This is the rewritten version of this story. Sorry it took so long and hope you enjoy it!
Quick Notes: I see this taking place after Ziva has worked with the team maybe 1-2 years? Enough time for them to build up a lot of trust and friendship basically and there's really no definite timeline. Due to the lack of a real timeline I've left out some major plot points in the show (for now at least, I may find a way to address them later), such as Gibbs leaving and the whole Jeanne assignment.
WARNING: PLEASE READ: this contains a description of a sexual assault, it is not very graphic but involves some violence and unwanted kissing and touching. If you don't think that is something you will feel comfortable reading please don't. The rest of this story will focus on the aftermath of this chapter and therefore will reference these events and may include flashbacks to them.
It's one of those things that happens so slowly, he doesn't even notice.
It starts off with him being more aware of the other man and his actions.
"Break room for Coffee." He replies automatically, at the same time as Ziva answers "He did not say."
He glances up to find her and Gibbs both looking at him,
"Not sure." He corrects himself, at the same moment as Tony wanders back into the room, steaming mug in hand.
"This break room stuff is getting better." He informs them as he sits down, taking a sip.
He watches Tony rummaging through his pack muttering under his breath. Rolling his eyes he pulls something out of his own bag and waits. As soon as Tony stops searching and turns to him he throws him the batteries,
"Here. Charge your camera next time." He warns.
"McGee, you're a lifesaver." Tony informs him as he slips the rechargeable pack out of the camera and places the batteries in. He frowns up at McGee a second later,
"How did you..."
"You were muttering under your breath Tony, wasn't hard to figure out what you were about to ask." He interrupts, as if it was nothing.
He doesn't mention the fact that he'd slipped the batteries into his pack after the last case, knowing that Tony's battery was dying towards the end of the last scene they shot by how he frowned at the slowness of the camera between pictures.
He's an investigator, he's just noticed the little things. And Tony's his partner, he knows him.
There are more moments just like that, so many he loses count. He doesn't think anything of them. Until the dreams start.
And then he panics.
Thinking it through he realises what he's been missing for a while, and it scares him. Because this... this could go so badly wrong.
At first he ignores it, pushes it out of his head. But it won't go away, and he keeps noticing those little things, finds himself hyperaware of where Tony is.
Feels a curl of warmth in his stomach at something Tony does or says.
And the dreams keep happening. They aren't anything...explicit. They're just...nice. Him and Tony out on a date, Tony taking his face in his hands and gently leaning in, covering his lips with his own...Him and Tony in a relationship.
And when Tony grins at him for getting his food order perfect without prompting, or thanks him for getting the coffee right as he'd run out... he feels that pool of warmth in his stomach and finds himself smiling back. Until he realises what was running through his head and the warmth turns into nauseating dread.
Because he's started to...like Tony. A lot.
And that terrifies him.
The silence was becoming suffocating. He knew it could only have been a few moments since the words had left his mouth but it felt like an eternity. Because she hadn't said anything. Just stood there, eyes wide and mouth slightly open.
He'd wanted to take it back the moment he said it. Wished he could go back to doing what he had been since this...complication, had entered his life. But coming here, and talking to her, had been the product of a lot of thought. He'd been stressing out too much dealing with this on his own; he'd needed a sounding board, someone to talk to about what was happening. And, realistically, she had been the only option.
Finally, finally she starts to react, mouth turning up into a wide grin and giving a slight jump as she moves forward to give him a punch on the arm,
"Are you serious?!" it's almost squealed and he winces as he rubs his arm and frowns at her,
"Yeah Abby, I'm serious, I told you..."
She waves a hand, "Yeah Timmy, you told me you were bi ages ago, and I told you I think it's awesome; a load of the nicest people are gay and bi, although some of them are nasty... or murderers...not that all gay people are murderers, I mean look at you, and loads of murderers aren't gay..."
He wanted to give a fond grin, and laugh at the tangent she was going off at, but he only had a short window to talk to her while the others were out of the building. He needed her to stay on topic and help her with his problem,
"Sorry McGee" she gave him an apologetic look before her enthusiasm was back full force, "but come on, Tony! The two of you would be so cute together! I can't believe you have a crush on Tony! Why wouldn't you tell me about this before? How long has this been going on?" She suddenly demanded, frowning before pointing an accusing finger at him,
"Have you been keeping secrets from me McGee?!"
