Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Shards To A Whole: Tonight

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

Chapter 362: Tonight

Borin's house is a brick row house in DC proper. Small, but she lives alone and is rarely home. Good neighborhood. Gibbs' truck is probably about two standard deviations less expensive than most of the cars he sees lining the road, and it takes him a while to find parking.

He likes neighborhoods like this. Sidewalk. Old trees over-arching the street. Row houses with front stoops a few steps up from the sidewalk. In the spring and summer there are probably people who spend time on them, chatting with the neighbors. Each house has a tiny, fenced-in backyard. Big enough for a patio with a grill and maybe a baby pool. (Though, there probably aren't too many people with kids in this neighborhood.)

A few of the neighbors give him a curious look as he's heading toward her door. Since the tux isn't visible under his coat, he's assuming that means that these people have a good enough feel for who lives here that they recognize him as an outsider.

It's winter (ish, got up to 45 today), so he can't really tell, but there are tidy, wrought iron flower boxes on the first floor windows, and what looks like a planter right next to the front door, so come spring time, he's thinking Borin's got some plants in front of her house.

He knocks, and hears, "Come on it." Which is promising, though he'd kind of prefer she open the door for him. Still, he's got no idea what she's up to, so in he goes.

"Hello," he calls out, closing and locking the door behind him. He doesn't see her. He's in a tiny foyer area, steps leading right up, long hall heading all the way back to the… whatever's in the back. There's a coat rack against the wall, and shelves under the stairs with keys, mail, and her phone charger on it.

"Down in a minute. Come on in."

He puts his bag on the bottom step and hangs his coat up, looking around. Hardwood floors. The long wall is cream-colored, he thinks it might be original plaster and lathe. The wall against the stairs is raw brick, and there's what he's guessing is oak (very dark stain, matches the floors) trim.

"Okay." He looks at the shelves. Besides her shelf for random stuff, there are books, fiction and history, DVDs, mostly action flicks, though he notices some things he might call fluffy romances, interspersed with pictures of what he assumes is Montana and pictures of people who are probably her parents, sister, and sister's family.

He looks closely at a picture of her with her parents and comes to a somewhat distressing conclusion, they can't be more than ten years older than he is, and five is even more likely.

He heads down the hall, first door on the left leads into a small living room. It's mostly light blue and white, with dark blue furniture and the dark brown floor. It's bright and airy, but he couldn't have guessed if the person living here was male or female based on it.

He's thinking about checking out the next room when he hears, "Lord, you clean up good!"

He turns to face her, and… God, he's not the only one who cleaned up good today.

And sure, it's true he's not entirely used to being the one getting looked at, but he certainly appreciates the way her eyes are trailing over him, and he really doesn't mind the fact that this is old hat to her, and she is very definitely dressed to be looked at.

Lord, she's worth looking at. "Wow," he says and swallows, hard. He completely understands why she didn't get the door. She's in… He doesn't know what it's called. It's black and silky and starts at one shoulder and falls all the way to the floor and it's cut hip high on her left leg and there's scarlet lace edging where the dress (Maybe. Nightgown? Negligee? That'll cover it.) cuts away over her leg. His mouth opens to say a few things, but keeps shutting without words coming out.

She closes to him and kisses him, arms wrapping around his neck. "I take it you approve."

He nods slowly and then pulls her in tight for more kisses. Yes, he approves of this. If he approved of this any more, there'd be so little blood left in his brain he'd pass out.

"You're gorgeous," comes out of his mouth, and she smiles at him, stepping back, looking him over again.


He laughs at that and rolls his eyes a bit. Speaking of words that have never entered his mind in relation to his idea of his own body…

She lays her index finger on his lips, shakes her head, and says, "You are not allowed to disagree with or mock my opinion on this."

That gets an amused smile out of him. "Am I allowed to suggest that you may need glasses?"


He kisses the tip of her finger, nibbling it gently, and, as she pulls her finger away, asks, "Is that an order?" Technically, since she was an officer and he was a non-com, she outranked him. Though he had more years in and was a higher pay grade.

