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Chapter Text

It 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 Text

After 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.

-End Flashback-

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 Text

It 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 Text

The 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.

"Morning Boss"

"Morning Gibbs"

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.

"Good Boy!"

"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 Text

Back 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 Text

Gibbs 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.

"'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 Text

Slowly 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 his 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 Text

The 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'm sorry!"

"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 thOe 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'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 Text

Gibbs 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 Text

Leon 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 Text

Abby 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.

"" 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 Text

After 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 than 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 Text

Gibbs 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, " 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 Text

The next morning, Tony and Ziva walked into the lab to begin reviewing the security footage from Chadwick's.

"Hello Abby!"

"Hey Abs!"

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 Text

Tim 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 Text

Thirty 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 throes 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 Text

Fifteen 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 buddy.”

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 chuckled 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.” Tony 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 D

"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' house 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 sighed, "Well lets go upstairs, Tim probably could use a change anyways."

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' ear drums were about to rupture. First he had to deal with the dog, then he could try and 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 lets go before he changes his mind."

Ducky grabbed his medical bag and followed the pair 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 were 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 chaffed 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 who gave the doctor a small smile before his 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 chaffing clear up?

Ducky began packing his medical bag, "He's going to be just fine Jethro, in cases like this, you will 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 loose 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 once 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 while he was waitied for the coffee to finish brewing. As he threw the last remnants into the trash can 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.

"Yeah, Abby."

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 your 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 when 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 them."

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 Text

Tony 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."

Chapter Text

An eerie silence descended upon the kitchen as each agent attempted to digest the information they had just received from Abby. Tim began whimpering as the words, "someone has been planning this for awhile," repeated over and over again in his mind. Gibbs leaned down and kissed the top of his head before he tightened his grip around Tim's shoulders. "Shh…shh… baby, I intend to keep my promise, nobody will hurt you." Tim gave a slow nod as Gibbs wiped away the tears that welled up in his eyes.

After a few more moments of silence except for the occasional sniffling from Tim, DiNozzo couldn't stand it any longer.

"Boss, why would the Greys be looking through your personal files? How on Earth could that have anything to do with turning Tim into a baby? I just don't understand what they expected to achieve from that."

Irritated Gibbs raised his finger up to his lips, "Hmm DiNozzo, don't you think if I knew the answers to any of your questions we wouldn't be having this conversation right now? But here's an idea, once Abby confirms the breach is related to this case, then you can figure it out for me."

Tony sighed, "Sorry boss but this case is just so frustrating."

Gibbs stared at him for a moment until he pounded his fist on the table, causing Tim to jump.

"Frustrating? Frustrating?" His voice steadily grew angrier.

"If you think this is frustrating for you, how do you think Tim feels?"

Tony ran his fingers through his hair, "I know this is extremely hard on Tim; there are just so many unanswered questions that are bothering me."

Emotionally exhausted from the day's events, Tim did not want to discuss the case anymore at that moment. He covered his ears with his hands, began shaking his head and mumbling, "No, No, No!"

"Okay, okay Timmy...we're done for tonight." Gibbs reassured him, running his hands up and down Tim's arms. Eventually Tim's breathing evened out as he closed his eyes and leaned back against Gibbs' chest.

"Probie, I brought my DVD player, if you want we can all cuddle up in front of the fire and watch a movie."

Tim's eyes shot open; he smiled and clapped his hands at Tony's suggestion. The three adults breathed a collective sigh of relief as they watched Tim's mood improve because of a simple plan.

The only concern Gibbs had was that none of the movies be scary. Tim was already having nightmares regarding the Greys and he didn't want to add any fuel to the fire.

"Tony, the only restriction I have about the movie is nothing scary. Tim doesn't need any more stress."

Ziva shuddered, "I hate scary movies!"

Tony looked over at her and smirked, "Wow! Ziva David is scared of something? Who would have guessed it?"

Ziva rolled her eyes as Tony stood up and went out to the family room to get the DVD player set up.

Gibbs squeezed Tim's shoulders and leaned in close, "If it's alright with you, I'm going to go down and work on my boat while you three watch the movie. If you need me then I can be back up here in no time."

Tim smiled and reached both arms out; Ziva scooped him up, kissed his forehead and headed for the family room. However, she stopped when Tim began fidgeting and called out for Gibbs. She turned back toward the kitchen meeting Gibbs half way. Before they could ask Tim what was wrong he leaned over, wrapped his arms around Gibbs' neck and squeezed. There was a collective "Aww" from the pair as Tim finally released his grip and settled back into Ziva's embrace. Gibbs smiled then ruffled his hair, "Thanks sweetie that was nice." Tim blushed then waved as Ziva headed back to the family room. They took a seat on the couch and Ziva gently tapped him on the nose "You are quite the little charmer, I can tell you have Gibbs wrapped around your finger!"

He smiled then whispered, "Zeba?"

She stroked his cheek with her hand, "Yeah sweetie, what do you need?

"Ba Ba Pwease." He begged flashing his famous puppy dog eyes before immediately burying his face in her chest.

Ziva rested her chin on the top of Tim's head enjoying his baby smell. "Of course, sweetie. Tony, when you are done can you get Timmy a fresh bottle?"

Tony finished hooking up the last cable before heading into the kitchen to warm up a bottle. While he was waiting for it to be done he called out to the family room, "I brought some DVDs; they are sitting on the table, why don't you two decide which one you want to watch."

Ziva spread the DVDs out along the table so Tim could look at them. He smiled and pointed at the "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" DVD. "Good choice Timmy, I haven't watched this movie in ages." Tony said as he came back into the family room carrying the bottle of milk.

"Did you check the milk and make sure it is not too hot?"

Tony shrugged his shoulders, "How am I supposed to do that? The outside of the bottle doesn't feel hot."

Ziva shook her head, "Here let me show you." She grabbed the bottle from his hand as both Tony and Tim watched her intently. "First you give it a little shake then you sprinkle a couple of drops on the inside of your wrist. The skin there is sensitive so you can tell right away if it is too warm. I believe this temperature will be just fine."

Tony nodded, stuck the DVD in the player then walked back over to the couch. He reached for the bottle but Ziva pulled it away. "Come on it's my turn with Tim."

Ziva raised her eyebrows, "Ahh…Ahh…Maybe we should ask Timmy who he wants to feed him."

Tim blushed; he never thought he would see the day when Tony and Ziva were actually fighting over who got to spend time with him. All he wanted was to taste the sweet milk so as they continued bickering, he screamed out "Both!"

Tony and Ziva stopped mid sentence and turned their attention toward Tim. He glanced between the two of them, "Both," he whispered. The pair smiled as they arranged themselves on the couch. They positioned Tim so he was lying at an angle; his upper body leaned against Tony's chest and his legs were draped over Ziva's lap.

Tony grabbed the bottle from the end table before asking Tim if he was comfortable. The youngster acknowledged that he was and licked his lips as Tony brought the bottle up to his lips. He began sucking with gusto, savoring the sweet creamy liquid as it caressed his throat. Satisfied that Tim was taken care of for the moment, they snuggled together and started the movie.

Gibbs headed downstairs to work on his boat. He needed to release the pent up frustration and anxiety this case had brought on. Although he was a master of not showing a lot of emotion, he was beginning to find it difficult to remain calm, especially around Tim. He grabbed the sanding block and took a seat on the stool. His mind drifted back to what Abby had told them earlier. The fact that "someone" had been snooping around in his and Tim's personal files didn't sit right with him. As he began sanding, he racked his brain; trying to think of what information this person was looking for and what they intended to do with it. Each new thought that entered his mind angered him even more and before he knew it, he was sanding so fast and furious the block slipped out of his hand and flew across the basement. He wiped the sweat from his brow, took a deep breath and stood up to collect the sander. His boat had always been a source of stress relief for him, but not tonight. He smiled, as his thoughts turned to the innocent baby upstairs. He was glad that Tim was finally comfortable around the team, with the exception of Abby but he couldn't help but feel a little jealous. Aww the hell with it he thought as he threw the sander on the workbench and headed upstairs to check on his little one.

He poured himself a cup of coffee and smiled at the sight that greeted him when he walked into the family room. He leaned against the doorway and quietly watched his kids. Tim was cradled in Tony's arms, sucking his thumb while trying his best to stay awake. His little eyes would droop, and then suddenly would be wide open again. Ziva was asleep, using Tony's shoulder as a pillow, her mouth partially open as she snored. Tony stood guard over the pair but his attention was mainly focused on Tim as he continually rubbed small circles over his belly.

Gibbs was so engrossed with his thoughts he didn't hear Tony calling him from across the room. It wasn't until Jethro nudged his hand that he realized he had been caught. He shook his head as if clearing out the cobwebs and reached down to rub the dog's ears. "You need to go outside, boy?" Jethro whimpered and followed Gibbs to the back door. The snow was still falling at a steady pace so Gibbs grabbed an old towel from the laundry room so he would be prepared once Jethro was finished. A few minutes later, the dog returned to the door, covered from head to tail in snow. Gibbs sighed as he stepped outside and wiped a majority of the snow off before he let him back inside. However, Jethro still shook the remaining wetness from his fur, once again giving Gibbs an unwelcomed shower.

They walked back into the family room; Jethro retreated to his spot in front of the fireplace while Gibbs knelt down in front of Tony. The three were still in the same positions they were earlier but Tim was a little bit more awake. He smiled as Gibbs tenderly brushed his hair to the side. "Hey baby, it's getting late and I still want you to get a bath tonight." Tim whined and snuggled closer to Tony, "Listen, I know you're mighty comfortable there, but how would a bubble bath sound?" Tim's eyes got wide with excitement and he giggled. "All right, I'm going to go start the bath, then I'll come back down and get you." Gibbs left to go start the bath as Tony worked on keeping Tim awake.

He ran his fingers through Tim's hair, "You need a bath kiddo, I don't know how you managed it but there's some spaghetti sauce in your hair."

Tim laughed and squirmed, accidentally kicking Ziva in the arm. She jerked awake, her hand already going to her holster. "Easy Ziva, Tim accidentally kicked you, everything is fine." She wiped the drool from her mouth and looked over at Tim.

"Oh he did, huh?"

Tim squirmed as Ziva reached her hand over and began tickling him. He erupted in to laughter as the pair double-teamed him. It got to the point where Tim was having trouble catching his breath so they had to slow down and allow him to breathe. Not realizing that Gibbs had been watching them from the stairs they all jumped as his voice echoed through the family room. "Sorry to break up the fun, but it's bath time young man. There will be plenty of time for more later on." Gibbs walked over to the couch and held out his arms, "Ready for bubbles big boy?" Tim blushed, before he would allow Gibbs to take him, he grabbed Ziva's hand and pulled her close. He draped his small arms around her neck and squeezed, "Night Zeba."

"Aww Tim that was so sweet!" she said as she kissed his forehead. Tim then turned to Tony, but before he could make his move, Tony had already wrapped his arms around Tim, bringing him into an embrace. "Nite Toey" Tim whispered in his ear. Tony pulled back and looked Tim in the eye, "Good night baby brother, sleep tight and remember we will protect you." Tim smiled and reached out for Gibbs, instantly snuggling close once he was safely in his arms. He sighed as he laid his head on Gibbs' shoulder before mumbling, "Lube you Gib." Suddenly Tim's eyes shot open when he realized what he had just said. Immediately embarrassed, his breathing increased and he started trembling.

Tony and Ziva exchanged looks, wondering if their ears were playing tricks on them or if Tim really said what they thought he said. Based on Tim's reaction they had their answer and headed to the kitchen to give them some space.

Gibbs focused his attention on Tim and attempted to calm him down. As he walked up the stairs to the bedroom, he rubbed his hand up and down Tim's back. Once in the privacy of his own room he sat down on the bed and moved Tim to his lap. Tim's gaze was cast on the floor as he worked to control his breathing. After a few minutes of gentle reassurances, the trembling had passed and his breathing returned to normal. Gibbs decided it was time to address what was said, he used his finger to tilt Tim's chin so he could see his face. The one thing Gibbs wasn't expecting was for the look on his face to break his heart. It was a mixture of all different emotions, embarrassment, panic, relief and love.

Gibbs sighed, "Timmy, I want you to know that I'm not mad about what you said, I'm honored. I'm sorry if you didn't know that I've loved you like a son for the past nine years you've been a part of my team."

At Gibbs' admission, Tim raised his head a little higher and continued to listen.

"The truth of the matter is, I haven't always been there as a father figure for you like I have the others. Regardless if you came from a good family or a broken one I should have let you know that I was there for you too."

He reached up and gently swept Tim's hair off to the side. "To be honest with you, as tough as this whole situation has been for you, I've thoroughly enjoyed having this time with you. Whatever happens, I will always be proud to be your dad and I love you too, son."

Tim was shocked that Gibbs was taking this all in stride and actually apologized to him for not always being there when he needed him. All he could say was, "Real?"

Gibbs used his thumb to wipe the tears from Tim's eyes, "Really, you're not getting rid of me that easy."

Tim smiled, then shifted his weight so he could lay his head against Gibbs' chest. Gibbs wrapped his arms around him and pulled him close. He kissed Tim's forehead and they sat for several minutes enjoying each other's company until Tim pulled away. Gibbs laughed as Tim attempted to take off his shirt, "What are you doing kiddo?" Tim gave him an exasperated look, "bubble!"

"Boy, you don't forget anything do you? Well I'm sure the water is cold by now so let me refill it and you can take one."

Tim clapped his hands together, excited not only for the bubble bath, but for the one on one time he would get with Gibbs.




She looked at her watch for the fifth time in the past fifteen minutes, unhappy she had to wait for someone she was going to pay to do a job for her. She brushed off the snow that had collected on her coat. Sick of the cold she was about to leave but was relieved to see her contact walking toward her on the street.

"Damnit, what took you so long?"

"Sorry, the snow is heavier than I thought, took me longer to walk in this crap."

"She scoffed, "Well it doesn't matter, did you get the goods?"

He nodded, and pulled a small paper bag out of his coat.

She peered in the bag, confirming it was the product she asked for.

He handed her the bag, shivering, "So when is this all going down?"

"I'm not sure yet, the whole plan lies in the hands of some overpaid attorney. I'm paying you a lot of money so if I call and tell you it is game time then I expect you to drop everything and meet at the rendezvous spot.

"Of course, is there anything else that I need to know beforehand?"

She flashed an evil grin, "The less you know the better, I would hate for you to have a terrible accident if this plan gets compromised."

The man gulped, "I will be waiting for the signal."

She laughed, "You better be, because you won't like the alternative if you don't show up."

Chapter Text

Tim was thoroughly enjoying his bubble bath and stuck his bottom lip out in a pout when Gibbs announced it was time to get out. Even though he was shivering and his skin resembled a prune, it didn't stop him from wanting to stay in the tub. "Come on big boy, let's get you warmed up." Gibbs said as he reached into the tub to grab him.

However, Tim had another idea and before Gibbs could get a grip on him, he tried to scoot back further into the tub. As he did so, his tiny hands slipped on the bottom of the tub causing his whole body to slide forward. Before he knew it, a wave of water rushed over him, as his upper body slid under the water as well. After what seemed like ages, but in reality was only a matter of seconds, Tim felt a pair of strong hands pull him out of the water.

All he could think about was how difficult it was to breathe. Gibbs raised him over his shoulder, forcefully patting his back in an attempt to clear the water from his lungs. At one point Tim was coughing so hard he began gagging.

The older man winced as his little boy struggled to breathe. The exertion from coughing was becoming too much for his little lungs to handle. After several tense minutes, and a litany of "Attaboy" and other endearments Tim was able to get a majority of the water out of his lungs. His breathing began slowly improving once the coughing subsided.

Gibbs took a deep breath and exhaled as he sat down on the toilet seat and wrapped Tim in a towel. Tim kept his gaze on the floor as he began shivering, most likely from shock and not from being cold. "Shh Timmy it's okay, I'm right here, I gotcha." Gibbs soothed as he wrapped his arms around the youngster to calm him down. They sat there for several minutes, Tim still refusing to look at Gibbs. "Hey kiddo," Gibbs whispered as he used his hand to tilt Tim's chin up so he could make eye contact. "You scared me to death, don't ever do that again!" Tears welled up in Tim's eyes, he felt horrible for scaring Gibbs like that.

"Sorry Gib," Tim sniffled as he buried his face into Gibbs' chest and started sobbing. Gibbs tightened his grip and slowly rubbed his hand up and down Tim's back. "It's okay son, I just love you too much to see something bad happen to you." Gibbs could feel the little guy nod against his chest so he picked him up and carried him back to the bedroom. After he got Tim dried and in a fresh diaper, he pulled out the sleepers they bought earlier that morning. "Hey sweetie, which set of jammies do you want to wear tonight?" Tim blushed and pointed to the camouflaged sleeper, Gibbs laughed, "You're a smart boy, trying to get back in my good graces?" Tim smiled and nodded, "Work?" Gibbs raised his eyebrows, "Of course it worked; now let's get these on, it's time for bed."

After he had dressed Tim, he leaned out the door and called down to Tony and Ziva, "Hey, can one of you bring me a bottle?"

"Sure Boss, I'll be right up." Tony replied from downstairs.

Gibbs carried Tim over to the recliner while they waited for Tony. He began rubbing his tummy, "You look so cute! I'm glad you let me pick out a pair for you." There was a quiet knock on the door as Gibbs settled back into the recliner with Tim cradled in his arms. "Come in" he ordered as Tony stepped into the room and laughed. He grabbed Tim's leg and shook it, "Nice pajamas, Probie" Tim blushed and buried his face in Gibbs' chest. "I'll have you know, that I picked out this pair, DiNozzo." Tony gave a sheepish smile and laughed, "Hmm…I would have never guessed it boss." Gibbs took the bottle from Tony and held it to Tim's lips. He began sucking, immediately closing his eyes and snuggling closer to Gibbs."

"Tony, first thing tomorrow morning I need you and Ziva at the jail. We need the security footage to know what the Greys talked about. I want to see the tape, so call me when you've returned to NCIS." Tony nodded and closed the door to head back downstairs. Gibbs turned his attention back to his baby and began running his fingers through his silky soft hair. Tim was relaxed, but not asleep as he contently nursed on the bottle. Gibbs began slowly rocking the chair back and forth, hoping the motion would allow Tim to drift off to sleep. His thoughts gravitated to the situation in the bathroom earlier. There were only a few times in his life when he had been that scared. He wouldn't have been able to live with himself if something bad happened to Tim. He knew the youngster felt bad enough; Gibbs was not going to punish him further. After all Tim was just a little guy, more importantly his little guy.

Tim shifted in his arms; causing Gibbs to glance down, he was relieved to find Tim finally asleep. He kissed his forehead, held his boy tight and closed his eyes, enjoying the quiet time between them. Gibbs woke up an hour later, realizing he fell asleep in the chair. Tim was buried against his chest, sucking his thumb. He stood, groaning, as his entire body reminded him that he was no longer a spring chicken.

He carefully laid Tim in the crib, covering him with the blanket before going into the bathroom to get ready for bed. As Gibbs went about his business, he stopped dead in his tracks when he heard mumbling coming from the bedroom. He peered over the crib to see Tim rolling back and forth, 'fighting' an imaginary foe. He leaned over and laid his hand on Tim's back, hoping that his touch would reassure him that he wasn't alone. Sure enough, as soon as Gibbs touched him, Tim sighed and settled back into a peaceful sleep. Relieved, he finished up in the bathroom and hit the sack.

It wasn't until a few hours later when Tim's sobbing awakened Gibbs. He rushed over to comfort his little boy who was sitting in the middle of the crib rubbing his eyes. "What is it, baby?" he soothed as he reached over and picked him up. Tim's face clenched in pain, "Hurt Gib!" Gibbs turned on the bedside lamp and sat Tim in his lap. "Where does it hurt sweetie?"

A single tear trickled down Tim's face as he opened his mouth and pointed to a particular area. Gibbs took a closer look and noticed there was a small tooth just beginning to break through the gums. "Ahh kiddo, I found the culprit it looks like you have a tooth trying to come through. I'm going to go down and get the Tylenol. Sit tight I'll be right back, honey." Gibbs quietly made his way downstairs; Tony was asleep on the couch while Ziva stood guard. She stood up, hand already going for her gun when he waved at her to stand down. "Everything alright Gibbs?" She asked with a hint of apprehension in her voice. Gibbs sighed, "Everything is fine Ziva, looks like Tim is starting to teethe and is in pain. I came down to get him some medicine." Ziva followed him into the kitchen, "Aww poor little guy, is there anything I can do for him?" Gibbs shook his head as he grabbed the medicine out of the cabinet. "Hopefully the Tylenol will hold him over until Ducky can give me some ideas in the morning." Gibbs collected his supplies and headed back upstairs. "See you in the morning, Ziva. Thanks for being here, watching over Tim." Ziva nodded and returned to her seat in the family room.

Gibbs grabbed a fresh washcloth out of the linen closest and went back into the bedroom. Tim was lying on the bed, chewing on his fingers trying to soothe the pain in his mouth. Gibbs walked into the bathroom, wet the washcloth with cold water and headed back to Tim. He sat him up, measured the medicine and gave it to him without any objections. He folded up the washcloth and pulled Tim's fingers out of his mouth. "Here baby, why don't you try and chew on this washcloth instead of your icky fingers. The cold should make it a bit more soothing." Tim nodded as Gibbs put a corner of the cloth into his mouth, turned off the lights and propped himself up against the headboard with Tim resting comfortably against his chest. Within fifteen minutes, Tim was asleep once again as Gibbs removed the washcloth and slid them down so they were lying comfortably. The rest of the night was uneventful and the pair was able to make it to the morning without any other interruptions.


Gibbs cell phone rang, waking the both up. He reached over, looked at the caller ID and sunk back into the bed. "Abby, what do you have for me?"

"Gibbs, it took all night but I was able to figure out who hacked into your personal files. Let me say, you're not going to like it."

Gibbs sighed, "Let me guess, one of the Greys? Could you tell which sister it was?"

"Correct El Jefe, based on my research it was Lucy. She didn't do a very good job of hiding her identity."

Gibbs ran his fingers through his hair, "Or she wanted us to know it was her."

"But Gibbs, why would she want that?"

"She's got a plan, Abby. I'm not sure what it is, but I intend to find out. Good job, get some sleep and we'll see you in a few hours."

"Thanks Gibbs, I'll see you guys soon."

Gibbs turned over to see Tim staring at him intently. "Hey baby, how is your mouth feeling? Do you need more medicine?"

Tim sniffled, "Hurt" as he scooted over, closer to the older man.

Gibbs pulled him against his chest and rubbed his back. "Let's get you changed and get some breakfast. Then we'll get you some more Tylenol. We need to go into NCIS today."

Tim frowned and shook his head.

"Listen kiddo, nobody has any idea this happened to you. If anyone asks then I'll just tell them you're my godson, like I did at the store."

Tim nodded, "That's my boy; now let's get ready so we can take care of that mouth."

Tim closed his eyes, trying to concentrate on not letting the pain bother him. His fingers instantly went to his mouth, until he felt Gibbs remove them and insert a cool washcloth. He sighed, as the cold caressed his aching mouth. After Gibbs was done dressing him he patted Tim on the belly and told him to stay put. Tim quietly lay on the bed sucking on the washcloth and before he knew it, he dozed off. When he woke up, he was being carried into the kitchen for breakfast. Tim whined as Gibbs set him down in the chair and ruffled his hair "Come on kiddo you can sleep later, after we eat." Tim slowly opened his eyes to see Jethro sitting next to the chair. While he waited for Gibbs to finish making breakfast, he gently ran his fingers through the dog's fur. A few minutes later, Gibbs brought breakfast over to the table. It once again consisted of oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon and a banana. He inhaled the oatmeal and started on the banana while Gibbs sipped on his coffee. Just as they were wrapping up, Gibbs' phone rang.

"Yeah, DiNozzo what is it?"

"Uhh boss" he stuttered then was quiet.

"Tony, what's wrong?"

"Sorry we were just watching the footage we got from the jail, and you really need to get down here as soon as possible."

Gibbs sighed and ran his fingers through his hair, "How bad is it?"

Tony was quiet, which he knew wasn't a good sign, considering Tony could never keep his mouth shut.

After a second Tony finally responded, "It's best you see it for yourself Gibbs."

"Fine, we'll be there in a half an hour."

After Gibbs hung up with Tony, he was careful not to show too much emotion around Tim. He was uncertain of what they were dealing with and didn't want to worry him for no reason. He packed up the diaper bag, got their coats out of the closet and brought them into the kitchen. "Alright kiddo, let's get you all bundled up." Tim looked at the coat Gibbs had in his hand and raised one eyebrow, with a certain look in his eye. Gibbs smirked at the eloquent look, so reminiscent of his grownup agent, and started to put the sensibly warm coat on him. Tim huffed at him and began squirming, making it extremely difficult for Gibbs to accomplish anything. He was becoming irritated at Tim's behavior, he understood that the baby's mouth hurt and he wanted something, but he was impatient to get to NCIS and just the simple task of putting on a coat shouldn't be this hard. After multiple attempts and multiple failures, Gibbs knelt down and rubbed Tim's back. "What's wrong with this coat?" Tim twisted his lips, shrugged his shoulders, "other" and pointed toward the family room.

Gibbs finally realized that Tim wanted to wear the black leather coat they bought the day before. He went to the closet, took it out and brought it back into the kitchen. Tim began clapping his hands and had a huge smile on his face. Gibbs ran his hand down his face, "Buddy it's a little too cold to wear this one." Tim frowned as tears welled up in eyes, "Pwease Gib" he pleaded. Gibbs had an idea, "How about this, you can wear this leather coat but only if you wear the heavier coat over it. That's the only way I'm letting you wear it. Do we have a deal?" He could tell Tim was mulling over the options carefully before he slowly nodded his head in agreement.

After bundling up, they headed out to the car. Tim yawned as Gibbs buckled him in the car seat. "That medicine must be kicking in kiddo." He ruffled Tim's hair before kissing his forehead, "Go to sleep sweetie. I'll let you know when we get to work." Tim nodded as his thumb slowly crept up to his mouth. Gibbs laughed as he started the car and took off toward the office. Twenty minutes later, Gibbs' stomach was doing somersaults as they pulled into the parking deck. The cryptic conversation he had with Tony was weighing heavily on his mind. He spent the whole drive deciding if he was going to let Tim see the tape from the jail. The reaction Tim had yesterday to the picture was terrible; he could only imagine what kind of metal state seeing this footage would put him in. Gibbs wanted to protect his little boy, but the other part of him knew that if he didn't let Tim see the tape he would be contradicting everything he told him and the team over the past few days. He parked the car and took a moment to collect himself. Tim was still sleeping so instead of waking him, he gently lifted him out of the car seat and carried him inside. Gibbs got a few odd looks from co-workers as they made their way up to the bullpen but nobody commented. They had worked with Gibbs long enough to know when he was in the mood for questions.


Tim didn't stir as Gibbs walked into the bullpen, greeting both Tony and Ziva. Tony got up from his desk and walked over to the pair, "Hey boss, Timmy is knocked out I see." Gibbs nodded, "Poor guy is teething and it's causing him a lot of pain. I've been giving him Tylenol, but that seems to make him sleepy." Tony smiled as he gently rubbed his hand down Tim's back. "Would you mind if I took him boss? I really want to hold him again; you know - take Probie around and let him be my "wing baby", women love babies!"

Even though he knew Tony was joking, he couldn't help but laugh at the visual of his two boys picking up woman together, especially in Tim's altered state.

Gibbs nodded before quietly handing Tim off to Tony. The youngster barely opened his eyes as he was passed from one strong set of arms to another. Once Tim realized it was Tony that was holding him, he instinctively buried his face in the crook of Tony's neck and sighed. Tony smiled and rubbed Tim's back until he felt his breathing even out and he was asleep once more.

Once Gibbs was content Tim was back to sleep he turned his attention to Tony and Ziva. "So where's the tape? I need to see it right away." Tony and Ziva exchanged glances before Tony whispered, "It's down in the lab right now, I'll stay up here with Timmy if you want to go and look at it." Gibbs nodded as he and Ziva headed down to visit Abby.

They strolled into the lab as Gibbs deposited a fresh Caf Pow into Abby's hand and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Great job figuring out who hacked into our personal files, Abs!" Abby smiled; relieved to find that if she did what Gibbs asked he would slowly begin to trust her again. "Thanks Gibbs, but I know you didn't come all the way down here to thank me. I've got the tape cued up to the beginning of their conversation. They only spoke for a few minutes before Ella left."

Gibbs' heart was in his stomach as Abby started the tape. As the conversation started, he was stoic as they talked about how their plan was successful and how Tim had received a double dose of the drug, ensuring he would be a toddler much longer than a week. He cringed when Ella proudly described how she got close to them at the store. He wanted to slap himself up side the head for not realizing sooner the so-called "employee" was a threat. However, the part that bothered him the most regarding the sister's conversation was how Ella said she couldn't wait to hear Tim scream. Gibbs felt like he was going to lose it, before the tape finished he dashed out of the lab in search of the closest bathroom. By the time he reached it, he was sweating, light headed and hyperventilating. He steadied himself on the sink with two hands, praying for the room to stop spinning. While he worked to control his breathing, he was surprised when he looked in the mirror to see several tears running down his face. Can't remember the last time I cried he thought. Not wanting anyone to see him that vulnerable, he quickly turned on the faucet and splashed several handfuls of water over his face. After a few minutes of deep breathing, Gibbs composed himself enough to rejoin the girls in the lab.

Ziva and Abby had never witnessed Gibbs react that way to any of the cases they had investigated over the years so when he left the room in a panic they knew he was really upset. They were both worried when he returned to the lab looking like he had just seen a ghost. "You okay, Gibbs?" Abby asked as she put her hand on his shoulder. He gave her arm a squeeze, attempting to reassure her that he was fine. "I'm good, that was just very disturbing. Now I know why Tony wanted me to see it in person. Is there anything else between the two of them that I should know?" Ziva sighed, "The only other important information is that if Lucy does not get out on bail tomorrow, Ella has promised to still carry out the plan." Gibbs nodded, "Well after this conversation between the two of them, I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure she is not getting out. All right let's go back up to the bullpen and figure out a plan. Abby have you found anything useful in their emails, cell phone records or bank statements?"

She began clicking through numerous pages of emails and credit card statements. "I'm still looking Gibbs, but you'll be the first person to know, actually you'll be the second person to know because obviously I'll be th…"

"Abby!" he cut her off before she could continue babbling.

"Sorry Gibbs, I'll let you know if I find something."

He nodded as they left to catch the elevator up to the bullpen. When they arrived, Gibbs was relieved to find his little one still asleep, but Tony had removed his coats and Tim was lying in the crook of his arm. Tony was lovingly stroking his thumb across the top of Tim's forehead. "Did he wake up?" Gibbs asked as he gave the youngster a once over. Tony nodded, "He complained that he was hot so I took both of his coats off and he fell back to sleep fairly easily. Why was he wearing two coats anyway, boss?" Gibbs smiled as he thought back to earlier that morning when they had the argument regarding the coat. "Tim wanted to wear the leather coat we bought yesterday and I told him it wasn't warm enough so we compromised."

"Our little Timmy, trying so hard to be fashionable." DiNozzo cooed as he gently tapped Tim on the nose.

"So what is the plan Gibbs? We need to find Ella before she can get her hands on Tim. I have tracked down every lead we have on her, but it seems she has disappeared."

Gibbs was quiet for a moment while he gathered his thoughts. "We know that Ella has abandoned her house but did anyone bother to check Lucy's home?"

Tony and Ziva exchanged worried glances, before Ziva spoke. "No Gibbs we did not, do you think she could be staying there?"

Gibbs shrugged his shoulders, "It's worth a try. I doubt she would be that dumb as they supposedly already have a plan in place, but it wouldn't hurt to go look. In the meantime, I'm going to have a little chat with Vance about bringing Lucy Grey over here to interrogate her. I'm guessing once her bond is denied tomorrow, Ella is going to make her move to get Tim and I'll be damned if I let that happen."

Tony stood up, kissed Tim on the forehead and carefully handed him over to Gibbs. Before they turned to leave he whispered in Tim's ear, "Don't worry Probie, we won't let anything happen to you."

Gibbs smiled as he watched the two agents leave, then walked over to his desk and arranged Tim comfortably in his arms. He looked around to make sure nobody was watching before he leaned down and whispered, "I love you Tim, I'm going to do everything in my power to keep you safe." Not expecting a reply, Gibbs was shocked when Tim mumbled, "Lube you" before covering Gibbs' hand with his own and immediately falling back asleep.

Ella hummed while she tidied up the nursery in preparation for their newest arrival. She held up a pair of bib overalls and squealed with delight, "Agent McGee is going to look so adorable in these!" Ella continued to sort the clothes into different piles, each pile based on hanging or folding. After she finished with the clothes, she moved on to stocking the changing table. She opened a fresh package of diapers and stacked them neatly followed by a new container of baby wipes and powder. This nursery is so cute; our new baby won't want to be with Agent Gibbs anymore. In a few weeks time, he will have forgotten all about them and we'll be his new family she thought excitedly. Satisfied the nursery was ready to go, she pulled out the brown paper bag her 'contact' gave her the previous night. Ella's adrenaline pumped as she dumped the bag on the counter in front of her. Meticulously she lined up the handful of pre-filled needles and smiled as she ran her hand over each one.

Chapter Text

Gibbs skimmed through emails, trying not to wake a slumbering Tim, tucked under his arm like a football. Every now and then he would reach over and stroke his cheek if the little guy shifted or sighed. Suddenly there was a ding at the back elevator and two agents stepped out. They whispered between each other, but Gibbs could still hear their conversation. "Did I miss the memo, since when does Vance allow us to bring our kids to work?" The other agent shrugged his shoulders, "Gibbs always breaks the rules. Doesn't surprise me one bit that he has a baby in here." The two men looked up to see a very pissed off Gibbs staring at them. They both nodded as they realized they had been caught and split up to go their separate ways. Gibbs smirked, then turned his attention back to Tim as he felt the youngster start to wake up.

Tim was in a daze, as his vision came into focus he began to panic when he realized he was in the bullpen and not at Gibbs' house. His heart rate sped up as he tried to remember why they were at NCIS. It wasn't until he felt a warm thumb being rubbed across his forehead that he began to settle down. He looked up to meet Gibbs' eyes, immediately feeling safe again. "Hey kiddo, are you okay?" Gibbs whispered as he continued his ministrations. Tim took a deep breath and slowly nodded. Gibbs hitched Tim higher up in his arms "I bet you're confused huh? I told you I would wake you when we got to work, but the Tylenol knocked you out cold and I wanted you to get some rest. Especially after the rough night you had." Tim sighed and burrowed himself deeper into Gibbs' embrace. After a moment of silence, Tim spoke "Ba Ba Pwease." Gibbs laughed, could this baby be any more adorable he thought. "Sure kiddo, let's go take a walk and get it warmed up for you."

As he rummaged through the diaper bag, Gibbs decided Tim probably needed to be changed as well so he hung the bag over his free shoulder and started walking toward the elevator. Tim fidgeted in his arms as they waited for the doors to open. Gibbs gently tapped him on the nose; "I need to get a clean diaper on you, son. Your rash is healing and I don't think either one of us wants it to get worse because I didn't change you. Plus the backlash from Ducky if I allowed that to happen would be unfathomable. Don't worry I know just the spot, we can have a little privacy then I'll get you that bottle. Tim sighed in defeat as the doors opened and Gibbs stepped in. The little guy watched to see what button Gibbs pressed and became upset at his selection. Tears welled up in his eyes as the doors opened to the ground floor. "Shh…shh…sweetie we're not going to the lab, I was going to change you in autopsy." Gibbs felt Tim sag against his chest in relief; he ran his hand up and down Tim's back and continued his trek. They were both startled when Gibbs stepped through the sliding glass doors only to be met by Ducky, Abby and Palmer.

"Why hello there Jethro…Timothy! What brings you two all the way down here?" Ducky asked as he ruffled Tim's hair.

"Timmy!" Abby squealed as she stepped closer, but immediately stopped when she made eye contact with Gibbs.

Tim, who immediately tensed up when she approached, relaxed and laid his head on Gibbs' shoulder once he realized Abby wouldn't force herself on him. He smiled and whispered "Ab " before sticking his thumb in his mouth.

Gibbs beamed as he brushed his fingers through Tim's hair. Proud of the fact his little boy made an effort. "I thought there would be no one down here so Tim and I could have a little privacy." He said dropping the diaper bag on the table.

"Ahh well of course Jethro, anytime you need this room you're free to use it. Mr. Palmer and I were just on our way out to lunch."

Gibbs nodded, "Thanks Duck, we appreciate it. I need your advice on something before you leave."

Ducky smiled, "Anything for young Timothy."

"Tim woke up in a lot of pain last night, I believe he's teething, could you take a look for me?"

Ducky frowned and grabbed his penlight from the desk. "Mr. Palmer could you bring that chair over here for Agent Gibbs?"

"Certainly Doctor" Jimmy responded while he rolled the chair over to Gibbs who sat down and placed Tim in his lap.

Ducky turned on the penlight and focused his attention on Tim, "Now lets take a look shall we? Can you open your mouth like a good lad?"

Tim nodded, opening his mouth so Ducky could peek inside.

"Ahh good boy!"

"Can you show me where it hurts Timothy?"

Before Tim had the opportunity to show Ducky, Gibbs was answering for him. "Bottom left, smack dab in the middle."

Ducky couldn't help but chuckle as Gibbs' paternal instincts kicked into overdrive. He raised his eyebrows, gave Gibbs an exasperated look, then addressed Tim. "Go ahead and show me where it hurts young man."

Tim opened his mouth, pointed to the vicinity of the pain and waited patiently while Ducky finished the exam. "You were correct Jethro; it seems there is a tooth that is just below the gum line waiting to pop through."

Gibbs sighed, "Well I've been giving him Tylenol and a wet rag to chew on, but do you have any other ideas? I hate seeing this little guy in pain."

Ducky ran the back of his hand over Tim's cheek, "I'm sorry little one, I know it can't be fun. Unfortunately Jethro you've been doing about all you can do. Instead of using the wash cloth, they do make teething rings that you can put in the refrigerator or freezer and those will help soothe his gums."

Gibbs leaned down and kissed the top of Tim's head. "I'll try and keep you comfortable buddy."

Tim was getting impatient; he was thirsty, wet and not feeling well. After awhile it was getting to be too much for him and he began whimpering.

The four adults in the room turned their attention to Tim who was at the beginning stages of a meltdown. Gibbs soothed, "Shh…shh Timmy you have been such a good boy! I'll get you cleaned up and then you can eat."

Ducky stood up and squeezed Tim's hand; "We will get out of here so Jethro can tend to you." He motioned to the other two, "Come along my dears."

Jimmy quickly followed Ducky out the door, while Abby didn't move. Gibbs spun around on the chair. "Abs, you need something?"

Abby was nervously playing with the rings on her finger. "Well I thought I could go at lunch time and get Timmy some teething rings. You know... if that's okay with you."

Gibbs smiled and wrapped his arms around Tim, "That would be really nice of you, Abby." He leaned in closer to Tim and whispered "Don't you think that's nice of her?" Tim blushed then looked at Abby and slowly nodded.

Abby smiled as she tried to control her excitement. "Great! I'll be back soon and hopefully they'll help lil' Timmy."

Gibbs noticed a renewed bounce in Abby's step as she bounded over to the doors. She was almost gone when she stopped and turned back toward the pair.

"Something else you need Abby?"

She slowly walked back to where Gibbs was sitting and squatted down. "I was also planning on getting Tim some toys." She shrugged her shoulders, "I thought if I choose the right ones they could help with his hand eye coordination and probably his speech. Plus he's got to be bored, I know you don't have any toys at your place Gibbs."

Gibbs laughed, "No, I don't have any toys…been a long time since my house has been cluttered with them."

Tim's bright green eyes lit up when Abby suggested buying some toys for him. She was right, after a few days he was bored out of his mind. He loved hanging out with Gibbs, but it was also nice to know that there would be different options for him.

Gibbs looked down at Tim. "What do you think? Are you ready for some fun?"

Tim giggled, clapped his hands together and started chanting "Doggy! Doggy! Doggy!"

Gibbs laughed, "Obviously he loves dogs so if you could find a stuffed one, I think you would make him a very happy little boy."

Abby couldn't contain her excitement any longer and ruffled Tim's hair. Immediately withdrawing her hand once she realized what she had done. Tim didn't seem to mind so Gibbs wasn't going to make a big deal out of it.

"Alright Abby, I need to get this little guy cleaned up so we'll see you when you get back from the store."

"Of course Gibbs, I'll see you guys later!"

Convinced that Abby was gone for good, Gibbs stood up, moved Tim to one shoulder and used the other hand to get the changing mat out of the diaper bag. He unfolded it on one of the autopsy tables and gently laid Tim down on it. He collected his other supplies and turned back to Tim, who was proudly sucking his thumb. Gibbs removed Tim's sweats and sighed, "I bet you're starving by now, huh? I didn't plan for distractions." Tim mumbled, but with his thumb in his mouth it was hard to hear what he said. Gibbs winced when he unhooked the tape on the sodden diaper. "You're soaked Timmy! I'm sorry you had to sit in this for so long."

Tim continued sucking on his thumb contentedly and Gibbs couldn't help but smile when he looked up to see a small line of drool leaking from his mouth. He kept his thoughts to himself, but he noticed that Tim was either becoming more comfortable in his current situation or he was in fact regressing even more so than he already had. Gibbs thought back to the conversation between the Greys. He began wondering if it was indeed the double dose of medicine causing further regression.

He pulled Tim's sweatpants up, reached down and began tickling him. Tim giggled, squealed and kicked his legs as Gibbs moved from his stomach to his knees and finally to his arms. "Gib zilly" Tim giggled in between breaths. Gibbs laughed, "Yeah, you caught me. I'm silly!" After a few minutes, Gibbs could see Tim was worn out so he packed away the supplies, lifted Tim up and headed for the elevator. As they waited, Tim laid his head down on Gibbs' shoulder and looked up at him lovingly. The look Tim had on his face was so sweet and innocent, Gibbs couldn't help but pull the baby closer to him. They rode the elevator back to the bullpen level and stopped in the break room so Gibbs could warm up the bottle. As they waited for it to finish, Director Vance's secretary walked in to heat up her lunch.

"Agent Gibbs, who is this beautiful baby and why is this the first time I've met him?"

Gibbs could feel Tim bury his face further into his shoulder trying to disappear.

As he watched the seconds tick away on the microwave, Gibbs politely looked over to her and replied, "This is my godson, Timothy."

The woman raised her eyebrows "Oh I didn't realize that Agent McGee had any children."

Finally the microwaved beeped, signaling it was done as Gibbs reached in to grab the bottle, "He doesn't, they just happen to have the same name."

As she prepared to put her lunch in the microwave the woman looked up, "Well you could have fooled me…that child is a dead ringer for Agent McGee."

Gibbs laughed, "Well I assure you the two are not related. Now if you'll excuse me, the little guy is hungry."

As Gibbs walked out of the break room, they both took a deep breath and exhaled relieved to be done with that encounter. Just as they rounded the corner, Tony and Ziva were coming off the elevator. "Zeba!" "Toey!" Tim squealed reaching his arms out for whoever would take him. Since Tony was able to hold Tim that morning, the two agents had a silent agreement that it was Ziva's turn. She dropped her gun and backpack on the desk, and then reached out to take Tim.

Gibbs handed her the bottle, slightly envious Ziva was going to be the one to feed him. "You're just in time for a feeding."

Ziva nodded and sat down at her desk. She leaned Tim back so he was stretched across her lap then leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. "Did you have a good nap, Tim?

Tim nodded but then started whining.

Ziva bounced him on her lap, trying to calm him down, "Aww what is wrong?"

Gibbs watched with amusement from his desk, "Give him the bottle Ziver! The poor kid has been waiting for the past 45 minutes."

"Oh, I am sorry sweetie I did not know you were that hungry." She said raising the bottle to his lips as Tim began sucking contently. The bullpen was silent except for the loud sucking, grunting and growling sounds that were coming from Tim.

Tony laughed, "Wow is that growling I hear coming from Probie?"

"You just shush Tony!"

Ziva gently brushed the youngsters hair off his face, "Tim is a growing boy he is obviously very hungry!"

Gibbs sighed, "So I take it you didn't find Ella at Lucy's house but were you able to find anything useful to our investigation?

Tony dug through his backpack and pulled out a few evidence bags, "It looks like Ella was indeed at her sister's house. We found a receipt from a hunting store, it doesn't list specifically what she bought but I could call the store and see if they have any surveillance footage or ask if anyone remembers her."

"You think DiNozzo?

"Yes Boss… I'll get right on that…I was just going to get lunch…"


Tony nodded, "Calling right now boss."

Gibbs stood up and walked over to Ziva's desk, "I'm going for coffee Timmy but I'll be back before you know it."

Tim, whose eyes had been closed while he nursed, opened them briefly to acknowledge Gibbs and then immediately closed them again. Gibbs smirked as Tim's tiny hand played with the end of Ziva's ponytail. "

"Tony was right; McGee definitely has a thing for women's hair."

Gibbs tapped Tim on the knee "I'll be right back son." And with that he left to catch the elevator. Tim was at the end of the bottle so Ziva sat him up and patted his back a few times. They were all surprised when Tim let out a loud burp. He was immediately embarrassed and buried his face against Ziva's chest. She ran her hand in circles on his back and leaned in close. "It is okay Tim, babies burp, not a big deal."


A soft knock on the door startled Ella. She dropped the files she was reading on the table, grabbed her gun and crept to the front door. She took a deep breath before looking through the peephole. Exhaling she unlocked the door, allowing the man inside.

She grabbed one of the bags the man was carrying and placed it on the table.

"Did you have any problems finding all the items on my list?"

The man set the other bag down and began pulling out the supplies.

He drew a gun out of the bag and looked it over, "Well this isn't all of it, but I have an early shift at the hospital tomorrow so I'll be able to finish up the list."

Ella nodded and began unpacking the other bag. "Remember, this plan could go into effect at anytime. I need you to be focused and ready."

The man nodded, "When do I get paid?"

Ella laughed, "You'll get paid when the job is complete. I'm still missing the most important piece to this puzzle. Do what ever is necessary to get the last piece of equipment."

The man sighed, "Why are we targeting Federal Agents? I really hope you know what you're doing Ella or this could completely blow up in our faces."

"Don't worry, Lucy taught me well. She practically raised me and I can't let her down. I owe it to her and have nothing to lose. You worry about doing your job and let me worry about everything else."

The man opened the door to leave then turned back toward Ella, "All right but I don't want blood on my hands so you better be damn sure before we attempt this. Plan for the unexpected."


Gibbs barged into Vance's office, coffee in hand ready to go to blows over Lucy Grey.

Vance looked up from his computer, "I was wondering when I would be seeing you."

Gibbs took a sip from his coffee, "Well here I am, Leon. We need to talk about Lucy Grey."

Vance folded his hands, resting them on the desk in front of him. 'What can I do for you Gibbs?"

Gibbs paced back and forth across the office, running his fingers through his hair. "I need to interrogate Lucy Grey."

Vance raised his eyebrows, but allowed Gibbs to continue.

"Tony and Ziva returned with video footage of Lucy's sister Ella visiting her at the jail yesterday. Based on what they discussed, McGee was given a double dose of the drug that caused him to regress. Lucy's bond hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, I need to make sure she isn't released. I'm sure after the judge views what's on that tape there is no way in hell he will let her out on bond."

"Why do you want to interrogate her Gibbs?"

Gibbs stopped pacing and leaned forward so he was only inches from Vance's face. "Because we need to find her sister Ella."

He pounded his fist on the desk and yelled, "Because that's my baby they plan on hurting."

Gibbs took a deep breath and moved back when he realized the words that came out of his mouth. He took a moment to compose himself then continued.

"They're up to something and if I don't do everything in my power to prevent it then we might as well just hand McGee over to them now."

Vance smirked and leaned back in his chair. "Remember the conversation we had earlier concerning Agent McGee? If you got too close to this case or him then you would remove yourself."

Gibbs ran his hand down his face. "McGee is one of my agents, I have a right to be concerned for his safety, I'm not removing myself from this case."

Vance sighed, "I'll send the footage over to the prosecutor who is handling Grey's case. As far as interrogating her..."

Gibbs interrupted him before Vance could finish, "What are you worried about Leon?"

"If you would have let me finish, I was going to say that I'll have them bring Lucy over to NCIS so you can interrogate her."

Gibbs nodded, picked up his coffee and headed for the door, "We need her today Leon, tomorrow might be too late."

Vance picked up the phone to make a few calls and leaned back in his chair. This is going to be a long week he thought.

Chapter Text

Gibbs sagged against the door with relief after he left Vance's office. He took a moment to compose himself before going to look for Tim. Before he had the opportunity to even move, his cell phone was ringing. Gibbs sighed as he dug it out of his pocket and looked at the caller ID.

"Yeah, DiNozzo"

Tony stuttered, "B...B...oss, where are you? McGee's having a meltdown and we can't get him to calm down."

Gibbs could hear Tim crying in the background and quickly headed toward the bullpen. "I was with Vance, you didn't hurt him, did you DiNozzo?"

"No, Boss he just started crying, we have tried everything to calm him down, but he only wants you."

Even though he was scared of the possibility something was wrong with Tim, Gibbs couldn't help the smile that formed on his face when Tony said the little guy only wanted him.

"I'm on my way Tony." Gibbs reassured him then hung up the phone.

By the time Gibbs reached the catwalk, Tim's crying could be heard loud and clear. Other agents looked over their cubicles to watch a very unhappy Tim squirm in Tony's arms. Gibbs felt a rush of adrenaline kick in as he took the stairs two at a time to reach him.

Tony was bouncing Tim in his arms, trying to think of anything to say or do that would calm him down. When he saw Gibbs round the corner with his arms stretched out he breathed a sigh of relief and gently handed Tim over to the older man.

