Fandoms: NCIS, Dark Angel
Pairings: Tim McGee/Logan Cale
Summary: NCIS agent Timothy McGee meets twenty-one year old Logan Cale days before the world goes to hell in a hand basket.
Spoilers: Nothing specific for NCIS but just to be safe, through Season 9, Dark Angel Pilot only.
Warnings: m/m graphic slash, mild language, mild angst
Disclaimer: I own nothing and no one. All characters belong either to the creators of Dark Angel or NCIS. Not for profit, just for fun
A/N: Thank you 80sgirlie for the efficient beta. Written for ladyyueh and xover_exchange 2011. Story posted originally here.
Word count: 9300
Pre-pulse United States of America
“Good evening, my name is Special Agent Timothy McGee…”
Tim begins, with as much bravado as he can muster. Public speaking will always feature in his top ten fears of all time, no matter how old he gets, or how mature, or successful. He must admit though – there is something to be said about addressing a bunch of enthusiastic fresh-faced twenty something grad students, all of them hooked on to his every word.
That the students happen to be Yalies is just icing on the cake.
Slowly, but surely, his confidence grows. He pulls up to his impressively full height of six feet one, spine ramrod straight. The black suit he’s wearing enhances the sharpness of his demeanor, as does the military shine on his shoes that he paces in while he talks.
“So if you’re thinking about a career in naval intelligence, or in homeland security and law enforcement, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service offers a fantastic role that spans across all these different types of specialization…”
He’s doing pretty well, he thinks. For one, this group of people gets his lingo – he doesn’t need to translate everything to Gibbs-speak here. He is spontaneous and animated, and makes eye contact with different people gathered in the auditorium. The last one was suggested by Tony. And while he’d pretended to ignore the senior agent’s unsolicited advice at the time, Tim has to admit it really does work.
Fifteen minutes into his talk, a new person enters the auditorium from a side door. Tim doesn’t mind the latecomer, just hopes he’d join the group without disrupting his flow or anyone else’s undivided attention towards himself. He looks at the student briefly and nods, then looks away – only to spin back violently to look at him again.
DiNozzo? What the fuck is he doing here??
Immediately Tim loses his train of thought and stutters. Five seconds of dead air follow while Tim stares at the man with the thick sandy hair apologetically making his way through the crowd towards the only empty seat in the room.
He is clearly too young to be DiNozzo, and if he’s really a student attending this pre-placement talk then he’s probably no older than twenty-one, maybe twenty-two. He’s also much thinner and leaner than DiNozzo. His skin is more tanned, a darker shade of olive that Tony would be envious of. He’s wearing a black turtleneck sweater with tattered blue jeans and has a faded brown leather bag slung carelessly across one shoulder.
If this is DiNozzo’s idea of a prank, he’s gone a long, long way to set it up – like twenty years back into the past.
Nope, not Tony – just someone with an eerily strong resemblance.
Other kids in the audience are starting to shift or clear their throats. Tim pulls himself together and looks back at his notes. He draws a deep breath and picks up where he left off.
“So, as I was saying, at NCIS, our mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, foreign, and terrorist intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps, wherever they operate: ashore, afloat, or in cyberspace. In other words, we watch out for those who protect us.”
Soon enough, he gets his groove back. But it’s only through sheer determination to not look at the kid again, not even during Q&A at the end of his talk when the kid has his hand up, pretty much all of the time. But Tim ignores him completely.
Very mature, McGee.
The session runs over by about ten minutes because the questions just won’t stop coming, which Tim takes to be a very good sign. Finally the session coordinator has to step in and call an end to the discussion, and Tim is bid farewell with a decent round of applause. Students start filing out, chattering amongst each other and ignoring Tim as he gathers his stuff and gets ready to leave himself.
Someone taps him on the shoulder, “Special Agent McGee?”
The voice is nothing more than a soft whisper, full of youth’s curiosity and hesitation.
Tim turns around, almost half-expecting, but dreading to come face-to-face with the DiNozzo clone. He starts, takes a step back slightly.
“I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t get a chance to ask you my questions. I was wondering if you had a minute?”
He really does seem very, very earnest.
Tim practically shakes his head to try to stop the crazy whirring in his brain again. “Uh, sure, fire away.”
The boy smiles – even that smile is strikingly familiar, just as wide and toothy and annoyingly disarming. Sweet Jesus.
“Thanks! Um, my name is Logan. Logan Cale. And I’ve always been interested in law enforcement so your talk was very informative for me. I was just wondering…”
He goes on to ask something about how the Foreign Area Officer program helps the agency to achieve its national security objectives. Tim isn’t sure if he manages to answer the boy’s questions – he thinks he does, because his head keeps nodding eagerly and those eyes continue to sparkle with a distinct glimmer of admiration that Tim has rarely seen directed towards him.
At least not from a drop dead gorgeous and incredibly smart twenty-something grad student like this… what was the name again? Oh right – Logan Cale.
How could any of this be real?
This has got to be DiNozzo’s doing – somehow.
“Agent McGee, I’m so sorry, I can’t help but feel like I’m making you very uncomfortable for some reason. And if it’s because I came in late, I can explain that really…”
“What?” Tim catches himself staring intently into Logan’s eyes and trying to recall if Tony’s eyes were lighter or darker than this peculiarly mesmerizing shade of sea-green. “No, no – look, I’m sorry. Truth is you look so… so much like… someone I know.”
Logan nods, not taking his eyes off of Tim at all. “Someone you hate? Or don’t like very much?”
Hell. Far from it.
“A dear friend and highly respected colleague, actually. Even if he can be an annoying prick sometimes…”
Logan laughs, and once again Tim finds himself entranced by the sparkling sound of that honest laughter.
