Notes: I was watching a movie and this story came to mind. I hope everyone likes it. I'm still playing on the Tim in Season 2/3, who is still learning to toughen up. Gibbs seems to be able to help him with this quite well.

Tim sat at his desk, staring at his computer screen as it ran an ID for him. The bullpen was empty except for him and Tony, who was busy typing a report. His SIG sat on the desk next to him, the clip taken from it and thrown in the drawer. He didn't want to pick it up anymore. Not after what happened to him that afternoon.

Six hours earlier…

Tim was out for a midday run when Gibbs called his cell.

"Dead Marine, McGee, park in Norfolk. Get there." Gibbs hung up abruptly. The man never had a flair for words, Tim thought. He ran the mile and a half back to the Navy yard to change quickly and grab his gear, before heading out to the crime scene.

Ducky and Palmer were already examining the body when McGee arrived. Before he could get out his camera to start photographing, Gibbs made a beeline for him.

"Where have you been, McGee! I called you 30 minutes ago!"

"I-I was out running, Boss. It was my lunch break, and—"

"Photos, McGee."

"Right, Boss."

"Next time I call you, you drop everything and get here. No excuses, McGee."

"Y-yes Boss."

As Tim took pictures of the crime scene, he took a moment to also observe the area around him. As his eyes wandered across the park to a fenced area, he noticed slight movement on the other side of the chain link fence.

"Shooter!" He shouted, dropping his camera and pulling his weapon.

Before Gibbs could pull his weapon, gunfire rained on them from the other side of the park.

"Down!" he shouted. Ducky and Palmer dropped to the ground next to the body, lying flat. McGee moved backward behind Gibbs' car, while Tony and Ziva took cover by some trees. Gibbs, however, was stuck out in the open. Gibbs fired at the fence, and a shout told him he'd hit his target.

"I got him," Gibbs announced, sheathing his SIG. Tim was about to do the same, when he saw something else moving, right behind his boss.

"Boss! Behind you!" Tim shouted, pointing his SIG in the general direction of the Team Leader. Gibbs froze in his place as the second shooter moved into view.

"No one move, or he dies!" the shooter shouted. Tim noticed that he looked like he was in his mid-twenties, much too young to be in the position he was in now. Tim held his position, gun at the ready. The shooter got close enough to Gibbs to be able to shoot him point blank if anyone even flinched.

"Don't do anything stupid," Tony said from across the way, his gun also trained on the young man holding Gibbs in his position. Tony's distraction caused the gunman to avert his attention from Gibbs just long enough for the team leader to spin around and disarm him in one move. The gunman fought back, and Gibbs took a lucky punch, straight to his abdomen.

Tim took a step forward, hands shaking. He tried to get a good shot at Gibbs' attacker as they fought. Before he'd realized what happened, his finger pressed down on the trigger, and a shot rang out. But the gunman didn't fall. Gibbs did.

"Boss! No!" Tim shouted as Tony finished what he'd started, putting three bullets in the gunman's chest. Tim ran to his boss' side, skidding to his knees.

"Boss, I—I'm—"

"Sign of weakness, McGee," Gibbs said, panting. "You shot me in the shoulder."

"I don't know what happened, I'm—oh God," Tim was turning to jell-o at the sight of Gibbs bleeding on the ground, all because he did something stupid.

"Back off, Probie!" Tony shouted, pushing Tim aside to look at Gibbs' arm. "It looks like just a flesh wound, Boss. You got lucky."

Gibbs turned his head to glare at McGee, who was still on his knees, quivering and on the verge of tears.

"McGee," Gibbs said as loudly as he could. "Look at me, McGee."

McGee looked at his Boss.

"I'm sorry, Boss."

"I know, Tim – " the rest of Gibbs' words were lost as the paramedics descended on him. Tony shook Tim out of his trance and dragged him up from the grass.

"Come on, Probie, let's go," Tony said, dragging Tim to the truck. "He'll be fine, we have to go."

"Tony, I shot him!" Tim shouted, trying to free himself from his partner's grip.

"It was an accident, Tim! Get in the truck! Now!" He practically shoved the Probie into the back of the truck and ran around front, where Ziva had already had the motor running.

Present time

Tim relayed his actions over and over in his head. What had he done wrong? How had he missed the gunman and shot his Boss instead? How could he be so careless?

