Monday, August 19, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 183

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

Chapter 183: Cherry Blossoms and Tuxes

For the second time in six months, the extended Gibbs Clan gathered for a wedding.

But Jewish weddings don't exactly work the same way Christian ones do.

They're a two-step process.

And while in a Christian or secular American wedding the night before is the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, usually followed by Team Bride and Groom heading off for separate merrymaking, a Jewish wedding begins the night before with the signing of the Ketubah, the official marriage contract.

So, in order to give this ceremony proper honors, they're at the park Gibbs found for them, a little, out of the way place, probably popular a hundred years ago, but mostly forgotten now. But it's in okay (if somewhat wild) shape, it's not filled with other people, and the clearing they're in is ringed with blooming cherry trees, setting up for tomorrow.

The most important part, the chuppah, is up, and mostly decorated. (The girls are doing the flowers with the florist tomorrow.) But for now it's burnished rods of oak, finished to look like all the warmth of the sun has solidified into wood, woven together into four pillars. Gibbs and Breena attached the top supports, while Jimmy, Tony, and Tim dug the holes in the ground to keep the posts steady. Ziva and Abby straightened out the yards of gauzy cream and snow-colored fabric, and then draped it over the supports, weaving it through the posts.

Gibbs and Jimmy have lawn mowers so they're in charge of getting a path to the chuppah, and enough of the space in front of it to hold eighteen people trimmed down so that guests won't have to worry about being eaten alive by the grass and weeds.

Abby and Tony are in charge of posting signs. This place is pretty far off the beaten path so DiNozzo-David Wedding signs are going up. It's not that the GPS can't find it. Punch where you're going into your GPS while you're still in DC and it's got no trouble at all locating the place. It's that for most of them their GPS stopped working about three miles from the park, leaving them driving about on smaller and smaller roads in the middle of pretty rural Virginia, so old-fashioned signs need to be set up.

Tim's wiring the lights for tonight. Technically, it's the Sabbath and they shouldn't be working at all, but setting up now works better for everyone's schedule, so they're here. The Rabbi on the other hand, won't be coming until the Sabbath is over, after sunset. So Tim's making sure that when he gets here, they'll have enough light to actually see the Ketubah, read it, and sign it.

Hanging out with Sr. and Ducky
Of course, off the beaten path means there's no electricity here, but he's hoping that the car battery he's got rigged to the lighting setup will do the job.

Ziva and Breena are setting up the chairs, putting them in place and making sure the satin covers are secure. Sure, they're probably asking for a freak thunder storm to show up and wreck everything by setting them up today instead of tomorrow morning, but they want to get as much done ahead of time as possible.

It's a small enough group they aren't bothering with a bride's side or groom's side. So they're set in three rows of six.

Two tents, one for team bride and one for team groom for the pre-wedding waiting about finish off the site.

It takes about two hours, but the site is (except for the flowers) all set and ready to go.

The downside of beautiful little park out in the middle of nowhere is that… It's in the middle of nowhere. So they got everything done, and then drove an hour back to DC to get ready for that evening.

The signing of the Ketubah is a big deal, and being invited to witness it is an honor reserved for close family and friends. So, you can't just wear the same grungy jeans, work boots, and button down you had on for setting up the chuppah.

And that downtime in the middle of the day gives Tim a little spot of time to run that last errand he'd been putting off for a week, namely grabbing his tux.

He got home with it while Abby was still damp from getting out of the shower. She's sitting on the bed, toweling off her hair as Tim walks in with the suit bag.

"Do I get to see?"

"Yes." He answers while putting it into his closet.

She flashes and exasperated look at him. "Do I get to see before the wedding?"

That got a grin out of him. "Do you want to see?"

"Yes! When do I not want to see you get dressed up?"

He laughs and begins to unbutton his shirt, pulling it over his head when he got the first three buttons undone. "Everything else all set for tonight?"

"According to my list, you getting a shower and dressed are the only two things left."

He nods, pulling off his socks. "Don't let me forget a pen."

"Good point."

