Monday, August 19, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 177

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

Chapter 177: I, Anthony...

I, Anthony, take you, Ziva, to be my lawfully wedded wife.

Tim looked at the one line of text in Tony's handwriting on a pad of legal paper, and then looked back up at Tony. At his wedding, Tony had talked about the two of them working on his vows. And now, with Tony's wedding not quite three weeks away, they were getting to it.

Though as Tim remembers it, he'd specified that Tony should have a rough draft that they'd work with together, because he was not going to ghost write Tony's vows.

"One line?" He's glaring a little at Tony. Not really angry, but frustrated. "The idea was you'd have a rough draft, and we'd work from there."

"It's really rough."

"It's non-existent. This is the part the Rabbi will say for you, and you'll just repeat back!"

"Actually no. The vows are in Hebrew. But… I wanted to write something for her. Something personalized. They don't have to be vows but…"

Oh. So not vows at all. Something different. Something Tony's never done before and probably feels completely lost dealing with. "Are you saying you want help writing a love poem?"

"A vowish love poem."

"Wow!" Tim's got an expression of wonder on his face, possibly with a tinge of teasing condescension as well.

Tony catches all the layers of that look and says, "Stuff it. Since no one in her immediate family is still alive, a 'traditional' wedding is important to Ziva, and she'd never say it, but I can see it, it's that last thread of home and family for her. So I'm fine with doing the traditional Hebrew vows, but… I want to give her something from me, as well. And I don't want to sound like an idiot doing it. So, McPoet, I am asking you for help."

Tim smiles; he understands that completely.

"Hey, can I come in, or is this a guy only party?" Abby asks, sticking her head into Tim's office.

"Please come in," Tony replies. He's sitting on Tim's one desk chair, and Tim is in the other one, so she settles onto Tim's lap. And Tony watches as, apparently, without him even noticing, Tim's hand comes to rest on her belly, while he kisses her neck.

"Good nap?"

"Yeah. I just hate being tired all the time." She turns to Tony. "It's better than it was, but I still need eight to ten hours of sleep a night, and I've never needed that much sleep. It's insane."

"Your body is working hard," Tim says, fondly stroking her tummy.

"And making me sleep hard, too." She looks at the piece of paper in front of Tim and Tony. "So, working on vows?"

"Sort of," Tony answers and then explains what they're doing.

"You want to call Jimmy?" Abby asks.

Both Tim and Tony say "No" in exactly the same tone of voice at exactly the same time.

Abby looks puzzled by this.

"Look, I love Jimmy, but he's terrible at this stuff," Tim says.

Tony's nodding. "The man had his testicles surgically removed when he was writing his vows. 'And each day I will shower you in a thousand butterfly kisses and thank the Lord you were born.' No!"

"Breena loved it! And it was so sweet."

"And if I was getting ready to marry Breena, Jimmy'd be the first guy I'd call for vow help. But, I do not want Ziva bursting into hysterical laughter when she reads this."

Abby takes the pen and crosses out Tony's name. "She doesn't call you Anthony. Only Ducky does. Tony's more personal."

"Okay, see, we're getting somewhere. Is that why you two did Tim and Abby for your vows instead of Timothy and Abigail?"

Tony looks up from where Abby scratched out his name when he notices that neither of them have said anything. He sees the smile on Abby's face is wicked glee, and Tim's looking pretty smug, as well.

Finally Tim says, "Remember the last ropes and things conversations, when you asked me what other help you might want?"

Tony's nodding, looking really disturbed, but he says, "Yes."

"Why you'll never hear me call her Abigail or her calling me Timothy is part of the lesson that comes after our last conversation."

"So you're saying I really don't want to know?"

Abby's grinning very happily right now. "You don't want to know about safewords? So much fun and so many cool—"

Tony closes his eyes and cuts in, "No, I don't want to know that you and McGee have or need them."

Abby shrugs. "I didn't know you were so vanilla."

"When it comes to mental images of McGee naked, I'm whatever makes vanilla look dangerous and kinky. So, can we talk vows, now?"

"Sure. Here." Tim hands Tony the pen, and pushes the pad of paper back to him. "We're going to get something to drink. You're going to spend the next ten minutes writing anything and everything that's comes to mind when you think of being married to Ziva. It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't have to be vows. Just turn your internal filter off, and put anything that comes to mind on that piece of paper."

Ten minutes later Tim walked back in and saw Tony sitting in front of what looked like a much more filled in page. Unfortunately, as he got a few steps closer he saw that much more filled in was a collection of little interlocking squares and triangles.

"Do you really want to do this?" Tim asks.

"Where'd Abby go?" Tony replies with, not answering.

"Bowling practice with the Nuns. She'll be back in two hours."


"She also thinks you'll have an easier time of this without her hovering over your shoulder."


"So, really, either you have no clue what being married is about, or this isn't a good fit for you. What's going on?"

That exterior veneer of 'DiNozzo.'
"Look, I know I can be smooth and sweet talk this. But I don't want it to be a line. I don't want it to be… that exterior veneer of 'DiNozzo.' And every time I start to come up with something, it's all smooth."

Tim wrote down:

With you, for you, I will always be real.
I will not hide my mind or heart.

"Oh, that's good. I like that."

"Good, then translate that into however you'd say that to her."

"It sounds more earnest in your voice."

"And when Ziva comes to her senses and decides to marry me, that'll matter. This might be my wedding present to you, but it's not my wedding present to her, so it better sound like you by the time this is done."

You make me want to be a better man. Tony wrote that under the first two lines, and Tim scratched it out.


"Movie quote. Don't use someone else's words, find your own." But Tim stopped on that idea. "Actually… you love movies. You love her. Come on." He hops up and drags Tony in the chair to his computer. Two seconds later he's googled Blank Books, and he's got pages of empty books up on the screen.

"Find a beautiful one. Get a good pen. And write them all down. Fill the book with the quotes that now mean something to you because she's in your life. She loves books, so write her a book. You love movies, so fill it with movies. It doesn't have to be your own words; it has to be your own feelings, and if someone else has the words, use theirs."

Tony grins, wide smile stretching across his face.

"That I can do."

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