Here we are, the last chapter! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own nor making money from NCIS.
Because of his injuries, it was weeks before Tim could finally lay his family to rest. He knew Gibbs wanted to come with him, but his guilt and shame made it impossible for him to be any where around his Boss.
He even had trouble at the attorney's office. He felt like a fraud, representing himself as Dan and Cindy's son, when he was the reason they were dead. Ziva, who had been by his side the entire time, reminded him that from the time the McGees first met Tim, they wanted nothing more than to be his parents.
It helped him get through the meeting, but did nothing to sooth the guilt weighing on him. He didn't want to be doing any of this, felt he didn't have right, but he knew he needed to honor his the people who had taken care of him. So, he pushed on, quietly and reserved, not showing any of the grief he felt.
He was able to keep it up until the night after his family was buried. Back in the hotel, he felt completely overcome and cried into his pillow in an effort to be quiet. However, Ziva, being Ziva, heard him in her connected room. She picked the lock of the inner door and went to his side.
She spoke softly, telling him about the loss she felt when she lost her sister, then her mother. Even her brother, Ari, missing the boy of her youth who was destroyed by the man he had become. How, even though she had a biological father, she often felt alone and isolated. That was, until Gibbs let her come on the team. First Tim accepted her, soon to be followed by Tony and Abby. She told him that she finally knew what it was like to be part of a family and thanked him for that.
It was what Tim needed. He finally allowed himself to properly grieve, Ziva staying right with him. Once the storm had passed, he shared stories of his childhood with the McGees. His favorite memory was of going to the Olympic Games and seeing a man fly over them with his jet-pack ... making Ziva laugh.
It didn't take away the guilt, but it relieved some of the heaviness he had been carrying. He fell asleep in the middle of a story, making Ziva smile. Instead of going back to her room, she stayed with Tim, keeping a protective watch over him.
The next morning, they were heading back to D.C.
Tim picked at his breakfast, barely eating anything. Ziva knew he was nervous about facing Gibbs again, but didn't understand why. She knew Gibbs' didn't hold him responsible for what happened. In fact, it seemed no one but Tim was doing that. She tried to talk to him about it, but he kept diverting the conversation. She decided she wouldn't push the issue, but would be there for her friend if he wanted to open-up.
Thanks to the private jet Director Vance, with the permission of Sec-Nav, let them use - they were on their way back home in no time.
Tim quickly fell back to sleep once they were in the air. Ziva frowned, she knew depression was settling on Tim, his constant sleeping and lack of eating being the first signs. She was worried and resolved to speak to Gibbs about it ... soon. She curled up in her seat and tried to focus on reading the book she had brought along. However, her mind kept wandering. She sighed, closed the book, and just watched her friend sleep.
Ziva woke Tim when the pilot let her know they would be landing shortly. He woke with a start and it took him a few moments to recognize where he was.
"I am sorry I startled you. I wanted you to know that we will be landing soon. It will be nice to back, no?"
"Yeah ... sure, Ziva."
She kept her face neutral, but she was very worried.
Once they disembarked from the jet, they went to the waiting company car, with Tony driving.
He offered a big smile to his two returning partners. "Probie! Ninja-girl! Welcome back!" He sauntered over and picked up Tim's luggage. "Did you keep Ziva in line out there? I know what she can be like traveling." He wagged his eyebrows at them.
Tim shrugged and entered the back of car without saying anything. Ziva and Tony exchanged looks. He stepped close to Ziva and spoke softly to her. "Don't worry, Gibbs has a plan."
She looked up at him, searching his face and eyes. Satisfied with what she found, she nodded and sat in the front passenger seat.
On the drive, Tony talked non-stop. After fifteen minutes, Ziva thought she was going to kill him. She turned to get McGee's opinion, and found him asleep again.
She put a hand on Tony's arm. He stopped talking and looked in the rear-view mirror at Tim. He then looked over to Ziva, then gave a big smile. "Gibbs ... plan." He winked and went back to his torrent of talking.
Ziva tried to take comfort in the fact that Tony wasn't worried. She knew she would worry less if she was in on what ever this plan was. She turned back around in her seat, closed her eyes for a moment to center herself. When she opened them again, she started breaking into Tony's commentary. Within minutes, the two were 'bickering', nothing felt more normal to Ziva and she took comfort in it.
Tim awoke as soon as the car came to a stand still. He lolled his head to look out the window at Gibbs' house. "You know, I could've just gone to a hotel."
Tony, keeping his tone light, responded. "Are you kidding me? I've had more than enough head-slaps since you've been out of town, not looking for more ... at least not right now." He flashed the famous DiNozzo smile.
Tim sighed and slowly got out of the car while Tony got his luggage out of the truck. "We could have taken Ziva home first. It's longer this way."
