A/N: I know that the timeline is a little messed up, because this is based after "Pyramid" (I think I am the only person happy that Mike Franks is dead) but I thought this might be a great way for them to get together. When McGee first kills someone, it's in the third season. And Tony consoles him, not Ziva. But it doesn't have to be canon. Enjoy!
He stood at the window, watching the deluge, matching the tears that were stinging at his eyes. There was no one in the bullpen, just she and him. She eyed his back, wondering if she should approach him or if she should pretend to keep on working.
The rain hit the sidewalks relentlessly, with the sound of a ruler slapping a desk. He stared out at the torrent, not really seeing it.
"McGee," she said softly, approaching him from behind. "Is everything alright?"
He turned to face her and his face clearly said that he was not okay. "Yeah, I'm fine," he lied. She wasn't fooled, and he knew it.
"I am here if you want to talk." She murmured.
He turned his face back to the window, and then, after a moment, he turned to her.
"I've never killed anyone before, Ziva. It's a terrible feeling."
She nodded, her eyes full of sadness.
"You were so brave, Tim." Her voice was full of admiration and love.
The use of his first name barely registered when he heard it, nor the words. He just heard the tone of voice and was warmed from inside out.
"I don't feel brave." There. He admitted it, in front of the bravest person he knew. He felt like a coward in her presence, in more ways than one. She even had the respect of Gibbs, and that was hard to win, to say the least. But he was more comfortable in the computer spouting a language that disguised itself as English, not running out in the field, brandishing a weapon.
Ziva sighed. "You were brave, even if you do not feel like it. Bravery is triumphing over your fears, showing great courage in the face of adversary. You did not kill because you wanted to. You shot him because you had to. And I am alive because you did that."
"Don't kid with me, Ziva, you would have been alive. You're a ninja."
"Just because of that does not mean I am immune to bullets. I owe you my life. And in Israel, we say that he who saves a life, saves the world."
"When you first killed someone, what did you feel like?"
"When I first killed someone, I killed a terrorist from three hundred metres away. I was so upset after I did it. Even though it was a terrorist who had probably claimed many lives, I still killed a man. You might not believe me, but I had nightmares and I developed severe indigestion for several months."
"You?" he asked, incredulous.
"And it never got easier. It actually got harder. But do not tell anyone, for I will deny it." McGee laughed, actually laughed.
"You killed in self-defence, Tim. And you killed to save your partner." She smiled, and gave him a kiss on his cheek. He closed his eyes at her touch, relishing the feel, hating himself for wishing there was something more to the kiss.
As Ziva walked away, she turned to him. "Can I make you dinner? As a thank you?" she asked, her eyes hopeful.
He laughed again. "I should thank you. But sure, Ziva, you're the best cook I know."
"I prefer chef, and do not let your mother hear that."
"Wouldn't matter, because my mother is the worst cook around. She burns water."
Two hours later, McGee was sitting in Ziva's dining room, eating one of the best meals he had ever had.
"You are good to cook for," she commented, as she placed some garlic bread on the table. "You have sophisticated tastes, yet you also like simple foods."
"So do I get the Ziva Stamp of Approval?" McGee asked, jokingly.
"You always had it," Ziva answered coyly.
McGee chuckled, as he took another bite of the salmon, which was grilled to perfection under Ziva's careful supervision. "As usual, Ziva, it's delicious."
Ziva smiled, and took another sip of her wine. "I like cooking for people. Especially for you, because you are so forthcoming with praise." He peered at her over his wineglass, wondering what she had meant. She looked particularly beautiful, and in his mind's eye, he was envisioning a scene like this more often. Just instead of her doing the cooking, they would do it together, from picking out what they would eat to the washing of the dishes.
Ziva seemed to have read his mind, for she commented, "We should do this more often, Tim."
Warmth stole over his heart. He thought of all they had discussed that evening, and how different she had been from all the other women he had dated. Since they knew each other already from the office, they didn't have to pause with the small talk, but instead dove into deeper things, like the plot of his new book, and Ziva asking questions about biomedical engineering, his major in college. He enjoyed telling her about it, and she seemed fascinated.
"Sometimes I wish I could go back to school," Ziva admitted, looking into the depths of her wineglass.
"What would you study?" he inquired.
