Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 157

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

Chapter 157: Tears and Guns

Tim noticed two things when he stepped into the house. First off, it smelled great. Something really yummy was cooking away. Secondly, Abby was crying.

From the front door you can see the living room, and the area in front of the TV so, his first hope, that she was just watching something sad on TV, was very rapidly dashed.

Unfortunately, these days crying Abby is a much more common occurrence than he'd really like. Even if what had happened with Jon hadn't happened, she'd probably be pretty weepy. He had figured there were going to be mood swings, and yeah there were.

But then Jon died and whatever emotional reserves Abby had got eaten alive. The ability to say, 'yep, not a big deal, no need to burst into tears,' which had been rendered pretty tenuous by the onslaught of pregnancy hormones, completely vanished.

So, not only is she crying, a lot, which he hates, because if you love a woman, watching her collapse into harsh sobs is torture, but he can't do anything about it. As of this point in time, he's been able to fix precisely zero percent of the issues that have sent her into a crying jag. And to make it worse, these emotional melt-downs are half his fault, because he'd certainly been involved in the whole, let's get you pregnant thing.

The best he can do is be there, get cried on, and provide her with something solid to hold onto.

And he still hates it because he feels so ridiculously useless.

But it's what he can do. So he does. Tim hangs up his coat, takes off his boots, secures his gun, and follows the sound of crying into the kitchen.

She's sitting at the kitchen table, arms folded in front of her, face resting on her forearms, crying.

He rests his hands on her shoulders, and kisses the nape of her neck. "Hey."

She stands up and snuggles in against him. He kisses her forehead.

"I forgot the garlic."

Finally, a problem he can fix! Something he can do. He can go out and get garlic like nobody's business. If garlic will make her stop crying, he'll buy every clove of it in the store. "I can go get some."

She looks up at him with red rimmed eyes. "It's Forty Clove Chicken! How do you forget the garlic for Forty Clove Chicken?"

Which is when he rapidly came to the conclusion that the garlic is a symptom, not the problem, and they are once again in things he can't fix territory. "Everyone forgets things."

"I wrote it down, on the list." There is a list on the table, next to her phone. "I went to the store, got everything else, came home, browned up the chicken, put the whole thing together, wine, tarragon, onions, bay leaf, everything, stuck it in the oven—"

"It smells really good."

She glares at him. Apparently that was the wrong thing to say. Minimizing the impact of forgotten garlic was not the right tactic.

"With no garlic in it," she finishes, ignoring his interruption. "It's like my mind decided there would be no garlic in the world. It was on my list. It's in the recipe. It's the name of the damn dish."

"It's okay."

She's looking angry in addition to sad now, and he's feeling really uncertain of what to do next. Not talking at all is starting to seem like a really good idea.

"No it's not! Tim, I forgot. I don't forget. I remember. I do things right. I follow directions and make the right choices and produce the right results. I don't forget!"

"Oh." He thought fast. "It's normal. The books said it happens. That the hormones—"

"Don't tell me it's the hormones!" And sad vanished, replaced by all angry. "I know it's the hormones! I'm forgetting things and crying about it. Of course it's the hormones! That doesn't mean it's not real, and that it isn't happening, or that I don't hate it! I'd rather throw up every day for the entire rest of my pregnancy than forget things."

"I'm not trying to dismiss it. Just… it'll get better. Your system'll go back to normal, and you'll go back to being you again."

"What if I don't?"

His eyes went wide, and he really doesn't know what to say about that.

"Lots of women don't go back. They keep forgetting things, and they change."

"We're both going to change. We can't not change. We'll be parents."

She smiles at him a little, and it's clear that's a I know you're trying to cheer me up, and I appreciate it, but it's not going to work gesture. "It's my mind, Tim. I can handle fat and saggy and varicose veins and crabby and tired, but… I can't lose my mind. I can't start forgetting things. That's who I am, not what I am."

He smiles a little back at her, because there's nothing he can say about it, and kisses her again.

"It'll get better."

"You don't know that."

"No, I don't. But I can hope. And you can pray. And you and I will become different people, but we'll do it together, and in the end, it'll be okay. Whatever's coming, we'll figure it out."

She didn't look too impressed with that, either. But he can tell she's giving him points for trying, even if he's not succeeding at making her feel better.

She sighs, wipes her eyes, kisses him, and then pulls back and asks, "So, how did shooting go?"

And he's all in favor of changing the subject, because maybe that'll at least provide a decent distraction and work on getting her mood better. "Really well. Jimmy said it was like yoga with explosions. He's talking about bringing Breena next time, and if the OB says it's okay, you're invited, too."

"Why wouldn't it be okay?"

"Shockwaves? Remember the episodes of Mythbusters where Kerri's pregnant?"

She nods.

"She went nowhere near any of the explosions or gunfire then."

"Really? That's what's making you think it might not be okay."

"Just making me cautious."

She snorted at him, looking mildly amused by that.

"Think of it this way, it'll probably be the first time Dr. Draz has ever gotten that question."

"That's probably true."

"And it's good to keep her on her toes. Wouldn't want her getting bored."

"Yes, our primary job as patients is to keep her entertained."

"Precisely." He headed to the sink to get himself a glass of water. "I was thinking about something else on the ride home." He poured one, held the glass out to her, and she nodded her head, so he grabbed another one and filled it for him. "We've got four guns in this house, and very soon, at least one child."

She nods, that's true. He sits down at the table next to her and hands her one of the glasses. "You want more security for them?" They have two gun safes, one built into the wall near the front door. That's where his service pistol goes. And one in the bedroom where his backup gun and both of Abby's live. And at all times when there's a gun in them, those safes are locked.

"Debating trigger locks."

She thought about that. "You want one for your service pistol, and that's fine. But if I'm going for the guns in our room, it's because something's gone very wrong, and I don't want anything slowing me down."

"Okay. Good point."

"And I do want all of our kids knowing how to shoot."

He nods. That was something he'd been planning on.

"And I know you don't hunt, but… At least for me, going hunting with my dad and seeing what those bullets did to the animals they hit, that made me respect what a gun could do. Paper targets don't bleed, so you shoot them, and it's a game. You shoot an animal, and you know you've killed something. You know that this is important and dangerous and not a game at all."

"That makes sense. Does Gibbs hunt? I know Tony doesn't, and I know there's more to it than just being able to hit a target." If it was just about accuracy, then he'd be great at it, and taking their kids would be no problem, but he's fairly sure there's some sort of skill involved in making sure you don't scare the deer or turkey or whatever it is off before it gets into place for you to shoot it.

"He used to. I don't think he has in a long time."

"Maybe one of these years, we won't buy the Christmas turkey."

"That would probably work."


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