McGee- I just wanna go once.

Abby- To earn your stripes?

McGee- To prove myself

Abby- To die?

McGee- I'm not gonna die…

--

Gibbs eyed McGee's reaction to Tony being chosen for the assignment, and made a mental note to discuss it with him later. When all was said and done, the case was solved, Tony had returned and NCIS was back in a state of normalcy, Jethro Gibbs decided now would be a good time.

Timothy McGee had noticed Gibbs staring at him on and off for the past fifteen minutes and knew eventually he would be coming over for another one of his 'one' word conversations that left McGee wondering about the meaning for days.

"McGee."

"Yeah boss?"

"You don't have to go to a war torn country to earn your stripes from me."

Tim unconsciously scratched his head. "I never said…"

"McGee, I was doing this job before you built your first tree house…okay…bad analogy. Built your first computer…"

Tim managed a smile. "Point taken."

"Good." Gibbs turned back around to his desk, but within seconds was staring at Tim again.

Great, he has more to say, Tim thought. He was right.

"And whether you went or not, Tony would still razz ya."

McGee was in the presence of greatness. "So…boss, you ever heard of Professor Charles Xavier…you know, from the X-men?" Tim watched as Gibbs stared wide eyed towards him. "Right…never mind."

Gibbs seemed satisfied with the conversation and work continued until Gibbs got up to leave.

"Ever think about comparing me to a bald guy in a wheelchair again McGee…and I'll send you to Iraq for good."