"Hey Ziva, bet you can't throw McGee anymore." Tony called across the gym. In between midwife appointments, wedding planning, and meetings with contractors after they decided to finish the basement in a kind of second living room/spare bedroom arrangement, work life for Tony and Ziva continued much as normal.
Ziva's combat training was now limited to solo punching bag work and critiquing McGee's form. Given his naturally gentle demeanour and the fact he'd been more or less afraid to spar with her even before she got pregnant, Gibbs had conceded there was no harm in letting her provide him with a few pointers to improve his stance and defensive technique, with very strict rules of play. They'd spent the last while throwing punches standing more than an arms' length apart so he never actually hit her, Ziva only coming close enough for contact after his arm was at extension, when she stepped forward to show where he'd hit or more often the expected defence from an opponent.
Meanwhile, Gibbs and Tony had been getting in some version of boxing practice, mostly Tony goofing off and getting his butt handed to him whenever he got too cocky. Gibbs however was content enough to let this arrangement stand, for one Tony could already hold his own well enough if things came to blows on the field, secondly McGee would learn better without Tony's commentary and Tony had already deliberately unnerved McGee on the way down to the gym with a reminder not to hurt Ziva or the baby. If kicking his senior field agent's backside was enough to keep him distracted, it was a sacrifice Gibbs was willing to make.
"I could still throw you Tony, and you are 40 pounds heavier than he is." She called back, catching McGee's wrist and raising her right knee to his midsection, stopping short before actually landing the blow. If he couldn't strike, neither could she. "You are still leaving yourself too open. Keep your elbow in." She let him go, demonstrating the stance again.
"Hey! More like fifteen... 20 tops." Tony argued, watching her move. "You're shifting your left foot every time you lift that knee. Your balance is off."
"Ziver?" Gibbs put in. "You better not be taking any risks over there."
"My balance is fine." She replied with confidence. The bulk of her weight had shifted as she'd grown, but she was adjusting rapidly, the opportunity to play fight with McGee at such a safe pace helped her learn her new limits too. "Go again McGee, block it. Yes, better!" His defensive position had improved, and her knee connected lightly with his elbow.
"You call it the second you're not sure." The warning was directed at McGee as much as Ziva. She stepped back again, nodded at him to repeat the action.
"Never more than a step away, Boss." McGee promised. "You know I'd catch you right?" He added in an undertone when she was back in his space again.
"Of course you would. But I will not fall." She stepped clear, gave him the ok, and repeated the action one more time. This time he pushed back with his elbow when she tried to knee him, not hard enough to throw her off, but enough to demonstrate the defensive action that should follow. "Yes, exactly. Good." Ziva nodded with satisfaction. With Gibbs' words still fresh in his mind, McGee extended his other arm to spot Ziva as she dropped her foot back to the mat.
"Nice work McGee." Gibbs acknowledged, watching the final run through. "Different when the person attacking you is actually trying to land it though."
"His technique is improving." Ziva turned to face the others. "When he is not afraid of the person he is fighting with, he will do fine." She shoved him playfully as he passed in search of his water, and he shot her a friendly glare.
"I'm not afraid..." The others all scoffed simultaneously. "Okay, maybe I am. Thanks for the tips anyway, Ziva."
"Anytime." She headed over to one of the punching bags to aim a few harder blows just for the sake of expending the energy, and tried the same knee manoeuvre she'd used on McGee at higher speed. It wasn't about preparing to fight anymore, but staying active and in control of her body against the rapid changes pregnancy brought on. Gibbs crossed quickly to keep an eye on her, under the guise of steadying the bag while she laid into it. Her foot did shift as Tony had said, but not unsteady, just trying to become aware of her new centre of gravity as instinctively as she had in the past. "Gibbs, I'm fine." He responded with a look that plainly said he was not going anywhere.
"You still look wobbly." Tony tossed at her with a cocky grin, slumping himself onto a bench against the wall. "No way could you drop me now."
"Come over here and say that." Ziva challenged. "The winner will choose our first dance song." A little over two weeks away, it was just the small details that needed to be finalised. Their first dance being one of them; they'd agreed to go old school, Tony angling for My One and Only Love, Ziva voting for Can't Help Falling In Love after it had been playing on the radio at their favourite diner, and Tony had insisted on dancing with her right there, purely to amuse himself and their favourite server, even with the other patrons watching.