“I’m really glad to hear that, Agent McGee. In that case, could I ask you one more question?”
“Yeah, absolutely, Logan Cale.”
The kid licks his lips, and adjusts the leather bag strap around his shoulder. “Would you like to join me for drinks tonight?”
Tim’s mouth falls open and he suspects he doesn’t close it for the longest time. Not until Logan smiles again, looking down at his boots before looking back up again. The kid looks just as nervous, despite his forwardness.
He squints when another thought occurs to him. “Don’t take this the wrong way but… um, are you old enough to drink?”
Logan chuckles and blushes brightly. “I’m going to be twenty-two this November. So yeah, I’m old enough – for drinks and for… uh, everything else.”
Tim feels like he’s in a dream. That wasn’t subtle at all. He looks at Logan closely, hell he can’t take his eyes off the perfect face period. It’s thinner, with a smooth, clean-shaven and a lot more angular jaw than DiNozzo’s full one. And the hair isn’t as groomed or gelled like Tony’s… but damn.
Maybe this is a DiNozzo’s doing after all – Anthony DiNozzo Senior, to be more precise. The man was a player pretty much his entire widowed life. Who knows how many half-siblings poor Tony has across the continent and beyond?
Put a cork in it, McGee. Casting a shadow of doubt on someone’s genealogy does not a good first date conversation topic make. And Tim really does want to go on that first date because… oh yeah.
“I was actually planning to drive back to DC right after the talk…”
Logan’s face falls immediately, and he goes to cross his arms against his chest.
“But I guess I can stay for a few drinks,” Tim finishes, feeling oddly accomplished when Logan stops looking like a kicked puppy and smiles again.
“So where did you have in mind?”
They take Tim’s car and go to the Playwright, an Irish pub and restaurant that Logan recommends highly. It’s Wednesday night but the place is still reasonably packed. They grab two stools at the bar and order drinks. Eddie, the bartender, obviously knows Logan and greets them both warmly.
“So what’s good here?” Tim asks, looking across the bar scanning their collection of liquor of all shapes and sizes.
“They have a great collection of whiskey, if that’s your thing.”
“Whiskey it is.”
Logan orders a beer for himself and it comes with a whole bunch of free food that surprises Tim. He isn’t sure if it’s just the generosity of the place or because Logan is a regular patron. Doesn’t matter, he’s more interested in getting to know the green-eyed boy next to him, exuding so much warmth and admiration, it makes Tim feel twelve feet tall.
“I have to admit, I don’t usually do this.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I rarely ever get asked out by twenty-one year olds so… to be honest, I’m wondering if we’ll have enough in common to talk about.”
Logan nods softly. “When your talk was announced, I looked you up. I know everything there is know about you, Agent McGee. Well, everything that’s available in the public domain.”
“Bachelor’s in Biomedical engineering from John Hopkins and a Master’s in Computer Forensics from MIT, all before you turned twenty-one. You started your career at NCIS as a tech at the naval station in Norfolk, before you were actively recruited by Special Agent L. J. Gibbs in DC to be a part of his Major Case Response Team. You’re everything I want to be, Agent McGee. You’re practically living the life I want for myself!”
Tim blushes, feeling slightly overwhelmed. “Guess we do have things to talk about after all.”
They share a brief chuckle before Logan looks down into his drink. “Look, I’ve been obsessing over meeting you for a month. And this is probably not the best use of your time, Agent McGee, and I really don’t want to be a bother, but right now – there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
“Well, in that case, maybe you should drop the Agent and just call me McGee. Most of my friends call me that. Or Tim, if you like.”
Logan nods happily. “Tim it is.”
McGee loves the sound of his name rolling off of the gorgeous youngster’s lips. “You don’t look like a techno-geek, you know.”
“Neither do you!” Logan says without skipping a beat, his eyes traveling down Tim’s body and back up so quickly that anyone else might have missed it.
Anyone that is, except Tim.
The rest of the evening is a breeze. Tim can’t remember enjoying himself so much in a stranger’s company – a stranger he’s starting to get to know and the more he knows, the more he likes. Logan is a seriously smart kid, and genuinely interested in law enforcement. Another strange coincidence – like Tony, he comes from a wealthy family too. And Connecticut is so close to Long Island…
They stay for three hours talking, sharing their hopes, dreams and life stories like they’ve known each other for decades. Tim has never had such easy camaraderie with anyone before, not even with his best friends, Tony and Abby.
At some point, Tim switches from whiskey to coffee. When he looks at his watch next – it’s nearly eleven. If he starts now, he can be in DC by four AM, catch a couple hours of sleep and make it to work right on time.
“I-I have a studio off campus, not far from here,” Logan suggests tentatively. “You’re… welcome to stay the night, if you like.”
Tim looks into the boy’s eyes – full of hope and desire and anxiousness, and more hope. Before he can think of something to politely turn the kid down, Logan touches Tim’s hand resting on the bar.
His voice drops to a whisper when he speaks next.
“Maybe this is a little too forward of me, Tim, but… I want you to know that I’m not bothered by the age difference between us. In fact, um,” Logan bites his lip coyly, “I kind of like it.”
Tim bites his lip too, not wanting to ruin the moment by saying the wrong thing. He turns his hand so his palm is face up and intertwines his fingers with those of Logan’s. Logan squeezes his hand back fervently, desperate to not let him go.
“How soon can we get to your place?”
Logan unlocks his door and steps in first, dropping the keys in a shallow glass vase by the entrance. He waits for Tim to walk inside before closing the door behind them.
It’s a large studio, spacious and minimalistic but aesthetically pleasing to look at. The lights are dim and a pleasing shade of golden yellow which bring out the shine in Logan’s silken brown hair as well as the glittering green of his eyes.
