by: HarmonFreak1 (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 018 Word Count: 34211
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Timothy McGee, Ensemble
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort, Suspense
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: When Tim is drugged and reduced to a toddler how will the gang react?
Will they be able to change him back or will he have to grow up all over
again? Papa Gibbs and Baby Timmy!
Author Notes: I would like to thank the best "Beta" on the entire planet.."Gotta" You Rock Girl!
Chapter 1It was a blustery cold day in Washington, DC and the MCRT team had just finished wrapping up another case. McGee, Ziva and DiNozzo were currently typing up their reports in hopes that they would actually get to leave work at a decent time.
The case involved a Navy scientist, named Lucy Grey, who had developed a drug that was capable of turning grown adults into children. Grey was unable to have children of her own so she would lure men into a bar and slip the drug into their drink when they weren't paying attention. Then she would bring them home, put them to bed and in the morning the transformation would be complete. Fortunately for the men, Grey hadn't quite mastered the proper formula and the drug had dissipated from their systems within a week. One of the men who had been transformed was able to get away from her once the drug had worn off. He gave NCIS the location of where she was holding two other men and that's where the rescue had taken place earlier that day.
During her interrogation, she seemed to be enthralled with McGee. She kept saying things like "Aww he's got the cutest little baby face" and "I bet you would be such a good boy for mommy". That's when Gibbs put a stop to her little charades and ordered McGee to leave the room, though not before McGee had turned three shades of red.
Now Gibbs waltzed through the bullpen with probably his 10th cup of coffee of the day.
"Hey Boss, you mind if we leave once our reports are done?" asked DiNozzo. Gibbs just nodded and took another sip of coffee before sitting down at his desk. '
"Got a hot date, Tony?" Ziva inquired.
"No, I actually thought it would be nice if we all went and got some dinner and drinks after we leave here Ziva. It's been awhile since we've all hung out together." Tony continued, "Come on McBaby, I'm sure after the day you've had you could use a drink."
McGee sighed; it had been a long day and one that he wished he could forget altogether. Grey had sent shivers down his spine with the way she was enamored with him. He could not imagine being a baby again. Especially since all of Grey's victims had told the same story, that while they had the physical features of a baby, they still had the mind of an adult.
"Ok Tony, I guess one drink won't hurt, but only if Ziva's going too. And if I go, you have to promise me that you'll keep the movie talk to a minimum. I already get enough of that at work."
"What do you say Ziva, you ready to hit the town with two very special agents?" Tony asked with a smirk on his face.
"Well you are special, Tony, but not in the way you are thinking about. However, I could use a drink to unwind."
"It's settled then, let's meet at Chadwick's in Georgetown. It's located on K Street and has a casual atmosphere, so it will be perfect for us."
Just as Tony was finishing, two agents walked through the bullpen with Lucy Grey. Grey saw this as an opportunity to harass McGee again.
"Agent McGee!" she screamed, the bullpen suddenly went silent. "Be sure you behave yourself tonight or mommy will have to give you a spanking."
McGee did his best to ignore her but couldn't help the blush that suddenly began to spread over his face and ears. Gibbs stood from his chair and gave her the death stare that had made grown men cry.
"If you say one more word to McGee, I'll be sure that they add harassing a federal agent to your already long list of charges."
Grey just smiled and said "Is that a promise?" as the two agents quickly ushered her away.
Gibbs sat back down and looked at McGee with concern. He was currently biting on his bottom lip and in a daze.
"Don't let her get under your skin, Tim. She's just a delusional middle aged woman who is currently living in her own fantasy land."
Tim suddenly snapped out of it as his boss's words rang through his ears.
"Are you alright, McGee?" Ziva asked, with a touch of worry in her voice.
"Uh yeah" Tim said while massaging his temples. "I will be once we can get out of here and I can get a drink." Although Tim wasn't much of a drinker, he knew that tonight would be a good night to make an exception.
Each agent printed out their respective reports and handed them to Gibbs; then got packed up and ready to leave for the night.
"Hey Boss, are you sure you don't want to come with us?" Tony asked from his desk.
"Nah, I'm fine but if any of you are too drunk to drive then I expect a phone call, no matter what time of the night it is."
The three agents smiled as they remembered how much Gibbs worried about them, especially if they were going out somewhere and he wasn't around to watch their backs. With that, the three agents said their good byes and headed for the elevator.
Chapter 2After being poked, prodded, fingerprinted, photographed and forced to change into an orange prison jumpsuit, Grey found herself sitting on a thin mattress in a jail cell. Her mind drifted back to her interrogation just a few hours earlier.
"So Agent McGee, did you have a nice childhood?" McGee ignored her and continued looking through the email on his phone while he waited for Gibbs. He wasn't sure why this woman was making him so uncomfortable. Out of all the criminals, psychopaths and murderers that he had ever dealt with this woman was worse then any of them.
"Oh come on, it's not a hard question to answer."
"Yes, I had a very nice childhood, thank you."
"What a polite young man you are, however I do believe that your childhood was less then ideal."
McGee wondered if this woman was a mind reader. How did she know that my childhood wasn't always the best? Always striving but never good enough for my parents.
Tim was pulled from his thoughts when Gibbs entered the room but that didn't stop Grey from continuing to press.
"Has anyone ever told you that you've got the cutest little baby face, Agent McGee?"
Gibbs glared at her as he took a seat across from her. What she said next though had McGees' stomach churning and he felt a warm blush fall over his cheeks.
"I bet you would be such a good boy for mommy," she said with an evil smirk.
By this point, Gibbs had heard enough and ordered McGee to leave the room. He knew Tim was uncomfortable and it made his blood boil that this psycho was antagonizing his agent. Someone who he had grown to love and would protect in any way he could.
Grey was torn away from her daydream by the clanging of keys and soon after her cell door was unlocked. The guard informed her that she had five minutes to make her phone call. She was handcuffed and led through a wide corridor past dozens of other prison cells. Once they reached the phone, the handcuffs were removed and she was allowed some privacy to make her call. She picked up the phone and proceeded to dial the number.
Ella Grey had just finished eating dinner when her cell phone rang. Picking it up off the kitchen counter she sighed when she realized that the caller ID flashed "Unavailable". Normally she wouldn't answer if she didn't recognize the number but then she thought back to how long it had been since she heard from her sister. Lucy and Ella were very close growing up. Lucy was ten years older then Ella and since their parents weren't around much, it was Lucy's responsibility to take care of and raise Ella. It was a duty that Lucy took seriously and all she ever talked about was having her own kids. That is, until she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer and needed to have a hysterectomy. After that day, Lucy threw herself into her work as a scientist for the Navy and never looked back. It wasn't until she was putting the finishing touches on her "babified" drug that Ella started to notice the old Lucy start to return.
- No answer
Ella was just about to hang up the phone when an automated voice asked if she would accept a collect call from the Correctional Treatment Facility.
"Yes, I'll accept the charges." Ella replied
"Ella, its Lucy...I've been caught and I'm in jail until I can have my court appearance."
"What?! Are you alright? Do I need to call a lawyer for you?"
"Calm down, I'm fine and I've called my lawyer but I need you to do something very important for me."
"You know I would do anything for you, Lucy; you're my sister and I wouldn't be here today without you."
Half an hour after leaving work Tony, Tim and Ziva walked into Chadwick's, a restaurant that was located near the Georgetown campus. It was a cozy establishment that was bustling for a Thursday night. Dark wood lined the walls and the tables were adorned with white and brown-checkered tablecloths. In the center of each table was a red vase with a few yellow Gerber daisies that contrasted well with the surrounding colorsand textures. The bar was located on the first level and had homemade paper snowflakes dangling merrily above it. The second level was filled with more seating but had the same comfort the first level did. The three found a table close to the windows so they had a good view of the waterfront. Not long after sitting down their waitress appeared at the table and took their drink orders. Ziva settled on a glass of chardonnay while both Tony and Tim each decided on a beer. Once their drinks were delivered, Tony and Ziva exchanged glances, both subtly deciding who would bring up the interrogation scene they witnessed earlier. They knew it had been bothering McGee but figured they would wait until they were out of the office to try and discuss it with him.
Taking a sip of his beer and then turning to look out the window, Tony casually tried to start the conversation "So that woman today was a few bricks short of a load. She even made MY skin crawl and it takes a lot to do that. Reminded me of this horror movie released in 1973 called "The Baby" where this mother and her daughters were keeping this grown man as a…"
"Tony" Tim rolled his eyes and cut him off before he could go any further. "I don't want to discuss this anymore, we arrested her, and she's sitting in a jail cell. No way she's going to bother me. Can we please talk about something else?"
"Sure, Probie, how about we find you one of these fine ladies to take home tonight."
This time, it was Ziva's turn to roll her eyes. "Tony, that may be the way you operate, but McGee is a gentleman. He would not pick up a girl just for a one night stand."
"Listen Tony, Ziva, I appreciate your concern but really I'm alright. Don't worry about me."
That seemed to pacify the two of them and the conversation changed from everything as to how cold it had been in DC to the latest movie Tony had seen.
Ella Grey entered Chadwicks and headed straight for the seating at the end of the bar where the wait staff would pick up their drinks. She decided that would be the best place to scope out the restaurant without drawing a lot of attention to herself. She scanned through the different tables looking for her prize. Finally, after ten minutes of casual looking she noticed a table off to the side by the windows where two men and a woman sat. Her sister had described what her target was wearing and his physical features. Now all she had to do was figure out a way to carry out her plan.
"Can I get you guys another drink" their waitress asked walking up to the table.
"If were going to have another drink we should get an appetizer to counteract the alcohol." Ziva said while scanning through the menu.
While they decided on the food, Tony took the time to scan the drink menu and decided on a Vodka Tonic instead of another beer.
"So I have an order of chicken wings and an order of hummus with pita bread plus another glass of chardonnay, a vodka tonic and another Corona?" asked the waitress.
The three of them nodded their heads and continued discussing who would win in a fight between Vance and Gibbs. Ella had been observing the conversation with the waitress and then turned her attention to the bartender who went about fulfilling the order. Once he was finished he put the drinks on a tray and set it aside. Ella looked around to make sure no one was looking, slipped the pills out of her pocket and dropped them in the Corona. She watched with worry as the beer fizzed up due to the addition of the drug, but calmed down once she saw the beer settle once more. Soon after, the waitress grabbed the tray and headed back to the table. She distributed the drinks and Ella watched as McGee took a giant swig of his beer. Once she was convinced that he had drunk enough of the beer to get the desired effect, she paid her tab and left.
Less then an hour later McGee and Tony were walking Ziva to her car. "Everyone is ok to drive, yes?" Ziva asked as they stopped at her Mini Cooper. Both men reassured her that they were ok and watched as she cranked the ignition and sped off.
"Ziva's worried about us driving after a few drinks and she drives like a maniac sober. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black."
Tony shivered as he and McGee finished the walk to their cars.
"I'll see you tomorrow McGoo and don't be late; Gibbs will be pissed especially since he knows we went out tonight."
They said their goodbyes and with that both men sped out of the parking lot, not knowing that one of their lives was about to change.
Chapter 3It was weather like this and nights like these McGee was glad the dog walker had come earlier that evening to walk Jethro. During the drive home, snow flurries had begun to fall but once he reached his place, the snow was coming at a steady pace. He enjoyed the walks and the time the two were able to spend together. They also gave him the opportunity to step back and clear his head, especially if the team was working on a tough case or he had a particularly rough day at work. However, all he wanted to do tonight was turn up the heat in his apartment and slip into bed.
Pulling into his complex, he parked in his reserved spot and grabbed his bag. As he stood to get out of the car, a wave of dizziness struck him and he grabbed onto the door to support himself.
"I didn't have that much to drink." he thought to himself.
Once he was sure the dizziness had subsided and after a few deep breaths he wearily climbed the three flights of stairs to his apartment.
Fumbling with the keys he was finally able to get the door unlocked and was greeted by Jethro.
"Hey Buddy" he said while giving him one of his famous ear rubs and then turned his attention to the thermostat to bump it up a few degrees.
"It's extra cold tonight and since most of us don't have fur coats to keep us warm, I need to crank up the heat."
Jethro just cocked his head to the side, let out a small bark and proceeded to follow Tim toward the kitchen.
"I bet you're ready for dinner, huh?" This time the bark was louder as Tim refilled his water bowl and dumped a few cups of dry food into his bowl.
Satisfied that Jethro was taken care of for the moment he headed to the bedroom, stripping off items of his clothing along the way. By the time he reached it, his suit jacket, tie and shirt had been removed. He kicked off his shoes and removed his pants leaving him in boxers and an undershirt. Another wave of dizziness suddenly struck and he sat down on the bed to wait for it to pass. Thinking that it was just the beer that he drank earlier, he walked to the bathroom and started to brush his teeth. He became concerned when he noticed that he looked much younger then he had in years. He shook his head and contributed his worry to the psycho that the team had arrested earlier that day.
"Don't let that woman get to you," he thought to himself, that's exactly what she wanted to happen.
"Besides, Grey is locked up and there's no way that she did anything to you."
After convincing himself that there were no other physical changes to his appearance he set the alarm and climbed into bed. Pulling the covers up he felt Jethro jump up on the bed and settle down by his feet. Normally Tim didn't like Jethro on the bed but he was so tired all he could do was roll over, close his eyes and fall into a deep slumber.
**Beep... Beep... Beep**
At the sound of his alarm, Tim felt like his mind was wading through a sea of cobwebs as he slowly began to wake up. Reaching over to turn it off, a task he had done hundreds of mornings before, he slowly opened his eyes when he realized every attempt he made at it had been futile.
Looking around he realized that the end table where his alarm was currently buzzing from suddenly looked much further away than it should have been. In fact, everything looked much bigger. He scooted up towards the top of the bed and reached his hand out to slap off the alarm. That's when he noticed that his hand was not the size of a grown man's; it was the size of a toddler's! Afraid of what the rest of his body might look like he closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths.
"No, no, no this can't be happening! This has to be a dream! "
He continued breathing deeply, trying to calm himself down. After he felt he had calmed himself a little he opened his eyes and started to examine the rest of his body. It was not only his hands that were small it was his entire body. He was physically the size of a one year old. The boxers he had been sleeping in were now in a pile around his ankles, which left him only in the undershirt that was hanging off him loosely. He leaned forward to remove the boxers from around his ankles when he felt a wetness underneath him. Tim had tried to remain calm but all rational thinking went out the window when he realized that he had lost control of his bladder sometime overnight. He scooted a couple of feet to his left to get out of the wet spot, laid his head down on the pillow and began sobbing hysterically. His one rational thought before sleep pulled him under once more was "I hope this is all a dream."
Chapter 4The next morning started out like any other normal workday for the MCRT team. Gibbs had just returned from a coffee run and Tony and Ziva were sitting at their desks checking emails and giving each other their usual hard time.
They each greeted him.
"Where's McGee? He's late!" Gibbs asked as he sat down at his desk.
Tony and Ziva exchanged nervous glances as they tried to cover for their friend.
"Well, umm a lot of snow did fall last night; maybe he is just stuck in traffic." Ziva said trying to stall in hope that McGee would soon walk off the elevator.
"How late were the three of you out last night, DiNozzo?"
"We all left the bar at 10, we walked out together and I saw McGee leave in his car. I'm sure he's just running a little late or like Ziva said, is stuck in traffic." Tony tried to reassure him.
Over an hour later and numerous unanswered calls, texts and emails, Tony and Ziva were starting to get worried and even though Gibbs would never admit to the others that he was worried, he could not ignore the churning that had taken over permanent residence in his gut.
"Tony, try McGee's cell one more time and if there's no answer I'm heading over there."
"Boss, no need…I can go over and ch…"
"DiNozzo" Gibbs cut him off.
"I want to make sure McGee gets the proper wakeup call if he has overslept."
"Gotcha Boss." Tony nodded as he tried McGee's cell phone one more time.
"Come on Probie, answer the phone, let us know that you're ok," he thought to himself.
"Sorry, Boss, got his voicemail again."
Gibbs slammed his fist on the desk, stood up, grabbed his coat and headed to the elevator. "I'm heading over to his place, he better have a hell of a reason for breaking rule number 3!"
"Yikes, I would hate to be in McGoo's shoes right now. Boss is pissed! I hope for his sake, he has a good reason for not answering any of our calls. "
Gibbs pulled into McGee's apartment complex and immediately spotted Tim's Porsche from across the parking lot. At that moment, a flurry of emotions overtook him but the two prominent ones were anger and worry. He parked and started the trek up the 3 flights of stairs. Once he reached McGee's door he checked for any signs of a break in or struggle; once satisfied that nothing looked out of place he began knocking.
Tim was floating through a haze of clouds that resembled cotton candy. They were so soft and fluffy he couldn't help himself as he stuck his hand through one that was passing by. Wherever he was, it was bright and cheerful and he couldn't help the smile that began to form on his face. He could not remember a time when he had been this much at peace. He was able to surrender all the responsibilities that he had in the "real" world and not feel guilty about it. Unfortunately, the peacefulness was short lived and the clouds slowly began disappearing only to be replaced by two different noises. One was a hard thumping sound and the other was a high pitched shrill. He was certain that both were noises he had heard before but couldn't quite place them. Panic set in as the noises became louder and he suddenly heard his name being called.
After two solid minutes of knocking and calling for McGee got him nowhere, a million different scenarios ran through Gibbs' mind. Each one worse than the one before. Was Tim hurt or unconscious? Did someone kidnap him? Was he robbed? After a few minutes of what he soon realized may be borrowed time, he decided to pick the lock. Taking a deep breath to steady himself as to what may be waiting for him inside; he drew his gun and slowly began to turn the door handle.
"McGee! It's Gibbs" he called out before taking a few steps into the apartment.
When he didn't get a reply, he continued toward the kitchen area and began looking around for any signs of a struggle. He didn't notice anything out of the ordinary and in fact, the apartment was clean. It did not appear that anything had been stolen and no bloodstains were present. Gibbs allowed himself to let go of the breath he didn't know he was holding and proceeded down the hallway to the bedroom. He couldn't help but jump back when Jethro suddenly appeared in front of the door growling at him.
"Hey Boy, don't you remember me? Gibbs asked calmly while he ruffled Jethro's fur. Jethro gave another growl and curled his lip to bare his teeth.
"I know you want to protect Tim and you've done a good job so far, but I want to protect him too. Can we do this together?"
Gibbs suddenly found himself in a staring contest with an 85-pound German Shepherd. With neither Jethro refusing to back down, they stayed that way for a good thirty seconds before the dog admitted defeat and stepped forward to lick Gibbs' hand.
"I'll get you a treat later."
Stepping up to the half open door, Gibbs noticed his heart was racing, a thin layer of sweat had formed on his forehead and his hand was shaking as he reached for the door handle. Always one to handle issues head on, Gibbs grabbed the door handle and pushed forward opening it the rest of the way. Out of all the scenarios that had played through his mind earlier, nothing had come close to preparing him for what he was looking at now. Shocked and stunned he moved closer to quietly observe a very young Tim lying in the middle of his bed, sucking on his thumb. Suddenly a slew of thoughts jumbled into Gibbs' brain at one time.
"How the hell did this happen?"
"Grey is in jail."
"She must have had an accomplice."
Gibbs was so involved with his own thoughts it took him a moment to notice that Tim was now awake and staring at him with terrified bright green eyes.
"Boss" Tim said trembling with tears in his eyes
"I'm right here Tim, I'm not going anywhere." He moved to sit down on the bed next to Tim.
"No!" Tim screamed as loud as his little voice would let him and Gibbs stopped short of sitting down.
"I'm not going to hurt you Tim." He said as he reached out, put his hand on Tim's back and began rubbing small circles.