"Damn right, Gunny."

"Yes, Ma'am."

Her fingers trace over his lapels, coming to rest on his hips as she looks him up and down again. "I really like this."

He smiles, lightly brushes his hand over her bare shoulder. Part of him (especially one very insistent part that has been patiently waiting since morning and is currently feeling rather constrained by the presence of trousers) wants to step in close and kiss her senseless and then put that sofa to good use. Part of him (this would be his brain) thinks that checking in and seeing if she had any plans besides immediate sex in the living room is a good idea.

His brain won. (Sort of.) He kisses her ear, throat, and shoulder, inhaling against her neck, enjoying her scent and the smoothness of her bare skin against his lips, and then says, "Your play tonight, what are we doing?"

"Come upstairs."

He nods, smiling widely at that. He's all in favor of upstairs. "Lead on."

She smiles, taking his hands, and pulling him toward her staircase. "You bring dessert?"

He nods again.

"Good." She sees the brown paper bag sitting on her bottom step. She's on the bottom stair, and he's right behind her, but still on the first floor. She stops, turning toward him, and pulls him close, stroking his face before kissing him, wet and slow. She breaks it when his hands tighten on her rear. "Question for you, are you the sort of man who likes to eat dessert first?"

"I am tonight."

"Fabulous." One more lingering kiss, and as she pulls back he sucks her bottom lip, trying to keep her near for another second. "Grab that bag and follow me."

Gibbs does as told, grabbing the bag and following her up the stairs, very much enjoying the view of her climbing the steps right in front of him. He makes it four whole steps before the hand that isn't carrying the desserts cups over her ass, stroking the full, soft curve that draws his eyes as she walks ahead of him.

She looks down at him, over her shoulder. "Like that?"

He nods, fingers lightly skimming over the negligee, hooking into the hip-high slit, pulling it back and up so he's got her bare skin in sight, and lays a soft, gentle kiss on her curve of her butt, followed by a quick, sharp nip. "Oh yeah. Love that."

She wiggles a little for him, and then heads up the rest of the stairs, fast. He follows, eager.

He was expecting upstairs to be like downstairs, long hall, small rooms (he assumes, only saw the one, but this isn't the first row house he's been in) but it's not. It's her house. She lives alone. So she made it the way she liked it. She ripped out everything but the studs for the supporting wall (which had a fireplace in it and she wanted to keep that, anyway) and turned her upstairs into one big bedroom.

So, it's a long, open space, fireplace flanked by pillars (all some sort of dark green thing, he's too far away to tell what exactly they are, and honestly, doesn't care all that much, either) in the middle, separating what appears to be a living space on the one side, from the sleeping space (and likely bathroom further on) on the other.

There's the same dark, hardwood floors, from downstairs, same exposed brick wall on the one side, the other three walls are light green, the ceiling, what bits of it that are ceiling, she's got a long row of sky lights, is white. If the sun hadn't set an hour ago, this would be a very bright space.

She pauses in front of the fireplace. On one side of it, at her feet, he can see what looks like a comfy, soft rug, and several pillows, on the other side, beyond it, is her bed.

"How crumbly is dessert?"

"Not very. Wanna see?"

"Yes." She grins as he pulls the small box out of the bag and hands it to her.

She opens the box, not seeming to notice, or not caring, that the bakery tape had been slit already and looks in. He enjoys the pleasure on her face at seeing one plump, ripe strawberry, covered in chocolate, small mound of whipped cream at its top.

"Only one?" She looks up from the chocolate-covered strawberry in the box. (He'd bought two, but once he got the honey dust, he also got an idea in mind, and he liked that idea, so… He ate his at home. Abby… Abbs was right; it was awesome.)

He grins. "That's your dessert."

"Mine? What are you having?"

He sets the bag on the floor and pulls out the small tin of honey dust (decided on honeysuckle flavor) and the little feather duster that went with it. He spends a long minute looking her up and down, making sure she can feel his eyes all over her skin, then he grins and says, "You."

She smiles, delighted at that. And he laughs, enjoying how happy she is right now.

