Not mine, just borrowing them for the time being. NCIS belongs to CBS and Don Bellisario. Also, Bodine William W High School is actually a real high school in Philadelphia.

Working in a field like law enforcement, medicine or social work you're bound to run into cases/people that leave a lasting impression on you and not necessarily in a good way and given the amount of time that Tony's been a cop and a NCIS agent he's bound to have a couple of cases and people that left impressions on him.

For all of those reading 'An Unlikely Friendship' that should be updated sometime this week.

Spoilers: 3x10 'Probie', 4x03 'Singled Out', 5x07 'Requiem'


"How'd he take it?" asked McGee looking up as Ziva left Tony's room.

"As expected," she replied wearily before collapsing into the empty seat next to McGee.

"So not well," he guessed.

"Not well," Ziva confirmed.

McGee sighed before rubbing his face tiredly. "It wasn't even an NCIS case, what was Tony thinking?"

"The doctors will be keeping Tony for the next couple of days and he was still awake when I left, would you like to see him again?" she asked, choosing not to reply to McGee's statement.

McGee shook his head. "No, I still have to finish writing my report and statement, Gibbs wants it before I leave for the night but tell him goodnight for me if you see him before you leave, okay?"

"Of course, good night, McGee."

"Goodnight, Ziva," he said before standing up and heading towards the hospital entrance, his last image of Ziva was of her looking through her cell phone contact list before finally deciding on a name.

--

"Cover for me, Probie," Tony said before grabbing his badge, gun and ID from his desk drawer.

"What, why? Where are you going?" demanded McGee as he watched Tony grab his coat from the back of his chair.

"On an errand," Tony called over his shoulder.

"What am I supposed to tell Gibbs?" asked McGee right before the elevator doors closed. "Tony!"

--

When McGee got back to NCIS headquarters the squad room was pretty empty, only the on call team section of the squad room and a few other scattered desks were illuminated. Sighing he rested his head in his arms as he waited for his computer to properly boot up. He was so tired and all he wanted to do was go home but like the good agent he was he was dutifully typing up his report and statement for Gibbs before going home for the night. Glancing at his watch he was only slightly surprised to see that it was nearly eleven thirty, his report was nearly finished and his statement was already, he could afford to close his eyes for a few seconds, right? Before McGee could think about it some more he laid his head in his arms and let his eyelids drift shut…

--

"Where to McGee?" demanded Ziva as she accelerated causing multiple cars to honk as she suddenly appeared in their space.

"Turn right at the next street," he replied before frantically grabbing the side of the car as Ziva performed the hairpin turn at a totally unsafe speed.

"Now where?"

"Left here."

The car protested as Ziva made the turn but instead of slowing down she sped up, anxious to make it to the construction site at the end of the road where McGee had pinpointed Tony's location. If Gibbs didn't kill him first then she would definitely kill him, didn't he remember what happened the last time one of them went some place without backup? Gibbs ended up submerged in a car and nearly got himself and an innocent bystander killed. The sound of gunshots greeted them the minute they pulled up and Ziva didn't have to look to know that McGee had crouched down, gun in hand as they both made their way from the car to the nearest place they could get some cover from. Glancing around the cement wall they were hiding behind she saw Tony leaning against a pillar, his left arm wrapped around his middle and his gun in his right hand still trained on another man who had a gun trained on her partner. Before she could properly formulate her plan the other man prepared to shoot Tony and acting on instinct and training she fired. As soon as the other mall fell she broke cover followed closely by McGee who ran to Tony while she kept her gun trained on the other man after kicking away his gun, her years of training being the only keeping her from running to Tony first.

"Tony, can you hear me?" asked McGee anxiously the moment he got to his unconscious friend's side. Tony had, by then, slid down the pillar, the hand that had been firmly putting pressure on his side was now lax and blood was seeping through at an alarming rate, gun resting by his side. "Ziva, call an ambulance!" he yelled as he pressed down hard on the bullet wound. "Tony, if you die I swear…" he hissed to his partner, letting the rest of his threat go unsaid.

