Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Shards To A Whole: Clouds on the Horizon

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 386: Clouds on the Horizon

Tim's all but bouncing as he takes the stairs up to Leon's office. Last prepping meeting before the test is today and he's really looking forward to it.

And not just because he's enjoying the idea of showing off exactly how the test will work, but because it'll also be really nice to talk to someone about this who isn't assuming he's going to get assaulted or killed the second he sets foot on the Stennis. Of his family members, the only one who knows about this trip and isn't worried is Penny. Because she also gets exactly how horrified John would be at the idea of ever disobeying a direct order.

Everyone else is varying from not sleeping (Jethro) to on edge (Ducky).

So, heading up, showing this off and talking to people who assume it's going to work splendidly is going to be fun. Showing off how damn good he is at his job to the Secretary of the Freaking NAVY, is awesome.

And, sure, he's worried, a bit, but mostly, he's really enjoying the idea of seeing the look on John's face when he steals his entire fleet, turns it inside out, kills his communications, and makes all the guys with all of their command experience and years in the Navy completely irrelevant as he uses the skills he spent decades honing to cripple everything his Dad loves.

For a few minutes, at least. Until he chooses to give it back to them. Just the idea makes him smile.

Karen waves Tim in when he gets to Vance's office. Vance is (obviously) already in there.

They greet each other, and Tim get his lap top set up.

"Not that I don't appreciate being kept in the loop on this, McGee, but why are you and Clayt meeting up here? You have an office of your own for a reason."

Tim nods. "Yep." He shrugs a bit. "Probably just being too cautious, but… This is supposed to be kept quiet, and the Secretary of the Navy coming to visit me'll cause talk. Him coming to visit you, doesn't. He happens to drop by while I'm briefing you… That happens, right?"

Vance smiles dryly at that. It is cautious. Too cautious, likely. The chance that anything that happens here getting out is minimal. But Vance does approve of this level of caution for what's supposed to be a classified test.

Tim looks up from his laptop. "Okay. Final report on how it's supposed to work is in your inbox. For a heads up, my team thinks I'm at Cybersecurity conference on a cruise ship. If they ping my phone and see I'm at sea, they won't wonder why. Manner and Howard are minding the store while I'm away. Nothing big's on deck for right now, and I'll be checking in when and as I can."

Vance nods along with that. "How's Manner liking that?"

"He's pleased. He's a good second-in-command, and he knows it. The difference between now and ten months ago is that he knows he's better at taking orders than giving them. So, he's got the DC Team and instructions for what to do with them. Howard's nominally keeping an eye on the rest of the techs. Ngyn's coordinating that, but having to deal with 130 plus people in person is her idea of Hell, so she's making sure everything keeps running, and if something SNAFUs, Howard'll handle the people while she and Ngyn wrangle the tech."

Vance approves of how Tim's handling his teams, playing to his people's strengths.

A second later, Jarvis and his secretary, a young Lieutenant named Remy James, enter Vance's office. They're both looking pleased to be in there, and after a few moments of pleasantries, James hands Tim a suit bag, which Tim opens.

"What did you do before you were SecNav?" Tim asks as he looks at the content of the suit bag in front of him.

Vance smiles at Jarvis. "Clandestine services. Clayt always did enjoy breaking out the costumes and cover IDs."

Clayt nods, pleased by that comment. It's true, too. He always did like slipping into new lives. "Cover is a good idea, but a cover is only as good as it's details, so..."

"So the details will be perfect." Tim's looking at the contents of the bag. It's a Captain's uniform, Irish Naval Service, proper insignia, McGee on the nametag, a few medals he's going to have to google because it'd be useful to be able to say what they are if anyone asks. James hands him a folder, which he opens. Or maybe there will be no googling. He's got a life history, a history of the Irish Naval Services, the meaning and history and what he did to get all of those medals. It's a complete backstory.

"I don't suppose you can fake an Irish accent?" Jarvis asks.

Tim shakes his head. "No. You don't even want to hear me try. It's, really, really bad." (The less that's said about that particular misadventure in role playing, the better. We'll leave it here, Gabriel McGee is not Irish. Abby wasn't laughing so hard she wet her pants, but only because she'd been to the bathroom recently.) Clayt takes the folder back from McGee, crosses a few lines out, and adds in, Moved to US as a baby. Back to Ireland late teens.

"Ah." Clayt looks up from the McGee notes and hands them back to Tim. "Add what you need to personalize it. Make it yours. Just give us a heads up if you really shift something. You're just a guy on a trip with us, so we wouldn't know you well, but major details would stick out."

Tim nods.

"Anyway, the plan is that we'll get on board. The XO generally meets me when we do this. John prefers to keep everything under his eye and doesn't like to be pulled away from his men if he can avoid it."

Tim nods again, that sounds right to him.

"So, on we'll go. We'll get settled. You'll do your thing. And then we'll call him in and let him see how they handle it."

"If his guys are on top of their game, at some point they'll pull him away from us," Tim says.

"That'll be fine. We can watch how he reacts… Don't suppose there's a way to do this without him knowing it's a hack?"

"Sure, I stay home." Tim supposes that would make Abby and Gibbs and Jimmy and Breena all really happy, but… Right now, he really wants to go. He wants to see the look on his Dad's face when this goes down. "The test is already set. Nothing any of us actually need to do, now. So, if you want him completely blindsided, you do your thing, and at 13:03:06 everything goes bonkers. Look alarmed when his XO starts yelling."

"And the downside to that is?" Because there has to be a downside.

"We won't be able to see how they respond. I need to get to a place where I can hack the security feeds and get us footage of his computer guys. I don't, technically, need to be on the ship to do that, either, but since you'll be on the ship, it'd be easier to show you what's going on if I'm there, too. If you just want a data feed, or just a report after, I can do that from my computer from pretty much anywhere."

"No." Jarvis shakes his head. "I want to see them in action, as well as get the data."

Tim grins. He wants to see the action, too. "That'll be easier in a room with a big screen TV."

"When McGee did it here, he was able to use the cameras to check everyone, see how they worked as a team in addition to tracking what they were doing with their computers," Vance adds.

"Okay. So we go. I'll request a pre-inspection briefing… Conference room on all of those ships has a big screen these days. Spin some bull about Irish Naval ships and what 'you guys' are looking for. That'll be the reason he'll be there. It'll be just him and his secretary. They'll be ordered to silence. And we'll watch the test from there."

"Sounds good." Tim looks at the uniform again, checking the tags. "How did you know my size?"

Jarvis smiles. "Once upon a time, I was really good at this."

Abby looks up at him as he heads down to the lab, suit bag over his shoulder. Then he realizes that he can't open the damn thing, because if he does, the cat goes leaping out of the bag, and sure, the Lab Techs aren't likely to talk, but…

Too late.

"Ohhh… what's that?" she asks, seeing the bag.

He grins at her. "Surprise." He looks around, everyone else is milling around, some low music is playing in the ballistics lab, but it doesn't have the active case feel. "You guys working late today?"

"Everyone should be out by six." She's smiling as she says that, getting a hint of what he's possibly thinking. Get all dressed up, head down to the lab, maybe carry her off to her office… He's smiling at that idea.

But, God… if someone sees… It's not obvious what, exactly, it is, and… not a lot of traffic down here, as long as the lab's officially closed…

No. Too much risk. And Heather probably wants to get home at normal time, and holding her late so they can fool around…

He leans in close and kisses her ear, whispering, "After dinner, dress up time," and heads out quietly humming Up Where We Belong from Officer and A Gentleman.

She catches it, and begins to giggle, having a very good idea of what might be in that bag.

"Gibbs?" Tim's at his desk. Right now he's not on deck for the job triaging system. (Since he can't reliably finish whatever he might start before quitting time tonight.) So, he's scanning through the jobs that are up, looking for ones that have been open for more than a few days, and hopping into them to give everything a quick look over. See if he can add anything useful.

So far, and this pleases him greatly, the answer is no. He's gone through two jobs, and both of them are on day three or four because they're sorting through absolutely massive wodges of data, and there's just no way to make the computers do that any faster than they already are.

Gibbs shuts the door behind him, and heads over to sit on the edge of Tim's desk.

He's not saying anything; he's just looking at Tim.

"Okay, at this point, you're making me a hell of a lot more nervous than the test is."

Gibbs nods. "Be nervous."

Tim sighs. "Okay, really, specifically. What is the gut sensing?"

Gibbs shakes his head. "Nothing specific. This feels bad. This feels like walking into a trap."

Tim slumps at that. He hates how worried and afraid Jethro is.

"You want me to ditch it?"

Gibbs shakes his head. "I know you won't. I know you want this, maybe need it."

"I do."

Gibbs sighs. "Be careful, Tim."

"I will. I'm not the one who takes the stupid risks."

Another sigh. "Yeah. I know."

Tim stands up and hugs Gibbs. "I'm fine. I'm going to keep being fine. Sunday or Monday I'm coming home, all in one piece."

Gibbs squeezes him tight, holding him quietly for a long minute before letting go. "You better."

"I will."

Gibbs swallows hard, nods, and heads off.

Tim exhales, low and deep, trying to chase away all the nervous Gibbs just dropped on him.

Almost done for the day. Just a few more keystrokes and…


Tim holds up one finger, letting Jimmy know he's almost done. A second later he hits enter, and then looks up.

"Hey, back. What's up?"

"Got something for you." Jimmy heads over, pulls an orange pill bottle from his lab coat pocket, and hands it to Tim.

Tim looks at them, nodding. More anti-nausea meds.

"Thanks. Still got plenty from last time, though."

Jimmy shakes his head. "Use these."

"Okay… The other one's expired or something?"

"These are stronger."

Tim nods at that, looking at the label. Sure he didn't memorize the bottle last time, but this looks exactly the same. "Stronger how? This is the same stuff, right?"

He looks up and sees Jimmy looking a little uncomfortable. "Last ones were ninety percent baking soda."

Tim blinks and sighs. "You gave me a placebo?"

"And it worked splendidly until you saw that body, right?"

"Well, okay, yeah."

"This time you're going to be on a moving ship, with your Dad around, and I thought maybe having something beyond a mild antacid would be useful."

Tim opens the bottle and notices that this time the pills are in a small blister pack, with labels. He puts the cap back on, noticing the Target logo on the bottle. Which is when it hits him that, yes, Jimmy can write prescriptions, but he doesn't have his own dispensary. "What do I owe you for these?"

Jimmy waves it away. "Call it a going away present."

Tim smiles at that. "Keep an eye on Gibbs for me? I don't want him getting Abby panicked during Shabbos tomorrow."

"I was going to do that anyway."

