Tim was at his temporary desk near the rest of his team working on paperwork when he felt another presence. He looked up to see Tony who did not look happy. "Can I help you?"
"Are you happy now?" Tony asked coldly.
"Yes, I am, Tony. Thank you for asking. Of course, I could be happier. I could be back in LA and away from you people. That would make me happier. But I'll be back there soon enough, so I won't complain," Tim said.
Tony glared daggers at his former colleague. "Do you think this is funny?"
"Well, I can't really answer that because I don't know what 'this' is?" Tim said with amusement in his voice. He then turned to his team. "You guys know what he means?"
"I don't speak gibberish," Callen said.
"See I'm fairly fluent in gibberish, I just don't speak stupid," Sam spoke up.
"I don't know either," Kensi said.
Tim turned back to Tony. "Well, there you have it, Tony. You're going to have to elaborate a bit if you want anyone here to understand you."
"You managed to get to Gibbs. He's quitting. You happy?" Tony asked.
To say that Tim was surprised would be an understatement, but he managed to keep his face impassive. "I fail to see what that has to do with me."
"Are you kidding? It's all your fault!" Tony said angrily.
Sam stood up and approached. "Okay, you're going to back off now."
"No, it's okay, Sam, let him go. I'd like to hear this. Please, Tony, tell me how I'm responsible for Gibbs quitting. I haven't even said two words to him," Tim said. It was true. Even when he was kicking his ass, he didn't say a word to Gibbs.
"You turned him around somehow. You got him thinking he messed up with you," Tony said.
"Well, better late than never," Callen said from his desk. It didn't really change anything, but it was nice to know that Gibbs had finally taken his head out of his ass.
Tony glared at Callen. "Shut up. You don't know anything about our team, so why don't you stay out of it."
"You know something, Tony, you're right. This is a team thing. And as no one in this general area is part of your team, leave us all out of it," Tim said.
"You may not be a part of this team anymore, but we're still being affected by you ditching us. First Ziva transfers and now Gibbs decided to resign. You've destroyed us," Tony said angrily.
Tim sighed and looked at Tony with a bored expression on his face. "You destroyed yourselves. What did you think that you could just go through life treating people like crap and you'd never have to pay for it? Everyone has a judgment day, Tony. Welcome to yours," he said before standing up and walking away.
Gibbs was seated on a bench just outside NCIS. The same one Callen had been on the day before when he confronted him about Tim. It was amazing how much had changed since then. He'd now accepted the truth about Tim and had resigned from his position.
He never thought it would happen this way. He never thought that when he finally decided to leave for good it would be because he screwed up with a member of his team. He considered that it might be because he screwed up too badly on a case, but never with a member of his team. In many ways, this was worse. Screwing up a case was one thing, but he'd screwed with a man's life. That was the biggest reason he'd decided to walk.
"Agent Gibbs," came the loud voice of an old woman.
Gibbs turned to see Hetty coming towards him. He stood up and steeled himself for whatever she had to throw at him.
"I believe I made you a promise," Hetty said.
Gibbs remained silent. He knew what she was talking about of course. She'd promised him a showdown once the case was closed, which it was. At the time, he had every intention of fighting back when the time came, but not anymore. Not when he knew he deserved everything she sent his way and then. "Give me your best shot."
"Oh, you may want to take that back," Hetty warned. "Tell me, Gibbs, what does good mean to you. What is your definition of a good agent? I only ask because Mr. McGee tells me you have a rule about wasting good."
Gibbs closed his eyes sadly. Oh, how badly he'd broken that rule. He'd shot it to hell. "If you're trying to tell me that McGee's good, I know that. I got up close and personal with how good he is."
Hetty chuckled a little. "Yes, I'll need to congratulate him on improving your face. Tell me, did he improve your brain as well?"
"Yes," was all he said.
"Well, that's something at least. A little late, but still something. So what are you going to do about it?" Hetty asked.
"I've resigned from my position," Gibbs said.
"That seems a little cowardly, doesn't it? You walk away and manage to escape the consequences. Not only is cowardly, but it also seems unsatisfying. Where's the justice in it?" Hetty asked.
"If you think I won't suffer because of this, you're wrong," Gibbs said. He would carry the guilt of what he did to McGee around with him for the rest of his life. It was one of his deepest regrets and it always would be.
"Of course, because your suffering really overshadows his," Hetty said sarcastically.
"I never said it did. I'm just trying to make things right," Gibbs said.
"You can't," said a voice from behind Gibbs.
They both looked to see Tim there.
