Wow I really thought this last chapter would go quicker. Sorry for the wait.
Thank you, thank you everyone for reading and reviewing and alerting. Your comments have been so encouraging and the support humbling. They never fail to make my day and bring a smile to my face. :)
Thank you so very much shialuvr222 for your beta job. You have always been so supportive and helpful and I can't express my gratitude. :)
Four months later
Tony dropped his backpack at his desk and sat down as surreptitiously as he could.
"Nice of you to join us DiNozzo."
Ziva smirked as Tony winced.
"Sorry Boss, traffic was pretty bad."
He glanced to his right.
"Hey, McGeek's not here either." He said observing the empty desk and dark computer screen.
Gibbs didn't say anything.
"He is coming back today right?" Tony probed anxiously. "First day of desk duty? Did he need someone to pick him up? I can go get-."
"Calm down Tony. Abby is bringing McGee in." Ziva said smiling. "They had to stop and get some paper work first, that is probably why they are not here."
It had been a long process. The feeling returning to his legs had only been half the battle. There were still multiple breaks that had to heal and kept McGee off his feet for several weeks. By the time he was able to start physical therapy his other injuries had healed so that he could concentrate on strengthening his legs enough to walk after all the braces were removed.
McGee found out the day he was moved to the rehabilitation facility that he was to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his 'selfless contribution to the protection of the lives of the citizens of the United States of America.'
He had vigorously protested until his father reminded him that compliments should be received in the spirit they are given. It would devalue the lives of those he had saved to refuse the honor. Tim humbly decided to accept. There would be a ceremony for award but Tim had requested it not occur until he was back on his feet.
Tim's parents stayed most of their son's recovery. Laura and Michael alternated going home to check on things before coming right back. They had left the day before Tim was to return to work upon his insistence that he was and would be fine. The team of course regularly visited and Fornell even stopped a few times.
Emily also visited several more times and always managed to make Tim laugh no matter how tough the day had been. The most memorable visit being when she was somehow able to sneak one of her cats in the rehab facility without her mother's knowledge to 'cheer him up'. The staff had spent a good deal of time tracking down the rightfully confused and irritated feline. Tim still smiled at the thought of the look on Sheila's face when the cat was literally let out of the bag.
A week after that Gibbs stopped by and told McGee that he had been contacted by Janie Westbrook, Ben's daughter.
"How are they?" Tim asked somberly.
"Seemed fine." Gibbs said. "Wanted to see if you were up to a visit."
The alarmed look that passed across his agent's face caused him to lean forward.
"Hey, you can say no, but it sounded like they really wanted to talk to you."
"Are they mad?"
Gibbs gave him a look and Tim turned away.
"Sorry, I've been talking to the shrink but it's different. These are his children, if anyone's going to blame me it will be them."
"Then they would be wrong. Yes, grief might cause them to lash out at someone who doesn't deserve it but this lady didn't sound like that type."
Tim still looked unsure.
"You don't have to, no one will make you, but you need to remember you were the last person to see her father alive. She might just want to know about that, about him." Gibbs said.
Tim nodded slowly. "He deserved that." He said softly almost to himself. "He deserves for his family to know."
Tim nervously awaited their visit but once Janie and her brother Mark arrived it didn't take long for his anxiety to recede. Ben's children were just as gracious and kind as their father had been. They sat with Tim for several hours, telling stories of their family and going to visit their father at Grand Central Station.
Janie started to tear up when she described her mother's death a few years ago.
"I'm surprised that didn't kill Daddy. He was so…"
"He was ready to go and be with Mom." Mark said simply. "I think the only thing that really kept him going was us and our kids." Janie nodded in agreement
There was a few moment of silence between the three until Tim cleared his throat
"He talked about you guys, his family; he was so proud and happy." Tim said sincerely. "I want you to know it was an honor to know him. I know it wasn't long, but…I don't know it seems like…in situations like that you find out who people really are, even if you only know them a few hours. He was one of the bravest men I've ever had the privilege of meeting."
The visit didn't last much longer but Tim felt as if the world had been lifted off his shoulders. He hadn't realized he was still carrying around so much guilt and anxiety.
He sighed and leaned back in the char in his room. Now he just had to focus on his legs getting enough strength back to be allowed back at work.
The elevator ding pulled Tony out of his thoughts.
McGee grinned as he slowing walked to the bullpen, limping slightly with Abby bouncing along beside him. The doctor was confident there would be no lingering issues for the young man, still it would be a couple of more weeks before he was back out in the field.
"Hey guys." He said smiling brightly. "What's going on?"
Ziva moved first to wrap him into a hug.
"We are happy to have you back McGee."
"We sure are." Tony said grinning mischievously as his picked up a stack of folders on the corner of his desk.
"We saved your paper work. Didn't want you to feel like you'd been replaced."
"DiNozzo, that's your paper work." Gibbs said not looking up. "And I expect it by the end of the day."
"Uh, of course Boss, only kidding."
Gibbs hid his smile as he glanced up at his returning agent.
"You're late McGee."
"Won't happen again Boss." McGee said happily having caught the original smile when he walked into the bullpen.
Gibbs smirked. Abby continued to hover until McGee got to this desk and set his back pack down.
"I'm so sorry I didn't decorate for your welcome back day. I was really really busy last week, but I was going to stay last night and do it and I remembered that I hadn't even bought anything and it really wouldn't have done any good because the last time I tried to decorate a desk that really creepy night janitor took it all down. Then I thought I could just put a note that says I can kill you without-."
"Abby it's fine thank you." McGee interrupted just so she could breathe. "I don't need anything. I'm just happy to be back."
He kissed her forehead before assuring her he would be fine if she went back to her lab. It was quiet once more while Tim began trying to catch up on paperwork. He missed the eyes of his team mates watching him and the smiles they exchanged back and forth.
Forty-five minutes later McGee's head shot up.
"Problem McGee?" Gibbs asked one eyebrow raised.
McGee looked up sheepishly
"Umm…my typewriter…I just remembered it's still in the shop. I dropped it off that day and I never…" He trailed off at the look on Gibb's face before glancing at Tony who was looking at him incredulously.
Ziva started to giggle causing the corners of Tony's mouth to turn up before she started outright laughing. It only took a moment for it to catch Tony too and his laugher could be heard throughout the bullpen.
Gibbs chuckled thankful for the hundredth time since that morning that his team was whole again.
Thank you again for reading. I appreciate you all coming on this journey with me. The support has been so overwhelming and kind. :)
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!
I have an idea for another story but my dad is not doing very well so be a while before I get it thought out enough to write it.