She reaches for his hands, and says, "Bed. Dessert's in bed."

He nods. Gibbs approves of dessert in bed.

King-sized bed, black metal of some sort, more light green for the sheets, dark green for the quilt and pillows. He's paying just enough attention to the bed to notice that she's already turned down the blankets, and then he's paying attention to her on the bed, which is vastly more interesting to him.

She's sitting in the middle of the bed, legs folded under her, the naked one visible, as she lifts the strawberry out of the box. He quickly goes to sit next to her, kicking off he shoes as he does. He takes the jacket off, hanging it on one of the bedposts, and she smiles, approving of that.

"You look good in vests."

He just sort of looks at it. "Don't usually wear them."

"Nope. Didn't think you did."

She lifts the strawberry to her lips and begins to eat it, making a very pleased sound as she does so.

Gibbs has noticed that sometimes Tim gets a kind of stupid look on his face when he watches his Abby eat strawberries, and right now, Gibbs is fully, utterly, completely understanding that look because he's awfully sure it's all over his face, too.

It's big enough that it's a several bite strawberry, but she hasn't bitten it, yet. No, she's carefully licking every tiny little bit of whipped cream that oozed out of it off, and doing that melted the chocolate some, so she sucks the chocolate off her fingers, and then sucks more of the chocolate from the tip of the strawberry and he's never, ever going to be able to watch her eat one of these damn things without getting a hard-on again.

He's biting his lip, watching her eat that damn thing, feeling each lick and suck as if it's happening to him.

She's grinning at him as her tongue flicks over the tip of the strawberry. He groans quietly, pulling her into his lap and grinding into her. She smiles, takes a tiny nibble from the fruit and then kisses him, sharing the sharp/sweet/cream/sour/boozy/chocolate rush of flavors with him.

He sucks it off her tongue, and then sucks her just for the sake of doing it, just for the flavor of her and the feel of her skin on his.

"You like it?" he asks, kissing her jaw as she takes another bite.

"Oh yeah. Good choice." She kisses his lips again, again sharing the dessert, again he takes his time kissing all traces of it off of her.

Third bite and done. She carefully licks and sucks each finger clean, and again, just the visual of that is enough to make him want to tip her off his lap, pull himself out of his pants and watch her wrap her lips around him. (God, there's a visual, him in this suit all put together and proper, standing up, her on the bed, hands and knees, sucking him off. That makes him bite his lip, too.)

Once her fingers are clean, all traces of sugar gone, she carefully takes his tie in hand, loosening it, which is a good thing because if he has to spend another minute in this suit he's going to explode. He's firmly convinced that right this second he should be naked, she should really be naked, and every part of him that can feel should be touching her.

His tie hits the floor, and he's already got the vest unbuttoned, so that goes next. He gets the cufflinks while she undoes his shirt and he's about to peel it off, but she takes his hands in hers, stops him, and spends a moment just looking, again.

She wants to look. She gets to look. He carefully scoots her so she's not in his lap anymore and stands up. White tux shirt, unbuttoned, black belt, dress slacks, very visible erection tenting them, black socks. Her eyes trail up and down him as he pushes the shirt off, and slowly strips off the belt.

She licks her lips as he does that, eyes on his dick through his pants, and he's deciding he's really liking this getting looked at thing. He gives himself a firm squeeze and her eyes light up at that, too. Then he unbuttons and unzips the pants, letting them hit the floor.

Getting out of them and the socks off probably wasn't the most graceful or erotic move ever, but it didn't take long, and then he's standing in front of her, naked save for boxers.

She'd been sitting on the bed, but once he's standing there (at parade rest, though he's not aware of that) she shifts to kneeling, and both of her hands come to rest on his chest, fingers twining in his chest hair, and then slipping down, stroking him through his boxers, (He groans quietly at that.) before slipping up to the waistband and pulling them off of him.

She looks him over again, eyes to toes, her gaze travelling all over him, lingering on face, shoulders, chest, cock, hips. She bends down, gently kissing the tip of his dick, giving it a very soft little lick, and as much as he wants her to keep doing that, he had some other plans for tonight that are going to be a hell of a lot less fun if he lets her get him off before he does them.

