A short piece that will shift perspective with each chapter.
Just something to get me back into the writing state of mind.
It's too windy, too cold, and too early to be battling the bane of mother nature; and it's only the beginning of the week.
He's also ten minutes too late by the time he swings his car into the divided checkpoint of the Navy Yard, and has to tear apart his car to find his badge to flash at the impatient security guard. Once confirmed as Timothy McGee, the gate opens and he drives on through. He passes the first section of parking where Tony and Gibbs prefer to park, noting with satisfaction that he had at least beat the Senior Field Agent to the Navy Yard. He directs his car further along to near the end of the eastern lot, where Ziva and himself prefer to park. It's a longer walk in the morning, but they can take the back stairwell exit for a shorter walk at night.
McGee steers his car into his usual spot, frowning to himself as he notes Ziva's still vacant space beside him. He spares a brief thought to why the usually punctual ex-Mossad Officer was running late herself, before gathering up the case files he had taken home over the weekend. He stacks them on top of the coffees he'd picked up as a peace offering for his tardiness, and awkwardly maneuvers himself from out of the vehicle.
He winces as the icy breeze bites at the exposed skin that's not covered by his jacket, and he prays to every deity he can recall that they're not sent out to a crime scene today. McGee sets a quick pace while trying to maintain balance of the the coffees and his homework, but whatever forces are at work this morning, they are hell bent on turning this day upside down before it's really begun. A gust of the unforgiving, Siberian wind picks up, and the case files are unmatched; The papers fly, and are carried through the air along with his loud expletive across the parking lot. The coffees are abandoned, sloshing in his hurry to set them on the asphalt, and McGee is off running to catch what he can of the papers.
Thankfully, it takes him only about five minutes. In that time, he's ended up around the next side the building, and that's where he spots the allusive page seven of the file. It's caught by a conveniently placed shrub, and he slows his pace to a walk in an effort to slow his breathing to normal. He retrieves the paper, and as he goes to turn back to the lot where he'd abandoned the now-chilled coffees, a flash of red catches his eye. Stopping, he does a double take, and spots Ziva's mini cooper several spots down, a few spaces past a dumpster that would effectively block it from view at most angles. Frowning, he stares after it for several moments before a jolt from his pocket indicates an incoming call.
Fishing the offending device out of his pocket with stubbornly cold fingers, he gulps as the screen flashes Gibbs' name. He glances once more at the Red Mini, and brings the phone to his ear, turning his back on the car and setting off at a jog.
"Boss," he begins, but doesn't get anything else out.
"Wanna tell me why my coffee's sitting in the parking lot?"
"You're late, McGee." Gibbs grunts, ending the call.
Rolling his eyes heavenward, he takes a deep breath and keeps jogging. The Red Mini all but forgotten, he's reminded when he rounds the building and spots a familiar mass of dark curls blowing in the wind, her small figure drowning in a large parka. He watches as Ziva David bends down to retrieve his coffees, then straighten and walk briskly toward the building's entrance. Exhausted already from his morning paper chase, he slows his jog to a speed walk in an effort to still catch up to her. But instead of walking toward the entrance, she stops next to a car, and DiNozzo suddenly appears beside her. She smiles as he says something to her, and they continue walking together with each step in sync.
He catches up to them finally, and they're laughing when he appears huffing and puffing beside him.
Reaching for the double doors, DiNozzo opens one and shoots the young agent his signature grin.
"McTardy to the party, nice for you to finally arrive."
Ziva shoots her partner a look of disdain as she walks past him into the mercifully heated lobby.
"We are all late," she points out unnecessarily. Turning around, she faces them as McGee walks in next, proffering the coffees to him without any questions or teasing in her eyes.
Ignoring DiNozzo, he offers a gracious, "Thank you," to the Israeli and she nods in kind. They walk toward the security desk and DiNozzo swipes a cup from the carrier in McGee's hands.
"Probie knows I'm only kidding, Sweetcheeks." He smirked, eyes glinting with amusement. "Bossman called in back-up when he saw you take off across the parking lot."
McGee groaned and rolled his eyes before handing over his ID for the second time that morning.
"Unfortunately, you were already half way across the yard before we could be of help." Ziva's apologetic voice came from behind him as he moved forward past check-in and towards the elevator. He punches the button, and DiNozzo's just clipping his badge back to it's home on his belt loop when the elevator arrives with a ding.
Frowning in confusion, McGee turns to them once they've situated themselves in the elevator.
"Why were you both late?"
The duo share a brief look, deciding that Ziva would answer.
"My car has been in the shop all weekend. Tony offered to pick me up today." She says this easily enough, but her eyes stay acutely focused on the elevator wall behind him, never meeting his face.
Recalling the Mini currently parked in the Yard, his brow furrows as his incredulity crosses his features. On his look, Tony elaborates.
"Yeah, had to put her car in the shop friday; you know her, these ninjas and their driving. Who knows what she's knocked around in her engine."
Picking at her nails inattentively as he spoke, which McGee notes as one of her few nervous ticks, Ziva now makes a noise of protest, and the two start arguing without malice. The gears in McGee's head begin turning, and his eyes widen at the implications. The elevator dings, and the doors open to the familiar floor of the bullpen.
"So you haven't had your car since friday?" McGee says slowly, keeping his voice as innocent as he can, while the partner's move around him to exit the elevator.
Ziva and Tony share a loaded glance that would have been too quick to catch for most, but for someone who's had a front seat to their partnership on the cusp of a decade, he caught it easily enough.
He would bet Abby a lifetime of Caf-Pows that Ziva's Mini had been parked here since Friday.
However, Ziva answers otherwise, her back now to him.
"Yes, but I should hopefully have it back by today," she says casually, without a glance behind her. The partners head toward their cluster of desks, shoulder to shoulder, and McGee follows in a daze, awareness dawning on him just as instantly as the migraine beginning to bloom behind his eyes.
He sits behind his desk, watching the dynamic duo talk lowly across the bullpen, and takes a tepid sip of coffee in an effort to assuage the developing migraine. He looks over to Gibbs, who's said nothing while they've made their entrance. He doesn't look up in reprimand, or in suspicion. McGee's gaze flits back to the partners, and he wonders how nothing appears much different about them from the outside looking in.
Quelling what his gut was assuming, he diverts his attention back to his desk to begin rummaging for the bottle of aspirin that's becoming much more frequently used during the week, and plans a trip down to Abby to share the hinky events that have transpired this morning.
And it's only monday, he thinks to himself.