Logan slips out of his shoes at the foyer, walks further inside and discards his bag on the floor beside the dining table. He stands with his hands on his hips, waiting for Tim to come closer.
How can Tim possibly resist?
The first kiss is soft and tentative and more exploratory in nature. The second one is bolder, more insistent, and is accompanied by hands coming up to hold each other’s faces and run fingers through the other’s hair. Tim surprises himself with how easy this is, how uncomplicated – and how right it feels despite the fact that A) he’s only just met Logan, B) Logan is nine years younger, and C) he’s only just met Logan!
“You sure about this? I mean, really, really sure?” He asks, one last time.
Logan dives in for another passionate kiss, parting Tim’s lips open and invading his mouth with a ravenous reach that startles the hell out of Tim. He catches up soon enough and their tongues stay intertwined for the longest time until their bodies start to scream for more oxygen.
“Does that answer your question, Agent McGee?” Logan asks, coyly.
In response, Tim grabs the ends of Logan’s sweater and pulls it up and over his head. His fingers next seek out the belt buckle and zipper underneath. He undoes Logan’s jeans and pushes them down the slender waist, letting them fall the rest of the way down on their own. Logan steps out of the denim restraints around his ankles and kicks them aside.
Tim pulls him close and strokes the back of his head to his neck, all the way down to the small of his back. And he doesn’t stop there.
Tim caresses the boy’s boxer-clad butt, cupping it in both hands and squeezing purposely. Logan gasps with his eyes clenched tight when Tim pushes the boxers down his waist. The younger boy shimmies out of them and presses his stark nude self from neck to toes against Tim’s body.
“Have you done this before?” Tim has to ask, when Logan lifts a leg and grinds his blooming erection against Tim’s clothed one.
“Mm-hmm, but not in awhile,” he breathes into Tim’s neck, rubbing himself sexily against Tim. “Floating shelf, topmost…”
Tim looks up and finds them standing not too far from a narrow bench-like table attached to a wall. The wall has five floating shelf brackets arranged in a diagonal pattern. He walks Logan backwards until he’s perched on the edge of the table. Logan wraps both his legs around Tim, still hell-bent on devouring his mouth. With effort, Tim stretches a hand to the topmost shelf and finds a tube of lubricant and a pack of condoms.
“I want you, Agent McGee, right here, right now, please…”
“Thought you’d switched to Tim,” he smiles, unzipping himself and rolling a condom quickly onto himself.
“I like the idea of being fucked by a federal agent better,” Logan smiles naughtily, reaching out with a hand to stroke and fist Tim’s already raging hard-on.
Tim closes his eyes and moans shamelessly, enjoying the sensation for a couple of minutes before getting back to business. He slicks up two fingers and seeks out Logan’s entrance, making the boy moan instead.
Logan is tight but knows exactly what to do, relaxing and undulating his muscles to let Tim in. The agent dives in, wriggling one then both digits into the passage and stretching it to make way for himself. Logan closes his eyes and mewls, pleading for more, just… more.
When he starts to leak and his movements get more frantic, Tim knows he can’t wait any longer.
He pushes Logan backwards until his upper torso is flat on the surface of the table, then pulls one of Logan’s legs up on one shoulder and positions himself. “Ready?”
“Yeah, do it now, please…”
Tim is careful but not too gentle, steady but not too slow. His own body is screaming to be buried balls deep right fucking now and it takes every ounce of grit he has to not hurt the kid. Once he presses in Logan moans, face contorted with pain that slowly and surely melts into an expression of pleasure.
“Fuck… move Agent McGee, now…”
So Tim does. He starts a steady rhythm of thrusting in and pulling out, watching Logan’s reactions carefully. Logan throws his hands above his head to hold on to the edge of the table and scrunches his eyes closed, but his mouth stays open around a series of delicious sounds and whimpers that are music to Tim’s ears.
He picks up the pace after a few minutes until he’s purposefully pounding into Logan’s ass with everything he’s got. With one hand, he pumps the boy’s erection until it’s an impossibly angry shade of purple and ready to erupt.
“Ah, can’t… I’m gonna…” And that’s all Logan manages to say. The rest of his words are garbled by the loud scream that escapes his mouth when his climax hits him.
Tim comes soon after, stars exploding in his line of sight blinding him momentarily. After the adrenaline dissipates, bone-deep exhaustion catches up with him and he can’t move anymore. Logan clearly feels the same way; he is completely listless around Tim, beneath Tim, smiling with half-lidded eyes.
“Wow. That was… wow.”
Tim pants and lowers his head onto Logan’s sternum. “You got that right.”
Logan tugs at Tim’s hair, “Promise me we’re gonna do that again.”
Tim grins drunkenly, “In a couple of hours, maybe. Need sleep now.”
They stumble towards a partitioned area where his bed is. Tim strips off his clothes and together they fall into bed, burrowing under the covers and entwining limbs before falling asleep instantly.
A few hours later, Tim senses himself returning reluctantly to partial lucidity. He opens his eyes and looks at his watch – it’s four in the morning. If he leaves now and goes straight to work, he can still make it by nine AM, which isn’t so bad.
He looks at the boy sleeping peacefully beside him. They must have gotten too hot for the covers sometime during the night and kicked them to the floor. Tim is on his back while Logan is sprawled on his stomach, an arm and a leg flung over Tim’s torso possessively. If Tim tries to move, he will definitely wake him up.
He tries anyway. It doesn’t work.
Logan blinks his eyes open and smiles. Bathed in the dim pre-dawn light, he’s a sight to behold… and Tim has a very hard time wrenching his eyes or hands away from him. He caresses the perfectly chiseled back with a hand, spanning up and down before halting at the delicate curves of his ass.
“You promised,” Logan whispers, eyes already gleaming with re-ignited desire.
