Title: Through a Glass, Darkly
Category: NCIS (crossover with The Dead Zone)
Rating: T/PG-13 (Gen)
Disclaimer: Don't own, just playing, yadda yadda. I'm also not a doctor of medicine, so any mistakes in that aspect of the story are my own.
Summary: A terrorist attack has long-term effects on Gibbs' team.
Warnings: Swearing and some disturbing imagery. Also, this was started before the episode Baltimore aired, so it's very AU at this point.
Short chapter, but it's been awhile. Mea culpa.
They had gathered in Gibbs' basement, a place that had previously been a source of sanctuary and comfort for them, but such feelings were now diminished. They should have been celebrating their teammates return to consciousness, but the circumstances surrounding that awakening had dampened their spirits. Each member of the team was going over in their heads what had happened, trying to find a rational explanation, but so far none had found one that fit all the facts.
The sound of the front door, followed by a familiar voice, pulled them from their thoughts.
"Jethro? What is this about? You said it was urgent." Soon the source of the voice appeared at the top of the stairs and he paused when he caught sight of the gathering. A worried look crossed his face before addressing the group.
"What has happened? Is it…?" Ducky searched their expressions for some clue as to their thoughts.
"McGee woke up," said Gibbs without preamble. Ducky's eyebrows shot up in surprise.
"Earlier this evening. Abby and I were with him. He's not in danger of going back into a coma, but…something's not right."
"Jethro, you cannot expect the lad to be even remotely normal after such an experience. He will need time to regain even the barest of function."
"It's not that, Ducky," said Abby. "The doctor explained all of that, but…it's something else, something hinky."
"Well, what happened?"
"When McGee woke up, he told us something, and there was no way he could have known it." She glanced at Gibbs and Tony, who both nodded silently. "He told us someone was going to kill Tony, in his apartment. He knew the guy had a knife. He even knew his name."
"Yeah," replied Tony. "A guy named Brian Sheridan. He was in prison because of me, but he escaped and was waiting for me in my apartment when I got home. If Tim hadn't told Gibbs…and if Gibbs hadn't been there, I'd be dead."
"I remember hearing that name on the news. Perhaps Timothy-?"
"No. There was no way he heard it, Ducky. Tony never mentioned the guy's name before tonight, the nurses didn't talk about it, and there was no way he could have heard the TV."
Ducky sighed. "Abigail, there must have been some way. Even with all of our studies, there is still so much that is unknown about coma patients and of what they are aware. He may have absorbed information from various conversations and synthesized it into something that made sense to you."
"Sounds like a coincidence, Duck. You know what I think about those."
"Nevertheless, it is highly likely that this is an isolated occurrence."
"I don't think so," said Tony, and they all turned to look at him.
"What do you mean?" asked Gibbs.
"First, I have a question: did any of you ever mention my undercover assignment to McGee or anyone in the hospital?" They all shook their heads. Tony sighed. "He knew Jeanne's name. He told he was sorry for what happened. How the hell did he know that?"
"No, Ducky. I know I didn't tell him. One of the few things I am sure of right now."
"What were you doing when he said that?" asked Abby.
"I was…I went in to talk to him, to tell him I was OK. He asked me why he wasn't hurting, and I…I put my hand on his wrist and told him it would be OK."
Abby's eyes widened as comprehension struck. "You touched him. Gibbs and I were touching him when he woke up, and when he told us about you…and about Sheridan."
"So how…?" He turned to Ducky, who wore an uncharacteristic expression of confusion. "Have you heard of anything like this, Ducky?"
"Not that I can recall, but I shall be checking the literature as soon as I am able." He surveyed the group. "In the mean time, I suggest we put this worry aside, for Timothy's sake. He will have enough difficulties adjusting to what has happened to him. Has anyone told him about his family?"
"Not yet. The doctors didn't think it was a good idea to tell him just yet."
"What about the accident?"
"He doesn't remember it, and he doesn't know how long he has been out."
"It does not matter." Ziva rose from her seat as she spoke for the first time since they had descended to Gibbs' basement. "Whatever he needs, we will help him get through it, yes?" After a brief silence, they all voiced their agreement. "He is still a part of our team, and the important thing is making sure he knows that. He has lost so much, he does not need to lose that as well."
"You are quite right, Ziva. However, you must all remember that the process will not be quick. Timothy will need time to build up his strength and stamina, and it is likely he will need to re-learn some basic things as well. We cannot rush him in this, no matter how much we want him back with us in full capacity."
"At least the worst is over, right? He's awake, and he can talk and think. That's better much better than we had for so long," said Abby, her normal exuberance slowly returning.
"Yeah, it is," muttered Tony, who still looked worried. "I'll just feel better when I see him up and about."
