Friday, January 9, 2015

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 396: Being Married

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

Chapter 396: Being Married

"How's Tim doing?" Heather asks as she heads in to take over on Kelly for the day.

Abby winces a little, not entirely sure how to answer that question. He's better than he was right after the attack, but he's not, by any stretch, good, and if you've never seen someone really hurt, exactly how bad he looks can be pretty shocking. So… "Have you ever seen anyone right after a bad car accident?"

Heather nods. "Got t-boned when I was twenty by a drunk driver. Broken arm, broken leg, bruises all over."

Abby half-smiles. "Then you know."

Heather nods. She knows that Tim wasn't hit by a car, but other than 'hurt in the line of duty' she's got no real information, and enough sense to know everyone she's spoken to about this is very clearly projecting 'Don't Ask' vibes.

"Plan for today?" Heather asks while taking Kelly.

Abby shrugs. "Sleeping, food, didn't really get any time with just each other in the hospital, so… Being married. Quiet, intimate time."

Heather smiles at that. Not a dirty grin or anything, because the way Abby's talking about it isn't lascivious, just happy, pleased. It's nice to work for a family where Mom and Dad are really and truly in love with each other.


"As much as we can. Not sure if Tim'll come down, or just rest upstairs today, but I'm sure you'll see him soon. We don't know when he's going back to work, but he's home for at least another week."

"Do you want me to come by?"

"Oh yeah. He can't pick Kelly up, let alone walk with her, yet. And he really is supposed to be resting, and you know…"

Heather does know, taking care of a baby is not restful. "No problem."

When she heads upstairs, Tim's sleeping. On his back, looking fairly peaceful. At least, as peaceful as someone in two casts and covered in bruises can look.

On the upside, the bruises are sliding from black-blue-purple, to purple-green-yellow. The skin colored bits are not in the majority yet, but well above twenty percent now.

Abby shuts their door, slips out of her clothing, and puts the pendent back on. She's fairly sure that this, naked, wearing only it, is what Tim was hoping for when he mentioned giving it to her when they were alone.

She gingerly slides into bed, scooting in toward him, resting her neck over his arm, and lightly curling her back in against his side.

There is a story that Ziva's told them. Well, her and Breena, probably Tony, not the others, and they probably don't need to know, though, it's possible Tim may find it useful at some point.

It's about what happened after Somalia. After the cold, sterile poking and prodding of the doctors, after swallowing down all the antibiotics and antivirals she could hold, after getting out of the hospital, after getting back to 'normal.'

But normal didn't make her body feel like it was hers. Normal and hours in the shower didn't wipe away the feeling of being wrong, didn't take away the sense of being used and filthy.

She'd always been sporadic about synagogue attendance, partly because she'd never had the sort of job where it was easy to get regular Friday nights off, partly because Shabbos at home always mattered more to her.

But she was lost, and hurting, and couldn't talk to her guys, because any pity or sympathy would kill her, and because they were guys. And she didn't have the relationship where she would have talked to Abby about it, not then.

She spent a lot of nights walking, or running, and it didn't help. Couldn't out run or out walk herself.

She'd go by Beth Shalom Synagogue. Often. And eventually she knew why she kept going past it, why every run brought her near.

She started to go in, for quiet, for a chance to pray.

The Rabbetzin was kind and gentle, and knew not to ask too many questions. She could see the woman in front of her was wounded and trying to heal. She could feel Ziva's walls, and knew that trying to get too close, too fast would send her running away.

But when two months of Ziva stopping by, chatting, occasionally talking, a little, about her work, her father, some of her older missions, went by, Miriam asked her if she'd like to use the mikva.

"Whatever you are struggling with," and by that point Miriam had some, not entirely correct but not wrong either, idea of what was going on, "it will help, if you let it."

Ziva sighed. She knew that's why she kept coming back, that she wanted to let this help, wanted to get back to feeling like she was herself again, not just a body wearing a Ziva-costume. But she didn't know how it could help.

She shrugged at Miriam.

"Come, Ziva, let's try."