"He showed up today, pretty much just to hug me."

"He's really freaked out."

"I know. That's not keeping me any calmer, either."

"Yeah, well, I don't want you going into this calm and relaxed. I want you on full alert. Just because I'm not flipping out doesn't mean I'm not worried, too."

"I know, but short of emergency appendicitis, I'm not getting out of this."

Jimmy looks Tim dead on. "That can be arranged, you know?"

Tim flashes Jimmy his exasperated look.

"I know. I'm not helping." Jimmy pats the pill bottle. "This is helping. Call in if you get a shot, okay?"

"I will. Any luck I'll have a few minutes round about dinner time back here to give a quick call."

Jimmy nods and heads out.

Irish Naval Service Officer Uniforms
It's black or navy blue. So dark he can't tell which. And if asked, he's sure it's not identical to US Navy Service Blues, but he couldn't tell you how. (If it's blue and not black, that'd be a difference.) But the cut looks the same, the double row of gold(ish) buttons on the front, the four gold stripes on the cuffs, same gold star above them, the white hat with the black (navy?) bill, to Tim, this looks like a US Naval Uniform.

Which is more or less the only piece of clothing he's never, ever wanted to have touching his body.

He looks at it more, the insignias are different, so there's something. Holding the hat, cap, whatever, he can see that where, on a US Naval Officer's hat there's an eagle and the shield, on the Irish cap there's some sort of big, gold two spread wings-looking things. Between them is an anchor, and above it is something that looks like a sun with two Fs in it. But just like it's US counter-part it's got the gold curly-cues on the bill and the gold stripe across the band.

He checks the jacket more carefully, and, if there's a difference between it and the US Naval equivalent, he can't see it. The stripes are the same. The stars are the same. The buttons are different, and that's it.

There's probably some sort of uniform manufacturer in China who makes a ton of these things and they just send them out for fine tuning the embroidery.

Enough dithering. If he doesn't put the damn thing on soon, he'll find Abby asleep in bed, dreaming about the sex they're going to have, instead of awake in bed, actually ready to have some sex.

When he steps out, in full uniform, with as close as he can get to the right posture, Abby just stares at him, blinks hard, stares some more, and finally says, "Wow!"

Tim nods, looking at himself in the full-length mirror on the back of the door.

She hops up, standing behind him, hands on his shoulders, gently slipping them down his arms. "Just, yeah… Wow!"

He takes the hat off, only part with anything really visibly not a US Uniform, and says, "This was supposed to be me."

Her chin is on his shoulder, but she shakes her head anyway. Her hand slips under the jacket, between the buttons of his shirt, and comes to rest on his chest. "This is who you're supposed to be." She strokes the uniform. "This is… I don't know. But not you. Not for more than a few nights. Not for more than play."

He smiles at that.

"It looks good."

He nods. It does. "Feels weird."

"Probably going to make your Dad pass out when he sees you. Especially if you're not wearing the hat."

He has to admit that makes him smile. Drive the old man apoplectic to see him in a Captain's uniform. And, while he's sure John would have some choice words that he'd love to say about him defiling the uniform, the fact that he's wearing it at the request of the Secretary of the Navy is awfully sweet.

"So," she nibbles her lip. "Are we playing with this, or is it too weird?"

"I think we're playing. If it gets weird, I know how to stop it."

She grins and nods. Then steps back, settling herself in the center of their bed. He's noticing that she's not her usual pre-bed naked. He's appreciating that she's got on a little teddy and cute little lace panties.

"Hello, Sailor," she says, voice lower than usual, come hither all over her tone.

He grins, liking that. "Hello back."

"Looking for company?"

He laughs, and then gets himself into the character. "Think I found some. What's the going rate?"

She stretches a little, rubbing one leg along the other, then shifts her weight onto her arms, pressing her breasts up and out. "Depends on what you like."

"I like lots of things." He says, stepping closer, unbuttoning the jacket, loosening his tie.

"Lots of things, huh? And let me guess, you've been away a long time, only your hand for company?"

"Communal showers, so not even a lot of that."

She shifts onto her knees, gesturing for him to come a bit closer, and then rests her hands on his chest. "Poor baby." She's close, lips a breath away from his, as she slips her tongue over them, it just, barely brushes against his lower lip. "I bet that's frustrating."

"You have no idea."

She nods.

"So, is it true what they say about sailors?"

"Which part?"

"That you're all really horny all the time?"

He takes her right hand, and places it on his cock. "What do you think?"

She moans quietly, and squeezes gently. His teeth clench and a sigh slips out of him. "Mmmm…"

"Know what'll feel even better?"

"What?" he asks.

"Not having pants on."

He nods. "That'll feel much better." She squeezes again, and he bites his lip.

"But you've got to tell me what you want, first, so we can get the business part done."

He closes his eyes and smiles a little, licking his lips. "Don't suppose you just charge by the hour?"

She shakes her head. "Nope. Gotta tell me what you want."

"Okay…" He looks her up and down, figuring that this is a pretty direct statement of 'You get to pick what we're doing tonight.' "Feeling kind of lazy tonight. Just want to lay back, sixty-nine until I'm about to come, and then have you slip off and ride me home."

"Sounds good. Two fifty, but if you can get me off, it's on the house."

He gently licks her lip. "Then I'll just have to get you off."

He's stripping off his uniform (carefully, it can't be all wrinkly for tomorrow) when she says, "You can try."

"Oh yeah." He grins. "I love a challenge."

A few seconds later he's naked, standing at attention (in more ways than one) next to their bed.

"Nice ink." She says.

"Thanks, like yours, too. You gonna let me see all of it?"

She carefully strips out of the teddy and panties, and his eyes trail all over her. He nods slowly, eyes lingering on her breasts and then pussy. "Yeah, like that a whole lot."

He sits down on their bed, wondering how 'realistic' this is going to be. Granted, he's never had sex with a hooker, so he's a bit fuzzy on the details, but he's assuming a lot of foreplay isn't part of the deal. Of course, given how sleepy she's been lately, quick is probably a selling point right now.

So, he just lays down, pulling her to him, careful not to crush her breasts between them. They're starting to get really sensitive again. "You kiss?" he asks.

She smiles and kisses him, soft and wet and deep. Then pulls back. "I do when I like the guy."

His hand twines in her hair and pulls her down for another kiss, also wet and deep. She's making soft, needy, happy noises in the back of her throat when she pulls back, and starts to flip around.

"Hold up. Change of plans." His hands urge her forward, up his body. "Still want to go down on you, but want to be able to touch more of you."

She's straddling his lips, exactly where he wants her. And for a few seconds he's just looking. Perfect pussy pouting at him, pink lips peeking between white labia, slight gleam of wetness, that smell hitting him so hard.

"Love pussy."

"You and every other sailor."

"Mmmm…" And he dives in. Kissing all over her. Starting gentle and easy, waiting for her body to start to rock in counter to his. Then licking, reveling in her flavor on his lips and tongue. His left hand strokes her, getting wet and slick, moving along with his tongue, finally, first two fingers slipping into her, pressing forward, finding her g-spot. His right hand reaches up, the reason for changing positions. Barely a month pregnant means very sensitive breasts, and he intends to take advantage of it.

Old, familiar dance, well-loved and satisfying. His lips and tongue and fingers know what to do, how to play her, how to touch so that in a matter of minutes she's going tight on him, hips moving fast as thighs tense. He's focused his touches, tongue on her clit, rolling over and over, fast and firm, keeping a steady pulse on her g-spot as his other hand pulls gently on her nipple.

She's moving faster, grinding against him, moans going high and breathy, and he knows she's almost there, just a little more, a few more seconds, bit more pressure. He sucks on her clit, pulling it between his lips, and pinches her nipple, firm, not too hard, and feels her hips and pussy twitch in response, slipping her over the edge.

Abby takes a minute to catch her breath, and then shimmies down him, kissing his lips. "Looks like you know your way around more than a ship."

He grins, sassy, at that. "Aviator. Don't like boats."

"How does a guy who doesn't like boats end up in the Navy?"

"It's where all the best toys are."

"Uh huh." She kisses him again. "So, ride you how? Facing you or turned away…"

"Ohhh… options…" His hands settle on her butt, and he leans up a bit to lick a nipple. "Tits or ass…" He kisses her nipple again, letting his teeth just drag over it, and she shivers. "Love this view, but… Turn around. Always been an ass man."

She turns around, wiggling at him, and then settles onto him in a long, slow stroke.

"Fuck!" he says it sincerely, voice low, hands settling on her ass.

She sets a quick pace. Not setting any endurance records tonight. And like before, it's an old, favorite dance. Motions mastered long ago and beloved. He holds her hips, rocking up to meet her, enjoying the view and the sublime pleasure of her body on his.

It's only a few minutes, but they're good minutes, happy minutes, and then he's also jerking and twitching as he comes.

She rests against him for a moment, both of them enjoying the glow, and then he reaches for the tissues, followed by quick cleaning up, and snuggling in close and sleepy.

They roll onto their sides, breathing slowing, and settle into sleeping position. He kisses her neck and shoulder, and she kisses his hand.

Another breath, one more, and the day ends in slumber.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Shards To A Whole: Zzzzzz...

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 385: Zzzzzz....

"Abby, we've got to get moving if we're going to make it to breakfast."


"You feeling okay?"

She raises her head from the pillow, glares at him, and says, "Let me sleep, McGee."

He backs out of the bedroom. "Letting you sleep."

Once he's downstairs, he says to Kelly, with a wide, beaming smile on his face, "You know what? I think you might have a little brother or sister in the works."

If it had just been one day of sleepy Abby, he wouldn't be grinning or jumping to conclusions like this. But it's not day one. It's day three of sleepy Abby. (Or maybe day eight. He's not sure if the wedding should count. She did perk back up again after a full night's sleep.)

Thursday night all the stars aligned properly. They got home by six. Dinner went off without a hitch. By seven thirty Kelly was asleep, and he and Abby were on the sofa. The idea, the idea he'd been hoping for all day, was sleeping baby, little TV, then lots of sex, and sleep for them.

So the plan was working. They'd settled in to get up to date on Sleepy Hollow. Abby was snuggled in nice and close. All was good with the world.

Halfway through the show she was dead weight on his chest, cuddled in and sound asleep.

And as much as he appreciated having her warm and close and cuddled in, he'd been hoping for a different sort of warm and close. So, he let two more shows go by, hoping she'd wake up, feeling refreshed from her nap and ready to play, but eventually the clock hit eleven, she was still dead to the world, so he picked her up and carried her to bed, and she slept through that.

