Feelings of Superiority

By Lizabeth S. Tucker

Tony DiNozzo peered over fellow special agent Tim McGee's shoulder as the younger man scanned the documents found on Petty Officer Talbert's computer. "What did you find, Probie?"

"You're breathing down my neck, Tony. Stop it." He started to point out some of the information, then stopped with a snort. "Forget it, you'll never understand it. It's too technical."

With his back to Tony, McGee didn't see the flash of hurt and anger in the man's green eyes. Without another word, Tony spun about and stalked from Abby's lab.

Abby had seen it, however, and punched her sometime lover in the forearm.

"Ow, what was that for?" McGee said, grabbing at his bruised appendage.

"Why do you always do that?"

"Do what?"

She frowned at him. "Don't be obtuse. You are always waving your dual degrees at Tony like it makes you superior."

"Well, Abby, I mean he only a a Bachelors in P.E. It's not like he..." He was cut off by another punch to the arm. "Hey, will you stop that!"

"Haven't you read the special agent position description?"

"Huh?"

"Position description. You know, the one that tells you what your job entails and what the requirements are."

"Well, sure, I've read it."

"For what grade?"

McGee shrugged, confused by her point. "For my grade, of course."

"Then you're an idiot. You're what, a 9?"

"Yeah," McGee said slowly.

"Try for a 11 and 13. You might be surprised what you'll find."

Still not sure what Abby was trying to say, McGee quickly pulled up the NCIS OPM link and found the position descriptions for the higher grades. The job descriptions didn't really reveal anything that he hadn't already considered. He was about to close the link when Abby's black-tipped finger poked at the bottom of the screen where the educational requirements were listed. He saw the usual about the combination of work experience and education, then stopped. He went back and reread the key passage once again. Flipping back and forth between the 11 and 13 grades, he was shocked at what he saw. He sat back on the stool, blinking.

"See, Mr. Smartypants, you're not the only one with a Masters."

"I didn't know you had to have a higher degree to be a Senior Agent."

"No, you just decided to peg Tony as some jock who had the barest minimum educational requirements."

"So what is his degree in? Something sports related?"

"Nope," Abby said, shaking her head until her pigtails bounced.

"You know?"

"Of course I do. I, unlike you, actually talk to Tony. He's my friend."

"C'mon, Abby, it can't be anything that hard. It would have to be some simple subject."

Abby stared at McGee in disappointment. "I'm ashamed of you, Timothy. In fact, I don't want to talk to you any more. Leave my lab." She dramatically pointed to the door.

"Abby," McGee pleaded.

"No. I want you to go. Don't come back until you can treat Tony with the respect he deserves."

"Deserves? Tony?"

Abby turned her back on the special agent, her chin up in the air and her arms crossed. She tapped her foot, waiting.

Realizing that she wouldn't be giving in anytime soon, McGee gave up. He saved the work he was doing, sending it to his desk up in the bullpen. His mind in a fog, he found himself trying to imagine what Tony would've majored in. When the elevator arrived on his floor, he almost missed getting out, still befuddled. Then, as McGee made his way to his desk, his eyes fell on Gibbs. Gibbs, who would also have had to have a Masters. That was now two mysteries to solve. What had Gibbs gotten his degree in? He rubbed at the spot between his eyes.

"Headache, McGee?" Ziva David asked softly.

"Yeah, two of them."

Not understanding, Ziva put it down to another Americanism and resumed her work.

McGee knew he would not be able to rest until he found out the truth. It would be a late night, searching the Internet for both men's history. He momentarily considered hacking into NCIS' personnel files, but quickly dismissed the idea. That would bring too strong a possibility of being caught. It was one thing to hack the CIA or the FBI in pursuit of a case, but another idea entirely to do the same for a personal quest. Everything was on the Internet somewhere. It was just a case of finding it.

July 2009