"The Camping Trip"

Summary:Gibbs takes his 'boys' camping. Palmer tags along. Trouble ensues.

Author's Note: Follows "Boys Will Be Boys".

Warning:Spanking of adults. (Don't like, don't read.)

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I just wrote this story for the fun of it. J

"You know, you really were quite the specimen."

"In fact, I'd say other than the one who killed you; you were probably very well liked."

Dr. "Ducky" Mallad, NCIS' chief medical examiner, spoke to the corpse lying on his examining table getting ready for him to do an autopsy.

The elevator dinged and Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs exited it and headed for the table.

"Got anything for me yet, Duck?" he asked, glancing down at the lifeless body in the bright lights.

"Not yet, Jethro," Ducky replied, grinning. "So, a little nightingale tells me you are taking Anthony and Timothy on a camping trip this weekend."

Gibbs frowned. "It's not a camping trip, Duck," he told him, adamantly. "It's a wilderness survival training exercise."

Ducky raised an eyebrow. "Since when did fishing gear become a requirement for 'wilderness survival'?" he asked, amused.

Gibbs sighed. "Which one's been down here?" he asked, referring to his 'boys'.

"Both, actually," Ducky said, smiling. "Timothy was completely at a loss of what to buy and Anthony wanted to know if he was required to get—and I quote—"rubber underwear"—I can only assume he meant the overalls fly-fishermen wear."

Gibbs snorted. "Remind me to give him a slap," he told him. "All right, so maybe it is a fishing/camping trip. It would have been a team trip, but Zhiva had plans already and Abby looked at me as if I'd asked her to wear white!"

Ducky chuckled. "I suppose you are here to ask me next, eh?" he asked, his eyes twinkling behind his spectacles.

"What makes you say that?" Gibbs asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Because, Jethro," Ducky told him, "you don't usually come asking for anything before I've even done the autopsy."

Gibbs scowled. He made it a point never to look sheepish, but he still felt that way.

"Oh," he said, sighing. "So, want to tag along with me and the 'boys'?"

"I wish I could," Ducky told him, putting on his face-protective visor to begin the autopsy, "but Mother hasn't been feeling well lately…"

Gibbs also made it a point not to show disappointment, but he still felt that also.

"That's okay…"

"However," Ducky told him, cutting him off, "you may wish to ask Mr. Palmer."

Gibbs' eyebrows shot up. "Palmer!" he exclaimed. "Good Lord, why!?"

"Really, Jethro," Ducky told him, "I don't think the boy has too many friends…"

Gibbs snorted. "Big surprise there, Duck," he said, rolling his eyes.

Ducky narrowed his eyes. "And I know he feels left out around here at times," he said, sounding a tad protective of his young, awkward, assistant.

"Spending all his time with an old fossil like me wouldn't have been my idea of a fun time when when I was his age—even if it was part of my job. He looks up to both Anthony and Timothy, and you might as well be some type of super-being the way he idolizes you."

Gibbs sighed. "All right," he said, "I'll ask him…"

Ducky smirked. "I'm glad," he said, chuckling, "now if you'll excuse me I do have work to do. I believe he ran to Abigail's lab for a moment…ah, there he is now."

Gibbs turned, leaving the M.E. to his work, and headed for the young man stepping out of the elevator.

Jimmy Palmer was something of a…outsider…among the NCIS 'family'.

He was young, awkward, and had a fascination for dead bodies.

It was okay for Ducky, of course, he was old enough to be considered 'wise and experienced' but it made the young M.E. assistant a bit of a pariah with his co-workers.

"Palmer," Gibbs said, perhaps a bit gruffer than he intended.

Jimmy jumped, his eyes widened. "Y-Yes, Agent Gibbs?" he asked, wondering what he'd done to upset the senior field agent.

"You got any plans for this weekend?" Gibbs asked him, secretly hoping he'd say yes.

Jimmy looked puzzled by the question. "Uh, not really," he admitted. He rarely had plans on the weekend.

You have to have friends before you can have plans with them, he thought sadly to himself.

