DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN ANYTHING!
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAVE READ AND EVERYONE WHO HAS REVIEWED. I HAVE ANSWERED SOME AND WILL ANSWER ALL BUT I JUST WANTED TO LET EVERYONE KNOW HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE THEM.
I AM WORKING ON UPDATES TO ALL MY STORIES, BUT IT'S NOT THAT EASY TO GET BACK INTO IT AFTER BEING AWAY FOR SO LONG.
After Tony finished his call to Gibbs, he made a detour to the cafeteria to pick up two coffees and then made his way back to where Tim still waited in the ER waiting room. He had deliberately not told Gibbs everything that he knew because he wasn't sure exactly what he knew. But he was going to rectify that situation right now. Tony sat beside his probie in the chair he had vacated previously and handed over one of the cups he held.
"Start from the beginning." Tony ordered. "I want to know everything. Don't leave anything out."
Tim was still caught up in worry about his sister and about the thought that anyone—even Harris and Donnelly—would think that blowing up his car, with Sarah in it, could be funny. He took the coffee when Tony impatiently shook it at him but he wasn't sure he was ready to spill his guts to the senior agent. What if Tony was like Gibbs and just blew him off? Or worse—what if Tony didn't believe him? Abby hadn't. Tim felt a deep hurt at that thought. He didn't know if he could stand it if Tony didn't believe him.
"Do we have to do this now, Tony?" Tim asked in an aggravated tone. "Do you really think that now is the right time to get into all this?"
Tony studied the younger man shrewdly. "You're not getting out of this, Tim." He said in a firm voice. "I know that this is not a good time with what's happening with Sarah." Tony said when a stubborn look came across Tim's face. "But I need to know why. I need to know why you've pulled away from us. I need to know why you think someone tried to hurt you, why you would think that I would help them." Tony stopped. "I need to know what I did to make you think that, Tim, so that I never—ever—" he empathized. "Do it again." Tony glanced at the junior agent out of the corner of his eye and saw that he had Tim's attention. "I get the feeling that we almost lost you." Tony paused because he still had the feeling that they could lose Tim. "I want to make sure that doesn't happen again. Not because of something that I did or something I didn't do."
Tim scrutinized his friend, trying to gauge his sincerity. Tony seemed to actually believe what he was saying.
Tim sighed. He really wasn't in the mood to get into this. He was hurting because of his injuries and he was consumed with worry about Sarah. He had been waiting awhile and no one had come to talk to him yet. He wasn't a stupid man. He knew that the longer it took for someone to come out the worse the news would be. And he was extremely angry. Angry that it took this to for someone to notice. Angry it took Sarah getting badly hurt to make someone care. And jealous that Tony hadn't cared enough to notice anything was wrong when he had been hurt. The guilt came at that thought because it seemed as if Tony had noticed something was wrong.
Tim sighed and slumped in the hard green chair. "I don't know where to start." He said, giving in. It had to be done anyway and if he confessed to the senior agent about what had been going on, then Tony could deal with everything else and let Tim concentrate on his sister.
"The beginning is usually the best place to start."
So Tim started at the beginning. He told how it started out, how he went to Gibbs, everything that happened and everything in between, making sure to leave nothing out. Including Abby's part. As Tim finished, he glanced at his friend and saw a look like thunder on Tony's face and shifted uneasily. He couldn't help but wonder if Tony thought as Gibbs did. Did he think that Tim should expect this kind of stuff?
"Tim…" Tony breathed out shaking his head. "Gibbs knew about this and didn't do anything?!" Tony asked in disbelief. He couldn't believe that his Boss could do that. Tony found it hard to understand how Gibbs could put a case over the safety of one of his agents. One of his children. Yes, this case was a bad one, but that wasn't an excuse!
"He never gave me a chance to tell him." Tim admitted quietly. "He just told me to suck it up and do my job. That I had to expect stuff like this." Tim paused. "Especially me." He added with quiet bitterness.
Tony jumped up, unable to be still any longer. "Especially you!?" He almost shouted. "Of all the…" He stopped, to angry to continue.
Three things happened at that moment. A doctor in scrubs and a lab coat came into the waiting room. "Family of Sarah McGee?" He called in a quiet voice.
Before Tim and Tony could acknowledge him, though, Gibbs came bursting into the room, and not too far behind, two metro cops.
Tobias sat at a stop light and wearily ran a hand over his face, trying to process what his senior agent had just told him. "What makes you think this is true?" Was what first came out of his mouth. That wasn't what he meant to say to say. He knew his senior agent well enough that Ron wouldn't have even thought about coming to Tobias without complete belief that he was right, but questions had to be asked, even though Tobias knew it would only put Ron on the defensive. "Did McGee come out and tell you that this was what was happening? Did Harris and Donnelly admit to this when you confronted them? Did you see anything happen?" Tobias rapid fired the questions as he continued driving when he got a green light.
Ron stiffened. He did not like where this was going. "Well, no." He had to admit. "I didn't see anything and no one said anything." He said reluctantly. "Not in so many words, anyway."
Tobias nodded. "How did you even come to this conclusion?" He questioned. He was starting to get angry at Ron as the ramifications of what his senior agent was telling him were becoming clear.
Ron started to pick at a piece of lint on his pant leg. "Well, there have been…rumors." He said, suddenly aware how weak it all sounded. "At our office." He clarified.
"Rumors?" Tobias asked. "What rumors?" He shook his head. "I haven't heard any rumors."
Ron sighed. "Well, you wouldn't, would you?" Ron pointed out. No one would gossip with the boss, especially about something like this. If he had heard the rumors, Tobias would have been obligated to investigate and that meant questioning everyone who had spread the rumors. No one wanted that. What if they were wrong or had gotten taken way out of proportion? Everyone who had participated could have been brought up on charges or fired.
Tobias nodded, seeing his reasoning. "But you heard the rumors?" He asked in slight confusion.
Ron heard what he was really asking and answered. "I'm still one of them, you see." He said, hesitantly. "Besides, no one thought it mattered anyway, because no one thought I'd get…" Ron trailed off.
"Involved." Tobias finished for him, aware of the reputation that Ron had.
Ron shrugged. "Yeah."
Tobias tightened his grip on the steering wheel. "And you don't think that I—that someone—should have been informed about this?!" He shouted.
Ron started to open his mouth but Tobias cut him off. "Before someone got hurt!" Tobias didn't give his agent a chance to answer just carried on. "If you'd been more concerned about protecting McGee from harm instead of protecting his 'feelings' then we might not be on the way to the hospital because someone messed with his car!" Tobias shook his head. "What made you think that you could handle this yourself?!" Tobias pulled into the hospital parking lot and started to look for a parking space. "
"The policy for this kind of thing states that their direct superior is the one to responsible for the initial confrontation." Ron answered. "I am their direct superior. It was my responsibility to rein them in until formal channels could be gone through." He didn't tell his boss that he McGee hadn't wanted him to get involved and probably wouldn't have done anything about it.
Tobias shook his head. "I can't wait to hear what Gibbs is going to say about this." He said with a laugh. There was no joy in the sound. Tobias parked the car and got out. Tobias clenched his hands together tightly. He could have cheerfully wrung his agent's neck for putting him in this position!
Considering how angry his boss was, Ron thought it would be prudent to keep his mouth shut. The walk into the hospital was spent in tense silence.