Rule 40
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McGee took a deep breath and straightened his jacket one more time. He tried to get into the right mindset -that of Thom E Gemcity, a suave and confident author with two best selling books under his belt. It was getting easier to do these press releases and bookstore appearances, he realised. He still put his foot down at major events, no matter how much his publicist pleaded -it was a bad idea for a federal agent to become a recognisable face. The last thing he needed was for some crook with a bruised ego to recognise him. Subsequently, he only agreed to do small bookshop signings and any large scale advertising (billboards, TV etc) was McGee-free. He reckoned the book covers looked better than he did anyway.

Linda, his publicist, stuck her head in.



He stepped up to the door leading from the back rooms of the shop. On the other side he could hear the small crowd quiet as Linda raised her voice to introduce him. He couldn't quite make out what she was saying, but he could guess: "Thank you all for coming, blah blah, please line up for autographs blah blah, please be courteous and don't try to push in, it will go quicker for everyone that way, blah blah, now to introduce the best selling author of blah blah, please put your hands together and welcome.. Thom E Gemcity!"

On cue, he opened the door and smiled as half a dozen cameras flashed. He waved at the cheering fans and made his way to the table they had set up for him. Within moments he was greeting the first fan and signing a copy of Rock Hollow. Thom E Gemcity. All in all, his fans were a good lot, he thought. A mix of ages and both sexes -and not all stereotypical nerds either. Crime mysteries appealed to a wide audience.

After an hour, he was ready to take a break. The smooth-glide pens Linda always brought helped, but there was only so many times you could write the same few words over and over before your arm started to ache -and it took a lot less than an hour. He was starting to understand why most celebrity autographs were so messy and unreadable. He signalled Linda, who stepped neatly in front of the line and announced that Mr Gemcity was taking a break and would be back shortly. There were groans and appeals from those still in line -especially those who had finally gotten near the front of the queue, but McGee was up and heading into the back rooms of the shop without hesitation.

“Can I get you anything, Mr Gemcity?” asked one of the store assistants.

“No thanks,” he replied. “But if you could point me in the direction of the bathroom?”

“Just down the hall on your right,” she smiled, and he hurried down.

As he was about to head back, he heard voices arguing quietly. Instinctively he paused and listened in as he tried to locate the voices. He moved silently down the hall and traced the voices to an office. The door was shut but he sound carried through the gap at the bottom.

“I swear, he had a gun!”

“Don’t be ridiculous -why would he have a gun?”

“I don’t know!” the first voice hissed back. “But he does!”

“You didn’t see anything, you’re just paranoid,” said a third voice, calmer and more authoritative. “It was just a kink in his jacket. Don’t worry, everything will go according to plan. We have guns, so even if he’s got one he’ll be outnumbered. And he won’t have a chance to draw it.”

McGee was alarmed. He was carrying, as he always did outside the office. He’d kept his jacket buttoned which covered his SIG completely, but the suit was cut to fit smoothly, without allowance for a gun holster at the hip, so there was a slight bulge. He could only assume they were talking about him, an assumption which was confirmed a moment later.

“Look, we grab the famous guy at lunchtime, and you’ll ‘find’ the ransom note shortly after. We’ll get our money, get rid of him and be home free.”

“I don’t know if I can..” the first voice sounded scared. It was definitely a girl, and McGee guessed the others had pushed her into this from the start.

“Come on,” said the second voice again. Both the other voices were male. “Do this one thing, and you won’t have to worry about money ever again.”

There was a pause, then the girl seemed to pull herself together. “I’ve gotta get back -there’s lots of customers out there, Monica will notice if I’m gone too long.”

McGee took his cue to move away from the office. Linda appeared as he neared the door through to the shop floor.

“You ok? You’ve been a while.”

“Uh, yeah, fine.”

Linda peered at him, but apparently decided to take his word for it. “Well come on then, don’t keep ‘em waiting.”

McGee spent the next hour signing on autopilot, his thoughts elsewhere as he tried to figure out what to do. Technically, he was a federal agent, and could simply go back there and arrest them. But like they had said, he was outnumbered. And if they had their own weapons, it would be foolish to try and tackle them alone.

Obviously, he’d have to bring in backup. He checked the time. 11:30am. He wasn’t sure what time Linda had organised lunch for -usually it was about 1pm, but signings didn’t usually start as early in the morning as this one had, so it might be earlier today. He asked the next fan to wait a moment whilst he sent a text to Gibbs.