Gibbs winced, but he had promised.

"How would you like to go on a camping trip with me, Dinozzo, and McGee?" he asked, this time secretly hoping the kid would say no.

Jimmy's eyes widened and lit up at the invitation.

Damn, Duck was right! I hate that.

Gibbs could tell the chance to be included in an activity with the three people he looked up to the most at work, other than Ducky of course, meant a lot to the young man.

"Really, Agent Gibbs?" Jimmy asked, sounding every bit of three rather than twenty-three. "Are you sure?"

"I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't," Gibbs growled at him. "So, what do you say?"

"Hell yes!" Jimmy exclaimed, and then blushed. "I mean, uh, yes I'd like to go with you."

Gibbs almost smirked at the kid's enthusiasm. He had meant for this to be just a trip between him and his 'boys', but he supposed he could include his 'nephew' as well.

He nodded at him. "Have you taken your lunch yet?"

Jimmy shook his head. "No, sir," he answered.

"All right," Gibbs told him. "If Duck doesn't need you, take your lunch and go home to pack a bag—jeans and t-shirts only. Clean underwear, warm socks. Think you can manage that?"

Jimmy nodded. "Of course," he said, and then glanced at Ducky across the room. "Dr. Mallad?"

"Yes, Mr. Palmer?" Ducky asked, glancing up from his 'work'.

"Would it be all right if I took a long lunch today?" he asked, eagerly.

"Of course, my boy," the M.E. told him. "I can handle things here for a little while. Go ahead."

Jimmy smiled brightly, and turned to head for the elevator. Gibbs grabbed his shoulder to stop him. He looked back at him.

"Meet me at my car at exactly 6 P.M.," he told him. "If you're a minute late, you get left. Got it?"

Jimmy nodded. "I'll be there, sir," he said, beaming at him. He then hit the button and entered the elevator.

Gibbs sighed, glancing back at Duck. "You owe me, Duck," he told the man, glaring.

Ducky chuckled. "I'm sure you'll have lots of fun, Jethro," he told him, grinning. "After all, how much trouble can they get into with you there?"

Gibbs snorted, already knowing the answer to that. A lot…

At exactly six, Jimmy found himself sitting in-between Tony and Tim in the back of Gibbs' car, practically sitting on the edge of his seat with excitement at the chance to be included in something with the three older men.

"I still don't see why one of us couldn't sit in the front seat, Boss," Tony grumbled to the ex-marine.

"Kids always sit in the back, Tony," Gibbs replied, smirking at them in the review mirror.

This earned him a scowl from his senior field agent/surrogate son.

He could read the expressions on each of their faces quite clearly.

Tim sat looking out the window, his face expressionless, and Gibbs knew he wasn't exactly looking forward to this trip. In truth, he knew, Tony had goaded his 'little brother' into agreeing by boasting that he loved going camping and could out-camp anyone.

There was way he was going to refuse a challenge when he heard one.

Tony was sullen, plain and simple.

He'd been excited about the trip from the moment he [Gibbs] had suggested it the other day while the 'boys' were helping him with the boat he was building in his basement.

He loved the fact that he was going to get a chance to spend some, none-office, time with his surrogate father and was even a bit thrilled to be spending time with his 'little brother' Tim as well (though he would have shot himself before admitting that).

What he hadn't counted on was spending time with 'awkward cousin' Jimmy.

Gibbs knew Tony, and Tim a little bit too, resented the fact that he'd invited the young M.E. assistant, but the look he'd leveled at them when he'd mentioned it had warned dire (and painful) consequences to the first one to make a wise-ass comment.

Then there was Jimmy.

Gibbs sighed. Duck really owes me big time!

Of the three 'boys' in the back, he was youngest, the least physically fit, and the least inexperienced.

Even Tim, who at least had weapons and hand-to-hand combat training, could handle himself if something happened out in the woods. Jimmy didn't have that kind of conditioning, so…

I'm gonna have to spend the whole weekend holding his hand…

Gibbs wasn't happy about that, either; even though he knew it wasn't right to blame the kid for something that wasn't really his fault.

