Friday, May 10, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 85

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

Chapter 85: Molly Palmer

Tim got in a little early on Valentine’s Day. Just enough so that he was the first one in the Bullpen, which was getting to be a fairly common occurrence this month.

Apparently, due to spending time with Susan, Gibbs had a tendency to show up, well, not late, but on time, which is a lot later than he usually is.

Tim’s not sure if this is serious or not. It’s only been going on for four months, but she did show for the Christmas party, so that was a good sign. And once again there is something of a spring in the bossman’s step these days. And he’s a bit mellower than usual. But that could just mean he’s getting laid on a regular basis. Or it could be budding love.

He flicked on his computer, watching Gibbs head in, first coffee of the day in his hand, looking, yep, pretty mellow, well for Gibbs.

“DiNozzo and Ziva?”

“Not here yet.”

It’s 8:02, so it’s not like they’re really late or anything.

Yeah, good Valentine's Day.
“Good Valentine’s Day?” he asked Gibbs, who just smiled a little.


Tim’s turn to smile. “Hasn’t gotten started yet.”

Gibbs nodded, and with that they hear the bong of the elevator, letting them know that someone else is up.

And someone else was Tony and Ziva. They’re talking about something, sounding happy, Tim didn’t pay much attention as he started going through his emails. Then he noticed Gibbs stand up, head over to Ziva’s desk, and look approvingly at something.

Hasn't gotten started yet.
That got his attention. So he looked over. Ziva was showing Gibbs her new toy.

Tim’s not a knife guy. For him they’re tools. Useful tools to be sure, but tools.

But Gibbs is a knife guy, and so is Ziva, and they’re both sort of petting the gleaming expanse of razor sharp steel in her hand. And even Tim can appreciate that knife is beautiful.

He looked over at Tony and smiled. Tony leaned back in his chair, looking very smug and satisfied.

Which lasted all of four seconds because that was when Gibbs’ phone began to ring, and his phone ringing usually means one thing: Call out.

They geared up. Ziva slipping the knife into a sheath on her right ankle, and headed to a new crime scene.

Tyson’s Corner isn’t the other end of the earth or anything, but still, it’d be nice if they occasionally got something less than an hour away.

On the way Tony asked him, “Think Palmer ended up giving her a nicely wrapped IV of Pitocin?”

“I hope not. He told me that if she hasn’t gone into labor by tomorrow, they’ll induce.”


Then they were there, and it was time to swing into action. He got the camera, and got to work cataloguing everything.

He’d been at it for about half an hour, getting the crime scene from all angles, when the ME’s van pulled up. Tim made sure that the area the gurney would go through had been thoroughly photographed, and then began to gather the evidence to clear a path.

A moment later, as Ducky and Dornie wheeled the gurney in, it occurred to him that Dornie wheeling in the gurney was awfully out of place.

Which meant Palmer wasn’t here. And a wide, wide grin spread across his face.

“Where’s Palmer?” Tony asked, also grinning as he noticed Ducky and Dorneget with the gurney. They all basically knew the answer, but confirmation is a good thing.

“He called me at three this morning, when Breena went into labor. When I left them, they were still at home, but planning on heading to the hospital within the hour. Which is where I will be as soon as my part in this case has been taken care of, awaiting Molly’s arrival.”

And if it’s inappropriate to be walking around a crime scene with a huge grin, there was nothing anyone on Team Gibbs could do about it. Though they did all manage to rein it in when dealing with the witnesses and next-of-kin.

Even Gibbs seemed a little distracted from the case. Though not so distracted that he was incapable of handing out the headslaps when Tim and Ziva (Yes, Ziva got a headslap.) kept checking their phones for updates instead of digging through potential leads.

It was a little after eight when Tim and Tony delivered Brim, the suspect, to Gibbs. As they shut the door to interrogation, Tim’s phone began to buzz. He picked it up, looked at it, grinned very widely. Gibbs saw the look, and nodded. Nothing much they could do for right now. He and Ziva were on break the suspect duty, so Tim and Tony could head off.