"Oh that's my kind of deal. Coltrane here we come." Tony jumped to his feet, and approached the mat.
"Not on my watch DiNozzo." Gibbs cut in. "I don't want your bruised ego sulking around the office all afternoon after she lays you out. Ziva, stand down and go get ready for that talk Vance wants you at." They both groaned, Tony at the suggestion Ziva would beat him, Ziva at the reminder that she had to speak to a bunch of high school students.
"Because a pregnant agent on desk duty is such a good incentive to join NCIS." She grumbled. Vance had scheduled NCIS to speak at a number of career days with local high schools, and assigned Ziva as the representative. "I hate public speaking."
"It shows it's possible to create a work and family balance, and that skills can be transferred. McGee offered. "A lot of federal agencies have a bad reputation when it comes to that, and rightly so. You're kind of paving the way here."
"Hmm." she sounded entirely unconvinced, and threw a couple more punches to relieve her feelings.
"Speaking of balance," Tony started again, coming up behind her and making a show of steadying her hips. "You're still off centre, preggo."
"Flatten him, Ziver." Gibbs met Ziva's eyes with a nod. She did just that, seizing Tony's arms from her waist, pushing herself back till he was off balance, and using his own weight to create the momentum to slam him not too hard but precisely hard enough into the mat.
"There is nothing wrong with my balance, and do not call me preggo." Ziva stood over him with a proud smile. "I told you I could still throw you."
"No fair, you caught me off guard." Tony groaned, but grinned in spite of himself, it was worth it to see her smile the way she was. "Think my ears are ringing from that."
"That's Gibbs' phone." McGee hurried over before Ziva could offer her own hand to help him up. "Nice work Ziva, looks like you're dancing to Elvis." He pulled Tony to his feet.
"Ninja attacks don't count." He complained, shaking himself out. "Gibbs negated the bet anyway."
"I reinstated it. Ziva wins. Learn when to stop teasing DiNozzo." Gibbs said as he ended the call. "Let's go. Body found wearing a gunnery sergeant uniform downtown. Metro PD took the call."
"Marine?" Tony questioned. Ziva kissed his cheek, murmured a not very apologetic apology and made for the women's showers, ducking to avoid Gibbs' hand for breaking the no kissing on duty rule.
"No ID on the body. That's what we're going to find out, get changed and get the truck. I said change, not shower!" Gibbs called as the men headed towards the bathrooms. "Truck in five minutes, Ducky's already on the way."
"God, I miss having a Probie." Tony groaned several hours later as they returned to NCIS. Naturally, the body had been in a dumpster and a losing rock paper scissors round had seen him in there with Palmer when it came time to extract them. "Oh no... no no no..." He started digging through his desk drawers frantically.
"What is it?" McGee asked, removing the SD card from the scene camera to load the photos.
"I ran out of deodorant last week. There's gotta be a spare here somewhere!" He dug harder.
"Don't you have a go-bag in your car? I'll stall Gibbs if he shows up while you get it." McGee offered.
"Not in Ziva's, we picked up her new ride on the way in this morning. Caught a cab to the dealership - the trunk is still empty." Tony explained, continuing to shuffle items. "That's yours." He hurled a fancy looking pen at his partner.
"I've been looking for that for months!" Tim stooped to pick it up from the floor. "I was going to say you could use my deodorant, but apparently I'll never see it again."
"You have some?" The tone of his voice changed from annoyed to wheedling. "Come on McGee, I'll give it straight back, promise..."
"What have you lost Tony? Oh! Never mind. I know." Ziva had just exited the lift, bags of food in hand. They'd warned her when they were on their way back and given the hour, she'd gone on a preemptive dinner run. Her nose wrinkled when she got close enough to smell him, the sweat from the earlier gym session combined with the dumpster was not a good combination. She dropped the food on her chair and went through her own desk, seeking a nausea tablet, which she swallowed dry. "Here - not that it will help much." She tossed a stick of deodorant at him, followed by a pack of wet wipes.
"Thank you!" Tony sighed with relief, getting to work. "Didn't fancy smelling like Teen Spirit anyway, McCobain."
"I remember a time when you'd have eviscerated him for using your deodorant, Ziva. And when you would have whined all day about smelling like sandalwood, Tony." McGee commented, watching the transfer with a chuckle, and ignoring Tony's barb. Even when they were working professionally, little glimmers of domesticity still shone through in their smaller interactions. "Did you develop an immunity or something?"
