Title: Operation Third Date
Characters: Leon Vance, Jethro Gibbs, Tim McGee
Word Count: 2684
Author Note: This was first posted on NFA Community several years ago for a one-shot challenge. I’ve cleaned it up and completed some much needed editing.
Summary: Timothy McGee doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to dating, and his co-workers have noticed.
– – – –
“Gibbs!” The tone of Vance’s call as he charged down the stairs toward the bullpen alerted all agents in the area to clear out. He saw Agent Gibbs look up to see the expression on his face teeter between anger and puzzlement, which he knew was reflected in the tone of his voice.
Without standing Gibbs had just enough time to respond with a low “Leon?” before the Director of NCIS reached his desk.
“You wanna explain to me why DiNozzo and David have taken over my MTAC to stalk Agent McGee?”
The response to that question was not what Vance was expecting. Gibbs smiled while his eyes took on a decisive predatory gaze toward the MTAC doors above. Rising to his feet the man started moving toward the stairs as his phone rang. Vance could only make out that the voice was DiNozzo’s as Gibbs screeched to a sudden stop. Vance had to grab onto the railing to keep from falling backward as he checked his momentum and his ever-present toothpick was lost over the railing.
The call ended without Gibbs ever speaking and he turned to face the bullpen below. “Attention!” One word and all eyes were pointed in their direction. “We have a third date. I repeat, we have a third date. Operation Third Date is a go.” Without waiting for a response he spun back and headed for MTAC.
Vance was stunned as he watched the entire bullpen spring into action. The activity looked hurried but practiced as everyone appeared to focus on whatever task they had at hand while the energy of the room became one of excitement. Turning to ask Gibbs a question he realized the man was gone and hurried to get to MTAC.
– – – –
Vance entered MTAC to a similar scene as he had left. David was communicating to Abby Scuito via video at one of the monitors while DiNozzo was speaking, apparently to the person sending a video feed to the main MTAC screen. Techs around the room were monitoring satellite and traffic camera feeds in the area.
On the main screen was a jittery image of an outdoor café setting. Agent Timothy McGee could be clearly seen having lunch with a good looking brunette.
The frustration in DiNozzo’s voice was evident as he spoke. “Dornegut! If you don’t get me a clear picture then I will unloose Abby on your ass. Do you wanna be her clean up bitch for the next month?”
“I’m really trying Agent DiNozzo. Cathy usually handles the camera but she’s out on maternity,” came the nervous reply.
“Why is Dornegut out there?” Gibbs inquired.
“Didn’t send him Boss, he was the one who spotted McRomeo. No one knew he was headed out on a lunch date until Dorney called it in about 10 minutes ago.”
Turning back toward the screen DiNozzo spoke again into the audio softly, “Dorney, just take a deep breath and calm down. Make sure the camera is steady. Another deep breath, in…out…AND GET ME THAT DAMN PICTURE!” The feed jerked suddenly and a whispered “not helping” was heard. The camera steadied just as the woman removed her sunglasses to smile shyly at McGee.
Gibbs spoke up to the tech sitting next to him. “That’s it. Freeze frame and get that to Abby.”
Ziva spoke again to her monitor, “Abby we have a clear image coming your way.”
“About time! My facial recognition is ready and waiting! “ The activity in the lab increased along with the volume of the music. Ziva adjusted the sound. All eyes swung back and forth between Abby’s lab and the scene of a smiling, happy McGee who seemed oblivious to his surveillance.
Once again Vance moved next to Gibbs to ask, “Someone wanna tell me what’s going on here?”
Instead of an answer, Gibbs made a phone call, this time with the speaker on. “Fornell.”
“Tobias we have a third date situation.”
“What!?! I’m in the middle of a stakeout here. You couldn’t have given a little warning?”
“You got the same warning we did.”
“Got a positive yet?”
“Working on it now.”
“Well, get me a positive asap and send me the location. I’ll mobilize as fast as I can.”
Confused and concerned that he was not asked to approve FBI involvement Vance had just had enough, “I repeat. Someone wanna tell me what’s going on here while you still all have jobs?”
“Well obviously, Leon, McGee is on a third date with that woman.” Gibbs barely even glanced his direction as he motioned toward the screen.
“And we care about his social life why?” Vance inquired with growing frustration as he unwrapped a new toothpick.
“Because it’s a THIRD date.” Gibbs stepped away as if that explained everything. Sliding up next to Ziva he said, “What have you got for me Abs?”
