I am so, so sorry! I can't believe it's' been over 5 months since I promised to have this finished. The only excuse I can offer is that I was going through my first semester at college, so that did take up a really big chunk of my time. But, being honest with myself and with you, I still had some time to work on this, I just didn't really have the motivation.
So that being said, I apologize for not taking the time to finish this story and get posted sooner.
And for all of you who have, hopefully, stuck with me to read the sequel and to those just coming across these stories for the first time – Thank you for taking the time to read my stories. It is very much appreciated.
Also, a big thank you to Hermione's Shadow for helping me with this story!
That being said, here is the final sequel in my Tim family stories. This installment is set directly after the end of it's prequel, I'll Be There for You. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own.
Tony DiNozzo fished through his jacket pocket, grappling for the keys to his Mustang as he walked through the silent parking structure.
He had left his team just a few minutes ago up in the bullpen, yelling over his shoulder about burgers and a lunch run for the group before he left.
He had just caught sight of Ziva's glare and the roll of Gibbs' eyes before the elevator doors shut and they were left to listen Abby, Palmer, and Ducky's latest debate over some of the more gruesome and surprising deaths they had run across over the years. A topic that served as interesting to the two medical examiners and the agency's resident Goth The rest of them, however, were less interested in joining the discussion.
Hence the lunch break.
He had hesitated to leave McGee behind at first; it would only be a matter of time before Abby or Ducky noticed the new bandage adorning his hand, and remembering Ziva's persistence from earlier, he wasn't sure leaving McGee to fend for himself against the group was a good idea.
But after Tim's little pow-wow with Gibbs, he didn't doubt the boss would protect the younger agent from their questions. He wasn't sure what they talked about, or whether Gibbs knew the whole story behind Tim's injury or not, but he knew enough. He'd watch out for Tim, that Tony was sure of.
"Ah-ha!" He cheered as he finally dug the keys from his pocket and slid them into their lock. "Finally."
"Hey! You!" He paused at the sudden yell that cut through the silence, his hand hovering near the door's handle as his head snapped up to find the source.
A tall man in a well pressed suit stood several cars down the parking structure, his angry scowl easy to see from even this distance.
He immediately recognized the figure; although he had only seen him once before, the man wasn't easy to forget.
The pieces suddenly clicked into place and now he understood Gibbs' sour mood from earlier.
Well, he certainly wasn't going to let this opportunity be passed up.
Plastering on his best smile, he strode over to the older man. "Can I help you?" He asked, his voice falsely pleasant.
"Do you know an Agent Gibbs?" The man asked without preamble.
Taking in the man's injured face a second time, the smile that played across Tony's face this time was more genuine. "Yeah, actually I do. Is there a problem?"
The man scowled, "I want you to file a report on him."
"Oh?" He widened in eyes in faux surprise, "What for?"
"The man assaulted me." He growled, "I am a civilian and former Navy Admiral. And I wish to press charges." The man drew himself up to his full height and straightened his jacket in an attempt to maintain his dignity.
Tony bit the inside of his cheek, swallowing down the laugh that was threating to escape at the image of his mentor clocking the man in front of him.
What he wouldn't have paid to have front row seats to thatshow.
Fighting a smile, and adopting a falsely sympathetic tone, he asked. "On what grounds did Agent Gibbs...strike you?"
"Grounds?" The elder man demanded, clearly annoyed.
"You know - what made him hit you? The reason he lashed out?" Tony prompted, keeping his voice annoyingly pleasant and upbeat.
"There was no reason." Admiral McGee growled, "The man is clearly unstable and a loose cannon. Were he in the Navy, he would be stripped of his credentials and discharged." The former Admiral raised his chin, "He was given no reasonto lash out, I did nothing to provoke him, yet he attacked."
"Yeah, I bet." Tony snorted quietly, unable to entirely keep the contempt out of his voice at the blatant lie the man provided with his pompous air.
McGee Sr.'s eyes narrowed suspiciously as he took in the agent before him. "Do I know you?" he asked.
"No." Tony denied, glaring at the man fully now. "But I know you."
"Is that so?" McGee Sr. scowled back.
"Mmm." He nodded almost pleasantly, "And I reallydon't appreciate it when people mess with the people under my protection."
