DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NCIS OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!
MASK OF INNOCENCE
His body trembled as his tears coursed down his face. He'd never wanted it to come to this. He'd never expected it. Still, he should've known. And done something, anything, to prevent it.
Perhaps he was colder inside than he realized. Or maybe the monster he'd harnessed and controlled was stronger than he gave it credit for.
He looked at the slack face below him as he knelt over the lifeless form of his coworker. A colleague he'd been a friend with, had gone through war with and had seen all the good and the bad the job had to offer with. Now he had taken that life away.
No longer would he see that smile that usually greeted him, the eyes that brightened when mischief welled inside. Nor would he hear the laughter when the teasing was delivered. There were times he thought it was just to irritate him, but deep down he knew it was all a way to lighten the weight of the caseload they were often beleaguered with.
He looked down at his hands, bloody from the fight and the victory. A heart-wrenching victory. One now he'd rather have been the defeated. He'd trade places in a heart beat, if only the heart beneath him still could.
He'd had no idea he was suspected or that he'd left a trail anyone could follow- until tonight. Looking into his partner's eyes only moments ago, he knew he'd been careless somewhere. He'd always known the investigative prowess of his friend was one of the highest caliber, but he'd gone undetected for years. A lot of years.
That first kill seemed like a lifetime ago. In some ways it was a different lifetime.
Tim had been sixteen. The older child of a navy commander and a stay-at-home mom to him and his little sister who was a surprise to both his parents when he was twelve years old. With a career in the navy his father was deployed often and he had never questioned stepping up to be the man of the house.
Finally his father was coming home- for good, and the family could settle down and make a home. No more moving base to base, city to city, state to state, or even country to country. No more being the new kid at school, meaning no new bullies to contend with. No more hearing his little sister, Sarah crying because Daddy's gone.
Life was going to be better.
At least it should've been. That was the plan. Mrs. McGee prepared their home to welcome her husband back. She added all the touches he always enjoyed and smiled with the anticipation of having the man she loved faithfully home to stay.
Unfortunately, Commander McGee had plans of his own, none of which included the family that lovingly followed him anywhere and everywhere his career carried him. They were completely devoted to him. The fervent belief in him was the basis of their family life.
Having his father's approval had been the epitome of success in all he strove for; the driving force that propelled him to the head of his class and beyond. The news that he'd gotten early acceptance to MIT was supposed to be a welcome home present. Instead he found himself, once again having to take care of the mother who'd nurtured him and his sister who was too young to understand that he own daddy wanted to move on without them.
It was his mother's sobs that tormented him. Her pain tortured him. His father's laissez-faire attitude and how he simply brushed his wife's hands away as she made her vain attempts to keep him with her infuriated him. His mother's pleas of "Don't go." "How can you leave us?" and "What did I do wrong?" went unanswered. The man who became his focus for hatred simply walked away from her and his children without a word.
No good-byes. No hug for his 'princess' who cried silently until he was out of sight; a true 'brave' girl to the end.
Tim didn't know when he'd made the decision or even if it was a conscious choice. But somewhere in the recesses of his never ceasing brain he'd plotted out a course of action.
A trip into town provided him the ideal opportunity to put his plan into action. His mother had been collecting items from families on base to donate to a local charity. He volunteered to take them since she was still trying to pull herself together even after a month after their father's departure.
As he looked at the boxes he put in the car he found something that would be useful. He procured a pair of old garden gloves. After delivering the boxes to the charity, he used a payphone to call his father.
"Dad?" his voice cracked trying to control his emotions.
"What do you want?" his father asked clearly disturbed by his son interrupting his day.
"I need to see you. It's important," Tim pressed.
"How long will it take? I have a flight to catch tonight," the commander blustered.
"I can meet you at the airport," Tim saw a plan form in his mind's eye. A change to the original one, but it would work even better.
"My flight leaves at 8:15," his father told him before disconnecting the call.