He sighed, running a hand through his hair,
"Not long Abby..." He held up his hands in a surrender position as the glare intensified and one eyebrow raised. "I swear." He promised, "But Abby I need your help..."
"To get together!" She interrupted him, grin suddenly back in full force "I have sooo many ways we could do this! ... Please tell me your recent fitness phase has given you some muscle tone under those shapeless clothes, that would make things even easier, and be really, really hot! I mean you were attractive before McGee, but add some nice definition in there and wow!"
She was almost dancing around the lab by this point, but he couldn't share in her enthusiasm, the now ever present dread in the pit of his stomach bubbling and churning as she talked. Stepping towards her he gripped her arms gently, stopping her mid twirl.
"Abby..." He trailed off with a deep sigh, "That's not what I need."
She frowned in confusion,
"Of course it is McGee!" She insists, "I want you to be happy, and you like Tony, and you are two of my best friends and it would be..."
"A disaster." Tim assured her, "Trust me Abbs, alright? It wouldn't... I don't need your help dating him."
She nods slowly, and he lets go of her arms and takes a step away,
"Then what do you need?" She questions, looking at him with concern now,
"Help? Advice?" He runs a hand over his head, "I don't know what to do Abby!" He turns and starts pacing, "I mean I thought I could deal with it on my own but nothing works, I still like him and I can't Abby, I can't."
"Why not?!" He turns to face her, startled. She's stood, head tilted to the side and watching him curiously, hands on her hips, lab coat open and pushed back by her hands. "Why is this such a bad thing McGee?"
He huffs out a disbelieving laugh and shakes his head,
"How can it be a good thing?!" He counters, "I just... I need it to go away, I need to get over it." He looks her in the eyes and realises she's shocked at his choice, "That's what I need advice on Abbs, how do I... make it stop?" He pleads.
"Why does it have to?" She demands, stepping closer to him. He opens his mouth to answer as she continues, "It's not because of Gibbs because you already dated me, it's obviously not because he's a guy, and it's not like you've never had a crush on him before..."
She grins at him when he freezes and stares at her for a moment,
She steps forward and pats him on the face gently, "Aww McGee, of course you did. It was tiny but it was there, and who can blame you? It's Tony, and he was teaching you and being all Senior Special Agenty, of course you had a crush on him."
She nods with a grin and then frowns,
"So what's the big deal this time?"
"It's...different now." He insists, and then glares at her when she claps her hands,
"I knew you had a crush on him back then!"
She sobers and does her best serious look, "I mean, continue McGee."
He sighs, "We're friends now Abby. It's not like I'm just hanging round the team, or just joining anymore! I need... I need to just stop feeling this way about him... I can't act on it... ever... I can't ruin what we have Abbs... I just can't... so I need it to go away before I decide I should and ruin everything."
"Why does it have to ruin things McGee?!" She demands, getting close to him again to look in his eyes, "Why can't you guys just...try?"
He laughs, and it sounds hollow and disbelieving even to his own ears,
"It's Tony, Abbs. Have you ever heard him talk about anything other than women?!" He snorts, and shakes his head, "He'd probably punch me if he ever knew I'd ever..."
He trails off as Abby glares at him and punches him on the arm,
"You know him better than that McGee." She cautions, shaking her finger, "Tony wouldn't do that."
He sighs again and nods, "Alright, so maybe he wouldn't hit me. Maybe he wouldn't mind, but Abbs... I'm almost certain he doesn't swing that way, and even if he did... well there's no way he'd go for me really is there?"
"Why not?!" Her tone is sharp and she steps back from him to cross her arms, "What's wrong with you McGee? I bet we could make him like you, look at you! And you're all smart and competent and..."
"Abby..." he warns, while she shakes her head.
"Don't Abby me!" Her arms are still firmly crossed over her chest while she makes her case "I dated you remember McGee? I'm speaking from experience here. You are great to date! Anyone would be lucky to have you. And Tony already loves hanging out with you! We just need to change it from friendly and brotherly to dates is all! It wouldn't be that big of a leap, loads of people compare you guys to a married couple, I mean Ziva's said so twice at least!"