Friday morning she claimed she wasn't feeling sick, just really tired, and yeah, the first part of the week had meant two hot cases, so she's been working harder than usual. So, she's sleepy, okay.

Friday night, Abby was drooping by the end of Shabbos, fell asleep on the car ride home, staggered up to their room and was asleep again as soon as she hit the sheets.

Saturday she slept in late, they had a very enjoyable afternoon nap time, followed by dinner with Kelly, and both of his girls were in bed and asleep by seven thirty.

Which meant now, on Sunday morning, he's feeding Kelly breakfast on his own, while sending Jimmy and Gibbs a text saying they were skipping breakfast at the diner this morning.

Gibbs sent back. Okay. Bootcamp?

Think so. Let you know closer to time. Gym, right? Rain's pouring down right now, and supposed to continue on and off all day, so Tim's thinking they're not going to the house today. Though, he's also a little wary of bootcamp in the gym. Everyone is getting along right now, but he knows Jimmy hasn't spent any time alone with Tony or Ziva, and that things are superficially fine, but still a little tense.


Jimmy sent back. Tired? Keeping her up all night?

Not that sort of tired.

A minute later he gets: Ohhh! "Tired" :)

Really hope so. Don't know yet.

Let me know when you do.


So… Sunday morning, and he and Kelly have ventured out to Target to run some errands. Windex, more pacifiers, (he has no idea how they can possibly go through them so fast. If it weren't for the fact he changes her diapers, he'd swear that she eats those things. As it is, he's expecting that sooner or later he'll find fifty of them all stuffed in an air conditioning vent or something.) toothpaste, (Tom's of Maine, Spearmint.) pregnancy test, (He's grinning as he tosses that in the cart.) frozen wild blueberries, (just in case) more of the puffed fruit snacks Kelly likes, and the K-Cups assorted flavors he likes to keep his department well-stocked with (along with a decaf pack for him).

He's in an awfully good mood as they head toward the check out, and for that matter, so is Kelly, (he's pointing things out, naming them, and she's trying to repeat them back to him) so maybe they don't need to head home right this second.

He'd like to get Abby some sort of little present to go with the pregnancy test. Some sort of I-love-you, so-happy-you-chose-me-to-have-babies-with gift.

And, sure he can get her a rose, a NonCaf-Pow, and tie the rose with a bow to the pregnancy test, but he's hoping for something a little more impressive than that.

Plus, not like he can just walk into a florist, let alone a supermarket, and just grab the kind of roses she likes best. They might, if he's lucky, have the sort they had at their wedding, white with the red edges, black roses are special order though, so are the ultra-dark red ones she likes, too.

Of course, there's a nursery on the way home… Couldn't get one for her there, but a whole bush. That's an option.

He flashes Gibbs a text: What's involved in planting roses?

Dig a hole in the ground. Put the roots in it. Add dirt. Water. Why?

Just checking.

You do it in the early fall or spring.

Or not.


Want to do something nice for Abby.

Roses are good, but they'll be dead by August if you put them in now. No later than March.


So, what to get? What to get? This is a moment where it'd be a hell of a lot easier to be Jimmy or Tony. Head to jewelry store, grab pretty, sparkly thing, and you're all set.

And like with the roses, it's not like Abby doesn't like pretty, sparkly things, it's just that she's got very specific tastes and a good present takes that into account.

"What do you think Kelly? What's a good happy baby present?"


Tim nods solemnly. Kelly's pretty firmly convinced that cookies are the answer to everything right now, and the odds are pretty even on she's answering his question or requesting them for herself.


Requesting them for herself then.

"Uh uh. Lunch. Then cookies."

She pouts at him. "Cookies."


He ends up going with a rose. Mostly because he's not seeing or thinking of anything that's really wowing him, and because he thinks he's got a plan, that buys him some more time, and that she'll really like.

When he gets home, he'll get online, find something cool, and give it to her on Kelly's birthday. He thinks that's a very good way to say thank-you-for-having-my-babies.

She's still sleeping when he gets home. That's making him smile even more. He certainly remembers when she was first pregnant with Kelly and wanted to sleep eighteen hours a day.

And yes, he probably shouldn't be getting his hopes up, but… It feels good. And he'd rather be happy than worried that something's wrong.

They've had lunch (with cookies) and he's put Kelly down for her afternoon nap, by the time he hears Abby thumping down the steps.

She pauses at the bottom of the steps, and he calls out, "In my office."

A moment later, she's in his office, sitting on his lap, eyes scanning over the page that's in front of him. "You're really doing it?"

Tim nods. He typed the last words yesterday, now he's re-reading. "The last ride of LJ Tibbs. Anything that comes next is a prequel."

"You think you're going to do another one?"

"Probably. I'm not done with them. Just want to go and play with some new things. Got a really rough outline for the Dragons series, and about six scenes written. Be kind of fun to just write, no deadlines, no page caps, just tell the story however it unfolds."

She nods at that, snuggling into him.

"I've got a present for you."

"Ohhh…" Her eyes light up and she smiles. "I like presents!"

He pulls a pregnancy test out of his top drawer with a baby pink rose tied to it.

Abby takes one look at the rose and the pregnancy test and starts crying.

That startles the hell out of Tim because of all of the possible responses to his little gift that she could have come up with, that wasn't on his list. And it's not good crying either, this is deeply unhappy, world's-about-to-end crying.

Part of him is terrified that this is a response from last time, but she even didn't get to the tired part last time, so she's got to be further along…

"My temp didn't drop this month." More sobbing, and okay, so she might have missed it, that happens, right? This doesn't seem sob worthy. She can see he's clueless.

"Tired, erratic mood swings, no temperature shift, they're all signs of menopause."

"Oh." He winces. "Shit." He rubs his face. "I didn't even think…"

"That the clock's run out, and we're never having another baby. That we've been trying for almost a year, and I'm fucking barren!"

"Oh… Abby… I just… I'm sorry."

"I'm not pregnant; I'm just old."

He doesn't know what to say to that. You're not old may be true, but it's also not true. She is forty-two and the clock is just about run out.

She's crying more, and erratic moods might be a sign of menopause, but the last time he remembers her sobbing like this she was pregnant.

"Wait. The day after we went clubbing with Jimmy and Breena, you couldn't get a good temp that morning because we'd been up all night?"

She half shrugs. "Didn't get one at all."

"Well, okay then." He picks up the pregnancy test and shakes it. "Come on. Let's see what's going on before we start crying about it."

She's not looking happy at him, and he's sure that if it isn't positive this is probably the absolute wrong thing to do, but… he feels it in his guts and… "Please."

"Fine," she snaps out.

A minute later they are sitting next to each other, on the floor next to their bathroom, watching the little grains of electronic sand shift through the gray on gray hourglass that let them know the test is working.

The last grain drops, then the screen goes blank, and then it flashes up one word. Pregnant.

Abby shrieks at it. Tim feels that frisson of joy again, and this time, minor hearing damage.

He pets her tummy, "Hey there, little dude," then he kisses her. "Don't ever tell me you're old."

"I am."

"Well, you're my old woman, and you're also the mom of my kids."

She's smiling and giggling at that. He smiles, too, and then kisses her again, soft and sweet. "You know, we've probably got almost two hours of naptime left."

She giggles at that, too, and straddles his lap.

"You want me to tell everyone at Bootcamp?" Tim asks as Abby gets a very late breakfast or possibly very early dinner.

She exhales long and deep. Celebrations are better with friends, but telling everyone to stop celebrating last time was hard.

"Yeah. Tell them. Neither of us are any good at keeping stuff like this quiet. And we might as well all enjoy the good as much and as long as we've got it."

"Okay." He's grinning. "Boy or girl?"

She thinks about it. "No real feel, yet. I still like Sean James if this is a boy."

His fingers find her stomach again. "Well, you gonna be SJ McGee?"

"Sean! Not SJ."

"I like SJ!"

"Then you can call him that. I'm calling him Sean."

"If he's a him."

"Fifty-fifty shot. More we talk about it, the more I'm feeling boy."

"So, you want to call this one McScuito, too, or just go straight for Sean."

She inhales and exhales dramatically. "To hedge our bets or not?"

"Yeah." He's smiling at her. "I'm leaning toward all in."

"Me, too. Okay, don't tell them at Bootcamp, I want to see Jimmy hear the name. Invite everyone for dinner, okay."

"Was Gibbs already coming over?"

"I think so. That was the plan on Friday."

"Great. I'll get the bootcamp crew, you want to call Ducky and Penny?"

"No problem."

"So, how does this work?" Abbi asks Jethro as they wait outside the NCIS building.

"Tony and Ziva get here soon, then we all get warmed up. Tim, Jimmy, and Collin'll show up eventually."

"Who's Collin again?"

"Jimmy's likely brother-in-law."

Abbi blinks at that.

"He's living with Breena's sister. Looks serious, but no ring yet."

She nods. "So, we get in there…"

"Warm up, practice. There's one ring. I usually set the fights, who's against who. What everyone does, who's on offense or defense. Ziva works on technique, now. Last fight, she was training them on nerve strikes. Jimmy handles general fitness, strength training, stuff like that."

"He's the one who's got you standing on one foot."

Gibbs nods. "Supposed to be good for me."

Abbi's giving him a look suggesting that Jimmy might be pulling his leg on that. They see Tony and Ziva heading toward them, and in a minute, they join Abbi and Jethro.

"So, why are we here half an hour early?" Tony asks.

"Tim's got that test this week, and I want him ready to fight cold if need be."

"We're ambushing Tim?" Abbi asks.

"More or less."

As soon as Tim walks in, before he's even put his bag in his locker, Gibbs says, "Tony, Ziva, Abbi, all three of you on attack, hard, like you mean it. Tim, you're on defense."

Ziva grins. "With pleasure."

Tim glances over at Gibbs, this is overkill in his eyes, but Gibbs just shakes his head, so, without a warm up, without expecting it, Tim's on fight mode. He tosses his bag to Jimmy and heads into the ring and the next thing Tim knows he's being double-teamed by very fast moving DiNozzos,, while Abbi hangs back a bit, watching, looking for openings to jump into.

Short of having them jump him on the way in, this is probably as close to a real fight as he can get. And Gibbs is going to make sure he's ready for a real fight.

Jimmy's standing next to Gibbs, watching Tony and Ziva and Abbi put Tim through his paces. "You've got a really bad feeling about the test, don't you?"

Gibbs nods, grimly.

"He's going to be fine."

Gibbs doesn't nod at that. "What do you have for me?" Part of Gibbs' usual warm up is checking in with Jimmy, showing off how well he's doing with whatever it was Jimmy set for him last time, and then getting new additions to his training routine.

