This is the final Journal entry and I have to dedicate it to Anastasia…just because I can

This will be from either Gibbs or Tim's POV…depending on the situation

Journal Entries—Finale: Part three: Gibbs/Tim

Tim's POV:

Oh my god oh my god oh my god…what have I done?

I looked at both Tony and Gibbs before getting ready to leave. "I'll expect you both for brunch tomorrow. Eleven a.m. don't be late and don't bring any attitudes or I'll end the relationship then and there."

With a last kiss for both of them I walked out of Tony's apartment and down the stairs.

I gave an ultimatum to not just my boss but my senior partner as well…I am so screwed.

I get downstairs and stare at Gibbs car in frustration. Damnit! I'd forgotten that we'd come over together to talk to Tony and now…I slump next to the wheel waiting for the axe to fall.

Soft footsteps and a not so quiet

"McGee!" brings me to my feet. I can't help the embarrassed flush that crosses my face or my own almost stuttered reply

"Forgot my car is still at my place."

My head is down and I don't see his expression as he unlocks the car and we get in; before he turns the key he says,

"There's a couple of hours left in the day; your place or mine?"

I don't dare to hope or wonder what that could mean. I smile as I tell him that I need to walk Jethro and he takes me back to my apartment. I'm opening the door and bolting up the stairs like a scared rabbit before Gibbs even has the car stopped. I've got my keys in the door and Jethro is looking at me like I've gone mad when I enter the apartment.

"Get your leash," I tell him as I pick up his favorite ball and a few treats. By the time we're back downstairs Gibbs is out of the car and pulling on some gloves.

I let Jethro lead us to his favorite park. Gibbs is telling me that he hasn't been out walking since Shannon and Kelly died. I flash him a quick smile, glad that he's starting to talk to me…to open up a bit about his past. Then he asks me

"Why? You said that Sundays are for me and Tony yet you expect us both for brunch?"

"Wondered when you'd pick up on that…tomorrow will be the only exception to our dating game; so to speak. Monday I'll have my first night with Tony; no I don't expect to end up in bed with him or you during this time. This is our chance to find out what makes each other tick. So, tomorrow will be a brainstorming session between the three of us. What we expect the others to bring to the table so to speak."

He nodded and I can tell that he's not someone who knows how to open up…maybe not even to those he loves. So I take a deep breath and tell him what I want out of our time together.

"I'm not expecting a miracle here. I just want to know what you expect out of a relationship with me. If you expect me to help with the toys you make or the boats you build; if you like to cuddle by a fire on a cold winter's night or snuggle in bed with a good book and running your hand thru my hair."

I can see a thoughtful look pass over his face and continue.

"I'm not expecting more than you can give; I just want to know if you can receive what I have to give."

That earns me one of his more endearing looks; one I've never seen him wear at work although I'm sure I have on many an occasion. It's one that clearly says,

HUH?

"I'm not just an MIT/Johns Hopkins scholar; I like to walk my dog at night and work on crosswords every now and then. I like to cook for my family and friends. I still dabble in writing; I'm getting ready to publish again…don't worry not about the team this time."

I duck his playfully aimed smack that was headed my way.

We laughed and kept walking then I said, "You know, that this is the first thing you've done with me, outside of work since I joined your team?"

He stopped in his tracks as if he couldn't believe what I'd just told him. I knew the exact second that it hit him as to why I've never come and talked to him.

"Damn I'm an idiot."

"No, just human."

The rest of walk was in silence, but it was still a companionable one. Jethro started getting restless once we got to the section that I normally play ball with him in.

"Soon," I tell him and he quiets down. I watch Gibbs out of the corner of my eye and slipping the leash off Jethro, I throw him the ball as I help his namesake to the closest bench. Gibbs is shivering and this time it's with delayed reaction not the cold and I pull him close. I try to make light of the situation that led to my gaining Jethro as a pet.

We both know that my aim at that time is the only thing that saved both me and Jethro. Then he asks me something I'm not expecting. He asks me if I had nightmares.

For the first time since I've met him I was tempted to lie to him, but I've never been able to lie to him. Not an out and out lie anyway.

