A/N: I do not own NCIS and only borrow their charactors for fun. Setting: This story is set in Season 5, between
A/N: I do not own NCIS and only borrow their charactors for fun.
Setting: This story is set in Season 5, betweenAbout Face and Judgement Day
What a hell of a week it had been! Thankfully, it was Thursday, already and that left just one day to get thru before the weekend was free time. Maybe tomorrow would be a day with no new case; that would certainly be a first for this week. The entire team was exhausted, overworked and stretched like tight rubber bands ready to snap. Maybe they'd be really lucky and be left alone to enjoy their weekend, too; since they weren't "on call" for this one.
Tony and Ziva had already flown the coop, some 30 minutes ago; both of them anxious to enjoy every second of breathing room being off duty granted them. Abby, Ducky and even Palmer had just left for their own precious time away from work; and much needed sleep. Gibbs was up with the Director; which left Tim alone in the squad room; and expelling a big sigh of relief. He felt too tired to go anywhere at the moment. For some reason; a reason he couldn't put his finger on; he had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. Since this was a rare occasion for him; when it did happen; Tim paid attention to it; and surprisingly enough; Gibbs did, too. Both Tim and Gibbs took Tim's gut feelings as seriously as the entire team looked towards Gibbs' own gut feelings. The only difference now was; they had no open case; and all of Tim's previous experiences with this bad gut feeling had been about an open case they were in the middle of. What the hell was going on? What should he do?
Restless and anxious; Tim walked over to the window at the bottom of the stairs to MTAC; and waited for Gibbs; he'd feel better once he did like he usually did when this happened; let Gibbs in on it. Leaning against the window for support; Tim focused on the calm; soothing waters of the Harbor; needing to calm down and keep control of his nerves; it wouldn't do for him to have a panic attack; especially, since; at the moment; he was alone. All he could manage to do is calm his breathing; he could not manage to calm his racing thoughts; already knee deep in fear and "what-if's". The only thing he could do; is hang in there until Gibbs came back down stairs. Silently, he waited and prayed; prayed that his gut was just playin tricks on him.
Judging by the look in Tim McGee's eyes; that young man wasn't going anywhere anytime soon; something was eatin at him and he needed to talk. Gibbs planned on talking with him when he got back down stairs. Whatever it was had his agent nervous and actually looking a little freaked out. Gibbs had gone to Jenny on a mission to get the Director to cut his team a break. Literally. As of this moment, Team Gibbs was "on-call" for tomorrow, and off for the weekend. Thankfully, Jenyy had been fairly open to the idea; since a fully rested agent is a top-notch agent. Gibbs felt wiped out and well beyond ready to go home and get some shut-eye. Jen had even done him one better; and made sure Cynthia did the notifying of his team; for Gibbs. The only person he needed to notify was still here; or had been when he headed up here not 20 minutes ago.
Sure enough; as Gibbs came down the last set of stairs; his eyes landed on Tim; leaning against the window at the bottom of the stairs; the young man's body was rigid and looking pretty damn near spring-loaded; ready to snap. Without waiting until he'd scared him to death; Gibbs deliberately and loudly snapped his fingers; bringing Tim's attention back from where ever it was at the moment. As Tim turned around at Gibbs' snapping fingers and looked at him; Gibbs couldn't help but see the fear that filled the young man's eyes.
"What is it? Talk to me." Gibbs quietly directed as he came off the last step and walked up to him.
"I got a really bad feeling, Boss! And it doesn't make any sense. I mean, this usually only happens when we have an open case, right? But, this really doesn't feel right. It's like my gut's telling me not to leave here tonight!" Tim's voice was rising in volume and intensity as the fear began to suck him in.
"McGee! Look, I realize you're basing what you're telling me on your own experience in following your gut; but if you let yourself get all worked up about it like this; then you take away your ability to think straight about it; about anything." Gibbs patiently reminded his agent.
"So, stop; take some deep breaths; recall a good memory. Hold on to that memory for at least 2 minutes before you let go of it. When you've calmed down; I want you to look back at me, all right?" Gibbs knew he had to get this under control."
He hoped this would work on Tim the way it did for the rest of his team. Tim's stubborn streak often got in the young man's own way; but, apparently; tonight's case was gonna be one of cooperation. Gibbs smiled at Tim as the young man finally and calmly returned his focus to his boss; having calmed himself down; by following Gibbs' orders.
"Thank you, Boss!" The strength of Tim McGee's genuine appreciation gave testimony to the depth of his fear; the feeling of his had set up in his mind.
"McGee; what is your gut is telling you to do?" Gibbs asked in all seriousness. He was always willing to encourage this young man to believe in himself; God knew; the kid believed precious little in himself as it was. Hell, Gibbs believed in him more than Tim believed in himself.
