Thursday, September 4, 2014

Shards To A Whole: New Rules

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

Chapter 382: New Rules

May I see you? Text from Jimmy. Been sitting on her phone, without a response, for more than an hour now.

Yesterday was good. Good all over. And at the end of it, she and Tony had asked Abby about their potential halfway solution, and she gave them some suggestions for how he could get his genome out there, and let other people hunt him down. Apparently, this is going to take a lot of spit, a bunch of test tubes, and mailing off bits of DNA to several internet companies that specialize in helping people find their relatives/history/genealogy or whatnot.

Today was busy. Drug case. No dead bodies, but sixty kilos of heroin will get the MCRT rolling.

Ziva likes drug cases. They're… clean… for lack of a better word. No dead bodies. No having to inform next of kin. No having to ask questions of grieving widows or orphans. No friends reeling from loss. They may be messy as hell with lies and backstabbing and deceit, but no one's dead.

It's occurring to her that she may have been a cop for too long if this is her idea of a good day.

But it has been a good day. And as they were getting ready to go home, her phone buzzes, with Jimmy's message on it.

She shows it to Tony, and he shrugs. Whatever she wants to do about Jimmy, that's up to her.

So she tucks her phone back into her pocket, and they go home.

They're home. Dinner's done. Tony's got a movie he's been looking forward to, but Ziva's not really interested in it.

She heads to their room, grabbing her book, and settles into the overstuffed armchair near their bed.

She's read the same paragraph three times, which means the book's not holding her interest, and she knows why not. Her eyes keep darting to her phone.

Talk to him or not…

She picks up the phone. Yes.

A minute later Where? Anywhere that's good for you, I'll go.

I'm at home.

I can be there in half an hour.


And in twenty-eight minutes, he is there.

He knocks. He usually wouldn't. Normally, if he's expected, he'd just head in, because that's how they are with each other's homes. But today he knocks.

He's been trying to think of what to say on the ride over. Not much is springing up. I'm sorry I hurt you. That's pretty much it.

But he's already said that.

I hope you forgive me. I hope you understand. That's there, too.

I hope this is fixable. That's why he's at their door.

Ziva opens the door, and looks at him. Yeah, not pleased at all. It's not a happy expression on her face, but she lets him in.

She leads him to the dining table. They've got an open floor plan, so he can see Tony watching his movie, and feels a flash of hot, angry at seeing him, so… yeah… not okay on that, yet, but… Tony's ignoring them, letting them get whatever they need to do with each other, out of the way.

He sits down, and she does, too, staring at him, making him speak first.

"I'm sorry I hurt you."

"You've said that."

"Wanted to say it again. That was something I needed to do, to be okay, in myself, and, longer term, okay with him, but it hurt you, and… I didn't want that. But I couldn't think of a way to do it without hurting you."

"If he deserved your anger, I did, too."

Jimmy shakes his head. "No… Ziva…You're not—"

"I have run that mission, too, Jimmy."

Jimmy blinks. He opens his mouth, and shuts it, staring at her. He licks his lips, still staring, and opens his mouth again, but no sound comes out.

She sees his posture slouch, and he looks like he's been punched.

But finally he says, "Oh. Uh…" He straightens back up again, breathing deeply. "Then I'm not sorry." He's biting his lip, hard, apparently stopping himself from saying something, likely harsh. He stares at her dining table, and then looks up at her. He looks away again, collecting his thoughts.


"Would you like to be judged for your worst mistake, more than a decade later?" Ziva asks.

He licks his lips again, and tries to think of what he considers his worst mistake. But when it comes down to it, not going with Breena to Jon's twenty week ultrasound doesn't feel like it fits into the category of use someone for your own gain. But, if she wants to dump on him about it… Not like she'll ever come up with anything he didn't say to himself about that. Not like he won't deserve it. He should have been there with her. She shouldn't have had to face that image and everything that came after it, alone.

"No." He's looking at his hand, wedding ring. "But I'll get it if it happens." He looks back to Ziva. "I don't know if you can call something you did intentionally, knowing you were fucking someone over, a mistake."

"Decision, then."

"Yeah. Decision." He takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes. "No. I wouldn't want to be judged on my worst decision. Two minutes ago, I thought it was letting you spend that night sitting there, hurting. Now I don't know what it would be. So, you know what, fuck it, judge away. Nothing you didn't deserve. I don't expect you to be happy with it… But, I hope you understand."

"I understand."

