So here's the end of the story. I hope you guys like it. Please review.
Ziva followed Abby up the tree and the two girls went inside. "Am I missing something McGee?" Tony asked, thoroughly confused at what McGee, Abby, and Ziva were supposedly seeing.
"I can't explain it…you just have to see it, the real it," the young man replied.
"Hey McGee, are these pop tarts safe to eat?" they heard Abby shout.
"Yea they're fresh, I stoked up this morning," he said with a laugh before he too went up the ladder.
"I think our Probie's lost his marbles," Tony remarked with slight concern.
"What DiNozzo, you never had an imaginary friend or a secret play place when you were a kid?" Gibbs asked.
Tony looked away from the older man, "No, not really, I wasn't allowed," he said softly.
He felt Gibbs' hand on is shoulder and he turned to look at his boss. "Well maybe it's time you did," Gibbs said with a small smile.
Looking back at McGee's tree house, Tony's eyes widened as he saw that the rickety old tree house had been replaced with a large tree castle made of vines, rope, and bright flowers. "What the hell?" he mumbled to himself.
"Are you two coming or what?" Abby asked as she stuck her head out of a window.
Tony laughed as he ran over and practically jumped up the tree. "Pop tart?" McGee asked with a grin as his friend made his way inside.
"I didn't know they served Pop tarts in fancy castles," Tony joked.
"War time rations," McGee said absently as he tossed the other man the snack.
"You at war McGee?" Gibbs asked in amusement and the young man just shrugged.
"What war Timmy?" Abby asked.
"Well…there's this thing, we don't really know what it is, but we know that it wants to destroy this place, Sarah decided to call it the L.O.D.," McGee explained, still slightly worried that his friends would think he had gone off his rocker.
"The L.O.D.?" Ziva asked.
"It's corny but we didn't know what else to call it, it stands for Lord of Darkness," McGee said. A violent gust of wind swept through their small sanctuary and McGee ran outside onto the landing, looking around for any unwelcome visitors.
"What is it McGee?" Tony asked.
"We got company," the young man replied. "Is it the L.O.D?" Abby asked as she moved to stand at his side. Another sharp gust of wind and the group heard a loud growl come from behind them.
"No, Kelters," McGee said softly.
"A what?" Abby asked.
McGee turned around slowly and looked up at the roof as he pointed at a large orange and black stripped animal that looked to be the cross of a raccoon and a wolf.
"That thing doesn't look friendly," Tony commented and Ziva pulled out her knife but McGee motioned for her to put it away.
"They're soldiers for the L.O.D." McGee explained as he grabbed Abby's hand and guided her over to a rope that hung from one of the trees branches and signaled that Tony and Ziva should follow him.
Another loud growl and McGee cursed softly as the one Kelter was joined by another.
"Run," McGee shouted as he jumped for the rope and slid down to the ground, ignoring the pain in his hands for doing so. The three quickly followed after him and the two Kelters snarled and jumped after the group, hitting the ground running.
Gibbs grinned as he watched his four kids take off into the forest, chased by nothing more than chipmunks. It had been a long a strenuous month and Gibbs was glad that McGee had decided to take them to what he called Cathia. They all needed a break from harsh reality and Gibbs couldn't think of a better way to go about it. Looking over at the box of food and drinks he smiled as he saw two thermoses. He unscrewed the top off of one and smiled as he saw that McGee had made sure his kingdom was stoked up on coffee. War time rations or not. Gibbs could someone yelling off in the distance but he wasn't worried. He settled back in an old lawn chair and waited for the group to return.
The four were running zig-zags but the Kelters weren't thrown off by the simple evasive maneuver and were practically nipping at their heels.
"You gotta plan?" Tony yelled.
"I'm thinking, gimme a sec," McGee shouted back.
"We should turn and fight," Ziva stated.
"Yea you have fun getting eaten," Abby shot back.
Ziva opened her mouth to shout back at the goth when the other woman fell out of her peripheral vision. Abby hit the ground hard and the Kelter that was chasing her jumped over her prone body and turned to face her. The other Kelter stopped as well and ran over to face Abby as well.
"McGEE!" she yelled in terror as the Kelters snarled and moved in for the kill. A large stick whipped into the side of one of the beasts and it fell to the ground, yelping in pain.
The uninjured Kelter looked at its companion before stepping over to face the attacker. Abby looked over to see McGee glaring daggers at the beast. Tony and Ziva stood on either side of the young man, armed with sticks and rocks, ready to attack.
The Kelter growled as it took a few steps back from the armed trio. The two beasts looked at each other before hastily retreating.
McGee rushed over to Abby's side and helped her to her feet. "You ok, Abs?" he asked as he began to look her over. She simply nodded before she launched herself at him and engulfed him in a hug. "You saved me," she exclaimed happily.
"Hey, we helped!" Tony said and Ziva punched him in the arm. "Oww, what was that for?" he asked with a pout. "Where is Gibbs?" Ziva asked, ignoring Tony.
"Oh my God, Gibbs!" Abby shouted in realization as she jumped out of McGee's embrace.
"Come on, lets go," Tony said as he turned to race back to the tree castle.