Tim and Gibbs had been chosen as the witnesses to sign the Ketubah. Though many friends and family may be called to witness the signing of the Ketubah and the reading of the contract, two especially close friends are called to sign the contract in addition to the bride and groom. Traditionally the witnesses are men, though Ziva and Tony's congregation is egalitarian, allowing anyone who isn't a blood relative to sign. But when Tony and Ziva sat down to talk it over they chose the two men who had their backs, who would die to protect them, and kill to avenge them. They chose their team, and that's Tim and Gibbs.

Abby gets up, leaving their bedroom for a moment, and returns with one of Tim's pens, tucking it into the breast pocket of the suit he'll be wearing tonight. Once done, she heads to the bathroom to do her makeup.

A few minutes later, as she was putting on her mascara, Tim stood in the doorway to the bathroom and said, "Well?"

Abby turns to him, a wide, pleased, slightly amazed smile on her face, and says, "Oh." She put the mascara wand back into the tube and then put it on the sink, just staring at him. Tim's standing in front of her, expectant look on his face. Her eyes take him in from glossy black shoes to ebony cufflinks, midnight tie to sable wool-silk blend jacket. She blinked slowly, and exhaled, "Wow!"

Expectant broke into a wide grin.

"If I had known you looked like this in a tux, we might have gotten married with you in one."

He shifts the door, so he can see himself in the full-length mirror. "If I had known I could look like this in a suit, I might wear them more often. I'll say this for Tony, his tailor really knows what he's doing."

Abby's slowly circling Tim, looking at him appraisingly, hand trailing over his low back. "He really does. Yeah, I'm thinking you should do suits on occasion."

See, if you were to ask Tim, he'd tell you that he generally looks, well, kind of gaunt and lanky in suits. (At least over the last year. Previous to that he's looked plump and round in them, and he didn't love that look, either.) And not in what he considers a good way. He's never worn one that he thought really looked good on him. Which is why he rarely wears them. Weddings, funerals, testifying in court, and occasional nice date nights, and beyond that, they live in his closet and collect dust.

He's seen guys who do suits well. Tony, he always looks great.

And now he knows why. Apparently having someone who knows how a suit is supposed to fit go and actually make one for you results in you looking like James Fucking Bond, and not the Daniel Craig version, but Sean Connery.

Though as he looks at himself in the tux, he's thinking he's got more of a Loki in Germany look going than James Bond. A killer scarf and overcoat, and he'd nail it. (Well, at least as close as a guy who bears absolutely no resemblance at all to Tom Hiddleston can… though if he grew his hair out five more inches and slicked it back… Nope, face isn't sharp enough for that.)

The fact that custom clothing has never occurred to Tim seems like a glaring error right this second. His bed was custom made, so were his tattoos, wedding rings, and Abby's engagement ring. And it's not like he's adverse to spending money on clothing. He's got some good clothes that were pretty damn expensive.

And, if three grand on a suit can make him look like this, well… maybe he might want to get another one. Not for every day wear or anything, but maybe a gray one for hot date nights…

"I think you're right about that." He looks at the suits in his closet. He'd been intending to wear the dark gray one for tonight, and suddenly he's really not wanting to do that. "Well, suits made by Dom. My regular ones all look like utter crap now."

"No they don't."

"They don't look like this."

Eldrich knot
"True." Abby circles to face him, hands resting on his chest, and looked at him more closely. "Did you do an eldritch knot in the tie."

He smiled, a tinge of naughty playfulness pulling at the corners of his lips. "I can't look exactly like Tony and Jimmy, and this is subtle enough Tony won't flip out."

She laughs at that. "I like you in vests, too."

"I'll keep that in mind."

"I bet the top half of this would look great with the McGee tartan."

"I bet it would, but I've already been told that Jimmy will pin me down and beat me into submission if I try to wear makeup or a kilt to tonight or the wedding."

Abby laughs at that. "Kilt, that vest, shirt, and tie, black nail polish, eyeliner, your boots." She looks at him, eyes warm and sparkling, trailing up and down his body. "Damn!"

He's smiling at that idea, enjoying the look of sexual hunger on her face. "Okay, yes, that will happen, but not tonight. I was thinking that maybe we'd do something special on Monday. That could be part of it."

