Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 17

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

17. Monday

The great thing about Ziva is that she gets up before dawn, so if you need to head over to her place around six in the morning to pick up your car, you don't have to worry about waking her up.

Abby stops her car in front of Ziva's building, and he kisses her, lips lingering on hers, debating seeing if he can get her to call in sick with him and spend another day in bed.  She pulls back and smiles at him. "See you in a few hours?"

"Yeah." One last fast kiss, and then he's out of the car, heading up to Ziva's apartment to get his keys.

He's in the elevator when he gets a text. Wrapping up run. Will be there in a minute.

If you were to ask Tim, prior to last weekend, to describe himself, the word sexy would not have crossed his lips. If anything, he's always assumed that he could be nice and friendly and maybe women would get to like him enough as a person that they might then decide to sleep with him, and having done so, figure out that he's actually kind of good at this sex thing.

But the idea that someone might want him, just off the bat, for sex, was nowhere in his self-concept.

It is now. After thirtyish hours of sex, napping, food, and more sex, after making Abby climax so intensely she scratched his back bloody, bit his chest so hard it bruised, and then blacked out, he's feeling like he might indeed qualify as sexy.

And it shows.

He's leaning against Ziva's door as she comes down the hall. She waves, and he waves back, languidly. She pauses mid-step, and looks him over intently.

"McGee, you cannot go to work like that," she says when she gets close enough to talk.

He rubs his face; he is a bit whiskery. He's got the top three buttons on his shirt undone, and the tail end of his tie is hanging out of his pocket, which is a lot more casual than he usually is. But he was planning on changing his clothing and getting a shower before going to work. "I was going to shave and change after I got my car."

"That is not what I mean. You look like the cat that ate the canary."

"Cat that got the cream?"

"Either way, you look like a big, fat, sassy cat that just ate something it really enjoyed and wasn't supposed to. You have practically got feathers sticking out of your mouth."

He grins. "It was a good weekend."

"I can see that. And so will everyone else. You need to act more itchy."


Ziva thinks about that. She's fairly sure it's the right word, but decides to try another one that might be closer. "Twitchy? You usually look like you're afraid you're about to get caught doing something you shouldn't. Or like a gazelle in one of those nature shows about lions. Right now you look like one of the lions."

He grins again, liking the idea of being one of the lions.

She shakes her head. "Tony will take one look at you and know. You practically have, I HAD SEX tattooed to your forehead."

That's gets through. She opens her door, and waves him in. He tries to look a little less relaxed and confident and muffs it entirely.

"A little more itchy, not paranoid schizophrenic."

"I don't think I can do this."

"You are going to need to do something." She hands him his keys.

"I'll tell him I let you drive my car. That should keep him distracted until Thursday, at least."

She laughs at that. "It is a nice car. I had never driven a Porsche before. It handles very nicely at over 120." Tim blanches. Ziva smiles, and he hopes she's kidding. "So, shall we talk now? No Tony around."

"Sure." He follows her into her kitchen area. She pours them both coffee. Ziva's not quite as picky about her coffee as Gibbs is, no one is, but she's pretty close. Hers is a lighter roast, and he thinks it's got some sort of hazelnut and cinnamon thing going on. Whatever it is, it smells good and wakes him all the way up.

"So, you and Abby are together again."

"Yes, about two months now."

Ziva nods. "And you are keeping this a secret. You know you can't do that forever."

"Yeah, we do. I doubt we'll keep this under wraps to Christmas, definitely not Valentine's Day. But for right now, the secret is sort of fun."

She smiles. "I understand that." Then she takes another drink. "So why don't you want Tony to know?"

"It'd be nice to enjoy this without mocking for a little while. Look, this is serious. We're not just fooling around, and, it... it really matters to me. I don't want to get constantly teased about this. And he'll tease like crazy because he won't know how to deal with it. We're all single, and he's comfortable with that. It's part of his idea of what we all are."

"He was fine with Gibbs dating."

"Gibbs is the Boss, and on top of that, Gibbs dating doesn't threaten the team. He's not going to go off, get married, and start a family. He has a family, and it's us."

Ziva drinks deeply and looks at Tim with a very warm and gentle smile on her face. "You really are serious about this."

"Yeah, I really am. I love her. This is get married, buy the house in Alexandria, have a few kids serious. It's us going off on our own, doing something he won't be able to be part of, not the way he likes to be part of us. It will change things, and I... I don't know how he'll deal with that."

"What about Gibbs?"

"Assuming he doesn't out and out kill me, I think he'll be fine with it." Tim thinks about that for a moment. "He'll be fine with it. I don't know, sometimes I think he sort of expects it. And I will tell him. When we go public with this, he'll be the first to know."

