With the big uncertainity removed from his shoulders, Tim was once again able to work on regain his normal way of looking at things. Gone was the gloom and doom attitude and the unwillingness to be around the rest of them. Although he was still greatly distrssed to be packing his parents' home, that emotion was soon detected by Director Vance's wife, Jackie who promptly took Tim aside and let him talk it out. As only a woman could, Jackie understood where the son was coming from as he was forced to say goodbye to his parents' home, whcih was causing him to feel like he was saying goodbye to his parents' without the beneift of actually getting to talk to them or hug them.

As the day wore on and the steady packing continued, Tim found he was able to take Gibbs' advice and put all other worries out of his mind for the time being and concentrate on the task at hand as well as spending time with Sara. By nine that night, the entire house was empty except the blankets they were using to sleep with. Tim had reservedly asked Ducky and Gibbs and even Tony to help him pack up his room. He didn't have the strength to get it done by himself and he didn't want to risk having to deal with Tony's smart-alec quips he was always so full of.

Director Vance and his wife departed around 7. As they were leaving, Tim had pulled Leon aside with the need to talk to him.

"Agent McGee. what can I do for you?"

"Sir, I would like to be given the time off to go through Recertification."

"Agent McGee that's not necessary. Your staus as a Field Agent has not been called into question."

"Please, Director. I need to do this. For myself."

"McGee. just because this woman got one over on you, does not mean you're any less of an agent." Leon promised him with startling insight.

"Thank you, Sir. But, I would appreciate this just the same." Tim persisted.

"All right, Agent McGee. You clear it with Gibbs and I'll support you and sign the paperwork."

"Thank you, Sir."

"You're welcome, It'll be good to have you back, when you're done."

"Thank you. and thank you for your assistance here."

"Not a problem."

While Tim had been talking to Vance, Gibbs had been reminding the team that Tim's apartment was gonna need to be packed up when they got back and Tim would undoubtedly be needing their help with that, too. The team had been quick to assure Gibbs that they would be there with bells on for their teammate.

When Tim came back from talking to Vance, he'd asked Gibbs for a moment of his time. As he'd laid his request out for Gibbs to think about, the boss could only marvel at the younger man's determination to come back an even more prepared agent than he'd been when he'd left. Gibbs couldn't help but be proud of him and grant him his request. Tim had thanked him heartily and returned to the group to relax with a movie on the television that would be put in storage right before they left in the morning.

As the team settled down for their last night of sleep in the house, Tim found himself unable to sleep. Steathily taking himself out to the front porch, he was not surprised to find Gibbs already there. Not wanting to disturb his boss, Tim turned to go back inside.

"Hey." Gibbs stirred from his thoughts and greeted him. causing him to pause in his retreat.

"Hey, Boss. Sorry. wasn't trying to disturb you." Tim apologised quietly.

"You're fine. C'mon sit," Gibbs beckoned to the chair. As Tim took the chair, Gibbs looked him over and noticed he was beginning to look better, no longer looking like his world was coming to an end. "Can't sleep?" he asked him.

"No. Too much on my mind, I guess." Tim admitted.

"Talk to me." Gibbs encouraged.

"Where am I gonna stay, Boss? How does all this affect the way the team looks at me now?" Tim asked both questions that had been plaguing him since the work had been finished and things had settled down.

"Those your only concerns?" Gibbs asked, wanting Tim to get them all out on the table.

"Yeah. I'm sorry. I know you told me I shouldn't worry about any of this until we get back, but..."

"You're a thinker and you need things worked out ahead of time. I get it." Gibbs admitted.

"Yeah. You do." Tim admitted with a smile.

"You've obviously been thinking about this for a while. What've you come up with?" Gibbs pushed him to think through this for himself.

"I can't think of anyone on the team that would be willing to let me stay with them - without complicating that relationship and I already have enough of them to rebuild."

"Are you gonna make me make the decision for you or are you gonna stop overlooking the obvious?" Gibbs asked him dryly.

"Boss?"

"You haven't even considered asking Ducky or myself." Gibbs told him.

"No, I hadn't." Tim admitted.

"I'm not gonna ask why. I'm just gonna cut to the chase. You need to stay with me." the boss reasoned.

"Boss?" Tim was shocked.

"McGee, it's like you already admitted. You and your teammates have relationships to fix. You don't have that problem with me. On top of that, while you're under my roof, Ducky and I can keep a better eye on you and make sure you take care of yourself. And maybe this way, you'll be more inclined to discuss things with me before you make drastic decisions?" Gibbs ended with the question that had started it all.

Tim jus stared at him, too struck speechless to even think.

"You have a reason it won't work?" Gibbs demanded.

"I don't know how long it'll be for?" Tim threw out there as a warning.

"Doesn't matter."

"What about Jethro? He's been at a sitter for the last two days. He'll need to come back with us?

"I've got a backyard. You help me fence it in the rest of the way and he'll be on cloud nine." Gibbs promised.

"Wow. I don't know what to say, Boss." Tim managed to get out.

"Just say yes, McGee. You know it's the only solution that makes sense. I mean there's Ducky's but, I'm not sure he's up to younger company on such a regular basis. He's set in his ways."

"Yes. And thank you!"

"Just don't think of leaving us again, Tim." Gibbs ordered

"Wouldn't dream of it." Tim said with a smile.


the end!