The rest of the team were flicking through cold cases. Tony had spent most of the morning grumbling about how Probie was getting out of the boring work, until Gibbs had threatened him with extra cold cases to look into. There had been complete quiet for a good fifteen minutes when Gibb’s cellphone chimed. He flipped it open.

“Yeah, Gibbs.”

No response. He looked at the phone. Not a call. A message.

“DiNozzo! Find out what that says.” He threw the phone at his senior field agent who deftly caught it and pressed a few buttons.

“That’s weird, why would McAuthor be texting you, Boss?”

“Well I don’t know, DiNozzo. Why don’t you read it and find out?” came the dry response.

Tony read the message. “Whoa Boss. I don’t know that I could handle being an author. Much too dangerous.”

“Dangerous?” asked Ziva. “McGee is in trouble?”

“DiNozzo, would you just read out the damn message?!” said Gibbs in exasperation. Tony took the hint and read it out.

'Need backup. Plan to abduct me for ransom at lunchtime. Inside job.' I dunno, Boss, why would anyone abduct McGee? Maybe McParanoid is just, uh, paranoid?” He threw the phone back to Gibbs.

“Why would anyone want to abduct McGee?” asked Ziva. “I do not imagine he has made a lot of enemies.”

“Doesn’t matter,” said Gibbs. “Rule 40. Come on.” He swept past them and they scrambled for their gear. He flicked his phone open again and speed-dialed Abby.

“Gibbs!” came the overly cheerful greeting.

“Abby. Need you to track McGee’s cell phone. I need the address where he is.”

“Oh my God, what’s wrong? Is Timmy ok?”

“Abbs.” Gibbs pressed the button in the elevator and his agents barely made it before the doors closed.

“Seriously Gibbs, he better be okay or I’m holding you responsible.”

“If we get to him in time, he’ll be fine. Ya gonna tell me where he is?”

“Just a second, I’m bringing it up. The Cosy Nook Bookshop, 1153 Ninth St, Baltimore.”

“Thanks Abbs.” Gibbs hung up.

They pulled up outside the bookshop, and pushed their way into the crowded store. There wasn’t really a lot of people, only thirty-odd, but it was a small store.

“Federal Agents! Coming through,” yelled Tony as he forced his way in.

“Can I help you?” asked a polite female voice. Tony focussed on the conservative but pretty brunette in front of him.

“Ah yes, uh,” he peered at the name tag on her chest, “Monica, we’re looking for McG -oof.” He was winded into silence by Ziva’s elbow.

“He means, we’re looking for Mr Gemcity,” she said, smiling politely. “Is he around?”

“Of course, but if you want autographs you’ll have to join the queue like..”

“We’re federal agents, we’re not here for autographs,” Gibbs interrupted, flashing his ID. “Where is Gemcity?”

She looked taken aback. “Uh, he’s just gone out back for a lunch break..”

“Show us. DiNozzo, with me. David!”

“Going round back,” Ziva supplied, heading back to the shop door.

“I don’t understand,” said Monica. “Is Mr Gemcity in trouble?”

“I hope not,” growled Gibbs. “Come on, show us where he’s having lunch.” Gibbs started to move towards the back of the store and Monica had to hurry to get in front of him. She led the way down the hall to the staff break room and-

“Oh my God!”

Linda was tied to a chair and gagged. She struggled pointlessly as Monica ran over and removed the gag.

“DiNozzo, check the other rooms.” He brought his wrist to his mouth. “Ziva, he's not here. See anything?”

All quiet out here.

Gibbs strode over to the two women and pointed Monica at a chair. “You, sit.” He turned to Linda, now unbound. “Who are you and what happened?”

“I'm Linda Donaldson, Mr Gemcity's publicist. Two guys in balaclavas came in just as we were sitting down to eat. They had guns, they tied me up and took Thom with them.”

Tony returned at that point with Ziva just behind him. “Storerooms are clear, boss.”

“They say anything to you?” Gibbs asked Linda. She shook her head.

“Only to order us not to move or yell for help. Thom told me to do exactly as they said, and not fight back.”

“How long ago?” asked DiNozzo.

“Maybe ten minutes? It was as soon as we came back here for lunch.” She shook her head. “He kept saying he wasn't hungry yet but we had another shop to go to this afternoon and I insisted we have lunch now so we'd finish up here on time.”

