McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.
Chapter 90: The Morning After
Tim woke up with a jolt of adrenaline, wondering where he was. It took a second before he figured out that he was on Gibbs’ sofa. Took another second to check his watch, see it was 8:30 and figure out the reason his entire body was screaming get up at him was because it was a work day and he was late.
|On Gibbs' sofa.|
He checked his cell. Three texts from Abby.
6:32 Guessing you’re still at his place
7:47 Telling Leon you both won’t be in today
8:22 Let me know you’re okay.
That one was ten minutes old. He sent one back, fast. Okay. Just woke up. What’s your best hangover cure?
How bad is it?
No idea. I’m not the one hung over. But Gibbs is still asleep, so I’m thinking it’ll be brutal when it hits.
4 Advil, Gatorade, hot shower, go back to sleep.
I’ll see what I can do.
We’re both fine. Got enough alcohol into him to get him talking about Shannon. Mini wake. Hope it helped. Tell you more when I see you.
He looked at the picture of Shannon, Kelly, and Gibbs on the mantle. I love you, Abby.
He headed for the kitchen, extremely doubtful as to the likelihood of there being Gatorade in there. And he was right. A little bit of food. Not much to drink besides coffee and more booze, and neither of them were good plans.
He found the largest glass Gibbs owned, filled it with water, and rummaged around for Advil or some sort of painkiller. Nothing in the kitchen. Tried the hall bathroom, nothing in there either.
He headed for Gibbs’ room, very quietly. Didn’t want to wake him up, and even though, technically, Gibbs should still be drunk as opposed to hung over, still doesn’t mean him waking up is a good plan.
Fortunately it didn’t work that way. He crept in, put the water on the nightstand, and headed for the man’s bathroom. Unfortunately he didn’t have any painkillers in there.
What kind of guy doesn’t have at least one bottle of Tylenol in the house?
The guy who never gets sick and probably thinks hangovers are deserved punishment or something.
He found a pad and a pen and left a note next to the glass.
Out getting supplies. Back in a bit. Abby called in sick for you. Go back to sleep.
An hour later he had Gatorade, Advil, and breakfast. Two of the three he left on Gibbs’ nightstand. The last he stuck in the oven on warm.
While eating his breakfast, he got a text from Tony.
What did you do to him?
Got him drunk and talking. That was the plan, right?
You got him so drunk he called out?
I got him so drunk he’s still asleep. Abby called him out.
He can feel Tony shaking his head as he looks at that text.
What did you do, shoot him with a tranquilizer dart?
Something like that.
Think it helped?
We’ll find out.
Then he went back to sleep. It was a surprisingly comfy sofa, long enough for him to lie full out on, and he was out in a flash. Sure he can function on three hours sleep, but he doesn’t have to, so he won’t.
It was after three when he woke up to the sound of loud cursing and the shower running.
He headed upstairs, found the Advil and Gatorade untouched and the door to the bathroom open. He picked up the Gatorade and took it in.
Gibbs was on the other side of the shower curtain, groaning.
Tim put the Gatorade on the edge of the tub. “Part of why you’re hurting is that you’re dehydrated. Drink it.”
“Will suck even more water out of you. Drink the Gatorade. Drink the next one I bring you. Then I’ll make us coffee.”
Gibbs pulled back the curtain and grabbed the drink, glared blearily in Tim’s direction, then snapped the curtain shut again.
Tim went down, got another Gatorade, and then made some coffee.
Gibbs got down an hour later, looking like he’d been run over by a truck. Tim pointed at the table where there was coffee, water, and food.
“You’ll live?” Tim asked very quietly.
“Then I’m going to head home. Keep drinking the water with the coffee. There’s a full pot in the kitchen. More food and Gatorade in the fridge. Abby says you should go back to sleep as soon as you can.”
Gibbs nodded again.
Tim sent a text to Tony while he was waiting for a light to go from red to green. Your turn. Just check in on him, and if he’s awake tonight, keep him company.
We kicked the bottle, and I only had two shots. He’s feeling like crap and probably shouldn’t be alone tonight.
When Tim got home, Abby wasn’t there, yet. But it was a bit after five thirty, so with any luck she’d be home soon.
He poked around the kitchen, nothing looked ready to become dinner, so he ordered them some Chinese. He didn’t really want to cook anyway.
Mostly he just wanted to curl up with her, hold her close, and devoutly give thanks to the God who’s existence he greatly doubted that she’s alive and whole and in his life and that he’s not sitting in a house filled only with memories.
Food got there before she did. But not by much. He was just starting to shut the door when he saw her.
“Hi.” Abby smiled brightly at him as she slid in the door.
That was significantly more clingy than their usual hello hug. She petted his arms. “You okay?”
“Yeah, just not taking you for granted. I love you.”
“Love you, too.”
He can feel the fact that she’s got a perplexed look on her face, but he’s still not moving, still holding onto her, smelling her skin, feeling her warm and in his arms.
|"And I need to hold onto you for a while."|
She smiled softly at him. “That’s okay. I’m not going anywhere. Other than maybe the sofa, with you. Come tell me about it, and we’ll snuggle.”
He nodded, that sounded good.
An hour later, he was sitting with Abby on the sofa, sharing a carton of chicken and broccoli, telling her about Shannon, when his phone beeped. Text from Tony:
McGee, the plan was get him drunk and talking, not married again. What the hell did you do?
Crashed out on the sofa, wearing a wedding ring!
Relax. That’s Shannon’s ring.
Why would that make me relax?
Because it means he’s doing what he needed to do when she died. At least, I hope that’s how this works.
What’s the plan here? Send him back 23 years, cling to her harder, and just give up on anyone else?
I really hope not. He got married three times and whatever it was with Jen in less than ten years. Took the ring off right after the funerals. Never said another word about them to anyone for more than a decade. Diane found out about Shannon by going through his wallet, and I don’t think he ever mentioned Kelly. He just shut it away. The plan is to actually try mourning and saying goodbye and letting her go.
Think he can?