Ziva is going undercover. Tony, Abby and McGee help her choose her clothes.
An established relationship story.
Written: April 2015. Word count: 2,655.
"I've got it!" Tony cried.
"Well, just don't give it to the rest of us," McGee murmured.
Tony turned and shot him a look. "Very good, McFunny," he said, and then he grinned.
"What," Ziva said, looking at Tony, "exactly is it that you have?"
"Huh?" Tony asked.
Ziva rolled her eyes. "What is it you have got? You said 'I have got it'," she explained.
"Oh, yeah. That. Sprayed on pants." Tony nodded.
Ziva looked confused. "What are sprayed on pants?" she asked, her tone dubious as well as uncertain. She looked from Tony to McGee and finally she looked at Abby.
"Er," Tony said, quickly turning to look at McGee and then Abby. "You tell her, Abby."
"Because it'll be better coming from you." Tony smiled and flashed Abby his pleading look.
Abby rolled her eyes, tossed her head so that her pigtails bounced and looked at Ziva. "They're trousers which are so tight they look as if they've been sprayed on. They're uncomfortable and hell to get on and off and you certainly don't want to drink a lot when you're wearing them because going to the bathroom, is <i>really</i> difficult - in fact you don't want to eat a lot either."
Tony frowned. "Those are just the negatives, Abby," he said.
"What are the positives, Tony?" McGee asked.
"They're tight and sexy and revealing and -" Tony fell silent under the glare Ziva was giving him. "Perfect for your undercover assignment," he added in a conciliatory tone.
Ziva slowly turned her attention from Tony and looked firstly at McGee and then at Abby; she raised an eyebrow. Tony was glad to have the focus taken from him. He thought Gibbs could freeze someone to the spot when he glared at them; Ziva took things to a new level.
"Well?" Ziva demanded, when neither McGee nor Abby said anything. "Is he correct? Will these," she paused, frowned, then said slowly, "sprayed on pants be perfect for my undercover assignment?"
Abby and McGee glanced at one another. "Um," McGee said. "Yes?"
Abby sighed. "Sorry, Ziva, but yeah, Tony's right. They will be perfect. You've got to look . . . Well, you know." To Tony's surprise Abby's cheeks flushed just a little.
Ziva put her hands on his hips. "You mean I have to look like a prostitute?"
The three hastened to refute her statement, falling over themselves to assure her that wasn't what they meant, and that they just meant she had to look good and sexy and available.
"Like a prostitute," Ziva repeated.
Abby gave her a 'sorry Ziva' look and nodded. "Yeah," she said. "Sorry, Ziva."
Ziva shrugged. "Why are you apologizing, Abby? It is not as if you are calling me a prostitute; you are merely saying that I need to look like one for this assignment. Believe me; I have looked far worse at times. I will happily do whatever I can in order for us to catch this -" She said something in what Tony guessed was her native tongue before saying, "Monster."
The term was very apt. For the past three months a man had been attacking, raping, torturing and then butchering working girls. The cops had nothing to go on; he had left no blood, semen, hair, or anything else they could get DNA from at the scenes. Each crime scene had been clinically clean. It was as though the man had no DNA, no fingerprints, no hair, no footprints, no - nothing. In many ways, apart from the butchered, raped, tortured and beaten bodies, it would have been easy to think he didn't exist. All of the murders had happened in the vicinity of Clancey's Bar, and all but two of the victims had worked out of the bar.
The cops had tried sending in one of their own undercover. Her funeral was incredibly well attended; she left two young daughters and a husband to mourn her. NCIS had of course followed the case, everyone did; it was pretty much the topic of conversation in every coffee shop, hamburger bar and street stand. Everywhere you went you heard people talking about the killings. However, it was only when an off-duty naval officer, who made the fatal mistake of dressing in tight, reveling clothing for a fancy dress party, and then deciding to walk to the party, past Clancy's Bar, had turned out to be the latest and most bloody victim that NCIS had become involved.
Tony had seen, they all had, victims of brutal murder and torture, both as a cop and an NCIS agent. He thought he had seen the worst life could show him; how wrong he had been. Even to this day he didn't know quite how he had kept his breakfast inside him as he had stared down at Lieutenant Ellie Marshall's brutalized body. McGee had turned swiftly around and stood shaking, Ziva had whispered what sounded almost like a prayer and had turned pale in a way Tony had never seen her do. Even Gibbs had briefly closed his eyes and tightened his lips as he had stared down at what had once been a very pretty young woman with her entire life in front of her.