She had had to explain, at that point, what a mikva was to Abby and Breena, because neither of them grew up in a cultures that believed in either ritual purity, or the idea that regular immersion in a pool of water is part of that. But it didn't take more than a few words to paint the picture of a small pool of water that people would dip themselves in. And for this particular congregation, the mikva was old, below the earth, a pool from a living spring, in a room of living rock. It smelled damp, green, (there was some moss growing between some of the rocks) and the water was cool, verging on cold, so Ziva didn't linger too long as she undressed.

She stripped off her clothing and slipped into the pool, letting the water wash over, and around, and in her. She stayed under for a long time, until the little lights began to dance behind her eyelids, and then broke the surface, gasping air, and slipped under again.

She did it several times, and when she finally felt ready to come out, Miriam was waiting, with warm, fluffy cotton towels, and wrapped her in them.

"Our bodies are sacred, but they collect profane things, marks, stains, thoughts." She gently patted Ziva dry. "This takes those marks away, washes off the stains, and reconnects us to Hashem. Not because He ever goes away, but because we find him hard to see from behind the marks. Beautiful Ziva, beloved of Hashem, your body is yours and His, and no one else's. You are reclaimed by Him, made sacred by Him. The marks are gone, and will stay that way if you can let them go."

Ziva nodded at that, and burst into tears, sitting in the cool air, holding onto a woman who held her like the mother who had been gone from her life for so long.

Abby doesn't have the exact same plan, but that story's the root of where she intends to go today.

Today, she's reclaiming Tim's body, reminding it that it's hers, and that it was designed to be touched with love, and joy, and reverence. That it is a sacred vessel, holding the person she adores beyond all others.

Thinking about how she's going to do that, lulled by the feel of his pulse and breath against her back, Abby falls back to sleep.

For a second, a very short second, it could just be morning. He's waking up, the sun is bright, Abby's warm and smooth next to him.

Then the pain crashes back into him. He tries to twist around to check the clock, but Abby's on his arm and his body doesn't want to turn enough to see what time it is with his arm under her neck, and it also doesn't want to lift up the way he would normally do to see his phone, so…

He's really sore, and aches all over. Not that that's new, even when the pain meds are working he's sore and achy, but he's a good few steps past that level of sore and achy, but nothing is throbbing yet, so he's not too far over time for his next pill.


She doesn't move or make any noise. Pregnant sleep, she may as well be in a coma. His working arm is under her, so he jiggles it a little, and she scoots in closer to him, which is a bit uncomfortable but no more painful than anything else.

"Abby. Roll off of me, baby." He nips her shoulder, and that gets her shifting over a bit, so she's on her stomach and he can get his arm free without hurting himself.

Little after ten, he sees when he finally gets his… When he finally gets her phone in view. He sighs as he remembers that his was shattered and likely doesn't have a replacement, yet. Means he made it a bit more than five hours between doses of Percocet. He wonders why the alarm didn't go off, but not enough to mess around with Abby's phone to see how she set it.

Tim supposes more than five hours is a good thing as he takes the next one and begins the very long trek to the bathroom.

Everything in the world is built for people who can stand up. And it's not that he can't stand up, it's that it's exhausting and hurts more than sitting or reclining.

It's kind of embarrassing to admit how long it took him to figure out that he is not required to pee standing up. He's chalking that up to pain killers.

And tooth brushing… sigh… it took more than a few seconds to figure out that his bathtub is basically a large sink with a ledge he can sit on. (Though there's a tiny little voice that thinks brushing his teeth using the bathtub is kind of gross, but he can't figure out why that would be true. Not like he's talking about using the toilet.)

Teeth done, he eyeballs the tub, thinking about getting a bath now or holding out for later.

Later. If Abby's still in bed with him, it's because she intends to be with him today, so, he can hold off for when she's awake.

He gets out, sees Abby still sleeping, and notices his computer is on his dresser. He's thinking that maybe he'll grab that, log in, check in on work a little, until Abby wakes up, when it hits him that his dresser is four steps from his bed, and that right now he cannot walk and hold anything. He can crutch his way over to the dresser, but unless he wants to throw the computer onto the bed, or (and just the idea of this hurts so bad he winces) grab the computer and hop to the bed, he can't get it from the dresser to the bed.