"Accident." Tim whispered as he buried his head to his chest and tugged on the blanket corners. Trying to find the least embarrassing way to let Gibbs know not to sit down.
Finally realizing what Tim was trying to tell him, he gently lifted the blanket to look at the damage. Two different stains now covered the sheets. His eyes met Tim's and he felt bad for the kid.
"It's really not a big deal, Tim. I'll clean it up and nobody will ever know about it except for you and me. Although, and I know you're not going to like this, but we'll have to get you some type of protection."
Tim blushed bright red and buried his face in the blankets.
"I know it sucks but we'll find whoever did this to you, Tim. You have my word on that. And in the meantime you're going to need the help of the team."
Leaving that final thought to sink in, Gibbs walked out of the bedroom and pulled out his cell phone.
Chapter r5Back at NCIS Tony and Ziva continued to comb through cold case files while they waited to hear on the status of McGee. They knew that any break in these cases could give the family of a murdered marine closure but right now all they could think about was their own family. The elevator dinged and they both turned to look, in hopes that it was their missing teammate.
"Oh, it is just Abby." Ziva pointed out and went back to reviewing the case in front of her.
"Well, it's nice to see you too, Ziva. Where's Gibbs? I need him to sign my vacation request form for next month."
Tony and Ziva exchanged nervous glances as they debated telling Abby the truth.
"Gibbs is out of the office right now, said he had some kind of errand to run." Tony tried to convince her.
"You're not a very good liar, Tony." Abby said stepping into his personal space.
"What are you not telling me? And where's McGee?" she said glancing around the bullpen.
Tony and Ziva both frowned; this is what they were afraid of, having to convince Abby that everything was ok even though they themselves didn't know Tim's status. Realizing that it would be a losing battle, Tony sighed as he stood up and wrapped his arm around Abby's shoulder.
"Listen, Abs…if I tell you what's going on do you promise not to freak out?"
"Freak out? Freak out? When do I ever freak out?" she screamed waving her arms around, immediately freaking out.
"You really want me to answer that question, Abby? Only like every time one of us is hurt or in trouble."
She punched him in the arm and replied, "Well I have a right to be worried Tony, you're all my family."
Suddenly Ziva blurted out, "McGee did not show up for work this morning and was not answering his cell. Gibbs went to his apartment to check on him."
Tony gave her an exasperated look.
"Oh no! What if something's wrong with Timmy? She paced back and forth through the bullpen while she let her imagination run wild.
"What if he was in a car accident or robbed or beaten or …or…or"
"Abs!" Tony cut her off and grabbed her arm.
"Remember what I said about panicking? Gibbs could call at anytime telling us that McGee needs us so let's try and calm down."
Taking a deep breath, Abby suddenly launched herself into Tony's arms.
"Oh, Tony, what if… Gibbs… doesn't… find him… in time?" She said between sniffles.
Tony pulled her closer and reassuringly rubbed his hand down her back "He will Abby, he will."
Gibbs stepped out of the bedroom and walked toward the living room. He did not want Tim to hear his conversation with Ducky. Sitting down on the couch, he hit the speed dial on his phone and leaned back against the cushions.
"Why hello there Jethro, to what do I owe the hon...?"
"Duck, I need your help." Gibbs cut him off
"Well of course, what can I do for you?"
"Need you to make a house call. Tim's not himself."
"Well what's the problem; cold, flu?"
"Remember yesterday when I asked you to do that psych evaluation on Lucy Grey?"
"Of course Jethro, what are you trying to say?"
"Tim didn't show up for work this morning. I got worried so I came over to his apartment and found that he had been de-aged. He's no longer a man, he's a toddler!"
"Are you serious, Jethro? I hope you wouldn't joke about something like this." Ducky asked, flabbergasted.
"Do I sound like I'm joking, Duck? Could you come over here and check him out? I want to make sure that he's healthy."
"Well of course, Jethro, I'll grab my medical supplies and head over."
"One more thing Duck, first off, no one else needs to know what's going on with Tim until after you examine him. He's already embarrassed enough by this and I'm worried how he'll handle the rest of the team knowing."
"I also need you to stop at the store and get some items for him. Basic stuff like food, clothes, and eating utensils. He's also had a few accidents so I'm afraid that he'll need some diapers for the time being. He looks like he's about a year old and around 20 pounds so you'll know what size to get"
"Sure thing, Jethro I'm on my way out right now."
"Thanks, we'll see you soon Duck."
Gibbs closed his phone and rubbed his hand over his eyes, trying to control his anger. He wasn't sure what mental state Tim was currently in and he knew he must remain calm. He walked back to the bedroom and leaned against the doorway silently observing Tim. Jethro's chin was resting in Tim's lap and he was gently stroking his head.
Tim sat quietly on the bed, trying to digest the information that soon his whole team would know that he had been transformed. Abby and Ziva's opinions didn't concern him at the moment, it was Tony's jokes and nicknames he couldn't bear to hear. Not to mention feeling helpless in every aspect of his life. He thought about how paternal and understanding Gibbs had been about the bedwetting and Tim knew his boss had hoped to give him some comfort. Although he could understand what was being said to him, he was having a hard time finding the words to express what he wanted to say.
Gibbs decided it was time to get Tim cleaned up and ready for Ducky to examine him. He walked over and knelt down on the side of the bed so that he was eye level with him.
"Hey Tim, do you feel like getting cleaned up before Ducky gets here?"
Tim's eyes darted from Jethro's fur to meet a very compassionate set of baby blues. He blushed slightly, nodded and turned his attention back to Jethro.
"Alright, I'll go start a bath for you and then I can get these sheets in the wash."
Once the bath was started Gibbs came back to get Tim.
"Do you think you can walk?" He asked, trying to give him as much independence as he could at that moment.
Tim shrugged his shoulders and scooted to the edge of the bed. Since it was a decent size drop from the bed to the floor for someone Tim's size, Gibbs gently lifted him up and set him on the floor. Tim's legs wobbled as Gibbs set him down and before he knew it, his balance gave way and he collapsed to the floor. Worried that he was hurt, Gibbs instinctively reached down, collected Tim in his arms and walked towards the bathroom.
"We'll try later on, once we have more time. I'm sure your new legs will take some getting use to.
Tim just nodded, buried his face in Gibbs' shoulder and allowed himself to be carried. The tub was just about filled when they walked in and Gibbs reached down to turn the water off. He dipped a few fingers in to make sure it wasn't too hot and turned to sit on the toilet seat while he held Tim in his lap.
"Listen Tim, I know this is embarrassing for you, but I have to help you with this bath."
Tim pulled his face from Gibbs' shoulder and nodded.
"Good boy, now let's get that shirt off and get you into this nice warm bath."
He removed the undershirt and deposited Tim in the bath. Gibbs saw a small smile form on Tim's face when he felt the warm water caress his skin. He smirked while he grabbed the bottle of shampoo and began washing Tim's hair. He noticed that Tim had closed his eyes and was enjoying the massage that Gibbs' fingers were currently giving his scalp. After the shampoo, the loofah was coated with soap and the rest of Tim's body was scrubbed clean. Following a gentle rinse, Gibbs grabbed a towel out of the linen closet, threw it over his shoulder and proceeded to lift Tim out of the tub. Wrapping the towel around him, Gibbs continued to pat him dry. Once he was satisfied that he was dry, he grabbed another towel and gently wrapped Tim in it to wait for Ducky to arrive.
Chapter 6Gibbs had just finished running a comb through Tim's hair when there was a soft knock on the door. Tim's eyes became as big as saucers and his gaze, which had been fixed on the floor while Gibbs ministered to him, slowly moved upward to meet Gibbs' eyes.
"Tim, it's only Ducky. I called him to come, check you over and bring some supplies. The team doesn't know what happened and they won't until we decide it's the right time."
McGee nodded as Gibbs picked him up and carried him out to the living room. He sat him down on the couch and walked over to the front door. While unlocking it, he glanced over his shoulder one more time to reassure Tim, and then opened the door allowing Ducky to step inside.
"Hey Duck, thanks for coming." Gibbs welcomed him and removed the bags from his hands; dropping them on a nearby table.
"You are very welcome, now where is young Timothy?"
Gibbs turned around and flicked his head toward the couch where Tim was currently sitting with his eyes glued shut. Ducky gave Gibbs a worried look and then turned his attention back to the couch.
"He's quite embarrassed, Ducky." Gibbs whispered in his ear.
Ducky gave a nod and approached Tim on the couch.
Opening his eyes when he heard the footsteps approaching, Tim immediately cast them downwards, back toward the floor. Ducky set his medical bag on the table and sat down on the couch.
"Timothy, I am your doctor and I promise that you have nothing to be embarrassed about. This isn't your fault and I just want to check and make sure that you're alright."
Tim nodded and because he was anything but polite, lifted his head to meet Ducky's eyes.
"That a boy!" Ducky said grabbing the stethoscope out of his bag and warming the chest piece on his hand. Once satisfied that it was warm enough he stuck the earpiece in his ears and held the chest piece to Tim's chest. He listened for several minutes to his chest and back and once he was satisfied, put the stethoscope back in his bag. As he next pulled out a thermometer, he heard Tim gasp and begin shaking his head.
"What's wrong?" Gibbs asked as he moved toward the couch and lifted Tim up to sit on his lap, rubbing his hand up and down Tim's back.
"No, no!" Tim whispered still shaking his head.
"Ahh..." It took a moment but Ducky suddenly realized why Tim did not want his temperature taken.
"I do believe Timothy is concerned that I'm going to take his temperature rectally, Jethro. I promise young man, I plan on taking it under your arm."
Tim blushed and nodded again while Ducky stuck the thermometer under his right armpit. After a minute, Ducky removed the thermometer and declared a normal temperature. He then opened Tim's mouth, checked his teeth and gums, and then pulled out his otoscope to check his ears.
"So Duck, what's the verdict?"
"Well, physically I can't find anything wrong. After examining him, I believe that he is around 12 months old as you estimated. His heart and temperature are normal. It looks like he has some teeth but not yet all of them. It would be best if he ate soft foods for right now. As far as the accidents he has had, it seems as though his bladder muscles are weak and those usual develop strength with age.
"I had him try to walk earlier, Duck; he was wobbly and couldn't even stand. Is that normal for a child his age?" he said kissing the top of Tim's head.
Ducky smiled, realizing that Gibbs had already fallen into a paternal role. "It depends, Jethro, sometimes toddlers are walking at a year but many times they're not. I would give him a few days to let him become accustomed to his new body and see how he does after that. In a few days time he could be walking, we all know Timothy doesn't like to fail, so it wouldn't surprise me if he kept working on it until he could."
"What about his mental capacity, Duck?"
"Well I'm not sure, have you asked him what he can understand?"
"No, not yet, but he did recognize me and when I speak to him, he acts like he understands. And all of Grey's victims said that even though they were transformed they still had their wits about them."
"Timothy, can you understand what we are saying?"
"Yes, all." Tim replied, shivering as he leaned back against Gibbs trying to gather warmth from the older man.
"Well there's our answer, Jethro. It seems he is having a bit of a problem expressing himself but understood what I said, so that's good. We should probably get him dressed before he catches cold."
Gibbs nodded "Do you think you could fetch the bags off the table over there?"
Ducky packed up his medical instruments and walked over to retrieve the supplies off the table.
Walking back to the couch he started to unload the bags to show Tim and Gibbs what he bought. "I picked up a few pairs of jeans and a couple of sweaters which should be much warmer than a towel. I also picked up other necessities such as socks, a pack of onesies and a pair of shoes. A new winter coat, hat and mittens are essential, as it's much too cold out there for him not to have the proper outerwear. There's a package of diapers, wipes and powder. A couple jars of baby food and a gallon of milk. He probably will be able to eat adult food as long as it's not too hard and cut up in small bites. A few bibs, bottles and some sippy cups round out the purchases."
Deciding that it would be best for Tim to choose he asked, "Who would you rather have change you? Me or Ducky?"
Tim thought about it for a minute and since Gibbs had given him a bath earlier, he decided he would be less embarrassed with him. He turned to face Gibbs and whispered "you" so quietly that if the two men weren't paying attention, they would have missed it.
Nodding, Gibbs stood up, moved Tim to one shoulder, grabbed a few of the bags, taking them to the bedroom. He laid Tim on the bed and started rummaging through them. Pulling out a diaper and powder, Gibbs knew this would be the toughest thing for Tim to accept and he was right. As soon as he saw the diaper he tried as hard as he could to scoot away but didn't make it far before Gibbs put his hand on Tim's chest.
"Listen buddy, I know this is hard but we don't have any other options at this point. If you get to a point where you can hold it then we'll talk about getting rid of the diapers."
Tim suddenly found himself overwhelmed by the entire situation and the need to wear diapers was the icing on the cake. He had done so well throughout the entire morning keeping his emotions in check but couldn't contain them any longer. The tears began falling and no matter how hard he tried to stop them, he couldn't.
Gibbs sighed as he sat down on the bed and scooped Tim up in his arms. He immediately buried his face in the crook of Gibbs' neck and continued sobbing.
"Shh...shh...Tim...it's going to be ok," he said to him as he slowly rocked back and forth in an effort to console him.
After a few minutes of rocking, Gibbs was finally able to get him to settle down enough to feel comfortable, laying him down again. Before Tim could even think about what was happening, Gibbs had diapered and dressed him.
"I bet you're hungry," he asked carrying Tim to the kitchen to see what Ducky had brought for food.
"Ahh, Jethro, I figured young Timothy would be hungry so I took the liberty of warming up a bottle while you two were back in the bedroom."
Tears started to form in Tim's eyes and Gibbs bounced him in his arms a few times trying to soothe him.
"Remember, Tim, this is all just temporary, once we figure out what you can handle we'll go from there. But for right now you're going to use the bottle."
The small bit of hope that Gibbs gave Tim seemed to pacify him so the older man walked to the couch, sat down and arranged Tim so that he was lying with his head cradled in the crook of his arm. Once settled, Tim blushed as Gibbs put the bottle to his mouth while he waited for Tim to start sucking on it. By this time, Tim was so hungry that once he discovered a rhythm, he didn't seem to care what he was drinking from.
Ducky watched the two from the kitchen and couldn't help smiling when he realized what a natural Gibbs was. Half way through the bottle, the combination of warm milk and a warm thumb gently brushing over his forehead pulled Tim into a deep sleep.
With Tim resting, Ducky was finally able to ask the question he had been wondering about since he arrived.
"Jethro, when do you plan on telling the rest of the team? You can't keep this from them forever and I think the sooner they know, the better."
Gibbs thought about it for a moment and then replied "You're right Duck; I'll wait until Tim wakes up and talk with him about it. He should have a say."
Chapter 7Slowly opening his eyes, Tim looked around and realized he was still cradled in Gibbs' arms on the couch. He spied the bottle on the table and attempted to reach for it. Recognizing that it was just out of reach he let out a small groan.
Gibbs felt Tim stir in his lap, but before he had the opportunity to ask how he slept, slight movement caught his attention. He smiled as he watched McGee attempt to reach the bottle and then fail. Feeling bad for Tim, he reached over, grabbed the bottle and held it to the little guy's lips. Once he began sucking, Gibbs felt like this would be the perfect time to discuss how they would tell the rest of the team. He hitched Tim higher up in his arms and looked him in the eyes.
"Listen Tim, we need to let the rest of the team know that you are alright. I'm sure they're worried."
Tim who had been sucking contently on the bottle suddenly started choking. Alarmed, Gibbs sat Tim up and gently patted his back until the coughing subsided.
Once he caught his breath, Tim used his eyes to plead with Gibbs before quietly saying "No, make fun."
Taking a deep breath, Gibbs wiped his hand across his brow and figured now was the best time to be honest with him.
"Tim, we need to find out who did this to you. And the only way we're going to do that is if we have the team's help. Trust me, if anyone makes fun of you, their ears will be ringing for weeks. Give them a chance, they might surprise you."
A tear fell from Tim's eyes; he knew Gibbs was right. There was no way they could keep this from the team. He trusted Gibbs with his life and knew he wouldn't lead him in the wrong direction or betray him. Tim sighed; nodded his head and silently gave him the ok to let the rest of the team in on the situation.
Gibbs used his thumb to wipe the remaining tears from Tim's face and pulled out his cell phone.
"It's going to be ok, I promise." he said before hit the speed dial to call DiNozzo.
It had been over two hours since Gibbs left to check on McGee and there was still no word from either one of them. Tony had left several messages on both phones and was just about to drive to McGee's apartment when his phone rang.
"Boss, what the hell is going on?!"
"Is McGee ok?"
It's been over two hours!"
Tony blurted out in a panic when he answered the phone.
"Dinozzo, calm down!
I found McGee, he's alright." Gibbs tried to reassure him.
"Well, he better have a damn good reason for scaring all of us. Or he's going to be head slapped into next week."
"Oh, he does. Listen, I need you to grab Ziva, Abby and Palmer and head out to McGee's apartment. Bring a couple of different cars because you're going to need them. I'll explain once you get here."
"But, Boss..." Tony stuttered, trying to get more information out of Gibbs before he was met with a dial tone.
Ziva was already standing and ready to go before Tony was even off the phone.
"Call Abby and Palmer and tell them to meet us out in the garage. Gibbs wants us to meet him at McGee's apartment.
"What is wrong with McGee?" Ziva asked while they headed to the elevator.
Tony shrugged his shoulders as millions of different thoughts ran through his mind as to what could be wrong with his Probie.
Hanging up the phone, Gibbs realized that it was close to noon and decided it was time for lunch before the team got there.
"Hey Duck, what type of food did you buy for Tim? It's close to lunch and all he's had today is a bottle of milk."
Ducky mumbled something from the kitchen but Gibbs couldn't hear him so he picked up Tim and walked into the kitchen.
"Oh Jethro, how about some oatmeal and yogurt?"
"Well don't ask me Duck, ask Tim..."
"Ah, well yes...does oatmeal and yogurt sound alright to you Timothy?"
Tim just nodded and laid his head on Gibbs shoulder while Ducky went about preparing the food.
"The team will be here soon and I want to make sure Tim is able to eat without an audience, especially for his first time." Gibbs said as he poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down with Tim in one of the kitchen chairs.
A few minutes later, Ducky was tying a bib around Tim's neck and pulling the oatmeal off the stovetop. With Tim sitting on Gibbs' lap, Ducky grabbed a spoonful of yogurt and headed for mouth. However, when the spoon touched McGee's lips he would not open his mouth. He started shaking his head and getting agitated.
"Come on young man, I know you must be starving." Ducky tried to convince him while still holding out the spoon.
"Gib, do!" Tim screamed as both men in the room were thrown back at his reaction.
It took them a moment but they soon realized that Tim wanted Gibbs to feed him instead of Ducky.
"I gotcha buddy, I'll do it for you." Gibbs reassured him as he took the spoon from Ducky and proceeded to feed him.
Ducky sat drinking his tea as he thought about the trust Tim already put in Gibbs. His only concern was that Jethro wouldn't be able to work this case if Timothy didn't learn to trust the others while in his infantile state. He decided the he would discuss his concern later on, when Tim was not around.
Ducky was pulled from his thoughts when he heard Gibbs finishing up with Tim.
"Good boy, now let's get you cleaned up." he said while wiping his hands and mouth with a towel.
"Hey, Duck will you make Tim another bottle while I finish cleaning him up?"
"Why of course Jethro" Ducky replied while pouring milk in the bottle and popping it in the microwave.
Grabbing his coffee in one hand and carrying Tim with his free arm he retreated back to the family room and turned the television on while he got comfortable with Tim on the couch. He had just put the bottle up to Tim's lips when there was a knock on the door.