"I don't think I should leave here tonight; at least not alone; anyway." McGee admitted.
"Leave, here, as in the building; or here; as in the navy yard; or what, McGee?"
"I dunno, Boss; I can't put my finger on it." Tim's fear was climbing it's way back to the surface; visible, even to Gibbs.
"McGee! Listen to me, you hearin me? Don't do this! Just tell me what you want to do; what you would feel comfortable; safe doing right now and let's just go from there, all right?" Gibbs firmly directed.
"Boss, as long as I get home safe; I'll be fine. Tim vowed; his voice still quivering with fear.
"McGee, there is no shame in not feeling safe. If you need the security of not going anywhere alone until you feel safe; all you have to do is say so!" Gibbs quietly admonished him.
"Thanks, Boss; I would feel safer not being alone tonight; I just can't shake that feeling."
"Okay, then; grab your gear and let's head out; you're crashing at my place tonight." Gibbs directed.
All the way down to the parking garage; Tim's gut was clenched in fear; being that he wasn't alone; Tim didn't understand this; which, in turn; frightened him even more. Once out of the safety of the elevator; while walking thru the parking garage; Tim's gut twisted and churned with so much sudden overwhelming fear; it doubled him over in genuine pain; the fear almost radiating off him; so strong it was almost palpable.
Someone's out there, watching us; watching me!
"BOSS!"Tim's pain filled cry ripped from his lungs
"MCGEE!"Gibbs' fear filled cry almost drowned out Tim's voice. Seeing him double over in pain had scared Gibbs; coupled with the magnifying fear evident in Tim's eyes. Gibbs quickly moved to support Tim before the man fell over.
"Relax; let's just get in the car, all right?" Gibbs attempted to calm Tim down.
"Boss, some one's out there! Can't you tell? Don't you feel them watchin us?" Tim's horrified whispers sent shivers up Gibbs' spine.
Quickly Gibbs hurried him into the car; locking him in; before running to the driver's side; and quickly unlocking it and throwing himself down into the driver's seat and locking the door after himself. Quickly he started the car and threw her into gear; peeling rubber as they left the garage behind as quickly as humanly possible. Gibbs didn't like the way his own gut was churning, now. He'd felt it, too. They hadn't been alone in there; that much was for certain. Now he was nervous. It wasn't like him to run from trouble; but he had Tim to think about and right now; the young man was in no condition to confront any foe.
As quickly as possible, Gibbs pulled up at the main gate on the Navy Yard and filled the MP's and Night Watch in on what was going on and made them promise to secure the area in question and be on the sharpest lookout possible. Leaving the Navy Yard; Gibbs; for all intents and purposes; drove like he had no idea in hell where he was going. Hell, he even pulled into the local police precinct! That would rattle any prospective dirt bag! Parking near the front entrance to the precinct; Gibbs took the time to look McGee over. His agent was much calmer now; but still frightened enough that he still struggled to breath normally.
Gibbs too out his badge and id # and calmly but firmly directed Tim to do the same.
"It's okay, Tim; Look we're safe. We're in police custody, for cryin out loud! If this doesn't make you feel safe; I don't know what else to do for you" Gibbs half-joked; hoping the attempt at humor would lessen the boy's fear; or at least penetrate it; enough to begin to calm him down.
"Boss, you telling me you didn't feel somebody watchin us, back there? You think I'm imagining this; doin this just for kicks?" Tim had indeed reached thru his fear; enough to pull out his anger and hurl it at the one person trying desperately to help him thru this.
"Hey! Damn it, McGee! It was a joke! I'm not gonna dignify any of it with any further discussion on it!" Gibbs was doing his level best to hold onto his own anger; knowing it would not help the situation.
A long, uncomfortable silence filled the air.
Gibbs blew out a sigh. "Look, Tim; there's no doubt in my mind that you are genuinely scared. And yes, I did sense someone out there; back in the garage. I made sure to get the MP's and Base Security on it, didn't I?"
A knock on Gibbs' car window startled them both into silence. Gibbs calmed down when he saw that it was a cop standing there. Rolling down his window; Gibbs presented his badge and explained their need for assistance. The police were startled at the request; but happy nonetheless to give two NCIS Special Agents a quiet escort home.
Once safely ensconced in Gibbs' guest bedroom; Tim took some time to decompress and genuinely relax; letting his fear and stretched nerves unwind. Gibbs had promised that all doors and windows were locked up tight. This was unusual for Gibbs; but he didn't bat an eye; as he had silently gone about the house taking care of it; before Tim had even asked him to. Finally, relaxed enough to come out of the bedroom; Tim opted for a relaxing shower. After his shower; deciding he was more than ready to get some sleep; Tim hunted thru the house for Gibbs first; wanting to really thank the man for all he'd done to make Tim feel safe tonight. Tim knew that some of what Gibbs had done had in all probability; left his boss feeling like an idiot; but he'd done it anyway; knowing it made Tim feel safer. For that; Tim would be eternally grateful. The niggling feeling was still there; his stomach still knotted up with it; but at least for now; Tim was safe. Tomorrow would have to take care of itself.
