Author: midnightluck PM
Timothy Drake dies and Tim wanders a bit before finding that sometimes, you're your own worst enemy; thus, Timothy McGee is born.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Family - Tim M. - Chapters: 10 - Words: 23,724 - Reviews: 115 - Favs: 160 - Follows: 156 - Updated: 09-20-12 - Published: 08-20-11 - id: 7307958
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Two Times Tim Explained His Backstory (And One Time He Lied Through His Teeth About It)
2 At the Morgue
"Cause of death, Duck?" Gibbs asks—well, demands, when we hit the morgue.
"I'm...not sure," Ducky says, and I wince. I know how much he hates saying that. It's almost as much as Gibbs hates hearing it. "It seems like the poor man literally died from fright, but-"
"But he wasn't scared," Gibbs says.
"Exactly," Ducky nods. "No drugs, bloodwork came back clean, although, I did find this under the fingernails..."
He moves over to the counter to pick up a little container, and Gibbs follows. I'm left by the table, and I look down at the dead guy.
Dead from fright...? Huh. I lean in and sniff. It's enough to make me put on a glove and pry open his mouth. Traces of bleeding around the gums, check.
"Timothy?" Ducky asks, sounding rather scandalized. I look up, and see the two of them watching me.
"Pears," I explain, and check the eyes. They're bloodshot, and whites are a pale shade of yellow.
"I beg your pardon?" Ducky says, and I take off the glove and toss it.
"It's a chemical compound," I elaborate. "A type of hypnophobic gas, capable of causing hallucinations and suppressing survival instincts. It's targeted, swift, and deadly, and also dissolves into the bloodstream in minutes, mostly because it's a delivery system for the neural component of it. Developed and used by Johnathan Crane, though this is an outdated strain, I think. The current one is odorless; he stopped using the Pear Strain a few years back."
"Crane?" Gibbs prompts, probably wanting to know whether or not to pursue the name.
"Alias 'Scarecrow,' Gotham villain. Incarcerated in the state penitentiary once, and Arkham Asylum twice; the first time level 2 security cell, the second time level 5." I rattle off. "Criminally insane. Main weapons are fear gas and psychology; physically weak but to be approached with care. Gathers minions through brainwashing and fear." I almost launch into the summarized version of his history, but then change my mind. Gibbs won't care; all he wants to know is, "It's not him, though. Someone stole or got their hands on a case of his old gas, is all."
"Can you track it?" he asks, and I nod. Well, I can't, but dollars to doughnuts I can find the records from Bruce or Babs.
"Do it," Gibbs says, and sweeps out of the room. I take a few steps after him, and then stop and look guiltily over my shoulder.
Ducky is watching me, really seeing me for the first time in a while. I swallow a bit, but Ducky is familiar and comfortable, and I'm surprised to find that I trust him.
He just looks, though, and doesn't ask. I can tell that he's not going to ask, for all he's desperately curious. He's too nice to pry like that.
I sigh. I can ping the Bat-server to set up the trace later. I make a mental sidenote to get a new mini-CPU, and pull out a chair for Ducky, and a second one for me.
"I guess I owe you an explanation," I say, and drop down, sitting backwards in the chair.
"No, my dear boy, you don't owe me anything," he says, but I can almost see the effort it takes him to say that, because he really wants to know.
"That's exactly why I do," I sigh. "So, what do you know about superheroes?"
1 In The Lab
The elevator doors whoosh open, and I take a deep breath.
There's music playing in the background, but it's down low, and Abby is twirling in her desk chair, doing...something. I have no idea what it is, and I also have no desire to find out. "Abby?" I call, a bit warily.
"Tim!" she cheers, and bounces out into the lab proper. "Hey, what's up?"
I really don't want to say this, but orders are orders. "Gibbs sent me to upgrade your computer."
She immediately turns serious. "There's nothing wrong with my computer. What's wrong with my computer? Did you do something to my computer, Tim?"
"Nothing's wrong with your computer!" I say hastily. "I'm just gonna wire you into a remote database and FTP server, okay? It's not your computer, I'm just getting you more access."
She gives me the hairy eye, and I hold my breath. There's a little interval while she stares at me and I do my best to look innocent and like I know what I'm doing, and not at all like a deer caught in headlights. "Gibbs' orders?" I try, and she sighs explosively.
"Fine," she says, finally. "But I'll be watching you. You'd better not mess up my computer!"
Forget a woman scorned, hell hath no fury like a woman whose port settings have been tweaked.
Still, I've made it to the keyboard without massive bodily harm, so I think I'm doing all right.
"What's this new database, and why is Gibbs ordering it, anyways?" she asks, and I hesitate, but only for a second.
"Well," I say, trying to keep my voice light. "It's an extensive database that only I have access to, so Gibbs thought, if I were busy, or you know, indisposed or something, that you should be able to access it, too."
And that conversation hadn't been half as fun as the one with Babs, trying to get her permission to add in Abby's lab as a terminal. She'd capitulated eventually, with a few conditions. Namely, that she could control Abby's access, and that she'd be coming by to meet her sometime soon.
I very much plan to be firmly out of town, if Babs and Abby get in the same room together. I'm not sure if they'd throw sparks, or bond over humiliating me, and I'm honestly not sure which I'd prefer.
"And what is it?" Abby asks, and here's the part I'm dreading.
"It's connected to...well. You know about the Justice League?"
"Duh," she says, flapping a hand at me. "Who doesn't know the Justice League? Superman and Wonder Woman and Green Lantern and, ooh, what I wouldn't give to meet Black Canary!" She leans in closer. "They say there's another guy, too. Someone behind the scenes, with all the information, who's, like, a ninja or something. But no one really knows for sure."
