Chapter 15: Warranted QuestionsThis is a featured page

Gibbs' voice could be heard through the entire squad room as he shouted into his cell phone, chewing out some hapless individual that had evidently gotten on the wrong side of his ire.

"—so I don't give a flying horse's ass if you had to wake up fifty judges and I certainly don't care that I woke you up. You get me that warrant no later than half an hour or it's your job Agent Perry!" Gibbs stabbed the button forcefully to end the call. "Damn legal department," he growled, before stalking off.

Abby giggled from where she stood beside Ziva. "Aw, I love it when Gibbs gets all Papa Bear on us."

Ziva wasn't paying attention. She stared fixedly at Tony's desk, a slight frown on her face.

"Um, Ziva?" Abby waved her hand in front of Ziva's face. "Ziva?"

She abruptly started. "What? Did you say something Abby?"

"Don't tell me you missed that whole thing?"

"Missed… what?"

Abby shook her head, incredulous. "You are so out of it. Are you ok?"

"I am fine Abby. I was just-" Ziva sighed.

"Thinking about Tony?" Abby finished, knowingly.

Ziva didn't answer, giving only a noncommittal tilt of her head as she lifted unsettled brown eyes to meet Abby's.

"Don't worry, Ziva. He'll be fine." Abby reassured her. "Timmy's with him tonight. And Gibbs is gonna find whoever is after him, you'll see."

"I know." She sighed again. "It is just that… I was coming over tonight to make up with him and-"

"You were going to 'make up' with Tony?" Abby grinned impishly as she raised her eyebrows.

"Elohim, ten li koach*." Ziva muttered under her breath as she rolled her eyes heavenward. "You know that is not what I meant, Abby. He tried to apologize this afternoon and I would not accept it. I threw it in his face. And now I have made things worse by accusing his sister again."

Abby studied her friend's face. "Well, do you really think that Ali is to blame?"

Ziva shrugged. "I do not even know anymore. I did, and then I did not. She acted suspiciously, and then her behavior was explained. But now that we have even more reason to suspect her Tony still refuses to consider that she could be involved." She shook her head, frustrated. "He can be so careless!"

Abby nodded her agreement. "Tony doesn't always have the greatest sense of self-preservation in the world. And I know that he can be a pain when he wants to and sometimes he says things without thinking first. But underneath it all he's got a heart of gold, and that's just who he is. He's our Tony and we love him."

Ziva smiled. Abby certainly managed to see the world in simple terms.

"Of course."

Abby took on a serious look and tone of voice as she began to lecture. "But you should have accepted his apology. You know that Tony would never hurt you on purpose. And I'm sure he still feels terrible about what he said, especially if he thinks that you haven't forgiven him."

"I know he did not mean it. And I am not sure why I…" Ziva trailed off, looking a little sad. "We were just getting back to normal, back to how we were before. Before Rivkin, and Somalia. And now I am sure that I have just managed to drive us further apart."

Abby softened at seeing Ziva's regret. "Well, I happen to know that Tony doesn't like it when you two are fighting either. And I'm sure he wants to make up just as much as you do. He's not going to hold anything against you, Ziva. Tony doesn't ever hold grudges for long. You just need to talk to him. Explain your side of things. It'll be ok."

Ziva was about to respond when a surly voice broke in.

"Excuse me. I'm looking for Agent Gibbs."

The two women turned to see who had interrupted them. He was scowling, and his clothes looked rumpled and untidy.

Ziva addressed the obviously bad-tempered and probably sleep-deprived man. "I would be happy to take a message for Agent Gibbs, Mr…?"

"It's Agent. Perry," he ground out, obviously annoyed. "Your boss called for this warrant ASAP—he even threatened my job—and so I took time out to bring it and now he isn't even here."

"He should be back soon," Ziva replied mildly, taking the papers that he handed her.