Tim hurried home. He had to make sure his idea would work without leaving any evidence that would make him suspect.
He had an astrology project for school that he'd planned for the evening. The assignment required observing star patterns, so he rigged his telescope to record images. When he was finished he'd be able to accurately report the findings and set u his alibi, just in case.
After he set the timer and aligned the scope precisely, he caught a bus to the airport. He found an ideal location to wait, unseen, for his father to arrive. Tim knew his father's car well and had no trouble identifying it when he entered the parking garage.
Tim watched his father gather his luggage and lock up his car. As he approached Tim each hand carrying a suitcase, Tim timed his attack.
Tim had gained a height advantage over his father with that edge and his father's hands hindered by the weight of the bags the older man didn't have a chance to defend himself from the garrote that circled his neck and quickly snuffed the life out of him.
The coarse rope imbedded itself in his neck as Tim pulled it tighter and tighter. It hadn't taken as long as he'd expected for his father to go limp and after a few erratic twitches laid completely still.
Removing the garrote was a task he would've preferred to ignore, but even as a teen he knew he couldn't leave any trace of evidence behind. The fingers of the garden gloves made removing the frayed fibers a challenge. Soon though he'd done all he could, then proceeded to remove his father's wallet, leaving him to be found by the next passerby.
He took off the gloves turning them inside out and tossed one in a dumpster three blocks away and the other five blocks even further. He removed the cash, credit cards and ID from the wallet before dropping it in a sewer. The ID and credit cards he took back to his site where had had some scissors. He cut them into tiny pieces and scattered them throughout the forest a mile or so away from his viewing location. The money he folded and put in his pocket. He figured it was money due to his mother.
He found a small stream that he cleaned the few spots of blood he'd gotten on his shirt. He was surprised there hadn't been more, but than again his father hadn't struggled much. The same couldn't be said for the gloves. They had been quite saturated and he was glad to be rid of them.
When he arrived home, Tim was surprised that there weren't a bunch of cop cars with lights flashing in front of it. His mind had conjured up all sorts of scenarios. He then wondered how long it would take to identify the body. He had left the plane tickets on the body, but he supposed they would have to get verification before notifying the family.
He entered the house and found his mother sitting in the dim lit living room. He put his things down carefully and went to sit beside her on the sofa.
"Mom? Are you okay?" he asked concerned she hadn't seemed to notice he was there.
"I was watching the news," she answered quietly staring at the now black screen of the tv.
Tim's gut clenched, but he gave no outward sign of fear. "You watch the news everyday," he gave her a small smile while he was internally hoping she hadn't heard the news from a reporter.
"No there was a troubling story," she turned to look at her son. He saw in her eyes uncertainty and sadness.
"What was it?" he didn't want to press her but he wanted to know what she had heard.
"There was a navy commander murdered at the airport. An apparent robbery," she almost scoffed or maybe it was a so he couldn't be sure.
"You think it was Dad?" he asked playing his part of ignorance perfectly.
He was puzzled when she narrowed her eyes at him, scrutinizing his face as if looking for some tell-tale sign of something he couldn't be sure of. Not seeing what she thought she would, she shrugged, "If it was we'll find out soon enough. The reporter said that NCIS was going to be notifying the family within the hour."
Tim patted his arm. "Would you like some coffee?" he nodded his head at her empty cup.
She gave him a warm smile looking more like her old self than she had in long time. "That would be lovely. Thank you, Tim."
"Sure thing," he stood taking her cup and having a sense her words of gratitude were for more than his offer to refill it for her. He found a pot of coffee still warm and fixed her a cup and returning it to the living room. "I'm going to put my things away and get my report finished. If you need me, call." He waited for her to nod, before leaving to go to his room.
He filed his finished report in his science folder, erased the taped footage and undid all the rigging putting the reusable parts away and the wires in a box of old wires he'd used before. There was no way to tell if any were recently used. He smiled. It had gone perfectly. Then he heard the knock at the door.