category: NCIS, Tony/Gibbs, Ziva/Jenny (contains less than 10% Gibbs/Jenny, Tony/Ziva, real fruit), everybody else
rating: S for Suggestive Stroking and Some Sex
notes: Set to the tune of femslash100's alphabet soup challenge. Each section is exactly 100 words, from A-Z, for a total of 2600 words for your reading pleasure.
disclaimer: NCIS belongs to Bellisario and the Navy and CBS, nemme. Fanfiction is a practice of desire.
summary: Everybody comes to Belgrade.
acknowledgements: hail, hail, projectcyborg, symbolic mother of femslash everywhere. Beta by rossetti, made of awesome and twice as clever! And thanks to my runpunkrun, who owns a share of everything I do, even if it’s NCIS.
feedback: why wouldn’t you???? Don’t you love me??!?!
Written By The Victors
"So what went down between you and the director in Europe, anyway?" Tony is perched on the edge of Ziva’s desk, and he asks so he can see her lick her lips. She does.
"Wouldn’t you love to know," she says, freeing her hair from where it was pinned between her bare shoulders and the chair.
"Hot in here," Tony says. "Director’s wearing a sundress with those, what do you call ‘em? Spaghetti strings."
"Straps," says Ziva, who tied them this morning. She grins.
"Straps," confirms Tony, who will ask Gibbs, tonight, to tell him everything he knows about Europe.
This silk is worth three, maybe four lira, but Americans will pay maybe a hundred fifty. Ziva slides her sunglasses down on her nose to look at the market and the sky.
"How much?" asks Special Agent Shepard, and the Turk swipes snot from his mustache.
"For you?" he coughs. "One hundred."
Shepard studies the cloth, holds it up to the sky where the pattern is bleached by the merciless white of the sun. "I’ll give you five," she says in Turkish. The man snuffs again and is embarrassed.
"Deal," says Ziva, laying a five lira note on the table.
"There’s a hotel Jenny likes, in Sarajevo," Gibbs says. "Hotel Bezan, it was called. We used to meet there when we were on assignment behind the line."
Tony listens from the bathroom. Gibbs has been like this for days now, since Jenny Shepard was named the new NCIS director. New woman in charge so soon after Kate died, Tony assumes, it’s tough on the boss. Gibbs doesn’t say much.
"I saw that hotel on CNN," Tony says, spitting in the sink. "It was bombed about a year ago, I think."
"Yeah," says Gibbs. "Went down like a ton of bricks."
There is nothing much in Sarajevo that’s familiar in 2004. The last time Jenny was here Americans didn’t yet have cause to remember September, and the World Trade Towers still stood. Here, nothing stands, and the night air smells of mildew and urine.
"Get in the truck," says Ziva. "We’re moving out."
Jenny hooks a knee into the truck bed and pulls herself up, flipping off the visor on her night-vision goggles.
The truck smells like mildew too. The doors close, Ziva barks orders in Hebrew, and the driver takes off. Ziva reaches for Jenny’s hand.
"Rega," says Ziva. Wait.
They get lost in the hills, roads twist in upon roads and circle back to the same intersections over and over, the same trees twisting in the headlights. At a gas station, no one is able to describe exactly where they got lost, which infuriates Ziva so profoundly that she finds herself standing far away, clenching her fists and cataloging her mental arsenal. Jenny lays a hand on her arm.
"The worst thing that can happen is we’ll end up where we started," says Jenny.
Ziva stares at her. "That would signify a huge waste of time," she says, bitterly.
"So?" says Jenny. "That’s not fatal."
Ziva looks away. Behind her, someone is gassing the truck, and someone is asking about cola. "This mission can’t fail," Ziva says. "My father doesn’t trust outsiders easily."
"He’s afraid we’ll call you on your methods," Jenny says with a smile, but Ziva isn’t smiling.
"He’s afraid I’ll make the same mistake as my brother. Let foreigners corrupt me."
When Jenny looks at Ziva, she’s already brushing off her jeans and climbing into the truck.
Jenny catches her. "Why?"
Ziva’s eyes are clouded. "I want to go back to the States with you," she says.
"You ever thought of a maid’s uniform?" Jenny asks, after the maid leaves.
"Why, Special Agent Shepard!" Ziva gasps, reaching across Jenny to grab a bottle of water on the bedside table. "I’m shocked."
"Or just the stockings and the garter belt," Jenny muses.
"Garter belt!" Ziva looks horrified. "Is that the one that ties up the back and compresses your internal organs to the size of small mixed nuts?"
"That’s a girdle," says Jenny. Her eyes fall on Ziva’s perfect midsection, the firm angles of her hipbones sliding into the waistband of her military briefs. "You don’t need one."
Usually, Tony knows better than to visit Gibbs uninvited, as it promises several hours of breathing sawdust and listening to NPR while Gibbs sands by hand and doesn’t say much. Today, Tony’s craving wins. It’s not really a fair fight.
"Put on the game, DiNozzo," Gibbs says, after Tony’s opened his beer. Tony’s not sure for a minute that Gibbs means him.
"The...basketball game?" Tony asks. "Ohio State?"
