NCIS fic: Come Share The View
NCIS, PG, team, humor. 3300 words. Title borrowed from a song by the Editors. Thank you to miscellanny for the beta!
Tony heard McGee before he saw him.
"The electricity's out in the entire area," his disembodied voice said, from somewhere in the vicinity of the elevators. "Our emergency generators should have started up right away. They're working on it."
The dark, hardly visible shape that was McGee passed Tony's desk. There was a thump, and a clank, and McGee said, "Ow. That hurt! Tony!"
"Oh, was that my trashcan?" Tony asked innocently. "I was wondering where that had vanished to."
"Apparently it has magically relocated to the middle of the room," McGee said sarcastically. "I could have cracked my head open on a desk, you know."
"Nah, it's far too thick for that."
"McGee," Ziva's voice interrupted firmly, "have they sealed off the building?"
"What? You're suspecting foul play?" Tony asked. "Wait, what am I saying? Of course you're suspecting foul play. You suspect foul play when your favorite coffee place runs out of low-fat cream."
"They're following the sabotage angle," McGee said, completely ignoring Tony's comment. This happened to him a lot lately. Tony wasn't sure whether he should be pleased about reaching new levels of being-an-annoying-pain-in-the-ass, or whether he would prefer to be taken seriously more often. McGee's chair creaked when he sat down behind his desk. "So far nothing suggests outside intervention."
"Which does not mean that there was none," Ziva pointed out.
"And that's why the building has been sealed off. No one gets in or leaves."
"Good." Ziva seemed satisfied.
Tony really wasn't. "So, what? We've got no light, no computers, nothing to do except stare into the darkness and twiddle our thumbs, and we can't even go home? That is just brilliant."
"I wonder if you have heard about this new invention," Ziva said, in that superior tone of voice of hers that used to drive Tony nuts, back in the beginning when he hadn't known that her air of superiority was, in fact-- well, an air of superiority, but with a fondness to it that was kind of endearing. She switched on the tiny flashlight from her field equipment, blinding Tony with her spot-on aim. "It is called a 'flashlight', and it is rather ingenious."
"I hope you're not going to try and read by that. You'll ruin your eyes."
"Is that what your mother told you when she found you reading the Playpen under the bedcovers?" McGee asked. Tony couldn't see the grin on his face, but he could easily imagine it. Then Ziva swung her flashlight around in McGee's direction, and yes, that expression, that was it exactly.
"That, and other important life lessons," he answered, waving a hand. Then he remembered that gestures were a complete waste of effort at the moment. "You know what I'm thinking?"
"No," Ziva answered. "How could I?"
"And why would you want to?" McGee added, deadpan.
"Nice, McGee," Tony said. "No, seriously, I think it's--" he made a pause for dramatic effect, "--storytime."
There was a moment of silence. McGee sighed, and then Ziva asked, "What does that mean?"
Tony squinted when the beam of her flashlight hit him in the face again. "Could you point that somewhere else? The ceiling, maybe? Or at Tiny Tim over there?"
McGee was surely rolling his eyes at the name-calling, but he didn't offer up a comeback. Again with the ignoring. Tony really didn't like it. Instead, there was a sound coming from the direction of McGee's desk, the tell-tale tippety-tap of-- "Are you typing, McGeek? You are typing! Why are you hacking things into your dead computer?"
"It relaxes me," McGee said defensively.
Tony felt his eyebrows rise. And then Ziva started shuffling papers on her desk by flashlight, her nose almost meeting the document she was currently trying to decipher. "Now, that's it," Tony said. "Get over here, both of you. It's campfire time."
"We are no longer required to follow your calls for those-- meetings." Ziva's voice clearly suggested that there were other expressions she could think of to describe the nature of Tony's campfires.
"Those days are long over," McGee agreed.
"Fine," Tony said, and started rummaging through the top drawer of his desk. "Fine. I'll even make it a real campfire. Just for you." He retrieved a heavy candle and a lighter from the drawer, lit the candle and put it down on the desk. "There. Satisfied?"
The warm glow didn't reach very far, but he could see the confused look on Ziva's face. "Why do you keep a candle in your desk? And what do you want us to do with it?"
"Just stop asking questions, roll your chair over here to the literal fire, and then we'll tell each other exciting stories, and we won't be bored to death anymore. How does that sound?"
"I am not bored."
"Neither am I," McGee chimed in.
"Okay, then what could you possibly be doing right now that is even remotely interesting?" Tony demanded.
