AN: Don't panic! I have never killed off a major character before and I don't plan to now! Just wait and you'll see everything turn out alright in the end!

Oh, plus this is where the Abby bashing starts, so you are warned. Don't get me wrong, Abby is an interesting character; but actions speak louder than words. She is always being mean, cruel, to Tim and then just saying she's sorry and acting like it never happened, and that just isn't a healthy mental attitude.

Disclaimer: I own nothing, nothing!

When it happened time seemed to slow to a crawl and yet move too fast for them to do anything useful.

They were out at the crime scene, waiting for Ducky to give them the go ahead to approach the bodies, when a pink Plymouth Duster- later found to have been stolen from a nearby college campus- came zipping by; a single shot rang out.

Ziva gave an involuntary cry as the bullet grazed he arm before embedding into a tree and was instantly surrounded by the concerned faces of all present, all save two.

"It looks like nothing more than a graze, my dear, but we had better get it cleaned up and dressed just the same. Mr. Palmer, my bag if you be so kind." Several moments went by without the expected enthusiastic acknowledgement.

"Mr. Palmer?" Looking around, Ducky spotted his assistant kneeling on the ground next to an all too familiar prone form; blood already coating his hands nearly to his elbows.

The old ME was moving before he had even fully registered what he was seeing.

"Jethro, call an ambulance!" He called back once he was half way to the two young men on the ground.

"I thought you said it was only a graze, Duck?" Gibbs asked as he turned to see where his old friend was headed, and that's when he spotted his downed man.

"Ambulance, Jethro. Now!" Kneeling down on the other side of McGee from his assistant as an ambulance was finally called to the scene, Ducky rattled off the damage he could see.

"Through and through, high in the chest- my god..." The old doctor shared a worried glance with his young assistant before he looked up at the three Agents now standing close by but keeping out of the way, the small graze on Ziva's arm long forgotten.

"How bad is it, Ducky?" Tony asked, unable to hold in his curiosity even though he was worried about his Probie.

"It's... bad, Anthony. Timothy... The bullet has passed perilously close to his heart, right along the path of his aorta."

"He will be alright though, Ducky, will he not?" Ziva asked, shocked that her coworker had been so seriously injured and yet she had been the one to receive treatment first.

"He is still breathing, my dear Ziva, so there is hope. Never give up hope." The rest of the time waiting for the ambulance to arrive was spent in silence as the two medical men attempted to stem the flow of blood from the gushing wound and the Agents kept watch, watching to see if the perpetrators returned and watching to see if they were about to lose their friend and partner.

"Why McGee, Boss? Why him and not one of us?" Tony asked once the ambulance that had finally arrived had pulled away with McGee and Palmer- who had surprised everyone with his vehement refusals to part from Tim's side- both inside.

Gibbs, not having an answer for his Senior Agent, simply shook his head and ordered his two remaining Agents to secure the scene before their replacements arrived. Pulling out his phone, Gibbs made the necessary, and overdue, call to the Director.

NCISNCISNCISNCISNCISNCIS

"What's happened?!" Barked the voice on the other end of the line as soon as it was picked up and Vance quickly outlined what he knew, knowing that the gruffness was born of worry and not taking it personally, he also knew it would only get worse once he'd finished speaking.

"We'll meet you at the hospital. Bethesda, right?" Giving the affirmative, Vance was soon listening to a dial tone.

Grabbing his coat the Director of NCIS headed out. Officially he was going to go check on his injured Agent, unofficially he was going to go run interference between Gibbs and the CIA.

At that moment, Leon Vance felt he would rather be doing anything else, even attending budget meetings up on the Hill, rather than going to go explain why the CIA was so heavily interested in, and invested in, the well-being of one of NCIS's top Agents.

And he most definitely wasn't looking forward to the moment Gibbs realized that there was a personal connection between Trent Kort and Timothy McGee as well as a professional one, even if he himself wasn't supposed to know that bit of news either.

NCISNCISNCISNCISNCISNCIS

Trent Kort arrived in the OR waiting area just as an argument was winding down.

"What are you saying? I have been that boy's doctor for years, you can't deny me access to his medical records!"

"I'm sorry, sir, but according to our records Agent McGee's personal physician is one Jimmy Palmer; we have nothing on file that would allow us to grant you, or anyone else not listed here in his file, access to his records or information on his current condition." The nurse on duty at the desk clipped this out angrily, seeming to have said this- or variations there of- several times already.

With an exasperated huff the old ME turned and made his way to a closed waiting room, letting himself in he never noticed the hospital security staff that took up position just outside the door immediately after.

Sauntering up to the nurses station, Trent pulled out his ID and presented it with a wane smile.

"I'm here for Timothy McGee, what can you tell me?" Matching his name to her list the nurse gave a relived sigh at finally having someone listed to talk to about the young Agent.

"There isn't much news yet, he's still in surgery. We'll be able to tell you more once the doctor comes out. If you would like to wait..." Realizing that the only available place for him to wait would be in the now guarded waiting room or in the open hall the nurse froze, at a loss of what to do.

"Don't worry about it, I know them all already. They won't be happy to see me but they'll get over it. I do have a question though: why the guards?"