He pulls her face to face, and kisses her again. "Do I get to taste my dessert?"

"Oh yeah." He begins tugging at the negligee, looking to lift it over her head, but she's got to shift a bit, get it out from under her knees first. Then he pulls it up and over, tossing it behind him.

He growls gently at her, looking his fill at her naked and kneeling in front of him. One more kiss, one long, deep, tongue thrusting, in and out, rubbing against her, reveling in her skin against his, kiss, before tearing away. "On the bed, on your stomach."

She does as told, lying diagonally across the bed, turning so she can watch him.

He carefully unscrews the lid on the tin, sweeps the little cluster of feathers into it, and gently, lightly sprinkles the honey dust over her back. She tenses as it lands, but he knows it's too fine to really feel. It smells like honey and honeysuckle, sweet and summery, as he showers another puff of it across her low back, and one more along her legs.

Time to play.

She's laying on her stomach, hair wild, one hand clenched in the sheets, the other one pillowed under her cheek, squirming gorgeously as he strokes the little cluster of feathers over her spine, delicately swirling it across her shoulders, taking a second to dip it back into the powder, and lightly sprinkle more of it amid the freckles across her low back, then stroking again, gently, across the dimples on her butt cheeks.

And if the squirming she was doing when he was stroking the feathers across her skin was gorgeous, the way she's moving, arching into him and cursing quietly as he retraces, backwards, the path of the feathers with his tongue is astounding in its beauty.

He could very happily stay right here, nibbling the crest of her hip, mapping every freckle on her body with his tongue, but there's teasing, and then there's drawing things out too long, and he doesn't yet know exactly where that line is, so he begins to kiss his way down her body, trailing nipping kisses down the back of her thigh, leaving small, pink suck marks on the insides of her knees. When he gets to her ankle he says, "Flip over."

She does, and he sighs, very happy, very turned on. Nothing like a begging woman laid out wet and naked in front of him.

He starts at the tops of her feet, brushing the honey dust over them, watching her toes twitch and curl as he hits tickly spots. He nibbles there, licking the path of the feathers, holding her ankle when she tries to jerk it away.

He switches from licks to firm sucks, and instead of jerking away, ticklish, she relaxes, moaning.


"Ya think?" she answers perfectly mimicking his usual inflection. "Could be even better if you slide on up here."

"Oh, I'll get there." His eyes sparkle as he says that, dipping the feathers back into the honey dust, trailing them up along the inside of her leg. He stops about mid-thigh, not that he doesn't want to play there, too, but that's one spot of a woman he wants to smell and taste like woman.

One more dip into the honey dust, this time spreading it along her stomach, over the tips of her breasts, and down the inside of one arm. (Okay, that was just to watch her squirm. He's fairly sure he's never going to get tired of that.)

He goes to her wrist, kissing intently, licking the honey dust off of her, trailing his lips and tongue over her arm, to her collarbone. He nibbles along it, focusing on her breath, the soft gasping sounds she's making as each, wet, sucking kiss falls to her skin.

Eventually he gets to her breasts, gently licking them, making sure to suck lightly on them. Abby's arching into him, whimpering, begging him for more, and by that point, as much as he wants to linger, kiss and suck each inch of her, he wants more, too.

He wants her on his tongue. He wants to feast on her, so he slides down her body, laying between her legs, and kisses her, soft, gentle, exploring to begin with. He slides her one leg to the side so she's wide open and begins licking in earnest.

Wet, hot woman. Nothing else on earth tastes like this, and he loves it.

Her hips rock in time with his tongue, as her breathing speeds up and she moans along with each stroke of his tongue.

He gets his fingers into the game, alternating between thrusting into her, and then stroking himself. Tasting her, his cock slick with her juices, slipping through a tight fist feels fucking amazing. Then back to thrusting with his fingers because there's this sound she makes as he hits that little spot, a sort of quick, gasped, "Fuck!" and he wants to hear her make that sound a lot.

