Previously on NCIS:
"Your father…When he died six weeks ago, I found out about his safe deposit box."
"You were my son; despite the fact that you were, in fact, not my son. …The enclosed paternity tests are real and accurate. Your real father's name is at the bottom of the paper…"
"Ducky, have you ever spent your whole life believing something about someone, only to find out after they're gone, that what you knew about them wasn't the truth after all?"…
…"I certainly understand you desire for more current test results, Timothy. I would recommend it, yes. But, as far as you getting it done, I'm not sure how you would go about doing that."
"I'm gonna go ask him to voluntarily give me a sample."
"Lucas Martin?... from what I've been told, there's a real good chance – that I'm your son..."
"You're in here because you've killed 10 women! You're telling me that my mother was supposed to be #11? You tried to kill her?...You expect me to believe you only raped one woman out of 11?"
"Well, yeah, she was the only beautiful one outta all of 'em."
"Why would you admit to a rape and an attempted murder now?"
"Hey, I'm already on death row, what else can they do to me? It ain't like I got a whole lotta time left in this joint. I'm sure you already know I got a date with the chair comin' up real soon."
"Right. This army of guards is in here to make sure I don't miss that date. You know what? Now that you've reminded me, you've given me something to spend my time remembering; reliving; enjoying, over and over again! Thanks, kid!"
... I tole' ya there was only one way you could be my kid! Didn't say you were gonna like it…Maybe you'll come back for that date! January 15th, kid. And bring your mother, won't you? I bet she'd love to see me again. I know I'd love to see her. Maybe she'll let me have a quickie with her before I die."
Gibbs reacted instinctively, quickly reaching out, grasping Tim by his shoulders and pulling him into a sympathetic embrace in hopes of grounding him in physical as well as rare emotional support.
"Need you to tell me why you moved without telling anyone or even asking for anyone's help."
"Because of him. I don't want him to be able to ever find me. If no one knows where I live, he can't use them to get to me."
"He's on death row. Scheduled for his 'government sanctioned dirt nap' as Tony puts it, in less than a month. You really think that's something you need to worry about, Tim?"
"I can't help it, Boss. I won't be able to breathe easy until …"
"Okay, want you to promise me that if you ever have a problem with this, you'll let me know."
"Since you're gonna go drinkin' on a week night and you have to actually work tomorrow; get your asses over to my house when you're ready to call it a night. That way I don't have to worry about whether or not you wrapped yourselves around a tree or if you're gonna show up to work in the morning."
Boss, I'm sorry. I know I told you we were only gonna have 1 drink… but then I got to thinkin' and…"
"And you wanted McGee to talk about what's goin' on with him and the only way he was gonna do that was if he was sloshed and plied with the right questions."
"Well, yeah. It sounds so not nice when you put it like that, Boss."
"Well, Tony, it wasn't nice."…
…"McGee was about to explain what he needs our help with in all of this."
"Let's face it. I've gone from being the only son of two parents who loved me and supported me my whole life; to being the end results of a rape at the hands of a serial killer. I can't even keep up with all the questions that have popped into my head about this."
"Yeah, those too."
"About yourself or about your mother?"
"Timothy, while I understand the anger in which you reacted to your mother that night; surely, you must know she probably forgave you before you had even gotten yourself back here that night."
"How can I be sure? How do I know she'll even talk to me? How do I know she ever really wanted me to begin with and didn't just feel forced to have me because she didn't believe in the alternative? What if every time she looks at me, she sees…?"
"You're forgetting she called me because she was worried sick about you. She even asked if you'd gotten hurt or killed on the job; thought maybe that's why you hadn't called her. That was not the concern of a woman who regrets her choice, McGee."
"Who are you?"
"That's kinda what I'm not sure of anymore, Boss."
"Timothy. What makes you who you are? The circumstances of your birth or what you have done with your life and what you've made of your life with what you've had to work with?"
…"I just really need to know if she really wanted me. I mean what rape victim wants the child that comes from that?"
