Flashback

Chapter 14

September 28, 2004

The key jiggled in the lock and Tim opened the door to his apartment. The clock sitting near his typewriter read 6:39 as he dropped his backpack next to the desk and looked around. He had been living in this apartment for a few months now, but there were still a few moving boxes unopened. Being the neat freak he was, it annoyed Tim a little that he never got to take care of them. He resolved to open them and organize the contents after he ate dinner.

He ordered Chinese takeout and took a quick shower. They newest addition to Agent Gibbs' team was already changed into his signature MIT shirt and sweatpants by the time the food arrived.

The newest agent on the team.

He smiled when the words suddenly sank in. He was officially part of the MCRT, which he had aspired to join since day one as a federal agent. Tim truly disliked working at that little desk in Norfolk; it was boring and he felt like he wasn't doing enough for the agency there.

Although, he was disappointed by one thing...

When he had asked if the teasing and pranks were finished, Tony and Kate Gibbs-slapped him. That double head slap from his new coworkers was answer enough. The hazing, the jokes, it was not going to stop, was it? Another agent had notified him of one thing- the amount of "probieing" that came from that team was incredible. McGee knew it was probably just to 'toughen him up' and such, and he did realize he looked the part of a naive Probie. Having graduated college a little earlier than most students, he was relatively young for an agent. Plus, he had recently gained some weight - mostly because he was too busy with FLETC and applying at NCIS to pay much attention to his health. With the newly acquired baby-fat Tim seemed almost younger than he did at sixteen. (Though when he was sixteen, he also had horrible bags under his eyes, and their absence now was part of it.)

If he got his way, his team would never know exactly how naive he wasn't.

That's not to say he would lie or pretend to be something he was not, he simply wanted to put the past behind him and leave it there.

It was a grim idea, and luckily McGee was snapped out of it when the doorbell rang. He grabbed his money and opened the door, greeting the delivery man and paying for the meal. He turned on the TV and sat in front of it with the food, but didn't really watch whatever was on. Tim was thinking about, well, everything. His new team, his new job. Heck, he even began organizing that new desk in his head. Another involuntary smile crept onto his features.

Gibbs had given them time off this weekend, which according to Tony was a rare occurrence. Already wary of the senior agent's pranks, Tim wasn't sure if he was being set up for a joke, but Agent Todd had confirmed it, and he believed her. Even though she sometimes joined in on Tony's pranks, she was too nice and wouldn't do something like that to him. Usually at a dirty reference or a prank from DiNozzo, she rolled her eyes and used a term synonymous with "pig". Tim liked Kate, as she was generally polite but firm and tough. (And to be honest, Tim thought she was kind of cute.)

He could handle Tony and Kate's hazing. But Gibbs...Gibbs was a different story.

The man was downright terrifying. His use of glares and intimidation sent probies and criminals alike scurrying in fear. It made Tim nervous just being in the same room as the boss, and he wondered if he would ever get over it. When Gibbs had gotten up in Tim's face and stated 'You belong to me now,' McGee was left to wonder... to what extent? How much did this job truly demand? His stuttering and constant apologizing would never get better at this rate.

It was obvious that Gibbs was very similar to another man Timothy knew...

His father would not be pleased to hear that his son was now an official member of the MCRT, but he needed to know, right? Tim had already told Sarah and Penny about the promotion, and wondered if either had mentioned it to his dad.

Despite his constant disagreement with his father, Tim sighed and reached for his phone, dialing the familiar number.

It rang once before the demanding voice echoed in his ear.

"Yes?"

"Hey dad, its me."

"Timothy. What is it?" his father responded sharply.

"I just wanted to tell you I got a promotion. I'm part of the major case response team at NCIS now."

"In Washington?"

"Yes...sir."

There was a beat when Tim thought his dad hung up on him, but he finally spoke.

"I'm sure it's impressive...in that line of work."

"In this line of-?" Tim said with wide eyes.

"Yes, I'm sure it is. But when you get tired of playing with computers, call me and I'll arrange an interview with a real member of the Navy. For god's sake, you could even go to a recruiting station if you wanted. Just call me when you do, alright?"

The admiral sounded so pushy and demanding, and for over twenty years Timothy had dealt with it. But he was proud of this job, he already loved it, and this was just too far.

"Dad," he said hoarsely. "I am not joining the Navy. I'm sorry, I really am, but I can't...I would be miserable. And its not because of the Navy, its because of me. Please try to understand."

His father halted at the sincerity of the words. It was just like that day way back with their first argument; this time, however, there was an invisible cord severed. Tim could feel it as soon as he finished speaking.

"Don't call here until you aren't going to disappoint me again," the older man said, then slammed the phone into its receiver.

Tim sighed and gently put his phone down. Trying to put it out of his mind, he went back to eating and watching TV. He was finishing up his food when the telephone rang one more time, startling him. He lifted it and quietly spoke.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Timmy!" Abby said. As much as he liked the scientist, the young McGee wasn't exactly sure how to classify her. Girlfriend didn't seem like the right term, but that was the closest he could come to describing the goth. At times like these, his true naïveté was stamped on his forehead.

"Hey Abs."

"...what's wrong? You ok? You should be happy! I just heard about the news! Welcome to the Navy Yard! I mean, of course you've been here a million times, but I thought that since this was your first day as an official part of the team that I should welcome you officially, and the security guard in the front of the building always greets everyone so I thought I'd beat him to the punch. But he's really nice, so its not like it is a bad thing or anything like that..."

He let her talk for a while, knowing she snap herself back on track, which she finally did.

"So do you want to go celebrate?"

"Uhm.. I don't think so, Abs. I want to, but I'm not feeling so great. I can't go out right now. Maybe tomorrow?"

"Oh! You poor thing! Do you need me to come over?"

"No, that's ok. Enjoy your weekend. I just need some rest and I'll be good."

"Alright, then. G'night Timmy!"

"Night."

As he put the phone down for the second time that evening, he couldn't help but realize that he was in his twenties and spending his weekend doing absolutely nothing, and it bothered him just a tiny bit.


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