Friday, September 26, 2014

Shards To A Whole: Miles To Go

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

Chapter 393: Miles To Go

"Okay Mr. McGee, let's see about getting you out of this!" The orthopedic surgeon says.

"Please." In that he's attached to his right arm, he hasn't been able to escape noticing that it's swaddled in a huge mass of bandages, casts, various support structures and the like.

He's seen buildings covered in scaffolding that had less crap on them than his right arm does now.

He's also approving the small and light looking tray the Doc's brought in as well. The thing on it kind of looks like what would happen if Spiderman built Buckey Barnes' prosthetic arm, with a few extra electronics tossed in for… he doesn't know, shits and giggles maybe.

It's a rigid web a plastic, that from the looks of it, is going from his pectoral muscle to his fingertips.
It's not what he thinks of as being a 'cast' though.

"That's new," Tim says as the nurses are very gently detaching the weights from the cords that are attached to his fingers and keeping his wrist in the right place.

"Yeah, it is. Those two," The Doc looks at Jimmy and Abby, "said you wouldn't mind being a test case."

Cutting edge medical tech. That appeals to Tim. "No. Don't mind at all."

The doc holds it up. "We're really excited about these. Once we got your arm back together, we took scans of it, and fed them into the computer, and got this printed out."

Very Cool, Read More
"3D printed casts, made for me?"

"Yep, strong, light, because of the web-like structure you can get it wet with no problems. Plenty of ventilation for your skin, so it won't start to smell funky and don't have to worry about accidentally tearing up your skin to scratch an itch. It's thin enough it should fit under most of your clothing without a problem." The Doc picks up the electronics. "These are the really cool part. They make tiny sonic vibrations, that encourage your bones to heal faster. With the number of breaks you've got it's going to take a while, but twenty minutes a day, pop the vibration head into the right hole in the web." The Doc holds up the vibration head, and the cast, and Tim does notice that some of the holes… Shit, ten of them… are white while the rest of the cast is black. "Let it do its thing, then onto the next one for another twenty minutes, and, assuming it works the way it's supposed to, we should have you down to a sling and braces for your wrist and fingers in only six weeks."

Tim nods. Only six weeks was actually longer than he was hoping for, but judging by how excited the orthopedic specialist is, and the way Jimmy's grinning at him, only six weeks is apparently a major improvement over whatever the normal length of time someone with as many breaks as he's got would have spent in a cast.

"We've got one for your foot, as well. Probably only need that one for a month."

That sounds a bit better.

"We'd offer for your ribs or nose, but it's not tested, at all, for any sort of break near a vital organ, and we wouldn't cast them anyway. If you mess around with it, write down what happens, okay."

"Uh… okay." He's thinking 'not tested for any sort of break near a vital organ' means he's happy to just leave it alone, but maybe if he gets frustrated enough on slowly healing up he'll do some research and mess around with it.

By now the nurse has his arm out of the previous bandages and casts and he's getting a chance to look at it for the first time since… God, his shower Friday morning.

"Is it… Tuesday?"

Abby nods.

He sighs. His arm is still covered in blue, purple, green, yellow bruises, swollen more or less from top to bottom, and there's a long incision down his bicep and forearm.


"We had to use screws to put your humerus and radius back together. Can't do that without opening your arm up."

"Oh." On the upside, they didn't have to cut through his tattoo. He thinks it'll still look right when everything heals up.

"Good to see no infection." The Doc cracks open the cast. "It's got hinges on this side, and fastens together here. Antibiotic ointment on the incision sites for the next few days."

"All right." Abby says. "Bandages?"

Doc shakes his head. "You need to be in this cast as much as you can. In a week or so, it's going to start to seem too big, because the swelling will go down and you won't be moving your arm, so you'll head to your orthopedic surgeon back home, and he'll hook you up with a new cast that'll fit better. And probably once more before you're out of this all together, but except for when he's popping your arm out of the one and putting it into the next, you stay in the cast."

"I can do that."

"Good. I run into too many kids who look at one of these things, notice they can open them, and then decide that since they're feeling mostly better it's time to get out of it. The only thing I like better about plaster casts is that most people couldn't get out of one on their own without letting me know they'd done it."

"I'll keep it on."

"Very good." The Doc very gently places Tim's arm in the new cast. Even very gently, it hurts. And he gently closes it up and snaps the web into place. That hurts, too. And then it's done, and Tim can at least see his arm, and he's not tied to little weights that were pulling his wrist into the right place.
That's progress. After a minute he's done the same thing for Tim's foot.

