Chapter 155: Not What They Seem
Tony's voice trailed off as Palmer sat down next to them in the break room.
"What?" Jimmy asked as Tony looked at him.
"What's he talking about, Tim?"
"Nothing…" Tony said quickly. "It's just… It's a stupid problem. And you've got enough going on without my stupid problems."
"Tony, there's nothing I can do about my problems, so give me a stupid one I may be able to help with. Because nothing's worse than feeling useless. Though feeling like your friends are afraid to say things to you for fear you'll break is a pretty close second."
Tim gives Tony a good long look when Jimmy says that, hoping he'll get back to what he was talking about, but he doesn't. Instead Tony says, "Okay. So, I've got exactly one job when it comes to this whole wedding thing: plan the honeymoon."
Tim and Jimmy are nodding. Though Jimmy adds, "Pick up the rings, and keep a hold of them until wedding time."
"Tuxes." Tim says.
"Okay, I've got three jobs. But one of them is done until the next fitting, one doesn't need to be dealt with now, and this one does. For our honeymoon, I want to find a place Ziva and I have never been. Somewhere cool, lots of good stuff to do, but it's got to be somewhere both of us have never been, somewhere we can explore, together."
"Oh." Jimmy does seem to think that this is A: A stupid problem, and B: He can't really help with it.
"Yeah. I've already stolen her passport, both of them, but all that does is rule out three quarters of the interesting places on Earth and doesn't tell me about where she's been on her unofficial trips."
"Does where you are matter too much?" Jimmy asks. "When I was planning mine, the main thing I was looking for was how good the hotel room was." Tim's nodding along with that. Sure they wanted to see some interesting places, too, but mostly he was checking out the hotel amenities.
Tony sighs at that. "There's a really big difference between getting married at… what were you, thirty-four?" Jimmy nods. "And thirty-six, and the forty-eight I'll be by the time we tie the knot. So, yes, the room and whatever is in it is certainly going to be a big deal, but in that I can't do it six times a day anymore, we're going to be spending some time outside of it as well, so the room has to be located somewhere cool."
"We liked New Orleans." Tim said, willing to play along with this, but wishing Tony hadn't immediately changed the subject as soon as Jimmy showed up.
"Chicago?" Jimmy asks.
"Seattle?" Tim tries.
"We're not geeks."
"Cape May, New Jersey?" Jimmy offers. Tim just looks at him, shocked at that suggestion, and not in a good way, so he says, "What? It's cool. Beach, Victorian architecture, one of the few places you can see the sun set over the ocean on the east coast."
"New Jersey in April?" Tony just shakes his head at that idea.
"Good point. Hollywood?" Jimmy asks.
"It's supposed to be fun for her, and we've both been there."
"Mexico?" Tim suggests.
"Not the whole country." Tim says as he pulls his phone out of his pocket. "There's got to be a really nice beach nestled somewhere that neither of you have ever been."
"That's probably true for the Caribbean, as well." Jimmy's getting his phone out, too. "Just because you've been to one island doesn't mean you have to cross all of them off the list."
Tim starts googling away. "You want some sort of beach thing, right?"
"That'd be nice. But it's not a requirement."
"What's 'cool stuff'?" Jimmy asks, also googling.
"Good food, good dancing, beaches are a plus, movies are another plus, and Ziva likes architecture."
Tim's punching things into his phone and it comes up with Lebanon. "Well, that's not gonna work."
"I googled beaches, night life, architecture, movies, skiing—"
"I meant water skiing, but forgot water, anyway, it came up with Lebanon."
"Yeah, that's not going to do it. Last thing I want to do is get arrested as a spy on our honeymoon."
"I've got something," Jimmy says, putting his cell on the table in front of the other two, and standing behind them. "Private island resort in Mexico…" He's showing them pictures of the place. Apparently it was a collection of ultra-deluxe cabins (if you can call something that luxurious a cabin) on several islands off of Cozumel. Close enough you could go to the mainland and party. Far enough away that if you wanted quiet time on a beach by yourself that was an option, too. "It's got all the goodies, spa, restaurants, your very own chunk of beach… You know… This looks really nice…"
"You want us to take Molly for a few days and grab a long weekend? Valentine's is next week. You could do a late present for Breena."
"We might." Jimmy's staring at the pictures in front of them.
"Are you helping me plan a honeymoon or taking one yourself?"
"Both. Maybe. Not sure I want to be away from Molly that long."
"Take her with you?" Tim offers.
"Romantic weekend with a one-year-old… Eh… I'm not getting the sense that this place is set up for kids."
"Talk to Breena about it. You want to go; we'll watch Molly, no problems."
"I'll give her a call and get back to you."
