THE LIST MAKER
McGee has never needed the team more.
A McGee-centric gen story.
Written: October 2009. Word count: 1,607.
His life had always revolved around lists.
He'd always made them. Right from when he'd been a little boy and had seen his mommy making a shopping list. He'd wanted to copy her, so even though he'd barely known his letters, she'd given him a piece of paper and he'd made his very first list: the colors of his crayons.
By the time he was in first grade he would make a list every day. He'd list what color socks his classmates wore; how many times they peed themselves; what color ribbons the girls wore in their hair; what the weekly book was; what he had each day for lunch, and dozens of others. If it was possible to make a list, he had made one. And that's what he'd gone on doing from then until now.
He'd been way ahead of his classmates when it came to knowing his letters and numbers, so often the teachers left him alone to read or make his lists. From then he never looked back. Every school report had said how bright he was; how advanced he was, and if any teacher had noticed his obsession with making lists, they had never mentioned it.
The one subject he'd hated had been Phys Ed, but that was okay, because by then he'd learned to forge his mom's handwriting. So he dutifully gave the teacher a note on a regular basis, not every week - after all he was clever - and he kept a list of the excuses he used.
He was a good child; a good teenager; a good student; a good son; a good member of the community. Other parents praised his mom and dad saying how lucky they were that they could take him anywhere.
When other children played with toys, all he needed was a piece of paper and a pencil and he was happy.
Now he was making the most important list of his life.
It already had sixteen names on it.
Sixteen different ways of killing.
And he had his seventeenth there with him, watching him. He smiled and picked up his knife. Soon, very soon it would be seventeen. He moved slowly towards the man and stopped.
He couldn't kill him. Not yet. He didn't know his name. And he had to know his name. He had to know his name for the list.
"Tell me your name," he demanded.
Wiping the back of his mouth with his hand and trying to ignore the blood, McGee blinked through swollen eyes and looked up at the man standing over him. His eyes flicked from the pale, gaunt, face to the butcher's knife. "Why?" he asked.
The man blinked; his surprise was clear. McGee watched him frown. "Because I need it," he finally said.
"Why?" McGee asked again.
His captor dragged his hand through his hair and turned around on the spot, walking away from McGee before returning. "For the list," he said. "My list. I can't kill you until I know your name. I have to write it on my list. I've gotten sixteen other names. I need yours." He sounded desperate, yet frighteningly rational.
But rational was the one thing Kevin Horatio Bailey was not. Sixteen murders. No one had tied them together until the twelfth. There had been nothing to connect the victims. Each one had been killed in a different way. A different piece of the body had been cut and removed from each body. There was no pattern to the timing of the murders. They hadn't even all happened in the same town or the same state. There had been nothing.
Until the first of four Marines had been killed and NCIS had got involved and had demanded all the files and information on all other unsolved murders. And bit by bit, by bit, through hour upon hour upon hour of work, pouring over ever single aspect of the victims' lives, their relatives, their friends, the method of murder, finally a tiny piece of luck had come their way and they were able to connect Kevin Horatio Bailey with two of the victims. Just two. But it fitted.
They'd run back-ground checks on the man and discovered he'd been the ideal High School student; the perfect son; an outstanding member of the community. Too ideal; too perfect; too outstanding. Talks with old teachers finally revealed the man's obsession with lists: a list for everything; lists for things no one else would make a list about.
Gibbs had been sure he was their man. A search warrant had been obtained and while they didn't find Bailey, they found thousands of lists and dozens of books, detailing methods of murder. And then they found the one thing that was proof positive. A freezer full of small body parts.
And now McGee was in front of the multiple murderer. The man who was quite clearly insane and had likely or not always been so.
McGee swallowed hard. Okay, so all he had to do was to refuse to give Bailey his name; Bailey had said he couldn't kill him until he knew that. All he had to do was to say nothing, and wait. Gibbs would find him. Gibbs and the team would save him.
He shook his head. "No," he said firmly. "I don't want to tell you my name." The next second he cried aloud as Bailey's boot-clad foot made contact with his groin.
"Tell me," Bailey hissed. "Tell me your name or I'll make you suffer. I know how to. I studied the body. I can cause you so much pain, you'll be begging for death. Tell me," now his voice became softer, gentler, and he rubbed McGee's head, stroking it almost as if McGee was his child. "Tell me and it'll be easy. I won't hurt you. You won't feel any pain when I kill you. I promise you. I don't want to hurt you," he said.
Against his will, against everything he believed in, a small part of McGee actually found himself believing Bailey's irrational comment. He shook his head. Gibbs would come. "Sorry. No." He cried out again, as this time the kick was aimed at his kidneys; this time the kick turned into kicks.
AN HOUR LATER
Throat sore from crying out; hurting in places he didn't know he could hurt; his trousers wet and soiled, McGee came close, so very close, to saying two words. The only thing that kept him from saying them was the thought that had kept him going for the hour of torture: Gibbs would come.
Bailey was pacing the floor, his agitation was getting clearer and clearer as he cursed and muttered to himself. He seemed to be arguing with himself as to whether he could kill McGee without knowing his name. But in the end, no matter how much he argued and tried to find a way to say it was okay, the need to have his name for his list won out.
Taking a second or two just to close his eyes, McGee heard the faintest of sounds from outside. He opened his eyes, as much as he could. It was Gibbs; it had to be Gibbs. It had to be, because in that moment, McGee knew he couldn't hold out any longer. The body was only meant to take so much abuse and he'd passed that point. If Gibbs wasn't outside he'd tell Bailey his name and end it.
He heard the noise again and this time to McGee's horror Bailey stopped pacing and glanced towards the door. He pulled out a gun.
McGee had to do something. "I'll never tell you my name," he cried as loud as be possibly could; the pain in his throat was dreadful. "Never. Do you hear me? Never!" It worked; in seconds Bailey's attention turned from the door to McGee and he advanced on him, dropped the gun and began to punch McGee.
McGee cried out; he cried out as loudly as he could; his cries became screams as Bailey turned the knife on his arm. He didn't care; he didn't care that he was screaming; that Gibbs, DiNozzo and Ziva and whoever else was there would hear him screaming. He just had to cover the sound from outside.
Seconds later the door crashed in. He heard Gibbs's call out. He saw Bailey raise the knife. He heard three guns being fired. Two shots each. He heard Bailey hit the floor.
He felt his eyes closing again.
He felt a hand on his brow and tried to pull away.
"It's all right, Tim." It was DiNozzo's voice; but it wasn't DiNozzo. It sounded almost as if he was fighting tears. "It'll be all right," the DiNozzo-non-DiNozzo voice said. "We got the bastard. You'll be all right. I promise, Tim."
"He wanted my name. He told me he couldn't kill me until he knew my name. For his list. Boss?"
"I've got it, McGee. You did good. You'll be okay," Gibbs's voice, softer than it usually was spoke to him.
"I didn't tell him, boss. I knew you'd come. I knew you'd save me. I -" And suddenly McGee felt himself slip into merciful unconsciousness as a needle was pushed into his arm.
"Will he be okay, Duck?"
"From what little I've seen, Jethro. Yes. In time, Timothy will recover. Although how he held on for so long I simply do not know."
"Nor do I." DiNozzo still crouched by McGee's body, his hand still on his co-worker's head, said. "I know I couldn't have done."
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