So much for that plan.

Abby's phone is on the bedside table, so, that's the next plan. He gets back onto the bed, arranges the pillows as well as he can one-handed and unable to twist, (His ribs do not appreciate anything that involves bending, twisting, stretching, or inhaling deeply.) grabs her phone, and…
Really? Exactly how frustrating being down one arm and one foot is slams into him like a freight train. He can hold the phone, or he can input information into it. But not both.

So, sitting in bed, Abby's phone on his leg (where it's not exactly stable) he starts trying to unlock it.
She's got a five digit passcode. That's the first layer. There's a password after that.

On the sixth try, he gives up. He can't type for anything right now. Five numbers, how hard is it to hit five numbers on a keypad? But for whatever reason his hand just won't do it, not correctly. He got really close the third try, then the damn thing slipped off his leg and reset on him.

He's crying with frustration and wants to throw the phone against the wall, hard, but they need at least one working phone so he puts it, carefully, back down on the bedside table and picks up his Kindle, which does not have a password, or a passcode, and just requires him to swipe his finger over the screen, which he manages (on the second try).

Next to the kindle, there was a plate with melon kebabs. Bite sized chunks of cantaloupe and honeydew wrapped in ham or smoked turkey on wood skewers. Tasty, good for him, didn't matter if it got cold, easy to eat with one hand. The cup of coffee next to it is cool, but it's not like cool, cold, stone cold, and so damn overcooked that it'll do for battery acid in a pinch coffee haven't been on the menu in the past.

It's bitter and sweet and coffee-flavored, and sure, no caffeine, but it tastes okay, so that's all he's looking for.

He tries reading a little while he eats, but his eyes aren't tracking the text well. He's getting lost in the pages and rereading the same line over and over or jumping entire paragraphs.

Tim makes a mental note that he is getting off of Percocet as soon as he possibly can, notices that he doesn't have earbuds, and hopes like crazy that with one or two lines of text on the screen, he can follow closed-captioning, and then flicks from books to TV and goes looking for a light, fluffy, stupid comedy.

Abby wakes up hungry, with Tim clinging to her back, dead asleep, and the rather bizarre sensation of something hard and smooth against the back of her thigh, along with the slightly rough sensation of his cast against her back.

When she gently gets herself peeled away from him, she finds the hard, smooth thing is his kindle. He must have been reading/watching something, fallen asleep and ended up with it pressed between them when he snuggled in.

As she gets up, he tries to do his usual Abby got up, I roll into the warm spot where she was technique, but as his weight hits his arm, he jerks, hisses, and rolls back to his back.

She's not sure if that woke him up or not, but quickly gets an answer when he asks, without opening his eyes, "You still in here?"

"Yeah. Just got up. Was planning on getting us some lunch."

He nods at that, eyes still closed. She's fairly sure he's drifting back to sleep. "Then what?"

"Eat, sleep, talk if you want to, make love is you're up for it, spend all day snuggling and napping if that's where you are.

"Napping now. See about the rest later."

She kisses him. "Okay."

He's still on his back, still asleep, when she comes back up. She'd been out for an hour, decided to go get them some sushi. Soups, salads, wraps are pretty common lunch food for them, but none of them are very good eat in bed with your fingers food. (Granted, she doesn't want soy sauce dripped all over her sheets, either, but as things they often have for lunch go, this is one of the least messy, and definitely requires minimal fork work.)

And more importantly than that, she was with him the first time he had sushi, so she absolutely knows he's got no memories of it in his childhood.

He starts to stir as she's unpacking everything. No way to get food out of plastic bags and trays without making some noise, and, honestly, she thinks getting him up enough so that he eats at least three times a day is a good plan.

He looks groggy, but perks up some when he sees what she's laying out.


He nods. "Yeah."

"Good. I'll go grab drinks, and we'll eat. What do you want?"

He looks at the food in front of him, carefully trimmed and rolled bits of fish, and what he wants is sake, but he's not having that, so… "Green tea?"