He sighs once more and shakes his head, "He laughs every time that happens Abbs. He thinks the idea of us being like that is hilarious...It just... It's not going to happen Abbs alright? I've accepted that, I just need... need to stop feeling like I want it to."
She studies him for a moment more before nodding slowly,
"Ok. Ok Timmy, we can deal with this." He sighs in relief and offers her a slight smile.
"Oh I still think you should go for it." She informs him, before stepping closer to wrap him in a hug, "But if you don't want to then I'll still help you."
He pulls her in close, and not for the first time wishes things could have worked out between them. His life would have been so much simpler. Instead, they'd found that their relationship translated easily, effortlessly, into friendship, and that both of them were happy with that. That they loved each other, but weren't really in love with each other. She's one of his best friends, and the idea of dating her any more seemed... strange, alien. Besides, they had both wanted different things. He doesn't love her like that, but some days, he really wishes he could.
"I know what you're thinking McGee." She mumbles against his chest, "But when has life ever been easy?"
He huffs a small laugh and hugs her tighter,
"I guess that's true."
"Trust me, if we had been right for each other I would never have let you go." She assures him, "Which is why I think you're being unfair not giving Tony his chance."
"There's no point Abby...he wouldn't want it."
He sighed as he remembered that conversation. Abby had made it clear she didn't think giving up was the right path, but what other choice was there? Yes he and Tony were close, but in a friendly, brotherly kind of way, it wasn't romantic, and there was no way Tony had ever thought of him like that. He valued the closeness he and Tony had built up over time, and he wasn't losing that to this, no matter how much he wanted it. The simplest solution was to never tell Tony how he felt, and just wait until he got over it. That way Tony would never have to know, and his life wouldn't have to crumble around him.
All because he went and got a stupid crush on his partner.
Abby had decided his best bet was to go out on a date, following the reasoning that maybe he was into Tony because he just hadn't dated guys in a while. While he agreed it was worth a try, he then had the problem of actually getting a date. He didn't really have time to find someone to go out with; the only new people he generally met were on cases, and with DADT that was a definite no go for most of those.
And so Abby had volunteered to set him up on a blind date. He had been apprehensive about it since she told him she had found someone, nervous that it would be a complete and utter disaster.
So far that fear seemed to have been well founded. The date was a disaster. The guy wasn't really that interesting, and the conversation had been awkward at best. So far nothing they had talked about had really seemed to set of any kind of spark or any lasting conversation, and there had been quite a few awkward silences. The man was good looking, there was no denying that, and he had noticed that he was completely different in appearance from Tony. This guy was taller, more muscular and well built, with relatively long sandy blonde hair that hung over his deep blue eyes. He was the kind of guy he could imagine girls fawning over, and they had, the waitress was practically drooling. But he just wasn't...right.
And then there was the other issue he'd been having. He couldn't shut down the increasing churning in his stomach and the warning light in the back of his head telling him that something was off. Even though the other man had made efforts to talk, they had been half hearted at best. Unlike most of Tim's dates it had been easy to avoid mentioning specifically what he did for a living, something he liked to keep private until he knew how lasting a relationship was going to be. At first he had passed it off as awkwardness at the beginning of a date, the guy not wanting to pry and seem to be intruding. Then... the touching had started. He had wrapped his arm round Tim's back as he guided him into the restaurant, made sure their hands brushed at every opportunity. He had even been resting his hand on Tim's thigh as they were eating, brushing it up and down until Tim had tried to subtly move away. There had been a flash of... something ... in his eyes and then it was gone... Tim's uneasy feeling wasn't.
It would have been fine if Abby had been able to set him up with someone she knew personally. But, as it turned out, all of Abby's gay friends had been in relationships, or not looking to date right now. Daniel was actually the friend of a friend or something like that, and that meant the uneasy feeling grew as the night went on. If Abby had picked the guy, he would have trusted her judgement, and just accepted the fact that there was no spark, but as she hadn't...
His gut kept churning, and if there was anything he had learnt from Gibbs it was that sometimes all you could do was follow your instincts. He would feel bad but the ...'Hands on' approach the other man had was making him slightly uncomfortable. So, in the next awkward silence he crossed his arms over and leaned forward as if he was interested in getting closer,
"So, how was your meal?"
