Summary: It's Ziva's citizenship ceremony and she can't do that without a little something from Tim and the team. And Gibbs has something for Tim too.
#16 and final fic to McGee's Keeper series.
Tim straightened his suit as he waited for Jethro to finish getting ready. Jethro had been out doing something since this morning and Tim had worried that he wouldn't make it back in time to shower and change before they headed out. But he did and he was being secretive. That was fine for now.
He just couldn't wait to get going.
It was the day of Ziva's citizenship. She's worked so hard to get where she was, and the team has been there every step of the way.
When Ziva came back to work, things had been steady. Well, there had been a few ups and downs with Ziva's flashbacks and a few days that something really small could have the team snapping at each other, but most of all it was steady. Especially after a discussion that Tim had demanded the team have.
Everyone had been talking separately with each other, none of them had talked to Tim about anything, and Tim realized he had to get the whole "baby" issue off his chest.
Tim sat down in the chair with Ziva sitting on the arm while Tony and Jethro took the couch. Ziva knew what this was about, so she sat beside him in support, a hand on his shoulder.
"So, McGee, what's this about?"
Tim looked at them all, Ziva nodding in encouragement, and then he sighed and figured he'd start with how he did with Dr. Waters. "Tony, you remember when I had to distract Saleem so he didn't shoot you, and buy us time for Jethro?"
"Well, when I told Saleem that I was more than the geek, that I was the baby of this family, I wasn't lying."
Tony titled his head in confusion, Jethro looking a little confused as well. "I know. You were drugged with truth serum McGee."
The fact that Tony hadn't called him Probie or a McNickname yet showed that Tony knew this was a serious conversation and that Tim needed him to be serious.
"I know. The thing is, I don't like it most of the time." At the other men's confused look, Tim continued. "There are moments that I'm honored that you guys protect me." A light of understanding spread over their faces and he continued. "That you worry about me and want to protect me. I know you don't have any siblings Tony and it makes me happy that you can see me as a little brother that you want to protect."
He chuckled at the slight blush on Tony's cheeks at stating what Tony probably thought in the privacy of his own thoughts.
"And Ziva, I'm happy you also see me as a younger brother. That you want to protect me and teach me things so I can protect myself better. But…I am not a baby," he told them. "I am a grown man and the fact that you all kept something from me, it's caused problems. And I'm not happy about it. I hate the fact that I had to overhear a conversation to even learn about what happened in Israel."
Jethro frowned. "What conversation?"
"The one between you and Ziva in the basement earlier." At Jethro's nod, he moved on. "And I'm not only a man, but I'm also a member of this team." That seemed to hit them the hardest and finally get them to understand what he was getting at. "And a team talks to one another."
Tony rubbed the back of his neck with a sigh. "Ah, Tim, we thought we were protecting you. Boss and I agreed on the plane home that we had to save you any further pain. I mean, we were already coming back without Ziva. We didn't want you to hurt worse after finding out what happened, or worse hate her. Especially since she wasn't here to defend herself."
Tim ran his fingers through his hair. "I get that Tony. I really do. But, I told you and Jethro that I couldn't hate you. Why would you think I'd hate Ziva? Look, all these secret and your babying of me," he shook his head, "it's caused problems. And I'm not talking about just this. I'm talking about even when it comes to work.
"When a case comes along that's dangerous and has the potential to get real violent, you guys keep me behind to do computer work." When Jethro opened his mouth, he held up his hand. "Jethro, I know that sometimes I do in fact have to do the computer work while you guys go so I can prepare you on what's ahead or where you even have to go. But you can't deny that other times, you all leave me behind because you don't want me hurt. Well, how do you think I feel about that? Not only do I question if you guys believe I can help and have your back, but I'm left sitting at my desk just waiting for a call saying that you all are okay or that someone's been hurt. When I should be there.