"Listening to an audiobook on my iPod," McGee said, kind of smugly. "Interesting enough for you?"
"That is a very good idea," Ziva said and reached for her backpack.
"Oh, come on. Don't leave me hanging here." Tony didn't deal well with boredom. And his iPod had run out of juice that morning. "This is your chance to pick my brain. Anything. Just ask. I'll tell."
That sure got Ziva's attention. "Anything?" As much as she usually feigned disinterest in Tony's personal life, he knew that she was actually totally dying to hear all about it.
"'Anything' is a big word," McGee said, speculatively. "You sure about that?"
"Well, there's a catch," Tony said. "According to the fine tradition of taking an eye for an eye, which I assume everyone here is familiar with, I will be allowed to ask a question in return. And get a truthful answer, of course."
Ziva's eyebrows drew together, the gesture barely recognizable in the glow of the candlelight. "This game seems familiar."
"Yeah," McGee said. "That's because it's basically 'Truth or Dare', only without the daring part."
"Ah," Ziva said.
"No. It's not," Tony said. "Not at all. It's not actually a game. I'm making this up as we speak, in case you haven't noticed. Geez, you two really can suck the fun out of everything. What is so unappealing about the thought of the three of us sitting together just talking?"
Ziva picked up another file, leafing through the pages. "Like we are doing now?"
"All the time, really," McGee added.
"That's not what I-- You know what? Forget it." He grabbed a few dollars from his stash in the desk drawer. "I'll go get myself some chocolate. And guess who I won't be sharing it with."
"The vending machine runs on electricity," McGee pointed out evenly.
"Right," Tony said, feeling stupid, and sank back into his chair.
There was a long pause. It wasn't silent. McGee's chair kept creaking, for one. Tony couldn't actually see him, but he was one hundred per cent certain that McGee had his feet propped up on his desk, in a manner that would prompt Gibbs to shoot him a look if he was there – and if it wasn't too dark to see, of course. Also, Ziva's papers rustled with every page she turned. Again and again and again.
Tony drummed his fingers on his desk. After a couple of minutes he started humming along with the rhythm. A few minutes after that, he switched to whistling.
"Fine," Ziva said and slammed the folder she had been going through shut. "I'll chew."
"Bite, Ziva," Tony corrected gleefully. "You'll bite."
"If you say so." Deliberately slowly – Tony could tell – she switched off the flashlight, stood and wheeled her chair over to Tony's desk. She sat down, closely, put her elbows on his desk and her chin in her hands, and asked. "Which one of us do you like best?"
"Ooh," McGee said, his chair creaking once more as he, presumably, set his feet back on the ground and disentangled himself from his iPod. "I gotta hear this." A few moments later his chair rolled into the circle of candlelight, closely followed by McGee himself.
"What, now you're all eager, McGeek?" Tony asked. It was nothing more than a stalling tactic. Because, what kind of a stupid question was that?
McGee settled into his chair, also very close, but thankfully without the chin-in-hands thing. That would have been disturbing. "Seriously? I wouldn't miss this for the world," he said. "Do tell, Tony. Who's your favorite?"
This was not good. This was really not good. There was no right answer. How did women do that, always ask questions that were impossible to answer? On the plus side, he had lured them both in. Ziva and McGee were looking at him expectantly, the candle illuminating their expressions of fake innocence.
None of them noticed Abby's approach until she switched on her flashlight (with killer luminosity) to light up her face from below. "Choose your answer wisely, Anthony," she intoned ominously.
McGee jerked away, startled. "Abby! What did you do that for?"
Tony pretended to be completely unaffected, even though she had almost given him a heart attack. Ziva smiled knowingly at him. So much for none of them noticing Abby before. "Great timing, Abbs. Grab a chair."
"You guys know that open fire violates at least a dozen safety protocols, right? That's what these are for." She waved the flashlight.
"Yeah, thanks, we know." Only vaguely, in truth. Tony knew about the protocols in the same way that he knew about Newton's laws of motion – he was aware they existed, but that was the extent of his expertise on the matter. He gestured at her flashlight. "Turn that off, please? You're ruining the mood here."
"Storytime. Yes, I heard," Abby said, excited. "I love campfire stories."
"Finally!" Tony pumped his fist into the air triumphantly. "Finally someone gets with the program! Abby, I love you!" He saw Ziva tilt her head and McGee narrow his eyes and hastened to add, "In a purely platonic way, like a co-worker loves another co-worker, and-- You know. McGee, have I told you lately that I love you?"