"We all will," said Gibbs. "But until then, we'll do what's necessary…for McGee." They all nodded. "Now go home. I'll see you all at work tomorrow."
The team left, all except Ducky. After they both heard the front door shut, Gibbs turned to his friend.
"What's on your mind, Duck?"
"Honestly Jethro, I'm still in a bit of shock. I never—"
"-expected him to wake up."
"No, I didn't. I must confess, I agreed completely with the expectations of Timothy's doctors. I am truly happy that they, and I, were wrong, but…I have never been one to take much in the so-called 'gut instinct', but at this moment, if I were to do so, mine is telling me that Timothy's troubles are just beginning." He glanced out the small basement window and sighed. "I must get home as well. I've never been fond of driving in this sort of weather."
"Oh, I intend to. Good night, Jethro."
The older man left and Gibbs turned to stare silently out the window, watching the rain come down as his thoughts turned to the job ahead.
Several miles away, in the rain-swept darkness of the city, a killer waited.
From the shadows he surveyed his target with hungry, predatory eyes. The excitement he felt was barely contained as he watched her perform her normal routine, one he had watched so many times before in preparation for tonight. She was one of many, some of which the authorities were not even aware.
He smiled in the darkness as he prepared to make his move. He had confidence in his abilities, particularly those which allowed him to evade detection.
They'll never catch me. Never. I'm too…slick.
Captain Jonathan McGee slowly made his way to his quarters, exhausted after 36 straight hours on duty. He had kept up a pace few had believed possible, considering his age, but they didn't understand that he had to work. It was the only way he could keep his mind off of what he had done, what he had left behind.
When he reached his room, he closed the door, sat down on the bed, and rubbed his eyes. He wanted to sleep, but he knew it wouldn't come easily. The guilt he was able to repress while in the waking world troubled his dreams, and he was not eager to visit that landscape of horrible images: the mangled bodies of his wife and daughter that he had barely been able to identify, his son in a hospital bed, unresponsive and surrounded by machines, and the look of disappointment he could imagine on Lillian's face when he had chosen to hand responsibility of his son over to another.
A knock on the door pulled him from his thoughts and he stood.
The door opened and a young Petty Officer stood just outside in the corridor.
"Captain McGee, sir, you have received a call from an Agent Gibbs at NCIS. He wishes to speak with you immediately."
Jonathan felt a twist in the pit of his stomach, followed by a deep feeling of loss.
So it finally happened…Godspeed, son. I'm sorry…
"Yes, Petty Office Dowry. Please send Agent Gibbs a reply telling him I understand his message, and I trust him to handle everything."
The younger man left and Jonathan returned to his bunk. He sat down and sighed. He knew he should be there, to say good bye to Tim for one last time, but he had known the requirements when he had signed up for this mission. At least now the last barrier that had kept him from taking on a new mission had slipped away. He would speak to the Commander the next day.
If this goes as officially planned, I can retire in peace. If not, well, maybe I'll get to see my family again.
His thoughts were soon interrupted by another knock on the door.
"Enter," he said, his tone a bit harsher than the last time. The door opened and he sighed. "Yes, Petty Officer Dowry, what is it this time."
"Sir, Agent Gibbs insists on speaking with you. He says it is very important. He would not tell me what it is about. He was very insistent, though." The petty office looked distinctly cowed.
Jonathan almost laughed. The man could even intimidate someone over the phone.
"Very well." He followed the younger man back to the bridge where he picked up one of the SATCOMM phones and dialed the number he had been given.
"Agent Gibbs, this is Jonathan McGee. It was my understanding that you were willing to handle the arrangements."
"Won't need to, Jonathan. Tim woke up."
All feeling left Jonathan's body for a brief moment as he froze in shock. Finally he was able to respond.
"He's awake. He can talk, and he remembers us. The doctors say he's going to be OK. It's going to take time, but he will recover."
"W-when did he…?"
"I…this is unexpected." He heard a soft chuckle.
"Yeah, I know. When will you be coming back?"
"I know you have over three months left on your mission. With all due respect, sir, Tim needs you now."
"I'll see what I can do."
"I'll be expecting your call."
"Thank you…for being there. For Tim."
"Not a problem, sir. He's worth it."
"Yes…yes, he is. Signing off."
He disconnected the call and turned to the officer behind him.
"I will need to speak with the Commander, at his earliest convenience."
Jonathan left the bridge, unmindful of the curious looks he was receiving from the crew members he passed on the way back to his quarters. He managed to make it back inside his room and shut the door before sinking onto his bunk. He stared straight in front of him for several minutes, going over the conversation again and again in his mind. Finally, he placed his elbows on his knees and lowered his face into his hands.