The remainder of the week, passed with remarkable similarity to events of the day before Christmas. The guys would help Tim take care of his personal business and the ladies would then take over getting him fed and supplied with his pain meds and quietly encouraged to go back to sleep. Even though he was capable of getting around under his own steam, for precautionary measures, Ducky and Gibbs insisted on limiting him on it for at least the first half of the week.
In between his naps, Tim would patiently listen as the team would assemble together around him and relate stories from their time together. Even though the stories came straight out of their memories, they all made painstaking effort to keep anything that would remotely embarrass or leave him feeling unwanted or uncared about, out of their versions.
After dinner, the gang would alternate card playing, chess, checkers and movies. All of the choices were good for Tim's recovery, as was the time the team spent together just having fun and bonding all over again. By the time their last planned night had arrived, Tim was much more comfortable around all of them, even used to any of them being the one watching over him as he slept. Gibbs had noticed this with great relief. He'd known that Tim had been much more upset with himself about it at the beginning of the week than he'd let on. Now, thankfully, it was one burden off the young man's shoulders.
Gibbs noticed Mike had steadfastly begun removing himself from the majority of interactions with Tim, more as the days went on. He understood what Mike was doing; after all, the young man's team would be with him day in and day out. They were the ones who needed to rebuild his trust and sense of security in their presence. Mike saw no reason to be the third wheel in the situation.
It had become an unspoken rule that Tim not be allowed to wake up alone, for fear his mind would immediately have him reliving that horrible moment when he had become conscious out on that hill, alone, frightened out of his mind, with no memory and in horrible pain.
The younger team members didn't know the details of what had happened out there and for now, at least, they didn't need to. They knew enough to be more than happy to make sure Tim was never alone. Mike helped out with that, silently and frequently. It was the one measure of help he allowed himself to give, leaving everything else to the rest of the team. He also helped keep track of who Tim talked to about what he'd been through. Although the resulting answer was both sad and possible cause for concern. The young man wasn't talking to anyone about what he'd been through. And that could be taken several different ways.
As the team settled down for their last night in Mexico, Ducky approached Gibbs in concern.
"Jethro, you are aware that Timothy has not spoken to anyone about his ordeal before he stumbled across Mike?" the M.E.'s question came from out of the blue. They hadn't talked about Tim's choice to talk or not talk, yet.
"Duck, he talks to me just fine. When he needs to." Gibbs told him pointedly.
"Ah! Yes. Well, that's good, Jethro. I see you are in control of the situation already." Ducky's worry evaporated as he patted Gibbs on the arm and took himself off to bed; leaving Gibbs alone with his thoughts and worries.
As morning broke, the team busily packed their things and tidied up and packed up the tent and everything in it. As the appointed hour for departure arrived, the team said their goodbyes to Mike with open gratitude and appreciation from all of them. When Tim approached the man, he hugged him and thanked him quietly for helping save his life and calling his team to come get him.
"Just don't get yourself kidnapped again, kid and we'll be even." Mike said without thinking about it. It was nothing different than he would have said to anyone else, but, if the look on Gibbs' face was anything to go by, it should have been. Since no one else caught it and it seemed to go right over Tim's head, Gibbs let it go with a sharp look in Tim's direction, looking for delayed reaction. Apparently, for some reason, the young man hadn't been listening, which this time, was a godsend. As Gibbs breathed a sigh of relief, he shook Mike's hand and thanked him for keeping Tim safe and getting the team down here to get him and bring him back home.
As the team boarded the plane a short time later, Gibbs watched for Tim's reaction to flying. He seemed to be fine. He would need to be watched during the trip. It wasn't long, however, before the inactivity of the flight lulled the young man to sleep. As the rest of the team settled in for their own naps, Gibbs found himself stopping for a moment to reflect, they were going home.
Tim McGee was coming home.