Chapter 386: Clouds on the Horizon
Tim's all but bouncing as he takes the stairs up to Leon's office. Last prepping meeting before the test is today and he's really looking forward to it.
And not just because he's enjoying the idea of showing off exactly how the test will work, but because it'll also be really nice to talk to someone about this who isn't assuming he's going to get assaulted or killed the second he sets foot on the Stennis. Of his family members, the only one who knows about this trip and isn't worried is Penny. Because she also gets exactly how horrified John would be at the idea of ever disobeying a direct order.
Everyone else is varying from not sleeping (Jethro) to on edge (Ducky).
So, heading up, showing this off and talking to people who assume it's going to work splendidly is going to be fun. Showing off how damn good he is at his job to the Secretary of the Freaking NAVY, is awesome.
And, sure, he's worried, a bit, but mostly, he's really enjoying the idea of seeing the look on John's face when he steals his entire fleet, turns it inside out, kills his communications, and makes all the guys with all of their command experience and years in the Navy completely irrelevant as he uses the skills he spent decades honing to cripple everything his Dad loves.
For a few minutes, at least. Until he chooses to give it back to them. Just the idea makes him smile.
Karen waves Tim in when he gets to Vance's office. Vance is (obviously) already in there.
They greet each other, and Tim get his lap top set up.
"Not that I don't appreciate being kept in the loop on this, McGee, but why are you and Clayt meeting up here? You have an office of your own for a reason."
Tim nods. "Yep." He shrugs a bit. "Probably just being too cautious, but… This is supposed to be kept quiet, and the Secretary of the Navy coming to visit me'll cause talk. Him coming to visit you, doesn't. He happens to drop by while I'm briefing you… That happens, right?"
Vance smiles dryly at that. It is cautious. Too cautious, likely. The chance that anything that happens here getting out is minimal. But Vance does approve of this level of caution for what's supposed to be a classified test.
Tim looks up from his laptop. "Okay. Final report on how it's supposed to work is in your inbox. For a heads up, my team thinks I'm at Cybersecurity conference on a cruise ship. If they ping my phone and see I'm at sea, they won't wonder why. Manner and Howard are minding the store while I'm away. Nothing big's on deck for right now, and I'll be checking in when and as I can."
Vance nods along with that. "How's Manner liking that?"
"He's pleased. He's a good second-in-command, and he knows it. The difference between now and ten months ago is that he knows he's better at taking orders than giving them. So, he's got the DC Team and instructions for what to do with them. Howard's nominally keeping an eye on the rest of the techs. Ngyn's coordinating that, but having to deal with 130 plus people in person is her idea of Hell, so she's making sure everything keeps running, and if something SNAFUs, Howard'll handle the people while she and Ngyn wrangle the tech."
Vance approves of how Tim's handling his teams, playing to his people's strengths.
A second later, Jarvis and his secretary, a young Lieutenant named Remy James, enter Vance's office. They're both looking pleased to be in there, and after a few moments of pleasantries, James hands Tim a suit bag, which Tim opens.
"What did you do before you were SecNav?" Tim asks as he looks at the content of the suit bag in front of him.
Vance smiles at Jarvis. "Clandestine services. Clayt always did enjoy breaking out the costumes and cover IDs."
Clayt nods, pleased by that comment. It's true, too. He always did like slipping into new lives. "Cover is a good idea, but a cover is only as good as it's details, so..."
"So the details will be perfect." Tim's looking at the contents of the bag. It's a Captain's uniform, Irish Naval Service, proper insignia, McGee on the nametag, a few medals he's going to have to google because it'd be useful to be able to say what they are if anyone asks. James hands him a folder, which he opens. Or maybe there will be no googling. He's got a life history, a history of the Irish Naval Services, the meaning and history and what he did to get all of those medals. It's a complete backstory.
"I don't suppose you can fake an Irish accent?" Jarvis asks.
