A/N: I'm slowly breaking into this fandom... I've explored Gibbs in my first two pieces. I'm moving on in this one to explore Tim McGee. This fic may border AU. It's the Tim we see at the beginning of Season 2, when he doesn't seem to have a lot of confidence in himself.
Disclaimers/Warnings: Rated T... without revealing the story, I'm going to pass a violence warning out there... please keep this in mind as you read, and if you're bothered I won't be offended if you stop reading. I do not own NCIS or any of the characters.
"Anyone seen McGee?" Gibbs asked gruffly as he entered the bullpen with his morning coffee. Kate was busy typing, and Tony was well, Tony. He was digging through his desk for something, obviously not paying any attention to the fact that his boss had just walked in. Gibbs walked up to Tony's desk and took him by the shirt, bringing him back to a sitting position. "I asked you if you've seen McGee. Did you forget your hearing aid today, DiNozzo?"
"No Boss, sorry." Gibbs let go of him. "Tim hasn't come in yet."
"I know that, DiNozzo. Have you heard from him?"
"No Boss, haven't heard from him either. I'll call him right now." As Tony turned to pick up the phone, the rear elevator dinged, and McGee stepped out, looking disheveled and forlorn. What bothered Tony more was the black eye the Probie was sporting.
"McGee!" Gibbs shouted, meeting his junior agent in the middle of the room. "Where the hell have you been!"
"Bad morning," he said, depositing his gear next to his desk. Gibbs grabbed his arm to turn him around. He wasn't done with the Probie yet. As Gibbs laid a hand on his arm, Tim flinched and fell back into his chair. Gibbs took a step back. He'd never had that reaction before.
"Are you all right?"
"Y-yeah," Tim stammered. "Fine, boss. Sorry I'm late." He powered on his computer and opened his drawer to deposit his gun and badge there.
"McGee, with me please," Gibbs said, motioning to the elevator. McGee ignored him. In Gibbs' mind, reg flags were going up everywhere. McGee had reacted more like Tony at being late this morning, had fallen backward when Gibbs tried to touch him, and ignored him when he tried to get him to accompany him to Abby's lab. Something was bothering the kid. He tried one more time.
"McGee, now!" McGee's head snapped up this time, and he rose from his seat.
As soon as the elevator doors shut, Gibbs hit the emergency stop.
"You wanna talk about what's bothering you?"
"Not particularly," he said, reaching for the emergency stop. Gibbs blocked his path.
"Not so fast. Talk to me."
"I really don't want to talk about it right now. It's personal." Tim reached for the emergency stop again, and Gibbs blocked him again.
"You're going to see Ducky about your eye. We can talk about this later."
Tim nodded. He couldn't argue with that. He'd let Ducky look at his eye, and that would be that. There was no way anyone at work could know how that happened.
The elevator opened at Autopsy, and Tim followed Jethro through the doors to Ducky, who was sitting in his office at the computer.
"Hey Duck," Jethro said casually. "Can you look at McGee's eye?"
"Oh my, Timothy. What happened?"
"I fell this morning. It's not really that bad."
"Come and sit here," Ducky said, motioning toward an empty table.
As Tim pulled himself up onto the table, Jethro could not help but notice that he winced a little. He was hiding something else. Jethro went from concerned to full-on worried.
"Take off your shirt, Tim," he ordrered, taking his Probie by surprise.
"Why would I - "
"I saw the look on your face while you were getting onto the table. You're in pain. You were also favoring your left leg on the way down here."
"I'm fine," Tim stated quickly.
"You're not fine, Tim," Gibbs said. "Take off your shirt and let Ducky look at you."
"I said I'm fine. Please, just leave me alone." Tim got off the table and brushed by Gibbs, leaving Autopsy.
"He's not acting like himself, Ducky."
"Just give Timothy some time, Jethro. He'll come around."
"I hope you're right."
The rest of the day was hard for Tim. They'd had to process the body of a dead Marine in a park, and he tried with all his might not to wince as he bent over with the camera. He was hoping that none of his colleagues had seen through his efforts.
When he'd finished with the photographs, he straightened up and felt a shot of pain course through his back. Maybe it was worse than he'd originally thought. As he packed up his gear, he felt the presence of someone next to him.
"McGee, walk with me," Gibbs said.
