Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They're the property of someone else.
A/N: I haven't written fic in over four years. Only, apparently, now I do again. This one's nothing serious – just a conversation in the lab written for my own amusement as well as that of anyone else who happens onto this. Comments are welcome.
"Abby?" Tony and McGee entered the lab, wincing slightly as they were greeted by the smell of something less than pleasant in the air. McGee brought his sleeve to his nose. "You the only one down here?"
"Yup! Just you, me, and about a hundred and fifty cow pies." She spun a quick circle on her stool before leaning over a blinking machine. "Unless, of course, you count Major Mass Spec. Which I do."
Tony sniffed, wrinkling his nose in the process. "Explains the smell," he muttered to McGee. "Looks like Dorneget found a lot of evidence in those fields." Checking his watch, he surveyed the lab and continued. "I expected our fearless leader to be down here lurking in the shadows by now."
"Gibbs doesn't lurk," Abby responded as if explaining that rain doesn't fall from the moon. "Vance is the one that lurks, Tony." Pushing her stool away from a newly humming cylinder in the corner, she slid to a stop in front of her main terminal, fingers already beginning their familiar dance across the keys. "Just like Ziva slinks when she moves and you glide."
An amused puff of air escaped from McGee as Tony sputtered. "Glide? I most certainly do not glide. McGee, maybe," he scoffed. "He might glide. But I don't -"
"Sure you do, Tony!" Abby's pigtails rushed to keep up with the tilt of her head from screen to senior field agent and back again. Seeing the disbelieving (if not somewhat horrified) expression on his face, she rushed to clarify. "Oh, but don't worry, Tony. It suits you. It's a very manly glide. Smooth and confident." Her hair swung again as she resumed her work.
"Like a figure skater," offered McGee in a comforting voice.
"Be still your mouth, McGiggle."
"Perhaps it is your shoes," suggested Ziva as she walked (some would say slinked) into the lab. "They appear very expensive…" Sliding McGee a knowing grin, she eyed her partner before jerking her head back quickly, mouth crinkling inward as she inhaled. "Oh, my! That is quite an odor."
"Cow pies," explained McGee.
"I do not think that smell is food, McGee." Ziva waved a hand ineffectually across her face.
At Ziva's previous remark, Tony's befuddled glare had dropped to the gleaming material covering his feet. "Hand crafted leather," he pouted sadly. "Doesn't make me glide."
Ignoring Tony's comments, McGee turned to a confused Ziva. "Cow pies aren't food, Ziva. They're…well…" He gestured toward the abnormally large quantity of brown lumps in various stages of bags, samples, and specimen jars around the lab. "Some of them aren't quite dry."
"Ah. Manure." Ziva nodded, one finger raised in understanding.
McGee, realizing that whether it be by lurking, gliding, or slinking, Gibbs was soon likely to appear, produced yet another evidence bag and handed it with a slight squish to Abby. "Presents from Ducky," he explained.
Peering over his shoulder, Ziva squinted distastefully. "Is that more-"
"Yeah. You don't want to know how Ducky ended up with it. Suffice to say that Palmer's having a pretty bad day."
"I would suppose so."
"Glide…" Tony still muttered to himself. "Maybe…" He raised his head as an idea struck. "Maybe…like a hockey player!" he finished, louder and more confident by the word. "Like one of those really intense big guys with the bruises and the scars and the –"
"Missing teeth?" McGee grinned.
"Crooked nose?" suggested Ziva.
Shot down by McGee for the second time in one conversation, Tony searched for a retort. "Well, you, Probie…You walk like a…" Failing to find a suitable word and desperate to deflect the attention from his own style of movement, Tony shifted tactics with a hearty grin. "The Bossman!" He nodded enthusiastically, warming to his idea. "Now he moves like a –"
"Like a what, DiNozzo?" Appearing behind them all, Caf!Pow in hand, Gibbs cornered Tony with a steady glare.
"Gibbs!" Abby spun from her computer in delight. "I was just explaining how you all move. Timmy strides, Ziva slinks, and Tony glides."
Gibbs raised his eyebrows to her explanation, but showed no other reaction.
Tony cleared his throat. "I glide in a very manly way, Boss," He swallowed. "Like a hockey player."
"I slink?" Ziva whispered to McGee.
"I stride," McGee whispered back, a small grin pulling at his lips.
Gibbs gave a slight nod acknowledging this new information and refrained from comment. The gap in conversation was all the encouragement Abby needed to expand upon her theory.
"Director Vance is more of a lurker. Always standing behind you when you least expect it…I mean, it's like how he's always leaning on the balcony outside MTAC chewing on that toothpick…and watching…just waiting for…" She trailed off as her fingers slowed their rhythmic tapping. Her eyes widened. "He's behind me right now, isn't he?" she whispered.
"You're clear, Abby," Ziva nodded toward the vacant doorway.
After peering cautiously over her shoulder just to make sure, she continued. "Good. Anyway, it's like I was saying. Vance lurks, Ducky has a sort of jogging gait, and Palmer reminds me of my cousin Kara's best friend Tina, who-"
"Abby!" Gibbs had finally reached his limit. Abby resumed her frantic typing, but continued to explain.
"You, Gibbs? You're way more stealthy and quiet until all of a sudden you swoop in. Like you just did. Like a bat." As she weaved one arm in a flying motion to demonstrate, Gibbs raised an eyebrow and tilted the Caf!Pow he carried away from Abby's outstretched hand. One squint and a bitten lip later, she amended her statement. "Or a panther. You're probably more like a panther. Not a bat. Not that bats aren't great and all."
"I can see him as a panther," Tony whispered thoughtfully to McGee.
"Ah huh." The ice swished as the plastic cup angled back to her waiting hand.
"You," she paused to sip from the straw, then swung around on her stool to rest her beverage on the table and resume her attack on the keyboard. "You prowl. Stalk your prey. Which is good for, you know, catching the bad guys."
"Which is what we're trying to do here, Abs."
"Right." Pressing several keys in tandem, she brought up an image on the plasma screen. "What I can tell you is that I have a beautiful ten point match on Petty Officer Evans. He's definitely your guy. What I cannot tell you – at least not yet - is which one of the hundreds of cows living in ten different fields was fed the rest of the evidence. Evidence that agent Dorneget keeps depositing in my lab. Hence, the smell."
Off the unwavering blue-eyed stare, Abby continued. "But! I'm working on it. Right now I'm just knee deep in piles of…" Her eyes skittered around the lab to the various piles of…stuff before coming to rest innocently on Gibbs. She grinned triumphantly at his grudging half-smile. "I should have something by tomorrow."
The smile disappeared. "Not good enough, Abby."
"Gibbs! Do you see how much evidence I have to sort through? Not to mention exactly what that evidence is? It's not exactly pleasant you know."
Gibbs looked to the ceiling for a moment and inhaled before responding. "Would it go faster if you had help?"
"It might." Abby grinned hopefully.
Turning to leave, he issued his orders. "McGee, Ziva, you're with me. You –" he jabbed one finger at DiNozzo's chest, "Glide on over there and get started on those cow pies."
"Don't forget your skates."
He managed to cover the smirk before McGee strode and Ziva slinked into the elevator behind him.
Prowling. He could live with that.
Sure beat gliding.