"Shh...shh...Timmy I'm here." Gibbs soothed bouncing the youngster in his arms.

However, Tim's crying did not dissipate it only increased. Gibbs walked toward the bathroom whispering reassurances and endearments in his ear. "Come on sweetie, you need to tell me what's wrong. Let me help you!"

He walked into the bathroom, confirming it was empty; he sat Tim on the sink. Tim's sobbing continued as Gibbs lifted his chin to make eye contact. "Okay son, will you please tell me what's wrong so I can fix it?" Tim continued whimpering, but managed to choke out, "Mizz you Gib."

Gibbs wasn't buying it; he couldn't imagine this meltdown was over him leaving for a few minutes. He picked the little guy up and scooted down his pants. "You're not dirty, are you?" Satisfied he wasn't, Gibbs laid him on his shoulder. The baby instinctively nuzzled closer to his neck and sighed. Gibbs rubbed his hand up and down Tim's back. "Are you sure nothing else is bothering you kiddo?"

Tim pulled back, looked Gibbs in the eyes and slowly nodded. "All right, but if I find out later on that you are hiding something from me, I'm not going to be happy."

They stayed in the bathroom for a few minutes while Tim composed himself; finally venturing out to the bullpen once again. As Gibbs walked past Ziva's desk, he noticed a mug shot of Lucy Grey lying on a stack of paperwork. He immediately stopped, picked up the picture and tapped Tim on the back with it. "Is this what had you so upset?" Tim took one look at the picture and immediately dissolved into a fresh set of tears.

Gibbs sighed as he put the picture down and wrapped both arms around the youngster. "So there was a reason you were upset, besides missing me." Gibbs felt Tim's grip grow tighter as he walked to his desk and sat down. He tried to move Tim so he was sitting on his lap, but the little guy wouldn't budge. Gibbs kept one hand moving up and down Tim's back and grimaced when he felt tremor after tremor rack his little body. Finally, after what seemed like hours, Tim's crying subsided and he pulled his body away from Gibbs, attempting to sit in his lap. "You're going to be okay, Tim," Gibbs whispered as he kissed the side of his head before shifting him so he could rest comfortably against his chest. Tim sniffled then used his shirtsleeve to wipe the tears from his eyes. Gibbs laughed, reached out for a Kleenex and held it up to Tim's nose instructing him to blow.

While Gibbs tended to Tim, the elevator dinged, the doors opened revealing Abby who was carrying two large shopping bags.

She stopped in the middle of the bullpen, dropped the bags on the floor and squatted down in front of Gibbs' desk. "Aww Timmy, what's wrong sweetie?" She whispered trying to show her concern, although not in her usual fashion. Tim closed his eyes and shook his head before burrowing closer to Gibbs. Abby shot Gibbs a concerned look, he attempted to reassure her by motioning to the bags on the floor. Abby's shopping trip had peaked both Tony and Ziva's curiosity and they leaned over their desks to see what she bought. She rummaged through the first bag and clicked her tongue when she couldn't find what she was looking for.

Tony stood up and watched Abby fumble through the bags, "Jeez Abby, how much did you buy for Tiny Tim?"

Abby stopped looking and turned toward Tony, "I got him a bunch of toys and some teething rings. Is that a problem? I don't see you or Ziva buying him anything!"

Gibbs cleared his throat, causing both Abby and Tony to look his direction. "Enough Tony! Abby volunteered to go on her lunch hour and get some stuff for Tim."

Abby turned her back to Gibbs and stuck her tongue out at Tony. Gibbs sighed, "I can see your reflection in the plasma, Abby. That's enough from both of you! Why is it I have a baby here who behaves more like an adult than you two?"

Abby blushed then slowly turned around, "I'm sorry Gibbs, let me find what I wanted to give Tim, then I'll head back to the lab."

She rummaged through the second bag before she pulled out a brown and black spotted stuffed dog. The dog's muzzle and nose were black along with the inside of its big droopy ears. Its eyes were the icing on the cake as they were big, sweet and innocent. Gibbs laughed as they reminded him a lot of Tim's eyes.

Gibbs kissed the top of Tim's head then whispered in his ear, "Hey Buddy, why don't you open your eyes, Abby has a present for you."

Tim's eyes shot open upon Gibbs request and he waited as Abby withdrew the dog from behind her back and handed it to him.

His face lit up as he grabbed the dog and held it close to his chest, "Doggy!" he squealed. The three adults watched as Tim leaned down and gave the dog a kiss on the top of his head.

"Aww that was sweet Timmy." Gibbs said as he wrapped his arms around Tim's upper body.

Tim looked up at Abby and mumbled shyly, "Tank you Ab, me lube him!"

Abby smiled, "What are you going to name him?"

Tim shrugged his shoulders, looked down at the dog and replied, "Dunno."

"Well that's all right, whenever you find the right name you let us know! I have a bunch of other toys and some teething rings in these bags, but I'll let you sort through it, Gibbs. I have some work to get caught up on. I'll see you later." And with that, she bounced her way to the back elevator, headed for the lab.

Just as Abby was leaving, Vance appeared on the catwalk. "Gibbs, your interro…" he stopped when he noticed McGee was intently listening to what he was about to say. He cleared his throat, "Your interview is scheduled to be here in half an hour."

Gibbs nodded, "Thanks Leon, any way we might be able to use your office for the little guy?"

Vance smirked, "Of course, just let me know what the plan is."

Tim immediately began trembling, he knew Vance was referring to Grey and couldn't hide the fact he was scared to death of that woman.

"It's ok son, Lucy Grey won't even know you're here. Your job will be to play with all these new toys that Abby got for you."

Tim's breathing increased and a single tear slid down his cheek. Gibbs used his thumb to wipe it away and gently wrapped his arms around him. Attempting to distract Tim, he offered, "How about we look through some of them right now!" Tim nodded slowly as Tony got up from his desk and lifted one of the bags onto the desk. They opened the bag, revealing a plethora of toys and teething products. Gibbs grabbed one of the packages of teethers that went in the freezer and tossed them at Ziva.

"Hey Ziver, will you go put these in the freezer so they'll be ready when I take Tim upstairs?"

She opened the package, checked the two teethers for leaks and headed for the break room, "Of course Gibbs, anything for our little Timmy."

Gibbs pulled out another package that had a few pacifiers in it. "I guess Abby saw you sucking your thumb and decided this was a better option." He looked down at Tim who blushed as the older man asked, "You want to try one?" Tim raised one eyebrow and nodded. Gibbs figured Tim would agree and was already opening the package while Tony pulled out a large bag of Mega Blocks. Tim's face lit up when he saw the bag full of blocks he could build stuff with.

Tony sat the bag off to the side of the desk, "Wow Probie, I'm jealous…I used to love these when I was a kid!"

Tim clapped his hands as Gibbs stuck the pacifier in his mouth and he began sucking on it. "Better than your thumb, kiddo?"

Gibbs didn't get a response at first and waited until Tim worked up a rhythm he was comfortable with. After a moment, Tim looked up at Gibbs and nodded. He smirked as he watched his little one contently suck on the pacifier while cuddling with his new dog.

Ziva returned from the break room laughing. "What so funny, Ziva?" Tony asked while he pulled the next toy out of the bag. "Oh nothing, just that a few people were talking about Tim and commented on how cute a baby he is. Plenty of people around here who would babysit, I can imagine."

Tony gave her an exasperated look, "No way! Nobody around here is putting their grubby paws on Tim."

Ziva rolled her eyes then reached over and stroked Tim's cheek, "You think I do not know that, Tony? I would not let anyone touch this little guy either."

Gibbs groaned, "Now children, there's no reason to argue over Tim. Besides, I decide what's best for him!"

"Wow Timmy, Abby picked up some pretty cool toys for you." Tony said pulling out a toy guitar that played music, but also had numbers and different animal sounds that would help improve Tim's speech.


Although he hated to break up the party, Gibbs knew two agents would be bringing in Lucy Grey soon and he didn't want to take the chance of her seeing Tim. "Alright kids, time to get Tim moved up to Vance's office." Ziva went to her desk and started collecting all the evidence in a file for Gibbs to take into interrogation with him while Tony collected the toys and went to get the teethers out of the freezer. "Gibbs leaned down and whispered in Tim's ear, "Hey buddy, you need a diaper change before I bring you upstairs?" The toddler wasn't even paying attention to Gibbs so he carefully slipped two fingers in the waistband of his pants to check. 'Timmy you're soaked, I need to change you before this interrogation." Gibbs was concerned by the fact that Tim didn't even make a fuss when he checked his diaper in the middle of the bullpen. He stood up, moved Tim to one hip, slung the diaper bag over his shoulder and headed toward the elevator.

Instead of heading all the way down to autopsy, Gibbs decided he would just ask Vance if he could change Tim in his office. Once they reached the top floor, he took a deep breath remembering the possibility of dealing with Vance's secretary again. He stepped inside the office and was pleasantly surprised when the secretary told him to go right in. Vance was just getting off the phone when they stepped in, "You made it up here just in time, that was security, they're bringing up Grey as we speak.

Gibbs nodded, "I need you to do me one more favor, Leon. Could you leave while I get Tim changed?"

Vance smirked, "Of course, I'll give you two some privacy. Who will be watching McGee while you're gone?"

"I was thinking of having Abby come up, the two could play with the new toys she bought him."

Tim's eyes got wide and he started whimpering. Gibbs rubbed soothing circles on his back. "Let me discuss it with Tim and I'll have an answer for you once we're done."

"Very well," Vance nodded and grabbed his phone before exiting.

Tim was trying hard to hold his emotions in, but once the director left he spit his pacifier out on the floor and started sobbing. "No go Gib, pwease!" he sputtered out between sobs while he buried his face against Gibbs' chest. Gibbs sighed, sat down on the couch, pulled Tim close and rested his chin on top of the youngster's head. "Would you feel more comfortable if I left Tony or Ziva up here with you?"

Gibbs felt Tim nod before he spoke, "Me want Toey."

"Alright kiddo, I'll leave Tony up here with you. Not a problem, now let's get you changed so I can get this done and we can go home." He sat Tim on the couch then pulled out the changing mat from the diaper bag. Gibbs laughed, "You think Vance would want to know that I'm using his table to change you? Tim blushed, shook his head and reached his arms out to let the older man grab him. Gibbs took the spare pacifier out of his pocket and stuck it in the little guy's mouth. He brushed Tim's hair off to one side before gently patting his tummy. "All right, let's get you cleaned up my boy."

Tony stepped off the elevator with his hands full. He was surprised to see Vance standing outside the door to his office. "Sir?"

Vance glanced up at him, "Gibbs is taking care of Agent McGee right now."

Tony took a deep breath, "Why, what's wrong with him? He was fine before they came upstairs?"

Vance laughed, "Stand down DiNozzo; he has a dirty diaper, that's all. The two of them are discussing who McGee wants to stay up here with him. Gibbs recommended Ms. Sciuto, but I don't think the lil' guy was too happy with that choice."

Tony laughed and set the bags down on the floor. "She means well, but sometimes she can be too overbearing."

Gibbs finished taping up the diaper, pulled up his pants and looked down at Tim. "Okay that should hold you until we get home. If you need to be changed before, then let Tony know and we'll figure something out." Tim nodded and reached his arms out for Gibbs to pick him up. "Ahh come here, buddy." he said gently, pulling the baby into his arms. "I'm going to call Tony and tell him to get up here while I go deal with Grey. To be honest with you, I think Tony was more excited about the toys Abby got than you were." Tim removed the pacifier from his mouth, threw his arms around Gibbs' neck and squeezed, "No let Gwey get me."

A lump formed in Gibbs' throat as he tried to swallow. "Of course not sweetie, I'll protect you."

Tim whispered into his ear. "Lube you, Gib"

Gibbs kissed Tim's temple, "Love you too, son. Now let's find Tony, shall we?"

The older man opened the door to allow Vance back into his office and was surprised to see DiNozzo waiting outside as well. "Hey Boss I was just dropping off Tim's toys, Ziva escorted our guest down to interrogation."

Gibbs nodded, "Tim wants you to stay with him while I'm downstairs dealing with her. There's another bottle in the diaper bag and some cheese and grapes if he's still hungry. As far as changing he should be okay until I get back, but if something comes up then interrupt me."

Tony snickered, "Breaking your own rule, boss? Listen, we'll be fine. Good luck with Grey...break her."

Gibbs gently stroked Tim's cheek before handing him off to Tony. "They're my rules DiNozzo, I can break them anytime I want. I'll be back in a little bit."

Tim blew Gibbs a kiss as he walked out the door, and then shoved the pacifier back in his mouth.

Once he shut the door, Gibbs felt his adrenaline start to pump, as he was ready to go face to face with the woman who put his youngest in this position in the first place. While he didn't wish Tim's predicament on anyone, he felt truly grateful for the time he was able to spend with this little boy. He ran his fingers through his hair, took a deep breath and headed for interrogation.

Vance sat at his desk reading through a report while the two younger men sat on the floor off to the side. Tony pulled out the bag of Mega Blocks and dumped them on the floor. The clattering of the pieces made Vance look up as he rolled his eyes. "Sorry Director, we'll try and be quiet." He reassured him.

Suddenly the director's phone rang and he got up from his chair. "As much as I would like to stay and build stuff with you two, it looks like I'm needed in MTAC."

Tony breathed a sigh of relief, "Thank you, sir."

Vance smirked, grabbed some paperwork and headed out the door.


Ziva and Gibbs stood on the other side of the glass, observing Lucy Grey. Gibbs smirked when he saw Ziva had shackled her arms and legs together. Ziva winked, "Did not want to make her too comfortable. Here is the file on what we could dig up on her and Ella." Gibbs took a deep breath, trying to control his pent up frustration and exited the room. Ziva turned her attention back to the glass; I wish I had some popcorn she thought.

Tim sucked contently on his pacifier while they began stacking blocks. The pair had several buildings made before Tim began knocking them over. Tony couldn't help but laugh, as one by one the little guy would push them over, then erupt into a fit of giggles as they crashed to the ground.

Tony wanted to see if Tim could crawl so he would strategically place the blocks further away from the youngster, forcing him to move himself. It took a few tries and a little help from Tony, but soon Tim was a crawling machine. Instead of being interested in the toys, he was happy with his newfound freedom and spent several minutes just exploring the office. Once Tim got bored with crawling, Tony asked, "Hey buddy, you want to try and walk?" The little guy's eyes lit up at the possibility of more freedom so he crawled over to where Tony was sitting. "That's what I like to see, kiddo." He said ruffling Tim's hair. "First I think we need to work on standing and balance." Tony reached out, grabbed McGee's hands and pulled him up into a standing position. Tim wobbled back and forth, side to side, eventually his knees gave out and he landed with a thud in Tony's lap. Tony wiped the sweat off Tim's brow and soothed, "It's okay, don't get discouraged lil' one. It takes practice."

"More, Toey!" Tim grunted as he once again grabbed Tony's hands and pulled himself into a standing position. Tim learned from his last try and bent his knees a bit, attempting to center his body. He smiled when he realized that bending his knees stopped most of his wobbling. Once Tony felt Tim was stable he said, "All right hot shot, I'm going to let go and we'll see how well you do." He let go of Tim's hands and was surprised when the youngster was able to stand on his own for about 10 seconds before falling and landing on his bottom. Tony was surprised at the baby's stamina, as they practiced repeatedly. Finally, after the last time Tim collapsed in Tony's arms and laid his head on the older man's shoulder. He worked to control his breathing as Tony patted his back. "I'm so proud of you, Probie! You made a lot of progress and I can't wait to show Gibbs what you can do!"

Because Tim worked hard, DiNozzo wanted to have a little fun with him. He stretched out of the floor and moved Tim so he was sitting across his chest. Tony bent his knees then picked Tim up and sat him down so each one of his legs were straddled across Tony's knees. He grabbed hold of Tim's hand to balance him while he started moving his legs up and down plus side-to-side. Tim laughed hysterically, especially since he couldn't anticipate which way Tony was going next.

The little guy's laughter was infectious and soon Tony found his sides were aching from all the laughing the two had done. They both needed a break so he lowered his legs to the ground as Tim fell forward onto his chest. They lay on the floor, catching their breath when Tim suddenly lifted his head and rested his chin on Tony's chest. Tony made eye contact with him, realizing he wanted to say something.

"Tank u Toey, much fun!" He squealed in delight. DiNozzo rubbed his hand down Tim's back, "Good I'm glad, me too! Gibbs is going to be so proud when we show him what you can do!"

Tim yawned, "Gib pway?"

Tony laughed, "I would be willing to bet he would do anything you asked him to do, kiddo."

Chapter Text

Over the past few days, this interrogation was all Gibbs could think about when he wasn't busy taking care of Tim. He knew it would be a tremendous feat to get any information out of Lucy, but he was up to the challenge. He gripped the door handle, took a deep breath and violently pushed it open, causing it to slam into the wall. Gibbs smirked as Lucy jumped at the unexpected noise. He slammed the door shut then walked over and sat down at the table.

The shackles on Lucy's wrists clanged together as she rested her forearms on the table. She extended her arms out, "Are these really necessary, Agent Gibbs? Where's my lawyer? You can't question me until he gets here."

Gibbs shrugged his shoulders, "Don't know, I hope NCIS gave him this address and not the one in Norfolk."

Lucy smirked, "Well, it's not like I planned on answering any of your questions anyways."

Gibbs stared at her, attempting to remain calm, but all he wanted to do was lean over the table and smack the smug smile off Lucy's face. He realized he needed to try a new approach so he grabbed the remote for the video monitor and played the tape from the jail.

Lucy watched intently as the video played before turning her attention to Gibbs. She ran her fingers through her hair, "I look much better on video than I thought I would."

Gibbs chuckled, "I'm glad you feel that way because after tomorrow that's the only thing you will have to feel good about."

Grey shook her head, "You're wrong, I'm going to be a well known scientist soon. Even if I have to spend the rest of my life in jail, it will only be a matter of time before the world knows my name."

"How do you figure that?"

"You will just have to wait and see Agent Gibbs."

Realizing answers were going to be few and far between Gibbs decided to start with questions Lucy would more than likely answer.

"Ella said she gave McGee a double dose of your regression drug, how long will he be a baby for?

She grinned and shrugged her shoulders, "The drug was supposed to be permanent, but there were some flaws. I didn't have the opportunity to tweak it before I was caught. There's no telling how long it could take him to become an adult again. Especially if he's regressing on his own."

Gibbs grit his teeth at Lucy's response, but prodded further, "Regressing on his own?"

Lucy clapped her hands together, "Ahh you're noticing changes with Agent McGee's behavior?" She squealed with delight, "My theory was correct!"

Gibbs tried to remain stoic; however, each new answer Lucy gave, made him angrier. He crossed his arms across his chest, squeezing his biceps, determined to remain calm. "What theory is that?"

"The drug can cause the body to become regressed, not necessarily the mind. The rest is up to the baby, the more comfortable they become, the more regressed they'll act."

Gibbs sighed; this can't be good he thought. With no affirmative answer on how long it would take before the drug dissipated from Tim's system he felt his blood pressure rising. It was important Lucy didn't know how worried he was for McGee so he carried on. "Just so you know I've made it my personal mission to see that your bond will be denied tomorrow. This video has been sent to the district attorney, based on your conversation with Ella there is no way a judge would allow you to walk free."

Lucy huffed, "Tell me Agent Gibbs, how do you like being a daddy again? From what I hear, you're very protective of your new charge. Agent McGee was so adorable as an adult; I can only imagine what he looks like as a baby!"

How do I like being a daddy again? Gibbs thought while he took a few deep breaths. There was no way that Grey would have known he lost Kelly and Shannon unless… then it dawned on him, the personal files she hacked into had his life story.

Gibbs shrugged his shoulders, "The personal files you hacked into, there's a reason why you chose me and Agent McGee…why?"

She scoffed, "Why would I ever tell you that?" Then laughed cynically, "You see, even if I don't get released tomorrow, my sister is still out there. Good luck finding her, Ella is waiting for the perfect time to snatch your precious baby."

Gibbs slammed his fist on the table and stood up. He leaned over, inches from her face, "Threatening my people is never a good idea! We will find your sister and when we do, I'll make sure neither of you see the light of day ever again!"

"Even if I stay in jail, Ella plans on sending plenty of pictures of our new baby. Hey, if you're lucky I might even have her make you a copy. How does that sound?"

Taking Lucy by surprise, Gibbs pulled her up from the chair, dragged her over to the wall and forcefully pinned her up against it. She whined as the shackles dug into her wrists and ankles. "I'm going to ask you one more time. Where is your sister?

"Okay okay I'll tell you please let go of me." Gibbs loosened his grip and waited for Lucy to speak.

"Well?" Gibbs screamed.

Lucy began laughing hysterically, "I…I…can't believe you thought I would sell out my own sister! This baby has made you soft Agent Gibbs, I suggest you do your job and find Ella on your own."

Gibbs had heard enough; he haphazardly guided Lucy back to the chair forcing her to sit down. "We're done; enjoy your life in prison!" As he walked to the door, he took one last look over his shoulder. As he opened it, Lucy called out, "Ella will make your little boy scream, Agent Gibbs. Too bad you won't be there to protect him!"

Aware that Grey wanted a reaction from him, Gibbs simply replied, "A few agents will be in to escort you back to jail."

As he shut the door, Gibbs ran his fingers through his hair, wiping the excess sweat on his jeans. He took a deep breath and exhaled as he heard the door to observation open. He looked up to see Ziva standing there with a concerned look on her face. She walked over to him, "Are you alright, Gibbs?" He slowly nodded and walked away. Ziva was worried; throughout the entire time she had been on Gibbs' team, she had rarely witnessed Gibbs being physically violent with a suspect in interrogation. She motioned for the two agents who were standing at the end of the hall to transfer Lucy back to jail and then made her way back to the bullpen.


Tony lifted Tim off his chest and sat him on the floor. He sat up, used his shirtsleeve to wipe the sweat off his brow and asked, "What do you want to do next, Timmy?"

Tim pointed to his mouth, "Hurt, Toey." Tony looked at his watch; because he wasn't sure what time Gibbs had given Tim his last dose of Tylenol, he figured it would be better to be safe rather than sorry. He leaned over and rubbed Tim's back, "Aww I'm sorry kiddo, I wish I could take away the pain, but do you want to try one of the teething rings that Abby got you?" Tim clenched his face in pain before slowly nodding.

Tony stood up and walked over to the table. He gasped when he noticed the teethers had begun to thaw, leaving a film of moisture beneath them. Oh God! Vance is going to kill me Tony thought as he lifted each one off the table, praying they hadn't left a stain. Relieved to find there wasn't one, Tony ran his hand over his face and went back to Tim. He looked down at the youngster who was in the middle of a giant yawn, "Hey, you want to sit on the couch and cuddle?"

Tim grabbed his new dog, disregarded earlier, and reached out for Tony. "Looks like all the playing we did wore you out, huh?" Tony commented as he crouched down and collected the little one in his arms. "Uh hum." Tim mumbled, laying his head down on Tony's shoulder. Tony walked over to the couch, sat down and then pulled Tim away from his shoulder. He gave the youngster a choice, "You want to rest against my chest or would you rather lie down?"

Tim's eyes slowly began to close as he fought to stay awake. He rubbed his eyes and looked up at Tony before muttering "zeepy." Tony smiled and scooted closer to the end of the couch. If Tim was going to fall asleep, he wanted a steady place to rest his arm while he held him. Once Tony was situated, he leaned back and shifted Tim so he was lying with his head in the crook of the senior field agent's arm. Tony used his other hand to pull the baby's body as close to his as possible. He looked down at Tim, "Comfortable enough, kiddo?"

After a slight nod from the little guy, Tony asked, "I know you're sleepy, but do you want to try the teething ring to see if you get some relief?" Tim opened his mouth as Tony placed the chilled object inside. The youngster squirmed as the cold soothed the painful throbbing that had been plaguing him since the night before, but soon relaxed as Tony let go of the teether. "That a boy! I can already see the relief on your face, does it feel good?"

Tim closed his eyes and continued chewing as a small pool of drool formed near the corner of his mouth. Tony smirked as he used his thumb to wipe up a majority of it then swiped it across his pants. He kept a comforting hand on Tim's forehead, every now and again gently brushing his hair off to the side. It didn't take long for Tim to conk out and Tony removed the teething ring and placed it over to the side. He watched the lil' fella's chest rise and fall with each breath, while he snored softly. Hating to be left out of the loop, Tony pulled out his phone and began texting Ziva for answers regarding the interrogation.


Ducky and Palmer were reviewing an autopsy from another case when they heard the familiar whoosh of the doors sliding open. They both looked over their shoulder to see a very disgruntled Gibbs standing behind them. Ducky could tell by the look on his face something was wrong. In fact, during the course of their friendship, Ducky had never seen the team leader this upset. Palmer took one look at Gibbs and began to excuse himself, "Uh I'm just...just going to see if Abby has any results for us yet" he stuttered. Gibbs who was pacing back and forth turned toward Jimmy, "Stand down, Palmer...Duck, would you let me buy you a cup of tea?"

Noticing the desperation in his friend's eyes, the older man nodded, "I suppose we can finish this when I get back, Mr. Palmer." Jimmy smiled, "I'll put him back in the freezer until you return, Dr. Mallard." Ducky grabbed his coat and hat and followed Gibbs out the door. As they waited for the elevator, Ducky turned to Gibbs, "I hope your coffee shop has the proper brewing equipment, in my opinion tea bags do not cut it."

As the elevator opened and both men stepped in Gibbs chuckled, "Don't worry, Duck I'm sure they'll have something you like."

The walk down the street to the coffee shop was quiet. Ducky knew Gibbs was a man of few words; however, the younger man seemed to be particularly upset. After Gibbs paid for the beverages, they found an empty table in the corner of the cozy shop.

Ducky took a sip of tea, while studying the expression on Gibbs' face. "Do you wish to tell me what's wrong, Jethro?"

Gibbs sighed, "Just got finished interrogating Lucy Grey. Let me say, it didn't go as I planned."

The older man nodded, "I see, well why don't you start by telling me what's bothering you."

"That obvious, Duck?"

Ducky chuckled, "Jethro, I've known you for a long time; I know when something is wrong."

Gibbs took a sip of his coffee and ran his fingers through his hair, "My first concern is Tim; I've noticed he's regressing more and more."

"What do you mean?"

"Tim's emotions are more pronounced; he's had a few tantrums or for example he let me check his diaper in the middle of the bullpen this afternoon. That was something he wouldn't have let me do a few days ago. Grey said the drug would only regress him so much, if Tim continues to regress it's because he feels comfortable enough to allow it."

Ducky nodded, "I know you hate to hear it, Jethro, but young Timothy will probably remain like that until he's an adult again. Even then it's going to be a difficult road for him."

Gibbs pinched the bridge of his nose, "I had a feeling you would say that."

"Jethro, I don't really see a problem with it. Like I said, once he's an adult again it might take some time, but eventually Timothy will be back to normal."

The younger man sat quietly; no doubt digesting the information he was just told.

Ducky reached over and patted Gibbs' arm. "What else is wrong my friend?"

"The Greys are psychopaths, they won't stop until Tim is in their possession. Some of the things Lucy said today gave me shivers. I'm afraid we won't find Ella before something terrible happens and I can't protect my boy!"

Ducky tutted, "Jethro, these two sisters are in your head, exactly where they want to be!"

Gibbs' shoulders slumped, "But, what if they're right, Duck? We don't know what they have planned."

"I don't believe I've ever witnessed you doubting yourself. Suck it up, Jethro! That baby needs YOU more than anyone else; you plan on letting him down?"

Gibbs gave the older man a stare usually reserved for suspects.

"Now there's a start. Listen, Jethro...your entire team needs their fearless leader right now. I know young Timothy wouldn't want anyone else in the world protecting him. Whether it is as a baby or an adult. Do what you do best and in the end it will all work out."

Gibbs slowly nodded, "Thanks Duck, I needed to hear that. Now let's go, I want to see my boy."

The two men grabbed their drinks and started the short walk back to NCIS.


Tony and Ziva had been texting back and forth since the interrogation ended. She was able to get Tony up to speed so he would avoid his usual "foot in mouth" when Gibbs came to get Tim. They were both concerned for their boss, but knew he usually worked out whatever was bothering him on his own. Proof of that was the boat and bottle of bourbon that had taken up permanent residence in his basement. Between texting with Tony, Ziva had been in contact with the owner of the hunting store. Just as she hung up the phone, Gibbs walked through and stopped at his desk. She carefully studied his face, checking for any obvious signs of unhappiness. He caught her off guard as he looked up from the report he was reading and made eye contact. "Something I can help you with, Ziva?"

"Ahh well yes, I just got off the phone with the owner of the hunting store. He does not remember a woman coming into buy anything over the past few days. Perhaps if we show him the receipt he may remember something about the transaction."

Gibbs gave a slight nod and walked around to stand in front of her desk, "Good work, take DiNozzo with you. Are they still in Vance's office?"

"Yes, Tony said Timmy was just waking up from a batnap…"

Gibbs laughed, "Catnap...Ziva...catnap..."

Ziva rolled her eyes, "Whatever!"

"Come on, let's go find the boys."

Tony felt Tim begin to stir in his lap. He watched the little guy slowly open his eyes, as they eventually adjusted to the light. Tim let out a small groan as he stretched his little arms above his head. Tony reached down and rubbed his tummy. "Did you have a nice nap, kiddo?" Tim giggled "Umm hmm." Tony lifted him up into his lap and ran his fingers though Tim's hair attempting to smooth out his bedhead. There were still a few strands of hair sticking up so Tony licked his fingers and just as he was going to use them to smooth Tim's hair down he caught himself. He looked at his hand in disgust, Oh my God, I'm turning into my father Tony thought. The pair looked up as there was a soft knock on the door before Gibbs and Ziva entered the office.

"Gib!" Timmy screamed from across the room. It was that moment, Gibbs knew Ducky was right, Tim needed him to be on his game. The youngster already had his arms extended as Gibbs stopped in front of the couch. He lifted Tim into his arms and held him close. "I missed you, sweetie." Tim laid his head on Gibbs' shoulder, "Mizz you too Gib."

Tony and Ziva smiled as they watched the tender moment unfold. "Tim and I had fun today, he worked really hard and has some new skills to show you."

"Really?" Gibbs asked rubbing his hand up and down Tim's back.

Tim mumbled, "Umm hum. We pway?"

"Sure kiddo, we can play when we get home."

The youngster squealed and clapped his hands. Tony laughed, "Uhh boss...Tim will probably want to play like we did earlier."

Gibbs raised his eyebrows, "Oh yeah, what does that involve?"

Tony smiled, "You'll see...I'm sure he will show you."

Tim suddenly jabbed Gibbs in the arm with his fingers and whined, "Ba ba Gib!"

"Alright sweetie we're going to head home, I'll get you something there, okay?"

Tears welled up in Tim's eyes, "No! No! Now pwease!"

"Okay, I'll get you a bottle before we leave. You haven't eaten a lot today. Be patient while I give these two directions, alright?"

Tim nodded, began sucking his thumb and returned his head to Gibbs' shoulder.

"DiNozzo, I need you to go visit the hunting store with Ziva. It's possible the Grey's have help. Tony nodded, "Sure thing boss, we'll be at you house again tonight for protection detail."

Between the three adults, they had all the toys picked up and cleared out of Vance's office in no time. The men headed to the bullpen, while Ziva went to warm up Tim's bottle. Gibbs had just finished bundling up the youngster when Ziva walked back in with the bottle. "Since I'm ready to head home, I'm going to feed you on the way out to the car Timmy." The little one didn't mind and sucked vigorously when the nipple of the bottle made contact with his lips. "That's my boy." Gibbs soothed as he headed to the car with Tony and Ziva close behind.

Chapter Text

The drive home was quiet and Gibbs used the rearview mirror to watch Tim. The little guy contently sucked his new pacifier, while he stared out the window. When they arrived home, Gibbs got Tim out of the car seat before collecting the bags out of the trunk. He nodded slightly as they passed the two agents who were on protection detail and unlocked the front door. As they walked inside, Jethro trotted over to greet the pair. "Hey boy, did you have a good day?" Gibbs asked as he dropped the bags and reached down to rub the dog's ears. Jethro barked as his tail wagged back and forth hitting Gibbs' legs. "" Tim tried as the pacifier fell out of his mouth onto the floor. Before Gibbs could reach down to retrieve it, Jethro grabbed it and took off with it. "Uh oh" Tim giggled as the two of them watched the dog run over and bury it in his bed. Gibbs sighed, "Uh oh is right. Good thing Abby bought some spares."

He sat the youngster on the couch and removed both of their coats. "Timmy I'll be right back, I'm going to let Jethro outside and I have a few dishes to wash." He grabbed the television remote and flipped through the channels until Tim told him to stop. Convinced Tim was occupied for a while he whistled for the dog and headed toward the back door. Once Jethro was let out, the most important item that needed cleaning was the coffee pot. He grabbed it, took it over to the sink and began scrubbing, along with the dishes from breakfast that morning.

Tim waited patiently for Gibbs to return, but it was taking longer than he expected and he was bored. He heard the water running so he decided to see what the older man was doing. The little guy knew he would be able to crawl over to the kitchen, but the challenge was getting off the couch. Learning from his previous experience he quickly situated himself on his tummy. Using what little strength he had he turned his body, dangled his feet over the edge and slowly slid down. His feet hit the floor; however, he was unable to maintain his balance and landed on his bottom with a thud. Satisfied Gibbs hadn't heard him, Tim got on his knees and began crawling toward the kitchen.

Gibbs finished washing the last dish from breakfast when he heard scratching at the back door. He turned off the water and walked over to let Jethro in. He did a double take as he turned around to see Tim sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with a huge grin on his face. "Timmy, how did you get in here?"

The baby clapped his hands and squealed, "Me cwal."

The older man was shocked, "I see that." He then crouched down, "What a big boy you are, can you crawl over to me?"

Tim nodded and began crawling toward him. Jethro quickly came over and walked protectively alongside his master with each move he made. When he finally made it, he reached up and rested his hands' on Gibbs' knees. "Wow kiddo! I'm so proud of you! I knew you could do it."

Gibbs picked up the toddler and threw him in the air. Tim laughed deliriously as the older man continued to toss him. Gibbs took a second to catch his breath, but it wasn't long before Tim asked "More Gib" between a fit of giggles. "Oh you like that, huh?" he teased, once again throwing the baby above his head.

Tim was having fun, that is, until his tummy began to hurt. The milk he drank earlier was sloshing around inside his stomach and the repetitive motion of being tossed in the air was starting to take its toll. He cried out, to let Gibbs know he was going to be sick, but the older man didn't stop. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Gibbs stopped and Tim couldn't hold it in anymore.

Gibbs noticed the look on Tim's face, reminiscent of when his young agent would get seasick. Before he could react, Tim was expelling all the milk he drank earlier down the front of their shirts. Needing to remain calm, he gently patted the baby's back until he finished. When he looked up at Gibbs, he burst into tears. "Sowwy…Gib…I…tell…u" he choked out between sobs. As if he didn't feel guilty enough, now Gibbs had to deal with the fact Tim tried to tell him to stop. "Aww I'm sorry kiddo, I didn't know you weren't feeling good. I thought you wanted me to continue. Can you forgive me?" Tim nodded slowly then threw his arms around Gibbs' neck and buried his face. Gibbs rocked the youngster for a few minutes before walking over to the kitchen sink. "You ready to get cleaned up, partner?" Tim slowly released his grip and smiled. Gibbs sat him on the counter and grabbed some paper towels from the holder.

"First let's get this yucky shirt off, you poor thing."

Tim shivered as Gibbs slipped the shirt off over his head. "Well that's going straight to the washer, but that's okay, I have your other clothes upstairs that need to be washed."

After he removed the shirt, Gibbs wet the paper towel and began wiping down the baby's face, arms and chest. "Guess its bath time again tonight."

The little guy looked up with hopeful eyes, "Bubble?"

Gibbs chuckled, "We'll see…depends on how late it is."

Tim stuck out his bottom lip in a pout. "Pwease Gib."

He laughed again, "I said we'll see, Timmy. Now let's go upstairs so we can both get changed. Then we can figure out dinner."

He picked Tim up off the counter and headed for the stairs. He started walking up, but turned back around. He rummaged through the bags until he found a pacifier and offered it to Tim, which he gladly accepted. Yet again, Jethro was eyeing the pacifier until Gibbs looked his way, "Don't even think about it, dog, you already have one." The dog whimpered and retreated to his bed. As they made their way upstairs, Gibbs asked,

"Are you wet, Timmy?" Although he didn't confirm his diaper was wet, Gibbs could tell by the way the baby squirmed that he in fact was. Upon entering the room, they made their way over to the dresser to pick out a new shirt. "How about you choose what shirt you want to wear." Tim just shrugged his shoulders and closed his eyes. It worried Gibbs that Tim wasn't concerned with what he would be wearing. Especially since it was just that morning he had a tantrum regarding his leather jacket. He was anxious to see how regressed Tim had become in less than six hours. Gibbs sifted through the stacks of clothes until he found the onesie Abby bought earlier in the week. It had anchors all over it and Tim had found it utterly humiliating. If he didn't make a fuss over wearing it now, he was regressing quicker than Gibbs expected.

"Ahh here we go, how about this one? He asked, pulling it out from the bottom of the drawer. Tim was indifferent, he wasn't thrilled with the shirt, but he wasn't upset over it either. If this were a few days ago, Tim would have had a meltdown Gibbs thought. Concerned with his reaction, Gibbs buried the onesie back in the drawer and grabbed a red onesie and black sweatshirt from another pile. He walked over to the bed, laid Tim down and proceeded to change his own shirt, throwing it in the laundry basket by the door. Once he finished his attention turned back to Tim. "Ready to get cleaned up, sweetie?"

Not expecting an answer from the youngster, he started on what was now routine for the two of them. "Your rash is looking better" he commented, trying to keep the conversation light. However, Tim was in a daze; concentrating on the pacifier in his mouth rather than what Gibbs was saying. He barely flinched when the older man tugged the onesie over his head followed by the sweatshirt. Once Gibbs was finished he reached down and rubbed Tim's belly. "You ready to go down and play for a while?"

Tim immediately snapped out of the trance that he was in and locked eyes with Gibbs. "Glad you're back with me, buddy." Tim blushed and covered his face with his hands. "Aww come on, let's go down stairs." Holding Tim in one arm, he grabbed the laundry basket with the other and started their descent. Half way down, Gibbs phone started ringing. "If it's important, they'll leave a message," he said dropping the basket on the floor and picking up the bags of toys. They stopped in front of the television, sat down and Gibbs dumped both bags on the floor. Tim climbed out of his lap and went immediately for the blocks. "I knew you would want to play with those," Gibbs commented as he reached around Tim and dumped the bag of blocks on the floor. The youngster crawled into the middle of the pile and started stacking them. While watching Tim, his cell phone rang again, Gibbs sighed when he looked at the caller ID.

"What can I do for you, Leon?"

"How's Agent McGee doing?"

Gibbs sighed, "Well he's still a baby."

"Listen I understand this situation is tough on everyone. We just have to continue to make him comfortable."

Gibbs smiled as Tim began knocking down the stacks of blocks he piled up, "That was the plan all along, Leon. I've taken good care of him."

"I know you have Gibbs, didn't expect anything less from you. That's not what I'm calling about though."

Slightly annoyed Gibbs responded, "Would you stop beating around the bush and tell me what you need?"

There was a long pause over the phone and Gibbs thought Vance might have been disconnected. A heavy sigh reminded him the director was still there. "I need you, David and DiNozzo in court tomorrow for Grey's bond hearing."

Feeling his blood pressure rise, Gibbs took a deep breath before answering. "Can't do that Leon. I'm not leaving Tim with strangers; it's too dangerous at this point in the game."

Tim was listening to Gibbs' conversation and immediately dropped the blocks he was playing with and climbed into the older man's lap. "Shh…Timmy…don't worry we'll figure this out." Gibbs soothed, wrapping one arm around the baby's chest and pulling him close.

Vance tutted, "They won't be strangers, Dr. Mallard and Mr. Palmer have agreed to stay with him. We still have agents posted outside if anything goes wrong."

"But it won't be me, Leon! Tim's my responsibility and I can tell you he's already unhappy with the possibility of me leaving him alone. Not to mention my gut is telling me not to do it."

Vance sighed, "We all want McGee safe, but the easiest way to do that is to make sure Lucy Grey stays in jail. The DA believes if NCIS' presence is in the courtroom, the judge will take that as a sign this woman is dangerous."

"But they already have the tape, Leon. Cold hard evidence against both of them."

Tim began shivering as the two men continued their conversation. Gibbs leaned down, kissed the top of his head and whispered, "Give me one minute sweetie and I'll tell you what's going on."

"I'm sorry Gibbs, but this is an order. Believe me, I wish there could be another way. It will only be for a few hours and you'll be back to your boy. The hearing is set for 1000 hours; your team is required to be there fifteen minutes ahead of time."

Gibbs sighed, "What if I say no, I'm not going to do it?"

"Well then I'll have to take the proper disciplinary actions. You're the best agent we have Gibbs, what kind of example are you setting for your team?"

"That we take care of our own!"

Unhappy that he was going to have to leave Tim, Gibbs knew if he didn't show up for court there would be repercussions. However, he still wanted to keep Vance on edge. "I may be there, I may not. Depends on how Tim is doing in the morning. Good Night, Leon!" And just like that, he hung up the phone and tossed it up on the table.

Gibbs reached down, grabbed the pacifier Tim discarded earlier and placed it in the baby's mouth. Tim was still shaking as a stray tear ran down his cheek. He wrapped his other arm around the little one and pulled him close. "Timmy, I'm not leaving you with strangers. Ducky and Palmer agreed to stay with you until I get done with court. You'll have so much fun playing with your toys you won't even notice I'm gone."

Tim pulled the pacifier out of his mouth and mumbled, "No go Dada!"

Dada? Gibbs thought, did Tim just say what I thought he said? He needed to know, if he heard him correctly. He swallowed the lump in his throat and shifted Tim towards him to see his face.

"Timmy, did you just call me dada?"

All it took was the look on Tim's face to confirm he had heard the youngster correctly. Tim blushed and covered his face with his hands. "Sowwy" Tim whispered and began squirming in an attempt to get as far away from Gibbs as possible.

Gibbs tightened his grip on the toddler, attempting to soothe him, "Hey…hey… I'm not mad at you, son. You can call me dad if you'd like; it sure makes me happy."

Desperate to know if Gibbs was serious, Tim removed his hands from his face. He looked up and locked eyes with the older man. When he saw a set of steely blue orbs welling with unshed tears, he had his answer. "Dada" he said before burying his face in Gibbs' chest.

And there it was - the simple word Gibbs never imagined would ever again be directed at him. He couldn't believe the gigantic, empty hole in his heart, there since the deaths of Kelly and Shannon, was slowly filling up again. Nobody could ever replace his girls and nobody ever tried, but knowing he was the man this baby needed to love and protect him caused Gibbs to choke up.

After a few minutes of cuddling, Tim crawled off Gibbs' lap and started playing again. Gibbs wiped his eyes and situated himself closer to the blocks. Jethro lay down next to them as they started building. They both laughed as the dog's wagging tail knocked over one stack of blocks while Tim knocked over the other one. It wasn't long until Tim was bored so they played with the other toys, enjoying each other's company.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door, which made both of them jump. Jethro started barking and Tim's eyes widened at the thought of an unwanted guest. He scooted close to his protector, desperate for reassurance. Gibbs carded his fingers through Tim's hair, "Easy kiddo, I think its Tony and Ziva." Tim extended his arms out for Gibbs and snuggled close when the older man picked him up. They walked to the door, confirmed that in fact it was Tony and Ziva and opened it.

"We brought dinner," Tony announced holding up two bags of food. Tim clapped his hands, clearly hungry after the busy day. Ziva shed her coat then walked back to the pair; extending her arms, "Come see me, Tim." The youngster shied away at first, forcing Gibbs to lean down and whisper, "Go see Ziva, kiddo. That way I can get your laundry in the wash."

"It is okay, Tim. Tony told me you can crawl now and you two worked on walking. Will you show me?" She asked trying to coax the toddler out of Gibbs' arms. Tim was contemplating her offer; glancing between the pair before hesitantly reaching out his arms for her. Gibbs ruffled his hair, "That's my boy," he praised. Tony stepped out of the kitchen, "The crawling demonstration will have to wait; dinner is ready."

Gibbs grabbed the laundry basket off the floor and headed to the laundry room, "I need to get this laundry in. I'll be in there in a moment. Will someone get Tim a fresh bottle, please?"

"You got it, boss." Tony called out from the kitchen as Ziva sat down with Tim in her lap. "How come you always get to feed him, Ziva?" Tony whined as he filled the bottle and popped it in the microwave. Ziva looked over her shoulder and smirked, "Because Tony, I did not get to teach him how to crawl." Tony's shoulders slumped, "Yeah, I guess we're even then."

Just as the microwave beeped, Gibbs came in from the other room, grabbed a bib from the counter and tied it around Tim's neck. "So what did you bring for dinner?" Gibbs asked as he took a seat. Tony grabbed the bottle from the microwave and sat down, "We figured after the day we had, everyone could use some comfort food. We got fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, corn and potato wedges." "Sounds good." Gibbs responded as he began removing lids from containers and making a plate for Tim. He slid the plate in front of him, "Here you go, kiddo. Eat up, I know you're hungry." However, the toddler didn't move except to push the plate away. Ziva scooped up a spoonful of mash potatoes and offered it to him, "Come on, sweetie. You have to eat something." She put the spoon up to the youngster's mouth, but he wouldn't budge. Gibbs put his fork down, concerned, he tilted Tim's chin up to make eye contact, "What's wrong, son? Are you not feeling well?" Tim shook his head then whispered, "Me want dada."

Tony, who had just taken a sip of water, started choking when he heard Tim's response. Embarrassed, Tim lowered his head and played with his hands. Ziva rubbed her hands down Tim's arms, "It is okay Tim, just ignore Tony."

Tony scoffed, "I wasn't making fun of him, I was just surprised, that's all. I'm sorry Timmy, if you want to call Gibbs dad, that's fine by me."

Gibbs shot him a dirty look, "Well I'm so glad he has your approval, DiNozzo."

DiNozzo shrugged his shoulders and continued eating. Gibbs scooted his chair closer to Ziva's and patted Tim on the leg. The little one looked up, between the tears in his eyes and the slight pout; Gibbs couldn't help but feel sorry for him. "I told you earlier, Tim, that it makes me happy when you call me that. Don't be embarrassed or think that you're a burden because you're certainly not." Tim slowly nodded and reached out his little arms. "Ahh come to daddy! " Gibbs soothed, lifting the toddler into his lap.

Ziva moved the plate over in front of Tim then encouraged him, "Alright, everyone needs to eat before it gets cold." Gibbs scooped up some macaroni and cheese and offered it to Tim. Hesitant at first he studied it then opened his mouth to allow Gibbs to feed him. After he finished swallowing Tony asked, "Is it good, Probie?"

"Mmm, Hmm." Tim nodded, whining for the next bite. Realizing the dilemma Gibbs shrugged his shoulders and stated, "Just use your hand's Timmy. You need a bath tonight anyways." Because Tim always followed Gibbs' orders as an adult it was no surprise to any of them he began digging in with gusto. The three adults laughed when Tim looked up and half the food was on his face and bib. He motioned for the bottle and took a long drink before returning to his food.

Relieved to see Tim eating, Gibbs decided to let the other two know about his conversation with Vance. "The director called right before you two got here tonight. The three of us are due in court tomorrow morning for Grey's bond hearing."

"Wait, why boss?

"Why do we need to be there, Gibbs?"

They asked simultaneously. Gibbs held his hands up in the air, warning them to calm down. "The district attorney believes if NCIS is present in the court room then the judge will deny her bail."

Tony threw his fork down on the table, "Well, who's going to watch Tim when we're gone?"

Gibbs sighed, "Ducky and Palmer have volunteered to sit with him while we're gone. Listen, I already voiced my unhappiness to Vance regarding this situation. As much as I don't want to do it, if it keeps Grey in jail then we need to be there. Am I clear?"

Both agents nodded. "Good, glad that's settled. So did you find out any information from the hunting store owner?"

Ziva took a notepad out of her back pocket, laid it on the table and started speaking, "The owner remembers the transaction based on the receipt. He was a white male, between thirty and forty years old, brown hair. He purchased a tranquilizer gun and a package of darts. Paid in cash and that is all we know at this point."

Gibbs ran his fingers through his hair, he didn't like the sound of a tranquilizer gun being purchased, but at least it wasn't a real gun.

"Security footage?"

Tony nodded, "Oh yeah, boss…the owner was a bit paranoid to say the least. Abby's combing through it back at the lab, based on the day and time stamp we gave her. She'll let us know if she finds something."

Gibbs wrapped his arms around Tim, "Nothing is going to happen to you, son." He then addressed Tony and Ziva, "I expect nothing but the best from both of you until this mess is over and we are clear there are no more threats."

Ziva stood up and went to the sink to wet some paper towels. She brought them back to the table and started wiping off Tim's hands and face. "I see someone enjoyed their dinner, huh?"

Tim blushed as Ziva carried out her ministrations. The toddler shifted his body weight and looked up at Gibbs, "Me cwal?" The older man looked at his watch, "You can play for a little bit, but you still need a bath and we're headed to bed early tonight, kiddo." Tim flashed his puppy dog eyes,"Bubble?" Gibbs laughed, "You my dear, are relentless but I think we can squeeze in a bubble bath tonight."

Tim grinned, "Pway now?"

Gibbs started tickling Tim, but eased up, remembering they had just eaten. "Go play, squirt," he said lifting the baby off his lap and onto the floor. The three agents watched as Tim headed for the living room.

Tony sighed, "They grow up so fast don't they?"

Gibbs chuckled, "I'm going to clean up in here, you two go keep an eye on him."