"Are we almost there?"

Tony burst out laughing. "I can't believe you just said that, Probie," he exclaimed, shaking his head at his 'little brother'.

"That's so lame!"

"We'll get there when we get there, Timothy," Gibbs growled out. "If you're bored, get out a book I know you brought."

"It's not that, boss," Tim said, blushing. "I…uh…kinda got to…uh…go."

Tony laughed harder. "Oh, man!"

"Stow it, Anthony," Gibbs growled, glaring at his 'youngest'.

"Why didn't you go to the head before we left, Tim!? I ordered you to!"

Tim looked sheepish. "I didn't have to go then," he told him, honestly, "but I had that coke when we stopped for gas back there…"

"Uh actually, Agent Gibbs," Jimmy said, hesitantly. "I kinda have to go, too."

He gulped, looking as if he expected to be thrown from the car then and there.

I ought to… Gibbs growled and pulled off to the side of the road.

"You got two minutes," he told them. "Move it."

Both back doors were opened. "Where you going, Tony?"

Tony blushed. "I gotta go, too," he admitted. "I didn't want to sound as lame as them, though."

Gibbs rolled his eyes. "One minute," he growled and watched in amusement as all three young men rushed to the nearest trees as fast as they could.

They really do remind me of little boys…

He remembered fondly the camping trips his father used to take him and his brother on, and felt a momentary pang at not being able to have ever shared that same experience with his biological daughter, Kelly.

You still have kids, he reminded himself, even if they are all supposed to be grown…

The 'boys' hopped back into the car, and immediately started arguing.

"Move over, Timmy," Tony growled. "Jimmy is pressed up so far against me I think I might get pregnant!" He gave the unsuspecting M.E. assistant a shove toward his 'brother'.

"You move over, Tony," Tim growled back, shoving the younger man back toward him.

"Hey!" Jimmy finally protested. "I'm not a yo-yo, you guys!"

Gibbs sighed. "Supposed to be" is the key word there…

"If you three don't knock it off," he growled, "I'm gonna lock you in the trunk and then we'll see just how squashed you are."

"Sorry," Tony and Tim replied immediately. The 'Dad' wasn't spoken, but it was definitely heard.

"I'm not the one you need to apologize to," Gibbs growled at them, raising an eyebrow.

"Sorry, Jimbo," Tony said, wrapping an arm around the younger man beside him. "Just foolin' around—you know me, right?"

Gibbs snorted at that, resisting only slightly to not roll his eyes. He looked expectantly at Tim.

"I'm sorry, too," Tim spoke up, patting the M.E. assistant on the shoulder. "I just don't do car trips so well."

Now he tells me… Gibbs thought, this time not stopping himself. He rolled his eyes in exasperation.

Jimmy smiled. "It's all right," he said. He knew they probably didn't really want him along, but he was just happy to be included.

Gibbs nodded. "All right," he said, "just settle down." He jerked the car into gear and got back on the road.

"Uh, Boss," Tony said, after about five minutes, "when are we going to get there?"

Tim and Jimmy snorted at that, both grinning. Gibbs, however, growled.

"I know one thing, Anthony," he said, smirking evilly, "when we do get there I know who going to be on latrine duty."

Tony shut up immediately, but glared at Tim and Jimmy who were trying (and not very hard) to laugh.

"Oh, shut up," he grumbled and turned to look out the window.

Gibbs grinned. Yep, this is going to be a "fun" trip.

It was a couple more hours before they finally reached the camp site he had picked out.

"All right, gentlemen," he said, parking the car and getting out, "let's get the gear out, set up camp, and hit the hay. First light comes mighty early."

They set to work, with him, Tony, and Tim doing most of the work. Jimmy he put on firewood duty.

The young man sighed as he complied. He just wants me out of the way…

He could understand why that was, but it still hurt his feelings a little bit.

If they'd only show me what to do…

He sighed again. Oh well, he did have something to do at least.