"We have shared far worse things than that by now, Tim." Ziva answered nonchalantly. "You'd be surprised what you can tolerate when you are carrying around someone else's genetic material."
"Gross." McGee gagged. "Not before we eat, Ziva."
"Hungry?" She turned back to the food, handed him a serve with a smirk.
"Not with that mental image." Gibbs remarked, arriving promptly as always, but still took the next bag Ziva held out, and traded her for a can of ginger ale. "Or that one, put a damn shirt on DiNozzo."
"Thanks, Gibbs." Ziva took the can and sipped it gratefully. She'd been well for long enough that they'd stopped counting incident free days, and the acupressure bands that Abby had gifted her now lived in her bedside drawer, but the odour that followed Tony into the room had that unpleasantly familiar nausea stirring again.
"Ditto." He responded simply, opening the bag and inspecting the food with a smirk. "Feeling kosher tonight were you?"
"What's on the menu Zi?" Tony swiped the deodorant stick under his arms and threw the wipes in the trash, pulling a new shirt from the cabinet.
"Falafel wraps." Ziva dropped his meal on the desk. "As long as I am the one on the food runs, you are subject to my cravings." She informed them serenely, opening her own food with a look of satisfaction.
"Anything for the stowaway." Tony shrugged, getting stuck in. "The ones you make at home are better, though. Oh, how was career day?" He mumbled around his mouthful.
"So-so." Her tone was noncommittal. "A couple of them asked decent questions about becoming a federal agent, but I suspect they were thinking of the FBI rather than NCIS. More of them were interested in whether or not I have killed a person."
"If you're going to talk, make it about the case." Gibbs interrupted. "What have you got for me?"
"I took a statement from the woman who placed the 911 call already, and she is down with Abby providing a sketch of the man she saw getting into the car that drove away from the scene. I have got a BOLO out on the partial plate she gave me, and when the sketch is ready, I will update that - or if Abby can match the tire impressions you took." Ziva supplied what she had been up to with the information the guys had rung in from the crime scene. Fingerprints had provided no hit, but seeing as the body was in uniform, NCIS had taken jurisdiction until they knew otherwise. "I have spoken to the store that had a camera in that alley, the security footage is on its way. I told them to send it to you, McGee."
"Thanks Ziva." McGee took over "Wasn't a lot in the alley, Boss. We know the victim wasn't killed there - hopefully Abby and Ducky can find something that leads us back to where it happened, not to mention an ID, or at least who the uniform belongs to. He's too young to have made Gunnery Sergeant himself yet. I'm checking traffic cameras based on the time of the call to try and track where the car came from beforehand, or at least get a full plate for the BOLO."
"No hits on missing persons." Tony picked up. "But other than the whole being dead part, the victim looked a bit too clean and well fed to have been missing for long. Maybe no one knows he's gone yet."
"Well, they're about to find out." Gibbs answered his phone. "Yeah, Ducky? On the way. Keep at it." He indicated the computers and scene photos McGee had sent to the plasma on his way out.
"Carrying around my genetic material?" Tony said with a laugh the second their boss was out of earshot. "That's what you call the miracle of life I so generously gave you?"
"What would you prefer I said?" Ziva questioned. "That because you..."
"No!" McGee cut in emphatically. "I'd really rather you didn't say anything else about it. That's too many details as it is!" There was a minute or two of collective laughter
"Okay..." Ziva breathed, sobering. "We should get something done so we have a chance of going home this evening. McGee, send me the footage from the northern traffic cameras, where they exited the alley. I will go over those and try to track it after they dumped the body." She offered in atonement for the humour they'd gained at his expense.
"And what do I get for letting you flatten me in the gym earlier?" Tony asked hopefully, as McGee sent the files to Ziva's computer.
"First of all there was no letting, Tony. You were entirely at my mercy. Secondly, you get to take me home." Ziva finished her dinner, wiped her hands clean and started to load the videos.
"Take you home, or take you home?" He asked, the meaning behind the emphasis all too clear.
"Both if you're lucky." She shot back with a flirty smile.
"What did I say about no more details?" McGee groaned, as they settled down to work.
