Tim yawns and stretches as he prepares for work. He stops by his computer and turns on the monitor, smiling when he sees that Ziva is online. He sits in his computer chair and starts typing.
Elflord: Hey just wanted to let you know that we miss you...that I miss you. Wish you were here with me, that I could be there with you, but I know that we'll eventually see each other again. Come home when you feel up to it.
Elflord'slady: I miss you too. It might be a while before I see you again though. I...there are things that have been said and implied and I need answers. I just wish that I had had time to say good-bye to you before we left.
Elflord: As long as you come home to me, that's all I need. It doesn't matter how much time passes. I'll be right here waiting for you. If you need to talk, don't hesitate to call me, please? It doesn't matter what time it is just call me.
Elflord'slady: I will not hesitate. You are always topmost in my mind, you do know that yes?
Elflord: I was hoping you'd say that. I just wish I'd been brave enough to talk to you before you left. Then maybe you wouldn't have felt the need to leave.
Elflord'slady: I would have gone regardless, if nothing else to clear up the doubt in my mind regarding the comments made by the joker in our midst.
Elflord: I can understand that. Alright, I need to take McMutt for his walk and then go to work, take care of yourself my lady.
Elflord'slady: You do the same my lord.
Tim sighs as he powers down the computer and looks at his furry companion. Jethro wags his tail, and Tim smiles at the German shepherd. "Get your leash."
As they walk to the park, Tim ponders his current relationship with Ziva. His friend is several thousand miles away, yet he feels closer to her now than he has in all the years that he's known her. When she'd sent him the first email, calling herself Elflord'slady he'd been surprised yet pleased that she trusted him enough to contact him. Abby of course has had several emails from her, yet she hadn't created a different account to talk to Abby. Just to him, and he's not sure if he should tell the others or not. In a way, he wants to keep it a secret; but he can almost bet that Gibbs either knows or has figured out that something has changed.
Tim lets Jethro off the leash and watches as the dog races for the end of the enclosure. A shadow falls over Tim as he sits on the bench and he sighs as he says, "Hey boss."
Gibbs sits down and silently hands Tim a cup of coffee. They sip at the brew and watch the dog as he runs from one end of the enclosed dog park to the other. "You're doing a good job with him. He's a happy animal."
"Yeah. I heard from Ziva. She's doing okay so far." There he'd admitted hearing from her.
"What about you? You sleeping okay with her being so far away?"
"I...we were never lovers boss. Just good friends." Tim's protest is met with a knowing look from Gibbs.
Gibbs thinks about what Tim hasn't said then nods before saying, "I was good friends with Shannon for years before we finally married and had Kelly. I didn't sleep worth a damn until we were finally together."
Tim blushes, "I...you...what about rule 12?"
"If she comes back, we'll discuss it. If she doesn't it's a moot point. In the meantime, keep in contact with her. I think she talks to you more than Abby right now."
Tim stares at him, "Is your gut telling you something boss?"
Gibbs shakes his head then looks at the dog who is currently chasing a squirrel towards a tree. "Only that we need to get to work. Come on, I'll give you a ride to your apartment then meet you at the Yard."
Tim whistles and Gibbs looks at him with surprise as he hadn't known Tim could whistle that loudly. "Something that my boss taught me." Tim says with a small smile.
The ride to Tim's apartment is quick but not uncomfortable. For once, Gibbs is maintaining the speed limit and the silence is companionable. As Tim and the dog exit the car Gibbs says, "I'll see you at work. Don't be late."
Tim smiles, "Yes, boss."
Tim jogs up the stairs to his apartment, Jethro keeping a steady pace by his side. "That was weird Jethro, but at least we'll have something new to tell her tonight."
Jethro gives a soft woof of agreement. Together they enter Tim's apartment; Jethro heads for his water bowl and slurps to his content then watches as his human finishes getting ready for work. Tim changes his running shoes for work shoes then retrieves his badge and gun. Grabbing his backpack he quickly makes sure that his canine companion has enough food and water to make it through the day before grabbing up his keys and heading out the door.
The day passes quickly with no new cases and Gibbs lets them go home early. Tim comes home and after a quick jog with Jethro finds a new message on his computer.
Elflord'slady: I will be going on a mission tomorrow my lord. We will not be able to communicate for several days if not weeks.