"Okay, technically, if you want to try to use a crutch, you can. On your left side. But you've also got three broken ribs on the left, so you might want to just stay with a wheelchair for at least a week or so. I'll let you play that by ear. Just remember, this cast is strong, but it is not a walking cast. You put your full weight on this, and it will break. So, don't try to just hobble around on it like it's a walking cast. You want to get up, grab a crutch or cane or something to put your weight on."

Tim nods at that. Idea of actually getting up is both something he's eager for and terrified of. Just shifting the non-broken leg around hurt, attempting to put weight on it might be a very bad idea.

But very bad idea or not, he is sure as hell going to try because he's sick of being in this damn bed, and the idea of actually getting a shower sounds like heaven.

Once he's got the casts in place and the instructions for dealing with them, (And more importantly, Abby has those instructions, because right now he's doing well if he can keep a constant thought in his head for half an hour) everyone other than Abby heads out to let the nurses get him completely unhooked.

So, he can understand, rationally, why you'd tape the catheter tube to the leg of the person who's wearing it, but in that he's been strapped to the damn bed (so it's not like he was going to go anywhere) and they didn't bother to remove any of his leg hair first, peeling the tape off hurt like a bastard, and set him up with a perfectly rectangular patch of brand new bruise on what was one of the few places he didn't have any bruises.

As for removing the tube… Okay, honestly, not that bad, more an issue in his head than his dick, still having a strange woman grab his penis is really off-putting, and he's very glad he was unconscious when they put it in.

Saying goodbye to the IV meant more bruises on top of skin that's already bruised. He's got no idea what the hell adhesive they used on the tape but apparently it's designed to create unbreakable bonds with human skin. He feels like the back of his hand and wrist got peeled off along with the tape.

Last bit was the bandages binding his chest. More tight taping, fortunately this wasn't adhesive side against his skin. He's got to sit up for that, which takes a bit of help, and Abby's hands on his shoulders to help keep him steady, but after a minute he's free of the bandages. Tim tries inhaling deeply, and decides that feels like being stabbed in the chest in about six places, and maybe he doesn't need to do that again anytime soon.

But finally, he's free of the various bonds of the hospital, and though the nurses offered to stay and help, Abby shooed them out. So he's unhooked, and alone with his wife.

He's sitting up, on his own, without the support of the mattress behind his back and eyeballing the bathroom where rumor has it there's a shower.

Abby smiles at him. "Twelve feet to the door, and four more to the shower. Let's go."

Tim nods. And then blinks. Might as well be two miles away. He starts to shift the one leg over, and it eventually complies, sore, achy, bruised, sprained, hasn't really moved in days, but eventually it meanders over to the side of the bed in an attempt to get him facing the doorway to the bathroom.

His left leg eventually, more slowly, follows suit, and after some shifting around on his hips he manages to get facing the edge of the bed.

Abby heads to his left side, wrapping his arm over her shoulders. "Okay, easing down slowly on your right foot."

He nods, and slowly, gently slides the four inches from the edge of the bed to the floor. He whimpers slightly as he makes contact with the ground. His bruised up foot isn't much liking it, and the broken ribs on his left are complaining about Abby supporting him on that side, while the ones on his right are even less happy about her hand resting on them.

"Can you keep your weight on your right foot?"

He bites out a brief, "Yeah."

She lets go of his chest and re-adjusts her grasp to his hips. "Okay, lean into me."

He does, and she makes sure she's got him secure. "Better?"


"Okay, off we go."

They're two steps into the journey when he says, "Probably a good thing I'm already naked. Can you imagine how long this would take if you had to get me undressed at the end of this."

She smiles at him. "Find that out tomorrow. Got some very soft pajamas waiting for you."

He nods, soft clothing sounds really great right about now. He never thought that days of naked would be an issue, but right now, looking at another night on hospital sheets, soft flannel jammy pants and a t-shirt sound great.

"Got something else, too."


"It's a surprise. Once you're all cleaned up and dressed again."

Two more steps and they're in the bathroom. Where there's a mirror. A horrified and pained whimper slips out of him as he sees his face. Four days means that a lot of the swelling is down, and they did put his nose back into the right place, but his face is still black and blue, his lips and eyebrow and the bridge of his nose are all cut and split.

"Oh God."

Abby pets him gently.

