Okay, everyone the second chapter is here! :) Hope you enjoy!
No pairings in this - just team/family love. :)
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Tim tapped away at the keyboard, working away in the uncommon silence of the bullpen.
For once, glad that he was the only one there for the moment.
He had come back to find Gibbs' desk empty - according to Tony he had taken off shortly after Tim himself had had left, only in the other direction - and Tony had left just a few moments ago on a trip to the vending machine.
He paused in his typing, deliberating on how best to finish his report, when he heard it.
The heavy foot-falls of his father coming down the hall.
He barely suppressed a flinch; it was a sound he was all too familiar with.
He gave himself a little shake; there was no reason to be worried now, though.
He wasn't some little kid so easily intimidated, and his father wasn't stupid enough to start a fight in the middle of a squadroom full of agents - no matter how insignificant he thought they were.
It would be better to just ignore the man and hopefully he wouldn't even notice Tim sitting there.
He glanced up once, quickly, more out of habit than anything, to see what his father was doing.
His father was angrily striding down the hall, obviously in a foul mood - nothing new there. Best to just avoid eye-contact and avoid another fight.
He turned back to his computer screen, ready to finish typing up his forms when he froze, fingers hovering over the keyboard, and did a double take.
Head snapping up in surprise, he took in his father's rigid figure a second time.
For the most part, his appearance had gone unchanged. He was still dressed in his clean-pressed suit, his shoes gleamed and polished, figure drawn to full height as he stood straight-backed and tall.
His graying hair was slightly disheveled, but most of his appearance seemed to be in-tact.
Except for his face.
As his father punched the elevator button with one hand; the other was hovering in front of his face, shielding his nose, and was slowly starting to cover with blood.
Tim blinked, taken aback by the image.
How in the he -
It had to be.
He might have considered Tony if he hadn't been sitting with the man in the squadroom all this time until just a few minutes ago.
That left Gibbs.
But how had Gibbs even known?
Hehadn't even known his father was in the building until about an hour ago.
And if Gibbs, by some strange occurrence, had come across the older man, how could he have possibly known who he was?
Neither Gibbs nor his father were exactly the type to strike up conversations with random strangers.
And Gibbs certainly didn't go around punching people for now reason.
Unless Tony had told him.
How else could Gibbs have known?
He couldn't imagine that Tony would tell; not after all the trouble he had went to, to try and shield him from Gibbs' questions earlier.
But then again, the situations were allot different.
Keeping the injury a secret and protecting Tim's dignity, and taking the opportunity (because Tim knew Tony would see it as such) to knock his father down a peg or two and get reparation, were worlds apart.
If Tony had seen his father was at NCIS, it was entirely plausible that he jumped to the wrong conclusion, and had told Gibbs, enlisting the older man's help.
Tony certainly didn't make threats lightly, and after some of the things he had said the night before Tim certainly wasn't going to take chances.
Tim sighed, propping his elbow on the arm rest of his chair and dropping his head into it.
His father wasn't a man that backed down easily, or allowed shows of disrespect from anyone. And although he didn't doubt the team's capability, they didn't deserve the man's trouble.
He was Tim's problem, not theirs, and he didn't want to have to see them face off with the man if it wasn't necessary.
Running a hand down his face wearily, he went over the situation in his head.
By the time Tony had announced his arrival back to the bullpen with a yell of, "Hey, McGee!" Tim had managed to work himself into a new set of worry.
"They were all out of chips," Tony commented as he strolled into the squadroom, his partner's worry going unnoticed, "Got you some of these though." He added, tossing a bag of something or other in Tim's direction and letting it land on his desk. "I managed to find a-"
"Can I talk to you a minute?" Tim interrupted suddenly, shooting out of his chair.
Tony paused, looking slightly taken aback by the abruptness of the statement, before slowly responding, "...Sure. What do you want to talk about?"
McGee remained silent, the tilt of his head in the direction of the stairs being his only response.
Tony understood immediately. Not here. Not where it's so easy to over-hear.
He nodded his understanding, dropping his snack on his desk before allowing Tim to lead the way.
