Feels like it's not done, but I don't know how to make it better. But I don't care, I needed it. Hope you guys like it.

I'm not sure if McGee's in character. This whole thing wasn't planned, it just sort of happened as a spur-of-the-moment thing. But there was just SO much going on with him under the surface in the episode, and this is what came out.

Oh, and I should probably warn against spoilers for 10x19 Squall, and also 10x18 Seek, kinda. Enjoy.

* Don't own nothing.

The lights were already out on the usually very busy floor. Noises of typing and printing and angry fax machines have all died out, replaced by that calm, tired silence.

Ziva was staring at her screen, then at her friend on the other side of the bullpen, and back again. She really wanted to keep checking those new security cameras videos she got. To try and get a little bit closer. But she couldn't while McGee was there with her. And anyway, she couldn't ignore the way he was looking, either.

McGee was usually the most efficient in finishing late paper work. He'd just type and type until he was done and ready to leave, much faster than her and Tony, of course. But today he was just staring. She didn't even know where he was looking, it seemed like he was out of focus. Which was unusual for him. Very.

And no, it was no secret why he was acting this way. She just didn't think she should stick her nose in his private business. Gibbs and Tony and Abby were enough, she thought. Or maybe she just didn't want to talk about something so close to home. Maybe.

But the way he was looking now was enough to make up her mind. Her friend needed her attention tonight a lot more than her own personal and rather painful quest.

And so she got up and walked over to where he was sitting. His eyes snapped to hers in surprise, as if he'd been suddenly woken up, as she leaned back on his desk, facing him.



She eyed him for a moment.

"Are you okay?"

"Y-yeah, I'm fine," he answered weakly with a small nod, even though he knew she won't really buy it.

Ziva cocked her head to the side, and shrugged her shoulders. "Would you like to talk about it?" she asked quietly and carefully, as if afraid of overstepping an invisible line. The last thing she wanted was to be intrusive.

But McGee just sighed, and pushed his chair back a little so he could face her more comfortably.

"I just," he started, but paused midway and frowned for a moment. He sighed again. "I just wanna be angry with him, so bad. Tell him how stupid he was being, making all of us wait until there was no more time left. All these years… it's all his fault. And I wanna remind him of that, over and over again." Ziva gave him a small nod, and he sighed. "But I can't. I can't be mad at him now. I guess… I just don't have it in me."

She eyed him fondly. She was amazed, sometimes, at how incredible a person McGee was. She took a deep breath. "You should be grateful that you don't, Tim. You should be thankful that you can be the bigger man here and let it go. It is the only hope you have to make use of the time you do have left together. Good use. I know you know better than to underestimate that."

At this, McGee finally caught up with the painful parallel between them, and immediately regretted for not seeing it sooner. He berated himself quietly, and hurried to correct his insensitivity. "I'm sorry, Ziva."

She shook her head softly. "Don't be," she said, with a soft lopsided smile. "I just… would like you to do what you can to make the most of it. You have earned at least that much and you deserve it. You deserve a lot more."

He smiled in gratification to her kind words, and she smiled back. "Thanks." He knew she meant what she said. "I will."

Squeezing his shoulder, she stood up from his desk and walked back towards hers, unaware of his concerned eyes following her. She sighed tiredly and muttered, "I should probably just call it a night as well," as she closed the running programs on her computer.

"Yeah, that's sounds like a good idea." He hesitated for half a second. "Can I ask you a question?"

"Of course, McGee," she put on her jacket, but waited with her backpack. "What is it?"

There was something so simple and affectionate about the way he was looking at her, before he asked, "How are you holding up?"

She paused for a moment, gaping, a tad surprised at the shift of focus towards her. But then, not really, because he'd always been a true friend to her. So she chose to answer honestly, as much as would be possible.

"Some days are better than others," she managed slowly, then paused, thoughtful. "I am… getting by."

He gave her a warm, sympathetic look. "If you ever need someone to talk to…"

Her smile was genuine and wide as she said, "I know, Tim. And I appreciate it." She put her backpack on her shoulder.


She walked out of the bullpen and stopped to give him one more smile as a token of her appreciation. "Thank you." He nodded. "Are you coming?"

"I just need to finish a few last things, I don't wanna keep you."

She turned towards the elevator. "Alright. See you tomorrow, then."

The elevator dinged. "Good night, Ziva," he called.

"Night, McGee."