6 months later

"Agent McGee, can you come to my office please?" Director Vance said from the middle of the stairs.

"Keep on with the researches. I want the results as soon as I am back." Tim said addressing his team.

"On it, Tim." The tree agents working for him said in unison.

Tim couldn't stop himself for smiling when he heard his team calling him Tim. It took him quiet a time but he had actually managed to convince them not to call him Sir or even worse boss. He knocked on the door in front of him.

"Come in, Tim." The director said.

"You asked me, sir?" Tim politely asked.

"Yes Tim, have a sit."

"Thank you, sir."

"I call you to inform you about the half term's evaluations."

Tim swallowed hard. "Is there a problem, sir?"

Vance smiled a little before saying."The only problem is that I am proven right and Gibbs is proven wrong."

Tim paled hearing the name. He was constantly avoiding his boss after the talk at the park."What do you mean, sir?"

"Well, your team has the highest percentage of efficiency ever recorded at our agency. You actually manage to have a straight 100% and with some really difficult cases included if I am allowed to add. I am really proud of you, Tim."

"Thank you, sir." Tim was puzzled. He wasn't sure how to respond to the news. This place was Gibbs' for very long and Tim wasn't sure that he wanted it. "You are not gonna make it known, will you?" Tim asked hopefully.

"Of course I will. From now on I am gonna make sure that you take only hard cases as there is no reason to waste your time on the easy ones. That also means that you will be more often on duty call and that you will work more hours from times to times. You know how it is." Vance said.

"Yes, I know how it works. But I want to make surethat my team will have enough free time. They are not robots, they are humans. I want them to have some rest and enjoy some personal time. Whatever the workload, they are gonna have at least one day off every week." Tim said in a tone that made clear that he wouldn't negotiate it.

"Yes, I know how good care you take of your team's needs and I am gonna respect the way you work as it is obviously working." Vance said, meaning every word.

"Thank you very much, sir. It means a lot to me to have your support. However, I have to admit that I don't feel really comfortable with this been spread. I would rather keep a low profile and I think it would be better for my team, too." Tim tried to convince the director.

"I am sorry Tim but I won't let go my only chance to prove Gibbs wrong and myself right. I am sure that your team won't have any problem to deal with the success and I think you should set an example for the rest. You know that you are the youngest not only full-time special agent but also team leader among all the agencies?" Vance said feeling really proud for his young agent.

Tim's phone rang before he had a chance to answer the question. "McGee." He said in a polite but firm way. "Ok, Abby, I'll be there as soon as I can."

Before he could even turn his phone off, he heard the director. "Go, you have a case to solve. I am gonna make the announcement tomorrow morning, at the ceremony of this year's awards. I expect you and your team to be there." Vance said in a tone that made it clear that it was not a suggestion.

"Yes, sir. We'll be there." Tim reluctantly agreed. With that he left the director's office, and after a quick stop at the Caf-Pow machine, he went straight to Abby's lab.

"Sorry for making you wait for me. I was at the director's office. What you have got for me?" Tim said as he entered the lab and handed her the drink.

"It's ok, Tim. I've got both the ballistics and the DNA results." With that Abby went in full mode and in a couple of minutes Tim had a clear picture of what happened at the crime scene. "Thanks, Abs. I have to go. Just sent your report upstairs when you are done." Tim said while calling his team. "Gear up, we've got our man."

Three hour later Tim's team was back in the bullpen, the murderer had already confessed, and the only thing left was the paperwork that should be filled.

"Finish up your reports, so we can call it a day. And I've got a surprise for you tomorrow at the awards. Make sure you are here on time and on your best behavior." Tim sternly reminded his team.

"Got it, Tim." The three agents answered in unison and went back to work.

An hour later Tim was alone in the bullpen wrapping up the paperwork from the case and checking the reports. He wanted everything finished so he could spent the next day at the gym with his team.

"You should take care of yourself too, Tim, not only the team." Vance said when he saw that his agent was still working.

"I do, sir. I just want to finish with the paperwork of the day. The forms won't be filled by themselves." Tim said before realizing it. It was quite inappropriate to say sth like that to the director. "Sorry, sir. That was really inappropriate." He quickly added and turn a shade of red.

"There is nothing to apologize for Tim. Well, besides the fact that you still call me sir. How many times should I tell you to call me Leon?" Vance said with a small smile on his face.

"Working on it, sir….Uh….I mean Leon." Tim said nervously.

"Come on Tim, let's go. You can finish the paperwork tomorrow." Vance said.

"Yes sir…..Uh Leon." Tim said while shutting down his computer.

The next morning Tim make sure to arrive a good 20' before the official start of the day, but he was not surprised to find his team already there, working on the paperwork he had to leave unfinished yesterday.

"Good morning, guys. You know that you don't have to do my paperwork, right?"

"Good morning, Tim. We are just killing our time until the surprise."

"Well, let's go upstairs. The ceremony starts in a few minutes."Tim said at his team.

Tim was surprised to see that all the teams were at the room and that his team was the last one to arrive. They found a free space at the very back of the room and they stayed there as the only available seats were at the first row next to the MCRT-Gibbs was actually there to everyone's amazement-, where Tim wasn't gonna sit under any circumstances.

"So, what's the surprise Tim?"

"The director is gonna make an announcement about our team." Tim cryptically said.

The ceremony was going on but the director didn't seem ready to make the announcement. Tim was thinking that they should wait till the end, when the time for the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award- the one that every year was given to Gibbs- came. To everyone's amazement, it was Gibbs who went to the podium to hand the award.

"There have been prouder moments in my life…but not many…I stand here today to present to you the winner of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award; the second highest award that can be conferred by the Secretary of the Navy on a civilian. It is being awarded today to recognize the most efficient way to lead a team and I am not the one to receive it. Six months ago, as you may know, I lost a very important asset from my team. This agent decided to take the risk and lead his own team. Despite his young age, he lead his team with passion, decidedness and most importantly care and managed to achieve a 100% rate on efficiency. I have the greatest honor, on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to present the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award to Special Agent Timothy McGee." Gibbs said.

Tim was puzzled. He was not expecting that.

"We have 100% efficiency? I guess that was the surprise?"

"Yes, I didn't know about the award." Tim said. And I wouldn't be here if I did, he thought.

"Tim, come up here. I have a reward to give you." Gibbs said to Tim. He was puzzled and Gibbs could tell that he didn't know about the award. Gibbs hoped that Tim was gonna accept the award from him and he would allowed him to repair their relationship.

Tim started walking towards the podium, and was stopped many times in the way from his co-workers to receive their congratulations. He reached to take the award and he was stunned when Gibbs hugged him and whispered to his ear 'I am really sorry that I let you down Tim. Please give me a second chance. I can't stand you avoiding me anymore.' With that Gibbs let go Tim who was too puzzled to say anything.

"Well, I was not prepared for that and I am not really sure about what to say. I just want to thanks my team that supported me, especially at the difficult beginning, and it still tolerates me. Thank you a lot guys." With that Tim received a warm and enthusiastic applause from every agent in the room and some whistling both from his new and his old team.

Maybe it took him same time and a lot of hard work but he managed to make Gibbs proud of him and prove him that he worth more than he was given credit for. Maybe now was the time to start mending fences with his old team.