Gibbs stares at the newest addition to his Toys For Tots collection. He's curious as to what made him decide to create the little creature. He studies it closely and closes his eyes, looking for an answer.
"Sleeping Gibbs or just reading with your eyes closed?"
Gibbs sighs as he opens his eyes and looks over at Tobias Fornell. He tosses the wooden sculpture to the FBI agent who catches it easily and chuckles when he sees what it is.
"You've done really well. Nice detailing almost down to a twinkle in those eyes. What made you do it?" Tobias tosses it back to Gibbs who cradles it in his hand.
"That's what I was trying to figure out. I don't usually make things like this. I was trying to remember why I did. And why are you here Tobias? Need a good sip of bourbon?" Gibbs asks as he sets his creation on a shelf. Tobias notices it's not the same shelf as the other toys Gibbs has set aside for the collection drive.
Fornell shifts his feet and Gibbs stares at him, "Who sent you, why did they send you and what does it have to do with my team?"
Tobias sighs as he tosses a book at Gibbs who again catches it easily. He tosses it back and Fornell catches it mid-air as he takes another step down.
"Okay it's McGee's first book. What about it?"
Tobias comes further into the basement and sits down on a sawhorse. "You ever read the damn thing Jethro?"
Gibbs stares at him, clearly not knowing what is going on. "Years ago when he first published it."
"Did you see what he was doing? Do you know what he was doing?"
Gibbs sighs and Fornell taps him on the leg with the book. "Read the inside cover. And tell me what you see."
Gibbs sighs again as he complies with Fornell's request. Five minutes later he's looking up at Fornell and shaking his head.
"No? Damnit Gibbs! Look at the story! Read the damn book! He's profiled you! His little hobby has you all profiled to a T…"
Gibbs stares at him, "So what's your point?"
"Why the hell didn't you tell me he could do that?"
Gibbs sighs as he heads towards the stairs. Clearly Fornell is on a warpath for some reason and it has to do with Tim McGee. Fornell follows him, pocketing the small wooden toy as he does so.
"Or did you even notice what he'd done? You didn't did you? You guys all got so het up over the fact that he wrote a book, using your team as a format that you couldn't see beyond the first page."
Gibbs snorts as he walks into the kitchen and turns on the coffee pot getting two cups out of the cupboard as he does so.
"You want one?"
Fornell hesitates then nods and sits at the table waiting for Gibbs to come over and sit down too. Once the other man does so, he looks at him again pulling the small toy out of his pocket and setting it on the table between them.
"I'll ask again…did you notice that McGee profiled you?"
Gibbs takes a sip of his freshly brewed coffee before answering.
"Yeah, it disturbed the hell out of me too. I'm not used to someone being able to almost read my mind the way he did on that one. I think it was part of the reason we all came down so hard on him when he wrote the next one."
Tobias almost spits out the coffee he'd just swallowed and glares at Gibbs who smirks at him from behind his own coffee cup.
"Two? Where's the other one?"
"Knowing McGee, it's in the trash heap by now."
Fornell looks closely at him and frowns. "Why would that be?"
"We had a case, shortly after the first book came out and turns out one of McGee's fans had gone lunatic. He killed two innocent men thinking that he was protecting McGee. He almost killed Abby."
"Poor kid, that's got to be a helluva shock to his system, He ever come and talk to you about it?"
Fornell narrows his eyes as he studies Gibbs' closed face. "You didn't encourage him to either."
"Didn't see the need; he's got a father to talk to and if he wanted to talk he knows my door is open."
"Really? What makes you think that?"
"I read his profile Tobias before I ever let him on the team."
"You read his application for FLETC and didn't go much deeper did you? You saw his degrees and figured that he had to be on solid footing or well grounded for someone his age." Fornell spits out the words and Gibbs just stares at him.
Gibbs reaches out picks up the small replica of the bear that's sitting on the kitchen table. In the back of his mind he hears a childish voice asking him what his name is and he smiles as he thinks about the first time he'd met Timothy McGee.
"You know someone named Timmy?" Fornell asks as he observes the tenderness with which Gibbs handles the bear.
