Title: In the Cage
Main Character/s: Timothy McGee
Summary: "Did they do anything McGee? I will kick their ass." Ziva isn't the only one not happy about Tim being in a woman's prison during a lock down.
Warnings: Language and crime
#12 in McGee's Keeper
In the Cage
"I need someone to go get a confession out of Celia."
They had been called to a crime scene earlier that day but they were of human remains. A man whose fingers had been missing. Turned out Gibbs already knew who the killer was, a Miss Celia, hooker/man hater. This was the only murder that she hadn't confessed to, and they needed one, even though she was already sentenced to 175 years in prison.
"I can get that confession. Woman to woman," Ziva put in.
And instantly Tony put in his two cents. "Well, I can do it. I mean, look at me. I bet she'd like to see a fine specimen after all her time in the joint."
Tim just rolled his eyes but watched as Jethro looked back and forth between the "innocent" faces of Tony and Ziva before addressing Tim. "McGee. Go get the confession."
Tim smiled as Jethro dropped off the file on his desk and continued out of the bullpen. He decided to go through the file but after a while, he felt that he was being watched. Raising his head, he saw both Ziva and Tony staring at him. "What?"
"Why me what?" he asked Tony.
"Why did he choose you?" Tony stood from his seat and approached him, staring at him as if he was trying to intimidate him. And it wasn't working.
"What? You don't think I can do it?"
Tony smirked. "I'll admit that you can do a lot of things Probie. But when was the last time you convinced any woman of anything, McGee?"
Tim glared before standing up and grabbing his bag while Tony went back to his desk as Ziva spoke up. "Just last week McGee convinced me to lend him $10."
"Ten dollars," Tony said with his hands facing up as if weighing two things. "Murder one."
"My last ten dollars," Ziva added and Tim walked closer to her desk. "When you asked me, I was determined to say no. But there was something in the way you asked. Before I knew it, I was opening up my wallet."
Tim smiled. "Really?"
"There's no doubt in my mind that you can get that confession, McGee."
He smirked as he looked back at Tony. There, he had convinced a woman of something. "Thank you Zee." And with that he left.
Tony watched his Probie leave in the elevator and instantly turned to Ziva. "You realize that you don't count right."
He smirked. "Because our McGeek has you, our resident ninja, wrapped around his finger."
Ziva jerked back as if offended. "He does not!"
"Oh come on," Tony exclaimed with a laugh and roll of his eyes. "McGeek turns those big green eyes to you, add a pout, and you do anything he wants." And there was a long list, and he knew most of it now after a few get togethers with his Probie and he told him about the months he was with Gibbs before the rest of the team found out. "You got him together with Gibbs, you made sure that red light woman didn't confront them about something she saw; you started teaching him hand to hand combat without him even having to ask. You helped him and Gibbs move in together, I bet he didn't even have to do anything but give you some puppy eyes. He moved in with you. He doesn't like seeing you upset, and you know that, so all he does is pull those same puppy eyes and you instantly calm down. And that ten dollars you just mentioned, I bet a bit of a pout was included in him asking."
And he knew he was right when Ziva replied, "I don't know what you are talking about."
"Uh-huh. Do I even have to bring up when he was in the hospital after being bitten by Jett? You went all mother hen and when you weren't willing to leave him alone with me, he used…what did he do again?" He tapped his chin in thought, enjoying this immensely, even more when Ziva rolled her eyes with a little blush. "Oh yeah," he snapped his fingers, "those puppy eyes, and you instantly gave in and left us alone."
Ziva huffed. "Again, I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Sure," he smirked, knowing he'd proven a point.
Ziva didn't count in women that McGee's convinced to do anything. He bet since the moment Tim accepted Ziva in the team that Ziva dubbed him under her protection. Didn't help that when she first joined he had still been a little on the heavy side and had that baby face that anyone wanted to protect. He used to find it odd with the way she interacted with McGee, the way she seemed to always stick next to him when they were out in the field. Ready to throw herself in front of him. The truth was Tony had thought maybe Ziva was in love with Tim, until the Jett incident and they all realized that Ziva had taken Tim to be a brother. A younger brother.