“You can’t rush these things, Gibbs. I’ll have the answer when I have the answer.” Alarms sounded behind the smiling Goth, “Which is now.” She studied the screen before jumping up and down. Her voice shouted across MTAC for all to hear, “WE HAVE A BLACK WIDOW!” The results appeared on half of the MTAC screen. “Meet Sheila Watkins, aka Sally Norton, aka Stephanie Lewiston. Wanted for the murders of two husbands and suspected in the murder of a third. Weapon of choice is slow poisoning over time. Get my Timmy away from her mister!”
“Good work Abs.” Gibbs raised his phone again and started speaking the moment it was answered, “Tobias, got a positive for you. We’re sending the info now. How long until you’re in position?”
“We need another 10 minutes for a smooth takedown.”
“You got 5.”
“You do know I don’t work for you, Jethro? Your info is coming through now…Sweet Mary…the kid really knows how to pick ‘em doesn’t he?”
It was a tense 10 minutes in MTAC as agents from the FBI and NCIS along with a couple of local LEOs took positions around the café with DiNozzo organizing movements. Vance watched it all with interest as everyone moved with practiced ease. The only nervous energy seemed to come from Ziva who clearly wished she was onsite for the takedown. Vance had been slightly puzzled that Gibbs hadn’t ordered his team to mobilize as backup for their youngest member. Finally, all parties checked in and Vance leaned forward in his chair waiting for the order to move.
With a slight grin, Gibbs once again dialed his phone. A moment later on the screen, you could see McGee jump as he reached for his phone.
– – – –
“So really that’s all there is to say about me. I haven’t written another novel in the Deep Six line, but I am working on a series of young readers about teenagers on military bases who use technology to solve mysteries.“ It was amazing how easy it was to talk to Sasha. Tim was really glad he had accepted her invitation to an impromptu lunch date. She was someone who he felt he could really relax with. Kinda be himself. And she was such an attentive listener. She made him feel like he was really important. She was just so sweet and shy. Sasha rarely let the conversation dwell on herself for too long.
“I’m impressed. To reach out to such a varied audience must take a great deal of skill. I can’t wait to read the new series.” She leaned forward to gently take his hand. This one has got to be the most boring one yet. She’d thought a writer would be much more exciting. She stamped down the boredom while smiling a calculated sweet smile, all the time reminding herself of royalty checks and potential movie deals if handled right. After all the first two had been best sellers. Time to move this along.
McGee saw that sweet smile dip and then return and wondered what she was thinking about. He was about to ask when they were interrupted by the sound of his phone ringing. Tim jumped as he saw the caller ID. “Boss?”
“McGee! Get your ass in here now!” The call cut off without another word.
“Sasha, I am so sorry but I have to go now.” Tim hastily threw money down on the table to cover the bill while apologizing profusely, all the while trying not to bolt in terror. “I really wish I could stay but my boss sounds mad and I just gotta go.” She started to rise when he insisted she stay. “No, please, finish your lunch. I’ll call as soon as I have a chance.”
Her eyes widened briefly before she quickly asked, “How about dinner to make up for it?”
“Dinner?” Tim smiled slightly and paused. “Montellucci’s at 8?”
“That sounds wonderful Tim. I will see you there.” His phone started ringing again, this time with Tony’s picture on it. Tim smiled back at Sasha while answering, “Hi Tony.”
“Where are you McGonner? The boss is on the warpath and your desk is empty. I’ve even seen Ducky up here ready to take no prisoners. What did you do?” Tony hung up before Tim could reply.
– – – –
On the screen in MTAC, they watched as color seemed to drain from McGee’s face. He jumped up almost knocking over his chair before waving a hasty goodbye and practically sprinting to the parking lot. Traffic cameras followed McGee as he drove back in the direction of the Navy Yard. As soon as he was far enough away that he had no chance to see the scene he left behind there was a nod and the Go order issued.
Suddenly the café was swarmed by FBI, NCIS, and local LEOs. Agents Fornell and Sacks were visible coordinating the officers on the ground. In mere minutes she was arrested and the café was left recovering in shock as the beautiful young woman was led away in handcuffs while cursing everyone in sight. The food on the table was carefully bagged to be taken to an FBI lab for analysis.
Finally, Vance spoke again. “Using McGee undercover in a joint operation without telling me, Gibbs?”
“Nope, not undercover.” Vance looked at him with an annoyed grimace that indicated no one was leaving until he had his explanation. “Told you, it was a third date. Just a date Leon.”
“McTarget can really pick em, Director. That’s the fifth takedown in as many months. So far we have captured an embezzler, arms dealer, cyber terrorist, and a murderer. This is our first serial killer though. Ziva is worried that this seems to be escalating.”
