Ok, this bit wrote itself quite quickly. How odd. But good! Disclaimer - I do not own these characters.
“I wonder how it’s going?” Tony mused as he looked at the two figures in the distance.
“I don’t know,” McGee muttered as he looked at the pair. He could feel something crackling in the air around them and he rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
“Uh-oh,” muttered Tony as he looked at the Jedi Knight. “That’s a bad sign.”
“You rubbing the back of your neck like that. It means that you’re nervous. I don’t like it when you’re nervous, bad things tend to happen.”
Ziva nodded sharply and Wuornos gave the trio a hard stare. “You Feds are confusing.”
McGee suppressed a smile as Tony gave the Haven cop his best dazzling smirk. “We do what we do so well!”
And then something seemed to buzz in McGee’s ears. He embraced the Force swiftly as he turned to stare at Gibbs and McNeill. “Oh crap, something’s very, very wrong,” he muttered.
“What’s wrong?” Tony said, half an instant before the others. Fornell was frowning at him whilst Hendrickson was looking confused.
“I feel-” He cut off the words that he had been about to say. “I think that McNeill’s Trouble is activating.”
This got him some incredulous stares from Wuornos and Hendrickson. “How?” the latter demanded. “How can you tell?”
The buzzing increased in pitch and suddenly Ziva staggered and shook her head. “Ugh. Light-headed.” She looked around with slightly bloodshot eyes. “Don’t you feel that?”
McGee groaned, embraced the force even more and held his hands out to either side of Ziva’s head. She looked a bit alarmed at first but then, as he instinctively used the Force to both heal her and push away whatever the hell it was that seemed to be attacking her, she relaxed.
“Tim, what’s going on?” Tony asked as he looked around wildly.
“I think, Tony,” he ground out as he closed his eyes and concentrated as hard as he could, “that we need to tell the Boss to hurry the hell up before something nasty happens. This… thing… attacks women. Ziva hold still.”
“What the hell are you?” Wuornos asked frantically.
McGee opened his eyes for a moment and glared at him. “I’m a Jedi Knight,” he said wryly. “Now shut the hell up and let me save Ziva.”
Tony nodded and then turned to the distant pair on the bench. “Boss! TROUBLE!”
Gibbs turned to McNeill and bit back a curse. The magic was oozing out of the man now, a vindictive whining form of it that set his teeth on edge. He promised himself that if he ever found out who had inflicted this abomination on the man’s family he’d break every limb they had and then drop them into the ocean.
His mind raced. McNeill was obviously struggling with a tidal wave of guilt and grief – and then he noticed. Every time McNeill tried to repress the grief, the magic got stronger. And every time the grief started to win the magic got weaker. Damn, whoever did this to the McNeill family was a spiteful bastard.
Hearing a distant shout he looked over at the others and then paled slightly. McGee was obviously treating or trying to treat Ziva, whilst DiNozzo was waving his arms at him. He waved back and then turned back to McNeill, who was still trying to pull himself together. “If you don’t deal with it, it’ll eat you up from inside,” he growled roughly. “Grieving releases the poisons. The anger. The guilt. It’s no shame to grieve. No shame to shed tears.”
McNeill looked out at the lake, his eyes shining with unshed tears and his mouth working as he tried to process what he was feeling. Then he looked up and seemed to try to repress everything again – and the buzzing hum ratcheted upwards again in volume. “No… No. At Quantico Gunny Harrison used to tell us that Marines don’t cry. Real men don’t cry.”
Goddamn it. Then he frowned. “Gunny Harrison? Charles Robert Harrison? Was he the one who told you that?”
“Bullshit!” Gibbs spat. “And yes, I know that asshole. He was an asshole in basic training and it looks like he’s still an asshole now! Marines don’t cry?? Tell that to the men who lost friends in Beirut in 1983! Tell that to the men who lost friends in Iraq and Afghanistan! Hell, tell that to me! You think that I didn’t cry after I heard that my wife and my daughter had been murdered? Of course I did! It’s grief – it’s how we cope. You need to grieve, McNeill. It’s no shame. Let it out. Here and now. Only person here is me. There’s no shame in crying, son. No shame at all.”
McNeill stared at him for a long moment as the buzzing rippled around the unknowing marine. Gibbs stared back, trying not to show his desperate worry at the way that the man’s Trouble had manifested itself. And then, after what felt like an eternity, McNeill’s face crumpled and he placed his head in his hands – and he wept.
As he did Gibbs placed a consolatory hand on the man’s shoulder. The buzzing was diminishing sharply now, draining away with every sob that ripped its way out of McNeill. He scowled slightly – he needed to have a word with that moron Harrison. That ‘Marines don’t cry!’ bullshit might have been the thing that let McNeill bottle up so much grief inside him that his Trouble activated. Well, that was his theory anyway. He needed to have a word with Wuornos and –
Gibbs paused. For a split second, just before the buzzing drained away completely, he thought that he saw a ghostly imprint of an orange handprint – small enough to be the hand of a woman – glow very, very faintly on McNeill’s neck. It was like a ghostly after-effect and he narrowed his eyes slightly.
The pressure in the air diminished very suddenly and McGee opened his eyes and looked at Ziva, who was looking much better but very shaken. “What the hell was that?” she asked roughly.
“I think that was a misogynistic Trouble,” he answered. “How do you feel?”
She reached up and placed two fingers on her own jugular and then waited. “Better than I suspect that would I have if you hadn’t been here. My pulse is a bit thread, but I am no longer light-headed.”
“Thready,” DiNozzo corrected as he looked at her worriedly. “Well – your eyes aren’t bloodshot anymore. Good job Tim.” He looked thoroughly shaken.
“Don’t thank me, thank Gibbs. He seems to have dealt with that Trouble of McNeill’s. I felt it drain away abruptly as I helped Ziva.” He took a deep breath. “That was nasty. Tony, you’d better call Ducky and find out if we need to do anything to make sure that Ziva’s ok.”
When he turned around he found himself looking at Wuornos and Hendrickson, who were staring at him as if he had a third nostril. “Hello.”
“I… you… what the hell are you?” Wuornos said the words in a low and very confused voice.
“What, you didn’t hear me earlier?”
This seemed to activate Wuornos’ irony meter. “What – you’re seriously claiming to be a Jedi Knight?”
McGee raised an eyebrow at them and then smiled slightly. “The Force is strong with me.”
And then Tony broke in. “You two – shut the hell up. You have no idea what you’re dealing with here, or who. McGee just saved Ziva’s life. And be quiet – I’m trying to talk to a doctor.”
As he turned away (and Wuornos and Hendrickson looked as if they were about to explode with questions) McGee looked at the two men on the bench. McNeill looked as if he was crying into his hands. And Gibbs…. Well he looked pissed at something. Not good.