to the crime scenes for the next week. He bows to Tim and graciously admits defeat. Over the past several years he's managed to make sure that Tim was the one who ended up behind bars. This is the first time that Tim has managed to pull one over on him.
Later that night as they head for home, Ziva looks up at Tim who is still smiling. "You are quite pleased with yourself tonight."
"I put Tony behind bars, I get to drive part of this next week and I get to watch the stars come out with a pretty lady. I'd say I have every right to be pleased."
She thinks about that for a moment before nodding in silent agreement. he takes her hand in his and he guides her upstairs to his apartment. She watches him as he puts their bags to one side before he pulls out a blanket and some pillows. She tucks her hand in his elbow as they head up to the rooftops and once their nest is made he puts his arms around her.
Tracing his lips with her fingertips, she whispers, "Just as long as you do not try to get me behind bars." Hours later, as the ever darkening sky reveals the twinkling blanket of stars, she nestles close to his chest listening as their hearts slow to a more even pace. He sleepily pulls a blanket over them and she smiles as he murmurs suggestively, "I might not be your arresting officer, but that doesn't mean you couldn't arrest me."
a/n: I do not own NCIS or the American Red Cross Organization and I'm not really sure that the actual NCIS does the above scenario regarding the "Cardiac Arrest" however, March is the American Red Cross month and there are several organizations that do hold some sort of program in an attempt to bring in donations for the Red Cross and their relief efforts. I thank you as always for reading and for reviewing too.