Tim unlocked the door, walked in, and stopped short. "Tony. You told me nine-thirty."
"And it's nine o'clock now," said Tony, casually tossing a piece of popcorn into his mouth. "So you're not the only early one."
Tim sighed with aggravation, pulling off his jacket to hang it on the hook by the door. "You came early on purpose. You just wanted to get here before me."
"It's not my fault if you can't learn to anticipate," Tony shot back.
"Shut up, both of you," Ziva commanded before the argument could get any more heated. "Tim, my left side is cold. Come and sit with me."
Tim sighed, but he couldn't argue with her. He never could. He sat down on the couch next to her, and she put her arm around his shoulders to pull him close, then took his chin in her hand and kissed him firmly. While he was still a bit dazzled — as he always was by her kisses — she settled back into the couch and Tony complained, "Hey, don't I get a kiss?"
She pointed at his chin. "Swallow your popcorn." He swallowed obediently, and she grabbed him and kissed him just as firmly. Then she lifted her arm from Tim's shoulders and took hold of his chin again. "Now you two. Come on, you know what I like." She smirked slightly.
Obediently — though they could have been obeying as much for her grip on their chins as for her words — they leaned in together and kissed. Tim still felt grumpy, but the pressure of his two lovers' lips relaxed him at last, and he settled back into the couch. "What's the movie tonight?" he asked.
Ziva grinned and leaned forward to grab the remote control from off her coffee table. "Sense and Sensibility."
"Chick flick," Tim said without censure, raising his eyebrows. "I didn't think Tony would agree to this sort of thing."
"I can make him agree to anything," said Ziva with pleasure.
"I never said I didn't like romance," said Tony. "And there is some fine acting in this movie. Surely neither of you can tell me you don't admire the great Shakespearian thespian, Alan Rickman."
"Hush," said Ziva. "The movie's starting." He hushed.
Tim woke with a start. When he had ascertained that he was in a perfectly safe place — Ziva's bed, both Ziva and Tony sharing it with him — he tried to figure out what had woken him. He was quite comfortable, despite the relatively cramped quarters. (He would never admit it to Tony, but his place was the best for the three of them to spend the night in, since he had that big, luxurious bed.) Then they both breathed out and he understood.
He wasn't sure how Ziva had managed to get herself draped across him like this, but the stereo snoring was going to prevent him from sleeping for quite a while. Luckily, this worked quite well with the plan he'd already made.
He extricated himself carefully from under Ziva, thankfully managing to do so without waking her, and pulled on his boxers and a T-shirt. Then he padded quietly into the kitchen and shut the door, so the sounds of him banging around with pots and pans didn't wake them until he wanted it to.
Neither of them believed he could cook. But he'd watched a few cooking shows since the last time they'd spent a weekend together, and he was going to impress them.
First, however, was coffee. While that started brewing, he got out his ingredients for breakfast. Ziva kept a pretty good variety of food in her house, despite the fact that the entire team spent far more time eating out than in. Maybe it was just for weekends such as this. He got out eggs, butter, bread, and nutmeg.
By the time the coffee was ready, he had the eggs cooking and the French toast was halfway to being ready. He took a long slurp, then was startled when the door opened. Tony, wearing nothing but boxers, wandered in with a yawn. "Smell coffee. Thanks, Tim." Tim had, of course, brewed enough for the three of them (or eight normal people); Tony poured himself a cup.
Tim had flipped several slices of French toast onto a plate for serving before Tony seemed to wake up enough to notice what he was doing. "Are you cooking?" he asked with a disbelieving chuckle.
"Yes," said Tim. "French toast."
"Oh no," said Tony, walking towards the plate. "I think maybe I should wait until Ziva wakes up to try this. She can revive me when it kills me." He reached towards the toast anyway.
Tim elbowed him in the ribs. Unfortunately, Tony's reflexes were faster than his. Tony grabbed his arm and threw him backwards. The spatula, with a piece of toast stuck to it, flew out of Tim's hand. The toast hit the wall above the refrigerator; the spatula ricocheted onto the back of Tim's head. "Ow!" he cried. "Get off, you're ruining breakfast!" He tried to free his arm from Tony's grip, but their combined struggles only ended with Tim in a headlock.
"Say uncle," Tony said, squeezing his grip for emphasis.
Tim shook his head. His eggs were burning on the stove. "Never."
"Come on," said Tony. "It's just me. You don't have to feel bad about giving up."
