Chapter 11. One-upsmanship, Borin, '80s Cover Bands
Tim had been planning on spending the night gaming, maybe write a page or two more on the latest novel if gaming did a good job of getting his head clear, and then turning in early. A good night's sleep sounded excellent right about now.
The knock on his door wasn't entirely unexpected, nor was it entirely welcome.
Everyone had been dealing with the explosion in their own way. Ziva stopped holding herself so rigidly. Tim would use the phrase, 'let her hair down,' but that isn't precisely right. Let her hair curl? More accurate, but not exactly a well-known turn of phrase. Abby hadn't been sleeping, though, thank God and her brother, as of last week she finally was. Gibbs had started building something huge. Director Vance was still walking on eggshells. Ducky was fuming with boredom, and Palmer's running around trying to keep his head above water.
And Tony... Tony was suddenly... well maybe not suddenly... this isn't entirely out of the blue, growing up.
From the looks of it, growing up entails not chasing every woman he sees, and spending more time with Tim. Tim isn't sure if this is about avoiding temptation—Tony can't be hitting on women if there aren't any around—or if this is about avoiding rejection—Tony can't get turned down if he's at Tim's.
"Tony, sit down." Tony flops on the sofa. Tim tosses Tony a PS3 controller and points to the screen. "This is Call of Duty. Those guys are the bad guys. The people running next to us are on our team. In about five minutes, we'll wrap up this mission. Then I'll let them know I've got a noob, and we'll play with them."
"You want me to play—"
"You've got a noob, McTim?" The voice of SandyAUKKG left Tony silent.
"Yeah, Sandy, never played before. He's not even holding the controller right."
"Oh My God! This'll be so much fun. I'll get the girls."
"Girls play this?" Tony whispered urgently to Tim.
"Yeah, Tony, they do. KKG stands for Kappa Kappa Gamma, and AU stands for American University."
"Sorority girls." Tony's voice is hushed and reverent.
"Sorority girls who are going to kick your ass!" Sandy added with a giggle. "Let's play!"
He's not entirely sure how the thing with Borin started. He and Tony one upping each other certainly had something to do with it. And there was some sort of weird vibe going on with Ziva and Tony, which, honestly, if the two of them would just get over it and start dating, this would be so much easier. But maybe that's why Tony is at Tim's all the time these days. Maybe he too was trying to get his head right before making a big change.
The idea that that may be true, and that Tony would choose to spend time with him in order to help do it makes Tim laugh.
"What?" Laughing while Tony is getting him tickets to a concert so he's got some ammo for asking Borin out was the wrong thing to do.
"You were laughing."
"You were playing Call of Duty last night. I'm getting my geek claws into you. That's funny."
Tony doesn't seem to buy it, but he does hit enter on his computer and the tickets are purchased.
"Okay McGeek, you're all set up for asking Borin out. Eight o'clock, next Tuesday, you, her, The Generics. Love is in the air."
"If it's anything like my last five dates, she'll be trying to kill me before the curtain call. What are you going to do?"
"I think I'm going to let you have her."
"Let?" Well, there was a snag in the plan. The idea was Tony would ask her out too, and Tim would just stall until after Tony asked, she'd pick Tony, and he'd be out of this with his honor intact and concert tickets.
"You're right; she's too much like Gibbs. It's enough to have him as a boss. I don't need to date him—"
"Date who, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asks as he sweeps in, looking for updates on the case.
And then they got back to work.
There was certainly no way to get out of this with his honor and dignity intact, so, he flubbed it. Badly. And everyone expected him to do it.
Tim is socially awkward, but he's also not an idiot, or seventeen. He can ask a woman out. He's even done so on numerous occasions, and ended up with a collection of, frankly, scary dates. Mostly though, he's shy. He usually doesn't ask women out, which is why he rarely gets shot down.
But, by making himself look like a twit, in front of everyone, he's managed to get tickets to a concert next week, and an excuse to take Abby along without raising suspicion of taking her on a date. Eighties cover bands might not be her favorite music, but he can't think of anyone who will have more fun getting into the spirit of it than she will. Excuses to get dressed up, listen to loud music, and have a nice dinner out is Abby's idea of fun, and his, too, for that matter. So, why not have fun together?
Thus, a few hours after getting horrifically shot down by Borin, he heads to the lab, a spring in his step.
"Hey, Abby, wanna go to a concert with me?" he shouts over Abby's music.
She looks up from the computer and turns the music down. "Who's playing?"
"The Generics. They're an '80s cover band."
"You think I'd want to go see an '80s cover band?"
"Not precisely. I think you'd find getting dressed in '80s clothing, going out, having dinner, and bopping around for a night fun."
"Didn't you just ask Borin to do this?"
"Yep." Tim grinned at her, trying to get the message of 'please go out with me, I love you, but we have to do this kind of quiet' across with a look. "But I don't think she gets how fun it is to get dressed up and be someone else for a night."
Abby studies him for a moment, and he can see she's aware that his look means something, but not precisely what it means. "The way Tony tells it, you had your foot so far in your mouth by the time she left, only your knee was visible."
"I'm sure that's how it looked, to Tony." He grins again.
"McGee." She's starting to sound suspicious, and Tim enjoys it. She might not have all of the unspoken context here, but she's creeping up on it.
"You're grinning. You don't look like you just got shot down." He kept grinning. "Are you asking me on a date?"
"Don't you think it'd be kind of, I don't know, tacky, to ask one woman on a date a few hours after being shot down by another one?"
"Yes." She looked at him for a long minute, and her eyes narrowed, puzzled, but enjoying the puzzle. "You're still grinning, McGee."
"Yes, tacky, very, very tacky." He shook his head forlornly; that grin trying to peek out. "But, asking a friend to go out with you, to do something that that friend would probably enjoy, something the original girl would probably run screaming away from, even if she hadn't been approached by someone with the social skills of, say, a retarded turtle, would in no way violate rule number twelve."
A smile spread across Abby's face, she's got it now. "Uh huh. So, two friends going to a concert and dinner together."
He leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. "Exactly."
She turns into the kiss, her lips barely brushing his as he's pulling back. "Yes, I would like to go out with my best friend and see a concert, bop around, and have some dinner."
He didn't think the grin could get any bigger, but it could. "Wonderful."
Later that night, he's on eBay, gchatting with Abby, coordinating looks, hunting for a Member's Only jacket, while she looks for hot pink Converse High Tops.
Yeah, this'll be fun.