The wedding, like many Jewish weddings, is on Sunday, and barring a catastrophe requiring all hands on deck, team Gibbs is off the Monday after the wedding. "What are you thinking of for Monday?"

"It's a surprise. But I think you'll like it, and that could definitely be part of it."

"I am intrigued."

"Good, and we're gonna be late if I don't get showered and changed fast."

And yes, after the tux, the suit he had intended to wear just looked sad. But he put it on, made a mental note to call Dom about a date night suit, and got ready for the reading and signing of the Ketubah.

They returned to middle of nowhere park as the stars were beginning to prickle through dusk, and found they were the last ones there. (Tim was quite pleased to see the solar switch he set turned the lights on when the sun sank. He'd really been hoping he wasn't going to get here and find everyone using their headlights to avoid wandering in the dark.)

For the signing the usual core group attended along with a few new additions, Senior, his date, and Ziva's Schmiel.

Senior with a date isn't anything new. Senior with a date who appears to be over sixty, a very attractive, polished, self-assured over sixty, but over sixty none-the-less, pleased Tony to no end.

Tony had been dreading meeting Daphine since his father mentioned he'd have a plus one. Probably because he assumed Daphine would be younger than Breena, twice as pretty and half as smart. His father's type. From Tony talking about it, Tim had certainly expected young, pretty, simple, and looking for money. So older, refined, a soft voice accented with something that sounds like French but he doesn't think actually is French, was a pleasant surprise.

One he didn't have much time to ponder.

The Rabbi is waving them forward, and he's still got to grab a hat from Ducky.

Tim doesn't own any hats. Scratch that, he's got one knit one for doing cold things outside in winter, and one super fuzzy furry one for doing really cold things, and the NCIS ball cap that's required when he's on a case. Unless he has to wear a hat, they stay in his closet. He hates the way he looks in hats. But covering his head is a sign of respect. And while tomorrow they'll all be wearing yarmulkes, today he's snagging a fedora from Ducky.

He kisses Penny's cheek, grabs the headgear, sets it on his head, and joins the Rabbi, Tony, Ziva, and Gibbs under the chuppah for the reading and signing of the Ketubah.

Tony whispered to him, "You're late!"

"I'm on time. You're all early."

"On time is late."


Then the Rabbi began the ceremony, explaining what was going to happen and why.

It doesn't take that long. And while the actual Ketubah is in Hebrew (Ziva told him that in Orthodox congregations they're in Aramaic, but their Reform congregation does Hebrew.) the Rabbi reads it in English since most of this group doesn't speak Hebrew.

Basically, there's no point to witnessing a document if you have no idea what's in it.

It's a very… functional is probably a good word… document. It basically lists the responsibilities of the husband (food, clothing, sex), what happens should there be a divorce, what sort of monetary settlements would be made, stuff like that.

In any other circumstance he'd call it a pre-nup. But apparently, since the dawn of Judaism, the idea that in addition to vague and nebulous concepts of love and cherish (that's part of tomorrow's ceremony) there would also be an actual document stating exactly what is expected of the husband, and precisely what would happen should he not live up to it.

Tim thinks that's awfully cool.

Plus he's very amused by the idea that providing sex to his wife is the husband's duty and he can't just wander off without her permission thus cutting her off. He makes a mental note to mention to Gibbs that he can't just drag Tony off to the ends of the earth without getting Ziva's okay. Then he thinks twice about that, because if Jethro's not taking Tony or Ziva that means he'll take Tim, and he wants to stay close to home, too.

At the end of the reading came the signing. Since it is a Reform congregation, both Tony and Ziva sign it, followed by Gibbs and Tim.

The document was illuminated by hand. What Tim thinks of as traditional Hebrew script, black ink with silver and gold highlights, decorated with cherry blossoms twined together up and down the sides. It's beautiful, and that's intentional. Apparently it's a mitzvah to make things that glory God as beautiful as possible.

Tim's actually a little nervous about sticking his signature on it. Once upon a time it was a fairly tidy collection of left slanting letters, but these days it's messy scrawl with only three legible letters. It's not, even remotely, beautiful.

But it's his, and he's been chosen to put it on there, so he does.

And doing so means this part of the wedding is over, and it's time for dinner, and the party to start.


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