Monday, August 19, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 180

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

Chapter 180: Bedtime

"How are you doing?" Tim asked Jimmy after they got back to their room and began to get ready for bed.

"You mean besides the fact that I'm not supposed to be here tonight because my wife is supposed to be eight months pregnant."

"No. I mean about that."

Jimmy shrugged, pulling his shirt over his head. "I've only texted home three times."

"I noticed. You're getting better on that."

"Yeah. According to Gibbs I can't let the fear own me. So, I'm trying."

"If anyone would know, it's him."

"He always looks fearless."

"Easy to be fearless when you don't value your life."


"Not anymore, not for years. But back when we all started? Yeah."

Jimmy seemed to think about that as he headed to the bathroom. Five minutes later, he was back in a pair of flannel pajama pants that looked very similar to what Tim wore for hot yoga. That triggered the memory of the conversation they had post-hot yoga, so Tim asked, "If I wanted to try shaving it all off, what would you suggest?"


He rolled his eyes a little, signaling that yes, this was a little silly, but he's curious and comfortable enough with Jimmy to ask about it. "We've got that long weekend after Tony's wedding, and we like to celebrate weddings, so, something special might be in order."

Jimmy laughed. "Why didn't you google it?"

A really wicked grin lit up Tim's face. "Oh, I did. On Ziva's computer. And I left a really obvious trail of breadcrumbs for her to follow. Next time she searches anything that starts with sh it'll pop up."

Jimmy laughed at that, too. "That's your elf porn revenge isn't it."

"Yep, it took a while to figure out the right thing, but I think that'll work really well." Tim looked deeply satisfied at that.

Jimmy shook his head and grinned. "He's going to wet his pants when she shows up with a smile and a razor."

Tim's got a really smug and pleased expression on his face. "That was the plan. So, tips?"

"Do it as close to having sex as you can, and leave at least an hour for it. You shave your face every day?"

"Nah. Every other. Don't really get stubbly until the second day."

"That's about where I am. 'Round about a day and a half I end up with a five o'clock shadow. So, maybe you'll have ten or twelve hours where it's not an issue, but it's really going to itch when it starts to grow back in."

"Got it."

"Cotton boxers or better yet, wear one of the kilts after. You've got pubic hair for a reason, and dealing with hot and sweaty is that reason, so keep yourself cool and dry."

"All right."

"Brand new razor, a good one, you want it sharp as sharp can be. Good shaving cream or gel or whatever, not soap." Tim's nodding at that. He doesn't like shaving his face with soap, and can't imagine his privates would be any less sensitive. "Trim first, as close as you can get. And for the love of God, pay attention to the go-with-the-grain thing. I know none of us do it when we shave our faces, but really, do it. First pass with the grain, second across it, no third pass. Pluck anything that's left after two passes, because your skin doesn't want a razor going over it more than that. Wash off, pat dry, spray with a little Neosporin, you're good to go."

"Why am I spraying with Neosporin?"

"Because no matter how good at it you are, you've probably got a few hundred tiny, microscopic cuts, and maybe a few you can see as well, and that's one area you don't want an infection, and between the sting and how it tastes, you don't want to be splashing aftershave on it."

"Good points."

Jimmy stretched out on his bed, hands behind his head, still on top of the blankets. "You going to tell her about it or just surprise her?"

"Not sure yet. Probably a surprise."

Jimmy nodded, looked like he's thinking about saying something, and finally decided to say it. "You tell her about it, and she might offer to do it for you. And… well, that's fun and easier, 'cause, she can see what she's doing better than you can."

"Uh huh…"

"And… you know, she's a whole lot more used to shaving delicate places."

"True. So… you let Breena…"

He rolled onto his side to face Tim, who's sitting cross-legged on his bed, unpacking his go-bag. "Not the first time. But, as she pointed out to me, and I'm pointing out to you, she knew what she was doing, and was in a much better position to do it. I mean, are you good at figuring out how to do something by looking in a mirror? I'm not."

"Actually, yes, I am good at that."

"Okay then. Still, it's more fun if she does it."

"You really get off on danger, don't you?"

Jimmy just looked at Tim curiously.

"Look, I trust Abby with my life. Hell, I let her put eyeliner and mascara on me, she even does the waterline—"

"What's the waterline?"

"The little part the eyelashes grow out of, right next to your eye." Tim pointed to it as he said it. Jimmy winced at that idea, and Tim continued. "But I don't want her holding a razor to my balls."

"Meh." Jimmy was supremely unconcerned about that. "I'm way more likely to slice the hell out of myself than she is. So… do you do the whole makeup thing a lot?"

"Besides that Shabbos, a couple of times a year when we go to one of her clubs. Sometimes when we're playing. Call it ten times a year, max."

"Does it feel weird?"

Tim thought about that for a few seconds, not sure what Jimmy's asking. "How do you mean feel, like physical sensation or emotional?"

"Both, either?"