"Occasionally." One raised eyebrow had me confessing, "Every night for the first two weeks."

Then I saw a second expression that I never want to see cross his face; horror. That I had faced it alone with only my tormentor for company. Only Jethro had been tormented by nightmares too.

"It bonded us in a weird sort of way… both suffering nightmares that is."

Jethro comes back and I throw his ball again…farther this time.

"Scars?"

"A few, not many thanks to Ducky and Palmer. I can show you when we get back to the apartment if you'd like."

He wants to, but then he remembers that I'd asked for no sex and tells me so. I can't help blushing as I nod in acceptance; I'd wanted to have him touch me at least for a few minutes…so that maybe I could get some sleep tonight. That's when I decided that tonight is my night. From everything I've learned over the years if I don't talk to Gibbs and show him what I want, then I might lose him.

I let Jethro play for a few more minutes then give a whistle that brings him immediately to my side. He's tired enough now that he stands docilely while I snap the leash on and pocket his ball.

The trip back is just as quiet as the one to the park; Jethro is panting a bit more due to his exertions. We get back and I let Jet off the leash where he immediately heads for his water dish. After drinking his fill he lies down on his bed and I turn to the other Jethro in the room. The door is shut and my hands are ungloved as I take his face in my hands and kiss him like I've wanted to for the last half hour. I can't help grinning at the dazed expression on his face as I say,

"No sex, but I won't mind some heavy petting now and then."

If I left it up to him, I know that he'd have left me, then and there to go and think about everything I've told him. I can't do that. I can't let him start thinking just yet, so I unbutton my shirt at my throat and pull his right hand up to where the scars are starting to fade.

"Touch me Jethro. Help make the nightmares go away."

My softly pleading confession brings his silver blue gaze up to mine. I hadn't meant to say that, but he needs to understand. I haven't slept a full night's sleep in over two years. Two years of hearing snarling barking, yelling and then silence after a gunshot. Of the accusations that followed me when Abby found out that I was the one who shot "that poor innocent animal." The humiliation of being called "Bad McGee!" followed by laughter and the antics of my teammates when Tony put in the Dogs Gone Wild DVD.

A touch, that's all I want. All I need to get to sleep tonight. And finally he does. I shiver when I feel the callused fingers touch my naked skin. My shirt is pushed off my shoulders as he examines the area that Jet had tried to ravage. Not just my neck, but my arm too. I feel his lips finally touch my heated skin; I let out a small sigh and he lightly taps me on the head.

"Why didn't you tell me, McGee?"

"You didn't listen."

Three little words stop him; make him think when nothing else has. It's true though and unfortunately, he knows I'm right.

I sit down on the couch, not sure what to do next; almost sure that he'll leave when I feel the cushion give way next to me and I'm pulled into his arms. I close my eyes, content for the moment to lie there, wrapped in his arms, his heartbeat under my ear. This is what I've wanted to do for two years; fall asleep, cradled in the arms of the one that I love.

Waking several hours later, I'm still in Gibbs arms. We are however, in my bed. I don't remember moving in here and wonder where he got the strength. I'm still not a lightweight no matter how much weight I've lost the past few years.

"You think too much Timmy. Go back to sleep."

The soft whisper against the top of my head makes me look up into sleepy blue eyes. His eyes are drooping closed again and I close my own as I snuggle closer to his warmth. His arms tighten around me and we go back to sleep.

When I wake the second time, he's still there; still holding me like he never wants to let me go. I have to admit, I could get way too fond of this. Waking up, before he does watching him sleep. I used to wonder if he ever slept; hearing Tony and Ziva talk over the years about the times that they've found him slaving away on this project or that boat.

I run my hand up his chest; feel the chest hairs that tickle my nose. My hand drifts down his arm, feeling the strength that is belied by his slender build. Touching his hand, I find my fingers intertwined with his and slowly, carefully look up at him.

"You keep that up and I won't promise that we wont have sex. A man, even one with my control has his limits."

"I'm sorry."

I start to roll out of bed, away from the closeness I've been savoring these last few hours. A heartfelt sigh and two strong arms wrap around me, pull me back against him as he strokes a hand down my face. I turn into that hand and he stares at me.

