"I have ways of making you talk, Timothy McGee."
Ziva's comment was an aside to herself as she sat at her desk, staring across the bullpen at the man who was currently infuriating her. Tim had come in that day, by-passing her desk without so much as a nod. It was not like him to ignore her and the action had taken her by surprise. She had been so surprised, in fact, that she had actually confided in Tony about it.
"Has McGee seemed particularly…quiet today?"
Tony had given her a glance. "Not really."
"Oh…it must only be me…"
It was nearly one in the afternoon. Tony and Gibbs had gone to speak with the family of a murdered Marine, leaving Ziva and Tim alone to work. In the time since Gibbs' and Tony's absence, the only sounds Ziva had heard was the soft ticking of a clock and the sound of footsteps coming and going. Tim hadn't even looked at her, let alone spoken to her, all day. She was certain he would drive her mad.
"Any leads, McGee?" she called out to him. She would start small.
Her efforts were unrewarded, as Tim simply shook his head and mumbled, "No."
"None at all?"
Another shake of the head was her only response. Ziva suppressed the urge to scream. This just meant she had to be a bit more devious in her approach. She was nothing if not sly. She would get him to talk whether he liked it or not.
She stealthily pulled her cell phone out and dialed the number for her desk phone. When it rang, she grabbed it, speaking into the silence. "Yes? Abby? You have something? Yes, McGee and I will be down shortly."
"Abby found something?" Tim asked, the first full sentence he'd spoken to Ziva all day.
"Is that not what I said?" Ziva worried Tim would see through her ploy. Her fears were unfounded, though, as Tim stood and walked toward the elevator with Ziva following. She grinned behind his back, a mischievous grin. That had been far easier than she had thought.
The elevator opened and the two silently entered. Tim pushed the button for the lab and stepped back. As soon as the car jolted into motion, Ziva leaned forward and flipped the emergency stop switch, stepping in front of it so Tim could not touch it.
"Ziva?" he asked uncertainly.
"Why have you been avoiding me today?"
Tim's eyes widened and he looked away. "I…I haven't…"
"Liar!" When he refused to look at her, Ziva took his chin in her firm grasp and forced him to face her. "Why?"
"Bad day," he said lamely. "Not in the mood to talk much."
"You have not had trouble speaking with everyone else. I seem to be the only one getting the iced shoulder."
"I have broken men," she warned. "I have reduced men like Gibbs into tears."
"I…I know you have."
"I do not want to use such means, but if you do not tell me what I have possibly done to offend you, I will! I can make you talk, McGee!"
"I love you!" he blurted out. He had hoped to stay strong, but with an enraged assassin cornering him, it was difficult to stay silent.
Ziva, shocked by this revelation, stepped back. Her lips pursed as she looked Tim over, searching for any hint of sarcasm or humor that would indicate that he was joking. She saw none.
"Love?" she asked.
"Well…I mean, I think it's love."
"…Oh…" was all she said, mostly out of surprise. That hadn't even entered her mind as a possibility.
Tim sighed. "I never should have told you," he grumbled.
"What does love have to do with your being silent?"
He shrugged, his eyes down. "I thought if I didn't talk to you much I'd kind of fall out of love."
"Why do you wish to fall out of love with me?" she asked. Her hand once again took his chin in its grasp, but this time it was a soft, tender grip. "McGee?"
"It hurts…I mean, to love someone who doesn't feel the same way."
"And how could you possibly know how I feel?"
He looked up skeptically. "You love me?"
"Ah…well, no…at least, not yet, I suppose. But that does not mean I have no feelings for you, nor does it mean I can't see myself loving you one day."
"I'm sorry, Ziva. I didn't mean to spring this on you."
"You did not spring anything on me, McGee. I asked and you told me."
Tim leaned back against the wall of the elevator, giving a small smile to the Mossad officer who had been ready to rip him to shreds only moments earlier. "So where do we go from here?" he asked.
Ziva mulled over this question for moment. Then she smiled. "We go to dinner."
"Dinner?" he echoed.
She leaned up and gave him a small kiss on the lips. "Dinner."