Tony hadn't liked that that much. He knew Probie first, took him under his wing. Helped that green rookie turn into the agent he was now, along with Gibbs' help of course, and it had been fast before Tony considered him his own little brother. So, when Ziva had announced that Tim was hers…he had been instantly angry and jealous. Who the hell did she think she was to take his Probie right out from under him?
However, he had quickly learned during the Gibbs in Mexico and leaving twice incident that he could share. Tony and Ziva could both share Tim as a younger brother, both be there for him. There were going to be moments when Tim would need Ziva alone, or Tony alone. Or even moments when he needed them both. They just had to make sure someone was there for him and they would both be fine. As his older brother and sister, it was their job to make sure he was okay.
And as his older brother, it was also his job to joke and prank on Tim every now and again. It was his duty.
Tim didn't want to admit it but he was really glad Jethro picked him to get the confession from Celia. Not only did it show that Jethro believed he could do it, but that he could do it over his senior agent and their interrogation expert.
Ever since he could remember he's been treated with kid gloves by the team. Jethro had by letting him experience things, but not everything. There had been incidents where a case became brutal and Jethro would have him stay back at NCIS to run searches while he, Tony, and Kate—and Ziva when she joined—would go out into the field. Ziva thought she was clever but he knew about how she always made sure to be a tiny step ahead of him whenever they were in the field. Ready to jump in front of him or cover him if anything happened.
Then, Jethro leaving twice for Mexico had happened and it was like everyone treated him as if he was glass. So, okay, he had been a bit of a wreck for a few months after Jethro left the first time, and the first week the second time, but he had gotten better. Thankfully Tony and Ziva began to think he could protect himself better if they taught him a few things. So Ziva taught him hand to hand combat and then when Tony learned what Ziva was doing, he took it upon himself to teach his Probie how to box.
It was a bit hilarious how they competed against each other on how they treated him.
And he thought the time away from each other during those months when Tony was out in sea and Ziva was in Israel they would cool down on the little brother protective detail, but that wish went up in the flames only minutes after Ziva came back. Tim knew that Tony and Ziva…and Jethro…would have done anything in their power to make sure he didn't go to Israel without someone.
Now, it's been months since the team got back together, and he was going to not only get that confession but prove that he could do it. Without the help of his overprotective big brother and sister.
Gibbs raced to Maryland Women's Prison, his heart in his throat the whole way there. Tim better be alive or there was going to be major hell to pay to whoever did it.
"I know Tony," he said as he pushed harder on the gas. He didn't want to think about the chances of them being called there if Tim wasn't dead. No, Tim was alive. He'd take hostage over dead. Hostage they could get back. Alive. Dead wasn't an option.
They pulled up the prison and made quick work on getting inside. "Who's in charge here?"
"Gene Halsey," an older black gentleman answered, "warden."
"Gibbs," he flashed his badge, "NCIS. We've got an agent here. Where is he?" His answer better not be dead.
"Visitor center. Inmates have control of it."
Ziva asked the question on all their minds and Gibbs didn't miss the emotion in her voice. "He is alive?"
"Don't know. The cameras are out."
He looked around at the armed men and women. "You plan to retake this by force."
"If they don't get out of there real soon. Till then, I have this entire prison on lockdown."
"And the hostages?"
"This prison has a no-hostage policy. Meaning every man, woman, and child who comes in those gates gives up their right to be rescued. But believe me, I'm gonna do everything I can to minimize casualties. I got men in there, too. Now I'm kind of busy."
Gibbs wasn't about to be dismissed when his agent and his lover's life was in the hands of this man. He quickly cut the man off. "You have much experience in hostage recovery?"
"I have an emergency response plan."
"Okay. Have you ever put it into action?"
When Halsey just looked at him before looking back at Ziva and Tony, he knew the answer. It being confirmed when Halsey walked around him and to his men and women.
"I'll take that as a no."
"Gibbs, what are we going to do?"
"We can't do anything right now." And he hated that.
