Saturday, May 11, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 86

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

Chapter 86: Uncle Tim and Aunt Abby

“How are you doing?” Tim asked Jimmy his first day back at NCIS post-baby. He and Abby tried to get over to visit at least a few times between Molly getting home and now, but the last eight days had seen three hot cases in a row, so neither of them had been over to visit in more than ten days.

But today, thank any and every higher power, is a paperwork day, so come the start of lunchtime, Tim was heading down to Autopsy to see Jimmy.

For a long few seconds, Jimmy just stared at him, eyes glazed and dull, and then said, “I’ve pulled multiple back to back all-nighters. I worked close to twenty hours a day for more than seven days in a row when we were hunting Dearing. I had a full time job with NCIS while doing my residency. And I have never, ever been this tired. It’s like she can tell when one of us is about to fall asleep and as soon as it happens she starts to cry. You know how they say do all the fun stuff you like before the baby comes, ‘cause you won’t get to do it for a while after?” Tim nodded, mostly just to keep Jimmy talking, because honestly, no, no one has ever said that to him. “They’re lying. Sleep. Sleep every second you can before the baby comes.”

"There is no beyond exhausted."
“Okay. Besides exhausted?”

Jimmy stared at him, eyes empty, wasted, in the sense of left to rot, not drugged. “There is no beyond exhausted. Everything in the world narrows down to a tiny person who won’t let you sleep.”



“How about Abby and I come over tonight and take Molly for a few hours so you and Breena can crash.”

“Thank you.” That was dangerously close to a whimper.

“As soon as we’re wrapped up for today, we’ll come over. And bring food. I thought Breena’s mom was staying with you.”

“She was. Went home last week.”

“Okay. Do you want to get lunch, or just grab a nap.”

“I’m going to crash in the back.”

“Like hell. Abby’s got something worth sleeping on in her office. Come on.”

He flashed a quick text to Abby, and by the time he got Jimmy to the lab, she had the rugs rolled out, and two pillows laid on them. Just as he was laying down, Tim got another text, this time from Tony.

“Damn it!”

“Gotta go?” Abby asked.

“Yeah. So much for lunch. You got him?”

She nodded. “Oh yeah.”

Forty minutes later, Abby gently poked Jimmy awake. “Time to get up.”

He blinked, looking completely undone, but slowly found his glasses and put them back on.  “Nap was probably a bad idea. I’m even more tired, now.”

“Food’ll help.” She pointed to the tray on the floor next to the rugs. “Iced-tea, no sugar, sesame tuna lettuce wrap, edamame.”

Jimmy looks at the food for a second, and then back to Abby. “I love you.”

“Thanks. Eat up, then get back to Ducky.” 

If Palmer looked wasted at work, Breena’s whatever comes three or four steps beyond that.

Abby saw it too, and said to both of them while putting the dinner they brought on the counter, “Food later. Sleep for both of you.”

Tim stepped closer to Breena to take Molly, but Breena didn’t want to let her go. She had black circles under her eyes and a half-mad glint in them.

“Have you ever done this before?”

Tim wasn’t sure which of the two of them she’s asking, but since he’s the one who can say yes, he answered, “Yes. It’s been a while, but yes, I’ve babysat a newborn before. We won’t leave the property. You’ll be right nearby if we need anything, but you two need to sleep.”

“She just ate, so she should be good for another two and a half hours.” Tim pried Molly out of Breena’s arms as she said that.

“Then go crash. We’ve got her.”

Jimmy, firmly, took Breena by the shoulders and led her upstairs toward their bedroom.

“You’re really good at this,” Abby said as he’s holding Molly.

“Thanks. I like babies. Or, I like this part of babies. They’re cute when they’re quiet. Not as much fun when they’re screaming.”

Which apparently Molly took as a request. Twenty minutes of patting and shushing didn’t seem to help.

“You wanna try?”

Abby was staring at Molly, looking really disconcerted. “Honestly, no.”

“Give it a shot anyway, ours are gonna scream, too. Might as well practice.”

He began to hand Molly over, and Abby said, “Wait!”

He snuggled her in closer and kept patting her. “What?” A second later he figured out what Abby was thinking as she began to unsnap her collar. Her collar and wrist cuffs all had small pyramid shaped metal spikes on them.

“Let me get them off first.”

“Good plan. Don’t want to explain to Breena how we had Molly for less than an hour and took one of her eyes out.”

Abby glared at him.

Once she had her hardware off, he handed Molly over. Abby got her settled against her shoulder, and began to pat her while bouncing a little.

“I really don’t like this.”

He kissed her cheek. “No one does. You’re doing fine, just keep bouncing and patting, and eventually she’ll fall asleep.”

After a minute of that, an impressively large belch echoed out of Molly, and in a minute after that she was fast asleep.


Abby switched from a gentle bouncing step to a sort of rocking one. “So, your mom let you watch your sister?”

“Yeah. My dad was, as usual, gone. And we were out of Alameda then, so my grandparents lived three hours away. There were a lot of nights where it was just the three of us. I was still young enough that five AM wake up wasn’t an issue, so I’d watch her from five to eight, until I had to leave for school, and let my mom get some sleep.”

“That’s insane.”

“It’s the way it was. My grandparents would come down on weekends, and we’d all get more rest.”

“How old was she when your dad got back?”

“Four, five months? Something like that? He shipped out right before she was born.”

Abby looked at the sleeping girl on her shoulder, petting her hair lightly, and kisses her gently. “So, now what?”

He wasn’t sure if she’s asking him or Molly, but since Molly isn’t going to answer, he said, “You could put her in her crib.”

“Not sure I want to let go.”

He smiled, sat on the sofa, and held out his arms to her. She snuggled up in his lap, while Molly slept on her shoulder.

Eventually Molly started crying again, and this time she kept trying to scootch down on Abby’s shoulder to get to her chest. “What is this?”

“If memory serves, that’s baby for ‘MILK!’ Even at three weeks old, they can scoot a little to try and find a breast.”

“Interesting.” Abby stood up and headed toward Jimmy and Breena’s room.

She came down about a minute later. “You want to take another round of this?”

Tim checked the clock. It was a little after nine. “Sure.”

“I’ll let them know.”

When Abby came back, he’d put together two plates of food. “You think they want to eat, or just put the plates in their room so they can scrounge as needed.”

“I’m thinking scrounging. Jimmy hasn’t moved when I’ve gone in. I think he’s out for as long as we’re here.”


The second round followed the same pattern as the first. Half an hour of pretty intense crying, massive burp, and Molly conking out pretty quickly right after.

“I kind of remember there being something that helped them burp easier,” Tim said when Molly finally fell asleep.

“Gas-X for babies?”

“Yeah something like that.”

Abby got her phone out and googled. “Yeah, there is.”

“Feel like going on a drug store run? Get them some of it. See if it helps.”

“Sure. Back in a bit.”

“We’ll just hang out here.”

She smiled at Tim, and kissed him and Molly before heading off.

Forty minutes later, Abby snuck back into the Palmers’ house. She’d found Mylicon pretty easily, and was ready to show it off to Jimmy and Breena when she took Molly back in to eat.

“I found...” her voice trailed off as she stepped into the living room.

She snapped a few pics, and quickly updated her Facebook feed.

Tim asleep, laying on the sofa, stretched out, feet up, Molly on his chest, his hand on her back, making sure she stayed in place was just way too good not to share.

By the time Tim saw it the next morning, the shot labeled “Uncle Tim and Molly Get A Nap” had 416 likes, 8 shares, and close to a hundred comments.


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