"What I wanna know is what kind of woman would sleep with a serial killer and have his kid? I mean, who would want to have offspring from a guy like that? Haven't these women ever heard of 'like father, like son? I can't imagine what it would be like to be the son of a serial killer. Probably never able to look yourself in the mirror just from the shame and the guilt alone! Ugh!"
"Enough, DiNozzo. Stick to the facts and quit the judgmental B.S. that doesn't solve the case!"
…."McGee. She's your mother and she loves you. Go with that."
"Mom? You're here? Really?"
"I'm here, Son. No place else I'd rather be for Christmas."
"You worry too much about the rest of us and not enough about yourself and what you need. Need you to change that, all right? From now on, if you need to talk to me about anything, then you come to me, you got that?"
"Thank you so much for being there for him, Agent Gibbs. I can't thank you enough."
"You already have, Mrs. McGee."
"By giving him back the belief that he was always wanted and loved. By not letting this take that away from him."
"Merry Christmas, big brother!"
"Do you know, I still don't' know what 'it' is? Neither of them will tell me. What little I know doesn't add up to that explosion or this rift. I can't believe neither one of them will talk to me about it."
"Comes back to not taking that choice away from them, Sarah."
"When Daddy died, Tim came unglued. But it was the silent kind. He wouldn't talk to anyone."
"Tim's not gonna be able to stop thinking of him as his own father overnight; probably not for a very long time; if ever. Sometimes, Sarah, blood isn't what counts when it comes to who you love as your parents."
Tim turned to look at his Team Leader in surprise. "Boss?"
What's goin' on?"
Tim shook his head in his now signature sign that he didn't know how to explain what he was thinking.
"Your father?" Gibbs offered a gentle revelation that he already figured out where the young man's head was at on this most cherished of holidays. He walked over to the swing and leaned back against the railing closest to it as he waited for Tim's answer.
"I can't believe he's gone." Tim whispered. "Never thought there'd be a Christmas without him." He turned his head away from Gibbs as he wiped at the tears trickling down his face.
"I know it's hard, Tim. But, believe me, it'll get easier; someday."
"So, what's goin' through that head of yours?"
"I've never been the head of the family. Never wanted to be. I don't know what to do; what not to do."
…."Tim. Your sister's grown and your mother's gonna be okay. They both are. If this had happened before Sarah had become an adult, you'd have something to worry about. Now? Most you'll have to worry about is who she's dating." Gibbs tried to rein things in for the young man.
"They're starting over in California, Boss. No friends, no family
"It's not your job to lay down your life to take care of theirs, McGee...Your job is to live your life the way your father would have been proud of you for; the way that makes you happy. According to his letter, you already accomplished that. Stick with what works and what makes you happy."
"He's right, Honey,." Tim's mom said from the now open front door. As she stepped out onto the porch, walked over to the swing and sat down beside her son.
When she sat down, she reached over and pulled her son to her, keeping her arm around his shoulder as she kissed him on the temple. "Stop worrying. You're putting yourself through all of this stress unnecessarily. "Agent Gibbs is right. The only thing you need to do is live your life. Sarah and I will be fine. We'll keep in touch and I promise you, if I need help, I'll let you know. Sarah will do the same. Anytime you need to talk, all you have to do is call."
Tim looked from one of the most treasured people in his life to the other, searching their faces for the truth behind the words. As both of them nodded at him he felt the worry slip away, to be replaced by relief. "Okay."
"Yeah?" Gibbs double checked.
"Okay, then can we go back inside now?"
Tim grinned. "Yeah."
As the three of them headed back inside, Tim had one more thing to say. "Thank you. Both of you."
For the first time, since this whole horrid ordeal came out, Gibbs found himself hopeful for the future and that Tim, would finally be able to move on and cherish the family that was here with him now, despite grieving for the one he'd recently lost.
Tim caught his boss's eye from across the room and offered him a genuine smile of both appreciation and happiness. Gibbs returned the smile warmly and nodded his head in acknowledgement. He couldn't help but think, that things were finally, going to be okay and vowed that no matter what, he would fight to keep this family together at all costs.
After all, wasn't that what family ties were all about?