“Back in two hours,” Gibbs said to them as Tim was pulling Tony away.

“Come on, Tony.”

“Molly’s here?”

“Yep. Let’s go.”

On the way.
While Tony drove, Tim flashed a text to Abby. Got one back saying she’d be on the road in a few minutes. Had to wrap up some tests.

They didn’t precisely race up to the maternity ward, but they certainly weren’t walking slowly, either. Ducky was sitting, looking very pleased, somewhat rumpled, no jacket, no tie, and his sleeves rolled up, and a bit tired, along with Breena’s parents and one of her sisters in the waiting room.

“We got here as soon as we could. Ziva and Gibbs are still interrogating Brim, and Abby’s on her way,” Tim says breathlessly to Ducky.

Long day.
“Calm down, Timothy, no one is going anywhere. In fact, they were all sleeping about twenty minutes ago when I came out here. So, settle down, relax, you’ll get to see her soon enough.”

“Breena and Molly are fine?” Tony asks.

“Splendid. Tired, but they came through just fine.”

“Jimmy?” Tim asked.

“Flying colors.”

“Details?” Tim asks.

“Twenty-two inches, eight pounds, seven ounces, curly brown hair, blue eyes. All fingers and toes are accounted for. And Mrs. Slater tells me she is, except for the hair, the image of Breena as a baby.”

Oh, yeah, there are other people here. He and Tony make some congratulatory small talk with the Slaters. A few minutes after that, Abby joins them. And she’s so excited she’s bouncing around, rambling about how cool the seeing the new baby is, and he’s got an arm around her, more or less anchoring her, though he kind of wants to bounce around, too.

After an hour, Jimmy came out, and he looks ecstatically happy, and completely beat. Tim didn’t even know that combination was possible, but apparently it is.

They crowd around Jimmy offering hugs and congratulations, and he leads them back to their room.

Breena’s nursing Molly, and while she doesn’t seem to think it’s odd to sit there and chat with her breast out, both Tim and Tony are looking her very intently in the eyes as they talk. And he gets why this is happening, if you want to see a brand new baby when she’s awake, pretty much the only time that happens is when she’s eating. So, he gets it. But he’s also carefully not looking.

Abby sits next to Breena on the bed, arm around her shoulders, petting Molly, getting the story of how Molly ended up on the outside, but mostly just looking at her.

Eventually Molly finishes eating, and Breena offers her to Abby, who looks a little nervous at the idea, but takes her in her arms and just stares at her.

“She’s beautiful,” Abby says quietly, her index finger lightly stroking Molly’s cheek, then leans down to kiss Breena, followed by getting up to kiss Jimmy, who is standing next to the bed, watching his wife and daughter, a very satisfied expression on his face.

Tim’s watching Abby hold her, wondering if she’s feeling the same really intense I-want-a-baby-right-now sort of thing he is.  

He wraps his arms around her, chin resting on her shoulder, looking down at Molly in her arms, murky blue eyes staring up at them, and kisses her ear. “I love you,” he whispers. She smiles, turns, kisses him gently, and goes back to looking at Molly.

After a minute she says, “You want to hold her?”

“Sure.” He takes Molly in his arms. He hasn’t held a newborn in pretty much forever. Since his sister was brand new, and his grandfather handed her to him. But his body remembers how this works, and the soft, warm weight of a person so small she fits entirely in the space from his collarbone to his stomach.

“Hi,” he says as he snuggles her against his shoulder, feeling a little silly at it, but well, nothing else sprang to mind. He pats her back gently, and rests his lips on the top of her head, eyes closed. Abby kisses him again.

Tony saying something about them having to get back soon starts to filter through. And how Gibbs and Ziva would be in to visit when they got back.

He opens his eyes and turns to Tony. “You wanna hold her?”

Tony looks startled. “Ummm...”

“Yeah, it’s not hard. You won’t break her.” Tim hands Molly over to Tony, and he gingerly takes her.