Elflord: I'll miss you my lady. Oh and had something really weird happen this morning.
Elflord'slady: What happened? Did our liege lord stop by and talk to you?
Elflord: Yes, while McMutt and I were at the park this morning. He said to tell you that if/when you come back he's willing to discuss rule #12 with us. It was really strange, almost like he was giving me permission to court you even though we've never formally been out on a date.
Elflord'slady: That sounds like a wonderful thing...to go out on a date with you. If we were to go out what would you do?
Ziva can almost see Tim's blushes from her computer console. She has deliberately kept the web-cam turned off so that she wouldn't see his face but tonight, knowing that it will be several days before she can communicate with him again she turns it on.
Elflord: Well, to start with I will politely ask if you would like to go out on a date with me?
Elflord'slady: I would be honored. I would be more honored if you would turn on your web-cam.
Tim complies and soon they are smiling at each other long distance.
Elflord: Hello beautiful lady; would you do me the honor of going on a date with me?
Elflord'slady: Good evening my handsome lord; I would lo-like that very much.
Ziva smiles at the image filling her computer screen. Tim's face clearly shows his pleasure at the idea of taking her out on a date.
Elflord: I know this might sound cheesy, but I'd like to bring you some flowers.
Ziva watches as he types something and she smiles when she opens an email from him. Inside there are several flower images; bouquets of roses and tulips. She watches as he gets an intense look on his face and knows that he's thinking of something else to send her. Tears fill her eyes when she opens the next email and finds pictures of lilies and irises, two flowers native to Israel.
Elflord: I didn't mean to make you cry my lady.
Elflord'slady: They are tears of pleasure my lord. No one has ever thought to ask or even check as to what my favorite flowers might be.
Tim sighs in satisfaction and sits back in his chair. He'd been afraid that he'd upset her by sending her the flowers. He rubs his eyes and Ziva smiles at the yawn he tries valiantly to hide.
Elflord'slady: You should go to bed my lord.
Elflord: I will in a few minutes. I just have one more thing to do.
Tim searches for a few minutes then smiles as he finds the link he's looking for. He copies the link then types.
Elflord: I just want you to know that no matter what I'll be here for you. Take of yourself my lady. I hope to hear from you soon.
Elflord'slady: Goodnight my lord. I will send you a message as soon as it's safe for me to do so.
Ziva waits until he's left before opening the link. Richard Marx's song Right Here Waiting flows over the speakers and tears flow down her cheeks as she reads the message in the email.
I realize that I'm taking a big chance here, but that song reflects a lot of what is in my own heart. I wish I had taken that chance earlier, but that was then. When you get back, you contact me. I'll be here waiting for you. No matter how long it takes, I'll be here. I love you Ziva.
Six weeks after Ziva's rescue from Somalia:
Tim looks at Gibbs who stares back at him. "Something on your mind McGee?"
"Private talk boss."
Gibbs signs off on his own reports before grabbing his coffee cup and motioning for the young agent to join him. Tim follows him into the elevator and Gibbs waits for five seconds before shutting it down.
"What's up Tim?"
"Is...is it too soon boss? I mean she's barely home now. I just wondered if I would be rushing her if I tried to do anything."
"Flowers are always a nice gesture McGee; not to mention a good way to start a courtship."
Gibbs hides a smile at the flush that covers Tim's cheeks. Tim studies his shoes for a few more seconds before raising his gaze once more. "What about rule 12 boss?"
Gibbs stares at him and Tim can almost feel the icy-blue gaze piercing into his soul. Then Gibbs nods slowly as if approving of what he sees.
"You just treat her right McGee. You've already got some good groundwork laid out and I don't foresee too many issues ahead aside from the past mistakes that you both need to work out; give her time and take it easy with her."
"You don't mind?"
"I will admit to being concerned having seen first hand what can happen when two agents date. The main reason I'm even allowing you to do so is that I've seen your love for her; you've never let it overrule your work or interfere with your job. I'm fairly confident that you will continue to do so."
Tim smiles and Gibbs can see the relief as well as gratitude in the younger man's eyes.
"Go on; let her know that you want to start dating her."
Tim nods and pulls out his cell phone. He pulls up his account so that he can send the message. He holds it up so that Gibbs can read it and the older man smiles his approval.
Elflord: Hello my lady, I was wondering if you would do me the honor of going out to supper with me tonight?