Where were you?
McGee stood in shock; the drone was heading to the convention center and even with Tony talking in his ear he could see it heading towards him, like slow motion on a film.
He turned to run toward the building.
That was the last sound he heard for a while.
His ears were ringing and he looked up dazed, the building was on fire there was rubble everywhere. He pulled himself up, wiping, soot; Blood? He didn't know what it was off of his trousers, He looked at his suit, Delilah would kill him if she saw the state of his tuxedo.
He ran towards the entrance frantically looking for Gibbs, he knew from the call Tony had made that Gibbs was on his way, Gibbs would be there for him….he would…wouldn't he?
Tim searched around, he started down the stairs, moving people who could walk towards the entrance.
"Head that way, Help is coming." He told them.
He still couldn't hear anything the ringing in his ears was too loud but, he knew that people were turning and walking towards safety. He bent down to help one woman; he felt for her pulse…Nothing. He put her wrap that had been in her arms over her face.
Then he saw her. Delilah slumped at the bottom of the stairs, she was unconscious, "Delilah!" he yelled. He thought he yelled to be honest he still couldn't hear and didn't know if any sound had come out of his mouth.
He ran towards her and knelt down, gently brushing her hair away from a small wound on her head.
He felt for her pulse and gave a small sob of relief, she was alive.
He knew he shouldn't move her but he couldn't leave her there, he lifted her up and as carefully as he could and carried her to the entrance.
First responders were arriving. Paramedics were climbing out of ambulances and police and federal agencies were beginning to appear.
"I NEED HELP HERE!" he shouted as he shouldered open the door.
Two paramedics grabbed a gurney and ran over to them.
"What's her name?" The paramedic asked checking her eyes with a flashlight.
"Her name is Delilah...She's gonna be alright isn't she...?" McGee asked looking from her to the federal agents swarming in the building…Where was he?
He realized that there were enough Agents to take over, so he focused on her, he needed too.
"Are you her husband?" the paramedic asked.
"What? No...Boyfriend, please, I need to …" he stumbled, the paramedic looked at him.
"We need to check you out as well, were you in the explosion?" he asked and tried to look him over.
McGee swatted the penlight away, "Focus on her, I'm fine." He snapped.
"Come with us to the hospital, we'll check you out in the bus on the way." The paramedic offered.
Tim nodded and climbed in the back with her, he pulled his cell phone out but it wasn't working.
'Maybe an EM pulse?' McGee thought I'll have to tell Gibbs.
He thought back to earlier, "Don't use me as an excuse!" Gibbs had said to him as he had tried to explain to Delilah that he was an important part of the team and was needed by Gibbs to help with cases.
McGee flinched as the paramedic touched his shoulder to check his eyes again; he hardly moved as he patched up the cut on his head and mentioned something about concussion and a skull x-ray.
OK, so maybe the team would be at the hospital, Tony had been on the phone with him, he knew he was there; they would head to the hospital for him…Right?
They arrived and he watched as Delilah was stabilized, but still no sign of the team.
When Gibbs had been hurt they had been there, when Tony had the plague, they had been there. When Jackie had been…when one of them was hurt they were there, where were they now?
Tim leaned against the doorframe to Delilah's room watching as the monitors beeped.
'Don't leave me…I'm sorry." He prayed silently.
He couldn't walk in; if he crossed the threshold it would be too real, far too real. He'd been awful to her for days, he hadn't wanted to go to this thing and she'd been hurt by his actions. Now she was hurt for real, if she died….He should have told her, he was scared. He should have told her it wasn't her fault; none of it was her fault, now maybe he'd never get to tell her.
A lone tear he couldn't stop escaped him and he found himself wrapping his arms around his torso for comfort.
He needed his team, he needed Tony to make a stupid comment and take his mind of things, he needed Gibbs to stand there being strong and to order Delilah to live. He needed Abby…he needed her hugs, he needed his best friend.
Where were they?
He needed Ducky to explain what was happening and how it would be ok and tell him a long and complicated story of a man he had once known who had dealt with something similar.
But he was alone.
Story of his life that was, when he needed comfort or support he was alone.
When his father told him he had cancer, well when his father told Gibbs he had cancer, Tim had been alone.
When he had his accident at 16, he was alone.
Sure, when Sarah was in trouble, Gibbs had taken offence that Tim hadn't come to him. In fact he'd told him 'you should've come to me.' For a moment Tim had forgotten his place in the world.
His father had said if he couldn't join the Navy, he really wasn't an asset to anyone. He had thought he was an asset to Team Gibbs, he had thought he was needed…he was…He was a tool. A tool for Gibbs to use and to be discarded when not needed.
He thought he had actually earned his spot on the team, after all these years he thought he knew where he stood.
He watched as Delilah's family turned up, he'd moved to the far wall as they swarmed in to see if she was alright, he'd not met them yet and they didn't know who he was. This was not the place for them to meet, not the memory he wanted them to have of him, so he watched from a distance.
He knew his family wouldn't turn up. John McGee, during his illness had suffered from hallucinations, he had called his family together and twisted the facts of the last case he had been involved in, telling them that Tim had, to his face accused him of murder, Tim's mother hadn't talked to him since worried that he would do the same to her new husband. Sarah and Penny had gotten mad as John had told them exactly what he thought Tim should think of them. When the end had come and John had died, Timothy McGee had been told he was not, under any circumstances, to attend the funeral. He was not to contact the family and he was not to blacken the memory of his father any longer.
Tim had coped; he had immersed himself in his work, worried about his work family, Gibbs and the actions of Parsons, the search for Benam Parsa. The loss of Ziva, and Tony's subsequent very strange reactions to her departure. The arrival of Bishop, making sure she felt at home on the team.