They walked out to the hallway before they were asked and leaned against the wall, watching the men and women talk and strategize. Gibbs looked at Tony and Ziva and he knew he wasn't the only one that wasn't comfortable with the life of Tim in those people's hands. The only ones they trusted his life with were their own hands.
"I got a bad feeling about Bozo and his three-ring circus."
Ziva scowled as she watched one woman trip over her own feet and asked, "Can we go over his head?"
"It's his ball." He walked over to the door when he saw Halsey come out.
"Inmate using a confiscated radio says they want to make some demands. Want to show me they're serious. One of them's coming out." Gibbs looked at the armed men and women and shook his head as he watched the woman from earlier again trip over her feet. He really had to get inside and know about Tim. "This is not your jurisdiction, Agent Gibbs."
"How often do you do this sort of thing?"
Halsey stared at him before looking at a guard at the door that led to the court yard. "Open up," he order and Gibbs followed. "I do the talking you got that?" He didn't bothering answering. "Gonna find out who's calling the shots here."
And Gibbs sighed in relief when he saw Tim walk out the door.
What the hell were the odds of this happening? Tim sighed as he made his way out of the visitor center. The one day he was there, a murder had to happen. Thank God he was able to convince the inmates that he should be their negotiator between them and the warden. He snorted as he remembered Tony earlier saying that he couldn't convince a woman of anything. Yet he just convinced not only about fifteen women, but inmates to do what he suggested.
He walked out to the courtyard to see Jethro, the warden and of course the armed officers on the roof and around them in case anything happened. And Tim didn't miss the utter relief in Jethro's eyes when they met.
Tim stopped in front of the both men. "Hiya Boss."
Halsey frowned at him before asking, "They let you go?"
"Not exactly. I'm the negotiator."
"You're the negotiator?"
"I sort of talked them into it."
Halsey sighed. "Alright, what's the situation?"
"Actually, I've been told I can only deal directly with my boss, Special Agent Gibbs. They're watching us right now."
When Halsey shook his head in anger Tim turned his attention back to Jethro. He really didn't care much for Halsey the moment he met him earlier. They only spoke briefly but Tim had immediately picked up on the vibe of a man who would do anything to prove his worth. And he could see the man wasn't happy about not being in the lead.
Hell, Jethro didn't like giving up control on a case either, but even he knew when to pass the control over or ask for help so that no time was wasted on saving innocents. Halsey seemed like he wouldn't care who died, as long as he was in control of the situation.
Jethro's order brought him to attention. "Guards handcuffed in the southwest corner. Inmates spread all over, armed with batons and shards of glass."
"There's one dead. A guard, Hayden Trimble. But he wasn't killed in the riot. Looks like it's his death that caused it. Another guard injured, Gordon Lambro."
"Trimble was stabbed. The guards tried to restore order. Inmates responded."
"What do they want?"
"Assurance that only Trimble's killer will be punished, and amnesty for injuries to the other guards."
Halsey piped in. "They are gonna hand over Trimble's killer?"
"Once we find out who did it." He turned to Jethro. "That's where I…you…we come in. They want NCIS to figure out who Trimble's killer is. Which brings me to their last condition. No attempts to retake the visitor center. If we agree, they'll release Trimble's body, the injured guard and the visitors. That will leave myself and two other guards as hostages."
He didn't mention that all the conditions had been his idea. Some of the demands of the inmates had been unrealistic and he had to set them straight. Offered NCIS' help so that only one of them was punished instead of all of them. And he had a suspect already in mind from her reaction to his suggestion and the quick agreement to only Trimble's killer being punished.
"Alright. Tell them we agree," Jethro ordered.
"Also, we'll need lunch."
Halsey looked like he was about to argue but Jethro cut him off. "Case isn't going to be solved in thirty minutes Halsey." He nodded to Tim. "We'll have that. Just focus on getting them as organized as possible, and see if you can get at least a little cooperation."
"Got it. See ya later Boss," he smiled and headed back into the visitor center, immediately bombarded with questions from the women. "Calm down," he ordered and was a bit surprised with how quickly they quieted. "They agreed to everything. Now, let's get everyone out and we'll get everything rolling."
He helped get the hostages out of the center, uncuffing Lambro and getting him out as well. Once everyone was out, one of the women barred the doors with something steel.
