Ziva's Valentine

February 7: Ranunculus also called Scarlet Buttercup: "I am dazzled by your charms."

Ziva drives into the Navy Yard not quite sure what to expect. They've had a mild week so far; only two call outs and both of those were solved within 24 hours. The rest of the week Gibbs or maybe the director has had them working on cold cases. As it's the week before St. Valentine's Day, they've been warned that there might be more than one case of unrequited love gone wrong to solve.

Entering the squad room she heads for her desk. Setting her pack on the floor, she slings her coat over her chair and stares at the bouquet of flowers sitting on her desk. Scarlet colored; the turban shaped flowers bring a tear to her eyes as she reads the small card attached to the florist's pick. "The ranunculus (scarlet crowfoot/buttercup) is supposed to translate into "I am dazzled by your charms." It is true and I hope that someday you'll be able to return my affection."

Ziva looks around; none of her male co-workers are in the office yet, aside from Gibbs and he's upstairs in the director's office. Wiping the tears from her eyes she smiles once again as she reads the card. Before coming to the United States and becoming a part of this team, she would have automatically assumed the worst...that the plant was a bomb. Since becoming a part of team Gibbs, she's learned that people don't always have an ulterior motive. Someone actually sent her flowers.

Abby shows up and Ziva asks her if she knows who might have sent the flowers to her.

"You got flowers? Wow, those are beautiful. And you have no idea who sent them?"

Ziva shakes her head. "I am guessing it is McGee or maybe Tony."

Abby looks at the note, "I could run the note for fingerprints and it could have been Jimmy too you know. He's kinda sensitive about these things as well."

Ziva nods thoughtfully and turns on her computer.

"Do you want me to run the card, Ziva?"

"No, I think for now I am content with a mysterious admiration."

Abby smiles and corrects her as she leaves the room, "It's secret admirer and I don't blame you. It's kinda neat to get flowers. And it is almost Valentine's Day you know."

Tony comes in just then chatting on his phone as he drops his pack by his desk. His eyes brighten when he sees the flowers on Ziva's desk and he grins as he says his goodbyes to whoever is on the other end.

"So, who are they from?"

"I do not know. The card was not signed."

"Ahh...a secret admirer. Watch out it could be the Autopsy Gremlin or maybe Probie."

Ziva glares at him then straightens up looking at Tony thoughtfully. "I suppose that means you're not the one who sent it to me."

"I—no, I wouldn't send something that puny. Roses are the true flower of love after all."

"Are you saying that you love me Tony?"

Tony sputters for a reply as Gibbs enters the room.

"Figure that out later DiNozzo, we got a case and where the hell is McGee?"

"Here, boss, I was...never mind." Tim slips into the elevator beside Ziva who has tucked one of the blooms into her lapel.

"That's pretty Ziva."

"Yes, I was given a booket of them from a secret admirer."

"Wow, a whole bouquet? That's cool but you don't know who they're from?"

"No McOblivious, she doesn't. Now cool it probies we've got a case to work on."

A few more hours pass and they're back at the squad room. The case had proven to be a suicide to all intents and purposes. They are just waiting for Ducky's autopsy report as confirmation. Ziva starts to sit down when she sees Tony watching her, grinning at her.

"What is it Tony?"

"You honestly have no idea who sent those to you?"

"Do you know?"

He stops grinning and admits, "No I don't have a clue. I thought it might have been Probie but he was actually helping Ducky as Palmer is out with the flu."

"Our McGee was helping Ducky?"

Tim looks up from his computer, annoyed with the way they're talking about him like he's not even in the room.

"Don't sound so surprised you two; there is more to autopsy than cutting into someone. Ducky asked me to help him file some reports. They're in the process of updating their computer programs and I made it a bit easier for Ducky to get his reports done."

"Huh...anyway you can help us do that McGenius?"

"I've been doing it since before I was hired on by Gibbs...or don't you remember that Tony?"

The older agent has the grace to look a bit ashamed before starting in again. "So that means that you could have given Ziva her bouquet. Just admit it McGee, you gave Ziva flowers. Although why you didn't give her roses instead of those puny things is beyond me."