He nods and it turns into a head shake. "I don't." He's looking up at her, big eyes, fragile expression on his face. "I said this to him, or if I didn't, I meant to. I don't get it. I don't fucking get it, at all. There are no targets. Just people. And I don't get how you could go into a mission to literally fuck an innocent person with no shot of it working, no hope of doing anything useful. Not when there was a really obvious way to do it without hurting that person. It's one thing if you're off to save the world or something, but…" he shakes his head again. "I don't get it, Ziva."

She shakes her head. "You don't have to, and if you're lucky, you never will."

"That sounds like you do get it. That this… makes sense to you."

She shrugs. "In a properly run mission, it's a simple costs benefits analysis. What's the easiest way to achieve your goal? What tools do you have at your disposal? What timeframe do you have to move in? One broken heart versus a fire fight with an expected fifty casualties? You break the heart."

Jimmy's eyes flick toward Tony. "So, you're saying, what? That this was cheaper than putting surveillance on Jeanne?"

Ziva shrugs, while that is likely true, she doesn't want to put her approval on that mission. "That was not a properly run mission."

"And when you did it, was it a properly run mission?"

"I like to think so."

"Ah." So, not exactly the same mission. "And… did… that heartbreak save lives?"

"It certainly did from my side's perspective. None of our men were lost. It cost lives for the other side."

"But that was going to happen either way?"

"Yes. It's likely fewer died by using the route we did. But it's certain that the target would have been vastly better off if I'd stayed away from him. And, in as much as there are such things as innocent people, involving him meant hurting one, and a direct strike would have only engaged combatants."

Jimmy bites his lip again, thinking.

"Did you know that Ilan Bodnar had a wife and sister?"

"No. You never said."

"We were close once… Not family close, but he was my father's protégée. We worked several cases together. Had dinner together on numerous occasions. Friendly."

"More than friendly?"

Ziva shakes her head. "Never that friendly. Since, I'm 'still looking for Bodnar' I get in touch with them every year or so. Check in, see if they've heard anything." Jimmy knew that keeping up the ruse of still looking for Bodnar was part of the cover, that if he was truly missing, Ziva wouldn't have just given up on the hurt, but he hadn't realized what was really involved in that. "They are still waiting for him, still looking. Still hoping he is alive.

"Everything we do, no matter how justified, touches other people. Sometimes it hurts. If you get into something like that, like the kind of life the Frog was leading, you open up the people you love to this sort of hurt. The fact that they become targets, too, is supposed to help dissuade you from that path."

Jimmy blinks, and nods. "Doesn't mean we have to be the ones to do it to them."

"No, it doesn't. And we try not to. But we are human, and we make mistakes, and we make bad decisions, and things that look like a good plan at the time go haywire."

"Yeah. That's how I was feeling about hurting you."

"But you are not feeling that way anymore, are you?"

"No. Now I'm wishing I had chewed out both of you." Jimmy stands up. "I'm…" And he heads out.

Tony stands up and heads over to Ziva. "That went well."

She glares at him. Not hot, but not appreciating the sarcasm.

He shrugs. "You okay?"

"It is hard to be angry at him when he's sitting there like a kicked puppy."

Tony nods at that, too. "And then you remember exactly how long that night was…"

She nods back at him. Remembering brings that fear and pain back in a flash. Unnecessary pain and fear. Hours of it.

"I'm kind of hoping we can fight it out. Beat the hell out of each other and then call it even."

"It's worked well in the past."

He nods, some. "Yeah. Just get all the angry out in one big burst and then be done with it."

Gibbs has been trying to take a back seat and let them work this crap all out on their own.

Unfortunately, he's not liking the direction 'working it out' looks like it's going to take. Because they're all planning on just beating it out.

The good thing about Bootcamp is that they can all take care of themselves, and then some. The downside is, they're way too damn good to be pounding on each other.

And he can see how this is going to play out. Four person brawl. While it does look like McGee and both DiNozzos are doing okay now (or at least not talking about it) Gibbs knows that if this goes down, Tim will get in it, and he'll fight for Jimmy.

Gibbs just doesn't see any way that ends well.

On top of that, what Breena had to say about Tim and Jimmy coming home with bruises stuck with him.

Ziva and Tony trying for a baby, sticks with him.

Tim having the Stennis test coming up, that's sticking, too.

And in each of his conversations with them, they're all mentioning Bootcamp.