"I'd like the answer to that as well." Vance said as he had come out of the elevator just moments before and had already spotted the sentries.

Looking equal parts angry at what she had to relate and embarrassed that she had to be the one to tell the Director of an Agency about the behavior of one of his employees the nurse told them, and was gratified to see their expressions come to mirror her own angry one when she was through.

"I'll take care of this, ma'am, there won't be anymore problems like that from my people." Vance assured the woman before marching towards to closed waiting room door, Kort choosing to wait for the rest of his team to arrive before going in.

If any news came in about Tim he wanted to be available to hear it immediately, not mired down in an argument he couldn't escape, and having his team there to run interference when needed would help him do that.

In the waiting area, completely oblivious to what was being said out in the hall, Team Gibbs- consisting at the moment of only Gibbs, Tony, Ziva, Ducky and Abby as Jimmy hadn't yet reappeared after leaving in the ambulance- were grumbling about their lack of success in gaining information about their friend.

"They can't just cut us off from him like this! Timmy is our friend! He needs us!" Abby wailed while clutching her black lace hankie and receiving comfort from Ziva.

"I'm afraid they can, Abigail, it seems none of us are on dear Timothy's paper work anymore and so have no legal right to ask about him. Though I can't imagine why he would push us away like that, or even when he began doing so."

"I can." Vance stated decisively as he strode into the room, closing the door with a loud click behind him and leveling his sharp gaze on one particulate occupant of the room.

"Miss Sciuto, would you like to explain to everyone here exactly why there is a security detail outside the door?" Fixing the Goth with a hard look the Director saw the exact moment she went pale under her makeup and then bright red, but not in embarrassment.

"It wasn't my fault! They can't still blame me for that! I'll sue them! This is slander against my character!" Everyone in the room, with the exception of the Director himself, was taken aback by the abrupt change in Abby's attitude.

Where she had been all emotionally overwrought and tearful a moment before she was now practically quivering with rage.

"Abby!" Gibbs cut the forensic tech's rant short with that one disbelieving word, and they all watched as she realized exactly who had just seen her outburst as she began to tear up again. Only this time no-one rushed to her side to offer comfort.

"Director, perhaps you could explain to the rest of us what Miss Sciuto is talking about?"

"I'd be glad to, Dr. Mallard, only I don't have all the information either as the event occurred during the previous Director's tenure. All I know is what I was just told at the desk when I questioned why there was security posted outside your door." Finally looking away from the now quiet woman- Abby had given up the tears when she realized they weren't working- Vance passed a glance over everyone in the room before settling on the old ME.

"It seems that Agent McGee took possession of a dog, a dog that should have been put down instead of being adopted out, and was savaged by the thing while in bed one night." Several gasps and in drawn breaths echoed about the room as everyone recalled the case involving the dog later named Jethro and Abby forcing McGee to adopt it after it had attacked him.

"McGee managed to hit the animal hard enough to render it unconscious so it would release its grip on his neck, and he also managed to call for help while bleeding badly. He was in the hospital for several days, during which time the local LEO's destroyed the dog as a matter of course." Vance now swung his gaze back to the pouting Goth.

"It seems Miss Sciuto here took exception to that."

"Jethro did nothing wrong! He just needed love and-"

"He attacked and nearly killed a Federal Agent- Twice!- and then you nearly did the same!" That caused an uproar.

Giving a piercing whistle to restore order, Vance looked to Abby to explain the rest; when she didn't he continued.

"Agent McGee was laying in bed, drugged to the eyeballs after surgery and unable to defend himself when Miss Scuito came for her first, last and only visit. It took six nurses to pull her off him as she kept hitting him and screaming about how he was a murderer, she reopened all his stitches and he needed to be wheeled back into surgery to repair the additional damage she caused. She also broke one nurse's nose and cracked another's ribs before they managed to sedate her. Miss Sciuto has been banned from even setting foot on the same floor as Agent McGee since then, though the staff here were all pissed that charges were never filed against her and I agree." As varying levels of shock and confusion coursed through the room no-one paid any attention to the door swinging quietly open behind them.

"I've never heard about any of this... Wait, wasn't Probie on extended leave for a month after he took the dog home? Why didn't he ever say anything?"

"Jenny wouldn't have let him, DiNozzo, she wouldn't have let something like attempted murder break up the team she wanted to use for her own personal agenda. Remember? You started 'dating' Jean soon after that." Gibbs answered quietly, in shock over what his favorite had done and the fact that he had never known any of this had ever happened. What else had his youngest been hiding from him, he wondered.

"As revelatory as all this is, gentlemen, I have something else you all need to know. It also ties into why none of you are any longer listed on Agent McGee's paper work."

"Yeah, about that, if we're not the ones listed then who is?" Tony asked, still hurt even through his shock that he was no longer listed as McGee's emergency contact.

"We are." Answered a British accented voice at the door.

All eyes turned to take in the three men in the open doorway, only one of which any of them recognized.

)

AN.2: So... I'm not too certain that the dog incident did come before Kort's first appearance, but I needed it to work out that way so I hope it did. If I got it wrong I'm sorry.