Chapter 8The knock on the door made Tim jump and he instinctively pushed the bottle away from his mouth. Already afraid of how the team would react, he did not want to add fuel to the fire. Granting him the right to dignity, Gibbs pulled the bottle away and set it on the table in front of them. After shifting Tim so that he was resting comfortably against his chest he nodded at Ducky to answer the door. Gibbs gently kissed the top of Tim's head and whispered, "We will get through this together."
Taking one last look over his shoulder, Ducky smiled, watching Gibbs comfort Tim. Opening the door, he was practically bowled over by Abby.
"Ducky, where's Tim?" Abby asked slightly annoyed as she stepped into the apartment, taking off her coat and scarf along the way.
"Yeah, Probie better have a damn good excuse for scaring all of us!" Tony chimed in as he followed Ziva and Jimmy inside.
"I assure you that Timothy has a very good excuse for not showing up to work this morning." Ducky said as he subtly nodded his head toward the couch behind them.
The team, each of them consumed with their own thoughts, did not even notice Gibbs or Tim until Ducky pointed them out. In a state of shock, they slowly made their way into the family room. Gibbs was sitting on the couch and in his lap was an adorable baby boy with bright green eyes, chubby red cheeks, pouty lips and short sandy blonde hair combed off to one side. Extremely uncomfortable with the sudden attention, Tim shifted his weight so that he could bury his face in Gibbs' chest. Intent on soothing him, Gibbs gently ran his fingers through Tim's hair and whispered reassuring words to him. They both knew that the team's reaction to Tim's current state would ultimately set the bar for what was to come.
Abby squealed, "Oh my god, is that Tim? He is the cutest baby I've ever seen! Can I hold him? Please...please...please…!"
With each question, her voice would raise another octave.
"Not now, Abs." Gibbs admonished her as he continued his ministrations.
Jimmy suddenly paled and Ducky led him over to an armchair to sit down.
Figuring it was the question on each of their minds, Ziva asked "How is this possible? Tim was fine when we left the bar last night."
"Probably had an accomplice, Grey must have overheard where you three were going last night." Gibbs answered angrily.
Tony, who had been unusually quiet, suddenly burst out laughing and pointed to the bottle on the table.
"Tiny Tim is drinking out of a bottle? I've got the perfect nickname, McBaby! Holy crap! Is he wearing a diaper?"
Tony continued teasing as he took his cell phone out to take pictures.
Suddenly, Ducky smacked Tony on the back of the head, hard.
"You do realize Anthony, that Timothy understands everything you just said?"
Upset with Tony's reaction, Gibbs barked out; "DiNozzo, if you snap one photo of him, you will be seeing stars for weeks. And if you think I'm joking, go ahead, try me."
The smile on Tony's face quickly faded when he looked around and realized he was the only person who thought the situation was funny.
Tim expected Tony to joke around, but never imagined he would be cruel. Between the team's reaction and the amount of milk consumed earlier, he suddenly felt his diaper become wet. Tears started welling up in his eyes and before he knew it, he was sobbing uncontrollably.
"Aww, you made Timmy cry, Tony!" Abby reached out to rub his back.
Tim didn't want anything to do with her and cuddled closer to Gibbs in an attempt to avoid her.
Abby frowned and pulled her hand back when she realized Tim didn't want comfort from anyone except Gibbs.
Furious, Gibbs laid Tim on his shoulder and stood up.
Reaching for the bottle, he made eye contact with Tony; "You should be ashamed of yourself, DiNozzo! We are family. We support each other. If you don't think you can support Tim then go find another team!"
"But Boss…" Tony stuttered, surprised at Gibbs' reaction.
"That goes for all of you!"
Disappointed and saddened that Tim's worst fears had probably just come true, he started to leave, but stopped to whisper in Ducky's ear before heading back toward the bedroom.
Once he was sure Jethro had closed the bedroom door, Ducky sighed and turned to face the rest of the team. Gibbs asked him to discuss Tim's condition with the team and answer any questions they had. Before Ducky could begin, Abby was already berating Tony for the way he treated Tim.
"Gheesh Tony! Why do you have to be so mean?"
Ziva huffed "Because everything is always a joke to him. Correct me if I am wrong, but I did not see McGee laughing about any of this."
Tony sighed; ran his fingers through his hair and sat down on the couch.
"I know I shouldn't have made fun of him but it's McGoo, it's what I do."
Ziva sat next to him on the couch, "Do not tell us that you are sorry, you need to tell McGee."
Breaking his silence Jimmy quietly spoke up "It's one thing for you to tease an adult but to tease a baby or any defenseless person? That's just wrong – and cruel!"
Ducky nodded; "Treat others as you would like to be treated, Anthony. How would you feel if the situation was reversed?"
Leaving Tony to stew in his thoughts, Ducky continued with the details of Tim's condition. "As you know, Timothy did not show up for work this morning. When Jethro came to check on him, he discovered that he had been de-aged to around twelve months old. He understands what is said to him but is having issues expressing himself. Upon physical examination, I determined that he is a healthy one year old. He does have some limitations as far as hand- eye coordination and control of his bodily functions."
Tony let out a small laugh that quickly dissolved as the occupants of the room each gave him a death stare.
Abby paced back and forth nervously, "How long is he going to be a toddler, Ducky? Who is going to take care of him? We can't leave him here by himself."
"Abigail, I'm not sure how long Timothy will remain a baby, but I do know that he's already formed a special bond with Jethro. It will be best for the next few days if he remains under his care, until he becomes more comfortable with the situation."
Looking in Tony's direction, Ducky finished by saying, "Just give the young man some time, he's going to need ALL of our compassion and respect for the foreseeable future."
Gibbs slammed the bedroom door and began taking deep breaths in an attempt to control his anger. He paced back and forth while Tim continued sobbing into his shirt. He began to wonder if Tim was picking up on his anger and that's what caused him to continue crying.
"Shh...shh Tim..it's alright" he said while bouncing him on his shoulder.
Gibbs sat down in the recliner and gently pulled Tim back so he could look in his eyes.
"Do you think I'm mad at you?" he asked while he wiped the tears from Tim's face.
Tim shook his head and then returned it to Gibbs' shoulder.
Rubbing his back, Gibbs whispered, "Oh, Timmy...I'm sorry that Tony is such a thoughtless jerk. I doubt he meant the stuff he said; probably didn't intend to be mean. He doesn't think before he speaks, doesn't have any filters for that mouth of his or know how to take anything seriously. He won't do it again or you'll be off-limits to him."
Tim sniffled and said "Sorry."
Gibbs laughed, "Apologies are not a sign of weakness among family, Tim."
Grabbing the bottle off the end table, he held it at Tim's eye level and shook it, "Would you like to finish your milk?"
Tim nodded slowly, but allowed Gibbs to position him across his lap. Tim opened his mouth and Gibbs guided the bottle toward it. Once the nipple came in contact with his lips, Tim clamped down and started sucking like a maniac.
"Whoa, someone was still hungry, I see!" Gibbs teased.
Suddenly Tim's eyes got big and he stopped sucking. Thinking that it was the comment that he made, Gibbs immediately tried backpedaling.
"Tim, I didn't mean to..." He was interrupted with an angry grunt.
"What's wrong, buddy?"
"Wet." Tim whispered as he covered his face with his hands.
Chapter 9Gibbs took a deep breath and gently removed Tim's hands from his face. Tim immediately looked down, refusing to make eye contact. Gibbs stroked the side of Tim's cheek with his thumb and then used it to tilt his chin up to make eye contact.
"Tim, I understand this is hard but you have nothing to be embarrassed about. Especially when you are under my care. I know you can't help it and I would never hold that against you."
Tim's breath hitched and his eyes started tearing up.
"Remember Tim, I've taken care of a little one before and there's nothing I can't handle. Diaper changes, feedings, baths and bedtimes are all part of my repertoire. So how about we take care of that diaper?"
All Tim could do was nod as Gibbs stood up and laid him on the bed. "I'll have you cleaned up in just a few minutes."
Tim closed his eyes while Gibbs removed his pants but could hear him digging through the bags that Ducky had brought earlier. Without even realizing it, he slowly brought his thumb up to his mouth and started sucking on it. It helped him relax, especially when he heard the tapes of the diaper being ripped off. He gasped when the cold baby wipe touched his skin.
"Sorry about that Tim, I'll have Abby pick up one of those wipe warmer do dahs like we had for Kelly."
Adding some powder Gibbs taped the diaper up and declared he was finished. Tim opened his eyes while Gibbs finished putting on his jeans. "See, that wasn't so bad now, was it?"
Realizing his thumb was in his mouth he blushed and quickly removed it. "Ahh its ok Tim, whatever makes you feel better. It will be between us." Gibbs reassured him as he picked him up and sat back down in the recliner. Yawning, Tim nodded and immediately returned the thumb to his mouth. "Try and get some sleep Tim, I'll be here when you wake up." Tim sighed, closed his eyes and snuggled close to Gibbs. Between the rocking of the chair and the hand running through his hair Tim was asleep in a matter of minutes.
After laying Tim on the bed, Gibbs quietly exited the room and was greeted by Jethro. He knelt down and began rubbing his ears, "Hey boy, I bet you're hungry huh?" Jethro cocked his head and whimpered. "Come on; let's go find where Tim keeps the food."
Walking into the kitchen, Gibbs walked through the crowd of his teammates. He ignored them while he searched for Jethro's food. Once it was located, he filled the dish and replaced the water. However, Jethro didn't move from where he was sitting until Gibbs reassured him, "Don't worry, Tim is going to be alright." Giving a small bark of understanding, he casually walked over and started eating.
Pouring himself a fresh cup of coffee, Gibbs sat at the kitchen table and the rest of the team joined him. He immediately set his sights on DiNozzo. Tony squirmed in his seat and cast his gaze on the floor. "Tim's sleeping for the time being, poor kid has had a rough day."
"Tony didn't make it any better!" Abby blurted out her voice full of anger.
His gaze still focused on the floor, Tony whispered "Yeah, about that boss."
Gibbs focused his attention on Tony, "Just say it, DiNozzo!"
Finally lifting his gaze upwards, he turned towards Gibbs, "Well I know how you feel about apologies but I was a jerk. I shouldn't have made fun of Tim; I don't know what I was thinking."
"That's your problem DiNozzo, you don't think! Tim was terrified of how you would react and I told him to give you a chance. Then you come in and throw all the trust you two have built up over the years out the window. Wouldn't surprise me if it takes him a long time before he trusts you again."
Suddenly feeling sick to his stomach, Tony stood up "I need some fresh air" he said while loosening his tie.
"If you're headed outside, take the dog with you. He probably needs some relief by now."
Tony sighed and called Jethro over to the door. However, when Jethro saw it was Tony who was calling him he stopped and started growling at him.
Gibbs laughed; "See Tony, even the dog doesn't like you right now for hurting Tim. It's ok Jethro, go outside with Tony, he knows what he's done now." Jethro cautiously headed for the door but stayed at a distance after Tony clipped his leash on.
Once Tony was gone, Gibbs turned back to the rest of the team. "We all need to focus on what is best for Tim right now. Ducky and Palmer I need you to head back to NCIS and doctor up some medical records for Tim. If anything major happens and he needs a hospital I want to make sure that we are prepared. Put me on the documents as his father if you need to. Ziva, I need you and Tony to go back to Chadwick's, speak with the staff and get any surveillance footage they have. We need to find out who Grey is working with and how the drug got into Tim's system."
"Can I stay here with Timmy, Gibbs?" Abby asked in a tone that usually got her what she wanted, especially from Gibbs.
"Sorry Abs but I'll be the only one staying here."
"But Gibbs!" She whined and stomped her foot on the floor.
Before Gibbs could answer, Ducky spoke up "Remember what I said earlier Abigail? That Timothy is most comfortable with Jethro right now and we must respect that. No matter how much you dislike it."
"It is not about you, Abby" Ziva chimed in, surprising the whole group.
Abby whined, "Fine but I want you to know that I'm not happy about it."
Not wanting an argument, Gibbs sighed and ran his hand though his hair. "Abby, you have the most important job of all. I need you to go out and buy all the supplies that we will need for Tim. Particularly a car seat and a crib. He will also need more clothes, diapers and food. Oh and I promised him we would get one of those baby wipe warmers."
Digging out his wallet, he handed Abby his credit card; "Basic essentials Abs, don't go crazy! If we need to buy more stuff later we can."
Stuffing the credit card in her purse, she squealed "This is going to be so much fun!"
She hugged Gibbs then grabbed her coat and scarf and left.
Soon after Abby left, Tony returned from outside with Jethro. He rummaged through the cabinets looking for a treat. Finding one he offered it to the dog who hesitantly took it and retreated to the family room.
Armed with their marching orders the rest of the team headed for the door. "Keep me updated on your progress and we'll all meet back here for dinner tonight. I plan on taking Tim and Jethro to my house for the interim."
Once the team left, Gibbs headed for the living room and stretched out on the couch. It was only one in the afternoon but he was already physically and emotionally drained. Assuming it would be a few hours before Tim woke up, he closed his eyes and was just about asleep when he heard a loud thud come from the bedroom.
Chapter 10Leon Vance returned to NCIS after a luncheon at the capital. It was early afternoon and the familiar buzz of business that usually occupied the bullpen was nowhere to be found. In fact, when he left earlier that morning it was quiet as well. Concerned as to the MCRT's whereabouts he headed back to his office and scanned though the computer, checking for active cases. Realizing that Gibbs' team had not been assigned one, he picked up the phone and started dialing.
"Run, run, run..." he thought to himself. There was a faint light in the distance he was attempting to reach but it seemed no matter how fast he ran they were gaining ground. Three different clowns, covered in maggots, with big red noses and giant floppy shoes. Just as he reached the light, one of them grabbed his leg and began pulling him in the opposite direction. "No! Stop!" Tim screamed as he jolted awake. A sheen of sweat covered his face and he worked to control his breathing. He wanted to cry but was afraid Gibbs would think he was more of a baby then he was at that moment. "Gib!" "Gib!" he screamed in an attempt to get the older man's attention. When his calls went unanswered, Tim began scooting toward the end of the bed. Reaching the edge, he looked over and thought "The drop is not that far" and before he knew it, he was falling off. His plan was to extend his arms so they would take the brunt of the fall; however everything happened so fast he didn't have time to react. His head collided with the hardwood and his legs somersaulted over his body, leaving him lying face up on his back. Stunned, Tim laid there while he tried to catch his breath but his head hurt too much and he burst into tears.
Gibbs was just about asleep when he heard a loud thud emanate from the bedroom. Startled, he sat up, swung his legs off the couch and headed toward the noise. Swinging open the door, he gasped when he saw Tim lying on the floor with a gash on the right side of his forehead. He was sobbing and having a tough time catching his breath. Gibbs rushed toward him and knelt beside him to assess his injuries while pulling out a handkerchief to apply pressure to the open gash. With his free hand, he stroked the other side of Tim's face and whispered reassuring words to him. Once he was able to calm him a little bit he pulled out his cell to call Ducky.
It wasn't until the fourth ring that Ducky finally answered and was treated to an unhappy Gibbs on the other end.
"Why, hello there Jethro..." was all Ducky could manage before he was cut off by Gibbs.
"Don't have time for pleasantries Duck, Tim fell off the bed, he has a gash on the right side of his forehead. I've managed to stop the bleeding but I'm afraid to move him."
Ducky could hear Tim crying in the background but felt the crying was due to shock rather than the injury itself.
"Ahh Jethro, will you ask Timothy if anything else hurts? I believe he's in mild shock and afraid."
"Tim, buddy...I need you to look at me...does anything else hurt?
"No" was all he could manage between sniffles. Catching Gibbs by surprise, he reached his arms out and said "Gib, hold me" before dissolving into a fresh set of tears.
Ducky smiled when he heard Tim's statement and reassured Jethro that he would be fine. "Look in Timothy's freezer and see if he keeps any ice packs. If he doesn't, then a bag of frozen vegetables will work just as well to keep the swelling down. I'll pick up some children's Tylenol on my way back tonight; if anything changes before then, call me."
"Thanks Duck, I'll keep an eye on him." Gibbs reassured him before hanging up.
He turned his attention back to Tim who was still crying; he smiled when the little boy reached for him. Gibbs picked him up, sat on the bed and cradled him in his arms. He began rocking him while rubbing his hand up and down his back. Once the tears subsided, Gibbs sighed while he took a closer look at the goose egg on his forehead. He gave the bump a few gentle kisses and pulled Tim back so he could look him in the eyes. Gibbs was mad at himself for allowing Tim to be hurt, but needed to know what happened.
"Tim can you tell me how you fell off the bed?"
He nodded and sniffled "Bad dream, want you", then buried his face in the crook of Gibbs' neck.
"Aww Tim, I'm sorry you had a bad dream, why didn't you call for me? You know I would have come to check on you."
Tim pulled back and whispered, "did" before returning to his previous position.
Suddenly feeling guilty, all Gibbs could do was apologize for not hearing him. "I'm sorry that you were scared and I wasn't there. It won't happen again, I'll make sure of it."
He could feel Tim nod against his neck so he carried him into the kitchen to look for an ice pack. Digging through the well stocked freezer, he finally located one and grabbed a dishtowel to wrap it. Returning to the family room, he retreated to the couch, laid Tim in his arms like earlier and held the ice pack to his forehead. Tim shivered a little, so he adjusted the towel and tried again. Just as the two were getting comfortable, Gibbs' cell phone vibrated from the table signaling a new voicemail. Grunting, he picked up the phone and listened to the message. Sighing he put down the phone and turned to look at Tim. "That was Vance, he wants to know where the team is. I know you don't want me to but he needs to be informed." Not emotionally capable of any more fights for the day, Tim nodded and stuck his thumb in his mouth. Gently kissing Tim's nose he whispered "That's my boy", before picking up the phone to dial Vance.
Annoyed when Gibbs didn't answer his phone call earlier he was surprised it rang just a few minutes later.
"Where the hell are you, Gibbs? Better yet, where's your team? You've been MIA all day! Last time I checked, I didn't approve any vacation days!"
Upset over the sudden interrogation, Gibbs couldn't help the sarcasm that escaped from his mouth, "Well hello to you too, Director!"
"So that's how it's going to be? What the hell is going on? You better have a damn good reason for not being at work."
"Oh, I do Leon...remember that case we were working on yesterday? The Navy scientist who..."
"Turned grown men into babies" Vance finished for him before he could make his point.
"That's the one. I believe she got her hands on Tim. He didn't show up for work this morning and when I came to check on him, he had been de-aged."
Suddenly the line went silent and Gibbs was beginning to think that Vance had hung up on him. However, a deep sigh confirmed he was processing the information he was told.
"Why am I just being told this now? Is Agent McGee going to be alright?"
"Had other things on my mind, Leon. McGee has an adult mind but is physically a one year old, so that should tell you how well he's coping with this. I already sent Tony and Ziva back to the restaurant where they were last night; I believe whatever happened to Tim took place there. Nobody but my team investigates this and no one should know about Tim. The poor kid has been through enough."
"Alright Gibbs, I'll trust you know what's best for now, but if your judgment becomes clouded in any way, I'm taking you off this case. I take it McGee is under your supervision?"
"Yes, we are currently at his apartment, when Abby returns from shopping, I'll be bringing him back to my house. You can stop by tomorrow, if you want to see him."
"I plan on it, Gibbs." He replied, shaking his head while hanging up the phone. There had been a lot of crazy cases over the years, however this was bound to be one for the "off" record books.
