Title: A Pattern

Rating: T

Main Character/s: Timothy McGee

Summary: There's a thin line between genius and insanity. McGee has always been smart, but the team starts to see how smart when a certain case comes along.

Warnings: Drama, Language, Case fic, Question of sanity, and future Pre-Slash

This fic was a request by aims123


A Pattern

CHAPTER 1

They pulled up to the scene and saw the body lying in the street, the cause parked a few feet away.

"Heck of a way to catch a bus," Tony said as he passed Gibbs. As he looked down at the body, he had to admit that she had been a beauty. She looked like a sweet woman.

Children's cases were always the hardest, but Tony personally thought women's were a close second. He was all for equal rights and equality but women in his book were a little more important than men.

"Gibbs, police think it was an accident," Ziva said as she approached and he took photos.

He wouldn't admit it but he missed McGoo a bit. He's been gone on a two week vacation—had to go or he would have lost it—and wouldn't be back until the end of the following week. It sure has been boring without his Probie.

"Bus driver claims that the victim tried to run the light and missed."

"ID?"

"Navy Lieutenant Clea Thorson. Twenty-nine years old and a chemical engineer. Two tours overseas before joining the Reserves in 2006. I also have a witness that says the victim was acting paranoid prior to the collision. Another says she was mumbling about trying to get away from someone."

"Mental problems?" he asked. It wouldn't be the first they've dealt with.

Ziva looked down at Clea Thorson. "Maybe she really was running away from someone."

Tony looked past Gibbs to see Ducky and Palmer coming. "Good morning all. And who do we have the privilege today?"

"Navy Lieutenant Clea Thorson," Tony answered.

Ducky looked at the bus behind Tony and back to Clea Thorson. "Pedestrian versus bus. How unfortunate."

"Walk on the green, not in between." They all looked at Palmer. "I'm sorry. I used to say that to myself when I was a kid whenever I wandered into the… Never mind, never mind."

"Yes, well, severe trauma to the head. Consistent with the collision. The impact threw the victim 12 to 15 feet, making the speed of the bus at the point of collision…?"

See, they needed McGeek. He would have known that answer in a split second.

Palmer on the other hand looked like he was trying to figure it out but couldn't. Tony didn't even bother trying. Math hadn't been his strongest subject.

"Uh…"

"15 to 20 miles an hour, Mr. Palmer. I suggest you work on your math a bit."

"Yes Doctor Mallard."

Ducky looked down at the woman between them again. "Are those scratches on her hands, Mr. Palmer?"

Palmer bent down and turned her hand to see. Tony lifted the camera to take the picture for evidence.

"Naturally, she would have extended her arms to protect herself. Oh."

And Palmer raised her sleeves.

On the woman's arm was something he'd never seen. Math symbols and numbers and things he's only seen in Abby's lab were written in blue and black ink on her pale arm. They all leaned in to see closer before Gibbs ordered for Palmer to check the other arm. And just as suspected, there was more and even more on her flat stomach. Tony had to remind himself to take pictures of the strange site.

"Looks like my cheat sheet from an eighth grade math final."

Tony had to agree with Palmer on that.

"Whatever this is, Mr. Palmer, I am certain that you did not learn it in eighth grade."


They were back at NCIS and going over what they knew of Thorson.

"It seems Lieutenant Thorson was something of an overachiever."

"Background?"

"Graduated first in her class from MIT." Reminded him of his own Probie.

Ziva picked up. "While she was in the service, she led a civil engineering project to rebuild water systems in Iraq. She was on 21."

"Recruited by every biotech firm in the country. She chose Martin Stillwell's Gen-1 Biotech Inc. in D.C. Stillwell became the CEO after Robert Carter who ran it for nearly thirty years before him."

"She was working on a research project there until two weeks ago."

Gibbs stared at them. "Why?"

"Quit. Not sure why, Boss."

"A spotless military record."

"Family?" he asked.

"Never married. No children. No boyfriend to speak of. Only relative is her mother in Boston and she's on the way as we speak."

Tony turned to the temporary cybercrimes agent that they had at their disposal and gave the go ahead to speak of what else they had. He was all up for pranking and jokes but didn't seem right when he had his own Probie to do it to. He would just have to wait until he got back and then do some major catching up.

"Um, Agent Gibbs, there's no current address except for one six months ago. A-And no credit or cell traces. But…I-I did find a bank account in Maryland where she deposited over $20,000 every week."

"After she quit."

Tony added, "Maybe she was working on the sly."

"Find out who was paying her," Gibbs demanded before leaving, no doubt to check up on the autopsy and Abby.

He and Ziva headed to her desk while Tony addressed the other agent. "We'll figure that out while you go through email and see if you can find anything."