The case rolled on, the body identified not as a Marine, but a Marine dependent, wearing his father's uniform in an attempt to buy alcohol for his friends without needing ID. Ziva presented at three more schools, her opinion of public speaking unchanged, and the team were treated to two further chickpea-based meals before Tony decided he would do the lunch run, returning with burgers and falafel much to everyone else's relief. A receipt in the uniform pocket allowed them to trace the victim back to a nearby liquor store and eventually CCTV footage of a parking lot fight, the uniform and an earlier successful purchase giving the kid an inflated sense of bravado, ending with an unlucky punch and an unluckier fall on the edge of the footpath, corroborating Ducky's diagnosed caused of death as a massive intracerebral haemorrhage. Gibbs appeared at Casa De Tiva unannounced twice to 'supervise' the contractors Tony and Ziva had hired to work on the basement (still traumatised after kitchen remodelling, he had firmly suggested they outsource this renovation, but that apparently didn't stop him from wanting to know it had been done properly) Abby and Ziva went dress shopping, while Tony pursued McGee in an attempt to discover what had been planned for his bucks' night. Eventually, the other participants in the fight were apprehended, having panicked and dumped the body where it had been found by the woman who'd made the 911 call.
Somehow with much wheedling with the secondary teams, (mostly agreeing to several consecutive weekends on call) Team Gibbs were able to wrangle the last two weekends in September off duty, first for a bachelor party - Ziva was still reluctant to have a hen's - and the second for the wedding itself. A new case saw the week before the pre-wedding celebrations rush past, and before long it was the Friday afternoon, the team gathered in the bullpen, wrapping up for the night.
"Gibbs, tell Ziva she has to let me take her out!" Abby complained, she was seated at Tim's desk, he behind Ziva's finally taking care of that file cleanup he'd threatened to perform some weeks earlier. McGee and Ziva had already finished their paperwork for the night, having started a good natured competition about who could type faster (the answer was still McGee, but only just), and had subsequently finished their reports well before Tony. Now the team gathered, waiting for him to finish before leaving as a group for dinner, the main celebrations due to take place the following day.
"Don't bring Gibbs into this!" Ziva protested, leaning on the edge of her desk. "I do not want a hen's night. I am not in any shape to be dancing until dawn." Now definitely pregnant to look at, she felt more self conscious about her appearance, especially wearing anything that would be suitable for Abby's usual night out.
"Nothing wrong with your shape, bella." Tony added, with a glance upward from his keyboard, before resuming his laborious typing.
"I do not know what the guys have planned, Tony." She warned him with a smile. "You may always give me compliments, but don't expect it to batter me up enough to tell you what is happening."
"Butter." He smirked. "But it's the proverbial last night of freedom, Zi. Go dance on top of a bar or something. Get your Coyote Ugly on."
"I have never once..." She began, Tony raised a questioning eyebrow and she sighed, "Fine, once. But it was to keep cover. I hardly think it would have the same effect now."
"No bartop dancing, I promise Zivvie. And seeing as Baby Tiva means I can't see how many rounds of tequila it takes before you'll let me do a body shot off you..." Abby trailed off as McGee made a noise that suggested he had choked on his own tongue. "You right there, Timmy?" She queried innocently.
"Federal office, Abs." Gibbs reminded her in a low growl.
"Anyway, the point is, I have something planned that is more Ima-to-be friendly. We'll be home by midnight. An all-included day spa package, with lunch, massages, mani-pedis and then, once we're feeling amazing, we're going line dancing!"
"Line dancing?" Ziva echoed incredulously. "As in, country music?"
"Yup." She nodded, "It's upbeat, it's fun, and it's totally baby-bump safe. There's way less stretching than ballet, and it's heaps lower impact than clubbing. It's fine to dress down, you can wear those stretchy jeans you like, comfy boots and a full plaid shirt and you won't look out of place. Plus the classes are ladies only but they're taught by these absolutely gorgeous guys."
"I said no strippers weeks ago, Abby." She reminded her friend dubiously.
"Oh they're clothed." Abby giggled. "But there's enough eye candy to fill a calendar all the same." She opened a link on her phone, crossed to Ziva, showing her the venue she had in mind.
"Well..." She murmured doubtfully, glancing between the phone and Abby's eager face. "Everyone loves a cowboy." She conceded with a sigh.
"That's the spirit, Ziva!" Abby cheered. "You'll love it, I promise." She demonstrated a surprisingly well-practised grapevine step and bumped her hip against Ziva's with another giggle.