Chapter 11Abby pulled into the parking lot of a local retail store. She grabbed a cart and headed toward the baby department. She was excited that Gibbs gave her the responsibility of choosing items that Tim would need. Arriving in the department, she realized she was in way over her head. It was hard to choose as there were so many choices and styles. Knowing Gibbs was concerned with Tim's safety first, rather than color or style, she headed toward the car seats and looked through the different varieties. Pulling out her phone, she scanned through reviews and safety features, making it easy to choose one. With that decision made, a crib was the next big item on the list. Running her hand over each of the different styles, she chose one she thought Tim would like, with a deep chestnut brown color and a diamond pattern that ran along the head and footboards. Gathering a set of sheets and a warm blanket, she threw them in the cart and headed for the clothing department. Selecting a variety of jeans, sweat pants, button down shirts and sweaters, Abby was happy with her choices. Suddenly her eyes were drawn to a set of adorable flannel sleepers, knowing that Tim would need extra warmth at night she grabbed a few in his size. Fulfilling the final items of the list, she headed to the checkout, excited to show Gibbs and Tim her purchases.
Tony was uncharacteristically quiet during the ride to Chadwick's. Ziva knew he felt guilty for the way he had treated Tim, but decided it was best for him to work through it on his own. Pulling into the parking lot, Tony shut off the car and turned toward her.
"Do...do..." Tony stuttered then took a deep breath. Ziva gave him a look but remained quiet.
"Do you think it will be a long time before, ahem, Tim trusts me again?"
Ziva sighed, "I do not know Tony. We do not know what it is like to be in Tim's socks right now."
Tony rolled his eyes, "Shoes...Ziva...we don't know what it's like to be in Tim's shoes."
Ziva huffed "Whatever!"
" Maybe you could do something special to make it up to him."
With a renewed energy, Tony smiled as he exited the car, "Great idea, Ziva!"
Relieved that Tony was done pouting for the moment she followed him inside. They spoke with their waitress from the night before, but she couldn't remember anything or anyone unusual. Reviewing the restaurant's process of food and drink preparation gave them a glimpse of how the drug might have been slipped to Tim. Unfortunately, the bartender who served their drinks was not scheduled to be at work until later, however, they were able to get security footage from the restaurant. Satisfied they had enough information they left the restaurant and headed back to Tim's apartment.
Following his conversation with Vance, Gibbs was grateful his team had the next few days off. They could be there for Tim, while working on finding out who did this to him. Setting his phone on vibrate, he turned and smiled at the little guy. He was still sucking his thumb but was mesmerized by a cartoon on television. Gibbs removed the ice pack to check for any additional swelling. Satisfied that the bump wasn't growing, he gently used his fingertips to trace over the area. The skin to skin contact broke Tim from his trance and he turned to look at Gibbs.
He removed his thumb long enough to say "Tank u Gib" before returning it to his mouth.
Those three simple words made Gibbs' heart melt and all he could do was pull Tim close and gently kiss his forehead. Snuggling closer to him, Tim let out a small yawn. Realizing they both needed a nap, but refusing to let Tim out of sight, he thought about the best way for them both to get some sleep. Hashing out a plan, he stood up, but Tim started to panic.
"Shh...shh...Tim...I'm not leaving you. I'm just trying to get comfortable."
Tim nodded as Gibbs arranged the pillows on the couch. Holding Tim in his left arm, he used his right to balance himself while he laid down. Once situated he lifted Tim up so he was lying completely across his chest. Pulling the blanket down from the back of the sofa, Gibbs covered the two of them. Sighing, contentedly Tim loved the skin to skin contact and buried his face against Gibbs' neck. It only took a few minutes for Tim's breathing to even out and he was asleep. Lying there with Tim, all he could think about was how he used to do this with Kelly if she wasn't feeling well or just needed her daddy. Now here he was, doing it for someone who needed it just as much as Kelly did. The thought of being a daddy again, if only for a few days, lulled Gibbs into a peaceful sleep as he instinctively wrapped his arms around Tim.
Tony and Ziva pulled into the apartment complex a few minutes after Abby. She was rifling through the bags of supplies that she bought earlier.
Abby screamed, waving her arms around, "Come see what I got for Tim! He's going to love it."
Ziva rolled her eyes at Abby's enthusiasm before they walked over to help her.
Looking through the abundance of bags, Tony turned to Abby "Gheesh! Gibbs won't be happy, he said only the essentials."
Abby huffed, "These ARE just the essentials!"
Ziva chuckled, "If Gibbs plans on bringing Tim to his house then why are we bringing all this upstairs now?"
Taken aback, Abby folded her arms across her chest. "Well, Gibbs told me to bring it upstairs."
Groaning, Tony took a look at the two heavy boxes that held the crib and the car seat. "These boxes too?"
Smirking, Abby replied, " Everything."
"Greaaat! Three flights of stairs and no elevator, this should be fun." Tony complained as he grabbed the box with the car seat and headed for the stairs.
Abby and Ziva exchanged smiles and between them, they were able to collect the rest of the bags and follow Tony.
After a long trip upstairs, especially for Tony, the three of them were standing in front of Tim's door. Abby tried calling Gibbs' cell phone during the trek but he didn't answer. Assuming that Gibbs was busy tending to Tim, Abby decided to use the key Tim had given her many years ago. Quietly unlocking the door, the three stepped inside the apartment. Abby was about to call out to them when Ziva grabbed her arm, motioning her toward the couch. Abby smiled at the sight of Tim lying on Gibbs' chest. "I have got to get a picture of this!" She whispered moving closer, turning the flash off on her phone and snapping a quick picture. They will appreciate this later on."
Tony and Ziva were stunned that Abby disobeyed an order from Gibbs about taking any type of pictures but figured he would deal with her when the time came.
A steady stream of whispering along with ruffling of bags woke Gibbs up. Opening his eyes, he was happy to see that Tim was still asleep. Looking to his left, he watched as Tony, Abby and Ziva brought in bag after bag of supplies. It wasn't until the last bag was unloaded that Ziva realized they had awakened Gibbs.
"Sorry" Ziva whispered sympathetically.
"We are going to go start some coffee in the kitchen."
Gibbs nodded then whispered back "Ziver, will you warm up a bottle for Tim while you're in there? I'm sure he'll be thirsty when he gets up."
She smiled and retreated to the kitchen to join Tony and Abby.
Looking at his watch, Gibbs realized they had been asleep for over two hours. When Kelly was younger, he learned that if a baby was sleeping, it's best not to wake them, but he also wanted Tim to sleep that night. Decision made to wake him up, he pulled himself into a sitting position. Tim stirred a little but not much. Realizing it was going to take more to wake him up, Gibbs began rubbing small circles on his back and whispering softly in his ear. "Come on sleepyhead, time to wake up. The team's here and it's almost time for dinner." That seemed to do it; Tim stretched then began rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Wanting to preserve as much dignity for him as possible, Gibbs leaned down and quietly asked Tim if he was wet. Given the fact that he was still half asleep, Tim shrugged his shoulders. Gibbs hoped there would come a time when he could check Tim just like a normal baby but with the team in such close proximity he picked him up and carried him back to the bedroom. Tim was in fact wet, although less embarrassed while Gibbs carried out his ministrations. Happy with Tim's reaction, Gibbs made a mental note to ask Ducky if it was because Tim was comfortable with him or the fact he was still half asleep.
Smelling the fresh brewed coffee, he walked into the kitchen with Tim on his shoulder. He grabbed a cup off the counter and filled it. Just as he finished, the microwave beeped and Ziva jumped out of her chair to retrieve the bottle. Gibbs took a seat at the table and sat Tim in his lap. Still embarrassed by the last meeting, Tim whined when Gibbs rotated him to face everyone.
"Oh my god! What happened Timmy?" Abby blurted out as she attempted to move closer to him.
Gibbs stopped her before she could get within an arm's reach when he felt Tim's body tense against his.
"Tim fell off the bed this afternoon. Bumped his head and gave me a scare. Quite the little daredevil we have here. He'll be alright." Gibbs attempted to appease the team.
Sitting down next to Gibbs, attempting to be helpful, Ziva held the bottle up to Tim's lips. Surprising everyone, Tim screamed "No!" and pushed Ziva's hand away, knocking the bottle to the floor. Retrieving it from the floor, she wiped it off and set it on the table.
You could cut the tension in the room with a knife until Tony spoke up, "Listen Tim, I know it will take a lot to earn back your trust but I want you to know that I'm truly sorry for the way I treated you earlier. You are handling this a lot better than I ever could. From now on, no more jokes. We'll find whoever did this to you."
Tim stared at Tony for a moment, deciding if his apology was wholehearted or if he was just blowing smoke. Content that it was sincere, all he could do was nod slowly and smile. Nodding, however, made him realize how much his head hurt. He raised both hands up and placed them on each side of his head, whimpering. Gibbs noticed and spoke up, "Is your head hurting you?"
"Yes" was all Tim could manage, over the continued pounding that had seemingly taken up a permanent residence in his head.
"DiNozzo, call Ducky and see what the hell is taking him so long. He's supposed to be bringing Tylenol." Gibbs barked quietly but with his usual authority as he calmly ran his fingers through Tim's hair.
Tony left the kitchen to make the call and Ziva decided to try the bottle again. Raising it up to Tim's lips, she was surprised when he began sucking on it.
From the other side of the table, Abby looked on with envy as she began to see Tim bond with someone who wasn't her or Gibbs.
Chapter 12After he finished on the phone with Ducky, Tony walked into the kitchen and stopped dead in his tracks. Even though he knew to expect it, nothing could prepare him for what he saw. Tim sat on Gibbs' lap while Ziva fed him a bottle. Tony wasn't sure how long he had been staring but Gibbs finally spoke up.
"Got a problem, DiNozzo?"
Tony gulped "Uh, nope, no problem Boss."
Wondering when his mouth suddenly became so dry, he took a sip of coffee before continuing. "Sorry, it's just going to take me some time to, you know..."
"No, I don't know!" Gibbs firmly responded.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, Tony gave a nervous smile. "To get used to seeing Probie as a youngster. One day he's my best friend and the next, well…"
Tim blushed and suddenly stopped drinking. Gibbs noticed he was extremely uncomfortable and took the bottle from Ziva, placing it on the table.
Tony sat down next to Abby, plopped his elbows on the table and buried his head in his hands.
"You know Tony, I'm sure that you and Tim are still best friends. He's just in an altered state right now. He can still understand what you say and as his best friend he needs you right now."
Tim nodded, then leaned back against Gibbs chest and closed his eyes before speaking, "Toey, I need you. Need all u."
Tony lifted his head, smiled and reached over to pat Tim's knee. "If you need me, then I'm here buddy. I only ask one favor in return."
Gibbs didn't like the direction Tony was headed in, but decided to let him finish.
"I only ask that you try to be more comfortable around the team. I know it must be tough but we are here to support you. Let us protect and take care of you."
Gibbs smiled and looked down at Tim. He picked up the bottle from the table and shook it. "Still thirsty?"
Tim nodded, but before Gibbs could raise it to his lips, his face clenched in pain. "Hurt Gib!"
Abby, Ziva and Tony looked on helplessly; they knew there was nothing they could do to help him.
Gibbs sighed, and gently carded his hands through Tim's hair. "I know kiddo, I know."
"DiNozzo, where the hell is Ducky? I didn't know he was going to take this long or I would have asked Abby to pick some up while she was out."
"Should be here soon, Boss. He stopped to get dinner for all of us."
A few minutes later there was a soft knock at the door. Abby bounded over to let Ducky and Palmer in. Ushering the two inside she whispered, "Glad you two are here, Tim has a headache and he's in a lot of pain. Please tell me you brought the Tylenol, otherwise Gibbs is not going to be happy."
Giving Abby's arm a reassuring squeeze, he replied. "Well of course I did, Abigail. I believe Mr. Palmer is carrying the bag from the pharmacy."
The three walked into the kitchen and Jimmy immediately opened the Tylenol and filled the syringe. Ducky wanted to check Tim over before any medication was administered. Tony got up and scooted the chair over so that Ducky could tend to him.
"Now my boy, let me take a quick look at your forehead, alright?"
Tim nodded slowly while Ducky began examining him. "Can you tell me where your head hurts lad?"
"All over" Tim whispered while Ducky pulled out his pen light to check his eyes.
After a few moments, Ducky pulled back and addressed the team. "I don't believe Timothy has a concussion, just a really bad headache. Tylenol along with a cold compress should help." Jimmy handed the syringe over to Ducky who quickly administered the medication before Tim could object. "There you go young man, the pain should start to subside soon. If it doesn't, then let me know."
While Ducky, Gibbs and Palmer tended to Tim, Abby and Ziva began setting the table for dinner. "Chinese food! Yummy!" Abby exclaimed as she opened the containers to allow everyone to choose what they wanted. Tim's eyes lit up at the sound of Chinese food.
He banged his hands on the table to imply that's what he wanted for dinner. "I gotcha buddy, I'll make you a plate." Gibbs acknowledged him while dishing out his own food.
Ducky spoke up, "Jethro, I do not believe that Chinese food is the best meal for Timothy right now."
"Sorry Ducky, if this is what Tim wants, then I won't be the one to deny him of that. There are a few items he can eat like fried rice and lo mein."
"I'm just concerned that it may be too much for his young body right now."
The rest of the team stopped eating, watching the battle between the two older men unfold.
"Well if that's the case, then Tim will let me know, Duck. I feel this is best for him right now."
Ducky sighed, realizing this was an argument he wasn't going to win. "Alright Jethro, but if he gets sick then don't say I didn't tell you so."
Tim clapped while Gibbs tied a bib around his neck. Moving a plate in front of him, Gibbs asked, "You want to try and eat on your own?"
Tim didn't respond, instead he immediately began using his hands to shovel food into his mouth. The rest of the team couldn't help but laugh at the site of Tim inhaling what was put in front of him. Upon hearing the laughing, he looked up, embarrassed. His hands and face were covered with a mixture of fried rice and noodles.
"It's alright Tim, just slow down a little bit. Don't want you to choke." Gibbs reassured him before offering him a drink. Taking the nipple between his lips, he took a few sips before returning to eat.
The remainder of the dinner was spent discussing the tasks Gibbs had assigned them earlier that afternoon. "Sorry it took us so long to get over here tonight, Jethro. Mr. Palmer and I had a difficult time creating medical records for young Timothy. It would have been easier if Abigail were there to help. Nevertheless, we named you his father and me as his physician. If an emergency occurs, then we have proper documentation, which will allow Timothy to have prompt medical care. Gibbs looked down at Tim who had finished eating and was reaching for the bottle. It was nearly empty so he asked Abby to fill it up while Tony and Ziva gave their report. Glancing between the two of them, Ziva was the first to speak. "We spoke with our waitress from the restaurant and she does not remember anything or anyone unusual about last night."
"Please tell me, you have more information than that." Gibbs sighed while he took the bottle from Abby and raised it to Tim's lips.
Standing up to collect the plates from around the table, Tony attempted to reassure him. "We got surveillance videos from the bar, boss, but the bartender from last night wasn't scheduled to be at work until later."
"First thing tomorrow morning, I want the three of you looking through those tapes. I'm sure Grey won't be helpful in our investigation, although I am sure she's the one behind this. She was enthralled with Tim from the moment she laid eyes on him." Tim stopped drinking and began whimpering. Unsure of what was bothering him, Gibbs stood up and held Tim so he could see his face. "What is it? Is your head still aching?"
Tim shook his head, threw both arms around Gibbs' neck and laid his head down. Running his hand up and down Tim's back, Gibbs realized he was upset over the possibility of Grey getting her hands on him. "Don't worry Tim; I'm not going to let anything happen to you. That's a promise I intend to keep!" Tim lifted his head, tears streamed down his face while he attempted to speak. "Prom..." he took a deep breath, and then tried again "Promise?" Wiping the tears from Tim's face, Gibbs pulled him close once again, "I promise."
Once he was able to calm Tim down, he motioned for the team to follow them into the family room. He sat down on the couch, put Tim in his lap and asked Abby to show them what she bought during her shopping trip. Abby's pigtails bounced up and down while she enthusiastically went to retrieve some of the bags. Setting the bags on the couch, she started pulling out all the clothes. "Timmy, you are going to love what I picked out for you! I got you some jeans and a few pairs of sweatpants. You know, there's nothing cuter then a baby in a pair of jeans." Tim blushed and leaned back against Gibbs. Feeling the tension in his body, Gibbs wrapped his arms around him and kissed the top of his head. "Oh, oh, oh" Abby squealed. "This is probably my favorite purchase of the day." She pulled out a white long sleeved onesie that had small royal blue anchors all over it. "Isn't this just adorable? You work for NCIS and the anchor is a symbol of the Navy." Everyone in the room attempted to hide their laughter, including Tim. "Well if you don't like it then you don't have to wear it. I got a bunch of other clothes as well" Abby pouted. What seemed like hours later, Abby was finally done showing off all the supplies she bought including a baby monitor, wipe warmer and various toys and games. Leaning over, Gibbs gave Abby a kiss on the cheek "Thanks Abs, we appreciate it."
It was getting late; Gibbs wanted to get Tim and Jethro settled at his place. "Hey DiNozzo, carry the car seat back down and install it in my car."
"But...but...Boss." Tony stammered.
Gibbs smirked, "Is there a problem, DiNozzo?"
"No, no problem but Abby told me you wanted the car seat upstairs."
"I changed my mind, besides, what good is it going to do Tim if it's not installed in my car? You should be glad that I didn't make you bring the crib upstairs too."
Tony groaned as he walked over to grab the car keys. Digging the keys out of his pocket, Gibbs put them in Tony's hand and then pulled him close. He whispered so that only the three of them could hear. "Next time you make fun of Tim, heavy lifting won't be the only punishment." Tony gulped before leaving to install the car seat. Gibbs and Tim laughed as Tony struggled to get the awkward box through the door.
Ziva and Abby began packing up all the purchases while Jimmy transported them down to the car. "Ducky, would you mind packing up Jethro's supplies. His bowls and food are in the kitchen and I believe his bed and toys are located in Tim's bedroom." While the rest of the team was working on making the move to Gibbs' house, he began to bundle Tim up for the ride over. The team finished their tasks around the same time, so they locked up the apartment and headed for the car. Tim was safely ensconced in Gibbs' arms while they made the trek downstairs. Once they reached the car, Gibbs asked Tim if Tony could hold him for a minute while he checked to make sure the car seat was properly installed. Tim only nodded while Gibbs handed him over to Tony. Tim was surprised to find that he felt just as safe with Tony as he did with Gibbs. Satisfied the car seat was installed properly, Gibbs carefully buckled Tim up. Before leaving he ordered Ducky and Jimmy to go home while Tony, Ziva and Abby were going to the house to help them settle in. With a plan in place, Gibbs ushered Jethro into the back seat with Tim and took off. It was about 5 minutes into the drive when Gibbs looked in the rearview mirror and smiled. Tim was asleep with his thumb in his mouth. Gibbs sighed; when the day started, he never imagined one of his 'kids" would actually become one of his kids. Now Tim was dependent on him for everything and he wasn't going to let him down.
Chapter 13Gibbs pulled into the driveway, shut off the car and glanced over his shoulder. Tim was still asleep, but Jethro was wide-awake, standing guard over his master. He smiled, as he remembered the tumultuous beginning the two of them had. It was obvious they now had an unbreakable bond. Gibbs exited the car, opened the door for Jethro then walked around to the other side to get Tim out. He expected the little guy to wake up when he began unbuckling him, but he was out cold. Gibbs lifted him out of the car just as Tony pulled in the driveway. The noise of the car's engine jolted Tim awake. Disoriented and half asleep, Tim began to sob and call out for Gibbs.
"Gib...Gib!" he cried, as he fought to get away from the strong arms that were holding him.
Rubbing his hand up and down Tim's back, he attempted to console him. "Shh...shh Timmy, I'm right here. We are at my house now."
Upon hearing Gibbs' voice, Tim's breathing hitched and he slowly opened his eyes. The tears made his vision blurry but he could smell Gibbs' aftershave. It was a smell he found comforting after being in close contact with him throughout the day. Needing reassurance, Tim reached up to touch his face, "Gib?" he sniffled.
