Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 253

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

Chapter 253: No Shame

One more errand before he takes Kelly home. Quick one.

They don’t have any birth control in the house, and while it’s true they haven’t specifically talked about trying for another baby, if or when, or if Abby’s going to want to go back on Depo or something similar, Tim’s thinking that they will, sooner or later, want to have the kind of sex that can result in babies again, and having something on hand would be a good idea for that.

Because, while it’s true that dealing with two back to back babies ten months apart does not bother him, he’s also thinking that likely wouldn’t be a good thing for Abby.

So, en route home, he and Kelly are stopping off at Target to pick up about ten more pacifiers (That being his official errand. What the hell happens to those things? He could swear they had them in every single room, located on most of the horizontal surfaces, but as soon as Kelly wants one, they all vanish. They’ve lost so many of them at this point he’s almost tempted to start thinking that Tony’s gas lighting him.) and a box of condoms.

He knows where the pacifiers are. No problem on that. Feet head on automatic to the baby section, he grabs pretty much all of the ones in the style that Kelly likes, tucks them into the little storage area under the stroller and off they go…

Targets are really big. Somehow that hadn’t occurred to him, because in general, he knows where what he wants is. But right now he doesn’t know, and Kelly’s getting restless, and he’d like to do this fast, sooo…

Probably near the pharmacy. That’d be a logical place for condoms. So he heads in that direction and spends five minutes wandering around the aisles, finally locating them.

They either don’t sell or don’t make the kind he likes anymore. He thinks for a minute and comes to the conclusion that since it’s July that it’s probably been two and a half years since he’s bought condoms. So don’t make any more is more likely than they just don’t have them.


This isn’t the sort of thing he ever enjoyed shopping for in person. There’s a reason the internet exists and buying things like condoms and porn is the number one reason.

And Kelly, who’s been up since they headed in, decided this was the moment to go from restless to fussing.

So, he’s standing there, fussy baby in his arms, patting her back and humming, trying to figure out which of the nineteen different versions of Trojans are most like the ones he used to get, idly wondering if this is what they’d call situational irony, or just a commercial for why you buy the damn things in the first place.

Finally, like he did when he and Abby got together the second time, he decided that standing there dithering about it was a waste of time, grabbed the variety pack, which would be good enough for the short term, and eventually he and Abby would have a chat about what they’re actually going to do about this.

If he thought having a woman behind him in line call him a babysitter was irksome, standing in line with a collection of three teen and tween girls, all cooing over how cuuuute! and tiiiinnny! his baby is while he’s buying ten pacifiers and a six pack of condoms was a boat load of fun.

Obviously, if you’ve got your three-week-old baby on your shoulder, sucking away on her pacifier, watching said teen/tween girls intently, you’ve had sex at least once in the last year.

But, still… He has the sense that most people (especially of the teen/tween girl variety) don’t look at babies, and then look at their parents, and think, Gosh, you had sex. Even very visibly married parents, like Tim (though it occurs to him that most people can’t read all the marks on him that indicate married, but the wedding ring isn’t exactly subtle, and just about everyone in America knows how to read that mark), probably do not inspire the idea of, I bet there has been and will be lots of sex.

He inches forward in the line, gets to the cashier, so he’s got to actually load the stuff he’s buying on the belt, which, because he had what he’s thinking are an eleven, twelve, and fourteen year old girls all riveted by Kelly, paying intense attention to him, he’s been keeping under the stroller and out of sight.

He has never, ever, in the entire almost thirty-eight years he’s been alive, felt more tempted to shoplift than he does now. But he knows that if he just puts the pacifiers on the belt and attempts to walk out of the Target without paying for the condoms, that there will be one of those stupid trackers in his box, and explaining to Gibbs why he needs to get bailed out of jail will not be fun.

So he grabs the pacifiers, (takes four handfuls, after all, he’s still holding Kelly) and then puts the condoms on the belt next to them.

He sees all three of the girls notice the pacifiers, not really looking twice at them, then notice what else he’s got, and three sets of eyes go very, very wide.

He shrugged a little as all three of them suddenly stopped talking and just stared.

No shame.  He stared them all in the eye and said, “Want her to be an only child for at least a little while longer.”

They nodded and broke into hysterical giggles.

He laughed a little, too, and then said hello to the cashier and swiped his card.

He got home a few minutes later, a very hungry and fussy Kelly indicating that she really would have appreciated not stopping en route home, and that if there was not a breast in her mouth in the next two seconds she was going to go nuclear.

Fortunately, for both Kelly and him, Abby was awake, downstairs, and from the looks of it, eagerly anticipating letting off some of the pressure of milk build up.

So, before he’d even gotten the bag put down, or shoes kicked off, Kelly was in Abby’s arms, rooting away, looking for a nipple, and then as Abby got her breast out, was one very happy little girl. And Abby was looking a lot happier once Kelly was on her breast, too.

“Test run long?” she asked as he got his shoes put away.