Tim shakes his head. "No. You don't even want to hear me try. It's, really, really bad." (The less that's said about that particular misadventure in role playing, the better. We'll leave it here, Gabriel McGee is not Irish. Abby wasn't laughing so hard she wet her pants, but only because she'd been to the bathroom recently.) Clayt takes the folder back from McGee, crosses a few lines out, and adds in, Moved to US as a baby. Back to Ireland late teens.
"Ah." Clayt looks up from the McGee notes and hands them back to Tim. "Add what you need to personalize it. Make it yours. Just give us a heads up if you really shift something. You're just a guy on a trip with us, so we wouldn't know you well, but major details would stick out."
"Anyway, the plan is that we'll get on board. The XO generally meets me when we do this. John prefers to keep everything under his eye and doesn't like to be pulled away from his men if he can avoid it."
Tim nods again, that sounds right to him.
"So, on we'll go. We'll get settled. You'll do your thing. And then we'll call him in and let him see how they handle it."
"If his guys are on top of their game, at some point they'll pull him away from us," Tim says.
"That'll be fine. We can watch how he reacts… Don't suppose there's a way to do this without him knowing it's a hack?"
"Sure, I stay home." Tim supposes that would make Abby and Gibbs and Jimmy and Breena all really happy, but… Right now, he really wants to go. He wants to see the look on his Dad's face when this goes down. "The test is already set. Nothing any of us actually need to do, now. So, if you want him completely blindsided, you do your thing, and at 13:03:06 everything goes bonkers. Look alarmed when his XO starts yelling."
"And the downside to that is?" Because there has to be a downside.
"We won't be able to see how they respond. I need to get to a place where I can hack the security feeds and get us footage of his computer guys. I don't, technically, need to be on the ship to do that, either, but since you'll be on the ship, it'd be easier to show you what's going on if I'm there, too. If you just want a data feed, or just a report after, I can do that from my computer from pretty much anywhere."
"No." Jarvis shakes his head. "I want to see them in action, as well as get the data."
Tim grins. He wants to see the action, too. "That'll be easier in a room with a big screen TV."
"When McGee did it here, he was able to use the cameras to check everyone, see how they worked as a team in addition to tracking what they were doing with their computers," Vance adds.
"Okay. So we go. I'll request a pre-inspection briefing… Conference room on all of those ships has a big screen these days. Spin some bull about Irish Naval ships and what 'you guys' are looking for. That'll be the reason he'll be there. It'll be just him and his secretary. They'll be ordered to silence. And we'll watch the test from there."
"Sounds good." Tim looks at the uniform again, checking the tags. "How did you know my size?"
Jarvis smiles. "Once upon a time, I was really good at this."
Abby looks up at him as he heads down to the lab, suit bag over his shoulder. Then he realizes that he can't open the damn thing, because if he does, the cat goes leaping out of the bag, and sure, the Lab Techs aren't likely to talk, but…
"Ohhh… what's that?" she asks, seeing the bag.
He grins at her. "Surprise." He looks around, everyone else is milling around, some low music is playing in the ballistics lab, but it doesn't have the active case feel. "You guys working late today?"
"Everyone should be out by six." She's smiling as she says that, getting a hint of what he's possibly thinking. Get all dressed up, head down to the lab, maybe carry her off to her office… He's smiling at that idea.
But, God… if someone sees… It's not obvious what, exactly, it is, and… not a lot of traffic down here, as long as the lab's officially closed…
No. Too much risk. And Heather probably wants to get home at normal time, and holding her late so they can fool around…
He leans in close and kisses her ear, whispering, "After dinner, dress up time," and heads out quietly humming Up Where We Belong from Officer and A Gentleman.
She catches it, and begins to giggle, having a very good idea of what might be in that bag.
"Gibbs?" Tim's at his desk. Right now he's not on deck for the job triaging system. (Since he can't reliably finish whatever he might start before quitting time tonight.) So, he's scanning through the jobs that are up, looking for ones that have been open for more than a few days, and hopping into them to give everything a quick look over. See if he can add anything useful.