Agent Perry gave a humorless snort. "Lot of help that is. So in other words, he didn't really need to disturb my sleep, he just did it because he can. I mean, just because he has the highest closing rate in this office does he think that entitles him to some kind of special privileges? I don't know who Gibbs thinks he is, but I'll have you know that-"

As the disgruntled agent continued on with his laundry list of complaints, Ziva and Abby held back grins at the sight of Gibbs walking silently up behind him.

"-and I don't even know what your boss thinks he's going to be able to do with a warrant at this time of morning. The place doesn't even open for hours," he grouched.

Gibbs hissed directly into the agent's ear. "Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. I'm sure I can… persuade them to open a little early."

Agent Perry whirled around, paling when he realized that Gibbs had likely heard everything he had said.

Gibbs smiled a dangerous, wolfish smile, showing all his teeth.

"Uh… um… yeah. That is- I'm, I'm sure you could," Agent Perry stammered hastily. He took several large steps backward before turning and virtually fleeing for the exit.

Both Ziva and Abby stifled their laughter at this as Gibbs turned his gaze on them.

"Ziva, with me," he commanded as he strode for the elevator.

Ziva exchanged another chuckle with Abby before hurrying to join him, making sure she brought along the warrant. She had no doubt that Gibbs would indeed convince the Stargrounds manager to open early.

\

"Tony! What are you doing?"

Said agent paused, his hand on the door knob, before turning to face McGee with a winning, if guilty, smile. "Er… I was going to go to work?"

McGee stared him down. He had left a seemingly sleeping Tony scant minutes earlier in order to relieve himself, and had returned to find a very awake Tony attempting to walk out the front door.

Tony chuckled, a little uneasily. "Wow McGee, you're getting pretty good at that staring thing. Careful though. I'm pretty sure Gibbs holds the trademark rights. You don't want him to sue you."

McGee scoffed. "No, but I don't want him to murder me either. And I'm pretty sure that's what would happen if I let you go off by yourself when you're supposed to be under protective custody."

Tony considered this. "Well, I mean, I was hoping to just slip out and avoid the awkwardness of all this, at least for a while, what with me spilling my guts all over the place last night, but I guess that's probably too much to ask for, and anyway-"

McGee interrupted his babblings. "Tony, how were you even planning on getting to work?"

"Well, I was gonna call a taxi, but I guess I can allow you to be my McChauffeur." Tony grinned.

McGee rolled his eyes.

Tony suddenly became serious. "Look Tim, I'm going. I have to. Now you can take me, or not. Your choice. But if you plan on 'keeping an eye on me,'" he made air quotes, "I suggest the former."

McGee sighed. He reached over to a side table and grabbed his keys. "Fine. Let's go."

\

When they arrived at NCIS, McGee went off to find Gibbs after giving Tony clear instructions to stay in the bullpen.

"I'm serious Tony. If I lose track of you, it's not a matter of whether I'll be dead, it's a matter of who'll kill me first. Gibbs or Abby."

Tony snorted. "Yeah, well, my bet's on Abby. Gibbs is sneaky, but you know he doesn't move quite as fast as he used to."

McGee bit back a grin as Tony looked around nervously after this statement, as if expecting Gibbs to materialize.

"Tony-"

"Yeah, yeah. Staying put." Tony sat in his desk chair and pulled out his cell phone as McGee left the room.

This was where Ziva found him when she walked in a few minutes later.

"Tony? What are you doing here?" she asked.

He barely glanced up at her. "Oh, I'm just using the wifi."

Ziva screwed up her face in puzzlement. "What?"

"Well, you know what they say. If you ask a silly question…" Tony shrugged.

Ziva shook her head slowly. "No, I do not know what they say."

"It's- they-" Tony let out an exasperated huff. "You know, the real question should be why everyone seems so surprised that I would be here. This is where I work, after all."

"Tony, we are just-" Ziva sighed. "I am just… concerned about you."

Tony raised his eyebrows at this admission. "Well, don't be. I can take care of myself just fine."

