RUNNING OUT OF TIME
Tony is trying to find the perfect gift for Maddie's birthday, but time is running out.
A DiNozzo/Maddie Tyler established relationship story.
Written: August 2008. Word count: 500.
Tony glanced at his watch as he turned down another street; it was getting late. If he didn't start heading back to the office inside ten minutes he'd be late – for the third day running – and Gibbs would not be pleased, and that was putting it mildly.
It hadn't helped that rather than come up with one of his pat excuses, Tony had found himself stumbling over his words, which of course had made McGee and Ziva instantly suspicious and Gibbs even angrier.
He didn't know why he didn't just tell them he'd been shopping for the perfect gift for his girl-friend's birthday. Except he did know; he didn't want to share Maddie yet, and telling anyone they were dating would mean questions and also him having to admit, to himself, how important she was.
No, for now, he wanted to keep her all to himself. So that was why he had stumbled over the reason he had been late. It was her birthday in two days time and he wanted to find her a special gift; the kind of present he hadn't given to other girl-friends. But thus far it had eluded him.
He was about to give in and return to the office when he spotted something in the dingy window of a run-down shop – not the kind of place he'd normally dream of going into. But it caught his eye and something dragged him inside; the same something made him pick the thing up: a figurine of a horse and a foal. Suddenly he knew this was it; this was the perfect present.
"I'll take it," he said, handing it to the rather moth-eaten man behind the counter.
The man took it from him, put it down on the counter, then sighed and said, "I had better tell you it has a flaw; that's why I have it for sale. It is a second and the big stores will not sell something that is not perfect."
"Where?" Tony demanded, he couldn't see anything wrong with it – not that horses were his speciality.
"Here," he man pointed to the ears of the foal. "The left one is larger than the right."
Tony frowned and looked. So it was and not only larger, but it was also slightly bent over at the tip. Maddie would love it; in fact Maddie would love it all the more simply because it wasn't perfect. He smiled at the man and pulled out his credit cards. "I'll still take it," he said. And then he found himself adding, "It's for my girl-friend, she loves horses and she'll really love this."
The man beamed at him. "And she is special to you, yes?"
Tony blinked and again to his surprise found himself saying, "Yeah, yes, she is. Very."
"She is a lucky young lady."
"No," Tony said firmly. "I'm the lucky one." And he was. He really was. The day Maddie Tyler had walked into his life was the day his life really began.
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