DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN NCIS OR ANY OF ITS CHARACTERS!
MASK OF INNOCENCE
Instead of going to the elevator Gibbs walked to an interrogation room. Holding the door opened he tilted his head for Tim to enter first.
As he passed the lead agent McGee knew he'd crack if Gibbs began questioning him. He sat at the table and put his head in his hand, his elbows resting on top. He felt Gibbs standing behind him.
Gibbs examined the reflection in the one way glass. Could the younger man in front of him be someone he misjudged? Tim's head lifted and gazed into the mirrored image. His eyes, the mirror to his soul hardened. Gibbs shook his head and moved to the other side of the table scraping the chair along the floor as he pulled it out to sit.
He stared at his agent, the man he'd trusted to have his six and had come to see as family. "What happened?" he asked tersely but with a touch of sadness that Tim couldn't recall having heard from him before.
"He figured it out," Tim answered finally looking into the blue eyes across from him. His own green eyes still managed to maintain a hardness in them.
"He met me early this morning at a parking garage where we hoping to meet up with a witness on our case," Tim got up to pace while Gibbs eyed him warily. "I was so stupid! Me! Everyone always remarked how smart I was, but none of this would've happened if I was really smart."
Gibbs listened as he continued to rant wanting to know what happened and what McGee was trying to tell him about himself. "How many times did I see that cold case sitting there in storage? I should've made it disappear," he frowned. Turning to face his boss he put his hands down on the table, "This was all I've ever wanted. Not to be any investigator, but to work with you."
The older man merely nodded encouraging Tim to go on. "I should've known my secrets would be discovered," Tim fell back into his chair and resumed holding his head in his hands.
He remained silent for so long Gibbs wasn't sure he'd continue. His fingers resting on his chin he waited as long as he could before prompting, "What did you do?"
Tim looked up, his eyes glassy from unshed tears. But when his eyes met the ones glaring at him they seemed to harden again. "I didn't have a choice," Tim didn't think his boss would agree. "Tony was quiet," he snorted, "I could feel him watching me, looking for something he missed. When I returned his gaze he saw what he'd been trying to see. The monster in me."
It was 0400 and Tim was waiting outside the parking garage waiting for Tony to join him. Finally he saw him jogging up to meet him. "About time you got her," Tim smirked.
"Yeah," Tony returned. "Let's get up there," he pushed past the younger agent who narrowed his eyes trying to figure out why the normally gregarious agent was so quiet. Keeping his exam of his partner going he followed him into the currently silent structure.
"Late night?" Tim quipped hoping that Tony had a normal excuse for his demeanor.
Tony's response was a mere shake of his head as he cast glances at his colleague.
Tim's gut screamed at him. He'd hoped that Tony had laid his father's case to rest, but feeling his coworker's scrutiny as the elevator carried them up he knew that his partner had reached the conclusion he couldn't let him divulge. Taking a breath he turned to confront the older man dropping the façade he'd carried for years.
Tony took an involuntary step back seeing the change in Tim's face. Since his first suspicions had wormed their way in, he'd pieced together the bits of evidence and now the proof stood in front of him. He'd seen Tim display numerous emotions throughout the years, but never had he seen the nearly soulless look that lied within the green eyes staring back at him.
Before he could say or do anything Tim's hand reached out and pushed him to the back of the elevator. His fingers clenched around his neck as his body pinned Tony to the back wall.
"Tim," Tony choked grabbing at the crushing hand which had more strength than he'd ever given him credit for. His eyes watered as he struggled to breath. Finally realizing he had to fight for his life, Tony raised his knee into Tim's stomach and pushing him off once the grip had loosened.
It wasn't over. Tim recovered quickly the adrenaline in his system feeding his anger. "Why couldn't you have let it go?" he sneered. "We had a good thing going. I had the life I wanted," Tim threw a punch that glanced off Tony's chin as he maneuvered to the side.
Tony returned a punch that Tim evaded, but Tony's momentum ran him into the younger man and they fell to the floor of the elevator. He pinned the younger man down trying to calm him, but Tim was too far gone. The man beneath him wasn't the man he'd known as Tim McGee. The doors open and Tim managed to lift Tony off and out the doors.
He got up quickly and got to Tony before he'd gotten to his feet. He kicked him as he began to stand and Tony stepped away grabbing at his stomach. He looked up watching Tim approach.