Covering Tim's hand with his own he replied, "Yeah kiddo, it's me."
Tim finally relaxed and laid his head on Gibbs' shoulder. Ruffling his hair, Gibbs tightened his grip and carried him into the house.
Tony, Ziva and Abby watched in awe as they were given a glimpse of what Gibbs was like as a father. They witnessed it during cases involving children, but they could only imagine what he had been like with Kelly. Now they knew; this time it was different. Tim and Gibbs had formed a bond that would carry on long after McGee returned to adulthood.
Between the three of them, they were able to gather all the shopping bags and head into the met them at the door and motioned for them to follow him upstairs. "Which room will be for Timmy?" Abby inquired as they reached the top of the stairs. Gibbs entered what appeared to be the master bedroom. It was quite large but there were only a few pieces of furniture in it. A queen size bed was pushed against the back wall. Two beautifully handcrafted dressers adorned each of the adjacent walls, while an overstuffed recliner filled the corner. Ziva looked around "But, this is your bedroom, is it not?" she asked as she dropped her load of bags on the floor and stepped further into the room, allowing space for Tony and Abby. Gibbs nodded, "I want Tim as close to me as possible. Not only for his safety, but it will also be easier if he needs me during the night." He pointed to the dresser on the right side of the room "Abby...Ziver you two can put his new clothes in that dresser. I need to go help Tony with the crib and mattress." Tim tightened his grip on Gibbs after he heard him talking about going to help Tony. The team watched intently as Gibbs sat on the bed and began whispering in Tim's ear. They couldn't hear what was being discussed, but after a few minutes of reassurance from Gibbs, Tim released his grip. He propped Tim up against the pillows before kissing the top of his head and whispering, "That's my boy. I'll be right back."
Tim frowned when Gibbs and Tony left the room to get the crib. Ziva started unpacking and sorting the clothes into piles while Abby went to the dresser to decide what should go where. "I think the diapers need to go in the top drawer, that will give Gibbs easy access. Abby's comment made Tim realize he was wet and his diaper had leaked. A small wet spot formed near his crotch. He whimpered and covered the area with his hands. Ziva looked over when she heard him whimper, he looked like a deer caught in headlights. She realized something was wrong. However, judging by the look on his face, Tim was too embarrassed to discuss it. Deep in thought, Tim didn't notice that Gibbs and Tony had dropped off the mattress and were already heading back downstairs to get the crib. Ziva had an idea of what was bothering Tim but she did not want anyone, especially Abby, making a big deal out of it. As the girls were finishing up, Gibbs and Tony brought in the box containing the crib. Gibbs wiped the sweat from his brow, attempting to catch his breath. "Damn, DiNozzo...felt like I did all the lifting on that one." Tony sat on down on the bed gasping for breath, "Prob...ab...ly... did Boss."
"Gibbs...Gibbs... Gibbs!" Abby called out enthusiastically. "I have a present for you" she said while she handed him one of the plastic bags. Gibbs nodded then took the offered bag to open it. He pulled out a brown leather bag that had various pockets along the outside as well as a shoulder strap.
He gave her a quizzical look "Uh, thanks Abs. But, what is this for?"
Folding her arms in disappointment, Abby replied, "Well, it's a murse, Gibbs."
As hard as they tried, Tony and Ziva couldn't help but burst out laughing.
Still confused, Gibbs needed more information, "Murse?"
"It's a man purse or bag Gibbs. I thought it would be a good diaper bag for Timmy. Unless you want me to exchange it for a real diaper bag."
He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "No, no this is fine. Thanks, I think."
Tim who had been watching the interaction was becoming very cold and uncomfortable. Without realizing it, he began squirming around and the movement caught the teams attention. Gibbs sat down next to Tim and was immediately blown back by the scent of stale urine. Tears were forming in Tim's eyes and Gibbs knew he needed to send the rest of the team home so he could care for him.
He stood up, turned around and gave the others a look of urgency, "Well, thanks for all of your help today. Tim needs me right now and it is getting late so I will talk to you in the morning."
Annoyed they were being kicked out, Abby turned to speak "But Gib..." however, before she could finish Tony and Ziva were dragging her out of the room.
Ziva waited until the three of them were outside before she spoke. "I believe that Tim's diaper leaked. He did not want us to see him like that."
Tony nodded, "Yeah, I figured something personal was bothering him." They both turned to look at Abby who was chewing on her bottom lip, "what?" she asked.
Tony just shook his head and began walking to the car. "Abs, next time Gibbs asks us to leave, we do it, without question. Contrary to your belief, he always has a damn good reason for the orders he gives." For the first time in her life, Abby was speechless. Tony rarely ever talked to her like that or even got mad at her.
Upon hearing the door close, Gibbs lifted Tim's hands from his lap to survey the damage. There was a large wet spot around his crotch that was making its way down Tim's leg. He sighed, when he heard Tim begin to sniffle.
"Shh...shh...buddy I'm not mad at you. I should have checked you before we left your place. It has been a long time since I have had to remember to check on things like this. This is a learning experience for both of us."
Tim's sniffles turned into sobs as he was reminded of the fact he relied on Gibbs for everything now. Gibbs pulled him into his chest and gently stroked the back of his head. Tim shivered and Gibbs took that as his cue to get the bath started. He pulled away and promised he would be right back. Tim nodded as he watched Gibbs walk into the master bath and return with a large bath towel.
He unfolded the towel on the bed and then picked Tim up. "Alright, let's get you out of these wet clothes, how does that sound?"
Tim nodded while Gibbs laid him on the towel and began to undress him. By the time Gibbs got to his pants he was shivering so much that his little teeth were chattering.
"Let's see what we got here" Gibbs said as he unbuttoned the jeans and began sliding them off Tim's legs. Gibbs winced when he saw that the inside of Tim's legs were red from chafing. Tim whimpered when the jeans brushed against the raw, angry skin.
"I'm sorry about this kiddo, next time you have to tell one of us if something like this happens. Nobody is going to make fun of you." Pulling down the front of the diaper, Gibbs was not surprised to see a rash was beginning to form. He sighed, "I hope that Abby was smart enough to pick up some ointment for diaper rashes."
Tim covered his face with his hands and didn't object when Gibbs picked him up and headed toward the dresser. Relieved to see a jar of ointment near the freshly stacked diapers, Gibbs gathered his supplies, along with a sleeper and headed for the bathroom. The tub was filled to just about the right depth and before setting Tim down in the water, he checked the temperature. Satisfied that it wasn't too hot, he plopped Tim down in the middle of the tub. Tim sighed as the warm water massaged his angry skin. Gibbs noticed that Abby had included some bubble bath but decided tonight was not the night for it. He grabbed a cup from the sink and began dumping water over Tim's head and upper body. Smiling, he watched as Tim enjoyed the massage to his scalp, much as he had earlier that morning. Rinsing Tim's hair, he grabbed a washcloth and moved on to the body wash for children. His touch was gentle as he did not want to further irritate his skin. Tim began dozing off, a few times Gibbs had to steady him as he began to lean to one side. Quickly finishing up, he drained the tub and lifted Tim out. Not wanting him to catch a chill, Gibbs wrapped him in a towel and took him back to the bedroom to dry him off. Carefully he spread the ointment into the affected areas and finished diapering him. As Gibbs zipped up the flannel sleeper, Tim started to become uncomfortable and pointed at his legs. "Hurt" he whimpered. Realizing that the flannel would only make the chafing worse, Gibbs pulled off the sleeper. He rifled through the drawers but couldn't find any other pajamas. "Tim, it looks like that's all Abby bought for jammies. We will have to pick some up tomorrow."
Tim pushed the sleeper away from him, "not wearing Gib."
"Well, that just leaves you with your diaper, Tim."
Tim shrugged then whispered "only you."
Not in the mood for an argument, Gibbs agreed. "If you only want to wear a diaper then that is fine with me. Let me run down and crank up the heat and make sure Jethro is taken care of for the night." Tim nodded as Gibbs ran downstairs, bumped up the thermostat and filled a water dish for the dog. On his way upstairs, he locked the dead bolt on the door and closed the blinds in the family room. When he walked back into the bedroom, Tim was lying on his back with his feet up in the air, playing with his toes. Gibbs chuckled at the sight and since Tim was occupied he took advantage of it. He took care of his business in the bathroom and stripped down to boxers and an undershirt. It had been a long day so he decided to assemble the crib in the morning.
Tim blushed when he realized Gibbs was watching him from the bathroom door. He immediately let go of his feet and stuck his thumb in his mouth.
"You ready for bed, squirt?"
Tim nodded then gave a small yawn around his thumb.
"Well I'm too tired to assemble the crib tonight, so we are going to share my bed, is that ok?"
Tim's eyes were beginning to close, no matter how hard he fought to keep them open. With only the bedside lamp illuminating the room, Gibbs lifted Tim up and placed him on one side of the bed. He got into the other side, pulled the blankets up and shut off the light. Trying to get comfortable, he was surprised when Tim rolled over and snuggled close to his chest. He kissed the top of his head, enjoying Tim's baby smell and the paternal feelings he was experiencing. Gibbs wrapped one arm around the toddler, before he, too, succumbed to sleep.
Chapter 14The next morning, Tony and Ziva walked into the lab to begin reviewing the security footage from Chadwick's.
Abby did not acknowledge either one of them and continued to stare blankly at the computer screen. Tony and Ziva exchanged puzzled looks while they waited for her to move. Abby spun around on the chair to face them before she began to speak.
She crossed her arms and scowled, "Timmy and Gibbs do not even want to be around me. What did I do to be treated like this? I have done everything both of them asked. It's not like I made fun of him, like you Tony."
When they left Gibbs' house the night before, Abby was silent the entire drive. Because she normally had commentary for every situation, Tony and Ziva were surprised when she didn't make a peep. Apparently, she had collected her thoughts overnight and could not contain them anymore.
Tony sighed, "Abby, why don't you understand that Tim's world has been turned upside down and the one person he feels most comfortable with right now, just happens to be Gibbs?"
Abby shook her head, "That's not true Tony, Tim let Ziva feed him a bottle plus you got to hold him while Gibbs checked the car seat. Every time I get near Tim, he starts shivering, his eyes get big and he tries to "melt" into Gibbs.
Tony ran his fingers through his hair, "Oh come on Abby, give the kid a break."
Tired of listening to Abby's whining, Ziva grabbed the security footage and started to leave.
"Ziva, where are you going? I thought we were going to watch that together." Abby called out nervously.
Ziva scoffed, took a deep breath, then turned to face her, "I do not understand why this is so difficult for you. Is it because for once you are not the center of attention? If that is the reason, then you seriously need to take a good look at yourself. We are a team, when you feel like acting like you are a part of it, then you can help us."
Tony stood in shock as he listened to Ziva. By the time she was done, Abby had tears in her eyes. He wanted to comfort her but also knew that if he did, Ziva's lecture would be pointless.
"You coming, Tony?" Ziva asked from the doorway.
Tony took one last look at Abby, then left to catch the elevator with Ziva. Abby turned back toward her desk, covered her face and began sobbing.
A streak of sunlight streamed through the window of the bedroom. Gibbs looked over at the clock but it was still early. He sighed then rolled over to watch the small sleeping figure lying next to him. The way the sunlight hit Tim's face at that moment made him look even younger than he did the day before. Gibbs carded his hand through Tim's baby soft hair and smiled. It had been a long time since he had taken care of a little one. He thought back to how Kelly would climb in bed with him and Shannon during the night if she had a bad dream or was not feeling well. Those were memories he cherished but also felt he was being given a second chance with Tim. A kick to the stomach returned him to the present time.
"Sorry" Tim smiled, as he attempted to scoot closer to Gibbs.
Gibbs grabbed him under the arms and began tickling. Tim rolled from side to side and began laughing uncontrollably as Gibbs moved from his arms to his feet. Hearing Tim's laughter, Gibbs couldn't help but laugh as well. Deciding to change it up a bit, he leaned down and started blowing raspberries on Tim's stomach. Between Gibbs' lips along with the whiskers on his face, Tim couldn't help it when he let out a high-pitched squeal. After a few minutes, Tim was laughing so much and having trouble catching his breath, Gibbs stopped. When their breathing had returned to normal, Gibbs got off the bed, flicked on the light and started to examine Tim's legs. They were still angry and red in color. He ran his fingertips over them, which caused Tim to pull away. "I'm sorry buddy but I need to take a good look." Gibbs soothed while he inspected them further. "I think we need to ask Ducky for some cream that is a little bit stronger."
Tim nodded and stuck his thumb in his mouth while Gibbs changed his diaper. When he was done, he picked Tim up and carried him downstairs.
"Doggy", Tim blurted out as Jethro bounded over to them and he reached down to pet him. Walking into the kitchen Gibbs started the coffee pot and deposited Tim in one of the kitchen chairs. He opened the back door to let Jethro outside then turned his attention back to Tim.
"We have a big day today. Vance is coming over and we have some errands to run."
Tim whimpered and pulled on his diaper.
"Don't worry silly, we will put some clothes on you after breakfast. Nobody is going to see you like this." Gibbs reassured him while he tied a bib around his neck. He got the milk out of the fridge and poured some in a bottle. Since the change had taken place, Tim was having trouble with his hand eye coordination. He couldn't walk but Gibbs did want to see if he could hold the bottle. He walked over, knelt down in front of Tim and handed him the bottle, "Let's see if you can feed yourself." Tim took the bottle between both hands and attempted to bring it up to his lips. His hands shook and milk began to leak out of the nipple. Tim finally got the bottle near his lips but was having a hard time getting it in his mouth. Frustrated and disappointed, he dropped the bottle on the floor. Gibbs sighed, picked it up and went to wash it off. Tim wouldn't look him in the eye when he returned to the table so Gibbs lifted his chin and attempted to console him.
"It's ok Tim, we'll work on it. You almost had it. So what do you want for breakfast? Oatmeal and yogurt?"
Tim nodded while Gibbs went over and started preparing breakfast. As they were waiting for the oatmeal to cook, Gibbs let Jethro in and gave him breakfast. A few minutes later, Gibbs pulled the oatmeal off the stove and dished up bowls for Tim and himself. Pouring a cup of coffee, he took a seat close to Tim and began feeding him. Gibbs was surprised when Tim inhaled the oatmeal and wanted to start on the yogurt. "I guess I need to feed you more kiddo. But you need to let me know when you are hungry too." Tim just nodded, opened his mouth and waited for Gibbs to feed him the yogurt. Once he finished the yogurt, Gibbs put the dishes in the sink and heated up a bottle. He picked Tim up and carried him into the living room. He sat on the couch, laid Tim in his arms and held the bottle up to his lips. He switched on the television for background noise but his attention was focused on his little boy.
"Back it up." Tony told Ziva as they scanned through the second security tape from Chadwick's.
Rewinding the tape to just a minute earlier, Ziva replied, "What, what is it? Do you see something?"
Tony cocked his head while he looked at the plasma, "Does that woman sitting on the end of the bar look familiar to you?"
Ziva zoomed in on the women in question and squinted "I am not sure Tony, who do you think it might be?"
"She looks a little like Grey, don't you think?
"It is hard to tell Tony, it is very dark."
"Well, print that off and check into Grey's background to see if she has any sisters or cousins. We can take that over to Gibbs' house later to see if Tim recognizes her from last night."
Tim finished the bottle and burped. He blushed as Gibbs sat him up and patted him on the back. "Got a little gas, huh?" Gibbs laughed as Tim blushed redder then he believed possible. "Let's get upstairs and get dressed before someone unexpectedly shows up here and we're not ready."
Jethro followed them upstairs and watched as Gibbs picked out a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt. "Hopefully these sweatpants will be comfortable enough to wear while your legs are still bothering you." He laid Tim down on the bed and checked his diaper. Since it was dry he spread on a new layer of cream for the chaffing then slipped a onesie on over his head. Snapping the buttons at the crotch he made sure the cream was rubbed in before he slid the sweatpants over Tim's hips. Slipping the sweatshirt over the little guy's head, Gibbs turned to Jethro who was watching intently from the floor. "Keep an eye on him while I go into the bathroom to clean up." The dog cocked his head to one side and gave a small bark. Gibbs rubbed Tim's stomach for reassurance and slipped off to the bathroom. He kept the bathroom door open and every once in awhile he peeked out to check on them. He smiled when the final time he checked on the pair, Tim was sucking on his thumb and was positioned with his head on Jethro's stomach. Gibbs watched as Tim ran his other hand gently through the dog's fur. Jethro closed his eyes, enjoying the attention from him.
Gibbs finished up in the bathroom, then grabbed a pair of socks and Converse for Tim. As he finished with the socks and shoes, there was a knock on the door. Tim immediately removed the thumb from his mouth and tried to sit up. Frustrated that he couldn't sit all the way up he lifted his arms and reached for Gibbs.
"That's probably Vance, are you ready for this?"
Tim shook his head but knew it was a lost cause.
Gibbs picked him up, slung him over one shoulder and rubbed his hand up and down Tim's back. "Don't worry, I will take care of everything." Tim buried his face in the crook of Gibbs' neck and whined as he was carried downstairs.
Gibbs opened the door and greeted Vance, "Good morning, Leon."
"Gibbs...Agent McGee" Vance replied, stepping inside.
Tim kept his face buried against Gibbs neck and refused to look at the director.
Vance looked worried as Gibbs ushered him into the kitchen. "Can I get you a cup of coffee, Leon?" he asked while refilling his cup from earlier.
Vance sat down at the kitchen table, his eyes glued to the baby in Gibbs' arms. "That would be nice, thanks."
Gibbs nodded, he sat the cups on the table and took a seat across from Vance. He attempted to release the death grip that Tim currently had around his neck but he wouldn't budge. Gibbs whispered in Tim's ear and rubbed small circles on his back. Vance watched in amazement as he saw the paternal side ooze from Gibbs. Whatever he said to Tim seemed to relax him and he slowly loosened his grip. Gibbs lifted him so that he was now sitting in his lap facing the director.
Vance took a sip of his coffee and choked when Tim turned to face him. He pictured what Tim might look like but never imagined he would look so much like the adult version of McGee. "Wow, sorry I just wasn't expecting you to look so much, well, like you, Agent McGee."
Tim cast his eyes on the floor but remained quiet. Gibbs wrapped his arms around Tim's shoulders and gave a reassuring squeeze.
"When Gibbs told me about this yesterday, I thought there was no way this was possible. I had to see for myself. I want to let you both know that the agency will pay for whatever expenses are needed to keep you comfortable, Agent McGee."
Tim lifted his head, "tank you," he said before covering his face with his hands.
"Tim is a little embarrassed, Leon, don't take it personal."
Vance shook his head, "No worries, if you need a babysitter, I'm sure my daughter would be happy to do it." He finished his coffee, stood up from the table and grabbed his coat. "I have a meeting at 09 hundred so I need to get going, but I want to reassure you both that we are going to find an antidote and catch whoever did this to you."
"The rest of the team is supposed to be combing through the security footage this morning. I'll keep you updated."
Tim nodded as Gibbs stood up and followed Vance to the front door. "I expect full confidentiality on this, Leon. It's better for Tim's safety as well."
"Of course! As I said earlier, just bill the items you buy to the agency. Take good care of him, Gibbs." Vance then reached up and ruffled Tim's hair, "Cute baby," he said before turning to leave.
After Vance was gone, Gibbs felt all the tension leave Tim's body and he slumped forward. He rested his head on Gibbs' shoulder and tried to control his breathing.
"Shh...shh Tim it's all over, you did very good. It will only get easier from here on out. How about you say we get out of this house for a little while and run some errands. We can buy a lot more supplies now that NCIS is going to pay for them."