"I mean, last year at the Johnson case, you all made me stay behind to do "computer work" while you went out into the field. Tony was knocked unconscious and Ziva was shot at before Jethro was able to arrest the drug dealer. I'm not saying I would have prevented Tony from getting hit with a two by four, hell I could have been the one knocked unconscious," they flinched at that and it irritated him to no end, "but the thing is that I could have. I could have been there to have Tony's six.
"I am no longer a Probie. I am a capable agent that can have his partners' six and if you keep this up, Director Vance is going to start questioning if I should even be a field agent and ship me back to cybercrimes since that's all I'm doing. If you're adamant about treating me like a baby, then save it for when we're not working."
Tim practically went limp after getting everything off his chest and sat there to let them think.
They all sat there silently and stared at him. Everything he said was true and he could see it all sinking in. And he could immediately tell that what he said about Director Vance was also sinking in. Director Vance hadn't been there long and aside from their rescue trip to Somalia, the man hasn't seen Tim go out into the field that much when the case became dangerous. It was only a matter of time before Vance moved him off Jethro's team to make room for an agent he thinks can go out into the field.
Though, now that he thought about it, Vance was…watchful when it came to him. Sometimes he'd look up when working really hard on something, usually when he felt like he was getting somewhere on the case, and he'd find Vance looking at him from his place on the stairs. He seemed…calculating.
He blinked and looked over to see Jethro nodding at him.
"Okay. I get what you're saying and we'll work on it."
Tim nodded. "Thank you."
"It's alright, Tony. Just try to imagine if it was you instead who was being left behind."
Tony grimaced and Tim chuckled along with the others.
There were times they forgot and Tim looked at them and then they'd remember. There were times Jethro tried to keep him behind but another look would remind him that Tim should be there to have someone's six and not sitting at his desk twiddling his thumbs. Tim would admit that there were times he didn't go out, but not because they were babying him but because they really did need him back at NCIS doing computer work or finish looking for what they needed.
Things were getting better for the team. Tony and Ziva were closer and trust each other again, even were finally giving in to all that sexual attention. It was slow going obviously with what Ziva went through and the fact that Tony killed Michael, but it was going somewhere. Slowly.
Ziva was recovered. Not fully as you never experience what she did and forget it, but she barely had nightmares anymore, she didn't have flashbacks, and she didn't flinch if she was in a crowd or even if a man accidently bumped or brushed against her. Things between her and Jethro were better and everyone's been helping and supporting her with becoming a citizen.
It was probably the first time in a long time that everyone on the team was happy.
Blinking, he looked at Jethro and smiled, walking over to smooth down the man's jacket. "Ready?"
Tim frowned and looked at Jethro with his head tilted a bit. "Can it wait? We don't want to be late." He refused to be late for something so important for Ziva.
"It'll only take a minute."
"Okay." He watched as Jethro seemed to take a deep breath before letting it out and grab something in his pocket. "Jethro, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm good Tim. Better than good actually." Again Tim tilted his head in confusion as he watched his lover fiddle with whatever was in his pocket before a hand on his chin raised his head and he looked into Jethro's blue eyes. "Tim."
"You know how I'm not good with words and right now I'm…well I won't lie. I'm nervous as hell right now Tim. So, I'm gonna do what's me and get straight to the point." Jethro took a deep breath before pulling his hand out of his pocket and holding out his hand. Tim gasped at the black box that sat in his palm and gasped again when Jethro opened it to show a band sitting there innocently. "I love you Tim. Will you marry me?"
Blinking in surprise, he looked back at Jethro to see the nervousness, but there was only a small amount. What was really shining was the love the older man had for him. And it wrapped around him like a warm cocoon.
"Yes," he whispered before he broke out into a grin and jumped Jethro, kissing him for all he was worth, while chanting, "Yes, yes, yes," against his lips.
Jethro chuckled before kissing him back, wrapping his arms tight around his waist. Tim finally calmed enough to pull back and watch Jethro show him the ring. It was a simple titanium band, but what made his heart skip before racing was the inscription on the inside that read, I forever belong to you.
