The interrogation room was quiet, minus the sounds of thumbs tapping on a phone as tiny irregular-shaped blocks fell in Tony's favorite game. He was babysitting a suspect, waiting for Gibbs to get back from the field.
In his frequent glances at the suspect he saw that the man was slowly but surely getting antsy, probably wondering why Tony wasn't interrogating him. With his arms handcuffed behind his back and around the back of the chair he wasn't able to get up and was probably getting sore from remaining in one position.
Tony didn't much care though.
They had received a call earlier in the week that a petty officer had been killed. After talking to the woman's superiors and friends they discovered that Petty Officer Glenne had frequented a bar called The Mossy Anchor. Each of her friends had independently named Mark Krueger as a suspicious character - a man who always hit on Amy Glenne and was always turned down. By all accounts Mark Krueger did not take kindly to the word 'No.'
Tony wondered if Gibbs had cooled off yet. Being decked by a 250 pound mass of muscle was not his favorite way of starting the day. Then again he had gotten a return punch in before Tim and Ziva had managed to get Krueger in cuffs. Tony glanced up and forced back a chuckle when he saw that the man's chin was growing ever more colorful as time passed.
The screen in front of him shook reflexively as the ringing of his phone startled him away from his game. GIBBS came up on the caller ID so Tony immediately answered.
"You've got Krueger stewing over there?"
"Good. We'll be there as soon as McGee is finished packing up the computer."
"Gottcha. Tell McGeek to hurry up over there - I'm getting bored." But he was talking to dead air - Gibbs had hung up after saying his piece.
Just as Tony was getting back into his game he heard a low chuckling coming from his suspect.
"Something funny over there, Krueger?"
At first the man didn't say anything, but the hour of forced silence had gotten to him and he was eager to fill the void.
"I used to know a McGeek. Went to high school with him. Biggest geek I've ever seen in my life."
"Hmm," Tony said, not paying much attention to the man as the speed of his game increased.
Once he got started talking Krueger didn't want to stop.
"We had a lot of fun with that geek. He skipped grades and everything and so was small enough to fit into the lockers when he first transferred. Eventually he got too tall to shove in there, but that was fun while it lasted. We were still able to give him swirlies until his dad found out - McGeek definitely didn't inherit those genes! The Commander was badass! We didn't touch him after that but we found ways to have fun anyways. Like putting his number in a fag mag and making sure he 'accidentally misplaced' his pants after gym class."
Krueger had to stop for a moment he was laughing so hard, but he launched right back in.
"He ended up graduating early to attend MIT. I bet he's some lonely, fat, balding computer programming nerd now in a dead-end company."
Krueger grinned, truly enjoying what his imagination was coming up with.
The blocks had long ago stacked to the top and "Game Over" sat on his screen unnoticed as Tony stared at Krueger with a mixture of horror and hatred. He had long ago figured out that the 'McGeek' Krueger was talking about was hisMcGeek. He was about to say something - or strangle the man, he had yet to make his mind up - when the interrogation room door burst open and he had a lap full of Goth.
Abby was rambling on about something but she was so hysterically frantic that Tony couldn't figure out what she was talking about. He looked up to see Ziva standing in the doorway.
"Ziva, what's going on?"
"I could not stop her. She thinks that maybe Gibbs told you what is going on." She paused for a moment before adding, "Did he?"
Now Tony was thoroughly confused. And distracted by Abby's panicked rambling. Finally he managed to grab her shoulders and shake her a bit.
"Abby! Abby calm down and tell me what the hell you're talking about!"
Abby took several deep breaths and calmed down enough to speak clearly, if not a bit shakily.
"Ziva was down in the lab with me and I made her call Gibbs to ask when I could expect the computer evidence. He said he and Timmy were about to leave. But… but…" and then she lost her composure and buried her head in Tony's shoulder.
Tony hesitated for a moment before wrapping his arms around her and rubbing circles on her back. He looked at Ziva, bewildered.
Ziva took over from there.
"Gibbs said that he and McGee were packed up and doing one last sweep of the house when there was a commotion. I could hear McGee yelling something and then there was the sound of a shot and Gibbs was yelling McGee's name…"
Ziva trailed off of her explanation because Tony shot up at hearing that shots were fired at his boss and best friend. He just barely remembered that Abby was on his lap, but he was able to make a last second effort of making sure that she was steady on her feet instead of dumping her on her butt.
"Did you try calling him back?"
"Of course I did, Tony," Ziva said calmly. She knew Tony was upset that his teammates were more than likely in trouble so she readily excused his inane question. She was barely keeping a hold of her own anxiety so she could certainly understand his.
Tony turned to his phone and hit the speed dial button for Gibbs' number, but it rang right through to voicemail. Next trying Tim's number he got the same result.
He didn't like wondering if Gibbs or Tim had been shot - because one or both of them had for sure. Gibbs wouldn't leave the team hanging like that.
Without realizing it he began to pace back and forth in the small room, three pairs of eyes tracking him along his way. Back and forth, back and forth as he tried to figure out what he should do.
"Bethesda," Tony said, stopping in front of Ziva about two minutes later. "If something happened to one of them they'll be taken to Bethesda. Call the hospital and see if they brought someone in."