So, he picked up firewood.

By the time he returned to camp, the tents had been set up, the latrine dug, and their gear stowed.

"Tony, Tim," Gibbs said, "you two are in the first tent. Jimmy, you're with me in the second."

Jimmy almost dropped the firewood. He was going to bunk with Gibbs!

"Uh, are you sure?" he asked, gulping. "Wouldn't rather Tony…"

Gibbs silenced him with a glare. "If I'd wanted to bunk with Tony," he told him, firmly, "I would have. I picked you. Got a problem with it?"

Jimmy didn't look him in the eyes. "No, sir," he answered immediately.

One thing he had learned since coming to NCIS was that you didn't, under any circumstances, argue with Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

"Good," Gibb said, "now hand me that firewood and grab the matches from my pack over there."

Jimmy nodded, and did as he was told.

Tony and Tim glanced at each other and then knelt down beside him as he was arranging the firewood in the fire-pit.

"Uh, Boss," Tim said, "I really don't mind sharing with Jimmy…"

"Yeah," Tony said, "I think the nerd would feel better rooming with the geek, Boss."

Gibbs glared at them. "I'll remind you two that out here it's 'family'," he told them.

They looked puzzled. "Yeah, so?" Tony asked, confused.

"So," Gibbs told him, "I'm liable to give you a bit more than a head slap for questioning my decisions."

The 'boys' eyes widened at that threat, knowing exactly what he was referring to.

"I want Jimmy where I can keep an eye—and if need be, a hand—on him," he explained to them. "Can I count on you two not to kill each other?"

They looked at each other. "Sure thing, 'Dad'," Tony said, smirking. "I'll take care of 'litte bro' here. I promise."

"Uh huh," Gibbs said, "that's exactly what I'm afraid of. No funny business, Anthony, or not only will you be sleeping outside you'll be doing it on your stomach. Clear?"

"Like crystal," Tony told him, gulping.

Jimmy brought the matches over then. He hadn't been able to hear everything that they had said, but he certainly heard the 'keep an eye on him' part.

So, Gibbs thinks I'm so sorry that I can't even sleep in a tent right…

The thought angered him a bit, even as it hurt his feelings. He promised himself that he was going to show the ex-marine that he could count on him, that he could do what his 'boys' could, and that he could be a team player, too.

Maybe then I'll get a little respect…

"All right," Gibbs said, once he had the fire going where it would last the night, "let's hit the hay, gentleman."

Tony and Tim nodded and climbed into their tent. Jimmy hesitated, waiting for Gibbs to go into theirs first.

"Get in, Jimmy," Gibbs ordered, holding the tent flap open for him, "I don't know about you but I'm beat."

Jimmy nodded. "Me, too," he said, quietly.

Gibbs' face softened. "Then hop in and get in your sleeping bag," he said, gently—well, gently for him, anyway.

Jimmy complied, crawling into the tent and wrapping up in his sleeping bag. He heard Gibb crawl in, wrap up, and then settle into sleep.

As he removed his glasses and closed his eyes to go to sleep, Jimmy promised himself that he would do something worthwhile on this trip.

I'll prove to them—to him—that I can be one of his 'boys', too…

The next morning, Gibbs had them all awake at dawn to start fishing.

At around eight, they returned to camp to eat what they had caught for breakfast.

Actually, it was more what Gibbs had caught.

Tony's hook kept getting caught in a tree, Tim's got snagged in the rocks, and Jimmy's got caught in his neck.

"We need to get that looked at," Gibbs told him, after he'd instructed Tony and Tim to clean the fish.

"I'm fine," Jimmy said, a little more sullenly than he intended. He hadn't proved anything…

Except that you're a complete incompetent.

Gibbs raised an eyebrow at him. "It wasn't a suggestion, Jimmy," he said, getting the first aid kit out of his pack. "Get over here."

Jimmy sighed, but obeyed. His neck did hurt…

"Sorry," he apologized, quietly.

Gibbs raised an eyebrow at him. "For what?" he asked, curious.

