Summary: A moment of introspection finds Tim realizing he's got some fences to mend.
Spoiler Alert /Episde Tag: "Skeleton Crew "- Season 15, Ep. 3
Rated: FR7
Categories: General
Genre: Episode Tag, Friendship
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None

 The case is over and the reports have been successfully turned in. In the darkened squad room, Tim pauses while closing down his work station for the day, the last one to leave for a change. How many times has he done this since being back from Paraguay?Taken the moment to look back, check in on himself as it were? Not many, at least in the last few weeks, anyway. How many things has he gotten back into the swing of saying and doing without a second thought now? So many he's lost count. He's already lost the ability to savor every moment, every freedom, every team member and every opportunity to learn something from them and their experience, as he'd promised himself he'd do not only when they'd joined the team individually, but when he and Gibbs made it back from that hell hole alive and still mentally competent and salvageable

And still, his latest mis-fired response full of attitude and cockiness that literally felt like he was channeling Tony in the worst way, comes back to him now as clear as day.

***Flashbaack***

"To be undercover is like being a chameleon, you know? You have to connect with the character you're portraying. You have to understand what drives them. That's what keeps them authentic. You know what I mean?"

"I stopped listening a while ago."

***Flashbaack***

Yeah, He'd been an ass to Torres, that's for sure. Tim not only hates that he's done it, but hates that he can't explain why he would treat someone the very same way he hated being treated by Tony when he'd done it on a regular basis.

Cockiness. Yeah, he's guilty of that on more occasions than he'd like to admit over the years. But here and now, in his life today - with what's predominately a new team with newly constructed bonds and litany of joint experinces, not to mention people now trusting him to do his job and look out for them as they're looking out for them, it doesn't feel right. It doesn't fit and it really doesn't belong.

He's got too much to be thankful for and too much shoe to fill in much better ways than this passed down better than you attitude . Gibbs is counting on him. And, Tim is counting on himself to be a better man than this.

Deliah is counting on him. The team is counting on him and Oh, God, he's gonna be a dad! He can't stay on this step above the rest pedestal he's somehow put himself on - hell he can't get anywhere near it again! That thing should have been torn down when Tony stopped acting like he belonged there before he left!

Sighing deeply, he gathers up is 'go' bag and heads out. Time to check in at home. He wants to make sure he's not out of wack there as well. Plus, his beautiful wife promised him an awesome dinner. Oh, hell. When's the last time he cooked for her since he's been back?

Really need to amend that too. She's been his rock since he's been back. It's long overdue for him to be her rock now. Why has it taken him this long to see this? Well, the blinders are off now and things are gonna be different now. Better.

 

**********NCIS*********

 

0645 Hours

As the team saunters in together, a few minutes before the official start of the day, they each pause at the sight of a coffee shop drink and small food bag sitting on their desk and Tim McGee already settled in at his desk and working. He looks fine. In fact, he looks better than he has since he got back. Calmer, more relaxed even.

"Hey, McGee. What's this?" Torres asks guardedly, speaking for all of them.

"Oh, hey. It's a ....it's a 'thank you' and a 'good morning'. Tim answers while looking at the other man directly. "And for you Torres, It's an apology."

"An apology? For what, man?" Torres looks genuinely puzzled for a minute. It's a quick moment though and then his countenance straightens out into that of understanding. "Oh. Right. Thanks, man. Apology accepted."

"Thank you." Tim offers in return before getting back to work.

"Apology for what?" Ellie asks out of curiosity.

Tim says nothing but minutely shakes his head. It's not something that needs to be shared unless Torres deems it something to share.

Not used to having Tim ignore her, she asks again. "Apology for what?"

"Nothing for you to worry about." Torres reassures her with his charming smile in place as he settles in beind his own desk.

"O...kay." Ellie half heartedly gives in but maintains her scrutinizing look at Tim, the puzzled look not completely gone.

"Let it go, Bishop." Gibbs suggests calmly as he walks in from the other side of the room. "Let it go." He sits down at his desk, his hands immediately picking up the coffee left for him and lifting the cup up to his mouth. He inhales the aroma and smiles before enjoying a nice long sip of it. Setting the cup down, he sends his eyes around te room,  visually checking on each one of his team members.  His eye linger on Tim until the young man looks back at him and nods almost imperceptibly as he's taken to doing in his own adapted version of Gibbs speak.

Seeing the return of that spark, that small smile, that genuine article looking back at him with confidence and determination, Gibbs returns the small nod with satisfaction and pride. Oh, yeah. His Senior Field Agent is back on track.


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