Suddenly there was a loud scream followed by crying coming from the living room. The three agents jumped out of their chairs, Gibbs knocking his over in a rush to get to the living room. When they arrived, Jethro had one end of Tim's new stuff dog in his mouth, while Tim had the other end. The baby was pulling desperately to win back his new dog but Jethro's strength was too much for him. "Jethro…Drop it!" Gibbs yelled. The dog pulled one more time, completely ripping the head off the animal. The three agents watched in horror as the momentum caused Tim to fall back and hit his head on the floor. Gibbs rushed over, sat down and pulled the crying baby into his lap. Tim buried his face against Gibbs' chest, took hold of his shirt and continued sobbing. The older man kept up a steady flow of endearments as he rubbed the back of Tim's head with his hand. "Shh...shh sweetie you're alright."


Gibbs looked up to see Tony standing with an ice pack. "Thanks Tony" he said, holding the pack to the back of Tim's head.

Ziva came over and knelt beside the pair. She rubbed her hand up and down the baby's back. "Do you want me to call Ducky?"

"Nah, he's a tough little guy, it probably scared him more than hurt him." Gibbs reassured her. Moments later Tim pulled away from Gibbs, his sobbing downgraded to sniffles. Gibbs took a tissue from Ziva, wiped the tears from his face and told him to blow his nose. "Geesh, that's the second item of Tim's Jethro has ruined today." The four of them looked over at the dog, lying in his bed with his chin on his paws. "Bad Jethro!" Gibbs admonished him. The dog whimpered and used one paw to cover his face.

Tony picked up the stuffed dog and threw it in the trash. "Ziva and I will get you a new one after we leave court, how does that sound, Timmy?" The toddler smiled, "Tank u Toey." Gibbs had planned on giving Tim some playtime but because of this incident, he decided to give him extra time in the bath and put him to bed early. He knew it would only be a matter of time before the youngster began getting cranky and he wanted him to enjoy the bath. "How about this, Timmy, let's go do your bath right now and then before bed I'll read you a story." Tim was in no shape to argue with him and he really wanted a bubble bath so he smiled and said, "yesh".

Alright say good night to Tony and Ziva, you'll see them in the morning. "Night Zeba, Night Toey; me lube you," Ziva leaned over and kissed his cheek. "Aww Tim that's so sweet, we love you too." Gibbs collected Tim in his arms and stood up. He started walking toward the stairs until Tim yelled out, "No!" Alarmed at the toddler's sudden outburst he stopped, "What's wrong buddy?"

"Toey" Tim whispered, DiNozzo walked over and stood in front of Gibbs. He melted when the little guy grabbed his hand, pulled him close and reached out to give him a hug."

"Night Toey" he said before pulling away, safely ensconced in Gibbs' arms once more. "You ready Timmy?" Gibbs asked as he took the first couple of stairs. "Yesh dada" he answered cheerfully. A smiled formed on Gibbs' face; Dada was a word he would never get tired of hearing. He bounced Tim in his arms as they continued their climb upstairs.

Once the pair was gone, Tony walked over and sat next to Ziva on the couch. He grabbed the remote control and started flipping through the channels. Ziva kicked off her shoes and lifted her legs up on the couch, using Tony's lap as a leg rest. "Want a foot massage?" Tony asked as he ran a fingernail down the bottom of her foot. She squirmed, "You know, Tim is regressing at quite a rapid pace. What if Grey is right and he will remain a baby forever?"

"Yeah, I know. The truth is I'm worried about our young Probie. This morning he was having a fit over not being fashionable enough and tonight he's calling Gibbs daddy."

Ziva snickered, "If I did not know better, I would say you are jealous."

Tony huffed, "Ahh but that is where you're wrong Ziva. Nobody wants to be in Tim's position. Truth of the matter is I do miss adult Tim. All his little quirks not to mention our bantering back and forth.

"Me too Tony, I love baby Tim, but I will admit that I miss our friend too. We just have to hope this will all be over soon and he will be back to his normal self in no time."

"It gives me comfort to know that Tim has the best person in the world taking care of him. Well, you know if it can't be me."

Ziva smiled at Tony's admission, "Would you even know how to change a diaper, Tony?

He scoffed, "I'm offended Ziva." He paused then continued, "Okay maybe not at first, but Gibbs could have taught me. He's such a natural; patient, loving, protective."

"Uh huh," she snickered, "I would pay good money to see you change a diaper. How about we watch some television and try to keep our minds off this regression stuff for a while."

Tim had been in the bath for nearly twenty minutes, playing with some bath toys Abby bought a few days ago. Between the emotional day he'd had and the warm soothing water he was beginning to fall asleep. Gibbs decided it was time to call it a night; he gave the baby a final rinse and lifted him out of the tub. After he was diapered, Gibbs pulled Tim's new dog sleeper out of the dresser and held it up. "Look what you get to wear tonight, sweetie!" Tim gave him a lazy smile as his eyes drifted closed. He slipped the outfit on, zipped it up and adjusted the feet. Because the little guy was almost asleep, Gibbs decided to skip the story. He took the pacifier out of his pocket, inserted it in Tim's mouth and carried him over to the recliner. Once he started rocking, Gibbs leaned down and kissed Tim's forehead, enjoying his baby smell. Cherishing the skin-to-skin contact he kept his cheek nuzzled against Tim's forehead and closed his eyes. At that moment in time, all the stress of the past week was gone, replaced by a simple paternal joy Gibbs hadn't felt in decades.

Chapter Text

It was the early hours of the morning; Ella paced nervously back and forth awaiting a phone call from her contact. She hoped he was able to secure the last piece of crucial equipment they needed to pull off their plan. Too excited to sleep, she yawned as she walked into the nursery, completed a few days ago. She took a seat in the rocking chair, situated in the corner of the room. Closing her eyes, she rocked back and forth, imagining her sister Lucy, rocking their sweet baby boy to sleep. She was suddenly startled from her daydream when the phone began to ring.


"It's me; I just want to let you know that we are good to go."

She smiled, "Excellent!"

"I do hope you know what you're doing, Ella. This is a dangerous game we're about to play. What's the plan?"

Ella clicked her tongue, "I can't believe you doubt me. The plan is for you to meet me at the rendezvous spot in an hour. We'll have time to discuss exactly what will happen and what I need from you. I'll bring the rest of the supplies with me."

"Sounds good, see you in an hour."

She hopped up from the chair, excited for the day ahead. After grabbing the car seat from the closet, she headed out to gather the other items they needed.


The beep…beep…beep of the alarm clock jolted Gibbs awake. He reached for his gun on the nightstand until he realized it was only the alarm. Using his already outstretched arm, he turned it off and lay back down. Surprisingly the noise had not wakened Tim, who was presently curled up in a ball next to him. Overall, they had a good night, considering Tim woke up complaining that his mouth hurt. After a dose of Tylenol followed by a teething ring and cuddling with Gibbs, he was back to sleep in no time. He leaned over, kissed Tim's forehead and quietly got out of bed. The blanket was in a heap at the end of the bed so he pulled it up over the sleeping baby and headed for the shower. Gibbs installed a massage showerhead two years ago after noticing the physical and emotional demands of being a special agent were taking a toll on his aging body. After the water heated up, he stepped in, closed his eyes and allowed himself a moment of relaxation. The past few days of constantly carrying Tim around, caused his back to ache so he turned around and allowed the pulsating water to massage it. His mind wandered, at first it was about Tim calling him daddy, then it turned to the uneasiness of having to leave his baby for a few hours.

When he finally snapped out of it, he realized that he needed to finish before Tim woke up. He quickly washed his hair, used a loofah to scrub his body and rinsed off. Grabbing a towel off the nearby rack, he patted himself dry and stepped out of the shower. Eager to see if Tim was awake, he wrapped the towel around his waist and peeked out the door. Relieved to see he hadn't moved he grabbed a pair of boxers out of the drawer and stepped back in the bathroom. Gibbs wanted to be wearing more than a towel if Tim woke up before he was finished with his morning routine. He left the door cracked so he could hear if the youngster woke up while he was in there. As he was finishing up, Gibbs heard crying coming from the bedroom; he turned off the water and opened the door. Tim was sitting in the middle of the bed, bawling, mumbling words Gibbs couldn't quite make out except for dada.

"Hey sweetie, I'm right here." Gibbs called out as he made his way over to the bed. Tim's gaze was cast downward, but as soon as he heard Gibbs' voice, he lifted his head.

The older man sat down and pulled the toddler into his lap. He wrapped his arms around him and whispered, "What's wrong, kiddo?"

Tim's sobbing, which had downgraded to sniffles now that he was safely tucked up against Gibbs, murmured "Mizz u Dada."

"Aww I missed you too, buddy. I was just getting ready for the day." He leaned back against the headboard, pulled Tim on top of him and started rubbing his back. The baby sighed as he laid his head down, enjoying the warmth and skin-to-skin contact from the older man.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. Tim tensed up a little bit, but the gentle hand on his back, slowly relaxed him again.


"Yeah, Tony?"

"Oh umm I just wanted to make sure you two were up. Ziva's making breakfast; it'll be ready in about ten minutes."

"Okay, we'll be down in a few."

Gibbs sat up and looked down at Tim, "Alright kiddo, we need to get you dressed. I'm going to finish first though."

He lifted the sheets looking for Tim's pacifier. Once he found it, he laid Tim on the bed and offered it to him. "You just relax, while I go finish getting ready, okay?"

Tim nodded, closed his eyes and started sucking on the pacifier. Gibbs quickly finished getting ready then skimmed through Tim's dresser picking out a pair of jeans and a button down shirt. Once Tim was changed, the two headed downstairs to be met by Ziva. "Breakfast is served. Ducky called to say they would be here in half an hour." Gibbs nodded, "You hungry, Timmy?"

Not expecting a reply, Gibbs headed out to the kitchen and sat down. Tony grabbed a clean bib off the counter and tied it around the toddler's neck. Ziva made each of them a plate at the kitchen counter before delivering them to the table. Tony followed with three fresh cups of coffee and a bottle of milk for Tim. Gibbs fed Tim and himself, alternating bites between the two of them. "Scrambled eggs are delicious, Ziva. Tim's been having oatmeal so it's a nice change for both of us." The toddler nodded as he gnawed on a piece of bacon.

Ziva smiled, "Thank you but scrambled eggs are hard to mess up." Not one to be left out, Tony piped in "Well I made the bacon."

Gibbs sighed, "Well, it was all good. Thank you."

As they were finishing up the doorbell rang. "Probably Ducky and Palmer, I'll get it," Tony commented, heading for the front door. It was at that moment Tim started squirming in Gibbs' arms. The older man leaned down and whispered, "It's only for a few hours, while we go to court. I'll be home before you know it, sweetie." Even though Tim understood the team needed to go to court, he still wasn't happy about being away from Gibbs.

"Well good morning, how is everyone today?" Ducky cheerfully asked as he entered the kitchen followed by Palmer. He walked over and ruffled Tim's hair, "Don't you look handsome today, lil fella'."

"Tank u," Tim replied burying his face against Gibbs' chest.

Gibbs leaned his chin on the top of Tim's head. "Hey, how about when I get home we go to the park?" Tim perked up, leaned back and smiled.

Ducky took a seat next to the pair and patted the youngster's leg; "I heard Abigail bought you a bunch of new toys yesterday. Would you like to show them to us?"

Tim adamantly shook his head. "Aww come on, Timmy. I bet Palmer could show you a thing or two about building some neat structures." Gibbs tried to persuade him.

Jimmy, clearly baffled at Gibbs' praise, adjusted his glasses, "Well I uh...uh... used to play with blocks all the time when I was younger."

Gibbs raised Tim's chin with his finger, "See, you'll have lots of fun with Ducky and Jimmy. When I get home, we'll spend the whole day together. We'll go to the park and then get some ice cream. How does that sound?"

The older man was able to get a small smile from Tim, but there was no doubt in his mind that the toddler felt just as uneasy about him leaving as his gut did.

Tony looked at his watch, "Boss, we need to get going or we're going to be late."

Tim immediately started crying when Gibbs stood up. "Sweetie, it's going to be okay. Let's go in the living room and show them your toys." However, Tim didn't care about toys, ice cream or the park. All he wanted was his daddy to stay and not leave him. He tightened his grip around Gibbs neck, eventually choking out, "No go Dada."

Gibbs was torn; he knew they needed him in court but his heart was with his little boy. He swept his fingers through the little guy's hair. "I know you don't want me to go, but I have no choice. This will be the only time I leave you alone, I promise."

Realizing it was going to take a little bit longer before Gibbs could successfully hand off the baby, Tony spoke up. "Ziva and I will go start the cars. We're going to drive separately because we wanted to stop and get a new dog for Tim."

He walked over to the pair, kissed the side of Tim's head and whispered, "We'll see you soon buddy."

Ziva followed his lead, after lovingly stroking his cheek she kissed it and said, "We love you, kiddo. See you in a bit."

Not wanting to drag out the goodbye any longer, Gibbs tightened his grip around the small body and gently squeezed. He closed his eyes, remembering that moment in time. Realizing the longer he stayed the harder it would be for both of them. He kissed the top of Tim's head and whispered, "I love you. You belong to me and I'm going to do everything in my power to keep you safe. It's time for me to go now, son."

Gibbs walked over to Ducky, "Ready to take the little guy?"

Ducky stood up from the couch, "Well of course, Jethro."

Gibbs swallowed the lump in his throat as he kissed Tim and attempted to hand him off to Ducky. However, the baby had both arms locked around his neck. It wasn't until Ducky unhooked them that Gibbs was able to get free. He handed the baby over to Ducky, took one last look over his shoulder and walked out the door. Tim continued to sob as he watched the older man leave. Ducky tried everything he could think of to calm the lad; he rocked, bounced, tickled and even offered him the pacifier but nothing seemed to work. Tim had been crying so hard he began to choke on his own saliva. Ducky patted his back, "Aww come on sweet fella' you're only going to make yourself sick if you don't calm down."

Palmer didn't have a lot of experience with toddlers, but he knew he had to help Dr. Mallard out. After fifteen minutes of non-stop crying, he figured Tim didn't have much more in him, although he had also thought that ten minutes ago. He spied the bottle from breakfast on the kitchen table, ah ha he thought, as he walked over to retrieve it. Noticing it was empty; he refilled it, popped it in the microwave and headed back to the living room. By that point, Ducky was able to calm the youngster down a little bit, but not much. Palmer walked over to the pair and shook the bottle. "I know you have to be thirsty by now, you want some milk Tim?"

The little guy slowly lifted his head from Ducky's shoulder and nodded. "That's my boy!" the doctor praised him as he took a seat on the couch. "Mr. Palmer, would you like to do the honors since it was your idea?"

Jimmy smiled and took a seat next to Ducky. "It's been a while since I've held a baby," he admitted.

"Nonsense, you'll be fine. Just think it will be good practice when you and Breena have a baby someday."

Jimmy got comfortable on the couch as Ducky gently laid Tim in the crook of his arm. "Ah yes, just like that, Mr. Palmer," Ducky reassured him. Before Jimmy started feeding him, Ducky took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the remaining sweat and tears off Tim's face. "Ahh I do believe he's ready now." Jimmy nodded and held the bottle up to Tim's lips. The baby hesitantly looked between both men then slowly started sucking. They exchanged smiles as Tim finally settled into a rhythm and closed his eyes.


Ella walked inside the small warehouse she rented out just for this occasion. She dropped two bags on the small table and headed back to her car to get the rest of the supplies. As soon as she stepped out of the door, her contact pulled in and parked next to her. She rummaged around her trunk, pulled out the last bag and headed back inside. A moment later the man, whose own arms were filled, stepped inside.

With all the supplies they needed set out on the table in front of them, Ella could tell her wingman was beginning to have second thoughts. He paced back and forth, biting his fingernails. She walked over and put her hand on his arm. "You're not chickening out on me now, are you Jed?"

The man ran his fingers through his hair, "It's just... you don't know Gibbs like I do."

Ella sighed, "That was over twenty years ago Jed, he's gotten older and I'm not worried about him and either should you. Lucy's bond hearing is scheduled to start in 45 minutes. We have to snatch the kid then you have to get Lucy."

Knowing he wouldn't get paid until the job was done; Jed grabbed the tranquilizer gun and started loading it. He looked over at Ella as she slipped on a tool belt and loaded it down with the necessities she needed once they infiltrated Gibbs' house. They worked in silence, each preparing what they needed for their part of the plan. Once Ella was satisfied, everything was in working order they loaded what each of them needed in separate cars. She handed him a walkie-talkie then opened her car door, "Jed, come sit in my car and we'll discuss how I expect this all to go down." He nodded and took a seat in the passenger side of her car.


The entire drive to the courthouse, Gibbs was cursing himself for not following his gut and staying home with Tim. He could still feel the baby's arms wrapped around his neck and the look on Tim's face as he walked out the door. All he wanted to do was get this over with so he could go home and be with his son. As he pulled into the courthouse behind Tony and Ziva, he parked then took a moment to collect his thoughts. Suddenly there was a knock on the window, which made him jump. Apparently, he was so deep in thought he hadn't noticed Tony and Ziva standing by the car waiting for him. He took a deep breath, opened the door and got out. "You okay, Boss?" Tony asked, giving the man a once over before scooting out of the way. Ziva had an equally concerned look on her face. "Yeah, I'm fine. The faster we get in there, the faster I get back to my boy." Tony and Ziva exchanged worried glances before following Gibbs into the courthouse.

Once they were inside, Gibbs scanned the log of cases listed for the day and in which courtroom they would be presiding. After finding the Grey case log, he motioned for Tony and Ziva to follow him. They stopped in front of one of the last courtrooms in the hallway and waited. A well-dressed man holding a case file extended his hand, "Agent Gibbs? I'm Ron Anderson, district attorney."

Gibbs hated lawyers; even lawyers that were supposed to help him. Even though this man was the district attorney and put bad guys away for a living, just like his team, there was something about him he didn't like. He gave a small nod as he reached out to shake the man's hand.

"These are a few members of my team, Special Agents...DiNozzo and David."

"Pleased to meet you, thanks for coming all the way down here this morning."

Gibbs snapped, "Yeah, well it better be worth it! I have a kid to get back to!"

"I fully understand Agent Gibbs we are up next. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't feel the need for you to be here. However this judge tends to be quite lenient and I would hate to see Lucy Grey be granted bail today."

Gibbs grunted, "Yeah, yeah just tell us what to expect and we'll do what we're told."

Anderson nodded, "It depends, you may be called on for questioning by the judge, but most likely not. With the video we have from Ella's visit that should be more than enough to keep Lucy in jail. Speaking of which, you haven't found Ella yet, have you?"

"No, we haven't found her." Tony spoke up realizing Gibbs was at the end of his rope.

Finally, the door to the courtroom opened and the bailiff motioned for them to enter.


Ella followed Jed as he turned onto Gibbs' street. "Pull up over here, Jed." she ordered through the walkie-talkie. He pulled over to the side of the road and waited for her next set of instructions.

"I know the layout of Gibbs' house, there has been a pair of agents on protection detail. Since I know which car belongs to whom, I'm going to drive by and see what we're dealing with."

"10- 4." He replied trying not to hyperventilate as he realized there was essentially no backing out now.

Jed watched as Ella pulled out from behind him and slowly drove down the street. He didn't know exactly which house it was, but when he saw brake lights, he had a good idea.

Ella drove slowly down the street, scouting out her prey. She slowed down a bit when she got to Gibbs' house and was happy to see there were only two agents and a car she didn't recognize in the driveway. Satisfied they could move forward with their plan, she drove around the block, and once again parked behind Jed. "Alright, we have two agents stationed outside the house and a car in the driveway I didn't recognize. It's possible that Agent Gibbs is at Lucy's hearing right now. If that's the case this should be even easier than we expected."

Jed took a deep breath and exhaled, he knew that in order for this to all work out he needed to hit his targets. The Marine Corps trained him for situations like this, but that was nearly two decades ago. "Ella, what about the neighbors? What if they see something and call the police?"

She sighed, "Once they've been hit, drag them behind one of the cars so nobody can see what's happening. You have to be stealthy though or we're going to tip off whoever is in the house. I'll head around to the side by the air conditioner and start prepping that. Meet me there once you're done."

He released the safety on the tranquilizer gun, took another deep breath and grabbed the walkie-talkie. "I'm ready, are you?"

Ella laughed, "Let's go baby hunting!"


After Tim finished the bottle, he was in a much better mood. Jimmy sat the baby up in his lap and asked, "You want to play with your blocks now?"

"Yesh," the toddler answered and pointed to the pile in the middle of the living room. Jimmy stood up, carried him over to the pile and sat down on the floor. Ducky watched as they started building various shapes and sizes of buildings. Once again, Jethro came over to join in the fun, knocking a few of the buildings over as he walked through the middle of their masterpieces in order to be close to Tim. The toddler was disappointed at first, but once Jimmy started to rebuild them, he forgot they had been ruined in the first place. Ducky looked at his watch and commented, "Gibbs should be home soon I would imagine." Tim looked up from the blocks with hopeful eyes, "Dada?" The older man laughed, "Ahh yes, your dada should be home soon. I know he's missed being here with you." The youngster nodded and turned his attention back to the blocks in front of him. Ducky breathed a sigh of relief; thankful his mention of Gibbs did not cause Tim to become upset again.


Jed slowly pulled his car back onto the street and waited for Ella to follow. He slowed down in front of Gibbs' house and rolled down the window, "Hey can one of you tell me how to get back on the freeway?"

The two agents exchanged glances before one of them walked closer to the car. "Yeah it's just half…"

Knowing this was his opportunity; Jed raised the tranquilizer gun and fired, hitting the agent who had come close to the car in the right side of his chest. Before the other agent could get his gun, Jed fired another shot with such precision the agent never had a chance. Jed quickly got out of the car to assess the men's condition. Their eyes were dilated and neither was able to move. Concerned the sedative would wear off before they had time to complete their mission; he stood over each of their bodies and fired a second shot. Convinced they wouldn't be waking up anytime soon, he grabbed one agent under the arms and dragged him behind a pile of bushes. The other agent was a bit heavier so he dragged him as close to the car as he could and threw a blanket over him.

While Jed was finishing up, Ella quietly made her way over to the air conditioning unit. She pulled out her hole saw, hooked on a small saw blade of circular proportion and drilled into the air conditioner. She cringed as the drill made a loud shrieking sound. Soon Jed was at her side whispering, "What do you want me to do?"

She held her finger up to her lips. "The drill was louder than I expected, make sure nobody comes out the front door before I'm done with this."

He nodded, moved a step to his left and peeked out from behind a large shrub that gave him a perfect view of the front door.

Ella pulled out a bottle of sufentanil that she stole her last day working at the pharmacy.

"What's that?" Jed whispered nervously as he glanced between Ella and the front door.

"It's a powerful sedation drug used in a hospital setting, mainly in operating rooms or when a patient needs short-term pain relief. This is going to be our ticket to get in there and grab the kid without bloodshed."

"So that's why you needed the vaporizer from the hospital?"

She nodded as she placed one end of the tubing from the vaporizer on top of the sedation bottle and stuck the other end of the tubing into the hole she made in the air conditioning system.

"The vaporizer will allow me to turn the liquid sedative into an aerosol and dilute it with a solvent gas. Once I have the right concentration it will filter into the house, leaving everyone in it unconscious."

She turned the nozzle on the vaporizer and smiled with relief when it started pumping gas into the AC unit.

Irritated at how long it was taking, Jed asked, "How long do we have to wait before we can enter? We're sitting ducks out here!"

"We'll give it another minute just to be sure. Although, make sure you have your tranquilizer gun with you when we enter, just to be safe. We're going through the back door so it will be less obvious."

Once Ella felt comfortable the gas was doing its job, she turned off the vaporizer, grabbed a gas mask and threw it at Jed. "When we get to the back door put that on before we enter the house. Let's go!"


Tim was starting to feel dizzy and the blocks in front of him kept moving. He reached out to stack another block on top of his building, but missed. Looking up he realized Jimmy, Ducky and Jethro's heads were separated from their bodies or at least that's what it looked like to him. Just as he was about to tell the older men he wasn't feeling well, his body tilted to one side and his head hit the ground. The last thing he remembered was the terrified look on Ducky's face before his world went black.

Jimmy and Ducky glanced worriedly at each other when they noticed Tim's depth perception was suddenly altered. The toddler was staring at them with a confused look on his face. Suddenly his eyes began closing and his body rolled to one side. "Mr. Palmer, we need to get out of here." Ducky coughed as he stood up but immediately fell to his knees. He attempted to crawl to get hold of Tim but the gas was too strong and before he knew it, he was drifting off into a state of unconsciousness. Jimmy looked over as his mentor hit the ground with a thud, his first thought was to get the baby, but the more he coughed and the deeper breaths he took, the harder it became for him to stay awake. He wasn't that far from Tim; however, each movement he made toward the toddler became more difficult. He was able to grab hold of Tim's foot, but even pulling the youngster toward him was a greater feat than he could manage. I'll just rest awhile and try again later Jimmy thought as he laid his head down and looked over at Jethro. The dog was out cold, sprawled across the floor with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.


"You think it's been enough time?" Jed asked as he peered through the small window on top of the door. Ella looked at her watch, "It's been about two and half minutes, I believe it's safe to go in, but we need to move fast."

They both slipped on the gas masks; after a couple of tries, Jed was able to kick in the door. He entered first, with his tranquilizer gun ready in case the gas hadn't done its job. They cautiously walked into the kitchen, then headed into the living room where they spotted four figures. Ella knelt down beside Tim and checked his pulse; cringing at the fact it was weak she immediately pulled out a needle from the tool belt on her hip. She pinched the skin on his arm and injected the antidote into his body. Motioning for Jed to pick up Tim she walked over to Jimmy and Ducky. Relieved to find a much stronger pulse on the two older men, she quickly injected each of them with the same antidote and headed for the door. Jed quickly grabbed her arm, spinning her back around. He pointed at Jethro laid out on the floor not moving. Ella shrugged her shoulders then quickly knelt by his head. She pinched the back of his neck and injected the same solution she'd given the others into his muscle. Collecting the rest of their supplies, they hurried out the door and removed the gas masks. "Is the dog going to survive?" Jed asked as a seemingly lifeless Tim lay in his arms.

"I'm not sure; the antidote is used on humans so I guess we'll never know if he makes it or not. That's not our problem! We need to get out of here before anyone sees us!"

As they walked around the side of the house, Ella grabbed the supplies they had collected and cautiously followed Jed as he peeked around the corner. Relieved to see the two agents still unconscious, he ran to Ella's car and buckled Tim in the car seat. Ella dumped the rest of the supplies in her trunk and turned to Jed, "You know what the rest of the plan entails, I want to see my sister so don't screw this up! When we get far enough away I'll stop and check on the little guy." He nodded then hurried over to his car and took off. Ella smiled as she got in the car and looked in the rearview mirror, happy to see that Tim was slowly starting to wake up.


The three agents sat in the courtroom, immediately behind the district attorney. It wasn't long after they took their seats before two guards literally carried Lucy in. Gibbs could immediately tell a difference in her look and actions; she wasn't the same woman he interrogated less than 24 hours ago. He looked over at Ziva to confirm his suspicions that indeed something had changed with her. She nodded and leaned over Tony, "She is not right, I do not like this one bit."

When the guards sat Lucy down at the table with her attorney, she crossed her arms and laid her head down on them. The agents watched as her attorney leaned over and whispered in her ear. Eventually she sat upright again as the bailiff yelled out, "All rise!" Using her attorney as a crutch, Lucy was able to stand, but once the judge ordered them to be seated, she plopped down with a loud thud. The judge looked her way and spoke, "Ms. Grey, are you well enough for this hearing today?"

"Hearrin'? Whooz hearin'?" She slurred, looking around the courtroom, unable to focus on the judge. "Mr. Harper, does your client need medical attention?" The attorney turned and whispered to Grey who had put her head down on the table in front of her. Realizing he was getting nowhere with his client the attorney politely replied, "I've never witnessed her like this before, can we take a short break so she can be looked at by a doctor?"

"Of course, but it will be done in here, bailiff please call for the physician."

Gibbs didn't like this; his gut had kicked into overdrive as soon as they sat down in the courtroom. He wanted to make a phone call, but knew the judge would not allow him to leave. He kept his eyes on Grey as the doctor came in and did his examination. A few minutes into the exam, the doctor approached the judge at the bench. "I'm deeply concerned about Ms. Grey, her blood pressure is dangerously low, she's barely coherent and she's complaining of dizziness. I've called for an ambulance; she must be transported to the hospital for tests."

"If that's your professional opinion doctor then we'll postpone her bail hearing for another day."

"I do believe that would be best, I'll wait with her until the paramedics arrive."

The judge nodded and addressed both attorneys; "The doctor believes it would be best if the defendant is checked over at a local hospital. She is unfit to stand trial today so we'll get it rescheduled for another day."

They all watched as paramedics entered with a stretcher and lifted Lucy onto it. An oxygen mask was placed over her mouth and a blood pressure cuff went around her arm. After a discussion with the doctor, they exited the courtroom followed by two guards.

"I'm sorry that you had to come all the way down here and this happens. What a coincidence, huh? " Anderson commented as he spun around in his chair.

Gibbs scoffed, "I don't believe in coincidences. This was planned from the very beginning. Are you done with us, I have a son I need to get home to."

"Yes, of course Agent Gibbs you're all free to go. Thanks again for your time."


Jed waited patiently a few cars back from the ambulance at the courthouse. He watched as two paramedics and one guard took off with Lucy in the ambulance. He followed them and waited for the right moment to make his move. After a few blocks, they came to a stretch of road that gave him enough room to cut off the ambulance. He floored the gas pedal, flew by the ambulance then stepped on the break as he turned the steering wheel causing the car to spin out in front of it. He flinched as the ambulance came to a screeching halt, barely missing his car. The best way for Jed to pull this off was pretend like he was hurt. He slumped over the steering wheel and when he heard the door open, he shot the first paramedic with the tranquilizer gun. He had enough time to get out of the car as he heard the back door to the ambulance open. "Everything alright out here?" The guard asked as he stepped around from behind the vehicle. Before he had a chance to pull his weapon, Jed was able to get two shots off, each one landing in his chest. He quietly made his way to the back of the ambulance where the last paramedic was checking Lucy's vital signs. He didn't even see the shot coming as it hit him in the neck and he fell over sideways. Jed quickly shot him in the arm as good measure and unbuckled Lucy from the stretcher. He hoisted her in his arms and carried her back to the car. There was another car headed their way so he threw Lucy in the backseat, jumped in the front seat and drove off.

Chapter Text

As the team shuffled out of the courtroom, Gibbs could no longer ignore the nagging feeling in his gut. Anxious to speak with Ducky to find out how Tim was doing; he slipped his phone out of his pocket and hit the speed dial. When the phone went to voicemail he knew something was terribly wrong and needed to get home as soon as possible. He turned to Tony and Ziva, "Ducky's not picking up, we need to get back to my house!"

Tony shrugged his shoulders, "Maybe you're overreacting, boss. Ducky was probably in the restroom or incapacitated at the moment." He didn't realize the irony of the last few words out of his mouth until Gibbs was standing inches from his face.

"Ya think, DiNozzo?"

He gulped, "You're right boss, we'll meet you back there." As they headed out to the cars, Gibbs' cell phone rang; he hoped that it was Ducky returning his call but when the caller ID read, Vance, he began to feel ill.

His hands shook as he flipped open the phone. "Yeah, Leon."

There was a quiet sigh on the other end of the line before Vance spoke. "Are you still at the courthouse?"

"Yeah we're leaving now, what happened?"

"I'm sorry, Gibbs. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but McGee's gone.

"Gone? He's gone?" Gibbs screamed into the phone as he slammed his fist down on the trunk of the car.

"Listen, that's all I know at this point. I'm on my way to your house right now and I suggest you do the same."

Gibbs stood in the middle of the parking lot; he found it hard to breathe as he began hyperventilating. Suddenly his knees buckled and if not for the quick reactions of Tony and Ziva, he would have hit the ground. "Whoa, you alright Gibbs?" Ziva asked as they guided him to sit on the bumper of the car.

"No, I'm not," Gibbs gasped between breaths as he handed Tony the phone. Ziva crouched down and rested her hand on his knee, "We need to get your breathing normal again. Focus on me and the pattern I am taking." She demonstrated slowly inhaling and exhaling as Gibbs followed her lead.

The entire time Tony had worked for Gibbs he had never before witnessed such a strong reaction out of him, never seen him express such strong emotions. Normally, Gibbs was the man, the rock, everyone leaned on to get them through tough times, not the other way around. Anxious to know what caused it he yelled, "What the hell is going on?" into the phone.

"DiNozzo, where's Gibbs?"

"Ahh director, he's trying to calm down right now, will you please tell me what's going on?"

"Agent McGee has been kidnapped. I'm on my way to Gibbs' house right now and you should be too."

For the first time in his life, Tony was speechless. He glanced over at Gibbs and Ziva; relieved to see the color had returned to his face and his breathing was under control.


"DiNozzo!" Vance bellowed trying to regain Tony's attention.

In a state of shock, Tony completely forgot he was on the phone. It wasn't until he heard the roar of Vance's voice that he snapped out of it. "Yeah, yeah director I'm still here."

"Good, listen I understand this is tough on everybody, but I need you to focus. I expect you to meet me at Gibbs' place in the next 10 minutes."

"We're on our way." Tony responded before snapping the phone shut. He glanced over at Gibbs, who physically appeared to be in better shape than he was a moment ago. Because Gibbs had already lost one child, Tony could not imagine the thoughts that were going through his mind. Gibbs would blame himself for not listening to his gut even though it was a direct order from Vance. And god forbid, if anything happened to Tim while he was kidnapped, Tony knew nobody would be able to pull Gibbs out of the depths of despair. The tables were turned and he was in a whole new territory. He knew for the time being, he needed to take charge. After taking a deep breath, he rejoined the two at the car.

"Give me your keys, boss. I'm driving you home."

Gibbs stood up, "I'm fine, Tony."

The younger man held out his hand, "You're not fine! Give me the keys so we can get there safely."

Gibbs rolled his eyes and started to walk around to the driver's side, but Tony stepped in front of the door before he could reach it. Ziva watched as the two men stared at each other, both prepared to stand their ground. When she realized neither of them planned to move she spoke up, "We are wasting precious time, Tim needs us!"

Both men turned to look at her before Gibbs finally admitted defeat. He handed Tony the car keys and walked around to the passenger side. "Finally," she exclaimed, throwing her arms up in the air as she walked over to the other car.

The drive home was quiet; occasionally Tony would glance over to check on Gibbs, but didn't attempt to speak to him. As they turned the corner onto Gibbs' street, an ambulance flew by them with lights flashing and sirens wailing. There were two other ambulances parked in front of the house, forcing Tony to park a few doors down. Gibbs had the car door open even before they came to a complete stop.

Even though Tim was gone, Gibbs was still concerned about his other team members. He ducked under the yellow crime scene tape that surrounded the house and watched as the paramedics tended to one of the agents who had been on protection detail. He sighed with relief when he saw Ducky and Palmer sitting on the porch being examined. Ducky attempted to stand when he noticed Gibbs, but the effects of the gas still lingered in his system and he swayed heavily before one of the paramedics sat him down again.

Gibbs squatted down in front of them, "You guys alright?"

Ducky sighed, "I'm so very sorry, Jethro. I didn't realize anything was wrong until it was too late. Now Timothy is gone and it's all my fault."

Shaking his head, Gibbs glanced between them, "It's not either one of your faults. If it's anyone's fault, it's mine. I should have followed my instincts; instead I let Vance talk me into going to court." He clenched his fists, "Back to my first question, are you two okay?"

Palmer gave a slight nod, "I think so, it all happened so fast. I'm sorry Agent Gibbs."

After speaking with the paramedics and other agents at the scene, Vance, Tony and Ziva huddled around the front porch.

"It appears the two agents who were on protection detail were each shot twice with tranquilizer darts. They are having a difficult time waking up, but the paramedics believe they will make a full recovery." Ziva informed them.

"How are they doing?" Vance asked pointing to Jimmy and Ducky.

"They were very lucky, sir. We still recommend they be taken to the hospital for observation. They each have a mark on their arm where they were injected with a counteracting drug otherwise, they would have over dosed. It's possible the drug is still in their systems, which could narrow down the sedative that was used."

Ducky scoffed, "I'm not going to the hospital; you can draw our blood right here."

Gibbs patted Ducky's knee, "Once you two are examined and given the all clear, you can come back and help. You're still feeling the effects of the gas; it won't do us any good if you're not one hundred percent."

Jimmy laughed, "Guess what they say is true, doctors make the worst patients."

"Gibbs is right, you two need to go to the hospital. There will be plenty for you to do when you get back." Vance reassured them.

Ducky leaned his head against the railing, his gaze cast downward, "I should have realized something was wrong when Tim's depth perception became altered."

Vance sighed, "Before you two leave for the hospital can you tell us what you remember?"

Jimmy nodded, "After the team left, Tim wouldn't stop crying. He wanted Agent Gibbs, but after I fed him a bottle, he calmed down enough so we were able to play. Doctor Mallard was sitting in the easy chair while I was on the floor with Tim. We were making buildings when we noticed Tim was trying to stack blocks but he kept missing. He was either too far to the left or too far to the right. All of a sudden he got this confused look on his face, looked like he was about to speak but then slumped to one side, hitting his head on the ground."

Ducky chimed in, "I warned Mr. Palmer that we needed to leave, I started coughing and when I went to stand, I collapsed. That is really all I remember."

Gibbs nodded, "Anything else you remember? Did you hear any noises?

Jimmy shook his head, "I do remember hearing a few cars, but I didn't think anything of it at the time. After Dr. Mallard collapsed, I started coughing too. I knew I had to help Tim; he was only a few feet away from me. The gas was so strong that by the time I got my hands on him, I couldn't even pull him close to me. The last thing I remember was Jethro, lying on the floor next to Tim."

There was a collective gasp when Jimmy mentioned the dog. Gibbs' heart sank, how would he explain to Tim that his dog didn't make it? "Please tell me Jethro is okay," Gibbs pleaded.

"I believe he will be fine, Agent Gibbs. He was slowly coming around after I finished with him."

Ducky patted Jimmy on the back, "Young Mr. Palmer is being quite modest. Even though he was still quite disoriented, he managed to save Jethro's life by giving him CPR.

The agents exchanged glances of disbelief before they broke into a litany of hoots and hollers. Jimmy blushed and waved off their praises, "Really it wasn't too difficult, although I could use a breath mint."

"Nonsense, it was a big deal Mr. Palmer!"

"Aww shucks guys, it really wasn't. I'm just really glad I was able to help. I wanted to go with him to the vet, but obviously I wasn't in any condition to. Agent Peters rushed him to a local vet; he was alert and breathing when they left here."

Jimmy looked over at his mentor; "I'll call to check on his condition after we get checked out at the hospital."

Gibbs reached out and shook Jimmy's hand, "That's a good thing you did Palmer."

Jimmy smiled, "Thanks, I guess that summer working at the vet's office really paid off."

As they were finishing up one of the paramedics interrupted them, "I know you have an investigation to conduct, but these two really need to get to the hospital."

The team stepped aside to allow Ducky and Jimmy space to get thru. "Do you think you can walk or do you want me to get the stretcher?" One of the paramedics asked them. Gibbs grabbed Ducky's arm to steady him as he stood up. The older man swayed, but quickly steadied himself. "You okay, Duck?" Gibbs inquired. He nodded as he stepped down and allowed the paramedic to guide him to the ambulance. They watched as Palmer followed his lead; Tony moved closer to him in case he was still wobbly. However, once he was on his feet he didn't have the same dizziness that Ducky did. He motioned he was ready to continue as another paramedic stepped in and helped him down the stairs to begin the trip to the ambulance. Once the two men were situated Gibbs made his way over to the vehicle. "If they give you any trouble, feel free to restrain them."

Now it was time to get to work, Gibbs needed to know every little scrap of evidence that Ella left behind. He knew Tim was counting on him and there was no way he was going to let his little boy down.


I heaw voishes, but not fwom mah famwy. Maybe I dweaming o' Toey's pwaying jowkes on me agin. My heart feel like it's gonna fly outta mah chest. Mah head's too heaby, mah mind gots co' webs, which I havta wade thwough to get to da top. I'm afwaid ta open mah eyes for feaw of what o' who I might see. Tink...tink... tink what's the wast thing I wemember? Oh yesh, I was pwaying with Ducky and Jimmy while the west of da team went to cort. I heaw a man's voish, but it's not mah dada's or anyone I know. I don' wemember when da wast time I was thish tiwred or gwoggy. Ugh, mah mouth is icky, how long I been sweeping for? Dose voishes are fawr away now, maybe I shoud look awound. I'm scawred...I want mah dada he knows what to do. Dada would want me ta be bwave so I'm gonna look. Kay heaw I go, I'm in a cwib but not at mah dada's housh. I'm gonna woll onto mah side to get a bettah look. Uh oh, this no' good, I don' know whewre I am. Dada always comesh if I cwy so I twy dat furst.

Ella watched Lucy sleep on the couch. When Jed carried her in, she was still feeling the effects of the rohypnol. Ella had slipped the pill to Lucy when she went to visit her at the jail. Lucy was going to be excited to bond with her new little boy, but she needed to be coherent enough to do so. When Ella arrived back at the house, she pulled in the garage and carried Tim inside. He awakened in the car but immediately went back to sleep. Because he was a baby she wasn't sure how long the effects of the gas would last. Ella turned the television on; they needed to know if an Amber Alert was issued or any news pertaining to his kidnapping. She knew Timmy would need to eat soon; she filled up the sink and started washing the baby bottles she bought a few days ago. All of a sudden there was a loud cry emanating from the baby monitor. She smiled, dried her hands and walked toward the nursery.

Whwre mah dada? Nowmally, he comesh wight away if I need him. Yesh, I heaw the doowr open.

"Well hello sweetie, do you remember me?" Ella asked has she leaned over the crib and pinched Tim's cheek.

Wha? Ahhhhhhh! Noooooooo! Whats cwazy lady doin' heaw?

"Aww its okay baby! Your mommy's sleeping right now, but Auntie Ella is here and she's going to take care of you."

Tim tried to scoot away but his body was still feeling the side effects from the gas.

Ella laughed, "This is your new reality, kid. Agent Gibbs and NCIS are a thing of the past. We're your new family now!

" Gib!" Tim's voice was hoarse but he managed to make his point.

"Agent Gibbs is not your father; he never has been and never will be. Get over it."

No cawre whats she shay. Gib muh dada and me lube him. Muh tummy huwrt tink I sick. Uh oh bettah woll onto muh side.

Ella watched as Tim rolled onto his side, started to dry heave then vomited all over the sheets. Annoyed she yanked him out of the crib and carried him to the changing table. "Great now I have something else to clean up. I have no idea why Lucy wanted you!"

Me feels wittle bettah now but me wants muh dada. I no wants theze cwazy womens.

"Guess I should change your diaper so you don't get a rash and get you out of these awful clothes. I have some that will look much cuter on you."

Nooooooo! Needs to get outta heaw!

As Ella began undressing him, Tim knew he had to do everything in his power to make it as difficult as possible. What better way to do that then moving? When she unbuttoned his jeans, he started kicking his legs, one kick hitting her straight in the chest. After shaking it off, she grabbed his legs and smacked his thigh. "If you don't stay still boy, there's plenty more where that came from."


"What are you doing to my dear sweet baby boy?" Lucy asked as she walked in.

Ella jumped when she realized she had been caught. "Hey sis, it's nice to see you again, but shouldn't you be in bed?"

"Well I'm still tired, but when I woke up and heard my new little bundle I just had to come and check on him."

"I know you didn't think I could pull off your plan, but I did!"

Lucy walked over and ran her fingers though Tim's hair, "Yes, you did. Oh my gosh, he's even more adorable than I could ever imagine!"

Nooooo! Secund cwazy lady is heaw!

Tim immediately jerked his head back as Lucy ran her fingers though his hair. Tears filled his eyes and he began sobbing. That action was reserved only for his dada o' Toey and Zeba.

Ella sighed, "Well he's upset. Referred to Agent Gibbs as his dada earlier. To top it off he vomited all over the sheets in his crib."

Lucy smiled, "Well how about this, you change the sheets and I'll deal with the lil' guy. He just wants his mommy, isn't that right sweetie?" She cooed using a tissue to wipe the tears from his cheeks.

No, no, no not wright, u fweaks! When dis dweam be ober with? Leab me lone!

Ella stepped aside to allow Lucy full access to the changing table, while she went to get clean sheets for the crib.

Tim squirmed as Lucy unfastened his diaper, "Come on sweetie, you don't want to sit in a wet diaper all day now, do you?"

"Yesh!" Tim responded sticking his tongue out.

Lucy laughed as the youngster did everything in his power to make it difficult for her to complete the task. In the end, she was too overpowering and Tim slumped onto the changing table in defeat.

She patted his tummy, "I know this is overwhelming for you right now, but in a few days there will be nowhere else you'll want to be. I'm going to take such good care of you."

Yesh, wright lady! Me neber fowget dada, Ducky, Abs, Toey, Zeba, Jimmy, Bance. Twy all u want!

Lucy grabbed a new sleeper from the drawer and checked the size against Tim. "Ahh good this should fit just right. I can't believe my dream of being a mom is a reality!

She grabbed Tim's arms and pulled him up into a sitting position. "Let's get this shirt off you, shall we?"

As Lucy started to unbutton Tim's shirt he reached down, grabbed her hand and bit it. She pulled her hand away in disgust, "Now…now… babies don't bite!"

"If I were you, I would smack him," Ella stated as she walked back in with a clean set of sheets.

Lucy clucked her tongued, "He's just a scared little guy, he doesn't understand that it's not nice to bite."

Ella shrugged her shoulders, "It doesn't matter, how will he ever learn discipline if you allow him to do what he wants?"

"There are other ways to discipline a child besides physical violence. We just have to get creative. Taking away toys or timeouts will be our best bet for right now. When he gets older we can discuss other forms of discipline."

Noooooo! No wanna be heaw foweber! Dada pwease wescu me soon!

Lucy picked Tim up off the changing table, "You must be thirsty, let's go get you a bottle."

"I was in the process of washing them out when Timmy woke up. However, there are a few clean ones next to the sink. The formula is in the cupboard next to the refrigerator. I'm almost done here; I'll meet you out there in a few minutes."

Ella stripped the sheet of the crib and muttered beneath her breath, "I don't care what Lucy says, if that baby is violent towards me, I'm going to be violent back." She giggled, "Maybe if he's not even violent, I might just have to show him who's the boss."

Tim squirmed in Lucy's arms, but he was out matched. It didn't matter what he tried there was no way he would be able to escape from these two women. He decided his best bet would be to get familiar with the entire house in case a moment of escape presented itself. The house was small, from what he could tell there was a small bathroom in the hall, a family room and kitchen. Lucy plopped him down in a highchair and snapped the tray in. "No way you can get out of there, now be a good boy while mommy makes you a bottle."

Me no wants ba ba! Me onwly wants ta go home and see dada!

Once again, tears filled Tim's eyes as he began sobbing. "Aww what's wrong little one?" Lucy asked as she rubbed his back.

"Dadaaaaaa…me… wants…muh… dadaaaaaa" Tim choked out between sobs.

"You can cry for Agent Gibbs all you want, but he's not your daddy anymore. The sooner you come to that realization the better off you'll be."

Tim shook his head as the tears continued to stream down his face, landing on the tray of the highchair.


As the ambulance pulled away, Gibbs surveyed the scene in front of him. A group of NCIS agents were taking pictures and gathering evidence while, Tony and Ziva stood at the front door. He took a deep breath as he headed across the front yard to join his team. Right before he reached the stairs, Vance cut him off and pulled him aside. "Gibbs, I need to know if you're going to be able to work this case without flying off the handle."

Gibbs scoffed and took a step forward, his fists clenched. "I can't believe you're asking me this right now! This is your fault Leon, I told you I didn't want to go but you insisted and now Tim's gone!"

Tony and Ziva watched the scene in front of them unfold. Concerned with Gibbs emotions at the moment, they moved toward the two men. "Do you think that Gibbs would hit the director?" Ziva whispered.

"Anything's possible. Right now, I wouldn't put it past him."

"It's called doing your job Gibbs; we had the proper protection detail set up. They shouldn't have been able to get past them."

Steam was coming out of Gibbs' ears as he swung his arm back. However, Tony stepped in and grabbed it before he was able to get off a punch. "Boss, don't do this. Tim wouldn't want you to." He pleaded while putting his body in between the two men. Gibbs' eyes darted back and forth between his senior field agent and Vance as he took a step back and ran his fingers through his hair. He turned and started walking toward the house, while the others shared looks of concern amongst themselves.

Vance cleared his throat, "I'm putting you two in charge of him. We have even bigger problems now. I just got off the phone with the district attorney; apparently Lucy Grey escaped during transport to the hospital. A man cut off the ambulance and used a tranquilizer gun to subdue the paramedics and guard, then helped her escape. The men are still waking up, but we hope that between our two agents and the other three men they will be able to give enough information to the sketch artist."

Tony sighed, "Great, and you couldn't have told Gibbs that before he got mad at you?"

Vance patted Tony on the back, "Thought I would leave that for his senior field agent. I'm not leaving yet, I have a few phone calls to make."

"Tony...Ziver...come on let's go!" Gibbs bellowed from the porch.

Ziva quickly responded to Gibbs request, but Tony wasn't as quick to follow. He turned to Vance, "I'll keep my eye on Gibbs, but I've trusted him for ten years and he's never let me down. I'll stand behind every decision he makes even if you feel it's not a good idea. He's already lost one kid; and I'll be damned if we lose Tim."

Vance nodded, "I don't plan on losing Tim either; keep me in the loop."