Gibbs heard Tim's footsteps on his stairs as the young man made his way down to the kitchen. The older man was sitting at the table; enjoying his fresh cup of coffee; as much as his raddled brain currently stuck in overdrive would let him. He offered McGee a small smile of encouragement as the younger man sat down opposite him at the kitchen table.
"Yeah, lots; thanks to you. Thank you and before you say anything; I mean it. Really. Thank you. You could have just laughed at everything I told you tonight; told me to shrug it off and sent me home; but you didn't. Thank you."
"Why would I have done that?" Gibbs demanded to know.
"Sorry, I forgot that's Tony's M.O.; not yours. But seriously; Boss; I mean it. Thank you.!"
"Tim, thank you. If you hadn't been willing to tell me what was bugging you; risk what you feared I was gonna do or not do about it; who knows; maybe your gut would have been right and something bad was waiting to happen. I…"
"Still is." Tim whispered; interrupting Gibbs.
"You're serious? Your gut's still clenching up on you about this?" Gibbs asked; concern etched in his features.
"Yeah, Boss." Tim quietly admitted. The fear lurking in his eyes gave testament to what he was saying.
"All right, then; this is what we need to do. Gets some sleep now; in the morning we'll go get Jethro and whatever clothes you want here for a week; and you'll stay here until we figure this out; and until you feel safe again." Gibbs directed.
"I know I keep saying this; but I can't seem to say it enough, tonight. Thank you." Tim quietly expressed his gratitude. "I'm beat. I need to try to sleep, Boss." Tim silently went upstairs to the guest room and without shutting the door; somehow his nerves couldn't handle being shut away right now; he laid out on the bed and tried to settle his mind down and let sleep claim him.
It suddenly dawned on Gibbs that the very fact that Tim hadn't argued with him about anything; none of Gibbs directions; none of the plans Gibbs had given out like orders; nothing; spoke volumes of where his mind was currently at; obviously damn near suffocating in fear. Tim's gut feeling had never brought this much intensity of fear to him before. Usually, it was a simple case of; "we got the wrong guy." Or "we shouldn't go in this place; it doesn't feel right." But this? This was deep; it was drastic; it was dead serious; and the kicker was; it wasn't even specific!
Gibbs shook his head to try to clear his jumbled thoughts. Going upstairs; Gibbs noted the open door to the guest bedroom; another glaring reminder of how much fear his agent was still feeling; as he poked his head in the room to check on him. Tim wasn't sleeping; but then again; it was obvious, he was still too spooked to even relax; much less sleep. His body was all tense and his face was pinched with the emotions he couldn't calm.
"Hey." Gibbs said quietly, from the doorway. "Can't sleep?"
"I'm afraid to close my eyes, Boss." Tim admitted; his eyes deliberately not going in Gibbs' direction.
Gibbs decided that enough was enough. It was time to call in the big guns! He whipped out his cell phone and hit the speaker button and the speed dial # he needed. While he waited for the call to be picked up; he covered Tim with the blanket and turned out the overhead light; leaving the soft glow of the large nightlight across the room to illuminate the room.
"Jethro! You calling me this late can only mean something is wrong with either you or one of your team members. Please tell me no one is seriously hurt, Jethro."
"Sorry, to disturb you so late, Ducky; But I need a favor."
"It must be important for you to be calling me so late to ask for it; so, if I can oblige you; you have only to ask it."
"Need a bedtime story, Duck. I'll explain the who and why later;"
"Certainly, Jethro; Did I ever tell you about the time….."
Gibbs silently put the phone down where Tim could plainly hear Ducky's tale; but couldn't reach the phone. Taking a second to smile at his agent; he went to double check all doors and windows and turn everything off for the night.
A scant 10 minutes later found Tim McGee safely and peacefully slumbering amidst Ducky's harrowing tale of Adventure in Paris; still going strong.
"Thanks Duck." Gibbs interrupted; as he took the phone back out into the hallway and headed toward his own bedroom. "I appreciate your help.."
"Jethro, might I ask what that was all about? What on earth could possibly have happened to drive you to request my services in that startling capacity?"
Yeah, Duck; but it's late; wouldn't you rather hear about it tomorrow?" Gibbs asked with a laugh.
"Jethro, I would much rather hear of it now; than have to wait until tomorrow, if you wouldn't mind."