Her legs are starting to go tight, and that gasped "Fuck!" has gotten higher pitched. He thinks that means she's getting close, and he wants to watch her come, wants to kiss her while she hits her crest, so he pulls back to slide up.

She groans when he pulls back, tugging his hair, in a very commanding, get back down there and finish that, sort of way.

Gibbs pulls her hand free from his hair and puts it firmly, that stays there, or I tie you down next time clear in the pressure on her wrist, back on the mattress. He shifts so he's on his side, next to her, his body over that one arm, his left arm under her neck, his right leg draped over her left leg, keeping her pinned in place.

His thumb finds her clit and his first two fingers slip inside her again, setting a fast, firm rubbing thrust. His lips fall to her nipple, sucking, wet and hard and it doesn't take long before she's squirming and moaning and going tight against him again.

He can feel the tension in her thigh, feel the tightness on her fingers, she's close. He pulls away from her breast, so he can watch her face, expression tight, mouth open, panting moans filling the room, sweeter than any music he's ever heard. He kisses her lips, tastes her moans.

She's thrashing against him, wild, demanding more and faster, and then her hips jerk, hard and again, and once more, again, softer that time. He gentles his touch, eventually settling for just touching, no movement, but doesn't stop kissing.

Her breathing slows, interspersed with very content sounding purrs/sighs, and slow, sated, lazy kisses.

Her free hand, which had been clenching onto the headboard, finds the back of his head and gently strokes his hair. "You almost got shot when you stopped going down on me."

He pulls back and grins. "Wanted to watch. Can't do that from down there. Figured you'd forgive me if I made it worth your while."

She kisses him. "You did. But I'm not sure about forgiveness." She rolls him over so he's on his back and she's straddling his stomach, pinning his wrists to the mattress. "Do I need to cuff you to get you to stay down?"

He really likes the sound of what's going to happen next.

"You got 'em right here?"


He grins. "Next time. I can hold still for now."

She grins back. "You better. Or I'll leave you hanging and take at least three minutes to go find them."

He licks his lips. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Good. Your hands come off the headboard, everything stops."

He nods again, really, really liking where he's thinking this is going to go.

She stares at him, reading his face. "You really good with this? Not going to flip out after?"

He nods. Sure, he hasn't played this half of the game since 1990. This is a level of intimacy/release/whatever he hasn't been willing to allow himself since he was with Shannon. This is something that hasn't felt right in a very long time. Sure, like he told Jen, he doesn't always have to be on top, but being in control is something he did need, always needed, because if he wasn't in control… But right now, he doesn't need it.

And that feels really good. That feels light and happy and just, all over, good.

His fingers curl into the slats of the headboard. "I'm very good with this."

She lifts up and brushes her pubic hair against his dick. He twitches, jaw clenching at the wet, tickly feel of that, a low ragged breath ripping out of him.

"Like that, too?"

"Fuck, yes."

She does it again, letting her body get even closer, so he can feel not just wet hair, but her heat. His dick's straining, trying to get to and in her, begging for real contact, but she stays, teasingly, just barely out of reach.
"You really had a vasectomy?"

He nods. Swallowing hard as she reaches for him, shifts his angle a bit, and then sinks down onto him in a slow, hot, wet, vibrant rush of red-gold pleasure.

He stops breathing as she does it, hands clenching on the headboard, hips surging up into her, wanting to slam into hot, wet paradise over and over, but she gets settled on him, presses her hands into his hips, and says, "Still."

He bites his bottom lip, but holds still, lets her set the pace.

She's going to kill him. Long, slow strokes up and down, little squeezes along the length and when just the tip of him is inside her. Between her naked skin on his, and waiting all day, and already having gone down on her so he can still taste and smell her on his lips, he's dying from wanting.

He's trying to be still, trying to keep holding onto the headboard and not grab her hips and pull her down hard on him.

Maybe she feels his tension, maybe she just wants to go faster herself, but she starts to speed up, which makes it easier for him to not move.

"Look at me, Jethro."

