Title: Five Minutes

Disclaimer: The characters belong to Donald Bellisario, and I hope he won't mind that I've borrowed them for awhile. The story is not connected to any particular episode or storyline from NCIS.

Warning: This story will contain the non-sexual spanking of an adult. If that's not your thing, it would be best if you didn't read it, or at least that you refrain from telling me about it.

If only it hadn't been so easy the first time. It hadn't even seemed like lying then. It was just a joke really – he hadn't meant for anything to come of it. And it wasn't even his fault exactly – Tony had made him do it. Well, sort of. OK, maybe not at all. But if Tony hadn't dared him, then he'd never have lied to Gibbs. No one in their right mind would intentionally lie to Gibbs.

Tim put his head in his hands and stared into his cup of coffee. How had he ever gotten himself into such a mess? He replayed the scene in his mind. It had been a slow day at work, and he'd spent most of his time cleaning up files on his hard drive. Gibbs was only sporadically at his desk, and Tony and Ziva were taking advantage of the lack of supervision to play a long, drawn-out game of Truth or Dare. It wasn't exactly high drama – Tony tried to fish out tantalizing details about Ziva's past relationships, while Ziva mostly dared Tony to move items on Gibbs' desk or carry out some idiotic physical feat. Tim pretended not to be interested in their activities, but he was completely aware of everything that his partners said and did. He was fascinated by the way that Ziva skillfully manipulated Tony – making him think that she was revealing intimate secrets without actually divulging anything of substance. And Tony tried to act like he was in control of the game, but Tim saw the way he jumped to respond to Ziva's every challenge. For Tony, winning was equivalent to fearlessly taking on every dare, but for Ziva winning meant getting Tony to do her bidding, however arbitrary. Tim admired her for the subtle way she managed Tony and his total obliviousness to her tactics.

Tim reassured himself that he was above such juvenile game playing, especially at work. He was paid to do a job, and even when they weren't on a case he knew it was his responsibility to use his time wisely and professionally. He really did believe that, and yet he couldn't seem to make himself ignore his colleagues and their antics. Tim was loathed to admit it, but he was bothered by the fact that they didn't invite him to play. He hated party games, and was scared of what Tony and Ziva might come up with him to confess or perform, but they still should have tried to involve him. On a rational level Tim knew it wasn't fair to act disdainful towards his partners and then be mad at them for not seeing through his pretense, but he couldn't help himself.

And then finally he'd gotten his wish. Maybe Tony and Ziva had just gotten bored with each other, but Tony suddenly seemed to remember that Tim was in the room.

"Hey, McGeek!" Tony called. "Truth or dare?"

Tim's stomach flipped at the question. Despite all his mental analysis, he heard himself answer instinctively. "Some of us are trying to work, Tony. I don't have time for games."

"Aw, come on Probie. One round – your choice. Truth or dare, from me or Ziva."

Ziva jumped to his defense, "Leave him alone, Tony. Tim is right – this is a childish way to pass the time. We should not bring him down to our level."

That was it. Tim couldn't let them accuse him of being superior. He sprung up from his desk.

"Dare. Bring it on, Tony."

Tony looked surprised, but pleased. "What should we make him do, Ziva?"

"Go easy on him, Tony. Tim is only just dripping his toes in the water. He will not want to get all wet."

"It's 'dipping', Ziva. And I'm all in. Don't baby me."

"No one's letting you off easy, McGee." Tony replied, but clearly he hadn't anticipated having to come up with a challenge for Tim. Tony glanced at his watch and then grinned. "I dare you to go home."

"What do you mean, 'go home'?" Tim asked.

"It's four o'clock. I dare you to leave work right now and not come back till tomorrow morning."

"That's not fair – Gibbs will kill me! Ziva never made you do anything that dangerous!"

"Your choice, McGee."

Tim was trying to get out of the situation when the elevator pinged. All three agents knew the sound heralded the arrival of their boss, and Tim suddenly knew that wasn't going to lose face in front of Tony.

Gibbs emerged and strode purposefully towards his staff. "Is there a problem McGee?" Gibbs asked the standing agent.

"No boss," Tim said automatically.

"Then get back to work."

"Uh, Gibbs?" Tim started shakily. The senior agent stopped walking and turned back to face McGee. He waited for Tim to continue.

Tim glanced over at Tony and Ziva, who were visibly enthralled waiting to see what Tim would say. Tim knew they expected him to chicken out. He steeled himself and just started talking. "My, um, Aunt Esther, she's in the hospital, and, uh, I was hoping to visit her this afternoon, and I was wondering if it was OK if…"


"What?" Tim replied, startled.

"Go visit your aunt, McGee. There's nothing going on here that can't be done without you."

Tim realized that he'd done it. He'd bested Tony, and his face flushed with pride and adrenaline. He grabbed his jacket from the back of his chair, flashed Tony a smug look of triumph, and almost ran out of the building before Gibbs could change his mind.

It had been so easy. All he'd been thinking about was showing off to Tony. It wasn't really a lie, exactly. And it was supposed to be a one-time thing. Except that the next morning, he hadn't paid enough attention to the clock and he got sidetracked playing a game online during breakfast. He was late to work, and before he could stop himself he heard the excuse coming from his lips.

"I'm sorry boss – I stopped to visit my aunt this morning at the hospital. I thought I left in plenty of time but I guess I misjudged the traffic - it won't happen again - I can stay late to make up for it."

Gibbs walked towards him and uncharacteristically put his hand on Tim's arm. "Don't worry about it, McGee. The only thing more important than the team is family. It's good that you care so much about your aunt. No need to apologize for that." With a double pat to his arm, Gibbs left a stunned McGee standing in the middle of the room. Tony and Ziva looked on with a combination of awe and disbelief, and Tim felt the seeds of guilt begin to sprout.

If only it hadn't been so easy. If only that had been the last time.

To Be Continued...