Chapter Three: Timothy McGee, this is Your Wake-Up Call
Once Ziva was on her way up to the Director’s office, Gibbs locked his computer, and after picking up a file, he’d put together, stood looking over to McGee who was studying his monitor a little too intently to be working. “McGee! Stop gabbing with Abby and come on. Leave your damned phone at your desk.” Gibbs ordered as he moved around his desk and headed toward the stairway not waiting to see if the Junior Agent would follow. While McGee had come a long way since his stuttering days, he still didn’t really have the balls to stand up to Gibbs.
“We’re taking the stairs, Boss?” McGee asked, and the Team Leader just huffed.
“Nice observation, McGee. You’re really putting those degrees to work. Next thing you’re gonna tell me is that the night is dark and it’s light in the daytime.”
“S…sorry, Boss,” McGee stuttered, and Gibbs smirked hearing the younger man huffing already.
“Sorry only counts if you mean it, McGee,” Gibbs snapped as he stormed through the door to the fourth floor.
“I.. I thought the rule was never apologize,” McGee stammered again as Gibbs headed toward the conference room. He hoped that Ziva wouldn’t think to look for them there.
“It’s been pointed out to me that rule is stupid,” Gibbs said with a shrug as he headed into the conference room and took a seat so that he could see the door. “Shut the door behind you, McGee, and take a seat. We’re gonna have a little chat.”
“Boss?” The young agent asked, and Gibbs didn’t even bother to stop from growling.
“Jesus Christ, McGee! Sit the hell down! Are you completely unable to follow a damned order?”
“S… sorry… I mean… I…”
“Sit, BooBoo!” Gibbs ordered with a shout, and when Tim almost knocked the chair over he sat so fast, the Marine had to fight not to eye roll at him. Instead, he tossed the top folder at him and tapped on the cover.
“This is my file,” Gibbs advised then leaned back in his chair. “Tell me what my degrees are in.”
“Boss?” McGee echoed wide-eyed, and Gibbs growled at him.
“Am I not speaking English?”
“No, Boss. I mean, yes, Boss. I mean… looking for your degrees, Boss.” McGee said in a hurry, and Gibbs just gave a nod as he folded his arms across his chest.
“Boss? I don’t… I mean, it says exempt where your college information would be.”
“Huh, so I guess that means you think you’re better than me too?” Gibbs drawled lifting an eyebrow. “You’re smarter than me? You think you deserve my job too? I mean hell, you think you deserve Tony’s cause you assume your two computer degrees out weight his one from OSU. Since you think he’s a moron, I guess I’m damned lucky to know how to get out of bed and get dressed on my own.”
“Gibbs, no!” McGee practically screeched, and Gibbs tilted his head to one side. “I mean you don’t need a college degree! You know everything! I mean, your Gibbs.”
“I’m not fucking psychic, McGee,” Gibbs spat back as he leaned forward resting his forearms on the table. “So, then this intelligence thing is just what… a case by case basis? Doesn’t count for me, but counts for Tony? ‘Cause why? ‘Cause Ziva whispered in your hear and like a spineless lump you just went along? In your tiny little mind, Tony represents everything you think your bullies were? Why? ‘Cause he wanted to make sure you could stand up for yourself? You know the only reason you’re even on this damned team is because of Tony, right?”
“I don’t… Boss?” McGee half asked obviously surprised, and Gibbs snorted humorlessly.
“That’s right, McGee,” Gibbs repeated sharply, “he’s the one that convinced me to take a chance on you.”
“I didn’t wanna have a damned thing to do with you. You got on my nerves, but Tony said that he saw potential in you and asked me to give him a chance. My guess is that there are days when he really regrets that. If you ask me he should, you sure as shit don’t deserve the loyalty and the time he’s put into you over the years. Tell me, what’d you find when you researched Tony’s education?”