Ducky summed up what they all felt when he removed his hat as he looked down at what remained of Ellie and said softly, "Dear God, Jethro. You have to catch this bastard." Then eyes blazing with more fury than Tony could believe was possible for anyone, especially someone as gentle as Ducky, he turned once more to Gibbs and said, "I want him, Jethro. I want the bastard. I want him." He quivered with pent up rage.
Gibbs put his hand on Ducky's shoulder and squeezed it for a moment. "Yeah, Duck. Know you do. We all do."
"Get him, Jethro. Get him!"
"Working on it, Duck."
Tony admitted he had never really had much respect for Palmer; oh, he liked him in a 'what's not to like' way, but respect? He really hadn't been sure; at least he hadn't had the kind of respect he had for Gibbs and Ducky and McGee and Abby. However, that day it all changed.
Palmer had stood hitherto unspeaking by Ducky's side, trembling just a little, his face impassive as he looked at Ellie. Now he turned to Ducky, put his hand on Ducky's arm and said softly, "Come on, Doctor, I'll get the gurney. We can take her home and look after her."
Ducky turned to Palmer and nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Palmer. We shall indeed do that."
For two days the entire team, including Ducky, Palmer and Abby had worked around the clock, grabbing a few minutes sleep here and there, going over every shred of evidence - what little there was - reading and rereading and re-rereading the police and autopsy reports. They re-interviewed everyone the police had interviewed and then dug up some new people to interview. At the end of forty-eight hours they had precisely nothing.
Drained, in desperate need of sleep, food and showers, the seven of them had sat in the squad room long after everyone had gone home drinking coffee laced with whiskey, mostly just staring into space. Each alone with his or her own thoughts; none of them wanting to be the first to move.
Finally, Ziva put down her mug and looked at Gibbs. "I wish to go undercover," she said, her voice flat and low and with a rare hint of her Israeli accent.
Gibbs shook his head. "Not gonna happen, Ziva."
Brown eyes nailed him and held his gaze. "Why not?"
"Because you could be killed?"
She gave a half bitten-off laugh. "Gibbs, if I did not do things simply because I might be killed, I would never do or have done anything. The risk of being killed is part of the job; you know that. We all," she glanced around the group, even taking in the non-field team members of Team Gibbs, "know that." She fell silent and then said, once again speaking softly, "What other choice do we have?"
It hadn't surprised Tony to see Gibbs turn and look at Ducky and they had a silent conversation. Tony promised himself (not for the first time) that one day he would learn how to follow their silent conversations.
"You'll need backup."
"But not too close," Ziva said firmly. "We do not wish to turn his attention away from me."
Gibbs glared, but said nothing. He merely nodded. "DiNozzo; I want you and Dorneget in the bar. McGee; you, Phillips and Smithson will be outside. I'll draft in other agents as well to be outside. I'll be there as well. You'll all keep your distance, but remain close enough to shoot. No one messes about. At the first sign of trouble, you shoot - you shoot to kill - without warning. Don't waste time identifying yourselves as Federal Agents. Got that?"
"Yes, boss." DiNozzo swallowed and nodded.
"Yes, Gibbs." McGee's voice was just a little shaky. No one outside of his fellow team members would have noticed, but Tony did, and he actually found he admired McGee for not being afraid to show the effect Gibbs's words had had on him.
"You sure, Tim? You shoot to kill without warning. That bastard isn't getting anyone else. You shoot to kill - without warning," he said again. "I don't give a damn what the papers say or whose so-called rights I might be violating. This bastard hasn't got any. He violated his rights to them when he killed the first girl. Got that? Because if any of you can't follow orders I don't want you involved. Kill without warning."
Tony and McGee locked gazes. "Yes, boss," they said together.
"Very well," Ziva said, looking directly at Tony. "If sprayed on pants are what are needed, then sprayed on pants are what I will wear. I will, however, need to go shopping."
"I'll come with you," Abby said swiftly. Tony knew why she was offering: so far due to a complete lack of forensic evidence, Abby had felt she hadn't been able to contribute anything to the case.
"Thank you, Abby. I would like that."
