A/N: Not completely happy with this, especially the end. I am absolutely terrible at writing conclusions to anything, and I'm hoping that practice practice practice will help that. Which is one of the reasons for the one-shots. I haven't forgotten my 'Oh Baby!' story, I have a few chapters typed out, but they need something to go before them, and I haven't quite gotten that thought out yet. I'm a little stuck. So until then… one-shots it is! All random thoughts get to see the light! Woo hoo! Ahem, anyway…
A little friendship drabble. Set sometime in Season Eight.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this little story. It's strictly for entertainment purposes. Yup.
Timothy McGee sat on top of a picnic table, feet on the bench, elbows resting on his knees. He was watching a group of children play in the grass a few yards away. They were bundled from head to toe with heavy jackets and hats and mittens. They looked like marshmallow children. Their mothers sat on a bench, bragging about their little ones and gossiping no doubt. McGee had to smile, especially at one little girl in particular. She had unruly brown hair trying to escape from under her knit hat and a look on her face that reminded him of Sarah when she was mad. He couldn't help it, every woman/girl/child reminded him of Sarah when they had that scowl that said that they clearly thought they weren't being taken seriously. Maybe Gibbs and Tony's chauvinism was rubbing off on him. Or maybe he was just a big brother.
People watching, however, was not the reason he was in the park on this chilly Saturday morning in November. Today he was waiting for a certain Israeli-American coworker. He had been unable to reach her by phone, and he knew that her morning jogs took her through this park. He was still watching the kids play when he saw something move out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see if it was Ziva and jumped when he realized that she was standing over him, close enough to touch.
"Hello, McGee," She smirked at his startled expression and climbed up to sit next to him on the table. "Do you come to this park often, or were you looking for me?"
"Boss told me to find you, we've got a case," He fidgeted a little in embarrassment. "I, uh, tried to call, but you didn't answer."
Ziva unzipped her windbreaker and reached in to pull her cellphone from an inside pocket and examine it.
"I must have turned it off by mistake. It will not happen again. Rule number three-"
"Never be unreachable." They said at the same time and chuckled a little. Ziva leaned over to look around him, gesturing towards the two Styrofoam cups sitting on the other side of him.
"Thirsty, McGee?" He followed her gaze and then picked one up, offering it to her.
"It's hot chocolate. I know you don't like to make a big fuss about things, but… you've seemed kind of down lately. And now we have a case so we've got to head into work on our day off and I, uh, I just wanted to do something nice for you…" He looked down at their feet awkwardly. Ziva was silent for a moment and then took the hot chocolate. She leaned over to give him a peck on the cheek, making him blush.
"Thank you, Tim, that is very sweet."
He muttered, "You're welcome. We better get going…" But they sat there for a few more minutes, both in thought. Ziva reached over and grabbed McGee's hand, squeezing it and making him blush again. He looked at her questioningly.
"Do you remember my first case with the team? Tony made me crawl through that truckload of dirt, and then lied to me about there being no showers in the NCIS building. Gibbs would not even let me take a moment to clean up before sending you and me to retrieve a safety deposit box."
McGee nodded and smiled a little at the memory. "You tried to clean up on the way there with wet-naps."
"Ya know what? Let me, let me help you with that," He said, trying to take the wipe from her.
"I'm not a child." She pulled away and kept wiping at her neck.
"Just trying to help." She studied his face, trying to decide if he was being patronizing or not. Deciding that he was just being friendly, she handed him the wipe.
"You may get what I missed." She consented, tilting her head.
"Yes, and you tried to help me get the places I had missed. You told me that you were glad that I was there," She smiled. "You were the first person on the team to accept me. I have not forgotten that, Tim." She took a sip of the warm liquid. "I have been a 'little down,' as you put it. My Aunt Nettie passed away and because I do not communicate with my father, I was the last to know. We were very close and now I can not even attend her funeral." She sighed.
"I'm sorry to hear that, Ziva." He told her sincerely. He'd heard her talk about her aunt on a couple of occasions. She nodded and stood. Drink in one hand, she offered her other to McGee and helped him up. "We had better get to the office before Gibbs comes looking for us."
They were headed towards McGee's car when he touched her arm for a second to stop her. Pulling her closer, he kissed her cheek and it was her turn to look at him questioningly.
"Ziva, I know you've lost a lot in the last year, but I'm still glad you're here. I just want you to remember that you've still got friends." She smiled her thanks as they headed off to work. She thought, not for the first time, that they were all beyond friends. They were her family. And she'd never forget it again.