"First few times, yeah, it felt weird. I kept wanting to rub my eyes. But the first couple times I was in college playing live action Vampire, so by the time I met Abby I was sort of used to it."

"Live action Vampire? Like, you running around sucking people's blood?"

"In a nutshell. Though lots of Vampire politics and intrigue, as well."

Jimmy laughed. "You're the biggest nerd ever."

"Uh huh." Tim just nodded, dryly amused. "You're the one asking me about it."

"True enough. So, you're, what, nineteen, and running around in your vampire costume, complete with cape, fangs, white skin, red lipstick, and eyeliner?"

Tim had a pretty good idea of the kind of vampire Jimmy was thinking of. "You're watching way too much Sesame Street. I looked nothing like The Count. I was seventeen and eighteen, and I played a Brujah."

"That means literally nothing to me."

"Brujahs are anarchist vampires. They started out philosopher warriors and by the time the '90s had rolled around their big thing was destroying the system. Black trench coat, raggedy jeans, t-shirt, wallet on a chain, hair long, scraggly, sprayed black and electric blue, eyeliner, fake tats on face and neck, combat boots, overly fond of Nine Inch Nails. His name was Elijah, and I played the hell out of that character."

"Oh, I remember you guys. Our school had a building called the Campus Center, and it was a cafeteria, meeting space, classrooms, theater, and coffee shop, all in one building. But the middle of it was wide open with these huge staircases, and every Friday nights all the freaks came out and kept wandering around doing stuff in tons of black and makeup."

"Yeah, that would have been us."

"Then on Saturday they'd gear up with homemade nerf weapons, armor, and dart guns and play something that looked like capture the flag. And Sunday was live action chess."

"You had a really serious gamer community at your school, didn't you?"

"I think there was only something like thirty of them, but yeah, they were really gung ho about it. I'd be practicing with the rest of the Choir, and a few of them would come running through, brandishing their weapons, yelling something, and twenty seconds later, three more would follow."

"Yeah, that would have been me. And when the role required makeup, I wore it. And since I started doing it with other gamers, and we were already, as you so kindly put it, freaks, wearing it didn't feel weird on any sort of emotional level. It was just part of the game, like putting on headgear for wrestling."

Jimmy nodded at that.

"Why are you asking?"

"Breena was really… enthusiastic... about the idea of me in makeup after seeing you wear it."

"Huh." Tim's eyebrows shot up. He supposed that shouldn't be a surprise, Breena does seem to like the more rock and roll look, or at least she's always approved of it when he plays with it.


"And you didn't do it?"

"It's kind of weird."

Tim rolled his eyes. "Your dick's not going to fall off because you put on mascara."

"Yeah, I know. It's just…" Jimmy kind of looked like he's hoping Tim will cut in so he doesn't have to finish that sentence, but Tim just waited for him.


"Kind of girly."

Tim snorted at that. "Says the guy who shaves off his pubes."

"Guys do that!"

"Last I checked, I'm a guy. Your girl likes you in it, what's the deal? It's fun. She's happy. The sex is good. Who cares if you've got on eyeliner?"

"So, how do you do it and not look like a clown?"

"Are you asking me for makeup tips?"

"A: Yes. B: Nothing about this conversation is ever, ever repeated to Tony. C: You started this."

Tim nodded. Hell, this conversation likely wasn't getting mentioned to Abby, let alone anyone else. "Abby does mine. She's a whole lot better at it than I am. The only thing I do for myself is my nails." Decades of model building, followed by his different electrical/computer projects mean Tim actually has steadier hands than Abby. So, between that and the fact that she doesn't wear nail polish regularly, he does his own, and on the few occasions she wears it, hers.

"It's not much of a surprise if she does it, now is it?"

Tim laughed at that. "Youtube has videos on how to do everything. There have got to be makeup videos on there. Buy good stuff, because you don't want to end up having an allergic reaction."

"What's good stuff?"

"I like Urban Decay."

"You have a brand?"

"For eyeliner I do. It's soft, goes on nice, stays put forever, and unlike the stuff Abby likes, it doesn't bug my eyes. First time she did my eyes, we had to skip going out that night because both eyes swelled shut in like five minutes."

"Ew." Jimmy winced, and Tim nodded in agreement.

Perversion nail polish.
"Yeah. And it's not impossible that I like Urban Decay because, well, it's a punk brand, so a guy walks in in a kilt and grabs some black eyeliner and nail polish they don't look at me like I'm weird. And, sure this is dumb as hell, black is black is black, but I'm a lot more comfortable buying a color called Perversion, Zero, or Oil Slick, than something called Midnight Orchid or whatever other girly name the other companies come up with."

Jimmy laughs at that, then thinks about it, tries to imagine buying something like Sable Kiss or whatever, and says, "Good point."

"Anyway. Videos, then if you want to surprise her, get your own stuff, or swipe hers, and practice right before you get a shower. Wash off, and when you think you know what you're doing, let your inner rock star out."