Jimmy shrugged. "I guess fishing isn't my sport," he said, sheepishly.

"Is this the first time you've ever been fishing, Jimmy?" the older man asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes," the 'boy' admitted. "It was just me and my mom, you know. So…"

Gibbs nodded, understanding. "What about your dad?" he asked, curious.

"Died when I was little," Jimmy told him. "I don't even remember him."

Poor kid… Gibbs couldn't help but feel sorry for him. No wonder he's so awkward and unsure of himself.

"Well," he said, "you've got Ducky…"

Jimmy grinned. "Dr. Mallard's great, Agent Gibbs," he told him, smirking, "but he kind of reminds me more of an uncle or a grandfather then a…uh…" He blushed, embarrassed to have admitted even that.

Gibbs grinned. Looks like Duck's got another 'nephew'…

"How's that?" he asked, to cover up the awkwardness, as he put a bandage over the spot on his neck.

Jimmy reached up and grinned. "Yeah," he admitted. "Thanks, Agent Gibbs."

"Out here, Jimmy," he told him, putting the med-kit away and standing up, "you can just call me Gibbs."

Jimmy smiled, standing up also. "Thanks," he said, "…Gibbs." It felt kind of awkward, but…at least it was a small bit of trust.

Tony and Tim had listened and watched as their 'dad' talked to the younger man. They both frowned when they heard him tell him he could just call him 'Gibbs'.

"He doesn't let us call him that," Tim whispered to Tony.

Tony snorted. "He'd tan our hides for it," he grumbled, sourly.

"Why do you think he said it?" Tim whispered next.

Tony shrugged. "Don't know," he said, "maybe he felt sorry for the little worm."

Tim rolled his eyes. "Jimmy's not such a bad guy, Tony," he told him. "Sure, he's a bit…"

"Of a nerd," Tony finished for him, smirking. "C'mon, Tim, even you would have made fun of him in high school."

"Well," Tim said, blushing.

Tony grinned then, an idea forming in his brain.

Tim looked worried. "What?" he asked, worriedly.

"I think maybe we should have a little fun with little Jimbo," he told him, smirking.

Tim narrowed his eyes. "What have you got in mind?" he asked, not sure he really wanted to know.

Tony smiled, and then leaned in to whisper in his ear. Tim grinned. "Okay," he whispered, "let's do it."

"You two done yet?" Gibbs asked, causing them to jump a little bit. "I'd like those fish frying before lunch, you know."

"Sure thing, Boss," Tony told him, handing over the fish they had already cleaned.

Gibbs narrowed his eyes. "Are you two up to something?" he asked, suspiciously.

"Who, us?" Tony asked. "Never, Boss."

"You'd better not be," he warned them, leaning in closer, "or your butts are mine."

Tim nodded, but Tony just continued to smirk. "Sure thing, 'Dad', we read you loud and clear."

"You'd better," Gibbs growled, and then turned to start frying the fish.

After breakfast, with Gibbs napping soundly in his tent, Tony and Tim headed off into the woods to 'gather more firewood'.

As expected, Jimmy tagged along.

"You know," Tony said, eyeing the younger man slyly, "I bet Gibbs would be real impressed if one of us managed to get him some birds' eggs to fry."

"Oh yeah," Tim said, joining in on the—harmless, or so Tony had promised him—joke they were playing on the hapless younger man, "I bet he would at that."

"Really?" Jimmy asked, eager to impress the gruff older man. "Where exactly would you find bird's eggs around here?"

Tony and Tim rolled their eyes. "In trees, Jimbo," Tony told him, grinning. "You any good at climbing trees?"

Jimmy shrugged. "I guess," he said, "I've never tried."

"Well," Tim said, smirking, "you know what they say, Jimmy. There's a first time for everything."

"Yeah," Jimmy said, "I guess…"

"So, you game?" Tony asked, smirking. Hook, line…

Jimmy thought a moment. It seemed a little silly to him, but if it won him some respect with the older ex-Marine…

"Sure," he said, hoping he sounded confident, "why not."

and sinker!