“It said that in addition to his degree in Phys. Ed. he has a Masters in Sociology, he’s working on an Abnormal Psychology degree, and has taken a bunch of continuing ed computer classes that NCIS offers. But, that doesn’t make sense! Tony’s not…”
“Tony’s not what, McGee?” Gibbs practically purred as he leaned forward further. “Not smart enough? You know what I think? I think you had a shit load of potential, and then you let a bunch of bullshit go to your head. If you ask me, you’re even less qualified for this team now than you were when you started. Tony takes at least one class every semester at Georgetown. When was the last time you did that? When was the last time you did anything but pat yourself on the back and tell everyone how great you were? If you haven’t figured it out yet, you’re sure as hell not qualified to take his spot in any way, shape or fashion.”
“I don’t…” McGee started but stopped and frowned as he looked down at his hands. “I don’t understand, Boss. What happened that suddenly Ziva and I are the bad guys and Tony’s Mr. Perfect? Ziva said…”
“I don’t give a shit what Ziva said!” Gibbs shouted cutting him off angrily before pounding his fist to the table. “How the hell do you think you can be my SFA? Do you understand that means you have to be able to stand up to me when I’m being an ass and tell me? Hell, you can’t even stand up to Ziva and Abby! How the fuck are you gonna stand up to someone who really matters? You know how much shit you’re in McGee? Do you!”
McGee quickly shook his head wide-eyed but otherwise stayed quiet, and Gibbs was reasonably confident that it was because he couldn’t speak. “Right now, your little partner in crime is getting move out of NCIS. You know why, McGee? It’s because I’ve had it with her shit.
“She created the situation with Michael that resulted in his death by lying and holding back information multiple times. She gave Mossad NCIS information that was classified. Her attitude since she was rescued was abysmal. When the situation was brought to my attention, I took time to review things for myself. What I found was that if anything the problem was understated. If I’d known she’d set up the situation where she saved Ari to get into my good graces, I would never have bought into her act, to begin with. That’s on me. I should have listened to what my SFA was telling me at the time and the doubts he had about her. The bottom line is I got fed up. So, I told Vance that I wanted her off the MCRT, and he decided that she was more hassle than worth! You wanna guess why you didn’t get the ax, McGee?”
“Because Director Vance thinks I’m the future of NCIS,” McGee said, sounding confident for the first time, which only made Gibbs laugh as he shook his head.
“Jesus, McGee. Pull your damned head out of your ass. Vance was ready to transfer you out of the fucking Navy Yard! The only fucking reason why you got to keep your spot on the team is because once again, Tony went to bat for you. He thinks that if we separate you from fucking Ziva and limit your access to Abby that you can be turned around. Tony is of the opinion that you and Abby feed off each other negatively, and I agree. I wanted you gone, and Vance was ready to accommodate me by shipping you off to the Great Lakes office. News flash, you’re not any more special than the rest of us, and I can find someone to do your computer shit anywhere. The only person who thinks you can be saved is the guy you shit all over on a daily basis. Good job, McGee. Way to use that fuckin IQ of yours.”
Before McGee could speak, Gibbs tossed the other folder he’d brought with him to the Junior Agent. “I recommended Tony apply to NCIS and wanted him to join my team, but Morrow had to sign off on it. As soon as Tony was eligible to become Senior Field Agent, it was Morrow who promoted him. When he met with Tony, DiNozzo advised him that he’d only take the promotion if Tom would waive the fraternization rules if he and I began a relationship. When we got registered our Domestic Partnership, Tom’s wedding gift to us was a contract that stated no current or future director could force one of us out of NCIS or move one of us off of the MCRT because of our relationship. Rumor is that DC is about to legalize marriage between same-sex couples. If that happens, I guarantee you that we’ll be one of the first ones in line. If you haven’t fucking figured it out yet, McGee, I have always picked Tony first and I always will for reasons that go well beyond the fact that he sleeps in my bed at night. You wanna stay on my team? You’re gonna have to prove you belong there.”
