Ashleigh Anpilova


Set shortly before and during Life Before His Eyes.

McGee has a decision to make, but before he makes it he needs to talk to Abby.

An established relationship story.

Written: February 2012. Word count: 1,890.




"I can give you a week, McGee, to make your decision."


Tim nodded; it was longer than he'd expected. "Thank you, sir."


Vance looked at him. "It is a good opportunity, McGee."


"I know that, Director."


Vance continued to stare at him. "I'm sure you do. Opportunities like this don't come along very often."


Again Tim nodded. "I know." And he did; he knew it only too well. It wasn't just a good opportunity, it was a fantastic one. He almost didn't know why he was hesitating. He should just grab the chance with both hands; certainly it's what his dad would tell him to do.


Vance nodded once; the gesture was one of dismissal. "One week, Agent McGee. And then I need your decision."


Tim stood up. "Yes, sir. Thank you." He headed towards the door, aware that Vance was watching him the entire time.


"Boss!" he exclaimed, stopping dead as he saw Gibbs sitting on the couch in front of Vance's assistant's desk. As Gibbs stood up, Tim saw a look of relief pass over her face.


He followed Gibbs out of the director's suite and into the elevator. As the doors closed Gibbs looked at Tim and raised an eyebrow.


"Head of the Cyber Division in Okinawa. Japan," he added.


"Know where it is, McGee. You going to take it?"


That was Gibbs though and through; straight to the tough question. "I . . . um . . . The director's given me a week to make my decision."


Gibbs's eyes widened very slightly for a fraction of a second before he just nodded. "It's a good opportunity, Tim." Tim sighed softly. "But you know that anyway," Gibbs added before Tim could speak.


Tim flashed Gibbs a half-smile. "Yes, boss. I do. It's a fantastic opportunity. I couldn't believe it at first when the director offered it to me."


Gibbs frowned and took a step towards Tim, pulled himself up to his full height which enabled him, despite the fact he was an inch shorter than Tim, to tower over him. "Never," he growled, "run yourself down, McGee. It's a deserved promotion."


Tim stopped his mouth from falling open as he stared into Gibbs's eyes. "Right, boss," he said finally. "I won't, boss. Thank you, boss."


Gibbs rolled his eyes. He put his hand on Tim's shoulder and squeezed it briefly. "Think hard, Tim, before you," Gibbs paused before saying, his tone slightly softer, "make your decision."


Tim nodded. "I will, boss. Thank you." Gibbs nodded, before striding out of the elevator as soon as the doors opened.


Tim paused for a moment before heading for the men's room. He knew it was delaying tactics, but he didn't want to go back to the squad room to face Tony and Ziva and their questioning looks as to why he'd been called up to Vance's office for a few minutes.




Tim sighed, yanked another piece of paper from his typewriter, stared at the hopeless two lines and put it into the shredder.


Five minutes and ten more pieces of paper later, he gave up. It was no good; he hadn't been able to write a single word that would make it into his book since Vance had offered him the promotion. And he'd thought about nothing else; he'd even gone so far as to draw up a list of pros and cons for taking the job. The pros far outweighed the cons, but that didn't mean he'd made his decision.


He needed to talk to someone and not anyone; he needed to talk to Abby. Vance hadn't told him he couldn't tell anyone, not that he had (so far) Gibbs had in true Gibbs fashion, somehow known why Vance had called him to his office.


He grabbed his cell phone and pressed a button. "Abby? Tim. I need you to meet me tomorrow at our usual place . . . Yes, it's really important . . . I know it's cold, Abby, but I need to see you. There's something I need to discuss with you . . . No, not over the phone . . .Thanks, Abby. I'll see you tomorrow." He pressed the disconnect button, already he felt so much better.




Tim was the first to arrive; he tuned the collar of his overcoat up, pulled on his gloves and wrapped his scarf around him. Abby had been correct; early February by the ocean was really not the place to be. The wind cut across the grey expanse of water and the sky echoed the greyness; a few loan seagulls swooped over the waves. He stamped his feet and took a long swallow of the hot chocolate he'd bought for both Abby and himself.


He loved the ocean, he always felt at peace when he was by it; when Abby and he had been dating, it had been their special place. A place they could escape to, a place they both felt at home by, a place that was ever changing, but always staying the same, a place he'd never brought another girl to. And even after Abby and he had stopped dating, they still used to meet there from time to time if one of them needed to talk or they just wanted to unwind with their best-friend.


"Hey, Timmy!" Abby called hurrying as fast as she could in her stacked high-heeled boots towards him. "Sorry I'm a bit late."


He handed over her hot chocolate and leaned forward to give her a kiss on the cheek. "You're not, I was early."