Jimmy checks the time. "And those beakers should be done with the autoclave. Time to head back." He picks up his coffee and walks back toward Autopsy.
Once he was gone, Tim says to Tony, "You've got to stop doing that. He's your friend, and you can't keep shutting him out of your life."
Tony's calm, happy, in-charge expression vanishes and the slightly panicked one he's had all day returns. "Look, I cannot complain to him about how Ziva's talking kids, and I'm freaked out. I just… I can't do it. Not now, not to him. Last month, sure, but I can't do it now."
"If anyone's going to have sympathy for you being scared, it's Jimmy."
"Yeah, but I'm not terrified of having my heart ripped out. I mean, I may be, eventually, but right now it's this huge lump of can-I-do-this-and-not-fuck-it-up, and right now all he wants is the chance to do it. I don't want to rub his face in that."
Tim nods; that might be a good point.
"How am I going to do this? I can barely take care of a goldfish—"
"You've kept Kate for six years. That's world record goldfish maintenance. Those things die if you look at them funny. "
"It's still a goldfish, not a person, and all of this stuff with Jimmy and Breena and Jon and you and Abby and McSciuto has Ziva thinking kids, and I don't want to disappoint her, but this scares me shitless, and if I can't do this…" Tony looks down and rubs his eyes, then looks back at Tim, really scared. "Tim, you don't marry a woman who wants kids if you don't."
That shocks the hell out of Tim. "Okay, stop right there. Yes, you're right, if she wants kids and you don't, you don't marry her. But you love her—"
"More than anything. I really do, and that was terrifying in and of itself. But this last month is making her think I want kids and it's making me think I want a vasectomy."
"Yeah. Maybe it is fear of having my heart ripped out. I was watching Jimmy when he got the news, and… I don't think I could survive that. And look at him, he's calling home every hour, and you know they aren't going to Mexico because he can't stand to have Molly out of his sight for that long. I don't think I can take that."
Tim lets out a long sigh. He knows that part of the traditional best man job is talking the groom off the ledge he's about to jump off of because he's got cold feet. But this wasn't a flavor of cold feet he was expecting. "Tony, if you love her, then you step up and have the kids and you do a good job of being a dad because that's the cost of loving her. That's what your happiness is more important to me than mine means. And if she loves you, and if you can't do it, really can't do it, then she'll put it aside because your happiness will be more important than hers. Either way, you've got to figure out if you can't do it or if you're just too scared to think straight."
Tony sighs. "Scared. I know it's scared. I want to make her happy. I want to be a man she can depend on to do the right thing, but what if I'm bad at it? God, what if I end up on my own with this kid? Or what if we lose him?"
"First off, we're not going to let you be bad at it. There's a long line of men here who love you and Ziva, and we will not let you fail her. Secondly, no matter what, you won't be alone. If something happens to Ziva, we'll still be here. We didn't let Jimmy and Breena down, and we won't let you down. Think about it, Gibbs is actually talking to Jimmy to help keep him afloat. You think he'd do any less for you? And lastly, if something did happen to your baby, you'd survive it. Jimmy and Breena are going to make it. Gibbs made it. Worst comes to worst, you'll make it, too."
"I don't want to be my dad."
"When your mom died, did your dad have anything like us?"
"I don't know. Not that I remember. Hundreds of people came to the funeral, and then the next day we were alone. Just me and him and a big, empty house that still felt like her. The day after that, he went back to work, in the city, and it was just me and a nanny, all day, every day, until September and I was off to boarding school."
"That won't happen, not to you, not again. Look…" Tim feels a little weird about saying this out loud. Doing it wasn't weird, but talking about it… But Tony's more than grown up enough that he won't tease Jimmy about it, and Tim feels up to handling whatever Tony might toss at him. "The first night Jimmy was back, we slept with him, held onto him, made sure he wasn't on his own. We slept with him and Breena the first night she was home, too. Then stayed at their place for three days after that. After we left, Ducky stayed at their place every night for a week. You know Ziva brought food. And I know you and Gibbs and Ziva took that case and did my job so I could be there for Molly. No matter what else happens, you're never going to be alone again because you're stuck with us."
Tony looks really touched by that, but it fades quickly, his emotional armor slipping back into place, getting him back into a more comfortable mindset. "You slept with Palmer?"
Tim rolls his eyes. "Yeah, and if you're ever hurting that bad, I'll cuddle you, too."
Tony laughs at that, then says, seriously, "Thanks."
Tim thinks for a minute. "So, did you actually need honeymoon help?"
"Nah, booked it last week."
Tim looks at him curiously.
"We've never been there. It's supposed to be like California. Great beaches, night life, and safari."
"Yeah. Should be cool."