"All right then," Tony told him, glancing up at the trees. "It doesn't look like there are any bird's nests around here. Maybe, if you go that way." He pointed off to the north.

"What about you two?" he asked.

"Timmy here will go east and I'll head west," Tony promised. "We'll meet back at camp in…say…an hour. How's that?"

Jimmy thought that sounded all right. "Sure," he said, and started heading north.

Tim watched him go, worriedly. "Are you sure about this, Tony?" he asked, skeptically.

"Don't be such a worrier, Timmy," Tony told his 'brother'. "He more than likely won't even find any nests, and besides…do you really think he'll be able to climb a tree?"

"Well, probably not," Tim admitted, "but…"

"No buts, Probie," Tony told him, in his best 'I'm the Senior Field Agent" voice. "He'll get discouraged and come back to camp with his tail between his legs in an hour. C'mon, let's see where these tracks lead. Got the compass?"

"Yes, of course," Tim told him, "but what about…uh…you know?"

" 'Dad'?" Tony asked, smirking. "What about him?"

"What if he wakes up and we're not there?"

"Please, Timmy, we're grown men…he'll probably just assumed we had to take a leak or something. Now, c'mon, unless you want to join the nerd."

Tim sighed. I've got a bad feeling about this.

He did, however, follow after his 'brother'…

Jimmy headed north for about thirty minutes, not really looking where he was going, just glancing up to see if he could spot any birds' nests.

After a little while, he sighed. He was just about ready to give up.

No, he scolded himself, Gibbs will never respect a 'quitter'. Keep looking!

That thought in mind, he glanced up at one of the tallest trees he'd seen so far. He smiled when he caught sight of a nest not too far up. Unfortunately, the tree didn't have any low enough branches for him to grab a hold of and climb up.

However, the tree right next to it did. I think maybe if I climb it that one, I should be able to lean across and snag it.

Going to the tree that was a couple of feet away from the one with the bird's nest in it, he leapt up and grasped one of the low branches. Though he was not used to climbing, he managed to haul himself up and started up.

When he reached the level that was nearly even with the branch that the birds' nest was on, he smiled. Unfortunately, he looked down and saw that it was a bit higher than he had thought.

Gulping down the nausea he felt, he steeled himself and scooted out to the edge of the branch and reached out.

Damn, it's further than I thought… he scooted further out.

Now he was able to reach across the distance and snag the nest, holding onto the wobbling branch underneath him with all his might.

Grrr…no eggs! The nest was empty, damn it!

In frustration and anger, he threw the blasted thing down and sent himself off the branch at the same time!

He fell…and hit the ground with a loud thud.

All the air rushed out of his lungs upon, and he felt himself fall into darkness.

Gibbs is going to kill me!

That was the last coherent thought he had before he slipped unconscious…

Tony and Tim returned to camp after an hour to find Gibbs awake and preparing lunch (more fish, yum!)

"Where have you two been?" he asked, squinting up at them.

"Just taking in the local color, Pops," Tony told him, smirking.

Gibbs glared at him for the "Pops", but didn't comment. "Where's Palmer?" he asked instead.

Both froze, and glanced at each other. His eyes narrowed.

"Uh, he's not here?" Tim asked, nervously.

Gibbs stood up and crossed his arms. "I wouldn't have asked if he were," he growled, "now would I?"

"Uh, no," Tim responded, sheepishly.

"I'm sure he'll be along any minute then," Tony said, though by the sound of it he didn't sound so sure.

"What's going on?" Gibbs demanded, knowing something was up.

"Uh, well…"

"You see, we…"

"Today, boys!" Gibbs shouted, angrily. "What the hell is going on?"

Tony sighed and started telling what they had gotten Jimmy to do.

As he listened to their cock-n-bull scheme, the angrier he got. "Let me get this straight," he growled, "you sent an inexperienced, unequipped 'boy' out on a wild goose chase in the middle of the woods!"

"Uh, yeah," Tim admitted, "I guess we did."