"Alright," he said, sighing as he was faced with so many criminals. "For this to work I'm going to need everyone's cooperation and trust."
The one he knew now as Angela scoffed. "Trust a cop—that's easier said than done."
He scoffed right back. "Believe me, it's no harder than me trusting a convicted felon. Now, we have to find the murder weapon, so I'm going to have to frisk you."
"All of you." At their faces he was almost tempted to inform them that he was gay but refrained from letting it out. "Who's first?" When no one spoke, he rubbed the bridge of his nose as he could already feel a headache coming on. "So much for cooperation."
It wasn't long before Ducky and Jethro joined them, escorted by Brenda Carter. Celia patted down Jethro, seeming to enjoy the reversed roles, and Angela patted down Ducky. Tim tried not to draw too much attention to himself with the way Brenda Carter had acted earlier. She had been a bit all over the place in FLETC and she hadn't changed. And he had been highly uncomfortable when he had first showed up and she saw him. Her jumping on him and asking about a drink.
"Nothing happens to him."
He blinked and looked away from the photos he had been taking with his phone of Trimble, and looked over to find that Brenda had said that. Ducky was already by the body and Gibbs raised an eyebrow from behind the woman. Tim shrugged and tried to draw the attention away from him and the awkward silence that filled the room.
"It would seem this man took a hit to the back of his head. Possibly rendered him unconscious before the stab to his abdomen.
Tim walked over to stand by Jethro. "I followed the blood trail out this way." He showed the trail and walked to the door which one of the women moved the bar. "Thanks."
He turned back to see Ducky looking nervously at all the women around him. "Don't worry Duck. They won't do anything unless they want us to stop." When the women stared at him and realized he was serious and waiting for an answer, they slowly nodded together. He wondered if this was what Jethro felt like when he was leading the team.
Clearing his thoughts to get back on track, he gestured for Jethro to follow him out the room and across the hall. "In here. This is the guards' bathroom, off limits to the prisoners." He led him to the stall. "He was stabbed in here. That's where his head was slammed against the wall." And he took a picture of the dent.
"Guess he wasn't here to use it. Figure he had company."
"You think Sherlock?"
They both moved to the door of the stall to see both Angela and Celia there.
"Women's prison—it happens."
"Shoot, even happens in men's prisons."
Tim sighed. "Look, for this to work, we really need to treat everyone as suspects. So please, just let us do this."
Jethro headed out, pausing as he passed Celia, and Tim followed him out to the hall. He really wanted to grab Jethro and he could see that Jethro wanted to do the same. But they refrained from doing so and stuck with the situation they were in.
"They're coming in before sundown."
"Boss, that doesn't give us enough time to…"
"McGee," Jethro interrupted. "S.O.P for inmates to use the head."
Nodding, he answered, "Guard inside the visitor center let them out here into the corridor where Trimble was keeping watch. Trimble was supposed to notify the other guards if he needs to use the bathroom; he never did. Probably 'cause he was doing something he shouldn't have."
"Cost him his life. Cameras?"
"Only in the visitor center."
"Most of the inmates and guards have blood on them; I'm sure of it's Trimble's, but…"
"Doesn't single out anybody."
"Need to find his killer."
"Yeah," Jethro agreed with a glance to Celia, "in a room full of them. Keep working on it Tim, we're working on what we can."
"Keep in contact."
"Sure." When Jethro went to head out, he instinctively grabbed his lover's wrist in a strong grip and pulled him back a bit. Jethro continued to face away so Tim leaned close to whisper in his ear, "I'll be fine Jethro. I promise. Just get me a list of the inmates in here. I already have a suspect in mind."
After a few seconds, in which time Tim knew Jethro was soaking up his closeness, he nodded before going, Tim releasing his wrist before turning back to head to the room. He ignored the look Angela was sending him, the woman was on edge and he could already tell something was wrong with her, and he ignored the contemplative look Celia was throwing him. He had work to do.
Fuck this! He was tired, he wanted to go home, and he was tired of helping these criminals for one to just go ahead and pepper spray him because he observed she was going through withdrawal.