Jimmy rolls with the change in topic. "How are you doing on the balance challenge?"

Gibbs shuts his eyes and stands on one foot, without wobbling, for a minute.

"Good. Okay, variation on a theme time. On your toes. Eyes open." Gibbs looks pretty stable at that. "You've got that down. Close your eyes."

And with teeth gritted, Gibbs closes his eyes, and is down on flat feet in less than two seconds.

"That's the next balance challenge."

"Why are we doing this?"

"Because I'm not visiting you in the hospital because you fell and broke a hip."

Gibbs flashes Jimmy his exasperated look, but closes his eyes and rises up on his toes again. "You can do this, right? You're not just messing with me." (He's down on flat feet before he gets both of those sentences out.)

Jimmy looks satisfied and holds up one finger. He tosses his and Tim's bags aside, slips his shoes and socks off. "Tree pose." He's standing on one foot, other foot tucked against his thigh, hands at heart center, palm to palm, then he rises onto his toes, and then closes his eyes, holding that for a full minute before setting himself down again.

"Yeah, I can do it. And I can do a version of it on one hand, too."

"Why?" Gibbs can understand why you'd spend hours, days, huge chunks of your life working on something other people can see. Practicing for a sport or something. He gets doing the work to look the way Jimmy looks. But he's not getting the point of this. Seems like time you could be doing something else, something useful.

"Why does any man do something physically difficult and kind of stupid? To impress women."

Gibbs laughs at that.

"No, not really. I mean, yes, Breena's impressed by that, but that's not why I can do it. Being able to do it feels good. The focus necessary to do it is good, for a lot of things. You can't hold something like that if your brain is whirling around." He shakes his head a bit, that's part, but not all of it. "I don't talk about it much, but… I'm diabetic, you know that. I manage it so well most people don't even notice. As much as you can beat it into submission, I have. But it's not like I've got allergies. This isn't some little annoyance that makes me periodically uncomfortable. This is serious, and eventually, it will kill me. But it's not taking me easy." Jimmy shakes his head. "So, until they develop that artificial pancreas, I'm running a race against my body, and the better I do with it, the longer I get to keep running. If I want to be there to play with my grandkids, I can't just let myself slide. And, since I want you here to play with my grandkids, too, you're not letting yourself go, either."

Gibbs smiles at that, nods, and then pushes himself up on his toes again.

Tim knows that he's not winning a three on one fight. Not if a third the team he's up against is Ziva, and another third is Abbi, who he's never gone up against before and has a completely different style than he's ever dealt with. His only goal is to just keep at it long enough to not embarrass himself.

But, eventually, like with all fights like this, he hits the mat.

Tony helps him up, and for a moment they all just stand there, breathing hard.

"Test ready to go?" Tony asks after a minute.

Tim nods. It's ready. It's beyond ready. He's grinning, wide and happy at the idea of it. He's going to turn an entire strike force upside down, and it will be completely awesome.

"Be careful."

Tim holds his hands out in a quit worrying gesture. "I'll be with the Secretary of the Navy. Everything should be fine."

Tony nods. Ziva's eyes have narrowed. They don't have the entire story of Tim's issues with his dad, but the bits they do have are enough. Plus, as the test gets closer, nervous is radiating off of Gibbs, so, they're all catching it, too. Same for Abbi, Gibbs hasn't given her all of the details, but she knows McGee and the Admiral don't get on, and she's figured that if McGee can keep a relationship going with DiNozzo after all the teasing she's seen and heard about over the years, there's got to be more between him and the Admiral than they just rub each other wrong.

"We prep Thursday." Tim looks at all three of them. They talked about it a bit at Shabbos, so this isn't new information. "You know, when I get that cover ID that means The Admiral can't even admit he knows me without blowing the op. Then up at the crack of dawn Friday, test goes off in the afternoon, I hang around and watch, and as soon as they figure out what happened or give up, I go home. Should be back by Sunday, Monday at the latest."

Tony nods. Ziva does, too. Then she heads to her bag, rummages around in it, and comes back a few seconds later, handing him something.

Tim looks at it. "A roll of quarters?"

"Makeshift brass knuckles, McGee. The reason you have them is you are bringing home American coins for your children. Every new place you go, you get some of the local currency and take it home to them."

Tim raises his eyebrows and nods. That's a good story. Actually, he's not planning on travelling much, but if he does… He might start doing that. Another thought hits him. "Did your Dad do that for you?"

Ziva nods. "Yes, he did. We also had a map with little pins in it. Learn geography and where Abba was all in one. I was nineteen when I found out he was never where those little pins were, and that his secretary kept a supply of currency for him." She sighs, and Tim does, too. Eli David stories always have that sort of disturbing twist to them.

Gibbs and Jimmy head over, having finished whatever it was they were working on. Collin's been hanging by the edges of whatever it is they've been up to, so he joins them, too. Gibbs looks them all over, focusing on Tim. "All warm and loose?"

Tim nods.

"Good." Gibbs heads into the ring, gesturing to Jimmy and Collin to join him.

Tim stares at Gibbs for a moment, because Gibbs isn't setting up teams. "Six on one?"

Gibbs shakes his head. "Ladies out." Abbi's not looking thrilled at that, but Ziva inclines her head in a I'll explain in a second sort of way. "Your job is to keep us in each other's way as much as possible. Hard to hit one guy if there's a bunch of you fighting at once, so use it."


Ziva and Abbi are watching, and it's a melee. Hard to actually track what's going on, but Tim does seem to be keeping at least three of them out of the fight at any given time.

"So, why are we out?" Abbi asks.

"Collin won't go full out if there's a girl in the ring. Tony won't if I'm in there. And Jimmy and Tim are a lot better than they were when we started, but they can get shaky when they're tired, and Tim's tired. Gibbs doesn't want either of us getting an elbow in the face by accident."

"But he doesn't care if one of the guys do?"

Ziva nods. "Jimmy caught me in the mouth with an elbow… Six months ago. Not a big deal, just a split lip and a bruise, but every time I went anywhere with Tony, the whole time my lip was cut, people kept glaring daggers at him, and two even offered me suggestions for battered wife services. One offered to call the cops for me. And, yes, people stare if the guys have split lip or visible bruises, but it's not as big of a deal."


"So, one of them gets tired, he pulls me out. Apparently, same for you. But there is no reason we cannot spar with each other. If you're interested?"

Abbi smiles at that. "Oh, yeah. Show me your best moves, DiNozzo."

Ziva grins.

Tim's sore, and tired, really tired, as they head to the showers. Gibbs ran him through pretty much every possible fight combination he could think of in preparation for the test.

So, he's undressing slowly. Partly because nothing about him wants to do anything fast right now, and partially so he can get a minute to talk to just Gibbs.

Tony and Jimmy head to the showers. (Collin headed straight home after fighting.)

"Your gut is screaming."

Gibbs nods. "Take your gun."

Tim shakes his head. "Blow my cover. I've always got a knife, and Ziva's roll of quarters is a good plan."

"You keep them on you, all the time."

Tim nods. "It'll be fine."

"You can believe that when you're home. Until then, you're walking into battle, and that's how you're going to treat it."


"No. Don't give me any feel good bullshit about this. You stay armed, you stay alert, and you keep people around you all the time. You do not spend a second alone with him."


Gibbs nods again, not looking relieved, and heads to the showers. A minute later, Tim follows.

They're out of the shower, drying off, dressing, ready to move on with the rest of the day when Tim says, "So, kind of went a bit bonkers at Costco today. They had some really nice looking tomatoes and that bacon we like was on sale… Anyway, BLT night at my house. Everyone's invited."

Jimmy grins. Granted, for him a BLT is a salad and not a sandwich, but he's a fan. And Breena's almost always a fan of nights where someone else cooks. "We're in. Get home, grab the girls, and head on over?"

"Sounds great."

Tony looks pained. He is also a BLT fan. "Can't. Want to, but can't. Dad and Delphine got home from their honeymoon yesterday and invited us for dinner today. I think they're working on setting up some sort of Sunday dinner type thing. Her kids and grandkids'll be there, too."

Tim nods at that. "Sunday dinner sounds like a good thing."

Tony inclines his head. "Hope so. At least, none of the other wives really worked to bring him into her family and vice versa. So, any luck this is a move in the right direction."

Jimmy nods along with that.

"You and Abbi coming?" Tim asks Gibbs. When Gibbs agreed to dinner at their place, he was solo, so it's possible he had things he wanted to do with Abbi on their own.

"We're coming. That was the plan, right?"

Tim nods. "Just checking in."

All four of them are up and ready to go. They're heading toward the door, but Tim hangs back a bit. "Tony…"


"You dropped…"

Tony gives Tim a perplexed look, he knows he hasn't dropped anything, but Tim is giving him the get over here look, so he does.

"We're telling everyone else at dinner, so, let Ziva know, Abby's pregnant again," Tim says quietly.

Tony breaks into a huge grin, glances over his shoulder, sees that Gibbs and Jimmy have headed out of the locker room, and then pulls Tim into a warm hug. "Congratulations!"



Tim does a bit of math. "February, probably, early or middle."

"So Molly might be sharing her birthday time?"

"Maybe," he says, grinning.

Tony hugs him again. "So, this one going to be Timmy Junior?"

"No." Tim says emphatically. There will be no Juniors of any variety among his kids. "But… our boy name last time was Sean James, and we're both getting a bit of a boy vibe, so… Maybe SJ McGee?"

"SJ.. Sean… Sean works better."

"Abby thinks that, too."

"Wise woman." Tony grins again. "How far do you want this to go?"

"Just us right now. Labor Day's soon enough to let everyone else know."

"Okay, we'll keep quiet. I better get moving before they wonder what I could have possibly dropped that took that long to pick up." Tony pauses for half a breath before saying, "And don't you even suggest anything about the soap."

"Wouldn't dream of it."

There are things in this world better than sitting on the porch on an early June day, air warm and damp from many thunderstorms, as the last clouds scuttle away, leaving the world watercolor clean. Adding in your family, BLTs, watermelon, happy baby girls playing peacefully with each other, (Okay, Molly and Kelly are "playing," and Anna's just chilling in her baby carrier, enjoying the air.) takes that experience into the upper echelons of better things.

So, it is already a very good evening, as Abby, who's sitting on Tim's lap, gets everyone's attention during a lull in the conversation and says, "I'm pregnant!"

That gets a lot of happy responses, a lot of congratulations, many smiles and hugs, a few words on who's getting told now, when the newest McGee should be showing up, and, as is usual for brand new baby announcements, possible name ideas.

"Have any thoughts about names?" Penny asks.