"If he doesn't already."

"Do you think he knows?"

"I can't tell. He seems to know everything that goes on with us, but I don't know if he has twigged to this, yet. After I figured it out, I watched how he watched you two, but I could not tell if he was seeing the same things I was."

Tim nods. "Palmer and Breena know, too."


"I wanted to talk to someone who managed to successfully fall in love and stay in love. Not a lot of people I know have done that."

"That makes sense. So, what happens now?"

"I go home, get presentable, and go to work. Hopefully when I get there, Gibbs'll tell us to gear up and there'll be something besides me and Abby for everyone to focus on."

"And in the longer term?"

"Eventually we tell everyone. I bring her home to meet my mom. She introduces me to her brothers. Then ring hunting, a wedding, kids, grow old and die."

Ziva smiles at him. "Get going then, I would not want you to be late."

Standing in front of his mirror, shaving, brings back memories.

Tim had shaved at some point on Sunday, but he doesn't know when. He was stubbly enough that it was starting to leave marks, so they ended up in the bathroom, him shaving, Abby sitting on the counter between the sinks, watching.

He was wrapping up when she stood up and very gently touched the bruise on his chest, just above and to the left of his left nipple.

"I really bit you, didn't I?" Abby looked concerned.

He turned his back to the mirror and looked over his shoulder at the eight red lines paralleling his spine. "Scratched the hell out of my back, too."

"Sorry." She lightly kissed one of the scrapes.

"Oh no. No sorries from you. I earned these, and I'm proud to have them. I've got the memory of you climaxing so hard you blacked out burned into my skin, and I want it that way."

He blinks and refocuses. He's in his own bathroom, alone, getting ready for work.

Tim rapidly notices—as his mind wanders off while he's eating his breakfast (His lips on Abby's shoulder), pulling his car out of its parking space (Abby naked, sleeping spooned up behind him), driving toward the Navy Yard (trailing his fingers down her back), basically anytime he's not actively forcing it to think of something else—that he's going to have a very difficult time paying attention to anything that happens today.

At the same time, like Ziva noticed, he feels very calm, very relaxed and satisfied. Like right that moment there's nothing in the world that he wants that he doesn't have. There's an almost Zen feel to it, and he's enjoying that.

He gets into work. Ziva's at her desk, doing paperwork. "Morning," he says to her, the same way he would have if they hadn't just seen each other two hours earlier.

"Good morning, McGee."

He settles into his own chair and looks around, hoping Gibbs will waltz in soon and get them moving, otherwise it's a paperwork day.

Gibbs' team has an unusually high rate of closed cases, but that still works out to about twenty cases a year. Some years more some less. They get that many closed cases by using the Gibbs method, which works something like this: find body, work full out, non-stop until someone confesses or dies, then shift into clean up and paperwork mode. So all in all, they actually only spend about sixty or seventy days a year in the field, talking to suspects, trailing people, etc. The rest of the time they do paperwork, or they prepare for court, or they testify in court, or they give depositions, or do more paperwork.

The average day at NCIS is much more likely to involve sitting at his desk filling in forms than sitting in a car with Tony on a stakeout.

Gibbs sweeps in, folders in hand, and begins to fill out his own paperwork.

So, no case.

Tim settles back, relaxes into his chair, winces a little bit when the scrapes sting, smiles a bit as he remembers again how he got them, and shifts into a comfortable position, feet on his desk, and takes his phone out of his pocket. Gibbs writes his notes on a pad. Tim writes his on his phone. This has the advantage of making his paperwork a lot faster.

When he's taking notes he uses a text-English-hybrid that has the advantage of being fast and practically illegible to anyone who isn't him. (Say a defense lawyer who might want to subpoena his notes.) So, his paperwork days usually begin with kicking back with his phone and translating his notes into real English, then uploading them into his computer, and from there cutting and pasting them into the forms.

Gibbs wanders off to refuel with more coffee as Tony comes in. He stops dead between his and Tim's desk and stares.

"You had sex!"

Tim looks up from his phone and decides that since there's no way he can pull off convincingly denying it, to go for straight out honesty, and hope no one but Ziva noticed what was going on with him and Abby.


Tony's eyes went wide, and he almost dropped his drink.

"Oh my God, you did."

"Yeah, Tony. It does happen, you know?"

"No it doesn't."

Tim smiles and wiggles his eyebrows. "It did."

Gibbs returns with a fresh coffee and that stops the conversation. Tony keeps shooting glances at him, but Tim stubbornly works on his notes.

One of the perks of keeping everything on his phone is that he can flash a quick text to Ziva and look like he's working. Good way to handle it?