Making their way past the desks and line of stairs, the two men worked their way around the few agents milling about, and moved back the usual corner in back of the stairs that was reserved for such occasions of secrecy.
Checking to make sure they were the only ones within ear-shot, Tim turned to face his partner.
Tony leaned his back against the wall and slid his hands into his pockets, relaxing. "So?" He asked, prompting Tim.
"So?" McGee repeated in a shocked whisper. "What do you mean 'so'?"
Tony blinked his surprise, before responding in a teasing tone. "Uh, okay then, how about 'Well?', or 'What's up?', 'What's...shakin'?"
Tim scowled. "Tony, I know."
"Know what?" Tony dropped his teasing tone for one of annoyance and confusion.
Tim sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration, "Come on, Tony."
"I would if you'd tell me what the heck we're talking about!" Tony threw up an exasperated hand.
"You told him, didn't you?" He whispered harshly.
"Told who what?" Tony snapped back.
"You told Gibbs!"
Tony shot him a confused look, opening his mouth to respond, but was beaten to the punch by a gruff voice asking "Told me what?"
Simultaneously, both younger men swiveled their heads round, shocked.
Gibbs stood in the hallway several feet away, watching them with a questioning gaze.
"Uh...Uh...we..." Tim stuttered, "We were just..."
Tony nodded his head vigorously in agreement, apparently planning to agree with whatever plan the younger man was hopefully about to come up with.
Gibbs rose a brow at the two them, having to bite back a smirk at the sight of them; two identical looks of surprise and guilt, as if they had just been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.
"Tony and I were just saying..." Tim glanced at his partner and drew up short.
Tony looked over to meet his gaze with curious eyes, his expression looking just as shocked as Tim felt.
The realization dawned on him quickly. "You didn't tell him?" He whispered, surprised.
Tony opened his mouth once before clamping it shut again and rubbing his temple. "It would really help if I knew what we were talking about." He mumbled.
Gibbs let the smirk play across his lips for a just a moment, amused.
"About yesterday." Tim whispered back quietly.
Tony immediately caught on; his brows shot up in surprise before his expression settled into a look of confusion. "Noooo." He drawled back, "Why?"
Tim clamped his mouth shut, not sure how to answer that.
If Tony didn't even know his father was here, maybe it would better to keep it that way. Before his father received another possibly broken bone. Or lost any more blood.
Tim was saved from answering as Gibbs came closer, coming to stand next to them. "DiNozzo." He sent his agent a meaningful look.
Tony glanced between the two, assessing the situation, as Gibbs' gaze locked on Tim and Tim shuffled under their boss' penetrating stare.
He caught Gibbs eye once more, sending their boss a look in return, knowing Gibbs would understand. Go easy on him, Boss. Not his fault.
Gibbs nodded his understanding before jerking his head in the direction of the bullpen, the meaning clear.
With a quick nod, he turned - sending Tim an apologetic look over his shoulder - and left the two alone to have one of Gibbs' famous pep talks, and departed back to the bullpen.
Left alone with his boss, Tim did his best to remain still.
After all, he had done nothing wrong, not really. He hadn't asked his father to show up here and anger Gibbs for whatever reason he had.
And besides, they were both adults here, there should be nothing to worry about.
It wasn't like Gibbs could send him to the corner of the bullpen for a time-out.
He fidgeted slightly.
It didn't help, he still felt like a kid, waiting for punishment from his father.
Well, more appropriately, a father.
Because if this was hisfather, there would be no waiting on his punishment; his father would already be yelling, loudly informing his son exactly what he had done and how much it had disappointed him.
He bit back a snort at the thought of his father.
Because, ironically, that's why they were here in the first place. He was sure of it.
"DiNozzo didn't tell me." Gibbs spoke suddenly, turning to face the man in front of him - startling Tim as he did so.
Tim nodded, letting his boss know he had heard him; but he still couldn't quite bring himself to meet the other man's eyes.
"The better question," Gibbs started, moving to stand directly in front of Tim now, "is why didn't you?"
