Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Spoilers: thru 06x21 Toxic
Characters: McGee, Vance, DiNozzo, Gibbs
Word Count: 13 x 100
Challenge: ncis_drabble; Challenge #131 - Control
Crossposted: ncis_drabble; ncisfanfic; ncis_haven; ncis_fic
Summary: Tim's life was becoming a roll coaster of control. It changed from one moment to the next.
It wasn't intentional when he started talking to Agent McGee. He recognized right away that while Gibbs and Agent DiNozzo were more 'hands on' in their methods for justice, McGee was of a different caliber. McGee had an education that set him apart from his coworkers. He couldn't understand how McGee had settled for towing the line under both Gibbs and DiNozzo. Gibbs was good, but he abhorred technology and was set in his ways. DiNozzo, the less said about him, the better. 'No,' thought Vance, 'Agent McGee needs someone to show him how to take control in his work.'
Several months after he split Gibbs' team, Vance found himself smiling at the way McGee had come around. The younger man, while still upset over not being in the field, was taking to leading his section of the cyber crimes unit like a duck to water. Vance could let the 'boss' thing slide, but in every other way, McGee was asserting himself and not behaving like the examples Gibbs and DiNozzo had set forth. As time progressed, Vance had realized that he couldn't keep Gibbs' team apart forever. However, with McGee, he would have a bit more control over things.
Tim wasn't sure when things had become so messed up. Director Sheppard had died while Tony and Ziva were on her protection detail. Director Vance had split them and placed him in cyber crimes without a chance to protest. Then Tim had found he liked being in charge and liked that people acknowledged the degrees he had worked hard to achieve. With Gibbs and Tony, a diploma didn't mean much; it was what you did that mattered. But Tim wanted it to matter and it did in Director Vance's eyes. Now he had trouble with Gibbs and Tony in control.
After Tony said that him and Palmer had successfully tested the DNA and received a match, Tim was dumbstruck. Tony was not smart enough to do something of that nature. But a little voice was overriding his thoughts, telling him, 'Remember that Tony tried to tell you to heat it first.' Tim had brushed Tony off because an ex-jock cop shouldn't know anything about lab work. Now Tim felt he had lost what control he had. He had a degree from Johns Hopkins, and Tony, of all people, had outshined him in the lab. Tim didn't know what to do.
Tim sighed as he tossed the brushes into the bucket. Abby had released Palmer and Tony some time back, but she had ordered Tim to stay until the last remains of his accident were scrubbed away. He looked up to see Abby looking at him with a measuring eye. "What?" he asked more sharply that he had intended. "You didn't listen to Tony did you?" At Tim's wide open mouth, she pressed on, "You should listen to him more Timmy. He's not a complete idiot. He majored in Phys Ed, but he double majored in criminal justice." Tim's control spun.
Gibbs looked up from his desk as a quiet Tim made his way to his own desk. Abby had told him earlier about McGee not listening to Tony in the lab. Add that with Ziva's comments as they searched the car and Gibbs realized he had a small problem on his hands. Over the years, many had asked him why he kept Tony around. He never responded. He figured if the person asking couldn't see it, then they didn't need to know. But now, it was endangering the team. He had to get control of the situation affecting his team.
Tim glanced at Gibbs' desk and caught him looking at him with a stronger version of the expression Abby had graced him with. Years ago, he wouldn't have thought to take control of a conversation with Gibbs, but that was then. Taking a deep breath, he spoke. "Does Tony really have a degree in criminal justice?" Tim thought he had caught Gibbs by surprise, but it was hard to tell. "Degrees aren't what make a person good, Tim," was the steady response he received. "I didn't hire you for your degrees, just I like I didn't hire Tony for his."
Tim mulled over the few words Gibbs had told him that night. He wasn't entirely sure why Gibbs had hired him. He had always thought it was for his computer experience and for the degrees he held. Now he was thinking about it and realized that while Gibbs would have read his file, Gibbs didn't hire based on a file. He hired based on a person's actions and if they didn't meet his standards, Gibbs didn't keep them around. It made him think about Tony. What was it about him, that made a man in control like Gibbs keep him?
Tony watched from the shadows as McGee's fingers flew over the keyboard. He had stepped away from his desk to use the restroom and had returned to see another light on in the darkened bullpen. It was three in the morning and if they weren't working a case, he had never seen McGee at his desk that late. He thought about leaving, but curiosity got the better of him, so maneuvered to a place where he could see what flashed over McGee's monitor. He almost lost control over keeping quiet when he saw his own picture flash on the screen.
Tim knew he shouldn't be prying into Tony's personal file, but he wanted to understand something he hadn't grasped in almost five years. He easily bypassed the protections in place and soon found himself looking at Tony's life summed up from a government prospective. What he learned startled him. Tony's mother had died when he was ten. His father had several abuse charges that never stuck. Tony had graduated in the top five percent of his class at a military academy of all places. Then a familiar voice caused him to lose control and sent him crashing to the floor.
"You should skip to the section on Philly, Probie. It's the most interesting part," Tony said as he stepped around the partition. He smiled as McGee crashed to the floor in an undignified lump. "Did you learn anything interesting from that?" He asked as he reclaimed his own chair and spun around to face McGee. Once McGee got reseated, he glanced in Tony's direction with a scowl. "Why are you here Tony?" Tony just smiled and the response came to him without thought. "What I do every night, Probie… I try to take control of the world from inside NCIS."
McGee sighed. He knew he would never get an honest answer from Tony. Just as he was about to shut the computer off and leave Tony to do whatever it is he was doing, when he heard a controlled, non-joking voice from the man he was trying to figure out. "I work cold cases when I can't sleep at night. Manage to solve one every once in a while, but generally just end up with paper cuts from looking at the old files. It's either that or work on the requisition forms that Gibbs hates and leaves on my desk."
Vance whistled around his toothpick as he picked up his briefcase and prepared to leave. Jackie wasn't going to be happy with him getting home at four in the morning, but he would make it up to her with breakfast in bed. As he stepped out of his office, he was surprised to hear voices at the desks below. He glanced down and saw McGee and DiNozzo huddled over a box of old files sitting on DiNozzo's desk. Vance frowned. Somehow, he knew that this was a sign that he had lost what little control he had of Agent McGee.