NCIS and its characters do not belong to me, they belong to CBS and Don Bellisario, I'm just borrowing them for the time being.

So this is the author formally known as serendipitysurprise, I now have a new name, which is only slightly different from my old name, go figure. So now we've started season seven stories, hope you guys enjoy!

Spoilers: 7x01 'Truth or Consequences'


May

"He's not Tony, at least he's not acting like Tony," Abby said quietly.

"I know," replied Jimmy with a heavy sigh.

"Think we should talk to him together?" she asked. "Oh come on, Jimmy, you knew that was coming."

"Yeah, I did, how about we tag team?"

"Works for me, who should go first?"

"We're meeting after work to watch a game, I'll talk to him then, you can talk to him tomorrow at work."

"Deal," Abby, replied smiling and with a flourish, she presented Jimmy with the results on the fiber analysis that he had given her earlier that day.

The following day Jimmy knocked on Abby's office door during the lunch hour and was pleased to find her alone.

"Hey, Abby."

"Hi, Jimmy," she replied brightly before turning back to her computer and with a few clicks of her mouse sent her findings to the email inbox of Agent Balboa. "So how did last night go?"

"To quote Tony, 'I am fine so you two can stop worrying now'."

Abby sorted. "He is so not fine."

--

August

"Come on, Tony, open the damn door," he muttered under his breath as he knocked on the door for a third time but when he didn't answer Jimmy used his key to get in.

The sound that greeted him upon entry was the sound of glass breaking and Jimmy quickly shut the door and hurried to the kitchen. He found Tony staring at the far wall of his kitchen surrounded by the remnants of what had to be at least four glasses with a half empty bottle of what looked like scotch on the counter. Tony gave no indication that he had heard Jimmy enter his home, instead reached into his cupboard, and pulled out another glass that he prepared to throw but Jimmy had quickly crossed the threshold and taken the glass from his grip. After making sure that the remain glasses were safe from Tony's misguided wrath he turned around to take a good look at his friend and the state that he's in makes Jimmy's stomach plummet. Jimmy was reminded of how Tony was right after Director Shepard died and he knew instinctively that Tony was blaming himself for Ziva's death too.

"It isn't your fault," he tells him quietly after leading him to his couch. It isn't much and Jimmy's sure that Tony doesn't believe him but it's the only thing there is to say.

--

"I want Tony back," Abby pouted.

"I do too, Abby, but what do you suggest we do? Ziva's dead and there's no way to bring her back," he replied sadly. Ever since news of her death Tony had become extremely un-Tony like, gone were the jokes, witty quips, pranks, and movie references and in their place they were left with a serious, dark, and bitter Tony. Tony was still good at his job but the serious Tony that had taken up residence since news of Ziva's death no longer tried to lighten the mood, preferring to do the job and then go god knows where, Jimmy hasn't worked up the courage to ask yet, and an already emotionally trying job just became even more trying.

"I don't know, Jimmy," she replied helplessly, "but there has to be something."

--

"When do you leave?" asked Jimmy as he watched Tony pack up his stuff and proceed to shut down his computer close his monitors.

"Our flight leaves in forty-five minutes," Tony replied as he threw a couple things from his drawers into the duffle bag that he kept in the trunk of his car for just such occasions.

"What are you going to do in Somalia?" asked Jimmy for the third time.

Tony's hands stilled and he glanced over at his worried friend. "Jimmy, you know I can't tell you that."

"Just don't do anything stupid," Jimmy pleaded.

Tony just grinned before hefting his duffle bag over his shoulder. "McGee, it's time to roll."

Abby gave McGee a quick kiss on his cheek and one last hug before moving to Tony and doing the same. "Stay safe you two," she said joining Jimmy at Tony's desk.

"Bye, Abby, Jimmy," two men said before the elevator doors closed.

"They're going to do something stupid and dangerous, aren't they?" Jimmy asked as soon as the elevator doors closed.

Abby just hugged him in reply.

--

It was now day two since Agent Gibbs' team had left for an out of country fact finding mission and there had been no word so when resident forensic specialist, Abigail Scuito, chief medical examiner, Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard, and medical examiner assistant, Jimmy Palmer, appeared in Agent Gibbs' area of the squad room no one said anything. It was a well-known fact that even though those three were not official members of Agent Gibbs' team, they were part of his team. In truth, the whole building was on edge though no one, except Director Vance, was privy to what exactly the three NCIS agents were doing, it was always nerve wracking when agents were on dangerous missions and that tension could be felt in every nook and cranny of the building. Jimmy glanced at his watch and sighed, it was almost 1600 and they still have not heard anything. He had almost resigned himself to having to go home without any news for a second night in a row when the elevator doors opened to reveal the three men and Ziva, the team once again whole. Suddenly the whole floor erupted in applause and Abby rushed forward to hug her friend that she had given up for dead. He watched as Tony played off Ducky's concern and his own concern deepened as he caught the look on Tony's face as he silently watched first Abby and then Ducky fuss over Ziva. Perhaps feeling the intensity of Jimmy's gaze, he looked in his direction and held the medical student's gaze for a moment before turning back to the scene by the elevator.

After everyone present, Director Vance included, had given their congratulations the team was allowed to go home and a rest. Director Vance informed Ziva that he had gotten a room at the Navy Lodge for her and Ducky offered to drive her there. Jimmy had stopped at his apartment long enough to grab a six pack of beer before driving to Tony's home. This time when Jimmy knocked on the door Tony answered.

"You okay?" asked Jimmy once they had gotten settled in Tony's living room.

Tony shrugged as he stared into the depths of his beer bottle. With Tony, preoccupied Jimmy did not feel the need to hide the fact that he was trying to gauge how bad any visible injuries were. Tony was in some clean clothes and by the looks of it had taken a shower once he had gotten home so the scrapes and cuts looked better than they had back at the office but without the dirt the bruises stood out more. The ringing of the doorbell broke the silence and Jimmy wordless got up to answer it. When he opened the door, he was only slightly surprised to find McGee standing there, the last time he had seen him Abby had been offering him a ride home but McGee declined stating that his car was still parked in the garage. He too looked much better after a shower and some clean clothes.

"Come in," Jimmy said ushering McGee into the living room where Tony was still silently staring into the depths of his beer bottle. Once McGee was settled in the living room, Jimmy briefly disappeared and returned with a beer bottle for the other agent. He then quickly finished his own beer and told the two men that he was going to go home. Before he had opened the front door McGee's voice stopped him.

"You don't have to go."

Jimmy turned around and smiled at him. "Tonight I do, it's okay, McGee, there's stuff that he needs to talk about and right now you'd be the more understanding one. Good night, McGee."

"Good night, Jimmy."