"Timmy." She smiled and took a long swallow of the hot chocolate, then linked her arm through his as they stood side-by-side in silence just staring out across the ocean. "Come on," she said after a few minutes, "let's walk. I'm freezing."


Arm-in-arm they walked along sipping their hot chocolate and talking about the technical aspect of the latest case, finishing, as they so often did, one another's sentences. They walked close together, hips brushing against one another; Abby's pig-tails tickled Tim's cheek more than once. It always felt right being with Abby, far righter than it felt with any other girl. He wished . . .


"So," Abby said, stopping so suddenly Tim nearly lost his balance. "What did you need to discuss with me?"


Tim took a deep breath. "Vance has offered me a promotion."


"Oooh," Abby's eyes lit up and she bounced on the spot.


"In Okinawa."


"Oh." The sparkle left Abby's eyes and she seemed to sag.


"As Head of the Cyber division," Tim finished.


"Wow," Abby said. "That's -"


"A great opportunity. Yeah, I know, Abby. So Vance and Gibbs told me."


"You told Gibbs?" Tim just looked at her. "Ah," she said and smiled her pussycat smile for a minute. It faded and she glanced down at the ground. "When do you leave?"


"I haven't decided if I'm going to take it."


She looked back at him. "But you have to, Tim."




She stared at him. "Because . . . Because it's a -"


"Great opportunity. Yeah. As I said, I know. But I don't know, Abby. I'm not sure I'm ready."


"Of course you are, Timothy McGee. You know how good you are."


Tim smiled. "Thanks, Abby. But I didn't mean that. I meant I don't know if I'm ready to leave DC, leave NCIS, leave field work, leave the team," he paused and swallowed. "I don't know if I'm ready to leave you." There he'd said it.


She looked at him. "We can IM and call, every day."


"It won't be the same."


"No, but - McGee, you can't turn down promotion just because of me."


He shook his head. "It's not just because of you, Abby. It's all the other stuff too. Look," he pulled the paper out of his pocket and handed it to her. "I made a list of pros and cons."


He watched her quickly read it. He wasn't surprised to hear her laugh. "You can't decide if 'not being teased by Tony' is a pro or a con?"


He laughed too; he couldn't, that's why he'd put it on both columns. He took the paper back and stuffed it into his pocket. "I know I'm never going to be as good a field agent as Gibbs or Tony; I know cyber stuff is my thing, it's the thing I'm best at. I know dad would say I was a fool to turn the job down. I know it'd be a lot more money; I know the hours would be better; I know I won't have to risk my life - but . . ." He trailed off and stared at her, she just looked back at him in silence. "Abby, if I ask you a question will you give me an honest answer?"


She nodded and bit her lip. "Yes."


He took a deep breath. "Do you think that you and I will ever get back together?"


She shuffled her feet and stared down at the ground. "Tim, I -"


"No, wait before you answer. I promise you I'm not going to base my decision purely on what you say." He took her hands. "Look at me, Abby." She lifted her head. "I promise."


"I believe you. Okay," she swallowed. "Ask me again."


He shrugged. "Abby Sciuto, do you think that you and I will ever get back together?"


Her answer was her lips on his and her arms around him. The kiss didn't last as long as Tim would want it to, but it lasted long enough for him to know her answer, long enough to know the promise it offered him. Maybe it wouldn't be this month, this year, maybe not even next, but they would get back together.


They stood in a tight embrace, her head on his shoulder, his chin on her head, sharing one another's warm as the seagulls called out overhead and the ocean did battle with the sky to see which could become the greyest.




"Director Vance."


"Agent McGee?"


"I've made my decision, sir."


Vance stared at Tim. "Are you quite certain?"


Tim hesitated for a brief second, and then he nodded. "Yes, sir. I believe I am. Thank you for the opportunity, I really appreciate it and I hope you won't be disappointed in me, but I want to stay here." He took a deep breath once he'd said the words.


Vance looked at him. "I won't deny I am a little disappointed, McGee. But I respect your decision."


Tim let the breath he'd been holding out. "Thank you, director."


Vance nodded once; the gesture was one of dismissal.


Tim stood up. "Thank you, sir," he repeated and headed towards the door, aware that Vance was watching him the entire time.


"Boss!" he exclaimed, stopping dead as he saw Gibbs sitting on the couch in front of Vance's assistant's desk. As Gibbs stood up, Tim saw a look of relief pass over her face.


He followed Gibbs out of the director's suite and into the elevator. As the doors closed Gibbs looked at Tim and raised an eyebrow.


Tim shook his head once.


Gibbs nodded curtly and turned away. Tim didn't fail to notice that Gibbs hadn't looked the least bit surprised.



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