The older McGee narrowed his eyes suspiciously, confused by the comment for a moment, before making the connection. "Tim." He concluded with annoyance.
His only answer was the quirk of Tony's lips into half smile and the quick nod of his head, but it was enough.
"So, you're protecting that little sap now too?" The older man asked, all but rolling his eyes.
Tony glared, turning to face the man more directly as he fixed him with a fierce, penetrating look.
"You know, I've seen Tim look terrorists in the face without flinching, and I've seen him stare down murders in interrogation. I've seen him go out into the field and stand his ground against dozens of convicted criminals bigger and stronger than him, and stare down the barrel of a gun without batting an eye. And I've seen him tackle missions and withstand torture that I doubt even you, Admiral, could face." A satisfied smile attempted to twitch at his face as the older man's jaw clenched angrily. But Tony wasn't done yet, far from it.
"But for some reason," he continued, "when it comes to people like you, he sets himself up to take the hit time after time, after time."
"He tries to be the bigger person, he tries to make nice, and he triesto do the right thing when everyone else won't. He gives second and third, and fourth chances, and he forgives the people who've hurt him the most over and over again."
"Because that's who your son is." He said his tone deadly serious. "He cares so much about everyone else that he forgets to make room for himself."
"But that's where I come in; to protect him from people like you." He warned, even as he advanced a step forward. "The people who try to take advantage of that. The bullies on the playground that get their kicks out of taking someone for all they have and then kicking sand in their face. "He took another step. "Tim can handle his job, and I can handle mine. And myjob is to protect him when he won't protect himself."
"Why?" Admiral McGee demanded, his expression torn between anger and incredulousness, "Why do you bother? Why do you waste your time sticking up for him?"
"It's my job." Tony repeated in a growl, "It's what big brothers do."
The elder McGee gave a revolted snort, sending the man in front of his a look of derision.
"So, what is it then? Is he your charity case? He run crying to you for help?" He asked with a raised brow, his tone disgusted.
Tony shook his head at the man. "McGee's too good for that. In fact, if he knew I was here right now, he'd probably shoot me." He added the last bit with a self-amused smirk.
Maybe 'shoot' was a bit of an exaggeration. But then again, they were dealing with the McGee temper, so maybe not.
"So is this how it works?" McGee Sr. prodded with narrowed eyes, "Do all of you agents just gang up together?"
"Not always." Tony conceded, "But if you're asking if you can find someone to help you throw the book at Gibbs…especially so you can bully your son…. well then I'd say you'd have better luck digging your way from here to China. Might be a good idea too if you decide to go after him." He remarked with a wide grin.
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me." The elder man grumbled furiously under his breath.
"Nope." The agent informed cheerfully, "I guess your son's a pretty popular guy." He pointed out, a smile twitching at his lips.
McGee Sr. rolled his eyes, but continued on. "So what? There are some agencies who do still believe in justice over favoritism." He said, a self-satisfied smirk at his out of the box thinking playing at his lips. "I'm sure someone at say the FBI would love to hear about this."
"The FBI?" Tony repeated, making sure he had heard right even as he smirked. This man really had no idea. "Sure, if you want to. Be sure to ask for an Agent Fornell, I'm sure he'll help you right on out." Right on out of the building.
Personally, he wasn't Fornell's biggest fan - and Fornell wasn't theirs - but he'd helped them out before (and vice versa). He would do it again.
The older man was fond of Tim, and for all his wise cracks, he'd always been a bit protective of the team, even if just for Gibbs' sake.
McGee's eyes narrowed impatiently. "Fine. Have your way." He growled angrily. "If I have to climb higher up the proverbially ladder to make sure justice is carried out then I'm sure the Secretary of the Navy would be glad to hear how his agents have been acting – threatening and striking a former admiral without cause, playing favorites." He straightened the lapel of his suit jacket, his expression turning smug, "Being an Admiral comes with its…perks and connections."
Tony snorted now, amused. "I bet it does." He agreed with an accommodating smile. "But sometimes, there are perks with being a very special agent." He informed with a grin. "See, me and SecNav, we're not best buds, don't always see eye to eye." He shrugged casually, "But Clayton, he owes me a few favors." He added, unsuccessfully biting back a smirk at the surprise that flickered across the older man's face.