So far, and this pleases him greatly, the answer is no. He's gone through two jobs, and both of them are on day three or four because they're sorting through absolutely massive wodges of data, and there's just no way to make the computers do that any faster than they already are.
Gibbs shuts the door behind him, and heads over to sit on the edge of Tim's desk.
He's not saying anything; he's just looking at Tim.
"Okay, at this point, you're making me a hell of a lot more nervous than the test is."
Gibbs nods. "Be nervous."
Tim sighs. "Okay, really, specifically. What is the gut sensing?"
Gibbs shakes his head. "Nothing specific. This feels bad. This feels like walking into a trap."
Tim slumps at that. He hates how worried and afraid Jethro is.
"You want me to ditch it?"
Gibbs shakes his head. "I know you won't. I know you want this, maybe need it."
Gibbs sighs. "Be careful, Tim."
"I will. I'm not the one who takes the stupid risks."
Another sigh. "Yeah. I know."
Tim stands up and hugs Gibbs. "I'm fine. I'm going to keep being fine. Sunday or Monday I'm coming home, all in one piece."
Gibbs squeezes him tight, holding him quietly for a long minute before letting go. "You better."
Gibbs swallows hard, nods, and heads off.
Tim exhales, low and deep, trying to chase away all the nervous Gibbs just dropped on him.
Almost done for the day. Just a few more keystrokes and…
Tim holds up one finger, letting Jimmy know he's almost done. A second later he hits enter, and then looks up.
"Hey, back. What's up?"
"Got something for you." Jimmy heads over, pulls an orange pill bottle from his lab coat pocket, and hands it to Tim.
Tim looks at them, nodding. More anti-nausea meds.
"Thanks. Still got plenty from last time, though."
Jimmy shakes his head. "Use these."
"Okay… The other one's expired or something?"
"These are stronger."
Tim nods at that, looking at the label. Sure he didn't memorize the bottle last time, but this looks exactly the same. "Stronger how? This is the same stuff, right?"
He looks up and sees Jimmy looking a little uncomfortable. "Last ones were ninety percent baking soda."
Tim blinks and sighs. "You gave me a placebo?"
"And it worked splendidly until you saw that body, right?"
"Well, okay, yeah."
"This time you're going to be on a moving ship, with your Dad around, and I thought maybe having something beyond a mild antacid would be useful."
Tim opens the bottle and notices that this time the pills are in a small blister pack, with labels. He puts the cap back on, noticing the Target logo on the bottle. Which is when it hits him that, yes, Jimmy can write prescriptions, but he doesn't have his own dispensary. "What do I owe you for these?"
Jimmy waves it away. "Call it a going away present."
Tim smiles at that. "Keep an eye on Gibbs for me? I don't want him getting Abby panicked during Shabbos tomorrow."
"I was going to do that anyway."
"He showed up today, pretty much just to hug me."
"He's really freaked out."
"I know. That's not keeping me any calmer, either."
"Yeah, well, I don't want you going into this calm and relaxed. I want you on full alert. Just because I'm not flipping out doesn't mean I'm not worried, too."
"I know, but short of emergency appendicitis, I'm not getting out of this."
Jimmy looks Tim dead on. "That can be arranged, you know?"
Tim flashes Jimmy his exasperated look.
"I know. I'm not helping." Jimmy pats the pill bottle. "This is helping. Call in if you get a shot, okay?"
"I will. Any luck I'll have a few minutes round about dinner time back here to give a quick call."
Jimmy nods and heads out.
|Irish Naval Service Officer Uniforms|
Which is more or less the only piece of clothing he's never, ever wanted to have touching his body.
He looks at it more, the insignias are different, so there's something. Holding the hat, cap, whatever, he can see that where, on a US Naval Officer's hat there's an eagle and the shield, on the Irish cap there's some sort of big, gold two spread wings-looking things. Between them is an anchor, and above it is something that looks like a sun with two Fs in it. But just like it's US counter-part it's got the gold curly-cues on the bill and the gold stripe across the band.