Tony ran to catch up with Gibbs and Ziva who were getting ready to head inside the house. As they walked in, their eyes were drawn to the pile of blocks in the middle of the family room. Gibbs walked over, knelt down and examined them. He swallowed the lump in his throat as he thought about how scared Tim must be and how he wasn't here to protect him. A hand on his shoulder brought him out of his thoughts; he turned to see Ziva, who had a concerned look on her face. "We will find him, Gibbs. Nobody is resting until Tim is safe." Gibbs nodded, ran a hand over his face and stood up.

"Uh boss, there's something you need to know before we go any further." Tony said refusing to make eye contact with Gibbs.

"Just spit it out, DiNozzo! I don't think it can get any worse, do you?"

Tony grit his teeth, "Well it depends on your definition of worse. Lucy Grey escaped during the transport to the hospital."

DiNozzo took a step back as Gibbs threw his arms up in the air.

"Why am I not surprised? What happened?"

Ziva started pacing back and forth; muttering in Hebrew under her breath.

Tony sighed, "The details are sketchy, but it appears the two paramedics and the guard were shot with a tranquilizer gun."

"Alright, I need to know what evidence was left here. In the meantime, Ziva call Abby and have her get together photos of the Greys. Have Vance use his connections over at ZNN; let's get their photos out to the public. Let the Greys think we are casting a net over the East coast.

Ziva stopped taking notes and looked up at with a confused look on her face. "You mean we are not?"

Gibbs shook his head, "My gut is telling me that they're still in the DC area. I ignored it earlier and I refuse to do that again. Let them think we're looking all over the place and in the meantime we can focus on the surrounding areas. Perhaps, they'll let their guard down."

"Boss, you know that Abby hasn't been informed about this yet. Who's going to deal with her?"

"I don't know, Tony. I have a lot of other things on my mind right now besides how Abby is going to take this. Now, what evidence was left behind, we need to get that to her as soon as possible."

Tony motioned for another agent who was standing in the corner to join them.

"Boss, this is Agent Bradley. He's going to give us the run down on the evidence that was collected then take it back to Abby."

Bradley gulped when he saw the look on Gibbs' face, "Yes...well...I was the first agent on the scene. One of our agents was covered with this blanket he said holding up a large evidence bag. The paramedics removed the tranquilizer darts and bagged them so hopefully we'll get fingerprints off them. Sorry Agent Gibbs, but the air conditioner was drilled into so we had to remove it. The last piece of evidence is a needle we found lying in the backyard. If we're lucky Abby can pull DNA off this too."

Gibbs smirked as Bradley wiped the sweat off his brow. "I'm going to go now, let me know if I can be of any more assistance."

While Tony and Ziva awaited the next set of instructions from Gibbs, Vance approached them. "Agent Jones and Matthews are awake and coherent. They're ready for questions; take a sketch artist down there with you. The Greys have an accomplice; we need to know who this person is."

"DiNozzo, head down to the hospital. Ziva head back to NCIS and help Abby with the evidence. We need to get that news report out on the Greys within the next hour. Someone had to see something!"

"Umm director can I hitch a ride back to NCIS with you? There is only one car and Tony and I must go in separate directions."

"Of course Agent David, give me a moment okay?"

Ziva nodded and went to join Tony outside.

Gibbs scoffed, "Have something to say to me?"

Vance smirked, "Well I wanted to let you know that NCIS will pay for a new air conditioner."

Gibbs rolled his eyes, "Oh yeah, that's really what I'm worried about now. Thanks."

"I also wanted to say, I will do everything in my power to make sure Agent McGee gets back to us safely. The Greys will never be able to hurt anyone again once I get through with them."

"That makes two of us, Leon."

Chapter Text

Ella finished putting clean sheets on the crib then joined Tim and Lucy in the kitchen. She covered her ears as Tim continued to cry, "Jeez Lucy I thought you were good with kids; he hasn't stopped crying since you brought him in here." Lucy turned around with the bottle and shook it, "Timmy is probably hungry; have a little compassion. He'll quiet down once he gets some food in his tummy." Lucy walked over, unlatched the tray from the highchair and lifted Tim out. She poked the youngster's belly as if he was the Pillsbury Dough boy, "Isn't that right, sweetheart?"

Das not wright, me no wanna formla. Who knows what cwazy lady put in dare.

Tim shook his head, while Lucy carried him out to the couch. As she got situated, Tim knocked the bottle out of her hand causing it to drop onto the floor and start leaking. Lucy smacked his hand, "Bad Timmy, we don't do that." As she laid Tim in her arms, he struggled against her when she put the nipple of the bottle to his lips. "Come on precious, it tastes delicious and will make you feel better." Ella watched from the entryway as her sister struggled to feed her new charge. "You're too gentle with him, here let me show you." She walked over, squeezed Tim's head between her hands and used her thumb to pry open his mouth. "Alright shove it in there! This baby is such a pain; I can't believe we even bothered with him." Before Lucy could place the nipple between Tim's lips, he bit down hard on Ella's thumb, forcing her to jump back.

Serbs you wright, u fweak. Wait til dada find out u been so mean ta me.

"Why you little sh...," she screamed holding up her thumb as it started to bleed.

"Ella!" Lucy cut her off before she could finish.

Tim smirked, while Ella held her thumb up to examine it, "He bit me, are you going to let him get away with it?"

"You'll be fine; wash it off, put a Band-Aid on it and stop being such a drama queen!"

Ella huffed as she made her way to the bathroom to take care of the wound. Lucy held the bottle up to Tim's lips once again, but he clamped his mouth shut. She dribbled some of the formula on his lips to coax him into tasting it. "Come on sweetie, I know you're hungry. We're going to sit here until you eat so you better get started."

Tim shook his head; forcing the drops of formula on his lips to dribble down his chin. Lucy sighed as she used a rag to wipe his face. "I'm tired of fighting with you, either drink this bottle or I'll allow Ella to punish you. Believe me, after you chomped down on her thumb, I would choose the bottle."

Nooooooo! Not cwazy lady, me no wanna dwink ba ba, but me hab no choish.

Lucy raised the bottle to Tim's lips just as Ella entered the room, mumbling under her breath about the youngster. Tim's eyes darted back and forth between the two sisters. "I told Timmy that if he didn't start drinking I was going to allow you to punish him," Lucy calmly stated. Ella rubbed her hands together with delight as she walked over and sat on the couch next to her sister. Seeing the joy in Ella's eyes at the thought of punishing him, Tim did not think twice and opened his mouth, allowing Lucy to insert the nipple.

"That's a good boy," Lucy cooed running her fingers through Tim's hair as he started to drink. Ella smirked, "Now we know how to get him to do what we want, threaten him with me."

Ummmm dis formla diffwent but no' bad. Tim thought as the warm creamy liquid trickled into his mouth. About half way through the bottle Tim's eyes grew heavy as he fought to remain awake. However, the physical and emotional stresses of the day were too much for him and he couldn't fight any longer as his eyes slid shut.

Lucy sighed as she removed the bottle from Tim's mouth and replaced it with a pacifier. She swept his hair off to the side and looked over at Ella, "I know he's been a brat, but could you try and be a little bit nicer to him?" Ella scoffed, "He hasn't given me a choice, he hates me."

He doesn't hate you; Timmy's just a scared little boy right now. Give him some time; he'll come around eventually."

"I'll try, but I'm not promising anything."

Lucy patted Ella's knee, "That's all I ask."


After the team left, Gibbs wandered aimlessly around the house. It was absurdly quiet compared to the last few days. He picked up one of Tim's blankets, clutched it to his chest and slumped down on the couch. A smile formed on his face as the familiar baby scent he had become accustomed to wafted up toward his nose. All he could think about was how he had let his little boy down after promising nothing would happen to him. His brain became jumbled as questions flooded his mind. He knew Tim was alive, but was he hurt? Unconscious? What did the Grey sisters have planned for him? More drugs to keep him a baby? Would Tim be angry with him once they eventually rescued him? As his mind raced with unanswered questions, the ringing of his phone eventually snapped him out of it.

"Yeah, Gibbs."

"Jethro, I wanted to call and see how you were holding up?"

Ducky was one of his oldest friends; there was no way he could hide his worry from the older man. "He's gone, Duck!" Gibbs' voice broke as he spoke, "I'm the one to blame. I'll be alright, but we need to focus on Tim right now."

"Nonsense! You know this isn't your fault, I'm partly to blame for not realizing there was a problem earlier."

Gibbs sighed, "We can play the blame game all day long; the truth of the matter is I should have protected him and I didn't."

"You couldn't have known Jethro; none of us could have predicted Ella would pull off such a devious plan."

Slightly irritated Gibbs raised his voice, "It's my job to know, Duck!"

Ducky sighed, "Perhaps, but it's not possible for any one human to know everything that's supposed to happen. What's important right now is that your son needs you; what do you plan on doing about it?"

"I plan on finding him and never letting go."

"Well then Jethro, I suggest you hop to it. Timothy needs his father."

Gibbs ran his fingers through his hair, "I'm leaving the house soon. In the meantime, I take it you and Palmer have been cleared by the hospital?"

"Yes, I was calling because we need a ride back to the Navy yard."

"DiNozzo is there right now; hitch a ride back with him. I'll meet you guys there."

"Very well, my friend."

Gibbs stood up, flipped his phone shut and grabbed the pacifier that was lying on the table in front of him. He slipped it into his pocket; threw on his coat and headed for the car.

Ducky rubbed the bridge of his nose as he hung up from Gibbs. He turned around, immediately bumping into Jimmy. "Ahh Mr. Palmer, could you call Anthony and let him know that we need a ride back to NCIS?"

Jimmy nodded but continued to stare at the older man. "Is there a problem?" Ducky asked turning his attention to the buttons on his shirt.

"Well umm I…I…wouldn't call it a problem necessarily, but… I… was wondering…" Jimmy stammered, suddenly fascinated with the florescent lights in the stark white hospital room.

Ducky was half way through buttoning his shirt when he lifted his head and cleared his throat, "Mr. Palmer, are you sure you're alright? Maybe the gas is still lingering in your system. Perhaps it's best if you go home and get some rest."

Jimmy took a deep breath, "I was actually wondering when you were going to follow your own advice, Dr. Mallard?"

Confused, Ducky made eye contact with his assistant, "I'm sorry, lad but I'm not quite following you."

"I wasn't eavesdropping, I just happened to hear what you said to Agent Gibbs about Tim's kidnapping not being his fault."

Ducky feigned ignorance, "You'll have to elaborate, Mr. Palmer, I'm not quite sure where you're coming from."

The younger man took a step forward and rested his hand on Ducky's shoulder, "You know exactly what I'm talking about. You're putting the blame on yourself just as much as Agent Gibbs is. The truth of the matter is, that gas would have been too overpowering for anyone. We did everything in our power to help Tim."

"It's just not that simple, Jethro trusted us to take good care of Timothy and we let him down. If anything happens to that baby, I'll never forgive myself."

Jimmy squeezed the doctor's shoulder, "Nothing is going to happen to Tim. The team will rescue him before it gets to that point."

"How do you know that?" Ducky sighed.

"My gut." Jimmy simply replied. "Agent Gibbs and the team will find him even if they have to make mountains out of molehills. We are part of the team; Tim needs us to be on our "A" game so he can be reunited with everyone."

Ducky cracked a smile, "Yes, we are part of the team. Whatever they need us to do, we'll do it."

"Of course it's easy for us to feel guilty, but that won't help Tim. Just remember if you start to feel contrite, think how scared Tim must be and try to concentrate on the task at hand."

"I'll try Mr. Palmer, but you have to promise me one thing."

"Of course, anything."

Ducky patted his arm, "If you notice I start to stray then you will pull me back."

"You got it," Jimmy smiled as he pulled out his phone. "I'm going to call Tony before we miss him."

As he hit the speed dial on his phone, Ducky finished buttoning his shirt and pulled up his suspenders.

"Why hello there, Autopsy Gremlin. What's going on?"

Jimmy rolled his eyes, "Are you still at the hospital?"

"Yeah, we're just finishing up with the sketch artist right now. Why, what's wrong? Did we get a lead on Tim?" Tony asked his voice full of hope.

"Umm no sorry, I haven't heard anything new. Dr. Mallard and I need a ride back to the navy yard once you're ready."

Tony sighed, "I thought you might have had good news for me, Palmer. I'll meet you guys downstairs in ten minutes."

"Sorry Tony, I wish I had good news too. We'll see you in a few."


Vance pulled into the evidence garage and slammed on the brakes as a panic-stricken Abby stepped out in front of his SUV. Ziva and Vance exchanged glances of bewilderment as Abby rushed over to the passenger side of the car. Before Ziva could unbuckle her seat belt, Abby flung open the car door and stood with her hands on her hips. "I will leave this one to you, director," Ziva whispered as she slid out of the car.

"But…I…" Vance stuttered, desperately trying to avoid the wrath of one Abby Sciuto.

Abby then made her way around to the driver's side as Vance exited the car. She clutched both of his arms and shook them, "Oh my god, oh my god, of my god will someone please tell me what's going on? The look of desperation in her eyes was evident; Vance hated the fact he had to tell her Tim had been kidnapped. He looked down at his arms, which at the moment were beginning to ache because of Abby's death grip.

"Ms. Sciuto, will you kindly let go of my arms. I'm beginning to lose the feeling in them."

Abby released her grip, stepped back and nervously played with the rings on her fingers. "Sorry Director, it's just some agents dropped off Gibbs' air conditioner along with a bin full of evidence but nobody will tell me what's going on! What happened to my family?" Vance turned and made eye contact with Ziva who was collecting the rest of the evidence from the trunk of his car. She shrugged her shoulders and smirked before looking away. By the time Vance turned around again, Abby had started pacing back and forth waiting for an answer. He took a few steps forward, grabbed her arm and waited until she calmed down. "I'm going to tell you what's going on right now Ms. Sciuto; but before I do, I need to know that this case will have your full attention.

"Every case has my full attention, director. Don't worry about that, now please tell me what is going on!" She whined in her typical fashion.

Vance sighed, "Fair enough, this morning while the team was in court for Lucy Grey's bond hearing, Agent McGee was kidnapped from Gibbs' house."

Abby's knees started shaking as Vance motioned for Ziva to bring a chair over to her. He forced her to sit down as the color drained from her face. She kept her gaze focused on the floor as the words sunk in. Out of all the possible reactions he expected from Abby, silence was not one of them. "Ms. Sciuto, are you alright?"

When she finally lifted her head, a combination of black mascara and tears streaked down her face. "Why?" She whispered her words barely audible.

"We don't know why, right now. But all the evidence we brought back is going to help find McGee. He needs your top notch forensic skills more than ever."

Abby nodded, "Everyone else is okay? What about Ducky and Palmer? I thought they were babysitting?"

Ziva held a box of tissues out for Abby, "Yes, Ducky, Jimmy and the dog along with two other agents who were shot with tranquilizer darts are going to be fine."

"How?" She asked blowing her nose, using another tissue to dab her face.

"Some type of gas rendered the four of them unconscious, which allowed Ella and her accomplice to enter the house without a fight."

Ziva continued, "Meanwhile, Lucy faked an illness allowing her to be sent to the hospital, but she never made it. She was able to escape. Gibbs wants pictures of the two sisters to alert the public. Our hope is that someone saw something or will recognize them and can tell us where they might be hiding.

Abby sniffled, "What about Gibbs, how's he taking this?"

"Not well," Vance answered as he thought back to the confrontation they had earlier. "It would be best for all of us, if you leave him alone for the time being.

"But…but…but…" Abby began to protest.

"No exceptions," Vance said as he held up his hands. "If he seeks comfort from you then that's fine, but I repeat, leave him alone for the time being."

He clapped his hands together, "Let's get moving people, we have a little boy to find. Ms. Sciuto if you will email me the pictures I'll get them over to my contacts at ZNN."

Ziva nodded, "Abby I will drop this evidence off in your lab, Tony should be here soon with the drawing from the sketch artist. Let us know if you find anything."

"Don't I always?" Abby snipped back at her.

"Yes, you do." Ziva reassured her hurrying to catch the elevator with Vance. As the doors closed, they both breathed a sigh of relief. Vance cracked a smile, "She's good at what she does, but I'm glad I don't have to deal with that every day."

After Ziva dropped off the rest of the evidence at the lab, she headed back to the bullpen. Gibbs was sitting at his desk, staring off into space while sipping on a cup of coffee. She was surprised to see a fresh coffee on Tony's desk and a cup of tea on her own. Before she could speak, the elevator dinged and Tony stepped off carrying a file. He quietly sat down at his desk and motioned to the cup of coffee. Ziva shrugged her shoulders and nodded in Gibbs' direction. "It's coffee, DiNozzo. Drink it." The older man spoke up, but he had not moved an inch since Ziva arrived.

"Thanks, boss. I appreciate it." He said taking a sip of the hot beverage. Gibbs grunted as he continued to fiddle with the pacifier in his hand. As Tony stood up, he exchanged a nervous glance with Ziva, while he flipped through the papers in the file. "The two paramedics and guard who were tranquilized were unable to give full statements at this time; however, our two NCIS agents were able to work with the sketch artist." Gibbs perked up upon hearing that information and leaned forward on his desk. "Well let's see it, DiNozzo."

"Oh, right," Tony responded as he walked over and handed the sketch to him.

Gibbs slipped on his glasses, leaned back in the chair and clutched the pacifier in his hand. As he studied the drawing, he felt a sharp twinge in his gut. The man looked extremely familiar, but he couldn't place how he knew him. He racked his brain trying to think if there was a connection to any of the cases he had worked over the years. Not able to put his finger on one at the moment, he stood up and handed the drawing back to Tony. "Put a BOLO out on him along with the Greys. Then send it down to Abby so it can go on ZNN."

"On it, boss."

"Actually Gibbs, Vance instructed Abby to send him the photos of the Greys. Apparently he will be emailing them over to his connection at ZNN."

Gibbs nodded, "In the meantime I need you two to comb through every last case I've had. That guy looks familiar to me and we need to know who he is."

"But, that's thousands of cases!" Tony protested as Gibbs headed for the elevator.

The older man stopped dead in his tracks and turned around, "You want to tell that to Tim?"

Tony gulped and shook his head, "No, sorry we'll get right on it."

Gibbs glared at him, "That's what I thought!"

After the elevator door shut, Tony slapped the back of his own head. "Stupid, stupid, stupid. Damn, what was I thinking?"

Ziva scoffed, "Most of the time you do not think, Tony. Get to work because Gibbs is going to want answers."

Gibbs stepped off the elevator, surprised he didn't hear the usual loud music blasting from the lab. He stopped at the doorway when he noticed the pictures of the Grey sisters on the plasma. All the guilt, anger, panic and worry washed over him once again. Although he tried to stop it, his mind raced with terrible thoughts regarding Tim's situation. It wasn't until Abby put a hand on his shoulder that he snapped out of it.

"You okay, Gibbs?"

He nodded and took a few deep breaths, "Yeah, the pictures were a trigger for me, but I'm back."

Abby quickly minimized the windows on the computer screen, "I'm sorry, Gibbs. I was just emailing the pictures to Director Vance. I still have all this evidence to process from your house. Normally McGee would..." Her head shot up, panic spread all over her face, "Sorry, I know this is hard for you and...I...I...probably just made it worse by mentioning Tim..."

Gibbs sighed, "Abs, it's okay. Take a deep breath. I need that brain of yours to help find him."

She took a long slurp of Caf-Pow, "Ahh I feel much better now."

"Good, now first off, Tony emailed you a sketch of the Grey's accomplice. I can't put my finger on it, but I know him. The problem is, I don't know where I know him from. Do you remember the program that McGee used to find Ari's real name?

"Of course, you want me to do the same with the sketch?"

"Yeah, run it through every national database you can think of."

"It would really help if you could narrow it down for me. It took days for Tim to get a match on Ari. I don't think time is something we have a whole lot of," her voice trailed off.

"Damnit Abby, just do what I ask! What is it with you guys today? First DiNozzo questions my orders and now you. Do you think Tim would be complaining if the situation was reversed?"

Abby lowered her head, "No, no he wouldn't, Tim rarely complains."

"Good I'm glad that's cleared up. Call me when you have something." Gibbs stormed out, while Abby wiped away a few tears.


The sun was setting the next time Tim woke up. Once again, he found himself in the same crib he'd woken in earlier. As he lay there, he thought about all the great times he'd had with Gibbs over the past few days. In some ways, it was nice to get the attention from a father figure that he had never received as a child. His only wish was that he hadn't had to be de-aged to have the opportunity arise. It was nice getting to see a side of Gibbs not regularly displayed. It might be selfish, but it was also nice to know he was the person the team leader was focused on for once. He always felt the older man had his back, but had a funny way of showing it. However, after this experience there was no doubt in his mind Gibbs would always be there for him. Knowing the team would not rest until he was rescued gave him hope they would be reunited.

Tim's thoughts were interrupted when the bedroom door squeaked as Lucy slowly opened it. "Ahh I see mommy's little boy is awake. Did you have a good nap?"

Yesh, cwazy lady. You not muh mama dats fir sure."

Lucy reached into the crib and picked the youngster up, "Let's check your diaper and see if mommy needs to change you." Tim could tell he was wet, but he didn't want Lucy to change him. Although he knew he did not have a choice in the matter, he could still make it difficult for her. As she laid him on the changing table, Tim squirmed back and forth while Lucy tried to unzip his sleeper. "Your Aunt Ella is in the other room, do you want me to call her in here?"

No tank u, fweak. Lemme go den u no worwy no mowre. I want muh dada wight now!

Tim started sobbing as Lucy cleaned him up. All babies cried and there was no way she could be upset over that. Plus, it was a way he could annoy them for the time being. Just as Lucy finished, Ella hollered at her from the other room to come join her. Lucy grabbed Tim and quickly headed into the family room where Ella's attention was glued to the television. They watched as their photos, along with a sketch of Jed was plastered across the screen. A small smile formed on Tim's face as the news report urged anyone with information pertaining to the Greys to contact NCIS or the police.

"Dada...dada...muh dada..." Tim squealed, sticking his tongue out at the two sisters.

Ella stood up, walked over to Tim and pinched his cheek, hard, "Sorry kid, your dada won't be finding you anytime soon. They're looking all over the Eastern seaboard; those idiots probably won't even think to look in DC."

"What did I tell you about being too cocky, Ella? We knew this was going to be a possibility, we need to get plan B ready in case we need it."

Tim shuddered, Uh oh thish no' good. Who knows whats dese cwazy womens hab pwanned.

Chapter Text

Jed pulled the car into the garage at his home and got out. He grabbed the bag full of groceries he had picked up and proceeded inside. Upon entering he threw his car keys on the kitchen counter, began unpacking the groceries and cracked open a beer. He took a nice long guzzle as he preheated the oven. The endorphins that had coursed through his veins earlier in the day were long gone, only to be replaced by uneasiness, paranoia and panic. Jed took another sip of beer, hoping the alcohol would slowly take the edge off. All he had to do was wait another twenty-four hours until his flight left. His plan was to fix dinner, get drunk and eventually pass out. He started chopping vegetables, while he reflected on the day's events. A smile formed on his face when he thought about how terrified Gibbs must be, not knowing where his little guy was. Soon his mind was flooded with memories from the past and the reason why he chose to help the Greys in the first place. The cucumber on the cutting board did not stand a chance as he lifted the knife behind his ear and swung down. He manically repeated the action several times causing chunks of cucumber to fly all over the kitchen.

"Gibbs" *Whack*

"Ruined" *Whack*

"My" *Whack*

"Life" *Whack*

"I'm glad I was able to return the favor," he added between breaths, throwing the knife on the counter before chugging what was left of the remaining beer.

After he cracked open another beer, he prepared the rest of his dinner, placed it in the oven and set the timer. While waiting for the food to be finished, he walked into the family room and turned on the television. Ironically the first station he turned to was ZNN; beer sprayed out of his mouth when he saw a report regarding the Greys. However, it was the uncanny artist rendering that made Jed uneasy. "I knew I should have worn a mask!" he mumbled under his breath as he continued to watch. When the report ended, he picked up the phone and called Ella. It wasn't until the third ring that she finally picked up.

"Jed, what's going on?" She asked with a hint of apprehension in her voice.

"Have you been watching the news? They know we took the boy, what if we get caught?"

"Yes, we saw the report. Don't you have a flight out of the country tomorrow?"

Jed paced nervously back and forth in his family room. "Well yes, but that's still twenty four hours from now. Agent Gibbs won't stop until he finds the kid."

Ella laughed cynically, "He's never going to find Tim, alive at least. Especially if he doesn't start behaving."

Her admission caught Jed off guard; he stuttered, "Now…wait…a…minute. You never said anything about killing anyone."

There was more laughter, "Jed, Jed, Jed what did you think might happen? If Lucy can't have Tim, then nobody can."

A thin layer of sweat formed on Jed's forehead and his mouth suddenly became dry, "Well keep me out of this, I never want to hear from your psychopathic ass ever again. Do I make myself clear?"

"My my how the tables suddenly turn; you needed money, I made sure you got it and now you're calling me names.

Jed threw his beer bottle against the family room wall, "I should never have agreed to this." The last sound he heard before hanging up was Ella laughing hysterically in the background. He picked up the broken pieces from the beer bottle and threw them in the trash. The timer on the oven dinged signaling his food was ready; however, Jed had lost his appetite following his conversation with Ella. He pulled the food out, set it on the counter and headed for the bedroom. "Only twenty-four more hours and I'll be as far away from this mess as possible." He said aloud as he lay down on the bed and pulled up the covers.

Lucy came in from the other room, "Who was that you were talking to?"

"Oh that was Jed, he's freaking out because he saw the news report on television. The guy has top-notch aim, but I think he's a few bricks shy of a load. We shouldn't be concerned about him though, he's got a plane ticket out of the country tomorrow."

Lucy bounced Tim on her hip, "All right, well no more phone calls, even though you have a burn phone the last thing we need is for NCIS to be able to trace it to our location."

Stoopid ladies, Abs can twace anyting. Muh famwy is gonna find me soon.

Ella scoffed, "You think I don't know that? I don't think we have to worry about anyone else calling us."

Lucy sat Tim down in front of a pile of toys, situated in the corner of the family room. "I need to take a shower and get this prison smell off me. Will you keep an eye on Timmy and get dinner started for us?"

"How do you expect me to do both at the same time?"

"Timmy's not going anywhere, just peek your head in every once in awhile and check on him. I'll be out of the shower in a little bit."

The youngster shuddered at the thought of Ella taking care of him. On the other hand it would give him a good opportunity to scope out the real estate and look around for something that could help him. Lucy knelt down next to Tim, "Mommy will be back in a little while; your Aunt Ella is in charge right now so I expect you to be good for her. Do I make myself clear?"

Terrified by the look of happiness on Ella's face, Tim nodded before turning his attention to the toys in front of him. A few of the toys were the same as the ones Abby bought him.

"That's mommy's good boy," Lucy responded giving Tim a kiss on the forehead as she stood up and headed for the shower.

"All right you little brat, play nice, I'll be in the kitchen if you need me."

I'm no' a bwat! U a fweak wait til muh dada gets heaw. He's gonna make u pay!

Now that Ella was in the kitchen, Tim took the opportunity to survey the room. He looked around, searching for anything that could be of use to him. His heart sunk when he didn't see a cell phone or even a land line. It appeared the only phone in the house was tucked away inside Ella's pocket. There was no security system either and even if there had been it would probably be too high off the ground for him to reach. Soon he heard footsteps emanating from the other room; as they got closer he turned his attention back to the pile of toys in front of him. He could see Ella watching him in his peripheral vision; she watched him for a moment until she was satisfied he was keeping out of trouble. As she turned back toward the kitchen, Tim released the breath he didn't know he was holding. When he was beginning to think that all hope was lost, he spotted one of the sister's purses lying on the floor only a few feet from him.

Hmm what's dat ober dere?

Realizing this may be his only opportunity to peek inside; he got up on all fours. He needed to move fast as it would only be a matter of minutes before either Ella came back in to check on him or Lucy was done in the shower.

Tanks Toey for teachin' me how to cwral.

He quietly started to crawl over to the purse, stopping every once in awhile to look in both directions to make sure he wouldn't be caught. As he reached his destination, he heard footsteps coming from the kitchen. Just as he was ready to hurry back towards the toys he heard Ella exclaim angrily, "Damn boiling water, now I have a mess to clean up!" Tim took a deep breath and quickly rifled through the purse as fast as his little hands would allow. There wasn't a cell phone, but something did catch his eye. There was an envelope that had three tiny pills in it; unsure of what they were he grabbed one and slid it in the pocket of the overalls Lucy had changed him into after his nap. He threw the remaining contents back in the purse and quickly crawled back to the pile of toys just as Lucy was stepping out of the bathroom. Tim's heart raced as she entered the family room and looked around. He was afraid to make eye contact with her for fear of giving himself away. Just when Tim thought her scrutiny might kill him, Ella called out that dinner was ready.

"Come on, honey lets go see what Aunt Ella made for dinner, it smells wonderful." Lucy collected Tim in her arms and walked into the kitchen.

Gweat how am I gonna gibe da pills to em?

As Lucy buckled Tim in the highchair, Ella sat two glasses of water and a bottle for Tim on the table. Taking it as a sign, Tim quickly looked over his shoulder at the sisters who were busy making plates for themselves. His tiny hand shook as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the pill. Taking one last look over his shoulder to confirm they were still busy, he quickly dropped the pill in one of the glasses of water. He held his breath as the water fizzed up a bit, but quickly returned to normal. Unaware of what the pill was he at least hoped it would buy him some time before the team could find him.

"You know, the kid has been awfully quiet since you went to take a shower." Ella remarked as she sat down at the table.

Lucy tied a bib around Tim's neck and put a plate of spaghetti in front of him, "I told you he would eventually calm down."

Tim looked down at the plate, pushed it away and crossed his arms. He was starving, but he was worried Ella might have dosed his with drugs. Lucy took a bite, put her fork down and pushed the plate back in Tim's direction. "I'm going to give you a choice, you can either eat on your own or I'm going to feed you. You're going to eat; it's only a matter if you want it to be on your own terms."

Ella chuckled as she took a drink of water from the glass Tim dropped the pill in. "I told you he was still a brat, just because he's quieter doesn't mean he'll behave."

Tim was bursting at the seams with excitement as he watched Ella take a drink of water. Ha ha cwazy lady someting gonna happen ta u.

Not wanting to give himself away, he hesitantly grabbed a few of the spaghetti noodles, sniffed them and deposited them in his mouth.

Lucy reached over, pushed his hair off to one side and smiled; "Now there's mommy's good boy." She laughed at the fact Tim already had sauce all over his face, "Looks like someone is going to need a bath tonight." Tim's eyes got wide at the thought of getting a bath. Even though he didn't want one from Lucy he still enjoyed them. He swallowed the food in his mouth, looked up from his plate and asked, "Bubble?"

Ella scoffed before Lucy could reply, "He doesn't deserve a bubble bath after the way he's treated me today."

Lucy rolled her eyes at her sister, "I'll make you a deal kiddo, you be good for the rest of the night and you can have a bubble bath, okay?"

Tim nodded then turned his attention back to the plate. The spaghetti was good, although not as good as his dada's. However, he wasn't sure if it was good because he was so hungry or for the simple fact it was good.

Cwazy lady ghetti is no' bad but it's gettin dawrk and I mish muh dada. Me hope he comesh soon! Me lube him so much, I hope he know dat.


Gibbs paced back and forth across the bullpen as Tony and Ziva sifted through the thousands of cases Gibbs had worked over the past twenty years. They could tell he was deep in thought, trying to pinpoint exactly why the Greys' accomplice looked familiar to him. Nevertheless, the energy and aura he gave off made it hard for Tony and Ziva to concentrate. Finally, after an hour of pacing, Tony took a deep breath and made a suggestion, "Hey boss, why don't you make a coffee know...clear your head." The younger agent closed his eyes, prepared for the head slap he knew his statement would most certainly bring. However, he was surprised that when he opened his eyes, Gibbs was half way to the elevator. Ziva chuckled, "Good idea, Tony. He was driving me nuts."

Tony rubbed his eyes, "I know, me too. There has to be a connection somewhere, but I don't think it's going to be in these case files."

As they continued working, the back elevator dinged, as the doors opened Ducky and Jimmy stepped into the bullpen.

Ducky glanced around, "Where's Jethro?"

Tony stopped working and looked up, "Uhh he's making a coffee run. I told him to take a break and try to clear his head. The man who is the Greys' accomplice looks familiar to him. He is going to wear a hole in the carpet with all the pacing back and forth he's been doing."

Ducky sighed, "Yes, Abigail told me about her conversation with him earlier. She's afraid he's going to lose it soon."

Ziva got up to grab another case file from the boxes scattered all over the bullpen, "Well I think Gibbs will be fine, he is just under a lot of pressure, that is all."

Ducky squeezed her shoulder, "I certainly hope you are right, my dear. Mr. Palmer and I came up here to see if we could be of any assistance."

Jimmy gave a small smile, "Yeah, what can we do to help?"

Tony and Ziva exchanged smirks and pointed to the various boxes. The two men nodded and grabbed a few files. "Where should we sit?" Jimmy asked hesitantly.

Tony motioned towards McGee's desk, "It will be cozy, but if you pull up another chair you can use Tim's desk. That way if you have any questions we'll be right here."

Ducky and Jimmy got themselves situated at McGee's desk; Tony was right, it was a bit crowded, but they would do anything for Tim. After a few moments of quiet Jimmy straightened up in his chair, "Sorry guys, who or what exactly are we looking for?"

Tony handed him a copy of the artist rendering, "That is the Greys' accomplice. We're looking through these files to figure out if he resembles anyone from Gibbs' prior cases. He doesn't have to be a suspect, he could be the victim for all we know."

"Gotcha," Jimmy replied as he went back to the task at hand. Fifteen minutes later, Gibbs returned from his coffee run, surprised to see the bullpen had added two extra members. He stopped in front of McGee's desk, stared at the two men then finally sat down at his own. Not too long after he sat down, he was up again, pacing back and forth in front of the desks. Finally Ducky spoke up, "Jethro, you pacing back and forth will not help us find Timothy any faster." Gibbs froze, turned to face Ducky and put his hands on his hips. Tony, Ziva and Jimmy cringed at the exasperated look on Gibbs' face. They waited with bated breath for the two to start arguing, but were surprised when it never came. "Well what do you suggest I do, Duck?"

"There are a lot of files here; might I suggest you start browsing through them with the rest of us?"

Gibbs nodded, pulled a few files out of the box and returned to his desk. He knew Ducky was right, the only way they would find Tim was good old-fashioned detective work. After they had been working for a while, Jimmy leaned over and whispered something to Ducky. The older man nodded and cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. "Mr. Palmer has something he would like to tell you."

Suddenly nervous that the attention was turned on him, Jimmy took a deep breath and stuttered, "Well...I...was...going... to tell you this earlier, but I kind of forgot." Ducky sighed and put his hand on Jimmy's shoulder, "Tell them about the dog, Mr. Palmer." Jimmy laughed apprehensively, "Yes, I spoke with the vet and he said Jethro was doing well. They don't expect any long-term side effects, but they wanted to keep him overnight for observation. He can probably go home tomorrow."

The team was relieved to hear Jethro was going to be okay. None of them would have wanted to break that news to Tim. "Thanks again, know for saving the dog," Gibbs mumbled before turning back to the files in front of him.


Throughout dinner Tim kept a close eye on Ella, hoping there would be a change in her behavior or demeanor. However, he became disappointed when the pill seemingly had no effect on her. After dinner, Lucy carried him back out to the family room and put him back down in front of the toys. He didn't feel like playing, instead he lay down on the floor and watched television. After an hour, he began to doze off until he felt himself being lifted off the ground. "Dada?" he mumbled, full of hope as his vision came back into focus.

"No, I already told you sweetie, your daddy is gone. You'll never see him again. Since you were such a good boy I have a bubble bath all ready for you."

Tim started bawling at the thought of not being able to see his family again.

"Aww its okay baby, this bath will make you feel so much better and help you sleep." Lucy tried to reassure him as she laid him on the changing table and undressed him. Tim continued to cry until he saw the bathtub full of glorious bubbles. "Bubble," he whispered as Lucy sat him down in the tub and gave him a variety of toys to play with. Lucy skimmed the newspaper while occasionally glancing over at Tim, who was content in his own little world for the time being. It wasn't until Ella appeared at the bathroom door that he even glanced in Lucy's direction. The bubbles had a way of mesmerizing Tim, but when he heard Ella's voice, a part of his brain clicked on again, urging him to pay attention. He smiled, recognizing Ella wasn't the same person she had been all day. Her eyes had a distant look, while she kept herself propped up against the door. As a wave of dizziness hit, she grabbed hold of the door handle and waited for it to pass.

"Suddenly I'm not feeling well, I'm going to hit the sack early tonight."

Lucy stood up, "I can't leave Tim alone in the bath, you think you can make it back to your room?"

"Yeah, yeah I'll be fine. I think all the excitement from today is finally catching up to me. You'll see, tomorrow morning I'll be back to my old self."

"Well all right, only if you're sure." Lucy replied as she patted Ella on the cheek.

Dis is gonna be gweat! Somting no' wright with da cwazy lady!

Lucy took a look at her watch and turned to Tim in the bath, "Time for bed lil' guy. Mommy's going to wash your hair, then it's time to get out."

Tim sulked as Lucy efficiently washed his hair, rinsed him off and wrapped him in a towel. "Let's get you dressed and then I'll get a nice warm bottle for you. How does that sound?"

Umm ba ba pwobably be good ta help me sweep.

After Lucy finished dressing Tim, she laid him in the crib and headed for the kitchen. As she prepared the bottle, she thought back to how long in advance this plan had been put in place and how ecstatic she was that Tim would finally have a loving childhood.


As the night moved on, the team had made it half way through the case files. Gibbs surprised everyone when six large pizzas arrived, giving them a much-needed break. While they ate and shared their favorite Tim stories, Gibbs excused himself.

Tony noticed his departure and turned to the others, "You think I should go after him? Make sure that he doesn't do anything stupid?"

Ducky squeezed his arm; "I think it would be best if we leave him alone for the time being. Jethro is used to working out his own demons, that shouldn't change now."

Gibbs went into the bathroom, locked the door, splashed some cold water on his face and took a few deep breaths. At one point the deep breaths turned into sobbing, which he couldn't control. All the pent up frustration, anger, sadness and worry was finally being released in gut-wrenching sobs. After allowing himself a few minutes of vulnerability, he splashed some more water on his face and exited the restroom feeling much better than he had since this nightmare began.

The other team members watched as Gibbs returned with a bounce in his step and one purpose, to get his boy back. His aura had changed dramatically and the energy he was expressing was reminiscent of the old Gibbs.

"You okay, boss?" Tony asked around a mouth full of pizza.

Gibbs sighed as he sat back down at his desk, "I'm fine, Tony. However, if you don't finish that pizza quickly, you won't be."

"What? I can eat and work at the same time." Tony complained as he stuffed the rest of the slice in his mouth and went back to the file in front of him.

"Good to have you back, Jethro." Ducky winked at him before settling in again.

As it got later into the night, the team, with the exception of Gibbs, would take short catnaps in order to keep them going. Abby had been in touch with him throughout the night, but she still didn't have a name for the mystery man. Nevertheless, she was able to collect DNA from one of the tranquilizer darts and was running that through all the databases as well. Around five in the morning, Gibbs looked around the bullpen and couldn't help but smile at the various sleeping positions of his team. Just when he thought about closing his eyes for a few minutes, the phone rang. His heart rate sped up when he saw the caller ID read, "Abby."

"Abs, what do you have?"

There was a small squeal of delight on the other end of the line, "I've got your man, Gibbs!"

Chapter Text

"I've got your man, Gibbs."

It was a simple statement, one that Gibbs had been told many times before, however this time it was different. This time that declaration would help save the life of someone he loved very much. Unsure if he heard Abby correctly, he stumbled over his words, "Did…you…just say what I think you said?"

Abby screeched, "Yes, I did. Come to the lab and I'll show you what I got."

Gibbs swallowed the lump in his throat; finally a lead that would hopefully end this whole ordeal. He could not wait to have his baby boy tucked safely in his arms once again. He closed his eyes, almost smelling the unique baby scent that always accompanied his lil' guy. Suddenly movement across the bullpen brought him out of his musing. He watched Tony stagger to his feet; his hair stuck up in different directions, while a heavy set of bags fit comfortably under his eyes.

Tony stretched his arms above his head and yawned, "What's going on, Boss? Everything okay?"

Gibbs smirked at the condition of his senior field agent, "Abby just called, she figured out who the Greys' accomplice is."

"That's great news! Tony roared, but quickly shut his mouth when Gibbs put his finger up to his own lips. "We should wake the others, I'm sure they'll be relieved to know," he whispered as he walked over to Gibbs' desk.

The older man nodded, straightened up in his chair and extended his hand, "Thanks."

Tony was dumbfounded; he could not remember the last time, if ever, Gibbs thanked him for anything. He reached out and grabbed his hand, "You're welcome, Boss. Glad I could help."

Gibbs stood up and looked around the bullpen; Ziva was snoring, but the noise was muffled due to her face being buried in her arms. Ducky had his feet propped up on the desk and was lying back against the chair, while Jimmy used the older man's shoulder for a pillow. They all had been working so hard and now looked so peaceful that Gibbs didn't want to wake them. However, he knew they would all be extremely upset if he didn't inform them of their new lead. Standing in the middle of the bullpen, he clapped his hands a few times, watching as they began to spring to life.

"Chop, chop people; Abby figured out who the Greys' accomplice is."

That seemed to do the trick, Ziva shot out of her seat as if she had just been fired from a cannon followed by Ducky and Jimmy who quickly untangled themselves. After everyone took a moment to look semi-presentable, Gibbs addressed the group. "Abby's waiting for us in the lab; we're going to find out as a team who this man is. After that it's all hands on deck; we need to find him in order to get to Tim." The group nodded and followed Gibbs over to the elevator.

The familiar deafening music was once again blaring at full blast. It was so loud; Abby didn't realize she had company. A much-needed laugh came as they watched her dance around the room, using the handle of a broom for a guitar.


Gibbs attempted to yell over the music.


It was no use though, the thunderous bass was too overpowering for even his voice. Finally, Abby spun around; realizing she had an audience she grabbed the remote for the stereo and turned the music down. "How long have you been standing there?"

Tony turned to Jimmy, "Who knew Abby could shake her hips like that?"


"Sorry boss," Tony apologized as he instinctively rubbed the back of his head.

Gibbs walked over and gently kissed Abby on the cheek, "Time to get back to work, tell us what you got."

"The Greys had a brilliant plan, but they didn't use gloves, Ella's grubby fingerprints are all over the evidence. Abby began as she stood in front of her computer. The rest of the team huddled around her as she began to pull up her findings. Suddenly she stopped typing and looked over her shoulder, "Too many people in my personal space, I'm feeling a little bit claustrophobic." Everyone took a few steps back, trying to give Abby the illusion she wasn't being crowded anymore. Nonetheless, it still wasn't good enough for the Goth, "There's a plasma screen in my lab for a reason, and the same information appears on both screens." She said, motioning for them to stand on the other side of her desk. By the time everyone had moved to various spots in front of the plasma, Gibbs was running out of patience. He banged his fist on Abby's desk, "I've waited long enough, and I need to know who this guy is right now!"

"I ran the sketch through every database I could think of because you didn't give me a specific one to start with. Nevertheless, I got a ninety percent match on a former Junior Gunnery Sergeant Jedidiah Daniels."

As Abby pulled Jed's photo up on the screen, the room got so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. The team took a moment to study the picture then suddenly all eyes were on Gibbs. Ducky cleared his throat, "Do you recognize him, Jethro?"

Gibbs' adrenaline kicked in the moment he saw the photo. He kept his eyes glued to the screen as memories flooded his mind. The team exchanged worried glances as they watched their leader who appeared to be battling some inner demons. It wasn't until Abby reached over and grabbed his arm that he snapped out of his reverie.

Ducky tried again, "How do you know him, Jethro?"

Gibbs looked around the room; each member of the team was anxiously awaiting an answer. He pulled the pacifier out of his pocket; clutched it in his hand and began pacing back and forth. The team waited patiently, while he collected his thoughts. A few times he began to speak, but would abruptly stop before any knowledge was shared. Finally, he took a deep breath and started to speak, "I knew Jed, as we used to call him, from my stint in the Gulf War. He was a Junior Gunnery Sergeant under my command. The kid's accuracy was first-rate; he was extremely disciplined and very well liked." Gibbs paused and ran his fingers through his hair.

"What changed, boss?" Tony prodded as he studied the photo again.

"Drugs," the older man simply replied. "It's a shame too because Jed had potential; he was climbing the ranks. Unfortunately his mother suddenly passed away while he was serving; they granted him emergency leave time, but when he came back he wasn't the same guy who left. It was like he didn't care anymore; his once pinpoint accuracy was gone, he was disobedient and often talked back to his superiors."

Gibbs paused again and fiddled with the pacifier in his hand, "I tried to help him, told him I knew what it was like to lose someone close to me. However, Jed was already too far-gone at that point and there was nothing I could do. The final straw came when I caught him selling drugs to a couple of other men from the unit. For the safety of my fellow Marines, I had to turn him in. I suppose he blames me for dishonorable discharge."

"Of course he does, Jethro. It's sad that some people don't realize their own actions determine what courses their lives take. Just like, he made the decision to help the Greys. The course Jed decided to take is not your fault." Ducky tried to reassure him.

"Don't worry Duck, I don't feel like it is my fault. The only thing I feel guilty about is letting him get his hands on Tim in the first place. What else have you got, Abs?"

Abby smiled, "I thought you would never ask. The fingerprints I pulled off the tranquilizer darts, match the ones I took from his service record."

Ziva added, "Gibbs' story explains how Jed was able to fire accurately before our agents had time to react."

Gibbs nodded, "Tony…Ziva…I want background information on Jed. Abby got us off to a good start, but we need to find him."

"You got it, boss." Tony responded as the duo headed for the elevator.

"But wait, I've got more." Abby gleefully announced.

Tony and Ziva stopped mid stride and turned around, both anxious to hear the rest of her report.

"Once I was able to find a name to go with the face; I started my own search. He was working at Georgetown University Hospital as an orderly. I'm guessing now that he helped kidnap Tim he won't be coming back. However, I was able to hack into the records and…"

Abby paused and began looking through the piles of paper, which had accumulated on her desk. The anticipation was killing Gibbs; unable to wait any longer he grabbed her arm, "And what Abby?"

She ignored Gibbs' question and continued searching through the overflow of papers, "I know it's here somewhere." Finally, she reached for a hot pink post-it note that was plastered in between a stack of papers. "Ahh here it is."

Gibbs felt his heart skip a beat, "Is that what I think it is?"

"Yes, yes it is. I have in my hand the last known address for Jedidiah Daniels."

Suddenly the energy in the room changed from somber to joyful. Gibbs' hand trembled as he took the address from Abby, "You always come through for us, you're the best Abs!"

He kissed her on the cheek; then turned to Jimmy, "Palmer could you get another Caf-Pow for Abby and if she'll allow you to stay and help that could be useful."

"Of course, Agent Gibbs it would be my pleasure."

Gibbs turned to the rest of his team, "Let's go find this son of a bitch! Ziver call and get a search warrant for Jed's house, we're going to need it."

"On it," she replied as they headed for the elevator. Ducky was hot on their heels, "Let me come with you, Jethro."

Gibbs pressed the button to summon the elevator, "I can't do that Duck, it's too dangerous."

The tree agents scrambled in once the doors opened; but Ducky used his arm to prevent them from closing. "What if Timothy is there and needs medical attention right away?" Ducky could see Gibbs mulling over the possibility in his mind, "All right, but you stay in the car, you got me?" Ducky nodded as he stepped into the elevator and the doors closed behind him.


"Dada...Dada...Dada!" Tim bellowed from across the room. He didn't understand what was happening, his daddy was only a few feet away from him, but was ignoring him. The youngster started to crawl in his direction; however, every time he moved closer his daddy got further away. Tim was confused; he was positive that his daddy would be happy to see him and want to give him plenty of hugs and kisses. Although maybe Gibbs didn't want to be his daddy anymore. Perhaps the Greys were right and the team had given up looking for him. Tim panicked as the room suddenly became dark; he started crying, desperate for someone to hold and comfort him. The youngster needed someone to tell him everything was going to be alright. It wasn't until he heard another baby crying that his tears slowly dissipated before turning into sniffling. The crying from the other baby became louder as the lights began to get brighter once again. Tim scanned the room on the lookout for the other baby, but didn't see one. Suddenly a bright neon green light appeared out of nowhere, the lil' guy immediately got on his hands and knees to crawl towards it. When he reached the light, he was thrust into present time and awakened with a jolt.

Tim worked hard to control his breathing, relieved to find out it was all just a dream. His sleeper was soaked with a mixture of sweat and urine. Apparently, his diaper leaked overnight and the now cooling sensation felt terrible against his tender skin. At this point, he really didn't care who was taking care of him, he only had one goal for the time being and that was to be clean and dry as soon as possible. He decided to scream to get Lucy's attention, but suddenly heard crying again. It was the same crying he heard in his dream although this time it was in the house. He reached his little hand down and pinched his leg, determined to know if he was still dreaming or if he was awake. No, he was definitely awake this time, but who was crying?

Tink, tink, tink whos dat baby? Did dey get anowthr baby duwring da night?

All of a sudden, it hit him like a ton of bricks; the pill he slipped in Ella's drink yesterday was the same pill she had given him. The baby that was crying was most likely Ella after she woke up and realized her current state. Tim began giggling hysterically; it was a miracle the drug he found was the de-aging one.

Serbes dat cwazy fweak wight! Dats what she gets fo' being so mean ta me!

Quietly the door to the nursery opened; Lucy walked in carrying a little girl on her hip that looked to be around the same age as Tim. She stopped at the railing of the crib and peered over, "Oh good sweetie you're awake, I hope Ella's crying didn't wake you up." Tim couldn't help but smirk when he caught a glimpse of Ella's tear stained face. Lucy reached down and felt Tim's sleeper, "Ohh looks like somebody leaked last night, let me get your sister taken care of first then I'll get you out of these wet jammies."