They worked silently for a while before the other agent spoke. "Um, Agent DiNozzo."

"Yeah?"

"Where's Agent McGee? Doesn't he usually do this stuff for you guys?"

"Probie's out on vacation time, Lawson."

"Oh."

Ziva threw him a look. "What?"

"Do you even know where he is on his vacation?"

"Of course I do," he scoffed.

"I find it hard to believe that McGee would tell you where he was going."

Putting a hand over his heart with fake hurt, he mock pouted. "I'm hurt Ziva. I'm hurt that you don't think my Probie would trust me with that information. McGeek tells me everything."

Besides, he knew Probie and he knew he didn't like vacations. So he knew McGee was actually just lounging at his apartment, probably using the time to do some writing. And he did not drive by to check.

"Give me something DiNozzo," Gibbs ordered when he came in minutes later.

"Nothing on the money trail yet Boss."

"Agent Lawson?"

"Uh, found a video in Thorson's email." And he clicked it to play on the screen.

"You ungrateful bitch. You're not going anywhere. And if you do leave me, I will make your life hell."

Tony chuckled. "Wow, Mel Gibson much?"

"Huh. There was no evidence that Thorson had a boyfriend," Ziva said.

"Lawson."

"Finding the IP address." Tony watched him and knew the answer was going to be interesting when he saw the look on Lawson's face. "Okay, uh, this i-isn't her boyfriend. It's her boss."


Tony and Ziva approached Martin Stillwell. "We have a few questions for you Mr. Stillwell."

He stopped at the bottom of the stairs and sighed. "Yes. It's sad to hear about Clea. She was a great person."

"You didn't sound like you liked her on the video. Can make a man go a little nuts after getting dumped, huh?"

Stillwell started to fix his cuffs and Tony quickly picked up on the gesture as the man needing to gather his thoughts. "Clea and I had a professional working relationship. I gave her a break in this business. I nurtured her."

Oh yeah, he was sure there was some nurturing.

"From what we saw of your video, you were not too happy about letting her quit," Ziva suggested.

"Yet, I let her go." Tony could see that the decision didn't sit well with the man.

"I take it you didn't really want to."

"Clea was a brilliant woman. A genius. I'd never known or worked with anyone like her. But what comes along with all that brilliance, are certain challenges."

"What kind of challenges?"

"When it came to working…she didn't work well with others. Everything had to be her way or no way. She nearly became impossible to deal with during her research project at Norfolk."

"Then why did it take you so long to fire her?" Ziva asked.

The fury that flashed in Stillwell's eyes almost had him go for his weapon. "Because I wasn't going to be like that goddamned Carter and let another genius slip through this company's fingers. We took a hit that lasted a while after we lost that kid, and I didn't want that to happen again. That kid was a hell of a lot smarter than Einstein, a bit obsessed with his work but still, he was a prodigy and made this company millions. I didn't want that to happen again, but I had no choice to let her go. Not to mention she had gotten help from that...kid," he spat.

Ziva and Tony glanced at each other, surprised by this new flow of information. "What was the kid's name?"


Lorrain Thorson stared at the small photo in her hand and Gibbs gave her time. "Who did this? Who killed my little girl?"

"Was she in any trouble?"

"Everything was fine," she said. "Clea was just fine until she left her job."

"Any idea why she left?"

"No. But she kept sending money. Told me to hold onto it in case anything should happen." She shook her head. "She was scared. At first, I thought it was the meds, but this…this was different."

He stared at the mother in front of him and stopped writing. "Meds?"

"It started when she was about 4. Mood swings, manic behavior, insomnia. She struggled till her early teens." He could hear the struggle she had to keep it together but she did in the end. "Then we found the right doctor, the right medication and everything was under control. I had my daughter back. Until recently."

He shook his head at what he had heard. "It had to be hard."

Lorrain nodded. "It was." She traced the face on the picture of a younger Clea Thorson. "Something had my daughter shaken up. And I don't think it was her illness." She sniffed and he handed her a tissue which she thanked him for.

"Can you think of anything that could have?"

"No," she shook her head. "But I could only guess it had to do with work. Clea wasn't very social and didn't have friends. Her boss wasn't happy about her wanting to leave."

"Do you know why?"

"He didn't want to be like the previous CEO of the company from what she told me. The previous CEO, Robert Carter, had let a brilliant engineer, like her, leave. Though, from what she told me, she's nothing like the one who left the company last time and the company really took a hit after he left. My daughter isn't awed by many, Agent Gibbs, with her own IQ at 150, but she was awed by this young man and he was only 16 when he started and 21 when he left."

Gibbs frowned at the fact a kid had worked in Navy research, and for five years. He asked, "Do you know who the kid was?"

The mother frowned in thought. "Let me see. I know she told me his name once because she mentioned finding and meeting him to find out how to get out of working there."