Gibbs has a bad feeling about this. He does not want to see a full-on four person brawl, especially if one of those people may be very slightly pregnant and another one might be walking into a real fight in the next few weeks.

The more he thinks about it, the more it's hitting him that he doesn't want beating the shit out of each other to be the fallback position for how to deal with anger at each other.

He wants the guys, especially Tim and Jimmy to be comfortable with their violence, able to use it when they need it, but… He doesn't want them using it against each other.

Bootcamp is at the house, on Saturday. All six of you. Duck and Penny are watching the girls. No whining or complaining about that. McGee, Palmer, bring your checkbooks.

Gibbs figured that email would do the job, and then he went off in search of a Mason jar and a permanent marker.

The internet is a useful thing. He's never going to have Tim-level google-fu (or for that matter know the term google-fu) but he's found that if you're persistent, you can find out lots of things.

For example, Gibbs already knows what Tony and Ziva make. He's had their jobs, after all. And he's got an idea for Tim, Abby, and Jimmy. But a bit of research and knowing each of their rankings, meant that he was able to get, within a few thousand dollars, what their yearly salaries are.

More googling meant that he was able to find out, again, ballpark, what an author makes per copy of his book sold, and how many books Tim's sold. (A lot more than he had thought.)

Some googling after that meant that he now knows that the Slater Funeral Homes are a closely held C Corp with 14.6 million a year in sales, and shares of the publically traded stock (Not a whole lot of that, the Slaters own more than 90% of the company. He bought some anyway, not a lot, but he wanted a symbolic gesture of supporting the family business.) going for $17.14. More googling found that Breena Palmer currently owns 11.6% of the company and is officially listed as a Director.

And with that, he has a plan.

No Shabbos this week. He's not surprised at that.

He hits Tony and Ziva's place first. They seem, okay. Especially with each other. That reassures him. He doesn't want to be poking his nose into their marriage deeply enough to know what exactly shifted, but they're both more at ease with each other.

They always have that fine buzz of tension. That's just how they work, but right now it's a barely audible hum, coming through in the occasional, slightly sharp, joke.

So, they're running on normal.

Tony wants to bitch about whatever the mystery bootcamp is, but Gibbs just shakes his head.

Palmers' next. Jimmy and Breena he's expecting. McGees just happened to be an added bonus.

Tim and Abby seem okay.

Breena's fine.

Jimmy… Jimmy's in worse shape than he was the last time they talked, and also looking forward to Bootcamp a lot more than Gibbs thinks is healthy.

He'd had dinner with Tony and Ziva, but he's not turning down the watermelon sorbet Breena had for dessert.

Dessert's wrapping up, and he more or less pulls Jimmy onto the porch. Tim follows, not really planning on getting into it, but just staying in the background, there if need be.

"What happened?" Gibbs asks.

Jimmy shrugs. "Turns out Ziva's done it, too." Tim's eyes go wide, he hadn't heard that bit of it yet. "And honestly, if you've ever seduced an innocent person for the job, made them fall in love with you, and used them, I really don't want to hear about it."

Gibbs shakes his head. Sure he's slept with suspects or accomplices, never a bystander.

"They still your friends?"


"You still love them?"


"Then you've got to let it go. Long time ago and there's nothing they can do about it, now."

"I know. Still hard when people you love and respect do asshole things."

Gibbs stares right at Jimmy, dead into his eyes, makes sure he has his undivided attention, then he quickly glances to Tim before staring back at Jimmy. "Yeah. It is. Sucks when your friends put you in a bad situation, too. "

Jimmy blinks at him, getting what that look is saying. He nods.

"Let it go, Jimmy."

He shrugs. "I'm trying."

"Try harder."

Saturday morning, bright and early.

He's got six tense-looking people milling around what will eventually be the living room once they get this whole place fixed up.

Gibbs takes the mason jar out of his bag. It's got the word ASSHOLE written on it in big letters. He sticks it on the mantle and then points to it. "This is the asshole jar. All instances of assholery will result in donations being placed in the asshole jar. Then whomever has been the victim of assholery will get the proceeds of said jar. I know, ballpark, how much money all of you have, and what you make, so the penalty for assholery is adjusted by income and will sting, but it won't break you.

"The point of Bootcamp is not to beat the shit out of each other. It's to be strong and fast and able to beat the shit out of the other guys out there.

"So from here on out, beating the hell out of each other is off the table. We'll still fight, we'll still train, but it's never going to be a way we deal with our anger at each other, ever again. You need to fight out your anger at the outside world, great, we're good on that. We support each other on that. But never for each other, never again.