Tim and Abby nod at that. "Yeah, we do," Tim says

"Another mystery 'family name' that we'll all have figured out by the time we get home?" Jimmy asks with a smirk.

Tim grins at that, and Abby says, "Not a mystery, but yes on the family name part."

"Sort of," Tim adds. They don't have any Seans in the family. "But I bet you can't guess it," he says to Jimmy.

Jimmy's willing to take up that challenge. "Boy or girl name?"

"Boy's name," Abby replies.

"Thomas. That's Abby's Dad's name, right?"

Abby nods, pleased to see he knows that. "Yes, it is, but not the name we're aiming for."

Jimmy thinks for another minute. "Jack or Jackson?" Gibbs looks pleased by that.

Abby and Tim quickly glance at each other, Jackson McGee actually sounds pretty good. Thomas Jackson… that's good, too. That's going on the list of potential baby names if they find themselves looking for another one.

"We like that, but no. Next time we have this conversation, maybe," Tim says.

"Donald?" Abbi asks.

Tim nods toward Jimmy and Breena. "They've got dibbs on that one."

Ducky looks very pleased at that.

"I'd say Leroy or Jethro, but I know you don't like them," Jimmy says to Tim, who turns to Gibbs and says, "No offense."

Gibbs nods at that. His names are country and dated, neither of which is true about his kids.

Jimmy's staring at Tim, mild exasperation overlaying a whole lot of pride in his eyes. "I can't guess it, or I won't guess it?"

Tim shoots him is best smart-ass grin. "Is there a difference?"

Jimmy laughs at that, and before he gets a shot to say anything Abby says, "Sean James. That's what we're thinking."

Jimmy looks down for a second, a very warm, very pleased smile spreading across his face, then he looks up, beaming at both of them, and heads over for more hugs. He's got an arm around each of them, and kisses Abby's cheek. As he pulls back his hand falls to Abby's tummy and he says, "Sean James, you hear that? That's a good name, so you better be the with-a-penis-model, okay?"

Everyone laughs at that, and when they stop, he adds, "Just fooling on that. Girl, boy, little bit of both, doesn't matter, we're all gonna love you no matter what."


Friday, September 5, 2014

Shards To A Whole: Normal As A Wedding

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 384: Normal As A Wedding

Tim supposes it's a good thing that his wife is squeeing with joy at him developing white hairs, but he's not exactly relishing it.

She's standing behind him as he sits at the table, playing defense on keeping Kelly's food on her tray. At almost a year old (God, how'd that happen?) she's more or less feeding herself these days, but feeding herself often means food all over the place. He feels Abby start to play with his hair. He doesn't mind that at all, it feels good and is putting him in a good mood for the next part of today.

She's making some fairly excited sounds that haven't really filtered through his determination to make sure that at least some of the food on the tray ends up inside Kelly.

Finally, it does filter through.

"I knew it! I knew you'd be one, too. My very own silver fox!"


"White hairs. You've got sixteen of them."

"Oh. Great." By which he means, not great, and she gets that from his tone.

"What's wrong?"

"I'm thirty-eight."


Tony now
"You're forty-two, no gray hair. Tony's forty-eight, no gray hair."

Abby laughs. "Tony's been dying his since he was thirty-five. And Jimmy's exactly the same age you are, and he's got some, too." For Jimmy, some means probably about two percent of his hair is white, all scattered about his head.

"Tony dyes his hair?" Tim asks.

"You didn't know that?" Abby's really surprised by that.

"How would I know that?"

"His hair's been getting lighter for more than a decade now. It was almost black when he started."

Yes, Tim had noticed that, but it didn't seem like any sort of big deal. From what he can tell everyone's hair changes color some. "My hair's been changing, too."

"Getting darker. That happens. Mine's not as blonde as it was before I started dying it. No one's hair slowly goes from almost black to medium brunette over fifteen years without help."

Tim stares at her, not sure if that's right or not.

She shrugs. "I noticed because I know what hair-dye smells like, and occasionally he comes in smelling like Garnier."

Tim lights up. That he knows about. Every now and again Tony comes into work or Bootcamp smelling a bit fruity. It's not unpleasant or anything, but it is a pretty distinctive aroma. "Is that the sort of fruity smell?"

"Yeah." She nods at that, emphatically.

"He told me that was lube."

Abby looks horrified at that idea. "Why would anyone use lube that smells like that?"

"I was thinking the same thing after I got past the massive yuck of you-didn't-get-enough-of-a-shower-to-wash-the-damn-stuff-off! but we had only known each other for a few weeks when I asked, so I sure as hell wasn't going to ask for specifics. So, really, that's hair dye?"

She nods.

Tim smirks. "I've got to tell Jimmy that. Tony's been ragging on him for months about the gray hair."

"Well, now you have ammo to shoot back with."

He grabs a grape as it goes flying by his head and puts it back on Kelly's tray. "No throwing the food." She grins at him, big eight tooth grin, grabs it, and puts it in her mouth. "What did you mean by you knew it? Have you been thinking about this for a while?"

Abby smiles. "Like since we were first dating. One night Kate and I got talking about you guys, and talking about you guys got into what'd you'd be like in twenty years, and I was betting you'd be a silver fox."

He grins at that.

"Didn't think you'd be so thin," her hands slip down his arms, "or so built, but I like that."

He pulls her down for a kiss. "Glad to hear it."

"So, when's Sarah and Glen coming?"

Tim glances at the clock. "Any minute now."

And, as if conjured by those words, they hear a car in their driveway. "And they're here!"

"Perfect." Senior's wedding starts in two hours. That gives them plenty of time to get changed, and to the church.

"Can I borrow your sporran?" Tim's holding his phone to his ear, kilt on, shirt half-buttoned. He's hoping Ducky can save him on this. He'd told Borin that he'd do the kilt for the wedding, and then noticed a tad late that he was missing part of the outfit for the whole formal kilt concept.

He hears the sigh on the other side of the phone. "Timothy, one does not borrow a sporran."

"Yes, well, one doesn't have one, and apparently they're kind of required for the whole formal kilt thing, so…"

"Fine. Get your own, soon."

"I've got one on order already," Okay, not technically true, but only because he hasn't decided which one he likes better. He does have a website up and is dithering between two of them. It'll be true before he gets out of the house. "But, it's not going to get here in an hour."

He hears Ducky chuckling.

Sarah whistles at them when they get downstairs.

"Good God, you two can do stylish!" Once again, they may not be fashionable, but there is definitely some style going on here. He's got the tux jacket and vest, a white button down, and hunter green tie (eldritch knot), along with the kilt, which feels kind of odd to wear without boots. He's just relieved that half a dragon sticking out of the top of his sock doesn't look too stupid. He was afraid it was going to look like it was peeking out of his sock.

Abby's the really stylish one. She'd been jonesing for the dress she has on for about two years, but no reason to get it or wear it, and then those magical words showed up in the mail. Black tie cocktail party.

Tim knows just enough about fashion to know that he likes the dress, and that the guy who made it, Alexander McQueen is a big deal. Beyond that… No clue.

But he does like it. And it goes with his outfit perfectly. It's plaid, navy and hunter, black and silver, like his. He doesn't know what to call that sort of shape, but it goes from her chest to her knees, one little bit swirling up from her left breast to wrap around her throat, the rest falling into a flouncy pleated skirt, the left side of which is tucked into a wide, black leather belt circling her waist. Under the skirt are many flounces of white lace, and all along Abby's chest, shoulders, and arms is more white lace, with black arabesque detailing.

It looks fucking awesome, and he does not regret a penny of what it cost. (Once they got off the phone with HR to make sure he was still getting paid bi-weekly and not, seasonally, or something, they've been having a good time with Tim's recent raise.)

Lucky for them, they paid for it, and the hotel, and the rest of this, before Gibbs levied his Asshole Fee and wiped out what was left of that month's play money.

Of course, as Tim's looking at the shot of the two of them Sarah took, compared to the black eye(s?) he could be wearing to this, a few grand wasn't that big of a deal.

"Make sure to get shots of Ducky and Penny for us!" Sara says as they head out.

Tim's nodding as he kisses Kelly goodbye.

"No problem," Abby adds to her hug and kisses.

"See you noonish tomorrow!" Tim says, and they're off.

They're in the car, en route to the church, looking forward to this. He notices Abby yawning as he's telling her about almost having the last of the contracted Tibbs novels done. Ten thousand words to go, and the Continuing Adventures of LJ Tibbs go on spec. Which means when he's feeling inspired he'll crank one out, but the one novel-a-year pace is done.


She smiles. "Nah. Just sleepy." She sighs. "Had a hard time getting out of last night's case."

Tim nods at that. "Tony was texting me about that one yesterday. Afraid he'd end up stiffing his dad on his best man."

"Lucky for all of us Draga noticed that envelope between the books."

Tim nods. "Feels a little weird to just hear about them, you know?"

"Maybe?" Abby half shrugs. "I almost always just hear about them."

"Yeah, but you work them, too. All week I've been perfecting my test, hacking a database in Tokyo, and fighting with HR about hour tracking. Can you believe they still want us filling out pieces of paper?"

Abby's already heard every flavor of Tim complaining about any branch of NCIS wanting paper documents, so she nods at that.

"I mean, I can give them precise, to the second, accountings of how long my guys are working, when and where, but no, they want paper forms!"

"Tim…" Her hand lands on his, squeezing gently, giving him a look that he knows means, calm down.

"I'm calm. I put Howard on it. She's writing a program that will take the information off their computers, fill out the forms, and then print the damn things out for us. All my guys have to do is sign. She tells me it'll be done next week."

"That's good."

"And two weeks from now, Loretta in HR will call me up to complain about how they're all printed out and none of them were actually filled out by the individual who's being tracked."

Abby snorts at that, and yawns again.

"I think you needed a nap this afternoon."

She nods. "You know it."

They get to a stop light, and he leans over to kiss her. "I don't mind if we get there late and leave early."

She laughs. "As long as we put the hotel room to good use after we leave?"

"And before we get there," he says with a big grin.

"Twice in one wedding? You're feeling frisky, aren't you?" Her hand trails up the inside of his leg, giving him a gentle squeeze.

He grins, looks her up and down. He really likes that dress, and it's going to look even better on the floor. He grins again, taking his foot off the break and driving them toward the church.

Tim is intellectually aware of the fact that this is a big wedding. The fact he's been invited to this thing is a less than subtle hint in that direction, but still…

It's a huge church, easily seats a thousand and it's almost full. He can't even begin to imagine knowing this many people.

They're waiting at the front doors for the rest of their crew, minus Tony and Ziva, who are part of the wedding party.