While he talked he subtly slipped one hand inside his jacket and pressed a button on his phone.
"It was fine." Daniel replied shortly, "Did you want to get anything else?"
"I..." He stopped and gave an apologetic smile as his phone started ringing. Pulling it out he frowned at the screen before offering another small smile,
"Sorry, I have to take this, work."
He barely waited for the nod of acknowledgement before pushing the button to silence the fake call tone and brining the phone to his ear,
"Tim McGee...Yeah...I understand... Well I'm busy can't it..." He paused and frowned as if he was concerned by what he was hearing, glancing at Daniel with a small smile, he couldn't quite interpret the look on the other man's face, and that unnerved him even further.
"No, no that's fine...Ok... No I understand, I'll be there soon."
He looked back at Daniel, trying his best to look apologetic,
"Sorry Daniel, but something's come up and I really have to go..." He moved to stand, but Daniel reached out and grabbed his wrist, causing him to freeze and look directly at the other man. He offered Tim a smile but it looked false. It could just be disappointment, but his gut churned again.
"That's alright. I'll walk you out." He thought about refusing, but didn't want to seem rude, after all he had no evidence anything was wrong. He nodded, and Daniel grinned at him before dropping his wrist. He swiftly turned to continue leaving, striding up to the counter and slipping cash out to pay for their meal.
As they stepped out into the cool night air of the dimly lit streets, he started to regret his restaurant choice. He had chosen a small out of the way place, wanting the privacy it afforded. He wasn't ashamed of his preferences, but after growing up in a military family and on navy bases, he knew how bad reactions could be. He had therefore been cautious since starting at NCIS, as, although they were a civilian agency, exempt from Don't ask, Don't Tell, working as a cop on the navy yard was still not the ideal situation to openly flaunt his sexuality. He knew his team would most likely stand by him if the truth ever came out, but as he had stuck to dating women over the last few years, he didn't think that making them have to deal with the prejudice of others was worth making his choices known.
Now, however, the need for privacy was working against him. The small size of the parking lot by the restaurant meant that he had been forced to park a few streets away, leaving him with a walk back to the car along dark, almost empty streets, with a man that was, quite frankly, starting to give him the creeps. He had thought he might lose him once they left the building, but Daniel made no indication he was planning on saying goodbye, and continued to keep pace with Tim as he walked towards his car.
The walk was conspicuously quiet, and he felt the churning in his gut ramp up with every step. The only reassurance he had was the knowledge that he was far from defenceless should the apprehension lead to something. He was a federal agent, and more importantly, one that worked on Gibbs' team. He had his service weapon strapped to his ankle, his badge hidden in his jacket pocket, and a knife concealed in the back of his belt. He was prepared, whether the danger he was dreading came from some unseen factor or the man next to him. For a split second he felt bad for thinking that way... right up until Daniel grabbed his arm with a bruising force and used it to swing him into an alley.
His training kicked in instantly, hours of work in the training room meaning that the reaction was ingrained. He was immediately on the defensive, twisting the captured arm violently to escape and bringing the other round in a solid punch to Daniel's solar plexus. The man staggered backwards as the air left his lungs, and Tim started to reach for the gun at his ankle. As he was bending over the shadows on the floor caught his attention, their movement giving away the man sneaking up silently from behind. It was a split second decision, and instead of finishing his reach for the weapon he moved to defend his back.
He twisted to face the newcomer but it was already too late. He found himself in a vice like grip, being shoved up against the cold solid stone of the alley wall, his head slamming into it with the force of the other man pushing against him. He winced at the impact, pain exploding behind his eyes and lancing through his head, causing him to gasp and groan. His vision swam, and he stopped fighting for a second as his brain momentarily shut down.
He was brought sharply back into reality by a laugh coming from right next to his face. He opened his eyes, and saw the silhouette of his attacker, the details obscured by the darkness as his head blocked the street light. He could feel that he was pinned in place by the weight of the other man and an arm pressing against his throat. The man leaned closer, his breath flowing over Tim's face and assaulting him with the stale odour. He cringed, turning his head away while flexing against the grip his captor had, testing its strength. There was no give and his attacker laughed again, before leaning back slightly.