"You do too." Gibbs replies as he tells Fornell about the first time he'd actually met Tim McGee.
"I hadn't associated the two until today. That bear, it looks like the one I'd won for Shannon and that we gave to a little boy named Timmy."
"He's been profiling you for a long time then Gibbs." Fornell says thoughtfully.
"Maybe, but then again it has been over twenty years. He could have forgotten about it."
Gibbs noncommittal tone almost has Tobias seeing red, and then he looks at the expression on Gibbs' face. Tenderness isn't something he's used to seeing when he spends time with Gibbs. The way that Gibbs is cradling the wooden bear, almost as if he can see that little boy and his newly won prize brings a lump to Tobias's throat.
"He got to you a long time ago, didn't he Gibbs? Is that why you don't let him profile more? You're afraid of losing him too, aren't you? Up until he wrote those books you could ignore him. You can't ignore him anymore, Jethro and if you're not careful you'll lose him."
Gibbs stares at the bear, then at Fornell. "He's mine Tobias. They can try and take him from me but they won't succeed." He puts the bear gently on the counter as he starts the next pot of coffee.
Outside, Rossi looks at Reid who has been silent since they'd left the BAU that morning and waves towards the other man pulling up beside them. "Well, what do you think?"
"He's too dedicated to their team. He won't willingly leave them unless something dramatic happens to him."
Rossi stares at him and Reid blushes. "Tim and I went to FLETC together. All the time we were there the only thing he wanted was to get on Gibbs' team. It's been a dream of his for a long time."
Rossi looks at Reid who is studiously contemplating the ground beside their vehicle as they wait for their cue to go inside. Rossi takes the young man by the shoulders and shakes him gently.
"Speak to me Reid."
"Twenty some odd years ago a young Marine found a lost little boy at a carnival and the two of them bonded. Since then that young boy has followed the Marine as much as his own father's Naval career would allow."
Rossi nods thoughtfully, "So it's basically a case of hero-worship."
"Maybe at the beginning, but I don't think that's the case anymore." Reid replies, motioning towards the house. "That book is testimony of respect and admiration not just to Gibbs but the entire team. If I have to hazard a guess I'd almost think that Tim sees the MCRT as a second family. This is just a way that he tried to show his feelings but it backfired when they didn't see that the characters are similar but not a carbon-copy so to speak."
Inside the house:
Fornell shakes his head and hits a number on his cell phone. "Come on in," he says and soon there's a knocking at the door. Fornell excuses himself long enough to answer it and Gibbs sighs as he stands up to pour himself a fresh cup of coffee, still wondering about the little toy and the little boy it reminds him of.
Fornell comes back to Gibbs' kitchen and the other man looks curiously at the two men who are behind him.
"Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs meet Rossi and Reid; they're part of our Behavioral Analysis Unit out of Quantico."
"Nice to meet you Gibbs, I'm SSA David Rossi." Rossi holds out his hand and Gibbs shakes it.
"Means you must be Reid." Gibbs says as he turns his attention to the other man.
The younger man nods as he states, "Dr. Spencer Reid, nice to meet you sir."
Gibbs offers the other two a cup of coffee which Reid accepts while Rossi shakes his head.
"Refill there Tobias?" Gibbs asks knowing the answer even as he heads for the coffee pot.
"Don't mind if I do."
Gibbs hands Reid his coffee which the other man takes with a smile and a quiet thank you then hands Tobias his cup before asking
"How can I help the BAU?"
"Actually, we're here at the behest of Agent Fornell." Reid states as he sips appreciatively at the hot brew in his hand.
Rossi smiles and nods at the book on the table. "You have a talented young man on your hands. Maybe not in the way he came up with names or the backgrounds for everyone but the story, the cases that the team works on are very enlightening."
Gibbs sighs as he waits impatiently to see where all this is leading to.
"Agent Fornell was saying that you don't tend to use him as a profiler on the cases that you work on. That he's primarily your computer technician and not much beyond that."