“And he did not argue further? That does not seem right, Gibbs,” put in Ziva. “If he knew that something was hinky why would he go along to lunch anyway?”

“He said it was an inside job, Ziva,” said Gibbs patiently. “If he didn't know who in this shop was involved, he wouldn't have wanted to attract undue attention by behaving strangely.”

“Wait, he knew this was going to happen?” Linda asked incredulously.

“Well yeah,” Gibbs drawled. “How do ya think we got here so fast?” He turned away. “DiNozzo.”

“Call Abby and check if McGoo's cell phone's moved.”


“Check the carpark for any clues.”

“And you,” said Gibbs, turning back to Monica, “Are closing up shop for the day.”

The remaining Gemcity fans were forcefully turned out and the store closed. McGee's phone had been located a short distance up the street, and was now being express couriered back to DC in the hopes of getting the kidnapper's prints, but Gibbs wasn't pinning much hope on that.

Behind him, the bookshop staff were lining up, and this was where he expected to make progress. If Tim was sure it was an inside job, then someone here knew something. There were six staff: Monica the owner, plus five casual assistants. Normally she'd only have two working at a time but a big event like a book signing required all hands on deck. Gibbs was relieved that all six staff were accounted for. Whoever was in on this, they were still in the room.

“Gibbs.” Ziva appeared at his shoulder. “Nothing to see in the carpark but there is an ATM across the street. It's camera would pick up anyone entering or exiting the drive.”

Gibbs nodded. “Get Abby onto it.”

“Excuse me, sir?” came a hesitant voice. A young blonde, one of the casual staff, stood beside him. She held up a piece of paper. “I found this.” Gibbs took the note and read it. It was one of those stereotypical 'cut and paste letters from a magazine' jobs. “3 million dollars cash or Gemcity dies. Await our instructions for drop off. Will contact at 2pm. Be ready.

“Where did you find this?” demanded Ziva.

“Out.. out the back,” the girl replied nervously.

“Show me,” demanded Gibbs. “DiNozzo, watch the others, don't let them talk.”

Ziva took the ransom note and sealed it into an evidence bag as she followed Gibbs and the girl into the back of the shop again. The girl stopped at the backdoor.

“It was here,” she said. “Stuck to inside of the door.”

“What's your name?” asked Gibbs.


“Right, Allison, I'm going to ask everyone a few questions. Since you're here, I might as well start with you. Go take a seat in the staff room.” Gibbs and Ziva watched her walk away.

“There's no way that note was stuck to the door Gibbs!” Ziva hissed. “Tony and I would have noticed when I came in through there.”

Gibbs nodded once. “I think we found our insider already. The only questions are who is she working with and where have they taken McGee?”

McGee was sitting in the back seat of a sedan. One of his abductors was driving, the other sat beside him, gun held low but still pointing in his direction. McGee's hands were tied in front of him, but his assailants had been in a hurry to get him into the car, so he still had his weapon secured in its holster. They hadn't even checked if he was armed -despite the girl's warning earlier, they obviously still believed he was a harmless author and nothing more. They'd also taken off their balaclavas, figuring that seeing a car driven by guys wearing balaclavas might arouse suspicion. McGee took the opportunity to make a mental note of their faces in case he'd have to describe them later.

McGee waited a good five minutes, trying to figure out where they were going, but they seemed to be heading out of town. He had been observing the two men in the car -despite their aggression, they didn't seem to be hardened criminals. If he'd been asked to form an opinion, he'd have pegged them as just a couple of kids desperate to make a quick buck. That didn't make them any less dangerous, he reminded himself. Desperation made people reckless.

He decided to try and see how much he could get out of them.

“So, what have I done?” he asked, conversationally.

The driver glanced at him in the rear view mirror, but it was the man beside him who answered.

“Done?” he asked in surprise.

“Well, yeah, I figure I must have done something pretty bad if someone wants to abduct me to get their revenge.”

The gunman snorted. “It's not about you, it's about your money.”

McGee already knew that, but he made a show of realisation dawning on his face. “Ohh, I get it, you're going to ransom me.”

There was no response, though the man beside him rolled his eyes as if McGee was an idiot. McGee decided he needed to name these 'characters'. Names were the hardest part when creating people in his books, but once he had the right name, the rest of the personality fell into place. So he needed to name them, to help him get some control of the situation. The man beside him was .. he thought for a moment. Dobbs. Yes, he was a Dobbs. And the driver, he looked like a.. Watson. Dobbs and Watson, amateur kidnappers extraordinaire. McGee managed to hold back a snort of laughter at his own thoughts.