"Now, now, don't be like that."
He frowned, trying to figure out what they could want, a million possibilities swirling through his head. Daniel's lack of curiosity about his job could mean he already knew where he worked. Did they want information? A hostage? Did they...
"We just want to have some fun... right Dan?"
He froze and his blood ran cold at the implications and the blatant leer in the voice. No. He turned his head to look at his "date." Daniel was currently prowling towards them, clearly winded and angry at Tim's retaliation. He swallowed, but tried not to other wise outwardly show his fear. He knew now what they were planning to do... and there was no way he was going to sit back and let it happen. He was going to fight... and fight hard.
He tried to focus his mind and concentrate on recalling his training, analysing the location of his weapons, before figuring out what would be needed to get to them. He kept waiting for an opening; flinching and closing his eyes as another touch was added to the one keeping him secure. The hand trailed up the side of his face, and then back down to his collar bone, in a disconcerting parody of gentleness that had bile rising in his throat.
He knew it would be no good to call out; the streets were too quiet, businesses having mostly closed for the night. Even if he had been somewhere else, there was no way he was going to drag an innocent passerby into this. He opened his eyes, determined to help himself, and looked around the alley they were in. He deliberately avoided looking at the man holding him, and tried to ignore how Daniel was still trailing his hands over him. He couldn't see anything useful... other than a small security camera pointing almost directly at them.
The sight gave him an added conviction that he would get out of this. Whatever happened from this point onwards, Gibbs and the others would investigate, would watch that video and see. There was no way they wouldn't, and it was up to him to determine what they would find. He could imagine the guilt they would feel if he couldn't get out of this, because they would find a way to blame themselves. They would wonder if their training had been enough, if they could have taught him more or different techniques. And Abby... she would feel responsible for setting him up with the guy in the first place.
So when they watched that video, he had to make sure they would see him fighting his way out with everything he had.
He kept searching for the opening to put this plan into action, but there was none. All he could do was tremble and shudder in disgust as Daniel's hands started exploring his chest. He jerked against the grip on him as the touches became more insistent. His captor's response was a quick punch to his jaw, knocking his head back into the wall once more. He grunted and then gasped as the fist quickly returned and buried itself near his ribcage. He was still trying to get air back into his lungs when another blow landed in the same spot. This time he felt something crack and a sharp pain shot through him.
The unknown attacker pushed his body further against Tim's, pressing him back fully into the wall. Their chests were touching, and his groin pressed against McGee's. Tim attempted to shift his body... anything to get away, but the man held on tight. Tim decided to try and reason with them, all the while concentrating on not missing an opening when it came, and resisting the urge to screw his eyes shut to escape.
"You don't need to do this... Please... just let me go... You don't want to..." His speech was halted by Daniel pausing in his exploration and punching him in the jaw again. His head met with the brickwork for the third time and he felt blood begin trickling at an alarming rate over his scalp while his vision swam.
"Just shut the hell up." Daniel growled, his hands replacing his friend's in restraining Tim. He was still blinking the world back into some focus when he felt Daniel lifting his arms up above his head, pinning his wrists against the wall, the stone biting and stinging where it scraped the skin. The next moment his body was pressed all along Tim's as he began dipping his head to lick and bite against Tim's neck. His trembling increased and he jerked his head sideways, his muscles becoming taut and strained as he tried to move as far as possible within the hold imprisoning him. He clenched his jaw in an attempt to force himself to focus on escape, rather than what was being done to him.
He began to panic as he felt one of Daniel's hands remove itself from his wrists, and stroke down his body again... and the panic only increased as the hand didn't stop at his chest, but rather continued on its journey, moving further down towards the waistline of his pants. He jerked and whimpered closing his eyes as the hand reached its destination, the touch turning into a strong, painful grip. He once again attempted to pull away... but Daniel's grip on his wrists, and his body pressed against him held him firmly in place. He squeezed his eyes even more tightly shut, and attempted to control his breathing as the grip slowly became stronger and more painful.
He felt Daniel press against him even further, his injured ribs protesting the pressure by igniting a fiery pain. He gagged and twisted his head away as he felt Daniel's hot breath ghosting over his cheek, and felt the tears forming in his eyes as the mouth made contact with his skin once again, drifting along his jaw and trailing down his neck.
