Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Challenge: Amnesty 2007; Five Things Challenge
Potential Spoilers: 02x22 SWAK; 03x09 Frame Up; 03x24 Hiatus; 05x02 Family
Word Count: 1,400
Crossposted: ncis_haven; ncisfanfic
Summary: Tony doesn't understand why people would want to help, but he does appreciate it when they do (even if he keeps that fact to himself). Companion piece to Five Times He Cared.
The offer came out of nowhere and Tony didn’t know what to make of it at first. He almost scared the kid off when his defense mechanism of deflecting help and concern with jokes and put downs kicked in.
“What did you just say Probie?” he questioned the other man. McGee had only been an actual member of the team for a month and he was still a bit hesitant to speak up when he wanted to.
“Um, Abby mentioned that I might be able to help you out some,” McGee said in a very quiet voice.
“Help with what Probie? I’m the Senior Field Agent and you are just the Pro-bie. Probationary agent. That means I help you.”
Tony winced at the hurt look on McGee’s face. “Never mind, Tony. It wasn’t important,” McGee mumbled as he turned to walk away.
Tony wanted to kick himself. No matter what he always drove people away from himself because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Trying to rectify the situation, he called out to the parting agent.
“Wait, Tim. What did she think you could help me with?” Using McGee’s first name was a calculated risk, since he had never used it before while talking to the other man. But evidently, it paid off when McGee stopped and turn back around.
“Well, um, she said that you were trying to find someone to help you learn more on the computer,” McGee said in a rush. “I could. I mean, only if you want to, but you don’t have to.”
“McGee?” Tony said and he put a hand on his shoulder. “Shut up before you run out of air.”
Then Tony paused and looked at McGee for a long moment before continuing, “Only if you promise to show me how to keep the, ah, entertainment sites I visit from infecting my computer with those internet transmitted diseases.”
McGee smiled at Tony and finally relaxed just a little, “I think I can do that.”
I Need Somebody
Tony had been out of Bethesda for fifteen hours, five minutes and forty-five, no, forty-six seconds. He tried telling himself he wasn’t bored, but then he just ended up proving himself wrong. He had been bored for too long and it was making him desperate for any outside contact.
“Hell,” he said out loud to his empty apartment. “I’d even like if McGee showed up.”
Then he fell into another coughing fit and missed the hearing the knock on the door. Tony continued to cough and was unaware of the person entering the door and walking up behind the couch.
“Tony? You okay?” McGee’s voice scared him more than he would ever admit, but at the moment the remainder of his lung he was trying to cough up was more important.
“My-- back,” he managed to get out between coughs. McGee took the hint and helped Tony work through the cough. Minutes later the fit was finally over and McGee was rubbing light circles on his back that were oddly comforting.
“So Probie,” Tony rasped out. “What do I owe you for the treatment?”
“I don’t know Tony,” McGee said with a smile as he took a seat on the couch and picked up the remote from the coffee table. “I don’t think you can afford me.”
Tony just snorted and grabbed the controller out of McGee’s hands. “My home, my choice. You do know I get Spice right?”
Tony smiled as McGee rolled his eyes. It was great being out of Bethesda for fifteen hours, nine minutes and ten seconds; very good indeed.
Tony sat in the darkened locker room with trembling hands. He had gotten out of the holding cell, been proven innocent and they had caught the culprit; well, actually Abby caught the culprit.
“Damn!” he shouted as he let his fist bang against his locker. “I should have known who he was. I’m so stupid for not seeing it.”
“You’re not stupid Tony.”
The voice startled him and he turned to find McGee looking at him.
“That’s the last thing I thought I would ever here you say Probie. I’m just the dumb ex-cop with a phys-ed degree and a penchant for dating a lot. What are you doing down here anyway? Thought you went home.” Tony looked questioningly at McGee.
“I could ask you the same thing,” McGee said as he sat beside the older man. “I don’t think you’re stupid by the way. Annoying? Yes. But not stupid, well not most of the time anyway.”
Tony just smiled a much smaller version of his normal toothy grin. “How’s Abby doing, Tim?” he asked to change the subject. He listened with gratitude as McGee rambled on about Abby telling of the Director for letting Chip into her lab.
Not Just Anybody
It had been two weeks since Gibbs left. Two weeks since Tony had been left in charge and he felt like he was failing miserably. Abby was lost without Gibbs, Ziva didn’t trust him enough to be in charge and McGee just sat there. To top it off, they were three days into a case and no leads. Things were not looking good.
Finally, he got an idea. “Ziva, McGee, Probationary Agent!” he snapped out. “Bring your chairs over and gather around.”
Agent Lee was the first to respond. She was willing to do anything to prove that she was the perfect little agent. Ziva mumbled under her breath, “This better not be some reference to a movie.”
McGee just rolled his eyes and then his chair the short distance required.
“We’re going to call this little session a campfire and it’s now in order,” Tony said with a smile. “What do we know about Simmons and what do we need to find out?”
Reluctantly, they all started saying their thoughts and ideas, debating theories back and forth. Two hours later after they had soon to be ex-marine Simmons in custody, Tony was all smiles. His first case as a team lead was solved and his first idea that was not Gibbs’ method had proved fruitful.
The most surprising part was when McGee spoke to him in the elevator on the way down that night. “The campfire was a good idea Tony. Where’d you get it from?”
Tony just smiled to himself as he looked at his Senior Field Agent, “I can’t give away all my trade secrets McGee. At least not until you are ready to be a real boy.”
Help Me If You Can, I’m Feeling Down
Tony sat next the fire that McGee had turned on for him. ‘Probably making up for setting off the sprinklers twice,’ he mused to himself. Sitting there and looking at the loving couple holding the baby, he felt a pang in his heart for something he could have had with Jeanne.
‘Wait,’ his mind supplied, ‘who am I fooling? It was never going to work out.’
Tony sighed as he glanced back and forth between the two scenes being played out in front of him, the family on one side and his teammates on the other. He was oddly jealous of that little baby. He was going to have a loving family, two parents who would go to any lengths to save him. Tony shivered at the thought. He had never had anyone like that.
Then he looked back at Gibbs, McGee and Ziva standing together and laughing. He thought back on the years he had had with them and the times they had been there for him. Gibbs, bastard that he was, always came through in the end. Ziva had her own unique way of showing she cared, but Tony was fairly certain she did. McGee… Well McGee was well on his way to claiming the second longest stint with Gibbs. If that didn’t make him family, then nothing else did.
Tony took the soggy card out of his jacket and looked at Jeanne’s message before glancing back at his team. He felt the coldness in his body start to warm, coldness he was certain didn’t come from his water soaked suit.
He let the card fall into the flames and then he stood up to join his family. They all gave him a smile and McGee placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. He was startled by the friendly gesture, but turned on a smile nonetheless.