1. the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.

person, animal, or thing so offered.

surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

thing so surrendered or devoted.

5.a loss incurred in selling something below its value.

A higher claim. Someone once said that there was no greater love than to give his life for his fellow man. He couldn't think of any reason why he would want to do that for anyone be they man, woman or child. He had no one he wanted to protect or give up his life for. His father had abandoned him after all, so why would he want to do the same thing to anyone else? Why would he want to risk his heart getting hurt by someone else?

His friends thought he was heartless in the way he thought, but his life hadn't shown him any differently. Once he'd gotten out of school, he'd gladly signed up for the police force. And that was when he'd started wondering if his thinking had been wrong.

His friend had constantly questioned him asking him why he had to think that way. Didn't he have anyone back home to go back to. All he had to look forward to was a career in the business world and he didn't want to do that. His father and his grandfather before him had done that, and where had it gotten them? No where other than out of his life.

"Fine, then go and do something else. Just don't try and get us both killed because I do have a reason to live. I have a reason to believe in the greater good of all mankind and she's waiting for me back home."

He didn't have anyone though. No one had wanted him and he didnt want anyone. Two years here, another two years there and then he'd met someone who could have changed his mind if the man hadn't been military straight. Still he'd accepted the man's offer of trying out for NCIS.

And then he'd found the one, the real reason he could believe. A quirky, green-eyed individual who was as innocent as Tony was jaded. A probie to end all probies. And Tony had seen him first. Tony, not Gibbs or Kate but good old Tony DiNozzo.

But he wasn't sure how to go about proving that he wanted to do more, be more than just a friend. And he sure as hell didn't want to scare his probie away. So what did he do? He screwed up the relationship from the start. He pushed him right into Abby's hands and then he watched as Abby slowly started breaking Tim's heart.

"No!" his heart screamed when his brain finally kicked in and showed him what exactly he'd done. How could he have been so stupid as to have let her treat him that way. But now the deed was done and he couldn't undo it. He'd done what he'd sworn he'd never do. He fell into those green eyes and started imagining what could never be.

Months passed, long desperate torturous months in which Tony would catch himself picking up the phone, dialing a number and just as hurriedly hanging up again. He imagined Gibbs glaring at him, daring him to do anything to break rule 12 and gulped as he then thought of what Gibbs would do if he ever found out that Tony wanted to break rule 12 regardless of the consequences.

And then what happened? "You belong to me now."

Tony swiped a hand over his face. He couldn't believe how hot it was and then for Gibbs to bring Tim onto the team...why couldn't the boss see that Tim was the one that Tony wanted? Or could he?

"Damnit, DiNozzo what are you thinking? He's innocent, you don't want that kind of person in your life. You'll bring them down and he'll be just as jaded as you some day." His brain was definitely trying to keep him from Tim. His heart was telling him otherwise. "Damnit DiNozzo, he's what you need in your life to get over that jaded edge that you've lived with since you were a kid."

Days and more weeks go by and he's not sure what he can do. How to hide his feelings anymore. Mail call in the squadroom and he has to prevent his probie from dying. He might pretend not to care, but his gut is telling him that he doesn't want the others to open that envelope.

He won't take that risk. If anyone is going to die, it's going to be him. He's the senior agent, but more than that, he can't let Tim open that envelope. There is danger inside. If there was going to be a sacrificial lamb it would not be Timothy McGee. He grabbed the envelope, opened it and blew...


a/n: I was NOT planning on writing this ... guess who told me otherwise? Comments may go below.