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Abby found herself surrounded by McGee who was clutching her in a way that made her start questioning who was dead. He was getting good at scaring her. Always had been really. If she didn't love him it he wouldn't be able to scare her. She had finally figured that out.

Before she began taking a mental tally of the last contact she'd had with everyone she knew, she found it in herself to risk the answer and ask. "Are you okay? What happened? What's wrong?"

For a few seconds he didn't say anything, which wasn't really helping the fear reduction tactics. When he did respond it was as if he wasn't fully there with her, a part of him mentally off somewhere else. "I did it, something I should have done a long time ago."

He couldn't breathe. Was this what a panic attack felt like? He had done everything wrong. The battle was complete and it would go down as another marking in the category: the vast and numerous errors of Timothy McGee.

At least a part of him recognized that he wasn't alone, he found himself talking again. To himself, to her, it didn't matter. "It had to be done, didn't it? Tell me I did the right thing?" Someone had to tell him. He didn't know. His thoughts were swirling and unintelligible McGee couldn't trust himself enough to make that decision.

It was a major task. Had he detonated and disrupted any possible progress that had occurred with the Admiral. Had there even been progress? There wasn't any he could see but maybe his judgments could be clouded.

"Tim, what are you talking about? What did you do?" Confusion melted into every crevice of her mind. Where had he said he was going? Was it coincidence he waited until she was looking over the research for her pitch to the director about her next lab purchase before he mentioned he was going anywhere? What could he possibly have done? He hadn't mentioned any plans before. McGee never did anything even vaguely questionable enough to warrant this kind of behavior.

"I went to see him, I had to do something." He was being beyond frustrating. He was upset and giving her nothing to work with. Abby didn't know what she should be preparing herself for. She couldn't know how to respond. Descriptions would be nice. Essential even. Abby pulled away from him in order to face him, drew her hands up to his face.

Hopefully, the shift would draw out answers, force him to connect. "McGee. Went to see who, subjects, verbs, nouns? What are you talking about?" Eye contact seemed to work. At least he seemed to return to earth long enough to give her a coherent answer. "The Admiral."

Her eyes portraying her shock. "You talked to your dad?" McGee could only nod. What had he done? His father could probably put out a military authorized hit if he wanted to. Not that the Admiral would. No, he was being ridiculous. He may never speak to him again but his father wouldn't have him killed. He had wanted this right? Abby's hands fell away from his face and he found himself missing the contact. Luckily it didn't last long, Abby grabbed his arm and he allowed himself to be led to the sofa and pushed down.

He waited until she had sat as well before he continued. McGee had adopted the frenetic energy that Abby was famous for, he was almost shaking with built up tension. The energy made it hard to sit still. Fidgeting was his new best friend.

"I think I might have just disowned myself permanently. I knew he'd be alone. I just… I was thinking how I couldn't stand being manipulated anymore. He hasn't even been trying and he's been controlling my thoughts. I couldn't do it anymore. You know how sometimes you just know? I can't live my life trying to make do with them anymore. He didn't say anything. What if he's mad. I know I made him mad. I told him it was enough. I am done being not enough. What if I was wrong?"

The speech was a lot to process. The ramifications were expansive. Or were they? What was going to happen next? Anything at all? Turns out, there were still so many questions. His brain was on rapid fire. What came after paranoia? Whatever it was called, that's where he was headed. Quickly. Abby broke though his queries. "Do you think you were wrong? Does it feel wrong?"

She sounded tentative, speaking slowly. Apparently she didn't know what to make of his current flirtation with a one way ticket to an insane asylum either. Or his brain was going so quickly that even Abby's speech sounded decelerated. Had he really done what he knew he had? They would all find out. He would never live this down.

Right or wrong? Which was he? Why did he have to go and seek out his father? He could have survived continued interactions. Couldn't he have? Wasn't that what you were supposed to do? From somewhere inside, mind, body, gut, he knew. No, whatever happened it couldn't have kept going. "I'm not sure. Maybe. I don't think so. It's done Abs. That's okay right?"

He was beginning to calm down, which was soothing. However, McGee seemed to be awaiting her answer, begging for any form of validation, like a lifeboat in a storm. Abby knew what this had been doing to him. How everything having to do with his father was tearing him up.

Whenever the Admiral came around, McGee turned into someone she didn't know, or perhaps someone she hadn't known in a very long time. She had watched first hand from the start. He sank inside himself. The Admiral had the ability to take him away from them. From her. Shouldn't, but he did. McGee's father hadn't been around in years. What right did he have to compeletely turn his son's life upside down? Unacceptable.

The truth was in the details. More so, the truth was right in front of her, thinking desperate things because of a man who either didn't understand or care what his son needed. They both knew the right answer but she was the one who had to say it. "Yes. Whatever you said. Whatever you needed to do. It's okay. It is going to be okay." He looked so relieved.

Once Abby had agreed that he hadn't done detrimental damage to his life in general, McGee had been almost giddy all night. The words were something he could trust, a provider of hope. It was possible he hadn't ruined anything. He wasn't happy. No, most definitely not happy, but he was relieved. An all-encompassing relief that sank down into the very core of his being. This shift allowed better uses of his mind and time.

Without the cloud of the Admiral lurking in the background, business as usual had rebounded. Regular circumstances returned. Orders from Gibbs, pacts with Ziva to mess with Tony, giving the illusion that he would help Tony spy on Ziva, watching Jimmy put his foot in his mouth, loving Abby; ordinary life was good. It was filled with things he knew how to do again.

McGee came to terms with how his relationship was left with his father. He was done and it was freeing. Just like he remembered. The calm was back in his life and he could breathe again. The ability to put everything in the back of his mind and stop obsessing had returned. Movement and focus replaced the stagnation that had been invading his life.

He had no regrets about his actions or anything he said. Nothing more was heard from the Admiral or his mother. In one moment, McGee had returned to speaking only to Sarah on a consistent basis. Even his sister had resumed not mentioning anything about their parents, a resurrection of the unspoken agreement of the past.

Freedom from scrutiny had joyously set itself back into his day-to-day routine. Creature of habit, adapting back into routine. So much was going right, so right in fact, that it was almost expected when the pivot occurred and things began to go wrong.

Gibbs dropped file folders on top of their desks. "New lead. Sec Nav wants final results. Need you all to finish the contractor case." With everything that had happened, he'd forgotten about the original catalyst for his recent issues. The case. He was only a witness, he wouldn't have to see him.

Well, a normal person probably could get away without seeing him. But this was McGee of course. Fate had it out for him, as proved over and over. Was it possible to get off the bus? The Admiral would be coming back.