"Lifting a hand to each other in anger, in annoyance, it ends now. No one's ever getting a headslap again, either. We're done with it.

"Now, pay up. Director Gemcity, twenty-five hundred, into the pot, each, for Tony and Ziva."

Tim winces, yeah, that's gonna sting, and they haven't gotten to Abby yet.

"LabMistress McGee, thirteen hundred, each, for Tony and Ziva."

Abby's wincing too. Gibbs is right, it's not going to break them. Won't mean a missed payment on anything. They've got the savings to cover it, but they're going to have to shift some cash around and sell off some of their stock to cover it. Tim gets his phone out and starts taking care of it.

"You got a check with you?" he asks Tony.

"Why would I have one? I wasn't told to bring one."

"If you had one, I could wire the money right into your account. I'll Paypal you instead."

Tony nods at that.

Gibbs says, "Dr. Palmer, grand a pop, to Abby and Tim. Five hundred to Tony and Ziva."

"Five hundred?" Jimmy asks.

"Aggravated assholery. You get a discount on that."

Jimmy bites his lip, this isn't supposed to be funny, but he likes the idea of aggravated assholery.

"Director Palmer, eleven hundred each to Tony and Ziva.

Gibbs hands a check over to Jimmy, who looks at it for a second and then stares at Gibbs, dumbfounded, as he asks, "Why?"

"Because as your wife pointed out, someone should have said something to you when it happened. I should have checked in with you. I didn't. My team, my screw up."

"Tony and Ziva, you're not paying out this time, but each count of assholery's gonna cost Tony seven fifty and Ziva four hundred. I know you all get raises, so those numbers are just going to keep getting higher and higher as time goes by."

Breena's got the checkbook out and writing in it. "If you can hold them 'til Tuesday, that'd be good. I've got to move some money into this account, and unlike Tim, I don't have everything for that online."

Ziva and Abby nod.

Gibbs is almost done. "Rule 72: If it happened more than two years ago, let it go. That's our new statute of limitations. Two years. We've known each other a long time and have long memories, and that's not biting us in the ass again. You wanna bitch to your own spouse about it if it's more than two years old, fine. But unless it is so bad you are literally willing to rip our entire family apart over it, if it's more than two years old, let the fucker go.

"Rule 73: If it's less than two years old and didn't happen to you personally, forgive it.

"Rule 74: If you'd yell at the girls for it, don't do it yourself.

"Now, if you still need to go do something hard and strenuous to burn it off, there's a truck load of rocks that still need to be laid out, and then stuck on the house. Get to it!"

House building starts off awfully quiet. Working with Ducky during the week means that about two thirds of the masonry is up. Hopefully with the whole crew here, they'll get it all in place by the end of the day.

Then comes windows. Normally, if you had a full crew of people who knew how to do this, you'd go through, pop the old ones all out, and then put the new ones all in.

They are not going to do it that way. Each one goes out and a new one'll go in. The inside has more than enough water damage already without having every widow a gaping hole for God alone knows however long it'll take to get all the new ones in.

So, that's the plan for today, rocks on the house, and a few windows if they manage to get that far.

But so far, putting more stones on the walls is bordering on silent.

There is a logical part in Jimmy's mind which is greatly appreciating a way to… get out of this… for lack of a better term, without beating the hell out of anyone, or getting beaten.

That's the logical part.

It's normally in charge.

He'd like it to be in charge. Things work better, and they're a hell of a lot easier when it's in charge. And for right now, it's in control of things. Mostly. It's driving the car.

The obnoxious, and loud, passengers in the backseat, anger and violence, are pouting at how this has worked out. They'd be really happy with a drop down, drag out, no one gets out without skin mottled with bruises fight.

He's trying, as he's placing stones against the side of the wall, to boot them out of the car and get back to being okay.

He's thinking that Gibbs may indeed be onto something with the whole Cranston is a good listener thing, because he knows there was a time when beating the shit out of someone because he's mad at them would have literally, never, occurred to him.

If you need something hard to burn it off…

He does. So instead of putting the rocks on the side of the house, he gets up, and starts moving them. Grabbing the next few stone for each of the other six, picking them up, carrying them over, and then back to the lay out for the next batch.

