Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 52

McGee centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 52: A Garnet

When the Fourth of July came and went, Tim finally did come to the conclusion that Jimmy was right. The perfect ring for Abby did not, in fact, exist, and he needed to find someone to make it for him. All joking about the betting pool aside, it was time to get moving.

And he figures that if he is going to get a ring made, the first step for that is finding a stone, or stones...

He thinks about Gibbs mentioning taking Ziva along, but feels a little uncomfortable at that idea. He doesn't want Ziva thinking he's bringing her along because of Israeli stereotypes. Getting an entire ring is one thing, shopping for a gem...

Well, if the gem isn't a diamond...

And it wouldn't, be would it?

At least not a white one...

I love you in red. He remembers saying that, and ideas start to form.

Hours later, Tony and Gibbs are off talking to a suspect, and he's got a minute alone with Ziva. "If the case is wrapped up, would you go shopping with me on Sunday?"

"What are we shopping for?"

"A ruby, maybe some garnets."

"For Abby?"

He nods.

"Why do you want me to come along?"

While it's true that Tim's number one rule is do not lie to Gibbs, he does not have a similar rule for Ziva, so his answer is not entirely honest. It's honest enough, but just not all of the story.

"You're a woman, and when we find one that makes you suck in your breath fast and go quiet, I'm thinking that'll be a good place to start."

"Have you ever shopped for gems before, McGee?"

"Nope, you?"


"Then we'll go together and learn something. Come with me?"

"Sure. Tony will want to know what we're doing."

"You can tell him... I might have to get Gibbs to set another death threat on him though, because he'll have to keep it secret for however long it takes to get a ring, and then for me to ask her."

"I think he will keep this secret." Tony had seemed to be better at that lately. He seemed to be developing interests beyond spreading gossip around. Possibly his own life was getting interesting enough he didn't feel the need to vicariously mess about in other people's lives. "And what are you going to tell Abby?"

"Nothing. She's got a conference for new Federal forensic standards this weekend. She'll be out from six to six both days."

"Good timing."

Tim smiled. "Thank you."

Ziva doesn't live ten minutes away any longer, but he still has the route to her place memorized. Bright and early Sunday morning, he's at her place, waiting for her to come down.

"Do you know what you want?" she asks as she gets into his car and buckles her seatbelt.

"Red. I want something red. So rubies, garnets, carnelian, onyx, whatever, it's got to be red."

"She does wear white. You could go for diamonds."

"I spent five months looking at diamonds and not buying them. Palmer was right; there isn't a diamond ring on earth that's right for Abby."

"Speaking of Palmer, are we going out next weekend?"

"I hope so, but he keeps saying Breena isn't up to it."

Ziva nods. "Breena hasn't been feeling up to going out for almost four weeks now."

"Yeah. He's been saying something about allergy season, but who has allergies in July?"

"Who indeed?"

He's got the feeling that Ziva means something by the way she's asking, but whatever it is, he's not getting it. "So, just the four of us?" he asks.

"I think so. Maybe though, you should have a chat with Palmer at some point."

"We have lunch at least once a week."

"I know, but still... Allergies in July. Allergies that make you not want to play rough and running around games or dancing..."

He looks away from the road to her. "Ziva, if you had ever had allergies, you'd know you don't want to do much of anything with them. You lay around feeling sleepy and blow your nose all the time."

"Ah." She gently whacks Tim upside the back of the head. "You are such a man. She is pregnant."

"What?" Okay, that thought hadn't occurred to him at all.

"Yes. Allergies might stop you from the active part of our bi-weekly gathering. She'd still be able to drink beer and eat pizza or go out to dinner somewhere nice. Pregnant and morning sickness stop you from that."

"Oh." He thinks about it. Palmer has seemed a bit more twitchy than normal lately. "I think you're right about that."

"Of course I am right." She shakes her head. "A baby for Palmer. You and Abby getting engaged. Tony and I dating. We are growing up."

"Yeah, we are."

"So, am I going to be a bridesmaid or a groomswoman?"

"Abby's already claimed you, Breena, Gibbs, and Palmer for her side."

Ziva laughed. "You are picking teams?"

"Something like that."

"Then you get Tony and Ducky."


The thing about shopping for gems is that in real life, they're awfully tiny. When you look at them online, especially on Tim's monitor, the pictures are all huge. But in real life they're these tiny little things all sort of glinting at you.

And on top of that, Tim's got no idea how big a carat is. He knows it's a weight, but he also doesn't know what that means in relation to the size of Abby's finger, which is the only ratio that matters to him.

The dealer is looking at Tim like he's an idiot because he doesn't know how big of a stone, let alone what shape, or for that matter, precisely what sort of stone he wants.

Apparently "red" isn't the kind of information most buyers come armed with.

Lucky for Tim, Ziva is there, because while the dealer might be looking at him like he's just another clueless, idiot groom, no one disrespects Ziva.

"Do you have a pad of paper?"

The dealer messes around for a moment under the counter and produces one, humoring Tim, talking to Ziva about Tel Aviv.

Tim sketches out a small square. He knows how big Abby's ring finger is, and he knows pretty well how big he wants the ring to be. So that little square represents biggest the stone can be.

"It's got to be red, and no bigger than this."

