Chapter 15

May 24, 2005

When a bullet flew over his head, Tim dove behind the car and returned a few impressive shots of his own. He wasn't sure that he actually hit the terrorist, but it was enough to provide a small amount of safety for the time being.

He rapidly typed on the laptop keyboard, praying to every deity he knew of that he would be fast enough to stop the missiles. Another few shots stopped him again, and he radioed to Gibbs. He returned fire, and turned in dismay when the laptop exploded from another expert shot.

In retrospect, he should have noticed that none of the terrorists could make that hit from their position on the opposite side of the car. It might have changed his life, (and although he was once told by a smart fifteen-and-a-half year old boy that you should never look back, Tim constantly looked back.)

After that, it was all quiet, the terrorists had ceased fire for good, and The Boss told him to stay down until they came. Despite the laptop's unfortunate demise, the missiles heading for the naval ships were stopped. It seemed like a happy ending, but there was an unsettling still and Tim could tell something was wrong.

A gunshot blew up the stillness.

It was a single pop, but its sound scared McGee's heart into his throat. He remained down but he knew someone was hurt. After a moment, a strained sound came over the radio signal.

"McGee, call Ducky...Tell him to bring a body bag."

Gibbs? Was that his boss' voice? Never had the probie ever heard something so weak come from the Marine.

Oh god, a body bag? Not again, not another person I know. No...Not Tony...Not Kate...

"Kate's down."

It was an odd week. After the lab windows were unfortunately shattered by the man responsible for Kate's death, he was stuck between watching over Abby and finding Ari.


The man was the bane of Gibbs' existence, and now the rest of the team felt a renewed hate for the him too. Tony was irritable and cruel, or at least in a different sense. Instead of pranks, he snapped at Tim and made him feel bad for not knowing certain things. Of course McGee didn't blame Tony, he just wished the SFA remembered that he was not the only one who lost a teammate.

And Kate of all people. Kate!

Tim was starting to think that only the best people died too young. In his experience, it did seem to be the case.

He didn't want to see her. It would make his job harder. Right now, his focus was bringing a killer to justice. However, there were some distractions.

The director decided to accept a promotion, leaving a new person- a woman who seemed to know Gibbs extraordinarily well. But he could figure that out later. There was also the matter of this Ziva David, a Mossad agent sent to stop them from killing the murderer.

Like Gibbs would let that happen.

But worst of all, Tim was distracted by the guilt, especially when he would see Kate in his mind. He was embarrassed to have fantasized about her, but even when she just bothered him about coming to see her body he had to fight down the emotions he was harboring.

Take care of Ari first, right? Right.

When they did actually get Ari, (or at least Gibbs told them he was dead and they assumed he was the one to kill the rogue) there was a release. Now they could officially grieve for Kate. Her funeral was in her hometown, but before that, Tim had to go see her in private.

He snuck into autopsy when he thought no one was looking. Opening the cooler door and pulling out the wrack with his teammate was one of the hardest things he had to do. It didn't really help, but McGee kept reminding himself that he had been through much worse.

Tony came out of nowhere and they grieved together, and then left to prepare for her funeral.

After the service, Gibbs gave them time off. Actually, he ordered them off of work. It was fine with Tim; he saw it as half a week to do something he had been meaning to do for a long time. Kate's death reminded him how fragile the whole world could be.

That first night, in his apartment, he picked up his phone and dialed slowly, praying that the person would pick up.

It rang twice and then a kind voice answered.

"Admiral Macheer,"

"Hello sir, this is Timothy McGee. I don't know if you remember-"

"Tim!" the man said joyfully into his ear. "It's been such a long time! How have you been? Where are you living? You work for NCIS now, am I right?"

McGee smiled. "Yes sir-"

"Please, call me Dave. You're not a kid anymore, son."

"Alright, well I'm so glad I got a hold of you. I assume Kristen isn't there?"

"No. She lives in Manhattan now! Big time Broadway stuff. I'm still not positive exactly what she does for a living," the man chuckled. "But I know she's good at it."

Tim smiled. "Would you happen to have her number or her address? I'd like to give her a visit."

Tim's parents and Kristen's father didn't know about their falling out, so they had assumed the two had just lost touch.

"Sure, son! I'll give you both."

"Thanks, Dave. Oh, and by the way, don't tell Kristen. I want it to be a surprise."

Buying airplane tickets was a snap. Finding Kristen's apartment was an entirely different matter. Just as Tim collected his small backclaimants existed the building, a downpour of rain hit the area.

"Great," he muttered. Simply running from the pickup overhang to a taxi got him considerably wet.

McGee gave the address to the driver and settled into the seat, watching the droplets run down the window pane. He wondered what exactly he would say to Kristen; he was showing up at her door unannounced after all this time, what was appropriate for such an occasion?

When he got out and the cab drove away, he looked up at the building in front of him. It didn't exactly look like the place the admiral had described. In fact... Tim looked at the slip of paper with K's address on it and then at the building again. A sinking feeling found its way to his chest when he realized he was taken to the wrong place!

All this time it had been pouring, and he was quickly soaked. He went in to a convenience store and asked the man behind the counter about the address.

"Sorry, dude, that's two blocks over."


The guy gave him specific directions, and he made it through the storm to the correct building, shivering and dripping all over the place. As he was walking through the doors to the lobby, a pizza delivery man pulled up and hopped out, carrying a Hawaiian style pizza.

Maybe Gibbs' gut was rubbing off on Tim, because he immediately knew who that was for.

"Hey," he called the delivery guy over. "Is that for apartment B6?"


Tim pulled out his wallet. "I'm heading there now. How much?"

Surely there is some protocol that requires at least some identification or proof that you are the purchaser of the pizza for safety reasons. What if Tim had some bad motives towards Kristen? But obviously none of that occurred to the kid, or he just didn't care, because he handed it over and accepted the money.

Tim took the warm food in his hands, and found the elevator nervously. He hadn't seen Kristen in years. He wondered if she would even recognize him.

Kristen Macheer looked out the window of her apartment, bored. Her lack of inspiration at the moment was giving her a headache, and her hands were flitting nervously about. It was late and too stormy to go out, and she had absolutely nothing to do. She had no new books to read, the TV was broken, and the fridge was empty. When the artist got hungry she ordered a pizza, which had yet to arrive. Her laundry was done and the house was entirely clean- a rarity. Her roommates were out, and her friends either were working or didn't answer their phones.

Even her boyfriend couldn't talk- he was on tour and probably singing the first lines of the musical he currently starred in.

So she stared outside, angry at herself. She lived in New York City! She was here in the most exciting city in the world- she had no right to be bored.

"Sure I do," she muttered aloud.

She was interrupted by a frantic knocking at the door.

She hopped up and went to answer it, assuming it was the pizza man, but she was instead met with a very sad sight. A young man stood there, pizza in one hand and a pathetic sort of expression on his face. He was soaking wet and shivering. His red rimmed eyes stood out on his pale complexion. He had gained a little weight since the last time she had seen him, but she'd recognize Tim McGee anywhere.

He didn't say anything at first and neither did she. They sort of stared at each other, until she finally asked.

"Is that my pizza? For god's sake come in before it gets cold."

And then she hugged him. No apologies needed.

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