Superman and His Sidekick
written because: I couldn't resist wondering where the Jetlag promo was going
rating: K plus
genre: episode tag; drama; action; H/C; and, let's face it...whumping.
spoilers for: episode 7.13, Jetlag
characters: Gibbs, Tim
A/N: This was written after the promo for Jetlag aired, but before the episode was shown. I knew that Jetlag was going to turn out to be nothing like this. But I could dream, couldn't I?
You'll note a major shift in the second part of this story. I'm not sure if changing tenses works, but it feels right.
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disclaimer: I own nothing of NCIS. Also, Superman, created by Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, is owned by DC Comics.
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They stood in perfect alignment; well-placed shooting positions as the getaway car came around the corner in the garage. Gibbs and Tim were ready for the fleeing suspects, who would surely stop.
Any sane person would stop, when faced with two armed men who looked like they knew what they were doing. Two men with guns who would likely shoot out the windshield; the bullets continuing to travel through the shattered glass until they found some place soft in which to lodge. Such as, human flesh.
But the suspects may have felt invulnerable, as people sometimes do. Perhaps they'd escaped similar encounters with LEOs before, and were confident to the point of being cocky. Perhaps they were desperate. In any event, they didn't stop; didn't even slow down.
Gibbs hadn't told Tim to get into shooting position when they heard the car approach; he hadn't had to. Tim had learned well, and now had years of experience under his belt. Tim was good to work with. Not fully in control of situations, not yet, but he was getting there. Right now he was like a talented junior partner; a sidekick. Gibbs was proud of him, though he'd never be silly enough to say that.
When the car didn't halt, despite Gibbs' shouted order, despite the shots that he Tim simultaneously got off…when it didn't even slow down, Gibbs reacted by instinct.
Instinct 1: Get out of the way!
Instinct 2: Get the kid out of the way!!
Instinct #2 was the stronger one. In a fraction of a second, Gibbs jumped to the left rather than to the right, in front of the moving car, and barreled into Tim, shoving him out of the car's path. With more luck than skill, Gibbs rolled over the car's hood, avoiding most of the impact and what would have been a messy trip through the windshield.
Stay with it! Gibbs rolled off and jumped to his feet. He ached and hurt in a dozen places, but this was not over yet, and there was no time to give in to his body's complaints. With Tim's help they'd still collar these two guys. He couldn't see McGee, but he knew he'd be nearby.
The car had stopped now. After hitting him, it careened as if berserk into a pillar. Stupid crooks. Probably about to pee their pants right now. "Out of the car!" Gibbs thundered. "Slowly." He was had a bead on the guy in the passenger seat, and was taking a calculated chance that if either of them had a gun, it would be in this guy's possession. Still, where was McGee? With his training, he should be coming up on the driver's side of the car now.
"I said, Get out of the car!!" Gibbs yelled. The kids looked scared as hell. Who could blame them? Gibbs must have appeared to be Superman, or Robocop, to take a hit like that and keep coming. But then there was something, a quick something, a glint in the driver's eye and a movement of his right arm…
"Don't try it!" Gibbs said, and got off a shot that purposefully burrowed into the head rest. LEOs are taught that when you're going to discharge your firearm, you'd better be prepared to shoot to kill. Gibbs was a better shot than your average LEO, however. He didn't shoot to kill unless he had to.
They weren't going to make it easy on him. The crooks must have been at least a little banged-up by the crash of the car, but they were moving inside. Still, they didn't come out.
Come on, McGee! I could really use you by now. If the crooks were armed, it would be at least an even match—if not even in their favor. Gibbs wasn't sure how long he could maintain his position, since half of his body was screaming to be allowed to fall to the ground and once there, twitch and moan. Not now.
He wanted, almost to the point of desperation now, to turn his head to see where Tim was. I'll chew him out good when this is all over. But that was for later. Now, he didn't dare take his eyes off the crooks. It was hard enough just to force his hands to be steady, to not have his pain show in his face, to not give any hint that he was anything less than that Superman…
Blast! Despite that earlier shot, Gibbs knew in his gut that one of the crooks was going to try something. It was the car driver; he would bet on it. The guy in the passenger seat looked a little dazed and almost scared. "Get out of the car!" Gibbs ordered again. "Don't make this hard on yourselves!" Dang it, McGee!
Another car, and then another, squealed around the corner and the ramp, and screeched to a stop. NCIS agents jumped out of the cars, and Gibbs almost sighed with relief, though never letting his aim waver.
An agent came up to him, and stared and swore. "Gibbs, you look like hell. Relax; we'll take 'em."
Gibbs did then slowly lower his weapon and reholstered it. He turned, muscles aching, and his scrapes now wailing. Where was McGee in all of this?? Why didn't he give me the support I needed??
"Oh. Damn, Gibbs…"
He turned in the direction of that agent's voice, but she already had her cell phone out and was calling for an ambulance.
The agent was crouching over Tim's very still body. He lay where he had evidently fallen; the blood pooling under his head testifying to a hit on something unyielding; likely, the nearby pillar.
"He's alive," the agent said. "But…" her voice trailed off.
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Superman sits in a waiting room in a busy hospital, surrounded by mortals of this planet earth, the planet that raised and nourished him, and which he has sworn to protect. It seems so long, so many years, since he has been responsible for only himself. Now, for a long time, he has been training sidekicks; watching them grow and go off into the world. He has already lost a few to cruel Death. He does not want to lose another. With every loss a bit of his indestructible heart and soul chip off and are gone, and he is less than whole.
He was wrong to blame the sidekick. The kid tried his hardest. A human, a mortal, can't challenge a pillar of concrete and win. The kid wasn't there to help him…but Superman accepts now that he would have been, if only he could.
The kids means a lot to him, he realizes. All of his sidekicks have…well, except for that ridiculous excuse for a team Vance once gave him. He never thought he'd want to have a partner, much less someone looking up to him. Now, he knows, he wouldn't want it any other way.
"Agent Gibbs?" A female doctor comes out, and she is smiling. "We were lucky. He came through surgery better than expected. I expect he'll make a full recovery, in time…probably around the time his hair grows back."
"Can I see him?" He is humbled by these professionals, these workers of miracles. He is Superman, but he cannot do what they do.
"Yes, but not for long."
He enters his sidekick's given room, pulls up a chair, and takes up the limp hand. Weary-looking green eyes meet his. "Sorry, boss. I heard you had to finish them all by yourself…after saving my life."
"Didn't mean to push you into a pillar."
"My bad luck. I would have liked to see you take them down."
He gives the hand a squeeze. "There will be other times. We'll get the next ones…together."