“I did, didn’t I?” Tim smirks and reaches for another condom. This time he rolls Logan to his side and spoons up around him.
He spends a few minutes fingering the boy to make sure he’s still stretched enough. Logan tugs sleepily at his own member and lets Tim do the rest. Tim buries himself inside Logan and makes slow, languorous love to him.
He takes his time, experimenting with speeds, angles, loving each type of sound that spills out of the kid’s wanton lips. He tweaks his nipples, making the long sinewy body arch up against him elegantly. He feeds his own thumb to Logan and moves it in and out, in rhythm with the pistoning of his ass.
“Grmphhm.. mmm…. phmmph.. brrmm..”
Tim laughs, “Didn’t anyone teach you not to talk with your mouth full?”
Logan pulls Tim’s finger out of his mouth. “Didn’t anyone tell you not to make love to a guy like he’s a girl?”
“Oh, you want it rough and dirty, do you?”
“Yes, please,” Logan grins up at him.
The next thing he knows, Logan is positioned on his hands and knees without Tim ever slipping out. Tim’s thrusts get stronger and faster and forceful enough to send the whole bed shaking. Logan’s yelps get louder as he holds on for dear life, and lets Tim ride him to his heart’s satisfaction. He comes without even touching himself, spraying his release all over the white sheets and his own stomach. His elbows buckle and he collapses, resting his face on a pillow while Tim continues to hold his hips up and fuck his over-sensitized insides out.
Tim keeps it up for as long as he can, until he just can’t anymore, and finally surrenders to his own mind-melding release, one he’s not going to forget for years to come.
He goes to the bathroom and returns with a washcloth to clean them both up, “That rough enough for ya?”
Logan harrumphs but he’s smiling too, “I’m sure you could do better. Maybe you can try again tonight?”
Tim sits up straight, suddenly realizing what Logan is suggesting, what he’s been doing all night. He sighs and looks away, cataloguing the location of his gun and badge along with his clothes and shoes.
“You know I can’t stay.”
Logan gulps hard and sits up in bed behind Tim. Warm, tentative fingers come to rest on top of Tim’s shoulder, followed by a bony chin. “Will you stay with me until I fall asleep? I… I hate going to bed alone.”
Tim sighs and turns to face the kid. There is nothing he can say to make it better, so he opts for action instead. They lie back down and Tim once again spoons up around the younger man, pulling the covers up over themselves. He stays awake this time and waits until Logan’s breaths slow to an even, deep-slumbering pace.
He doesn’t leave a note… what is he supposed to say?
This was meant to be nothing more than a one-night stand, at least that’s how it’d started. Now he’s feeling confused and conflicted, and the only solution that makes sense is to get as far away from the source of his dilemma and back to the normalcy of his life.
Normal is boring and mundane, on occasion. Normal is watching Tony flirt with anything in a skirt and having no idea of the effect he has on his Probie. Normal is drowning himself in work, in his writing, or in his fantasy RPGs just so he didn’t have to be so lonely all the time. That’s what he decides to return to, because it is what he’s used to by now.
And because the alternative is simply too frightening to consider.
Time passes slower than usual after that.
Three messages on his phone add fuel to the pandemonium in his mind (and heart). The first one comes the evening right after McGee returns from New Haven. It says, in a calm and reasonable tone, how much Logan enjoyed their evening and would love to do it again. The second one comes five days later. This one lets Tim know that Logan would be in DC next week for a student conference and would love to meet up, if Agent McGee is available?
The third and last one follows twelve days later and it simply says: “I miss you.”
Tim doesn’t respond to any of them.
None of his usual escape routes work, nothing helps to distract him from the memories of the gorgeous and smart-as-hell Yalie who looked at Tim like… like Tim looks at Tony. But it’s not like Tony ever notices him or what he’s going through, so he thinks.
Turns out, Tim is wrong.
“You’ve been awfully quiet, Probie,” DiNozzo says one night when it’s just the two of them in the bull-pen.
“Who else can get a word in with you around, DiNozzo?” he drawls, without looking away from his monitor.
“Something happened at Yale, didn’t it?”
Tim starts, and misses a key. He hits backspace to correct his typo but keeps his eyes averted from Tony. Because, yeah… sometimes looking at Tony is like looking right into the sun – blinding, disorienting.
The bitch of it is that looking at him has gotten even harder ever since Yale because now… Tony reminds him of Logan too.
“You met someone.” It isn’t a question.
Tim glares at Tony shortly and tries to go back to his work but the senior agent is having none of it. He walks over to his desk and crouches by it, resting his elbows on the surface. He looks at Tim knowingly, his naturally inquisitive mind putting all the clues from last few days together.
“You met someone and that someone likes you back too, seeing how he’s been leaving you messages, messages you keep ignoring. Now that’s the part I don’t understand.”
“None of your business, DiNozzo.”
Tony huffs. “You know when I made fun of you being gay, it was only when you were in denial of yourself, right? It’s perfectly alright with me now that you’ve accepted yourself.”
“And why would I care if you approve or not?”
“Exactly!” DiNozzo grins victoriously. “That’s just it Probie, you shouldn’t care for anyone’s approval. Just go out there and get your man, man!”
Tim closes his eyes and shakes his head. If only it were that simple, but Tony obviously has no way to know. And Tim sure isn’t about to clear things up for him.
“Admit it, Tim…” Tony hardly ever calls him Tim. He only does it when he’s being dead serious – which is a truly rare thing. “This guy obviously means a lot to you – I can see it in your eyes.”
Tim pouts and swivels his chair away. Tony scoffs. “I can still see it, in your shoulders.”
Tim slumps further down in his seat. Tony thumps his back enthusiastically.
