Monday, October 7, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 223

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

Chapter 223: Memorial Day Weekend

On Friday, after the meal, when they were all hanging out at Tony and Ziva's, Abby was sitting, straddling one of the kitchen chairs while Tim rubbed her back and hips.

Kelly's due in five weeks, so everything loosens up and hips and back hurt, but the fact that it's normal doesn't make it feel any better.

Jimmy was watching them while talking with Ziva, but when that bit of conversation wrapped, he looked at them and said, "You know, our gym has a pool. It opens tomorrow. We," he gestures to let the rest of the group know this is an invite for everyone, though Abby's the main reason he's thinking this, "could go tomorrow or Sunday or Monday if we don't get called in for a case."

It's Memorial Day weekend. They are on call for this one. Gibbs set it so they'd be off Fourth of July, thinking that it was likely his team would appreciate the off time. After Molly, it was pretty hard to get his guys to pay attention to the work at hand. So, assuming Kelly shows up on time, not having to worry about a case to go with new baby struck him as a good idea.

Okay, that's bull. He set it for him. He doesn't want to have to be worried about a case. Kelly shows up, and he wants to be able to take off and enjoy it. He's planning on being there more or less all the time the first week or so. More and more this is looking like Kelly's coming out by c-section, so an extra set of hands around the house will be a very good thing.

The fact that it works out well for the rest of the team is just a nice side-effect.

Neither Tim nor Abby appears to get why a pool would be a good thing. Tim's looking at Jimmy like he's insane because, while it's true he's got nothing against swimming, cold and wet is still awfully low on his list of fun activities. Abby's thinking about how little she wants to try and get into a bathing suit, let alone waddle around almost naked with everyone looking at her.

Jimmy sees their confusion and he looks at Breena, shaking his head, flashing her a look that says, Amateurs. She grins back at him, veteran parents sharing a kind laugh at the newbies.

Jimmy scooted over to kneel in front of Abby. "Abby, in a pool you're weightless. Nothing hurts in a pool. And it's cool. No more hot flash."

"Oh." And the light dawns on Abby and with it a smile of delight spread across her face.

"Yeah, I would have lived in the indoor pool the last six weeks with Molly if I could have. Feels so good you don't care how you look. Trust me, pool this weekend is a good idea."

"Then take me to the pool!"

Tony and Ziva were in. Pool sounded great to them. Ducky and Penny decided no on the pool, but did offer to make dinner for everyone and have them over that night. Gibbs didn't say anything one way or the other.

'Course, these days, Gibbs isn't talking a whole lot. At least, if he can avoid it. It's been a pretty intense six weeks for him. But as things slide back into a new version of normal, the loss of his dad keeps creeping back to the front of his mind. He's functional but sad. And they get that. If anyone gets that, it's this group.

But before heading off, Tim pulled him into Tony and Ziva's kitchen.

"Come with us on Monday."

He did that half-shrug, don't want to commit to anything gesture.

"Sunshine and playing with your girls is good for you. You're spending plenty of time in your basement, time to get in the light for a little bit, an hour, two if you can take it. If you want, you can call it bootcamp and make Jimmy and I swim laps, but come with us. Splash with the girls, snuggle Molly, lay out and suck up some vitamin D. It'll help."

Gibbs sighs. "Fine."


"You're both doing laps."

"Of course."

It's cold. Really freaking cold. Back when he was a kid, Tim used to listen to Bill Cosby stand up recordings, and one of the stories he told was about jumping in a lake with water that was like 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and getting into the outdoor pool at Jimmy's gym is reminding him very strongly of that story.

Of course, the rest of the crew seems to be liking it.

And Abby… she's ecstatic. She's been running hot for a while now, and apparently being dropped into a vat of what is basically liquid snow is making her really happy.

"I love the pool! The pool is awesome! You can take me out again when labor starts! I'm not moving 'til then."

That makes Tim laugh. "You want us to get a pool membership?"

"Yes!" she says, ecstatic at the idea.

He smiles and nods at that.

Officially, Breena's not pregnant yet. Though everyone in this group has figured out that she is, but those who haven't been officially told are doing a good job of pretending to have not noticed. Nuchal Fold test is 4th of June. But while the others are playing in the pool, she's lying on a lounge. Looks like she might be napping, but Tim's thinking she might not be. There's a bit too much tension in her face for napping.

Like with Molly and Jon, the Morning Sickness Fairy has come to visit, and is hammering her, hard.