He whimpers again, looking at the rest of himself. He could see some of the damage before, mostly his left arm. He had a blanket over most of him, and bandages on his right arm and chest for almost all of the last four days, so this is really the first unobstructed view of all of himself and the fact that this is how he's looking four days after the attack makes him want to throw up.

Abby very gently strokes his back as he stares at the bruises and the cuts and all the swollen, strained bits. He feels like it's not really his body. He can feel all of it, and then some. Seeing it makes everything he wasn't noticing all go jumping to the front of his mind, and he starts to cry. Half physical pain, half emotional distress at seeing himself.

"Okay, come on, let's sit down." There's a little seat in the shower, and Abby gets him on it. Not enough room for two people to sit on it, so she kneels in front of him, holding his legs, kissing the unbruised bits of his knees, very, very gently stroking her hands over his skin.

She figures this is probably like seeing herself after having Kelly that first time and feeling like her body was completely destroyed. And she knows the last thing she wanted to hear was some sort of happy, feel good bullshit, so she just holds on and lets him cry.

And when he stops, she stands up, fiddling with the shower controls, turning the water on so it's coming out of the shower head that's attached to the hose, and letting it pour down the drain right now, warming up.

She kisses the top of his head. "Back in a few seconds, gotta get your stuff."

Tim nods at her and starts to shift a bit, so he's facing into the shower. He thinks about reaching for the shower hose, but it's on the wrong side of him, and bending down to grab it sounds like it'll hurt, so he just sits there, feeling devastated.

He thought he'd gotten through and dealt with and all that other shit you do when your Dad's a complete fucking asshole and you've got to live with it. He thought he was done. But he's looking at his body, beaten to a pulp, and dealing with that fact that John didn't just let it happen, he made it happen. He wanted this, and more than this, and it's hitting Tim in waves of revulsion how deep that hate has to go, how sick you've got to be that this would be okay. He's breathing deep (as much as he can without hurting) and steady, because he doesn't want to throw up, and even though the toilet and sink are only a few feet away, he doesn't think he can make it on his own, and given how much breathing hurts, puking's going to kill him, so, deep, steadying breaths.

Abby comes in, sees the way he's breathing, and drops the clothing and toiletries. She's kneeling in front of him again, holding his left hand carefully, stroking the back of his neck.

"He let them do this to me."

She nods.

"He wanted this." The crying ramps back up again. "Wanted worse than this." Tim's shaking with fear and anger in addition to crying, and she's holding onto him as best as she can, cuddling and wrapping him in as much love as touch can convey.

Several minutes later, they both hear a tentative knock on the door along with Jimmy saying, "Need an extra hand?"

Tim shakes his head, so Abby calls out. "We're good."

"Okay. Holler if you need help."

Tim wipes his eyes, forcing fear and anger back, some, can't spend all day in here. He sniffs. "Let's get this done."

Abby strokes his face. "We can take as long as you need."

"I know. Just… want to be done. Want to get home and back to normal as soon as I can."

"Okay. Let's get you washed off and dressed."

Warm water feels good. Gently being washed is nice. Abby naked in the shower with him is something he approves of, but mostly in a this is pleasant and comforting and intimate sort of way. The sex part of his brain isn't online right now. Getting his hair washed felt really good, apparently his scalp isn't too badly bruised up.

"Want me to shave you?" Abby asks once she's got his hair rinsed out.

"Nah. Unless you want to."

"Don't need to. I think we're done." She turns the water off and begins to gently dry him off. That's good, too. When she's done, she eyeballs the toilet. "Want some alone time?"

"I'm good on that for right now." He can see his clothing sitting on the sink, and knows that since he's sitting on a wet seat in the shower that not all of him is dried off. "I need to stand up, don't I?"

"Probably make finishing this up easier."

He eyes the hand rails along the walls of the shower. They, like everything else in the universe, are built for righties. Once he's standing, he can grab them easily. But, if the idea is to hold on to help get himself standing, they're on the wrong side.

Abby sees what he's doing. "Okay, let's get you up, then you grab, and I'll get you all dry."

Plan in play, they get to it, and in a few seconds he's dried off, and sitting on the toilet while Abby gets his jammy pants over the cast on his foot. Up again for a few seconds to get them pulled up over his hips, and for the first time in days he's actually dressed.

Tim's eyeballing his deodorant when it hits him that he can't put it on. Can't use his left arm to put it on the left side, (He guesses that maybe he could, normally, but the idea of trying to get his arm into position for that makes him want to break into a cold sweat.) and the cast covers his right from just about his nipple to fingertips.