They were his family now, they needed him and he was important to them.
Or so he had thought, it had been six and a half hours; Bethesda was a ten minute drive from the naval yard.
Why hadn't they come for him?
Suddenly the machines beeped. Doctors and nurses flooded Delilah's room.
There was nothing he could do, he was in the way. He needed revenge he needed to find the men who did this.
He stumbled out of the hospital and caught a cab to NCIS.
He ignored the shocked look of the gate staff and security as he stumbled to the elevator and pressed the button. He assumed they wouldn't be there, maybe they were shocked as they knew the team was already, even if a bit late, were headed to the hospital for him.
He stepped out of the elevator and stopped.
They were there, working as normal, Tony at his desk typing away on his computer. Bishop was on the floor, her laptop and papers spread everywhere, Gibbs was sitting at his desk talking on his phone.
It was just like normal.
No one was concerned, they didn't care.
McGee walked past them, not seeing the shocked looks on their faces as Tim walked past them and sat at his desk, booting up his computer.
Gibbs looked up at Bishops gasp, his hand automatically going for his Sig.
Tim stood up and walked to the desk, "Yes Boss?"
Gibbs looked at him, his clothes were the same as they had been a few hours ago, concrete fragments clung to his suit and his hair, he had a graze on his cheek and he had a white band aid on his head.
"Why are you here?" Gibbs asked.
"Boss?" McGee looked confused.
"I don't want you here like this, you need to go home. You're more important than the case." Gibbs said staring his agent in the eye.
McGee looked deflated, there was no spark there but his voice was one of total acceptance.
"No I'm not." He said sadly.
He turned and sat in his chair and got on with the job.
Tony shot Gibbs a look, "Talk to him." He mouthed.
"I've got nothing yet boss,"
Tim shrugged, "I don't know. I think she's ok."
"Were you hurt?" Gibbs asked.
"Do you care?" Tim shot back. "Sorry Boss, I'll get back to work now." He turned back to his computer screen.
"Tim?" Gibbs put a hand on his arm and Tim shot away.
"Don't." Tim snapped.
"McGee?" Gibbs said as the others stopped to look at him.
"Don't…not now, Don't pretend you care, I can't…I need to do my job, I need to focus on what you hired me for, If I'm not here I'm no good, a useless tool boss. "
"I'm not pretending McGee." Gibbs said as Tony stood up and walked over to them.
"How long?" Tim asked, "How long since the bomb blast did you think about me, how long before you decided to come to the hospital to find out if I was alright?"
"I…" Gibbs stopped.
"It never crossed your mind did it?" Tim snapped.
Gibbs looked up as Hollis entered the bullpen with a file. "Tim?" she said.
Tim walked over to her, "Is that the evidence on the case from Abby?" he asked.
Hollis nodded shocked.
"I'm sorry about Delilah." She said, "It's good that you are ok and they released you."
Tim shrugged and took the file walking back to his desk one hand by his side was in a fist as the room was spinning. He slammed the file down on the desk.
"Will you all stop staring at me!" he snarled. "Unless you need to use me, leave me alone."
He opened the file angrily and looked at the information.
The elevator doors opened and Ducky walked out, "Jethro, I've had a call from Bethesda…oh there you are!" Ducky stopped and looked at Tim.
"Why is he at his desk? He went missing from Bethesda three hours ago, everyone is looking for him."
"Delilah…is she…?" Tim stopped talking.
Ducky walked over to him and took out a penlight to check his head, Tim swatted him away. "I'm fine Ducky."
"You my lad are most certainly not fine, you have a fractured skull."
Tim lost his temper, he'd had enough.
"I'M FINE LEAVE ME ALONE!" he screamed, the whole floor went silent, no one yelled at Ducky.
"Tim, you need to go back to the hospital." Tony said calmly, moving closer to him as he swayed.
"No…I…I can't, not useful, I have to be here for the case, I can't go back…I can't…." Tim sank into the chair,
"You can't what Timothy?" Ducky asked as Tim's face broke
"I can't be there, I can't watch her die, and I can't do it alone."
"You are not alone." Ducky said squatting down to look Tim in the eye.
"Yes I am, I am alone…I have been in the hospital for seven hours alone, watching the woman I love hover between life and death on a ventilator, stupid doctors fussing trying to get me into a room, trying to call my next of kin…that was embarrassing."
Tim gave a sad laugh. "Ya know Ducky, they asked me if I had family, I sat there waiting for Gibbs to come in, like he did with Tony, to order me to be ok, to make it all go away…" he turned to Gibbs, "I WAITED FOR YOU!" he yelled, and where were you? Here…working on the case."
He turned away and picked up the file, "This…This is more important…You can't honestly say I am more important than the case, or you'd have been there for me. You don't ever say that to me Gibbs, you can say it to Tony, Abby…Hell even Bishop and I'd believe it, but right now…THIS is more important than I am. Don't lie to me again Gibbs." Tim collapsed back in the chair as the adrenaline wore off. "Just... don't boss, not you…please." Tim sighed looking totally defeated.
"I'm sorry Tim." Gibbs said looking down at his weary agent. "I got sidetracked like with Ari."
"I wasn't dead boss." Tim said as he let Ducky move in to check his vitals. "I'm not Kate."
Tim stood up, "I'm sorry boss, I'll go back to the hospital and get them to sign me out and then I'll be back, we have a case to crack."
Gibbs knew then, whatever was eating McGee wasn't over, surely his family would be at the hospital for him, he would call Tim's next of kin and let them know himself.
"McGee?" Gibbs called as Tim and Ducky walked to the elevator, "Who's your Next of Kin? I can call them for you." he offered.
"Don't bother Boss, I don't have one." Tim said sadly as the doors closed.