A/N: I've been writing these stories for awhile now. This is the first time I've let other people read them. I hope you enjoy.


Lights flashed in his eyes. I thought things were supposed to go black when you passed out, Tim thought briefly as he fell to the floor and gave in to his attackers' insistence that he take a nap.


Tim open his eyes. The only reason he knew they were open was because he had felt his eyelids move.

"Either I'm blind or it's really dark in here," he said aloud. Thinking took too much energy.

It's really dark.

"Well, that's a relief. I'd hate to think I was blind."

You have much bigger problems to worry about, Tim.

"Like what?"

Well, among other things, you don't seem concerned that you're hearing voices.

"I'm not worried about hearing you."

I'm flattered.

"What are my other problems?"

Your leg is still bleeding and you probably have a concussion.

"My leg?"

You should tighten the tourniquet you put on it.

"When did I do that?"

You woke up once after they threw you down the stairs. Your tie is ruined.

"Too bad. That was one of my favorites."

Tighten it, Tim. You don't want to bleed to death.

"Why don't you help me out here?"

Do you really think I'm here, Tim?

"I don't see why not."

You must have a worse concussion than I thought. Just tighten the tourniquet.

"Okay. Um, which leg is it?"

Your right leg. Can't you tell?

"I'm not moving either one, just in case."

I see. Good. You could go tighter though.

"I don't think so."

Okay. It's your leg.

"I'm feeling tired."

I'm sorry.

"I take it I can't just go to sleep?"

That wouldn't be a good idea.

"Can't I just sleep until Gibbs and the team finds me?"



I don't think they know where you are, Tim. What possessed you to go in without backup?

"Go in where? I was just trying to take witness statements. It's not my fault that they were drug dealers."

I'm sorry.

"Couldn't I just get up and leave?"

I don't think so.

"Why not?"

You're chained to the wall.

"I am?"

Move your leg and you'll hear the chain.

"Right. Which one was the hurt one again?"

The right one.

"Oh, yes. Why did they chain me to the wall? Wasn't throwing me down the stairs and shooting me in the leg bad enough?"

I guess not.

"Maybe I could break the chain or, or the wall..."

Uh, Tim?


You probably wouldn't get very far.

"Why not?"

You haven't tried to move yet. How does your head feel?

"Not so good."

It would be worse if you started stumbling around in the dark.

"What's the alternative? Bleed to death on the floor?"

You could just wait for Gibbs and Tony.

"You just said they don't know where I am."

Yes, well, I'm sure Gibbs will start yelling for you and they'll figure it out.

"You shouldn't vacillate like that. I don't trust you when you keep changing your mind."

I don't know why you're trusting me at all.

"Why can't I see you?"

What do you mean? The room is pitch black.

"Well, I'm of two opinions here. You could either be a delusion, a figment of my imagination, probably brought on by my kissing the floor..."


"...or you could be real... in a manner of speaking."

Tim, you were never this much fun when you were in your right mind.

"Which are you?"

I can't answer that.

"Why not?"

Think about it, Tim. If I'm a delusion, I wouldn't know if I was real or not. If I'm real, then I might have restrictions on how I can interact.


I'm just tossing out hypotheses here.




Wake up, Tim!

"Can't it wait?"

Quite frankly, no. You have to stay awake.

"Then, I'm going to try and get to the wall."


"If I keep lying here on the ground, I'm going to fall asleep."

It's going to hurt.

"I know, but I'm not in a rush to become a permanent resident."

Fine. Don't try to stand up; you'll only fall over again. And don't move your leg if you can.

"The right one, correct?"

Correct. While you're moving, I want to ask you a question.

No response, only a gasp of pain.

Tim, why is Ziva a character in your book and not me?

Another gasp. And then, a grunt as he hit the wall.


"What do you mean? You're right. That really hurt."

I told you. You started writing that book while I was still... around. Why wasn't I the female teammate?


I mean it, Tim. I want to know.

"I just couldn't."

Why not?

"You were the other character before, but after...I couldn't go any further. I would just stare at the last thing I had written. It was too hard to read through it and know that you weren't...around anymore. I went back and rewrote the character to fit in as Ziva."

What was the last thing you wrote about me, Tim?

"I don't think I should–"

Come on, Tim. Who am I going to tell?

"It wasn't supposed to be you, exactly. I used you guys as an inspiration, but the characters changed in ways you never did."

What did you write, Tim? Stop stalling.

"You, I mean Kathryn–"



Really creative, Tim. You could have done better. Kathy?

"Yeah. Kathryn took a bullet for-for Tibbs."

Did she die?

"No! It was only in the shoulder. They had to get her to a hospital quickly, but it wasn't life-threatening."

And when did you write that?

"Just-just b-before..."

Wow. A premonition.

"No. If it had been, maybe..."

Not likely, Tim. You weren't even there.

"Wait! What's that sound?"

Back door. I think they're leaving.

"Great. I was hoping it was Gibbs."

No such luck.

"Couldn't you go and make an ethereal visit and tell them where I am?"