"Hetty, could I have a moment alone with Gibbs?" Tim asked.
"I suppose I should go see how we're coming along with closing this investigation," Hetty said before walking away.
"If you're leaving for my benefit, don't bother," Tim told Gibbs. "You really think playing the martyr is going to make everything better?"
"That's not what I'm do..."
"Then what? You trying to guilt me into taking responsibility for all of the blood between me and your team? Maybe that's it. Maybe you don't have any intention of resigning. It wouldn't be the first time you 'left'," Tim said.
Gibbs shook his head. "That's not how it is."
"Well, I wouldn't put it past you to do it. Tony certainly thought he could do it. He told me about you resigning and said that it was all my fault. Too bad for him that what he says doesn't matter to me anymore," Tim said.
Gibbs sighed. He was really hoping that he had gotten through to Tony earlier, but it seemed not. Tony was just going to have to learn the hard way it seemed. "He shouldn't have done that. Tim, I'm..."
"You barely ever used my first name when I worked for you and you don't have the privilege of using it now," Tim said coldly.
Gibbs nodded. "Understood. Anyway, my leaving is not on you, it's on me."
"You didn't need to tell me that. Though I am surprised to hear you say it. You usually like to pawn the blame on someone else, preferably me. Even after a year that hasn't changed. My team told me about everything that went down before I got here. How even after all this time, you still tried to blame me for everything," Tim said.
"I was wrong. I'm sorry," Gibbs said. There, he'd said it. He hadn't planned on saying it. He hadn't wanted to burden the kid with his remorse and guilt. But he couldn't help but say it.
Tim raised an eyebrow in surprise. He hadn't expected that. In all the years he'd known him, he hadn't once heard Gibbs apologize. "Wow. Just when I think nothing you do will surprise me. You're breaking your rules, Gibbs."
"Well, it wouldn't be the first time," Gibbs said. His decimation of rule five was still in his head, not to mention rule one. McGee may not have been his partner, but he still screwed him over.
"What do you want me to say? You expect me to just say I forgive you and forget seven years of hell?" Tim asked. He made it clear in the question that he had no intention of doing that.
"Of course not," Gibbs said.
"You know I would've a year ago. That would've been it. A done deal. But I'm not the same person I was a year ago," Tim said. He had changed a lot over the last year, both physically and emotionally. He was no longer the naive guy that let everyone walk all over him. He was stronger now and less tolerant of people like Gibbs and Tony.
"I can see that," Gibbs said. He knew even before this conversation that McGee had changed dramatically. It was obvious right after their first encounter.
"Good. Then this won't come as a big shock. You and your apology can go straight to hell. I don't accept. I don't forgive you," Tim said coldly. It had been different with Ducky and even Ziva. Compared to the others, they'd played minor roles in the way he was treated. Gibbs he blamed the most. He was the one with the power to stop it all and he chose not to. The fact that he trusted Gibbs and looked up to him made it that much worse. He couldn't forgive that, not now anyway. He hoped one day he could. Not for Gibbs' sake, but his own, however, that day was not now. "You can quit, hell you can throw yourself off the nearest bridge, but it won't change anything."
"I know that. I don't expect forgiveness from you, nor am I asking for it. I don't deserve it. I screwed you over and there's not a damn thing I can do to make that better. I'm not leaving to gain your forgiveness. I'm leaving because I don't trust myself to be anything other than what I am now," Gibbs said.
"Meaning a bastard."
Gibbs nodded. "I'm also hoping that with me gone, the rest of the team will learn from all this and start acting the way they should."
"Well, I wouldn't hold my breath, especially with Tony. But it's really not my problem. I'm done with you people," Tim said before turning and walking away.
A few hours later, The LA team was finally ready to go. Callen led the way towards the elevator, but stopped by Gibbs' team. They were all there, including, Ducky. "Well, I would say it was a pleasure, but..."
"We try not to lie unless we're undercover," Tim finished for him.
"Right," Callen said.
"Ducky, it was great seeing you again," Tim said.
Ducky approached Tim and held out his hand. "You as well, Timothy. Please do what you can to stay safe."
Tim shook his hand. "I always do, Ducky. Ziva, I wish you luck in wherever you go," He might not ever be able to be her friend again, but he did hope she was able to find her place like he'd found his.
"Thank you, McGee," Ziva said.
"The rest of you can kiss my ass," Tim said before following his team to the elevator. He took one last look around before stepping inside. In a way, he was glad he'd come back, even if it was forced on him. He needed this. He needed this closure even if it didn't really change anything. Now it was time for him to go home and leave his old life behind forever.