"McGee," a gruff voice said, breaking the silence that had taken over the bullpen. Tim closed his eyes, wishing it weren't Gibbs that were talking.

"Yes, Boss," he said, not turning to face his Superior.

"Go home."

"I have reports – "

"DiNozzo will finish them. Go home."

Tony's head snapped up.

"I have to do Probie's reports too? Come on, Boss! It's after midnight!"

"Do it, DiNozzo. McGee has to get some sleep. He's going to need it for tomorrow."

Tim winced. He was really in for it. Gibbs had to be royally pissed about what happened.

"McGee!" Tim jumped at his Boss' sudden outburst. "What are you still doing here? I told you to go home."

McGee stood up, still not able to look at Gibbs. He slowly gathered his things, and left for the night.


Tim couldn't sleep that night. He tossed and turned, images of the shooting invading his dreams every time he shut his eyes. He was finally relieved of his fitful sleep by his ringing cell phone. Looking at the clock, he realized it was 5:30. He picked up his cell and looked at the caller ID. Shaking, he put it up to his ear.

"B-Boss? Is there a case?"

"No. Get dressed. I'm waiting outside your building. I want to show you something."

"You're outside? It's 5:30 in the morning, Boss."

"That wasn't a request, McGee." Gibbs hung up abruptly.

Tim got out of bed and put on jeans and an NCIS t-shirt. Grabbing his coat and baseball cap, he took his keys and wallet and left his apartment, fearing what Gibbs had planned for him.

Gibbs was waiting with the motor running when Tim came out of the building. Taking a deep breath, Tim opened the door and got into the car with his boss. Gibbs silently pulled away from the curb.

They drove for a while, in awkward silence. After what seemed like an eternity, Gibbs pulled into the Navy yard, but instead of going to NCIS, he turned his vehicle toward the practice ranges.

"Boss – "

"Shut up, McGee." Tim closed his mouth. It was way too early for this, and he hadn't had any coffee yet. He was tired, and just wanted to go back to bed. Gibbs stopped the car and unbuckled his seat belt. "Follow me, McGee."

Tim did as instructed and got out of the car. He followed Gibbs across the shooting range to where the target shooting was set up. He stopped in front of the last target, and handed McGee a set of earphones. Tim put them on.

"Take out your weapon, McGee."

Tim looked at his shoes. He'd purposefully forgotten it. He was afraid to even touch it after what he'd done.

"McGee," Gibbs said impatiently. "Your weapon."

"I don't have it," he mumbled.

"Excuse me?"

"I—I didn't bring it."

Gibbs delivered a head slap to his junior agent.

"Always have your weapon, McGee."

"Yes, Boss."

"Look at me, McGee." When Tim didn't move to look, Gibbs reached out and pushed his chin up. "I said, look at me."

Tim nodded slowly and looked at his Boss.

"You made a mistake, and yes, you shot me."

"Boss, I—"

"Do I sound like I'm done, McGee?"

"No, sir."

"Listen McGee, the fact is that we all screw up once in a while. Yeah, I'm pissed that you shot me. But I understand the situation you were in. I've been there myself. What you tried to do is a huge judgment call. You were trying to help me."

"I could have killed you. I—I can't trust myself with a weapon, Boss."

Gibbs took out his SIG and put it in Tim's hand.

"Why do you think I dragged you out here, McGee?"

"Oh no, Boss, I can't—"

Gibbs head slapped him again, harder than the last time.

"I don't' want to hear that you can't do it, McGee. Come stand here," Gibbs stepped aside and Tim stood in front of the target.

"Shoot," Gibbs instructed.


"Shoot!" Gibbs yelled.

"Yes Boss-" Gibbs head slapped him. "Ow!"

"Don't 'yes boss,' just shoot, McGee."

Tim checked the clip, took aim at the target and fired six shots before he lost his nerve. Gibbs reached for the control and the target whooshed toward them. Tim saw that his shots were scattered. None of them were kill shots.

"Relax, Tim. Let's try again." Gibbs replaced the target and sent it back out to its place. When Gibbs had his earphones on again, Tim took a deep breath, raised the gun and took six more shots. Gibbs brought the target in to get another look. Three of the bullets had missed, one hit the shoulder, another was a head shot, and the last was a hit to the chest.

"Better, McGee." Gibbs replaced the target and sent it back out. "Again."