At that, Tim's head did raise to look at his boss.
"I-" He stopped. What could he say to that? 'Sorry, Boss, I know I should have told you, but I was afraid if I did, you'd hunt him down and shoot him.' Or 'You know, considering Tony was already threating him, I didn't think it was a good idea to tell you too. One ticked off federal agent was more than enough.'
Yeah, that would go well.
"I didn't think it was important." He said. That wasn't a total lie; he didn't think it was really something Gibbs neededto know.
"You didn't think it was important?" Gibbs narrowed his eyes dangerously. "And just what wasn't important enough for you to tell me, McGee?"
Opening his mouth to respond, Tim paused - not sure how to respond. He couldn't tell what kind of mood Gibbs was in.
He was mad, obviously. But over what, he wasn't sure.
For all he knew he could be treading on thin ice with Gibbs - and the last thing he wanted right now was to fall through.
He bit his lip nervously, "Look, Boss, it's nothing - really."
One look at Gibbs' raised brow and Tim knew the lie hadn't passed Gibbs' radar.
There was an awkward, tense silence for a moment after the failed lie before Gibbs spoke again.
"So, your old man, he just decide to drop in for a visit?" He prompted pointedly.
Tim grimaced. When Gibbs sunk his teeth into something, there was no point in trying to deter him.
"Well, no. I called him." McGee finally admitted, fidgeting slightly at the admission. "I hadn't talked to him in a long time; thought we might try, you know, mending things." He shrugged helplessly.
Gibbs bit back a sigh.
Leave it to Tim. Only he could be forgiving and compassionate enough to move from whatever may have happened between his father and he in the past and try to make a go of things again.
And, by all appearances, it had just blown up in the kid's face.
Just another reason to be glad he had punched the older McGee.
He just wished the man was still here so he could do it again.
Gibbs sighed, "And things got out of hand." He concluded for Tim.
There was no point in asking or trying to beat around the bush; they both knew it was the truth.
Tim winched at that.
He wasn't sure how Gibbs knew he and his father had fought, but either way, Gibbs wasn't happy about it.
"It's nothing, Boss." He attempted to dismiss it. "We used to fight all the time when I was growing up."
However, his attempt at reassurance only seemed to make things worse.
Instead of reassuring his boss, like he had hoped it would, it seemed to tick him off all the more. Gibbs' expression darkened and his posture grew stiff.
"That so?" He asked, his voice quieter now, more deadly.
McGee had to fight the urge to flinch at that tone, reminding himself it wasn't directed at him.
"Uh, yeah." He paused, trying to choose his words carefully, "All the time."
Wrong again, he noted as Gibbs clenched his fist at his side.
"It's nothing." He tried again, "Got used to it after a while. I learned to stay out of his way when I could." He shrugged.
That was reallythe wrong thing to say, apparently.
Gibbs growled, throwing a fist out into the wall beside them.
"Boss," He attempted to soothe quickly, "It's not a big deal."
"Wrong, McGee. It is a big deal." Gibbs countered sharply.
Tim rubbed at his temples wearily before attempting to explain.
"My dad just has a bad temper." Gibbs growled angrily, but Tim carried on, "He lost his temper, that's all. I didn't help things." He shrugged as Gibbs cut his eyes to him, "I said some things I probably shouldn't have; riled him up."
"That give him an excuse to mess up your hand?" Gibbs scowled.
Tim blinked in surprise. "Wha-" His eyes suddenly grew wide. "This?" He asked, holding up his injured hand. "My dad didn't do this."
Gibbs looked at him quickly.
"I did it." At Gibbs' raised brow, he hurried to correct himself, "Well, you know, I didn't do it on purpose." He explained, flushing. "It was an accident." Tim paused, brow knitting together in confusion, "My dad never hurt me. Ever. Not that way." He said firmly, his expression displaying his obvious confusion.
Gibbs stared at him for a moment, scrutinizing him, before apparently deciding Tim was in fact telling him the truth and not trying to cover for his father.
Sighing tiredly, Gibbs scrubbed a weary hand down his face and turned away from Tim, giving himself a second to regain his bearings.