He kissed Abby's ear and said, "I'm gonna check on Breena. I don't think she's feeling well. Offer her a ride home if she wants to go."

Abby nodded at that and smiled, also knowing that Tim's looking for an excuse to get out of the water. Just because she feels like her body's running at 101 all the time doesn't mean he finds being stuck in cold water particularly comfortable.

He headed to the lounge next to Breena and started drying off. "How are you doing?"

She opened her eyes to look at him. "Blech."

"Sorry to hear it. You want me to give you a lift home?"

"Won't be any better at home. The meds I'm on keep me from throwing up, but it doesn't make the nausea go away."

He nodded at that and sat on the edge of her lounge chair. "Give me your wrist."

"Tim?" she asked, rolling onto her side to face him.

Not having a good time, at all.
"The summer Ziva was in Israel, Tony took some off time, so it was just me and Gibbs, and we got called onto a case on the Regan, for a week, in heavy seas. I get sea sick. I get really sea sick. Lost eight pounds over the course of that week." He took her hand in his, eyeballed the size of her fingers, and found the spot on her wrist he was looking for, pressing his thumb gently into it. "Trust me, by the end of that week, I knew every nausea remedy on earth. Most of them don't work, but this one was… better than nothing."

"How does it work?" Breena asked, looking at her wrist in his hand.

"Three fingers down, inside of your wrist, between the tendons, gentle pressure until you feel better. There are a bunch of them, and if you want, I'll show them to you, but this is the easiest one to hit."

"And what does better than nothing mean?"

"Let me get a few hours of sleep every night."

"Better than nothing."

"Yeah. The medic tried to give me some anti-nausea meds, but I had to swallow them and keep 'em down. Didn't work."

"The stuff I'm on is a tablet that dissolves on the tongue. That's pretty nice. And I'm not getting dehydrated, so that's good too, but I still feel awful."

He held the point on her wrist, talking about the other ones, sympathizing, a little, over how awful being nauseous all the time is. After a minute, that conversation wore down.

"Can I ask you something?" Tim said to Breena.


He took a deep breath, not entirely sure if he wanted to do this, but… he didn't know the answer, and it was niggling at him, not the sort of thing he thought about a lot, especially not these last few weeks, but sometimes it would just sort of creep into his mind, like right now as he's sitting next to her holding her wrist, and he felt like he could get a better handle on this if he did get the answer, so…

"Abby tells me you and her talk about the four of us having sex."

Breena dressed for the pool.
That got a bright, happy smile out of her. Apparently Breena liked talking about sex, because it looked like this was perking her up. "Yep."

Tim had a quick and firm mental discussion with his dick about how it was not going to notice this conversation or the fact that Breena's in a bikini, and it was really not going to notice the fact that she's smiling at the idea of having sex with him or that he's touching her, because he's wearing nothing but wet swim trunks and sunglasses, and if there's an outfit that does a worse job of concealing an erection, he doesn't know what it'd be.

He wasn't entirely sure if his dick was paying attention to him or not, but it didn't feel like it was getting past the first flush of thinking about getting hard, so that was okay.

"I understand why Abby and I have talked about it. She made it clear very early on that as long as we were both happy and comfortable that anything was on the table. It just had to be fair and both of us had to be part of it. As long as I was cool with another guy, she'd be cool with another girl. And we're both jealous enough, and I'm way more than straight enough that we knew it'd likely never happen. But we had that conversation, probably, given some of the stuff we like, needed to have it. What I don't get is how you and Jimmy got there."

She had a knowing smile on her face. "You mean, how did I go from 'no sex with anyone who isn't my husband' to 'hey, maybe our best friends would be fun, too'?"

"Um… yeah."

"I was fourteen and had a boyfriend I was completely in love with. Loved everything about him. Head to toes. One of the other girls in our class liked him, too, started a rumor that I'd been fooling around on him, and I saw how pissed he got. He beat the hell out of the guy I'd supposedly been fooling around with. Sheer luck, Doug, the other guy, didn't press charges."

Tim winced, but kept quiet, letting her keep telling the story.

"But I realized there was power in the idea of MINE. So I watched, and paid attention, and every guy I've met has had a MINE kick. Stronger in some guys, weaker in others, and I decided that there was something I could give my future husband, an act of love that'd rock his world. And I also knew that a guy who would respect me enough to move at my speed, a guy who would put his desire for sex on the shelf long enough to get to know me and make me his wife, a man who would fall in love with me, and not my body, was a man worthy of me. And a man who wouldn't pressure me, wouldn't belittle me, wouldn't try to make me feel bad for wanting to wait, was a man worthy to raise my daughters and the kind of man I'd want my sons to become." She was smiling at that, watching Jimmy, who was gently tossing Molly to Gibbs in the pool. They were all soaked, and Molly was shrieking with laughter.