Abby sees the way he's looking at it. "You want me to do the one side or just skip it?"

He closes his eyes, hating how helpless he is, and lifts his left arm as high as it will go, just a bit above shoulder level.

He winces a little as she does it.



"Sorry." Abby puts the deodorant down after a swipe in each direction. "Is that enough?"

He nods.

"How do you even do that with armpit hair? Are you even getting it on your skin?"

He laughs, slightly, at that. "I've never thought about it. You just do it, and it works."

"Okay. Shirt next."

Given the instruction to 'bring clothing for Tim' Abby had grabbed the softest, most comfortable, laying around the house clothes he owned. It didn't occur to her, until right now, that a button down or two would have been a really good plan. The cast is keeping his hand and wrist in neutral position, his elbow bent at ninety degrees, and his shoulder joint extended about an inch forward, with his arm turned in across his stomach.

She's looking at his arm, thinking her way through how to deal with that, when Tim says, "You feed the arm through the sleeve first, then over the head, then the other arm."

"That's right, you've done this, well something like it, before."

"Yeah." More times than he's wanted. At least this time it's his right arm. All those years ago it was his left, and that made for a hellish two months.

"Or would you rather just wait and let me go get you a few button downs?"

"T-shirt. I don't want to see how bad this looks."

"Okay." She carefully scrunches up the shirt and threads his arm through, then lets him take care of his head and other arm. While he's getting into the shirt, Abby gets toothpaste on his brush.

He looks at that, and almost cracks a smile.

"Feeling a little more like yourself?"

"Little." He takes the brush from her and gets to it while she gets dried off and dressed. While he's brushing he checks out both his teeth (Upper jaw, second front one on the right appears to the be the one that ended up with the cap. At least, it's not the same color the other ones were.) and his face.
It looks a little better than before the shower. Apparently some of what he thought were bad cuts was actually dried blood. So, he's a little less beat up looking. But only a little.

One of the cuts goes straight through his left eyebrow. "They think that'll heal?"

"No one's said anything about it in specific. If it scars, two seconds with an eyebrow pencil will cover it."

He nods at that.

"Plus, if it scars, and you like it, having a bisected eyebrow's pretty cool."

Bisected eyebrow. 
He looks at her wryly, finishing up with his teeth, and then says, "I know you love James Marsters, but…" and then shakes his head.

She grins at him. "It'd look awesome! Okay, you look done, back to bed? Sofa?"

He sighs. "Bed." He'd like to be somewhere else, but he's hurting, and tired, and his internal clock's telling him pain meds are coming soon, and as soon as they're in his system, he'll be asleep again.

"Okay, back to bed. Get a good nap. Dinner. More sleeping, and then tomorrow, bright and early, on the plane and home we go."

"That sounds good."

Someone changed out the sheets while he was getting washed off, and Tim appreciates that. And, with his arm no longer in traction, he doesn't have to be on his back, reclining, or smack dab in the middle of the bed. Which he also appreciates.

Once he's out of the bathroom, Jimmy hops up and takes over from Abby on giving him a hand getting to the bed. Stronger, a bit steadier, and slightly taller makes that easier. Once he's on his bed, Jimmy grabs the sling that goes with his new cast, and gets it situated and strapped on, and while the cast is large and rigid enough to hold his arm in place, the sling has some padding and straps to help keep his arm secure against his stomach, which is nice because that means the top part, that's resting against his pec, armpit, scapula, and deltoid isn't digging into him every time he moves.

Tim gingerly rolls onto his left side (he usually sleeps on his right) but it doesn't hurt any worse than his back did, and Abby can tell, by the way he's only a few inches from the edge of the bed, that he's looking for some cuddling. So she carefully gets on the bed, too, and snuggles against his back, arm under the hollow of his neck.

His left hand finds hers, and holding it reminds her of her surprise.



"Can you get the present?"

He smiles at that. "Sure." He digs around in her purse before pulling it out, back still toward them, hiding it from Tim's (sleepy) view. Then he turns around, taking a step closer, holding a plain, black, embossed with a Celtic dragon, leather wrist cuff, out. Sort of a hybrid of the knot on his bicep and the dragon on his leg.

"It's not the same…" While Gibbs and Abbi had been on duty, they'd gone looking for one. His old one was not only in evidence, but in an effort to make sure that any prints that might have been on the snaps remained in pristine shape, they'd cut it off Tim. "But it's as close as we could find," Abby says.