The youngster nodded as he watched Lucy carry Ella over to the changing table and lay her down.

HA HA I was wight, scowre one fir me. I bery smwart, Gib is gonna be so pwroud of me!

Tim sat up in the middle of the crib, trying to catch a glimpse of Ella's undoing. However, the crib railing happened to be right in his eye line, dismissing any chance of that happening. Nevertheless, it didn't mean he still couldn't hear what was occurring between the two sisters. Ella whimpered as her sister removed the nightgown she wore to bed the night before, which would have fallen off earlier had Lucy not granted her the dignity of holding it up.

"You look to be around the same age as Timmy, these diapers should fit you perfectly, sweetie."

Ella started bawling as Lucy unfolded the diaper; slid it under her bottom, sprinkled on some powder and pulled it up between her legs. Tim giggled but quickly put his hand over his mouth to stifle the noise when Lucy looked his way. He remembered how embarrassed he had become when Gibbs diapered him for the first time; so he took great joy in knowing Ella now knew what if felt like.

HA HA! Twy habing your boss do it, u got bery lubky cwazy lady o' sould I say baby!

Tim turned his attention back to the scene at the changing table, he watched Lucy dig through the drawers and pull out a yellow and green sleeper. "This will have to do for now, honey. Once the publicity dies down we can go shopping for some girl clothes." Lucy zipped up the sleeper, popped a pacifier in Ella's mouth and placed her in the crib. Instinctively Tim scooted over, not wanting to be anywhere close to the newly babified Ella.

"And just where do you think you're going lil' fella?" Lucy asked as she reached over the rail, picked him up and carried him over to the changing table.

She grasped the zipper of the sleeper, "How about we get these icky wet pajamas off you."

"Yesh, pwease," Tim responded; thankful he wouldn't have to sit in his own filth any longer.

"Aww my baby is so polite," she squealed, planting a kiss on Tim's forehead.

Whaheber lady... pwease jush get dis ober wif fash!

After Lucy thoroughly cleaned him up, she rifled though the drawers and picked out a pair of jeans and a sweater. "You are going to look so handsome today, my dear."

Tim gave her an exasperated look; I look hansum ebwyday u cwiminal! I weah Awmani!

Once Tim was dressed, she gripped his arms, pulled him up and ran a comb through his hair. Now that he was sitting up, Tim's eyes wandered to Ella, who had spit out the pacifier and was whimpering. Lucy tapped his knee, "You wouldn't happen to know how Ella was turned into a baby, do you?" Tim ignored her at first until she squeezed his chin, jerked it to toward her and gently smacked him on the face. "I expect you to answer me when I speak to you. I am your mother and you will respect me!"

Whaheber, fweak you not muh momma. I don' owe u anyting.

Tim shrugged his shoulders and gave her one of his famous eyebrow raises, "No...dunno" he whispered turning his attention back toward Ella.

Lucy sighed, "I think Ella took the drug on her own, she's been jealous that you're getting all my attention. I have a feeling now she's having second thoughts regarding her decision."

Cant bewieve she tinks cwazy lady took dat dwug. Stoopid, stoopid lady!

Ella tried to speak, but whatever she was trying to say only came out as gibberish. Tim sneered as she tried again, but was unable to form any words. She burst into tears, kicked her legs in the air and pounded her fists on the mattress. "I see someone is throwing their first temper tantrum." Lucy laughed as she lifted Tim off the changing table and carried him into the kitchen. She buckled him in the high chair then returned to the nursery to get Ella. When they entered the kitchen, Ella was sniffling a little bit, but much calmer than she had been. Her head was resting on Lucy's shoulder, while she sucked contently on a pacifier. Tim watched as Lucy gently rocked back and forth; rubbing her hand up and down the little girl's back. The way Lucy was comforting her sister was what Gibbs used to do for him. Watching the two of them made Tim's heart ache more than it had since this nightmare began. Tears formed in his eyes, "Dada! Me want muh dadaaaa!"

Lucy ran her fingers through Tim's hair, "I'm sorry sweetie, there's only one mommy and two babies now, you're going to have to learn to be patient."

I don' want u, onwy want muh dada!

"Let's get you two some breakfast, hopefully you'll start to feel better once you get some food in your tummies."


Gibbs couldn't arrive at Jed's house fast enough; however, the rush hour traffic was making it difficult to go anywhere, let alone fast. He weaved in and out of cars as Ducky held on for dear life. "My god, Jethro you need to slow down! We're going to be no use to Timothy if we're dead." Gibbs ignored Ducky's pleas; finally able to escape the congestion, he stepped on the gas. "You were the one who wanted to tag along, Duck."

Tony and Ziva were behind the two men in a separate car trying desperately to keep up with Gibbs. Tony had a firm grip on the door handle, as Ziva not so gracefully maneuvered the vehicle around other cars. "Gibbs' driving skills are impressive today, I can't believe even you are having a hard time keeping up with him, Ziva."

She rolled her eyes, "I am doing just fine. Remember we were stopped at that red light. I was still able to catch up with him; you have to give me credit for that."

Tony nodded, "Yeah, you're right...guess I kind of forgot about that. I was too busy watching my life flash before my eyes when you squeezed in between those two semi trucks prior to having to stop. Thank god the streets are clear of snow and ice or I would have had to borrow one of Tim's diapers."

Ziva scoffed, "You are still complaining about that? We had plenty of room!"

"Well we have two different ideas on what's considered plenty of room!"

"Will you please just shut your mouth, Tony? You are starting to distract me and I do not think you want to do that."

Tony sighed and leaned back against the seat, "Fine, according to the GPS we are almost there anyways."

Jed had a restless night, unable to sleep as the guilt, paranoia and anxiety took over. Every time he closed his eyes, the events of the previous day played over and over again in his mind. All he could do was hope that Ella's threats weren't serious and the baby would be okay. "How did I get into this mess in the first place," he asked himself throwing the covers back on the bed. He grabbed the suitcase out of the closet and started cramming as many clothes and personal items he could fit. The final item he packed was a picture of him and his mom taken right before he left for basic training. Even though he wasn't fond of the Greys, he knew that if NCIS caught up with him they would be able to trace his calls to their location. Not wanting to make the search any easier for Gibbs, he picked up the phone, walked into the bathroom and dumped it in the toilet. "At least if its water logged it will take them longer to find those psychopaths." He took a quick shower, dressed and headed to the kitchen.

When they arrived on Jed's street, Gibbs pulled over and parked a few houses down from the address Abby had given him. If Jed was in fact in the house, he sure as hell didn't want to give him any warning that they were there. "Stay in the car, Duck. I'll let you know when it's safe and if indeed Tim is here."

The older man nodded, "Be careful, Jethro. I'll keep an eye on things out here."

Gibbs quickly exited the vehicle and walked back to speak with Tony and Ziva. "What's the plan, boss?" Tony asked while Gibbs fidgeted with the earwig he had just placed in his ear.

"We take him alive, it's likely he knows Timmy's location, is that understood?" He reminded both agents, but paid particularly close attention to Ziva.

"What? Why do you always look at me like that?" Ziva retorted inserting her own earwig.

Tony laughed, "You really need to be told why, Ziva?"

"Tony if you do not shut up, I am going to..."

"Enough!" Gibbs interrupted before she could finish.

The two agents immediately straightened up and gave Gibbs their full attention. "DiNozzo, take the back. Ziver you're with me, we'll take the front. Remember we don't know his mental state so be alert and if you have to take a shot, then take it."

"Are we going to surprise him or do you plan on giving him an opportunity to surrender first, Gibbs?" Ziva inquired as they slowly move toward the house. "Oh he's going to be surprised all right, there's no way he would willingly surrender."

Whenever the team served a warrant there was always a sense of anticipation in the air; however, this time it was different. There were much higher stakes and this time it was personal. Someone they all loved very much was depending on this raid to go as planned.

When they reached the house, Tony drew his gun and headed toward the back through the side yard. Because they didn't know Jed's location or even if he was inside, Tony stood with his back against the side of the house and carefully moved alongside of it. There were two big trees, giving Gibbs and Ziva a little bit of protection. They each hid behind one and when Gibbs gave a nod; they discretely headed toward the front door. Ziva peeked through the tiny window in the door, but there was no sign of Jed. However, she was able to see a light emanating from deep inside the house. She leaned over toward Gibbs and whispered, "There is a light on; it looks like it is coming from the back part of the house."

"Did you hear that, DiNozzo? There is a light on close to the back of the house."

"Copy that, Boss, I'm in position when you're ready."

"Ready here. On my count."

Gibbs looked over at Ziva and nodded.

"One...two..." On the count of three, Gibbs and Tony simultaneously broke down the front and back doors. They moved in quickly, determined to give Jed as little time as possible to either arm himself or get a shot off if he was armed.

Jed was sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast when the team broke down the doors. He jumped out of his seat as Tony turned the corner with his gun drawn. "Stop! NCIS!" He yelled as Jed took off running towards the front of the house.

"Boss, he's headed your way!"

Jed looked back to see if Tony had gained any ground on him; when he turned back around Gibbs punched him square in the face. He stumbled back, blood squirting from his nose and mouth. He was stunned, but that didn't stop him from trying to keep going. However, Gibbs was much quicker and highly motivated. He snatched him, pushed him back against the wall and delivered another blow. Jed slid down the wall, moaning, his face and shirt covered in blood. "Get up!" Gibbs screamed as he dragged him up, placed his forearm against his throat and pushed down. "Where's my boy?" Jed struggled to breathe as Gibbs continued to put pressure on his throat. "I'm only going to ask you one more time, where's my boy?"

Tony and Ziva cringed as the color in Jed's face went from red to blue as he writhed under Gibbs' wrath. Just as Tony was about to intervene, Gibbs let go and stepped back as Jed crumpled to the floor. "Cuff him," the older man growled as he started searching the house for Tim. After a thorough search, Gibbs was disappointed but not surprised that Tim wasn't there. "Tony...Ziva...I'm going to take him back to NCIS for a little chat, I need you two to stay and process the scene. Call a tow truck and get his car back to the evidence garage."

"On it, boss." Tony responded as he roughly seized Jed's arm, dragged him out to the car and pushed him in.

Gibbs got in, slammed the door and took a deep breath. Ducky reached over, squeezed his arm and winked, "Looks like you were too easy on him, Jethro."

Chapter Text

When Tony arrived back inside, Ziva was already processing the scene; looking for any clues that could lead them to Tim's location. Tony called out to her, "Did you call the tow truck to get his car back to NCIS?"

"Yes, should be here in about ten minutes. Hey, come look at this…" she trailed off as Tony joined her in the bedroom. Ziva was examining the contents of Jed's recently packed suitcase. She held up a flight itinerary and scanned the details, "Look at what we have here, a one way plane ticket to Russia." Tony glanced at Ziva, "No extradition," they announced simultaneously.

"I don't get it, out of all the places he could go, he chooses Russia?" Tony questioned while he started looking through the papers on Jed's desk.

Ziva shrugged her shoulders, "He probably figured they would understand English a lot better than a lot of the other countries without extradition agreements."

"If I was going to spend the rest of my life in a foreign country it would be one that had a nice beach, girls in tiny bikinis, along with a nonstop flow of alcoholic beverages." He licked his lips as he stared off into oblivion.


"Hey! What was that for?" He screeched, rubbing the back of his head.

Ziva smiled, "Only doing what Gibbs would have done if he was here."

Tony glared at her, "You are not Gibbs! If you ever head slap me again, David…"

She held her finger up to her lips, "Hmm I think I remember you threatening me with that before, now is your chance to follow through."

He raised his eyebrows, "DiNozzos always get revenge; maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday I will reclaim the respect I deserve for being your superior."

Ziva rolled her eyes, "Let us get back to work, Gibbs is going to want answers soon and with you being the senior field agent, I do not think you want to tell him we have nothing."

"Good point. I don't want him taking all his anger out on me like he did Jed. The guy never stood a chance, frankly I'm surprised he was still conscious when I dragged him out of here."

Ziva sighed, "Gibbs will never admit it, but he is scared. Prior to Tim's kidnapping, I have never witnessed him this happy or relaxed. They have been good for each other. "

Tony began digging through dresser drawers, "Yeah, I'm actually glad it was Tim who was de-aged."

"Tony! This should not have happened to any of us! I can't believe you…"

"Whoa, hear me out on this…"

Ziva gave him an exasperated look and chuckled, "Oh this is ought to be good."

"I was going to say I'm glad it was Tim because he's the only one of us who hasn't bonded with Gibbs on a paternal level."

"As much as it pains me to say this, and it does, you may be right, Tony."

"Aha! I am right; it's good for Probie and Boss to get some time together. Now let's split up and get this done, I don't want to miss this interrogation."

"Sounds like the tow truck is here." Ziva declared, as she peeked out the blinds to confirm her suspicion. "I will go speak with them, while you finish up in the bedroom. We still have not found his cell phone or computer."

Tony began looking through everything in Jed's room. He pulled out the dresser and desk drawers, flipped over the mattress and regrettably dug through his dirty laundry, but there was still no sign of a cell phone or computer. His next stop was the bathroom; he emptied out the medicine cabinet, linen closet and vanity drawers but still came up empty handed. "Most guys I know keep the toilet seat up," he mumbled as he lifted the lid.

"Well that's just great," he growled when he saw the cell phone lying at the bottom of the toilet bowl. A smile formed on his face as he remembered Ziva's earlier head slap and his threat of revenge. With a huge grin on his face, he walked out to the living room where she had just finished with the tow truck driver. "I found his phone, but I'm going to need you to get it."

"What do you mean? I have plenty of evidence in here to go through, why can you not get it?

Tony laughed, "You'll see," as he motioned Ziva to follow him.

When they reached the bathroom, Tony grabbed her shoulders and guided her over to the toilet, "Remember how I said DiNozzos always get revenge? It just so happens that today is the day."

Ziva stared into the toilet with disgust; after dealing with Tony's antics for the past seven years she knew it would annoy him more if she didn't act bothered by it. "Hmm okay well let me just put on an extra set of gloves," she said nonchalantly.

Tony stood there with a look of disbelief on his face, "You're not going to argue? I thought for sure you would be repulsed by having to do this."

She shrugged her shoulders, "If it will help us find Tim, then I am all for it. I know for a fact he would do the same for us; I will be sure to tell him that you refused to retrieve a cell phone out of a toilet even though it would give us possible information on his location."

He scoffed, "You wouldn't?"

Ziva snapped the last glove on, looked over at him and raised her eyebrows, "Oh, but I would!"

As she was about to reach into the toilet, Tony pushed her away, "Fine, I'll do it," he grumbled reaching for another set of gloves.

"Only if you insist, Tony."

"Yeah, yeah it's fine, just get back to processing the rest of the family room."

Ziva laughed as she watched Tony cringe as he stuck his hand in the toilet, pulled out the phone and dropped it into an evidence bag.

"Might have been a good idea to roll up your sleeve," she informed him as she left the bathroom. "Wow, that was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be!"

Tony held up his arm; water dripping off it onto the floor, "Ahh the things we are willing to do for family."

After they finished processing Jed's house, Tony and Ziva collected the rest of the evidence and headed back to the Navy Yard. They were both anxious to watch Gibbs interrogate the man who helped kidnapped their co-worker, brother and friend.


It took some maneuvering but Lucy was finally able to feed Tim and Ella at the same time. Ella, who was still upset about her recent transformation, was being less than cooperative regarding the situation. She cried when Lucy held the bottle of formula up to her lips and clamped her mouth shut just as Lucy started to insert the nipple. Tim smiled around the nipple that was currently invading his own mouth as he watched the little girl squirm in Lucy's lap.

Lucy tried to persuade her, "C'mon sweetie, you have to eat something. We don't know how long you're going to be like this so you better get used to it."

Ella grunted; then taking a page out of Tim's playbook, knocked the bottle out of her sister's hand.

Lucy sighed and reached down to pick up the bottle. Forcefully she pulled Ella against her chest; leaned down and whispered, "If you don't drink this bottle right now, I will spank you."

Tim choked on the formula he was drinking when those words came out of Lucy's mouth. It appeared the stress of two babies was taking its toll much sooner than he expected. During the time he had been with the two sisters, Ella was always the one who would threaten physical violence. Now it seemed the two sisters were more alike than he thought. Lucy reached over and patted his back until the coughing subsided. "You okay, Angel? Don't worry, I won't spank you if you behave yourself." She reassured him, using a cloth to wipe up the milk, which had dribbled down his chin.

Tim shivered, Uh oh I hope dada wescues me soon! No more cwazy lady, pwease!

Lucy looked down at Ella, "Alright are you ready to try again?"

Ella shook her head; her mouth still clamped shut as Lucy raised the bottle to her lips.

"Ella Marie Grey, you will drink right now and you will like it!" Lucy warned, pressing the nipple of the bottle against the baby's lips. Calling her sister's bluff, Ella grabbed Lucy's arm and pushed it away. By this point Lucy was beyond frustrated, she placed the bottle on the table, picked Ella up and laid her across her lap. The little girl started kicking her legs and trying to speak although none of it was comprehendible. Lucy placed a firm hand on the baby's back to keep her from squirming around as Ella started crying. Tim watched anxiously, bubbling with delight as Ella was about to be punished.

HA HA bout time cwazy lady gets what comin' to her. Muh dada won' be as nice!

Just as Lucy was about to bring her hand down on the baby's bottom she stopped. "Are you ready to behave and do what I say?"

Ella, whose crying had turned into high-pitched wails, which made Tim cover his ears, lifted her head and slowly nodded.

Tim uncovered his ears and watched as Lucy cradled Ella in her arms and slowly placed the nipple of the bottle in the little girl's mouth. She was reluctant at first, but eventually began sucking at a feverish pace.

"See it's not so bad, is it?" Lucy asked, brushing the hair out of her sister's face. The baby shook her head, closed her eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep. Tim watched with sadness, wishing his dada could be there to feed, cuddle and love on him.

Huwwy dada I mish u so much!

After Ella was asleep, Lucy carried her into the nursery and placed her in the crib so she could finish her nap. Then she came back to the kitchen and lifted Tim out of the high chair, "Since you were such a good boy while I was dealing with your sister, let's take you out to the toys and you can play."

Tim nodded, he had spent enough time in the high chair and was bored, the family room gave him an opportunity to continue looking for an escape plan.


Gibbs stood at the large picture window in the bullpen, watching the icy cold-water crash against the dock. Even though he wanted to reach Tim as soon as possible, he also knew he needed a few minutes to cool off and collect his thoughts before he interrogated Jed. Once they arrived back at the yard, Gibbs had several agents escort him down to autopsy so Ducky could clean him up. He hated catering to him, but hoped if he showed a bit of compassion so would Jed. However, that did not mean he was going to go easy on him during his interrogation.


Vance stood on the catwalk attempting to get his attention, but he was in his own little world. Undoubtedly thinking about the past and present situations.

The director sighed and tried again, although a little bit louder this time.


Gibbs turned around, "I heard you the first time, Leon…what is it?"

"I need to see you. My. Office. Now!"

Vance didn't wait for a response and promptly headed toward his office.

Gibbs ran his fingers through his hair, took a deep breath and headed for the elevator. He burst through the door as Vance was taking a seat at his desk. "What can I do for you, Leon?"

Vance folded his hands and placed them on the desk in front of him. "I need a sitrep, I happen to be in the elevator when Dr. Mallard was escorting our suspect down to autopsy. What the hell happened?"

Gibbs shrugged his shoulders, "He tried to run. It was my job to detain him and that's what I did."

"There's a big difference between detaining a suspect and beating them to a bloody pulp."

"I only hit him twice, the punches were justified and I have two agents who will confirm my statement."

Vance chuckled, "Yeah, two agents who will do anything for you."

Gibbs growled, "The feeling is mutual, we are a team. However, all my actions were warranted."

"I just want to get all my eggs in one basket, don't want Jed to get a lighter sentence because of something NCIS did wrong."

"Don't worry about that, now if you'll excuse me I have a job to do." Gibbs uttered as he began to leave the room.

Vance stood up and walked around the front of his desk, "Where do you think you're going? We're not finished yet; I said I want a sitrep so start talking."

"I don't have much to tell you, Leon. I left DiNozzo and David at Jed's house to process the scene. I brought him back here so I could start interrogating him right away."

"Have you spoken with either one of them since you left to come back here? Did they find any new leads which might help us?

"DiNozzo called as they were leaving the house, all they have is a water logged cell phone and a one way plane ticket out of the country." Gibbs paused then shook his head, "No information that would give us any clues to Tim's location. That's why it's important for me to get down there and start, who knows what the Greys have done to Timmy."

Vance nodded, "Well let's go then."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow, "You might not want to be there for this, Director."

"What do you mean? I wouldn't miss an opportunity to watch you interrogate the son of a bitch who helped kidnap one of my agents. And a poor defenseless baby at that! " Vance smirked as he reached into his suit coat pocket and pulled out a toothpick. He patted Gibbs on the shoulder, "Try to keep your cool, I don't want to have to call an ambulance, but a little roughing up never hurt anybody."

Gibbs smiled, turned around and opened the door. Tony and Ziva, who had just returned, were waiting outside the office. Gibbs motioned for them to follow as he walked by and headed for the stairs. "Walk and talk you two, I'm on my way to interrogation."

"We just left the lab and dropped off what we found with Abby. She put the cell phone in a bowl of rice to try to dry it out but usually…" DiNozzo trailed off. Gibbs and Vance both stopped on the stairs and turned around.

"Usually what, Agent DiNozzo?" Vance questioned as he chewed on the toothpick in his mouth.

Tony looked between the two men and grit his teeth. Before he could respond; Ziva chimed in, "Abby said it could at least be another twenty-four hours until the phone is dry. Even then she is not sure it will work correctly."

"We don't have another twenty-four hours," Gibbs retorted gruffly. He continued down the stairs and over to the elevator. When the doors opened, Tony and Ziva attempted to step in behind the two men only to be pushed back out by Gibbs.

Tony gave him a look of disbelief and whined, "Aww, c'mon boss we wanted to watch you interrogate Jed."

Gibbs shook his head, "I need you working on another way to find the Greys, especially if Jed isn't in the sharing mood! I refuse to spend another night without my boy! Do I make myself clear?"

Tony and Ziva gulped and responded in unison, "On it, boss!"

He looked both of them up and down before stepping back into the elevator, "Good, Timmy is depending on you!"


Tim sat in the middle of a pile of toys; picking each one up, studying it, then setting it aside as it was no interest to him. There weren't even any blocks to play with to pass the time or keep him occupied. To make matters worse, Lucy was watching him like a hawk. Every time he looked up, her eyes were glued to him. Suddenly she knelt down beside him; he instinctively scooted back, but when he did his hand got snagged on one of the decorations leaning against the fireplace. Tears welled up in his eyes as a sharp pain travelled through the palm of his hand.

Don' cwy, don' cwy me a big boy! He repeated to himself over and over again. But it was no use, the tears fell fast and before he knew it, he was sobbing.

"Aww poor baby, let mommy see your booboo." Lucy cooed, gently grabbing Tim's hand and examining it.

The cut was small and had begun to bleed, but it wasn't anything Lucy couldn't deal with at the house. She picked the lil' guy up, bounced him on her hip and walked toward the bathroom, " Let's get the cut cleaned up, we don't want it to become infected." When they reached the bathroom, Lucy sat Tim down on the toilet seat, while she rummaged through the medicine cabinet. "Ahh here we go," she muttered pulling out a bottle of peroxide, a tube of antibiotic ointment and a fresh band-aid. She grabbed a cotton ball, doused it with peroxide and knelt down next to Tim. "This might sting a little bit, but it will make it feel much better too." As she took hold of Tim's hand, he immediately started pulling away. However, he wasn't quick enough and before he knew it, a slight stinging sensation overwhelmed him. He dissolved into a fresh set of tears as Lucy patted his cheek, "Aww I'm sorry baby, but I had to do it." Once it dried, she dabbed a glob of ointment on and covered it with a band-aid. Tim was still choking back tears when she lifted him back up and returned to the living room. She walked over to the couch and sat him down, "Would you like to watch a movie since you were so good?"

Tim wiped his tears on the sleeve of his sweater and nodded. He watched as Lucy flipped through the DVD's, finally holding up, "Finding Nemo."

"Is this one okay, baby?"

"Yesh," Tim mumbled as he stuck his thumb in his mouth and leaned back against the pillows.

Lucy smiled as she watched him get comfortable and started the DVD. "Mommy has some work to do in the kitchen if you need me."

Tim shivered when he saw her pick up the purse that had the de-aging drug in it and walk toward the kitchen.

Uh oh dada betteh wescue me soon!


Gibbs stood outside the door of interrogation combing through the file on Jed that Tony and Ziva had put together. He knew this was going to be his best chance of getting the Greys' location and he didn't want to blow it. He took a deep breath, barged into the room and laid an ice pack and a bottle of water down on the table in front of Jed. The man looked up, bruises littered his face and his nose was slightly crooked.

"Where's my lawyer?" Jed asked as he held the ice pack up to his black eye.

"He's on the way," Gibbs replied as he dropped the file on the table and sat down.

Jed mumbled, "I'm not saying anything until my lawyer gets here."

"Well that's too bad, I guess we're going to have to sit here and wait. But I'll let you know that the possible deal goes away as soon as your lawyer gets here."

Jed was intrigued, "What kind of deal?"

"Technically since you asked for a lawyer I shouldn't be talking to you. I guess that means no deal for you."

Jed squirmed in his seat and Gibbs could tell his wheels were spinning. He was battling with himself, trying to decide whether or not he should help the man he felt essentially turned his back on him.

"Why should I help you now, Gunny? You were never around when I needed help."

"I tried to help you; however you were too far gone and wouldn't listen to anything I said. Don't tell me it's not true, you were too high to even remember if it was."

Gibbs opened the file, pulled out the old photo of Jed and his mother and slid it across the table. "How would your mom feel if she knew you helped kidnap a defenseless little baby and gave him to a couple of nut jobs?"

Jed stared at the photo for a long time, "Who cares what she would think." He took hold of the photo and slid it back across the table.

"Because I know you're not this type of guy. You were a Marine, and a damn good one until you got addicted to drugs. You walk around with a chip on your shoulder because you feel the world owes you something."

Jed scoffed, "I learned a long time ago that nobody gives a damn about me, I didn't even have a chance to say goodbye."

Gibbs could relate quite a lot to Jed; he was never given an opportunity to say goodbye to his loved ones either. The difference was how they each coped with the tragedy of losing someone close to them. Although it had been difficult, Gibbs persevered and was able to carry on with his life. Jed on the other hand turned to drugs, relying on a substance to take away his pain rather than work through his own problems.

"Unfortunately life isn't fair sometimes, Jed. However, it's not too late to make your mom proud. All you have to do is tell me the location of the boy."

"STOP TALKING ABOUT MY MOM!" He shouted, pounding his handcuffed wrists against the table.

Gibbs knew he needed to tread lightly, Jed was at the breaking point between either shutting down completely or spilling his guts and giving up Tim's location. He decided he would push a little farther with the hope of getting through to him.

Meanwhile Tony and Ziva were upstairs in the bullpen bouncing ideas off each other, trying to come up with another concept on how to find Tim. After striking out on several theories, Tony's thoughts wandered, "Maybe we're going about this the wrong way."

Ziva looked up from the computer screen, "What do you mean?"

Tony got up from his desk, walked over to McGee's and sat down. "Probie always thinks outside the box, perhaps sitting in his chair will allow me to channel my inner McGeek."

Ziva laughed, "Yeah, good luck with that. McGee is one of a kind and I do not think sitting in his chair is going to help you."

"You have a better idea?" He asked as he leaned back and closed his eyes.

"No, but we have not heard from Abby in awhile; perhaps we should go bother her."

Tony yawned, "I'm sure we would have heard by now if Abby was able to come up with any solid leads. She's probably going through Jed's car right now."

"You are right, Abby does not like to be disturbed until she has a solid piece of evidence."

There were a few minutes of silence as each agent racked their brain, desperate to come up with an idea that would lead them in the right direction. Suddenly Tony's eyes popped open and he flew out of the chair. Ziva flinched at the unforeseen movement, clutched her chest and stood up, "What is it, Tony? Do you have an idea? You scared me to death!"

A huge smile formed on Tony's face, "Do you remember when McGee and I got arrested a few years ago when we were investigating that blogger's death?"

Ziva's eyes glazed over, "How could I forget, that was shortly after you rescued me from Somalia."

Tony nodded. "Yes it was, but do you remember what we got arrested for?"

"I am sorry, I cannot. I had a lot of other obstacles I was dealing with at that point in my life."

"I forgive you, Ziva. Nevertheless we got caught breaking into the police impound lot."

Ziva threw her arms up in the air in confusion as she quickly followed Tony to the elevator, "That is what you were arrested for? How is that supposed to be of any help to us now?"

As they stepped inside, Tony hit the button for the evidence garage. "It's what we were doing inside the lot that will help us find McGee! Abby should be able to look up all of Jed's prior locations on his navigation system!"

Ziva punched him in the arm, "Great idea, Tony!"

"Oww!" He screeched, rubbing the now tender area.

When the elevator doors opened, the duo made their way over to the car where Abby was bagging and tagging every scrap of evidence.

"Abby, I had a great idea that could possibly give us Tim's location." Tony divulged as he started looking near the floorboard of the car.

She squealed, "Really? Lay it on me, because I'm not having a whole lot of luck with anything else."

Tony grabbed a pair of gloves, "Is there any way we can get into the car's navigation system? Remember when Timmy and I got arrested a few years ago for breaking into the police impound lot?"

Abby's eyes got as big as saucers, "Oh my god, Tony you're a genius! Why didn't I think of that?"

"See, I told you channeling my inner McGeek would work," he said proudly as Abby connected the navigation system to her laptop. The three huddled around the computer as a list of dates and addresses appeared on the screen. "Can you distinguish which addresses belong to residential or businesses?" Ziva questioned as Abby scanned the list of potential locales.

"Of course I can, based on these routes, after Jed helped Lucy escape the ambulance transport he went to this residential address that's only located about five miles from here."

In a rush, Tony headed toward the elevator to tell Gibbs they had found Tim's location, "Ziva go and get Ducky, I'm going up to interrogation, grab your gear and we'll meet you down at the cars. Good work, Abs!"

"Oh my god, please tell me that Timmy is going to be okay!" Abby shrieked as Ziva quickly scribbled down the address on a piece of paper. When she was finished, she grabbed Abby's shoulders, "Tim is a fighter, he is going to be fine. Just keep thinking positive thoughts and have your phone handy in case we need any of the other addresses. I am going to get Ducky, we will let you know when we have the little guy."

After giving Jed a few minutes of space, Gibbs felt it was necessary to try one final time to get any information from him especially before his lawyer got there. "You know we can still work out a deal that doesn't involve you possibly spending the rest of your life in prison. Why are you protecting the Greys anyways?"

Jed looked up and chuckled, "I'm not protecting them, this is about you and me. I like watching you suffer, just like you watched me!"

Gibbs' adrenaline began pumping; all he wanted to do was lean over the table and punch him square in the face. He took a deep breath and spoke, "If this is between us then leave the baby out of it."

"I can't do that, if he is someone that you love, why would I help you like that? As I said before, you were not willing to help me."

Gibbs slammed his fist down, stood up and leaned across the table, "Those drugs really did turn your brain into Swiss cheese if you can't remember I tried to help you. I don't need you, rot in jail for the rest of your life as far as I'm concerned.

"Hmm that's odd, it seems as though you do need me. Hopefully that boy will have the same fate as your wife and daughter."

Gibbs knew Jed wanted a reaction and he would have gotten one if Tony had not have burst through the door at the exact time he swung his arm back. The look on Tony's face, however, said it all: they knew where Tim was and he wasn't going to do anything stupid to jeopardize the investigation. He grabbed the file off the table and stepped outside the room. Vance, who had been watching from observation suddenly appeared at his side. Tony could hardly contain his excitement, "We have an address where we believe the Greys are hiding out." Now Gibbs could barely contain his excitement along with his patience, "

"I was thinking "What would McGee do" if he were here, suddenly I remembered our little excursion to Metro's impound lot three years ago. Long story short, Abby was able to pull the address off Jed's navigation system. The date and time frame match, Ziva and Ducky are meeting us downstairs."

Gibbs patted Tony on the shoulder, "Good work, DiNozzo! We need to stop by the bullpen so I can get my gun, then we can go get my boy back!"

"I'm coming with you," Vance informed them as they rushed toward the squad room.

Annoyed, Gibbs looked over his shoulder, "Worried what I might do once I get those sisters in my sight, Leon?"

"No, your team is a man down, figured you could use the extra help. Let me get my gun and I'll meet you in the parking lot. Don't leave without me, you understand?"

"You got it," Gibbs responded as he continued to his desk and opened the drawer. Oddly enough, lying next to his gun was the pacifier he had been clutching since Tim's kidnapping. He holstered his weapon, stuck the pacifier in his pocket and headed to the elevator with DiNozzo hot on his trail.


Tim listened to Lucy hum, while she rummaged through the cabinets in the kitchen. She appeared to be in a much better mood than she was earlier that morning. However, he wasn't looking forward to the possibility of being forced to take another regression pill, if in fact that's what she was doing in there. Unsure of the dosage he had been given in the first place, another pill could certainly make him a baby permanently.

Tink...tink...tink what can I do? Oh if I sweeping den she no gibe ba ba!

He laid down, cuddled under a blanket, closed his eyes and stuck his thumb in his mouth. The last thought he had before drifting off to sleep was, Hope muh dada gets here weally soon! Me mish him bery much!

When the team arrived on the same street as the Greys' house, they followed the same protocol they did earlier at Jed's. Gibbs parked a few houses down and surveyed the house before getting out of the car. Thirty seconds later; Ziva pulled in behind him with Ducky riding shot gun. Gibbs, Vance and DiNozzo exited the vehicle and walked back to discuss their options.

As they put the communication devices in their ears, Gibbs started giving orders, "Remember one of our own is in there, they might try to use him for a shield if we don't move quick enough. Tim's safety is our number one priority, if it's between them getting away and Tim being safe, obviously we all know which one to choose."

The team nodded, Tim was within their reach, the last thing they wanted to do was ruin that.

Tony tapped his foot on the ground; anxious to get started, "Who are the pairs going to be, boss?"

Gibbs motioned between Tony and Ziva, "You two take the back, Leon and I will take the front. The surprise worked on Jed, let's hope it does the same for the Greys."

"Jethro, what about me?" Ducky inquired after he listened to the leader give out instructions.

"Duck, like I said before it's too dangerous. I'll have someone come get you or I'll bring him to you once the threat is minimized."

Ducky smiled, "Good luck, bring our boy home."

"That's the plan, Duck."

As the team headed toward the house, Tony and Ziva started cutting through a few of the neighbors backyards. It would be easier than attempting to get to the back of the house once they reached the Greys. Vance and Gibbs stayed close to one another, occasionally ducking behind trees or shrubs to protect their cover. Lucky for them, all the blinds were closed, allowing them some breathing room once they were directly in front of it. They quietly made their way up the steps, each standing on opposite sides of the door.

"In position, boss." Tony whispered over the comms.

"Copy that, Tony. We'll go on my count."

Gibbs sent up a silent prayer, his heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest. This was the moment he had been waiting for. Tim was so close, yet so far away and the only thing he could do was pray that his lil' guy was physically alright. His adrenaline pumped as he looked over at Vance and nodded.

"Here we" On the count of three DiNozzo and Vance simultaneously broke down the doors.

Lucy was preparing two bottles when Tony broke down the door. The unexpected ambush caught her off guard, causing her to knock over the bottles in her rush to get away. Tony and Ziva entered the house with their guns drawn. "STOP! NCIS!" Tony yelled as Lucy started to run toward the family room. What she didn't realize was that her shoes were coated with milk. When she took off, her feet slid out from underneath her and she landed with a thud in the middle of the kitchen floor.

Gibbs heard Tony yell, along with a loud scream followed by a thud and swearing that would make a sailor blush. Vance headed back toward the one hallway in the house, while Gibbs looked around desperately for his baby. All of a sudden, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Tim's head pop out from underneath a blanket.

Tim had just fallen asleep when a loud crash woke him up. He was scared to death and afraid to move from beneath the one layer of protection he had. Then it dawned on him, maybe, just maybe it was his dada. He took a deep breath and decided to take a peek.

Gibbs rushed toward the couch, "TIMMY?"

Half the blanket covered his face, making it difficult for him to see, but he knew that voice anywhere. "DADA!" He sobbed, lifting his arms out to be scooped up by the man he loved and adored.

Gibbs immediately wrapped his arms around the youngster, pulled him into his chest and rubbed his hand up and down his back as each heart-wrenching sob racked the baby's small form. "'re okay now, sweetie. Daddy's here and nobody will hurt you ever again." Tim looked up, "Me lube u dada!"

This time it was Gibbs who broke down sobbing, "I love you too, Timmy! I was lost without you, I'm so sorry this happened!"

Tim nuzzled against the older man's neck, "It otay dada, me mish u so much!"

Gibbs paternally kissed every inch of Tim before announcing, "Ducky is waiting outside, he wants to check you out and make sure you're okay."

Tim laid his head on Gibbs' shoulder, snuggled against his neck and smiled as he inhaled the unique smell that he always associated with his dada.

When they reached the front door they were met by Vance, "Gibbs there is really something you need to see back here."

Tim's grip tightened around his neck, "Whatever it is, you're going to have to bring it out here, because I'm not leaving Tim and he's not going back in that house. I'm taking him to be checked over right now."

"Very well," Vance replied as he watched the now inseparable pair disappear further up the street.

Chapter Text

Ducky breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Gibbs headed his direction with Tim in his arms. Physically the youngster looked to be in good condition, but he wouldn't know until he could take a closer look. As the pair approached, he leapt out of the car, grabbed his medical bag from the back seat and motioned for Gibbs to sit down. He immediately wrapped a blanket around Tim whose eyes were closed and his face nestled against Gibbs' neck. When Ducky rubbed his back the baby flinched and burrowed closer to his protector.

Gibbs leaned down and whispered, "Timmy, open your eyes, it's only Ducky. He needs to check you over, son." He tried to shift the little guy so he was facing the doctor, but his grip around the older man's neck only intensified. Ducky adjusted the blanket, "Why don't we give him a few minutes before we try again. The young lad has been through quite an ordeal and right now he only wants you, Jethro." Gibbs nodded, his attention solely focused on the small figure cradled against his chest.

"Do you hear that?" Ziva asked Tony as they handcuffed Lucy and dragged her to her feet.

"Yeah, it sounds like a baby crying, but Gibbs already took Tim out of here. Where the hell is Vance?"

Ziva shrugged, "I do not know, I have not seen him since we were outside."

Tony bit his lip; nervously, "Take this piece of trash outside, while I check out the rest of the house."

Ziva grasped the handcuffs and gave Lucy a push, "Come on and do not think of trying any funny business or you will wish Agent Gibbs was leading you out and not me."

As Tony watched Ziva lead Lucy out of the house, he un-holstered his weapon and carefully made his way down the hallway that led to the bedrooms.

"Director Vance?" he bellowed, opening the door to the first bedroom. After clearing it, he moved on to the next room.

"Director Vance?" he howled again before hearing a faint voice and a soft cry emanating from behind the door. With gun in position, Tony barged in, startled at the scene in front of him. Vance was leaning over the railing of the crib, whispering reassurances to a little baby girl. Tony made his way over and peeked over the side, "Oh my god," he chuckled. "That baby looks exactly like Ella, the other Grey sister." Vance took a step back when he realized that he was attempting to console the woman who kidnapped Tim.

"Are you sure, DiNozzo?" He asked gruffly, his eyes never leaving the baby in front of them.

Tony nodded, "Yep, that's got to be her. Would also explain why we never encountered her when we infiltrated."

"I wonder how she got turned into a baby." Vance paused then continued, "Do you think her sister did this to her?"

Tony laughed, "I sure hope so, it's about time she got a taste of her own medicine! But what are we going to do with her now, not like they have a prison for babies."

Ella tried to speak, her words sounded like gibberish once again. Her face became beet red as the two men chuckled as they watched her fail at such a simple task.

Vance took out his cell phone, "I have a few calls to make, and I'm leaving you in charge of the baby, DiNozzo."

"Bu...But...what am I supposed to do with her, Director? I don't know the first thing about taking care of a baby." Tony asked in defeat as Vance shrugged his shoulders, dialed a number and left the room.

Tony turned his attention back to the baby and groaned when Ella started crying, "That's just great! Hmm maybe I should have Ducky check you out just to be safe." He snatched a blanket off the end of the crib, wrapped Ella in it like a burrito and picked her up. Even though Ella was currently a baby, she was also a criminal and he did not want her to have any luxuries. Instead of carrying her in his arms, as he would do for Tim, he held her at arm's length and proceeded outside.

Ziva was standing guard over Lucy when Tony walked out with the baby. "What are you going to do with my sister?" Lucy inquired, while she watched Ella squirm.

"That is your sister?" Ziva chuckled, studying the little girl's face. "Huh, now that you say it, I do see the resemblance."

"Yes, she's my sister and I would appreciate it if you didn't hold her like a sack of potatoes."

Tony scoffed, "You're a criminal and so is your sister, sorry but we tend not to give people like you a choice in the matter. You're lucky I'm holding her, I could just put her down in that snow pile over there."

"You wouldn't, you simply don't have the guts to do that to a little baby."

Taking a firmer hold on Ella, Tony started walking over to a snow pile near the end of the driveway. He looked over his shoulder and made eye contact with Lucy, "You think I was joking? After everything you've put Tim through, you're seriously doubting that I don't want to inflict as much pain on you two as possible?" He started to lay Ella down on the snow, but stopped when an agency car pulled up along the curb.

"What the hell is going on, DiNozzo?" Vance asked as he walked towards him.

"Just trying to make their lives a little uncomfortable when I had the chance."

Vance smirked, "Very well, but I called another team to transport these two to jail. Ella will be checked over by the doctors there."

Tony sighed with relief and couldn't hand the baby over fast enough. "Here you take her," he said, extending his arms to let a female agent gain control over the toddler.

Once the switch was complete, Tony and Ziva quickly made their way up the hill to see Tim. They approached quietly when they noticed Tim had his face buried against Gibbs' neck.

"Is he alright?" Ziva asked peeking around to get a glimpse of his face.

Gibbs kissed Tim's temple, "Ducky hasn't been able to check him over, but we believe he's okay."

The two agents looked on with concern as Tim refused to look at either one of them.

"Hey buddy," Tony tried, patting the toddler's hand.

There was still no response and the trembling in Tim's body was becoming more pronounced.

Gibbs soothingly rubbed his little boy's back, "I think it's time we get out of here. Hopefully once we are in familiar settings he'll feel more comfortable."

"You could stay at my house for the night, Jethro." Ducky offered, wanting to keep a close eye on both of them for the time being.

Sensing the need for normalcy, Vance spoke up. "No need Dr. Mallard, I had Gibbs' back door replaced and the bomb squad deemed the house free of any lingering gases. They are free to return home."

"I think that will be best for the time being. Let me have some alone time with him and we'll see if he's up for visitors later on. Ducky, go home and get some sleep, Tony and Ziva I need you to stay and process the scene, return the evidence to NCIS and go home and get some rest. My house is off limits until you both get some sleep. Do I make myself clear?"

The pair nodded, "There is no place we would rather be, well you know what I mean..." Ziva replied as she headed to the car to collect the supplies they needed. After deciding they would leave one car for Tony and Ziva, Vance and Ducky filed into the other one while Gibbs sat in back with Tim. They figured the best action would be to get Tim home as quickly as possible, and then Jimmy would come and pick up the other two men.

Before they left Gibbs rolled down the window, "DiNozzo, is it the exhaustion setting in or did I see you carrying a baby?"

A huge smiled appeared on Tony's face; "There was definitely a baby, boss. The baby was actually Ella Grey; we're not sure if her sister forced her to take the pill or what exactly happened."

Tim, who had barely moved, much less spoken since his rescue suddenly lifted his head and whispered, "Me do dada."

There was that word again that made Gibbs' heart soar; even though it had only been a day since he heard Tim say it, it felt great to be called it again.

Unsure if he heard the youngster correctly, he questioned him again, "Timmy, are you telling us that you were the one who gave Ella the drug?"

Overwhelmed by the sudden attention; Tim blushed, nodded and buried his face against Gibbs' chest.

A feeling of pride washed over him as his boy confessed to turning the tables on the two women who kidnapped him. He leaned down and whispered in Tim's ear, "I'm so proud of you, kiddo! I couldn't have asked for a better son, I love you so much!"

The rest of the team burst into a round of applause at Tim's revelation.

"Good work, Probie!" Tony beamed as Tim's face and the tips of his ears reddened.

Gibbs could tell Tim was uncomfortable with the attention and was determined to take it off him, "We are all proud of Tim, but we need to get going. We can discuss this later when he's feeling better."

Once Vance pulled away from the curb, Gibbs could feel the little guy's body start to relax. He rested his chin on top of Tim's head, occasionally kissing it along with rubbing small circles on the toddlers back. Every now and then, Ducky would turn around to check on both of them. Ten minutes into the drive, Gibbs noticed Tim was having a hard time keeping his eyes open. He leaned back further against the seat and encouraged Tim to relax and use his chest as a pillow. "I know it's been a long couple of days for you, kiddo. Just close your eyes and get some rest, I'll be here when you wake up." The expression on Tim's face said it all; he was worried that if he closed his eyes, Gibbs might not be there when he woke up. Realizing the conundrum, the older man gently situated Tim so he was cradled in his arms. "I'll be the first person you see before you go to sleep and I'll be the first person you see when you wake up. How does that sound?" Tim nodded, stuck his thumb in his mouth and grabbed hold of Gibbs' shirt with his free hand. "That's my boy," Gibbs soothed as he carded his fingers through Tim's baby soft hair. Between the movements of the car along with the assurance his daddy wasn't going anywhere; Tim eventually fell asleep.

When they pulled in the driveway, Jimmy was just getting out of his car. Tim stirred as Gibbs slid out of the backseat, still cradling the youngster in his arms. The older man rocked his arms back and forth in an effort to lull him back to sleep as he walked to the front door. He was almost successful in his actions until Jethro started barking when he recognized the duo. Jimmy grinned coyly, "I picked Jethro up from the vet on my way over, figured the more familiar faces the better."

Tim, who was now fully awake, reached down and patted Jethro's snout. He giggled as the dog tilted his head and began licking his fingers. Gibbs reached down and stroked the dog's fur, "It's good to have you back, buddy! I'm so glad you're alright!" Jethro cocked his head, snorted and looked over at Jimmy. "You're right boy, if it wasn't for Jimmy, I don't think we would be having this conversation right now." Tears started welling up in Tim's eyes after hearing Gibbs' admission. The older man shifted the toddler to his shoulder and used his thumb to wipe the stray tear that had fallen from Tim's eyes. "Aww sweetie, everything is okay. Jimmy was able to do CPR on Jethro and he survived with no long-term side effects."

Jimmy blushed and waved off the attention, "Really it's not that big of a deal, I would have done it for any person or animal who was in need of medical assistance."

Tim motioned with his hand for Jimmy to come closer. Puzzled, Jimmy shuffled his feet along the floor, coming to a stop in front of the pair. Tim extended his arms around Jimmy's neck and pulled him close, "Tank you fir sabing muh doggy."

Jimmy blushed, took a step back and patted Tim's arm, "You are very welcome!"

Gibbs breathed a sigh of relief at Tim's affection. He was afraid they would be starting back at square one as far as Tim being comfortable around the team. However, the youngster's reaction told him that although he was hesitant after his rescue, eventually things would return to normal.

Vance sighed, "Well I'm going to get back to work, I know you're both exhausted and I want you to get some rest. Gibbs, your team is off duty for the next few days, I don't want to see any of you on the Yard, is that understood?"

Ducky cleared his throat, "What about Mr. Palmer and me?"

"Same goes for you two, you were up all night searching for Agent McGee. If we have a case, I'll call for a substitute. I want everyone to go home and get some rest, enjoy the next few days."

Even though Gibbs was happy he would have some time to spend with Tim, he did not want anyone else to interrogate Lucy.

"No Leon, I am goi…" he tried to speak, only to be interrupted by Vance.

The Director smiled, "Don't worry, Lucy Grey will still be around to interrogate once you get back." He paused and then chuckled. "Besides she's going to have her hands full for awhile."

The others snickered at Vance's statement. Unaware that Ella was regressed due to Tim's brave actions, Jimmy, who was confused by everyone's responses waited for the giggling to die down before asking, "Why?"

Ducky patted Tim's knee, "Our dear boy caused Ella to regress."

Jimmy laughed, "That a boy, Timmy"!" He raised his hand up to slap him five, "Well, where do they plan on keeping Ella?"

"I would imagine they would keep her in the medical ward," Ducky replied.

Jimmy smirked, "Too bad it can't be the psych ward!"

Ducky raised his hand as if to smack the back of his head, but Gibbs stopped him with a look, "Nah, Duck, it's what I was thinking too, might as well smack me one while you're at it."

Jimmy's eyes, which had widened when he saw Dr. Mallard's hand come up, got impossibly wide now as he realized that Gibbs had just agreed with him. A sweet giggle caught their attention and they all smiled as they heard Tim giggling at them. As Ducky turned back to Gibbs and Tim, the toddler lifted his head and said, "She a mean cwazy wady, now a mean cwazy baby, she bewong in da cwazy place."

The Director frowned at Tim, "After she kidnapped you, Agent McGee, did she hurt you? "

Tim nodded, "Yesh, her hit me an' pinch'd me till ah cwied."

Vance continued his questioning, "And once she regressed to her baby state, was she able to communicate as you can? Did she hurt you after that?"

