DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything having to do with the characters or the television show, NCIS.
A/N: Just something I felt like writing. Hope anyone who choose to read my story will enjoy it.
A FATHER'S CURSE
NCIS agent Timothy McGee felt good. This was going to be a great week, he could just feel it. On Friday, he'd received his annual performance review and had been delighted to receive one of the best of his career. Gibbs did not give out praise lightly and Tim knew he'd earned it. He'd also received a raise as a result of his excellent performance and today, he'd gotten a call from his publisher telling him his second Deep Six book would be published next month. All was right with the world.
There was spring in Tim's step as he made his way to his desk humming softly beneath his breath. He knew that in this business, days like this could be far and few between, but until the next heartless murder or terrorist plot required their attention, he was going to enjoy it.
"Well, McMerrySunshine, you certainly seem annoyingly cheerful today. I don't think it's legal to look that happy on a Monday morning."
Tim looked up to see his partner, Tony DiNozzo, slouching his way across the bullpen towards his own desk. He looked irritable and tired.
"I am happy." Tim leaned back in his chair and grinned. "I had a great weekend. Gibbs gave me a decent performance review, my next book comes out next month, and right now, all I have to worry about is updating these case files."
Tony simply grunted as he collapsed into his chair and began rubbing his brow. His other hand clutched a large cup of coffee.
"Are you hung-up, Tony?"
Tony opened one eye and glared at Ziva. She stood watching at him, a smug smile firmly in place.
"That's hung over, Ziva and no, I am not. I've had a stomach bug all weekend, and I feel like crap."
Ziva merely lifted a skeptical eyebrow and sauntered back to her own desk and turned to her computer.
Tim grinned more widely as he turned to his own pile of work. Yes, all was right with the world.
The morning dragged into the afternoon. No dead petty officers popped up; no terrorist bomb plots or drug deals gone bad. It was a nice change and gave Tim and his team time to catch up on the ever dreaded paperwork.
Tim sighed and stretched, his back beginning to ache from sitting so long. He glanced at his watch. Only a couple more hours before it was time to go home. He stared forlornly at his empty coffee cup, debating whether or not it was worth it to get a refill.
His reverie was broken by the distinctive ding of the elevator's arrival. Mildly curious, he glanced over to see who had arrived. Director Vance exited, deep in conversation with SecNav Jarvis. Nothing new there, but as the third individual stepped out of the elevator car, Tim froze, his stomach clenching in an all too familiar way.
The man was tall, with a stern, no-nonsense expression. He wore the uniform of a navy admiral. He paused for a moment just outside the elevator and swept his gaze across the crowded room. For the briefest of moments, his eyes locked on Tim's before continuing on, giving no sign of recognition. He turned abruptly and followed the other two men up the stairs to Vance's office.
Tim couldn't breathe. He suddenly felt ill and struggled to his feet.
"Tim?" Tim glanced over to see Tony staring at him, his brows knitted in confusion. "You okay?"
"Bathroom," Tim muttered as he stumbled away, never looking back.
Once within the cool confines of the tiled bathroom, Tim took several long quavering breaths. What on earth was his father doing here? Tim had not seen the Admiral, as he often referred to his father, in over seven years. In fact, he'd only spoken to him once, last year, at his grandmother's insistence and that brief exchange really hadn't changed anything.
Tim splashed some water on his face, angry at himself for his reaction. He was no longer the timid, insecure kid that had left home for college. Heck, he wasn't even the nervous, insecure probie of eight years ago. He had grown into a competent, well-respected agent. Tim stared at himself for a moment in the mirror. Then why had the mere sight of his father sent him running in a panic to the men's room?
With a growl, Tim ripped a section of paper toweling off the roll and swiped it across his face before jamming it into the trash. He could not allow his father to intimidate him. Not anymore. The Admiral had never struck him, Tim's mother would never have stood for that, but he was a master of psychological manipulation. And, he was used to getting his way.
Tim gave a sour smile as he turned to leave remembering their last few encounters. When Tim announced he had no intention in following the McGee tradition of attending the Naval Academy and in fact, wanted to join NCIS after college, the Admiral had made sure Tim suffered for his defiance. He'd spent all of Tim's senior year and throughout college picking away at his son's self-confidence, making him doubt his own abilities and decisions until Tim became an insecure, neurotic mess. Still, he was enough of his father's son to fight for what he wanted. When he was accepted into NCIS, his father had essentially cut him out of his life. Tim told people it didn't matter, but the fact was, it had hurt more deeply than he would ever admit.