He didn't realize his eyes were closed, but they must have been. He gets them open, and she leans back a little, her whole body on display, riding him, and she starts touching herself, and he can see his dick sinking into her, see her skin flush and her nipples hard, see her finger flying over her clit, feel the little brushes of her finger tips against him as she goes back to that crying slow pace, inching up and down him, taking him to the root as her fingers move faster and her body grows tighter on him.

He's whimpering. There's no dignified version of the sound ripping out of him as she keeps taking him all the way from tip to root, and when she comes, when twitching, rippling, hot, wet, snug, tight, and again so wet and so slick, and so fucking good is slipping over and over on him, whimpering stops and is replaced with full-on cursing.

His arms are so tight he can feel them shaking, but he's not letting go of that headboard. She slips off of him and if the cursing from before was an expression of this feels amazing, keep doing it, the cursing going on now is significantly less happy.

And then she sucks him down in one long draw and the deep and sincere "FUCK!" that jerks out of him is very, very happy with this.

This time she's going fast. Firm suction, keeping her hand going with her mouth, and it's not going to take much of this to tip him over, maybe another minute, probably less.

His balls are pulling in tight, his legs are tensing, his toes are starting to curl, just a few more strokes of her brilliant, glorious, fabulous all good things that have ever been good mouth and he'll be gone and then she pulls all the way off and just stops.

Completely let go of him.

That gets some less than happy cursing, too. Then his eyes open, and he finds her kneeling next to him, looking very amused.

"I did not do this to you," he says when he gets the ability to talk back.

"I figure you'll forgive me if I make it worth your while."

"You better."

She grins, and then leans over and kisses his lips. "Promise." For a full minute she only touches his lips. A long, hot, hard, deep kiss, keeping him focused on what's to come without actually getting the rest of his body into it.

"Sit up," she tells him as she breaks the kiss. He tries to figure out how to do that without letting go of the headboard and she shakes her head. So he lets go, and sits up. She props some of the pillows against the headboard and he gets comfortable. Pillows between him and the headboard, so he can't keep hold of it now, so his hands curl into fists at his sides.

Borin turns so she's facing away from him. "Remember something about you liking this view."

"Fuck yeah, " he says through clenched teeth. He likes any view of her about to fuck him. But yes, her ass from five inches away, as she's sinking, "Fuck!" (that's something of a whimper, too) slowly down on him, yeah, that's a winner in his book.

He's even more sensitive now, because she stopped, because she made him wait, and every move sparks hot pleasure all through him. This time, after that first stroke, she doesn't go slow. This time there's nothing soft or gentle or tentative about this. She's absolutely fucking him, slamming up and down onto him and every stroke has him panting and begging for more.

He's cresting fast, everything tight and hard, God, so hard, so, so, so hard, feels like it's never been this hard as she rocks back and forth, hands and knees, breakneck pace, his heart pounding as he yells when the first pulse hits along with a scalding wave of pleasure.

Rush after rush of it, hot, tingling spurts of pleasure, and when it stops, she's resting, back against his chest, and his hands are still on the bed.

He exhales, long and hard, uncurls his fingers (they're sore from having been so tightly held), and then kisses her shoulder. He sits there, wiped out, for a few moments before saying, "You're forgiven."

She laughs at that, reaches for the tissues, cleans them up, and snuggles into him.

He wakes up with a jerk when he feels her move out of bed. For a moment he lays there, blinking, seeing her finding her robe and pulling it on.

He rubs his eyes, propping up on one elbow. "What's up?"

"Hungry. You want some dinner?"

He blinks again, feeling pretty muzzy. Going back to sleep sounds good, but his stomach rumbles, so apparently it has opinions about that.

"I'll take that as a yes. You take a few minutes and wake up, then come on down."

He does, laying on her bed, drowsing a bit, enjoying being this relaxed and happy and feeling this good all over. Then he rolls over, yawns, and realizes that the only clothing he has over here is a tux. The tux he's not precisely feeling motivated to get back into right now.