The dealer looks intensely underwhelmed by Tim, but goes to fetch a selection of stones. He comes back a few minutes later with a tray and about fifteen loose stones on it.

Honestly, none of them are rocking Tim's world. They're nice enough. Very red. But none of them feel like Abby. He glances at Ziva, who is also not looking stunned at anything. She gives her head a minute shake, and he says, "Not on this tray."

The dealer heads off to find more red stones that are smaller than the tiny square Tim had drawn. Ziva drifts off as well to go look at some of the other displays. He's waiting, tapping his finger against the display case, looking at the diamonds under the glass below his fingers. Maybe he could do one of them... They do look a bit different in real life, all shiny and sparkly...


He looks at her, and she waves him over. "This one."

Ziva's pointing straight down. He walks over and looks, and she's right. It's perfect. Round cut, dark red with glints of amber, gold, and orange. He has no idea what it is or how much it costs, but right now it doesn't matter, that's the heart of Abby's ring, so it's coming home with him.

"What about this one?"

The dealer puts the tray of new stones down and takes Abby's stone out to show him. "It's a hessonite garnet. A little over three quarters of a carrot. It's a flawless passion cut stone."

"How much?"

"Twenty-five hundred dollars."

"Sold." Now Ziva's looking at him like he's an idiot. Apparently bargaining is part of this whole gem buying thing. Meanwhile the sales clerk seems to think Tim is now his newest, bestest friend and has warmed up considerably. Apparently idiot groom with money is exactly who this guy wants in his store.

Tim holds it over the square he sketched, and then holds it over his pinky as well. It's a little smaller than he was hoping for. It's the heart of her ring, but it needs some company.

"Do you have any black diamonds?"


"Triangle shaped ones smaller than the garnet?"

"Let me get them."

Finding two little, sparkling black teardrops to go with garnet was pretty easy. Less than half an hour later, he tucked a tiny bag into the pocket of his jacket. "That was easier than I expected. Thank you, Ziva."

"You're welcome. All you have to do now is find a ring to put them in."

"Monday night, I've got a meeting set up with a jeweler."

"Good. Then what?"

"Then... 'Marry me?' I'm still bouncing proposal ideas around. Nothing seems quite right, yet. If you were Abby, what would you want?"

"I am not Abby. And I cannot even begin to guess what she would like."

Tim smiles a little. "Okay, if on the off chance someone is ever bouncing proposal ideas off me, what would you like for you?"

She grins at that and shakes her head. "Oh no. He's not getting off that easy."

"No hints at all?"

"I like sapphires."

"Good to know."

"So, Ziva's thinking Breena has the sort of allergies that might start getting better in a few weeks," Tim says to Palmer the next day.

Palmer nods. "Uh yeah, the Doc says she'll probably be feeling better in a month or six weeks."

Tim gives him a long look, and then breaks into a grin. "And how are you dealing with her 'allergies?'"

Palmer shakes his head, a little rueful, but mostly amused. It's hard to keep secrets when all your friends are cops. "When I'm not feeling seventeen feet tall and ready to start crowing about how proud I am, I'm on the verge of throwing up because I'm so scared."

Tim nods. "You're going to be a great dad."

"I hope so. It's just really intense right now, because it's this big secret. And, okay, do not ever say anything about this to anyone, 'cause, I mean this is the sort of caveman kind of thing we aren't supposed to like, right? But, God, she's mine. I mean, really mine. My woman. My child growing inside of her. And it's scary how strongly I'm feeling that right now."

"I get that. Every time I go out with Abby, I see the looks other guys give me. The whole 'How did you get her?' thing. And I just smile, because I did get her. She's mine."

"You've got a ghost of it. We're in the grocery store and this idiot almost bumped into her with his cart. He didn't actually hit her with it. She jumped out of the way, but I was going to hit him. Seriously, my fingers were in a fist and my arm was coming up when she put her hand on it and said, "I'm fine.'

"Stick that ring you keep dithering about on her finger and get her pregnant, and it'll knock your socks off."

Tim smiles. "Which is part of why I'm down here. Check this out." Tim got his phone out and showed Palmer a picture of the stones.

Palmer grins, nodding. "Better. Much better. Got someone to make it into a ring?"

"Yeah. Supposedly you and I are having dinner tonight."

"Really?" This was the first Palmer had heard of their dinner date.

"Uh huh."

"Okay. And this dinner, are you actually attending?"

"Nope. Neither are you. Got a meeting with a jeweler."

"Finally! And if your beloved were to ask, where did we go, and what did we have?"

"Rick's. I got my usual burger. You got your usual Caesar salad. And we talked about Breena's mysterious allergies."

"Okay. Bring me back pictures of the sketch. I want to see what I'm covering for."

"Will do. When is she due, anyway?"

"Early February."

"Good." Tim thinks about it for a second, and figures Palmer won't react badly to it. So he hugs him, quickly, and then pulls back. "I'm really happy for you two."

"Thanks, Tim. Me, too. I mean, I'm happy for you, too. Getting engaged...not that Abby's pregnant... Is she?"

Tim smiles. "Not yet."

"Yet?" That catches Jimmy's interest.

"I don't think your kids will be all that much older than mine."

Palmer smirks. "Are you at least going to try to marry her first?"

"Gonna try."


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