"I'm out before I have to fire one of you for inappropriate conduct." Gibbs stood, evidently at his tether with the minimal work taking place, although they were all technically off the clock. "DiNozzo hurry up and get out of here."
"See ya, Boss." Tony lifted a hand in farewell. "Five more minutes ladies." He added, apparently including McGee in that collective.
"Not gonna bail you out if you get arrested." Gibbs warned, before turning to Abby and Ziva. "You girls, call when you get home safe tomorrow night - clear?"
"Worry pimple." Ziva murmured as Gibbs dropped a kiss to her temple.
"Worrywart" Abby corrected, presenting her cheek for the same treatment.
"Brat." Gibbs retorted with audible affection, taking his leave. The women met each other's eyes with an amused, curious glance wondering who it applied to. "Both of you!" He called in clarification from the elevator.
"Come on Tony - type faster." Abby urged. "I'm starving already."
"Hey McGee..." Tony's began cajolingly.
"Nope. Not after you called me a lady - almost done with Ziva's hard drive and I'm clocking off." McGee shook his head. "Please, for my sanity Ziva, delete things occasionally."
"You never know when things will come in useful, McGee." She responded, leaning backwards to raid her desk drawer for a snack to tide Abby over.
"Zi... you're almost as fast..." Tony appealed to Ziva now as opened a pack of peanut butter cups, giving one to Abby. "You'd have it done in like two minutes I swear."
"After the way you made fun of McGee and I for having that competition in the first place? You are on your own this time Tony." She shuffled sideways to allow Abby to prop beside her while they ate.
"So much for matrimonial loyalty." He grumbled, turning back to his screen with a sigh. "Can't believe you'd side with McGeek over your future husband."
"You have eight more days before you can make that claim Tony. Tonight, I believe the applicable saying is 'bros before hos'." Ziva's rebuttal was met with a unanimous shriek of laughter. "Did I get that one wrong?"
"Oh the words were right... but the context..." Tony was actually holding his sides. "I hope you never get any better with American slang my Ninja. I live for these moments."
"But McGee is like my brother, doesn't it mean you should stand by your family first?" Ziva questioned.
"Not exactly, Zivvie." In between further cackles, Abby did her best to untangle the situation while Tony rushed through the last of his report.
A few minutes later, with another slang term added correctly to Ziva's mental lexicon, McGee gave a sigh of relief, pushing the chair back from the desk. "Finished! Thanks for standing up for me... Sis." The hesitation was a second too long and the whole effect was awkward rather than playful. Their eyes met with an uncomfortable grimace. "And I am never going to call you that again." He finished.
"No, please don't." Ziva nodded definitively.
"Wow. Awkward much?" Abby murmured and tucked her hand into his elbow as he joined them on the other side of the desk. "You'd never guess you two are actually fond of each other. In a more unspoken mutual sentiment kind of way." She added with a grin.
"Done!" Ziva and Tim agreed firmly.
"Speaking of done, so am I, no thanks to any of you!" Tony hurriedly tossed a few items in a drawer, creating a vague semblance of organisation on his desk and snatched up his jacket. "Let the celebrations begin!"
Despite her initial reservations, Ziva had to admit that Abby knew how to plan a night out. With Jimmy part of the bachelor party, Breena had joined them making a trio. Knowing Ziva's insecurities about having strangers at her back, Abby had chosen a familiar day spa, with workers Ziva had met before and trusted and the three had spent the early afternoon being thoroughly pampered; Abby talked Ziva into choosing a brilliant turquoise nail polish, while sticking with a classic black herself and Breena opting for a pretty shell pink. The body scrub was by far the highlight in Ziva's eyes buying a jar of the product to take home, and the massage had had all three of them practically asleep on the tables. There'd been a detour to the dress shop, to pick up their outfits for the wedding when Abby's phone had rung partway through a truly sumptuous lunch with the news they were ready to collect, and back to Abby's to get ready for line dancing. Given her enforced teetotal state, Ziva had agreed to drive instead of relying on a taxi, and followed Abby's directions to the bar she'd chosen. She'd always loved to dance, and even though the style was very different from ballet, Abby's enthusiasm and wholehearted participation was infectious, and the upbeat music quickly got her smiling, not to mention Breena's bubbly energy and surprising talent, and before long, Ziva was dancing right along with them, laughing when she tripped on her own feet, and learning the words to new songs, mentally filing the song titles away for kitchen dance sessions. By the time they dragged themselves out of the bar, red-faced from exertion and laughter, Abby and Breena were both definitely unsteady on their feet, Ziva had insisted they didn't need to abstain on her account, and they were all thoroughly exhausted and happy.
