I know this is so very late. I have several excuses, none of them excellent…
Government agents apprehended the man suspected in the downtown bombings today. After-."
"Are you kidding me?!" Tony turned from the TV. "Government agents? How about NCIS spearheaded the efforts or the CIA has been looking for 10 years and in less than a week NCIS-."
"That's enough Agent DiNozzo." Vance interrupted. "Doing what's right is its own reward."
"I think I saw that on a bumper sticker once." Tony mused. "Or maybe a fortune cookie." He quickly clamed up once Vance shot a glare his way.
Two days later the team was still working on wrapping up the paperwork from the case. Tony, McGee and Ziva had actually looked insulted when Vance suggested they go home and someone else could handle it the wrap up. Gibbs just smiled into his coffee.
The CIA refused to let Cal Baird be transferred from heavy lockdown in their facility, but did agree that Gibbs could come and meet with Cal there at Langley.
Cal had in fairly high spirits when Gibbs entered the room and sat down.
"Why?" Was the only thing Gibbs said.
"The American dream, Gibbs." He smiled indulgently. "I found that people will pay top dollar for something I'm good at. Few in my shoes would have chosen differently."
"Hmm." Gibbs leaned back. "It's over, Cal. You're here." Gibbs gestured around, on lockdown. "You're never going to leave this campus."
"That's amusing, Gibbs." He leaned forward. "Do you know how many prisons I've escaped from?" Cal chucked. "How many government agents and their "lockdowns" I've slipped? I won't be here long. It will be good practice anyway. It's been while since I've been in this type of situation."
"Your brother turned himself in." Gibbs stated abruptly.
"I knew he would, weakling." Cal sneered.
"And your grandmother is in the hospital from a massive stroke. She's not expected to live long."
Cal's face faltered at that, then went blank. "What's your point, Gibbs. I have no information to give you if that's what you're fishing for. Is that it? "Tell me what I want to know and you can go see your grandmother.""
"I don't want any information." Gibbs stated simply. "I want you to know the doctors believe she had a stroke around the same time the news broadcast that you had been captured."
To his credit Cal's eyes never wavered from their stare at Gibbs. "She knew what my job was and she supported me." He said simply.
Gibbs shook his head and stood to leave.
"Oh," Cal's voice caused him to pause, "tell Agent DiNozzo, I believe he is the movie buff correct, his idea for the tracker was clever, a total he rip off of Escape from Alcatraz, but clever nonetheless. I'll have to remember that one."
Gibbs returned to an empty bullpen. It would have been unusual normally, but after the week they had had Gibbs was relieved he wouldn't have to argue with anyone to go home. He sat down at his computer to finish his notes from the interview. He didn't plan on staying long; wanting to leave the office at a reasonable hour so he could stop at one of his agent's house and tend to a matter that was long overdue.
"Boss?" The voice startled him out of his thought.
"Thought you were gone, McGee." Gibbs said gruffly.
"I wondered if I could talk to you." McGee said never wavering and Gibbs internally smiled at how far he had come in the years he had known him. When McGee was first assigned to Gibbs team and before, even a glare sent his way would stop him mid-sentence, mid-track. Not anymore.
"I think that would be a good idea, Tim."
McGee shifted from one foot to another. Gibbs got up and pulled a chair up for him. Taking his arm he gently propelled the younger man into it and returned to his own seat. He wasn't sure if McGee was going to stay put though, his leg kept bouncing up and down nervously.
"It's about what you overheard Ziva and Tony discussing." He said suddenly.
Gibbs kept his face neutral waiting for McGee to continue.
McGee hesitated, and then took a deep breath. "I'll tell you what I told Tony. I was tired when I was talking to him and what I was saying has no bearing on this job so it doesn't need to be brought up in the context of work. You're a great boss, you've taught me so much-."
Gibbs let him ramble for a few minutes.
"Tim." He said softly. McGee stopped and looked at him as the older man leaned forward.