He didn't know how much longer he could handle this. He felt his body and mind wanting to shut down, to protect him from what was happening, but he fought it. He knew how devastated Abby would be by how far this had already gone, let alone if it went any further... and once he thought of that he couldn't help but think of the rest of the team. He needed to survive. Needed to fight.
With a monumental effort, he once again attempted to ignore Daniel's unwanted attention to his body, only giving in to the occasional whimper and jerk, as the touches became bruising, forceful and more demanding. Glancing around, he saw the other man still standing there, his eyes focused directly on him... waiting for his turn, his brain whispered. The thought made Tim shiver and cringe, before he determinedly reminded himself that there was no way it was going to get to that. No.
And then it happened. Daniel moved back for a moment, giving him a swift punch to the gut in an apparent attempt to wind him. The move was obviously meant to incapacitate him momentarily, as Daniel pulled back further, reaching towards the zipper on Tim's pants and his own. Tim latched onto the opening, and swiftly brought his knee up straight into Daniel's groin.
He was rewarded with a surprised grunt of pain as Daniel stumbled backwards, and Tim was immediately in motion. As Daniel continued to stumble the other man moved forwards to grab Tim, but he twisted just as he'd been taught, ignoring how the pain in his chest flared in protest. Slipping a hand behind his back he easily slid the knife from its concealed sheath. He gripped it confidently in his hand, glad for Ziva's coaching on using the weapon effectively. Tim saw, with some satisfaction, that Daniel was still doubled over, breathing deeply. He moved all of his focus onto the still able bodied attacker, who was making a second attempt to grab him. Instead of backing away he moved closer, aiming for surprise. Before the man could react to the unexpected move he delivered a quick punch, following this up by slashing quickly at the reaching hand with the knife, he felt it make contact and heard the resulting noise of pain. His attacker reacted immediately to the wound, automatically retracting his hand and taking a step backwards.
As soon as he'd heard the grunt of pain Tim had bent down and retrieved his gun from the ankle holster, letting the knife drop out of his hands and clatter to the floor and sliding his badge from his pocket as he straightened. He expertly trained the gun, kicking the knife off to the side and out of reach, while taking a few steps backward. He flipped the badge open, tensing his body in an attempt to keep his gun steady and his stance firm.
"Federal Agent, slowly drop to your knees or I will drop you." He was proud that his voice remained steady, and he flicked his gaze between the two men, watching for any sudden movements. He felt another grim sense of satisfaction as he saw them staring wide eyed at the badge, momentarily refusing to accept the reality in front of them. The second man recovered first, his face taking on a look of fury.
"He's a fucking cop, Dan you idiot!"
"And the cop is telling you to get on your knees!" McGee interrupted, giving the gun a jerk for emphasis. He couldn't let them get the upper hand again, not until he let someone know where he was and that he needed help. That meant gaining and keeping control.
He watched as they slowly lowered down, hands raised above their heads. He almost felt like rolling his eyes at how people were always surprised at his profession, it wasn't that unbelievable. He briefly wondered how he was finding any humour in this situation, before he reasoned he was probably going into shock. He needed help now, before he crashed hard. He focused on bringing back the cocky cop persona, using Tony's attitude as a basic guideline. He was about to trade his badge for his phone still in his pocket, when Daniel spoke.
"So what happens now?" Dan questioned, "Gonna shoot us?" He still looked defiant and unafraid; despite the fact a guy he was moments ago attempting to rape was now pointing a gun at him.
He snorted, "I'm not ruining my career over you." He stated, "So no, unless you try something I won't shoot."
"So, what you gonna do?" The second attacker asked, defiance still plain on his face. Tim felt momentary exasperation, why was he never seen as a threat? Still, he began stashing his badge away and reaching for his phone.
"My job. Call for someone to come and help arrest you."
He grinned as a thought popped into his head.
"Although you may want to try something before they get here."
"And give you a reason to shoot?"
Tim let out a sharp laugh,
"You may regret that decision." He let out a weak grin at their confusion. He felt his muscles weakening as the adrenaline began to wear off and the reality of what had almost happened started to sink in. "Because, now?..." he informed them in as strong voice as he could manage, "I'm going to call my Boss."