After Gibbs finished talking with Tobias, he stormed into his youngest agent's room with righteous indignation, determined to brow-beat Tim into telling him the truth—the whole truth. Not only about this assignment he was working on with the FBI, but about everything else he seemed to have kept hidden from him. The wind was taken out of his sails when he came face to face with his sleeping agent. Gibbs stood there for almost a minute—a life time for him—in indecision, as he debated whether or not to wake Tim up. He finally sighed and moved to take the seat that Tobias had vacated. He sat and stared at his agent's pale, young face, made even paler by the stark white pillow case and sheets. The junior agent had always been something of a conundrum and Jethro Gibbs had never been able to quite figure out the puzzle that was Timothy McGee. McGee presented himself as an open book but there was an air of mystery that surrounded him. Gibbs had always attributed it to McGee's almost fanatical desire for privacy but now he wondered, with the new information he had, if it wasn't something more. If there wasn't another aspect to his agent that Gibbs had never bothered to look for.


Ducky cut off the lights of autopsy and slowly made his way to the elevator, feeling every inch of his age. He had sat for a time after Mister Palmer had left, just thinking about Timothy. His friendship with the youngest agent on Gibbs team wasn't what it was with the others. For all his openness, Timothy was a hard man to get close too. He never volunteered any information that really mattered. He never talked about his interests beyond what came up in the course of an investigation. He never talked about his family or his childhood; not the things that were really important. He never talked about the things that had made him the man that he had become. Ducky had attributed it to a natural reticence. He had never considered that Timothy might have been hiding something like he was.

Ducky made it to his elderly Morgan and got inside. He sighed deeply as he put the key into the ignition and turned it. He had thought hard about going to see Timothy but had eventually decided against it. Ducky wasn't sure he would be able to convey his care to Timothy without it coming out as the pity that Timothy wouldn't want. And he had a feeling that was where Jethro was. Ducky didn't want to be put in the position of holding this back from his friend—if he didn't know yet. The ME had a feeling if Jethro wasn't aware of this latest information about his youngest agent, he soon would be, so if he waited until tomorrow for his visit, he would have a better hold on his emotions and he wouldn't be in the difficult position of trying to hide information from his friend. As Ducky turned out of the Navy Yard toward home, he hoped that tomorrow would come without surprises, but he had a feeling deep inside that this new information was only the tip of an ice berg. A very big and—dangerous?—iceberg.


"I want an example set!" The gray haired man exclaimed, his lined face red with indignation. He was absolutely livid. If Trent Kort thought he could get away with threatening him… "Trent Kort needs to be put in his place and Timothy McGee needs to be put down like the rabid dog he is!" He hissed angrily. He should have taken care of McGee years ago, but he would remedy that mistake now.

"I'm sorry, sir." A tiny, middle aged woman with short, dark blond hair and hazel eyes shifted nervously as she watched the gray haired man that sat behind the heavy desk with the cherry finish in the opulent office. "But we don't have an associate at that hospital." She hated to give him that information, but the truth was, the doctor may have been in a position of power in their government, but he just didn't have the reach he had once had. The people who were once involved had distanced their selves long ago.

The gray haired man slammed his hands down on the desk and pushed himself half-way up. "Then buy me someone!" He hissed through clenched teeth, glaring furiously at her.

The woman took a step back under that glare and swallowed hard. "As you say, sir." She said before she backed out slowly, having learned over the years that she shouldn't turn her back on her boss when he was like this. She closed the door behind her and leaned back against it, letting out the breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. She took a minute to compose herself before moving to her own desk in the corner of the reception area. As she sat down in her desk chair and opened one of her desk drawers to pull out her special address book, she thought about how far she had fallen.

Anna Wood had come to Washington from a small town in the southwest, fresh out of college, a young, idealistic, woman who had truly believed in what she was doing. She had wanted to make a difference. Anna had learned very quickly that idealism didn't pay the bills. So she had taken a job as an assistant in a research project for the Navy. It had only ever been intended as a short-term stepping stone, but by the time she had realized exactly what the project had been, it had already gone too far for her to get out. She had been trapped and all she had left was what the gray haired man had offered her. What he offered hadn't been too bad. She had done her job and done it well. So well, in fact, that when the project had gained recognition from the right people in high places and the doctor had moved up, he had taken her with him. She led a modest life and had everything she wanted, within reason. And if, at times, she didn't feel as if she could get her hands clean, she managed to push it aside.

Anna felt a moment of sadness as she picked up her phone. She remembered Timothy McGee. The exceptional child that had been treated more as a lab specimen—poked prodded and studied—than he had as a little boy. He had been fascinating to some but most had feared the brilliant boy. Anna had liked Timothy McGee, even while being in awe of him. And, maybe, just a little bit afraid of him. But she had never thought of him as most of the others involved had thought of him. She had never considered him to be a freak, an abomination; Anna had never thought of Tim as something unnatural that didn't have the right to exist. And she didn't agree with what her boss had planned for him. But she also didn't have a choice. She had come too far for anything else.