This time, the young toddler shook his head, "No, her no tawk luk me. Her makesh funny noishes ish awl. She no huwt me afta; da uder cwazy wady tol her behave."

"All right, Tim, thank you for your report. You can relax now that you're home with your da..uh Gibbs and I'll keep everyone updated on the case. And yes, Gibbs…" directing this at the Agent whose eyebrow had hit the top of his forehead with Vance's promise to update them, "as I said, you will be doing the interrogation!"

With that, the Director left to return to Headquarters. Now that Tim was a bit more at ease with him, Ducky took him gently from Gibbs' arms and headed upstairs to his room to give him a quick checkup. Seeing the beginnings of a panicked expression on the baby's face peeking over Ducky's shoulder, Gibbs quickly followed them. It was too soon to let his boy go off with anyone else, even just upstairs, even with someone as loved and trusted as Ducky.

When they entered the room with Gibbs hot on their heels, Ducky laid Tim down on the changing table then remembered he forgot his medical bag in the car. "Jethro why don't you start removing Timothy's clothing, while I run down and grab my bag." Tim got a petrified look on his face and started whining at Ducky's suggestion. Gibbs came over and laid his hand on Tim's stomach, "Shh kiddo it's okay…please for my piece of mind will you let Ducky check you out? I'll be here the entire time and I promise you he'll be quick."

"Kay," Tim eventually whispered as Gibbs started removing his clothes. He kept up a steady stream of banter, keeping an eye out for any bumps or bruises that might be hidden under the youngster's clothing. Ducky entered just as Gibbs was removing the last item, leaving Tim in just his diaper. The toddler's face turned bright red and he used his hands to try to cover the diaper. Both men chuckled at Tim's modesty as Ducky began removing equipment from his bag. "Ahh I promise you little one this will be quick and painless," the doctor tried to reassure him as he stuck the thermometer in Tim's ear. Gibbs moved near Tim's head, using his thumb to rub small circles on his forehead. "He feels a little warm, Duck. Do you think that could be from all the excitement or does he have a fever?" Ducky clucked his tongue, "We shall see once the thermometer gives us an accurate reading." Once the instrument gave a series of beeps, signaling it was done with its reading, Ducky pulled it out and frowned.

Gibbs felt his heart rate increase at Ducky's reaction, "What? What is it?"

Ducky ignored his question and looked around the room for the bottle of Tylenol. Noticing it on the nightstand near the bed, he motioned for Gibbs to grab it.

His patience diminishing, Gibbs grabbed the bottle and handed it to him, "Duck! Is he running a fever? How bad is it?

The older man sighed, "His temperature is 38 degrees Celsius."

Gibbs gave him in exasperated look, "In Fahrenheit, Duck!"

"Oh yes I do apologize Jethro, Timothy is running a fever of 101 degrees. There are many explanations as to why he has one, but I'm placing my bet on teething."

Panicked Gibbs took the medicine bottle out of Ducky's hand, poured the proper amount. Raising his voice he questioned, "Well what if it's not the teething that is causing a fever? 101 degrees is nothing to mess around with, the poor guy must be miserable."

Ducky sat Tim up so Gibbs could administer the medication without incident. "Jethro you must calm down, a 101 degree fever is a bit high for an adult, but for a baby that's considered a low grade one. You'll just have to continue to take his temperature throughout the night and we'll assess the situation in the morning. Of course if you notice any changes then a trip to the infirmary may be in order."

Upon hearing the doctor's comment, Tim started shaking his head and whining, "No me no wanna go, pwease!"

Gibbs leaned down, inches from Tim's face and whispered, "Relax buddy, going to the hospital will be a last resort, I promise." He kissed him on the forehead and moved aside to allow room for Ducky.

However, instead of stepping up to the changing table, the doctor grabbed Gibbs' arm and pulled him aside. Whispering low enough so that Tim couldn't hear him he admonished the team leader, "Listen Jethro, that little boy feeds off your reactions. If you become upset then he's going to become upset, do you see where I'm going with this?"

Gibbs pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath, "You're right Duck, we've all been under a great deal of stress the past few days, I'll try and keep a cooler head."

The older man patted his arm, "I was going to give you a head slap; however I figured this way was much more appropriate."

Gibbs gave him a small smirk and headed back to his spot near Tim's head. Ducky approached the youngster, "Does anything hurt, Timothy?"

Tim pointed to his mouth, confirming Ducky's suspicions regarding his fever. "I'm sorry about that fella, the medicine should take care of that soon." Ducky reassured him as he lifted each leg, checked for bruises, scratches or anything out of the ordinary and moved onto his arms. The Band-Aid from Tim's prior cut caught Gibbs' attention as Ducky lifted his arm. Gibbs felt his blood pressure rise at the thought of his little boy being injured by one of the Grey sisters. "What's that?" He inquired, pointing at the youngster's right hand.

"Well let's check it out, shall we?" Ducky replied peeling the Band-Aid back and examining the cut. "Did those wretched women do this to you, Timothy?"

Tim shook his head and mumbled, "decowation".

"I'm sorry lad I didn't quite understand what you said. Please forgive me; unfortunately the old ears aren't what they once were."

Gibbs chuckled; he was getting better at understanding "baby talk". "I believe he said he got cut on a decoration. Am I right, Timmy?"

"Yesh Gib u wight!"

"It looks like they did a good job of cleaning the wound, I'll get a fresh dressing out of my bag and that cut should heal in no time."

While Ducky was fumbling through his bag, Tim made eye contact with Gibbs and pulled on the tapes of the diaper. Gibbs sighed; leaned down and whispered in his ear, "I know you're wet, son. Ducky's almost done and then I'll get you cleaned up."

"Ba ba?" He whined, the pure innocence in his big green eyes turned Gibbs into a pile of goo.

"Of course, sweetie. Let me call down to Palmer and have him make you one. I'll be right back, okay?"

Tim nodded as Gibbs left the room and Ducky replaced the Band-Aid. "You're such a good patient, there are only a few more areas I would like to examine," Ducky declared as he wrapped his hands around Tim's skull to check for any noticeable bumps. Satisfied there wasn't anything unusual there was one more exam he needed to complete. Unsure of how often the Greys tended to his needs, Ducky wanted to check and make sure Tim didn't have a diaper rash. As he reached for the tapes the toddler's eyes widened and his bottom lip began quivering. Afraid he had already upset him, Ducky took a step back and patted Tim's belly, "Hmm, how about we wait for your daddy to get back."

Upon reentering the room, Gibbs could tell by the look on the faces of both occupants that something had happened in the short period of time he was gone. He quickly made his way over to Tim and leaned over; touching their foreheads together, "Tell dada what's wrong, kiddo."

"I'm afraid that's my fault, Jethro. I wanted to make sure he didn't have a rash; I'm sure he's rather embarrassed about me taking a look."

"Aww Timmy it's alright, daddy is here now. Why don't you be a big boy and let him take a peek? Then we'll be all done and you can have your bottle."

Looking hesitantly between the two men, Tim finally agreed as Ducky untaped each side and pulled it down. Gibbs ran a reassuring hand through Tim's hair and watched Ducky carefully pull apart the skin flaps on Tim's chubby thighs before gently lifting his legs to examine his bottom. "You're doing so good, Timmy! Ducky is almost done and then we can spend some alone time together." Gibbs whispered into Tim's ear, determined to make his boy feel better.

After the exam was completed, Ducky pulled the front of the diaper back up resolute on allowing Tim some dignity. "It looks as though he has a bit of a rash where the elastic rubs against his thighs. I recommend using the cream I gave you a few days ago and he should be right as rain in no time. "

Suddenly there was a quiet knock on the door, "Agent Gibbs, I have Tim's bottle ready."

Ducky cracked the door and took the bottle from Jimmy, "I'm finished here Mr. Palmer we can go soon."

Jimmy nodded, "While I was waiting I took Jethro outside and got him so fresh food and water so Agent Gibbs doesn't have to worry about that. He's currently asleep on his bed downstairs."

"Thanks Palmer, I appreciate it." Gibbs replied, rifling through the dresser drawers looking for a sleeper for Tim to wear.

"I'll be down in a minute, then we can both go home and get some much needed rest." Ducky assured Jimmy as he closed the door and went to collect his medical supplies.

Ducky hurried when he noticed Tim start to squirm on the changing table. "Physically he looks fine, Jethro. Just keep an eye on his fever and that rash. You have my number if anything changes."

Before he opened the door, Ducky returned to Tim and patted his hand, "Glad to have you back my dear boy, we will see you tomorrow."

"Tanks Duckee," Tim replied with a smile as the older man turned to leave.

Gibbs patted Ducky on the back, "Thanks for everything, go home and get some rest. Oh, one more thing, would you mind locking the door on your way out?"

"Already planned on it, I'm just glad we have a happy ending," Ducky smiled as he closed the door.

As soon as the door closed, Gibbs turned his attention back to Tim. "All right sweetie, let's get you changed and ready for a nap. How does that sound?

Tim yawned, "Good Gib me bery sweepy. U sweepy too?"

The adrenaline along with the ten cups of coffee that had kept Gibbs going the past twenty-four hours was slowly wearing off. He couldn't wait to get into bed, hold Tim in his arms and slowly drift off to sleep together. "Yeah, Timmy," he stifled a yawn "Daddy is very tired too." He quickly yet tenderly cleaned the toddler up, cherishing every second between the two of them. When Tim was gone, part of Gibbs' heart felt like it had been ripped out, stomped on and put through a blender. Now that they were reunited, Gibbs felt entirely whole again. Tim's few little teeth chattered as Gibbs inserted his feet into the sleeper and adjusted them. "I'm sorry, kiddo I'll have you warmed up in no time. I have a hunch the fever is making you cold, not to mention the fact you've been lying here without any clothes on for several minutes." Gibbs used one hand to sit Tim up, while using the other to pull the rest of the sleeper up. Once that was accomplished, he laid Tim back down, grasped the zipper between his fingers and zipped it up. "There you go, partner. Give me a second to get changed then we can climb into bed and cuddle."

"Kay dada," Tim responded immediately sticking his thumb in his mouth.

Gibbs smiled at his sweet, innocent baby boy lying before him. This was the moment he had been waiting for over the past twenty-four hours; to have Tim back in his life and free of worry. He cupped Tim's cheek in his hand, leaned down and kissed his forehead. Tim giggled around his thumb as Gibbs' whiskers tickled his forehead. The older man stripped down, leaving himself in only boxers and an undershirt. He grabbed the bottle off the dresser, opened the door in case Jethro wanted in and picked Tim up from the changing table. "Ahh my big boy, did I ever tell you how proud I am of you?"

"Yesh," he mumbled around his thumb.

Gibbs flipped off the bedroom light, navigated over to the bed and switched on the bedside lamp. He sat Tim down on the bed, propped the pillows up against the headboard and sat down. Tim crawled over to him, while he figured out the most comfortable way to cuddle. After trying different positions, none of which was what either of them wanted, Gibbs had an idea. Realizing they were both in desperate need of contact from one another he cradled Tim in his arms and held the bottle up to his lips. Tim sighed contentedly, enjoying the warmth and comfort from his daddy. He licked his lips, opened his mouth and allowed Gibbs to insert the nipple. As he began sucking in earnest he nuzzled closer to the older man, cherishing his smell, touch and protection.

"You know, Tim you have turned my world upside down, in the best way possible."

Tim raised an eyebrow; the look in his eyes begged for Gibbs to continue.

"After Shannon and Kelly died I never believed I would love anyone as much as I loved them. Then baby Timmy came along and I've learned what it's like to experience that love again. Not being able to protect you from the awful Greys was like reliving the past. I wasn't sure if I could go on, but every time I closed my eyes there you were. I'm so sorry I went to the court house when you begged me not to, if I had listened to you, this might not have happened."

Tim gently pushed the bottle away from his lips; his eyes filled with unshed tears. "I forgib u dada. U takin good cawre of me. Kelwy wash lubky to hab u as a dada."

A single tear rolled down Gibbs' cheek; in a tender moment Tim reached up and wiped the stray tear with the sleeve of his sleeper. Gibbs took a deep breath, "I'm really glad we found you in time, I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if something bad happened to you."

"I mished u so much, Gib! Alls I wanted wash fir u to hold me."

Gibbs strengthened his grip around Tim, "Well I'm here now kiddo and I'm not going anywhere. I love you very much, thanks for making me feel whole again."

"U welcum, dada! Me lub u with all muh hawrt foreber!"

They both yawned simultaneously; Gibbs once again inserted the nipple of the bottle into Tim's mouth, "Rest my sweet baby boy, tomorrow is another day."

It didn't take long for the youngster to start dozing off and Gibbs caught himself nodding off as well. He removed the bottle, slid down under the covers and arranged Tim so he was lying in the crook of his arm. He crossed his other arm across the baby's chest, holding him tight as exhaustion overpowered him.

Chapter Text

The following morning, Gibbs stretched, lazily opened one eye and immediately closed it again as the morning sunlight streamed through the blinds. He could feel the rise and fall of Tim's chest underneath his arm, which brought a smile to his face. Waking up happy was a new concept for him. All these years, he had been essentially on autopilot, trying to make it through the day. Of course, he had his "kids", but waking up and knowing there was a young boy who depended on him for everything carried a different vibe. He supposed, no hoped, definitely hoped, that eventually Tim would be restored to adulthood, but he didn't want to think about that until he had to. Right now his job was to enjoy the time they had left together as father and son.


Tim's voice brought him out of his musing. He opened his eyes to be greeted by a mostly toothless grin from his boy. Tim climbed further up Gibbs' chest and rested his chin on the soft fabric of the undershirt. The older man ran his hand through Tim's tousled hair, and then laid a hand on his forehead to check for a fever.

"How you feeling this morning, kiddo? Does your mouth still hurt?"

Tim turned his head so it was lying flat on Gibbs' chest, "Uh huh!"

"Aww I'm sorry, sweetie. It's time for another dose of medicine, how about we get up and take a bath."

Tim's head popped up at Gibbs' suggestion, "Bubble?"

Gibbs chuckled and ran his hand soothingly down Tim's back "Is there any other kind of bath around here anymore?"

The toddler shook his head and slowly slid off the older man. Gibbs sat up, slung his feet over the edge of the bed and stood up. Tim's arms were already extended, waiting to be picked up.

Gibbs' collected the youngster in his arms, "All right, partner, let's get you cleaned up and take your temperature."

As he laid Tim down on the dresser, which Ducky had used for a changing table the night before a familiar thump...thump...thump echoed throughout the room before Jethro entered.

"Doggy," Tim giggled as Jethro walked over and sat down next to his namesake. Gibbs reached down and ran his fingers through the dog's fur. "Did we wake you up, boy?" Jethro gave a small snort, walked around in circles and laid down. "Guess that answers my question," Gibbs laughed as he pulled out the thermometer and stuck it in Tim's ear. While the instrument made its calculations, he used his free hand to unzip the sleeper. He grabbed the bottle of Tylenol off the end of the dresser as the thermometer signaled it was finished. "Okay let's see what we've got, shall we?" Removing the device from Tim's ear, he frowned at the reading. It was a degree higher than it had been the night before.

"Timmy, your fever is higher than it was last night. I think a cooler bath is in order today." Tim shivered at the thought of an ice-cold bubble bath. The older man patted his belly, "Don't worry, son. I'm not going to make you suffer in a cold bath. Speaking of which I'm going to go start the water, I'll be right back."

After starting the bath, Gibbs poured the proper amount of medication and administered it to the youngster. He removed the remainder of the sleeper and diaper then carried him into the bathroom. Jethro followed the pair, seeing fit to take a command post near the door. While Tim enjoyed playing in the tub with the toys Abby had bought, Gibbs figured it would be a good time for him to get cleaned up as well. Obviously a shower was out of the question but the five o'clock shadow needed to go. "Timmy, I'm going to shave and clean up, if you need anything I'll be right at the sink."

Gibbs laughed as Tim turned his head; the little guy had created a "bubble beard" that started at the bottom of his ears and came to a stop at his chin. "That's what daddy is going to look if he doesn't shave today."

While Tim enjoyed his bath, occasionally splashing water on to the floor outside the tub, Gibbs took care of his own needs. Because he hadn't showered in a day he used a washcloth to freshen up. He grimaced when he ran his fingers through his greasy hair; not wanting to wait another day to wash it, he used the sink and quickly took care of it. The last chore was shaving, as he made quick work of the stubble, Tim started getting antsy. "What's wrong, kiddo?" Gibbs inquired as he walked over and knelt down. The toddler didn't need to answer though when Gibbs noticed he was shivering. He turned the water on, allowing fresh warm water to flow into the tub, "Give me a few minutes to finish and I'll come back to wash your hair, okay?"

"Kay dada," Tim mumbled savoring the last few minutes of the bath. After the older man was finished, he washed Tim's hair and body before wrapping him in a towel and carrying him back to the bedroom. While Gibbs' rummaged through the drawers, Tim grabbed his hand, forcing Gibbs to stop and make eye contact with him. "What's wrong, buddy?"

Tim grinned coyly, "Jush wanna say, I lube u, an me bery lubky u take good cawre of me."

Gibbs squeezed his hand, "The pleasure is all mine, Timmy. I love you too."

He quickly dressed Tim who was shivering again. "I'm sorry, kiddo. This fever will probably fluctuate all day long. I'll start a fire when we get downstairs and then we can have breakfast in front of it, how does that sound?"

Tim nodded and waited patiently while Gibbs got dressed. After he was finished, he gathered the youngster in his arms and headed downstairs. He sat Tim on the couch, stacked a pile of wood in the fireplace and lit it. The toddler watched, mesmerized, as the flames roared and the embers crackled. "The fire should warm up the house in no time." He then gave Tim a proposition, "Do you want to play while I get breakfast ready or would you rather hang out in the kitchen with me?"

It didn't take long for Tim to make up his mind, he immediately stretched out his arms, "Wanna go with u."

Gibbs smiled and picked him up, "I knew that was coming, come on, let's allow Jethro some relief."

After letting the dog out, Gibbs sat Tim in one of the kitchen chairs and went to work preparing breakfast. Since it was already eleven, he decided to make a bigger breakfast that would hold them over through lunch. Eggs, bacon, oatmeal and toast were on the menu and Tim licked his lips as he watched the older man compile it on a tray and bring it into the family room. Gibbs quickly filled Jethro's food and water bowl and let the pup inside. Satisfied they wouldn't be bothered during their meal, he grabbed a bib, tied it around Tim's neck and carried him out to the family room. Tim sniffed delightedly as the aroma of bacon filled the room. Propping up pillows around the fireplace, he sat Tim down and dished out two plates for each of them. When Gibbs set the plate down in front of Tim he dug in with gusto. They ate in companionable silence, every once in awhile Gibbs would hold the bottle so Tim could drink or give him a spoon full of oatmeal. "They must not have fed you that much, did they?" Gibbs questioned as Tim looked up from his plate, his face covered in various aspects of breakfast.

The youngster shook his head, "Me was hungwy but afwaid to eat."

Gibbs took a sip of his coffee, "I don't blame you, kiddo. Make sure you let me know when you're hungry today."

Tim let out a small burp, his face reddened as Gibbs chuckled. "That's my boy!"

As soon as they were done with breakfast, Tim crawled over and took a seat in Gibbs' lap. He leaned back against his chest and motioned for the bottle that was sitting on the table. Gibbs snickered as he picked it up and held it to Tim's lips, "You got me wrapped around your finger, and you know it."

The youngster shrugged his shoulders, closed his eyes and enjoyed the warmth of the fire along with the heat radiating off Gibbs. As Tim finished the bottle, Gibbs' cell phone rang. Removing it from his pocket he checked the caller ID and answered, "Yeah, Gibbs."

"Hey, boss."

"DiNozzo what can I help you with?"

"I was just wondering how Timmy was doing and if he's up for having some company?"

Gibbs looked down at the little boy snuggled against his chest, "He's running a fever, which Ducky believes is due to teething. How about you give us the day together and the team can come visit tonight."

"I…is…h…he…going to be okay?" Tony probed, his voice trembling at the thought Tim was really sick.

"DiNozzo, calm down, he's going to be fine."

Tony breathed a sigh of relief loud enough to hear over the telephone line. "Good, I just don't want anything to happen to my Probie. Oh and don't worry about dinner tonight, boss. Ziva and Abby have everything planned and will be there a little early to start cooking. Is there anything else you need?"

Remembering he promised Tim ice cream before his abduction, but unable to leave the house when the youngster wasn't feeling well he had an idea. "Yeah, will you bring ice cream for dessert and another gallon of milk for the little guy?"

Tim merrily clapped his hands together regarding Gibbs' suggestion. "Ice cweam! Ice cweam," he chanted over and over again.

Tony laughed as he heard Tim's sweet little voice emanating in the background, "You got it, boss! If the little guy wants ice cream it is my duty to fulfill his request."

"Thanks, DiNozzo we'll see you tonight."

After he hung up with Tony, Gibbs was racking his brain, trying to come up with ideas that would allow them to have a quiet afternoon together. He smiled when he realized Tony had left a stack of DVD's on the table. "Timmy, you want to watch a movie?"

"Yesh," Tim mumbled around the thumb in his mouth.

Grabbing the stack off the table, Gibbs held them out in front of the toddler allowing him to choose which one he wanted to watch. Following an intense scrutiny of all the movies, Tim finally chose "Toy Story."

Thankfully the DVD player was still connected, so all Gibbs had to do was turn on the television and change out the disc. He decided to get refills on the drinks before settling in on the couch. When he returned with a fresh cup of coffee and a full bottle of milk, Tim was tucked away in the corner of the couch. Gibbs propped up a few pillows, laid down and motioned for Tim to come join him. The youngster excitedly crawled across him coming to a stop on his chest. He twisted and turned trying to find the perfect position as the previews started; eventually he ended up sprawled out on his belly, his head nuzzled against Gibbs' shoulder. Tim's thumb crept up to his mouth and he sighed contently as the older man wrapped one arm around him.

Sometime during the movie the duo had fallen asleep, no doubt exhausted from the past few days. A quiet whine awakened Gibbs from his snooze; when he opened his eyes, he was greeted to a giant slobbery kiss from Jethro. "Eww thanks, boy," Gibbs murmured, careful not to wake Tim, who was still asleep. "What do you need, buddy?" Jethro let out a long drawn whine and began pacing back in forth between the kitchen and the living room. Great I have a dog that needs to pee and a baby asleep on my chest, how am I going to work this one out? Gibbs thought to himself. Deciding he would much rather deal with getting Tim back to sleep than cleaning up after the dog, he slowly sat up.

Tim stirred slightly, expressed a cute little snuffle and snuggled closer to Gibbs' shoulder.

"Shh shh honey, go back to sleep." Gibbs soothingly rubbed his back as he stood up, walked to the door and opened it for Jethro. The snow was falling at a steady pace; paving the way for a beautiful winter wonderland. He wished Tim were feeling better; he would love to take him outside to play. Regrettably, his heart ached for the pain his baby boy was going through. Like any parent who has a child who is in pain or ill, he would gladly take all the pain if it would mean his little guy started feeling better. Unfortunately, all he could do now was make sure he was comfortable and continue with the medication.

Jethro's fur was covered in tiny snowflakes when he came bounding back inside. With his hands full Gibbs tried his best to remove the remaining snow, while being careful not to wake Tim. He sighed as the clock on the microwave read four o'clock. Unsure what time the team would be arriving; he wanted to straighten up around the house before they bombarded him. Since he was going to be working in the family room and kitchen, he decided to lay Tim back down on the couch to finish his nap. He thought about taking him upstairs to his crib, but wanted to be close by when the toddler eventually woke up. Jethro followed him into the living room and watched as the older man laid Tim on the couch and covered him with a blanket. Gibbs kissed him on the forehead and gently brushed his hair to one side. As soon as Gibbs stepped away to tend to the fire, Jethro slinked over, turned in circles and ultimately laid down.

About forty-five minutes later, as Gibbs finished washing the remainder of the breakfast dishes there was a quiet knock on the door. He cringed as a second knock, much louder than the first one, echoed throughout the downstairs. Jethro sprang up from his position near Tim and started barking. Gibbs knew there was no way Timmy would sleep through that noise. Sure enough, as he turned off the water, dried his hands and headed to the family room, a high-pitched "DADA!" originated from his little boy. "Daddy's right here, kiddo." Gibbs tried to reassure him while he made his way in from the kitchen. By the time he reached the youngster, he was sitting in the middle of the couch sobbing. "Dada…Me…Wanna…Muh…Dada," Tim whimpered in between sobs as Gibbs gathered him in his arms.

"Shh…shh…daddy's gotcha." He whispered, rocking back and forth as Tim threw his arms around the older man's neck and buried his face against his shoulder.

Tim flinched when a third knock rattled the door. Gibbs increased his grip around the toddler; soothingly rubbed his back as he walked to the door. "Sweetie, there's nothing to be afraid of, it's only Abby and Ziva. The crazy ladies are in prison, they can't hurt you anymore."

That guarantee quieted Tim a bit, but he was still crying when an irritated Gibbs finally opened the door.

"Hey, Gibbs what took you so…" Abby trailed off as her eyes darted between Gibbs and the toddler whimpering in his arms.

She cringed, "I'm so sorry. We thought you were upstairs and didn't hear us."

Gibbs moved aside, allowing the two of them to step into the house. Once they shed their outerwear, Abby stepped forward and attempted to lay her hand on Tim's back. She was astonished when Gibbs took a step back and put his arm up to block her. He quietly shook his head as a pout formed on the Goth's face. Ziva quickly tried to diffuse the situation, "Let us go start dinner, Abby. We will see Tim in a little while."

"I'm going to take Tim upstairs to get him settled; I would appreciate it if you two would answer the door when the rest of the team arrives."

"Of course, Gibbs." Ziva replied as they grabbed their supplies and headed into the kitchen.

"All right, big boy. I can tell somebody needs a change, let's go take care of that before the rest of the team arrives."

As Gibbs started upstairs he could feel Tim release all the tension in his tiny body. "That's my boy…just relax and know that everyone who is coming over tonight loves and cares about you."

Upon entering the bedroom, Gibbs laid Tim down on the dresser and started their routine. A quick check of his temperature revealed no change and Gibbs was beginning to worry. What if the Greys had spiked his food or drinks and that's what was causing the constant fever? He would definitely be sharing his concerns with Ducky later on. In the meantime the last thing he wanted to do was worry anyone else, especially Timmy.

Tim was growing restless, his face was flushed and he fussed when Gibbs sat him up to administer the Tylenol. "What's wrong, kiddo?" He questioned with a hint of concern in his voice. Over the past week, Tim had rarely misbehaved, but now Gibbs was beginning to see the onset of a tantrum. By the time he was able to screw the lid back on the medicine bottle, Tim was whining as well as kicking his legs and flailing his arms. Gibbs put his hand down on the toddler's belly in an attempt to soothe him.

"Son, I can help you, but only if you tell daddy what's wrong."

"Me no fewl good dada"

Gibbs swallowed the lump in his throat, "I know you don't, buddy." He ran his fingers through Tim's sweaty hair. "Maybe I should tell everyone to come back tomorrow."

Tim shook his head softly, "No, me wanna see em."

Gibbs pulled down Tim's pants to get him changed, not realizing until the smell hit him that the little guy may in fact have the flu. Tim whimpered as Gibbs un-taped the soiled diaper, and then used a hand full of baby wipes to fully clean him up.

The older man raised one eyebrow, "Timmy, does your tummy hurt?"

"Wittle bit," the toddler mumbled, while Gibbs applied the rash cream and a fresh diaper.

"When did that start, was it like that this morning?"

Tim shook his head, "No fewl good afer muh nap."

"Listen to me, I need to know if you start feeling worse, alright? Don't hide it from me because daddy won't be very happy."

Gibbs pulled out his cell phone; "I'm going to see if I can catch Tony before he heads to the store. You're going to need a light dinner tonight."

After three rings, Tony finally picked up the other end of the line. "Hey, Boss…what's going on?"

Holding the cell phone between his ear and shoulder, Gibbs finished pulling up Tim's pants. "DiNozzo, have you been to the store yet?"

"On my way there…why what do you need?"

"I believe Tim may have the flu and his stomach is upset. Do me a favor and pick up some chicken noodle soup, bananas, rice, applesauce, apple juice, crackers and popsicles. While you're there, talk to the pharmacist and see what they recommend for a one year old who has the flu."

Tony sighed, "Oh, I'm sorry Probie's not feeling well, but I'll be sure to add those items to my list. Are you sure he's up for company, boss?"

"He assures me he is, Tony. If he gets worse, we'll just retreat upstairs to my bedroom."

"Sounds good to me, anything else you might need, the roads are getting bad out here."

Gibbs paused, "Pick up another package of diapers and baby wipes while you're there. Don't want to be snowed in without either of those items."

Tony stuttered, "Bu…but…boss I don't know the first thing about diapers."

The older man laughed, "Ask at the pharmacy, Tony. They can point you in the right direction. All you have to remember is size four Pampers."

Tony repeated the items back to Gibbs, "Let me know if you think of anything else. I'll see you in a little bit."

"Thanks, Tony. Be safe out there."

Tim gagged as the smell of fresh garlic and onion wafted through the bedroom as the girls started cooking downstairs. Unsure what would happen next, Gibbs immediately grabbed the wastebasket, pulled the toddler up into a sitting position and situated him over it. He rubbed small circles on Tim's back as his small body trembled. "Just take some deep breathes…there you go…that's my boy."

Following a few moments of deep breathing, Tim regained control of his gag reflex. "Me kay now dada."

Gibbs' raised one eyebrow, "Are you sure?"

The little guy nodded, "Yesh, me sure."

He picked Tim up and headed toward the stairs, "Remember I know everything and if you start to feel worse, I'm going to be able to tell."

Tim giggled, "Me know dada."

They were surprised to see Ducky sitting at the table sipping on a cup of tea when they entered the kitchen.

"Hey, Duck…I didn't even hear you come in."

"Hello Jethro…Timothy," Ducky extended his arms, hopeful Tim would feel comfortable enough to sit with him.

Tim shied away, laying his head against Gibbs' chest, "I think this lil' fella might have the flu." Gibbs announced kissing the top of Tim's head. Abby, Ziva and Ducky all stopped what they were doing and looked toward the duo and frowned.

Ducky stood up immediately, his eyes scrutinizing the young boy "What do you mean, Jethro?"

Gibbs ran his fingers through Tim's hair, "His fever is another degree higher than it was last night and he's complaining that his stomach hurts. There have been other signs as well, but I would rather not discuss them in front of everyone."

Abby stopped slicing vegetables and walked over to the pair. "I'm sorry you're not feeling well Timmy. Do you have other food he can eat for dinner that will be bland enough?"

Gibbs sniffed the air, "What are we having for dinner? It smells wonderful!"

Ziva looked over her shoulder, "We are having grilled chicken breast over pasta along with sautéed vegetables."

Tim scrunched his nose up at her comment. Gibbs chuckled, "The garlic smell made Tim gag earlier so you'll have to excuse him."

"I suppose I can forgive him this time," she joked then winked at him."

Gibbs poured himself a cup of coffee and joined Ducky at the table. "DiNozzo is picking up some items for Tim, while he's at the store. Hopefully I'll be able to get a little food in this guy's tummy."

As the girls finished preparing the food there was a knock at the door. Gibbs started to get up, but Ducky motioned for him to sit back down.

"Ahh something smells good in here!" Tony acknowledged as he and Ducky entered the kitchen, each carrying a few shopping bags and dropped them on the kitchen counter. Abby snickered, "Did you buy the entire store, Tony?"

"No, Gibbs informed me that Timmy isn't feeling well; I got what he asked for and maybe…" He paused then shed his outerwear, "well maybe I got a few other items as well, when did you become the shopping patrol?"

Abby put her hand on his shoulder, "Relax Tony, I was only joking with you."

"Sorry Abs, I don't like the fact that our little guy isn't feeling well."

"Toey?" A faint voice turned everyone's attention toward the kitchen table.

DiNozzo snatched a bag off the counter, pulled out the chair next to Gibbs and sat down.

Tim extended his arms out to Tony; DiNozzo gave him a goofy grin then carefully lifted him onto his lap, "Hey, buddy how are you feeling?"

The toddler shrugged his shoulders, "Mmm kay fir wight now."

Tony picked the bag up off the table and gave it to Tim; "Good I'm glad because I got you a present."

Tim's eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning, "Weally? Dis ish fir me?"

"Sure is kiddo, open it up, I can't wait for you to see what it is."

All eyes were on Tim as he opened the bag, peered inside and pulled out a stuffed German Shepard. It was similar in size to the one Jethro ruined earlier in the week and had the same adorable puppy dog eyes.

"Doggy!" Tim squealed, squishing it against his chest.

"I couldn't find the exact dog that was ruined, but when I saw this guy I knew he was the one."

Tim shifted in DiNozzo's lap, threw his arms around his neck and whispered, "Tank u Toey me lube it!"

Tony leaned down and kissed the top of his head, "You're welcome, buddy. Now all you need to do is come up with a name for him."

Gibbs stood up and started unpacking the groceries that DiNozzo had picked up at the store. "How much longer until dinner is ready?"

"We have about ten minutes until the vegetables are done sautéing," Ziva responded keeping a close eye on the bubbling pan in front of her.

"DiNozzo, what the hell is this? Doesn't look like apple juice to me." Gibbs questioned unloading two large bottles of liquids from the bags.

Tony looked over his shoulder, "Oh that's an electrolyte solution, the pharmacist said that would be much better than giving Tim apple juice. It will help keep him hydrated without all the sugar."

"Huh. They have all kinds of new stuff nowadays," Gibbs uttered as he poured some into a bottle and set it on the kitchen table. When Ziva reminded him dinner was almost complete, Gibbs poured a can of soup into a dish, placed it in the microwave and opened a package of crackers for Tim's dinner.

The microwave beeped at the same time Ziva and Abby were removing the last of the vegetables from the pan. They had separated the chicken, pasta and veggies in three different bowls to allow each individual to choose what they wanted on top of their pasta. As they carried the bowls to the table, Ducky commented, "This smells wonderful my dears, I must get the recipe from you before the end of the night."

Abby distributed utensils to each of the three bowls, "You'll have to ask Ziva, it's her recipe. I just helped out where I could."

Ziva blushed, "Actually it is not my recipe, Abby. I got it from my wonderful neighbor, Deb. She is a very sweet lady who checks in on me from time to time. I felt her recipe was appropriate for tonight; it is pasta with grilled chicken and vegetables that have been sautéed in fresh garlic, onion and olive oil."

Gibbs was busy fixing a plate for himself when he looked over to see Tim's arms extended.

He reached over and grabbed the little guy, "Ahh come to daddy, you want to try some soup?"

Tim nodded as the older man checked the temperature then carefully fed a spoonful to the toddler.

"Taste good?"

"Mmm hmm," he mumbled as he lifted a saltine to his mouth and sucked on it."

Dinner was a success; Tim was able to eat an entire bowl of soup along with a few crackers while the others feasted on the culinary skills of Ziva and Abby. The conversation was kept casual; Ducky discussed his train collection and Abby told the team which upcoming concerts she planned on attending.

In a pause during the conversation, Ducky spoke up, " I thought you would all like to know I spoke with the doctor at the prison where they are keeping the Greys."

Gibbs gave him an exasperated look as Tim cowered closer to him.

"Oh dear, I apologize Timothy. I felt it was appropriate to let you know that both women are currently in prison. Apparently the facility they're at has a nursery where prisoners are allowed to keep their babies until the age of two years old. When Ella eventually returns to adulthood, both of them will then be kept in separate prison cells. I wanted to let you know my dear boy that there is no way either one of them will be seeing the outside for a long time to come."

Abby clapped her hands, "Good! Those crazy psychopaths will never be able to do this to anyone else!"

Gibbs squeezed his arm around Tim, "You did good, sweetie. They'll never hurt you again."

Tim blushed and Gibbs was relieved to feel him relax a little bit. Determined to change the subject, Ziva reached across the table and pulled on the tail of the new dog Tony had bought. "Have you decided on a name yet, Tim?"

Hugging the dog close to his chest, Tim nodded, "Yesh, doggy's name ish Hewo."

"Hero, huh? How did you come up with that?"

Suddenly all eyes were focused on Tim, anxious to hear the reasoning behind the choice of name for the dog.

The youngster was quiet for a moment before he unexpectedly clutched Gibbs' hand, "Caush muh dada ish muh Hewo."

A collective set of "Aww's" caused Tim to become embarrassed and he turned so he could bury his face against Gibbs' chest.

Gibbs swallowed the lump in his throat and wiped away a stray tear. He rubbed his hand soothingly down Tim's back, "That my boy is the sweetest gesture anyone has ever done for me." Leaning down he whispered in Tim's ear, "I'm glad I can be your hero, nothing makes me prouder."

Abby and Ziva wiped away tears as they witnessed the genuine love and bond the two of them had formed.

Following dinner, the team congregated in the family room where they enjoyed ice cream and watched a movie together. By the time the movie ended, the roads were impassable and Gibbs rounded up all the stray blankets and pillows he could find. Tim was beginning to flounder as Tony and Abby fought over who was going to get the couch as Ducky, of course staked claim to the second guest room. As Gibbs started to climb the stairs to the bedroom, Tim stopped him and whispered in his ear.

The bickering was so loud amongst them; Gibbs had to whistle to get everyone's attention. Once the shrill noise echoed throughout the room and the commotion died down he spoke, "Tim has something he wants to tell everyone before we go upstairs."

Tim opened his mouth to speak, but closed it again.

Gibbs nudged Tim's cheek with his nose, "Come on, you can do it, kiddo."

The youngster took a deep breath, "Tank u all bery much fah youw hawd wowrk findin' me. I so happy ta be home, lube u all!"

Abby squealed and ran toward the stairs. "Thanks Timmy that means a lot. Can I give you a hug?"

Tim was hesitant at first, but eventually nodded allowing Abby to lean forward, gently wrap her arms around him and squeeze. Before stepping away she grabbed his face between her hands and gave him a kiss on the forehead. He blew kisses to the rest of the team as Gibbs declared it was time for bed and they would see him in the morning.

Chapter Text

It was still dark the following morning when Gibbs was awakened by a quiet whimpering. Assuming it was Jethro he waved his hand in the air, "Go back to sleep, dog it's not time to get up yet." When the whimpering continued, an exasperated Gibbs finally opened his eyes. Tim was crying softly, the new stuffed dog Tony bought for him clutched tightly against his chest. It had been a long night for the pair, Tim's fever continued to spike along with vomiting and other unpleasantries. The two of them had only managed a couple of hours of sleep and a few hours ago when Gibbs finally got Tim to sleep, he breathed a sigh of relief hoping they could both get some much needed rest. Apparently, Tim's body had other ideas, which did not include either of them getting any sleep. He was about to ask Tim what was wrong but the smell confirmed his suspicions immediately. He ran his hand soothingly down the toddler's back, "Aww Timmy it's okay, let's get you cleaned up again." He collected the youngster in his arms, slid out of bed and carried him over to the makeshift changing table. Quite frankly, Gibbs was surprised the little guy had anything left in his body to expel given the amount he had already dealt with. Tim contently sucked on his thumb while Gibbs tended to him.

When he finished Gibbs looked over at the clock on the nightstand. It was only five thirty in the morning and he felt bad about waking Ducky, but Tim's illness was getting worse. He patted Tim on the belly, "I'm going to wake Ducky, he needs to examine you and see if a trip to the hospital is necessary." The panicked look on Tim's face broke his heart, "I promise you, we will only go if absolutely necessary."

He leaned down and kissed Tim's forehead, "Stay right here and I'll be back in a jiffy."

Quietly walking down the hall to the guest bedroom, Gibbs knocked on the door, but didn't get a response. He opened the door, walked to the bed and gently shook Ducky's shoulder. The doctor immediately sat up and looked around the room before his eyes finally focused on Gibbs.

"Jethro, what is it?" His voice was hoarse, his hair tousled as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes.

Gibbs handed Ducky his glasses off the nightstand, "It's Tim, I'm worried about him, we've been up most of the night with these flu symptoms."

Ducky sighed, "Poor lad, let's go take a look, shall we?"

As the doctor propelled his legs over the bed, stood up and started walking toward the master bedroom, Gibbs stopped him.

Ducky was confused, he figured Gibbs wanted him to examine the boy right away, "What's wrong, Jethro?"

Gibbs lowered his voice; "I'm worried the Greys slipped something in Tim's food or drink that caused him to become ill."

The older man nodded, "I see; I believe if that were the case, Timothy would have started showing signs much earlier. How long has it been since the initial regression?"

Gibbs counted back the time in his mind, "Probably been close to six days now, Duck."

"Uh huh and how long did it take before those previous victims fully returned to adulthood?"

Suddenly the light bulb went off in Gibbs' head, "You think Tim could be on his way to becoming an adult again?"

"Anything is possible, Jethro. Now let's go take a look at your little boy."

Upon entering the bedroom, they found Tim dozing off, promptly opening his eyes when he heard the two men.

Ducky took his place next to the changing table, "Sorry you're not feeling well Timothy, let me examine you and then you can go back to sleep."

Gibbs took his spot near Tim's head and gently brushed the hair off his forehead, "Ducky's going to take really good care of you, buddy."

Tim popped his thumb out of his mouth, "U take gweat cawre of me dada."

"Aww thanks, buddy. I love you."

The youngster yawned, "Me lube u!"

Ducky smiled at the interaction between father and son as he thoroughly examined the toddler. In the decades Gibbs had been his friend and coworker he had never seen him this happy. He frowned at the thought of Tim returning to adulthood, not that he didn't want that for Tim, but because of the strong bond the two had formed. Even though their relationship would certainly be stronger, there would undoubtedly be an adjustment period for both of them. Gibbs had already suffered such loss in his life, Ducky wasn't sure how another one would affect him. When he finished examining the youngster, he addressed the both of them.

"All of Timothy's symptoms point to him having the flu or what we discussed earlier. You just need to keep pushing the fluids and do everything you can to make him comfortable."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow, "Are you sure, Duck? You don't think he needs to go to the hospital?"

The older man nodded, "I'm sure, we'll keep monitoring him, but I believe with all the snow we've had it would be impossible and dangerous to attempt a trip right now."

Gibbs patted his shoulder, "All right if you say so, do you mind staying here while I go down and get a fresh bottle?"

"Of course not Jethro, when was his last dose of Tylenol? His temperature is high again."

The previous hours were a blur to Gibbs, but he thought back, "Around four hours ago so he's scheduled for another dose."

"You go take care of the bottle and I'll see to it that he gets another dose while you're gone."

Gibbs gave him a tired smile, Thanks, Duck. I'll be right back, Timmy."

He quietly descended the stairs, stepping around each creak, careful not to wake the rest of the team. He smiled as he looked around the family room at the rest of his "kids". This unfortunate turn of events had made the team even stronger. Each of them was fiercely loyal when it came to one another and he couldn't be prouder. They were definitely a family; even though they bickered and occasionally made fun of one another, they were always there for each other. Abby was sprawled out on the couch on her stomach, one leg hanging off the side with the blanket wrapped around it. Ziva was curled up in the recliner, snoring like a freight train and Tony was spread-eagled on the floor with three or four different blankets as padding. He walked to the kitchen, snagged the liter of Pedialyte off the counter and grabbed an empty bottle out of the cupboard. On his way back upstairs, he set the supplies on a nearby table and quietly made his way over to the kids. He picked up the discarded blanket that lay next to his senior field agent and covered him. Carefully stepping over Tony's head, he gently unwrapped Abby's leg and covered her with the blanket. The last stop was Ziva, she had a death grip on the blanket, but he managed to pull it up just under her chin. Satisfied they were taken care of, he trudged back upstairs to see Ducky bouncing around the room with Tim on his shoulder.

"Duck?" He whispered as he dropped the supplies on the dresser and approached the pair.

The older man turned around, held a finger up to his lips and glanced down at the sleeping toddler. "He's almost asleep, Jethro. Might I suggest you allow me to carry on until we're sure he's out?"

Gibbs nodded; though it was hard for him to see Tim feel comfortable enough with someone else that he would just fall asleep.

Ducky whispered, "I know what you're thinking. Don't worry, Jethro you will always be number one in this little guy's heart."

The younger man ran a hand through his hair, "Am I that obvious?"

The doctor chuckled slightly, "It's written all over you face, my boy." He looked down at Tim, "I believe he's asleep, would you like him back on the bed or in the crib."

Gibbs motioned toward the bed and arranged the pillows so Ducky could lay the slumbering youngster down. Tim let out a small snuffle as the older man laid him down, but immediately rolled over and stuck his thumb in his mouth.

"Try and get some sleep, Jethro. You know where to find me if you have any more concerns."

Ducky shut off the light as Gibbs climbed into bed. Once he was situated, Tim took hold of his shirt with his free hand, let out a small sigh and cuddled closer to him. He draped one arm over the toddler's waist and promptly followed him into a deep sleep.

The next time Gibbs looked at the alarm clock it was close to noon. Tim was sprawled out next to him, thumb in his mouth, deeply asleep. The smell of fresh brewed coffee wafted its way upstairs and his mouth watered at the thought of it caressing his dry, scratchy throat. He carefully slid out of bed and headed for the shower. As he stepped in and allowed the pulsating water massage his body, his thoughts drifted back to his conversation with Ducky. He was immediately saddened to think of baby Tim not being around anymore. The past week, except for when Tim was kidnapped, ranked close to how he used to feel when Shannon and Kelly were alive. It was going to be difficult to let the little guy go and allow him to continue living his adult life. Yes, they would be closer as adults, but Tim would no longer rely on him for everything. The two of them had been through more than he had experienced with any of the other team members and he was going to miss that closeness. However, he knew Tim would probably be feeling the same way and he was determined to be there for him in any way he could. Gibbs didn't realize he had been in the shower for so long until the water eventually started getting colder. He quickly washed his hair along with the rest of his body and then got out. Turning off the water, he listened closely to see if the toddler had awakened yet. He didn't hear any crying, but wanted to make absolutely sure he was still asleep.

Wrapping a towel around his waist, he made his way to the bedroom to find Tim in the same position he left him in. Pulling a clean pair of jeans and a sweatshirt out of the dresser drawer, he made his way back to the bathroom to shave and get dressed. As he slipped the sweatshirt on over his head, he heard movement coming from the bedroom. Stepping out of the bathroom, he found Tim sitting up in the middle of the bed, wiping the sleep out of his eyes.

Gibbs sat down on the bed and ran his hand through Tim's hair, "How are you feeling, kiddo?"

Tim shrugged his shoulders, crawled over to the older man and laid his head in Gibbs' lap.

"Aww sweetie, you still feel warm." Gibbs commented as he gently stroked the toddler's cheek.

"Me tired o' fewling ishcky, dada."

"I know you are buddy, believe me if I could take all the pain and sickness away, I would do it. In the meantime let's get you dressed and we'll go downstairs to see everyone. How does that sound?"

"Mmm kay," he responded as Gibbs picked him up, carried him over to the dresser and laid him down.

Once their routine was complete and medicine was given, Gibbs picked up Hero from the bed and handed him to the little guy. Then he poured a fresh bottle, "We need to keep you hydrated, this will help with that."

Tim nodded, held the dog close to his chest and greedily sucked on the nipple as the pair made their way downstairs to join the rest of the team.

Tony was on his phone in the family room, and Gibbs could tell by the look on his face that he was speaking with Vance. When they made it to the bottom, Tony hung up and approached the pair. He held his arms out for Tim, "Hey sleepyhead, want to come see me?"

"Kay," Tim stretched out his arms but was startled when Gibbs stepped back, leaving Tony just out of his reach.

Tony and Tim, both of who were baffled by Gibbs' behavior, stared at each other then turned to look at their boss.

" it boss?" Tony questioned, a hint of anxiety in his voice.

"Who was on the phone, DiNozzo?"

Tony took a step forward, eager to get his hands on Tim, "Oh, that was Vance. Can I take Timmy now, please?"

Gibbs shook his head, "What did Vance want?"

The senior field agent grit his teeth, "Um, well, I don't think you're going to like what I have to say."

"DiNozzo! I don't have time for this, what did he want?"

"The district attorney Ron Anderson… you remember meeting him at the courthouse?" Tony paused, suddenly fascinated with his hands.

Gibbs rolled his eyes, "Spill it!"

Tony looked up, "Vance needs you to call him regarding the situation with the Greys."

Tim let out a small gasp, but Gibbs was there to quickly comfort the little guy. "Remember we discussed this Timmy, you are safe. All of the people responsible for kidnapping you are in jail."

The toddler slowly nodded and laid his head down on Gibbs' shoulder.

Gibbs rubbed small circles on his back, while turning his attention back to Tony. "Did Vance say exactly what he wanted? He knows that I'm spending time with Tim."

"I think you need to call and speak with the Director, it has something to do with her arraignment tomorrow." Tony lay his hand on Tim's back, "Want me to take him into the kitchen, while you make that call?"

The older man whispered in Tim's ear, "Be a good boy and go with Tony. Daddy will be in there in a few minutes, okay?"

Tim slowly sat up and extended his arms out for Tony. After the exchange was complete, Gibbs handed DiNozzo the bottle and watched as the pair made their way into the kitchen.

He dug the cell phone out of his pocket, dialed Vance's number and busied himself by adding another log to the fire.

While he was waiting for Vance to pick up, Gibbs pulled back the curtains in the family room. He needed to assess the weather situation to determine if the drive would be feasible for him. Finally, after three rings, Vance picked up on the other end of the line.

"Gibbs, I was expecting your phone call."

"Ya think, Leon? I only managed to get a few details from DiNozzo, I'm waiting to hear the rest."

Vance sighed, "First of all, I need a report on Agent McGee. How's he doing?"

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Gibbs slumped down on the couch, "Not well, Leon. The poor baby either has the flu or there may be something else happening to his body and was up most of the night with those symptoms. Which also means I was up for most of the night and don't feel like playing games, so if you would just tell me what's going on and stop beating around the bush!"