He’s staring at her like he’s never seen a new baby before, and it occurs to Tim that maybe he hasn’t. “She’s really tiny.”

Tim smiles. “Yeah. Just pat her back a little.”

“You know, this isn’t so bad.”

Tim grinned at him and saw that Tony was right, they’d have to drive like maniacs to get back in the allotted two hours. He kisses Breena and hugs Palmer, getting ready to head off. Tony hands Molly back to Breena looking, well, honestly, pretty relieved, and they started to hurry back to the Navy Yard.

Abby walks out with them, intending to go back to Breena’s side as soon as they head off. She doesn’t have to be back anytime soon. Major Mass Spec won’t be done for at least another two hours.

“You got more trace after this batch?” Tim asks.

“Nope, that was the last of it.”

“Stay here then. I can read the print outs just fine. I’ll call you if I need extra help.”

She nods at that.

They’re in Tony’s car, heading back when he says, “So much for your quiet night in.”

Tim shrugs. Part of the reasoning behind quiet night in was because ending up on a case for Valentine’s was a real possibility. “Good thing about quiet night in, it’s not time sensitive. It’ll be just as quiet and just as night in tomorrow or the next day, or whenever. So much for Ducky’s Luprical.”

Tony nods at that. “You’re coming back here after?”

“Assuming Abby’s still here, yeah.”

Tony shakes his head a little. “You should have seen the way you were watching Abby hold Molly. You’re going to get her pregnant as soon as you possibly can, aren’t you?”

Tim smiles dryly. “She wants to be married before the baby shows up. And even if that wasn’t true, we’ve got everything booked now, and I really doubt she wants to be nine months pregnant for our wedding.”

“Good point. Breena did not look at all happy that last month.”

“Yeah. But I’m willing to bet any time after October first is fair game.”

Tony laughs.

“How about you? You didn’t look like you were about to run away screaming when you were holding her.”

“No. No panic at all. That was actually a little surprising, really. Last time I had a kid hug me I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin to get away.”

“Good. You not freaking out about babies will make Ziva happy.”

“Yeah, it will.” Tony smiles, softly, at that idea. “They say it’s different when it’s your kid.”

“Might be. I like kids, so I wouldn’t know.”

“You’re going to be a great dad.”

“I really hope so.”

“You will. You know what my dad, and your dad, and, hell, Gibbs even, never did?”

“Lots of things.”

“Put the job second. I saw you holding Abby and Molly, and I get it now. I don’t want you to go to Cybercrime, but I get it.”

“Thanks, Tony.”

It was well after one when he got back to the hospital. By that point Breena’s sister, Amy, was the only member of her family still there. Abby was keeping her company in the waiting room. He headed over and sat down next to her.

“Case wrapped?” she asked as he leaned his head against her shoulder.

“Just got to fill out the paperwork.”

“Major Mass Spec give you any troubles?”

“Nah, he’s been being nicer to me since we got engaged.”

“That’s because we had a long chat and I told him you were his new Dad and he had to behave.”

Tim looks a little bemused at that, and just says, “Okay. How’s everyone doing?”

“Sleeping right now,” Amy answered.

“Doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” Tim replied, ready to sack out next to Abby on the sofa.

“Not at all,” Amy agreed.

Getting settled in.
His eye were staring to close when Abby said, “Wait a second, I’ve got something you’ve got to see.” She fished her phone out of her purse and opened it to a photo. It’s Gibbs holding Molly, grinning in a way Tim had never seen.

“He looks really happy.”

“Yeah, he was.” Then she flicked to the next photo, Ziva with Molly. Ziva wasn’t grinning, she was staring, a look of deeply content peace on her face.

Tim smiled at that, kissed Abby, and settled down to snooze.

He was three quarters asleep when she said to him, “You know, it’s nice to go to a hospital and be happy about it.”


It was a little after six when he woke up, in need of a restroom. Both of the girls were still asleep. He got up carefully, not wanting to wake up Abby, and went looking for one.

