Hi everyone.

This story has been on the boil on another site for quite a while and we thought we'd add it on here for you all to enjoy. It's not complete, but there is quite a few chapters for you all to be getting on with and it's still on the go.

Smartkid37 and Shelbylou xx

He had waited for the last member of his team to pack up for the night before picking up the box he had placed strategically underneath his desk. It had been another long Saturday spent putting a case to bed and he was exhausted even more so than usual after the hellish week he'd just been through. He was going to meet the team for drinks in half an hour, but didn't really want them to see him packing his personal belongings into that cardboard box. It was just so...impersonal.

It didn't take him long and he couldn't help but feel saddened at the prospect of not walking into the strangely comforting atmosphere of MCRT anymore. He sighed heavily and collected everything together before turning and walking over to the elevator. Once he was inside, he held the 'hold' button and gazed out into the squad room one last time before the doors began to close ominously on the life he was leaving behind.

As he felt the tears prick at his eyeballs, he also felt the presence of his boss, even before the hand came between the elevator doors to open them back up. He had long ago developed a sixth sense for his boss, the guy was like a silent assassin and he just knew, had a feeling that even before the hand came between the elevator doors to open them back up, Leroy Jethro Gibbs would be there.

Sure enough, as the doors slid back, Gibbs stepped onto the elevator car with his trademark coffee clutched in his hand.. Unhappy at the tongue lashing he felt coming; he steeled himself for it silently and waited. Tim squirmed uncomfortably as Gibbs took a minute to scrutinize him. The boss knew that there was more bothering his soon to be 'former' agent than met the eye and Tim watched tiredly as Gibbs reached over and hit the switch to put his 'conference room' into use..

Uncharacteristically, the boss remained silent, almost as if he were waiting for his agent to automatically open up and let him in. unfortunately, Tim wasn't in a place where he felt comfortable doing that. For some reason he just wasn't able to vent his soul to Gibbs at the moment because he couldn't take the risk of being mocked or discredited or worse, ignored by the people that mattered to him - not over this.

"Talk to me." Gibbs finally pushed, unable to take the silence that radiated from Tim anymore; his quiet concerned tone, heard only on rare occasions before now.

"Boss, I… I'm…..I can't." came the equally quiet and reluctant reply.

And there it was; the truth behind the actions. This young man didn't want to be making this choice; he obviously felt he had no choice. Gibbs had the feeling that the decision had been snatched right out of his agent's hands. This wasn't happening like this, not if Gibbs had anything to say about it.

"Why can't you talk to me about this, Tim?" Making sure his tone remained calm, he roped in his agravation that it would be now of all times for his agent to let his stubborn streak run free. The use of his given name made the younger man flinch uncomfortably

"Because …because there's nothing you can do about this except dismiss it as not real; and I just can't take that chance, Boss." Came the cautious answer seemingly loaded with genuine fear.

"If I give you my word that I will take whatever this is about, seriously, would you be willing to talk to me?" Gibbs asked in compassionate seriousness.

"Boss, I would have talked to you about it Monday, if I had known I could count on that!" the younger man exclaimed in a rare show of all-out frustration.

"I'm listening now, Tim."