"Kay" Tim said as he pulled away from Gibbs and stuck his thumb in his mouth. Tim squirmed when Gibbs paternally slipped his hand in Tim's pants to check the wetness of his diaper before they left. Satisfied that it would hold up for awhile longer he bundled them up and began to leave the house. They were half way out to the driveway when Gibbs remembered that he didn't have the diaper bag that Abby got for him. He quickly went back upstairs, filled the bag with a few diapers and wipes then went out to the kitchen and filled a bottle full of milk before announcing he was ready to go. With Tim safely ensconced in his arms he walked out to the car, buckled Tim in the car seat and started the car. He noticed that Tim was shivering and made a mental note to pick up a thick blanket he could keep in the car for him.
Gibbs met Tim's eyes in the rear-view mirror, "You ready, sweetie?" He cursed at himself when he realized the words that came out of his mouth.
Tim blushed and gave him an odd look; he nodded as his little teeth chattered.
Trying to suppress a smile, Gibbs was glad that Tim wasn't upset that he called him sweetie. "I should have warmed up the car before I brought you out here. Like I said, learning experience for both of us. I cranked the heat so it'll warm up when we get going."
And with that, they were off to do some shopping and be home in time for Tim's nap.
Chapter 15Tim was apprehensive about being out in public for the first time since the transformation. Gibbs could sense his hesitation as they pulled into a local store and he parked the car. Attempting to relieve some of it, he turned around and patted his knee. "Listen, I know you are scared of what people might think, but the truth of the matter is the only people who know that you are not a "real" baby are you and me. Just act like a normal baby and no one will be the wiser."
Tim blushed and Gibbs gave his knee a reassuring squeeze before grabbing the diaper bag and exiting the car. Because the wind was so fierce, Gibbs unzipped his jacket, lifted Tim out of the car seat and sandwiched him between his body and the jacket as they walked into the store.
Gibbs grabbed a cart and sat Tim down in the seat. Shivering, Tim looked up, "cold Gib", his teeth chattering between words. Gibbs rubbed his hands up and down Tim's arms in an effort to warm him up. He then removed his jacket and draped it over him, in an attempt to regulate his body temperature.
"Let me know if you get too warm" Gibbs said as he pushed the cart over to the store directory. Taking a quick glance at the layout, he found the direction of the baby department and started walking towards it. Because it was early in the morning, there were very few shoppers, which allowed Tim and Gibbs to relax as they browsed. Their first stop was the clothing section to look for new pajamas. It had been a long time since Gibbs had been shopping for baby clothes, and even when he did, Shannon was usually with him so he was having a difficult time deciding which size to get. As they started looking through the racks of clothing, a young woman approached them. "Oh my gosh. Who is this cutie?" she squealed as she pinched Tim's cheek. Tim blushed, immediately casting his gaze downwards. Gibbs protectively stepped in between the woman and Tim.
"This is my son and I would appreciate it if you don't touch him."
The woman blushed "Sorry, force of habit. Is there anything I can help you with today?"
Gibbs instinctively pulled the cart closer to him and began searching through the racks again. "I'm trying to decide which size I need for him. He's 12 months old but I want to make sure they are going to be big enough.
The woman stepped to the other side of the rack and began pulling out different sleepers. "Here are some sizes between 12 and 18 months." She winked at Tim, "Perfect for your little guy to grow into."
Gibbs grabbed the sleepers and brought them over to the cart so Tim could take a closer look.
"It's so cute how you are going to let him choose which pajamas he wants. Normally parents come in and pick what they want."
Gibbs turned his attention towards Tim and smiled, "Maybe kids would be happier if they were given a choice as to what they want to wear. I can take it from here. Thanks for your help."
Taken aback at Gibbs' brashness the woman didn't think twice and walked away to help another couple that was wandering around aimlessly.
Gibbs looked over his shoulder to make sure the woman had left. Satisfied she wouldn't be returning he began sifting through the abundance of sleepers he collected from the rack.
"Alright buddy, let's take a look through these and see if they are up to your standards." Tim scrunched up his nose, he wore Armani; not baby clothes! Gibbs could tell Tim was overanalyzing the situation and decided to take control. "Timmy, if you don't pick a few of these, then I will. Tim's eyes got big as he studied Gibbs' face to decide if he was serious. Knowing that Gibbs rarely joked, he sighed and then spoke, "Baby."
Gibbs ran his hand through his hair and started to separate the sleepers into two different piles. Once he finished he held up each one separately so Tim could make a decision. They made it half way through the pile and Tim had chosen a red, green and blue stripped, plus two others in plain yellow and gray.
A smile formed on Gibbs' face when he held up the next sleeper and Tim blurted out "Doggy." It was covered with paw prints, but also had a dog graphic on it. He laughed when he turned the sleeper around and noticed a large paw print silk-screened near the butt area. "Are you sure you want this one, Tim?"
Tim blushed then nodded. "Alright kiddo, that's your choice. How about you choose one more." Tim smiled, then grabbed Gibbs' hand to pull him close and whispered "you Gib." He kissed Tim on the forehead and smiled as he held out a sleeper that would have been his first choice. It was camouflage, but the feet looked like army boots that went half way up each leg. Tim laughed as Gibbs collected the selected few and deposited them in the cart. Out of the corner of his eye, Gibbs noticed a rack that was full of winter hats and mittens. He stopped in front of it, allowing Tim to decide which one he wanted. Most of them were very babyish but they managed to find a dark green fleece hat with earflaps. He also threw in a few different pairs of mittens for Tim. While Gibbs decided what was next on the list, Tim began whining and pointing. Afraid that something was seriously wrong, Gibbs shifted his attention. He laughed when he realized Tim had spotted a black leather jacket across the aisle. "Buddy, you need a warmer jacket than that."
Tim frowned and smacked his fist on the handle of the cart. "Pwease Gib" he begged, using his puppy dog eyes. Gibbs sighed and picked up the jacket, it was adorable and something he could see "grown up" Tim wearing. "I will make you a deal, we can get this jacket, but we have to get a warmer one as well." Tim agreed and they continued looking though the jackets until they found a simple navy blue coat with a wool lining.
As they finished the rest of their shopping, Tim's eyes got big, he began squirming in his seat and tears filled his eyes. Gibbs had an idea of what was bothering him but wanted Tim to be the one to tell him. He stopped the cart, leaned in close, and was hit by the smell. Not exactly what he was expecting, but he wasn't surprised by it either. It was bound to happen sooner rather than later, he just felt bad for Tim that it happened while they were out in public.
Tim was inconsolable; other shoppers began giving them dirty looks so Gibbs picked him up and held him tight while he cried against his shoulder. It was the worst feeling in the world that Tim was so upset yet there was very little he could do to make him feel better. Holding Tim in one arm and pushing the cart with the other, he made his way to the front of the store to find a restroom.
He was relieved to find a "family" restroom that would give them the privacy they needed. Parking his cart off to the side, Gibbs grabbed the diaper bag and knocked on the door. Certain that it was not occupied, he entered and was surprised to see a nice bench off to one side and a changing table that folded down from the wall. Tim's crying had not weakened, so Gibbs' focused on trying to calm him down. He rocked from side to side, slowly running his hand from the top of Tim's head to the middle of his back. The touch helped ease the crying but it wasn't until Gibbs leaned down and kissed the side of Tim's head that he noticed the wails become softer and softer. He whispered into Tim's ear, "Remember what I told you yesterday? You have nothing to be ashamed of; I know you can't help it."
Gibbs felt Tim nod against his shoulder and took that as his cue to start changing him. "Alright son, let me put you down on the bench and get the changing mat out and I'll have you cleaned up soon." Tim immediately put his thumb in his mouth while Gibbs pulled down the changing table and got out the supplies. As he laid him on the table, Tim used his free arm to cover his eyes while Gibbs cleaned him up. It took a little bit longer than normal, but before Tim knew it, his sweatpants were pulled back into place.
Gibbs rubbed his belly, "all done baby" he soothed as he went over to wash his hands. As he picked Tim up off the changing table, he was surprised when Tim removed his thumb and said, "tank you", before wrapping his arms around Gibbs' neck and squeezing tight. Returning the hug, Gibbs whispered, "You don't ever have to thank me Tim."
Once Gibbs collected the supplies, they exited the restroom and returned to the cart. Tim was still sniffling a bit, but in much better spirits now that he was clean. Gibbs pulled out a bottle as they waited in line to check out. Tim was hungry, but also hesitant as he allowed Gibbs to hold the bottle to his lips. He started sucking, slow at first, however once he got a taste of the sweet milk he began sucking greedily. Gibbs laughed as milk dribbled out of the side of Tim's mouth. He used his thumb to wipe up a lot of it but finally gave up and decided he would finish cleaning his face once Tim was done.
Ella Grey spotted Gibbs and McGee at the check out line. Grey had been following them around the store and knew it would not be long until her cover was blown. She rushed to her car to wait so she could observe the two further. When she arrived at the store that morning, she parked in a spot that had an unobstructed view of the entrance. Not wanting to be noticed, she slouched down in the seat as they passed her car. She smiled at the thought of how devastated Gibbs would be if anything happened to Tim. It would make her job easier once the time came.
On the way out to the car, Gibbs scanned the parking lot. His gut suddenly kicked into high gear. It was only now that they were in the parking lot did he begin to worry. He didn't want to scare Tim but felt it was important that they leave the store as soon as possible. He quickly loaded Tim into the car seat and then the bags into the trunk. Only after the car was loaded and Tim was safely buckled in, did Gibbs release the breath he didn't know he was holding. Shivers ran down his spine as he pulled out of the parking lot, headed to the grocery store.
Tim began nodding off on the drive to the store. He whined when Gibbs accidentally woke him up carrying him into the store. "Sorry bud, you can sleep on the way home." he soothed while he got Tim situated in the cart. They browsed the produce department while picking out fruits and vegetables Tim agreed to eat. Gibbs laughed when he grabbed a few tomatoes and Tim stuck his tongue out in disgust. He ruffled Tim's hair and headed toward the deli. One of the women working behind the counter waved to Gibbs, "Agent Gibbs, it's nice to see you! Who is this little guy?" Tim blushed and tried to hide his face behind Gibbs' arm.
"Betty! Good to see you too. This little guy is my Godson, Tim." he replied running his hand up and down Tim's back. "We're doing a little shopping today so yeah, I'll take the usual."
"You got it" she smiled, as she went about preparing his order. While they were waiting, Tim spotted some Nutter Butters across the aisle. During the past few days the food he had been feed was bland. "I'm going to get those cookies!" he thought. Tim pulled on Gibbs jacket sleeve and began to point towards the cookies. "Pwease Gib!" he pleaded. Gibbs laughed and raised his eyebrows, he felt bad, Tim had been through a lot the past few days and if cookies were going to make him happy, then who was he to deny him that. "Alright kiddo, we will pick some up before we leave. Tim giggled and clapped his hands.
"I see Tim already has you wrapped around his little finger." Betty smiled as she handed him the deli meat and cheese. Gibbs laughed and stroked Tim's cheek, "That he does Betty that he does. We'll see you soon. Thanks!"
The rest of the shopping was uneventful as Gibbs picked up his usual groceries along with a variety of food for Tim. A few more gallons of milk and another package of diapers rounded out the purchases. As they were waiting in line to check out, Tim began nodding off. Gibbs couldn't help but chuckle as little Tim tried to keep his sleepy eyes open. Every so often, his eyes would just slide shut but then his body would sway a bit, bump into the cart and jerk him awake.
Gibbs wasn't surprised that Tim was so tired. They were up early, met with Vance and did some shopping. He was exhausted so he could only imagine how Tim felt. He carded his hand through Tim's hair as he began loading his groceries on the belt. "I see its nap time for your little guy," the cashier laughed as she began scanning the groceries. Gibbs nodded, then reached over and brushed Tim's hair off to the side. He inspected the small bump that remained from the day before, satisfied that it was healing he turned his attention back to the cashier who was ringing up the final items. She handed Gibbs his receipt but not before letting him know that Tim was the cutest baby she had ever laid eyes on.
As soon as Gibbs got Tim to the car, he was out for the count. The drive home gave him an opportunity to reflect on the past few days of caring for Tim. On one hand he knew that Tim would not stay little forever, but on the other hand it was nice to take care of someone who relied on him for everything. He was gone a lot when Kelly was growing up and missed many of her milestones. He made a promise to himself, as long as Tim was in his life, baby or otherwise, he would be there for all his milestones.
Before he knew it they were home, careful not to ignore his gut feeling from earlier, he locked the door before carrying Tim upstairs. He laid him on the bed, kissed his forehead and turned to leave. However, Tim grabbed his arm and whispered, "Stay" before he sighed and snuggled into the blankets. It was cold enough that the groceries could stay in the car for a while, so Gibbs slipped off his shoes and climbed in behind Tim. Instinctively, he wrapped his arm around Tim's waist and pulled him close before he dozed off.
Chapter 16Thirty minutes later, a quiet whimpering awakened Gibbs. He opened his eyes to see Jethro sitting at the end of the bed. Tim was using his arm as a pillow so he carefully extracted himself and sat up. "What is it, boy?" he whispered as he stood up and grabbed his gun off the nightstand. He took one last look at Tim, then with his gun poised, quietly made his way downstairs. After he cleared the room he checked the doors and windows, relieved to see they had not been tampered with. Jethro began scratching at the back door, desperate for some relief. Gibbs took a deep breath and exhaled, "You scared me buddy; I thought there was an intruder here." Jethro cocked his head, gave a small bark and dashed outside once Gibbs opened the door. Attempting to relieve his worry, he followed Jethro outside, scanned the perimeter and waited while the dog finished.
When they came inside, Gibbs gave Jethro a treat and told him to keep an eye out while he went to collect the packages from that morning. Jethro gave a small bark and retreated to the family room to enjoy his treat. It only took Gibbs two trips to unload all the bags and he started a pot of coffee while he put the groceries away. After Gibbs finished he set the baby monitor on the kitchen table and sat down to read the newspaper.
Visiting hours had just begun at the Correctional Treatment Facility when Ella Grey arrived. She was giddy with excitement to tell her sister what she observed earlier that morning. After being searched she was allowed to enter the cafeteria to wait for her sister to arrive. A few moments later, prisoners began entering the room as Ella searched for her sister. She spotted Lucy from across the room and motioned for her to come sit down. Lucy reached out to hug her sister, but was stopped by one of the guards.
"Hey Lucy, it's good to see you. I've missed being able to talk to you."
Lucy smiled, "Good to see you too! So, tell me everything! Were you successful with our plan?"
Ella gave her sister a cynical smile. "Of course I was, was there ever any doubt? I gave Agent McGee a double dose to ensure he will be a baby much longer than a week. He is currently under the care of Agent Gibbs."
Lucy clapped her hands together, "Great job! How do you know that he is under Agent Gibbs' care?"
Ella smiled "Well, I observed them at the store today. I was able to get close to them without any suspicion. Agent Gibbs is very committed to taking care of his baby." She laughed then continued "Agent McGee is the perfect baby. He is so adorable! You are going to love him!"
"I'm so excited to get my hands on him! Now we just have to figure out a way to get me out of here. My court date is set for Thursday and my lawyer thinks he can get me out on bail. But you have to promise me if my bail is denied, you will still carry out the plan.
Ella reached across the table and grabbed Lucy's hands "I'm fully committed, you have done so much for me it's the least I can do for you. I can't wait to make him scream."
Lucy raised her eyebrows, "Now, now don't get ahead of yourself," she admonished Ella before continuing," We will discuss that when the time arrives."
Ella got up to leave but turned back to her sister, "Don't worry, you have a really good lawyer and in a few days you will have the baby of your dreams."
Lucy squeezed Ella's hand and watched her exit the building.
Gibbs was half way through the paper when a noise on the baby monitor caught his attention. Tim was in the throws of a nightmare, rolling around on the bed and babbling in his sleep. Gibbs immediately dropped the paper, taking the steps two at a time in a rush to reach him. He burst into the room and immediately sat down on the bed deciding the easiest way to wake Tim without frightening him further. He put his hand on Tim's back to steady him then leaned down and began whispering in his ear. "Timmy, wake up! You're having a nightmare kiddo." Tim slowly opened his eyes then burst into tears upon seeing Gibbs. He pulled Tim into his lap while rubbing small circles on his back. "Shh...shh you're alright." Gibbs soothed as Tim sobbed into his chest. Once Tim was able to calm down, Gibbs pulled him back to see his face. "Did you have a nightmare? Do you want to tell me what it was about?" Tim sniffled and his breathing hitched before whispering, "Grey". Gibbs sighed and used his sleeve to wipe the remaining tears from Tim's face. "Aww buddy, I told you that we would do every thing in our power to keep you safe." Gibbs kissed the top of Tim's head before he laid him down to check his diaper. He hissed when he noticed the chaffing on Tim's legs didn't look any better than it did earlier that morning. He made a mental note to ask Ducky for a stronger ointment.
"How about we get you some lunch, kiddo." Gibbs suggested as he carried Tim downstairs. Jethro met them and followed them into the kitchen. "Know what you might like?" he asked while he sat Tim down. Tim shrugged his shoulders, smiled then spoke, "cookies." Gibbs laughed, "Nice try! If you eat all of your lunch then you can have one." Tim nodded and tried again "Naner?" Gibbs smiled, "Well a banana sounds better than a cookie, but you still need to eat something with a little more substance." Gibbs began digging though the refrigerator, searching for the supplies to make sandwiches. He looked over his shoulder and chuckled at the sight of Jethro sitting with his head in Tim's lap while he ran his fingers through the dog's fur. While it was on his mind, he pulled out his phone and hit the speed dial to speak with Ducky.
"Hello" Ducky answered cheerfully.
"Duck, I need you to do me a favor regarding Tim."
"Is everything alright with Timothy? He's not hurt again is he?"
"No he's fine, but he does have a bit of a diaper rash and some chaffing on his inner thighs that is bothering him. The ointment that Abby got isn't working. Could you bring over something stronger?"
"Oh dear, we must keep a close eye on that to make sure it does not become infected. I'll need to examine him Jethro."
"He is not going to like that Duck. But we can give it a try."
Ducky sighed, "Listen Jethro, I know you want Timothy to be able to make his own decisions, but when it comes to medical care, he needs to understand we know what is best for him."
Gibbs knew Ducky was right, but still wanted Tim to have a say in his own care. "We will discuss it with him once you get here."
"Sounds good Jethro, I will be over later this afternoon."
He cut Tim's sandwich into bite size pieces, then peeled a banana and repeated the process. He filled a bottle and brought lunch over to the table. Jethro whined when Gibbs scooted him away so that he could sit closer to Tim in case he wanted a drink. Tim's mouth began watering when Gibbs set the plate down in front of him. Before Gibbs could get a bib tied around his neck Tim began shoving pieces of banana in his mouth.
"Whoa! Whoa! Take it easy there son, where's the fire? I don't want you choking, I wouldn't be able to live with myself if something happened to you."
Tim blushed and carefully began chewing the pieces already in his mouth. Satisfied Tim's needs were taken care of for a moment, he picked up his own sandwich and was ready to take a bite when his phone rang. He groaned then looked at the caller ID.
"DiNozzo, please tell me you have some information that can be helpful to our investigation."
"Hey Boss, well that depends on your meaning of helpful. We're are on our way over with a picture of a possible suspect."
Gibbs sighed, "Better than we currently have, which is nothing. We'll see you in a few minutes."
Gibbs hung up and returned his attention to his sandwich. He smiled as Tim looked up and had banana smeared all over his nose, lips and chin.
"That was Tony on the phone, they should be here soon. They have a picture they want you to look at."