"I'll get a cab from here, it's fine!" Breena said as they stumbled across the parking lot, pulling out her phone and fumbling with the lockscreen. "You girls have been the best company tonight!"
"Nope. You're coming home with us, Bree!" Abby argued, leaning against the car. "We're having a sleepover at Casa De Tiva. Tiva is Tony plus Ziva you know... Tony and Ziva sitting in a tree..." She began singing, loudly enough to draw the attention of the bouncer.
"You'd be welcome, or I will drive you home." Ziva offered, silencing Abby with a hand over her mouth. "Whatever you'd prefer... Abby!" Ziva whipped her hand away as Abby licked her palm, and she dried her hand on her jeans with a disgusted expression.
"Luca never learned not to do that either." Abby giggled with a satisfied grin. "Zivvie will totally have some jammies for you to borrow. Right?"
"Of course. The men are staying out all night, you can definitely join us." She hauled Abby off the side of her car, opened the door and pushed her into the seat amidst another round of singing and an attempt to feel the baby kick. "She still does not kick that hard, Abby." Ziva peeled Abby's hands off her waistline, and Abby subsided into her seat with a pout.
"I can't make my lock screen work." Breena complained, still fiddling with her phone, apparently oblivious to the recent antics. "Can I use yours, Ziva?"
"Get in." Ziva gave her a gentle shove. "You can stay the night." She leaned in, checked both seatbelts and shut the door.
"Zivvie, can we stop at Beltway Burgers on the way?" Abby asked as Ziva slid behind the wheel. "Hey, Breena, let's sing until she says yes! Tony and Ziva sitting in a tree..."
"K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" Breena joined in. Ziva groaned and started the engine, finding a song that had been playing in the bar on her phone and turning it up louder than the chanting from the backseat.
It was three much more subdued and weary women that stumbled in the front door a little while later, the adrenaline had worn off on the ride home, and the greasy meal sat heavily in their stomachs. Abby was still clutching a packet of fries, Ziva had capitulated to the Beltway request, finding herself hungry anyway.
"First rule of Casa De Tiva is shoes off!" Abby announced, leaning on the side table and trying to toe off her boots, spilling her fries in the process. Ziva wandered ahead, turning on a few lights and making an obligatory 'home safe' call to Gibbs. Breena plonked herself on the bottom of the stairs to remove her boots.
"Just show me where I'm sleeping please." Breena requested with a yawn. "I had a call out at 2am yesterday, and I haven't been to bed yet. It's been so much fun, but I'm exhausted now." Abby, finally barefoot, staggered off towards the kitchen and they heard the kitchen tap start up.
"Do you mind paint fumes? There is a brand new fold out in the basement, but the painting was only finished yesterday." Ziva offered.
"Paint fumes are a step up from formaldehyde." Breena shrugged it off. "Sorry, no job talk, I know we promised."
"Sometimes job talk is hard to avoid." Ziva nodded with understanding. "Door to the basement is in the kitchen, I'll bring you some pyjamas and linen in a minute." She pointed Breena in Abby's wake and headed up the stairs.
"I want to stay up and party all night, Zivvie, but I think I have to crash. I'm not gonna be able to talk tomorrow otherwise" Abby croaked once Breena was settled downstairs; she'd absolutely sung her heart out on the ride home and her voice showed the strain. She'd spent the time while Ziva organised Breena's accommodation gargling salt water over the kitchen sink, trying to soothe her throat with little effect. "Sorry I know this is your night. If you want to stay up longer, I will."
"Oh no, I am ready when you are, achoti." Ziva agreed readily. "I have had fun though, thank you."
"Always." Abby turned, offered Ziva a wobbly 'forehead kiss' as Tony had dubbed their trademark affectionate gesture. "Am I on the couch?"
"No, you can share with me. But you may not have my body pillow." Ziva had recently upgraded to a pregnancy-specific pillow that Tony had dubbed Hadrian's Wall, being bigger than her initial two pillow 'fort'. "Come on." Abby stumbled away from the kitchen counter, and with a laugh, Ziva tucked her arm firmly around her friend's waist and guided her up to bed.