"Literature. Chemistry. Biomedical engineering," she said, smiling in a mischievous manner. "I am very jealous of you and Tony. I wish I could have gotten a college education. But there are more pressing things that I wish for."
"Like what?" he asked.
"Promise you will not laugh?"
"I promise, Ziva, I would never laugh at you."
"I want to get married and have children."
"That isn't silly, Ziva, I think everyone wants that. I want to have that also." With you, he added mentally.
"But I want that to be the centre of my world. I want to come home and all my kids come jumping on me. I want to cook all day and feed my husband until he is obese. I want to dress my kids all in matching outfits and teach them a bunch of languages, tuck them into bed at night, and colour with them."
"Sounds like a pretty noble aspiration," he mused, wondering where he fit into that picture of domestic bliss. "That sounds like a perfect life for me."
Ziva looked up at him. "Really? What do you want?"
"The same thing as you, Ziva, honestly. Like I said, it seems perfect."
Ziva and McGee started clearing the table, and he piled the dishes in the sink. "No need to wash them," she said. "You need to go. I did not know it was possible to rain this hard, but it appears to be getting worse."
He sighed, and picked up his bag that had been sitting on Ziva's couch and made the way to her door. "It was wonderful," he said, thanking her. He kissed the top of her forehead, and opened the door, revealing the deluge. However, she closed the door with her palm and looked up at him, an unreadable expression across her face.
"When I said it would be the perfect life," she murmured, "you should know it wouldn't be perfect without you."
He felt exhilarated, yet did not abandon caution yet.
"Ziva?" he asked hopefully, moving closer, to her, and she smiled. He cupped her face and in a second, everything ceased to exist except him and the woman in his arms, kissing him passionately.
He watched the woman next to him, curled up in his chest, sleeping peacefully. He gazed at her, wondering how he could have deserved the woman that his co-workers stared at, their expressions full of desire, to want him, the simple geek of the office. She was the one who made reluctant suspects speak yet make men who she was breezing by be rendered speechless. And she was slumbering next to him, unaware of the conga his heart was dancing in celebration.
It was not the first time he had fallen asleep with her. They had been together for almost a year now, actually, without the office knowing. Yet every time he looked at her he wondered how this miracle happened to him. She did not know how overcome he was every time he happened to chance a glance in his direction. But around him, she was more talkative, calmer, and less hypersensitive to every rustle in the wind, every creak of the wood. She was herself around him. And he wondered (proudly) how many other men she had been like this with.
Ziva put the last carton in McGee's foyer, neatly marked with a black sharpie in Hebrew characters.
"be…beh…" he attempted, looking at the first letter, and then shrugged his shoulders in surrender.
"Begadim," Ziva finished off, smiling.
"Clothes." He translated, smiling. Ziva got on her toes and kissed him. "I have the best teacher." He commented.
"You are a good teacher, too." Ziva said, grinning. "Maybe you should teach me a language?"
"How about English?" he grinned wickedly.
Ziva tickled his middle, and he swept her up, bridal style.
"I'm home." She said, looking around in wonderment, as he set her down on the couch and picked up the box, looking for another place to set it down.
"So when do we tell the team?" he asked, reappearing in the doorway.
Ziva shook her head. "I cannot decide which is more daunting: Tony or Gibbs."
McGee sat down next to her. "Abby." His face clouded over at the thought of the reaction of the ultra-happy Goth forensic scientist.
"She'll be fine." Ziva said, sighing. "It will take her a few minutes, but she will just give you one of her big hugs and say how happy she is for you."
"Do you think Gibbs knows yet?"
Ziva hesitated. "I have had dinner with him every Sunday night since I came back from Somalia, and he has never asked me a question about my relationships except for once. I do not know if he knows."
"Tony's just going to tease," McGee groaned. "I don't know if I can handle it." He glanced out the window. "How about the beach?" he suggested.
"The beach?" Ziva asked.
"Yeah. Watch the sunset." He smiled.
Ziva nodded. "Let me get dressed."
Ziva and McGee strolled along the beach. She was wearing a delicately patterned maxi dress and a pair of gold sandals her hair was crowned in a tulip shaped bun. He carried a basket in one of his hands, and his other arm wrapped around her shoulders, and her arm around his waist.