Yes. He just about swallowed his tongue.

:) What's he doing now?

He keeps staring at you, trying to figure out who it was.

Think he can?

I do not think he will.


An hour later, Gibbs went off for more coffee, and Tony practically sprang over to Tim's desk.

"Who was it? Delores from accounting? Breena's hot sister? You were dancing with her at the wedding."

Tim shook his head. "No one I met at the wedding."

"But it was after the wedding?"

"Yeah." And during. Tim starts to grin again.

"Oh, God. Just look at him, Ziva! Our little Timmy finally popped his cherry."

"I've had sex before."

"So you say. But you don't look like it. You look like a man who just discovered the joys of women."

Gibbs comes back, fresh coffee in hand. "Now that we've determined that McGee's lost his virginity,—"Fifteen years ago," Tim adds under his breath.—do you think we could get some work done around here?"

A quick chorus of "Yes, Boss," and "On it," ends the discussion again. At least, until Gibbs needs a fresh round of coffee.

At lunch Tony says, "So, really, tell me."

"I don't kiss and tell, Tony."

"No, but you should."

Tim's shaking his head. "No, really, no, bad idea!"

"Oh, you're killing me."

"Why are you so interested?"

Tony thinks about that. "Probably because my own sex life is so depressingly empty right now." Tim looks really startled by that, and Tony smirks it off. "Really, just curious. It must have been one hell of a night. You look really different."

"It was the best weekend of my life."

Tony's eyes went wide. "The whole weekend?"

Tim shrugs. "Most of it. It was so good, I let Ziva drive herself home in my car."

"You let Ziva drive the Porsche?"

"Yeah, Tony."

And with that Tony scuttles away to interrogate Ziva about the Porsche.

Tim wanders down to the lab a bit after lunch. The downside of paperwork days is that he's got no good excuse to go hang out with Abby. When they're actively investigating, he usually gets his main computers working, and then heads to the lab to work on hers as well. But he only needs one computer for paperwork.

But, excuse or not, he's heading down. She looks up at him as he walks in, a huge smile on her face. "So, rumor has it you got laid."

"I heard that."

Abby giggles, kisses him quickly, and then looks at him for a moment. "Yeah, you look like it."

Tim smiles. "It's probably a step past rumor. Tony flat out asked, and I said yes."

"Stealthy." She's still grinning at him, so he kisses her one more time.

"Oh yeah. There was absolutely no chance of me pulling off a lie, so I decided going with the literal truth and just being misleading about it was a better idea."

"And how is that working?"

"Tony should be down here any minute to find out if you know anything about my mystery hook-up. On the upside, he has no idea who I might have been with. And, okay, it's mean, but I'm enjoying this way too much. It's like perfect payback for every annoying thing he's ever done to me. Not knowing is absolutely torturing him."

"So what did you tell him?"

"That yes I had sex, no it wasn't my first time, and it wasn't with someone I met at the wedding, and it was the best weekend of my life. How's that for vague?"

"First time?"

He rolled his eyes. "Apparently I was looking awfully laid back this morning. 'You look like you've just discovered the joys of women.' Granted, Ziva said basically the same thing."

"Best weekend of your life?"

"Yes!" he answers, eyes warm and mischievous. They heard the bong of the elevator, and Tim let his hand, which had somehow, without him noticing, twined itself with hers, drop.

"Abby! Tell me you've gotten it out of him!" Tony says as he sweeps in, Caf-Pow in hand.

Abby made the sign for zipping her lips sealed and tossed away the key. "I keep secrets with my life, Tony, and this one... You'd just explode if you knew."

"You told her!"

Tim shrugs. "She knows everything about me."

"You know McGee and I have no secrets."

"Please, please tell me. I'll provide you with hand delivered Caf-Pows for life. Think about it, you'll be ninety and I'll be rolling into your nursing home in my wheelchair, Caf-Pow in hand." He offers her the cup and she takes it.

Abby laughs at that and looks at Tim. "You know, that's a very tempting offer. Can you give me a better one to keep the secret?"

"Yes." He leans forward and whispers in her ear, "Honestly, I don't have anything off the top of my head, but doing this will drive him insane, so please play along, look really shocked, and agree that this is totally worth it."

Abby pulled back, eyes wide. "McGee! Sold. You're secret is safe with me."

Tim smirks at Tony and heads back up to his desk, thinking that perhaps he too has a spring in his step. In the elevator, he begins texting: Is he still trying to wheedle it out of you?

Of course. I'm hinting it's a guy.


Oh, come on, this is so much fun. I'm going to toss in a few other false clues too. You might come out of this with a date with Dornaget, though.


I'm kidding. Dinner?

Yeah, I hope so.


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