McGee centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.
Moving from, I-love-you, you're-my-best-friend to I-love-you-let's-spend-forever-together is a somewhat more daunting task in the light of day.
Abby's gone by the time he's up and moving.
It takes him longer than usual to get showered and dressed. Just finding plastic wrap, and getting his midsection wrapped up so he can get a shower without getting his bandage wet is an adventure that slows him down by ten minutes.
In the shower, gingerly soaping up, he thinks about how he should actually go about doing this, because showing up with flowers and asking her to dinner tonight just isn't his style. Deliberation, planning, knowing what he's going to do, how he's going to do it, and making sure he's explored all possible variations of how he might do this before settling on a plan is his style.
For the last nine years, he and Abby have been coasting along. They're in a safe, comfortable space. And since they work together, and since everyone around them also depends on their ability to work together, a warm friendship makes a lot of sense.
After all, a disastrous break up for two people who spend no professional time together isn't a huge deal. Yes, it's personally painful, but it's not like people will die.
He and Abby have a flaming break-up, and people might die. Anything that slows down their efficiency at catching the bad guys can result in more dead people. And, on a personal level, he might die. If he screws this up and hurts her, Gibbs will kill him, and not in the traditional pissed-off-dad sort of way, but in the literally-dead-and-never-seen-again sort of way.
For Tim McGee, rule number twelve isn't just a matter of keeping his work life functional; it's also about not pissing off the scariest man he knows.
So, this is going to take planning.
Fortunately, Tim is good at planning.
Tim is also cautious, much to the eternal chagrin of both his father and grandfather. Both of whom, by his age, ran their own ships. Both of whom eventually made Admiral. And both of whom were deeply confused by a small boy who enjoyed make believe games and then video games, and didn't appear to have any killer instinct or interest in the Navy, at all.
So, rinsing off, he's not planning on admitting his undying love to Abby tonight, or tomorrow night, or for that matter, any time this week and possibly month.
He is thinking a good first step is making sure he's ready to be in a real relationship. Because if this is going to crash and burn, and he's aware it might, it isn't going to happen because he's pulled some sort of Tony-esque fear-of-commitment, run-away-from-an-adult-relationship-like-a-little-boy routine.
That in mind, he goes back to work, brushes off his co-workers' concern for him, making light of the injury that's still throbs whenever he moves, and immerses himself in Mission: Get Harper Deering.