Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 184

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

Chapter 184: Eat, Dance, Sing

Goofing off 
A party starring Schmiel, DiNozzo Sr., and Ducky is a thing to behold. It's like the world's great story tellers all got together one night to see who could spin the longest, most intricate yarn.

And then they started playing off each other.

Tim watches the three of them and hopes that when he, Jimmy, and Tony are all older than dirt, that they'll be half as entertaining to the people around them, and a quarter as vital.

Middle of nowhere park was located not too far away from a fairly decent bed and breakfast, one that was willing to rent out their entire downstairs (and several rooms) for the party. (Off night, off season, it wasn't too hard to convince them to do a kosher dinner.)

So the twelve of them are around one large table, dinner served family style, but there's an open bar, and cleared space near them. (Tim's thinking the table they are at is probably a few tables together, and the other tables have been removed.) The main course is over, and they're lingering over stories, coffee, and dessert when Schmiel says, "Enough talking, it is time to dance," he stood up and held out his hand to Ziva.

That's greeted by silence, and Ziva staring at his hand. Sure, there's room, but… no music.

Finally Jimmy says, "Breena and I are in, but… music?"

Gibbs with the camera
Schmiel looks amused and irked. "You mean to tell me, with all of your fancy phones, none of you has something that will play music?"

Which caused all eyes to slide over to Tim, the tech guru. "Give me five minutes."

It took three. The proprietor did have a port that would work with his phone, and some speakers she was willing to donate to the party.

Tim figured that with this group, some of his peppier jazz would be a good choice, and set it to playing.

And with that, the party got really started.

He found Jimmy waiting for him after he got out of the restroom an hour later. Jimmy's grinning at him, and for a second he's wondering if he's got toilet paper on his shoe or something. He checked. Nope. Next thought that sprang to mind was whether or not that grin was about his possible long weekend shaving plans, but he doesn't think that's it.

Finally he said, "Okay, you're freaking me out just standing there and grinning. What's up?"

The grin got wider. "We're not telling anyone else besides Ducky, not for a while at least, but, we're pregnant again."

A huge smile spread across Tim's face as he pulled Jimmy into a hug. When he stepped back he said, "I'm so happy for you."

"Yeah, we are, too. Scared…"

Tim nodded, seeing that there's not just happiness on Jimmy's face. Mostly joy, a little tipsy, and a tinge of fear, but mostly joy.

"But really happy."

"How far along?"

"Nine days? Just found out this morning."

"Breena telling Abby?"

"Probably already has."

"No wonder you've been in such a good mood today." Yeah, they're prepping for a wedding, and that tends to result in happy people, but Jimmy's been in a really good mood.

"Yeah." Jimmy's grinning, and Tim hugged him again, just so happy to see a smile on his face that lights up his eyes again.

"When do you think you're telling everyone?"

"The earliest they can do the nuchal fold test is week ten day one, so, assuming everything is good, week ten, day one and a half. If not… It'll just be you guys and Ducky."

"Okay. Penny know?"

"She was there when we told him, so yes. Feels a little strange to get used to the idea of Ducky as half of a couple."

"You think that's weird, with the way this is going, he might literally be my grandfather at some point."


"Close enough."

"'Course these last few years he's pretty much been this hybrid grandfather/big brother/boss for me, so I'm kind of used to that."

Tim was nodding absently while he did a little math in his head. "New Year's baby?"

That got another grin. "December 24th actually."

"You and holiday babies."

"Says the guy whose daughter is due on the Fourth of July."

"Once is a fluke, two in a row, that's a pattern."

"Sure." Jimmy wrapped his arm around Tim's shoulders. "Come on, let's get back to the girls."

"Very good plan!"

Tim was dancing with Penny when she said to him, "So, your mom called me."

"Ah." He's been avoiding her. Not that it's too hard what with her living 2000 miles away. But usually he calls once a week and emails a few times, but since he had the flu he's been quiet.

"Seems she hasn't heard from you in a bit more than a month."

"That's likely true. I have sent a few I'm-busy-will-write-more-later emails."

"Yeah, she said that. She's worried. Afraid that becoming a dad is scaring you and you're drawing in on yourself." That's plausible. Given what she knows, that's really plausible, and a very in character way for him to react to something like that. It's just not true.

