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by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 006 Word Count: 9402
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Ensemble
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Episode Related, First Time, Friendship, Humor, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo, Abby/McGee, Tony/McGee
Episode(s): 5-18 Judgment Day
Summary: The team is given a unique opportunity while the regime change takes place. What they learn about each other will powerfully change them as well...
Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
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Family Dynamics 5/?
FRM this time for one instance of very bad language.
By the time Ducky and Ziva were up and ready for breakfast the others had finished and drifted off to explore and Tim had still not appeared. Tony huffed out a frustrated breath and glanced toward the stairs while speaking to the man and woman just settling at the table.
"What can I get you two?"
Ziva shot him a surprised look.
"You are cooking?"
"Work and eating actual meals don't exactly go together. When I'm home... I worship the Food Network. So?"
"What's available, dear boy?" Ducky asked, smiling gratefully as Tony placed a steaming cup of tea in front of him.
"Omelets are a specialty, but I can pretty much whip up anything you want. Like I said yesterday, the pantry, fridge and freezer are bulging."
"Hmmm. A western omelet sounds just the thing."
"Toast, bacon and three eggs scrambled, please." Ziva added.
"Coming right up."
For the next twenty minutes, Tony shocked and impressed Ziva by easily controlling and monitoring two frying pans at once, making sure the toast was generously buttered while still hot and plating both meals perfectly. When he actually grabbed a napkin and carefully wiped down the messy edge of her plate, her jaw dropped open slightly. Tony smirked mildly as he set her plate in front of her.
"Hey, presentation is fifty percent of the job. If it doesn't look good, you won't enjoy it as much and this... I want you to enjoy."
Raising a critical eyebrow, Ziva nonetheless took a cautious bite. A moment later she broke out in a pleased grin and looked back up at him.
"Oh... the touch of garlic is perfect. Fresh, too."
"As fresh as the grated parmesan."
"Mmmm, indeed." Ducky piped up. "This is marvelous, Tony. Nearly as good as your cacciatore."
Ziva looked at him, eyes wide and brows arching once again, and he laughed. "Tony's cooked for me several times. I may be one of a select few, judging by your reaction. Anthony?"
"Work is one thing, doc, real life is another. I'm a different person off the job. I have to be, or... or everything'd be a huge mess."
Ducky knew full well that Tony had changed the end of his sentence at the last minute, but, after a long moment of consideration, declined to call him on it, believing he'd be far more likely to draw the truth from the younger man the next time they found themselves alone. Dropping his gaze back to his plate, he continued eating, mentally working out how to make absolutely sure the private encounter happened.
Tony looked around the kitchen at what dishes waited to be washed and nodded, satisfied that they could survive until he returned from completing the next item on his priority list for the day. Sighing, he turned back to the pair at the table. "Okay, I'm gonna head up and get changed so I can go for my run. Just leave the dishes and pans 'till I get back."
"I can do them, Tony." Ziva protested. "My training in the Mossad did not erase the lessons from my mother..."
Tony chuckled as he wiped his hands.
"Don't sweat it, okay? They'll wait. Beside, you never mess with a chef's cookware. You damage it and your head might end up having a close encounter with a twelve-inch frying pan when you least expect it."
"I have heard this." She responded seriously. "Fine, but I will wash the plates and utensils. I feel... off-kilt if I cannot contribute."
"Deal." He agreed, not betraying for a second that he'd caught another of her customary slips of the tongue. "Take your time with your breakfast. Everybody else is done."
Tossing the dishtowel down next to the sink, he walked away, patting Ducky's shoulder as he left. Ziva looked up to find Ducky inexplicably smiling and forcing back laughter.
"Apologies, my dear. The phrase is off-kilter."
Ziva whipped her head around to stare at the arch into the main room where Tony had vanished a few moments before then pulled her gaze back to Ducky.
"But... but he did not... that is not Tony. He told me about a movie while we were in California. It was something about stolen bodies..."
" 'Invasion of the Bodysnatchers.' Classic message film. One of my favorites. You don't have to worry that Tony has been replaced with an extra-terrestrial, Ziva. What occurred has deeply shaken all of us, I'm afraid, and we'll all have to come to terms with Jennifer's death in our own fashion. Anthony is coping by shifting into his off-the-job persona. I realize you haven't seen much of him in that mode..."
