A/N: I've never done a piece of McGee-centric writing before (unless you count "Only Here"), so I decided to take a whack at it. This idea came to me when I was bored in AP Lit (happens a lot). Tag to Truth or Consequences, with a much darker AU ending. You have been warned.

Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS.


He Lay There

Timothy McGee was doing a lot of lying around.

He lay there on the dirt floor in a terrorist camp in North Africa while Tony rambled on and on above him, doing what he did best and baiting Saleem. He pretended he wasn't awake; he pretended he wasn't terrified.

He lay there as Tony instructed him to wait for the signal, and he hoped he had not made a grave mistake in coming on the mission.

He lay there when a hooded figure was pulled into the room and thrust onto a chair.

He lay there when he realized it was Ziva, alive after all. He allowed himself to feel joy for one quick moment, before he set his mind back on the mission.

He lay there as a knife was held to Ziva's throat, as Tony kept calm and continued talking—something about "wild cards"—and this was supposed to be when Gibbs shot a sniper bullet straight into Saleem…but it didn't happen.

He lay there as Tony fell silent—watched as his partner's face became frightened for the first time. Ziva's dark eyes were passive, but for a moment, just a split second, there was something akin to disappointment in them. She'd allowed herself to hope.

He lay there as his own chest constricted in panic. Gibbs was not coming. Something had gone wrong. Their "fearless leader" could not save them.

He lay there as Saleem demanded answers, as Tony stuttered over responses that all ended in 'no,' as Ziva refused to speak at all.

He lay there as the knife slashed across a bruised neck and as blood poured onto the ground not a foot away, and as the body of the young woman slumped in her chair. Tony made a strangled sort of sound in the back of his throat, before the butt of Saleem's gun knocked him out.

He lay there as Saleem approached him; and as everything went black.

--

He lay there as consciousness slowly stole over his chilled body; as he became aware that his wrists were bound just as before, but he was not in the same room. There was no window here—no way to determine whether it was day or night. The room was pitch-black, and he knew, somehow, that he was alone.

He lay there as he waited for something to happen, his heart beating rapidly in his chest and his thoughts turned anywhere but towards his twice-lost ex-partner.

He lay there as a terrible scream pierced his ears, and he froze as he recognized Tony's pain-filled cry, coming from beyond the far wall.

He lay there as the shouts were cut off abruptly, and he shut his eyes and prayed for a miracle.

He lay there when, some time later, a gunshot tore through the air, and then he was the only one left. The sad remnant of the so-called heroic mission to Somalia.

He lay there and waited for his own demise. It had to be coming now.

He lay there as sudden gunfire turned the previously eerie silence into chaotic warfare. All of the angry shouting in unfamiliar languages made him tremble and hope whatever was coming would be over quickly.

He lay there as the door slammed open and light flooded into the room, and Leroy Jethro Gibbs looked down at his last remaining agent. He stared up at the man and hated him. Hated him because he should have been there days, weeks, months ago. To force Ziva onto the aircraft in Israel. To stop Tony's crazy plan. To rescue them all, when he still could have. When he was supposed to be there. When it wasn't too late.

He lay there as Gibbs moved towards him; as the ex-Marine stopped abruptly when a bullet burst through the back of his skull, killing him instantly. His body fell forward and landed inches away, and the younger man choked on the irony; because he hadn't seen Kate's death, but he was sure it had been something like this.

He lay there and allowed himself one glimmer of satisfaction—because if Gibbs had not understood his mistake then, he surely did now—before a twinge of grief and then numbness stole over him again. He no longer felt fear, only hope that it would soon be over.

He lay there as a shadow stepped over him; and he stared up at the barrel of the gun, and smiled.

It ended quickly.