"Start singing and I'll upend your trashcan over your head," McGee said sweetly.
"I would very much like to see that," Ziva said.
Abby grinned. "Love you too, Tony." She walked over to Gibbs' desk. As she flopped down into Gibbs' chair, she called out, "Are we bickering or are we telling stories?" in her best Gibbs-voice.
Impressed with her impersonation skills, Tony answered in his most refined please-the-boss voice, "Stories, boss."
"We could, if Tony decided to answer my question as he promised," Ziva said. She even sounded amused. Ha. Tony had known she would get into the whole thing eventually. On second thought, maybe she had just gotten into the torturing-Tony part of the evening. That was far more likely.
Abby kicked off Gibbs' desk and rolled backwards toward them, bumping her chair into McGee's before turning to face them, squeezed in between Ziva and McGee. "Where are the marshmallows?" she asked. "It's not a real campfire without roasted marshmallows."
Tony nodded sadly, ignoring Ziva's confused look. "I hear ya. Fresh out, sorry."
"Great idea, Abby," McGee said sarcastically. "I'll just set this stack of papers on fire while you go get your secret marshmallow stash and the really long tweezers from the lab."
Eyes darting between them, Ziva asked, "What are planning to do with--"
Abby moved surprisingly fast when she grabbed McGee by the tie and pulled him in close. "McGee," she said, very calmly. "I ran out of CafPow an hour ago. Do not get snippy with me!"
McGee swallowed visibly. "Why don't you just go and get--"
"Ah," Tony cut in with a raised finger. "Here's a tricky question for everyone: what does the CafPow machine run on? Huh? Anyone?"
"Electricity?" Ziva offered.
"Electricity," Abby growled.
"Okay. Fine," McGee said, carefully trying to loosen her fingers from his tie. "I get it. Um, could you let me go now?"
Abby glared, but leaned back, releasing McGee, who immediately moved to straighten his tie.
"Tony," Ziva said, relentless. "Your answer?"
Damn. Tony had hoped that maybe she had forgotten by now, but no such luck with Ziva. "You know that question isn't really story material, right? Give me something to work with here."
"You said 'anything'," she pointed out, meanly and accurately.
"You did. I heard," Abby said, just as mean. Tony decided he loved her a tiny little bit less now. "I listened in for a while," Abby continued. "And I'm an untrained person in impractical, yet completely awesome boots. It's so disappointing. You guys should be more aware of suspicious figures sneaking around you in the dark. Didn't they teach you anything in your out-in-the-field, serious-real-world stuff training?"
"I must have missed that class," McGee said. "Shame. I'd have liked to learn 'stuff'."
Abby pointed a finger at him. "McGee, you need another warning?"
"Tony--" Ziva began, and she really wasn't going to be distracted from this, was she?
Tony leaned back in his chair. It creaked just as annoyingly as McGee's did, he noted with satisfaction. "Why don't I just tell you about the first time I--"
Ziva silenced him with a determined wave of her hand. "I am certain that this is a story I do not want to hear. Ever."
"--saw a dead body and threw up over the assistant district attorney's Gucci pumps?" Tony finished. "And here I thought you would love that one."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "That is not what you were going to say."
"Yes, it is," Tony said, in his special would-I-lie-to-you voice, combined with his patented is-this-the-face-of-a-liar expression.
"Of course," McGee said, "we believe you," in a tone that clearly suggested he didn't.
"You will answer the question," Ziva said. It almost sounded like a threat. "Abide by your own rules."
Abby nodded, determined. "Your rules, Tony." She held her outstretched hand above the candle, palm facing the flame, then lowered it, lowered it more. Kept it there. And kept it there. Tony stared. If Abby was trying to impress him with her pain threshold-- well, it worked.
McGee finally couldn't take it anymore. He pulled her hand back by the wrist. "Don't do that!"
"Do I make you nervous, McGee?" Abby said, with a lovely evil smile. Abby was the only person Tony knew who managed to make evil smiles look a special kind of beautiful.
"Tony," Ziva said. "I will not be distracted."
Tony sighed. "Yes," he said. "Yes, I know they're my own rules. I invented them no less than fifteen minutes ago. And I must say, I am deeply wounded even by the nature of your question, Ziva." He theatrically mimicked being stabbed in the heart. "I love all my children equally." And no, he didn't really expect to get away with that.