Ducky and Penny find them first, and yes, Ducky does have his sporran. Tim takes one look at that and blanches. Abby clutches his hand when she sees it, whimpering. Ducky appears especially pleased with this reaction and is happily handing it over to Tim, who really doesn't want to touch it.

"I'm sorry, Ducky, I can't wear that."

"Timothy… First you to borrow it," Ducky is absolutely grinning as he says this, "which required me locating it, and now you tell me you can't wear it?"

He shakes his head, still staring at it. "I didn't expect it to be so… lifelike. What is that, a badger?"

Penny's smirking widely, enjoying this interaction way too much.

Attack Rodent
"That Timothy, is indeed a badger." Tim was expecting a small leather pouch, not… Oh God, it's taxidermy hell: a full badger's head, shiny, beady eyes glinting away, with its two front paws hanging down, and the pouch made of its pelt, and the damn thing is about the size of a salad plate. If he puts this on, he'll be standing around with what looks like an attack rodent on his crotch. "This badger is the result of my first hunt with my father. Back in the day we kept Dachshunds, Dachs is German for badger, and they were bred to hunt the wee beasties…" Tim finds it interesting that as Ducky gets going on this story, his accent deepens, gets harsher, reminding Tim that Ducky is actually from Scotland, (He's spent so many years with Ducky, that at this point, he doesn't really hear the accent anymore.) and once upon a time, he was a small child, out on the moors, with his father, chasing after a pack of Dachshunds in search of this particular badger.

Ducky keeps going, telling about tromping over broken ground, barking dogs, and what felt like hours of following his father in search of this critter, and Tim takes it from him, very gently, and puts it on, which stops Ducky dead. "Timothy, I never expected you'd actually wear it."

Yeah, it looks several steps beyond dumb as hell, but… "Is even half of that story you're telling true?"

"Yes, it is."

He half shrugs. "Do you mind if I wear it?"

Ducky smiles at him, very pleased by that. "My father would have been gratified to see someone put this on without a fight." He looks back at the badger. "Honestly, it always gave me the willies. The eyes tend to follow you no matter where you go."

Penny laughs at that.

Gibbs and Abbi find them next. The last time Gibbs gave him that what the hell? look he was wearing eyeliner to Shabbos for the first time.

Now both he and Abbi are staring at the sporran. They're trying not to, but failing miserably.

"I borrowed it from Ducky. He's got a great story about it."

Gibbs looks to Ducky, who launches into the story again.

Jimmy and Breena are late. They wait outside as long as they can, but the bride is getting into place and ready to walk down the aisle, so they all scoot in, fast, grab seats by the back and get settled.

Half a minute later, Jimmy and Breena slip in beside them. Jimmy next to Tim, whispering that Molly decided now was a great time to have a massive existential toddler crisis about whether or not Mommy was ever coming back.

He and Abby are nodding along, the rest of the group looking sympathetic, as the bridal march begins, and they all stand up.

Two more minutes later, when said march is done and they all get to sit down again, Jimmy nudges him and whispers, "Why are you wearing a stuffed weasel on your dick?"

And so Tim misses most of the first reading, because he is bent over, biting his lip, vibrating, silently laughing so hard he has tears in his eyes.

The next time they stand up, he takes it off and hands it back to Ducky, who seems to appreciate the fact that he managed to keep it on for fifteen whole minutes. Ducky quietly says back to him, "Probably a wise choice. I fear Tony would have had some sort mental breakdown if faced with so many glorious options for making fun of you."

"Thanks, Duck."

"You're welcome, Timothy."

While it is true that Tim has come to the conclusion that it is vastly more enjoyable to be a guest at a wedding than being in the wedding, or the guy getting married, this part here, in the church, listening to, by conservative estimate, nineteen million songs and readings, is awfully boring.

The nice part of being the groom is that not only did he have input in the matter, thus pruning the ceremony part of their wedding down to as small as possible, but, as the groom he was also not, in the slightest, paying any attention to any part of the ceremony that wasn't his or Abby's vows or ring exchange.

He honestly can't tell you who said what, or what hymns were sung. What Abby was wearing, her walking down the aisle toward him, details about the vows, the way it felt, he's got those down, but the rest of it is fuzzy at best.

But this, right here, right now, as yet another nameless cousin (okay, he could check the program if he wanted a name) is droning on and on about love. Sigh…

It'll be over soon.

They get to see Tony and Ziva for about two seconds while going through the receiving line at the doors of the church.

If there is such a thing as a person built for a tuxedo, it's the DiNozzo men. He knows Tony tends to think of his various cousins as screw ups, but apparently they're screw ups who look good in black wool. The whole line of them are cool and pressed, perfectly attired and just vastly too fashionable to be real.

Tim doesn't get a chance to really say anything to Tony, but he gets across in his look, I get why you left.

And Tony nods back, looking at the cousin on Ziva's other side. He's polished, poised, looks ready to step out of a magazine. Yeah, made the right choice on that, didn't I?

Back to the Adam's House. Tim breaks away from everyone else, briefly, to check in and grab their keycards.

Key tucked into his pocket, he heads back, and finds his family all milling around.

He snaps a quick picture of them as he heads in. Candid shot, everyone is just standing around, talking, and sure the guys don't look like they were measured for their first tuxes at age three, but they do clean up well. They also all look pretty similar. Jimmy's also wearing his tux from Tony's wedding. Ducky has on a standard cut, with cummerbund and bow tie, black tux, probably with a boat load of history to go with it. Gibbs is in the blackest black Tim's ever seen. (He's thinking that Abby's probably going to snag a few threads of his jacket to find out what the hell it is and where she can get some of it. It's really black!)

So, in that they're guys in black tuxes, they more or less look like every other guy in the room. Right now Tim is the only man in the room who doesn't look like every other guy in the room. The ladies on the other hand…

It's occurring to Tim that Penny probably used to do things like this a lot. She's at ease in her little black dress and scarlet silk wrap, hair up, cocktail held elegantly. Hell, she's old enough that she probably remembers cocktail parties, when people used to get dressed up and did this at each other's homes. In that she was married to Nelson, and becoming an Admiral is two-thirds politics and one-third astounding talent, she probably hosted a lot of them back in the day.

Tim's trying to imagine her in a 1950's dress, small waist, fluffy skirt, martini in one hand, cigarette in the other, schmoozing with the other officers and their wives.

He's having a hard time picturing it.

Abbi's in green. He thinks Breena would call what she's wearing 'Grecian' but he's not sure. It starts at one shoulder and is tight over the bust, and then flows soft and drape-y to just above her knees. It's dark green, forest at night green. In fact, the only reason he can tell it's not black is that she's standing next to Gibbs, who's wearing the Platonic Ideal of black. Her hair is curly and down and looks really soft and pretty. She shifts a bit, laughing at something Gibbs said, and Tim realizes that her dress probably is black, but the threads have some sort of little green shimmer thing going on that you can only see when the light hits them right.

Breena's in white gold and pink. It's a sheath dress, some sort of thick, rich, silky brocade, the background in white with gold fibers adding just a little shimmer, and an overlay of pink roses. Her hair is up, some little bits of it falling down in soft curls, and she's also looking very soft and pretty.
Abby sees him getting pictures, and winks, sticking out her tongue. He gets a shot of that, too.

When he closes on them, he says to Penny, "I was just thinking about this, seeing you all, but… Did you used to do things like this? Cocktail parties?"

She smiles, laughing gently at that. "Once upon a time, the McGee house was famous for the driest martini anyone had ever tasted, red hot music, great conversation, and tasty food… Well, as much as anything we ate back then qualified as tasty. I was a wizard with Jello."

Gibbs laughs at that. "So was my mom. Fruit jello, meat jello, fish jello."

"Fish jello?" Jimmy asks, appalled.

"I'll have you know, that a properly constructed tuna and lime jello salad is… Honestly, appalling," Penny says with a smile. "It looked amazing though. I even had the special fish pan—"

"My mom had that, too!" Gibbs adds.

"Did she used to put the sliced green olive where the eye went?"

Gibbs nods. "Dad took one look at that and said, 'Never again. Not eating anything that's lookin' at me!'"

They all laugh at that.

"Nelson got back from Korea in '54. From then until he was shipped out to Vietnam in '63, at least once a week, I spent all day cooking, the boys got put to bed early, I got all dressed up and pretty, and hosted at least five other couples at our home for cocktails and dinner."

"Nelson was home for nine straight years?" Abby asks.

"No, dear. He was away about six months a year every year. But, as his wife, I was keeping up appearances, making sure his connections were fresh, keeping an ear open, and making sure he knew what was happening stateside. By '63 I was getting sick of being the perfect wife, cocktail parties were dying out anyway, and with actual men coming home in body bags again, it seemed a politic time to end the frivolities."

"So, you were working as hard at his job as he was?" Breena asks.

"Not precisely. Probably about a third as hard as he was, I had my own job, and running the house, and keeping the boys out of trouble, but I was working on it. Admiral is a political game as much as a tactical one, and without a very sharp secretary and an even sharper wife, the climb from Captain to Admiral is a very steep one. By the time you've hit the upper officers ranks, none of their wives are pretty little accessories; they're all in the game. Or, at least that was true in the fifties, sixties, and seventies. I don't know about now."

Tim wonders how much of that was involved in his parents' marriage falling apart. He knows that he doesn't remember cocktail parties and getting paraded around as the perfect child more than once or twice a year. Of course, his father hit Admiral after he left home. He's got no idea what sort of gaming went on behind the scenes.

A waiter heads on by, drinks on a tray, none of them are non-alcoholic, so he and Abby both skip them, and he decides to head over to the bar and get them something to drink. By the time he's back with a Diet Pepsi for him and a Coke with two cherries for her (Yes, she's been avoiding caffeine, but he figures that if she's this sleepy at half past five, a boost would be welcome. She takes the glass from him, pets it and whispers 'Hello My Love!' to it, smiling at him.) they're on a different topic.

Eventually the wedding party show up. Eventually they head off to yet another ballroom, this one filled with tables covered in sky high flowers, crystal, and silver. Tim's thinking it's entirely likely his house cost less than this wedding.

They can't even see the head table (where Senior and Delphine are flanked by their eight attendants, each) from where they are. Luckily there are enough of them to fill their own table, so they aren't making awkward small talk with strangers. (Or more likely, making several strangers painfully bored as they chat with each other.)

The food is good, (prime rib) somewhat cooler and less rare than Tim likes, but he figures the logistics of feeding this many people all at the same time mean that as long as even vaguely the right thing shows up on his plate, the team in charge of this is doing superb. And, yes, everyone does have (more or less) what they ordered.