He sat quietly as she tried to remember the name and froze at the name that passed her lips. "McGee. Timothy McGee."


Tim gasped as he bolted awake, his eyes looking around as sweat trailed down his face. He thought back to what he had dreamed about, but couldn't remember any of it. Groaning, he lied back down and tried to catch his breath. It wasn't till he looked at what time it was that he realized how late in the day he had slept. Getting up, he took care of his business, and showered, needing to get clean after waking up in a sweat.

After he changed his sheets, he found Jethro in the living room. "Hey boy," he greeted and knelt down to give him a pet. He was surprised Jethro hadn't tried waking him up at all to go to the bathroom. It was when Jethro whined and nudged under his chin that he had a good idea Jethro had waited for him. Tim wasn't above admitting that he had not only been hesitant but downright scared to take Jethro in after that case. He had suffered from a few nightmares the first month Jethro stayed with him, but he had gotten over it. Had gotten better. And what started as a bad start had became a wonderful friendship between man and dog. He wouldn't trade Jethro for anything. He loved his German Shepard.

"I know boy. Sorry if I scared you." He still suffered from nightmares every now and again but for the life of him he couldn't remember them the next morning. And Jethro was very protective of Tim. If he had a nightmare, he stayed with him and didn't wake him in the morning if it was a really bad one. "But that's over with and I think you deserve a little something extra today. What do you think?"

Jethro's tail started wagging excitedly and he pulled back to run for the leash, sitting by the door with it hanging in his mouth. Tim chuckled. "How bout we eat first, then we'll go to the park? Then, we'll come back and watch some television." Jethro barked in agreement and Tim smiled before he got the dog food and fed Jethro.

They ate together, Tim eating at the counter of course, before they finished up and Tim put the leash on Jethro before heading out. They headed to the park, Jethro's favorite place. He loved to play with the other dogs but he loved it more if Tim brought a ball, frisbee, or his favorite rubber ring to play with.

As they were on their walk, Tim just enjoyed the time to himself. He had been against going on a vacation, but a direct order from Gibbs and Vance, and he was made to go. Tim didn't like vacations that much, so he just figured he'd lounge at home and work on his new book, spend time with Jethro. It was pretty nice. He just hoped he could make it for two weeks, because a few days of being away from crime and murder was nice, but two whole weeks by himself…he wasn't sure if he could make it before he died of boredom.

When they reached the park, he let Jethro off his leash to run around and play with the other dogs while he sat on a bench. He took a calming breath and smiled when Jethro looked back at him before continuing to play. Dog was too protective sometimes. After a good five to ten minutes, Jethro came back to him and nudged his pocket. "What's that boy? You want something?"

Jethro continued to nudge his pocket and jump back, leaning on his front with his back in the air, his tail wagging, and his tongue hanging out. And he kept repeating till Tim took mercy on him and took out the blue rubber ring toy that has been chewed on for a long time but still wasn't broken. "Ready?"

At the woof, Tim threw it high and long and watched Jethro run after it, jumping to catch it and toss his head back and forth with a soft growl before running back. They played catch for a long while before Jethro looked tired. Tim walked Jethro back to the apartment where they both got some water before crashing on the couch where Tim put in a movie. Jethro didn't mind regular television, Animal Planet, of course being the favorite, but he was a movie lover. His favorites were 101 Dalmatians (Disney cartoon), Die Hard series, and The Fugitive. He blamed Tony for that.

They were just getting to the part where Horace and Jasper had the puppies cornered in the abandoned De Vil place, Jethro growling beside him, when his cell phone rang. Chuckling as Jethro barked along with the cartoon puppies as Perdi and Pongo fought the goons, he answered without looking, "Tony, I blame you for the fact my dog watches a Disney cartoon."

"McGee."

"Boss?" he frowned, pausing the movie and petting Jethro when he looked at Tim like he was crazy for doing such a thing. "Hey, what's up?"

"Need you to come in."

"Um, Boss, I'm on vacation remember? You and Director Vance ordered it."

"Need you to come in for questioning."

He frowned even more. "What? What'd I do?"

"Clea Thorson?"

Tim sucked in a gasp at the name and the fact that Gibbs knew her. No one was supposed to know her at work. But if Gibbs knew about her... "Is she…"

"This morning."

He closed his eyes and turned into Jethro's fur for a bit of comfort. He hadn't known Clea much, but he had tried to help her as much as he could. And now…she was dead and his team was working on it. That wasn't good. Wasn't good for him.

Taking a deep breath, he sighed, "I'll be right there."


A/N: I don't think I've ever been more excited to write a story. And if it wasn't for aims123 I wouldn't have even thought of this.

PLEASE REVIEW! They're appreciated.