--

McGee shot up like a cork and looked around wildly, forgetting, momentarily, where he was. Gibbs cleared his throat to get his junior agent's attention.

"B-boss! I was…I was just finishing up."

Gibbs made no comment instead he just gestured to the coffee cup on McGee's desk, so that's what woke him up. "Thought you could use it," Gibbs said to McGee's questioning look. "When you're done go home, McGee. I don't need to see you tomorrow, we're off rotation," he said before going to his desk and flipping on his own desk light.

McGee blinked before looking at the coffee cup warily; if this was coffee Gibbs' way then McGee would be better off drinking tar. Taking a hesitant sip of the hot beverage he was pleasantly surprised to find that the cup of coffee was just the way he liked it. McGee looked up to say thanks to Gibbs only find him busy at work and smiled. The two of them worked in a comfortable silence and after half an hour McGee had completed his report and after emailing Gibbs a copy he walked over to Gibbs' desk with a hard copy. The lead agent nodded and then motioned for McGee to pack up and go home.

"I thought I told you to go home," Gibbs remarked dryly when McGee made no move towards his desk.

"It's just…" McGee began unsure how to word what he wanted to say.

"If you've got something to say then spit it out, McGee."

"It's just that I don't get it," he said in a rush. "I mean, why is Tony still looking over this case? He hasn't worked in Philadelphia in ten years."

Gibbs didn't respond at first just giving him an unreadable look.

"You ever have a case that sticks with you long after you close it, McGee?"

"Yes."

"Did you ever forget it?"

McGee stayed silent unsure of how to answer that question. Did he ever forget those cases? No, not entirely just like he could never forget the metro cop. He was pretty sure that he would go to his grave remembering those cases in vivid detail.

"Now imagine how it feels to never close a case like that."

--

No matter how many times he had visited or been in a hospital McGee was certain that he would never get used to the smell of antiseptic that seemed to cling to walls. The inside of Tony's room was sterile, like all hospital rooms aside from the pediatrics and maternity ward, a vase of black roses gracing the side table. He smiled; he should have known that Abby would be Tony's first visitor of the day. Speaking of the man in question he was currently staring out the window too deep in thought to notice McGee's arrival. He sighed quietly, even though he was expecting it McGee was still troubled by Tony's reaction.

"Hey, Tony," he said as he made his way to one of the chairs. "How are you feeling today?"

"Twenty-five."

"Huh?"

"That's how old she would be today."

"Oh."

--

The picture of a blonde, smiling teenager smiled back at Tony from the file he was currently staring at, an indecipherable expression on his face.

"We got a case?" asked McGee as he peered over Tony's monitor. The reaction was immediate and not what McGee expected; Tony slammed the file shut before shoving it into his drawer and locking it. "I was just wondering," he replied in answer to the cold look Tony gave him. "Who is she?"

"None of your business, Probie."

--

The same blonde, smiling teenager smiled back at McGee from his computer screen. He had gotten the case file number from the file that Tony had left open and unattended on his desk the day he had run off to chase that lead. Michelle Nead, age fifteen, had disappeared on her way home from the homecoming dance her sophomore year seemingly without a trace. Volunteers and police officers had canvassed the area, handed out flyers and interviewed her friends, classmates (by McGee's count it looked like they had interviewed the entire student body of Bodine William W High School) multiple persons of interest for nearly two months before all the leads went cold. No one had ever been charged in connection with her disappearance and as far as McGee could tell from Tony's case notes and the file in the Philadelphia PD database there few viable to zero suspects. According to the notes added to the end of the digitized copy of her case file Michelle Nead's parents still called annually for updates, McGee presumed that even a decade later they still hadn't given up hope that she would be found alive. Ripping his eyes away from the picture of a smiling fifteen-year-old Michelle, McGee opened up a version of the program they had found on Lieutenant Anne Sullivan's computer, if he was going to help Tony he needed a more current picture of Michelle Nead.