AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Timothy McGee/Jimmy Palmer
SUMMARY: A sequel to Things Overheard. After much thought Jimmy comes up with an idea of how to get Tim to go out for a drink with him.
WORD COUNT: 1,181
AUTHOR'S NOTE: With thanks to ashley_pitt for the plot idea.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
Two weeks had gone by and Jimmy still hadn't come up with an idea of the best way to get Tim to go out for a drink with him. Every reason he thought up sounded either false or the kind whereby Tim was likely to turn around and suggest they invite the rest of the team; that or Tony would overhear him asking Tim and invite himself.
He'd found himself getting more and more obsessive about finding the perfect way of asking Tim out for a drink and found it was taking up most of his time. Even when he tried not to think about it, he found it creeping into his mind until -
Jimmy jumped. "Yes, Dr. Mallard?" The sharpness of Dr. Mallard's voice made him certain his name had been said more than once and that he'd been asked to do something. "I'm sorry, Doctor," he said quickly, getting the apology in even though he didn't know for certain what he was apologizing for.
Dr. Mallard stared at him for a moment or two, his eyes were quite hard, as was the look on his face. Then he sighed and said in a much softer tone, "Is something the matter, Jimmy?"
"No, Doctor." Jimmy spoke quickly.
Dr. Mallard continued to stare at him. "Then why are you so distracted? Are you worried about something? Your studies? Your mother? Some young lady? You know, you can confide in me; I know I am somewhat older than you, but I was younger once." He smiled.
Jimmy smiled back. "Thank you, Doctor. I know I can," he said. "And it's nothing like that. It's just," he paused; he liked and respected his boss enough to want to be as honest as he could be without actually telling him. "I need to ask someone something and I don't know the best way to go about it, that's all."
"Well, in my experience the straight-forward way is usually the best."
Jimmy sighed. "I know, but this is a little more complicated, Doctor."
"I imagine it must be, Jimmy. Well, my boy, do try to find a way as soon as possible, please."
Jimmy swallowed hard as he understood the unsaid message in Dr. Mallard's words. "Yes, Doctor," he said quickly. "I will. I promise."
Dr. Mallard smiled. "Good. And now, I think it's time for a cup of tea, don't you?"
Jimmy beamed. "Yes, Doctor," he said and hurried off to make it.
He took a couple of minutes to pop to the restroom and on his way back he passed two of the admin staff talking about the latest iPad and the benefits it had over other tablets and suddenly it gave Jimmy an idea.
He made another quick detour into the squad room and saw that Tony and Ziva weren't at their desks and given both of their coats were missing he guessed Gibbs had sent them out to interview someone or something. It didn't matter why they weren't there; all that mattered was that they weren't there. Tim was at his desk staring as he so often did at his computer screen; Gibbs was on the phone and making notes. If only Gibbs hadn't been there he could . . .
Jimmy was just contemplating going over to speak to Tim anyway when Gibbs slammed the phone down, muttered something under his breath that sounded like 'damned doctors', before looking up. "Palmer, is Ducky in Autopsy?"
Jimmy nodded. "Yes, si - Yes, Agent Gibbs, he is."
Gibbs stood up, pushed his chair back with more force than was necessary, ignored the fact it hit the filing cabinet behind his desk and strode out of the squad room. Jimmy paused for a second or two before he hurried over to Tim's desk where he stood for a moment or two not wanting to disturb Tim or interrupt his concentration.
After a moment or two the intense look Tim had had on his face faded as did the frown and he leaned back in his chair and smiled. "Got it," he said. "Oh, hello, Jimmy. Did you want something?"
Knowing Gibbs or Tony and Ziva could come back at any time or Tim's phone could ring, Jimmy made himself speak. "I'm thinking of getting a new computer and I wondered if you could give me some advice, please. I don't know if I want a PC a laptop or a tablet or something else and I know you're the expert so I wondered if you'd like to maybe go out for a drink or coffee and you could, well advise me - if you don't mind of course." He finally stopped speaking and just stared at Tim.
Tim's cheeks were slightly flushed and Jimmy thought he looked pleased. "I'd like that, Jimmy," he said. "And I'd be glad to help you, to give you some advice."
"Thanks." Jimmy knew he was beaming at Tim.
"Um, well, as soon as possible, if that's all right with you."
"Is tonight too soon?"
Jimmy had to stop himself from punching the air. "Tonight would be great, Tim, unless you have to work late?"
Tim shook his head. "Nope. I've finished the job Gibbs gave me to do - that's what I was doing when you came over. I had thought I'd be here for hours, to be honest, but suddenly I got some inspiration and - Oh, look, you don't want to listen to me going on about what I'm doing."
"I don't mind, you've got a nice voice, Tim, I like listening to you." Jimmy spoke without thought and just stared at Tim as he felt sweat begin to prickle his back. What had he just said? What would Tim think?
Under his gaze Tim's flush increased a little and Jimmy saw him swallow and then saw him smile. "Thank you, Jimmy," he said softly. The silence stretched between them until Tim broke it. "How about half past seven at Benny's?" He named a bar that wasn't overly popular because it didn't play loud music or serve the vast array of modern drinks most bars served - it was a place Tony wouldn't be seen dead in. It was just the place you went if you didn't want to have to shout to be heard, where you could sit at a table rather than stand around or perch on uncomfortable stools, a place you could enjoy a quiet drink with a good friend.
Jimmy nodded. "It sounds great, Tim. I'll see you there." And he smiled. "I better go before - I'm meant to be making Dr. Mallard a cup of tea."
Tim laughed. "Well hopefully whatever Gibbs wanted to see him about will distract him from wondering where you've got too - Gibbs certainly didn't seem in a good mood when he left here."
"If anyone can calm him down it'll be Dr. Mallard. I'll see you later, Tim."
"I'm looking forward to it," Tim said.
Jimmy swallowed. "So am I," he said and hurried off across the squad room.