Her eyes slid away from Molly, Gibbs, and Jimmy, back to Tim. "But it was never a sex is bad or icky or sinful and somehow marriage suddenly wipes it clean and makes it pure kind of thing." She sorted at that, derisive look on her face. "That's the stereotype, right? Frigid Christian virgin afraid to get dirty?"

She was looking at Tim like she expected an answer, so he nodded. More signaling keep talking than I agree with that.

"That's not me. Never was. Sure, I'm Christian, and I believe that we're all sinners, all the time, in all things. That's our nature, and through Christ's grace we are able to experience love and joy and peace. And what we do, whatever it may be, if it's an act of love, then it's okay. It's blessed by God because without Him we wouldn't be able to feel that love, because all love is a reflection of Him. Because love is how we know Him.

"And for the four of us, love isn't the problem. We've got love. Best I can see, the sticking point for the four of us is the whole MINE thing. Namely you and Jimmy have a somewhat different interpretation of how that works than Abby and I do.

"But, from what I can tell, Abby isn't any less yours because she's had sex with lots of other guys. Ziva isn't any less Tony's."

Tim nodded; he agreed with that.

"Because it's not sex that makes someone yours." And now he wasn't agreeing quite so much, but he was listening. "Because sex may be an act of love, but it's not love. And love isn't something that goes away. It doesn't break into pieces. You don't have less of it to give because you love someone else. You won't love Abby less when Kelly's born, you'll love her more, and you'll love Kelly more than you think you can possibly love anyone, and it all sort of wraps up into itself and makes both loves stronger and brighter."

Okay, that sounded good, too, he was nodding away.

"You don't love Abby less because you love Jimmy. You don't love Jimmy less because you love me or Tony or Ziva.

"And I've gotten to the point in my life where MINE when it comes to Jimmy isn't about sex. Not really. It's about love and trust and the life we've built and our home and family. And you and Abby don't threaten that. You're part of it. He wants to go off on his own and pick up some random 22-year-old with perky breasts and twenty-five inch waist…" Breena's eyes left his, and he knew she's looking at all of the pretty, young things in tiny bikinis wandering around the pool. "And I'll be pissed, big time, because that would be a violation of that trust and love." Her gaze returned to him, then flicked over to the water where Jimmy and Abby were playing with Molly, while Gibbs talked with Ziva, and Tony was about to leap in, cannonballing next to them. "But you and Abby? You held us when we mourned our son, carried us when the pain was too great to walk, and if there's any greater act of love than that, I don't know what it would be." She blinked, wiped away the tears, steadied her voice, and touched his fingers on her wrist. "Even that's about love and comforting each other. Anyway. If that love is ever expressed as sex, well, yeah, I'd like that." She smiled warm and a little flirty at Tim. "And I know you would, too."

He was about to speak when she gestured with her finger to let him know she wasn't quite done.

"I realize that all the love stuff may just be bull. I might be rationalizing this. Might just be horny. Might be curious. You three all tried other people, got to see what it was like. I haven't. But I do know this, I love Jimmy, body, soul, mind, any way you can love a man, I love him, and I'm never, ever going to do anything that hurts him. So, if he's not completely into this, too, then it's never going to happen. I love you and Abby, too, and I won't do anything to hurt you, either.

"So maybe this will stay a fantasy. Maybe it'll never go further than Abby and I dancing together slow and close to make you and Jimmy stare at us like you want to eat us alive. Maybe for the rest of our days we'll be dear friends who flirt a little too hard, hug each other a few seconds too long, dance a little too close, but we laugh and enjoy it, because it makes us feel sexy and good.

"And if that's all this ever is, that's fine! It's more than fine." She took his hand in hers and squeezed it. "I never thought I'd have friends like you and Abby. But I do think it's better that we're open about wanting each other, and choose, eyes open, to either explore that further or not, rather than pretend it's not there." She let go of him, and went back to watching the rest of the family playing.

"More than a year ago, Abby and I were dancing, and Ziva asked if the four of us were sleeping together, and that got me thinking about it. Jimmy's loved her forever. I liked you. She wanted us. You're hot for me. And I thought about how that could go. Secret fantasies, jealousy, Abby and I annoyed at each other, thinking we're trying to seduce each other's husbands. Thinking of you while sleeping with him. Jimmy wondering where my mind goes when we're together. More jealousy. Infidelity. Anger."