Tim nodded and reached for the bottle. "Here, let me help you" Gibbs suggested. Grabbing the bottle and guiding it toward his lips, Tim sucked contentedly and was excited when Gibbs asked if he wanted to try and hold it on his own. Because the nipple was already in Tim's mouth, Gibbs figured it would be easier for Tim to attempt to hold the bottle rather than test his hand eye coordination skills again. Tim's little hands shook as he reached up and grabbed on to both sides of the bottle. Certain that Tim had a tight grip, Gibbs released his own to watch as Tim's eyes filled with pride at the small accomplishment. "Nice job, son! I told you that you would get it, eventually." Tim pulled the bottle away and smiled as milk dripped out of the side of his mouth. Gibbs laughed as he reached over and helped Tim set the bottle back on the table. Just as Gibbs wiped the milk off Tim's face there was a knock on the door.
"Ahh that would be the team, sit tight and I'll be right back. And don't even think about giving Jethro any of your sandwich, you need to eat that." Tim blushed and gave a small smile.
Gibbs greeted Tony and Ziva and led them into the kitchen. Tim was picking at his sandwich but turned to look when they entered the room. Tony was the first one to speak, "Hey Probie, how are you doing today?"
"Kay" Tim replied shoving a piece of deli meat in his mouth.
Ziva smiled, "It looks like you certainly have an appetite, that is good, yes?"
Turning the focus off Tim, Gibbs changed the subject. "So where is Abby? I was positive that she would have hitched a ride with you two."
Tony and Ziva exchanged nervous glances, neither of them sure how Gibbs would react to Abby's behavior. Gibbs noticed the tension and spoke up, "What happened? Why is she not here right now?"
Ziva sighed, "When we met in the lab this morning to go through footage, Abby was complaining about how she didn't think that you or Tim wanted anything to do with her. She doesn't understand why all of your attention is focused on Tim right now. I got cross with her. I told her when she felt like being part of the team again, she could help us."
Ziva closed her eyes, waiting for a head slap for treating Abby that way. But, when it never came, she opened her eyes to see Gibbs tending to Tim.
Once Gibbs was satisfied that Tim was clean, he grabbed a cookie from the pantry and handed it to him. He sat down in the chair next to Tim and smirked when Tim reached out for him. "Come here kiddo", he said as he lifted Tim out of the chair and onto his lap. Tim smiled and closed his eyes as he leaned back against Gibbs' chest while he sucked on the Nutter Butter.
It was only after Gibbs had Tim comfortable did he speak about Abby. "I'm sorry to hear that Abby was such a pain this morning. It seems that because she's having issues with this situation, she might need to find a new team. I'll speak with her later."
Tony and Ziva were shocked that Gibbs would even suggest such a drastic action, but then again he made it clear from the beginning of this nightmare that Tim was his top priority. Was it possible that Abby wasn't his favorite anymore? It sure seemed that way to them. Since Tim had become a baby, they were treated to a whole different side of Gibbs. A sweet, sensitive, nurturing side they didn't even know existed. Little Tim was good for Gibbs, he allowed him to be human again.
Determined to break the tension in the room, Tony pulled the photograph out of his pocket and slid it across the table. "It's probably nothing, but this woman looked vaguely familiar to me."
Gibbs grabbed his reading glasses and held the picture up so both he and Tim could take a look. He took one glance at the picture and threw it down on the table. Tim turned white as a ghost and started shaking violently before dropping his cookie on the floor. Tony and Ziva exchanged worried looks as Tim began sobbing.
Desperate for answers, Tony blurted out "What is it boss? How do you and Tim know this woman?"
Gibbs wrapped his arms around Tim who was beginning to hyperventilate.
"Easy, easy Timmy. I don't want you to make yourself sick" Gibbs soothed.
But it was too late for reassurances as Tim began heaving, expelling all the lunch he just finished eating. Most of it landed on the table, but some of it landed down the front of Tim and on Gibbs' jeans. Uncertain if he was done, Ziva ran to get the trashcan as Gibbs positioned Tim's body over it. Sure enough, not a second later Gibbs winced as Tim's small frame was racked with tremors as he emptied the rest of his stomach contents into the trash. Tony stood up, went to the sink and wet a few paper towels so Gibbs could clean Tim up.
Gibbs took the offered paper towels and gently began tending to Tim. He was still shaking and sweat dripped from his brow. Gibbs was able to wipe most of the vomit up with one towel and used the second to wipe away the tears and sweat that coated his face. He carded his hand through Tim's hair, worried at how flushed he had become and ordered DiNozzo to go into the bathroom and get a cold washcloth. By the time Tony returned, Gibbs had managed to get Tim's breathing under control but he was still shaking. Gibbs folded the washcloth in half and held it to Tim's forehead.
Convinced that Gibbs had the situation under control, Tony couldn't hold his tongue any longer.
"Boss, will you please tell us what the hell is going on? How do you and Tim know this woman?"
Gibbs sighed, as he continued to dab the washcloth on Tim's face and neck. "When Tim and I went shopping this morning, there was an "employee" who came up to us and asked if we needed help. And I let her help us!"
Gibbs banged his fist on the table, "She touched Tim, damnit!"
"It's the same woman from that photo…I had a bad feeling about her at the store but I just pushed her to the back of my mind. My attention was focused on Tim. Then when we left, I had a gut feeling that something wasn't right. She must have been watching us in the parking lot."
Tony tried to reassure him, "Boss…it's not your fault. How could you know that she had anything to do with this?
Gibbs stared at Tony for a while before yelling, "Because it's my job to know, DiNozzo! It's my job to protect Tim!"
The room was silent, each agent buried in their own thoughts. Tim, who was still sniffling a little bit, shifted in Gibbs' lap so that he could see his face. He then reached up and ran his little hand down Gibbs' cheek before whispering "twust u Gib." Gibbs sighed and grabbed Tim's hand in his own before leaning down and kissing the top of his head. "Thanks sweetie" he said, his term of endearment surprising both Tony and Ziva.
Tim's moment of reassurance toward him snapped Gibbs out of his funk. Before they could bat an eye he was firmly barking out orders as to what needed to be done next.
"First off, we need a BOLO out on this woman, any idea who she is?"
"Tony and I believe she is a relative of Grey's because they look similar, but we are having a hard time tracking down a specific name or relation."
"Well look harder! Pull some strings! I want a name for this psychopath! Tony, Tim will need a protection detail 24/7…call Vance and let him know what's going on."
"Sure thing, Boss."
Gibbs then turned to Tim, "Hey babe, are you ready to go get cleaned up?"
Tim nodded and Gibbs used the washcloth he had to wipe off any chunks of vomit that were on either of them before standing up and carrying Tim upstairs.
Once they left Tony turned to Ziva and said, "I have never seen Gibbs be that kind or gentle to anyone. Tim is definitely changing him for the better."
Ziva nodded and pulled out her phone, attempting to call in some favors owed her by other agencies.
Gibbs took Tim in the bathroom and stripped him down. Luckily the vomit had not soaked through his sweatpants so Gibbs just grabbed a couple of baby wipes and cleansed the skin until he could put him in the bath later on. Tim was exhausted as Gibbs brought him back to the bedroom to change his diaper and get a new set of clothes on him. He stuck his thumb in his mouth and allowed Gibbs to carry out his ministrations. By the time Gibbs was slipping a new pair of sweatpants on, Tim was in dreamland. Gibbs took the opportunity to change his own clothes before cradling Tim in his arms and bringing him back downstairs.
Tony and Ziva were sitting on the couch when Gibbs came in with a sleeping Tim. He figured it would be the perfect opportunity to get the crib set up now that he had someone who could watch Tim and an additional person to help him.
"Alright, I need to get the crib set up, who wants to watch Tim and who wants to help me?" Tony and Ziva exchanged glances, both of them wanting to be with Tim at that moment.
Seeing the desperation in Tony's eyes, Ziva quietly whispered that she would help Gibbs. Gibbs nodded as Tony arranged himself comfortably on the couch while Gibbs slipped a sleeping Tim into his arms. Tim shifted for a moment then snuggled closer to Tony's chest before his breathing evened out.
Gibbs and Ziva both smiled as Tony ran his hand through Tim's hair in an attempt to soothe him.
"We'll be right upstairs if you need anything, DiNozzo." Gibbs reassured him.
Tony nodded then motioned for them to leave as he turned his attention back to the sleeping baby in his arms.
Chapter 17Fifteen minutes had passed since Gibbs and Ziva went upstairs to begin assembling the crib. Tony had turned the television on low, however instead of watching it, he caught himself not being able to keep his eyes off Tim. Tony never considered having children, but this experience was giving him a whole new perspective. Tim suddenly shifted in his arms and opened his eyes. Groggy and incognizant of what was going on, tears began welling up in his eyes before he asked "Where Gib?"
Cursing himself for even turning on the television, Tony attempted to reassure him. "Shh buddy," he whispered while he began carding his fingers through Tim's hair. "Everything is fine, Gibbs and Ziva are setting up the crib upstairs. Why don't you go back to sleep. I'm here for you Timmy."
Tim's eyes were already closing as he mumbled "K Toey" before he stuck his thumb in his mouth and nuzzled closer to him. Tony took a deep breath and exhaled. One crisis averted he thought as he continued to watch television. Forty- five minutes later Gibbs and Ziva quietly descended the stairs, but stopped when they heard snoring coming from the family room. They turned to each other and laughed before continuing the rest of the way. Upon entering the room they were greeted to Tony, asleep with his head resting on the back of the couch with Tim tucked safely against his chest.
Not wanting to wake Tim, Gibbs walked over and gently tapped Tony on the knee. Tony's eyes shot open and he gave a sheepish smile before he whispered, "Hey Boss, I was just resting my eyes." Gibbs smirked "Uh huh, did he give you any trouble?"
Tony reached down and lovingly swept Tim's hair off to one side "Nah, he woke up once looking for you, but I got him to go back to sleep." He said proudly.
Gibbs nodded, "Do you want me to take him?"
Tony thought for a moment, on one hand he would have loved to continue bonding with Tim but he also knew they had work to do. Satisfied that he got a little bit of time with him he nodded, stood up and whispered, "Ziva and I are going back to the office but we'll be back tonight for protection detail. Vance is sending two other agents to guard the outside perimeter." Tony kissed Tim on the forehead before he handed him off to Gibbs. Tim stirred briefly but when Gibbs laid him on his shoulder he instinctively nuzzled his face into Gibbs' neck and sighed. Gibbs patted Tim's bottom and rubbed his back a few times in an effort to lull him back to sleep.
Satisfied Tim was asleep, Gibbs turned serious; "I'm expecting you two to have a name to go with that picture before you even think of showing back up here tonight. Oh, if you see Abby tell her I need to speak with her."
Tony and Ziva glanced at each other before nodding.
"You got it, Boss!"
"We will not let either of you down, Gibbs."
Gibbs took a peek out the window before opening the door. As they stepped outside, Gibbs cleared his throat before he spoke.
"Tony, good job with Tim today. He's going to need you a lot more the next few days."
Tony smiled, "Thanks Boss, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would."
"Ziver, thanks for your help with the crib. Next time there's an opportunity to cuddle with Tim, you're up first."
Ziva grinned "You are welcome Gibbs, I am going to hold you to that."
Gibbs nodded and waited until they were pulling out of the driveway before he headed back inside. He was exhausted after the emotional day they had been through. Gibbs arranged himself on the couch with Tim lying on his chest. Before he knew it, his eyes grew heavy and he followed Tim into a restless sleep.
Tony and Ziva arrived back at NCIS to begin searching for information on their mystery woman. They were both so involved in their work that neither of them noticed Abby standing in the middle of the bullpen. She was anxiously playing with her pigtails, her gaze cast on the floor.
"What is it, Abby?" Tony asked bluntly, not even looking up from the files he was sorting through.
"Well, umm I was just wondering if you had seen Timmy or Gibbs today?" she stuttered.
Ziva rolled her eyes, "So NOW you decide you care about McGee?"
Tony added, "By the way, Gibbs wants to talk to you. He's not happy!"
Abby grimaced, began chewing on her bottom lip and stomped out of the bullpen.
Tony sighed, "The only way Abby will take this seriously is if she knows that she can't get away with everything. But, Gibbs really needs to be the one to tell her that."
Just as Abby left, Ziva's phone rang "Ohh this is my friend, Greg from the State Department."
"Hello Greg? Do you have a name for me? Uh huh...I see...thanks." She hung up the phone and stood up.
"Did you get a name?
Ziva walked over to Tony's desk then sighed "I hate to say this, but you were right, Tony. The woman from the bar and the clothing store is a relative of Lucy Grey."
Tony laughed, "Yes! DiNozzo does it again! So how is she related?"
"Her name is Ella Grey; she is Lucy's younger sister. She has not showed up for work the past two days."
Tony ran his hand through his hair. "Alright, we have a lot of work to do. You background the sister, Ella and I'll start on Lucy. We need to find out as much information about these two. We need answers to take back to Gibbs tonight." Then he smiled, "McGee does make a pretty cute baby though, doesn't he?"
Ziva smiled, "Yes, he does Tony. Yes, he does."
A knock on the door, jerked both Tim and Gibbs awake. Tim's breathing increased as he forcefully buried his face against Gibbs' chest. Gibbs sat up and began rubbing small circles on Tim' back. As he stood, he attempted to reassure Tim, "Shh kiddo, everything is fine. I believe Ducky is at the door."
Before he could get to the door there was another small knock, Gibbs sighed "Yeah...I'm coming...I'm coming..." He peeked through the window to see Ducky standing there with his medical bag.
Gibbs opened the door to greet Ducky, "Hey, Duck come on in."
Ducky removed his hat and stepped inside, "Jethro."
He then grabbed Tim's foot and shook it, "Timothy, how are you doing today, lad?"
Tim, who still had his face buried against Gibbs' chest slowly leaned back, rubbed his eyes and waved to Ducky.
Ducky laughed, "Well I'll take that as good. Although, Jethro tells me that you have a bit of a rash. I'm afraid I need to take a look young man."
Gibbs sighed, "We have had a long day Ducky, is it essential that you do the exam right now?"
Tim began whimpering and shaking his head. He immediately threw his arms around Gibbs' neck and squeezed tight.
Ducky took off his coat before turning back to the pair, "I'm afraid so Jethro the sooner I examine him the sooner we can begin treatment."
Gibbs nodded, "Well lets go upstairs, Tim probably could use a change anyway."
Tim began squirming against Gibbs, doing everything in his power to get away from him. He started sobbing and shouting "No!" "No!" "Pwease!" Jethro, who was asleep in his bed, immediately jumped up when he heard Tim struggling. Attempting to protect his master, he began barking and growling at the two men.
Between Tim's crying and Jethro's barking, Gibbs' eardrums were about to rupture. First he had to deal with the dog, then he could try to console Tim. "Jethro!" Gibbs yelled, over the barrage of high- pitched noises that permeated the room. "We are not going to hurt Tim! We just want to help him!" Jethro stared at Gibbs, determined to tell if he was sincere or not. The two of them locked eyes, Gibbs eventually winning out, before the dog was content that Gibbs didn't mean any harm. He whimpered as he retreated to his bed to observe.
Tim continued to struggle, but Gibbs was just too strong for the small amount of strength the transformation left him with. Gibbs began whispering reassurances in his ear in an effort to calm him down. "Shh sweetie...Ducky is a doctor. It's really not a big deal. We just want to make sure that your legs don't become infected. If they become a problem, we are going to have to go to the hospital and I don't think you want that" Tim didn't care what Gibbs was threatening, there was only one person he trusted to change his diaper and he did not want anyone else to see him that vulnerable.
Gibbs sighed, "Ducky, will you go into the kitchen and get a bottle? There should be one in the refrigerator all ready to be put in the microwave."
Ducky began walking toward the kitchen as he motioned for Gibbs to continue his ministrations. Gibbs was racking his brain trying to figure out a way to comfort Tim. As he continued to sob against his shoulder, Gibbs tried bouncing, rocking and tickling but nothing seemed to work. He sighed as Ducky came back from the kitchen with a bottle.
Gibbs began walking toward the couch, hopeful the bottle would have a calming effect on Tim, "He's inconsolable Duck, I told you he wasn't going to like this."
Ducky nodded as he handed Gibbs the bottle and took a seat on the couch. Gibbs sat next to him and arranged Tim so he was leaning back against his chest. He was still sniffling a little bit, but once Gibbs put the nipple up to his mouth, he began sucking. Gibbs used one hand to wipe the sweat from his brow before he leaned back against the couch. He turned to Ducky, "I was running out of ideas."
Ducky continued to watch them before he spoke, "You're really good with him Jethro."
Gibbs smirked as Tim continued to nurse on the bottle. He suddenly put his little hand around Gibbs' thumb and squeezed as his eyes began to droop. Gibbs stood up and motioned for Ducky to follow him. "He's ready Duck, let's go before he changes his mind."
Ducky grabbed his medical bag and followed them upstairs into the bedroom. Gibbs gently laid Tim on the bed and began changing him while Ducky occupied himself by readying his medical supplies. Once Gibbs was done, he kissed Tim on the forehead and looked him in the eye. "Tim, your dignity will be as protected as possible. Ducky will do everything he can to preserve your modesty, son." Tim watched Gibbs carefully, then glanced over at Ducky and gave a slow nod. Ducky approached Tim with a loving twinkle in his eye, giving him a pat on the tummy. "All right, my friend, let's see what we can do to get this rash cleared up, shall we?" Tim jerked when Ducky ran his fingertips over his legs, but once Gibbs put a hand on his forehead he settled down.
Ducky winced "I'm sorry, little one, if you'll lift your leg just a little bit," he patted Tim's right leg, "That's it, now I can see what we are dealing with." As Tim raised his leg, Ducky gently pushed the diaper towards his stomach so that he could see the edge of the rash. "Oh I see it, Timothy, let me just grab the ointment." Ducky squeezed a small dab on his finger and looked up at Gibbs. "Ahh, Jethro would you mind helping me out? Could you hold the edge of the diaper up so I can get as much ointment on the rash as possible?" Gibbs kept one hand on Tim's forehead and untaped one side of the diaper to allow Ducky full access to the rash. Tim squirmed but Gibbs began rubbing his thumb over Tim's forehead at a steady pace. "Shh...shh...kiddo... you're doing so good."
"All right Timothy, are you ready? The ointment will be a little cool on you, but then I imagine it will be rather soothing." Ducky kept up the soft patter as he carefully smoothed the ointment on the chafed skin. "Good boy, now Jethro if you'll tape up this side and we'll move on to the next." Gibbs nodded as he rubbed Tim's stomach before taping up one side of the diaper. Then he moved to the next side and carefully undid the tapes. "Oh good, this side looks a little less sore than the other one." Ducky looked to Tim for confirmation and got a small smile before the youngster's eyes slowly began to close. Tim was asleep before Ducky finished his exam. "Alright Jethro, I'm finished." Gibbs taped up the other side of the diaper, afraid he would wake Tim; he decided he would put his pants back on after he woke up. Gibbs' eyes remained glued on Tim but he addressed Ducky, "So what's the verdict? Will the chafing clear up?
Ducky began packing his medical bag, "He's going to be just fine Jethro. In cases like this, you just have to continue using this cream until it clears up."
Gibbs picked Tim up, kissed his forehead and gently laid him in the crib. After covering him with the blanket, he turned the video monitor towards the crib as they quietly exited the room.
"Can I get you a cup of tea, Ducky?" Gibbs asked as he walked into the kitchen to start another pot of coffee.
"That would be nice, thank you." Ducky replied as he took a seat at the table.
"Oh my! What's this mess? It looks like someone lost their lunch."
Gibbs sighed and looked over. He had forgotten to clean up the vomit from earlier.