Ziva woke suddenly hearing a thud and whispering coming from downstairs, a bleary glance at her phone told her she'd been asleep for a couple of hours. There was more whispering and the unmistakable sound of a body hitting the floor, followed by hysterical but muffled laughter. She shrugged off the arm Abby had flung over her back and sat up quickly.
"So much for Danny Ocean!" Ziva relaxed when she recognised the voice as McGee's. There were more hurried shushing noises, and she decided it was time to investigate, padding quietly downstairs. Tony, Tim and Jimmy were gathered in the entryway, in clearly much worse states than either Breena or Abby had been.
"Fell over these..." Tony was dragging himself upright, one of Abby's boots in his hand. "Hey... fries. Who brings fries to a casino?" He dropped the boot with a thud, inspecting the cardboard sleeve Abby had discarded earlier.
"Whoa Tony... you picked an awesome place to break into." Jimmy was turning slowly on the spot, admiring the entryway, despite the number of times he'd already visited, looking at the room as though he'd never been there before.
"I already told you, we're not breaking in anywhere." McGee insisted, waving the set of keys he'd obviously used on the front door at the pair, fumbling with the alarm panel on the wall. "Hey, Tony, what's the code again?"
"You were on recon, Timbo, you should know that. Charm and stealth were my areas." Tony answered, stumbling this time over Breena's shoes. "Pink boots, do we even have the right house? Ziva wouldn't be caught dead in these."
"Hey, they're cute!" Jimmy stopped turning to admire the shoes with a nostalgic chuckle. "Breena has a pair that's an awful lot like that, this one time she wore them..." Ziva cleared her throat emphatically before he could continue with what was obviously going to be a story she didn't want to hear.
"We've been made!" Tony declared, seeing her at the bottom of the stairs. "Split up!"
"Freeze!" She barked before they could move. "What the hell is this?" She demanded, not quite believing her eyes. "The alarm was never set, McGee." She took the last two steps and pushed his hand away from the unit. The three of them wore tuxedos in various states of undress, Tony's bow tie hung open around his collar, McGee's was stuffed in his top pocket and Jimmy's was missing entirely, someone's jacket was pooled on the floor, and another was tossed haphazardly on the entryway table, while Tony's hung over his arm.
"It's the new Rat Pack!" Jimmy responded cheerfully, resuming his slow 360 rotation.
"I thought you were staying somewhere?" She questioned. "Something about a beach?"
"Ocean. As in Eleven." McGee slumped against the wall, pushing a photo crooked with his shoulder. "It was a casino theme." He seemed more tired than inebriated, although he was still definitely the second as well.
"We went on an adventure!" Jimmy exclaimed. "We walked all of Constitution Avenue and took photos in front of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. But then we lost our keycard to get back into the hotel suite so we came here." His voice became despondent on the last sentence.
"Don't worry Zi, it was all fake money. But I won." Tony waved a fistful of coloured paper at her. "You know, Ocean's Eleven, Frank Sinatra..."
"Don't you dare start singing again Tony." McGee warned.
"Singing? I'm up for that!" Jimmy chimed in enthusiastically. "Oh, we need a fourth... Ziva, can you sing bass?"
"Oh my god." Ziva pinched the bridge of her nose and turned towards the front door, hearing more footsteps on the porch. "Who did you bring back with you?"
"Dunno." Tony shrugged.
"It's Leroy!" Jimmy had managed to get back towards the door to open it. "Can you sing? You can be our fourth, we were just about to do a barbershop quartet."
"Abba? Why are you here?" Ziva questioned - he was clearly fresh out of bed himself, his trench coat thrown over a ratty sweatshirt and pants.
"Making sure they got in okay." Gibbs muttered. "Heard them walk past about 5 minutes ago - someone left this in my letterbox." He displayed a few notes of the fake currency Tony had waved earlier, the hotel keycard and Jimmy's missing bowtie.
"Thank you." Ziva sighed. "Sorry."
"You weren't the one singing Hail To The Chief outside my house at zero-two-hundred." He rolled his eyes. "Need help getting them to bed?"
"Please. Take Curly to the basement, Breena's on the foldout." Ziva instructed gratefully, with a nod in Jimmy's direction. "I can manage Larry and Moe."
"Let's go, Palmer." Gibbs took the young medical assistant firmly by the arm and dragged him out.