“So, how much am I worth?” he asked, turning back to Dobbs.

Dobbs paused. “A lot.”

McGee just raised an eyebrow. “Is that what you're going to demand? 'Give us a lot of money or else'?”

“Hey, you keep your mouth shut!” yelled Watson from the front. McGee obeyed, and guessed he was probably the one in charge of this whole fiasco. He looked a bit older, and was the one giving orders back at the bookshop. He had been driving aggressively in Baltimore, but now that they were out of the main city and heading into the open area, he was carefully sticking to the speed limit. McGee guessed he didn't want to risk being pulled over for speeding.

McGee stared out the window, watching the scenery pass and trying to figure out where they were headed. They were going north-west out of Baltimore, and had been driving for what? Half an hour now?

Gibbs had barely spent ten minutes with Allison before he emerged with everything she knew. She'd broken down quickly, and from what he could gather she had been talked into playing her part in the crime. Gibbs might have felt sorry for her if not for the fact that one of his agents was still missing. Unfortunately, Allison didn't know where they were taking him. She had, however, given him their names, and Tony had run off to call Abby and have her look them up.

Gibbs & Ziva left Allison cuffed to a chair in the staff room and stood outside the door as Tony returned.

“DiNozzo. What have we got?”

“Wade Peterson, 22, no criminal record, and Logan Murphy, 26, arrested three times, twice for petty theft and once for assault. Both live here in Baltimore in low-rent apartments.”

“Call Metro PD, tell them a federal officer has been abducted and to check both addresses,” Gibbs ordered.

“Got it Boss,” said Tony. “I've also put out a BOLO on Peterson's car. There's no car registered to Murphy. ”

Gibbs nodded and checked the time. “They're supposed to contact us with dropoff information in fifteen minutes. Make sure Abby is ready to trace the call.”

“On it boss.” Tony flipped open his phone again to make the various calls.

“Ziva, when that call comes I want the car already running ready to go as soon as the call is traced.”

“Understood.” Ziva took the keys Gibbs held out for her.

Gibbs headed back to the sales area of the bookshop. He organised for two of the casual workers to stand guard on the staff room door until Metro PD arrived to take Allison into custody. He could be sure they wouldn't let her get away; her co-workers had been horrified and angry to hear that Allison had been involved. Gibbs made his way to where Monica was hovering behind the counter, looking a bit lost and nervous.

“Monica. Assuming the abductors are going to call the shop, where can we take it?”

“Uh, well it'll ring here and in my office. We can answer either one,” she responded.

“Good, come with me, we'll take it in your office.” He glared around at the other staff milling about the shop. “Nobody answers the phone, understood?”

“Boss,” DiNozzo appeared at his shoulder. “Abby's all set.”

They had arrived at a house. They weren't a long way out of the suburbs but there was land between the houses here, no neighbour would be close enough to notice anything unusual. Dobbs and Watson took McGee inside and into the kitchen at gunpoint. He complied without fuss and sat in the wooden chair they indicated, and remained still when Watson ordered Dobbs to tie him to the chair. As Dobbs stood up from tying his ankle, he brushed McGee's side and holster. He paused, then flipped up the corner of McGee's suit jacket.

“Shit! Ally was right!” Dobbs exclaimed. Watson came over and saw it, his demeanour switching from passive to furious in an instant. He hit McGee in the jaw.

“When were you going to tell us about that, hey?!” McGee shook his head slightly, trying to clear the slight disorientation the punch had left him with. There was the slight taste of blood in his mouth. Watson pushed Dobbs aside and retrieved the weapon. After a minute, McGee managed a shrug.

“Couldn't use it with my hands tied anyway.”

Watson growled and turned to Dobbs. “It's already 2pm, I gotta go organise the drop off. Keep your gun on him, and don't get too close. Wait for my call and don't do anything stupid.”

Dobbs frowned as if insulted by the instructions but chose not to respond. He walked to the other side of the room, grabbed another chair and sat down on it, gun pointed loosely in McGee's direction. Watson nodded, satisfied, and stormed out. A moment later, they heard the car start up and drive off, then all was quiet.