They talk about what they've been up to over the week. Penny's got her grad students working away. Breena's been mediating between fractious family members. Though, fortunately, this week the fractious family members have belonged to families other than hers. (Her own family is entering week eight of the Collin-Amy standoff, but she thinks her father is starting to soften some.) Ducky and Jethro have gotten all of the windows on the west side of the house popped out and replaced. Abby and Jimmy tag team the tale of their latest murder. Abbi and Tim share stories of bureaucratic wrangling.

All in all, a pretty normal week for this crew.

And, after a while, as stories get told and conversation flows, food is cleared away, and the band starts up, letting everyone know to head to the dance floor for the first dance.

It really is a band, eight guys are up there doing their thing. And the music is swing. Fast, perky, fun.

Tim looks at Abby, who has been yawning an awful lot, and comes to the conclusion that unless by leaving early he means eight-thirty, there's really not going to be any fooling around post-wedding, at least, not until tomorrow morning.

He's holding her hand as they watch Delphine and Senior dancing their first dance and gently kisses her ear. "Slip away with me?"

She smiles at him, both of them carefully backing out of the ballroom to go find their own room.

They're heading up the main elevator this time, but the hallway looks really familiar, and it's when he's putting the key into the door that Tim realizes this is the room across the hall from the one they got at the Palmers' wedding.

He laughs at that, explaining it to Abby, who's grinning, too.

He presses her against the door as soon as it shuts, and the room's not exactly the same, but it's very close. "Good memories?"

"Oh yeah!" she kisses him, warm and soft, inviting him to taste as well as touch.

He carefully unwinds the bit of plaid that wraps around her throat, and then unzips the dress. Enjoying the view of her stepping out of it. (Dress that fancy, costs that much, he's certainly not rumpling it up. He carefully lays it over the arm of the sofa in their sitting room.) White lace push up bra, white garter belt, white stockings, and black pumps, yeah, he likes that view a whole lot.

"God, you're so beautiful."

She's unbuttoning his vest. "Not looking bad yourself."

"At least since I took the sporran off?"

She giggles. "That thing was ghastly."

He's nodding, then kisses her as she pushes off his jacket and vest. A few seconds later, his kilt hits the floor, too. He undoes his tie, stripping out of his shirt as she kisses him and rubs his dick.

Last time they did this, it was up against the door. He likes the idea of tradition but wants to play with it, too. He lifts her in his arms, slipping into her in one stroke the way they did last time, but this time he doesn't press her up against the wall. Given her comment about enjoying how built he is these days, he's showing off, holding her up.

He feels her legs wrap around the small of his back, enjoying her holding him tight as they kiss.
He's lifting her high, rocking her on him, as he lowers his head to nuzzle and lick her nipples. She hisses at that, jerking back slightly, so he goes softer, more gentle. He's got a fairly decent looking goatee right now. Well, at least he's hit the part where it looks intentional as opposed to he just forgot to shave, and apparently it's prickly.

Though softer and gentler seems to be working a treat, she's moaning against him, voice getting higher with each thrust as he rolls his tongue over her nipple.

Her slipping over him, fast and deep, is working for him, too. His orgasm's building, body growing tighter with each stroke.

He adds a bit of tooth, just a light graze and a little pressure, not more than a bare nip, to what he's doing to her, moving her a bit faster and a little harder, too, reveling in the sound of her getting close, that high-pitched, breathy almost pant, almost moan of a sound.

Can't touch her clit, not in this position, not with his hands at least, but he leans back a little, so he can grind his pubic bone against her, and that does it, she's rippling and moaning against him as she comes. Her body rippling on his sets him off.

He holds her up for another minute, both of them catching their breath and relaxing, and when she's done pulsing, he lets her feet touch the floor. He's about to pull out when it hits him that the tissues, which he did remember to bring, are inconveniently located about six feet away from him, on the floor, in his jacket pocket.

She sees him staring at his jacket and begins to laugh.

"Think that's funny? Not my stockings that're going to get wet with cum."

"I know you're a better problem solver than that." She nods behind him and to the left, where there's a tissue box on the table beside the sofa.

"Ah." He picks her back up, and walks them over to the tissues. She grabs one, and takes care of cleaning up.

They're both looking very happy and pleased with themselves when they get back down to the dance floor.

Swing music. Senior and Delphine decided on a Swing wedding.

Ducky and Penny are doing great with that. They're both old enough to remember when it was popular, the first time.

Tim makes a mental note to ask Gibbs when he learned to dance. He's doing fine. Borin's a bit off footed, but not too bad.

Tim is… competent. But in that he did take ballroom dance in college, and in that swing was part of it, and he did (of course) get an A in the class, he's got a very basic understanding of where feet go when and the like.

Like Jazz, which he loves, Swing is all improv, which is, unfortunately, not his strong suit, but… he's dancing with Abby, and by this point in time, as long as either of them has the vaguest clue what they're doing, the other can follow along easily, and with the amount of physical stuff he's been doing with his body over the years, he's a lot better at it than he used to be. (With the exception of one dance at Jimmy and Breena's wedding, with Breena, it's been twenty years since he's done any Swing dancing, but he's still better at this than he was in college, what with the whole doesn't need to choreograph each move out ahead of time, thing.)

Add in the fact that Abby really is a good dancer, and seems to be able to pick things up just by watching them once or twice, and in a matter of three songs they're doing well. (Okay, he's not flipping her around like some of the other guys are with their dates, but he's got the sense they actually do this sort of thing regularly.)

Jimmy's never done this before and from the looks of it, that dance at their wedding may have been the last time Breena did any Swinging, too. So, they're just sort of happily bopping along, making due with more conventional steps.

Ziva's got it. Tony does, too. Tim didn't know that he actually knew any formal dances. (They've been clubbing often enough that Tim knows Tony's good with pretty much any style of music, and can handle a decent box step when the music slows down, but he's never seen Tony do anything he could identify as a rumba, or a merengue, or the like.)

All in all, a good time is being had on the dance floor.

"Rescue me!" Tony says to them as he heads over to their table. "If I have to hear about another merger or another party in the Hamptons I'm going to go insane!"

Tim and Jimmy are getting a break, sipping drinks. Abby's dancing with Breena right now, and they're happily watching.

Jimmy smirks widely at that. "Not having fun?"

Tony stares at him. "This is the most vapid evening I've ever spent. Oh, God, there's another of them! He's trying to get me to 'invest.'" A somewhat drunk looking man, a bit younger than Tony is veering toward them. Tony makes a fast bee line into the crowd, looking to lose his tail.

An hour into the dancing, the party slows down for cutting the cake. Everyone sits down, watches Senior and Delphine laughing and nibbling bites of chocolate cake from each other.

Then, as the cake is served, Tony stands up to do his Best Man's speech, and… "I remember the first time I met Delphine. It was a little over a year ago, at my wedding, and Dad told me he had a date. A date he really liked, loved maybe, and I'll admit, I rolled my eyes. Because Dad falls in love every ten minutes.

"But, even though, as the Groom, I wasn't exactly paying much attention to anything beyond making sure I got to the ceremony on time, I did notice that Delphine was someone special. I noticed her grace, and the ease of her smile, and how my Dad lit up when she touched his hand.

"And for the first time in a long time, I was hopeful for him.

"Fast forward a year, where I've gotten to know you, and see how you make my dad happy, how loving you is making him a better man, and I have to say that I am so very thankful that you love my father, and that you've decided to join our family." Tony raises his glass. "To many years of joy for both of you."

They all nod at that, good, solid best man speech, especially given how little Tony's been involved in Senior and Delphine's life. And it's not just a reheated version of the speech he whipped out for their wedding.

The wait staff is placing plates of cake in front of them when Tim asks, "Where did you learn to dance, Jethro?"

He takes a bite of his cake. (Chocolate, vanilla frosting, chocolate cream between the layers, it's yummy.) "Asked Shannon to the Marine Ball. She said yes, and was very excited. Realized I didn't actually know how to dance, when I got her letter back and read her gushing about it. Didn't want to let her down. Captain Jimsin's wife offered lessons for anyone who wanted to learn. Took 'em in my off time with twenty other guys." He smiles wryly at that memory. Him and twenty other teenage Jarheads in the Captain's living room, working on their two-step.

"And was she properly impressed?" Abbi asks him, warm smile on her face.

He inclines his head a bit, dry smile on his face. "Probably would have been more impressed if I'd learned any sort of disco, which was the music they were playing, but we both had a good time. How about you, Duck?"

Ducky places his cup of coffee back into the saucer. "There are certain things that are part of any proper gentleman's education. Dancing, elocution, Latin, Greek, and at least one modern language, hunting, equestrian, some form of properly masculine sport, I rowed and boxed, the ability to paint, sketch, or play an instrument, and the ability to produce, or at least recite, insipid poetry upon command. Thus, as a lad, Mother made sure I received lessons in all of those things.

"Of course, as a lad, I was not terribly interested in any of those things."

That gets a laugh. "Gentleman…" Jimmy's looking at Ducky. "So, are you Lord Mallard or something?"

"No!" Ducky waves that away. "My father was the youngest brother. So, we were well-off, but never inherited the title. I do believe my cousin Milton is Lord Mallard."

"Milton Mallard?" Breena asks, giggling, fork paused en route to her mouth.

"Aunt Edith had atrocious taste in names."

"So you learned as a kid and…" Tim adds, keeping the story going.

"And while it is true that the Medical School at Edinburg allowed women to attend long before any other Medical College in the UK, it is also true that while I was there, there were only three females in attendance, and the college kept them in segregation from the male students during our off time with the rigor of harem guards who have sworn their lives to the protection of the virtue of the ladies.

"It is also true that a doctor has long been seen as a desirable catch, and that the first Friday of every month featured a 'mixer' in which both local ladies and dancing were available. In preparation for said 'mixers' dance classes were offered, where I was able to hone the skills mother tried to instill upon me. And by the age of twenty-four, I was significantly more interested in honing those skills. How about you, Timothy? I was rather surprised to see you handle a decent Charleston."

Tim holds his hands wide. "You had to take one gym course a year to graduate from Johns Hopkins. Ballroom dance seemed like a good way to meet girls."

"Was it?" Jimmy asks.

Tim nods. "Always twentyish people in the class, never more than four guys. If I'd been a bit less shy, and a bit more confident, that would have been a lot of fun. Ended up being fairly nervous about doing it right. Had a better time the second and third time I took it. It's possible that I qualified as good by my senior year. Instructor had me demonstrating steps when I was a Senior."

"More than once?" Gibbs asks.

"You could take the same gym class for credit over and over as long as you passed it. One of my roommates took four semesters of bowling. He was all in favor of a gym class he could drink beer and smoke during."