Tony came around the car and placed a hand on Tim's shoulder. "I'm under orders, Probie. Don't worry."
Tim lowered his eyes to the ground. "Yeah, okay."
Tony was bursting to tell his friend what was going on, but that too was an order from Gibbs. So instead, he winked at Ziva and took Tim's stuff into Gibbs' house.
Ziva started to follow.
"Stay here Ziva, I'll only be a moment." Tony called over his should in a jovial tone, but shot Ziva a look that told her that was an order. She nodded her understanding and sat back in the car.
Tony lead the way, with Tim following solemnly behind. He burst through the door, "Hey Boss, we're here!" He walked into the living room and placed the luggage by the couch.
Tim came in right behind Tony, then flopped down on the couch and closed his eyes.
Gibbs had been watching from the kitchen door way. Tony walked over and in a low voice said, "He hasn't eaten much and has been sleeping for most of the day."
Gibbs nodded to his senior agent, then nudged his head towards the door, indicating it was time for him to leave.
In the same low voice. "Take care of him Boss." Then DiNozzo turned and left, knowing his partner was in the best hands possible.
Gibbs watched Tony leave, then turned his attention back to Tim. He was sitting on the couch, head resting on the back, eyes closed in feigned sleep.
"Dinner's on the table."
Tim didn't move a muscle.
Gibbs went to open his mouth when a hand was placed on his arm. He turned to look at the owner. He nodded at the silent message he was being given and stayed quiet.
Tim hoped Gibbs got the message and would just leave him alone. He felt so uncomfortable around his Boss right now and just didn't know what to say to him. When he felt the someone sit on the sofa, he braced himself for the lecture.
Instead a hand was placed on his leg. "I know it's hard, but you need to keep moving forward."
Tim opened his eyes to look at the older man he didn't recognize. He shot up and looked apprehensively over to Gibbs.
"Tim, I'd like you to met my fa ... dad, Jackson Gibbs." He had found out that Talbot made Tim call him nothing but 'father' and Talbot would only call him 'son', not even giving Tim an actual name. So, he was trying to keep away from anything that could remind Tim of that monster. Dad was a safe term, since it was something Talbot never used, but Dan McGee had.
Tim looked from Gibbs to Jackson, back to Gibbs. "Are you okay Boss?"
Gibbs smiled at his concern. "Yeah, Tim, I'm fine. I just ..."
"Leroy thought it would be a good idea for us to get to know each other. Since we all have lost loved ones." Jackson smiled, not wanting to revel the real reason his son had called him in.
Gibbs actually chuckled at that. "He's the only one who calls me that ... so don't go getting any ideas."
"Why not, that's your name, isn't it?"
"Do me a favor Tim, stick with Boss." Gibbs looked over to his agent and smiled.
Tim was confused. He never knew Gibbs to be so agreeable, he wasn't sure what to make of it.
Jackson lifted his hand off of Tim's leg and grabbed his arm instead. "Come on, I'll explain how he got his name ... over dinner." He stood, bring Tim with him, not letting the young man refuse.
They walked past Gibbs and sat at the kitchen table. Gibbs stayed in the doorway and watched as his Dad went through the whole story. When he saw Tim give his trade-mark shy smile at the conclusion of the story, that's when he knew everything was going to work out just fine.
He turned back to his mantle to look at the picture of his girls again, proud to be able to finish something Shannon had started so long ago. This time, instead of the picture, he saw the two of them standing in the living. "I'm going to make you girls proud, just you watch."
Shannon and Kelly looked at each other, then out to Gibbs - giving him their best smiles.
"Leroy! You get your butt in here! You need to eat too, ya know!"
Gibbs turned and called over his shoulder, "I'll be right there!" When he turned back, the image of his wife and daughter were gone, but knew their presence would always be close.
When he joined his father and Tim at the table, Tim had already started eating and had a slight smirk on his face.
"Once me and the Misses got done arguing about the first name, we started anew about the middle."
Gibbs gave a quick side glance to Tim, who looked back at him and, for the first time in weeks, met Gibbs eyes. His smile was a little stronger, even though there was still the lingering hurt.
Gibbs nodded and smile back. "Dad! I don't think Tim really wants to hear ..."
"Nonsense! Besides, how often do I get to tell my stories. Bet he's sick of hearing yours!"
A comfortable bantering fell between father and son, with Tim quietly, but happily, listening.
As dinner finished and Jackson served coffee, and the talking continued ... eventually Tim even joined in.
Gibbs sat enjoying the time. After losing his own, his teams had always been his family, especially this one. Now, Tim would truly become his son. Maybe not in name, but in heart ... and that was all that really mattered.
Thank you to everyone who came along for the ride! Your support and reviews have meant so much to me. To everyone who reads this in completion, I still welcome your reviews!
See you in the next story!