He was relieved, he wouldn't deny that.
It was still obvious that the elder McGee was anything but a model father and that Tim's relationship with the man was anything but good. But things obviously weren't as bad as he had thought either.
He had thought the worst.
And in doing so - he had broken one of his own rules.
He had jumped to conclusions, made an assumption, and come to the wrong outcome.
And for once, he was thankful he was wrong.
Vance had accused him, more than once, of turning a blind eye where his agents were concerned.
And although he might deny that to the man's face, he couldn't lie to himself.
The truth was that he could be a bit blind where they were concerned - especially when one of them was in danger.
His emotions seemed to try and get the better of him every time.
And often, they did.
He was supposed to be able to protect them.
Criminals, murders, bullets, bombs...
They faced them on a daily basis, but they were all things he had learned to protect his team from well enough.
Maybe not as well as he would like; but well enough to keep them living and fighting another day.
But when the danger came from his agents' own backyard, their own families, that made things ten times worse.
That was something that was out of his reach.
As much as he hated to admit it, there were just certain things he couldn't do to keep his team safe.
And that was one of them.
It was often too late to protect them the worst of what had happened in the past.
But the least he could do was stop it from happening again.
And he had. For Tony and for Ziva.
But he'd never really thought he'd be here again.
Trying to protect yet another one of his agent's from the nightmares of a past. Nightmares that, no matter how badly he wanted to, he couldn't fix.
He tried, *** knew he tried, but sometimes it wasn't enough.
And this time... this time it had been worse in a way.
Because, granted, Tony's father certainly wasn't going to win any Father of the Year awards; and he had, in a way, abused his son - emotionally, verbally. But never physically.
And he was at least trying, however little effort he put into it, to make things work now.
And then there was Eli David.
Well, there was nothing Gibbs would like better than to take the man out. He had hurt Ziva in more ways than one; he had turned her into a solider, had abandoned her, left her die.
But as far as he knew the man never physically hurt her either, thankfully.
He hadn't known much about the McGee family at first; Tim didn't exactly give him much to go with.
And while he had had a suspicion or two that things weren't exactly perfect for the younger man, he had never assumed things to be too bad.
Truth be told, he had never allowedhimself the chance to entertain the idea; he didn't want to have to consider that another one of his agents had gone through the disappointment of a lost childhood.
And it certainly never crossed his mind that he had ever been purposely hurt when he was a child.
Today he had had to face that possibility and, if he were being honest with himself, it had scared him.
It wasn't an opponent or an obstacle that he could take down, wasn't something he could scare away or quickly make better.
It was something that had been out of his control, something that he couldn't take back and stop from happening.
The best he could do was stop it from happening again. But after seeing the bandage on Tim's hand, it had seemed he was too late to even do that.
But he wasn't. Because it hadn't happened.
And it wouldn't.
He'd make sure of that.
Tim's sudden exclamation startled him, and Gibbs turned in surprise.
Tim was looking at him with an odd expression.
"Is..." Tim licked his lips nervously, unsure, "is that why you..." He trailed off, pausing for just a moment before looking up at Gibbs with wide eyes, "Is that why you hit my dad? You...you thought my dad hurt me."
He considered the young man in front of him for a few minutes before answering, "I protect my agents, Tim. Doesn't matter from what."
Tim blinked in surprise; taken aback by the conviction in the older man's voice, he was speechless for a moment before he responded, "You didn't have to do that, Boss."
"But, really, you don't have-"
"Tim." The warmth in the demanding tone enough to bring the stuttering man to a halt. Making sure he had the young agent's attention, Gibbs continued, "I. Know." He spoke with finality.
Because he did know. He knew what it was like when you weren't used to people looking out for you, not used to people taking care of you, to suddenly have people willing and wanting to be there for you.
He knew how hard it could be to let go and let someone else in to help.
And he knew what it was like to suddenly have your secrets bared for others to see, to have them out in the open, and to have to let someone close enough to those secrets when they came to help.
