"Where are we going, Ziva?" Tony was annoyed at her mystery road trip.
"Give it a rest, Tony. You will see." Ziva pulled the car into a parking lot.
Tony looked out the window. "Ziva! We don't have time for this!"
"All you have been talking about was your regrets for the words you had said!"
"So… You are coming!" She got out of the car and started walking toward the entrance. Tony begrudgingly and reluctantly followed.
"What've you got Abbs?" Another Caf-Pow.
"Gibbs! Tony got me back on board! I'm running names and matching them with the fingerprints from the phone outside the building! We'll catch this guy soon!"
Gibbs put the Caf-Pow down.
"Ah, Jethro," Ducky came in. "I was hoping to find Tony, but I wanted to talk to Abby as well."
"She's busy, Duck. You might have to come back another time."
"Tony and Ziva went somewhere… Don't know where…" Abby stared at the monitor, not even looking at her drink.
"I think I do…" Ducky nodded. "Based upon what I've seen from Ziva and him."
Tony stood outside the door. Part of him didn't even want to go in, and he listened to that part. "No words are worse than kidding words…" Ziva whispered. "I'll let you alone." She walked down the dim hallway. Tony just continued to stare at McGee lying there. Never had he looked so… lifeless. The monitor beeping was the only way he knew he was alive.
He started to speak, but his voice was hoarse. He cleared his throat. "Probie… What did you get yourself into?" He stayed outside the door. "Why didn't you come to us?" He turned away and began to walk.
"Don't leave so soon, Anthony," Ducky stood in front of him.
"Talk to me, Anthony."
"The last thing I said to him…"
"Isn't it all a bit too cliché for you? Regretting the latest words?"
"It doesn't matter. Those were the last moments he had."
"They don't have to be."
Ducky led Tony into the room, right up to McGee's bed. Tony didn't look at his junior partner.
"Timothy… what do you have to tell us? Hm? Who tried to kill you?"
Tony looked at him and swallowed hard. "He was being blackmailed, Ducky. I just know it. That's why he was upset. He knew someone was after him."
"Whatever it was, McGee was stubborn not to give it to him."
"And he took his shot."
"I just don't get why he didn't tell us!"
"Perhaps Timothy was not the only life threatened in this."
"Perhaps he was protecting all of us."
"Because if we investigated…"
"We would be shot down as well."
"Ducky!" Ziva entered the room.
"Good evening, Miss David."
"How's he looking Ducky?"
"Well, both seem alright." He winked at Tony.
A cell phone chime. Tony picked it up. "Dinozzo."
"I've got it!"
"I found the criminal!"
"Great job, Abbs! Where can we find him?"
"Knock, knock! Open up! NCIS!" Tony yelled. Without hesitation, he kicked down the shed door. He gasped. "What the…?" There were guns, hunting rifles and pistols, revolvers and sniper picks. "A gunman…"
"And a sniper…" Ziva looked at the guns. "I think I found the murder weapon."
Tony looked over and picked up the pistol, bagging it. "Where's our criminal?"
Ziva gasped. "Tony! Get down!" She lunged to him, bringing him to the ground just as a shot broke through the shed window. "He's got one of the guns!"
"I guess this is what McGee was protecting us from."
"Now what? We are sitting geese in this shed."
"Sitting ducks…" Tony looked around. "I don't know…"
"NCIS Special Agents… drop the gun."
The criminal released the trigger. "I thought ya'll were down there… How did—" he turned and stopped short, frightened as if he'd seen a ghost. "There's no way!"
McGee in front, Gibbs slightly to the side, both holding pistols towards him.
"How on earth…?"
"You're under arrest for the attempted murder of an NCIS agent." Gibbs said.
McGee went over with the cuffs.
"You have the right to remain silent…"
Tony and Ziva had just left. Gibbs walked through the door and into McGee's room, where Ducky still stood. "Jethro. I think he's in good shape for having just been shot right near the heart."
Gibbs walked over to the bed. "McGee, you listen to me. You will make it through this. I've said this to Dinozzo once and I'll say it to you… 'You will not die.' You got that?"
McGee's eyes were shut, with no evidence of hearing or even being present there.
Gibbs brought his hand up and slapped the top of his head. "You hear me, Elf Lord?"
"He has stopped shooting…"
"I think that means you can get off me now, Ziva!"
"Oh, sorry!" Ziva got up and looked out the window.
"Well?" Tony dusted off his pants.
"I can't see anything…"
"Hey… look at this…"
Ziva walked over and picked up what Tony pointed to. "Words…" she stated simply.
"It's a code."
"It's the reason McGee was shot." Tony rubbed his forehead. "Our case… we were getting close… McGee wrote these words out. It was a code."
"That is why you were out this morning?"
"McGee and I were at some coffee place, trying to figure out the code. I should have noticed that he was more anxious to do it since that phone call. The criminal found this sheet of paper… and he knew what McGee was up to."
"You're a walking target, Tony!"
"No… McGee must have gone in deeper, without my knowledge. Either that, or the criminal just didn't know about my involvement. He would've shot me when he shot McGee if I was a target."
"What does all of this mean?"
"It means the man who shot McGee was the same man who killed that petty officer's wife!"
"Of course! The mystery code case! Isn't he…" Ziva looked toward the door suddenly.
"A serial killer, yeah…" Tony still stood, looking at the paper.
Ziva grasped her gun and pointed it at the door. "Tony…" she whispered. "Get down!"
Tony held up his gun and crouched in the corner.
"Three… two…" Ziva kicked the door. But she didn't shoot. Neither did Tony.
"Tim…" Tony stood up.
"Gosh, Ziva, you near scared me to death!" McGee laughed.
"McGee?" Ziva lowered her gun. "But we just saw you in the hospital?"
"The boss gave me a pep-talk, and—" he felt a slap to the back of his head.
"Don't you ever do that again to me, Probie!" Tony's voice shuddered.
"You were worried about me?"
"Of course I was, McGee!"
Tim laughed. "I never thought 'Very Special Agent Anthony Dinozzo' would ever admit to such a thing!"
"Sticks and stones, Timmy…" Dinozzo mumbled, jokingly repeating McGee's phrase.
"Hurry it up!" Gibbs called from the car. "We've got to get this guy to interrogation!"
"Tim!" Abby jumped at him, nearly knocking him over. Then, she quickly pulled away and scowled, pointing at him firmly. "Don't you never ever do that to me again, McGee!" She crossed her arms.
"Why do you and Tony act like it's my fault?"
"Because it is, Probie!" Tony stated matter-of-factly.
"You should have come to us the moment you knew," Ziva added.
"I had to investigate by myself, guys."
"It's not worth your life to spare the risk of ours," Tony told him. "We can take care of ourselves, unlike the little junior probie like you." He stopped. "Sorry."
"Tony… you get on my nerves…" McGee started. "But I wouldn't wish it any other way." Tony smirked. "Besides… I can usually get you back tenfold…"
"What? Please! That's not even true!"
"Yeah, it kinda is…" Abby shrugged.
"Yes." Ziva agreed.
McGee smiled. "Now that's a nickname I can deal with."