"Well, yeah, okay. Well…"
As Gibbs filled Ducky in on the events of the evening he and McGee had just had; Tim McGee's dreams were taking shape; dark and extremely painful; coming up from the depths of no where land; where horrid creatures and even worse deeds came together to mess with people's heads while they slept.
Dark shadows wielding painful weapons came at him from every side of the octagon shaped room he found himself chained up in the middle of. The only light illuminating the room came from a flickering candle in each corner of the room. The chain around his wrists extended from a gymnastic ring welded to the ceiling over his head. His bare feet barely touched the ground. He felt cold; extremely cold; as he had been stripped of all his clothing. Tim's stomach knotted painfully at the sight of those weapons coming at him; knives; batons; whips; tazers; each masked and robed shadow carried a weapon in each hand. Tim prayed for a quick death. What he got instead was a blindfold coming at him outta nowhere; from an additional shadowed figure he hadn't seen before. Tim could only whimper in light of the pending pain he knew was about to be inflicted on him. What's more; he had no idea where he was; or how the hell he'd gotten there; and he knew it was obvious; there was no way out!
His tormentors attacked; one after another; all deliberate; maniacal; repetitive and relentless. The blows and the burns and the electrical shocks ravaged his body in his sleep; he screamed thru the pain as his body writhed in surreal excruciating agony.
Gibbs froze in both his footsteps and his conversation with Ducky.
"Good Heavens, Jethro!" Ducky fearfully exclaimed; most upset as he could clearly hear the young man's painful screams even over the telephone.
"Gotta go, Duck!" Gibbs snapped the phone shut and flew to the guest bedroom; snapping on the overhead light as he came into the room. Sitting down on the bed; careful not to startle or touch Tim; Gibbs did the only tried and tested; proven thing to get the young man's attention; especially when he was panic stricken. "McGEE!! "McGEE, YOU GET BACK HERE! YOU"RE LATE! GET BACK HERE!"
Tim could hear Gibbs barking at him; thru the agony and the pain; Gibbs' voice called him up out of the void; he'd fallen into; as he obeyed that voice out of long standing habit. The darkness began to fade and the shadows and their weapons faded with the darkness; leaving nothing behind but the memory of the intense pain they had caused; and the stark raving terror that they would be back!
Tim opened his eyes; blinking against the bright overhead light. Gibbs quickly changed the lighting to only the lamp. After a few very silent moments, Tim's eyes adjusted to the new light level and as he lay there still trembling from the horrible nightmare; he struggled to regain the calm he'd felt before he'd dropped off to sleep. Gibbs silently watched with grave concern. This was so far beyond what was normal for this boy that Gibbs knew he was genuinely in over his head
Tim worked up the courage to speak exactly what was on his mind; as he found the strength to look Gibbs in the eye; "What's happening to me? Am I going insane?", his quivering voice edging up toward hysteria. Gibbs quickly attempted to head that conversation off at the pass.
"NO! You are NOT going crazy, okay? Come on, let's go get something to eat and let your nerves calm down. You think you can tell me about this nightmare you were stuck in?" Gibbs tone had settled down; not wanting to keep the young man upset.
Tim shuddered and nodded as he got up and followed Gibbs downstairs to the kitchen. As Gibbs went about, getting out milk and cookies; Tim huddled in on himself at the kitchen table. Taking pity on the young man; Gibbs directed him to stretch out on the couch in the living room. As Tim was settling down; a knock came at the door, instantly; Tim's eyes filled with panic and his heart started racing.
"Relax!" Gibbs quietly commanded; not missing any of his agent's instant rise of panic. He waited until Tim visibly relaxed, back down under the blanket; before he went to the door. Opening the door; Gibbs was not surprised to find Ducky; medical bag and all; anxious to get to Tim.
"Hey, Duck; he's in on the couch. Listen, he thinks he's literally going crazy; you wanna help out with that one?" Gibbs quietly volunteered; internally grateful as hell that Ducky had had the presence of mind to not let that phone call be the end all for him
"Timothy, my boy; I heard you were having a very bad night of it! Can you sit up and let me check you over; your heart rate and so forth; to make sure everything is right as rain. All right then, let's have a finger for a stick test, shall we? We want to rule out any thing that may be as our dear Abby calls it, "Hinky."
"Now, why don't you tell me all about this wicked nightmare your subconscious has drudged up from somewhere. Maybe we can sort it out together, hmm?"
Gibbs silently took a back seat, in the arm chair in the corner of the room, as Ducky led Tim thru the minefield of his horrible nightmare; down every painful detail he could remember and back out to the light of day; the nightmare having been walked thru and lived thru Fifteen long and horror filled story-telling minutes later; Tim was wiped out. He went back to bed; he hoped that this time; it would be a pleasant or at least peaceful. A short, 10 minutes later; and Tim McGee was sleeping once more. They could only hope that this time, it would be peaceful for him.