"Someone did lose their lunch, Ducky. Turns out that the woman who originally drugged Tim was stalking us while we were at a department store earlier today. She posed as an "employee" and actually helped me. Not to mention, she had the guts to touch Tim! DiNozzo brought a picture over from the restaurant footage he thought might be a suspect. We both took one look at the picture and Tim lost it. His small body could only take so much stress before it worked against him."
"Oh dear the poor little fellow has been through a lot today. No wonder why he's so exhausted!"
Gibbs nodded as he began cleaning up the table and floor as he waited for the coffee to finish brewing. As he threw the last remnants into the trash his cell phone rang. He ran his hand down his face as he looked at the caller ID and saw it was Abby. Gibbs excused himself from the kitchen and went out to the living room before he answered.
Instead of Abby's normal high pitched greeting there was silence on the other end of the line.
Gibbs sighed, "Abby! Are you there? Did you forget that you called me?"
"Sorry Gibbs I just figured that you were busy with Tim. I didn't expect you to answer." she whined.
Gibbs ran his fingers through his hair, reminding himself to remain calm but firm. "Abby, Tim is asleep right now. Is there a reason why you're calling? Tony and Ziva told me that you haven't been very helpful."
Abby screeched, "Tattletales! I'm sorry but I don't know what I'm sorry about because I don't know what I did wrong I just wanta help, Gibbs, I just wanta help Timmy and I don't understand why you won't let me help and why Timmy doesn't wanta be around me and Tony and Ziva are being mean to me and I don't understand GIBBBBBS..."
Gibbs rolled his eyes, "Abby! Stop!" All his intentions of remaining calm were on the verge of flying out the window. He took a deep breath. "You need to listen to me because I'm only going to say this once. We're going to need that brain of yours, but you have to understand this is NOT about you, this is about Tim. You were pushing it when you attempted to grab Tim. He clearly was uncomfortable and made it known he did NOT want to be touched by anyone but me. You are NOT exempt from my orders, ever. This is a huge change in Tim's life, physically and emotionally and we need to be supportive. You also need to remember that this is a case, what we do professionally. Your behavior was in no way professional or suited to Tim's needs! Not to mention the photo you took after I gave strict orders to all of you. You will begin to treat Tim as the rest of us or else."
Abby's voice broke, "Or else what Gibbs? Come on, it was just a picture and you were so cute and Tim was so cuddly and…"
Gibbs cut her off, speaking in a softly scary voice, "I'm questioning my trust in you Abby and that's not something I thought I would ever hear myself say. If I see or hear anything else about you, that you're not following orders, you're off the case and I'll reconsider your place on my team. You are an adult, not a little girl and you are the only one responsible for your actions. Now are you ready to be a part of the team or not?
There was a momentary silence and Gibbs wondered if she had ended the call, then came a shaky voice, "Yes, I really want to help, I guess I didn't think those orders included me, they never have before."
Gibbs sighed, "Honestly that is my fault Abby, I've been far too lenient with you. But that doesn't mean you should be taking advantage of it and twisting every situation until it works in your favor. Do you think that you can be professional and help us solve this case?"
"I'm ready Gibbs, I'll follow your orders and listen to Tony and Ziva, too. Please don't give the evidence to anyone else. I'll be on my best behavior from now on."
"I expect nothing but the best from you Abby. We need to solve this case and still help Tim. He is my top priority; our top priority and will remain so until we figure this out. No more second chances Abby, if I hear anymore complaining from you, then that is it. I will speak with Vance about getting a temp to replace you. I also want you to delete that picture from your phone, in front of Tony and Ziva. And no more...wait...did you do anything else with that photo?"
"No, Gibbs, it's just on my phone. Yeah, I'll delete it when Tony and Ziva are both around."
Gibbs took a deep breath and exhaled, "I hope we have an understanding now, Abby. Perhaps if you calm down and allow Tim some space, he might surprise you. Let him know that you're there for him but dial it down about ten notches. Every time you feel the urge to touch him without his permission, think back to this conversation. Now why don't you go find Tony and Ziva and see what you can do to help."
Abby quietly responded, "Yes, Gibbs...thank you for giving me a second chance."
Gibbs grunted and ended the call, exhausted. Coffee he thought, I must have coffee.
Chapter 18Tony and Ziva worked in companionable silence, both of them determined to obtain as much information as they could on the Grey sisters. After witnessing Tim's reaction earlier that afternoon, they were prepared to move Heaven and Earth in order to protect him. He was their little brother, friend and colleague but more importantly, he needed them now more than ever. They glanced at each other as the thump, thump, thumping sound of Abby's boots suddenly grew closer.
Abby walked in and stood between Tony and Ziva's desk. Her gaze cast on the floor as she nervously played with one of the rings on her finger.
Determined to ease the awkwardness, Tony stood and began to speak, but was abruptly cut off as Abby launched herself into his arms. "I'm so sorry... I just wanted to help Timmy and now Gibbs hates me and doesn't trust me. What am I going to do?" She sputtered out between sobs. Tony looked over at Ziva who clearly was not amused by Abby's attempt at an apology.
Tony suddenly pulled back as he held Abby at an arm's length. "Abby, if there's one thing I know for certain, it's that Gibbs and Timmy don't hate you. They only want you to start acting professional and help us solve this case. Now that we're a man down there is no question that we need all hands on deck."
Abby wiped away the streaks of mascara that cascaded down her face and sniffled, "I know that's what Gibbs told me but I hate the fact that he is disappointed with me."
Ziva, who had remained quiet, shrugged her shoulders, "So fix it, Abby. It is not too late to help us. We are only just beginning."
Abby nodded, "So what do you need help with?"
Tony smiled, "Well since McGee is not here we need help looking into Lucy and Ella's emails, bank accounts, phone records."
Abby saluted him, "You got it! I'm going to get to work. I will let you know if I find anything unusual."
Tony gave a slow nod as he watched the bounce return in Abby's step as she retreated to the elevator. He turned back around and caught Ziva's gaze. "Well that was easier than I thought it was going to be. Boss must have let her have it. I rarely see Abby that compliant anymore."
Ziva smirked as she turned her attention back to the computer screen to resume sifting through possible leads.
Gibbs walked back into the kitchen, immediately grabbed a cup of coffee and took a seat at the kitchen table. Ducky was busy reading the paper but glanced up to meet Gibbs' eyes. "I must say Jethro; you look like you have been put through the wringer." Gibbs rubbed his eyes then laughed, "Yeah, I just had a heart to heart with Abby regarding her behavior over this entire situation."
Ducky took a sip of his tea, "I see Jethro, Abigail means well..."
Gibbs put his hand up before Ducky could finish, "I've spent too many years catering to her every need. Let her get away with stuff that I would never let the other members of my team get away with. When I realized that Tim as a baby was acting more mature than Abby as an adult, it was time to put my foot down."
He shrugged his shoulders then continued, "Abby said she's ready to be part of the team again so only time will tell if she can control herself."
Ducky sighed, "Well everyone stumbles Jethro; you will probably have to remind her again before this investigation is over with."
Gibbs stared at the baby monitor in front of him, "Nope, she already blew her one opportunity. If Abby can't be professional then she won't be allowed to help on this case."
Ducky stood and squeezed Gibbs' shoulder before setting his teacup in the sink. "You know what is best, Jethro. Your gut has served you well in the past; I suggest that you stick with it. I have dinner plans, but if you have any other issues with young Timothy then feel free to call me."
Gibbs nodded then stood to walk Ducky to the door. "Thanks for coming over to check on Tim, I appreciate it."
Ducky slipped on his coat and hat and opened the door, "Of course Jethro, continue to take good care of him. I can see young Timothy has already captured your heart and if what I observed today is any indication then the little guy feels the same way about you.
Gibbs smiled as he watched Ducky make it safely to his car before he headed inside. He locked the door and turned around only to have Jethro nudge his hand with his nose before heading to the back door in anticipation of being allowed outside. After Gibbs let the dog out, he felt the need to check on Tim in person. He quietly ascended the stairs and opened the bedroom door. He stifled a laugh when he peered over the railing of the crib to see Tim asleep, sucking his thumb while his knees were tucked safely underneath his chest, raising his little bottom in the air. The blanket he covered Tim with earlier was lying in a heap at the end of the crib. Gibbs knew he needed to go start dinner, but he couldn't take his eyes off the sweet, innocent baby boy in front of him. He watched Tim's chest rise and fall with each breath before he gently patted him on the bottom, covering him with the blanket.
Gibbs went back down to the kitchen and glanced at his watch. It was close to dinnertime and because Tim had thrown up most of his lunch, he knew hunger pains would eventually wake him up. As he began looking through the pantry a soft scratching on the back door caught his attention. Jethro sat, covered in white snowflakes with his head cocked to the side desperate to get out of the cold. Gibbs quickly opened the door and winced as Jethro began to shake the remaining wetness from his body.
"Thanks a lot, Jethro! You couldn't have done that outside?" The dog whimpered and blinked his sad puppy dog eyes. "Those might work on Tim, but I assure you, they won't work on me." He laughed as the dog gave another whimper before Gibbs gave him a treat and sent him out to the family room.
Just as Gibbs turned his attention back to the pantry, his phone rang. Gibbs sighed; he really hoped it wasn't Abby calling again so soon after their most recent conversation. He glanced at the caller ID relieved to see that it was DiNozzo calling.
"Gibbs." He answered gruffly.
"Oh hey boss, this a bad time?"
Gibbs sighed, "No Tony, what is it?"
Tony cleared his throat; "We have some new information on the Greys, plus we're Tim's protection detail so we wanted to let you know that we would be there shortly."
Suddenly there was a small cry on the baby monitor and Gibbs began heading upstairs while still on the phone. "Tony I've got to go, Tim just woke up; dinner is in forty five minutes."
Before Tony could even reply, Gibbs hung up and quietly entered the bedroom.
"Gib!" "Gib!" Tim cried as he reached for Gibbs from the bottom of the crib.
"Hey sweetie, did you have a good nap?" he soothed as he leaned over the side and picked him up. Tim yawned then shivered as he laid his head down on Gibbs' shoulder. "You're probably a little cold because I didn't put your pants back on after Ducky was done. Tim blushed as Gibbs laid him down on the bed and began changing his diaper. He grabbed the ointment off the dresser and put a dollop on his finger, "Remember the ointment might be a little cool," he soothed as he rubbed it on the chafed skin. Once he finished, he slipped Tim's sweatpants back on and headed downstairs.
"Tony and Ziva will be here in about an hour. Tony said they have some new information for us." He felt Tim's body tense against his as he shifted him to his hip while he began pulling out the ingredients to make spaghetti.
Realizing that it would be hard for him to hold Tim and attempt to make dinner he decided to give him a choice. "Do you want to go out in the family room and watch television or do you want to sit in here with me?"
"Eat Gib!" "Eat!" Tim giggled while patting his tummy.
Gibbs laughed, "Hungry, huh?" he asked reaching over and patting Tim's tummy too.
Tim giggled then nodded as Gibbs sat him in one of the kitchen chairs. "How about this, I'll get you a small snack and you can eat while I start on dinner."
Gibbs grabbed a piece of cheese and a handful of grapes both cut into quarters to ensure Tim wouldn't choke.
Tim ate contently as Gibbs pulled out a large skillet and began browning the hamburger meat. Next came a large pot of water, he waited for it to boil before throwing in the spaghetti noodles. Satisfied the meat was ready for the oven, he grabbed a large jar of sauce, which he mixed with the meat. He was fairly certain that the noodles were ready but just to make sure he carefully spooned a few out and threw them against the wall to see if they would stick. Suddenly Tim erupted into laughter at the sight of his boss throwing noodles against the kitchen wall.
"What's so funny?" Gibbs laughed as he looked over his shoulder to see Tim watching him intently.
Tim blushed and covered his face with his hands.
Convinced the noodles were ready, he pull out a large serving dish and mixed the meat and noodles together. He topped it with mozzarella cheese and placed it in the oven.
Once he was finished, he turned his attention back toward Tim. He noticed the youngster was shivering so he went over and knelt down beside him.
"I'm going to start a fire honey, why don't you finish up here and then we can go cuddle in front of it. Jethro is in the family room, I know he will be happy to see you."
Tim nodded and placed another piece of cheese in his mouth before Gibbs ruffled his hair reassuring him that he would be right back. True to his word, Gibbs returned a minute later, got a fresh bottle out of the fridge, and warmed it up.
"You ready for some cuddle time?" He asked as he gently lifted the toddler up out of the chair and carried him into the family room. He took a seat on the couch, closest to the fireplace and smirked when Jethro came over to lie at his feet. Gibbs cradled Tim in his arms and put the bottle up to his lips. He began sucking with vigor and used his free arm to wrap around Gibbs' waist in an attempt to get as close as possible. Gibbs leaned down and kissed his little boy's forehead, enjoying his baby smell. As Tim continued to suck on the bottle, Gibbs began running his fingers through his hair, savoring the quiet time the two were allowed. He knew that once Tony and Ziva got there, chances were he wouldn't have any one on one time with Tim until it was bedtime.
Unfortunately, their alone time was interrupted twenty minutes later by a small knock on the door.
"DiNozzo always shows up as soon as the food is ready." Gibbs teased as he got up off the couch, shifting Tim to his hip while he walked to the door.
A quick peek out the window confirmed his suspicions, as he opened the door a cold gust of wind and snow blew in their face, forcing Tim to bury his face into Gibbs' neck.
"You okay kiddo?" Gibbs frowned as he wiped the wetness off Tim's face with his shirtsleeve.
Tim nodded as Gibbs stepped aside allowing Tony and Ziva to enter. "Tim, you look much better than you did when we saw you earlier. How are you feeling?" Ziva asked warmly as she gave his tiny arm a squeeze. He smiled then reached his arms out in anticipation, clearly wanting to be held by her. Ziva smiled as she stepped up and gently took Tim into her arms. He laid his head down on her shoulder, enjoying the scent of her perfume as she lovingly swept the hair out of his face.
Gibbs cleared his throat, "Well I hate to break up this moment, but dinner is almost ready. I just need to put the bread in the oven."
Tony laughed, "I thought your version of cooking always involved the fireplace"
Gibbs smirked then gave him a slap upside the head before he walked into the kitchen to check on dinner.
Ziva rocked Tim on her hip; then instead of following the boys into the kitchen, she walked over and stood in front of the fireplace. They were both so mesmerized by the flames that neither of them realized Gibbs was calling them for dinner until Jethro began barking. As Ziva walked into the kitchen, Tim suddenly put his tiny hand in her hair and began playing with it.
"Ahh Probie is a hair man!" Tony teased.
Tim blushed, immediately dropped his hand and buried his face in the crook of her neck. Ziva gave Tony a dirty look and began rubbing small circles on Tim's back. She scoffed, "Do not pay any attention to Tony; he is just jealous because he can not run his hands through my hair." Tim smiled coyly before running his fingers through Ziva's hair one more time.
Gibbs laughed, "Tim is giving you a run for your money, DiNozzo."
Tony huffed, "Yeah, yeah...what woman doesn't love a cute baby?"
Gibbs turned back to the oven, he removed the spaghetti and garlic bread while Tony set the table. Once the food cooled a bit, Gibbs transferred it to the table, then got a bib for Tim.
As he tied the bib around his neck he asked, "Who would you like to sit with, little man?" Tim's eyes darted between the three agents, clearly overanalyzing the simple question. Gibbs knew Tim was worried about hurting their feelings. "Timmy, nobody will be hurt if you don't choose to sit with them. It's not that big of a deal. I just thought you would like to make the decision."
Tim blushed before he quietly whispered "Zeba."
Gibbs nodded, "Ziva it is...good choice son."
Dinner was a lively affair between Tony talking about his latest college co-ed fling to the number of movies he's watched in his lifetime, it was hard for anyone else to get a word in edgewise. However, the three guys were also treated to a very special gift given to them by Ziva. Throughout the entire dinner they watched as her maternal instincts kicked into high gear. She helped Tim eat, held the bottle for him and cleaned him up when they were finished. From time to time she would lean down and whisper in his ear, causing Tim to blush or laugh. Ziva was a natural and Gibbs made a mental note to let her know that she would be a great mom someday.
However light and fluffy dinner was, Gibbs knew it would only get worse once Tony and Ziva shared the new information they gathered on the Grey sisters. He got up to start a new pot of coffee but stopped as Tim grabbed his hand.
The look in Tim's eyes was the same one he witnessed in the department store earlier that day. Tim reached out as Gibbs gently removed him from Ziva's lap into his waiting arms. Wanting to preserve as much dignity as possible, he stepped out of sight to check Tim's diaper. Sure enough, it was dirty so he stepped back into the kitchen and asked Tony and Ziva to finish cleaning up and to start a fresh pot of coffee. Gibbs wasn't sure why Tim didn't have a meltdown as he did in the store. Maybe he was getting used to it, he thought, or perhaps he didn't want to make a scene in front of his teammates. Whatever the reason, he was determined to find an answer. Probably not right now, but sometime in the near future. As he laid Tim on the bed, he tried to continue a steady stream of conversation to avoid any awkwardness between the two of them. That's when he realized there was nothing awkward between them, Tim was the baby and he was the caregiver. After finishing up, he kissed Tim's forehead before laying him on his shoulder and returning to the kitchen.
Once they were settled with Tim comfortably resting against his chest, he turned to Tony and Ziva.
"All right, I don't care which one of you goes first, but I want to know all there is about these two sisters."
Tony and Ziva exchanged glances before Ziva started to speak.
"I did the background work up on Ella Grey. Lucy raised her when they were growing up so we believe that is why she is doing all of her dirty work. She works as a pharmacist at a local medical facility however she has not showed up for work in two days and is not home. They sent over the security footage from the department store this afternoon and we did indeed confirm that it was she. Apparently, she also visited her sister at the jail today but we are still waiting on the footage from there to come in. Her boss describes her as very driven, he told me that once she sets her mind on something it is impossible for her to let go."
Gibbs nodded then wrapped his arms around Tim's shoulders and pulled him close.
"Good job, Ziva."
He motioned at Tony, "Let's hear it, DiNozzo."
Tony sighed, "Well Boss, I did some digging on Lucy Grey. We already know that she was a scientist for the Navy until about 2 days ago. It seems this psycho wanted to have children her entire life until she ended up with cancer and had a hysterectomy. According to co-workers that's what pushed her into making this specific drug. I just don't understand, I mean if she really wanted kids that badly, there are other alternatives. As you know, she was successful in turning three men, not including Timmy, into babies. Her bond hearing is set for Thursday so we must be prepared if she is released. There's something about this woman that I can't put my finger on yet."
Gibbs ran his hand down his face, "Nice work DiNozzo."
"First thing in the morning I want both of you at the jail. We need to see that security footage from Ella's visit this morning."
Just as they finished, Gibbs phone rang, Abby's name flashed across the caller ID. He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled before answering.
"Hey Abby, what do you got?"
"Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs! I was going through the sister's emails, phone records, bank accounts; you know stuff that McGee usually does when he's here..."
"Abby! Did you find something?"
"Nothing yet on the personal accounts but that's not the reason I'm calling."
Gibbs rolled his eyes, his patience clearly wearing thin, "Well then why are you calling?
"I'm calling because I got a call from Human Resources asking if anyone on our team had accessed yours or Tim's secured personal files. When I told them no, they told me the records were hacked in to from a server outside of NCIS about a week ago. Someone has been fishing for information on you and Tim for the past week."
Gibbs slammed his fist on the table, "I want a name and a reason, Abby!"
"I'm working on it Gibbs, just give me some time."
"You have 12 hours Abby; borrow people from cyber crimes, just get it done!"
With that, he hung up and addressed the team. "Someone breached the security wall at NCIS and viewed personal files for both Tim and myself. That "someone" has been planning this for awhile."
MTAC - NCIS Fic