"All right…calm down… I received a phone call from Ron Anderson early this morning. Lucy, Ella and Jed will be arraigned tomorrow morning, which means…"

Gibbs interrupted Vance before he could finish, "Which means my team has a lot of paperwork to finish and Lucy needs to be interrogated."

"I'm sorry, Gibbs; unfortunately that's the way the law works sometimes."

Shifting his weight, Gibbs leaned back against the couch, opened the curtain and peered out the window. He scoffed when he realized there was at least ten inches on the ground. "How do you expect me to get my team there safely after the winter storm we had last night?"

"Take your time, once you get past the side streets, all the main roads have been plowed. Plus there's the added bonus that all the agency sedans have four wheel drive."

"Oh, yeah, that makes me feel so much better. What time did you schedule the interrogation for?"

"1500 hours, the rest of your team can finish up paperwork while you deal with Lucy."

Resigned to the fact he wasn't going to win this battle, Gibbs sighed, "Better be prepared to lose your office, while I'm doing the interrogation. Tim isn't feeling well and I don't want him around the rest of the agency."

Vance chuckled, "That's fine, in fact, I was expecting that to be the case. We'll see you this afternoon."

After hanging up, Gibbs joined the rest of the team in the kitchen, immediately heading for the coffee pot. Abby started to speak, but quieted when Gibbs raised his hand up and took a sip of the fresh brew. He lowered his hand and looked around the room. Tim was sitting on Ziva's lap while Tony and Ducky took care of breakfast. Gibbs peered over their shoulders and nodded in approval at the array of foods they were preparing. Keeping a close eye on the bacon, he was frying; Tony turned around, "The girls did such a good job cooking for us last night, we figured we would return the favor."

Gibbs patted Tony and Ducky on the shoulder, "Good job, it smells delicious."

While the men finished preparing breakfast, Gibbs grabbed the newspaper off the counter and took a seat next to Abby and Ziva.

"Gibbs?" Abby questioned softly as she played with her pigtails.

Before he could answer a muffled giggle caught his attention, Tim was leaning back against Ziva's chest, one hand wrapped in her hair the other occupied his mouth. Ziva had Hero giving Tim kisses all over his face. The fur on the dog was tickling the toddler and every time Ziva touched Tim's face with the animal, he would chuckle.

Relieved to see a smile on the youngster's face he turned to face Abby. "What is it, Abs?"

"Ducky said that Timmy was sick most of the night, and I was just wondering what you planned on feeding him for breakfast?"

Ducky looked over his shoulder, "The lad would benefit from the items Anthony bought at the store last night. We are already making toast; however, there are some bananas and I spotted a jar of applesauce in the refrigerator. Those substances should be bland enough for Timothy's stomach."

Abby bounced out of her chair, "While you two are finishing, I'll get Timmy's breakfast together."

Even though the recommended foods would be bland enough, Gibbs didn't want the Goth to get too carried away. "Abby, keep it simple. Start with small portions and if he feels like he can eat more we'll go from there."

Once the food was ready and everyone gathered around the table, Tim reached out for Gibbs. The older man tied a bib around his neck and gently transferred him over to his lap. "You feel up to eating a little bit, Timmy?"

Staring at the food placed in front of him, he slowly nodded as Gibbs collected a spoonful of applesauce and fed it to him. Tim squirmed with delight as the sauce caressed the back of his throat.

Tony chuckled, "It's good to see you enjoying yourself, Probie."

For a long time, all you could hear in the kitchen was the sound of silverware hitting the plates as they feasted on eggs, bacon, toast and hash browns. It wasn't until they were about half way through the meal when Tony looked up from his plate and made eye contact with Gibbs. Knowing he had spoken with Vance earlier, Tony was curious to know the outcome of their conversation. "Boss, what's on the agenda for today?"

After taking a long sip of coffee, Gibbs swallowed and took a deep breath. "We need to go on the yard; Lucy, Ella and Jed will all be arraigned tomorrow and we have paperwork to complete."

Tim whimpered at the thought of being left at home while the others went to NCIS.

Gibbs leaned down and kissed the top of the youngster's head, "Don't worry, kiddo. I don't plan on letting you out of my sights. You'll be coming with us."

The toddler's shoulders slumped and he leaned back against Gibbs' chest. "Hewo comesh too?"

"Of course Hero is coming, we need someone to protect us from the bad guys, right?"

Tim smiled, "Muh dada alweady doesh dat!"

The team smiled as Tim let out a high-pitched squeal as Gibbs peppered his face with paternal kisses.

Ziva, who had been quiet for most of the morning, spoke up. "Do you plan on interrogating Lucy today?"

Everyone focused on Ziva; unsure of what she had done wrong she shrugged her shoulders, "What?"

"Way to be subtle, Ziva. Perhaps boss didn't want certain people to know that was happening today." Tony mumbled under his breath so Tim couldn't hear him.

Gibbs wrapped his arms around Tim, "It's okay, Ziva. Tim should know what's going on today. Yes, Lucy is scheduled for an interrogation at 1500 hours." He pointed at Tony and Ziva, "You two will be finishing up reports so that we can get them over to the district attorney."

"Bu…but…boss!" Tony tried, desperately wanting to be there for the interrogation.

Gibbs held up his hand and shook his head, "Reports, do I make myself clear? Once you're finished, and you are sure it's up to my standards you may come and watch."

Tony clapped his hands, "All right!"


The smile that had appeared on Tony's face disappeared when Gibbs uttered the word, however.

"I'm going to read through your reports; if I feel they're not up to par, but you came down to watch the interrogation anyways..."

Tony gulped, "I gotcha, boss."

"Good, I'm glad that's settled." Then he pointed at Ducky and Abby, "I'm going to need you two to watch Tim up in the Director's office."

Abby squealed, "Sure thing, Gibbs. The Duckman and I will take good care of him."

With the plans hashed out, Ziva and Abby washed the breakfast dishes while Tony went outside to dig out the cars and allow Jethro some playtime. By the time everyone had finished, it was close to two o'clock and Gibbs wanted to allow them ample time to make it there safely. He once again changed Tim's diaper, packed up the diaper bag with plenty of supplies and bundled up the toddler. The cars were already warmed up and ready to go when Gibbs carried Tim out to the car, buckled him in the car seat and covered him with a blanket. Instead of them each driving their separate cars, they agreed Tony would take them home after work and they would pick up their cars the following day.

Gibbs motioned for Ducky and Abby to ride with Tony, while Ziva climbed in the back seat next to Tim.

The back roads were terrible and Gibbs cursed under his breath as the car fishtailed even at a slow rate of speed. However, once they managed to make it to the main roads the streets had been plowed and there was a lot more traffic. A typical twenty-minute drive, fifteen minutes when either Gibbs or Ziva was driving turned into a forty-five minute haul for each car. Tim was dozing off when they pulled into the parking garage at NCIS, but was suddenly wide-awake when the car came to a stop. He whined when Gibbs unbuckled his car seat and laid him over his shoulder. "It's okay, Timmy. You can go back to sleep now," he whispered into the little guy's ear as they got into the elevator and took it up to the main floor. By the time they reached the bullpen, Tim had his face nuzzled in the crook of Gibbs' neck and he was in the beginning stages of sleep. Abby took the diaper bag from Ziva and followed Gibbs and Ducky upstairs to Vance's office.

The Director's secretary smiled and motioned for them to proceed when they appeared in her office. Vance got up from his seat, examined the little boy and smiled. "Grey is waiting down in interrogation anytime you're ready. I see you have two good babysitters with you." Abby and Ducky had shucked their outerwear, waiting for Gibbs to hand the toddler off to one of them. He glanced between the two of them, deciding whom Tim would feel most comfortable with. He knew Ducky would have been Tim's first choice, but realizing they might only have limited time left with baby Tim, he flicked his head, motioning for Abby to come forward. "I'm going to hand him off to you, Abs, but I want you to promise me that you'll be calm and gentle with him."

Gibbs could tell by the look on Abby's face that she could barely contain her excitement. He pried Tim off his shoulder, kissed him on the forehead then tenderly handed him over to Abby. The toddler stirred slightly as he found a comfortable position, but the hand soothingly rubbing his back had him back to sleep in no time. Once Gibbs was convinced Tim was asleep, he took a deep breath, collected himself and exited the room.

Vance stopped him as he headed for the stairs to the bullpen, "Mind if you have an audience when you interrogate Lucy?"

Gibbs smirked, "Well David and DiNozzo aren't allowed to watch until they finish their reports, but that doesn't mean you can't."

They stopped in the bullpen to collect the file Gibbs would need during the interrogation and continued on their way.

Tony pouted and crossed his arms as the elevator doors closed behind the two men, "It's not fair! How come Director Vance gets to watch and we don't?"

Ziva rolled her eyes; "Apparently Tim is not the only baby around here anymore. Stop yapping and get to work so we do not miss it!"

Chapter Text

As they approached the hallway that held the interrogation rooms, Gibbs' adrenaline was pumping; his heart rate increased and he started to sweat. When they came to a stop outside the room, Vance was surprised when Gibbs followed him into observation instead of interrogation.

"What's wrong, Gibbs?" Vance probed as he watched him pace back and forth inside the small room.

Gibbs walked over to the glass pane that separated the two rooms; "I want to study her before I deal with her face to face. This is not only about seeking justice, I have questions and I want answers!"

Vance stepped up next to Gibbs and put a hand on his shoulder, "If anyone can get those answers, I have no doubt it's you."

"I'm just worried they won't be satisfactory enough for me, Tim or my team."

The Director sighed, "Would you like me to do it?"

Gibbs scoffed, "Now you're just trying to piss me off."

"Is it working?"

After a moment of silence, Gibbs turned to face him; his lip curled upward, "Yeah, yeah I think it is."

Vance grabbed his shoulders; "Good, focus that anger," he cocked his head to the side, "On that woman in there."

Taking a deep breath, Gibbs nodded, grabbed a bottle of water off the table and opened the door.

Before he could exit, Vance called out to him, "Do it for Tim. Your boy deserves answers more than anyone."

With an affirmative nod of his head, Gibbs took another deep breath and closed the door.


Back in Vance's office, Ducky looked up from the book he was reading, as Abby appeared to be on cloud nine after finally being able to hold Tim for the first time. Over the past ten minutes, she had strolled around the office and anytime the toddler sighed or snuffled her immediate attention was focused on him.

"Abigail, why don't you take a seat and relax? Who knows how long this interrogation could last."

Abby shook her head, "Gibbs gave me a job to do, and I don't want to wake him up by changing positions."

Ducky chuckled, "I assure you, the poor lad was up half the night. I guarantee you, he will not wake up if you sit down."

Although Tim was only a year old he was starting to get heavy for the Goth. "All right, I'll go sit down but if I wake him up, I get to say I told you so."

The older man got up from the conference table and motioned for Abby to follow him. He propped up the pillow on the end of the leather couch and guided her to sit down. Carefully, he helped extract the youngster from her shoulder and the two of them were able to shift him so he was cradled in her arms. Tim stirred lightly, but Abby immediately calmed him down by rubbing her thumb across his forehead. Both of them held their breath as Tim's breathing eventually evened out and he was asleep again.

"See that was easy." Ducky teased as he went back to the table to sit down.

Looking down at the little boy in her arms, Abby scoffed, "Yeah, real easy."


Tony and Ziva worked in companionable silence, dividing the work evenly based on their strengths. Tony organized files, evidence and charges; while Ziva typed up summaries and timelines based on the events. During their time at NCIS, they had completed many reports; none, however, was more important than this one. They owed it to Tim, their coworker, friend and brother to make sure all their ducks were in a row.

While Ziva was typing, she glanced up several times to observe Tony who appeared to be deep in thought, chewing on the end of a pen, staring out the window.


After calling out his name and not receiving a response, Ziva stood up and positioned herself in his line of vision, "Tony?"

He shook his head, snapping himself out of his reverie, "What?"

Ziva tapped her foot on the ground, "Something is bothering you and I want to know what it is."

Stretching his arms behind his head, Tony chuckled, "I'm fine. Get back to work."

She could tell by his body language that he was not fine. "I will not get back to work until you tell me what you were thinking about."

After several moments of staring at each other, he realized this was a battle he wasn't going to win. Tony looked over at McGee's desk and sighed. "If you must know, I was thinking about how much I miss adult McGee. There, are you happy," he snapped immediately focusing his attention on the floor.

She slapped him on the knee and took a seat on the edge of his desk. "You do not have to be ashamed that you miss McGee. We all do."

Tony scoffed, "Not Gibbs, have you ever seen him this happy?"

"No, I have not, but that does not mean he does not miss McGee either."

He leaned back in the chair and crossed his arms, "I just want my best friend back. There's nobody around to tease or argue with who couldn't kill me with a paperclip."

"Jeez Tony, you make it sound as if McGee is dead. He is still here only in a tinier form. And if it makes you feel any better, who is the first person McGee warmed up to besides Gibbs?"

Tony flashed a cocky grin, "Who wouldn't want to be in the capable hands of one Anthony DiNozzo?"

Ziva groaned, "Why do I even bother? My point is, hopefully the regression drug will wear off and Tim will be back to normal. Until then it is our job as his family to remember that his mental competence is still there. Now let us get back to work so that we can go watch the interrogation."

He uncrossed his arms and concentrated on the paperwork in front of him, "You're right, I was just feeling sorry for myself. I couldn't imagine being in Tim's position right now."

Sitting down in her chair, Ziva smiled, "Aww I bet you would have made a cute little baby. Although not as cute as Tim."


Gibbs took another deep breath as he stood outside the door to interrogation. Unsure of how cooperative Lucy would be, he knew he had better have every trick in his playbook ready. Taking a sip of water, he grasped the handle and flung open the door.

Before he could even step one foot inside, Lucy was already testing his patience.

"It's about time you got here! You call yourselves professionals? I've been waiting here for close to thirty minutes."

Gibbs grit his teeth, he knew this interrogation was going to test his emotions, but didn't think it would start within the first five seconds of him opening the door. Ignoring her comment, he made his way over to the table and sat down.

As he flipped through the different pages in the case folder, Lucy started banging her handcuffs on the table. "You can't ignore me forever, Agent Gibbs. By the way, how's my Timmy doing?"

That did it; Gibbs stood up and leaned across the table leaving inches between their faces, "He. Is. Not. Yours. Stop talking about him like he is."

Lucy expelled a sinister laugh, "I hate to tell you this Agent Gibbs, but he's not your son either."

Gibbs shook his head and sat down, "No, no he's not. At least not biologically; but he's one of my four kids and I don't like it when people mess with my kids!"

"Isn't that sweet, a man who is protective of his agents and considers them his kids because he lost the only little girl he'll ever have."

Vance who was watching from observation became concerned when he heard Lucy's statement. Awaiting Gibbs' reaction, he held one hand on the door handle in case he needed to intervene.

Recognizing it was Lucy's strategy to get under his skin, Gibbs shrugged it off and took a deep breath.

The Director relaxed when he realized Gibbs wasn't going to let his emotions get the best of him and reclaimed his spot in front of the glass.

When she didn't get the reaction she hoped for, Lucy kicked the table leg, sending the file andits contents to the floor.

Gibbs happily whistled as he leaned over and collected the papers off the floor, "No matter what you say to me today, Ms. Grey, it's not going to bother me. I suggest you shut your mouth and answer my questions or else…"

"Or else what, Agent Gibbs? I'm already looking at spending the rest of my life in jail. I have nothing to lose."

"Hmm," Gibbs replied, tapping the pen in his hand on the edge of the table. "That may be true for you, but what about your sister Ella? It appears to me that she has a lot to lose right now."

Lucy gasped, "You leave my sister out of this! She's just an innocent baby!"

"She's definitely a baby; however, she is far from innocent. By the way, how is Ella enjoying her life as a baby?"

Sucking in a long breath, Lucy shrugged her shoulders, "It was her decision to take that pill. Apparently, she was jealous of the devotion I was giving Tim. Doesn't surprise me though, even as a kid she was in constant need of attention."

Gibbs laughed, "You think Ella took that pill because she wanted to be a baby?"

Lucy face turned bright red when she realized there was more to the story. She fanned her face with her hands as sweat formed on her brow, "Well…yeah…there's no…way…" Suddenly it dawned on her that she was wrong. "Wait a minute, are you telling me…" she trailed off as Gibbs held his hand up to silence her.

A huge grin appeared on his face, "I'm telling you that Ella didn't voluntarily take that regression pill. My little guy, Timmy, successfully dosed your sister without either of you knowing!"

Upset she had been outsmarted by a one-year-old, Lucy's mouth hung open in disbelief, "I don't believe you Agent Gibbs, there wasn't an opportunity for him to pull off such a feat."

"Whether you consider it to be true or not, Tim told me what happened and I'll always believe what he says. Besides, he has no reason to lie about it. You're just upset because you've been played!"

Lucy shoulders sagged in defeat as she buried her face in her hands. Score one for Timmy and me Gibbs happily thought to himself, while he waited for Lucy to process the information she had just been told. Finally, after a moment she emerged from behind her hands and took a deep breath. Realizing it was his opportunity to get answers to his questions he spoke, "What were your plans for the regression drug? Last time we talked you told me you were going to be famous."

Tilting her head up, Lucy made eye contact with him and laughed, "Yeah, like I would ever tell you what I planned on doing with the drug."

Realizing he needed to dig a little further; Gibbs started bombarding her with questions, "Did you plan on selling it? Make a little money off it? Perhaps you're just that pathetic; seeing that you couldn't have your own baby you felt the need to ruin other people's lives?"

Becoming increasingly irritated, Lucy stood up, pounded her hands on the table and screamed, "No, no, no!" Her breathing was heavy as she fell back in the chair and sucked in a long breath, "That wasn't my intention." She paused then continued, "At first."

Gibbs prodded, "What was your intention?"

"At first my objective was to help people who either wanted a baby and couldn't have one or give those who had an unhappy childhood a second chance. But then…" Lucy sighed and stopped to look around the room.

Gibbs snapped his fingers to regain her attention, "But what?"

She cocked her head, made eye contact with him and shrugged, "If the price is right and you have nothing to lose, money can make you do some pretty stupid things."

Not buying the remorse it appeared Lucy was trying to convey, Gibbs plowed on, "Who was planning on paying you for the formula?"

Lucy shook her head as her eyes glazed over, "I don't know, a scientist in China was discussing prices with me. He wouldn't give me a money figure until he had proof."

Realizing she had said enough, Lucy suddenly snapped out of her musing, "Your blue eyes are mesmerizing, Agent Gibbs." She looked him up and down, "Nice to see you in casual clothing too. You certainly can be classified as a hot dad."

Running a hand down his face, Gibbs chose to ignore her comment and continue, "What kind of proof did he want?"

Chuckling, Lucy licked and puckered her lips, "You don't want to hear what I have to say. I can make you a very happy man, Agent Gibbs." She pointed at the cameras in the corner of the room, "Disconnect those and I'll give you seven minutes in heaven."

Gibbs scoffed, "I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole, lady. I'm only going to ask once more, what kind of proof did he want?"

Pulling her arms up in front of her chest, Lucy laughed deliriously, "Why should I tell you?"

Knowing he had to pull out the big guns if he wanted answers, Gibbs simply uttered one word, "Ella."

Lucy's eyes got as big as saucers and she sat up straight, "What about Ella? You're too soft, you would never hurt a baby."

Raising an eyebrow, Gibbs replied, "Oh, no, not me but there are people in prison who deserve to take care of your sister rather than you."

"You're bluffing," Lucy responded hesitantly.

Gibbs stood up and knocked on the glass; motioning with a flick of his head to the other room, he spoke, "Try me. All it takes is one phone call from the director and you and your sister will never see each other again. I don't think you want that."

Her eyes darted back and forth between the pane of glass and the stone cold look on Gibbs' face. Finally, after a minute of contemplation she sagged down on the table, resting her chin on her arms, "Fine, what do you want to know?"

Reclaiming his seat, Gibbs flipped through the various papers in the file, "I'm glad we're on the same page now, you still didn't answer my question, what kind of proof did the buyer want?"

Lucy fidgeted in her seat; eventually looking up to meet Gibbs' stare, "Not only did he want proof the drug actually worked, but he also wanted me to do a study based on the psychological effects of the drug. If it was going to be used to give people a chance at a second childhood or for people who wanted to have kids and never got the opportunity, he wanted to make sure it was marketable."

Gibbs put his hand in front of his mouth to muffle a chuckle, "Why would people want to voluntarily be regressed? Furthermore, why wouldn't people who want to be parents just adopt a baby? You actually thought there would be a market for this?"

"Laugh all you want Agent Gibbs, but it worked on you. Believe it or not there are plenty of people who would like to start over and my plan was to match those individuals with people who wanted kids."

Suddenly somber, Gibbs was quiet as he let her words sink in. Putting the pieces together in his mind, he pulled out the computer logs that showed the date and time in which the NCIS human resources servers had been hacked into. He glanced down at the log; "You were using me and my team as test subjects?"

Lucy shrugged, "I read an article in the Navy newsletter not too long ago regarding your team's accolades. Of course I had heard the rumors about you and how you would stop at nothing to bring criminals to justice." She stifled a nervous giggle; "I became enthralled with you and your team so I decided to do a little digging. At first it was just to learn more about you, but when I read you lost your wife and daughter and that Agent McGee was estranged from his strict Navy Admiral father I decided you would be the perfect test subjects."

Swallowing the lump is his throat, Gibbs urged her to continue, "If that was your plan all along then why did you feel the need to kidnap Tim?"

Flopping back in the chair, Lucy crossed her arms, "The drug wasn't powerful enough. I had already chosen whom I wanted to keep as my babies along with giving Agent McGee a dose. My strategy was to keep tabs on the two of you and document my findings to send to the scientist. Obviously, my plans changed when the drug wore off and one of my subjects escaped. The night you arrested me and I met Agent McGee in person, I knew he needed to be my little boy. I didn't want anyone else to have the opportunity to love and care for him. The poor guy had a less than stellar childhood and I wanted to fix that."

Digesting all the information set forth in front of him, Gibbs ran his hand through his hair and took a deep breath. "Let me get this straight, in order to show the buyer the psychological effects this drug could have on potential customers you took it upon yourself to target two Federal agents?"

Allowing a small chuckle to escape her mouth, Lucy nodded, "You two were the perfect subjects, I knew there was going to be no way the buyer would turn me down following my documentations. You lost your daughter when she was young and all you wanted was to be a dad again. Agent McGee grew up in a household where he barely saw his father, leaving him desperate for the love and adoration that one gets from a strong paternal figure. It was the perfect experiment for me and allowed you each what you've been longing for."

Upon hearing Lucy's reasoning, Gibbs' mouth suddenly became dry. He took a large gulp of water as he studied the woman in front of him. "Are you that delusional that you believed you would actually get away with this?"

Lucy tutted, "Agent Gibbs you can question my reasoning all you want, but I believe you owe me a thank you for allowing you an opportunity to be a father again."

Gibbs straightened up the paperwork, closed the file and stood up, "You really are "cwazy", as Tim would say, if you think I'm going to thank you for putting him through hell. Enjoy your life in prison."

As he started walking to the door, Lucy called out to him, "Agent Gibbs, if you can look me in the eye and tell me you haven't enjoyed being a father again then I'll believe you. However, considering the few times I've observed you with Tim, I think it's going to be awful hard for you to do that."

After opening the door, Gibbs turned around, looked her in the eye, and smirked, "You should probably apologize to Ella when you return and enjoy the last few days you'll have together."

"Wait! What's that suppose to mean? I cooperated, you can't separate us…" Lucy shrieked as Gibbs closed the door and sagged against it. While he stood there composing himself, a loud noise caught his attention. When he looked up, Tony and Ziva had rounded the corner in a full on sprint, desperate to catch the remainder of the interrogation. When they looked up and saw Gibbs standing outside the door they came to a screeching halt. Both were winded as they casually walked the rest of the way.

"Oh, hey, Boss." Tony managed to squeak out between breaths.

"You are finished already?" Ziva chimed in as she intently studied Gibbs' face and body language. Gibbs ran his hand over his face and handed Tony the file, "Yep, you can tell the guards Grey is ready to be transferred back to jail."

Tony and Ziva exchanged worried glances as Gibbs walked away. Before he rounded the corner, he turned around, "I'm assuming your reports are finished and on my desk?" With an affirmative nod from each agent, Gibbs continued his walk to the bullpen. As soon as he was out of ear shot, Ziva turned to Tony, "Do you think he is alright?"

Not realizing the door to observation had opened behind them; Vance spoke causing the pair to jump before they turned around to face him. "Gibbs will be fine, probably one of the toughest interrogation's he's ever had to do. I suggest after Ms. Grey is taken care of you meet him back in the bullpen."

As they watched Vance walk away, Tony pulled out his phone to call for prison transport. Ziva paced back and forth, while she waited for him to get off the phone. When he hung up, she bombarded him, "What do you think Vance meant when he said that was one of the toughest interrogations Gibbs has ever done?"

"Calm down my little ninja, I'm not sure. But that's the beauty of modern technology, it's all recorded."

He slinked into observation and casually looked around the recording gear as the tech shut down the equipment.

"Can I help you with something?" The tech asked as Tony casually rifled through the different stacks of DVD's.

"Yeah, I'm looking for the recording of the interrogation that just took place."

Flicking the switch on the last piece of gear, the tech looked over his shoulder and laughed as he started to leave, "Director Vance was right, it took you less than five minutes to come looking for it. You won't find it anywhere, he took it with him."

A look of bewilderment appeared on Tony's face as he slumped against the glass pane and crossed his arms, "That's unfair, how are we supposed to know what happened?"

Ziva scuffed her foot along the carpet, "Perhaps one day we will find out, until then I am okay with not knowing."

"Well I'm not," Tony whined as he followed Ziva out the door and back to the bullpen.


Abby glanced up from her phone when she felt Tim begin to stir in her lap. She smiled as the toddler stretched his tiny arms above his head and gradually opened his eyes. She held her breath as he looked around the room with a panicked expression on his face. When he realized Gibbs was nowhere to be found his bottom lip formed a pout and tears gathered in his eyes. "Whewre muh dada?"

"Shh shh little one," Abby attempted to soothe him by gently running her fingers through his hair. "Remember he had an interrogation to do, but he should be finished shortly. Ducky and I are going to take good care of you until he's done, okay?"

"Kay" Tim mumbled as he stuck his thumb in his mouth and snuggled closer to her.

The commotion caught Ducky's attention; he got up from the conference table and joined the pair at the couch. He put a hand on Tim's forehead, checking for a fever. "Did you have a nice sleep lad? You feel a bit warm, but not too bad, nice to see the Tylenol finally doing its job. Would you like something to drink?"

"Ba ba" Tim responded, vigorously nodding his head.

"Abigail, why don't you sit him up and I'll go get the bottle."

Hitching the toddler up higher in her arms, she kissed him on the forehead and waited for Ducky to bring the bottle over.

"Here you go, lil' fella. Abigail is going to take good care of you." Ducky assured him as he handed the bottle to her and went back to reading his book.

Hardly able to contain her excitement, she lifted the bottle to his lips and watched hesitantly as he removed his thumb and opened his mouth. Once Tim started sucking actively, she pulled him closer, enjoying his baby smell and relished in the feeling of finally being able to bond with him since his regression.

Ducky looked over from his seat at the conference table and chuckled. Both were snuggled close together with their eyes closed, enjoying the comfort and warmth of one another.

Back down in the bullpen, Gibbs and Vance scrutinized every inch of Tony and Ziva's reports. They wanted to be certain there were no loopholes or mistakes that would allow any of their three suspects to go free. Gibbs was attempting to concentrate, but his mind kept wandering back to the little boy upstairs and all the points Lucy had made. Vance sat at McGee's desk, carefully observing him, determined to interfere if needed. Although he knew some of what Lucy said was true, he wasn't going to push Gibbs into talking about it unless he wanted to. He learned a long time ago that if Gibbs had a concern he would deal with it in his own time and way. Following several corrections and a few rewrites, they both felt comfortable with the reports being sent over to the district attorney.

Gibbs stood up from his desk, walked over to the window and pulled out his phone. Hitting the speed dial for Ducky he watched the snow that continued to fall as he waited for the doctor to answer.

On the third ring, a cheerful voice picked up, "Hello there, Jethro. What can I help you with?"

Letting out a long sigh, Gibbs spoke, "How's my boy doing?"

Hearing the uncertainty in his friend's voice, Ducky quickly realized this conversation wasn't only about Gibbs calling to check on Tim. "He's doing fine. Woke up about fifteen minutes ago and now Abby is feeding him a bottle. He's content for the moment, are you done with the interrogation?"

"Yeah, it's over with. I was wondering if you had a few minutes to talk."

Ducky was used to Gibbs, their functional mute, only wanting to chat when something was really bothering him. "I would be delighted to my dear boy, how about we meet down in autopsy? Mr. Palmer is still at home and it will give us some privacy."

"Sounds good, Duck. Are you sure Tim will be okay if I'm gone a little while longer?"

Ducky took a moment to look over at Tim and Abby. The toddler still had a half a bottle to finish and appeared to be comfortable with the Goth. "Jethro, he's fine. I'll meet you downstairs soon."

Relieved that Tim was finally relaxed around Abby, Gibbs replied, "All right I'll be waiting."

He shut his phone and headed for the elevator unaware of the concerned looks coming from the rest of his team.

Ducky got up from his seat and walked over to the couch, "Gibbs is done with the interrogation, but needs to talk. I'm going to meet him but we shouldn't be too long."

Abby nodded as Tim opened his eyes and gave a small smirk around the nipple that was invading his mouth. Ducky squeezed his leg; "I'll bring your daddy with me when I come back, okay?"


Gibbs was already pacing back and forth down in autopsy by the time Ducky arrived. The familiar whoosh of the doors caught Gibbs' attention and he turned around to face the doctor. Judging by the look on the younger man's face, Ducky could tell this wasn't going to be an easy conversation. He sat down at his desk, pulled out another chair and signaled for Gibbs to sit down.

He wasn't surprised when Gibbs waved him off, "No, thanks I would rather stand."

"You want to tell me what this is all about, Jethro?"

Gibbs was quiet for a moment, his gaze cast on the floor. Slowly he lifted his head, "Do you think I'm selfish, Duck?"

Ducky chuckled; out of all the questions he was anticipating this wasn't the first one. "No, my dear boy, I do not. You are one of the most selfless people I know. Where is this coming from?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Gibbs walked over to the desk, "I was just thinking about what Lucy Grey said during her interrogation. Is it wrong of me to not want Tim to change back into an adult?"

Sighing, Ducky tapped the seat next to him and waited till the younger man sat down. "I'm not going to lie to you, Jethro. I had a feeling this topic would be brought up. I wouldn't call it selfishness; I would refer to it as indecision.

"Sorry Duck, I'm not following you."

"Let me ask you a question, is it safe to say that you haven't been truly happy since the deaths of Shannon and Kelly?"

Gibbs laughed, "I think that's an understatement. Having married several times to try and replace what I lost and those relationships ending in divorce, I think it's safe to say yes. But what does that have to do with Tim?"

"Oh my dear boy, don't you get it?" Ducky patted his knee, "Baby Tim has finally restored some happiness in your life. You're afraid that if he does turn back into an adult you'll go back to feeling how you did before. On one hand, your heart is praying you get to raise Tim as your own child. On the other hand, your brain is telling you it's selfish to wish that upon him. The entire time I've known you, I've never seen you this happy. Wanting to be happy is not a bad thing, Jethro."

"Well how do I fix it?"

Ducky sighed, "Unfortunately my friend that's not an easy question to answer. I think you have to take it one day at a time; be grateful for the time you've spent with Timothy but also understand if he changes back to an adult you will still hold those memories close."

After a few moments of contemplation, Gibbs stood up and started pacing again.

"Something else on your mind?" Ducky questioned as he watched Gibbs pace.

Running a hand through his hair, Gibbs responded, "I'm just worried about how our relationship will change if he returns to being an adult."

Standing up, Ducky walked over and stood in front of him, using his pointer finger he jabbed Gibbs in the chest. "If you remember anything from our conversation, remember this, "You control your own happiness, Jethro. I believe your relationship will be stronger; more powerful, but above all, the way it was meant to be.

Taking a deep breath along with an affirmative nod, Gibbs smiled; "Thanks for the chat, Duck."

Ducky patted his arm, "Of course, you know my door is always open if you need to talk or need me to smack some sense into you."

Gibbs laughed, "I'll remember that. Let's go get Tim, I've been away from him for too long."


When they entered Vance's office, the entire team was crowded around the conference table. Tim was sitting on the table in front of Tony with Hero clutched tightly against his chest.

"Dada!" Tim squealed, extending his arms out to be picked up.

Gibbs couldn't get the toddler in his arms quick enough. His heart melted when Tim wrapped his arms around his neck, nuzzled against it and whispered, "Me mish u bery, bery much. Me weady to go to da housh." Gibbs planted a kiss on the youngster's temple, "I missed you too, sweetie. We're going to get going very soon, do you want to say bye and thank you to everybody?"

He felt Tim nod against his neck, but was surprised when he didn't turn to face the rest of the team. Putting his lips up to Tim's ear, he spoke softly, "Something wrong buddy?" Another nod had Gibbs concerned, "What is it? You have to tell daddy so I can fix it." Feeling the heat radiating off the little guy's face, Gibbs was unsure if it was his temperature or if he was blushing. He rubbed his hand up and down Tim's back soothingly hoping he would feel comfortable to tell him what was wrong. Finally, Tim mumbled "diapee," before burying his face against Gibbs' neck once again. Looking over at the team gathered around the conference table he gave them a desperate look and motioned for the door. Understanding the two needed a few minutes of privacy; the team stood up and headed for the door. Once he heard the door close, Tim relaxed and pulled away from Gibbs.

After a kiss to the forehead, Gibbs grabbed the changing mat out of the diaper bag and laid the toddler down. Tim shivered when Gibbs removed his pants followed by the sodden diaper. "I hope you haven't been sitting in this for too long, it's not going to help your rash." Immediately inserting his thumb in his mouth, Tim closed his eyes and waited for Gibbs to finish. Once he was done, Gibbs held brushed Tim's hair to the side and placed his hand on his forehead. "You're burning up again, kiddo. How does your stomach feel?"

"S' kay," he responded as Gibbs brushed his hand down the toddler's cheek.

"I think it's time we get you home. We'll go say bye to everyone and take off."

Packing away the supplies, Gibbs grabbed Hero off the table and gave it to the youngster, "Can't forget him, can we?"

Tim shook his head as the older man gathered him in his arms and headed for the door. The team was waiting for them on the catwalk to say their goodbyes. Tony was the first to approach them, holding his hand up for a high five. Then he ran the back of his hand down Tim's cheek, "It looks like the fever is back, make sure Gibbs takes good care of you," he joked as Tim reached out and wrapped his arms around Tony's neck. "Tank u Toey, I lube u."

"Right back at you, kiddo," he replied as he moved back to allow the others a chance.

Ducky stepped up next and was surprised when the toddler threw his arms around his neck and squeezed tight. "Ucky tanks fir takin weally good cawre of me. I lube u."

Stepping back, Ducky grabbed Tim's leg and squeezed, "Timothy, the pleasure was all mine. You are the most delightful patient I've ever had."

Ziva moved in as Ducky stepped away and welcomed the kiss to her cheek. Nobody was surprised when Tim ran his fingers through her hair before hugging her. "Zeba, tanks fir eberyting. I lube u mor den I lube Toey." Everyone laughed as she grabbed his hand and squeezed it, "How could you not, right Timmy?"

Tim grinned and nodded as Abby quietly made her way over. She poked him in the belly; "You are just too darn cute for your own good."

Abby was shocked when Tim motioned for her to step closer and wrapped his arms around her neck. He laid his head in the crook of her neck and whispered, "Tanks fir takin cawre of me todah. Fir makin me comfy. I weally lube u to Abs."

Their embrace lasted longer than Gibbs expected before Tim pulled away and Abby planted a giant kiss on his forehead. She wiped away a stray tear, "We all love you, Tim. We're going to be here for you no matter what because we're family and we take care of each other."

Knowing they had a long drive home, Gibbs was anxious to get on the road. Tim blew kisses to everyone as Gibbs stepped in the elevator and punched the number for the parking garage. As the elevator started descending, Tim laid his head down on Gibbs shoulder. When the elevator stopped and the doors opened, Tim lifted Hero up and gave him a kiss. "Gwad I nam'ed muh doggie afta u dada, cuz u muh hewo an' I lubes u mostest"

Gibbs felt his breathing hitch and his eyes start to well up, "I love you the most too. Now let's go home."

Chapter Text

During the drive home, Gibbs carefully navigated through the snowy terrain, while thinking back to the conversation he had earlier with Ducky. The older man wisely told him to cherish the memories they already had, but that didn't mean they couldn't create new ones too. He had an idea for something special they could do together that they could both hold close to their hearts regardless of the future.

A muffled "Dada" brought Gibbs back to reality as they sat at a red light.

Gibbs turned around, using his peripheral vision to keep an eye on the traffic light. "Yeah, kiddo?"

Tim pulled his thumb out of his mouth and clutched Hero against his chest, "U kay?"

The apprehensive look on the toddler's face almost broke his heart. Apparently he wasn't as good at hiding his emotions as he thought he was; or perhaps he was letting his guard down around the little guy. Giving Tim's leg a squeeze of reassurance he nodded, "I'm fine, buddy. Don't worry about me, okay?"

Carefully studying Gibbs' face, Tim smiled and returned his thumb to his mouth. The car horn blaring behind them forced Gibbs to turn back around and start driving. Unfortunately, the drive home took even longer than it had that afternoon. By the time he pulled into the driveway, Tim was already dozing off again. However, when Gibbs opened the door and a big gust of wind blew through the car, Tim jerked wide-awake.

The toddler whimpered as Gibbs fumbled with the seat belt, exposing them both to the wrath of Mother Nature. "I'm sorry, sweetie. I almost got it," he grumbled, as the last buckle was unsnapped. Throwing the diaper bag over one shoulder he picked up the youngster. Tim immediately buried his face against Gibbs' chest, using it to create a shield from the fierce wind. Jethro greeted them at the door, and followed Gibbs as he deposited the toddler on the couch. After removing his jacket, the older man reached down and rubbed the top of the dog's ears. "How's it going boy?" Jethro cocked his head to the side, barked and watched as Gibbs removed Tim's jacket.

The house had cooled down considerably, and the first item on Gibbs' to do list was starting a fire. He ran his fingers through the dog's thick fur "Must be nice to have a permanent coat. Some of us aren't as lucky so let me start a fire then I'll let you outside."

He walked to the fireplace, stacked a set of wood and lit a match. What he didn't notice was that Jethro had made himself comfortable on the couch next to Tim. As he added logs and waited for the fire to start burning a high-pitched squeal caught his attention. Turning around he couldn't help but chuckle at the sight in front of him. Tim was lying on his side, propped up against a pillow, while Jethro straddled him, licking every inch of his face. The uncontrollable laughter was something that had been missing the last few days and Gibbs hoped it was a sign that Tim was feeling better. It wasn't until the dog decided to lean his upper body down on the little guy that he felt the need to intervene.

"All right you crazy dog, let's get you outside." Gibbs laughed as he grabbed Jethro's collar and pulled him off the couch. He was shocked at the amount of drool that graced his little one's face. Before heading to the back door, he picked up Tim and slung him over his shoulder, "Come on, kiddo. Let's get that face cleaned up."

"Bubble?" Timmy joyfully requested as Gibbs opened the door and watched as Jethro happily bounded through the snowdrifts. A blast of cold arctic air caused Tim to shiver and burrow his face into the crook of Gibbs' neck.

"Sorry squirt, what did you say," The older man asked as he sat Tim down on the counter near the sink.

"Me wanna bubble, Gib!"

"Oh you do?" Gibbs snickered then looked around the kitchen for something to clean Tim's face off with. He noticed Hero was covered with slobber as well so he removed the dog from the toddler's arms and set him over to the side. Tim whined as his precious toy was taken away. "Hold on, I'll be right back. Let me clean both of you up and you can have Hero back." Gibbs announced walking to the family room to find the diaper bag.

While he dug through the bag looking for the package of baby wipes a loud thud followed by a horrific scream caused his heart to drop into his stomach. Instantly he sprinted toward the kitchen to find Tim sprawled out on the floor on his stomach. Blood was gushing from his mouth as he lay howling in pain. Gibbs rushed to his side, dropped down and carefully turned the youngster over. By this point Tim was sobbing so hard he began to choke on his own saliva and blood. Placing one hand under Tim's legs and the other under his back he cautiously lifted him into his lap. "Shh shh baby, daddy's here now. Can you tell me where you hurt?" Tim's sobbing continued as Gibbs slowly rocked him in his arms, desperate for the little guy to settle down so he could assess his injuries. When the rocking appeared not to be helping, Gibbs started quietly singing a song he would sing to Kelly on occasions when she got hurt.

At first, he couldn't remember all the lyrics, but by the time he got to the middle of the song it all came back to him. He was surprised that the song quieted Tim down almost immediately. After the third time through the song, Gibbs felt comfortable enough to evaluate Tim's injuries. Still sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, he opened the package of baby wipes and gently wiped the blood and tears from the toddler's face. Speaking softly, Gibbs inquired, "Timmy, can you tell me where you hurt the most?"

Tim let out a small snuffle and pointed to his mouth. Confirming what the older man already suspected he continued, "Anywhere else?"

"All ober dada," Tim whispered as he snuggled closer to Gibbs.

Gibbs nodded, "All right, sweetie. Daddy is going to take good care of you. Do you mind if I check out your arms and legs?"

After a small shake of the little guy's head, Gibbs went to work. He unbuttoned Tim's pants and started sliding them down his legs. "I'm going to go slow, but you let me know if I'm hurting you okay?"

He slipped off Tim's shoes and carefully pulled his pants off the rest of the way. Gibbs was relieved when there didn't appear to be anything but a couple of bruises on his knees. Using his hands to gently squeeze each leg, he watched for any sign of discomfort on Tim's face. Satisfied nothing was broken, he tenderly kissed both knees and turned his attention to Tim's upper body.

"All right, kiddo. Let's sit you up so I can take off your shirt. Gradually he pulled Tim into a sitting position and rubbed his back as he started to whine. Gibbs' adrenaline began pumping at the impression his baby was hurt worse than he thought. "What is it, sweetie? What hurts?"

Tim pointed to his elbow in confirmation. "I'm sorry, partner. I probably pulled on it a bit too hard trying to sit you up."

Delicately guiding each arm through the holes, Gibbs stretched the neck of the shirt to avoid making contact with Tim's face. The bleeding from his lip had stopped, but it was starting to swell and he would be damned if he put his son through any more pain.

Starting with the arm that the youngster indicated hurt the most he repeated the same actions on the lower part of his arm and hand that he did to Tim's legs and feet. Quickly moving up the arm he noticed there was a large angry red mark on his elbow. "Timmy, I need to make sure your arm isn't broken. Do you think you can be a big boy and let me examine it?"

Following a long pause, Tim finally nodded and winced when Gibbs ran his fingertips over the soon to be bruise. "Okay sweetie this might hurt a little," the older man warned him as he bent the elbow back and forth checking for abnormalities. Gibbs was by no means a doctor; however, he had been through many broken bones and was confident he knew what to look for. Besides, with the snowfall it wasn't safe for Ducky to be venturing out for a visit. Tim sniffled as Gibbs rotated and bent his arm. "I know it hurts, buddy. The good thing is it appears, as if nothing is broken. You're just a little banged up." Quickly checking his other arm along with his neck, back and chest, Gibbs found an assortment of marks that were associated with his fall. By the time he finished checking Tim over, Jethro was barking from outside to be let in.

"Timmy, I want to take a better look inside your mouth and the doggy wants in so I'm going to stand up, okay?"

"Kay," the little guy whispered as Gibbs gathered him in his arms and stood up. Knowing Tim was only in a diaper he shielded his body behind the kitchen wall reached his arm around and opened the door. Jethro came bouncing in, feeling the urge to shake the remaining snow off his fur. The dog eyed Gibbs suspiciously, cocked his head to the side and barked. "Oh yeah, I forgot your treat." Gibbs opened the package of treats and handed it to Tim, "You want to give Jethro his treat?"

Tim took the treat from Gibbs and when the older man squatted down he held it out for the dog. Jethro took the treat, but immediately dropped it and followed the pair over to the kitchen sink. As he sat Tim on the counter once again, Gibbs looked down to see Jethro giving him the same stare he was earlier. "Don't worry, boy. Timmy is going to be as good as new in no time." Jethro whined and lay down on the floor, but his attention was focused exclusively on Tim.

Keeping an eye on Tim, Gibbs grabbed a teether out of the freezer and brought it back to the counter. Wetting a paper towel, Gibbs wiped the remaining blood and started examining the toddler's lip. "Can you open up?" The older man asked his finger perched on Tim's bottom lip. Tim squirmed as Gibbs probed his mouth, "Easy, son. I'm almost done. I need to make sure you're alright."

Letting go of Tim's mouth, Gibbs stepped back and patted him on the knee. Now that the youngster was taken care of and left with only bumps and bruises, he needed to know what caused the fall. "Timmy, you want to tell me what happened?"

Tim lowered his head and closed his eyes; obviously ashamed about what happened. Drawing in a deep breath, Gibbs placed his finger under Tim's chin and raised it up. Tim's face was scrunched up and he was on the verge of tears. After gently brushing the hair off Tim's forehead, Gibbs kissed it. "Sweetie, don't cry. I promise I won't get mad, I just want to know what happened."

Reluctantly the toddler opened his eyes and pointed to Hero on the counter. "Me wanna Hewo n' me tink me couldsh weach him."

"Aww honey, I was going to clean him up and give him right back to you."

"Me sowry," Tim whispered, lowered his head and burst into tears.

Gibbs hated to see his little one cry. Wrapping one arm around Tim's back he pulled him close as the youngster continued sobbing into his chest. Soothingly running his hand up and down Tim's back, Gibbs leaned in close, "I only wish you would have let me help. I hate seeing you get hurt, but it's over now and you survived with only a few bumps and bruises."

Tremors continued to rack Tim's small frame as Gibbs held him close. He leaned his chin on the top of Tim's head, "Hey, I have a project we can do, want to see what it is?"

When he felt a small nod from Tim, Gibbs stepped back and lifted his chin. Using a paper towel to wipe the tears from his face, he grabbed the teether and held it up to the toddler's lip. "You think you can hold that for daddy while I clean Hero up?"

"Yesh," Tim mumbled as Gibbs handed him the frozen ring then grabbed a few baby wipes and cleaned off the stuffed dog. "Good as new," he declared as he handed him over.

Picking Tim up off the counter, Gibbs headed for the downstairs, "The supplies are down here; once we find them we'll bring them upstairs and work at the kitchen table. Tim shivered as they made their descent into the cold, dark basement. Running his hand up and down Tim's arm in an attempt to warm him, Gibbs commented, "Sorry about the cold, we'll just be a minute. Truth of the matter is, for this activity I would rather have you in just a diaper. Might get a little messy."

Immediately heading for the drawers of paint, Gibbs rifled through and collected three different colors. Grabbing a few paintbrushes from the workbench he headed back upstairs to the warmth of the kitchen. Tim squealed as Gibbs laid the paint out on the table. "I told you this was going to be fun. Now that we have the paint I need to go upstairs and gather a few items." Not wanting to let Tim out of his sight, Gibbs trudged upstairs, grabbed two white undershirts out of his drawer along with a white onesie and headed back downstairs. He set Tim down in one of the chairs as he rummaged through the kitchen accumulating the remaining supplies. Dropping a few paper plates down on the table, Gibbs took a seat next to Tim and commented, "You can pick two colors, and one has to be darker than the other." Gibbs couldn't help but smile as Tim contemplated the different colors. Finally choosing red and blue, Tim excitedly pushed them in the older man's direction.

"Good choices, Timmy. I accidentally bought these fabric paints when I made my toys for the hospital at Christmas time. I didn't have time to return them and I knew they would come in handy one day."

Gibbs poured a generous amount of blue on one of the paper plates as Tim squirmed in his seat. He chuckled, "You have to be patient, son. Daddy has to do his handprint first then we have to wait for it to dry before you can do yours."

Tim's bottom lip stuck out farther than normal due to his injury and Gibbs couldn't help laughing when the toddler crossed his arms and faced him. Running his fingers through Tim's hair, Gibbs reassured him, "I have some paper in the cabinet in the living room. You can paint on there while I make supper and we wait for my handprints to dry."

"Kay dada dis gonna be fun!" Tim squealed as Gibbs smoothed out the first undershirt and used a tape measure and a pencil to make a mark as close to the center as possible. Pushing up the sleeve of his sweatshirt, Gibbs placed his right hand in the center of the paint filled plate. Tim giggled as Gibbs squished his hand around, making sure it was fully covered. Using the small mark he'd created in the center of the shirt as a guide, Gibbs carefully laid his hand down on the fabric. After waiting for a moment to make sure all the paint transferred over he removed his hand and stepped back to admire his work.

"Not bad," he smirked as Tim giggled and clapped his hands. Grabbing one of the paintbrushes, Gibbs filled in the few areas that were missing paint and carefully slid the shirt to the other side of the table to dry. After repeating the process on the other shirt and onesie, Tim was practically bouncing out of his seat, while he waited for his turn. Gibbs came in from the living room carrying a stack of paper, "Even though it's fabric paint, I'm sure it will still work on paper. The bottle says it dries fast so the shirts should be ready for your handprint once we're done with dinner."

Tim picked up one of the paintbrushes, "Me do dada."

Gibbs nodded, "It's your turn, buddy. However, once dinner is ready you're going to have to stop so we can eat. Do we have a deal?"

"Yesh, dada!" Tim squealed as Gibbs picked him up and sat him in the middle of the table. "It will be easier for you to paint up here rather than in that chair." Squeezing a small amount of each of the different colors on to a paper plate, Gibbs placed it in front of the youngster along with the paintbrushes and paper. "Have at it, kiddo. You're going to need a bath tonight anyways. If you need me, I'll be at the stove warming up some soup."

