Tony quietly slipped into the hotel room McGee had made his own over the last week of the undercover operation. A mans lone voice soared soft and low in a heart wrenching ballad, the music from the surround sound stereo the only one in the large expensively furnished room.

Baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya

I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Tony stood just inside the doorway and all his plans for teasing McGee fell away when he saw the solitary figure leaning, arm up against the edge of the window staring out into the bright neon filled night.

He had been ready to face Probie McGee, the young, wide eyed agent and comfort him with distractions and jokes and teasing as he had done a dozen times before. If Tony was lucky he might get a knee pat and a shoulder squeeze in as well.

He had planned to spend the night waxing lyrical to McGee about one made up undercover story to another and slip just enough truth in amongst the lies to keep them both happy.

What Tony saw before him wasn't the stuttering nervous probational agent but the man that had slowly slid in behind his eyes and gradually replaced him. The man still staring into the darkness unaware of his presence was six foot one of experienced seasoned field agent. Timothy McGee.

It wasn't only the sudden realization that McGee had changed beneath his very gaze which held Tony's tongue. It was the way he stood tall, lean and still as he studied the mysteries of the night, a double shot of whisky over ice nursed in his other hand.

To see McGee so still after all his constant quirks, frowns and sweet puzzlements and with the prop not of a computer mouse but of hard liquor in his hand seemed so out of character to the sweet gentle young man Tony had gradually come to love desperately.

It was only Tony's own years of experience in studying the man in front of him which made him notice the fine tremble McGee had in his left hand which caused the ice to catch the light as they clinked against each other.

He had never looked more beautiful. Or more vulnerable.

Tony suddenly didn't want this man, this stranger to turn around and look at him. The eyes would reveal all and if they held revulsion or despair or pain of any kind Tony didn't know if he could handle it other than to fling himself at Tim's feet and beg his forgiveness. Forgive him for sacrificing him to the job and what needed to be done.

It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

McGee..no the man in front of him deserved more. Timothy had saved the undercover operation. He had saved him.

Tony was as usual lead and McGee was back up. They went in with McGee as junior partner to Tony's dodgy wheeler dealer to meet the Laylan brothers.

They had all read and memorized the files on these two and just to get a face to face meeting with them had taken weeks of work. While they knew both Laylan boys were bisexual and went about their business a little differently and violently from most they hadn't expected Shane Laylan to claim interest in Tony from the very beginning.

Tony watched coolly as Shane slid his hand up his thigh and with a wink and a grin led them through into another room to meet his brother Bradley, the decision maker of the duo.

As discussions started and ghosted around anything they could actually use and the empty glasses started piling up on the table Tony was becoming increasingly nervous at Shane's attention.

Tony was wired. McGee was not.

Looking back Tony had to admit relief when McGee diverted Shane's attention with a well timed pout and a husky "There is more than one of us interested in what you've got to offer"

Shane had been surprised but after giving McGee the once over had diverted his attentions to the one with 'The Saints eyes and a Sinners mouth'.

Soon though Tony wanted nothing more than to get what they wanted and get the hell out as Shane started taking liberties as he became increasingly drunk, touching, tasting, squeezing, pinching tender flesh and generally mauling McGee as he sat beside Tony.

Tony knew Gibbs listening in couldn't really tell what was happening and instead tried to concentrate on getting Bradley to tell them what they needed to know.

Tony had been stunned initially with how well Tim seemed to be handling Shane's attentions. A heavy lidded sultry smirk there, a lick of the lips there helped keep Shane occupied and out of Tony's hair. Soon though Tony could see the increasing panic behind Tim's familiar eyes that was hidden by a flirty laugh or a further swallow of drink as Shane kept pushing at every boundary Tim owned.

It wasn't long before Shane was practically molesting Tim beside him and every inch of ground Tim politely or cleverly re gained was lost a moment later by Shane's rampaging hands.

The touch of Tim's hands, the taste of his neck, and the feel of his body close to him had been something Tony had come to long for and this man was simply taking it as some sort of free sample. A perk of the arrangement.

Tony had wanted to haul him off Tim's lap where he had pinned him by climbing astride his thighs and punch him through the nearest wall.

But he couldn't let his rage and anger show. So he had simply grinned and rolled his eyes at Shane's antics….and sacrificed his sweet gentle Timothy to the High and Mighty Gods of Law Enforcement.

Tony had slipped his hand under the edge of the table to touch Tim's and try and judge if he was really all right. Tim had grabbed his hand like he was drowning and hadn't let go as Shane slipped his hands further down Tim's shirt heading for his pants. It had been the white knuckle squeeze of Tim's hand that had told Tony how close he was to losing it and forcibly removing Shane's wet wanting mouth from his skin. Tim's own mouth had been silent though other than a surprised pained gasp as he was cruelly pinched and prodded and his expressive eyes became shuttered as he struggled to allow Tony a chance to get what they needed.

There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya?

Tony shuddered at the memory and wanted nothing more then to stand behind Tim, slip his hands around his waist and rest his head on his shoulder. He could give him silent comfort and nuzzle into his sweet smelling hair, trailing gentle undemanding kisses down his sensitive neck.

But it was the touch of a man that was making Tim stand so silent. The cruel demanding touch of another that was making Tim's' hand shake. If Tony had ever needed an answer to how Tim might respond after all these years to his masculine touch then the sight of Tim's eyes as they caught his worried glance over Shane's shoulder was enough to leave no doubt.

Revulsion. Fear. Anger.

Once Tony would have considered it his duty to question McGee. His right as Senior Agent to make sure that he was essentially ok. But Tony sighed at the stranger who held his heart and knew he didn't have it in him tonight to lie to him, the way he must.

And if he couldn't lie what could he say? I'm sorry things went that far? I tried to do what I could? I hope you will forgive me? You did a good job and we are all safer for it?

Well, maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya

Tony hadn't held out much hope that Tim's envious and admiring gaze as a younger co worker would ever turn into the soft desire of a lover. But now?

He would never risk what he did have with Tim only to face those expressive eyes again and have that glance directed at him.

Revulsion. Fear. Anger.

I did my best it wasn't much

I couldn't feel so I tried to touch

I've told the truth,

I didn't come to fool you

When Bradley finally threw back his head and laughed telling Shane to take it 'out back' Tony had been about to reach across the table and break his face. If Tim would have let go of his hand. Fortunately the next words out of Bradley's mouth had been to tell him where the pick up for the stolen missiles would be.

In under a minute the club had been stormed and Bradley and Shane placed under arrest. When Tony lost McGee in the confusion of the shouting and the movement, Gibbs had signaled to him with a shake of his head.

Not now.

McGee had made it to the fire escape before throwing up as the fear and anxiety over took him.

And now the last of the old McGee had been swept away and replaced with this tall still, silent man who drank his demons away.

Anything Tony had been going to say seemed foolish, obvious or ridiculous. Tim already knew Tony wished it had been different. He already knew that Tony would have got him out of there if he had asked. Tim knew Tony praised him and considered the catch of the Layland brothers as Tim's score.

It was what Tony couldn't say to him that had brought him to this room at this time of night.

I love you.

And now he knew without a doubt it was something he could never tell him.

Tony turned and slipped silently back out of the door, leaving just the tiniest click as the only evidence he was there as Tim stood alone with his thoughts.

And even though it all went wrong

I'll stand before the lord of Song

With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah

(The next part is this scene from Tims point of view. Sigh. Precious)