“Listen, some things I can’t give you, Timmy,” Tony whispers softly. “What I can give is my support, and advice. Life doesn’t give a lot of do-overs man, it’s a bitch like that. Love, even more so. So unless he’s jailbait, or a terrorist, or maybe… um, impotent, you better have a damn good reason to be turning him away.”
Tim sighs and turns back around to face Tony. It’s still hard to look into that face that’s haunted his dreams for seven years. But something tells him there’s a chance, a small one but it’s there, that it might get easier.
Tony nods and doesn’t press. Tim doesn’t know what else to say anyway. Just like he doesn’t know how he’d ever tell Tony to brace himself for when he introduces Logan Cale to Anthony DiNozzo.
Unfortunately for Tim, life turns out to be an even bigger bitch than he could have imagined. That second chance he’d been secretly counting on passes him by without so much as a second glance.
Because four days later, all hell breaks loose.
Post-pulse United States of America
Forty-year old Supervisor Intelligence Specialist Timothy McGee walks into the headquarters of operation DRACO inside the Pentagon at four in the morning. Even at this hour, the place is teaming with agents and specialists working round the clock to help put this broken nation together.
It’s what DRACO stands for: Data Reconstruction And Conservation Office.
The name’s kind of lame and ambiguous, Tim knows that. The latter was fully intentional, the former not so much.
When the Pulse hit, every computer and communications system in America was damaged and all digital information was instantly erased, throwing the whole country into utter chaos. Hours after the electricity went down, mass panic and hysteria ensued when it was realized that there was no immediate solution to the problem, and many were reduced to almost barbaric means for survival.
Another effect of The Pulse was bankruptcy. The databases for most American banks were instantly wiped clean, throwing everyone in America that didn’t have hordes of cash lying around at home, or in Swiss banks, or the Cayman Islands, into abject poverty.
America basically went from super-power to third-world country in a matter of days.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods were lost including, needless to say, many who were dependent on their computer skills. But specialists like Timothy McGee got hotter than hot cakes or pretty much any other professional out there.
When the first DRACO taskforce was put together two days after the Pulse, Tim was tapped to be a part of it, and he accepted more than willingly. Hell, there was no other place he’d rather be.
They worked as fast as it could to get basic military defenses back up again. After two months, Americans could rest assured that they were safe from external enemies – even if they weren’t safe from each other. Tim doesn’t think he slept in those first two months at all. Since then, he and his team have worked relentlessly to put Humpty Dumpty and all his precious ones and zeroes back together again.
Truth is, though, it’s never going to be the same again.
The total anarchy post the Pulse has unleashed the worst in human nature. There is no stopping the greed of opportunists, or the desperation of the needy. Until they get the systems to start enforcing the law again, this society will never regain its humanity, let alone its civility, again.
Tim rose through the ranks to head DRACO three years ago. He is dedicated and driven, and it’s what he does best. He just doesn’t know if his best is ever going to be enough.
NCIS carried on without him – what other choice did they have? Three months after the Pulse, after the agency managed to somehow climb back to its feet again, Ziva announced that she was going back to Israel. With the US of A crippled, Israel needed her, now more than ever.
The last time anyone heard from her was a year ago.
Gibbs retired too. The agency extended his service by three years and would have happily done so for longer than that. But he decided he’d had enough. He took Mike Franks’ granddaughter and daughter-in-law and went back to Mexico – dedicating the rest of his life to looking after his adopted family, and occasionally helping Americans cross over and escape into South America. How the tables have turned.
The old man is still tough as nails and still a bastard in lots of ways, except now the bastard sports a moustache and a sombrero.
Abby also quit NCIS five years ago. When CafPow went bankrupt and stopped production, she took to smoking cigarettes as replacement. She’d promise him she’d quit every week, only to go back to it a week later. Finally, she created her own concoction for a caffeine drink in a Petri-dish, and not only did she quit smoking but also set up a successful small business selling the stuff. It’s how she also funds her charity organization to help Pulse-affected orphans and street kids in DC.
That’s Abby. She always finds a way to stay happy.
And then there’s Tony – the only one of the original Gibblets left standing.
He’s now team leader at NCIS, the only intelligence agency in the country that did not come under fire for the Pulse because they in fact, did raise an alarm but were either ignored or shot down by the bureaucratic higher-ups in FBI and Homeland Security. No one else saw it coming – the most debilitating terrorist attack ever in the history of America. All eyes had been trained so heavily on the Middle East that they completely missed the trouble brewing in their own home.
The whole nation ended up paying for it.
Tony has a new team now, people he’s been grooming for five years and has grown to trust like he once did Tim and Ziva. He still calls Gibbs for advice sometimes, but Tim knows that’s just his excuse to talk to his old mentor and father figure.
Tim gets the occasional email from Tony too, asking for his help with something technical, or sharing a dirty joke that makes Tim smile despite everything. This morning, like every morning, he goes into his office and the first thing he does is check his email. Sixth one down the list is Tony’s. The subject line simply says: Have you seen this?
Tim smirks, trying to guess what practical, or virtual, prank his old friend has planned for him this morning. It turns out to be a link to a streaming video on a news site that’s gotten its hands on some police hover drone footage from the Seattle area.
Tim sits back in his chair and sips from his coffee as the video starts playing.
The drone captured an aerial view of a civilian shootout that went down yesterday afternoon. Two vans surround a nondescript grey sedan in the middle of a cross-section in broad daylight. Gunmen in black masks open fire, and another set of gunmen retaliate from inside the sedan. A guy jumps out – looks like private security, possibly ex-military. But he’s all brawn and no brains and way too reckless, and gets gunned down pretty quickly.
Meanwhile, three people get out of the sedan and try to make a run for it. It’s a man holding a pre-teen girl and a woman – possibly a family. But they don’t get too far.
