Take it back

By Gina Mae Callen

Mystery / Drama

Chapter 4

Tony woke up to the sound of Tim retching in the bathroom. He heard water run then shudder as the supply ran out.

Tim walked out of the bathroom and grabbed a bottle of water from under the sink to finish cleaning his teeth with. He had forgotton about Tony being there and he watched the younger man do this with all the ease of someone who did this a lot.

He put the bottle back and opened the cupboards; there was coffee but not much else. He made a pot and found a couple of biscuits. He sniffed them and taste tested with his tongue. Shuddered and chucked them in the bin.

He poured himself a coffee, black with nothing in it, took a big swig, and turned around.

"Tony!" He yelped seeing him sitting in the chair.

"Got any spare coffee?" Tony asked. Tim nodded and made him a cup. Tony took a sip and made a face.

"Yuk! This is like that tar Gibbs drinks." He said.

"My mom taught me to make it. Its navy coffee, she used to say she was navy, her family was navy and her coffee was navy." Tim said reminiscing.

"What was she like, your mom?" Tony asked

"She was beautiful, she used to be a cop, before I was born." Tim told him, "She was always sad though as I grew up as if she had lost something, I think she missed giving up the job to raise me. Then she had Sarah, Da…Shane was pleased when she was born, obviously because she was his first born." He laughed humorlessly "That explains a lot really." He said more to himself than Tony.

He shook his head as if clearing away bad memories. "Come on Tony, you going to give me a lift to work?" he asked.

"Via the Diner, I need breakfast and a decent coffee." Tony smiled determined to make sure his probie ate a proper breakfast.


Gibbs put his coffee cup on his desk and sorted through his mail, there were the usual bills, requests for information and one handwritten letter.

He picked it up carefully, after the incident with the plague letter, they had been extra critical of any handwritten post. He carefully opened the letter and started reading.

Vance stood on the balcony watching over his agents. He like watching, as they started their day. It was the quiet before the storm. However, this morning something caught his eye.

Gibbs was reading a letter and he went pale and sat heavily in his chair. Vance spotted and imperceptible shakes in his hand as he ran it heavily across his face and continued reading the letter.

He hoped this was not something that would greatly affect his MCRT.

Gibbs stood up and walked towards autopsy.


Ducky had just entered Autopsy for the morning and had hung up his coat. Jimmy was giving the room a quick clean ready to start the day as Gibbs strode in.

"Jethro, we don't have any clients as yet." Ducky smiled at his friend.

Gibbs turned to Jimmy, "OUT NOW!" he growled and Jimmy practically ran for the door.

"Jethro! What on earth has gotten into you," Ducky admonished.

Gibbs sat down and held out the letter he had received.

"Read." Was all he could say.

Ducky poured Gibbs a drink as he could see whatever this was, he was in shock.

He took the letter from Gibbs' hand and sat down to read. After a few minutes, he looked up at Gibbs. "Oh my Jethro, what are you going to do?" he asked.

Gibbs let out a sigh, "Well I thought I'd come see you Duck, I can't say anything to him, he doesn't know."

"He is your son Jethro," Ducky said gently. "You need to talk to him."

"Duck his mother just died, I can't hit him with this on top. I know he does not get on with his dad, but Shane is his father. I cannot replace him. Besides….I…don't..." Gibbs trailed off.

Ducky stood up and looked at Gibbs, "You don't what?" he asked, "You don't want to be his father?"

"No Duck…I don't want to be reminded of how I betrayed Shannon," Gibbs said.

"Is that the boy's fault?" Duck prodded.

"No." Gibbs said, "I think I just need time to sort this out in my head." He stood and started to leave.

"Jethro." Ducky's voice made him stop. "Whatever you do, don't treat the poor boy differently."

"Thanks Duck." Gibbs said and walked out.

Ducky sat at his desk. "Oh dear." He said shaking his head, this was not going to end well.


By the time, he had returned to the bullpen, both Tony and Tim had arrived at work. He found himself stopping and he stared at Tim.

"Morning Boss," Tim said looking up.

"How you feeling Tim?" Gibbs asked.

"Better thanks." Tim replied.

"You don't need to be here you know, if you need a few more days." Gibbs offered hoping Tim would take him up on it. Not just for Tim, but because he could use the space to get his head around the news he had received as well.

"It's ok Boss, I haven't talked to my mom in years, and there really isn't anything I can do. Honestly I'd rather keep working." Tony picked up on Tim's unvoiced, 'I need the money,' as he walked back into the bullpen carrying coffee for everyone.

"Coffee boss." Tony handed Gibbs a Styrofoam cup full of coffee and Gibbs sat at his desk and took a sip.

"Tar, probie." Tony handed Tim his coffee.

"Its navy coffee Tony," Both Gibbs and Tim said at the same time absently.

Tony looked up surprised. However, Gibbs was looking at reports and Tim was typing on the computer neither noticed the fact they had said the same thing at the same time.

As Ziva arrived, Gibbs was ready to fill them in on their current case.


"Right, we picked up a case last night." Gibbs told them and they looked up.

"SecNav is on the hunt for a group who hacked the pentagon a few years ago, He believes they are responsible for the death of a Navy Lieutenant who was investigating their activities." He said.

"Tim, I need your help on this." Gibbs said.

"OK Boss, but there are hundreds of Hacktivists out there groups and individuals. It may be impossible to find them." He warned.

"SecNav believes it was a group he was chasing years ago, the group was based at MIT called Phoenix Fire. The leader was called Phoenix." Gibbs said.

Tim choked on his coffee. Prompting the others to look at him. "Sorry Boss." He said trying to calm himself down. He got up and walked towards the bathroom.


Tim shut himself away in a stall and realized he was shaking. He was hunting himself! He knew that Phoenix was not behind the death of the lieutenant, however he could not prove it without outing himself as Phoenix.

"Oh God!" He moaned and put his head in his hands.

"Tim, you ok?" Gibbs asked having followed him into the bathroom.

"Er, yes boss, sorry boss." Tim floundered leaving the stall and running right into Gibbs.

"If you need space, I can get one of the Geeks from the basement up here to fill in." Gibbs offered.

"Yes, Sorry Boss I think maybe it was too soon." Tim said grateful for the lifeline.

Gibbs nodded, "You need a ride home?" He asked.

"NO!...Sorry its ok Boss, There's a shuttle bus to Silver Springs I can catch." Tim said.

"A bit inconvenient though seeing as ya live in Norfolk." Gibbs said.

Chastened Tim looked at the floor as Gibbs steered him back to his desk. "I'm taking Tim home. Tony can you call Vance, Tim's off for the week."

"On it." Tony said as Ducky walked into the bullpen.

"Timothy, if you need anything, even to talk just call me." Ducky said. "Jethro maybe YOU should use the time to talk to Tim." He suggested although the parting glare he received from Gibbs made Ducky fairly sure, it was not going to happen.

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