by channelD

written for: the NFA White Elephant Exchange. The recipient requested: Tim, please. Preferably something ranging from dramatic to traumatic...but with a happy ending.

prompt: How glorious it is -- and also how painful -- to be an exception. ~ Alfred de Musset

rating: K plus

genre: drama

pairings: none

featuring: Tim & the crew

Spoiler warning: Minor (very) spoilers for the season six two-part episode Legend.

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disclaimer: I still own nothing of NCIS.

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"I'm pretty stoked about it. And I just had to tell someone, Mom!"

"Well, you should be, Tim! We're both so proud of you. Aren't we, Kale?" said Cleo McGee, on the other end of the phone.

Tim grinned on hearing a distant grunt. He knew it would take a lot to get his father's attention away from a baseball game on TV. "Thanks. Of course, the NCIS awards ceremony is two weeks off, so I won't know until then if I've won it. But, as the saying goes, it's an honor just to be nominated."

"And don't you forget that, no matter what the outcome. How do Tony and Ziva feel about it?"

"I haven't told them. The nominees are encouraged to not really talk about it much. I think the only reason they tell the nominees about the nominations is to make sure we'll show up."

"Tim, you always were one for hiding your light under a bushel. Please don't do that here. Show up, smile, and if you win, accept the award graciously."

"Yes, ma'am," Tim grinned. "I don't think there's much chance that I'll get it, though. It's for Excellence in Applied Technology, and the other two nominees have more time in and really are better than me."

"McGees don't give up, Tim. Ooops, the oven timer just went off and your father will be wanting his dinner, so I'd better go. Talk to you soon. Love you."

"Love you too, Mom."

Tim slowly clicked off his phone, and returned to his own dinner, cooking on his stove. His thoughts were still on the NCIS awards. He'd never even made the nominations before now, much less won an award. No, Tony and Ziva might be stunned if they knew (although they weren't ever going to come up in the now-and-then-awarded Applied Technology division). To them, he felt, he was still the unfulfilled probie. Tony had been nominated in other categories a few times, and Ziva had won Best Rookie in her first year here (even though she wasn't technically part of NCIS).

His winning would be a long shot. Lori Averand could make code dance in her hand, and Randy Klemp always had fantastic ideas for new projects. Tim wasn't entirely sure what he had done to make the list of nominees, though he had suggested a few improvements in Systems and written a couple programs. But that didn't, that shouldn't make him a winner…unless the judges had a higher opinion of him than he did. Nah. Whether Lori or Randy would be the one to win was something he couldn't tell. They were above amazing in their abilities.

It never occurred to him that circumstances might dictate that there would not be a winner…maybe ever again.