Tony was bothered by McGee. It wasn't his usual geekiness that bothered him. It was that McGee was being too quiet. Usually McGee would contribute his thoughts on whatever Tony was complaining about or arguing with Ziva over. The past few days Tim seemed to be moping. Tony wondered why he was so upset. Did Tony say something wrong? Did Gibbs yell at him? Did Abby upset him? Did he take a death threat from Ziva seriously?
Tony was broken from his thoughts by an IM from Ziva.
ZIva: what is wrong with McGee? He didn't even argue with you for your incorrect Lord of the Rings reference.
Tony:I know! I'm worried. It's not like McGee to not correct me. We need to talk to him.
Ziva:Correction...YOU need to talk to him. I think he needs a male friend to talk to.
Tony:What about Abby?
Ziva:NO! She would make boo-boo eyes at him and he will get flustered.
Tony: It's 'She would make goo-goo eyes at him'.
Ziva: Makes no sense. Why would Abby look at McGee like a baby looks at its mother? The baby can't even focus.
Tony was going to argue about her understanding of the English language when he was hit by a stress ball that Ziva lobbed at him. She mouthed "Do it" to tony.
He got up and sat on McGee's desk.
"Tony, get off my desk. I'm doing something."
"What are you doing Probmiester?" asked Tony, looking at McGee's computer.
"Tony, go sit down."
"You've been quiet for a few days now and I am going to use your description of me as 'mopey' and apply it to you now. We were worried and wanted to make sure you were ok."
"I am fine! God why can't everyone leave me alone? You know what? I am going home. I can't take this." McGee raised his voice to Tony.
Tim gathered his things and pushed past Tony who was trying to talk to him. Ziva was shocked to hear McGee yelling at Tony.
"Zee, I'll be right back!" Tony shouted as he bolted towards the elevator. He jumped in right before the doors closed.
"Boy that was close!" Tony flipped the switch on the elevator. McGee tried to reach to the switch to turn it back on but Tony pushed Tim away. Tim threw a punch at Tony, but Tony stopped it with his right hand.
"What don't you get? Leave me alone." McGee was now shouting at Tony even louder than before.
Tony pinned Tim to the wall to subdue him.
"No. This isn't you Tim. What the hell is wrong with you? You haven't been right all week. Ignoring me and Ziva, slamming around and you even went off on Ducky!"
"You wouldn't understand so just let me go."
Tony softened his tone. He didn't want the situation to turn into a full blown argument. The last thing he wanted to do was to drive Tim even further away.
"No way. It's not that easy. Talk to me. Come on, you can't keep acting like this and you have to talk. You did the same for me when Ziva was off the grid in Somalia. You always kept me from getting too deep into my own head, so now it's my turn to help you."
Tim looked at Tony's face. He could tell the Senior Field Agent was truly concerned. Tony was right. When Ziva was missing, Tony was in a haze and Tim was right there to bring him back to reality. Also, Tony used McGee as a sounding board for most of his theories as to where she was and how to get her back. Now it was time to switch roles and let Tony help ease the burden on McGee's back.
Tim started slowly. "I had a week off. Since I had started talking to my dad again, I thought it would be a good time to go home and see him. Well, it couldn't have gone more horribly wrong than it did. I hadn't talked to him in seven years and in three days he made me feel just as worthless and stupid as the day I decided not to talk to him anymore. How did I let myself get sucked back in Tony?" Tim sunk to the floor. Tony sat down next to him. "My family sucked Tony. Dad was never around and when was he was criticizing us or hitting us. Being ignored by your father would have been a vacation compared to my dad. I guess I just bottled up so much of my rage from my visit that it's just exploding everywhere."
"Geez McGee, I had no idea that your childhood was as crappy as mine. I just always thought since you were the most normal of all of us, that you had this great family growing up."
"I guess we all have our own problems that we sometimes prefer to keep hidden. Thanks for listening Tony."
They talked for a few more minutes and then Tony started the elevator again. As the men stepped off the elevator, Tony stopped McGee, hoping to give him some words to make him feel better. "Tim, separately we are all dysfunctional but within that dysfunction we are a functional group. We are friends and family. Don't forget who your friends and family are."
Tim nodded silently.
"DiNozzo, if you don't get back to work, you'll be calling your 'brother and sister' that work at NCIS from the unemployment line!"
"Getting back to work Boss."
The both walked back to their desks and began to work. Later in the day Gibbs walked over to McGee's desk.
"Good work today Tim. You seem more like your old self since I saw you come off the elevator with Tony earlier."
"Thanks Boss. Tony was just reminding me who I really am and who my real family is. Night Boss!"
Tim walked out of NCIS and went home to have the first good sleep since seeing his father.