Disclaimer: I own none of the NCIS characters.

Whilst driving home, McGee was listening to Abby's non-stop babble. When there was a lapse in the 'conversation' he said, 'So what do you think?'

'About what? About the car? If you mean your driving – honestly – it's a bit on the slow side.'

'There's nothing wrong with my driving! No, you know, James and Gibbs.'

Abby cracked into a smile. 'I think they're great. They are perfect for each other.' McGee nodded in agreement.

'And what about the evening?' he added.

'It was good to have everyone together. But you can't change the subject that easily Timmy! What are you thinking? James really likes you.'

'Hey! I wasn't thinking anything – it's good.' He said innocently. Abby shook her head knowingly – she could see those two getting close. She thought she better leave the subject to rest – for now.

'But next time, I want tofu instead.' She stated. McGee groaned.


Gibbs was, again, working in his basement. He was enthusiastic about his new furniture project. He frowned when he heard his cell ringing – he hoped it wasn't a case as he had taken the day off tomorrow to be with James.


'Ah Jethro! I thought you would still be up. Working I presume?'

'What d'ya think Duck?'

'Of course, Jethro. Of course.'

'Is there a reason you're calling me Ducky?'

'Ah yes. I'd like to congratulate you on your evening. It was a success.'

'And…' Jethro added. He knew Ducky too well to think the conversation was over.

'I wanted to talk to you about James.' Ducky stated.

There was a pause. 'I'm listening.' Gibbs growled impatiently.

'I want to warn you about tomorrow. He's emotionally and physically shattered.'

'I know Duck.'

'Well, the thing is – in fact it's something you see commonly with military personnel. I had a chap who came to me once with…' Ducky began. Gibbs cleared his throat.

'Perhaps another time? Anyway, he may be tired tomorrow. I mean to say that – oh! My apologies Jethro, I'm not putting this very well. Let me start again. What I'm trying to say is that it might all catch up with him tomorrow. I'm not sure how extreme it will be. He was moving well today and that's because his body is used to frequent stress. The pain killers I've subscribed are strong but they only do the job for so long. My guess is he will be exceptionally stiff and sore – it's sort of like his body is finally relaxing – almost as if he's been functioning on pure adrenaline the past two days.'

'Right. So tomorrow he's might be in more pain than today? I should call off the shopping trip then.'

'Theoretically yes. But you never know. My guess is he will be ok by lunchtime – he is so used to dealing with it that his body probably heals quite quickly.'

'Thanks for the heads up Duck.'

'Goodnight Jethro.'

'Night Duck.'

Gibbs threw the phone down. Who the hell would do this to a kid? He hated that James had been treated so badly. And he was slightly frustrated with Ducky as he could have got the message across with a, 'James may be stiff tomorrow but it shouldn't last long.' He wasn't in the mood for talking.

Gibbs cell rang again. It was Abby.

'Gibbs, Gibbs, Gibbs. You hate shopping right?'

'Uh yeah Abs. Why?' Gibbs was getting impatient.

Abby sensed the tension. 'Well James needs clothes. I could come shopping with you tomorrow?'

'Fine, if we go, I'll call you and give you 10 minutes to get there. Bye.' He said and hung up.

He had just started sawing wood again when his phone yet again called. This time it was McGee.

'What?' Gibbs snapped.

'Uh boss. Sorry, I'll tell you another time.'

'Spit it out McGee.'

'I, uh, I was just looking at schools. You know, for James. I made a list and compared values, you know, SATS, teacher references etc. There's a good one near you – it's a 10 minute drive from both your house and NCIS.'

Gibbs was stunned – he wasn't expecting that. 'Ah. Text the details. I'll check it out tomorrow.'

'Sure thing boss.'

'Good night McGee. And thanks.' This time McGee was stunned – Gibbs thanked him!

Just as Gibbs was convinced no one else was going to call, his phone buzzed. But luckily (for the recipient) it was a text from DiNozzo. Gibbs first located his glasses in order to read it. It read, 'I'll cook next night.'

Typical DiNozzo, Gibbs thought. Nevertheless, it put a smile on his face.


Gibbs woke up at 6 and made his way downstairs. It had been around 1 when he had finally got to sleep – he had too much on his mind. He surveyed the kitchen as he put the coffee on and came to the conclusion that James had had no night-time wonderings last night. While waiting for his coffee he thought he would go and check on James. He peaked in the door – he didn't dare wake James up by going in as he had no idea how he would react. James was asleep, lying spread-eagled on his back. He did, however, spot some paper on the floor by the bed. His guess was James had been drawing again – though where he found the paper he didn't know! He left James to his sleep and went to fix himself some breakfast.

Gibbs was working on the drawers when he heard a thump from upstairs around 7. He went into the front room and listened up the stairs. Going up the stairs he called, 'Morning James.'

James was paused at the doorway of his room. The thump must have happened when James knocked his water glass onto the floor. Gibbs raised his eyebrows.

'I'm fine Gibbs. Just going to the bathroom.' Gibbs nodded and indicated for James to continue. Ducky's words were still ringing in his ears and he wondered if James was alright.

'You can go back downstairs Gibbs. I don't need you here.' James stated insistently. Gibbs merely stayed put, growing skeptical.

James still didn't move but turned to glare at him. 'Seriously Gibbs. Leave.'

'I don't appreciate the attitude.'

James grunted. Gibbs was starting to realize that James used attitude as one of his defense mechanisms. James took a step and grabbed the wall for balance. He paused to rest with determination on his face. He repeated this for another two steps. Finally he sighed and looked at Gibbs. Gibbs understood.

As he walked over to help James he stated softly, 'I'm not going anywhere James. Remember that.'