Tim struggled, even though he knew it was futile. "Tony, let me go so I can finish breakfast."
"Not until you acknowledge me as superior." Tony's breath came closer and closer to Tim's ear. "You know it's true."
"Hey, who made coffee this morning?" Tim tried to argue.
"You did, because you are the servant." Suddenly Tony's teeth nipped at Tim's ear. "Come on. I am your master."
Shivers ran up and down Tim's body. He finally decided to capitulate, but before he could get his breathing under control enough to speak, they heard Ziva's voice from outside the room. "Something's burning." She flung open the kitchen door. "What are you doing to my kitchen?"
Tony released Tim and stepped back in one movement, leaving Tim to stumble and try to straighten himself out. "He started it."
"Tony attacked me while I was trying to cook breakfast," Tim said, rubbing his neck.
"Did not," said Tony. "I was just trying to eat some of it and you attacked me."
Ziva, arms crossed, looked back and forth between them. Finally, her eyes settled on Tim. "You were cooking breakfast?" She was obviously trying to hold back laughter.
Tim sighed and turned off the burner on the stove, then lifted the pan, which was smoking slightly. "I have successfully made several piece of French toast. If Tony hadn't attacked me, I would have made more, but now the eggs are burnt."
"Hmm." Ziva stepped forward to look at the pan, then looked over at the plate of French toast. "I will taste it, and then I will judge."
Tim stepped back, holding the pan up like a shield between him and Tony. Suddenly he was nervous. He had been confident of his newfound abilities… until Ziva was ready to try it. Not that he didn't care about Tony's opinion, but Tony would make fun of him no matter what the food tasted like. Ziva would be fair. She always was — harsh, but fair. He watched her lift the piece of French toast to her mouth, take a large bite, and chew slowly. Her face was perfectly calm. Then she swallowed, and suddenly broke into a large grin. "Delicious. Tony, you will clean up the kitchen."
"But — " Tony tried to protest, but Ziva held up a hand.
"It is my kitchen, and I will make the rules." She took the pan from Tim's hand and gave it to Tony. "Start the pan soaking. Then you can come have breakfast with us." She poured herself a cup of coffee, then took the plate of French toast and went over to the kitchen table.
Tim followed her, deliberately not giving Tony a triumphant look over his shoulder. Usually Ziva seemed to make them feel like neither of them had won. Sometimes, like now, she let one of them be the victor. But he knew that if he bragged, Ziva would take him right back down. Her boys were under her heels — one for each boot — and they all liked it that way.
Ziva pulled out the New York Times Crossword puzzle, and she and Tim started in on it, as they usually did on the weekends, over their coffee and breakfast. Tim was happy with the French toast, but he'd known he would be. The kitchen began to smell slightly of flowery soap, and after a while, Tony came over to join them at the table.
Ziva looked up and smiled at him. "We saved you some. Ripper of Strangelove?"
"Sterling Hayden," said Tony in his I-can't-believe-you-didn't-know-this-about-movies voice. He stuffed a piece of French toast into his mouth. "This is actually pretty good, Tim," he said through the mouthful as Ziva wrote the name in the appropriate spot. "How did you learn to cook?"
"I took a leaf from your book. How do you learn anything?" Tim raised his eyebrows at Tony. "I watched cooking shows!"
Tony laughed, choked briefly, and then swallowed. He grinned and slapped Tim on the back. "I'll get you trained yet."
"That's my job," said Ziva from between them, still bent over the puzzle.
Tony reached around the puzzle with his other hand to lightly touch Tim's hand. Tim sighed, let go of the pen, and intertwined his fingers with Tony's. "Sorry, Tim," Tony said, actually sounding contrite. "I shouldn't make fun of you so much. You're just such an easy target."
Tim shook his head. "Every time I've tried to do something to get you to respect me more, you've just made fun of me for that. I don't know what you want me to do."
"I don't want you to do anything." Tony squeezed his hand. "Making fun of you doesn't mean I don't like what you do. I just want you to be yourself, Tim McGee. No matter what other names I come up with for you, I still love Tim McGee."
Tim looked up reluctantly, meeting Tony's eyes. "Yeah?"
Tim felt a poke in his side. He knew what Ziva wanted, and he couldn't help smirking as he said, "Well, I love Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo."
"Good," said Ziva, looking up from the puzzle, her eyes sparkling. "Now kiss."