"I can make some. Back in a minute or two."

By the time she's back, he's sitting up, and opened the trays, making them a bed picnic. She places his mug of tea on the bedside table, and then sits next to him, snagging a shrimp roll.

"I was thinking about the first time we had sushi," she says, dipping it in the mix of soy and wasabi he'd made for them.

"First date."

"Yeah." Lunch date. No real set plan other than to actually meet the mysterious Agent McGee. He wasn't as young as Tony suggested. She'd been expecting a twenty-two-year-old, right out of college, so almost twenty-five with a masters in forensic computing was a nice surprise. But he was as green as Tony had said.

They'd done the traditional, what-do-you-want-to-eat,-whatever-you-want-is-fine-with-me dance. Finally she said, "Do you like sushi?"

And he said, looking adorably nervous, "I've never had it."

"Great. Let's go!"

She could see he was worried about not liking it, worried about looking like a wimp for not wanting to eat it, worried that he was making a bad impression or turning her off or… He was just all over nervous.

"I promise, McGee, it won't bite you back!" she said with a smile, linking his arm in hers, and heading them out of the lab.

She took him to Gibbs' favorite, where she knew the restaurant would be quiet and the chef would take care of them. And he did.

"So, McGee," He'd already said she could call him Tim, but he didn't correct her when she called him McGee. "Where are you from?"

"Boston, most recently…" and from there they talked about MIT, her work at the lab, FLETC, and the most recent case.

The food came, and he looked at it, skeptical, looked at her, chowing down happily on it, picked up his chop sticks, (She was pleased to see he knew how to use them. Good with chopsticks usually indicated a certain level of manual dexterity away from the dinner table, which Abby greatly approved of.) determined to rise to any challenge she'd set him, and took a bite.

Abby remembers how his face melted from braced-for-something-gross to approving. "Pretty good!"

"Afraid I was going to steer you wrong?"

He brushed that off, lots of people had thought it was awfully funny to steer him wrong over the years. "Didn't think tuna got better if you didn't cook it." He pointed to the soy-wasabi mix. "What's that…"

Tim's sitting on their bed, back propped against the pillows, nibbling a piece of salmon. "Fourteen years ago."

"In November."

"Kind of expecting you to bring pho."

She smiles at that, too, knowing what memory he's hooked into. "You get steadier with that hand, and all the pho you want will come your way."


Lunch doesn't take too long. She gets everything tidied away, and then heads into the bathroom.

Tim's watching her, wondering what she's up to. He's been living with this woman for long enough to know those aren't usual just taking care of business bathroom sounds.

He hears the water turn on, and can see steam starting to float out of the open door. A few seconds later, Abby's back out. "Start heading in, if you beat me in there, don't take off your pjs. I'll be back in a few minutes."

"Okay." So he starts toward the bathroom.

She does get back into their room before he's all the way in, and he sees that she's got a few of the LED candles, and several more towels than are usually involved in getting a shower.

By the time he gets in there, he can see she's got the candles on the sink and the back of the toilet and lit. Towels are piled next to the tub, so's the bath oil, and one of the perfume bottles (he can't tell which from this far away.)

Once he's in, she's standing in front of him, hand on his left bicep, other hand on his right hip, and gently, carefully kissing him. He relaxes into it, but not too much because staying standing takes effort.

"Shower first, all washed off and clean, then bath."

He nods, that sounds fine to him.

She kneels, quickly peeling off his pants, and letting him know to sit on the edge of the bath. Once he's seated, she takes her time, stroking hands from his toes to his hip on his right leg, gentle pressure, he's got a lot of bruises, but making sure she touches every inch of him. Again on the left, lighter, fingers ghosting over the cast, still making contact with the skin between the holes in the cast, then up over his leg, cupping his knee, circling as much of his thigh as she can with her fingers.

She kisses both knees, smiling up at him, then starts to help him get the shirt off, carefully threading his right arm out of the sleeve.

Abby kisses his left palm and wrist, the crease of his elbow, and where arm meets shoulder, over the code on his delt. She strokes her hand along his arm from pinky fingernail to throat.