Jimmy's about to hand it to Abby to put it on, but she quickly shakes her head. She's in a bad position for it, and moving around's just going to hurt more, so Jimmy slips it over Tim's wrist, snapping it into place.

"Good?" Jimmy asks.

Tim nods, eyes tearing up. He knows they mean well, and he knows, because this new one is on his wrist, that the old one has to be destroyed, but he wants the old one back.

Abby kisses the back of his neck.

Jimmy's still holding his wrist. "Want me to take it off?"

Tim shakes his head, not trusting his voice.

"It's okay if you don't like it." Abby says.

He squeezes her hand a little tighter, before closing his eyes, and curling in on himself.

She can read that as a pretty definitive I've dealt with everything and anything I can deal with today, time to check out gesture.

She kisses the back of his neck again. "Okay."

It's an hour later, when Jimmy is absolutely sure that Tim is completely asleep when he quietly says, "Well that went over like a lead balloon."

"Bad timing, too much, too soon. Tomorrow we'll get home, and that'll help."

Jimmy nods. "Lots of healing to do."

"Yeah. What happened to him really hit when he saw himself."

Jimmy closes his eyes and swallows, gritting his teeth. Then he looks back at Abby, who's cuddling Tim, gently stroking her thumb over the back of his hand. "I hate that deal. Hate waiting. Hate that it won't be me. I want to rip John up myself."

Tim shifts, moans a bit, and seems to settle in to deeper sleep.

Abby kisses him, then speaks a little more softly, "I know. Me, too. Want revenge so bad I can taste it. Keep fantasizing about ways to do it. Get back to my lab, and start mixing up cocktails…"

Jimmy shakes his head. "Not for at least nine months."

She gives him the stink eye for raining on her fantasy.

"And he'd be dead by then." If he's going to rain on her parade, he may as well pour.

"Gibbs," she says, a very good idea of how it'd go.

"Me!" Jimmy says, fire in his eyes. Abby looks curious at that, wondering what Jimmy's plan would have been. "I asked him to teach me how to take the shot. That way he could be somewhere public, with an alibi, like, say, with Penny, and I could do it."

Abby sighs, quietly. "God, Penny… And Sarah…"

"Figured what they didn't know wouldn't hurt them. Figured they'd never really look further than Gibbs."

Abby nods. "You talk to them?"

"Ducky. She's holding on, but taking it hard. Wouldn't you?"

"Lord." Abby goes quiet, praying for peace and calm and… and hoping that there's comfort somewhere.

Dinner comes and goes.

Tim eats, but he's quiet.

Night comes and he's sleeping, but fitful. Another shift in his pain meds means they aren't doing quite the job of knocking him out that they had been. Instead of falling asleep within seconds of closing his eyes, he's got this sort of strange half-awake half-asleep sensation where he's aware but his body doesn't want to do anything for long stretches.

So he sleeps, and dreams, nothing bad or disturbing, waking up and not being home with Abby and Kelly and all healed up is the disturbing part, and lays there, feeling Abby against his back, the soft puffs of her breath on his neck. He can hear Jimmy's quiet, steady breathing, and the little night sounds people make, shifting around, bits of vocalizations, getting up to hit the head, stuff like that.

He wants to touch the new wrist cuff, run his fingers over it, really see and feel the new pattern. He's sulking about the old one being gone, because he wants the old one, not that there's anything wrong or bad about this one. The love that inspired the first cuff was involved in getting this one, and as he thinks about it, Jimmy helped get this one, too, so this is a gift from two of the most important people in his life.

Two of his loves trying to make him feel better. Trying to help him to getting back to who he is. So he gets it, understands the gesture, and eventually, he'll love this one, too.

But he was robbed of the old one, and that stings.

Morning comes and with it a huge stack of paperwork encompassing all of Tim's release documentation, prescriptions, what he needs to be taking when, appointments made with the one orthopedic specialist in the DC area who works with the kind of casts he's got, and all the rest of it.

But, eventually, Abby's wheeling him out of the hospital, and they're heading toward the jet, and from there, home.

They're on the plane, quiet, resting mostly, heading back east. Gibbs notices that Tim's completely sacked out again, so he shifts over a bit, next to Jimmy and says, "Saturday morning, at the house, with me."

Jimmy's eyebrows raise. "Uh…"

"You believe a politician's promise after he keeps it. This time next year, if John McGee's still walking around, we'll be ready to do something about it."