Ziva bit back her inclination to snark that, yes; he had managed it quite well last night. She had already helped to further this rift between them and now she had to help mend it.

She walked over and sat on the edge of his desk; he looked up from his game of Tetris but said nothing.

"Tony," she began slowly, then stopped, unsure of her next words.

"Ziva," he replied, in a detached, polite sort of way. His expression was guarded.

"Tony, I am sorry if I upset you about Ali. And that I was so cold to you yesterday." She laid a hand on his arm.

Tony looked down at her hand then back up at her face and sighed, his defenses visibly dropping. "No, Ziva. I'm the one who's sorry. I had no right to bring up your brother like that. I don't know what I was thinking. Actually, I'm pretty sure I wasn't thinking."

"Well, you were not completely wrong," she admitted. "I had been drawing comparisons. And I know I overreacted to what you said. I am not sure why I flew away from the handle like that."

Tony grinned. "It's 'off,' Ziva. 'Flew off the handle.'"

"Ah." Ziva smiled back at him, glad to see the familiar sparkle in his eyes as he corrected her.

"Look, Ziva, I know you have some trust issues. And I get it, trust me." He grimaced. "Sorry. Poor choice of words there. But really, I get where you're coming from. I mean, c'mon, I've got more baggage than a Samsonite outlet."

Ziva chuckled.

"But Ziva," he began earnestly, looking her straight in the eye, "I just know that you're wrong about Ali."

Ziva sighed. "Tony, if I am wrong, then I am wrong, and I will be glad of it for your sake. But if there is a chance that I could be right, I cannot just stand idly by."

"No, I guess you can't. And I wouldn't expect anything less from a Mossad hunting dog anyway." Tony smiled as he placed his hand over hers. "No, scratch that. You're our hunting dog now."

Ziva growled slightly and they both laughed, the tension between them evaporating.

"And anyway, that's what I love about you Ziva. You always-"

Ding.


The elevator announced its arrival on their floor half a second before an animated Abby bounded through the middle of the bullpen, effectively ending that conversation.

"Ziva! Guess what I found! I- Tony!" As Abby spotted him she practically sprang into his lap before bestowing one of her massive hugs.

Tony screwed up his face at the jolt but then grinned. "Hey Abbs."

Abby was too hyper to stay sitting in one place for long and she immediately got up, excitedly hopping from one foot to the other.

"You guys! Tony! Ziva! I know who we're looking for!"

"You do?" Tony asked.

"Who?" Ziva asked.

"Well, not who, more like- ok well, sort of like who, but not. What I mean is, not exactly who. Well, ok, so I don't really know who he is. At least, I don't know his name. Not yet. But I do have a picture of his face, clear as day."

Abby looked triumphant. Tony looked confused.

"How did you get that?" he asked.

"Oh, from the security footage of that coffee place you like. Gibbs got it as soon as Agent Perry brought him the warrant." Abby gave a mischievous grin. "Poor Agent Perry. If he wasn't terrified of Gibbs already, he certainly is now."

Tony laughed. "Gibbs put Larry Perry in his place? I'd have liked to see that."

"His first name is Larry?" Ziva asked in disbelief. "What parents would name their child Larry Perry?"

"Very cruel ones. But no, it's actually Lawrence." Tony admitted.

"But it is really funny when you call him Larry," Abby put in.

"I mean, just say it. Larry Perry. La-rry Pe-rry," Tony sing-songed.

Ziva smirked, shaking her head. "So Abby, the picture?"

"Oh, right." She clicked a remote and a picture of a dark-haired man, frozen, as he half bent over next to a car, popped up on one side of the plasma screen. The other side was rapidly shifting through photos, comparing them to several points marked on the man's face. "I'm running facial recognition as we speak."

Tony was staring intently at the screen, his eyes narrowed. "No need for that Abbs. I know who he is."

...

*Elohim, ten li koach means 'God, give me strength' in Hebrew.

Chapter 16



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