Gibbs stood and picked up the two folders that McGee was staring at. “Some changes are coming to the team. Tony’s moving up to a Co-Lead position. A new SFA will be picked, who will absolutely not be you. If you don’t get your crap together, you can and will be easily replaced. You have all these aspirations, but nothing you do qualifies you for any of them. To hell, if you wanna be a leader or a follower, you need to decide if you wanna be a field agent on my team or just another guy in some other department. You stay you will be expected to follow the chain of command, you’ll be expected to follow orders from Tony as well as me, and you’ll be expected to pull your own goddamned weight. Personally, I don’t know if you can do it. Fortunately for you, Tony does.”
With that, Gibbs strode out of the conference room, slamming the door behind him, leaving a very confused and conflicted McGee behind him. Honestly, though, Gibbs was done caring. The only person who he absolutely couldn’t work without was Tony. Everyone else was replaceable. In a choice between Tony and them, it would be Tony ever time, and never them.
~*~~*~ ~*~~*~ ~*~~*~
A little over an hour later, Tim was sitting at Abby’s kitchen table with carryout Mexican food spread out between them as he relayed his conversation with Gibbs to his friend. From the look on her face, she was stuck between disbelief and anger. If he was honest, it was how he felt himself. He couldn’t believe that this was happening to him. He had busted his ass to get this far and had big plans for himself.
Now, they seemed to be all getting railroaded because Tony was sleeping his way to the top. For a brief second, he wondered if Vance would be the next notch in the SFA’s bedpost, but when the image popped into his head, he wrinkled his nose and quickly pictured Gillian Anderson naked to get rid of it. “Timmy, you should know better than try to trick Abby!” The goth growled pulling him from his musings, and he rolled his eyes when he realized that she’d settled on disbelief.
Not in the mood to placate her as he usually would, Tim shot her a scowl. “Oh, get over it! This isn’t about you! Ziva got fired! I’m gonna be stuck back with DiNozzo ordering me around all the time. You’re just pissed because obviously, you aren’t really Gibbs’ favorite!” Maybe the smug smirk that he threw at her was a little over the top, but he wasn’t in the mood to baby her when he had a crisis of his own.
“What’s wrong with Tony as boss? I mean obviously he’s no Gibbs, and clearly, he’ll still be a glorified Senior Field Agent. You’re just mad they’re not handing you the position that you refused to do the work on the first time and still aren’t qualified for. As to them being in a relationship, you must have misheard. My Silver Fox would never hold something back from me. Tony isn’t even close to being his type anyway. As for Ziva, I’ll just talk to Gibbs and get him to talk to that stupid Vance. Tony’s never gotten over the thing with Michael, and obviously, he’s throwing around his weight now that he’s getting this mythical promotion.”
Tim snorted before he finished chewing on the chip he’d shoved into his mouth. “Do you think about the things you say before they come out of your mouth? You’re supposed to be on my side. I thought we were friends. You start off defending Tony and the months that he acted like he was important and trashing how I acted when as I recall you were nothing more than a spoiled brat acting like you were the only person who Gibbs walked away from. You finish in some fantasy land where it’s Tony who hasn’t gotten over the Michael situation when it’s really Ziva with the issue.”
Shaking his head, Tim gathered together his trash and standing walked over to Abby’s trashcan dropping the empty Styrofoam containers into it. Walking back over he lingered at the head of the table as he pulled on his coat. If she wasn’t going to be sympathetic to his plight, then he wasn’t going to stick around.
“Just because you don’t want it to be true, Abby doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Here are the facts. Ziva is gone. I saw her escorted out by Tom Morrow. She stopped at her desk and took a couple personal pictures that were in plain sight. She didn’t even care that she was leaving because she said that Homeland was a much more suitable place for her talents. I went up to see Vance before leaving, and he confirmed not only the new team makeup but that Gibbs and Tony have a registered Domestic Partnership and have since just before Kate was hired. So, you’re obviously not the favorite, and that’s really what’s eating at you. You could give two shits about the rest of us, you only care that you aren’t in the top position. You might be like his daughter, but Tony’s as good as his husband. So, again, I say get over yourself.”
With that, Tim stormed out of the apartment leaving his ex-girlfriend behind to stew. He couldn’t care less about her hurt feelings at the moment. If she wasn’t going to be sympathetic toward what he was going through to hell with her. She really needed to grow up, anyway.