“Not too bad." He answered, heading into the living room, putting the bag on the coffee table, and sitting down next to her. "Jarvis sends his congratulations and wants you to know she’s the prettiest little girl ever.”

“Jarvis was there?”

“He was Leon’s ten o’clock.”


“He also wants to see how this goes, and wants a write up from me, once it’s done, about the feasibility of doing it Navy-wide.”

Abby looked pleased at that. “Like a cyber-war-game?”

“Yeah. But when they war game everyone knows it’s a game. They’re all on red alert and ready to go. This would see what happens when they’re sleeping.”

“Sounds good.”

“Yeah. It’ll be interesting.” He thinks about that for a second, then makes a frustrated sound.

“What?” Abby asks.

“We do this Navy-wide, I’ll be the tech geek whipping out a surprise test on my Dad’s men.”

“Oh.” There’s concern on her face. She can feel why that’d be an issue for him. “Is that a good thing?”

Tim shrugs. He's honestly not sure. “Depend on if I’ve got to do it face to face. Depend on if his guys pass. I mean, this is a good plan. I like…  okay, I don’t like what I’m finding out, but I need to know it. And that’s got to be true on a larger level, as well.”

“What are you finding out?”

He filled her in on the test, the complete and utter lack of any teamwork down in Cybercrime, and the fact that, while he was tracking it, no one figured out what had happened. Though talking about that reminded him that he needed to get his computer up and monitoring what was going on down there. He headed off to do that. A few minutes later, he was out of his office again, shaking his head, (Eight of twelve moles were back doing exactly what they’d been doing before. Four were trying to figure out what had happened. At this point he still wasn’t sure any of them knew anyone else had been hacked.) and sitting next to her.

“I mean, look, I’ve hacked their feeds. I’ve got spyware on all of their computers right now. I’ve hacked the security camera feed, and at least as of right now, none of them have noticed.”

“Not good at all.”

“No!” He’s shaking his head. “And they’re the guys who are supposed to be protecting the rest of NCIS from attacks like this. On the upside, I’ve got a very clear To-Do list for my first few months as Boss, and seeing how well they did, Vance was looking awfully convinced I was the right guy for the job.

“Hell, he’s looking so convinced, I’m thinking Jenner might be getting some not so subtle hints about how speeding up that job hunt might be in order.”


“For Jenner.”

She nods at that.

“How about you? Good couple of hours?”

“Slept. That felt really good. You’re off doing that, and I’m… missing my brain. I had one. I clearly remember that I had one. But right now, I don’t want to do anything more complicated than make dinner, and honestly, by make dinner, I mean order it takeout.”

He smiled gently and stroked her neck, snuggling into her. “I don’t need as much rest as you do right now. It’s not my body feeding her. I’m not healing up from having her. I’m rested enough I’ve got a few spare brain cells to rub together. Though, only a few. You’ll appreciate this. I get ready to head up, and Gibbs comes up, too, which surprised me, but he’s read in, so no biggie. He remembered the one thing I’d forgotten, namely someone needed to take care of Kelly while I was doing this, which had, somehow, completely slipped my mind.”

That did get a little chuckle out of Abby.     

“Yeah, running the show would have been a bit tricky with her in my arms.”

“Vance has held a baby before.”

“And if Gibbs hadn’t come up, that might have been how it worked out. Oh, imagine this, Vance, Gibbs, and Jarvis, all cooing over Kelly, Gibbs is holding her, and they’re commiserating, with me, over being new Dads.”


“Yeah. Jarvis and Vance were teasing each other about being grandfathers.”

“Not anytime soon, I hope.”

“I don’t think so. Jarvis’ daughter is sixteen, and Kayla’s…”

“Fourteen right now.”

“Okay. It was a really surreal morning. Oh. Draga’s got a son.”

“Ziva mentioned that on Friday.”


“Yeah.” She’s looking at him like she can’t believe he didn’t already know that.

“Speaking of only a few brain cells to rub together. How’d I miss that?”

“I have no idea. We were sitting at the table, eating, talking, and she mentioned it. Apparently there was some sort of messy break up and the custody battle is still going on, made more complicated by the fact that they were never married.”

He looks stupefied. “I completely missed that.”

“Okay, I’m feeling a little better about not being all there.”

“Now I’m getting worried about that test. God, I hope it really did what I said it did.”

“It did.”

“How can you be that sure?”

“Computers means playing to your strengths. Paying attention to second-hand stories about strangers, not so much.”

“I’m a cop; that’s supposed to be one of my strengths, too.”

“Not that tired with two glasses of wine in you.”

“Okay, good point.” He leans back against the sofa, watching Kelly nursing away, his left arm around Abby’s shoulder, right hand stroking Kelly’s cheek.

“What’d you get?” Abby asked after a minute, nudging the bag on their coffee table with her foot.

“Every pacifier in the store, and a box of condoms.”

That got a smile out of Abby. “Feeling hopeful?”

“Feeling like we haven’t talked about this, so having some sort of birth control kicking around the house might not be a bad idea.”

