Gibbs waited a minute, then walked to the break room, figuring that's where he'd find Tim.

He was right. Tim was sitting at one of the tables, drinking a sip of root beer.

"Root beer? Really?"

Tim shrugged. "As close to actual beer as I'm gonna get right now."

Gibbs sighed, sitting down beside Tim. "What happened, McGee?"

Tim glanced at him, then returned his gaze to his drink. He contemplated not telling him for a moment, then decided against it. "My boss called… Apparently I left him a drunk message last night, after failing to tell him I was coming here in the first place. I'm either fired, or I have to quit."

Gibbs' eyebrows furrowed.

"This isn't the first mistake I've made since getting that job," Tim explained.

Gibbs nodded. "Ah." He stood back up. "Maybe this is all a wake-up call, McGee. Someone's telling you that you aren't meant to be there."

Tim laughed humorlessly, taking a sip of his drink. "Oh yeah? Well, where the heck am I supposed to be?"

Gibbs just shrugged. "That's up to you to figure out, Tim," He said before heading back out of the room.

Tim rubbed his eyes, took another sip of his drink, then got up and headed back to his desk.


"Timmy came back then?" Abby asked Tony as he entered the lab.

"Hello to you too."

"I heard he came back but I haven't been able to go up and see for myself."

"Yeah, he's here, but I haven't seen him yet. I've been runnin' around. You got anything?"

Abby put her hands on her hips. "What exactly am I supposed to have, Tony? There is no forensic evidence at the moment. None that I haven't already finished with anyway."

Tony's eyebrows furrowed. "So, why haven't you had time to go see McGee yet?"

Abby bit the inside of her cheek. "Okay, I'm kinda scared to. It's just, he's so… different."

Tony nodded. "Yeah, I get it. I've been making myself busy to avoid the bullpen. Unfortunately that can't last much longer though."

"Tony, I don't like this. Any of it. Three of our people are missing, and Tim might as well be. I just… it's too much."

Tony saw the tears forming in Abby's eyes, so he pulled her into one of his brotherly hugs as he so often did with her. "I know, Abbs, I know. We'll find them though, okay? All of them."

They continued hugging for a moment, before Abby pulled back with a sigh. "We better."


Tim didn't speak for the next few hours. He simply worked on the encryption code until around nine, then excused himself to go make a phone call.

He knew it was late, but he also knew his boss didn't leave work until ten, so he had time to tell him his decision.

Tim went down an empty hall, got out his phone, and went down the list of contacts until he got to his boss' name. He took a deep breath before hitting the 'call' button.

The phone rang four times before it was answered. "Hello."

"Mark."

"McGee," Mark replied with a low sigh. "You've made your decision?"

Another deep breath. "Yes, I have. I- I quit."

Tim couldn't be sure, but he felt as though Mark was nodding on the other end of the line. "That's a good decision, Tim."

Tim rubbed his eyes. "Yeah."

There was an awkward silence for a moment before Mark spoke. "Tim, can I be completely honest with you?"

Tim sighed. "Sure, why not?"

"You were never meant to be here."

Tim smiled and empty smile. "You're not the first person to tell me that today."

"Well, whoever the other person was, they were right. You're smart, Tim. You're a lot smarter than this job, and you deserve something that makes you happy. Something that's not alcohol."

"Yeah," Was all Tim replied.

"Okay," Mark said, disappointment in his voice. "I have to go, Tim. I'm sorry it came to this, but I hope you will find that something soon."

"Yeah, thanks. Bye."

Tim hung up quickly, taking a few seconds to put himself together, then he headed back out to his old desk to resume his work.


It was nearing eleven o'clock, with Tony, Tim, and Gibbs still working at their desks, when Gibbs' desk phone began to ring.

He picked it up quickly.

"Agent Gibbs."

"Agent Gibbs, this is Officer Thomas. Your card was found along with the I.D. and badge of an Agent Winderson. Do you know him?"

"Yes, I do. What do you mean you found his badge and I.D.?"

"The M.E. found it, actually. He was found about an hour ago in the Jameson apartment complex."

Gibbs stood up quickly, grabbing his gear. Tony and Tim both looked up, and Tony began following suit.

"Don't touch anything else, I'm on my way with my team."

"Yes, Sir."

Gibbs listened as the officer called out to everyone around him. "Hey! Drop everything, NCIS is takin' over!" He put the phone back to his ear. "Agent Gibbs?"

"Yeah?"

"I'll stay till you get here."

Gibbs hung up and headed straight for the elevator.

"Boss!" Tony called out to him.

"Come on, Tony!" Gibbs called back. "She's got Abby!"


School sucks! It takes too much time from my writing. I used to be able to update multiple stories so much quicker! UGH!

Well, I hope you guys liked the chapter :) Sorry about the long wait :(