Predictably, Ziva said, "You will not get away with that."
"No weaseling out of the question," McGee agreed.
Abby tilted her head at Tony. "It's all your own fault, Tony. Take it like a man."
"That's what you get for doing your co-workers a favor," Tony complained in exaggerated exasperation. "I'm trying to save you from the very brink of deadly boredom, and what do I get in--"
"Tony!" all three of them shouted in unison.
"Fine! Fine." He raised his hands in defeat and went for the obvious solution: picking someone who wasn't around. "Gibbs," he said. "There you have it. Gibbs is my favorite. Satisfied? Can we move on now?"
"You know, that's basically cheating," Abby said.
"You're a bit of a kiss ass," McGee said.
"That is an interesting image," Ziva said.
"I'm touched. I didn't know you cared," Gibbs said.
Tony turned his head to stare in the direction Gibbs' voice had come from. He really should have learned by now to expect Gibbs to turn up when he least expected Gibbs to turn up. "Hey, boss," he said. "How long have you been here? I'm guessing long enough?"
Of course Gibbs ignored the question. He stepped closer and into the circle of candlelight. "Keeping busy?"
"Well," McGee said, uncertain. Gibbs had that effect on people. "There really isn't much else we can do right now."
Ziva was unruffled. "Tony thought it would be a wonderful idea to--"
"You know what?" Tony interrupted her. "I changed my mind. You people just aren't suited to cope with entertaining pastimes." Abby took a deep, enraged breath, and Tony added quickly, "Abby, I'm excluding you from the assessment, of course."
"You better," she said, sending him a glare for good measure.
Tony started to rummage through his desk drawers once more. "I'm thinking Poker. Anyone with me on that at least?"
McGee leaned forward and asked, almost accusingly, "You've got a deck of cards? Why didn't you say so in the beginning?"
"I thought the campfire would be way more fun."
"And you were right. It was fun," Ziva said, smiling like a shark.
"I'm glad you think so," Tony said. Personally, he thought it had been one of his less brilliant ideas.
"Poker! I like it. I'm bad at it. I lose all the time," Abby said regretfully. "Still. Fun!"
Tony raised an eyebrow at her.
"Not everything is about winning, Tony," she informed him seriously. "Sometimes the journey is your destination."
"Er. Sure, Abbs," Tony said agreeably. He shuffled the cards while Abby and Ziva cleared his desk and McGee counted out one small heap of paperclips for each of them. Gibbs watched them from behind Ziva's chair with a faint air of amusement.
Tony didn't get it, not until he picked up his cards. One source of light in the center of the desk wasn't really practical for playing cards. Not if you wanted to keep your hand a secret from everyone else.
"Uh," McGee said, squinting at his cards.
"Yes, I know." Tony said.
"This is not going to work," Ziva said.
"You should have thought of that, Tony," Abby said.
"Explain to me how is this my fault," Tony said indignantly, but then the lights flickered, once, twice, and suddenly they were squinting up into painfully bright artificial illumination. The space of two blinks later, Tony's computer was already booting. They would be back in business soon.
"Well, it's about time," McGee said, but he made no move to get up.
Abby sighed, disappointed. "This was nice. We really should do it again some time. Soon. And with marshmallows."
Ziva put her cards back on the desk, face down. "We probably should--"
There was a clanking noise as the chair Gibbs was wheeling along in front of him bumped into a table leg. "Deal me in," he said and sat down.
Ziva moved to make more room for Gibbs. Tony collected the cards and shuffled them again. McGee counted out another heap of paperclips. Abby grinned at each of them in turn.
"This is much better than lying in my coffin at home," she said.
Tony thought there had to be about a million things more enjoyable than that, but he knew better than to say it out loud.
McGee wasn't so smart. "I can think of a million things that would be better than--"
Sometimes this great-minds-think-alike thing was more than a little scary, Tony thought, especially when it involved McGee.
"McGee," Abby growled. "What did I tell you about me and my--"
"We've got electricity now," Ziva pointed out.
"Ooh. Right." Abby pushed her chair back and stood. "Wait for me, okay? I'll just--" She was already in the stairwell before she could finish the sentence.
"Are we bickering or are we playing cards?" Gibbs asked in his best Gibbs-voice.
"Playing cards, boss," Tony answered in his most refined please-the-boss voice.
"Kiss ass," McGee muttered, which made Ziva smirk.
The candle kept burning, and all was right with the world.
- end -