The door swung open just as Tim reached for it. Tony peered at him.
"You okay, McGee? You looked a little pale out there."
Tim shrugged and shook his head. "I'm fine, Tony. Just something I ate."
Tony nodded sympathetically. He was still looking a little peaked himself. "Boss wants us. You better get a move on."
Wordlessly, Tim followed Tony back to the bullpen where Gibbs and Ziva stood studying a piece of paper in Gibbs' hand.
"Nice of you to join us, Tim." Gibbs never took his eyes from the paper, but Tim felt the sting of a mild rebuke and his face warmed. He'd obviously been gone longer than he'd thought.
Gibbs said nothing further and McGee silently slid into his seat to face his computer, ready for anything Gibbs might ask of him.
"What do we know about the Antares Weapons System?"
McGee blinked and turned to look at Gibbs who was now staring directly at him. Tim had actually heard of the system. It was top secret, but in his various excursions into classified databases he'd come across a few references. He knew better than to go any further than a cursory look.
He cleared his throat. "It's a top secret spy system using satellites. That's about all I know."
Gibbs nodded. "I'm surprised you know that much. But did you know your father, Admiral McGee, is involved in its development?"
Tim's mouth fell open in confusion. "Uh, no, Boss, I didn't. Is…is that important?"
He noticed Tony and Ziva moving in closer, their faces mirroring his.
"Your father and the SecNav are upstairs with Director Vance right now. Apparently someone doesn't want this system developed and has made an attempt on your father's life."
McGee was stunned. Granted, more than once he'd thought of killing his father but to have someone actually try was something else all together. He wasn't sure how to feel.
"What happened, Boss?" Tony stepped forward.
"Last night, Admiral McGee was entering the parking garage of the research facility in Bethesda. Someone tried to shoot him. However, a security guard was nearby and scared him off. The assailant got away." He now handed McGee the piece of paper. "This is the license plate number and description of the car. I expect it's stolen, but you never know."
"I'll get right on it, Boss."
Gibbs turned to Ziva and Tony. "For the time being, you two are being assigned to protection detail. The admiral isn't happy about it, but the SecNav insisted."
"You're damn right I'm not happy about it."
McGee's mouth went dry, his fingers frozen above his keyboard. It had been over a year since he'd heard that voice. Slowly he turned and met his father's scornful gaze as he approached the team.
"Vance, did you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find this bunch? Couldn't be one of your good teams if my son is on it."
McGee's face burned. He dropped his gaze and said nothing.
"Admiral McGee," returned Vance in a cold voice, "Your son is indeed one of our top agents. He will not be assigned to protection detail for obvious reasons, but will certainly be involved in finding out who your assailant was."
"If he's one of your top agents, then this is a bigger sorry ass organization than I'd thought."
"Well, sir," Vance's voice became several degrees colder, "This 'sorry ass' organization as you so quaintly put it, is going to save yours. So I suggest you treat my agents, and I mean all my agents with respect."
Admiral McGee merely grunted and turned his gaze to Gibbs. "So Special Agent Gibbs, these are the two agents assigned to me?"
"Yes, sir." Gibbs met the admiral's steely gaze with one of his own. "Two of the agency's best. Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo and Special Agent Ziva David."
Admiral McGee's eyes narrowed briefly when he heard Ziva's name. "David? Any relation to the late Mossad director?"
Ziva didn't flinch. "Yes, sir. He was my father."
The admiral grunted once more but said nothing. A cold bead of sweat trickled down Tim's back. He just wished they would all leave. It was obvious nothing had changed. His father was just as bitter as ever over the fact Tim had refused to go to the Naval Academy. His father's mere presence was suffocating. Tim just stared sightlessly at his keyboard.
A moment later, Tim became aware of the others moving away. He lifted his eyes to follow the admiral striding towards the elevator as Tony and Ziva hurried to catch up. He thanked god he wasn't them. Not that his father would ever have allowed someone as incompetent and cowardly as his own son help protect him. Tim sighed and tried to refocus on his computer.
Startled, McGee's head snapped up to see Gibbs studying him. "Yes, Boss?"
"No offense, but your father is an idiot. I suggest you ignore everything he says." Gibbs then turned and followed Director Vance up the stairs towards MTAC.
McGee felt his shoulders relax slightly, then with a deep sigh, he returned to his work.