"UCLA, Final Four," says Gibbs, sanding. "There’s pizza coming."
"Whenever Ohio State plays, you get jazzed," Gibbs admits, with a twinkle in his eye. "I was in the mood for that."
In 1994 the desk clerk had tattoos on the back of her hands, but only Jenny noticed how Gibbs stared at them. Tattoos are for sailors and work-camp prisoners, Gibbs said, later. Why'd anyone do that to a beautiful woman?
In 2004 the tattoos are the same but the girl is different, younger, and the spirals on her wrists are black instead of red when she hands Ziva the keys to their room. "Bath is at the end of the hall," says the girl.
Her tattooed fingers brush Ziva's when she pulls away, and this time it's Jenny who can't stop staring.
"Last time I was here I saw Jethro kill someone," Jenny says, sitting on the edge of the bed. Ziva rolls over and her bare skin is sweaty against the 600 count percale. Jenny is silhouetted, a dark cello against the moon and the streetlights.
"Just slit his throat, right there, on that street corner," Jenny is saying.
Before they leave Sarajevo, Ziva knows she will have to kill several someones, but she swears to herself Jenny must never know. She reaches out and strokes Jenny's back and the small hairs there are standing up, even on such a hot night.
"I killed a guy in Sarajevo, 1994," Gibbs tells Tony in the office, late at night after everyone's gone home and the room is quiet except for the low hum of the Caf-Pow machine, down the corridor. "Never even knew his name."
Tony doesn't speak, because Gibbs can take "Go on" as a change of subject like nobody's business. Then he can't help himself. "Go on."
"I cut his throat with a Tomahawk lockback," says Gibbs. "I had my orders."
"Hard to imagine Jethro Gibbs assassinating somebody just because he was ordered to," says Tony.
"Yeah," Gibbs agrees. "Long time ago."
"Me, my father encouraged to go out, date the boys, make friends. Not Ari."
Ziva sips her coffee. Over Jenny's shoulder, she can see Aziz waiting on the stoop with his newspaper. "As a boy Ari was, as you Americans say, a bit of a loser. At University he blossomed. Then it was girlfriend after girlfriend."
Jenny listens, her chin in her hand, her chai getting cold in the evening desert breeze. A black limousine pulls up to the stoop and Aziz stands up to meet the passenger.
Ziva takes Jenny's hand just a moment before the blast goes off.
The kid from Philadelphia's sharp, Gibbs remembers thinking. The first time Tony took a bullet for Gibbs (took it in the rear door of his Mustang, pealing in for the rescue like James Dean), Gibbs called Jenny.
"Miss having a partner?" she had asked, and her voice had echoed over continents and oceans.
"Nah," he said. "Got the next generation."
And he didn't have any pictures of Shannon or Molly up after that, and now, in his drawer, there's the photo of the kid from Philadelphia getting his NCIS badge, and Gibbs standing next to him and just behind, beaming.
He remembers Paris, 1996.
"Even if you were a cat," Jenny clutched at him, teetering drunkenly in the moonlight. "You'd've used up most of your lives by now."
Gibbs grinned, turning the corner onto the Rue Provencal and looking vaguely about for a taxi. "Yep," he had agreed, the memory bleeding into the present, its passage lubricated by several bottles of Gallic Pinot Noir. "I figure I've got two, maybe three left."
"At least you're getting more careful in your advanced years," Jenny murmured. "Steady on."
"Semper fi," says Gibbs to the bartender, and goes home to work on his boat.
Gibbs calls his contact. “I gotta keep her out of harm’s way,” he says. Jenny meets him at the car and holsters her weapon.
“We ready?” she asks. He drives through the night and drops her off at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Belgrade.
“I’ll be right back,” he says. Six hours later Mila Nedeljkovic is halfway to the States, in chains. Gibbs changes his jeans and shoes in the car, and puts the bloody ones in a track bag under the backseat.
“How’d it go?” Jenny asks.
“Routine,” says Gibbs, curling in beside her under the homespun quilt.
“Not enough, Abs,” says Tony. “I need good stories, meaty, detail-rich stories.”
“Even if I knew any stories,” Abby says. “Which I don’t. What makes you think I would betray the sacred confidence of the sisterhood?”
Tony hoists himself up onto the desk and swings his legs. “Because it’s hottttttt, Abby. Ziva and the director? Hot.”
Abby waggles her eyebrow. “I may have seen Ziva come out of Director Shepard’s office at six one morning. In her underwear.”
“That’ll do it,” Tony grins. “Wanna spy on them? Partner up? Trade stories?”
“Free porn?” Abby leaps to her feet. “Hell yeah.”
Jenny drives through the mountains and into the morning. Before dawn she parks, locks the Jeep and shoulders Ziva’s weight up the hill and into the house.
“Where are we?” Ziva blinks awake. Jenny sets her up in the double bed, under the quilt and the painting of Jesus.
“About fifty miles from Belgrade,” says Jenny. “And you’ve got some broken ribs.”
“Is it secure?” Ziva asks, and it’s seventeen years ago, when Jethro found this safehouse, and they’d stayed here for two idyllic weeks.