One of the assailants shoots the man, who falls to the ground face first. The woman screams and tries to approach her fallen partner. Tim is stunned by the gore on display, and puts his coffee mug aside. He zooms in and watches as the injured man yells at the woman. Whatever he says makes her hesitate but a second later she turns on her heels and runs, leaving him and the little girl still on the ground.
An assailant approaches and goes straight for the girl. The injured man, possibly the father, tries his best to hold on but there is only so much he can do. In the tussle that follows, he is turned over to his back so the girl can be snatched out from under him. The assailants drive off with the girl, while the drone zooms in on the face of the now unconscious, or possibly dead, man.
Tim blinks, hits pause to freeze the screen and stares at the man’s face. “Can’t be…”
It’s that face that must have made Tony forward the link to Tim. It’s the face that makes Tim sit up straight and stare at his screen with eyes blown wide. It’s the face that makes him rewind and replay the footage, zoom in and pause again… the face that’s haunted his dreams for ten years.
Tim stands up, and struggles to get his thundering heart under control. The first thing he does is contact his taskforce stationed in the neighboring area for the status and whereabouts of the injured man and his family.
After the world went pear-shaped a decade ago, Tim could not afford the luxury of a life, let alone a relationship. He simply did not have the time. Every spare second he found, Tim spent it trying to locate the kid, but all in vain. Logan had simply fallen off the grid after the Pulse.
Hell, the grid itself had fallen off the grid after the Pulse.
But meanwhile, it looks like Logan had had enough time to move on, get over his little geek-crush and find himself a nice little family…
Tim sighs, realizing he has no one to blame but himself. He’d been offered a second chance but he squandered it away. All he wants now is to make sure Logan is okay and reunite him with his family, even though a part of him isn’t sure how he feels about a wife who ran away leaving Logan to die alone on the street. He reminds himself not to judge without knowing all the facts. But he can’t know anything sitting here in DC any longer.
Grabbing his jacket and keys he heads straight for the airport, barking orders at his team to make arrangements for him in Seattle and instructing them to keep him informed.
God, please let Logan be okay. I need him to be okay, he just has to.
After a six hour flight and another two hours of debriefing at his Portland office, Tim sits back in his seat and stares solemnly at a giant LED screen. Probationary Agent Nugent cowers beside him, his voice shaking with fear and exhilaration just to be in the presence of legendary Intelligence Specialist Timothy McGee.
“Edgar Sonrisa is clearly dirty, sir. Besides owning shopping centers, trucking companies, and the largest medical supply company in San Francisco, he also runs drugs and guns up and down the West Coast. His political connections make him virtually untouchable. His latest scam is swapping federal shipments of the drug Cortodiazapine with sugar pills, and selling the real thing on the Canadian black market for two thousand dollars a pop.”
Tim browses through the information silently, not reacting.
“S-So… this is everything I could find, Sir. I ho-hope this is what you wanted?”
“Thank you, Nugent. And good job.”
Nugent practically glows at the compliment but quickly realizes that he’s been dismissed. Tim watches him leave from the corner of an eye and turns back to the screen.
Logan Cale, married and divorced. No relation to the woman and child on the video. Tim finds no elation in that discovery because there is something else – something far worse.
The missing woman is a key witness in the ongoing investigation against Sonrisa, the kidnapped little girl is her daughter. Logan had apparently been offering them protection, a philanthropic act he is now paying for.
Nugent also found the hospital Logan was taken to after the shooting – and where he seems to have mysteriously disappeared from after, or maybe before, a second attempt on his life.
Sonrisa will pay, but that’s for later. Tim grabs his gun and heads out to personally check out the next address on the list – an apartment in the financial district in Cale’s name that’s supposed to be vacant, but there’s been some covert broadband activity traced by DRACO for the past couple of years.
Maybe he’ll find clues to Logan’s whereabouts there.
Logan drifts in and out of consciousness for what feels like forever. The pain has subsided to a dull throbbing for now, which means they’ve put him on the good stuff. Only a man of means like him can afford the good stuff these days. Everyone else is left stuck with sugar cubes that do absolutely nothing to alleviate their sickness or pain.
Logan frowns in his sleep, feeling the old agitation return… the same old tingle in the back of his neck that makes him angry, makes him feel frustrated and helpless. It’s what prompted him to drop off the grid (what grid?) and take on the mantel of a rogue cyber-journalist. And there’s so much he still needs to do. Starting with Edgar Sonrisa and…
Logan stirs, struggling to pull his eyes open. He manages it half the way, enough to realize that he’s not in a hospital anymore. Everything is blurry and dark, like someone turned all the lights off. Now unless the hospital lost its power supply…
With superhuman effort, Logan tries to move. What follows is a horrific onslaught of renewed pain that emanates at the base of his spine and travels all the way up to his head. He is forced to close his eyes and defend his pupils against the fiery explosion of light behind his eyelids.
Two strong, warm hands come to rest on his shoulders and push him back down into his pillows. “Take it easy, Logan, shh… you’re okay…”
That voice… it’s male, and deep, and polite and refined, even if with a sharp, ragged undercurrent. Logan thinks he is supposed to know that voice, supposed to be intimately familiar with it. But for the life of him, his morphine-riddled brain can’t place it.
One hand adjusts the pillow under his head, another pulls up the blanket and tucks it around his neck.
“She made it back here, she’s safe.”
Logan frowns, “H-how…?” … did I get here?
“Sonrisa sent someone to the hospital to finish the job. Some girl got you out of there in time and dropped you off here,” the voice replies, automatically surmising what Logan wants to ask.
Did the X5 have a change of heart after all? And if yes, why exactly? More importantly, will she help keep Lauren and her daughter safe? Fuck, her daughter was kidnapped, wasn’t she?
“Max is on it, apparently…” The voice sounds skeptical, but doesn’t elaborate any further.
