DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILERS: General spoilers for season 3, but nothing specific.
CHALLENGE: Submitted for the 5th Anniversary Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Five Days
By Jaina


"It's only five days, Ziva."

"Many things can happen in five days," Ziva countered stubbornly. "Five days can be a very long time in the midst of an investigation."

"Ah," Abby said, raising a finger into the air triumphantly, "But we aren't in the middle of any investigations right now."

Ziva folded her arms over her chest. "We could get a call any time. It's Tuesday," she said, making her point definitively.

Abby cocked her head at Ziva and glared. "It's 8 o'clock at night and no one has called yet." She dropped the glare and took several steps closer. "I really want you to come with me," she stated pleadingly, twisting the ends of one pigtail around her fingers.

Ziva remained stubborn and unyielding. "Gibbs won't give me the time off. He's already angry enough about loosing his best scientist."

Abby scowled. "Flattery will get you no where right now."

"If it's done properly, it will," Gibbs' voice cut in from behind them.

Both women were too caught up in their conversation to have heard him approach. Only Ziva was able to stifle her instinct to jump at his sudden appearance.

He gestured between them with his cup of coffee. "Oh, don't let me stop you. I want to hear the discussion that's been making DiNozzo and McGee whimper at the mere mention of coming down here all day."

"Wimps," Abby muttered under her breath. She turned to face Gibbs. "I asked Ziva to take a few days off and go to my brother's wedding with me."

Gibbs looked over at his agent. Ziva looked as angry as a wet cat. He almost felt sorry for her, knowing that she didn't stand a chance against Abby. He raised his cup of coffee to his lips and took a sip to hide a grin.

He lowered the cup and shrugged. "Doesn't sound so bad to me. Just think of it as an opportunity to see more of the United States, Agent David." He grinned at her.

"I'm very well traveled," Ziva ground out. "It is unnecessary."

"You've never been to Louisiana," Abby pointed out, "And there's no where else like it." She grinned in triumph.

"Gibbs," Ziva protested, realizing that she was slowly being maneuvered into a position she couldn't back out of, "I haven't been here long enough to accumulate sufficient leave time."

It was a thin excuse and all three of them knew it.

"You and Abbs have been busy lately," he said laconically. "I'll talk to the Director. It won't be a problem." He turned and walked towards the elevator with a smirk. He had a suspicion that Ziva was not as angry as she sounded and he didn't feel like dealing with having Abby pissed off when she returned from her vacation. His team was just starting to get settled again after the death of Kate and the addition of Ziva and he did not want that messed up.

Ziva waited until the elevator doors had slid shut behind Gibbs before she turned back to Abby.

Abby attempted to look innocent, but couldn't quite keep the smug smile from her features. "Gibbs gave you the time off," she pointed out.

"Perhaps I did not want the time off, Abigail," Ziva gritted. Her nightmares had been getting worse of late. Only the absolute exhaustion that work sometimes provided gave her peace from them. Spending five days idling around family functions and the wedding of people she did not know would be absolute misery.

"Okay," Abby conceded, whirling back towards her computers. Her fingers pounded rapidly at the keyboard, pausing only to take a sip or two of Caf-Pow before she resumed. "I'm sorry I asked you. You don't have to go. I just wanted to have a friend with me."

Ziva grimaced. This was worse. It had only been recently that Abby had started to accept her presence. Now she was making an offer of friendship and Ziva was refusing her. It was rude and it was making Abby grumpy, something that all of the agents at NCIS tried to avoid doing. Surely she could survive five days of nightmares and sleep deprivation for a good cause.

Ziva resigned herself to the prospect and forced herself to smile. "No, I am sorry. I would love to go with you."

Abby looked up from her computer and glanced over at Ziva. "Really?"

Ziva took a deep breath, fully committing herself to the course of action. "Yes."

Abby pumped an arm into the air. "Excellent!" She grinned at Ziva. "You won't regret it."

Ziva sighed. "Somehow I doubt that," she muttered under her breath. Louder she asked, "When do we leave?"

Delighted Abby pulled Ziva over to her computer and began excitedly explaining their travel plans.

Several minutes later, Abby hesitated in mid sentence and glanced up at Ziva. Her smile is calmer than before, a little more vulnerable, but nonetheless brilliant. "Thank you...for agreeing to come," she elaborates, "I - well it means a lot."

Ziva nodded, uncertain what to say. She and Abby have formed a stable working relationship. She respected the other woman and she valued her as a friend and coworker, but they didn't share confidences or intimate emotional moments. It made her wonder if there was more to Abby's request than she knew.

The End

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