“Yeah,” says Jenny, wrapping herself around Ziva, careful not to squeeze too tight. “It’s secure.”
At about four o’clock the sun is at just the right angle to blind Tony’s monitor with the glare, and the warmth on his face means it’s time for a power nap. Kate called it siesta.
He kicks his feet on his desk and makes a big show of peeling his orange, carving out fleshy sections with his thumbs and getting juice everywhere.
“Are you going to share that?” Ziva asks, coming over.
He hands her a dripping slice of orange and she considers it before leaning in and catching it with her tongue.
Tony closes his eyes. Siesta time.
Abby and Ducky are out the door and Tony gets up to follow them.
"Wait, Tony?" the director calls.
He closes the door and sits down again.
"How's Jethro?" she asks.
"Fine," Tony says.
Her smile is lopsided, but she nods. "And how's Ziva working out?"
Now Tony smiles. "You tell me," he says.
"Mm," the director says. "I wondered if she'd tell you."
"About the two of you in Europe?" Tony's eyebrows shoot up. "She may have."
"So." The director brushes a bit of hair from her face and then rests her chin in her hand. "How's Jethro, Tony?"
"Whatcha got, Abs?" Gibbs slams a Caf-Pow! on the desk.
"The Mayor's office is faxing us now, Boss," Tony says. "And according to the traffic cam --"
" -- Beige Corolla, Michigan plates," Abby finishes, throwing the scan up on her monitor.
Gibbs looks at Tony, who pops down off the counter. "Going now."
Abby takes a sip of the Caf-Pow! and Gibbs looks at her.
"And Tony?" he says, and Tony stops in the doorway. "Jenny doesn't like jazz. Or 'slow humping music.'"
"Course not, Boss!" says Tony.
"Ziva might," Gibbs says, maybe even smiling as he turns and leaves.
"Stay," says Ziva. She puts a hand on Jenny's throat, and the other slides between Jenny's bare breasts, over her stomach and through her red curls. Jenny chokes when she arches her back.
Ziva's left hand is rock steady, suspended less than an inch from Jenny's heaving throat. Her right hand drives two fingers deep inside, and her thumb cruises circles around Jenny's swollen clit. Jenny gags against Ziva's hand and her thighs spasm.
She can't move, not even to grab Ziva's ass or kiss her, and so instead she closes her eyes and believes she'd let Ziva kill her.
Ziva's flight is four hours before Jenny's. They have coffee and sit in plastic chairs and on TV, CNN talks about the deaths of people they know.
"I'll get you to the States, I promise," says Jenny.
"I believe you," says Ziva, who is already setting her watch for Tel Aviv.
Later, at the duty-free, Jenny gets Jethro a candle holder, Turkish glass, and wraps it carefully in paper. She tucks it next to the fifth of vodka and the bracelet Ziva got her off the body of assassin in Herzegovenia, shoulders her carryon, and goes back to Washington.
Gibbs likes to say she left him in Paris, but the truth is he left her much earlier than that, in a farmhouse outside Edinburgh.
"Marry me," he'd said. "Marry me, Jen."
She knew what it meant, a business marriage of a sort, the sort where both parties understood that there was a good chance they weren't coming home at the end of the day. A first time for everything, even for Jethro Gibbs.
"I can't," she'd said.
He was offered NCIS Cape Town, and took it. He led a team his first month and won a medal his second.
"Hanukkah?" asks Tony, who has already started shaking his presents. Ziva puts down her beer.
"I don't understand the big deal with Hanukkah in America," she says, drunk. "I mean, don't get me wrong, eight days of presents sounds like a good deal to me, but when I was growing up --"
"Hanukkah's not till Tuesday," mutters Gibbs.
"I know when Hanukkah is," says Ziva. Director Sheppard hands her a teacup. "This, on the other hand -- ?"
"Egg nog," says Tony.
Ziva takes a sip, grimaces, and hands the cup to Tony. "I love this country," she says, and licks her napkin.
He holds her hand. It's a warm night in Paris and the roads are crowded, people pouring out of restaurants and cafes, that space between dinner and whatever happens later.
"You're going back," Jenny says.
Gibbs looks at her. "You said no, Jen." Like he has to remind her.
"Yeah," she agrees.
"Back to DC," Gibbs says.
"You Yank," Jenny swats at him, but he pulls her into a kiss.
"We got tonight," he says.
She wraps her arms around him and kisses him, hungrily, there in Paris in the late evening hour. That's what he remembers.
"What am I to you, boss?" Tony asks, from the couch. "Sex toy? Kinky sidekick?"
"Don't be such a girl, DiNozzo," Gibbs says. He zips his jeans up and sits down next to Tony.
"What?" Tony says. "It's a valid question!"
"You got my back," Gibbs says, dead serious. "You're my partner, Tony." He stares at Tony for longer than a blink. "Never been with anybody quite like you," he says.
And this time Tony reaches out and grabs Jethro by the shoulders and kisses him, hungrily, in the basement, past midnight with the Skins game on TV.
Oct 2006 :: firstname.lastname@example.org