It is hard, and heavy, and he's sweating freely by the time he's done fifteen of them. The driveway (where all of the stones have been laid out) is about four hundred feet away from this side of the house, and sure none of the stones is really heavy, but they aren't light either, maybe ten, maybe twelve pounds, and he's making sure to grab three or four of them in a go.

It helps. Not as good, or fast, or satisfying as actually fighting would be, but it's hard and his heart is pumping, and the feel good chemicals are starting to flow.

Tony would have to admit that not beating the shit out of Jimmy is disappointing. He's also have to admit that the more than ten thousand dollars he and Ziva now have is pretty nice. And that, right now, he's thinking that they are going to go somewhere warm and beautiful and very luxurious and very expensive in the middle of god-awful, nasty winter and then sending pictures back home to gloat about it. And it'll be even better if they manage to time it so the girls have colds.

That is, if that doesn't count as being an asshole.

That's probably being a smartass, and if Gibbs wants them to stop doing that, he's going to have to shoot them, because that's only going to stop when they're dead.

Things start to thaw by lunchtime. Abbi shows up with food. Very welcome food.

They're milling around on the back patio, grabbing drinks, rummaging through sandwiches and salads (everything has names on it) when Jimmy snags a sugar-free iced tea, chugs it, and then takes five steps to the grass and collapses on his back, sprawled out, groaning with pleasure.

His arms are sore, his back is sore, quads are trembling (You have to do a deep knee bend to get the rocks off the driveway, then stand back up with them, multiply that by about two hundred trips, and his legs are jello), and cool, soft grass feels awesome right now.

"What, you sleeping on the job? Not gonna do it. You know you don't get out of working this afternoon unless you're dead." Tony's mouth shoots over to Jimmy before his brain remembers that maybe now might not be the best time to tease him.

Everyone else stiffens slightly, wondering what's going to come next. Jimmy doesn't even look over in Tony's direction, though his arm slowly bends at the elbow, lifting his right hand high, followed by his middle finger extending.

For another second, no one made a sound, still nervous wondering what would happen next, but then Tim says, "Good news, Tony, he's still alive. Now you don't have to worry about moving all those rocks yourself."

That starts the laughter.

"Please, I could move those rocks in my sleep."

Jimmy slowly rolls up into a sitting position, and heads back to the main group, grabbing another drink, and his lunch, and then sprawling bonelessly in the chaise that Breena had grabbed for them. "Yeah, in your dreams you can move that many rocks that fast."

Tim snorts at that while the rest of them laugh and decides now's a good time to shift the topic a bit. He takes a quick bite of his sandwich (corned beef on rye) and asks, "Got your speech done?" The DiNozzo Sr. wedding is a week from today, and Tony's on best man duty.

Tony nods. "Yep, just re-heating the one I used for your wedding." That gets a bit of a laugh, too.

"'I remember the first time McGee saw Abby… The way his eyes glazed over and that slight bit of drool on the corner of his lips…' Yeah, that'll flow naturally for your Dad's wedding," Abby says.

Tim adds. "You know, you weren't actually there the first time I saw Abby. You were going to walk me down, but I shocked you so bad the doors to the elevator closed before you got in."

"It's called poetic license, and you were already drooling by then! You were just about licking your chops as you got into the elevator."

Tim shrugs a bit, not like that was precisely wrong. And technically it wasn't the first time he saw her. He'd caught just enough of a glimpse on the video conference to be very interested in getting to know her better. But it was the first time he saw her in person, and… well, he's fairly sure his eyes did glaze over, and if he'd been drooling… He wasn't, but he thinks that's because his mouth went dry.

"How'd you shock him?" Abbi asks.

Tim smiles. "It was our first case together, and a few days earlier I'd asked about Abby and he told me Abby wasn't my type. I said 'why?'"

"And I asked if he'd ever had any desire to get a tatt on his ass. He said no. I told him he never had to think about Abby again. You have to remember that back in the day McInked here was about twelve-years-old and looked like he was wearing a suit he borrowed from his dad to go play at being an agent."

"I was twenty-four, Tony. Anyway, I told him that no, I'd never had any desire to get a tattoo on my ass." Tim's pushing up the sleeve on his left arm, showing off the code he's got there. "And that was true. No desire, at all. Still don't have one. Because they hurt to get done and they hurt when they heal up, and who wants to sit on that?" He touches the code. "This on the other hand… I'd been thinking about this for a while. That's my masters dissertation, so not like I woke up one morning and said, 'Oh, bunch of random letters!'