Trent Kort settled back in the driver's seat of his average, unmarked sedan with a malicious grin. He knew that the bug that he had left in the good doctor's office would come in handy one day. Trent Kort was, by nature, a suspicious man. Since becoming involved with his…associates…, he had only become more so. He had learned to be wary of everyone.

The listening device that he had planted had survived every sweep that had been done in that office. It was one of Tim's designs, virtually just a speck, unable to be seen with the naked eye and completely undetectable. It had proven to be invaluable.

Trent pulled out his cell phone and then hesitated. He wasn't sure who to contact. Tim needed to know that a member of the hospital staff may be gunning for him and that he needed to be on the lookout. Trent also knew that he needed to put someone else on watch, too, but he wasn't sure who. He didn't entirely trust that Leon Vance had Tim's best interests at heart. Tobias Fornell was only one man. There was only so much he could accomplish on his own, even though he had his two subordinates to help him. Gibbs could help. He had access to his team, which included his medical examiner, the ME's assistant and his forensic scientist. Trent was sure that all of their help would prove invaluable before all this was over but he had promised Tim that he wouldn't ever involve Team Gibbs in anything to do with his past. Trent understood. Tim was afraid of them finding out. He was afraid of what would happen, of what they would think if they knew the truth. He feared how they would treat him, how they would act around him if they knew even some of his secrets. Tim was also afraid that they would blame him for Mike Franks death if they knew that he had been a part of Project Frankenstein; that he had known Jonas Cobb. That Tim had been his friend.

Trent went back and forth for another minute before realizing he was probably over thinking the situation. Vance was already aware of the problem. He really didn't need this new information. Fornell was already investigating. He didn't need to know that someone was still after Tim to keep on doing that. Gibbs was already guarding Tim. Knowing this knew information wouldn't make him any more aware or any more vigilant. The only person that really needed to know was Tim. He needed to get out of that hospital and somewhere safe until Trent had handled everything. Nodding decisively, he opened his phone and dialed.


As Tobias made his way to Courtney's place, he wondered what she had found to upset her like it had. He knew that it had to be bad. He had heard that in her voice. Tobias felt a wave of trepidation come over him as he pulled in and parked behind Courtney. Tobias knew instinctively that he wasn't going to like what he was about to find out. He hesitated for a moment before getting out of his car and walking to her front door.


Tim opened his eyes when he heard the door to his hospital room close. He realized he must have fallen asleep and Gibbs had given up on his answers for the moment. But Tim knew that he would be back for them. He wished more than anything that everyone would just leave him alone but he knew that wasn't going to happen. Tim ran a weary hand over his face. What was he going to do? He couldn't lie and telling the truth was out of the question. Not answering Gibbs questions wasn't even an option. What was he going to do? He thought again with despair.


Gibbs informed the two agents outside McGee's door of his intention to go for coffee after leaving his sleeping agent's room. When he decided that he was far enough away where he couldn't be overheard, he slipped into a shadowed alcove and pulled out his phone; pressing speed dial one, he shifted impatiently while waiting for the other party to pick-up. When Abby answered, he quickly informed her of what had been going all day and after he calmed her down he quickly told her to come to Bethesda. He ended the call after reassuring her that Tim recover just fine. Gibbs stood in the alcove for another minute before he left it. He had another reason for wanting the forensic scientist to come here besides visiting Tim. He wanted to give her the information that Tobias had given him about Tim's shooting. Gibbs churning gut told him that it wasn't a good idea to get into any of that on the phone in an unsecure location. At least in McGee's room precautions could be took that couldn't be taken over a cell phone.


"Are you alright, Jimmy?" Breena Slater asked her fiancée as she put his supper plate in front of him.

"I'm fine, Breena." Jimmy said distractedly. His thoughts were on his mentor. He was worried about the elderly M.E. .

Breena took her seat at the tiny table in Jimmy's small apartment. "I know something's wrong, Jimmy." She said in a quiet voice. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Jimmy pushed his food around on his plate for a few minutes before answering. "I'm worried about Dr. Mallard." He said finally. "He wasn't himself today. He didn't tell one story. He hardly even spoke at all."

"Do you have any idea of what's wrong?"

Jimmy shrugged. "He consulted on a case with the FBI this morning. Something about it upset him."

"Do you know what the case was about?" Breena asked, covering the hand that rested on the table with hers. She had met the Medical Examiner numerous times and liked him. From the little that Jimmy has told her and from her own observations of the man, for something to have shaken Dr. Mallard, it had to be bad.

Jimmy shook his head. "No. But after the FBI left he locked himself in his office for a long time. When he came out, he was even more upset." Jimmy thought for a minute. "No. Not upset." He said thoughtfully. "Disturbed." Jimmy shook his head. "I don't know what he was doing in there, but whatever it was that he discovered disturbed him greatly." Jimmy put his fork down, his appetite completely gone. "I've worked with Doctor Mallard for over seven years, Breena." He said quietly, turmoil flashing in his brown eyes. "And I've never seen the look on his face that I did today."