"May I make a suggestion?" McGee asked.
Ziva turned to him. "Of course, McGee."
He moistened his lips, flushed and said, "I suggest on top you wear a low-cut, tight, white see-through blouse or top with a black or red or some other vivid color bra under it. Sorry," he said, glancing away as Ziva just went on staring at him. "I just thought . . ."
"You also do not need to apologize, McGee. I quite understand."
"Er, Ziva?" Now Abby sounded hesitant.
"Um . . . The thing is . . . You see you won't . . . That is -" She turned to look at Tony for a moment, before biting her lip and looking back at Ziva. "You won't be able to wear panties, under your trousers," she added swiftly.
"They'll show," Tony said softly. "They'll break-up the smoothness."
Ziva blinked and for the first time since they had started to discuss the assignment and her clothing, she looked distasteful and faintly troubled. Then she spat something out in what Tony guessed was Hebrew before nodding, gritting her teeth and saying, "No panties."
Ziva and Tony stood in Ziva's bedroom. Her outfit, such as it was, lay on her bed. An array of make-up in garish colors covered her dressing table. High, far higher than Tony had ever seen her wear, spiky, red shoes covered with diamantes were on the floor next to the dressing table. Ziva's hair had been dyed blonde, with just enough of her roots showing to make it look cheap and slutty. Just as she would look.
Tony put his arms around her and drew her towards him. After a moment or two she sighed, made a soft noise of pleasure and slipped her arms around his neck. "You don't have to do this, Ziva," he said.
She shook her head. "Yes, Tony. I do. I have to do this."
"Gibbs would understand if you changed your mind. He wouldn't force you to do it."
"I know he would not force me. I know he does not want me to go undercover. I know he believes, no, he does not believe - he wants to believe - that we will be able to solve the case, catch the monster some other way. However, we will not. Well, we may, but at what cost? How many more women will have to die before we catch him? They were all people, Tony, all women; their professions may not have been everyone's choice, but they were human beings. They did not deserve to die."
"I know that, Ziva," Tony said, kissing her cheek lightly. "When I was a cop in Baltimore a couple of the best, the most moral, the most caring people I knew were prostitutes. They did what they did to put food on the table for their kids; they used their skills. I never once looked down on them."
"I believe you," she said, her tone low as she tilted her head back a little and offered him her mouth. He eagerly accepted the invitation, keeping the kiss relatively light, as he brushed his tongue over her lower lip. She parted her lips for him and he slipped his tongue inside where it began to battle with her tongue as the intensity of the kiss increased.
Aware they didn't really have long before Ziva had to be dressed and ready to leave her apartment, Tony regretfully gentled the kiss and finally broke it. He forced himself not to imagine what it would be like to never to kiss her again. He pushed thoughts that this could be the last time he ever kissed her from his mind. He would not think like that. He would not let her die. He would give his life to save hers. And no, that didn't mean he was incapable of doing his job properly because they were more than just working partners; he would give his life to save Gibbs's and McGee's as well; just as they would give theirs to save another member of the team.
"Without warning," she said softly, her head coming to rest of his shoulder for a moment, before she raised it and stared at him, looking directly into his eyes. "Can you do that, Tony? Can you go against everything you have been trained to do? Go against protocol?"
Tony nodded. "Yes," he said flatly. "Gibbs was right; this bastard has no rights. Now, get dressed Ziva, get made up and get ready. Be ready, Ziva. Be prepared."
"I always am, Tony. I always am. And you, you must also take care."
Tony nodded and kissed her forehead, then each cheek, then her nose before finally kissing her lips lightly again. "I will, Ziva. I promise." And then because he had to, because he wanted to, he opened his mouth and said, "Ziva, I -"
She put her fingers on his lips, thus silencing him, and shook her head. "No. No, Tony. Do not say it. You can say it later. Later once we have the monster. Then you can tell me."
Tony swallowed hard. "It's a deal. Now I'd better go before Abby gets here." Abby was coming over to advise on make-up and help Ziva dress; sprayed on pants were virtually impossible to get on without someone to help you.
She nodded and just held his gaze. He kissed her again, lightly, briefly, before turning on his heel and leaving her apartment. This was it; tonight they would nail the bastard. He had killed for his last time. He wouldn't be killing not ever again - and certainly not that night.
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