a/n - This is it, the last chapter. I hope you've enjoyed the journey. I hope it has made you laugh, but more importantly, I hope it has made you think. Lots more stories to come, so you'll be hearing from me again soon. Thank you for all the wonderful reviews, they truly feed me as a writer.
Tim could feel the press of grief as his friends moved closer to comfort him, but he had to focus, had to fulfill the one thing his mother had asked of him. Straightening, he stepped back as he turned to face them. "The children are two levels below us. My mother was protecting them by fighting Hamilton, but it's up to us now. He's down there, waiting for us."
"What children?" Watching McGee lose his mother only moments after finding her was harder than Callen was willing to admit. It was easier to let loose with his anger. "What else haven't you told us?"
Hetty recognized the source of his anger and immediately forgave him. "Hamilton didn't kill the children, he kidnapped them. We discovered it right before the mission."
"Yes, Kensi, his son may or may not be alive. Until we know, we did not want to get his hopes up."
"There's no choice now." The fragments of knowledge and memories he had received when his mother's mind touched his were becoming clearer. "Her presence in their minds was a constant. Now that it's gone…"
Psycwave had been reaching out with her mind ever since she'd entered the hidden complex. Her powers of telepathy were a fraction of what Starspirit's had been, but it was enough to tell her of the trouble. "Hamilton's lost control, he's down there to kill the ones he can't control."
"No more." McGee looked around at the humans and Supers. "It ends now. Call Hanna, we need all the Supers here now to help the children." With a resigned look at Gibbs, McGee phased and dropped down through the floor to challenge Hamilton before anybody could react. Hetty was on the radio to Sam as they all bolted out of the room to find the stairs down to the lower levels.
When Hamilton gathered his remaining guards and sent them out into the corridors, he didn't take into account the one Super whose powers were still a mystery to him. He sure didn't plan on him dropping in through the ceiling.
Determination gave McGee a grace he rarely felt as he landed across the room from Hamilton. He flexed his knees and dropped down into a crouch, not knowing what to expect from the man who had taken so much away from so many.
The children scattered, the older ones protecting the younger ones as Hamilton smirked at their new defender. "I don't believe we're been formally introduced. You may call me Master."
"I don't think so, Hamilton. I'm nobody's slave. I'm Shadowhawk, a protector of the innocent, as were my parents before me." From the hidden corners of the room he could feel the children watching him as they witnessed a true use of powers for the first time.
"Innocent, there's no such thing." Hamilton started circling around Tim, convinced he still had the upper hand.
Tim's voice was honest and sincere as he spoke to the children as much as he was speaking to Hamilton. "This room is full of innocent children. All these children that you stole from parents who loved them and wanted them, and for what? So you could try to corrupt them to use their abilities for your benefit? To create a private army of Supers to do your dirty work?"
"What are you offering them instead? A chance to do what? To save someone who doesn't deserve to be saved? To risk their lives to protect some town that isn't grateful enough to pay you?" Hamilton punctuated his last question with a wave of his hand that tossed a heavy bench at McGee.
Tim phased and allowed the metal and wooden object to pass through him. "It's not about the money or the accolades. It's about going to bed at night knowing you did everything in your power to make this world a better place. It's about doing the right thing." He shifted so his knives were in easy reach, but didn't pull one out yet.
"Is it true, do we have family that want us? We weren't abandoned here because we're different?" The speaker was a teenager with pale blonde hair and a questioning look on his face. "Somebody out there wants us?"
"Yeah, they do." Tim mentally ran through the files he had read repeatedly on the flight west. "You're almost sixteen, right?" Seeing the surprised look on the young man's face, Tim kept going. "You look just like your dad, I've seen a picture of him. You're named for him too, just like I'm named for my father." Tim waited for what he was sure would follow.
"What's my real name? Who am I?"
"Your name is Michael Jacobs Hall but your parents have always called you MJ. They've never stopped loving you and they've never stopped missing you."
There was a shift in the room as the older children realized Hamilton had been lying to them and the younger ones could sense it. Hamilton could see his years of planning being crushed under the truth and stepped up his attack on McGee. Every object heavy enough to do damage was being tossed at the young Superhero and Tim was rapidly running out of strength as he phased repeatedly.
Sounds of fighting could be heard from the hallways as the rescue teams drew closer. Furious at losing, Hamilton ramped up his attack.
Twice Tim remained in his natural state and let something hit him rather than let it pass through him and hit a child hiding behind him. The first hit left a large gash on his arm and the second hit left him limping heavily.
Michael watched and made his decision. He would be a Superhero like the man willing to die to rescue them. He flung out his hand and threw a bolt of electricity at Hamilton.
Without the proper training, the move was telegraphed clearly as Michael first started to act. Hamilton was able to use his own abilities to deflect the charge away from himself and towards two toddlers cowering in the corner. Tim launched himself into the path of the voltage, dropping the instant it hit him.
