Greater Good
An NCIS Fanfic
By CaelumFelis
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS or anything associated with it.

Gibbs Residence
Hawthorne, Washington DC
0329 EST

Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs sanded away rhythmically at the plank of wood in on his workbench, allowing his mind to go blank and his body to relax. He hadn't had a chance to decompress like this in at least a month, after a rather long, frustrating case involving more forensics and computer work than he particularly cared for. It had put him in a bad mood for weeks, with the team walking on eggshells around him to avoid getting reamed out. McGee especially had seemed particularly on edge, although Gibbs had simply put it down to babysitting the ridiculous number of searches he had to run for this case. The older man had to admit, though, that McGee had really come through on his angle of the case, pulling leads and connections out of nearly empty cyberspace, and practically solving the case by himself. As a reward for all of his hard work, Gibbs had let him go home early, without finishing any of his paperwork, telling him to take the next two days to unplug. Tony had put up a fuss, but a sharp headslap and a threat of doing Tim's paperwork on top of his own had shut him up. Ziva had smirked at the senior field agent before handing Tim his coat and bag and promising to bring him over a little something for dinner. Gibbs had nearly laughed out loud at the nonplussed expression on Tim's face as all of this positive attention poured on him, the poor kid didn't get nearly enough credit for all the work that he did.

After he'd seen Tim off (congratulating him privately for a job well done), he'd made sure that Tony and Ziva did their paperwork as he did his own, then he'd sent everyone home, instructing them not to come back for two days as well. He'd gotten everything cleared and turned in, made sure Abby and Ducky and Jimmy were squared away, and then went home to begin working on that year's shipment of toys for the Toys for Tots program.

He put the sander down and stretched out his back, jumping when his cell phone began to ring from where he'd left it on the basement steps. Wondering who on earth could be calling at such an hour, he went to pick it up, grumbling to himself.

"Gibbs," he growled.

"… Boss?"

"McGee?" Gibbs' eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Speak up, I can barely hear you."

"… Boss… help…" Tim's voice was weak, and very faint, immediately setting off alarms in Gibbs' head.

"Tim? Tim, talk to me, what's wrong?"

A weak cough, a groan of pain, and then a nearly inaudible whisper. "…H-help, Boss… hurts… …Boss… please…"

Gibbs' heart was thundering as he raced upstairs, stuffing his feet into sneakers as he did. "Tim, where are you? Where are you right now?"

The few seconds it took for his youngest surrogate son to reply nearly had Gibbs' stomach in his throat. "… Home, Boss… T-they b-b-broke into m-my apartment… …w-woke me up…" Another groan of pain, and Gibbs put on another burst of speed, jumping into his car, turning it on, and peeling out of his driveway and down the street in a matter of seconds. "H-hurts… Boss, h-help me… please, Boss… don't want 'em… t-to hurt m-me again…"

"I'm on my way right now, Tim, just hold on," Gibbs soothed, trying to keep the horror he felt at the terrified vulnerability in Tim's voice out of his own. "Tim, I'm gonna hang up and call Ziva, and then I'm gonna call you back, okay? Just stay awake, I'll only be a second."

"B-B-Boss, please… d-don't… don't l-leave…" Gibbs' throat tightened as Tim's voice quivered in fear and pain.

"I'll only be a second, Tim, I promise," he said gently. "I'll call you right back, and Ziva will be there with you in a few minutes. She'll make sure that no one will hurt you."

"… O-Okay, B-Boss…" Tim whimpered.

Gibbs gritted his teeth and disconnected, the beep of his phone as he ended the call sending a stab of pain like a spear through his heart.

Marines never leave a man behind.

Shaking his head, he quickly hit Ziva's speed dial, barely waiting for the muffled grunt of "David" before beginning to speak. "Ziva, I need you to go to McGee's apartment immediately, fully armed."

"McGee's apartment… Gibbs, is something wrong?" Suddenly the Israeli was wide awake and judging by the sounds Gibbs could hear through the phone, in the process of getting dressed.

"Tim was attacked at some point last night, some bastards broke into his place," Gibbs explained tensely. "He's in pain and terrified, and I can't get there fast enough. I need you to go over to his apartment and make sure that he's safe, and see if you can find any trace of his attackers."

"I- Of course, Gibbs, I shall leave immediately," she said, sounding flustered for the first time since Gibbs had known her. "What is the nature of McG- Tim's injuries? Shall I call an ambulance?"

"That might be a good idea, Ziver," Gibbs said. "I wasn't able to get much out of him besides him saying that he hurt. I gotta hang up now, Ziva, I promised Tim I'd call him back. Get there as fast as you can, you hear?"

"I understand, Gibbs. Tell Tim-" She cut off, and Gibbs could hear her taking a deep, shaky breath. "-tell Tim that I will be there as soon as I can. He is not allowed to pass out until I get there, make sure he knows that."

"I will, Ziver," Gibbs replied. He hung up, and immediately dialed Tim's phone again. His heart was in his throat as he listened to it ring, and he barely bit back a sigh of relief when Tim picked up.

"Hey, McGee, how're you doing?" He asked, trying to keep the worry out of his voice. It was exceedingly difficult, however, as he listened to his agent's pained coughs and groans through the oddly tenuous cell phone signal. "Tim? Tim, can you hear me? I need you to answer me, buddy, I need you to tell me you can hear me."

"B-Boss?-va c-coming? S-sc-red, B-Boss…-n't l-leave-lone a-ag-gain-ase, B-Boss " Tim's weak, terrified voice kept breaking up as the signal kept dropping. Pulling the phone away from his ear for a split second, Gibbs frowned at the full bars on his cell's screen, which meant that Tim's phone was the one that kept losing the signal. However, Gibbs knew for a fact that Tim's phone was the best on the market at the moment, because if there was anything Tim McGee knew backwards, forwards, inside, and out, it was electronics. Even before he made a fortune on his book, he always tried to have the best electronics he could afford. Therefore, it made absolutely no sense for Tim's phone to be on the fritz, unless it was damaged somehow in the attack on Tim himself.

A sudden beep, and Gibbs jumped, staring at his phone in shock. Call lost blinked red letters on the small screen, and he felt his heart jump into his throat.

Hang on, Tim.

He pressed the gas down harder.

Author's Note: I'm back! Missed me? Yeah, I've got a ton of free time now, and I've got access to FFN, so I can post and update again! Yay! Anyway, here's the first chapter of my latest work in progress, which I will try my darnedest to update as much as possible. Oh, and the inspiration for this story came from Emerald1's Cape Fear, and Alessandriana's Ignition. Just wanted to put that out there so that no one bit my head off about stealing stuff. I'm a big fan of both stories, so I hope that y'all enjoy my measly offering as much as I enjoyed their incredible tales. Go check 'em out sometime! In the meantime, rate and review!