"But really, I don't think we really need to get Clayton or Fornell involved in all of this." He continued, "Seems like a waste of time to me. I don't think we're going to have a problem here, are we, Admiral?" He asked, warning coating his words.
"Why?" He asked, "Because of you and your older agent friend? The former Marine?" He laughed dryly, "I have faced fleets and I'm supposed to be afraid of two men?" He asked with a smirk.
"Oh, no, of course not!" He responded with wide eyes and a tone of faux surprise and incredulity. "If you did, I'd be disappointed in you, Admiral."
Said man narrowed his eyes in irritation at the antagonizing comment.
"But see," The agent continued, " Agent Gibbs and I aren't the only ones you'll have to deal with." He warned, advancing a step closer.
The older man only raised his chin and continued to stand his ground, readying himself for a fight.
Tony smiled lightly, "You know what we have?" He asked conversationally, smirking to himself when the man lost his composure for a moment, looking confused. "We have an ex-Mossad assassin who can killwith a paperclip; a forensic specialist with an unlimited supply of all sorts of chemicals, poisons and whatever else she needs stored up in her lab and the knowledge to use them."
He moved one step closer, "Not to mention an ME and his very willing assistant who would have no problem forging the right papers."
They were toe-toe now, and Tony was satisfied to note that the older man was starting to lean away from him. "And all of them have a soft spot for your son." He cocked his head to the side, making an obvious gesture of looking him up and down before shaking his head, further proving he thought the man in front of him was no match for their team.
"If I were you," He dropped his voice, making himself quiet, forcing the man to strain a little harder to hear him. "I would get in that nice car of yours and drive back to wherever it is you came from before something bad happens."
The older McGee's face flushed red - a mix of outrage and shock - as he shook his head in disbelief at the younger agent in front of him. "Are you actually threatening me?" He scoffed.
"Who? Me?" Tony drew back, placing an offended hand to his chest, schooling his expression to one of incredulousness, "I would never. No-one heard me threaten him, right? Anybody? Hello?" He turned his head this way and that as if searching for someone and called out to the empty parking structure, allowing his voice to bounce and echo off the walls.
When silence met them - as he knew it would - he turned back to face McGee Sr. "Nope, I guess not."
The man in question met him with a dark glare, the message well received.
"So, I ask again, are we going to have a problem here, Admiral?" He asked with finality, his tone turning serious with warning.
The man glared dangerously, but didn't speak. Huffing his annoyance, he slid his way past the younger man, deliberately bumping forcefully into his shoulder as he passed.
Tony smirked, saying nothing as the man rounded the car and headed for the driver's side door.
"This isn't over." The older man warned even as he gripped the Buick's handle and pulled it open. "I will not be intimidated." His glare deepened, "If I were you, I wouldn't be surprised if bump into each other again." He warned.
"Oh, I'm looking forward to that." Tony responded with a wide, taunting grin.
Scowling, the older man slid into the driver's seat, angrily cranking the engine before quickly directing the car out of its place and, sending Tony one last glare, speeding out of the parking structure.
Chuckling quietly to himself Tony turned; ready to head back to his own car, before he caught a pair of eyes staring at him.
Gibbs leaned almost casually against the concrete wall, watching him with a steady gaze.
The grin slid off his face quickly and he drew himself up to stand straight to face his boss' stare with a confidence he suddenly wasn't feeling too well anymore.
There was a moment of unwavering silence before Gibbs' eyes flicked to the empty space Richard McGee's car had recently vacated before they traveled back to his agent. Allowing a smirk to play across his face for just a minute, he tipped his head in acknowledgement to the younger agent before turning on his heel and walking back towards the elevator.
A chuckled escaped as the second in command shook his head, the grin returning.
Because apparently he and the boss-man were on the same page all along. Whether they both knew the whole story or not, they would both always be there to have Tim's back.
The whole team would.
Because, after all, isn't that what family is for?
Well, there we are then. It's done.
It's kind of funny really; when I wrote the first story I had no intention of writing even one sequel, and I ended up writing two. :P A big part of that is thanks to all you who have read and reviewed, you helped inspire me to keep this going, so thank you.
Please leave a review and let me know what you think! I tried not to ramble on with it too long, but I wanted to make sure I wrapped it up nicely. So please, let me know how I did.