He checks the jacket more carefully, and, if there's a difference between it and the US Naval equivalent, he can't see it. The stripes are the same. The stars are the same. The buttons are different, and that's it.
There's probably some sort of uniform manufacturer in China who makes a ton of these things and they just send them out for fine tuning the embroidery.
Enough dithering. If he doesn't put the damn thing on soon, he'll find Abby asleep in bed, dreaming about the sex they're going to have, instead of awake in bed, actually ready to have some sex.
When he steps out, in full uniform, with as close as he can get to the right posture, Abby just stares at him, blinks hard, stares some more, and finally says, "Wow!"
Tim nods, looking at himself in the full-length mirror on the back of the door.
She hops up, standing behind him, hands on his shoulders, gently slipping them down his arms. "Just, yeah… Wow!"
He takes the hat off, only part with anything really visibly not a US Uniform, and says, "This was supposed to be me."
Her chin is on his shoulder, but she shakes her head anyway. Her hand slips under the jacket, between the buttons of his shirt, and comes to rest on his chest. "This is who you're supposed to be." She strokes the uniform. "This is… I don't know. But not you. Not for more than a few nights. Not for more than play."
He smiles at that.
"It looks good."
He nods. It does. "Feels weird."
"Probably going to make your Dad pass out when he sees you. Especially if you're not wearing the hat."
He has to admit that makes him smile. Drive the old man apoplectic to see him in a Captain's uniform. And, while he's sure John would have some choice words that he'd love to say about him defiling the uniform, the fact that he's wearing it at the request of the Secretary of the Navy is awfully sweet.
"So," she nibbles her lip. "Are we playing with this, or is it too weird?"
"I think we're playing. If it gets weird, I know how to stop it."
She grins and nods. Then steps back, settling herself in the center of their bed. He's noticing that she's not her usual pre-bed naked. He's appreciating that she's got on a little teddy and cute little lace panties.
"Hello, Sailor," she says, voice lower than usual, come hither all over her tone.
He grins, liking that. "Hello back."
"Looking for company?"
He laughs, and then gets himself into the character. "Think I found some. What's the going rate?"
She stretches a little, rubbing one leg along the other, then shifts her weight onto her arms, pressing her breasts up and out. "Depends on what you like."
"I like lots of things." He says, stepping closer, unbuttoning the jacket, loosening his tie.
"Lots of things, huh? And let me guess, you've been away a long time, only your hand for company?"
"Communal showers, so not even a lot of that."
She shifts onto her knees, gesturing for him to come a bit closer, and then rests her hands on his chest. "Poor baby." She's close, lips a breath away from his, as she slips her tongue over them, it just, barely brushes against his lower lip. "I bet that's frustrating."
"You have no idea."
"So, is it true what they say about sailors?"
"That you're all really horny all the time?"
He takes her right hand, and places it on his cock. "What do you think?"
She moans quietly, and squeezes gently. His teeth clench and a sigh slips out of him. "Mmmm…"
"Know what'll feel even better?"
"What?" he asks.
"Not having pants on."
He nods. "That'll feel much better." She squeezes again, and he bites his lip.
"But you've got to tell me what you want, first, so we can get the business part done."
He closes his eyes and smiles a little, licking his lips. "Don't suppose you just charge by the hour?"
She shakes her head. "Nope. Gotta tell me what you want."
"Okay…" He looks her up and down, figuring that this is a pretty direct statement of 'You get to pick what we're doing tonight.' "Feeling kind of lazy tonight. Just want to lay back, sixty-nine until I'm about to come, and then have you slip off and ride me home."
"Sounds good. Two fifty, but if you can get me off, it's on the house."
He gently licks her lip. "Then I'll just have to get you off."