Gibbs was in a foul mood. They had been on standby, waiting for the call, since 1355 hours. It was now 1410. The call was late. Abby was on speakerphone on Gibbs cell, so she would know when to start running the trace, and she was starting to infect everyone with her own worry. Gibbs, Tony and Monica were squeezed into Monica's office, waiting impatiently as the lab tech ranted at them. Ziva was waiting in the car.

“But why would they be late Gibbs? Something must have gone wrong! Oh my god, what if they've hurt Timmy? I don't know what I'll do Gibbs! You have to find him! Promise me he'll be ok?”

“Abby,” Gibbs grumbled. “Focus.”

“I am focussed Gibbs, I'm focussed on Timmy and nothing is more important than-”

“Abby, focus on being ready to trace the phone call when it comes.”

“Oh that's all ready, all I have to do is hit the button when the call comes in and-”

This time she was cut off by the store's phone ringing. Everyone jumped at the sudden noise.

“Abbs?” asked Gibbs.

“Go for it.” She was all business again.

Gibbs picked up the phone. “This is Special Agent Gibbs.”

“Do you have the money?”

“Yeah, we have the money.” Gibbs drawled. “What have you done with Gemcity?”

“He's safe.”

“Let me speak to him.”

“He's not here. But he's safe and will be released once we have the money.”

“Where's the drop off?”

The details were given and the drop off arranged. The call ended.

“Abby, did you get him?” asked Gibbs.

“Yep, easy,” came the cheerful voice. “I think he's in a car right now, the signal is moving. But he hasn't turned his phone off, so I can keep tracking him.”

“Do that. Let's move, people.”

A short time later Tony and Ziva strolled casually through a park, hand in hand.

“This looks like a good spot, don't you think sweetheart?” Tony asked.

Ziva looked around. “How about over there?”

“What's wrong with here?”


Tony looked down and realised she was right. “Over there looks good,” he agreed. They moved over and Tony spread out the picnic blanket. Ziva lay down on her stomach and pulled out a book, whilst Tony lay on his side facing her, playing games on his phone. Ziva subtly moved her wrist to her mouth.

“We're in position.”

Gibbs' voice came through their earwigs. “Drop off in ten minutes. Keep an eye out.

Ziva glanced around. There was a family using one of the public barbecue grills and picnic tables, and another at the playground equipment. There were a trio of teenage boys throwing a frisbee around in the open space on the other side, and an older couple strolling slowly through the park.

“I hate it when there are kids around,” muttered Tony.

“You do not like children?” asked Ziva.

“No, I love them, kids are great. I just hate it when bad guys choose locations like this for their dirty work.”

“Ah,” said Ziva, understanding. “That is precisely why they choose such places. They think we are less likely to shoot them when there are children nearby.”

“And they're right.”

They lapsed into silence.

“You know,” began McGee slowly. “Abduction is a federal offence.”

Dobbs eyed him warily. “Only if you get caught.”

McGee nodded. “True. You know that assaulting a federal agent is a federal offence too?”

Dobbs seemed confused by that one. “Yeah. So?”

“So, two federal offences add up to a lot more jail time than one.”

Dobbs stared at him a moment, then shook his head. “You're not a fed. You're just a rich writer.”

“Really? Since when do authors carry government issue weapons?”

There was no answer at first. McGee watched in amusement as a look of horror crossed Dobbs' face, before he quickly covered it with a grumpy frown. “So if you're not Gemcity, who are you? FBI?”

“I am Gemcity,” began McGee with a sigh. He was glad most people never found out he used a non de plume -it was too much bother to explain. “Thom E Gemcity is a pseudonym. In real life I am Special Agent Timothy McGee, NCIS.”

“Never heard of it.”

McGee chuckled. “Obviously you've never read my books. My ID is in my back pocket.”

Dobbs looked conflicted for a minute, but seemed to decide McGee was no threat, given he was tied to the chair and all. Leaving his gun on the other side of the room, he retrieved the ID and flipped it open.

“Shit.” He grabbed his phone and dialed. He held it to his ear. “Come on, come on! Why aren't you answering?!” It didn't take a genius to guess he was attempting to call his accomplice.

“It gets worse,” said McGee, trying not to sound too cheerful. “I overheard you and your friends planning this morning. When -what did you say her name was? Ally? Wasn't sure if she could go through with it, and you guys convinced her to do it?” Dobbs sat down heavily on his chair. McGee went on smoothly. “So I texted my boss, and he and the rest of the Major Crime Response Team are no doubt closing in as we speak.”