"No. It is that different?"
"Oh, yes. The private Tony is quiet and introspective... and oh my, the knowledge he possesses would leave your pretty chin scraping the ground for days. The problem is getting any of it out of him. I've often thought raising the Titanic must've been easier than getting Tony to share his love of classical music and literature with me."
"You are saying that he reads more than superhero comic books and men's magazines?"
Ducky frowned at her.
"That was unfair and uncalled for. True, he knows a great deal about films and popular culture... but for the most part he studies those to allow him to fit in. At times, our modern, self-obsessed world can be cruel and unforgiving to beautiful faces with high-IQ brains hiding behind them. Tony is merely showing them what they expect to see so his deeper nature remains safe."
Ziva paled a bit and looked down at her plate. "Ah. And I see he isn't alone." Ducky guessed gently.
"Fulfilling your parents wishes for you is not such a terrible thing."
"It is when it does terrible things to your heart, your innocence and your spirit."
Ziva smiled thinly, shoved the remains of her egg around her plate with her fork and refused to look at the older man.
"I am what I was trained to be. Nothing can change that now."
Ducky rose to his feet with plate and tea cup, delivered them to the sink and returned before answering, after which he walked out of the kitchen.
"Nothing but you."
UPSTAIRS: A FEW MINUTES LATER
As Tony returned from the bathroom in shorts and tank top, he glanced at the other side of the room, but Tim still hadn't moved from the spot where he was staring out the window. Taking a deep breath, Tony tried once more to pull some response from the younger man.
"You sure? It wouldn't be any problem to hunt up Jimmy and send him in."
Tim merely shook his head. "You guys need to get this settled, Tim. We're down here for three weeks and if you two stop talking to each other... incredibly awkward is the nicest description I can come up with."
"Tony, please... it wasn't him, okay?" Tim sighed. "I was the one at fault. When I'm ready, I'll find him and say I'm sorry."
"That isn't like you, Tim." Tony offered gently. "You usually go miles out of your way *not* to start fights and hurt people."
"Usually... that's the key word there." Tim replied, his voice tinged with bitterness.
"Whoa. What was that about, kid?"
Tim shook himself a bit, clenched his hands and turned around.
"Last week, I was doing a standard computer search through older files and data archives... and I accidentally found out about Rota."
Tony instinctively stiffened, but swiftly forced himself to relax, not wanting Tim to know how powerfully the admission had affected him.
"I didn't go looking for it, Tony. I stumbled on the records."
"And you're regretting what you said. You don't have to. I put that behind me a long time ago."
"I thought I had, too... turns out I was wrong. If I'd known..."
"No way you could, Timmy. Yeah, maybe I was a little hurt at the time, but it didn't last. Not like the pain from what I did to you guys all those months."
"That wasn't you, Tony, we all know that. Sheppard gave you orders... it was her obsession, her responsibility. None of us blame you."
"I do." Tony gritted out. "Orders or not, I should've refused. I knew she had a personal agenda... I *knew*, and I still let her manipulate and twist me up like a damned pretzel... hell, you know why I wasn't really pissed over the crack you made? I finally admitted you were right. I owed the team better than the half-time, half-assed leader I was while Gibbs was gone... and a *hell* of a lot better than the liar and absentee partner I was after he came back. I know everybody wondered why I just tucked my tail and showed my belly to the boss when he suddenly decided to *be* the boss again. Listen close, Timmy, 'cause this is big news and you're the first to hear it. I caved because Gibbs would've *never*, not in a million years, let himself be convinced that betraying people he was supposed to be a fucking *example* to... was in the best interests of his country. If I couldn't give you and Michelle and Ziva any better than that... how the hell could I ever be worthy of my own team?"
Spinning around, Tony shot out through the door. By the time McGee recovered from his shock and ran after him, the other man was already down the stairs and nearly out of the house. Gaping, Tim descended one step, hesitated, then sat down. After a moment his head and upper body slumped forward until he was bent almost double. Wrapping his hands around the back of his neck, he retreated from the cyclone his thoughts had become, focused only on not hyperventilating and passing out.
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MTAC - NCIS Fic