"Just a sec, Boss." He hurriedly put his equipment into his backpack and started toward Gibbs' car. Gibbs silently got in the car. McGee wasn't sure if he should get in, until he saw Gibbs glaring at him. He opened the passenger door and slid into the seat. Gibbs locked the doors and started the engine.
"Hey! What are you doing!" Tim shouted, trying to open his door.
"We need to talk, and you're not running away this time." He put the car into drive and started back toward the Navy yard.
Tim remained silent for much of the drive. Gibbs finally gave in to the silence.
"You ready to tell me what's wrong, Tim?"
Gibbs hated 'nope.' It was a huge pet peeve. If it were DiNozzo saying it, he'd head slap him. He pulled the car over and turned off the engine.
"Don't pull that crap with me, McGee," he said sternly. "I saw you hovering over that body. You could barely bend over. Don't sit there and tell me 'nope.' I can clearly tell you're in pain. Now spill it."
"Boss, it's kinda embarrassing - "
"Off the record. Between you and me. No one else has to know."
"W-well, I-I was seeing this woman -" McGee stopped. He couldn't do it. It was too embarrassing. He turned his head and looked out the window.
"Look at me, Tim." Gibbs tried. Tim didn't move. Gibbs put a hand on his shoulder. "Tim, I'm not going to laugh at you. You can tell me what's going on. I want to help you." Tim slowly turned to face Gibbs. Tears had started to roll down his cheeks.
"Her name is Donna. We dated for three months. She was sweet at first, kinda like Abby," Tim smiled at the thought of Abby. "After two months, she started to get clingy. She'd stay at my apartment and not leave for days. She'd get upset that I didn't call her while I was at work, and go through my phone while I was in the shower, to see if I was cheating on her."
"Sounds delightful," Gibbs tried to joke. Tim forced a small smile. Something occurred to Jethro at that moment. "Tim, did she hurt you?" Tim nodded shakily.
"It happened early this morning. She got up before me, at 4 a.m. I got up around six. When I went into the kitchen to start my coffee, I found her standing there, going through my phone. She hit me in the face when I went to take it from her. She'd found Kate's cell in my recent calls, and demanded to know who she was."
"I take it she didn't believe you," said Jethro.
"N-no. She didn't. I managed to get my phone back, and I asked her to leave, and not come back."
"Which she objected to."
"Obviously. We ended up screaming at each other. In anger, I said—" He stopped again and tried to turn away, but Jethro wouldn't let him. This woman had broken Tim down, rid him of self-respect. Yet Tim still felt guilty about hurting her. Jethro always thought his youngest agent had a big heart. That's what he liked about Tim.
"It's all right, Tim."
"I told her I hated her, that she was a clingy bitch, and that I never wanted to see her again."
"Sounds like my second wife," Gibbs joked again, trying to get Tim to smile. "So how'd she take that?"
"Not good. She chased me around my apartment, with a cast iron frying pan. She got a couple of shots at my shoulder and my back. I tripped on the leg of the coffee table, and when I fell, she took another swing and hit me in the shin."
"Wow," Gibbs said. "That sounds like my 3rd wife." He smiled.
"Not funny, Boss." Tim chided. "I managed to knock her backward onto the couch. The cops got there as I was holding her down, prying the frying pan from her hand. She was screaming in a rage. The cops were about to arrest me, until they saw my face."
"LEOs took her away?"
"Yep. Under mental health arrest. I spent the rest of the morning on the phone, getting a restraining order."
"Which is what made you late," Gibbs finished.
"That's a hell of a story, Tim."
"Please don't say anything in front of Tony and Kate," Tim pleaded. "You know how Tony can be."
"Your secret is safe with me. You gonna be okay, McGee?"
"Yeah, you know what? I think I'll be all right. It felt good to talk about that with someone."
"Anytime, McGee." Gibbs looked at his watch. Tony and Kate should be back at the Navy yard already. He flipped open his phone and dialed Tony's desk phone.
"What have you got for me on the dead Marine?"
"Kate already has a suspect in custody. It was pretty open and shut, boss. It was the wife."
"Good. I want the paperwork on my desk by the time I get back." He heard Tony groan.
"But Boss - " he hung up the phone, cutting off Tony's whining. He turned to Tim. The kid still looked beaten down, almost depressed. He'd been with some crazy women himself, but he never experienced what McGee had that morning. He may have said he was all right, but Gibbs knew he wasn't really. Not yet.