He's sitting on the edge of the bath, the sound of the shower spray spattering on the shower curtain behind him. She's kneeling between his legs, cupping the base of his skull in both hands and looking him in the eyes. "I love you, Tim." Her fingers thread in his hair, and she kisses his lips, and his eyebrows, his jaw, and each ear. "I love you."

His eyes close, and he sighs, relaxing further into her touch. His hand finds her shoulder, and gently strokes down over her back.

Abby kisses back to his lips, wrapping her arms around his waist and pulling in as close as she can without pressing too hard on his right arm.

Deep kiss, gentle (like all of this has to be) and slow, tongues wet and loving. She pulls back when she feels his dick start to respond. This will be erotic, but she doesn't want it to go there, yet.

Abby pulls back the shower curtain, letting him know to get into the bath. "Sitting?" she asks.

He nods, that'll be easier for him than standing. So, while he gets comfortable, she stands up, grabs the shower head, and pulls it down.

The water's nicely warm, not too hot, and she plays it over him, rinsing him from head to toes, making sure he's completely wet before putting the shower head back up top, letting it rain over them, and grabbing his shampoo. She sits behind him, pulling him back a bit, so he's leaning into her, and starts to lather up his hair.

"This okay?" she's using firmer pressure on his scalp than she would anywhere else. According to his medical records, there weren't any injuries there, and he hasn't winced away from being touched there, but she wants verbal confirmation, too.

"Yeah, it's good." His eyes are closed, and he's resting against her, making a soft, content sound deep in his chest as she massages his scalp, rubbing her fingers in small circles. She takes her time, continuing the massage long past the point of where the shampoo's rinsed all the way out of his hair.

From his hair, her fingers caress over his face. "Shave?" she asks.

He nods. She gently presses on his shoulder, letting him know to lean up. She gets up, grabs the trimmers, his razor and shaving cream, along with the shower head. A second later, she's back in the bath, sitting carefully between his legs, running the trimmers over his goatee. It takes about thirty seconds to get his beard down to a sixteenth of an inch long, another few minutes, in which he sits very still, for her to get that last fraction of an inch off.

After she puts the razor down, Tim takes her hand in his, and kisses her palm, rubbing his now very smooth chin against her hand, and quietly says, "I'm never growing that back."

"Fine with me."

She stands up again and begins rinsing him, and the tub, off. Takes longer than it would if he wasn't in the tub, but eventually all the stray bits of stubble are gone.

"Soap?" She knows he only washes certain bits of himself every day, and that most days his skin is happy with just a rinse.

"You applying it?" he asks with a smile.

Abby smiles back. "Does your answer change if I am?"


She kisses him again, smiling.

"Once you're all washed off, I'm adding a bit of Light of Mens' Lives to the bath oil," She gestures to the tiny perfume bottle, a soft, warm, slightly smoky, vanilla scent. Comforting more than sexy. "and then I'm running a bath for both of us, and we're going to lay around in the water while I gently rub you all over with scented oil. So, yes to soap, no to soap, you're still getting gently touched all over while nice and warm and somewhat weightless."

"If you're going to take care of me like this, remind me to get beat up more often." She glares at him. And he holds his hand up, defensive. "I'm really kidding."

"You better be!"

"Trust me, I never, ever want to do this again."

"Good." Another long, soft kiss, and this time he can feel some of how scared she's been, how long this last week's been for her, expressed in that touch.

"Never again, Abby."

Another kiss. One more. She pulls back a little, wiping her eyes, and he smiles at her, wiping her cheek with his fingers, too.

"I'm sorry."

"Gibbs and Vance were here at four in the morning. It took a good ten minutes before I got calm enough to hear Gibbs saying you weren't dead."

He kisses her this time, hand wrapped around the back of her neck. "Oh, baby."

"I couldn't break myself out of the panic. Woke up with Gibbs leaning over me, jogging my shoulder gently, and Leon was in the doorway, both of them ready to kill someone."

He kisses her again.

