"Good night, Tim."
Tim waved at the receptionist and gave her a brief smile. "Goodnight, Grace." He shifted his thin leather briefcase over his shoulder and walked towards the elevators, glad to finally be on his way home.
On the way down to the train station under the building, he went over the day's events in his mind. If felt odd having a 9-5 job again, especially one using his own name. He had considered using another alias, but then he decided that enough time had passed since Timothy McGee had 'died' that he would be safe using that moniker. A common enough name, so there was little chance that someone would associate it with an NCIS agent killed in the line of duty over thirty-five years ago.
It hadn't been until he started working again that he realized how much he had missed it. His current batch of co-workers were a pretty bland bunch, it was true, but it was a nice chance from his years of self-imposed isolation after his last attempt at a normal life.
The train ride to his building was thankfully brief and soon he was riding another elevator up to his small efficiency apartment overlooking the Potomac River. He punched his combination into the keypad and the door swung open, revealing the neat and still mostly unfurnished interior of the apartment. He placed his briefcase on his desk and headed for the kitchen area to retrieve a drink from the refrigerator. After pouring the contents of one of the cans into a glass he carried it over to a sleek recliner and settled into the seat, sighing with contentment as he raised to footrest and relaxed into the leather-coated comfortableness of his favorite chair.
He had been enjoying that comfort for only a few minutes before a soft chime sounded, indicating someone was ringing his doorbell. With an exasperated groan, he climbed out of the chair and made his way to the door. He checked the video monitor and frowned. He didn't recognize the elderly gentleman standing with his back to the camera, whether on purpose or not Tim couldn't tell.
After a slight hesitation he pressed the button to allow his visitor to enter the building. He saw the man disappear into the elevator and waited for the buzz that would indicate the approach of another Immortal, relaxing slightly when his senses didn't receive the expected warning. A few moments later he heard a knock at the door and he cautiously opened it.
For a brief moment Tim thought that somehow Senior had inexplicably shown up at his apartment, but reason soon caught up with him and he realized this man couldn't be someone who had to have been dead for years. It had to be…
The man grinned and beneath the white hair and wrinkles Tim caught a flash of his old partner.
"Probie! Long time no see." Tony gave him a once-over and chuckled. "And I'm being perfectly honest when I say 'gee, you haven't changed a bit'." The grin faded. "That's kinda creepy, actually."
"Uh, thanks...I think. You look…"
"Old, Tim. I look old. Old's better than dead, though, right?" The grin was back in place, but beneath the humor Tim could detect an air of sadness. He couldn't help but wonder what had prompted this visit.
"Tony, what...what are you doing here? And how did you find me, anyway?"
"Well, when you use your real name, it's not that hard to track you down. Besides, did you really think we wouldn't keep track of you...that Abby wouldn't want to know where you were?"
"I guess not."
"Are you going to let me in, or what?"
"Oh, yeah, of course." He opened the door wider to allow Tony to enter his apartment.
"Glad to see you're living in the lap of luxury," Tony remarked as he surveyed Tim's living space. "Something else that hasn't changed."
"I don't need much, Tony. It's easier this way."
"Easier not to be weighed down with possessions when you need to disappear, you mean." Tim caught a hint of bitterness in the other man's voice and winced.
"Yeah, I know. Just the hand you were dealt, right?" Tony gingerly lowered himself into Tim's favorite chair and sighed. "Been on my feet too long. I'm getting too old for this crap, Probie."
"Can I get you anything? Coffee?"
"Can't have coffee anymore. Doc's orders." Tony gave him a sad smile. "No beer either. It sucks to get old, Tim. Guess you don't have to worry about that, do you?"
"No, not really."
Tony looked up at Tim and winced when he saw his expression. "Sorry, man. As you can see, I still don't know when to keep my mouth shut."
"It's OK. But you never answered my question: why are you here?" Tim asked as he sat down on his desk chair.
Tony sighed, and his attempt to maintain his veneer of humor vanished. "I'm keeping a promise."
"What promise? I thought we agreed you wouldn't try and find me. That you-all of you-would have to let me go."
"Wasn't as easy as I thought to keep that promise, Tim. After awhile we started wondering, and...Abby did track you down. We didn't physically look for you, but she was keeping tabs on you. Quietly, of course."
"Because you're family, Tim. That was one thing we wouldn't change."
Tim blushed and ducked his head. "Thanks." After a few moments he raised his head and met Tony's gaze. "So why are you here?"
"After you left, we all made a promise to each other. The last one of us left alive would find you and let you know what happened. You have been wondering, haven't you?"
"Yeah," Tim admitted. "Yeah, I have."
"Well, then, I'm here to satisfy your curiosity."
"So you're...the last one?" Tim felt a tightening in his chest as he finally registered what Tony's presence meant.
"Against all odds, I am. I'm probably even more shocked than you are."
"What happened? To everyone else?"
"Hey, do we have to talk about that just now? How about we spend some time catching up, telling each other what we've been up to."
"I thought you already knew what I've been up to, since you've been keeping tabs on me."
"Well, most of it." Tony tilted his head and gave Tim a strange look. "Did you really spend ten years living in a church basement writing fantasy novels?"
"It was eight years," Tim replied with a roll of his eyes and Tony laughed.
"God, I've missed that!"
"I'm sure you have," Tim muttered, but couldn't help the grin that spread across his face.
"Good times, Tim. Good times."
"What else do you want to know?"
"Well, I know you've had quite a writing career. You've done the computer geek thing a couple of times…"
"That's pretty much it. Not very exciting, I'm afraid."
"Only you, Tim, could make living forever boring."
"Beats the alternative."
"Yeah...I guess it does."
"So what have you been doing?"