He's really hoping this won't bug her as he grabs the blanket from the back of her over-stuffed recliner and wraps it toga-style around himself. (Stephanie, for example, did not like his naked body touching any of her stuff, especially his post-sex, not-yet-showered naked body, and would have chewed him out for not putting on boxers, too.)

He pads down the stairs, peeking into what appears to be a powder room, and dining room, not seeing her in either of them, finally locating her in the kitchen at the end of the hallway. Like the rest of the rooms downstairs it's fairly small. This one has exposed brick walls on both sides. Though the rest of the room is cream colored. There's a stainless-steel counter along most of the back wall. (The fridge/freezer combo is on one side and the door to the outside is on the other.) Sink, dishwasher, and oven are all along the right wall. Six shelves covered in pantry goods are at his back.

In the center is an island (oak, stainless steel top), where she's laying out little trays of take-out sushi from the fridge.

"Wasn't sure when we'd eat, wanted something that would get over-cooked or go bad or…"

"I like sushi." He recognizes the sticker on the pack. "And I like Shiro's sushi a whole lot."

"This is dinner at least once a week."

He nods as she opens the second tray, and he pulls out one of the stools from under the island. "Eating in here?"

"Thinking that."

He pulls out a stool for her, too. There's a rack over his head with pots and pans on it. "You like to cook?"

She nods, grabbing chopsticks for them. "Don't get to do it a whole lot, but yeah, I do. In the summer those little boxes in the front have basil and cilantro and garlic chives growing in them."

"Yum." (Though he doesn't actually know what garlic chives are, but he likes garlic and he likes onions and that sounds like it'd be in there somewhere.)

"Yeah." She lays the chopsticks down, takes three steps to her shelves, and pulls down the soy sauce. "Drinks?"

The bourbon he brought along is upstairs and he's not feeling like getting it. Plus it's not a natural match for sushi. "Water? Beer? What do you have?"

"Green tea?"

"I drink tea." He watches her pour water in a kettle and set it to heat. A second later she pulls out two mugs and puts teabags in them, then sits on the stool next to him.

They eat quietly for a few moments. Just tasting and enjoying each other's presence. Her kettle whistles, lot faster than Gibbs was expecting, but she's got a gas range, so probably higher heat than he gets on his electric. She pours the water over the tea bags, and dinner is complete.

Two more bites, she's watching him chew, and he can feel she's wondering about something, so he looks at her expectantly.

"Why did you have a vasectomy? I mean, I know the main reason, but… You like kids, right?"

He realizes that she's… thirty-eight, thirty-nine, and if she wants kids she can't afford to spend a few years messing around with him. Not with what he knows about himself.

He rubs his mouth, and exhales, putting down his chopsticks, hoping this doesn't kill them.

"I like kids. I like them a lot. I love my girls. And I'll love any little brothers or sisters they'll end up with. I love being with them. I love being a granddad. But… That's my bridge too far. I'm done with kids of my own. I know they can… fix things back, but… Not for me. I'm done. My kids are grown. I've got grand babies-" He's kind of rambling on, piling words on top of each other, feeling just so wrecked at the idea that this is it, that it takes a second for him to notice she's got her hand on his wrist and is trying to get him to stop.

"Jethro, I'm not tossing you out because you don't want children."

He inhales, feeling better, but… It's a big deal, really big deal, and he's not sure he trusts it. "Sure? You change your mind two years from now, this is still going to be my deal breaker."

She nods. "I strike you as someone who changes her mind a lot?"


"When I was engaged we talked about it some, but, even then… Kids aren't really my thing. I don't see myself as a mom."

He swallows, looks up at the ceiling, and wipes his mouth. "Fornell and I have the same ex-wife."

That seems like something of a non-sequitor to her, but she waits for him to say more.

"I'd already had the vasectomy, and I told her I didn't want children, but not that I'd had one."

"A child or a vasectomy?"

"Both." She winces at that. "It was a bad marriage. She told me she didn't want kids, too."

Borin can feel where this is going and winces again. "Oh."