"No!" A young woman prepared to enter the fight. Running across the room, she picked up speed and jumped into the air. She couldn't gain a lot of altitude in the room, but it was enough as she manipulated gravity and sent Hamilton flying against the far wall.
It was a free-for-all as the children descended on Hamilton. Tim struggled to his feet, afraid the children would kill their captor and how that would affect them. He needn't have worried; they backed off a few minutes later. Hamilton was battered and bloodied and apparently one of the kids had the power of matter manipulation because he was tightly trussed up in neon purple ropes. There were a lot of things that McGee wasn't terribly sure about, but he was pretty sure purple wasn't a normal rope color on the island.
The children spun around as the door finally burst open. "Easy, easy, guys, they're my friends." Tim's gentle reassurances calmed the kids as Gibbs and Vance came in first followed by the rest of the teams and a large group of Supers.
Vance looked around until he spotted Hamilton, looking suspiciously like a well wrapped Thanksgiving turkey. "Great job, Shadowhawk."
Tim grinned at the kids as they edged closer to him. "Thank you sir, but I had help." Knowing Hanna was in the crowd that had just arrived, Tim looked around for the little boy he had seen earlier. Of the twenty-two children Hamilton had taken over the years, only three were of African-American decent. The fourteen year old girl was smiling and laughing nervously with a group of other teenage girls while the nine year old was studying the new arrivals. It was the five year old that McGee was interested in. Little Jackson Hanna was part of a group of younger children that had been gathered up by his rescuer. She smiled and blushed at him as he picked the boy up.
He settled the little boy on his hip as he limped across the room. "Hey, Sam, come here."
Hanna had walked in to see the group of children and a small ember of hope started burning in his chest. When he heard McGee call out his name and walk towards him with a little boy, he stopped breathing. He didn't remember moving, but McGee wasn't moving enough for them to have met up so quick.
The pain of the day, both physical and emotional, were lessened as Tim was able to make an introduction he never thought he'd be able to make. "Sam, I'd like you to meet your son, Jackson." He handed the little boy to Hanna, watching as strong arms engulfed the child.
Anyone who said real men don't cry had never witnessed a reunion like this as Sam clutched his son tightly against his chest. "Daddy thought he'd never see you again." The members of the LA team were each introduced to the newest member of the family.
Callen tried to stay casual, but there was no mistaking the glistening of moisture in his eyes as he held a fist up to the boy. "Hey, buddy, can you pound it?" When all he got was a blank look he snagged Dominic for a demonstration. The two men thumped their fists together and then acted out an explosion. "Can you do that, Jackson?" Callen held up his fist for the little guy to hit and immediately discovered what Jackson's power was as the tap sent him flying across the room.
Laughing and groaning, Callen climbed to his feet. "Looks like some Superstrength there, Sam.
Over the next three days a lot of reunions occurred on the small island as the government flew in the parents and family members, anxious to keep everyone away from the media while things were sorted out. Fornell's raid on Hamilton's lab and files gave the evidence needed to prove his lengthy plans and his responsibility for the uprising that had destroyed the public's confidence in Superheroes.
The fourth day brought Tom Morrow to the island with a media crew in tow. Before his press conference, Morrow tracked down Vance, Gibbs and McGee. "Gentlemen, I wanted to speak to you before I talk on camera. I don't think I have to tell you that the discovery of what Hamilton was up to has the Department of Superheroes in an uproar. It's going to take some time for the politicians to sort it all out, but by the end of this session all rights will be restored to the Supers."
It sounded almost too good to be true. "All rights, sir?"
"Yes, Agent McGee, all rights. Under the new laws there will be zero tolerance for any type of discrimination or abuse. You will get back any and all properties that were seized or that you were forced to turn over. Handlers will no longer be required, but we do recommend Supers retain some sort of assistant to help them with the more mundane parts of life. Since I know you'll never willingly show up at a press conference, Gibbs, I'm giving you a print-out of the highlights.
In truth Gibbs really did listen to the majority of what his superiors might have to say, but at the moment he was more interested in the Super resting her head on McGee's shoulder. Elizabeth McAdams, the daughter of a Marine Corps officer, was the first Super Hamilton had latched onto, her birth and supposed 'death' happening only a few years after McGee's arrival. Much to the General's surprise, his daughter was not only alive but now rather infatuated with a certain NCIS agent.
Hetty walked over to nudge Gibbs while he covertly watched Tim and Beth as they walked along the beach. "Well?"
"She's kinda cute."
"She's adorable. So, what do you think?"
"I think," Gibbs paused as he heard Tim laugh, something that did not happen nearly enough. "I think that Mildred is going to have to learn to sail her own boat."