Tim's hands clenched and opened repeatedly as he stalked toward his partner. He knew only one of them would survive and in his mind it had to be him.
Tony thought of trying to talk his way out of fighting with McGee, but his friend was too far gone. He mentally hardened himself to fight for his life.
Still a bit off balanced Tony tried to stand erect before Tim reached him. He didn't expect the lunge Tim made and felt his back hit the cement. He struggled again to get a breath, not only from the weight on his chest but from the impact as well. Before he could Tim's hands were once again around his throat.
Tim watched as the face above his hands reddened and turned purple. The nails scratching at his hands went undetected. He had no choice. His focus was singular and this was the objective.
Tony bucked hopelessly under Tim. No matter how hard he tried the grip around his neck never loosened. Words couldn't escape his mouth though his lips tried in vain to speak. His last image was a touch of sadness in the hardened eyes above him.
Tim watched as Tony's eyes rolled back. When his mission was complete he felt the sadness flood him.
Having heard Tim's confession, Gibbs called Ziva as he glared across the table. The rage that burned inside was one he knew he needed to tamp down before he committed murder himself.
Ziva knocked at the door having been summoned by the lead agent. Gibbs went to talk to her never taking his eyes off McGee. Ziva stared wide-eyed at her partner not recognizing the man as she knew him.
In the hallway Gibbs told her what had happened and grabbed her when she made to go in and do what Gibbs himself felt the urge to do.
"Watch him," Gibbs directed. He left to find the scene of that morning's crime calling Ducky to accompany him.
Tony's body was where Tim had left it. Despite the haphazard attempt to conceal him, Tim had laid him in the cleanest spot there was. Ducky didn't need to examine too thoroughly to see the marks around Tony's neck.
Gibbs' eyes lifted upwards as silent tears filled them. How could he have misjudged a member of his own team? How could a man who appeared to be timid and shy be a man so full of rage and violence?
"Take care of him Duck," Gibbs said as he turned to head back to the Navy Yard. When he arrived he went to the observation room to find Ziva and Abby both staring at McGee who remained sitting stoically at the table.
Ziva was still angry. Both at what Tim had done to Tony and that she had been deceived by him as well.
Abby was crying. She had been closer to Tim than any of them. She should've known. Should've seen, something. She turned to Gibbs when he entered and let him enfold her in his arms. She leaned her head into his shoulder as she sobbed.
"What are you going to do?" Ziva almost dared him.
"Arrest him, Ziver," he answered telling her silently that it was what they had to do despite what they felt compelled to do.
"Where's Tony?" Abby asked as she tried to dry her tears.
"Ducky's bringing him in," Gibbs rubbed her arm and rested his chin on top of her head. "We'll go see him in a little bit," he gave her arm a squeeze.
Tim knew he was being observed. He internally scoffed, that was why it was called an observation window wasn't it. He was only slightly surprised that neither Gibbs nor Ziva had tried to kill him. He supposed it was a testament to the lead agent's ability to control his own desire to kill that spared him. Still he knew that his end had to come.
Prison wasn't an option. The few times he'd visited one were enough to convince him it was no place for him. He sat not displaying any emotions or revealing any of the thoughts tumbling through his mind. He knew he'd have to act soon, before anyone came to join him. He stood slowly and turned his back to those he knew were watching him.
The observation room remained quiet, aside from a few sobs from Abby. They watched as Tim turned his back to them. Gibbs released Abby and began to run from the room. Ziva and Abby turned to see him exit the door before returning to look back into interrogation. They saw Gibbs enter as Tim's body crumbled to the floor.
Ziva and Abby exchanged a quick glance and rushed to join Gibbs. When they got to the interrogation room door they saw Gibbs holding Tim's lifeless body. A bloody knife next to him from the slash he'd made across his throat.
Gibbs stood, looked down at Tim and then silently passed the two women who clung to each other.
A few days later….
Gibbs was going through Tony's reports on Commander McGee's murder. He'd made notes that brought a smirk to the lead agent's face; they were so 'Tony'. He marveled at how his senior agent had put the facts together. Still there was no official report or even an official notation that named Tim as the murderer. To the very end he'd tried to believe it wasn't.
Shaking his head he closed the file and set it aside. He had a service to attend and he was going to make sure to not be late.