"Don't be sorry. I just need you to be aware of the consequences of your actions."

That's when he brings our hands down to where our groins are barely touching and I cant help blushing at the heated flesh I can feel rising to meet us. Blue eyes stare into mine, full of understanding and more.

"I've wanted you for a long time. You in my bed is one hell of a turn on. It's one reason I almost left you last night."

"Thank you for staying."

"Is that the first full night of sleep you've had since the attack?"

I nod as I try to duck away from him. He doesn't let me and lightly grips my chin making sure that I'm looking at him as he states,

"I haven't had a full night of sleep since Shannon and Kelly. Aside from when it was drug induced, I've never slept more than four hours. Tonight was the first time Tim."

That was enough for me to relax against him. I've never known this part of him; I never dug deep into Gibbs background. For me to do so, would have been an invasion of the man. For him to reveal that part of himself tells me that I have a chance with him. A chance to know the man behind the gruff ex-Marine who mainstreams coffee and delivers a wakeup call with a cuff to the back of our heads.

"So, what's for breakfast McGee?"

"Coffee?"

"Good answer, go make some while I take a quick shower."

I show him where towels are and hand him a spare set of sweats before heading to the kitchen. My hands are trembling when I finish. Reaction from everything that we've done in the last 24 hours. I sit down in the closest chair and cover my face with my hands. I don't feel him approach, but the hands on my shoulders tell me that he's there as does the soft caress on my hair and neck.

"Go hit the showers and then we'll talk."

I nodded and stood up. The hug that waited me was worth any temporary doubts I was having. I took my shower and then decided that Jethro needed his weekly bath too. But first I had to finish our brunch. I looked at the two Jethros and smiled.

"Hey boss, could you take Jet out for a quick walk? I need to finish making our brunch and it's easier if he's not underfoot."

A quick nod and soft whistle and the two Jethros are heading downstairs towards the park. I pull out the bread dough I thawed the night before and rolled it out on the floured table. Then I drizzled melted butter over the dough. Reaching into the cupboard, I pulled down the cinnamon and then pulled some brown sugar out of the fridge.

First I sprinkled on the cinnamon then crumbled the brown sugar on top. I took a few seconds to wash my hands after buttering the baking dish and sprinkling more brown sugar in the bottom of it. I rolled up the dough and pulled out my sharpest knife.

By the time the two Jethros returned, I had the rolls sitting under a damp tea towel as the oven warmed up. I started a fresh pot of coffee and then headed for the bathroom to get things ready for doggie Jethro's bath. Gibbs wandered in as I was putting our used towels into the tub that the dog wouldn't slip while I was bathing him.

"Hey, you want to help or stay dry?"

I smiled at the lost look in his eyes.

"I need to give Jethro his bath…do you want to help me or would you like to just sit and read the paper while I'm in here?"

"Paper."

"Should be waiting outside the door now. And if I'm not out in half an hour would you mind putting the rolls into the oven? They should be high enough by then."

With that I look at the other Jethro who slinks past us both with his ears flat against his head and his tail tucked. He knows when it's bath time and sulks until he's in the bath tub. Then he's all play. I know from experience that the bathroom will be soaked which is why I wanted to give Gibbs the choice of helping me or not. Bouncing German shepherd is almost like a Caf-Pow hyper Abby…dangerous in any circumstance.

The only thing I didn't do is lock the door. I'm so not used to having anyone there that it never occurred to me that Gibbs might actually be interested in what happens during Jethro's bath. So when the door opened and the dog raced for the door, Gibbs got full blast of the shower head.

That's when I heard it…laughter…a full-bellied deep gut laughter from Gibbs. I hastily turned off the water and looked at my normally immaculate boss. He was drenched head to toe with water. Not only had I gotten him, but when Jethro bolted for the door, he'd been shaking the water out of his fur and Gibbs got sprayed with that too.

Silver blue eyes laugh up into mine as I reach down to help him to his feet.

"I was going to ask about a timer for the rolls."

"I usually bake them for about a half hour or until they're golden brown." I'm handing him fresh towels as we talk and he rubs the water out of his silver hair. My mouth dries up as I watch him towel off. I haven't wanted anyone this much in my entire life.