"So, Tony's really looking forward to me seeing Abby and flipping out, or her seeing me and laughing hysterically, and he's telling me she's really not my type, so I said to him, 'You know that desire you were asking about? I took care of it. Went with Mom.' And that fried his brain and stopped him dead."

"Why'd you say Mom?" Tony asks.

"Because I wanted to get to my lunch date, and explaining this would have taken most of the hour Abby had off."

Abbi's looking at that tattoo. "That's your master's dissertation?"

"The core of it. The whole thing is about five pages long. This, then four and a half pages explaining what it does and how."

"What does it do?" Jimmy asks, realizing he doesn't know that.

"Remember, I got out of grad school Winter of '01. So, anyway, back then they were just getting into using database policing. You know, you've got a database that's got every theft in the county, and then use a computer to figure out what was likely to get hit when. Back when I wrote this, the program that did it was thousands of lines of code and would take days, even for a small community. This can handle New York City in an hour, and anywhere smaller in minutes."

"So, everything a cop on the beat could tell you if you asked," Gibbs says, dryly.

"Maybe. This could give you the likelihood of any given address being hit at any given time on any given day. Cop only knows his area and his times on. Usually you'd use something like this to help assign who goes where at what times. How to plan out those beats. And unlike the cop on the beat, this one can update as fast as you feed it new information. So it could tell you in practically real time if your new beat assignments were having an effect."

"Is anyone using it?" Breena asks.

"Not anymore. Much better stuff is out there now. But I wouldn't be shocked if someone built off of it to make some of that better stuff. Just like all the other MIT dissertations, anyone with a library card can find this and build off of it." A thought hit Tim as he says that, something he's never asked. "Ziva, did you go to college?"

"Why are you asking, McGee?"

"IDF at 18. That's what, two years?"

She nods.

"Okay, you're twenty. Then working for your dad. Adventures all over the place. 2005 rolls around, and you're with us. That was fall, so… You're what, just barely 23 then?"

Ziva shakes her head. "I was still twenty-two when I met you. I did not attend college, at least not the way you did. I did get a semester in Barcelona, and another in Cairo, one in Prague. College student is an easy cover if you are twenty-one, and colleges expect to have foreign students. But I do not have a degree. Leon was willing to make an exception for me, based on my vast, in-the-field experience."

"Wise man," Abbi says.

Ziva nods. "I've thought about maybe doing college, going back, along with the job, like Jimmy did, but so far… I think I'd rather just read."

Jimmy nods at that. "Unless you want a degree in something like medicine where you have to go to college, I wouldn't recommend it. Took me seven years to do med school and residency part-time, and I was pretty fried for a lot of that time. What would you study if you went back?"

Ziva shrugs. "I do not know. Literature?" She smiles at Tony. "Film? I did take a class in that, and enjoyed it. I always thought I might like to learn photography, art photography, not just shooting a scene, or go back to dancing. If I went to school it would be for fun."

That makes Gibbs smile. He knows what Ziva's getting for her birthday this year. He still has Shannon's cameras and the dark room equipment. No chemicals, obviously, they'd all be way past their prime, but he's got an enlarger and film spools and trays collecting dust along with an SLR and a collection of lenses and gels in his attic.

They continue to chat while eating, not as easy or smooth as usual, but not silent like the beginning of the day either.

As lunches are wrapped up, and each of them began to head back to the side of the house in need of stonework, Jimmy says to Tony, "Your shot to show off. I'm done with lugging rocks. Let's see how long you can keep it up."

Tony smirks. "All damn night."

Jimmy snorts at that, shaking his head, and follows Breena to where she'd been working, figuring he'd help her with her bit of the wall.

They're getting ready to head home. Gibbs is packing up his tools, talking with Abbi, Tony and Ziva are already pulling out. Abby wanders over to Breena and hands her the check back. "We're good."

Breena looks at her. "Sure?"

"Yeah." She nods to Jimmy, who's putting up the last stone of the day, with Tim. "You think he's gonna make me do something I don't approve of?" She snorts a quick laugh.

Breena nods, that's a good point.

"I should have said or done something when it happened. I didn't. We're good on my end, and I know Tim is, too." She wraps an arm around Breena. "Besides, I know what you said to Gibbs about those two beating on each other hit home, so I'm perfectly good with you getting the idea through to him that this isn't cool. They may not listen to us on it, but when Dad lays down the law, they pay attention. That's worth a few grand to me."

Breena smiles at that.


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