"It was worse than when the State Troopers came about my parents. At least then, I didn't know what was coming when I opened the door."

He kisses her one more time. "I'm here."

"I know." Her eyes tear. "But I didn't then. I was thinking that that's why you went to Cybercrime, so this wouldn't happen."

"It is. Why I'm in Cybercrime, why you've got lab assistants, why we changed, so we could be here, for each other, for a long, long time."

"Yeah. What'd you say, 'A thousand years isn't long enough, but I'll take the fifty we're owed'?"

"Something like that." But he knows he said that the last time, which was supposed to be the last time he almost got killed doing his job. And he can see by how she says the next bit that she knows it, too.

"I want all fifty of them."

"Me, too. November 1st, 2064, huge party with the kids and grandkids and maybe great-grandkids. Like Penny and Ducky, we'll shock them because old doesn't mean love or desire goes away, just gets a little less nimble and flexible."

"Speak for yourself."

"Actually, speaking for you. I intend to be a hell of a lot more mobile at eighty-eight than I am right now." He smiles at that, and she laughs a little.

She sighs. "So, soaping up?"

"Yeah, privates, at least. The rest of me feels okay."

"Underarms?" She winces a little at that slip up. "Arm?"

"Sure. You want me to try standing up?"

"No. You look pretty comfy where you are."

"I am."

"Then just stay there, I'll move around you."

She's already between his legs, so she knows where she's starting. She stands up for a moment, re-adjusting the shower head so the water's hitting against the back wall, and grabs the soap, lathering up her hands.

Abby read Tim's medical record. She knows that crouched in bloodless medical language was something that translated into, 'At least one guy, maybe more, kicked your husband in the balls, hard, several times,' along with a comment along the lines of, 'Though this was classified as 'minor' trauma and there had been no rupture, it might be worthwhile to get a semen sample at some point three months or so from now to see if there's been any lasting damage.'

She did not find that comment particularly comforting, but Jimmy pointed out that's pretty much boilerplate for anyone who takes a shot to the nuts, and really, probably not worth worrying too much about unless they start to hurt.

And, yes, she has seen him naked once before at this point, but, well, beyond a general 'you're beat the hell up,' she hasn't exactly studied that particular area.

The sight of it's enough to make her want to wince, and she doesn't have balls. It's been a week, but they are still very much not back to their normal, slightly pinker than the rest of his skin selves.

Last time she saw anything that looked that bruised and swollen… It was a few years ago, and they were watching a video, femdom, Goth girl pegging her guy, which they like watching, but they don't tend to watch a lot of that because those videos can take a bad turn really fast, and unfortunately that one did. One second it was really hot, and the girl was getting out a cock ring, which was good, both of them were liking where that was going, and then a few minutes later she got out a stretcher and a cage, which started both of them scrambling for a remote, but by the time they found the remote, let alone got a hold of it with a non-slippery hand to turn it off, the poor guy was screaming, not in a good way, and neither of them wanted to have sex that night.

So, to say she's got a tentative hold of Tim would be something of an understatement. "This okay?"

He nods. "Yeah, real light touch." His right foot is next to the edge of the tub, and since that's the side that's okay, he lifts that leg, so it's resting on the side of the bath, giving her a bit more room to maneuver.

She's very, very gently slicking him up with the soap, rubbing her hands across his balls, mostly focusing on where his legs and pelvis join, or his dick, both of which are much less bruised. (And yes, he does have a bruise on his dick, it got kicked, too.) So it's a pretty fast wash, very gentle, and she's not shocked that it doesn't get him hard.

His armpit is pretty fast, too, mostly because he's ticklish and there just isn't a good way to do that without him wanting to squirm, and right now his ribs do not want to be involved in anything along the lines of squirming.

Rinsing off is more comfortable. And after several moments he's all washed off, rinsed off, and she's padding the back of the tub with the extra towels, and mixing up the bath oil as the tub fills.

