Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 235

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

Chapter 235:

Tim is never, ever going to curse the guy going fifteen miles an hour under the limit out again. Okay, not like he ever walked up to the guy and said anything, but he often had some pretty choice words floating through his mind.

But not anymore.

No, if he’s stuck behind a car creeping along, dodging pot hole, with a white-knuckled guy at the wheel, he’s going to assume there’s some insanely precious cargo in that car, like, say, a two-day-old-infant, and maybe a woman who just gave birth to said two-day-old-infant.

Honestly, he’s actually more nervous about Abby in the car than Kelly. The huge stack of regulations for taking care of your just-had-a-baby wife included no driving for two weeks, which struck him as weird, so he asked about it, and well, yeah, apparently Kelly’s in a tiny seat designed to keep her in place and protected if anything happens, but Abby’s insides are currently being held in by slowly dissolving stitches and a car accident right now would be a really bad idea.

He’s also nervous about the fact that this is a new car. Okay, not brand new, he’s had it for a month. But he had the Porsche for almost a decade, and he could drive that in his sleep. His body knew how it moved, understood it’s idiosyncrasies. He was one with that car when driving it.

New baby-friendly car.
The Highlander is big, way too damn big, and compared to the Porsche really unresponsive, and he’s just nervous about it because he doesn’t have a good feel for what precisely is going to happen when he presses his foot down on the gas or break or exactly what sort of lag he’s going to get between beginning to turn the wheel and the car actually moving.

So, to say that he is driving carefully, bordering on paranoid, is not in any way, shape, or form an exaggeration.

They’d gotten the car seat that supposedly fits all ages, and Kelly looks ridiculously tiny in it. He’d also, finally, gotten a good, tight swaddle on her, just to realize that the little strap goes between her legs, so that she can’t be swaddled in there

I do not like this!
So, to add to the general fun of trying to get home with a new baby in the car and a healing wife, he’s also got this small person who is complaining, loudly, about the fact that she’s got no motor control and these weird things that are attached to her keep flapping around and she finds it just really unnerving and would very much like it to stop, please.

They finally got home. Only took him forty-five minutes to drive three miles.

Gibbs had an awfully smug smile on his face when they pulled in.

When they got home, Gibbs snagged the prescriptions and headed off to fill them, giving them a while at home, alone, just the three of them.

Abby had found the little nest on the sofa that Jimmy had made for her, and crashed into it. Right now if she’s not actively talking to you (and sometimes when she is), she falls asleep. (Jimmy says that’s the pain meds.) Which left Tim, holding Kelly, standing in his home, not entirely sure what to do next.

But, after a minute, when it occurred to him that Kelly appeared to be asleep too, that there was something he wanted to do, and hadn’t been able to really do comfortably because of the lay out at the hospital.

But he could here.

So he sat next to Abby, snuggled in close to her, (carefully, she’s still awfully sore) and held both of his girls in his arms.

And a minute into that, feel asleep, too.

Half an hour later, when Kelly decided it was meal time, he was able to sit behind Abby, support her body with his, really be there with her for this.

They weren't that big the day before yesterday.
Comments with Jimmy about nursing breasts aside, it’s not erotic.

Might be eventually. Like if his libido ever kicks back in again. Right now, it just feels unplugged. Best he can tell, he hasn’t thought about sex, at all, since the morning before Kelly was born, and that’s got to a record for him. And he does have to admit the fact that each of Abby’s breasts are bigger than Kelly’s head and that even with her mouth wide open she’s still not getting much more than just the nipple blows his mind, but not in any sort of a ohhh sexy sort of way.

Mostly just in a Wow, that changed fast sort of way. With a side of gosh, that can’t be comfortable.

So, there’s no sense of titillation at watching this, being part of it.

But there is a soul-deep sense of primal satisfaction at his. His woman, his child, both of them wrapped in his arms. He’s ready to go off and kill the saber-toothed tigers that may threaten them, and return with food to keep them strong and healthy.

Or since the saber-toothed tigers are extinct and the fridge and pantry are already full of food, he can sit here with them, his chin on Abby’s shoulder, his arms under hers, helping to keep Kelly’s weight off her abdomen.

He kisses Abby’s neck, pets Kelly’s cheek.

Like before, he finds himself wanting better, stronger, more powerful words than I love you, but right now, especially with as tired as he is, he doesn’t have them.

“I love you.”

Abby nods, resting her head against his.

It feels like sleepwalking. Probably. She’s never actually sleep walked, slept walked?, no matter, whatever it is, she’s never actually done it before, but if she were to assume what it’s like, it’s like right now.

Time’s gone. Just vanished. It gallops by in two hour runs that take up only seconds when she’s asleep. It drags out into day long minutes of hyper-aware, nervous worry when she’s awake. And then slides away again when Kelly’s at her breast or she’s trying to listen to something but her eye slide shut and she’s asleep again.