McGee watched him for a moment, his expression unreadable, and for a split second Gibbs' wasn't sure if McGee understood what he meant.
Finally, the young agent drew in a deep breath, nodding. "Thanks, Boss." He said, his voice quiet, almost a whisper.
And Gibbs smiled; the younger agent never ceased to amaze him.
He nodded his response, no words being needed.
All was quiet between the two federal agents a moment longer, before Gibbs spoke again. "You're better off without him." He told Tim, his tone barely hiding the anger when he thought of the elder McGee, "You don't need him, Tim."
Tim smiled, "I know."
Gibbs nodded with a smile of his own, "Good."
Tim smiled again, a littler wider this time, as he nodded to his boss, before he turned on his heel to start back to the squadroom.
But Gibbs wasn't quite done just yet, he needed to make sure Tim understood.
He held out a hand, catching the man's shoulder gently, and Tim turned to look at him.
"He bothers you again, you call me." He said firmly, his tone brooked no room for argument. He tapped Tim's chest with a finger, making sure he had the young man's full attention, "I don't care what he says to you, what he does, you call me. You understand?"
Tim's lips twitched as he fought the urge to smile at Gibbs' words, "Yeah, I gotcha, Boss."
Gibbs nodded once, patting him on the shoulder for good measure before he moved past his agent and started heading back towards the squadroom. "I'll handle him." He assured with grim satisfaction.
McGee bit back a snort as he followed his boss; he was all too sure Gibbs would handle it. Just how much of his father would be left after Gibbs 'handled' it would be the real question.
As they entered the brightly lit space of the bullpen, Tim could hear Gibbs snort quietly, saw him shake his head in a fond amusement even as he smiled.
Curious, Tim hurried a few steps ahead to meet up with his boss' stride, peering out around the other man, trying to see what had caused the older man's amusement.
And as his eyes fell on the bullpen, Tim couldn't stop his smile.
Tony was back his desk, in a heated discussion with Ziva who appeared to have finally returned to the bullpen; and apparently with Ducky and Palmer both in tow as the two MEs' were currently residing around the Senior Agent's desk now too.
At some point Abby has apparently decided to join the fray, as she was now seated on the corner of Tony's desk.
Tony looked up as they entered, and their gazes met over Abby's head.
Tony sent him a concerned look, quirking a brow in his direction. You okay?
He sent his friend a reassuring smile, nodding back. Yeah, everythings good.
Tony smiled, nodding once, satisfied, before he turned back to his conversation with Ziva.
Tim's grin spread even farther, watching Gibbs cross the space between them and the little grouping, reaching out to give Ducky a friendly pat on the shoulder and planting a kiss on Abby's forehead as he stayed, openly listening to the argument between his two other agents.
With a sigh, he watched them fondly, drinking in the sight.
"McGee! You gonna stand there and stare all day or are you gonna get over here? Maybe you can convince Ziva that she's wrong." Tony smirked over at him. "Ow!" He let out a high-pitched yelped as said woman cuffed his across the arm with a heatless glare.
Tony sent her a challenging glare of his own, making a show of rubbing his arm for the others.
And as Abby giggled, leaning her head back against Palmer's side, and Ducky chuckled amusedly while Gibbs shook his head, trying to bite back the smirk threating to play against his face, Tim could never remember a time he had felt more like he belonged.
He made his way over to them, leaning in to kiss Ziva on the cheek as he passed, - drawing a smile from the tuff assassin - and patted Tony on the shoulder with a smile as he joined them.
This was his family.
This was home.
Okay, so what did you think? I tried to include a bit of everything for everyone, so I hope you all liked it. Leave me a review and let me know! :)
PLEASE READ: Also, I will be posting a sequel to this. (Yes, another one. :P) I started writing this and I had an idea for another one-shot to continue on in this setting. It'll take place directly after this last scene. And it will include more big brother Tony, with a little bit of daddy Gibbs. :D
So keep an eye out. I'm hoping to have it finished in a couple of weeks, but I'm not making any promises, as the next couple of weeks are going to be pretty busy for me. But I will have it up as soon as I can. :)