She settles in behind him, oil warmed between her palms as he leans forward a little, and she rubs over his back, tracing his spine, skirting the edge of his cast, and the spattered purple-green patch of where his ribs broke on the left side. She kisses the nape of his neck while her hands circle his hips, then she nudges him back so he's lying against her, and her hands come up over his stomach to his chest, again skipping over the bruised splotches on his left and right (the other two spots his ribs broke), she pets his chest, tracing the edge of the cast from the front, the line of his collarbone on his left, and ending by stroking down his left arm to twine her fingers with his.

She kisses his temple, holding onto him, letting him rest, cradled by warm water and her body. She's half-thinking he's going to fall asleep, half-thinking he'll start talking.

Talking wins out.

He takes her right hand, wrapping it snug, as snug as he can stand, around his chest. The other one he slips down to his balls, not stroking, nothing sexual in the sense of trying to turn him on, just touching.

He licks his lips and swallows hard. "When I first got to Alameda, they asked if I needed a rape kit."

She nods, feeling ice down her spine, not sure where this is going and very, very afraid. She kisses him, holding him close, trying to be calm.

"I said no."

"Okay." She kisses his neck and shoulder, still holding onto him, trying to get her own mind calm enough so that he can feel that no matter how he answers her next question, he's still hers, still loved, still wanted and adored and, still, above and beyond everything else, still her husband. "We're you lying?"

"No." He shakes his head, and she relaxes a little. "No. But, I'm remembering it. You washing me, and the way they had to process me."

Another kiss. "Okay." One more kiss. "No matter what happens, you're still mine, you know that, right? That never changes. You're mine."

He turns to kiss her lips. "I do." His left hand is still twined in hers, keeping her gently cupping him, so he gently squeezes her ring finger between his middle finger and ring finger. "I do." He drags her fingers over his dick. "He never touched me, so I suppose you can't call it sexual abuse, but… More I think about it, it always seems to come back to this."


"So… sexuality abuse?"

She can see him trying to build context for this. A frame to organize it. "That probably works. Your sister and Penny think he's gay. Fixated on you to try and destroy what he hated about himself."

"Great," Tim says, voice dead. "Mane his boyfriend?"

"Maybe. Sarah thinks so."

He snorts at that. "Fuck toy maybe, you've got to actually care about someone to have a boyfriend."

Abby kisses his shoulder. He doesn't talk for a long time after that, just thinking, and she's content to hold him and let him think.

Tim's a water person.

That thought would probably horrify him. But, it does seem that in the moments where she's held and comforted him, in the moments of their most intense, most dark, intimate connections, that not just the comfort of her touch was there, but the embrace of soft, warm water, too.

Granted the only other time things were this bad, he'd almost been killed in a freezer, and the water was as much there to be warm as anything else. So, maybe this is just her being imaginative and magical, but, something about it feels right. In the bathroom after almost freezing, the shower after Kelly was born, the 'sponge bath' after he started talking about the abuse, after that first case back from Kelly's birth, and now, here, in the bath again, maybe it's not entirely fanciful.

Once again they're in the bath, and she's holding him close and warm, and letting him talk, just letting it flow, and pour, and spill and all those other water-oriented words, out of him.

Listening is hard. Living it was a million times worse, and she knows that, so she listens, and forces herself to stay calm, holding him, taking the weight from him, sharing it. Like she said to Heather, 'being married.'

He starts with the fight, which apparently he remembers in a lot more detail than she would have expected. There's the vicious, savage, and unfortunately short-lived joy at how the actual test went. From the sounds of it, he utterly reamed the Third Carrier Group, and enjoyed every second of it. She hears about dinner, about out-maneuvering John with the pictures of Kelly, and how it was going really well. How… how there was a sense of actually winning for once. How, for a moment there, he got to be in control.

He moved back from that, talking about laying the trap about the Irish Spy, and about how good it felt to show to Jarvis that John's team was cheating. He didn't just produce a test that they couldn't pass, he proved that they couldn't even solve the puzzle without cheating. That had felt good.

And how it all fell apart when he realized that his father had never been kidding about death before dishonor, and he was going to kill him, or at least try, for this.