"You heard me, McGee. Shoot again." Gibbs gave him a fresh clip. McGee replaced it and gave the empty one to his boss. He raised the gun and fired eight shots in rapid succession. All of them missed. McGee shoved the gun at Gibbs in frustration, and started to walk away.

"McGee!" Gibbs yelled. Tim stopped walking. He couldn't walk away when Gibbs shouted like that. He didn't turn to face him, though.

"I can't do this, Boss. I'm no soldier!"

Gibbs walked over to Tim and grabbed him by the arm, turning the young man to face him.

"No, but you're an NCIS Agent. If you want to keep carrying your weapon, you're going to get your ass back over there and shoot. You need to learn to trust yourself with that gun, McGee. If you can't trust your own judgement, you're going to do more than just graze my shoulder. Understand?"

Tim nodded.

"Good, now get over there and shoot. I want six kill shots."

"Yes, Boss."

It took Tim another hour to get himself into the groove of shooting the SIG. At 0730, he finally returned a target with six kill shots. All were in the head.

"Excellent, McGee. I'm proud of you."

"You—you're not mad anymore?"

"Not unless you shoot me again."

"Never, Boss."

"Good. Come on," Gibbs said, slapping a hand on McGee's back. "I'll take you home. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, McGee."

"Thanks, Boss. You do the same."


Two days after his shooting practice with Gibbs, Tim sat at his desk, finishing the reports that Tony was supposed to have finished for him, at Gibbs' request. As he printed off the last one, Gibbs jogged down the stairs from Director Vance's office.

"We have another body. Grab your gear," he said. Tim packed up his stuff, and sheathed his weapon. He was ready for anything.

The crime scene was strikingly similar to the previous one, where Tim had his lapse in judgment. He could have sworn it was the same person. His gut told him there was going to be trouble.

As he snapped off pictures of the body, shots rang out from his left.

"Down!" Tony yelled, Diving behind the truck. Tim ducked for cover, pulling his SIG. He could see one of the gunmen across the way, in his direct line of sight. The other one had Ziva cornered, with no cover. It was time that Tim prove to Gibbs that he could fire his weapon without shooting the wrong person.

Without waiting for Gibbs to give him the go ahead, Tim popped out of his hiding place and burned off five rounds in the first gunman, who went down immediately. He then trained his gun on the second gunman. Ziva was blocking his shot. The last thing he wanted to do was shoot Ziva. So he did the only thing he could think of. Tim ran out into the open, gun out in front of him.

"Tim! What the hell are you doing!" Gibbs shouted. McGee didn't listen. When he was at an acceptable distance, he took aim and fired, putting three rounds in the second gunman's chest.

Gibbs came our from behind the van, followed by Tony. Tim put away his gun as his boss made a beeline for him.

"What the hell were you thinking, McGee? You could have gotten yourself killed!"

"Just had to trust my gut on this one, Boss."

"Your gut could have gotten you killed!"

"I had the shot!"

"I don't care if you had the shot! You never engage the suspect unless I give you the all-clear! Are we understood?"

"Understood, Boss."

Gibbs glared at him and stalked away without another word. Tim smiled to himself as Tony and Ziva started to process the fresh crime scene. Ducky and Palmer had just arrived on scene, to find more than they'd bargained for.

"McGee! Photos!" Gibbs yelled. Tim jumped, coming out of his trance, and grabbed the camera he'd dropped earlier, by the Lieutenant's body, and finished what he'd started.


McGee finished typing the last of his reports, and hit 'print.' Tony streteched and yawned. It was nearly midnight.

"Night Probie," he said, tossing his finished report on Gibbs' desk.

"Night, Tony," Tim replied. As he finished putting the report together, Gibbs came back to the bullpen.

"McGee," he said, for once in a normal voice.

"Yeah, Boss?"

"Good job today."

"Thanks, Boss—" he was interrupted by a head slap.

"If you ever do that again without my direct order, you'll be on desk duty so fast it'll make your head spin. Understood?"

"Yes, Boss. Understood."

"Night, McGee,": Gibbs said as Tim dropped his report on Gibbs's desk on his way out.

"Night boss."

Gibbs had to smile to himself. The kid was going to be all right. He just needed the right push every now and again. As long as he doesn't get shot in the process.


Notes: I hate endings. I hope this one wasn't sucky. Please review!