He ripped open the door after putting as much water to his eyes as he could and charged into the room. "That's it! I'm finished. I'm done, all right? You want to know who killed Trimble, figure it out yourselves."
"See what you did?" Celia demanded to Angela who was jittery and sweating.
"Maybe you'd think differently if I took your ear."
"My partner is a trained assassin. You don't think she didn't teach me anything? I've never hit a woman before, but if you come at me with that thing, I will drop you." He was beyond pissed.
"I just got one year left. I got three kids to raise, please?"
"If they come in here shooting, you're in the firing line, same as us," Celia growled.
"Shoot me up. Slice me up. It doesn't matter, okay? Because I'm done! I am done unless you tell me the name of your supplier." When they all just looked at each other, he snapped, "Now!"
"The guard you let out!"
He had been right. It was Sharon who killed Trimble. But as he sat there, watching her cry and plead about her other two children, and about her oldest daughter who had been raped by Trimble and showed a photo, he stared at her sadly. Not knowing what came over him—maybe because he was thinking about what he would do if something like that happened to Sarah or about what Jethro did when he found out who was responsible for Kelly and Shannon's murder—he looked up at Celia who was standing beside him and he could tell she was along the same lines as his thoughts.
Thankfully his phone rang, and knowing what would happen if he turned his back…he did. He turned away from Sharon and Celia and talked to Jethro as he informed him of who it was and how much time he had before they came in.
Closing his phone, he sent up a silent apology before turning around and faking surprise at not finding Sharon and Celia where they had been. "Where are they?" The three who had been around and listening didn't say anything and he walked over to the room to see Celia talking with Sharon and not a too long later they exited the room.
"Tell them Trimble's murder will come out."
Nodding, he grabbed his stuff and headed out, stopping by Jethro.
"You alright Probie?"
He turned to look at Tony. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Did they do anything McGee? I will kick their ass."
Tim tried not to smile and refrained from telling Ziva that he had been pepper sprayed. "I'm good Zee."
She nodded with a smile before they turned their attention to the door. "McGee."
"Not who I was expecting Boss." And he was happy that Jethro wasn't looking at him to see the lie in his eyes.
"I killed Trimble," Celia announced after dropping the shank on the ground. "He was raping Sharon's daughter and telling her about it. I killed him."
Helsey didn't look convinced, like everyone else there. "Was she in on it?"
"No. She just wants to go home and be a mommy. I did it all on my own." She looked at Tim and he didn't fail to notice that there was a certain new look to her eyes when she looked at him. Dare he say a smidge of respect. "That sailor…I killed him too. Glad I did."
She was about to be led off before he asked, "That confession?"
"I'll get it to you," she smirked and turned to finish walking away.
Tim looked at Jethro to see him give his half smile half smirk.
Tim lied down in bed next to Jethro, basking in the pleasure that Jethro just gave him when they got home. His head rest over Jethro's heart, listening to the strong steady sound where earlier it had been racing. He ran his fingers through the hair on the older man's chest, hoping that what he was about to say wouldn't lose him the love of his life.
He sighed at the fingers running through his hair, smiling at the soft kiss that Jethro pressed to the top of his head. "I knew."
"I…I knew Celia was going to turn herself in."
"I know Tim."
Jerking up, he looked down at the calm face of his lover. "You did?"
"I could hear the lie in your voice, not to mention you made a point to stay out of the discussion on if we believed Celia had really done it."
He slumped back down onto Jethro's chest. "Was afraid everyone would catch on to the lie. Plus, didn't want to continue lying."
"Hmm," Jethro hummed and went back to running his fingers through his hair.
Tim wasn't proud of what he did earlier, but at the same time he was a bit happy of what he allowed to happen. Sometimes life sucked.
A/N: I was a bit hesitant to have Tim do that, but when I watched the episode and Tim said how he wasn't expecting Celia instead of Sharon, he seemed a bit fake about it and my mind went with it. So...
PLEASE REVIEW! They're apprecaited.
Coming up in #13 of McGee's Keeper:
"Legend" - Tim and Gibbs head to LA and Tim falls in love.