Logan shifts uncomfortably within the confines of the bed covers. The pain continues to throb at the periphery of his senses, making it impossible for him to fall back to sleep.
“So, this Max… is she a girlfriend of yours?”
Logan scoffs, but stops quickly because it hurts to do so. “Far from it. I’m a loner, always been, alone forever…”
The voice doesn’t respond for the longest time. When finally it does, the question it asks is hesitant, fragile like glass. “Why’s that, Yalie?”
Logan smiles, it’s been awhile since he was called that. “Because no one ever wants to stay with me…”
Silence stretches for an eternity, not that Logan notices. He squirms, runs into another wall of overwhelming pain and can’t help but whimper softly. Someone pushes the hair back from his forehead and tries to soothe him back to sleep.
“I’ll get you something for the pain…”
Logan wants to protest, wants to go out there and help Max get Sophie back. Of course Max doesn’t need much help. But if she fails, others will die and it’d all be because Logan didn’t protect the people he was supposed to.
“Please don’t… I can’t…”
He’s ignored completely. Something pricks his left arm and very soon the drugs flood his system, flushing all his pain and protests away. Logan starts to drift off against his will.
“It’s okay, Logan, you’re safe…” The voice whispers, sounding more and more familiar with every word until a name jumps up into the front of his mind. The idea is simply too fantastical to be true, but even the illusion of such a possibility is enough to make him smile.
“Will you stay with me, Agent McGee? You know I hate sleeping alone…”
Logan is barely aware of the words that tumble off his lips, nor does he catch the resulting stiffening of the hand that’s holding his. Darkness pours in from all sides, and the rest is nothing.
Decades later, voices from miles away beckon him towards a slim tunnel of light which, he figures later, is also known as consciousness.
“Thanks again for coming, Doctor Bristow.”
“Not a problem, son. I expect the physiotherapist to show this weekend. He’s driving up from Texas at my request.”
“Great. And you’re sure he can be trusted to double up as a personal bodyguard…?”
“Absolutely, I’d trust Bling with my life.”
Logan thinks there’s something being said that’s relevant to him, but isn’t sure what. Instead, he focuses one of the voices – that annoyingly familiar, soothing baritone. He can’t open his eyes just yet but he can tell the sun is high up in the sky. He can feel the brightness streaming in through the full-length windows. His first instinct is to shut it out, turn over and go right back to sleep.
But then he remembers.
Instinctively he tries to push himself up, and this time he isn’t stopped, at least not right away. Footsteps enter the room seconds later and the hands are back, holding him down and making him wait as they place a couple of pillows behind him. He finally gets to sit up, but just a little.
“Take it easy,” someone says, and Logan slowly opens his eyes to look at the man on his left.
He blinks. Well, obviously he’s still dreaming. He has to. The man steps away from the bed and straightens up. Logan doesn’t move a muscle.
“Agent McGee?” he whispers, voice breaking at the first word itself.
The agent is older, of course, more handsome and distinguished than Logan remembered him to be. Taller even, from Logan’s vantage point. The social awkwardness is long gone. Instead there’s steely hardness in the once-naïve brown eyes, pure white sideburns testament to his wisdom and experience, and a fit, well-maintained body that completely fills out the white shirt and black trousers.
Logan feels the last of his energy drain away, and his head collapses against the pillow. He just can’t believe his eyes, not even after McGee hands him his silver-rimmed glasses.
“Are you really here?” Did I hurt my head in the shooting?
“Your little adventure went viral,” McGee explains, smiling softly without taking his eyes off Logan. “You couldn’t hide from me any longer.”
“Ten years…” is all Logan can think, and say.
McGee nods, seemingly at a loss for words himself. He just stands there with his hands buried in his pockets, watching Logan cautiously.
Logan still remembers those few cherished hours together, how the agent looked at him like he was seeing someone else in Logan’s face. He doesn’t see the ghost of another man’s memory in McGee’s eyes anymore, only a reflection of himself – his older, scruffier, bespectacled self.
“Let me guess,” he tries to break the ice, “not what you expected?”
McGee smiles again, scratching his left temple like he’d done years ago. “I remember meeting this smart and gorgeous kid, back in New Haven. What I see before me now is a courageous and driven young man… on a mission to save a broken world. I look forward to getting to know this man, if he’ll let me.”
He’s obviously seen the equipment in the next room and figured things out. Logan’s eyes brim over with tears that he tries very hard to not let spill.
“It’s so good to see you again, Agent McGee. We got so much to catch up on,” he whispers, feeling overwhelmed by the memories, of feelings and emotions he’s kept bottled for ten years.
“Yeah, we do.” McGee sighs and looks away, then pulls up a chair and takes a seat beside him. Logan frowns, something’s going on.
“I-I forgot to ask – are Lauren and Sophie okay? Max got ‘em out safe, didn’t she?”
McGee waves dismissively, “They’re fine. I called the FBI – they have them in protective custody and the hearing’s been pulled up to tomorrow. It’s all going to plan.”
“So what is it?”
Logan tries to sit up again, and finds it harder to do than ever before. Strange, this feeling of heaviness in the lower half of his body – like he’s awake from the waist up but not below.
“Logan,” McGee starts solemnly. He takes one of Logan’s hands in both of his and squeezes it tightly.
“We need to talk about your injuries.”
Three weeks later, Logan wheels himself out of Doctor Bristow’s office on his own, refusing help from the orderlies. It’s not like he gets to go too far anyway. McGee is waiting for him forty feet away at the end of the corridor.
“What’d he say?” he asks, letting Logan roll up ahead before he grabs the handle bars from behind.
“Nothing I didn’t already know.”