Ziva stares thoughtfully at the flowers still sitting on her desk. "Why do you dislike my flowers, Tony?"

"I never said..."

"You have insulted my gift twice today. Both times you have insinuated that they are less valuable than roses. I think that whoever sent them put a lot of thought into what they were doing. They knew that I would immediately associate them with my former homeland."

Tim comes over and sits on her desk, "They're nice, Ziva. I'll bet that whoever sent them knew you might be a bit homesick. It's a nice way to remember home and yet feel at home here as well."

Ziva stares after him as he leaves. Tony rubs his chin thoughtfully, "Maybe it was McGee who gave them to you. He's kinda sneaky that way sometimes. Still, I would have given you roses."

Gibbs walks past them giving Tony a head smack on the way, "Valentine's Day is still a week away."

Ziva stares at him, "Gibbs do you know who gave me the bouquet?"

"I don't Ziva; they were on your desk when I arrived." Gibbs saunters off and both Tony and Ziva are left staring at the bouquet.

"Wow, so whoever left it, came and went before Gibbs got here; that's a modern day miracle." Tony waits for the expected head smack but Ziva shakes her head. Gibbs isn't there anymore. He's at the elevator, impatiently holding the door open for them.

"You two gonna wait all day to leave?"

Ziva grabs her bouquet as she picks up her coat and backpack. Tim, Ducky and Abby are all in the parking lot, Abby obviously trying to figure out if Tim was the one who put the flowers on Ziva's desk.

"Come on Timmy, it's obvious to me that you're the one who did it; afterall, Jimmy is sick and Tony prefers to give his girls roses."

"Actually my dear, I'm the one who put the Ranunculus on Ziva's desk. They had found their way to autopsy by mistake so I delivered them to their intended recipient. And before you start in on Timothy, he was not here yet so it could not have been him."

Ziva nods her thanks at Ducky's information, and then looks at Tim who is watching as Ducky drives away. He has something in his hands and he turns to Ziva in a bit of frustration.

"What is it McGee?"

"I need to put this in Ducky's office; he'd asked me to bring it down to him earlier."

"Do you need a ride home?" she hasn't seen his car in the lot and he nods.

"Yeah, I came in with Gibbs today."

"Hurry then, I will wait for you."

Gibbs drives past and Ziva waves at him as he leaves. She's watching the gate as she waits patiently for Tim to return and smiles when one of the guards walks up to her. His name badge identifies him as Frank Davis and he stops a respectful distance away saying.

"Good you got your flowers. They were left at the guard shack this morning and we had to rely on one of the janitors to make sure that you got them."

"Thank you for doing so. We have been wondering how they got into our offices."

"Yeah, we couldn't leave our post for that length of time and my mother used to raise buttercups in her greenhouse. She'd have had my hide if I'd let them freeze before you could even see them." Frank is referring to the cold weather they've been having and the fact that they are in and out of the guard shack quite a bit while they check identifications. Too much cold could indeed have killed off the pretty blooms.

Ziva thanks him again and he walks back to his post. Tim walks up to the car just then and Ziva slides behind the wheel, placing the flowers on Tim's lap when he is seated and belted in. as Ziva starts the car, Tim glances over at her.

"You okay Ziva?"

"Yes…no…the guards just said that the flowers were delivered to the gate and they arranged for a janitor to bring them inside."

"Well, that makes sense so what is bothering you?"

"Why does my admirer not tell me who he is?"

Tim thinks carefully before replying. "There are several possible reasons. Umm…you just returned to us from a mission that left you almost dead. He could be afraid that you might not want to get into a relationship, a romantic one that is, and is trying to take it slow enough that he won't frighten you away."

Ziva nods, she's still extremely uncomfortable around most men the only exceptions being her teammates, Ducky and Jimmy. Even with them she's had to overcome her instinctive withdrawals, and still catches herself flinching, after her experiences in Somalia. She pulls up outside of Tim's apartment and he turns to face her before he leaves the car.

"You know, he could just be a shy man who is as afraid of a relationship as you are."

Tim carefully sets the plant in the seat he vacated and gently shuts the door, leaving Ziva alone with her thoughts and the ranunculus bouquet.