"I can do that," Ziva said.
"Abby, could you get Krone down here? We need to get Krueger to lock-up. His interrogation is going to be on hold for a bit."
Abby nodded and gave him a small smile.
The two women left together, much quieter than they entered.
Tony sat down heavily, worry gnawing at his stomach.
And Krueger was chuckling again.
"Maybe I should've warned them that my buddy was going to be coming over and he doesn't like cops?"
Tony was about to leap over the table and fulfill his previous wish of strangling the man when his phone ran. Seeing GIBBS once again on the caller ID was a relief.
"What the hell is going on?" he said in lieu of a greeting.
"Ziva told you then."
"Yeah. She was in the lab at the time and now Abby's all hysterical. What the hell is going on?"
"A friend of Krueger's came over to visit and it turns out he doesn't much like cops."
"So I hear," This conversation was worrying Tony. Gibbs normally got straight to the point. Why was he hedging around things now? "Boss. What. Is. Going. On?" He slowly and carefully enunciated each word, unable to tolerate not knowing a moment longer.
"McGee was shot. MacPherson was aiming at me and McGee stepped in front of the shot." Gibbs exhaled noisily.
"I'm going to kill him," Tony ground out through clenched teeth.
"If you're talking about MacPherson, don't worry about it, I already did. Don't kill Krueger either."
Tony had been talking about MacPherson, but it was just as well he was reminded not to kill Krueger, because it sounded like a good idea.
"How is he?" he asked.
There were several drawn out moments of silence before he got his response.
"Not good. Bullet's lodged in his chest. He's on his way to Bethesda."
Tony bit back a groan. That wasn't good.
"Do you want us to come out and process the scene?"
"No. Get Rosson and her team out here. I'll meet you at the hospital."
Tony hung up the phone and stared at the door, willing Krone to get there so he could get to the hospital. He wanted to be there to hear whatever news he could about his Probie.
"So, did Bobby kill your friend?"
Tony slowly turned to look at Krueger and was disgusted to see that his look matched the tone of his voice - eager.
And then Tony was on the other side of the desk and dragging him up out of his chair. Slamming the man against the wall and pining Krueger's neck with his forearm was greatly satisfying.
"Do you remember that man who wrestled you to the ground so Agent David could get handcuffs on you?" Tony growled out.
Krueger nodded eagerly, fear obvious in his eyes.
"That was Special Agent Timothy McGee. Yes, he's a computer geek but he's also a damn fine field agent and a man brave enough to jump in front of the bullet that your friend tried to use to kill my boss." Tony increased the pressure on Krueger's throat just a bit. "Tim McGee is a better person than anyone I know and if he dies I will make sure you do too so you can rot in hell with your friend!"
The door opened then and Tony turned his head to see Jon Krone standing there with his partner, Angie Marks. He reluctantly released Krueger, who promptly began gasping for breath.
"We heard that an agent was brought in to Bethesda. Everything okay?" Krone asked, purposely ignoring Krueger.
"McGee was shot. Don't really know how he is."
Krone frowned. Everyone liked McGee affable special agent. There would be a lot of upset people when word got around that he was hurt.
"Angie and I will take Krueger down to lock-up. Get out of here," Krone said with a nod of his head towards the door. "Abby and Ziva are waiting for you in the bullpen."
Tony shot them a grateful look before all but running out of the interrogation room, eager to find out the fate of his friend.
Tony had a lot of time to think in the following days. Tim was in and out of surgery - having a bullet slam through a rib and lodge in your lung will do that to you - and the team had pretty much set up camp in the waiting room.
Thinking back to the arrest of Krueger Tony realized that Tim must have recognized Krueger right away. Tony could recall seeing his friend tense up at the sight of Krueger but at the time he had thought it was some strange premonition of the short fisticuffs that occurred moments later.
Tim hadn't hesitated even for a moment to wrestle the larger man to the ground. It took a brave man to face a former tormenter. It took a noble man not to take advantage of said tormenter's vulnerable position when you had every opportunity to do so.
Sitting at Tim's bedside several days later Tony thought back to what Krueger had said in the interrogation room.
Tony had been guilty of underestimating the agent in the first months of knowing him, but quickly all of his preconceived notions had - little-by-little, bit-by-bit - flaked away. There was no denying Tim's geekiness - the man himself rarely attempted to deny it - but there was so much more to him than his computer skills.
Tony was torn from his thoughts when a groan came from the very person he was thinking about. His attention was immediately riveted on Tim and was relieved when he opened his eyes.
"Welcome back, McHero."
Tony was rewarded with a tiny smile before the eyes fluttered closed again and sleep once again claimed Tim.
That was fine with Tony. Tim needed all the sleep he could get. And Tony would be there when Tim did wake up. And he would be there during his recovery. Once Tim was back in the field Tony would be there still - watching over his Probie and proudly watching as others around them realized that Tim was much more than he seemed. And if they didn't realize it on their own? Well, he would be there to force them to see it.
And another one shot steals my attention away from my longer WIPs...
This came out of the blue and I had to write it - for better or for worse.