Gibbs POV:

Knocking hadn't yielded any results and neither had shouting at the closed door so I opened it and got a full body slam of not merely wet dog but a fully drenched 70 lb German shepherd. When Tim turned he had the shower wand in his hand and it too sprayed right at me.

I couldn't help myself. The horror in those green eyes and just the situation in general, I had to laugh. Then the dog decided that I wasn't wet enough and started shaking the excess water out of his fur.

Tim has enough presence of mind to shut off the water before getting me soaked more than I already was. By this time I was in no condition to remember what I'd come in here to ask. Tim's emerald green eyes are full of mirth as he reaches down to help me off the floor and then I smell the rolls and ask him about the baking time.

Tim tells me that he normally bakes the rolls until they're golden brown and I do a quick flashback to my mother and the way she used to bake when Jack was at the store. It was always golden brown and half an hour.

Tim hands me a towel and as I take rub it over my hair I see the naked desire in his eyes. I'm not a man to look a gift horse in the mouth, and when I have that much temptation in front of me I take advantage of it.

Tim's POV:

Over the years I've watched Gibbs as he put the cuffs on a suspect or slapped his hand on the interrogation desk hard enough for the sound to bounce off the wall. I've never seen the predator look…until today.

With a pounce that would make any predatory cat proud, Gibbs had me pinned against the bedroom door. My hands were stretched above my head and his lips were ravaging mine like tomorrow would never come.

I look at him when we finally take a breath and he's the one trying to hide this time. I'm not going to let him and once I get the rolls out of the oven I turn to see him watching me wondering what I will do next.

Gibbs POV:

After pouncing on him in the bedroom, I realize that there is so much that I don't know about this man. But for the first time, I want to know who he is, what makes him tick, how can he have this much effect on me. I watch him as he leads the way out of the bedroom and casually takes the rolls out of the oven. I'm almost ready to leave when he asks me to stay.

Tim's POV:

I can see that he wants to bolt and I quietly say one word

"Stay."

That stops him as effectively as anything can. I look him in the eye and picking up my cell phone I hit Tony's number on the speed dial. He's a bit surprised when I tell him that he's still welcome to come over for brunch and that's when I know that Tony's aware that Gibbs spent the night.

"I'll be there in a few minutes Tim. Save me some food."

Gibbs sits on the couch, sipping at his coffee while I whip up homemade frosting for the rolls. Tony knocks and I nod at Gibbs to let him in. Tony knows immediately that the dynamic between Gibbs and myself has changed and I get a quick thumbs up as he saunters into the room.

For two months we continued our dating game. And then it happened; the one thing that finally put Gibbs into my life. I was attacked one night as I was leaving Gibbs' house. Ever since that Saturday when he spent the night, our nights had been spent at either my place or his, but always with Jethro.

This night was no exception and as we were leaving a shot rang out and once again I felt 70 lbs of dog hit me in the chest. But this time, I wasn't the one with the gun. And I wasn't the one with a bullet in him either. This time Jethro had saved my life. I could hear Gibbs on the phone to the police as he checked on me first and then the dog.

A second call this time to Palmer to check on Jethro. I was still winded from having the dog pounce on me. I was out of it for several minutes as the neighbors gathered round and helped find the perpetrator. All of them knew Gibbs and liked him as a neighbor; the man that shot me was a transient or so they said. The neighborhood watch had him in custody before Gibbs was finished with his phone calls.

Palmer arrived and with him was Abby. They had taken up bowling together and were just leaving the bowling alley when Palmer got the call. I was just getting to my feet when they arrived and the first thing Abby started doing was going off on me for not protecting the dog better. I sat back down as memories started flooding over me.

"Abbs, I think that's enough."

"It's not enough Gibbs. McGee never wanted Jethro and now he let him get shot. It's almost as bad as if he'd shot him again. Bad McGee!"

"Abby, enough. You weren't here. Jethro…"

"Is dying and it's all McGee's fault!"

"It is? How? You're the one who told him that he had to take the dog. You're the one who bullied him into it as I recall. Telling him that he couldn't fight fate?"