A few minutes later, he paused at the door to the Palmers’ room and heard voices, so he knocked quietly, and then poked his head in. Normally he’d wait for an answer, but he doesn’t want either of them to get up when they don’t have to. “Can I come in?”

“Sure,” Breena’s voice. She’s on the bed, sitting back between Jimmy’s legs, resting against his chest, nursing Molly.

He pulls up a chair, sitting near the side of the bed, once again keeping up strict eye contact.

“How are you feeling?”

“Sore, but better than I was this time yesterday and way better than this time the day before. Tired. Really happy.” She smiles at him, seeing the way he’s maintaining eye contact. “It’s okay if you look. She’s got to eat, and I’m not going to be insulted if you watch.”

His eyes flit from Breena’s to Jimmy’s, who also nods.

So he watches, smile spreading across his face. “Jimmy, don’t take this the wrong way, but, God, that’s beautiful.”

“Yeah, it is,” Jimmy says, kissing Breena’s temple.

He watches them for a while, just enjoying the quiet and being with them for this. Abby comes in a few minutes later, and sits on his lap.

“You’d think a room in the maternity ward would have more chairs,” she says, noticing that there’s a fairly short sofa, and the chair she and Tim are in, and that’s it.

“I think they’re trying to make sure we don’t get overwhelmed with visitors,” Jimmy answers. “It was a little much having all of your family all show up at once.”

Breena shrugs. “First grandbaby/niece, everyone wanted to be here all as soon as possible.”

“The only reason you didn’t get an NCIS stampede was we were on a case and Gibbs would only let us go in shifts.”

“Case wrapped up?” Jimmy asks.

“Yeah. You should have seen Dornie. He got roped into the body moving part of your job. Looked like he was going to pass out.”

Jimmy laughs at that. “Poor Dornie. Teach him to be a Probie.”

“He sends his congratulations.”

Jimmy nods.

“Is there anything we can get for you?” Abby asks after another long quiet moment of just sitting with each other.

Breena shakes her head. “Not right now. Real food might be good in a bit, though. We were talking about it before you came in, and I know neither of you are Episcopalians, but, would you be Molly’s godparents?”

That took Tim by surprise, he’s not sure his agnostic/atheist self is prime godfather material. But Abby was saying yes before he had the chance to even think about it.

“Are you sure they’ll let us?” Tim asked.

“Yeah, they will. Not like being Catholic is all that different,” Breena answered.

Then Jimmy took a quiet breath, staring at Tim and Abby, then looked down at Molly, petting her face. “And, we’ve got a more serious question, too. If something happens to us, will you be Molly’s, and any other children we may have, guardians?”

And that one Tim didn’t need to think about. “Yes. If need be, your children will always have a home with us.” Abby squeezed his hand, nodding along.

Breena smiled, “Good.”

Abby caught Tim’s eye, and he knows what she’s thinking, so he nodded. “Back in August, we got our things in order, and back then we’d decided that when we have kids, we’d like you two to be their guardians, as well,” Abby said.

“We were planning on waiting to ask until we actually had some kids, but…”

“Now seems like the perfect time?” Breena finished, reaching out to squeeze Abby’s hand.

“Yeah,” Tim answers.

Jimmy smiled at the two of them, “If they ever need it, your children will always have a home with us.”

Abby took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Wow.”

Breena nodded, and Tim noticed the tears in her eyes about the same time Jimmy did.

“Hey, you all right?” Jimmy asked.

“Fine.” She sniffled a little while Jimmy wiped away her tear. “Just, love you all, so much.”

Abby stood up, kissed Breena, and then Jimmy, “Love you, too.” Then she bent down a little to kiss the top of Molly’s head. “Love you, too, little girl.”

Tim sat back in the chair, huge grin on his face, awash in the amazing contentment and joy of this moment, watching Abby snuggle with Jimmy, Breena, and Molly. He catches Jimmy’s eye, who is also looking deeply pleased to be here right now, and reaches out to squeeze his hand. 


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