"Oh, you know, this and that." A surprisingly shy smile appeared on Tony's face. "Been spending a lot of time with the grandkids lately."
"Grandkids? You...you actually-"
"Got married, had a couple of kids, got to see them grow up, and now they have kids of their own. It's the circle of life, Timba."
"Cute, Tony. So, you and...Ziva?"
Tony shook his head. "No. Ziva left fairly soon after you did. She took a job in the northwest field office." Tim raised his eyebrows and Tony continued. "You remember Agent Keates from the ATF?"
"Your old partner in Philly? The one that tackled me during that undercover op?"
"That's her. After you were gone...and Ziva left, we started seeing each other, and...as they say, the rest is history."
"Yep." He pulled a thin, flat device out of his coat pocket. "Wanna see?"
Tony tapped the screen on the device and handed it over to Tim. The first pictured showed a man in his late twenties, the spitting image of the Tony Tim remembered except for darker brown hair and brown eyes. He had one arm wrapped around a younger woman, who Tim could see bore a striking resemblance to Zoe.
"TJ and Angie. He's a cop in Richmond." Tony chuckled. "It's in the genes, I guess. Married a teacher, Lilia. They have two kids, Lyle and Annabeth. Angie married a lawyer, of all things. She's got a kid on the way. Another for Grandpa Tony to spoil," he added with an unrepentant grin.
"Wow. Hard to believe...I guess time really does fly."
"What about everyone else?"
"Well, Victoria Palmer wound up with both a younger sister and a brother. They're all married now. Jimmy...he had two grandkids to spoil, too."
"Did...Did Ducky get to meet any of Jimmy's other kids?"
"All of them. Only Victoria got to call him 'Grand-Ducky', though. The other two weren't quite old enough when…"
"It wasn't totally unexpected. He went in his sleep. Jimmy didn't get his usual call one morning, and when he went to check on him…"
"That would have been bad for Jimmy."
"It was, but at least he had his family...both families, to help him get through it."
"How long did Jimmy stay at NCIS after Ducky…"
"Until he retired. Two years ago, actually. Unfortunately he didn't get to enjoy much of it. Cancer."
Tim winced. It was hard to imagine the Jimmy he had known succumbing to something like that.
"What about Gibbs?"
"Also retired, sailed one of those damn boats off into the sunset, returned a year later, and...he went in his sleep, too. Surprised the hell out of all of us."
"I can imagine."
"And Ziva...she never married. Stayed on as an agent in Silverdale until she reached retirement age, then worked as a translator." His expression darkened. "She was killed in a bombing of a Marine base in Germany while she was there helping the agents question a suspect. Her last request was that she be returned to Israel for burial. We never really got a chance to say goodbye."
"I wish things could have been different."
"Yeah. Me, too." He sighed. "And then it was just me and Abby. She never got married, either, but she did adopt a couple of kids. Diana followed in Abby's footsteps and works for the NCIS office in New Orleans. Alan joined the FBI's Cybercrime unit." Tony smiled and shook his head. "The two . of them together argue like you and Abby used to do. It drove Abby nuts at times."
"What happened to Abby, Tony?"
Tony sighed. "Cancer. Just like Jimmy. She used to joke about all those years surrounded by chemicals finally catching up to her."
"When?" Tim asked, his voice finally breaking.
"A month ago. Her last job was finding your new identity. And making sure I remembered our agreement. So, again, here I am. You're all filled in. Mission accomplished."
"Thank you. I would have wondered…"
"No problem, Probie." He studied Tim silently for a moment before continuing. "Do you ever regret it?"
"What? Being Immortal?"
"Yeah. And leaving all of us behind."
"I do regret that I had to leave, and yeah, the fact that I'll still be around after…"
"After I'm gone."
Tim nodded sadly. "But at least I can make sure you're not forgotten."
Tony grinned, the shadow of his old self returning. "That's me: unforgettable."
Tim laughed and shook his head. "Incorrigible, too."
That sat in silence for several minutes before Tony cleared his throat and turned to Tim.
"I, uh, I have a favor to ask."
"Sure, Tony. Anything."
"I...I know you can never have kids of your own, so I was wondering...if you wouldn't mind...adopting mine. Keeping an eye on them for me, after I'm gone."
Tim felt his eyes burn with tears and blinked a couple of times before managing a smile. "I'd be honored, Tony."
"Thanks. It's nice to know someone can do that. I guess there is a perk to this whole 'live forever' thing."
"I appreciate it." He checked his watch. "And as much as I've enjoyed this little reunion, I really need to get going before Zoe sends out a search party."
"You didn't tell her…?"
"Nah. It's one secret I promised to keep, no matter what. That's what partners are for, right?"
Tony slowly levered himself out of the chair, waving off Tim's offer to help, and stood to look Tim in the eye. His expression softened when he saw the evidence of Tim's anguish and he pulled him into a hug.
"I've missed you, Tim. Never had another Probie like you."
"And here I thought you'd consider that a good thing," Tim joked, and Tony hugged him tighter. He returned the embrace, enjoying the human contact that he'd been lacking for far too long. "I missed you too, Tony. Thanks for coming by."
"No problem, Tim. And if I don't manage to make it by again…"
"I'll keep my promise, Tony."
Tony just nodded and slowly made his way to the door and opened it. After he passed through into the hallway he turned and gave Tim one last look.
"'Bye, Tim. Take care of yourself."
"You, too. Goodbye, Tony. And thanks again."
"My pleasure." He turned and walked down the short hallway to the elevator, and once he had disappeared inside Tim closed the door and walked across the room to the window. He stared out at the darkening sky, wondering just how long it would be before the remainder of his team was gone, and he would sadly be the last man standing.