They finally stopped after the stroll, not being more than three hundred metres away from McGee's Porsche. As they settled down, McGee rummaged inside the basket, producing a bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes, a bottle opener, two forks, and a white bakery box. He opened the bottle and poured it, handing it to her.
"To new beginnings," he toasted her, and she nodded, clinking their glasses together. "To the love of my life," he said, watching her eyes light up with delight.
"Tim," she began, "I do not think we should tell the office so soon."
"Ziva, are you sure?"
"Mm-hmm." she inhaled deeply, before continuing, but McGee cut her off.
"Let's not talk about the office now." He brought her close to him, and smiled. "You're so beautiful, Ziva. Especially tonight."
Ziva snuggled in closer towards him, and he opened the white bakery box, revealing a generous slice of cheesecake. He forked some of it and placed it in her mouth. Ziva chewed slowly, the corners of her twitching upwards as she revelled in the taste.
"Delicious, Tim." She said, now placing some cheesecake on her fork and feeding it to him. His reaction was identical to hers. They fed each other the cheesecake, sharing kisses and watching the magnificent sunset.
An hour passed, and it began to get cold. Ziva shivered, and he placed his coat around her shoulders. "Thanks." She murmured, and he wrapped his arm around her.
"Should we head home? Star Wars is on." He laughed, remembering.
"Ahuvi, I brought dinner," Ziva said, entering McGee's apartment, the smell of Chinese food wafting to the couch. When she entered, she found McGee in the middle of A New Hope.
"What, they have Milchemet HaKochavim in English?"
"Huh?" McGee asked.
"Ari and my father and I used to go to every single one of these in theatres. This is the first one I saw. I love it!" Ziva vaulted over the couch, and plopped down next to him. He was surprised that Ziva liked it, but she kept saying the lines in Hebrew. Over the next several months, they watched so much science fiction, with Ziva enjoying herself very much, to the delight of McGee.
"Yes, we should," Ziva sighed. "Thank you, that was wonderful." She got up, and wrapped McGee's coat tighter around her. She looked at the ocean one more time, its water lapping gently at the sand barrier. When she turned to McGee, she found him on his knee.
"Tim?" she asked, strangely breathless.
"Ziva…" his voice trailed off as he nearly lost his nerve, but then steeled himself to continue. Then he had a sudden stroke of inspiration.
"It's a beautiful night; we're looking for something dumb to do. Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you," he sang plaintively. Ziva surprised him by answering,
"Is it the look in your eyes, or is it this dancing juice? Who cares baby, I think I wanna marry you."
"Really?" he asked. "Really? Ziva David, will you marry me?"
"Of course." Ziva answered, and he pulled out the famous robin's-egg blue box, and opened it, placing the ring on her finger.
"How did you know the ring I wanted, Tim?"
"I know you very well, Ziva." She admired the ring — it must have been about six carats, princess-cut, with two smaller diamonds on the side.
"It's absolutely beautiful."
"Dulls in comparison to you," he mumbled.
She laughed, unadulterated bliss glittering in her eyes.
Monday morning. McGee's heart raced as he brought his car into a neat stop in the NCIS car park. Ziva had driven alone this morning. Gibbs had been okay when Ziva had told him that she and McGee were tying the knot. He had seemed rather pleased, according to Ziva, and asked if their children would call him Grandpa, or perhaps, papi, the French version of Grandfather. He had promised her that he would inform Vance, who would then, in turn, set up a meeting with Eli David.
When he walked into the office, Ziva and Tony were nattering away.
"So, Dah-veed," he drawled, "How's your elusive gentleman friend?"
"He's not elusive," Gibbs said, breezing into the office, holding a cup of coffee. "You need to open your eyes, DiNozzo."
Ziva and McGee laughed. "Wait…." Tony said, aghast. "McGee knows who it is?" He stood up, looked at Ziva, and then his eyes narrowed. "Jimmy Palmer."
Ziva raised her eyebrows. "Sometimes I wonder why you are a special investigator. I will put you out of your misery, Tony. McGee and I are engaged."
"In what?" Tony asked stupidly.
"To be married," McGee said, stepping from behind his desk.
So, how is it? Please read and review, because I want to hear from all of you how my new (second favourite) ship is going on… MCGIVA!