"Yeah. Looks like we were both liars. We got divorced when she was pregnant. She and Fornell got married about ten minutes after the ink was dry on our papers. Then they got divorced two years later."

"You're still friends?"

"1999 when we divorced. Caught a case with him in '02, and… yeah. We're still friends. Still friendly with her, too. Emily, the little girl, calls me Uncle Gibbs. Water under a lot of bridges there, but…" He gestures to let her know it's her turn.

"When I think about being a mom, I see myself being a mom, not… juggling it with being a cop. I'd want to be there, and I can't do that, not with this job. I don't even have time for a pet with this job. And I love the job."

He nods along to that.

"I don't see that ever changing. But if it does, I'll sure as hell talk to you about it first, not just… I don't know, jump DiNozzo or something."

He snorts a little at that, and she half-smirks.

"You had it done while you were married, the first time?"


"I was thinking that. Just didn't think you'd be a one and done sort of guy."

"Oh." Why did you have it done? Makes more sense now. "I wasn't; neither of us were. I was away when Shannon found out she was pregnant, got back for two months, away again for two months, and when I got back she was thirty weeks along. Thought we had lots of time.

"Her mom kept coming down, we were in Lejeune then, but it was a week she wasn't there, and Shannon felt like crap. Felt like crap isn't exactly rare at 32 weeks pregnant. Resting didn't help, and it was more than just the irritable everything hurts feeling like crap. Luckily the next door neighbor was on kid number three and she was talking to Shannon and just didn't like how it looked. I got home from my shift and she grabbed me and told me to take Shannon to the doctor's. So I did. Felt a bit stupid about it, and she did too, because it was just an all-over sort of wrong and she had an appointment in like three days, but we went.

"You know what preeclampsia is?"

She nods.

"So, it was a good thing we went. They gave her meds to get her blood pressure down. And a list of instructions about a mile long, and then sent us home. Shannon was supposed to be on bed rest until Kelly came, which at that point was still looking eight weeks off.

"And I'm a big, dumb jarhead, so what the hell do I know about this stuff? So I call her mom, and she comes down, and I move the TV so it's in our bedroom and get every library book she's ever wanted, take over as much home stuff as I could, but even lying around doing nothing but going to daily doctor's appointments, it wasn't getting better.

He sighs again. "Week thirty-four she moved into the hospital. Forty weeks pregnant is average. Thirty-six weeks is considered cooked all the way. But anything before thirty-eight makes everyone nervous, and back then it wasn't like they could just ultrasound her to check and see how Kelly's lungs were doing. So, it's a balancing act, every day they could keep Kelly inside dropped the morbidity rates," Borin can feel from the way he says that that someone said it to him, exactly like that, and his mind never touched it, never shifted it into his own language, "but every day she was in there Shannon's blood pressure kept going higher. They wanted to get to thirty-six weeks. That was the goal."

He closes his eyes, and rubs his forehead, sighing again. "I got done from a shift and headed to the hospital, she was napping, so I didn't wake her up. Just took of my boots and gently snuggled onto the bed, spooning her. She slept for maybe ten more minutes and then she shrieked, and jerked, grabbing at her head… And really bad sudden headache was on the 'holy shit, panic' list, so I got yelling for any and every person who even remotely looked like a doctor. It hurt bad; she was crying. And I was trying to keep her calm, trying to not completely lose my shit, but I wasn't doing too well on it, and then she told the Doc she couldn't see, and…

He bites his lip. "And by that point Kelly was coming out, now. They had time for lidocaine. And I had to help hold her down because I was strong and I was there. And when your blood pressure is that high, it… It was bloody, really bloody, and she was crying because lidocaine just gets the skin, and her head, and…

There are tears in his eyes as he says, "It was bad." He sniffs and wipes them away, swallowing hard a few times. "And… uh… that was it." He shakes his head and licks his lips. "I just… I couldn't do that again. Vasectomy was done before they got home from the hospital." He smiles at Borin, very sad. "I can't… I can't have another child. I can adopt 'em as grown-ups, and I can be Pop, but… No. Can't do that again."

She squeezes his hand. "It's okay."


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