"There isn't any 'guessing' about it, Timothy," Gibbs growled. "It's what you did."

The young men winced, recognizing the tone in his voice very well. This was his 'dad' voice rather than his 'boss' voice. That told them how much trouble they were in.

A lot…

Shaking his head, Gibbs asked, "Which way did he go?"

"Uh, north," Tony answered, "I think."

Gibbs nodded, and turned to head to look for him.

"We'll help you," Tim said, getting ready to follow him.

"No," Gibbs told him, "you two have done enough for one day. What you two will do is stay here. In fact, see those two trees over there, what you'll do is put your noses against them until I get back—and I'd better see you there when I get back otherwise the whipping I've got planned for you will seem like a head-slap compared to the one you'll get. Understood?"

They nodded, gulping. Yep, HUGE trouble…

Gibbs nodded and then turned to head to look for the missing M.E. assistant.

Of all the stupid, foolish, adolescent stunts…

His 'boys' were in big trouble for this one, and they'd better hope he'd find Palmer in one piece or else they were going to be in a thousand when he was through with them.

Never should have brought the kid…

Shaking his head to clear it, he realized this wasn't really Jimmy's fault. Tony and Tim were older, more experienced, and should have been adult enough not to pull something like this.

They act like kids, I'm gonna wear out their behinds like kids!

He'd been searching for about fifteen, maybe twenty, minutes when he spotted him, laying unconscious on the ground.

"Jimmy!" Gibbs exclaimed, feeling his stomach drop to his feet.

Duck'll rip me a new one if anything happens to this kid…hell, I'll rip myself a new one!

He quickly raced to the kid's side and breathed a huge sigh of relief when he saw his chest rise and fall.

He was alive, at least.

Giving him a quick check over, it looked as if he didn't have any broken bones…but that didn't mean he couldn't have them.

Or internal bleeding… His stomach dropped again.

"Jimmy," he slapped the kid's cheek gently, "you okay, kid? Jimmy, can you hear me?"

"Uh," Jimmy groaned, his eyes blinking open to stare at him. "Agent Gibbs?"

Gibbs nodded. "Yeah, kid, it's me," he said, smirking. "You hurt anywhere?"

"I-I don't think so," Jimmy responded, attempting to sit up. "I think I just go the wind knocked out of me."

Gibbs nodded, heaving a huge sigh of relief.

Still, a little trip into the nearest town to visit the local doctor wouldn't hurt…

Standing up, he helped the young man to his feet and asked, "So, what happened?"

Jimmy blushed as he remembered the tumble he took. "Well…" he said, sheepishly.

He then proceeded to tell him what happened.

As Gibbs listened, he felt his temper rise almost as fast as his heart beat. "You did what?" he growled at the kid.

Jimmy frowned. "I told you," he said, "I climbed the tree to try and lean in to get the bird's nest from the other tree—I got it too, but there wasn't any eggs in it."

Gibbs couldn't believe his ears. "Y-You leaned from one tree toward another tree—that was at least two feet away—to get a stupid bird's nest!"

"Isn't that what I just said?" Jimmy asked, annoyed.

He had momentarily forgotten who he was talking to, apparently.

Gibbs looked around him, spotted what he needed, and then latched onto the boy collar.

"Hey!" Jimmy protested, as he was dragged over to where a fallen log was.

Gibbs sat down and with one tug pulled the young man over his lap.

"G-Gibbs?" the 'boy' asked, his eyes wide at finding himself in a position he'd never been in.

"Let me make a couple of things perfectly clear to you, James," Gibbs growled to him, raising his hand back. "One: Never scare me like that again!"

He brought his hand down across the seat of the young man's jeans rather hard.

Jimmy yelped, shocked by this turn of events. "W-What are you doing?" he managed to stammer.

"I'm showing you what happens to fooled headed little 'boys' when the pull stupid stunts," Gibbs growled at him, raising his hand back again. "That's number two, by the way."

