A man in a high ranking Navel uniform strode out of the elevator with a determined look in his eye.
"I need to see Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo"
"Well you got him" Tony walked up to him the exhaustion and strain of the last 24 hours showing on his face
"What do you want?"
Tony was impatient. He needed to get to the hospital to see Gibbs, Vance was hounding his ass, Abby was distraught with weeping and Ziva…well Ziva had disappeared off somewhere again. He hoped it was to check on some of those contacts of hers in the hopes they knew what the hell was going on as Tony sure didn't.
"I'm Commander Ian McGee…..
He didn't even have a chance to finish before Tony grabbed his jacket and swung him around pushing him up against his desk.
"Where is he? Damn it just tell me where he is and I will go and drag his sorry ass back here and throw him in jail where he belongs."
"If you are referring to my son I don't know where he is. I'm here because I think there is some information you need to know."
Tony backed off and released the Commander, still angry and the Commander stood tall, decades of command authority in his return glare.
"I need to speak with you in private"
Tony stormed off to the elevator his emotions still in turmoil and once the Commander was in he flicked the switch bathing them in an eerie glow.
"Speak. And tell me why your son has betrayed his team and quite possibly his country for the last six years."
The Commander stood silent for a moment collecting his thoughts while Tony gritted his teeth and tried to hold back the wail of unanswered questions that had been hammering at him since he heard Gibbs gasped call, identifying his shooter as McGee.
"The first thing I suppose you should know is Timothy McGee is NOT my son.""
Tony threw up his hands in frustration
"Oh great. Just great. Is there anything he told us about himself that WAS true?"
The Commander ignored his antics and continued
"He was born Lucas Bartlett. My wife and I adopted him when he was seven and we had Sarah soon after. We….we were told it was unlikely that we could have children of our own. When Lucas was found by some sailors under my commander they brought him to me. He stayed with me and my wife for the first few days as the authorities tried to figure out what happened and if he was still at risk."
"Wait…wait hold up there. What do you mean found him? Where the hell was he?" Tony didn't think his anxiety could get any worse but he found it increasingly steadily higher, threatening to strangle him.
The Commander turned to him with fierce uncompromising blue eyes.
"His family including his mother, father and eldest brother were gunned down execution style in a cabin in the woods. The sailors were returning to the ship, got lost and stumbled on the cabin when they went looking for a phone. The found Lucas terrified, dehydrated, and covered in blood curled up in a ball in the corner of the cabin. I believe his mother defended him with her body and later he crawled out from underneath her. He couldn't get out of the cabin. They had locked it and sealed it up when they left to ensure it took as long as possible for anyone to discover the bodies."
Tony paled "Oh my God"
The Commander dropped his eyes to the floor "He was locked in that cabin with the bodies of his family for four days Agent DiNozzo. Four very long hot days. When they brought him to me he wouldn't speak. Not a single word."
Tony found himself reeling as he remembered Tim scrubbing relentlessly at his hands after watching the maggots crawl out of the corpse in the old nightclub. He hadn't wanted to talk about it. Never had.
"Oh my God" Tony whispered under his breath. He remembered how young Tim had looked when he joined the team and he tried to imagine him at seven all pale, skinny, fair haired and wide eyed……..and dirty and covered in his mothers blood.
"His family were under so called Witness protection. A miserable failure obviously. I was about to be transferred to another post on the other side of the country and my wife had fallen in love with him. He obviously needed a home and with my stable military background I was considered a safer choice then simply leaving him in foster care."
Tony found himself flashing back to months ago before the Director had died, down in Abby's lab.
"Well this is obviously a lie" Ziva had announced as she picked up the results of the lie detector test. "What is it?"
"His name" Abby declared "He gets real nervous during tests."
"Lucas Bartlett….that's his real name. That's why he was freaking out about the lie detector tests. He was convinced he wouldn't pass and he wouldn't be able to continue as an agent"
Tony worked it through slowly. Events had continued and they hadn't had to take the tests and he realized he hadn't thought of it again.
All this time Tim….Lucas had been hiding in plan sight.
"What has this got to do with McGee…Bartlett or whoever the hell he is turning around and shooting Gibbs?"
"I don't know"
"Oh great! You don't know? Then what are you here for?"
"Agent DiNozzo. I know my son and don't mistake me after 24 years he IS my son and he wouldn't do anything like that without just cause. He held your Agent Gibbs in high regard. In fact he told me that once he was onto something he would never let it go even at risk to himself. This was after your fellow agent, Kate was it? After she died Tim was rather distraught but when I spoke to him about it he said I shouldn't worry about him and that Gibbs would make it right."
Tony frowned "So what are you trying to tell me here?"
"If your Agent Gibbs knew that Tim was in trouble, the sort of trouble that has killed people he would help him wouldn't he? He would stop at nothing to make sure he was safe, even at the risk of himself and his team?"
"Yes of Course" Tony defended Gibbs with certainty while the Commander looked at him with sad eyes.
"And if Tim didn't want him to help? If Tim wanted him to stay away and stay safe and sort out his own problems? Would he do it if he asked?"
"No of course not. Gibbs would….." Tony trailed off as he realized what the Commander was saying.
"Are you telling me that McGee SHOT Gibbs to keep him SAFE?" Tony's voice grew louder in the small space.
"How is Gibbs by the way?" The Commander asked mildly
"He'll be fine. It was a through and through, clean shot, no bones broken or anything. Some blood loss but mostly just pissed him off."
The Commander turned again and pinned Tony with his eyes
"Strange don't you think that a trained agent could miss like that? He was standing right next to him. If he wanted him dead he would be."
Tony's world turned upside down for the second time in twenty four hours.
"But why? Now he's on the run from whoever they are and from us. He doesn't stand a chance."
The Commander reached into his jacket and pulled out an old photo and placed it into his hand.
"That is why I came here. I will not sit and watch my son gunned down in the street like a dog. You need to help him."
Tony looked down at the old battered photo in his hand. It was a casual family portrait taken during a summer picnic with a pretty strawberry blonde mother, a tall smiling green eyed father and in front two grinning boys with their arms around each other. The eldest boy must have been about nine and he was wearing an overlarge football sweat shirt that fell long over his skinny legs. The youngest boy had a transformers t-shirt on and his big green eyes were laughing at his beloved brothers mild threats. Tony knew in an instant it was McGee.
The Commander looked deep into Tony eyes.
"He's already lost one family. He couldn't afford to loose another."