Abby’s honestly not sure what day it is, let alone time. Daytime, probably, she can hear rain and it’s pretty gray behind the artificial light of their living room, so it could also be evening or morning but probably not the middle of the night.

The only solid thing in her life right now is pain. That’s always there. Stronger sometimes, weaker others, but always there, waiting for her to laugh or cough or try to lay on her side or get up or something. Sometimes, for a minute, when she’s sleeping, it feels like it slips away, but that’s a lie, it’s just hiding, waiting for her to get comfortable, so it can jump out and pounce on her like a cat playing with a wounded mouse.

But the cat does that because it doesn’t want to get hurt. It has to make sure the mouse is too far gone to really fight when it takes a bite, otherwise it might get bit in return and end up with a nasty infection that kills it.

The pain’s just doing it for kicks and giggles.

It likes seeing her almost relax and then jump back out again, reminding her she’s not whole. It enjoys rubbing her nose in the fact that she’s wounded, damaged, broken, ripped shreds of a pulp of the woman she used to be.

Her breasts ache. They hurt as they get full when she needs to feed Kelly. Then they feel like streaming fire when her milk lets down. Her nipples scream when she nurses. The lactation consultant said Kelly was doing it right, she had a good latch, but that ‘it could be a little uncomfortable at first’ while her nipples toughened up.

Supposedly it’ll get better.

The doctor says the incision is healing up nicely. Supposedly that’ll get better, too.

But she doesn’t see how it can. Life’s stuck in this blurry, eternal gray now. Kelly was born seventeen years ago, or maybe two days, she doesn’t really know. She jerked a little, aware of the fact that she’d fallen asleep in Tim’s arms, while nursing Kelly, and she can’t do that.

Yeah, this time he was there, so Kelly didn’t get dropped, but she can’t sleep, she could have dropped her, could have broken her, so she can’t sleep, if she sleeps then something bad could happen.

Gibbs loomed up out of somewhere, asking what she wants for lunch, and she just doesn’t care, at all. Now that Tim’s holding Kelly (he was behind her a second ago, but now he’s not, now he’s standing in the middle of the room next to Gibbs, holding Kelly. God, did she drop Kelly? Did he have to pick her up?) safely out of her reach, she can sleep.

She’s half aware of Tim petting her head, saying something about setting some food out, as she slipped out of awake back into sleep.

Tim looked back up at Jethro.  “I think the pain killers are really knocking her out.”

“What’s she on?”

“Toradol in the hospital, and I think you got Percocet for her.”

They headed into the kitchen. Tim offered Kelly to Gibbs, but he shook his head, signaling, you cuddle the baby, let me learn my way around your kitchen and make you two some food. Tim nodded at that.

“You want some coffee?”

“Yeah. There’s some old stuff with caffeine in it in there, do it a third caff two thirds no caff, I’m thinking I’m going to need some help with the new sleep schedule.”

Gibbs smiles at that, finds the coffee bags and sets up the machines. Then he takes out his phone and adds a note.

“What’s that?”

“Reminder to get you some real coffee.”


“Got cold cuts. Club sandwich?”

“Sounds good.”

“Thinking I’d make some burgers for dinner.”

Tim nodded, noticing that Kelly seemed pretty droopy. “Think she’s almost asleep. I’m going to put her in the crib.”

Gibbs smiled at that. “Good luck.”

He got up the stairs, got her very gently laid onto the crib, and got almost all of the way back out of the nursery before the fussing began.

So, three minutes later, he was back in the kitchen with Kelly, and the little bouncy-seat snoozing thing they had. He set that on the table, put her in it, and she decided to conk out.

“Don’t think she likes the quiet.”

Gibbs looks up from slicing a tomato, his amused expression on his face.


“Works better if you leave her in there more than thirty seconds. They usually fuss a little before falling asleep.”

Tim shrugged. “Want Abby to sleep, and she doesn’t sleep if Kelly’s fussing…”

Gibbs nodded at that, too. “Yeah.”

Tim crosses to the dining room door, looking in on Abby in the living room. She’s sleeping, but doesn’t look peaceful, at all. He wants to go kiss her, pet her some, but he’s afraid he’ll wake her up, so he heads back into the kitchen.

He tilts his head toward where Abby is. “This is normal, right?”

Gibbs shrugged. “Back when I did this, they didn’t let Shannon out of bed for three days. Didn’t go home for a week. Kelly did bottle feeds every other feed for the first three days so she could get more rest.”

“Might have to try that. She looks so tired.”

“What’d Jimmy say?”

“That this is normal.”

Gibbs sent him a then relax about it look, and handed him a plate with a club sandwich on it. Tim took it to the sofa and put it on the little table next to Abby. He’s thinking that if she doesn’t wake up on her own before Kelly’s next meal, he’ll feed her himself, and let her get six straight hours of sleep. She needs it.

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