His hand came down again…and again…again…again…and still again…

Jimmy was yelling and kicking, he hadn't been spanked since he was really small, and Gibbs certainly had a much harder hand than his mother!

By the thirtieth swat, his ass felt like it was on fire!

"P-Please," he begged, his glasses smeared with the tears that were running down his face. "N-No more! P-Please, sir!"

Gibbs sighed, knowing he'd had enough. Giving him one final, almighty smack, he helped him off his lap and stood him up.

Taking him by the shoulders, he asked, "Why, son? Just tell me why you'd do such a stupid foolish thing?"

"I-I wanted to impress you," Jimmy managed to get out despite his tears.

"By getting a stupid bird's nest?" Gibbs asked, skeptically. "How was that going to impress me?"

"I-I thought that if I did something right for a change," Jimmy explained, trying desperately to wipe at the tears still falling down his cheeks, "you'd see that…that I could be just as good as Tim or Tony."

Gibbs could have kicked his own ass. Scratch that, I should have let Ducky kick my ass for me!

Pulling the young man into a heart-felt embrace, he said, "You don't have to "do" anything to impress me, Jimmy. What you do impresses the hell out of me?"

"I don't do anything," Jimmy sobbed into his shoulder. "I'm a pathetic nerd and we both know it."

Gibbs pulled him back, spun him around, and delivered a few more stinging swats.

The 'boy' yelped grabbed his behind, looking at him in shock.

"Before anyone else can respect you," Gibbs told him, sternly, "you have to respect yourself…and you "do" do a lot. I certainly couldn't cut dead people up for a living!"

Jimmy grinned at that. "It's not that hard," he said, "certainly easier than fishing."

Gibbs smirked. "Don't try to be something your not, Jimmy," he told him, reaching out impulsively to ruffle his hair, "and for pity sake DON'T try to be Dinozzo or McGee! I couldn't handle another one of them, trust me on that one."

Jimmy laughed, despite his stinging rear end. "I bet they're laughing their butts off at me, huh?"

"Oh, their butts will be coming off all right," Gibbs promised, glaring, "but it won't be from laughing—I can promise you that! C'mon, son, let's head back to camp."

"Son?" Jimmy asked, puzzled.

Gibbs grinned at him. "Welcome to the family," he told him, wrapping an arm around him. "I guess we might as well say I have three 'sons' now—since you consider Ducky more of an uncle—and he's like my brother. Think you can handle having those two jackasses back at camp for 'brothers'?"

Jimmy smiled. He'd never had brother before. "Does this mean Abby and Zhiva are my sisters?" he asked.

"Yep," Gibbs told him, "which makes you the 'baby'—since Abby's older than you are."

Jimmy smiled. "I think I can live with that," he admitted, smirking, " 'Dad'."

Gibbs laughed. "I don't mind you calling me that, Jim, he told him, "but only when we're away from the office."

"Yes, Sir, Agents Gibbs, Sir," Jimmy said in his best (lamest) Marine voice. He gave him a sloppy salute.

"Smart-Ass," Gibbs growled, softly. "I guess you'll fit right in, then."

Great, now I've got three of 'em!

That night it was three very sore young men who rode in the back of his car on the way home.

They had all agreed they'd enough of the wilderness experience.

"Would you guys quit moving?" Jimmy asked, having been bumped by both of the other two's elbows and things as they tried to get comfortable.

"Shut it, Jimbo," Tony growled. "My ass hurts."

"All our asses hurt, Tony," Tim growled.

"Yeah," Tony growled back, "well…mine hurts more!"

"We were both switched, Tony, how can yours hurts more than mine!"

"Because my butt has less padding than yours, Timmy!"

"Hey! It does not! Take that back!"


"Take it back!"

"Not gonna happen!"

"C'mon, guys, can't we just…"

"Shut up, Jimmy!"

"Fine, go ahead and kill each other for all I care! You both suck anyway!"

Gibbs grinned as he concentrated on the road ahead and ignored the jibes and insult flying back and forth in the back.

I think I need to invest in a set of ear plugs…