A/N: This is Not part of my Our Family universe nor is it part of the Future Perfect universe. This is simply the result of a particularly stubborn plot bunny that grabbed on and refused to let go. That being said, it does assume a similar universe where Gibbs routinely uses corporal punishment to discipline his agents, and yes, that will still include Tim even after his injury. If you A.) do not like spanking or B.) are uncomfortable with Tim being punished after he becomes disabled. Do Not Read This Story.
A/N2: The focus of this story is trying to get back to normal even with a permanent disability. As of this moment, there is no cure for spinal cord injury so if your idea of a satisfying ending is that Tim be 'fixed', this is not the story for you. I mean no disrespect; I simply want to make my intentions clear from the start so no one is disappointed.
It should have been a routine takedown. After all, for once we weren't dealing with a terrorist or arms dealer, just a low-level run-of-the-mill dirtbag, a drug dealer who'd killed a young petty officer who had the misfortune of getting caught in the crossfire of a drug deal gone bad. It should have gone down easy, just bust in, bust the perp, and head home. But if there's one thing I should have learned after all these years, it's that there's no such thing as routine in a job like ours.
It went bad fast, about as bad as bad can get. One minute I was barking commands to my team and kicking in the door and the next we were ducking for cover as the perp showered us all in a hail of bullets. I saw Tim fall in sickening slow-motion clarity. He'd turned aside to duck for cover behind an overturned table when a bullet sliced into his back. For one endless heart-stopping moment, I thought he was dead, and in that instant, I turned and put a bullet in the head of the bastard who shot him. I didn't feel a moment's regret, and I never will.
Dinozzo and I both scrambled across the floor toward McGee. Behind me, I was vaguely aware of Ziva calling for a bus, but my vision was focused on the pale, crumpled body of Tim McGee before me. He was breathing, but it was shallow and clearly labored. He was slipping in and out of consciousness. Dinozzo had taken off his shirt and was pressing it against Tim's lower back, trying desperately to stem the flow of blood there while simultaneously cracking jokes at McGee in a dual effort to keep the younger man awake and to convince us all that the situation wasn't as dire as we all knew it to be.
Damn it, where was that ambulance?
"What the hell are you doing, McGee?" I growled, "Bleeding all over my crime scene."
"Sorry, Boss," Tim gasped, whisper soft.
I tapped the top of his head gently, careful not to jar his neck or back. "Damn it, Tim, haven't I beat that into you yet. Never say you're sorry, it's a…"
"Sign of weakness," all three agents, including McGee, finished.
I glared at them to cover a grin. Then, finally, the medics burst in, shoving us all out of the way and taking over.
The hours and days that followed blur in my memory to a multicolored mass. The frantic race to the hospital, an endless series of waiting rooms and bad coffee, first as Tim had surgery then outside ICU. Abby clinging to my shoulder, alternately crying and bouncing with hope. Tim's mother, by turns crying and raging, mostly at me. Ducky playing liaison between us, the McGee's, and the doctors, trailing back and forth with a series of more and more incomprehensible medical jargon: torn nerves, spinal cord injury, thoracic vertebrae, incomplete T7 injury, partial sensation in the upper right leg but no movement.
It all boiled down to one thing in the end. Tim McGee would live, but he would never walk again.