Chapter 25: The Secret's Out
Eight hours later, they're out, getting pizza before their bi-weekly Laser Tag game. Abby walks over to DiNozzo and slaps him upside the back of the head, quite a bit harder than Gibbs does it.
"Owww..." he gently rubs the back of his head.
"It's polite to knock."
"It's polite to wait for someone else to answer."
"Yes, Ma'am. Will wait for someone to answer next time."
"Good. Dinner's on you tonight."
"DiNozzo picked McGee's lock and walked in on us last night."
Ziva stood up and smacked him upside the back of the head, as well, and, damn, she does it harder than Gibbs, too. "What's that for?"
"Not respecting their privacy."
"Did you just miss what she said, 'Walked in on us!'"
"I heard, I knew."
"Everyone knew but me?"
"Looks like it, Tony," Jimmy says as he picks ups a slice.
"And you didn't tell me?" Tony asked Ziva.
"What's to tell? You could see it just as easily as I could."
"Apparently not." He's rubbing the back of his head. "Meanwhile, I keep telling you I'm worried about McGee's mysterious disappearances..."
"Which was supposed to be tonight," Tim chimed in.
"So, everyone knows we're dating?" Abby added.
"Vance," said Ziva.
"Ducky?" asked Tony.
"Figured it out at the wedding," Palmer answered.
"At the wedding?" Tony's sounds wounded by that. "So, for the record, you are the mystery woman?"
Abby smiles. "Yeah."
"How did I miss that?"
"You were busy hitting on my sister," Breena said. "She thinks you're cute, by the way, and wouldn't mind if you were to call her at some point."
Tony nods. "Glad to see someone's been appreciating me."
"We love you, Tony" Abby hugged him, "and if it wasn't for the fact that all of you are much too observant for your own good, the Palmers and Gibbs would have been the only ones to find out before you did."
Ziva shrugs at that while Palmer says, "If Tim wasn't making rookie mistakes, it would have been harder to tell."
Breena gives Jimmy a long look, something that seems to say, And what precisely would you know about running a clandestine affair? and Jimmy blushed.
"So, you do have to tell Vance," he says by way of getting off that topic. "It's policy. You've got to tell your immediate supervisors."
"Oh... I'm not looking forward to that," Tim added.
Breena looked at both of them. "Can't you just send him a memo?"
"Yeah, NCIS, at least our team, doesn't work that way. I wasn't kidding about the family thing. Leon's sort of a distant and imposing Great Uncle, but he's still part of the family, so no matter how uncomfortable it is, you've got to tell him in person," Abby replied.
"Yay! Monday morning," Tim said sarcastically. "I think you should tell him."
"He's your direct supervisor, not mine. And I already told Gibbs."
"There is that," Abby says.
"Really?" Breena asked.
"Really. She outranks all of us except Ducky. She outranks Gibbs," Tim says, enjoying this.
Abby shrugged. "It'd be a bigger deal if I had employees or something. But, the lab is mine, which means I'm head of my own department. So, below Vance, equal to Ducky, above all of my very favorite special agents."
"How did you end up in charge of the lab?" Breena asked, and from there the conversation flowed about how Abby ended up with her science kingdom in the basement at NCIS.
"Give me a lift home, Tony?" Ziva asks at the end of the game.
"Sure." She had carpooled with Abby and McGee on the way there, but having gotten there and seeing how Tony was doing, she wanted some time alone with him.
"You've been very quiet all night," she says as she gets into his car.
He nods, turning on the ignition and shifting into reverse.
"Talk to me?"
"None of you trusted me with it."
"Would you have kept quiet? Could you have not teased McGee about it?"
"Yes, I would have kept quiet. I'm not going to screw up his chances with Abby. And no. Teasing McGee is like breathing, I can't not do it."
"But you're still bothered he didn't tell you earlier."
"He told Palmer before me. Palmer? They're barely friends. He doesn't work ten hours a day with Palmer. Palmer doesn't have his back."
"Palmer is married."
"Yeah. So what? He's supposed to tell me things like that. I'm his partner, Ziva."
"Does he know Wendy left you?"
"Did you ever tell him the whole story about Jeanne?"
"Any of it?"
Tony shakes his head. "You, Jenny, and Gibbs knew I loved her. That was it."
Ziva nods. She doesn't have to say any more about that. Tony's gotten the message. So she shifts topic a little to something else she's been noticing. "Do you miss her sometimes?"
"You could try looking her up again. Enough time has passed, maybe you could..."
"No. That bridge is burned. I don't want to go back, not to her, not to Wendy." He looks at Ziva sitting next to him, seeing her in the orange glow of halogen street lights. "Just not sure how to get to where forward is."
"You'll find it Tony, just give it some time."