He can still hear the echo of the gunshot that shattered his spine and changed his life forever. None of the doctors they’ve consulted so far thinks he’ll ever walk again. Maybe in a parallel universe where the Pulse never happened, maybe they would have found a cure for spinal injuries by now.
Unfortunately the Pulse set everything back, including medical research, by years and years.
They reach the parking lot where McGee helps him into the van and drives them back to the apartment. All the way he chatters about decking the van out – hand controls, ramps, wheelchair lifts and what not. Logan knows he means well, but frankly he’s not ready to contemplate his impending future as a disabled person just yet. So he stays quiet, his face turned towards the window, all the way home.
Upstairs, Tim lifts him out of the wheelchair and gets him settled onto the living room couch. He helps Logan stretch his lifeless legs out and pushes a cushion under his head so Logan can rest for a bit before lunch. Then he crouches beside the younger man, and runs a gentle hand through Logan’s messy brown hair.
“Wanna tell me what’s going on inside that walnut of yours?”
Logan looks at McGee contemplatively. He might as well get all the bad news out of the way at once. Why delay the inevitable and prolong his torture for another day?
“I’m gonna be fine, you know.”
“Then what’re you still doing here?”
McGee sighs, and sits back on his haunches on the carpeted floor. He pulls his hand away and Logan misses the touch already. “Do you want me to leave?”
“I don’t want you to feel like you need to stay just because I’m a cripple.”
“What the hell makes you think that?”
Logan shrugs, “Maybe the fact that you blew me off years ago and didn’t bother to get in touch all this time, until now? If you were in my place, what would you make of all of this, Agent McGee?”
“Told you not to call me that. Besides I’m a Specialist now…”
Logan ignores him, and carries on like he wasn’t interrupted at all.
“Every morning I wake up afraid, afraid I’d find the apartment empty again. Every morning is an ordeal because I don’t know if there’s going to be a goodbye note this time, or if you’ll just up and leave like you did before. I don’t know why you’re here, I don’t know how long you’ll stay, and I’m afraid I’ll get so used to having you around that when you do take off…”
He stops suddenly, embarrassed, hyperventilating, and scared out of his wits because how he’s done it. He’s pushed McGee away for good – which is what Logan wanted, didn’t he – dump before he gets dumped, make it easier on himself.
Then why does he feel so goddamn miserable?
McGee exhales heavily but his gaze does not waver. There used to be this innocence underneath that strong, confident visage that Logan had found incredibly attractive. Sadly, Cyberpunk America had stolen most everyone of their innocence and clearly McGee has not remained untouched. His years have hardened him to the core, given him that dangerous vibe that’s still attractive (of course it is), but also heartbreaking in a way.
It makes Logan believe Agent McGee is more unattainable now than he ever was before.
The older man reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone. It’s one of those ‘smart’ gadgets with a touch screen and Wi-Fi wherever he goes – a rare commodity available only to federal agents or really, really rich people.
Logan watches as McGee opens his photo gallery and pulls up a picture from years ago.
“This was my team back at NCIS, when I met you. That’s Gibbs, this here is Ziva, Abby, Ducky, and this guy here…”
Logan adjusts his glasses to peer closely into the guy’s face. “Oh my God…”
“Tony DiNozzo. My first love. As straight as they come.”
Logan looks up into the agent’s face that now looks incredibly guilty, and deeply apologetic.
“I’m sorry, Logan. I… I used you, back then. That’s why I bolted like a coward from your apartment, why I never returned your messages. I couldn’t face you knowing in my heart of hearts what I’d done. And by the time I got my head screwed back on straight and realized how special what we’d shared had been, the world had literally been turned upside down.”
Logan isn’t entirely sure what to make of this confession. He puts himself in the other man’s shoes and tries to imagine his dilemma as his own – sleeping with the lookalike of a man you’ve loved forever? Yeah, that’s a sticky one.
But the guy is here now, when he doesn’t actually need to be…
McGee… Tim… gazes into his eyes, holds Logan’s face in both his hands. “Seeing you on that video was like someone up there throwing me a line. You don’t get a lot of do-overs in life, but we’re lucky we got one, you and I! I don’t want to waste it again, Logan… and something tells me neither do you.”
Logan feels the tears welling up again. “Tim, I… I’m broken…”
Tim leans in. “You’re beautiful, Logan. You’re smart and brave and capable… for fuck’s sake you haven’t given up on this God-forsaken world, so why give up on yourself?”
Logan looks away, feeling incredibly tempted but torn. Tim pulls his face back towards himself, caressing his stubbled jaw tenderly.
“Truth is, Logan… I don’t want to go to bed alone anymore. Hell, what I want is to wake up next to you and only you, for as long as you’ll let me.”
Logan gives into a sob then, letting the trauma of the past few weeks out at last. He pulls Tim closer to himself and they kiss for the longest time, desperately clinging to each other like they’ll never get to do this again.
“Wait, what about your job?” Logan pulls away suddenly and asks, dreading the answer even though he knows they can’t afford to be selfish. None of them can.
Tim rubs his lover’s back comfortingly. He takes Logan’s glasses off and puts them safely aside.
“I will have to travel a lot, but I can do most of it from Seattle. Besides, I bet DRACO and Eyes Only can be mutually beneficial to each other. What do you say?”
Logan grins, “On one condition.”
“I’d like to meet this Agent Tony DiNozzo first.”
Tim narrows his eyes, “Kid, I assure you – I do not have any feelings for him anymore.”
“Sure, I believe you! I just wanna meet him… maybe swab some DNA or something, that’s all.”
Tim throws his head back and bellows, before pulling Logan back into his arms again. “I’m sure that can be arranged.”
Logan buries his face in Tim’s chest and smiles. For the first time in ten years, he believes that things might turn out alright after all.
*** THE END ***
A/N: Please let me know what you think?