Tim didn't waste any time, he immediately covered the paintbrush with red paint and started drawing lopsided circles on the paper. Satisfied his boy was occupied for a while, Gibbs started collecting the supplies he needed for dinner. After starting a fresh pot of coffee, Gibbs moved on to buttering bread and slicing cheese. In between stirring the soup and flipping the grilled cheese sandwiches, he would occasionally glance over and observe Tim. Whatever he was painting had his full concentration, the look on his face was reminiscent of when his junior agent was busy hacking into someone's computer or tracking down a lead. As he pulled out two bowls from the cupboard he looked over at Tim, "Dinner is almost ready, are you going to be done with your painting?"

Gibbs burst out laughing as Tim turned to face him. The youngster had several globs of paint on his face and chest. "Did you get any paint on the paper or is it all on you?" Shrugging his shoulders the toddler wiped his arm across his face, smearing a majority of the paint over his nose and cheek. Turning off the stovetop, Gibbs dished out two bowls of soup along with the sandwiches and headed toward the kitchen table. Careful not to disrupt Tim's painting he slid it down to the other end of the table then grabbed a washcloth to wipe the paint off the little guy's face and hands.

"Dis fir u dada," Tim announced pointing to the painting.

"Really?" Gibbs replied, not expecting Tim to be creating something for him.

"Uh hmm it me, u, doggy n' Hewo. Som of muh famwy."

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Gibbs carefully slid the painting closer to examine it. Lopsided circles posed as their heads while wavy lines created the legs and arms. Jethro and Hero were created using ovals for the bodies and upside down "V's" as the feet. Hero was smaller than Jethro but had the same features. Never one to skimp on details even as a baby, Tim included a pair of eyes, a nose, mouth and tail on each dog. The image of Jethro also included the dog's tongue hanging out of his mouth with specks of paint dripping down from it.

Gibbs took his time to examine the painting while they waited for the soup to cool. "Can you tell me who everyone is?"

Proud of his accomplishment, Tim scooted closer to the picture and pointed to the pair of stick figures. "Dis one is u dada n' dis one is me." Moving on to the two dogs, he pointed at the larger one, "Dis is doggy n' dis is Hewo."

Running a hand through Tim's hair, Gibbs nodded, "What's this coming out of the doggy's mouth?"

A small giggle escaped the toddler, "Doggy wash dwooling."

Letting out a hearty laugh, Gibbs nodded once more, "That's right Jethro does drool a lot. That's what doggies do."

There was a moment of silence as the two sat admiring Tim's work before the youngster spoke, "Dada u wike muh paining?"

Sliding the painting back to the end of the table to dry, Gibbs picked Tim up off the table, sat him in his lap and pulled him close. Wrapping both arms around the little guy he whispered, "I love your painting Tim! It's the best gift I've received in a long time."

"Good caush u da besth pwesent me eber got."

Tim's response caused Gibbs' indecision to kick back into high gear. He couldn't have asked for a better gift than baby Tim. However, he knew it would only be fair to Tim if he were returned to his adult state. The little boy's replies weren't making his emotions any easier to deal with. If Tim remained a baby he could continue showering him with all the love and affection he missed out on as a child. On the other hand, it would be selfish to wish such acruel act upon him, to see him forced to go through his entire childhood and adolescence again. The one thing Gibbs knew was that it was out of his control and up to the fates to decide. No matter what, he would continue being there for the young man no matter what the circumstances.

Sucking in a long breath as he worked to compose himself, Gibbs pulled Tim closer. He rested his chin on top of the toddler's head, "I love you, Tim."

Enveloped in his daddy's big strong arms, Tim sighed, "Me lube u too dada."

Gibbs had almost completely forgotten about dinner until he heard Tim's tummy grumble. Arranging Tim in his lap, Gibbs slid the bowls of soup and plate of sandwiches in front of them. "Let's eat little one." Picking up a piece of grilled cheese, Tim squirmed in delight as he chewed on the sandwich. Capturing a spoonful of soup, Gibbs put it to his lips to check the temperature. Satisfied it wasn't too hot he offered it to Tim. They ate in companionable silence, Gibbs matching each of his bites to the little guys. When they were finished, Gibbs pushed the dishes aside and looked at the time. It was getting late and he hoped the paint on the shirts was dry so they could finish them tonight.

"Ba ba dada," Tim's request interrupted Gibbs' train of thought.

"You thirsty, partner?" He asked as he stood up, draped Tim over his shoulder and collected a bottle from the cabinet.

Even though the toddler appeared to be feeling better, Gibbs didn't want to take any chances and filled the bottle with Pedialyte. Pouring a cup of coffee for himself he made his way back over to the table and checked to see if the paint had dried. It had only been an hour and he was happily surprised the first shirt was ready for Tim's handprint.

"Let's check and see if the other shirts are dry while we're up, shall we?"

Tim's eyes lit up and he nodded contently as he nursed from the bottle. Pleased the other two pieces were completely dry, Gibbs collected the shirts from the living room and deposited them on the kitchen table. Running out of space, he carefully clutched Tim's painting and moved it to the living room. After removing the dishes from dinner, Gibbs once again sat Tim in the middle of the table. Taking a long sip of coffee he looked over at his baby boy, "Timmy, I can't hold the bottle and help you, have you gotten enough to drink for a few minutes?"

Following one last suck, the nipple slid out of Tim's mouth with a pop. Gibbs patted him on the back, hoping to get some gas out of the youngster. Sure enough, a few moments later a large burp emanated from Tim. They both laughed as Gibbs continued patting his back, "That's my boy. Sounds like you're ready to do this."

"Me bery, bery weady dada," Tim giggled and clapped his hands.

As Gibbs squirted a large amount of red paint onto one of the plates, Tim could barely contain his excitement. He bounced on his bottom, shaking the table as the older man tried to get everything set up. Putting one hand on Tim's shoulder, Gibbs squeezed, "Son, I know you're excited but if you keep bouncing up and down then the shirts will get ruined."

"Sowry dada," Tim blushed and hung his head in shame. Noticing, Gibbs used his finger to tilt Tim's chin, "Hey, kiddo you didn't do anything wrong. Daddy's not mad at you; I just want to make sure these shirts turn out perfectly." Using his free hand, Gibbs squeezed above Tim's knee, knowing it was bound to get a smile from his boy. Sure enough, a small chuckle followed by a smile appeared on his face.

"Good, I'm glad that's all straightened out. Daddy doesn't like it when you're sad."

Arranging the shirt flat on the table, Gibbs helped Tim fully cover the palm of his hand in red paint. Lining up Tim's hand directly on top of Gibbs' already dried handprint they pressed down on the fabric and waited. Content that enough time had gone by, Gibbs carefully helped Tim lift his hand as they both "oohed" at the outcome. They had lined up the hands perfectly and because Tim's was much smaller than Gibbs' both handprints were still recognizable. Two hands intertwined as one, a memory they both would cherish in spite of of the outcome.

The smile on Tim's face was priceless and Gibbs wished he had a camera to remember the moment forever. Instead he felt it would be easier if they wrote something that meant a lot to the both of them. Determining it may be best to let Tim decide he suggested, "How about we write something on the bottom, what do you think it should say?"

It didn't take long for Tim to consider what he wanted inscribed on the bottom of the shirt.

"Timmy n Gib." The toddler blurted out almost immediately. When Gibbs didn't instantly respond, Tim questioned, "Do u wike it?" His eyes filled with a sense of pride at the phrase he had come up with.

Clearing his throat and sucking in a long breath, Gibbs replied, "I think it's perfect! How did you get to be so smart?"

Tim shrugged his shoulder and scooted over as the older man grabbed a paintbrush. "What color do you want to paint it in? Red, blue or green?"

"Gween," Tim happily answered as he watched Gibbs open the bottle of paint and coat the brush.

"Where do you think I should paint the letters, Timmy?"

Both of them studied the shirt before Tim finally pointed to the right hand bottom corner where Gibbs' handprint stopped.

"Looks like a good location to me," Gibbs confirmed as he began carefully painting the different letters. When he finished he stepped back to inspect his work. Years of being a sniper helped him keep a steady hand and he was amazed at how good a job he had done. "Looks great, but I feel like it's missing something. How about if we add the year?"

Nodding his head in agreement, Tim watched as Gibbs dipped his brush back in the paint and started on the 2013. As he painted the last number and moved back, Tim grasped his arm, "Gweat wowrk dada!"

Ruffling the youngster's hair, Gibbs replied, "Thanks, kiddo. But I didn't do all the work it was a team effort. Now let's finish the other shirts because it's getting late and you still need a bath."

After moving the completed shirt to the living room, the pair worked on finishing the other shirt as well as the onesie. Because he was unsure of Tim's future, Gibbs wanted to make sure they prepared an item that would fit either a grown up or baby. Tim had been attentive throughout the process, but was beginning to get bored. As Gibbs finished painting on the final letters a small giggle broke his concentration. He glanced over and smiled at the condition of his boy. Tim had commandeered one of the paintbrushes and was using it to paint different parts of his body. Several red handprints donned each of his legs and the little guy had started using the brush to paint his arms.

Gibbs cleared his throat and stood with his hands on his hips. "Having fun, kiddo?"

Realizing he had been caught, Tim dropped the paintbrush then turned and gave Gibbs a mostly toothless grin.

"Uh huh me habing lots o' fun."

Between Tim's smile and puppy dog eyes, Gibbs was easily defeated when it came to being irritated with the little guy. "Good, I'm glad you're having fun, but it's bath time now."

"Yay!" Tim exclaimed and clapped his hands together, splattering paint on his face and chest.

The toddler giggled, "Dis is fun, Gib!"

Staring down at the mess on the kitchen table, Gibbs sighed, he didn't feel like cleaning it up tonight, but he knew the longer the paint sat on the table the less likely it was to come off. Nevertheless, he wouldn't trade this experience with Tim for anything. Once all three shirts were set aside to dry, Gibbs made quick work of tidying up the kitchen. The only positive thing about the clean up was most of the mess went in the garbage except for the paintbrushes which he rinsed out and promptly stuck in a cup of water.

After scrubbing the kitchen table free of paint, he let Jethro outside one last time. Then filled the dog's food and water dish before pouring a fresh cup of coffee and a new bottle. Looking over at his son who was covered in dry paint, Gibbs stated, "I'm going to put you on the floor while I run upstairs, drop these off and start the bath. I'll be right back, okay?"

Tim yawned and reached out his arms as Gibbs picked him up and sat him on the floor, "Kay dada don' takesh too long."

Grabbing his supplies off the counter he reassured him, "Don't worry, buddy. I'll be back in a flash."

As Gibbs headed upstairs he realized how exhausted he was. The past few days had taken an emotional and physical toll on his body. Even though he was used to working long hours, many times on very little sleep, taking care of a baby had it's own set of challenges. No matter how sleep deprived he was nothing could hinder the joy he felt when Tim called him dada or the look on his little one's face when he walked into a room. Ducky was right, as long as he cherished those memories everything would turn out fine.

Chapter Text

After starting the bath, Gibbs hustled back downstairs and bumped the temperature up on the thermostat. The fire was nearly out and he didn't feel comfortable starting a new one when he wasn't around to keep an eye on it. A hearty giggle was music to his ears as he walked into the kitchen. What he didn't expect to see was Tim straddled over Jethro's back as if he was riding a horse. The dog didn't appear to mind though, his chin rested on his paws while his eyes were partial closed. Tim was rubbing Jethro's ears, at one point wrapped his arms around the dog's neck, and then rested his chin on top of the furry head. He hated to break up the camaraderie, but with the bath running upstairs it was only a matter of time before the tub was filled.

"Having fun?" Gibbs asked as he walked over to the pair in the middle of the kitchen floor.

The voice caught Tim off guard and he buried his face against the Jethro's neck. When he realized it was Gibbs, he sat up and gave one of his famous grins, "Yesh, doggy muh howsey "

"I see that and it's very nice of him, but it's bath time. We need to get upstairs before the tub overflows."

Giving Jethro's ears one last rub, Tim extended his arms before mumbling, "Kay dada. Me gonna hab bubble?"

Chuckling, the older man gathered Tim in his arms; shutting off all the lights on his way upstairs. Jethro was quick to follow and in many ways had become more protective of Tim since they had been home. The entire night the dog stayed close, watching every move Tim made. Even so much that he refused to eat dinner. Hurrying into the bathroom, Gibbs made it to the faucet in the nick of time and turned it off.

He removed Tim's diaper and as he picked him up to put him in the bath, the toddler began peeing all over his shirt. Caught off guard and unsure of what to do, he set him down and grabbed a washcloth to use as a shield until Tim was finished. Knowing he would be extremely upset, Gibbs tried to laugh it off, but the mortified look on his little guy's face broke his heart. The tips of his ears to the bottom of his chin turned bright red before Tim burst into tears and covered his face with his hands.

Removing the washcloth and throwing it aside, Gibbs knelt down and soothingly ran his hand up and down Tim's back. "Hey, kiddo. Its okay, these kinds of things happen. It's no big deal."

Tremor after tremor racked Tim's small frame along with muffled words that Gibbs couldn't quite make out. He pulled the youngster into his lap, hoping he would find comfort in the closeness. Instantly Tim buried his face against Gibbs' shoulder too embarrassed to look the older man in the eyes. Gibbs realized that no matter what he said, nothing was going to calm the young boy down.

With one hand on the back of Tim's head and the other hand on his back, Gibbs embraced the little guy until he felt the tremors subsiding. Knowing he had to do something to break the tension, Gibbs reached in the bathtub, grabbed a handful of bubbles and placed them on top of Tim's head. Still sniffling, Tim slowly leaned back and wiped the streaks of tears with the back of his hand. Grabbing another handful of bubbles, Gibbs went to work on creating a beard for Tim's face.

"Dada," the toddler whispered as his breathing hitched.

Gibbs stopped what he was doing to give his full attention to the little one. "What is it, kiddo?"

Tim's gaze was focused on the floor, "Me so sowry. R u mad at me?"

Taking a deep breath, Gibbs used a finger to tilt Tim's chin, "I could never be angry with you, son. Unfortunately, it's something you have no control over right now." He paused, taking in the look of sadness in Tim's eyes. "I know its tough, sweetie. You have handled this whole situation better than anybody else on this team would have. I can't imagine Tony, Ziva or even me having to go through a second childhood. I'm sorry that you've had to go through this, but don't think for one second that I'm mad. I'm very proud of you."

The bubbles that adorned Tim's face were slowly sliding off and hitting the floor with a plop. Gibbs was relieved when a small grin appeared on Tim's face, "How about we get you into the bath, we still need to get all this paint off and I would hate to see a perfectly good bubble bath go to waste."

Nodding his head vigorously, Tim sniffled as the older man lifted him into the tub. Relieved to see that crisis concluded, Gibbs stood up and examined his sweatshirt. Peeling it off, he was satisfied to find it hadn't soaked through to his undershirt. Jethro was lying in the corner of the bathroom watching as Tim giggled and played with his toys. Realizing he needed to clean up the floor after the accident, Gibbs looked over at him, "I need to run to the linen closet. Keep an eye on Tim for me, okay?"

A loud bark confirmed his request, while Gibbs addressed the toddler. "Timmy I need to leave and grab a few things so I can clean up. I'll just be a minute but if you need anything, scream as loud as you can, okay?"

"Kay dada," the youngster responded then turned his attention back to the toy boat.

Feeling comfortable that Jethro wouldn't allow anything to happen to Tim, Gibbs quickly made his way to the hall closet, collected an assortment of towels and headed back to the bathroom. Snagging the bottle of cleaner from underneath the sink, he sprayed the floor, dropped to his hands and knees and used an old hand towel to wipe the remaining mess from the floor. As he sat back on his knees a variety of body parts creaked causing Tim to giggle.

"Oh, you think that's funny, kiddo?" Gibbs joked as he pushed himself off the ground and walked over to the sink.

Tim nodded, "U bery old dada."

He couldn't argue with the little guy, every morning when he woke up there appeared to be a new pain. "You're right I am getting old, but why don't we keep that between us. Our little secret, okay?"

"Me lube u old o' young." Tim smiled as he picked up a pile of bubbles, blew them and watched as they sailed onto the freshly cleaned floor.

"Timmy, let's try and keep the bubbles inside the tub," Gibbs admonished him as he grabbed a fresh washcloth and knelt by the tub.

"Sowry," the youngster responded, ducking his head in shame.

Rubbing the back of Tim's head to get his attention, Gibbs waited until he raised his chin and looked at him.

"Don't worry about it. You're starting to look like a prune, daddy's going to get you cleaned up and ready for bed. It's late and this old man could use some rest."

Tim sulked and stuck his bottom lip out in a pout as Gibbs squeezed some soap on the washrag and efficiently began scrubbing paint off the toddler's arms and legs. Noticing Tim's change in mood he spoke, "Hey, once we're done how about a nice bottle and some cuddle time?"

As much as Tim loved the bath, he also enjoyed the quiet alone time with his dada. Gibbs had a special way of making him feel loved, comforted and protected.

Shrugging his shoulders, Tim responded, "Dat be good."

Pinching the little guy's cheek, Gibbs washed his hair and gave him one final rinse before enveloping him in a fluffy warm towel. Once he was completely dry, Gibbs carried him out to the bedroom and laid him on the dresser. "First order of business is to get you in a diaper, don't want a repeat of earlier." Realizing he said that aloud, Gibbs gave himself a mental head slap and held his breath while he waited for Tim's reaction.

Relieved to hear a small giggle escape Tim's mouth he continued their routine until the youngster was fully dressed. After moving him from the dresser to the bed, Gibbs rubbed Tim's belly, "I'm going to get cleaned up in the bathroom, and I'll be right back."

Jethro waited for Gibbs to enter the bathroom before jumping up on the bed and making himself comfortable next to Tim. The dog closed his eyes as Tim softly ran his tiny fingers through his fur. When Gibbs returned he wasn't surprised to see the pair snuggled up on the bed and was happy Jethro was taking his protection orders seriously. After flipping on the bedside lamp, Gibbs turned off the bedroom light and walked over to the bed.

"You two look mighty cozy, but now it's my turn for a cuddle. You ready for a bottle, Timmy?"

"Mmm kay," Tim yawned as the older man snatched the bottle off the nightstand, picked the youngster up and made himself comfortable in the recliner. Jethro followed and plopped down on the floor near them.

Gibbs cradled the young boy in his arms, cherishing the contact between the two of them. He guided the nipple of the bottle to Tim's mouth and waited for him to start sucking. Rocking back and forth in the chair, snuggling with his little boy was a perfect way to end a stressful day. Between Tim being sick and Lucy's interrogation, he was hanging on by a thread. However, the memories he created with Tim would be something he would never forget. He regretted not having those special memories with Kelly and would be damned if he let that happen with Tim. As long as Tim remained a child, his child, the number one goal each day was to make sure he was happy, healthy and loved. A small snuffle brought him out of his musing and he looked down to see Tim fast asleep. Removing the bottle and setting it aside, Gibbs gathered the toddler closer to his chest, leaned back to recline the chair and pulled up the footrest. He knew his back would be killing him in the morning, but he didn't want to risk waking Tim by transferring him to the bed. Flipping off the bedside lamp, he closed his eyes while listening to the sounds of Tim's breathing. "I love you, kiddo" he whispered as he ran his hand down Tim's cheek and kissed his forehead.

Sometime in the middle of the night, Gibbs was awakened to a quiet whimpering. 'Shh Jethro, it's the middle of the night," he grumbled as he snuggled further into the chair. When the dog started barking, Gibbs opened his eyes and flipped on the bedside lamp ready to admonish him. What he didn't expect to see was Tim, fully grown, asleep and sucking his thumb. He looked like the Incredible Hulk, the sleeper was in shreds underneath him and the diaper barely concealed his nether region. He quickly scanned Tim's body, as all new mothers and fathers do, checking for ten fingers, toes and any abnormalities. Tim looked so peaceful, Gibbs debated about waking him but knew the young man would be excited, at least he expected him to be, that he was a fully- grown adult again. Taking the opportunity, he kissed Tim's forehead one last time before gently shaking the young man awake.

Lil bweezy n' cool. N' who shakin me? As the layer of cobwebs slowly dissipated from his mind, Tim opened his eyes, blinking several times to clear the sleep from them. "Dada?" He questioned as he removed his thumb from his mouth and the older man's face came into focus.

Tim was perplexed, why didn't Gibbs appear as big as he normally did? What was going on, why was he being awakened in the middle of the night?"

Watching the growing anxiety on Tim's face, Gibbs couldn't wait any longer to tell him what was going on. He was surprised his young agent hadn't figured it out for himself. He squeezed Tim's thigh, causing the man to look down at the rest of his body. "You're back, Tim!"

The younger man's jaw dropped open as he tried to sit up to examine himself. Gibbs helped pull him up into a sitting position and watched as Tim's eyes scanned from the tips of his toes up to where the diaper sat between his legs. Immediately the young man used one hand to cover his lower region and blushed. "Sowry Gib," he mumbled then shook his head in embarrassment at the words that came out of his mouth.

"No need to be embarrassed, Tim. It might take awhile for your brain to sync up to the changes of your body. In fact, I'm sure your body was weakened by the transformation so a lot of things may be difficult at first." Gibbs reassured him as he soothingly rubbed his back.

Tim sat quietly no doubt digesting the fact he was no longer a baby. However, he was exhausted and as excited, as he was to be back to normal he felt himself dozing off, his head leaning on Gibbs' shoulder.

Gently patting Tim's cheek to awaken him, Gibbs spoke, "Let's get you into bed and I'll get a pair of boxers for you to wear tonight."

Adult Tim was a lot heavier than baby Tim and Gibbs knew he couldn't lift the man on his own. He would need Tim to help carry some of his own weight. He swung the younger man's legs over the armrest and Tim was able to push himself up so he was now sitting straight up in Gibbs' lap.

"Alright on the count of three we're going to stand up and try to walk to the bed."

As embarrassed as Tim was at Gibbs seeing him naked he knew it was already something the older man had seen only in a smaller size. He nodded in confirmation and waited with bated breath to see how much strength he had lost due to his enforced second childhood.

"Okay here we go...1...2...3" On three, Gibbs used the momentum from the rocking chair to propel them both upright. However, he didn't realize his own strength and before he knew it, Tim was toppling to the ground after being unable to maintain his balance.

Gibbs rushed over and cupped Tim's chin in his hand, "You okay, kiddo?"

"Yesh," Tim confirmed as Jethro wandered over and started licking his face. Wrapping his arms around the dog's neck, Tim pulled him close, "Me mished u too Jet."

While Jethro was keeping Tim occupied, Gibbs went to his dresser and pulled out a clean pair of boxers. Kneeling on the floor he guided the young man's legs through the holes and pulled them up as far as he could. "Timmy do you think you can hold yourself up for a second while I pull these on the rest of the way?"

Shrugging his shoulders, Tim replied, "We can twy."

"I think it would be easiest if you lie back and lift your hips. That way I can slide them on the rest of the way."

Tim nodded as he laid back and waited for Gibbs to get into position. "I'm weady," he announced as the older man clutched both sides of the boxers and waited for Tim to lift his hips. Tim was weak, but managed to lift up just enough so Gibbs could slide the boxers on the rest of the way.

"Now all we have to do is get you in bed." Gibbs paused while he thought of the easiest way to accomplish it. Finally he suggested, "You're not that far, do you want to crawl over and then we can hoist you up? I don't think your legs are strong enough for walking yet, perhaps in the morning."

Realizing he had no other choice, Tim shakily got up on all fours and slowly crawled toward the bed. Gibbs kept his hand on Tim's back to steady him along with giving him comfort. Even though it was a short distance, Tim was exhausted by the time he made it. "Gib…tiwed…now…" he squeaked out between breaths.

Patting his back, Gibbs replied, "I know, buddy. Take it easy, we're not in any rush. Let me know when you feel like making a move. Sitting down next to Tim, Gibbs was surprised when the younger man rested his head against his shoulder. These next few days were going to be an adjustment period for both of them. There was no doubt in his mind that Tim would still seek comfort from him even though he was a fully-grown adult again. Once Tim caught his breath he lifted his head and spoke, "Tink I'm weady now da…da…" he blushed as he caught himself and dropped his head.

Giving his agent a soft head smack, Gibbs waited for Tim to reestablish eye contact with him. "Listen Timmy, this is going to be different for both of us. No need to be embarrassed if you slip up, I'll probably do it a lot too. Give yourself time to get readjusted, okay?"

Tim knew Gibbs was right. After a week of referring to the older man as dada and Gib it was going to take some retraining of his brain before everything was back to normal. If his boss didn't mind then he would allow himself an adjustment period and not worry about his actions or the words that came out of his mouth.

"Kay," Tim smiled as Gibbs ruffled his hair. "Tink I'm weady to twy fir da bed now."

"All right, how about you get on your knees and rest your arms on top of the bed." Gibbs patted the bed as Tim got into position. "On the count of three, I want you to use your arms to help pull you up while I lift your legs."

Gibbs stood up and wrapped both arms around Tim's waist. "Here we go…1…2…3!" On three Gibbs boosted Tim's hips and with the younger man's help they were able to get him transferred to the bed. Tim crawled to the top of the bed and collapsed in a heap as exhaustion kicked in. "You alright, Tim?" Gibbs inquired as his agent worked to catch his breath.

Receiving a nod in confirmation, Gibbs pulled the sheets up over him. "I'm going to take the couch tonight, but yell if you need me." Taking one last look at his boy, Gibbs turned off the bedside lamp and walked to the door, knowing he had lost something special from his life. "I'll leave the door open in case you need me, okay?"

"Gib?" Tim murmured and rolled over to face the older man.

"What is it, kiddo?"

"Stay." The young man whispered as he absentmindedly stuck his thumb in his mouth.

Although Gibbs wasn't expecting Tim to ask him to stay he wasn't overly surprised by it either. Even though he was now fully-grown it was obvious it would take some time before his mind caught up with his body. If his youngest needed comfort then he would provide it as long as Tim needed. Gibbs walked to the other side of the bed, lay down and dragged the covers up. Tim rolled over, obviously seeking comfort from the older man. Stretching his arm out, Gibbs waited for Tim to scoot closer ultimately using his shoulder for a pillow. As they settled in, Gibbs wrapped his arms around him and squeezed before kissing the top of his head. Gibbs could feel the tension in Tim's body relax as he used his thumb to rub small circles on his forehead. He hoped the motion along with the close contact between them would lull him to sleep. He was relieved when Tim's breathing evened out before he started softly snoring. Once he knew Tim was taken care of, only then did Gibbs feel comfortable enough to follow him into sleep.


The following morning Gibbs awakened with a start. Why are my boxers wet? He thought as he opened his eyes, relieved to see Tim still asleep. He was curled up in a ball on the other side of the bed, the sheets tangled in a pile near his feet. Running a hand through his hair, Gibbs sighed when he noticed a wet spot on the middle of the bed. Stupid, stupid, stupid Jethro he scolded himself when he realized Tim's body had betrayed him. With all the developments last night, he was angry with himself that Tim's possible lack of control had fallen off his radar. It was no big deal to him, but he worried how Tim would deal with it now that he was an adult again. Slipping out of bed, Gibbs pulled the comforter up over Tim, collected his clothes and headed for the shower. As he turned it on and waited for it to heat up he chuckled at the toys that littered the bathtub floor. Soon his laughter turned to sadness when he realized baby Tim was no longer. As difficult as this was going to be on him it would be nice to have his whole team back together. Tim was a friend, brother and teammate to the rest of his crew and he knew as much as they loved baby Tim they also missed adult Tim. Although he was sad about losing his little boy he felt grateful for the time they were able to spend together and the unique bond they formed.

Stepping into the shower he closed his eyes and took a deep breath as the water massaged his aching body. Gibbs did a lot of thinking in the shower; it was peaceful, relaxing but more importantly, private. He was worried about how Tim would handle relearning control of his body. Of course he would be embarrassed, but hoped that with some convincing from him and Ducky, Tim would allow them to make suggestions on how he could handle it. He made a mental note to call Ducky to make a house call and pick up any supplies that Tim would need. Wanting to be out of the shower before Tim awakened, he quickly finished up and stepped out. Drying off and slipping into a pair of boxers and undershirt he peeked out the bathroom door. Tim appeared to be sleeping still, but Gibbs knew he could wake up at any minute. Deciding to skip shaving, he brushed his hair and teeth and got dressed. As he was finishing up he heard movement coming from the bedroom. Glancing out the door, he watched as Tim angrily threw back the covers and kicked them into a pile at the end of the bed. The young man then dropped his head in shame and covered his hands with his face. Deciding he had witnessed enough, Gibbs quietly made his way to Tim's side of the bed.


When there was no response, Gibbs automatically kicked into father mode. Soothingly rubbing his hand up and down Tim's back he took a seat on the bed next to him.

"Tim it's okay. I already know what happened. No reason to be ashamed, son."

Once again there was no response from his junior agent, so Gibbs relied on his instincts. Wrapping one arm around his shoulder to pull him close he used his other arm to wrap around his chest. With Tim's resting against him, Gibbs whispered, "This is all my fault; with all the excitement of last night I forgot you may have a problem with this. I give you permission to head slap me, but if I may make a request, not in front of the team."

Gibbs sat there with bated breath, waiting for Tim to say something or at least take his hands down from his face. Finally after what seemed like eternity, Tim removed his hands and turned to face him.

"I'm sorry, Gib. You have been so good to me and…I…I… go and do this." Tim blushed as he pointed at the stain on the sheets.

"Timmy, your speech is better! That's a very good sign you'll be as good as new in no time. As far as the accident, don't worry about it, but we'll need to get you some sort of protection."

Tim's shoulders slumped, "But I don't want to, it's not fair, why can't everything just be back to normal?"

Patting him on the back, Gibbs replied, "Give it time, son. Your body has been through a lot this past week. You have to focus on the positives otherwise it will drive you crazy. How about walking, you want to give it a try this morning? If you don't feel like you can stand long enough, you can take a nice bath while I go down and make breakfast."

Nodding, Tim waited until Gibbs stood up before he scooted over to the edge of the bed. As his long legs dangled over the edge, Tim looked up and made eye contact with the older man, "Gib?"

The look of desperation was so evident in Tim's eyes it broke his heart. "What's up, kiddo?"

"Do you promise everything will return to normal soon?"

Recognizing Tim was still comforted by touch, Gibbs reached out, cupped his cheek and ran his thumb down it, "I promise I'll do everything in my power to help things get back to normal for you. However, once Ducky has examined you we will know more. You ready to do this?"

Taking a deep breath, Tim planted his feet on the ground while Gibbs clenched his arm and helped pull him up. Once he was standing, his legs shook under the weight and he swayed from side to side. Understanding Tim needed some encouragement, Gibbs steadied him then spoke, "I know you can do it, buddy. Take it slow; I'll be with you every step of the way."

Following another deep breath, Tim looked down, put one foot in front of the other and took a step. Thankful Gibbs was there to lend support he continued on until they made it to the bathroom door. Realizing Tim was already tired, Gibbs leaned him up against the doorframe, still holding tightly to his arm. "Let's take a break. You're doing it though, Timmy! I'm proud of you and you should be proud of yourself!"

Tim smiled and wiped the sweat off his brow, "I am doing it, aren't I?

"Sure are, kiddo. I don't think you'll be able to stand long enough for a shower. How about we sit you down on the toilet to rest while I start the bath?"

Straightening himself up, Tim replied, "Sounds like a plan." After the short walk through the bathroom, Gibbs guided Tim to take a seat on the toilet. "All right, hold on a minute while I get all the toys out of the tub." That phrase earned Gibbs a giggle from his youngest; "I suppose it would be weird if I asked you to keep them in there?"

Astounded at Tim's response, Gibbs looked over his shoulder to read the look on his face. He wasn't sure if Tim was dead serious or if he was being funny. Deciding to put the ball in Tim's court, Gibbs shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'll do whatever you want me to. I could add some bubbles as well." The grin that appeared on Tim's face said it all, convincing Gibbs to pour some bubble bath in the tub as well.

Once the tub was filled, Gibbs looked over at Tim and cleared his throat, "Do you want some help?"

Chewing on his bottom lip, Tim nodded bashfully as the older man helped him walk to the tub, slip out of the wet boxers and step in. After Tim was settled, Gibbs excused himself and came back in with the baby monitor. He wanted to give Tim his privacy, but he also wanted to make sure he could hear if he needed anything. "I'm going to call Ducky and start breakfast. I don't want you getting out of the tub alone, not yet anyway." He pointed to the monitor on the sink, "Call me when you're finished and I'll come help you."

Knowing Gibbs wouldn't take "no" for an answer, Tim resigned himself to the fact he would need help until he regained his strength. "Okay Gib," he answered softly and watched as his boss exited the bathroom.

Sinking down in the tub, Tim sighed, closed his eyes and let the warm water sooth him. As the bubbles surrounded him, he made a mental note to start taking more baths. With his busy schedule it was hard to make time, but if there was anything he learned from the week it was how life can change when you're least expecting it and to enjoy the little things.

He was excited to be back to normal, well almost normal, but he couldn't ignore the pang in his heart when he thought about the moments he'd shared with Gibbs. The man had been amazing and now that he had time to think about it he was going to miss not having his dada around. Sure, Gibbs would still be his boss and they would still be a team but it would be different. No cuddling, feeding or opportunities for Gibbs to take care of him. The older man was right; it was not only going to be an adjustment on his body but also his mind.

After stripping the bed, Gibbs grabbed the baby monitor off the dresser and headed downstairs. Once he threw the sheets in the wash, he made his way to the kitchen to start a fresh pot of coffee. Jethro whined while pawing at the back door in desperate need of relief. As he shut the door, Tim's painting from the previous night caught his attention when a gust of wind ruffled it. Picking it up off the table he smiled as he carried it over to the refrigerator and hung it up. Figuring Tim would need a balanced breakfast to help him regain the strength he'd lost; Gibbs rummaged through the fridge and pulled out bacon, eggs, fruit and toast. Turning on the baby monitor, he checked to see that Tim was okay before setting it aside. As he began cracking eggs into a bowl, he pulled out his phone and hit the speed dial for Ducky.

Finally on the third ring, Ducky picked up, "Hello there Jethro, how's it going?"

"Hey Duck, it's going good. I was wondering if you could make a house call."

"Of course, Jethro. Is Timothy still not feeling well?"

"Actually, Tim was transformed back into an adult last night."

There was a gasp on the other line and Gibbs waited for Ducky to compose himself, "Well that's wonderful news. How's he doing? How are you doing, my friend?"

"Tim's doing okay. Although I've had to help him walk and he still doesn't have control over his bodily functions."

"To be expected, Jethro. Once he regains his strength it will be like this never happened."

"I'm not concerned about Tim walking; he'll pick that up in no time. What I am concerned about is his incontinence for the time being."

"Oh, I see." Ducky paused while he thought of what they could do to help Tim. He then continued, "I'm out grocery shopping, big snowstorm on the way tonight. Do you think Timothy would mind if I bought him some type of protection?"

Gibbs sighed, "Honestly, Duck I don't think he has a choice right now. It's either protection or…"

Ducky interrupted him, "I'll scan the shelves and see what I can find. I'm almost through here so I'll head your way once I'm done."

"Gib? I'm finished, could you come help me?"

Hearing Tim's voice over the monitor, Gibbs replied, "Thanks, Duck. Gotta go, Tim's in the tub and he needs help." Not awaiting a response from the older man, Gibbs let Jethro in from outside then hustled upstairs.

"I'm coming, Timmy." He called from the bedroom as he rummaged through drawers looking for something for Tim to wear. Finally deciding on a pair of sweats, a t-shirt and boxers he grabbed a clean towel and headed into the bathroom.

"All done?" Gibbs questioned as Tim rinsed his body of any remaining bubbles.

Nodding his head, Tim's teeth chattered as he waited for Gibbs to bring a warm towel over. "All right, let's get you up and out. I have some clothes for you to wear." After getting him out of the tub, Gibbs leaned him against the wall while he dried him. He kept his touch as clinical as possible to avoid any awkwardness and once he was finished; guided Tim to the toilet seat to sit down. Quickly dressing him to keep him from catching cold, Gibbs ran a comb through his hair and said, "Ducky's on his way over to check you out but in the meantime I started breakfast downstairs. I know you'll probably want some coffee."

Tim's eyes lit up, "Why do you think I wanted to get out of the bath? I could smell the coffee up here. It's been far too long since I've had a cup."

That got a laugh out of the older man and soon they were on their way downstairs. Tim's balance was getting better; however, Gibbs didn't trust him on his own, not yet anyway.

Finally getting Tim seated at the kitchen table, Gibbs poured two cups of coffee and handed one over to him. "Be careful…" he trailed off, reminding himself that Tim was an adult again and knew the coffee would be hot. Taking a swig he watched as Tim sniffed then carefully put the cup up to his lips to take a sip.

"Yuck!" Tim exclaimed, sputtering, as coffee ran down his chin. "I guess my taste buds haven't caught up with the rest of my body. That coffee tastes awful!"

Stifling a laugh, Gibbs went to the cupboard and got a cup, "Well we have juice or milk, which one would you prefer?"

"Definitely milk," Tim replied, pushing the coffee cup to the center of the table. "I can't believe I used to drink that."

"I'm making bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast. Are you hungry?"

"Starving!" Tim responded before taking a sip of milk. "Yeah, that's much better."

While Gibbs finished breakfast, Tim gave Jethro some much-needed attention. Occasionally Gibbs would glance over to observe the pair who couldn't seem to get enough of each other.

As he was pulling the last piece of bread out of the toaster there was a knock on the door. Depositing a plate of toast on the table, Gibbs stated. "That must be Ducky, good thing I made extra."

Opening the door, Gibbs was treated to a wind gust that sprinkled snow across his face, "Hey, Duck." He motioned with his arm and stepped aside, "Come on in, jeez its cold out there, thanks for making a stop."

"No problem, Jethro. As you know, I was out and about anyway. They are predicting anywhere from a foot to two feet of snow tonight into tomorrow."

Draping Ducky's coat and hat over the couch, Gibbs motioned for him to follow him into the kitchen. "You're just in time for breakfast."

When there was no response from the older man, Gibbs turned to see him standing in the doorway staring at Tim.

"Hey Ducky," Tim grinned at him sheepishly. "I'm back!"

Ducky much like Gibbs scanned Tim from head to toe. Satisfied the he appeared to be back to normal, Ducky walked over and enveloped Tim in a hug, "Good to have you back, lad. It must be nice to feel like your old self again."

"Thanks, Ducky. For everything."

Ducky clasped Tim's shoulder, "The pleasure was all mine."

"All right, let's eat before the food gets cold," Gibbs suggested. Out of habit, he fixed Tim a plate and scooted it in front of him. When Ducky cleared his throat he looked up to see both of them staring at him, "Sorry force of habit, won't happen again."

Each of them was eating, focused on their own plates when Ducky nudged Gibbs' foot underneath the table. The older man motioned with his fork over to Tim who had his head down, shoveling food in his mouth with his hands. It wasn't until Tim stopped for a drink that he realized the pair was staring at him.

Suddenly comprehending what they were staring at, Tim swallowed the food in his mouth and grabbed a napkin. Blushing he stuttered, "Sor sor sorry, guess you're right Gib, old habits do die hard."

Winking at his youngest, Gibbs responded, "Try and use your fork, if you don't have the dexterity yet then use your hands. What happens here will stay between us. That goes for everything."

Tim's shoulder sagged in relief, "Thank you."

Immediately after they finished breakfast, Ducky started his examination on Tim while Gibbs cleaned up. "Just want to check a couple of things my dear boy then I recommend you rest for a few days."

As Ducky inflated the blood pressure cuff, Tim lowered his head and spoke softly, "I know Gib has told you about my loss of control, how long do you think that's going to last?"

Patting Tim's knee, Ducky replied, "In all honesty I don't know. It may only be a few days or it could be longer. The best thing for you to do now is wear the protection I bought."

"But…but…" Tim's voice cracked upon hearing his response forcing Gibbs to stop washing dishes and try to provide comfort. Gently squeezing Tim's shoulder he stated, "I know it sucks, Timmy. However, no one will know except us and really it's what's best for you.

"Yeah, well you don't have to be the one wearing them now, do you?" Tim snapped and buried his face in his hands.

Gibbs and Ducky shared a look, silently deciding who would console him before Ducky nodded at Gibbs. Scooting a chair next to him, Gibbs wrapped one arm around his shoulder and pulled him close. Whispering in Tim's ear he said, "Kiddo, I don't like this anymore than you do, but you need something. If you think having to wear protection is embarrassing, wouldn't you be more ashamed if you had an accident in front of the team?"

Slowly removing his hands from his face, Tim leaned his head on Gibbs' shoulder and sighed, "I'm sorry, you're right. You two are just trying to help and I'm acting like a brat."

Laying a kiss to Tim's temple, Gibbs responded, "You have the right to be upset. If any of us were in your position we would be thinking the same thing."

Feeling a bit better about the situation, Tim sat up and allowed the doctor to finish examining him. Putting away the stethoscope, Ducky announced, "Your vitals are normal my boy. I suspect once you regain some energy your balance will return and soon after control over the rest of your body. Now I would love to stay and chat but I must be going." He slid the bag of protection briefs in front of Tim, "These just slide right on. That way you can do it by yourself."

"Thanks Ducky, now will you come give me a hug?"

Following a round of hugs, Gibbs walked Ducky to the door, "Thanks for stopping by. Be safe driving home and let me know when you get there. Oh, by the way, the rest of the team doesn't know that Tim's been transformed back. I would appreciate it if you could keep it quiet and let him be the one to tell them."

Ducky patted his arm, "Your secret's safe with me. If you feel the need to chat, you know where you can find me. Now go take care of your boy."

Gibbs opened the door; "You don't have to tell me twice. We'll talk with you soon. Thanks again."

By the time Gibbs made it back to the kitchen, Tim was up from the table, staggering to the bathroom, while using the counter and wall to support him. Taking hold of his free arm, Gibbs guided him to the downstairs bathroom. "Well look at you go, by the end of the day I imagine you'll be doing this on your own. You heard Ducky though, rest…rest…rest so that's what we're going to do. Stay here and I'll get the bag from Duck."

Handing the bag over to Tim, he shut the door; "Call me if you need me."


Over the next few days, two feet of snow had fallen along the East coast bringing the city to a standstill. Citizens were advised to stay home to allow the snow plows to clear the streets. During that time, Gibbs and Tim watched movies, played games and even worked on the boat together. Tim's strength was improving each day and he was now walking successfully without assistance. His lack of control was still an issue, but was also getting better. Gibbs had been in contact with Vance, letting him know that Tim was back to normal but needed some time before he would be ready to return to work. Finally, on the third day of being snowed in, the sun was shining and roads were clear to travel again. Gibbs had requested the remainder of the week off to help Tim readjust and with very little work to do, Vance granted him permission. Although Vance and Ducky were the only people who knew Tim had been transformed back, that was about to change. Gibbs was a mixed bag of emotions as he watched Tim come down the stairs. Sadness, joy and worry were the ones that were making themselves known. On one hand, he enjoyed having both baby and adult Tim around. For a long time his house hadn't felt this cozy. It had always been the place where he slept, but after the deaths of Shannon and Kelly it didn't feel like he lived there. On the other hand, he was happy Tim had been transformed and was regaining his strength each day. Gibbs was grateful that although Tim's situation hadn't been ideal they were able to make the best of it, together. Tim had decided he was ready and able to return home and was eager to get back into a routine. The plan was to stop by NCIS, surprise everybody and then continue on to Tim's apartment.

Gibbs chuckled as Tim stood in front of him wearing a pair of jeans that were a little too short and shoes that were a little too tight.

"Yeah, yeah laugh all you want." Shrugging his shoulders he continued, "I'm sure I'll never hear the end of this from Tony."

Grabbing two jackets out of the closet, he handed one to Tim, "Not unless he wants to be digging my boot out of his ass."

After loading up the car they began the journey to the office.

"You think Vance will be upset that we have Jethro with us?" Tim questioned as the dog took a seat next to the window and stared out.

Gibbs scoffed, "He can't expect us to leave him in the car, besides I don't plan on being there that long. We can leave him down in the lab."

The two men rode in silence each buried in their own thoughts. Finally Tim spoke, "You okay, boss? You've been quiet, well I mean, quieter than usual today."

Stopped at a red light, Gibbs looked over at Tim who was studying him intensely.

Trying to put on his normal stoic face, Gibbs replied, "I'm fine."

Tim chuckled, "No offense, Gibbs but you don't look fine to me. Want to talk about it?"

"Not really." Gibbs' reply was short along with a hint of sadness.

"Okay. I was just trying to help." Feeling defeated and hurt, Tim turned and leaned his head up against the window. He thought their relationship had changed and Gibbs felt more comfortable talking about things with him.

Gibbs sighed and ran his fingers through his hair when he glanced over and saw Tim slumped against the window. The truth of the matter was Gibbs didn't know how to relay to Tim how he was feeling without sounding greedy. However, he quickly realized if he didn't speak with him then all the trust they built up over the past week with each other would be gone.

Taking a deep breath, Gibbs patted Tim on the knee, "Sorry, kiddo. I know you were only trying to help."

With his attention focused on the older man, Tim spoke, "Talk to me please! What's going through your head right now?"

"I'm going to miss you, Timmy."

"I'll miss you too, Gibbs. It's not as if we still won't see each other. You're still my boss and…"

Tim couldn't get any further before Gibbs interrupted him. "Baby Tim," he blurted out.

Scratching his head, Tim blushed and whispered, "Oh" as the light bulb suddenly went off in his head.

"Listen, Tim. I know this whole situation has been a nightmare for you. However, I want to thank you for trusting me to take care of you, protect you and most importantly, love you. The truth of the matter is when Kelly was younger I didn't get the chance to be the loving, doting dad because I was in the Corps."

Pausing to compose himself he continued, "It was nice to be given a second chance at something so sacred and I'm going to miss not having a little guy around anymore. That's not to say I'm not happy that you're back to your normal self because I am. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I really enjoyed taking care of you."

Bit by bit, pieces of the emotional wall Gibbs put up decades ago were beginning to crumble. Happy he could be a part of it, Tim wanted Gibbs to know that it wasn't all for not.

"Wow, boss, I don't know what to say. First off, thank you for taking such good care of me. I'm glad I could give you all those wonderful feelings back. As much as I disliked being a baby, there is nobody in the world who I would have rather had as a temporary caregiver. I didn't have the best childhood, but given this past week with you, I feel like I have."

Gibbs choked back tears, "Thanks, Timmy. That really means a lot to me. You know I'm always here if you need me."

Reaching over and patting Gibbs' arm, Tim replied, "I've always known, boss."

After they parked and exited the vehicle, Gibbs wrapped his arm around Tim's shoulder and squeezed, "Ready for this?"

Taking a deep breath, Tim nodded, "As ready as I'll ever be. Let's go drop Jethro off at the lab."

Abby's music was blaring when they walked into the lab. Sitting at the computer with her back to the door, Tim leaned down and whispered in Jethro's ear. "Go get her, boy." The two men watched as Jethro walked over and licked Abby's hand. She jumped at the wet kiss, "Jethro, what are you doing here?"

Raising his voice loud enough to be heard over the music, Tim shouted, "Turn around, Abs!"

At the sound of Tim's voice, Abby lowered the music and slowly rotated the chair, a look of disbelief set firmly on her face. "Timmy! You're back!" She bellowed, running towards him and throwing her arms around his neck. The force of her hug caused Tim to stumble back and if not for Gibbs' steady arm, they would have hit the floor.

She took a step back, scrutinizing him from head to toe. "You look great, when did this happen and why wasn't I informed?"

Gibbs started to open his mouth, but stopped when Tim spoke, "A few days ago. I wanted to wait to tell everyone once I regained some of my strength. Gibbs and I have been hanging out at his house."

Abby patted his cheek and started to babble, "You look so good, not that you didn't look good before. There's something different about you, not in a bad way…"

"Abby!" Gibbs interrupted her before she could go any further.

"Sorry, I'm just so happy that my Timmy is back." Enveloping Tim in another hug she asked, "Do the others know? Tony and Ziva are upstairs in the bullpen; I can't wait to see their faces."

"Ducky and Vance are the only people who know. I think we should head up to the bullpen now."

Leaving Jethro in the lab, they shut the door and headed for the elevator with Abby permanently glued to Tim's side. When the doors slid open they could hear Tony and Ziva arguing about who was going to be the first one to hold Tim when they saw him again.

Neither noticed the trio behind them until Gibbs growled, "Is this what happens when I leave you in charge, DiNozzo? No work gets done?"

"Boss!" He gulped, lifting his head as Ziva spun around clutching her chest. "Gibbs! You scared me!"

"Hey Guys." Tim waved, walking over to Ziva's desk where they had congregated.

A huge grin appeared on both of their faces.

"Probie!" Tony greeted him with a bear hug then pulled back and looked down. "Huh, are you sure you're finished growing because you look like you're a few inches shorter than…"


"Sorry, Tim." Tony stepped aside and rubbed the back of his head.

"My turn," Ziva smiled and allowed Tim to wrap his arms around her. "It's good to see you Ziva. I missed you."

She ran her hand down his cheek, "We missed you too, Tim. When did this happen?"

Gibbs sighed, "The night after Lucy's interrogation. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night and he was changed back."

Tim cleared his throat; "I don't think I'll ever be able to repay you for all that you've done for me. I want you to know that you have my heartfelt thanks and I love you all."

"Aww group hug!" Abby squealed as the four embraced each other in the middle of the bullpen. Gibbs swallowed the lump in his throat as he watched his four kids cuddle. Yeah, they picked on each other and occasionally played pranks, but they were family. His family and for that he was thankful.

Noticing Tim was becoming exhausted he made eye contact with his youngest, "You ready to go home?"

Tim grinned, "I am home. And there's no place like it."