"We're going for a drink," Gibbs said, starting his car. McGee didn't have the energy to protest as Gibbs pulled away from the curb.
Tim was shocked when Gibbs pulled into the driveway of a white ranch home.
"Where are we?" he asked.
"My house," Gibbs said, getting out of the car. "Come on."
Tim followed Gibbs inside.
"Sit down," Gibbs ordered.
McGee sat down on the couch almost awkwardly. He was in his boss' house. He had only started to work with Gibbs a few months ago, and he was already inviting him to his house?
His thoughts were broken when Gibbs returned with two glasses and a bottle of Jameson. He set them down on the coffee table and poured some of the amber liquid in each glass. McGee waved it off when Gibbs picked up the glass and held it out to him.
"I don't drink whiskey, Boss," he blurted out. Gibbs stood there, glaring. He hated that glare. He was always intimidated by it. He reached out and took the glass from Gibbs. He took a long swig, and started coughing rapidly as the liquid burned his throat.
"Sip it, McGee," Gibbs chided.
"R-right Boss." Tim sipped the whiskey as directed. It wasn't half bad.
"How are you feeling, McGee?"
"I said I was fine in the car, Boss."
"You don't look fine."
Tim set his glass down and stood up.
"I really should be going," he said, and started for the door.
"How are you getting home, McGee? Bus? There isn't a bus stop around here for miles. Rail station is six blocks away. You gonna walk there in the rain?" Tim stopped in the middle of the room, but didn't turn around. "Sit down, McGee." Tim turned around slowly and sat back down on the couch.
"Listen to me, McGee. What happened to you is not your fault. Do NOT feel guilty for saying what you said. She deserved it. Hell, she chased you around your apartment with a frying pan. She deserves more than that."
"She wouldn't have done that if I hadn't called her that."
"Shut up. That woman has mental health issues, McGee. She may have lashed out another way, and it could have been a lot worse. She is getting help now. Hopefully."
"I just want it all to go away," Tim said, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"It will. Give it time." Gibbs poured more whiskey into Tim's glass as they heard a knock on the door.
"It's open," Gibbs shouted.
Tim was surprised to see Ducky come in.
"You called Ducky? You promised you wouldn't tell anyone!" Tim got up and tried to leave, but Jethro cut him off before he reached the front door. "Relax McGee, Ducky is only here to check you over. Nothing goes beyond this room."
"You promised!" he tried to push Gibbs away in a rage, but Jethro grabbed him by his wrists to restrain him.
"Tim! Stop it right now, Damn it! You need to calm down." Tim started to settle down a bit, and Jethro guided him to the couch.
"I'm not fine, Boss."
"I can see that, Tim." Jethro smiled. "Are you up for Ducky checking you out real quick?"
Tim took off his jacket and tie, and unbuttoned his dress shirt. Jethro's eyes went wide when he got a look at McGee's back. His shoulder was black and blue, and he had a large black and blue welt on his back.
"My God," Ducky whispered. "This will only take a moment, Timothy."
"Tim, why didn't you tell me you were in that much pain?"
"I didn't want you to send me home," Tim blurted out as Ducky probed his back.
"Timothy, have you any wounds anywhere else?"
"My shin," he admitted. He reached down and rolled up his pant leg as high as it would go. His shin looked worse than his back.
"My dear boy, how are you walking around on this?"
"It hasn't been easy, Ducky." The ME finished his examination, and Jethro helped him to his feet.
"Timothy, I want you to come see me straight away in the morning. I want to wrap that shin of yours." Ducky turned to Gibbs. "Keep him on desk duty He shouldn't be walking on that."
"Will do, Duck. Thanks."
As soon as Ducky left, Jethro sat down next to Tim on the couch. "Tim, are you afraid to go back home?"
"Not afraid, just – nervous."
"She isn't there, Tim. She was arrested. You'll be safe." Tim swallowed down the rest of his whiskey. He was beginning to like the way it burned in his throat. He could get used to drinking it.
"Come on, I'll take you home. You're going to be fine."
Gibbs handed Tim his shirt and coat, and Tim put them on and followed Gibbs out the door. He couldn't hide from his apartment forever.
TBC... This was supposed to be a one shot, but it'll have to be two chapters long. Please, let me know what you think! I hope I didn't ramble. Tim may seem slightly out of character, but I wanted to play on the fact that he is very nervous and impressionable in the very beginning of Season 2. Please review! Chapter 2 coming soon!