"He's good with computers and he's a fine agent out in the field." Gibbs states
Reid looks up from his coffee cup, "Do you tend to ask him about the cases though or your unsubs, sorry your suspects?" Gibbs frowns and Reid continues with his questioning, "Do you just use him to do a background check or does he actually go and question the witnesses?"
"No, when we're out in the field I'll have him usually bagging and tagging or taking photographs. My senior agent or our third team member do most of the questioning of witnesses."
"Why?" Rossi asks quietly.
"Why what?" Gibbs asks in return.
"Why isn't he out asking questions?" Rossi asks.
"I don't need him in that capacity when I have two other agents who are perfectly capable of doing that on their own." Gibbs replies almost testily and the senior BAU agent exchanges a glance with Fornell.
"You have a profiler on your team Gibbs why aren't you using him in that capacity?" this time it's Fornell asking the question and Gibbs turns to him almost angrily.
"Correction, I had a profiler on my team. She died or did you forget about Kate, Tobias?"
"I didn't; I did wonder if she's the reason you don't encourage McGee to do more profiling." Is Tobias' reply.
Silence fills the room. Rossi looks at Reid who nods at the senior agent's unspoken request. Reid excuses himself from the room, leaving the older men at the table. No one notices that he takes the book from the kitchen table as he leaves. Nor do they hear the quiet conversation that takes place just outside the front door.
With Reid gone from the room, Rossi looks at Fornell and gives him a subtle sign. Tobias nods and heads towards the counter where he pours another cup of coffee while studying the finely worked details of a small wooden bear.
"You trying to take my man away Rossi?" Gibbs asks quietly.
Dave appears to consider the question then tilts his head to one side, "Would he have a reason to come with me?"
Gibbs stands there shocked by the question, and then starts to pull out his cell phone. "We can always ask him."
The ringing of a cell phone in the next room has Gibbs glaring at Fornell and then Rossi. Reid comes back into the room with a wide-eyed Tim, who looks around at the table of men. Gibbs sighs at the deer in headlights look before offering Tim a cup of coffee. The younger man accepts as he's introduced Rossi and then the senior SSA finally responds to Gibbs question.
"Hello Timothy, and Gibbs in answer to your question no, I'm not trying to take your man away just open your eyes to what you have here.
Tim, I've read that book and you are a very talented author, but he's an equally talented profiler and I would encourage you to let him do more profiling on your cases Gibbs. You might be surprised with the answers he's able to give you."
Reid hands Gibbs the book who takes it silently. Then the two BAU agents take their leave. As Fornell escorts them to the front door, Gibbs can hear Reid ask, "Does he still make boats in his basement?"
Back in the kitchen Gibbs finds the bear and silently hands it to Tim who smiles fondly at the memories it brings back to him. He then looks up at Gibbs who is studying him with a question in his eyes.
"Why? Why have you never come here?" He points to the bear almost angrily, "Damnit, McGee why did you never tell me?"
Tim stands up and places the bear in Gibbs' hand, gently closing the older man's fingers over it. "That's why, boss. I knew that if you remembered the bear and the boy, you'd also remember the loss. I couldn't do that to you. At least not then, not when it was still fairly fresh in your mind."
Gibbs stares at him. "All of these years and you never said anything. Tim, I…"
Tim stares back at him with a frankness in his eyes that takes Gibbs' breath away. "I'm not going anywhere Gibbs. I've fought too long and too hard to get on your team, to stay on your team. That is part of the reason I'm here today."
"And the other part?" Gibbs asks.
Tim shrugs, "I like watching you smack Tony." And he grins as he feels a smack whistle past his head. His grin fades as he looks at the bear in Gibbs' hands. "The real reason, is that a long time ago in a carnival not so far away, a young Marine took the time to spend part of his day with a little boy. Talking to him like a man, treating him with respect and not judging him because he'd gotten lost. You're family boss, and like it or not, you're stuck with me."
Gibbs stands up and motions for Tim to do so also. He holds his hand out and Tim takes it. As Gibbs pulls him in for a hug he can faintly hear the older man sigh with relief.
"Mine?" Gibbs asks.
"Yours." Tim replies and they sit down for the first real conversation they've had in twenty years.