Jimmy thinks about that for a moment and then nods, "Okay."

Tim's awfully tired by the time they get home. Tired and aching. Plane travel followed by car travel with as many broken bones as he has is pretty much torture.

The original plan was everyone was going to be there to say 'Hi' see he was all in one piece offer welcome, but by the time they were on the runway, heading toward Abby's car, that plan had been scrapped. Jethro and Abbi are heading back to Jethro's. Breena and the girls are going to meet them at the McGees, and then that's it.

Visitors tomorrow, if he's feeling up for it.

So, as Jimmy's helping him get up the stairs on their front porch, and Abby's running ahead to get the door open, Tim wants to sack out, take about fifty pain pills, and more or less just die.

But he can't, not yet. There's something very, very important he needs to do first.

Abby's giving him help because between the arm and the ribs he can't get a very good hold on her, but more than anything else right now, he wants to cuddle his baby girl, and he is. (Jimmy's similarly wrapped in a pile of hugging girls.)

"Happy Birthday, Kelly." He kisses her, holding her close, crying some. "Told you I'd be back for today."

"Dadadadada!" She's in his arms, and squirmy, and laying big, wet, (ouchy) kisses all over his face, and right this second Tim couldn't be happier or more relieved.

A minute later, he gets a gentle hug from Breena, and a not so gentle hug from Molly, who's fascinated by his casts and bruises, and wants to touch and poke him all over, which means it's time for the Palmer branch of the family to head off before she decides any really tender bits of Uncle Tim need to get poked.

He's fading pretty fast by that point. Weary, really not all there, so he's guessing this was mostly for Abby's benefit, or maybe it was just important enough that waiting didn't make any more sense. But as Jimmy and Breena are getting ready to go, he gets his usual (albeit very gentle) hug from Breena, and then she pulls back a little, arms still around him, looks at Abby, looks back to him, and says, "Life's too damn short to let fear win."

Then Breena kisses him, very soft, very gentle, and he's appreciating the kiss, at least it's got enough of his attention that all of the pain in his body fades to a sort of dull ache, and much too soon she stands up, takes a step over to Abby, kisses her too, which Tim would have to admit he enjoyed watching, though he would have enjoyed it even more if he'd been feeling anything approaching good, and then she took one more step and kissed Jimmy, which was also nice to watch, too.

Her voice is steady as she speaks, but it's clear that the what-ifs and very close call of this last week have hit her, hard. "I love all three of you, and I don't know where this is going, but one day, soon, when you're off the pain meds," Tim gets a gentle stroke on his hand, "we're all sitting down, together, and talking this out, because life is short and we are not letting this slip away. Okay?"

Tim nods, and Abby and Jimmy say, "Okay."

Breena smiles, and Tim and Abby both get quick pecks on the forehead. "Good. Okay, I'm going to get the girls in the car. Abby, you need Jimmy's help getting Tim upstairs?"

Abby nods. "Unless you want to stay down here?"

"No. Upstairs, bed, lying down, sleeping."

Jimmy steps over to Tim, helping him getting standing up. "Up we go."

They're halfway up the steps when Tim asks, "Did you know she was going to do that?"

Jimmy nods. "Talked about it last night. Abby did, too."


"It okay?"

"Yeah… Just wasn't expecting it."

Two more steps, four to go. "Yeah, well, almost dying puts things into perspective. And being on a shit ton of pain meds takes them out of perspective, so when you're not hurting from your eyelashes to your toenails, we'll talk some more. About a lot of things, like us, and your dad, and the deal with Jarvis, and just, lots of things."

Tim gets his right foot onto the next stair and slowly lifts himself up. "Good plan."

After another minute, Jimmy gets Tim to his room, and sitting on his bed. "Don't flop back, yet."

Tim stares at him, slumping, all I want to do is sleep on his face.

"Look, I'm here, I can move you around fairly easy, you need to hit the head? Want a change of clothing? Something like that?"

"Just want to lie down."

"Okay." Jimmy helps him get lying back on the bed. "Pillows good?"

"I'm home. Everything's good."

"Okay." Jimmy gives him a quick hug, and then stands up. "See you soon."

"Thanks, Jimmy."

He smiles at Tim, and heads off.

He's almost asleep when he hears the sound of a car door shutting, followed by tires on his gravel driveway, a minute after that Abby's next to him, Kelly between them, and he's drifting off to sleep, in his own bed, his girls by his side.


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