He's stripping off his uniform (carefully, it can't be all wrinkly for tomorrow) when she says, "You can try."
"Oh yeah." He grins. "I love a challenge."
A few seconds later he's naked, standing at attention (in more ways than one) next to their bed.
"Nice ink." She says.
"Thanks, like yours, too. You gonna let me see all of it?"
She carefully strips out of the teddy and panties, and his eyes trail all over her. He nods slowly, eyes lingering on her breasts and then pussy. "Yeah, like that a whole lot."
He sits down on their bed, wondering how 'realistic' this is going to be. Granted, he's never had sex with a hooker, so he's a bit fuzzy on the details, but he's assuming a lot of foreplay isn't part of the deal. Of course, given how sleepy she's been lately, quick is probably a selling point right now.
So, he just lays down, pulling her to him, careful not to crush her breasts between them. They're starting to get really sensitive again. "You kiss?" he asks.
She smiles and kisses him, soft and wet and deep. Then pulls back. "I do when I like the guy."
His hand twines in her hair and pulls her down for another kiss, also wet and deep. She's making soft, needy, happy noises in the back of her throat when she pulls back, and starts to flip around.
"Hold up. Change of plans." His hands urge her forward, up his body. "Still want to go down on you, but want to be able to touch more of you."
She's straddling his lips, exactly where he wants her. And for a few seconds he's just looking. Perfect pussy pouting at him, pink lips peeking between white labia, slight gleam of wetness, that smell hitting him so hard.
"You and every other sailor."
"Mmmm…" And he dives in. Kissing all over her. Starting gentle and easy, waiting for her body to start to rock in counter to his. Then licking, reveling in her flavor on his lips and tongue. His left hand strokes her, getting wet and slick, moving along with his tongue, finally, first two fingers slipping into her, pressing forward, finding her g-spot. His right hand reaches up, the reason for changing positions. Barely a month pregnant means very sensitive breasts, and he intends to take advantage of it.
Old, familiar dance, well-loved and satisfying. His lips and tongue and fingers know what to do, how to play her, how to touch so that in a matter of minutes she's going tight on him, hips moving fast as thighs tense. He's focused his touches, tongue on her clit, rolling over and over, fast and firm, keeping a steady pulse on her g-spot as his other hand pulls gently on her nipple.
She's moving faster, grinding against him, moans going high and breathy, and he knows she's almost there, just a little more, a few more seconds, bit more pressure. He sucks on her clit, pulling it between his lips, and pinches her nipple, firm, not too hard, and feels her hips and pussy twitch in response, slipping her over the edge.
Abby takes a minute to catch her breath, and then shimmies down him, kissing his lips. "Looks like you know your way around more than a ship."
He grins, sassy, at that. "Aviator. Don't like boats."
"How does a guy who doesn't like boats end up in the Navy?"
"It's where all the best toys are."
"Uh huh." She kisses him again. "So, ride you how? Facing you or turned away…"
"Ohhh… options…" His hands settle on her butt, and he leans up a bit to lick a nipple. "Tits or ass…" He kisses her nipple again, letting his teeth just drag over it, and she shivers. "Love this view, but… Turn around. Always been an ass man."
She turns around, wiggling at him, and then settles onto him in a long, slow stroke.
"Fuck!" he says it sincerely, voice low, hands settling on her ass.
She sets a quick pace. Not setting any endurance records tonight. And like before, it's an old, favorite dance. Motions mastered long ago and beloved. He holds her hips, rocking up to meet her, enjoying the view and the sublime pleasure of her body on his.
It's only a few minutes, but they're good minutes, happy minutes, and then he's also jerking and twitching as he comes.
She rests against him for a moment, both of them enjoying the glow, and then he reaches for the tissues, followed by quick cleaning up, and snuggling in close and sleepy.
They roll onto their sides, breathing slowing, and settle into sleeping position. He kisses her neck and shoulder, and she kisses his hand.
Another breath, one more, and the day ends in slumber.