“I am not worried Tony, I just believe with the increasing threat of the crimes that we should begin prescreening his dates.”
Vance looked up, “You mean he is unaware that you are doing this?”
Gibbs gave him the patented ‘of course’ look before turning back to his agents.
“You two better get in position before he gets here. I will be right down.”
Gibbs dialed his phone as he slowly walked toward the MTAC door with Vance moving thoughtfully at his side. “Ducky, has Abby sent you the latest? Yes, I know. I’ll tell him it was the Crossland case. Ream him out suitably before you send him back up.”
As they stepped onto the balcony overlooking the bullpen an agent from Legal stepped up to Gibbs with a folder, “All’s ready Agent Gibbs. Just let us know when you want us to ‘find’ the missing transcripts.” A quick nod and he headed back to Legal.
They watched below as the elevator opened and McGee came running out, making a beeline for his desk. Ziva and Tony glanced up from their case files to acknowledge him. Tim quickly stowed his weapon in his desk drawer and turned back just to find himself nose to nose with Gibbs.
A folder was thrust into his chest as Gibbs glared at him, “Legal can’t find the transcripts and notes on the Lockley case. Need them before JAG gets here tomorrow for the case files.”
McGee flinched, “but Boss, that will take all night to recreate.”
Gibbs moved an inch forward, “You got somewhere else to be McGee?”
Starting to sweat, he looked forward and whispered dejectedly, “no boss.”
Gibbs started to turn away and then stopped. “Oh, and Ducky is looking for you. Seems you’re the only agent who hasn’t completed a medical after the Crossland crime scene.”
“Trace samples on surfaces. Everyone was ordered for a blood test. Get down to Ducky now.”
– – – –
It was 8:30pm before Ducky called Gibbs. He had allowed Tony and Ziva to leave an hour ago while keeping McGee on task with the transcripts. “Jethro, Abigail just got the results back and the lad is clear of any toxins.”
“Thanks, Duck, see ya tomorrow.” Barely keeping the relief from his face he shot off a quick IM to the evening agent in Legal.
Two minutes later an embarrassed looking agent appeared in front of Gibbs desk. The man fidgeted in place until Gibbs looked at him, which he did as soon as he noticed they had McGee’s attention. “Agent Gibbs, we are so sorry but the Lockley transcripts were misfiled with the Lockaby case. They were found a few hours ago but no one remembered to inform you.” The glare caused the young agent to visibly wilt even though he was aware it wasn’t for real. “I better get back, ah…sorry.”
McGee looked at the clock hopefully. Maybe he could still salvage something tonight if Sasha was still at the restaurant. “Ah…Boss?”
The question was all Gibbs was waiting for, “Get outta here McGee. See ya Monday.” In less than a minute he was gone. Gibbs slowly shut down his own system and reflected on the weekend ahead. Tomorrow morning would be the post-op debrief over breakfast. They would leave McGee alone to wonder about his love life. Sunday morning DiNozzo would force him into meeting up for the sport of the day, later Ziva would insist he go with her on her morning runs at least twice in the next week. Abby would wait for the eventual call so he could ask yet again what’s wrong with him. Finally, they would all end up with some kind of planned team activity next Friday or Saturday to bring their youngest back into the fold.
– – – –
One Month Later
Leon Vance scanned his ID as he entered Headquarters. Waiting for the elevator he was mentally running through his normal Monday schedule. He vaguely noticed Agent McGee step up next to him but the happy humming caught his attention.
“Agent McGee, have a good weekend?”
The doors opened and they entered before he lightly blushed. “Yes, Director. Very good. Had two of the best dates of my life.”
Vance’s eyebrows rose slightly, “Two?”
“Met her at a bar Friday night. We had lunch and a movie Saturday and then went to a poetry reading on Sunday. “
“Poetry by the second date? You move fast.”
“Well, she’s very easy to talk to. It’s like we’re interested in all the same things. She’s traveling most of the week, but as long as we don’t catch a case then we will be having dinner on Friday. I think it’s going to be a great week Director.” The elevator stopped and McGee got off at the bullpen level.
Vance continued on to his level and then slowly walked toward his office while watching the agents below before pulling his cell out of his pocket.
– – – –
“Gibbs.” He answered without looking at the caller ID.
Vance’s voice came softly through his phone “Looks like we have an Operation Third Date for Friday.”
The call ended as Gibbs looked at his youngest agent’s smiling face. Slowly raising his eyes to the walk above, his gaze locked briefly with Leon’s. There was silent communication before nodding he returned to work. It was gonna be a long week.