She nodded then detached Kelly. “Come on, baby, time to burp and switch sides.” A bit of patting, a very loud belch, and some rearranging, and Kelly was once again happily sucking away.

“That’s getting a lot smoother,” Tim said.

“Yeah, we’re getting a pretty set pattern down. So, besides hoping to have sex again at some point, what are you thinking?”


“Condoms. Probably means you aren’t thinking another kid right away.”

He kissed Abby. “Baby, that’s up to you. Yeah, I want more than one, but… I’ve got the easy job.”

Abby’s watching Kelly, feeling her nursing away, Tim snuggled in close, and right this second tons of babies sounds like a brilliant plan. Lots and lots and lots of them. Like, cursing at herself about not jumping Tim seven years ago and starting back then.

Jokes about not having enough brain cells to rub two together aside, she is aware that this could possibly be a side effect of the massive waves of hormones and oxytocin washing through her system right now.   

Or it might just be that holding this perfect, tiny person they made together, feeling her whole body snuggled in close to her, knowing she’s a mixture of the two of them with almost infinite possibilities ahead of her, just feels really good, and she’d like to feel it for more tiny people, too.

And while she’s liking the idea of lots of babies, she’s also very aware of not feeling any desire to get pregnant again right this second. (Hell, beyond on an academic level, she’s not feeling any interest in sex, either.) She’d like the time to enjoy this, just one baby, nursing, getting used to this being a mom thing.

But… and there’s always a but… But she’s forty-two. And every month nursing is another month of decreased fertility. And yeah, jokes about Irish twins and all, and she does know that decreased fertility is not the same thing as no eggs at all, but if they want to have more than two, and really, this late, even two is iffy, they need to get on it fast.

Fast enough to make stopping nursing worth it?

Eh… right now, in the middle of the day, when everyone is awake and content, and she’s got a happy little girl gently sucking away, this is really nice. Tonight, when all she wants to do is sleep and Tim’s bringing Kelly in, yet again, maybe not so much. Because if she stopped nursing all together, they could fully alternate nights.

God, that’d hurt so much. Tim was, maybe, four minutes late on getting Kelly home, and her breasts were already starting to ache. She doesn’t even want to think too hard about how much going cold turkey would hurt.

Okay, not stopping nursing.

“You all right?” Tim asks. “She bite you or something?”

“Huh?” Abby looks up from Kelly to him.

“You were wincing.”

“Just thinking about the logistics of another baby. Thinking about stopping nursing and how, well, ouch! that would be.”

“Oh.”  Tim’s looking pretty concerned and kind of nervous, like he wants to say something but isn’t sure if he should.

“What are you thinking?”

“Not sure I should say.”

“They’ll be your babies, too.”

“Yeah, but it’s not me getting pregnant or nursing.”

“True enough. Say it anyway, you look worried.”

“I want to have babies with you. I do want more than one. I’ll admit, I love you pregnant, and I can’t wait to meet Kelly’s little brother, and I’d love it if he looks as much like you as Kelly does. But… I don’t know if having them right on top of each other is good for you. And… I want Kelly to be able to nurse as long as she can… And if giving you more time to heal up and get back to normal before doing this again means we don’t have any more biological children, then, we don’t. Doesn’t mean we won’t have other babies, egg donor or adopt or whatever.”

She nods at that, it sounds reasonable, though, there’s something that hurts, really hurts, at the idea of this being their only biological child or never being pregnant again. But at the same time, everyone does say nursing for a year is best for them, and she doesn’t want to rush this, and she’s not all healed up yet, and… “Not less than a year apart.”


“I was hoping to nurse Kelly for a year, so… use the condoms for the first three months and then… if it happens, it happens, and… if I get to forty-four and we aren’t pregnant again, try fertility treatments, and if we get to forty-five with still no baby, get working on adopting.”

He strokes her neck. “I can back that plan.”

“So, what’d you get?”

He grabbed the bag. “Blue, green, pink, yellow, unicorn, frogs, stars, I think this thing’s a sea horse,” he held up a white pacifier with something, that could be a sea horse, or maybe a sea monkey, or possibly some bizarre mythological creature he’s never heard of emblazoned in pastel blue and green on it, “more stars, and kitten pacifiers.”

“You weren’t kidding about buy all of them, were you?”



He held up the box. “Trojan sensitive variety pack. Apparently they don’t make the kind I liked anymore, so back to square one.”

“And let me guess, you’re hoping I’ll help you test them out.”

“Maybe not right this second, like I said, ball’s in your court for that one, I just want to be ready to return it when you are, but testing them’ll be a lot more effective if you help out. Can’t imagine you can feel much of a difference jerking off with them.”

Abby laughed at that. “I wouldn’t know.”

“Me, either. For some reason I’ve never felt any need to try that.”

She shoved him gently, smiling, and he kissed her shoulder, then stood up, “I’m getting hungry. You want any lunch?”


“I’m on it.”

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