All recognizable characters belong to their respective owners (DC Comics, Donald Bellisario/Don McGill).

WARNING: Spoilers for through the end of Robin (v2) all the way up to (but not including) Bruce's...disappearence, and also Return of the Joker...kind of. And for NCIS, anything up to the end of season 7 is fair game.

Inspired by Franavu's short about Timothy being Timothy. Also, I'm trying a kind of odd style for this; let me know if it works?

Dick tried to contact me a few times. I never answered. I can't help but love him for that. He's always been my idol, and then, my big brother in all but blood. And blood isn't really that important anyhow.

So he called me twice, and sent an email or two. But I was his "little brother," and, much as he cared for me, Bruce has always had Dick's blind loyalty. If I talked to him now, then he'd be forced to lie to Bruce. And Dick can keep a secret from anyone but him.

It felt like half my heart just died, but I honestly could never force Dick to choose between his family members. So I didn't answer the phone, and I deleted and purged my email account.

I knew it wouldn't be easy, not with Babs' know-how and Dick's stubbornness, but I vanished. I left Gotham, I crawled into a deep, dark hole, and pulled the hole in after me. I even tricked the subcutaneous tracker. I'd turned it off, but they could activate it remotely. A brilliant tactical move for a crimefighter with a history of being kidnapped, but not so good for a broken civilian who just wants out.

It wasn't too deep, but it still hurt like hell when I yanked it out. The knife shook in my hands, and I had to swallow bile before I could wipe off the blood and bandage my hip. I'd had worse, but I'd never been the one doing the cutting before.

Let's not dwell, though. I threw the tracker into a decent-sized river in the first town I came across. I don't quite recall the name, not anymore. But it's okay, because I don't ever want it back. I hope they had fun tracking it down the current.

I went to ground. Well, not exactly. I moved around a lot, even spent some time in the wilds. I'd roll into a town, get a job, make some money, then move out a few months later, before anyone would quite remember me.

But that was no way to live, and I knew it. And then, while I was considering moving on to a new place, a guy snatched a lady's purse right in front of me and ran.

I tripped him. Of course I tripped him. Ever since I figured out that my two idols were one and the same, I've always wanted to fight crime. Maybe even before that.

The lady got her purse back, the man got to go to jail, and I got an idea.

I could just don a new costume and a new name, and be a new vigilante in a new town. But that would make news, and I needed to stay off the superhero radar. Well, technically, I needed to stay off the bat radar, but Batman had hacked the superhero one long before I entered the scene. If I couldn't fight crime as a vigilante, then I'd just be a cop.

The idea sat strangely with me. A cop? They'd have guns. And I'd been trained to stay the hell away from the police. Right, new idea.

Tech. I could be a lab rat. Speed up the justice system, make it more secure. Innovate, invent, and, above all, stay in the background. This, I could do.

So I changed my name and signed up for college. Some forged transcript got me into a small community college, some place that wouldn't look too closely. That, in turn, got me the recommendations and real transcripts I needed to transfer to a place like MIT.

And somewhere along the way, I picked up a sister.

I know, it surprised me, too.

I volunteered at the local youth center. There was this child I'd worked with on a fairly constant basis, and she was young and pretty and so very angry. Her mother had just died, her father long since gone, and she was alone and scared and, above all, familiar. I knew her pain, and she knew I knew.

I let her crash on my couch for a few nights while she got back on her feet, and haven't been able to get rid of her since. But I also know about siblings-who-aren't, and honestly, I could use someone to cling to, as well.

She knows who I am now, in this persona I've created for myself, but she has no idea who I was, or what I did. And if it's all the same to her, I'd like to keep it that way.

The problem with my new team is that they're almost my team. I mean, Gibbs is almost Bruce, and Tony is almost Dick, and Ducky is so like Alfred that it hurts, sometimes. And I know I should be over it, but I can't help thinking that Tony will say this next, because that's what Dick would have said. Or that Gibbs will push for harder, for more, and assign training as punishment. But Tony will never be as tempered as Dick, because he's missing that darkness. And Gibbs will never push as hard, as much, as fast as Bruce, because Gibbs is only human, and I'm not sure Bruce ever was.

It keeps me off balance around them. I'm sure they think I'm a stammering, stuttering fool, but I can't help it. And after a while, I don't try to. It makes good cover.

But the Timothy McGee of MIT never had to deal with danger or anything real, so it was easy to keep my past from present. And now I'm a field agent, and some things just don't stay hidden where they should. I'm not sure how this is going to end up playing out; I swore I was done with Robin, done with the people and the skills and the whole thing, but Fate does so like to make a man break his promises.

Well, anyway, here's to hoping.