"Jethro," he whispered and watched as the man slipped the ring on his finger.
"I love you," he said before leaning forward again to kiss the man. His arms wrapped around Jethro's shoulders to hold him close and he moaned when his bottom lip was nipped.
But just when he was about to really get into it, Jethro pulled back and chuckled at him. "We gotta go. Don't worry," he said when Tim pouted, "we'll have plenty of time later for more of this."
"Good. Now, let's go."
They arrived a good few minutes before they all had to go inside. Tim dragged Jethro over and smiled at everyone, giving everyone a hug and of course Ziva's sharp eye found Tim's new ring.
Everyone looked at his hand and Tim smiled while Jethro squeezed him closer to his side. No doubt a smug and satisfied smile on his face at the fact that Tim accepted his proposal and that they were finally going to be each other's in every way possible. "Yes, Jethro proposed before we come over."
"Congratulations!" Abby screamed before engulfing them in a hug, the others following.
"Thanks. Now," he grabbed Ziva's hand and pulled her to stand beside him, "we're here for Ziva." Ziva gave a small smile. "We're so proud of you Ziva. You've gone from our scary ninja partner, to friend, to sister, and to much more." Tony smiled at that. "You've been there for us when times were down and rough, were there to pull a prank with me or rein Tony in when he was bored and Jethro wasn't around to give him a head-slap." The others chuckled, Tony reflexively rubbing the back of his head. "And we've tried to be there for you in return."
He pulled out the box that was in his jacket. "We noticed that something was missing when we came back from Somalia and we worked to find…not an exact replica but something that can hopefully serve as a replacement to the one that was lost. So, this is from us, your family."
Tim handed Ziva the box and they all watched her take it with a smile and open it, only to gasp and her eyes tear up.
"Do you like it, my dear?" Ducky asked.
Ziva cleared her throat before saying, "I love it."
Tim looked at Tony and jerked his head for him to come over. He could tell by the look on his face that Tony wanted to be the one to put the new Star of David necklace around her neck. It wasn't anything extravagant or big as she was to wear it at work.
Ziva pulled her hair to the side as Tony stood behind her and put it on her. It came to rest where her last one rested and it looked great on her. The chain was simple, small, and gold but as for the star, one half of it was gold while the other was silver, blending together perfectly and beautifully. It looked beautiful on Ziva and right.
"Thank you," she said with her hand over it. "Thank you very much."
"You're welcome," they all said and after she gave them all hugs, they all made their way inside and took their seats.
Ziva made sure that Tim was on her left with Tony on her right. Tim had Jethro on his left, and on the other side of Tony stood Abby, Jimmy, and Ducky. Director Vance was even there on the other side of Jethro and that nearly gave Tim a heart attack when they walked into the building. But Vance didn't show if he had seen anything and hopefully he hadn't.
It was quickly time to stand and as Ziva was instructed with the others to raise their right hand, Tim felt a small hand grab his own right hand and when he looked over at Ziva, he saw her smiling and found himself smiling as well. Never had he been so proud of someone, apart from Sarah.
Looking at Jethro, he saw his lover—fiancé—looking at Ziva as well and he was practically glowing with happiness and pride. Reaching over carefully so Vance couldn't see, he interlocked their fingers together, the band on his ring finger warm and secure.
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I heretofore been a subject or citizen…"
A/N: PLEASE REVIEW! They're appreciated.
Sad to say that this is the last of the series.
Now, I'm gonna go finish my HP fics since they need to be finished. But I'll be uploading a story called "Unleashed" that will be a series of oneshots so that you all can get your McGibbs fix while I put my focus on my HP fics.
After those are finished, I'll be writing and posting the fic "A Pattern" since that was the winner of the previous poll I had had up. Poll up now for what kind of relationship McGee and Gibbs should have.
Thank you everyone that has followed this series and alert, favorite, and reviewed the stories. I feel honored that you liked this series and enjoyed it. Thank you. :)