He bit back a laugh when Dobbs let out a squeak and jumped back up to look out the window.

Drop off commencing,” Gibbs said. A moment later he appeared from the direction of the carpark, wearing his NCIS jacket and cap and carrying a metal suitcase. He ignored Tony & Ziva and they ignored him. He walked up to the row of bins near the picnic tables, put down the suitcase down, and made a show of emptying some rubbish out of his pockets as he subtly nudged the suitcase between two bins with his foot. Then he turned and walked away again.

Gibbs waited until he was back in the carpark. “Anything?

Tony looked over at Ziva as though he was speaking to her. “Nothing yet Boss.”

Ziva glanced up at Tony. “I can see a young male, probably mid-twenties, approaching from the playing field.” She turned back to her book. Tony made a show of stretching and sitting up, still mostly facing Ziva but with a better angle on the bins.

“He's heading straight for the bins, Boss.”

Wait for him to pick it up, DiNozzo.

They did, and he did. Tony kept up a running commentary for Gibbs, in the guise of murmuring to his girlfriend. As soon as he started to walk away with the suitcase, Gibbs gave them the signal. Tony and Ziva were on their feet in an instant, weapons drawn.

“Freeze! Federal agents!”

The man bolted. Suppressing a sigh of frustration, Tony took off after him, Ziva close behind. They were headed for the open field, away from the playground & families. As they neared the last line of trees before the field, the man turned and started shooting back at them. Ziva and Tony swerved in opposite directions. Tony spared a moment to hope that none of the bullets would reach the families behind them, but he wasn't about to stop and check. Then another shot rang out and the man fell. Ziva had shot him. They approached the fallen man warily and Tony kicked his gun away before moving in to apply pressure to his bleeding shoulder. Ziva contacted Gibbs and told him where they were and that they needed an ambulance.

“Where's McGee? What have you done with him!” demanded Tony.

“Who?” panted the man, clearly in considerable pain. Tony groaned in frustration.

“Gemcity, where is Gemcity?!”

The man laughed. Ziva turned back to them at that moment.

“Tony, look out!”

Tony glanced down and suddenly realised the man had a second gun in his uninjured hand. Ziva dived over him and landed on the arm just as he pulled the trigger. Beneath the loud bang of the gun firing wildly off into the trees, Tony swore he could hear the sickening crack of bones breaking. Or maybe he felt it. The arm beneath Ziva now lay at an unnatural angle. When he looked back at the gunman's face, Tony saw he'd passed out from the pain. The two agents panted in relief for a moment before heavy footsteps approached at a run.

“What the hell just happened!” demanded a gruff voice.

“He had a second gun,” said Tony, still putting pressure on the gunman's shoulder. “Didn't think to check if had other weapons. Stupid!” he shook his head.

“Gibbs. The second gun,” said Ziva. “It's McGee's.”

Gibbs walked over and kicked it away, though the gunman was clearly incapable of using it now. He glanced at the pale and unconscious form on the ground. “And now how are we going to find McGee?”

Gibbs' cellphone rang at that moment. “Yeah, Gibbs.”

Gibbs! Timmy called! And he said he's ok!” squealed the voice on the other end.

“Abby, slow down. Give me the address.”

An hour later, a car pulled up in front of an old house where two men sat outside, waiting. Three agents climbed out of the car.

“Well McGee, by the looks of it you have everything in hand. You sure you needed our help?” asked Gibbs drily.

Tim just gave a small smile. “Do you mind Tony?” he asked, motioning at the other man. “Thom E Gemcity doesn't carry handcuffs. Although maybe he should,” he mused as Tony stepped forward to cuff the man McGee had thought of as Dobbs.

“Your name is Wade Peterson, right?” asked Tony.

Wade nodded. “Where's Logan?”

“In hospital,” Ziva smiled sweetly. “With one arm broken, and a bullet wound through the other shoulder.” Wade paled visibly.

“See?” said McGee. “I told you this was the better option.”

“Come on,” said Tony, guiding the young man into the car.

“Are you okay McGee?” asked Ziva. “They did not hurt you?”

Tim rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Might have a stiff jaw in the morning, but otherwise, I'm all good.”

Gibbs chuckled. “Nice work, Magee.”

Tim smiled as he followed them to the car. He always knew he could trust his team to have his six -now that included Thom E Gemcity's as well. Life with two identities wasn't always easy, but with his team around to support him, he'd make it work.