I smile a little, because it's not one guy, it's the whole Bat clan, really. Bruce may be the strategist of the Justice League, but Dick is the heart, and Babs is the brain. My fingers still fly across the keys, inputting the access codes Babs grudgingly gave up.
"So how's this relate to the League, then?" she asks.
"I'm getting you access to their database," I reply, focused on the particularly tricky bit of rerouting I'm working on. I'm setting up a triple-blind privacy system, just in case. No need for people to trace Abby to the Watchtower.
Because this is the compromise we'd reached, Babs and I. She'd route Abby into the Watchtower, but not the Bat Computer. That should be information enough, and if it weren't, that would trigger the alerts Babs had scattered throughout the system, and Babs could make the decisions from there.
And it's only an entry-level access, so no information that's too classified, but still. It's much better than AFIS.
The silence behind me is growing ominous. "I'm sorry," Abby says. "I thought you just said you were hacking the Justice League."
"Er, not quite," I respond, still caught up in building the interface. "I've got permission for you and all that, so it's not hacking." Technically.
"Right. Because you have access to the database of the premiere superhero team in the world."
"Yup, sure do," I say, mindful of the atmosphere. This is why I'd waited so long to talk to Abby about this.
And then, suddenly, the scary cloud breaks, and she says, rather plaintively, "Why?"
I sigh. "I, uh, didn't have the most normal childhood," I start, and, out of nowhere, a hand catches me on the back of my head.
"If you tell me you got arrested by superheroes, McGee... What, did they catch you hacking into the database? Like you're doing right now?"
"Wrong side," I snort. "I was a sidekick."
Abby stares at me, and I know because I spare a moment to glance over my shoulder. "I was young and stupid," I say quietly. "And I don't regret it, not quite. But...I grew up."
Abby spins suddenly, putting her back to me and crossing her arms. I open my mouth, then change my mind and go right on typing. I'm only halfway done.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," I say eventually, watching numbers and letters go speeding by. "I wanted you to know, but at the same time, I just... Well. Trust is...not a luxury I'm used to."
And thin arms snake around my waist, and she squeezes. It's awkward, and a little painful because she's hitting a fresh bruise, but I close my eyes for a second and just revel in it.
It's been a long time since I got a hug. Sometimes, I forget how important physical contact is.
I don't lean in to it, though, and I can only let myself take a second, before I'm back to coding again.
"Tell me about it," she commands, and, never one to refuse a lady, I talk.
"It's...glorious. Being able to fly, knowing a city is counting on you, protecting people, saving lives. Hell, we saved the world a couple of times, and the galaxy once or twice, and even the multiverses that once. And when the fight is over and the bad guy is caught, and there are kids who aren't dead and mothers and fathers who are still alive to hold them...there's nothing, nothing that compares to that.
"And it's horrifying. The stuff we learned, the villains we faced, the things we saw, the things I did. The worst part was seeing the worst of humanity, seeing the depths people would sink to. And being trapped in a burning building with fifteen kids, only time to save three and having to choose...there's nothing that compares to that, either.
"I'll never not have nightmares," I tell her. "But I don't wish it were any other way."
She's buried her head in my back, and I keep my elbows out, so as not to hit her. I'm finishing up the sequence, inputting the last few strokes, when she finally murmurs, "Careful, Tim. Your martyr complex is showing."
I huff out something that's more a breath than a laugh, and say, "Yeah, well."
Because I have no excuses to give her, and she doesn't ask for any. And I'm not going to cry, but it's just that-I wasn't expecting her to-I don't even know. It's just...nice.
And it stretches for a second, two, and this moment is perfect, but it has to end. "There you go," I say, purposefully shifting the mood and hitting Enter. "A whole new world for to you poke and prod and ask questions of." And I'm not sure if I mean the database or myself, but it doesn't much matter, in the end.
"Thanks," she says, and lets me go. "I think this'll be fantastic."
And if Abby thought it would be, then I knew we'd make it so.
1 And That One Time In The Office
"McGee," Vance says, pushing back in his chair. "While I really appreciate you jumping in like that, I didn't know you spoke French."
I bite my lip and look down. Then I think really hard about what Abby would say if she found my Superman boxers, and the blush creeps up my cheeks. "I don't, not really," I say. "I took a little in high school, but you know how well that comes out. So Ziva's been helping me work on it a little, but it's still not…I don't speak it. I just, well, I had to try, sir."
It's a bit of a gamble, because I'm counting on a couple of things, here. I'm counting on the fact that he wasn't there to hear that I didn't have an accent. I'm counting on the fact that he's reading off of Tony's and Gibbs' reports, who would probably not mention fluency. But these aren't really a big deal, because if someone did mention it, I'm counting on Vance chalking it all up to natural modesty.
I could just say, 'yeah, sorry, I speak it—and no few others—but I didn't put it on my resume because…well, because', but I'd like to keep him underestimating me, and I don't trust him, not at all, but mostly? I really, really don't want to ever be considered for overseas assignment.
I spent a great deal of time in all the wrong parts of Paris. I have no desire to go back.
Vance rolls his eyes at me, and I bite back a smile. "Yeah, okay," he says. "I'll list that in your file for you, then."
I'd rather he not, but I have no way to stop him, so I just duck my head and say, "Thanks."
"Keep up the good work," he says, a dismissal, and I leave.
I dislike him, sometimes, but I know better than to show it.
It has come to my attention that I should have probably set up the Zero piece more clearly, so I will be editing that soon. In the meantime, I hope the discussion with Abby clears up some of it. See you soon for Three Bats That Came to Visit (And One He Went To See)!