We've been over this.

"So you're not real?"

I didn't say that.

"So you are real?"

I didn't say that either.

"You're not helping."

I wasn't aware I was supposed to be. You're leg is still bleeding a little. I told you to tighten the tourniquet more.


Answer me, Tim!

"I'm so tired."

Sleep later. You're still on the clock.

"I wasn't aware that the clock involved time spent chained to a wall."

It involves any time that you're supposed to be working. You're getting weaker, Tim.

"I know. I just want to sleep."

Bad idea.

"I know."

Just stay awake, Tim. Oh, and while I'm thinking about it, tell DiNozzo that I'm impressed he's lasted so long. I didn't think he had it in him.

"Lasted so long with what?"

He'll know. Just tell him.

"Does that mean you're here?"

I didn't say that, but tell Gibbs I'm okay.

"Okay. Is there a light down here?"

I'm sure there is somewhere. Why?

"Maybe...maybe when they find me, they'll turn on the light and I'll see you again."

What if it's like Sixth Sense? You know, seeing people as they were right when they died.

"Is it?"

I don't know. I wouldn't know, remember?

"It won't be."

How do you know?

"If you're from my mind, I wouldn't imagine you that way... it would be different."

Trinity from Matrix?

"How-how did you know about that?"

I'm good. But what if I'm real?

"You wouldn't look dead."

How do you know?

"I just know..."


"Maybe I'll find out..."

No, Tim. It's not your time yet. Come on, Tim. Stay with me!

"Can't...keep...my eyes...open..."

Try! Why haven't they found you yet? Gibbs is better than this!

Tim! I swear if you don't survive this, I'm going to Gibbs-slap you so hard you'll see stars!

"I...already...am. They're pretty..."

Wait! Do you hear that, Tim?

"Hear what?"

Yell, Tim. Yell so they can hear you!


Louder, Tim! That was wussy, even for you.

"Hey! Down here!"

Better. They've stopped moving. They must have heard you. Yell again.

"Down here! Help!"

Good. They're coming down. I guess I can leave now.

"Wait! Don't go!"

I can't stay around forever, Tim. You know, you haven't said my name once since we've been down here. Why not?

"I was afraid that you might–"



I wouldn't have, but I have to now. I'm going. You're doing great, Tim. Don't change. I wouldn't have you any other way.

"McGee, is that you down there?" Lights flashed down the stairwell.

"Wait! Kate! Don't go! Don't leave, Kate!"

"McGee! Tony, call the paramedics." Gibbs ran down the stairs and turned on the lights revealing the bloody scene. Tim was staring off into space, a bloody trail marking his path to the wall where he sat next to a heavy chain.

"Kate, wait! Turn around, just once."

"McGee, look at me." Tim didn't seem to hear him. He was focused on a spot just behind Gibbs.

He suddenly smiled and said so softly that Gibbs had to strain to hear, "I told you that you'd look good. Thanks."

Bye, Tim. I'll see you later.

"Bye, Kate."

Gibbs couldn't help it. He turned around. There was nothing there. Tony came down the stairs. "Is he okay?"

"I'm sure he has a head injury. McGee, what happened?"

For the first time, Tim's eyes slid away from the empty space and focused on Gibbs and a worried Tony standing behind him. "Drug dealers."

"In this house?"


"Why did you come here?"

"Witness statements. They thought I was the police..." His eyes slid closed.

"Stay with me, McGee. What happened?"

"Invited me inside. I took two steps and they pulled a gun on me. I thought I could diffuse the situation by telling them I wasn't the police. I took out my badge and reached for my gun."

"And? What happened?"

"They panicked and shot me in the leg. Through and through, I think. Then, they threw me down the stairs."

Tony asked, "How did you manage not to crack your head open?"

Tim smiled. "Maybe Kate caught me. I didn't think to ask her."

Tony and Gibbs looked at each other.

"Why do you say that, McGee?" Gibbs asked carefully. He was mainly trying to keep Tim awake until the paramedics got there, but he didn't like this line of conversation.

"She kept me from falling asleep. We talked. It was nice."

"McGee, Kate's dead. She has been for almost two years."

"I know, Tony. She was here just the same, and I saw her before she left." He smiled again as his eyes slid closed. "She's still beautiful."

"Stay awake, Tim."


"What, McGee?"

"She says that she's okay."

Tony and Gibbs kept Tim talking until the ambulance arrived. As Tim was being loaded into the ambulance, Tim suddenly grabbed Tony's hand and said, "Kate wanted me to tell you that she's impressed that you've gone so far...no that you've lasted so long. She didn't think you had it in you."

"Um, thanks, I guess." Tony watched the ambulance drive away. "What was all that?"

"It sounds like he saw Kate." Gibbs voice was noncommittal.

"Do you think he really did?"

"Does it matter? She kept him alive whether she was there or not." Gibbs walked back to the house.

Great job guys. I do miss you.

Tony stopped and looked around. "Kate?" Then, he smiled, shook his head and followed Gibbs into the house.