"You lived with a smoker?" Breena asks.

"Not exactly. Senior year I had a quad. Common room/kitchen in the middle, door on each side leading to a bathroom with two bedrooms off of it. I was on one side, he was on the other. No one smoked in the common room or in my room. Okay, Jimmy, you're up. How'd you learn to dance."
Jimmy shakes his head slowly, swallowing his sip of coffee. "It's an epic story. Great story. Completely amazing, you'll never, ever believe it."

"Because it's a huge lie," Tim says, taking a bite of his cake.

Jimmy elbows him. "Alas, in that the statute of limitations is not, technically, expired, I'm not able to tell that story until shortly after 2020." That gets a laugh, and he pauses for a few seconds before saying, "Pretty much the same story as Gibbs," he strokes Breena's cheek, and she leans into the touch. "Met a girl who liked to dance, didn't want to look like a moron, so, and here's the twist, I asked her to teach me."

"Which I was happy to do. So, I guess it's my story then?" The others nod at her. "Pretty common. Ballet as a little girl, jazz as a slightly older girl. Had to take square dancing in gym in middle school. By then no one 'danced' at dances, it was just all about bopping around to the music. So, I was pretty good at bopping around, and then this guy showed up," she kisses the back of Jimmy's hand, "and we went out a few times, and somehow he got the idea that I actually knew how to 'dance' dance and asked me to teach him, so I'm learning them from Monday to Friday, and showing him how to do them on Friday nights."

"Then I'm working on them from Saturday to the next Friday, completely unaware of the fact that she's learning them the week before teaching me. It was a lot of fun, though."

"Yeah, it was. So, you're up, Abbi."

Both Abbies look at each other, and Breena quickly adds, "You're Abbs when we're all together, remember?"

Abby nods, taking another bite of her cake, and Abbi begins, "Like you all saw, bopping around is pretty much all I do. Never took any sort of dance lessons. But softball, field hockey, basic training, I'm good at picking up any sort of physical thing, quickly. Not too hard to follow him." She smiles at Gibbs, and raises and eyebrow, "But maybe I'd like some lessons at some point." That gets her a quick kiss, too. "Okay, Abbs, you're up."

"Footloose. You have to remember that I grew up in a house that was either silent or so loud that the paintings were rattling on the walls. So, neither of my parents were much for dancing, they couldn't keep the beat on anything they couldn't feel, and most people don't like the volume high enough for that.

"So, volume's up, and I'd be bopping around, just playing with it. But then Footlose comes out and it just appealed to my little rebel-wanna-be. Not that anyone had any problem with dancing where I lived. But, off to the library I went, and they had some Betamax tapes of how to dance, I took them home, bribed Luca into helping, and we learned how to dance."

"How'd you bribe him?" Jimmy asks.

"Even then I made the best chocolate chip cookies ever. A bit later, I'm thirteen and Dirty Dancing comes out…" All of the women at the table nod along at that. "And I decided I wanted to learn even more about how to dance."

"Decided you wanted your very own Patrick Swayze," Breena adds, and Abby nods at that. (Once again all the women at the table share a look.)

"They had classes at the Y, so I signed up for them. They were less interesting than I had hoped." Everyone laughs at that. "So, that leaves you, Penny, right?"

Helping to improve morale.
"I was nine when World War II began. My older sisters were fifteen and seventeen. We've been a Navy family since there's been a US Navy, and my father was a Captain. He… understood sailors as he liked to say. So, according to my Dad they were old enough to go to USO dances. I was not. Had to be fifteen to go out. So, they'd get ready to go out, get all pretty and… I wanted to be them so badly. They were allowed to wear lipstick and real silk stockings on USO nights. Dad was a big fan of keeping up the soldier's 'morale' up. As he said," she smiles, chuckling, "I haven't thought of this for years, and I'm just now getting why my mother thought this conversation was so hysterical. Anyway, as he said, 'A fighting man needs to keep his spirits up, and nothing lifts a man's spirits like dancing with a pretty girl.'" Everyone laughs at that.

"Your father was okay with your fifteen and seventeen-year-old sisters, lifting spirits?" Tim asks incredulous.

Penny smiles. "To a degree. His youngest brother, my Uncle Brian had had polio in the early thirties when he was a teenager. So unlike all the other men in our family, he didn't go into the Navy. He became a priest. And every week, at each dance, Edna and Maggie Langston were chaperoned by our Uncle, Father Brian, who made sure that dancing was all they managed to do while they were out."

"And you learned to dance from them?" Abby asks.

"Yes. They wanted someone to lead, so they could practice, and I was tall for my age. I didn't learn how to play the girl's role until I started 'officially' courting Nelson when I was sixteen. Speaking of which," Penny puts her fork down, takes one last sip of her coffee, and then stands up, "I'm rather fond of this song." She holds out her hand to Ducky who rises eagerly, eyes sparkling. "Dance with me?"


Tim's back at the table, getting a drink, taking a quick break from dancing, waiting for Abby to get back from the restroom, when Gibbs draws closer. "Where did you find?"

"Gibbs?" Tim's about two pages behind on this because he has no idea what Gibbs is asking him.

"Don't look confused at me like that. Every wedding we go to, you and Abby slip off. You were both missing for twenty minutes two hours ago. Where'd you go?"

"Why do you want to know?"

Gibbs just stares at him.

"Oh." Tim giggles. "Stupid question." He hands over a key card. "Room 416. Don't make a mess."

Gibbs looks from the key to Tim and back to the key. "You get a room for a quickie?"

"No! I get a room for the night. Sarah and Glenn have Kelly all night. But if I have a room, I'm not going to go find a corner somewhere to have the quickie."

Gibbs looks at the keycard.

"Look, if you want a corner somewhere, I can guarantee you that Jimmy's found one." Tim scans the dance floor, not seeing Jimmy or Breena. "Actually, he's probably still in whatever corner he's found. But every time I've been here, I've had a room. So… just flush the condom, don't use the bed, and remember to give that back to me before you leave tonight, okay?"

Gibbs tucks the card into his jacket and grins.

Two minutes later, Abby's back, in his arms, dancing close and slow with him. "I saw Gibbs and Borin heading out of the ballroom."

Tim nods, kissing her gently. "Yep. They're borrowing our room."

She giggles at that. "Talk about twisted family traditions."

"Hey, weddings should be properly celebrated, and how better to celebrate one?"

She laughs at that. "So, think we're even now. We did it in his bathroom, he's in our room?"

Tim doesn't know why, but he finds that idea ridiculously funny. He hasn't had any alcohol tonight but he's feeling almost giddy anyway.

"I love you."

She's smiling wide and bright at him. "Love you, too. So, what do you think they're doing?"

He rolls his eyes. "Crossword puzzles. And beyond that, I don't need to know."

"Come on, you can't tell me you aren't curious."

"I am not curious. At all."

Abby sighs. Two seconds later Jimmy and Breena are dancing near them. Abby looks up at them, and says, "Okay, so Gibbs and Borin are off in our room, you want to know what they're doing, right?"

Jimmy winces, and Breena says, "Oh my God, really? That's so cool! We've got to get talking to her when they get back."

Tim slowly shakes his head, and Jimmy nods in agreement.

Breena gives Tim a gentle shove, swapping from dancing with Jimmy to dancing with him, as Abby flows over to Jimmy. "Are you two really trying to say you're not even remotely curious?"

They both shake their heads.

"There are a finite number of things they could be doing up there, and I don't need to be able to narrow it down any further than that," Jimmy says.

"Plus, neither of us could care less about what Gibbs looks like naked."

Breena and Abby both laugh at that.

"Okay, what's so funny?" Tony asks. He and Ziva finally managed to get free of the wedding party and join them. They're not so much dancing now as standing, talking, in a close circle on the side of the dance floor.

The four of them look at each other, quickly, and while Tim's fairly sure the girls would tell Ziva in a heartbeat, they're all feeling a little reticent about talking about this beyond the four of them.

"I asked Ducky if I could borrow a sporran, and he brought this stuffed dead badger for me." Tony and Ziva seem to think that's hilarious. Once they stop giggling, Tim continues on with, "So, he tells me about how he and his dad hunted the poor thing down and all their family together time, so I put it on, get into the church, sit down, and the wedding's just getting started when these two show up," they know that means Jimmy and Breena, "and Jimmy sits next to me, looks down and asks…"

"Why are you wearing a stuffed weasel on your dick?"

The girls had missed that. They knew Jimmy said something that set Tim off, but not what, and are now laughing hysterically again.

"Which was when I decided that family memories might be great, but I really didn't need to be wearing that."

Abby finally stops laughing long enough to say, "I can't believe you thought that was a weasel."

Jimmy's hands go wide in a defensive gesture. "Weasel, badger, I knew it wasn't a rat or a skunk."

Tim's dancing with Breena when he feels someone slip something into his pocket. Since Breena's not bothered by it, he knows it's not something to be alarmed about, and looks over to see Gibbs standing next to them.

A very satisfied and pleased looking Gibbs.

"You look like you had a good time," Breena says.

Gibbs looks smug.

Tim takes a quick glance at his watch. "You were gone for an hour and a half."

Gibbs shrugs, huge, sassy grin on his face. "Who gets a quickie when he's got a room?"

Tim shakes his head, slowly, smiling at Gibbs, but there's some challenge in that smile. "I can't believe you went there, but, okay, I'll take the bait. You know who gets a quickie when he's got a room? The guy who can still get it up more than once a night."

Breena snorts out a fast laugh at that. Gibbs eyes go wide, and then he starts laughing, hard. When he stops, he looks Tim dead in the eyes and says, "Really nice bathtub in there. Never much for baths, but I'm thinking of changing my opinion on that."

Breena lights up at that, and Tim bites his lip shaking his head with mock rue and passing Breena over to dance with Gibbs. "She wants all the details. I don't. Have fun."

It is early. Not even ten yet. But Abby's tired, and Tim's perfectly fine with cutting out early. Good long sleep tonight, and then lots of fun tomorrow morning. (He's already ordered the room service.)

Everyone gets hugs and kisses, and then they head up to their room.

In the elevator, on the way up, Abby's leaning against him, back to chest, and he's got his chin on her shoulder. He kisses her ear, listening to her pleased hum at that. She squeezes his hands which are clasped in front of her, around her waist.

"A million worlds, Tim, infinite possible lives, universes untold, any possible option that can occur, does, somewhere, and I'm certain that this life, right here, with you, is my happiest."

She turns in his arms, and he holds her close, kissing her deep and soft. His fingers cup her face, as he pulls back, smiling. "Me, too, Abby."