"Still he shouldn't have had Jethro out in such a rough neighborhood…he…Gibbs…this is your house. That's your car and…" Abby is almost white against her tattoos as she realizes that she'd almost accused Gibbs of hurting Jethro.

"And you need to leave as soon as Palmer finishes with Jethro."

I was still sitting there by the sidewalk when Palmer announced that Jethro just had flesh wound. I couldn't help flinching a bit when Gibbs knelt down beside me, concern in those silver blue orbs. I nodded when he softly asked if I could stand.

"It will probably sting a bit but here's some antiseptic for Jethro so that you can change his bandages later."

"Thanks Palmer, glad to know we can count on you for this as well as work related injuries."

"You're welcome Agent Gibbs. Is …is Tim all right?"

"He will be, once I get him home. Take Abbs home for me please."

"Yes sir."

Gibbs POV:

I waited until after Palmer and Abby left to check on Tim; I was afraid that if I checked any sooner, I might end up smacking Abby. To accuse Tim of hurting Jethro when the dog had been protecting his master…what was she thinking?

Then I looked at Tim and Jethro. Tim was stroking the dog's ears as he murmured something to him that I couldn't hear. For once I wanted to have the hearing they all accuse me of having so that I could hear what he was saying.

"Tim?" I was almost afraid that this would bring back the nightmares. Over the last two months, at least on the nights when he stayed with me, the nightmares seemed to stay away. I was dreading to find out if this meant he'd be plagued again.

"Come on, let's get you two inside."

Roberto Sanchez my newest neighbor, offers to help me get Tim inside and I'm grateful for the offer. Together we get him inside then I go back out for the dog and Roberto's son Rico is on the porch waiting for entry with Jethro in his arms.

"Thanks you guys, I'll take it from here."

The Sanchez men leave and I look at Tim. his eyes are closed and he's stroking Jethro's muzzle. Unbidden come the words of the first night we'd spent together when Tim described the nightmares the two of them shared: usually a muzzle under my hand and some whimpering of his own. I think it was the one time that I slept on the floor. Killed my back but it kinda bonded the two of us; both suffering nightmares that is."

Not this time; I went upstairs and pulled the pillows off the bed. If we were going to sleep on the floor then we'd at least be comfortable doing so. I turned at a sound and there was Tony, helping me remove the blankets. I smile at him and he returns the gesture as we head back downstairs.

Before too long I've got the spare mattress from the couch covered with the sheets and blankets I'd brought downstairs. Tony and I managed to coax Tim into lying on the makeshift bed and Jethro automatically shifted over to lie next to his master.

Tony and I head back to the kitchen and I ask him why he's there.

"Abbs."

I nod and turn my gaze back to the living room. I can feel Tony's questioning gaze and let my guard down long enough for him to see just what I'm feeling. Tony says nothing as he pats me on the shoulder and leaves saying,

"I don't mind losing to you boss."

I turn startled eyes to him and he shrugs, "Tim called off our dates before we ever got started. Said he didn't want to encourage me when he was already in love with you."

"This last two months?"

"Oh…well, he wanted you to get used to him being around more. I had Friday and Saturday."

The ones that Tim had decreed we spend with our friends. And Sundays?

"He loves you enough that he can share you with me at least once a week. His words, not mine."

Tony left after one last reminder, "You hurt him and I'll have the ninja kill you 18 different ways with a paperclip."

I went back to the man who wanted me enough, loved me enough to let me find my own way back into the world of the living. The one person who cared to look inside of Leroy Jethro Gibbs and find the man who had lost so much and still has so much left to give. I curl up behind him, gently place my arm around his waist and fall asleep thanking God for Tim McGee.

Tim's POV:

The breath on my shoulder, the weight of his arm at my waist and the general sense that all is right tells me that I was right to turn Tony down all those months ago. I'm in the arms of Leroy Jethro Gibbs the man I've loved since that first meeting at Norfolk; my dog is sleeping by my side…for the first time in years, my world is complete and I finally fall into a contented sleep.

Thank you as always for reading and reviewing...I hope to have a new chapter of Rising Knights up by the end of the weekend...operative word is hope...