Tim grabs his toiletries and jammies and heads to the bathroom. A few minutes later, he's brushing his teeth when a thought hits him, so he heads out of the bathroom. "You know—"

"Are you really having a conversation with me while you brush your teeth?" Jimmy was under the blankets, just staring at Tim, like he couldn't quite believe this was happening.

"That a problem?"

"We're not married."

"Oh sorry. I didn't realize that after talking sex and makeup while we're sharing a room and you're in your pajamas that brushing my teeth in front of you was too intimate. I've shared a room with Tony seventeen million times, and even he can take this. Gibbs'll walk in on you naked, without knocking, and just stand there, talking to you like it's no big deal."

He ducked back into the bathroom to finish up and came back out when Jimmy said, "Why would Gibbs walk into your room naked?"

"No. He'll walk in while you're naked."

"Okay, that makes more sense. So, what great revelation just hit you?"

Tim got into his bed. "Lipstick."


"No matter how Gothed out I go, I don't wear it. I just… really didn't like the idea of it. It took Abby two years to get me into it."

"And you're bringing this up why?"

"Just, I get it. It took a minute, but I get it. That was my bridge too far. The thing that was too girly."

"But you did it?"

"Yeah. Couldn't get that tattoo on her neck without my lip print, and no way to get that without it."

"Eyeliner didn't bother you, but lipstick did?"

"Not saying it wasn't silly, but yeah."

"And am I correct in noticing you using the past tense?"

Tim looked a little sheepish. "I still don't love it. Won't look at myself in it, cause it has to look dumb as hell. I'm not pretty enough to pull off glam. But… she really does like it. And leaving lip prints on her is a lot of fun. And my dick didn't fall off. It was still perfectly fine and had an awfully good time when I was wearing it."

"Uh huh." Jimmy was quiet, and flipped off the light as Tim got settled in bed. Then he asked, "What color?"

"Black the first time, like the tattoo. Then she found this stuff online, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tars, they're basically lip paint, and you can mix them together to make lots of colors, and they come in a lot of colors, too. So she got like every color you can imagine: blue and green and purple and gold and silver and one weekend we tried them all out, and I covered her in lots of different colors, and she did me."

"That was fun?"

"Yeah. I never got hickies. Never understood why you might want to suck on her so hard you left a bruise. Pain, inflicting it or receiving it, just really doesn't do it for me."

"Says the guy with three tattoos."

"That's different."


"I don't know; it just is. Anyway, looking back and seeing all those little marks, knowing I put them there, and that stuff stays on like, forever, if you don't wash it off, that was a kick. Like the tattoos, but not nearly as expensive, you don't need another person, and you can get places you don't want a tattoo gun going anywhere near. That was a lot of fun."

"Huh. So you're saying you had a two person rainbow party?"

"I guess. You ever wonder if stuff like that is real? Or just urban legends. I mean, the girls I knew in high school and junior high weren't doing stuff like that."

"Let's put it this way: when I was seventeen I would have given my right nut for it to be real. Now, with a year-old little girl, I'm hoping it's an urban legend."

Tim laughed a little at that. "You and Gibbs looked ready to kill Tony."

"I love Tony, but… There was just this sense of rage. And there's nothing he can do about it. And I know it was the '80s and the rules were different, but, yeah, I wanted to hit him, really hard. She's going to grow up and there'll be guys out there who'll be aggressive jerks, and it's scary."

Tim nodded.

"It was probably easier when Gibbs was a dad. You could just take a stand: No sex until you get married! Go put that caftan on and enjoy your education at St. Mary's All Girl School for Extremely Catholic Virgins!" Jimmy stopped and thought about that. "I don't want to be that guy. I don't want to be Fornell. I see the way he watches Emily and how his blood pressure goes shooting up every time it looks like she's getting interested in a guy or sex. I want Molly to have boyfriends and to enjoy them. I just don't want her to get hurt. I don't want her to get sick. I really don't want to be a grandfather any time in the next two decades, and three would be even better. I want her to know about what her mother chose, and why it was a good thing, but I also want her to know about Abby and Ziva and… I want her to own her body, own her sexuality, and I'm so scared some asshole's gonna try and take it away from her or hurt her for making her own decisions."

Tim sighed. "There's nothing you can do about that, not now. But, the good thing is you probably don't have to worry about it for at least a decade. And by then, we'll have our own Fear of Dad razor sharp."

"I hope so. But we'll only be able to scare the ones we know about. We won't always be around."

"Nope. But unlike Fornell, and I'm going to guess a lot of the girls Tony was fooling around with, we are going to be there every day, every night, showing our girls by how we live how a man who loves a woman treats her. Our girls are going to know what respect looks like because we'll live it. And our girls aren't going to be acting out, craving Daddy's attention, because they'll have it."

He can hear a slight rustle from Jimmy's bed, and assumed that was him shrugging.

"And I'll wire them with GPS trackers so we can swoop in and save the day if need be."

That got a laugh out of Jimmy. "Good night, Tim."



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