"I owe you an apology." He said slowly ignoring the incredulous look on the younger mans face. "We have a hard job, it's not fair a lot of time and sometimes it seems like the losses outweigh the wins. We have to support each other and make sure we're all fine, physically and emotionally."
McGee nodded as Gibbs continued.
"I wasn't looking out for your emotional well-being."
McGee shook his head. "Boss, you don't have to-."
"Do I sound like I'm done McGee?" Gibbs interrupted. McGee meekly shook his head.
"You all are important to me as individuals, not just agents. You and Abby and Tony and Ziva are like my kids. Every one of you." He sighed frustrated. "Most of this is my fault for not getting that thorough, but I can't help if you won't let me. I told you when you first started working here that my door was open anytime. Why didn't you come to me? Why didn't you ever say anything?"
"What was I going to say? How was I going to say it? I'm sorry Gibbs, you're not that open. If I could talk to you about stuff like this, then I could talk to my own dad and I wouldn't have this problem to begin with!" McGee's voice rose as he spoke, then soften for the next part.
"Gibbs, I respect you, more than anyone I know. I mean you're larger than life, like my own dad, there are a lot of other ways you remind me of him. I couldn't take that chance. I wouldn't be able to stand another rejection from someone I look up to so much." He hung his head.
Gibbs was silent wondering how he had missed so much.
"Tim," he said hoping the earnestness in his voice conveyed what he was trying to say. "I would go to hell and back for any of you, not just because you're my agents. I know you and me are very different, but I care about you and respect you as a person. I need you to trust me and believe that." He said intensely.
McGee looked up slowly, studying Gibbs. Then he nodded.
Gibbs face softened. " I'm proud of you, Tim, I really am."
McGee swallowed and smiled a little. "That means a lot, Boss."
Gibbs jerked his head toward the elevator. "Get out of here and get some rest. And don't let me catch you here in the morning until zero-nine hundred."
McGee's smile got a little wider. "On it, Boss."
Gibbs knew their communication problems wouldn't be solved with one talk, but at least now he knew he had a problem.
"How did it go with Gibbs?" Tony asked leaned against McGee's car.
"Really good. I think… " He smiled. "It went really well."
Tony nodded, a satisfied smile on his face.
"I appreciate your help, Tony. I probably wouldn't have talked to him if it hadn't been for you." McGee added.
"I know you wouldn't have. You were ready to bail till I took your car keys." Tony held said keys up in the air. McGee snatched them with his good arm.
"You know for a federal agent you are surprisingly ignorant of the laws regarding theft of personal property." He snapped, with no real bite in his voice.
"That's cause I can talk my way out of anything." Tony laughed.
McGee laughed too; it felt good to have the weight off his shoulders.
"See you tomorrow, Tony."
"You too, McOneArmMan."
Two Weeks Later
Gibbs was on his third cup of coffee. Normally the lack of sleep requiring that much caffeine would make him snap off anyone's head that came to close to the desk. However, considering his sleepless night was the result of a unexpected, but not unwelcome, visit to his basement by his youngest agent, he was actually thankful for the tiredness if it meant a relationship would be healed.
The ringing phone broke through his thoughts.
"Who is this?" He demanded after a few seconds of silence.
Gibbs leaned back in his chair. "You got another dirt bag you need NCIS to catch, Shelby." Gibbs smirked, but the smile slowly faded when the silence on the line continued.
"Shelby, what's wrong." He asked alert. He noticed Ziva, Tony and McGee had all been intently watching him as soon as he said the name of their newest CIA friend.
Shelby sighed, sounding exhausted. "Cal Baird escaped custody this morning."
I don't actually have an idea for a sequel, but I like Cal and think he is an interesting villain so we shall see.
I will be honest, one reason it took me so long to finish is I have kind of stopped watching NCIS. I don't really feel that the show offers anything for McGee fans anymore. After the season opener and the disappointing way McGee's injury or lack thereof was handled…
Anyway, my very deepest apologies. I'm so sorry it took me so long. I hope the chapter finishes the story off the way readers hoped.
God Bless and Merry Christmas