"What did you say to her?"

"That you're busy. Working hard, getting everything all set for your career change. She hadn't heard about that, so I filled her in on the impending switch to Cybercrime. I told her you were also helping to get a friend married, and no you aren't having a soon-to-be-dad panic attack."


Penny has a searching look on her face. "You aren't, are you?"

His answering look says Come on, you know me better than that. "The only dad issues I'm having these days don't relate to my ability to be a dad for Kelly. Not directly at least."

"Good. You're going to have to talk to her sooner or later."

"I know. Did you say anything to her about…"

Penny shook her head. "No. There are things I want to say to her, but you get first dibs."

"Thank you."

"You'll let me know when you talk to her?"

"Yeah. I will. Just, not right now. As Abby pointed out to me, I may be able to cry silently, but not invisibly, so my she-didn't-know rationalization fell apart, and I don't know what to do with that, and I don't want to talk to her until I've got a plan."

Penny smiles up at him. That's a very, very Tim way of handling something.

The song ended and he led her to the front porch, wanting to talk a little longer without everyone else right nearby. There was a comfortable porch swing, and it was unseasonably warm for early April, so it was quite pleasant out.

"Do you know why they got divorced? I mean, in specific, what the trigger was?" He sitting facing the porch, staring out at trees, a garden, and a gently sloping lawn.

Penny takes the other side of the swing, and sits facing him. "No. Just that your mom had had enough of it and was done. Might be that your grandfather finally got sick enough he wasn't attached to the rest of the world. It wasn't a secret he didn't think your dad was a good match for your mom, and he did all he could to convince her not to marry him, but he also believed that once you got married you stayed married, no matter what. He was pretty well gone when she filed the papers, right?"

Tim thought about that, rubbing his forehead. He didn't like thinking about his grandfather's last two years. The only good thing, if it could be called that, was that his Alzheimer's hit hard and fast. They didn't have decades of him slowly fading away. "Yeah. The Alzheimer's had gotten bad enough he didn't know who anyone was any more."

"If I had to guess, that's why it happened then. Even your grandmother and I were telling her it was time to get out, had been for years. No one was happy."

"Were they fighting, the way my Dad and I were?"

"If so, I didn't know about it. You lived with them, what do you remember?"

"Not that. But I was also a kid and pretty self-centered back then. I know she wasn't happy. But my sense was it had a lot more to do with being abandoned, left alone with two kids six to ten months a year."

"That was my sense, too. Your mom wanted a husband, not just a ring and a name." Tim nodded at that.

Abby poked her head out the door at them. "Can I join in?"

"Sure," Tim answered. She scooted into the space between Tim and Penny on the swing, her back resting against his side, his arm draping over her shoulders.

He kissed her neck. "Talking about my mom."

Abby nodded, expecting that was up when they wandered off.

"I was thinking about the Ketubah, a little, too. Liking that it's spelled out that your job is to stay at home with your wife."

"Sometimes you have to leave, Tim." Penny said.

Tim often forgets that for forty years Penny was a Navy wife, forgets that she built weapons, forgets that it was the fall out of that that made her the pacifist he's known his whole life. "I know. Sometimes you have to fight. Sometimes you have to kill. I'm a cop. I get it. You put your life between your home and danger because it keeps them safe. I really do get it. But I don't think he cared one way or another what Mom thought about it, and I'm certain he didn't care what I thought about it." He shook his head. "That's grim." He squeezed Abby's hand. "Did Breena get ahold of you?"

"Yes!" The grin on her face is bright and happy.

"So, what are your psychic vibes saying, boy or girl?"

She thought about it, holding his hand, her fingers playing along his. "Girl, but I'm not getting any strong feeling on it. How about you, Penny?"

"No psychic vibes for me, but I'm leaning girl, as well. Tim?"

"Little boy. He'll be named after his grandpa."

"Thomas? Ed?" Penny asks, which blindsides Tim. Off the top of his head, he doesn't know the name of Jimmy's dad. The fact that Penny pays enough attention to Ducky's pet people to know that sort of thing 
pleases him greatly.


All of the photos have been stolen from here


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