"Night guys! Thanks for being my friends." Jimmy called over his shoulder. "Say Leroy, that grip you've got on my arm is really something..." His voice faded as Gibbs hauled him through the kitchen.
"You two..." She turned to face the others.
"Oh boy, I know that look." Tony murmured. "I think our goose is fried, McGee."
"Couch, now." She ordered sternly, pulling McGee off the wall, turning him to face the lounge, and sending him in the right direction with a shove between his shoulder blades. From downstairs there was a thud and the sounds of Gibbs' voice, obviously unimpressed. A second thud followed as McGee's knee connected firmly with the coffee table.
"Zi... babe... sorry, Ninja..." She took Tony by the arm with a grimace, both at the smell of whiskey and in sympathy for McGee's pained groan as he flopped onto the couch. "At least let me come to bed."
"Abby is already in your spot and I am not dragging your drunken weight up the stairs. How much did you drink?" Ziva walked him firmly towards the lounge. "If you hadn't had this brilliant idea about having an adventure you wouldn't be in this situation."
"Yeah, it kinda got away from us." He eased himself onto the cushions with more grace than McGee had displayed. "Got some good photos though." He added, feeling briefly in his pocket for his phone, but gave up a second later, his head dropping to his shoulder. .
"I'll say it did." Gibbs reemerged. "Palmer's down there with a bucket and an ice pack. Decided he was going to jump the last two steps, turned his ankle and the pain made him hurl."
Ziva groaned something in Hebrew, rubbing her forehead wearily. "How bad is it?"
"Everything's in the bucket, and the ankle is only a sprain. He'll be unhappy tomorrow though." Gibbs elaborated. "Breena's reading him the riot act now. You ok?"
"I am not thrilled." Ziva commented, with a glance at McGee, face down on the chaise section, and a gentle nudge was all it took for Tony to wilt into a similar position. "I did not expect the shlosha stooges to come barging in at 2am treating this like a casino break in."
"Idiots." Gibbs muttered, he'd assessed the situation quickly, and had gone into the storage chest under the TV, it was the same one Ziva had smacked her shin on several years ago in Tony's bedroom originally filled with DVDs, but was now serving a more domestic purpose, and found some throw blankets. "They were supposed to stay the night. Ducky and I left around 9."
"At least they made it here on foot and not in a police car." She shook her head, a smile curling her lips and lowered her voice. "It is more funny than annoying, if I am honest, and I will feel better when I get to make them all suffer in the morning. I am thinking Arabic pop and vacuuming in about 4 hours."
"Harsh." He commented with a smirk. "You've learned well."
"If my bridal shower is going to be crashed by... this..." She gestured expressively. "I am going to have fun with it." Gibbs gave a dry chuckle in response, and they busied themselves settling the guys in for the night, pulling off shoes, lifting legs onto the couch and tossing blankets over barely-conscious bodies. "Do you want me to drive you home?" Ziva enquired when they were finished.
"Nah. Take that gut of yours back to bed." He dropped a kiss on her hair as he passed. Ziva gave a self conscious laugh, realising her tank top had ridden halfway up over her belly while wrestling Tony's legs onto the cushions and pulled the hemline down again. "Night, kiddo."
"Goodnight, Abba." She waited, making sure she heard the lock snap shut as he saw himself out, before setting up two large glasses of water on the coffee table, and placing a bucket on the floor near each man's head given what had happened to Jimmy.
"Zi, you're a goddess. I am so lucky to be marrying you." Tony slurred suddenly, catching her hand as she pulled the blanket up further.
"Goodnight Tony." She bent and pressed a kiss to his cheek, pried her hand free. "I love you even if you're an idiot." She turned to McGee, tucking him in a little better too.
"Sorry, Ziva." He groaned. "Love you, Sis."
"Sleep." Ziva instructed with a smirk "And do not call me that."
"Sorry." McGee repeated, mumbling into the cushion. "Still love you though."
"I love you too, Tim." She reassured him with a laugh and tousled his hair for good measure. "Goodnight."
"Aww... it only takes drunken shenanigans to get you two to actually open up. What did I miss?" Abby stood blinking in the doorway. "Got up for the bathroom, realised you were gone." She added by way of explanation.
"You missed a lot Abby." Ziva joined her friend in the doorway. "I will tell you in the morning, very loudly."
"Oh I'm going to want every detail." Abby understood the plan with a giggle, and still laughing linked arms with Ziva before turning back to bed for the second time that night.