She turned back to Tim, who was staring at her intently, amazed at how much thought she's put into this.

"And I didn't want that. That's not love. That's poison. So, when we got home that night, I told him a story about the four of us at the club, and it was melt-your-brain-hot! Turned out he really liked the idea of it. And then it was a game. And we were okay. Because thinking about you and him and me and Abby together doesn't mean I love him any less.
The smile that makes everything
seem all right.

"I talked to Abby the next morning. And instead of the usual story of suspicion and anger, I flat out said to her, 'It'll probably never happen, but I would like to sleep with you and Tim and Jimmy. I'm sure he's got tricks Jimmy's never dreamed of, and you've never been kissed until you've been kissed by Jimmy Palmer. The things that man can do with his tongue!'

"And she just smiled at me, you know that smile, the one that makes everything seem good and happy, and then hugged me, and said, 'I don't think the guys'll ever go for it, but if they do, oh yeah! We are so on for that!'

"I don't know, but somehow that seems a lot healthier than constantly watching each other, snide remarks, lack of trust, and worrying that something is going to happen. I know what page she's on. She knows where I am. You're rubbing my wrist, and she's seen it, and she's not bothered or worried, because she knows what's going on. We can both sit here, with you guys, flirt a little, mess around a little, and it's not a problem, because nothing is ever going to happen without all four of us agreeing and wholeheartedly jumping into it."

First time he showed us pictures of you.
Tim waited another second, making sure she was done, then kissed her cheek. "I love you. You and Abby are the most beautiful women on earth. And Jimmy and I are insanely lucky to have you in our lives. And yeah, for me, love and sex and MINE are all sort of tangled together, and I really like the idea of what you're saying, but I don't know if I'll ever feel that way. And, look, completely honest, I've been fantasizing about you since the first time Jimmy showed us a picture of you. If you ever want to sleep with me and Abby, there's always room in our bed for you." He flashes her his sexy smile and very intentionally lets his eyes drag down her body before sliding them back up to meet hers. "And you're right, I've got tricks he's never dreamed of, and Abby and I would make you feel so good!"

Breena giggled at that.

"But she's MY wife. And Jimmy's the sticking point."

"He feels the same way about me and you."

"Of course."

"You guys should probably talk to each other about this."

Tim ran his fingers through his hair and sighed, looking over at Jimmy who is now splashing Tony with Molly's help while Abby and Ziva laugh at them. Talking to Jimmy about this meant walking into pretty dangerous territory that he'd rather stay away from right now, but, yeah, it'd have to happen sooner or later, so he answers, "Get enough alcohol into us, and maybe we will. Anyway… maybe one day I'll be able to get over that enough for both of you to come join us. I mean, when she was first pregnant he was joking about sleeping with her, and I wanted to hit him, because she's MINE and he didn't even have the right to joke about it. And I don't feel that now, at least not in regards to him. Some asshole was eyeballing her the other day, and I could feel my pulse in my ears while he was doing it…" Tim took a breath, he sounded pissed as he was talking about it. "Okay, off topic…"

Breena laughed at little, giving him a knowing look. "Or not so much."

"Or not so much." He shook his head and switched from holding the pressure point on her right wrist to her left. "But yeah, right now, MINE is attached to sex, really attached to sex, attached to sex the same way I'm attached to my arms. And, like you noticed, that does seem to be a guy thing, and I'm not going to stop being a guy at any point in the future. And I really doubt Jimmy's gonna stop being a guy. So I guess the question for me is, can Jimmy and I get from MINE to ours? Can we share you with each other? I mean, I can guarantee there is absolutely no shot at all of me ever being cool with anyone other than Jimmy, and there's probably better than even odds I'll never be cool with him, either. But, there's still the idea, I guess… Can you be ours, can Abby be ours, and can I even wrap my head around ours?"

"I don't know."

"I don't either. But I'm thinking about it. Because you're right, the idea is melt-your-brains hot."

That got a very sexy grin out of Breena. "Good. He is, too."

Tim looked at her wrist in his hand, deciding now is probably a good time to change the topic. "So, is this helping, at all?"

"Tiny bit." Breena smiled, understanding he was changing the topic, letting himself have time to think. "The conversation's good. It's keeping me distracted."

"Yeah, I didn't find it very useful when I was on the Regan."

"Better than nothing."

"That's true. And you at least feel like you're doing something."

"Yep. So show me the other points."

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