It didn't take long for them to return and find Gibbs drinking coffee and reading an old book that McGee had left on one of the shelves.
"Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs!" Abby said excitedly as she saw him. "McGee saved me from those Kelter things, well Tony and Ziva helped but it was mostly Timmy!"
Gibbs looked over to a blushing McGee who just shrugged. "Good work McGee," the older man said simply.
"Uh, thanks Boss," McGee replied.
"Hey, sandwiches!" Tony exclaimed happily as he pulled out individually wrapped PB&J sandwiches for everyone.
"Come on Abs," McGee said after they grabbed some food before Tony could eat it all. Abby followed him outside and down the ladder to sit at the base of a tree close to the castle.
"Thanks for taking us here Timmy, this place is incredible," Abby said before taking a bite of her sandwich.
"I'm glad you think so, I was kinda worried you guys would think I'd gone off the deep end or something," McGee confessed.
"Never, you're the sanest person I know," she said.
"Well that's not very comforting seeing who you have to compare me with," he said as he looked up to where the others were.
Abby laughed "Yea maybe you're right, I just wish I had a place like this when I was a kid."
"Well…you're welcome to come here whenever you want," McGee offered softly.
"That's so sweet Timmy," she said before hugging him tightly. Cathia had always brought out courage in him, so with a deep breath he tried to get out what he'd wanted to say for a long time.
"Um…Abby?" he said and she pulled back to look at him with a big smile on her face. McGee gulped and wished he was fighting the L.O.D. itself than trying to articulate his feelings.
"I…I know what we had is over and done with but I just…I just wanted to tell you that I love you. I know you love me like you love puppies and that's great but I just thought you should know," he managed to stammer out. 'So much for being courageous' he thought. Abby's face was completely blank and McGee cursed himself for being so stupid.
"I'm sorry Abby, I'll go," he said sadly as he gathered his things and made to stand.
"Don't go Tim," she said as she grabbed his hand before he could get up. "I'm sorry, you kinda threw me off, I wasn't expecting that," she explained. He only nodded and he could feel the rejection was coming.
"Yea, sorry just forget I ever said anything ok," McGee said quickly.
"Tim…" Abby tried to say but he cut her off.
"Look just don't say anything, I know already and it's ok. I don't even know why I said anything about it. I just made things really awkward between us again and I don't want that so just pretend you didn't hear me and everything will stay cool between us," McGee babbled out, feeling like he was digging himself into an even deeper hole. He looked away from her and he could feel his heart breaking again, just as he had managed to duct tape it back together again.
"Tim look at me," Abby said and he couldn't help but do as she'd asked. McGee froze as she leaned forward and placed her lips on his in a soft kiss.
"You're my best friend Tim and I love you and not in the way I love puppies. I'm sorry about hurting you before but I panicked, usually I date guys I know I won't be with long but you're different and I didn't know what to do because I wasn't ready for you yet, I'm ready now though," she whispered and McGee almost couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Are you sure?" he asked, fear of her walking away from him again gripping his heart. He didn't know if he'd be able to survive her leaving him again.
"I promise I won't cut and run again," Abby said as she crossed her heart. He smiled before kissing her, she smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer to her.
"McGee and Abby sittin in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Probie with a baby carriage," the two heard Tony singing.
Before they got a chance to yell at him they watched as Gibbs walked up behind the other man and slapped him upside the head. "Sorry boss," Tony said with a grin.
"Go annoy Ziva," the older man said as he stared down at the couple. "Gladly boss," Tony said before heading inside.
"Who gave you permission to break rule twelve McGee?" Gibbs asked.
"Uh, Abby did boss," McGee said unsurely.
Gibbs looked over at the goth who was beaming happily. "You break her heart, I'll break your legs," Gibbs warned and McGee chuckled nervously. "I wouldn't dream of hurting her boss."
Gibbs nodded before letting the two have some privacy. "I think he just gave us his blessing," McGee said. Abby laughed and laid her head on his shoulder and he kissed the top of her head.
They stayed in Cathia for a few more hours, running around and playing until Gibbs announced that it would be a good idea to head out so that they could all get home before the end of the day. Abby, Ziva, and Tony whined that they didn't want to leave and McGee just smiled as Gibbs told the three firmly that they were leaving.
"Don't worry, you guys can come back if we're ever around here again," McGee told them and they all perked up and they began the trek back to the McGee home.
Anne was at the house when they returned and she smiled as she saw them. "I assume you all had a good time," she said and they all nodded and McGee moved to give his mother a hug. "I'll see you later mom, tell dad I said bye."
"I will Tim, ya'll drive safely and look out for those coal trucks," Anne said.
They five piled into the car, Ziva and Tony argued about who got to ride shotgun until Ziva threatened to take Tony's eye out with a pencil. Abby and McGee got in the back and Abby was practically sitting in McGee's lap and Tony wasn't happy about having to sit next to the two love birds.
Gibbs expected the ride to be filled with the four teasing and annoying each other but by the time they drove out of Jonesville the four kids had fallen fast asleep. The older man had to remember to wear the gang out before driving on long trips. It certainly would save him from drinking so much coffee.