She pets his shoulder and chest, light, so light touches, just enough to make sure he's still aware of her being there, makes sure he feels safe, makes sure he's still here, with her, at home, in the present, instead of falling back into it. (Especially with the amount of Percocet he's on, she is worried about his ability to separate out his memories from his present.)

He does go back, telling stories she hasn't heard. Most of them are like Sarah's version of the stir-fry story, stupid, evil, petty cruelty for the sake of being cruel. And the only blessing she can think of is that John was on a ship most of the time, because she's fairly sure that if he had been on land more, he would have broken Tim.

Some of the stories he sounds detached from. Some he's sobbing at. Some just generate tears, some are full-on, shaking, verge-of-panic-attack tales, but he keeps talking, he doesn't shut down or shut her out, and she keeps encouraging him, petting him, telling him how much she loves him, how precious he is, that she adores him, and that he's safe. He survived, and he's safe. Now and forever, he's home and he's safe.

The water's cold, and he's drifting toward sleep before they get to the deal with Jarvis or what Sarah did. So she gets him up, and out, and hastily dried off and back into bed.

She's not feeling very sleepy. Angry, hurt, weary, all of those, but not sleepy. But when she gets him to bed, he doesn't want to let her go, and she's fine with that. If he needs a warm human teddy bear to sleep with, she's up for it.

So he sleeps, doesn't appear to be dreaming, and she lies there, thinking, resting, and eventually drifts off, too.

Dragon Cuff
He's staring at the wrist cuff when she wakes up. He can see the top bit of it from where his hand rests on Abby's shoulder.

"You and Jimmy picked it out?"

She nods a little, kissing his palm. "Breena helped, too. You were out of it when we got the list of what was coming back. The cuff wasn't on the list, so Gibbs called Burley, found out why it wasn't coming back." She gives him a quizzical look, not sure if he knows why it didn't come back. He nods, he remembers someone telling him they cut it off him to preserve any prints that might have been on the snaps.

"And I know you got your own dress code shifted, so it's not like you can't have the lip tattoo visible, but… We thought you'd miss it. So, we got confabbing. Bad wifi in the hospital. You could get a signal and eventually get information but it was so slow, so Jimmy and I talked to Breena, and she got online and found the shop. Then we went and looked around, and I knew that you liked the old one because it was plain—"

"And yours. I liked that it was yours."

"This one is yours." She rolls over to face him, and gently kisses his lips, and then shoulder, her hand flat and light over his heart. "And you're mine."

He smiles. "Yeah."

She pulls back enough so he can get his arm where he can see the cuff in the afternoon sunshine. Black, Celtic-looking dragon, two silver snaps. It's wider than the previous one was.

"Thought I needed another dragon?"

She nibbles gently on his nipple. "My dragon!" She smiles up at him. "Actually, I was looking at one pretty similar to the last one. All black, embossed swirls, mostly just plain, but Jimmy sees this one and pulls me over to it, going, 'That one! The McGee dragons, right?'

"So I nod at him, and we try it on Jimmy, make sure it'd fit." Obviously it did. It feels right on his wrist. "I tried to convince him to get one for himself, because he's one of the dragons, too, and he told me that Hell would freeze over about six weeks before he got," she air quotes, "'matching bracelets' with you, and we bought it and took it to you."

Tim snorts a bit at the matching bracelets idea, but six weeks after hell freezes over is just about when he'd be willing to wear matching cuffs with Jimmy, too, so it's good to see he's on top of things.

"Don't suppose there's a collar that goes with this?"

Abby smiles at that. After all, her collar, the one she wears when he Doms matches his old cuff.

"Would you like me to wear one that matches this? Or do you prefer the memories attached to the old one?"

"You saying you did get a matching collar?"

"Of course. And the other cuff."

That surprises Tim some. Six weeks after hell freezes is pretty clear on the whole, not gonna do it front, so, it's obviously not for Jimmy. He's never worn two cuffs at once. Abby does sometimes. "For you?"

"Could be, or both on you, or… I got a second collar, too."

He blinks, surprised at that, not sure who the second collar is for. He likes his collar and doesn't want a new one. Then a second thought hit, because after all, it's not like both of them wear the collar at the same time, that's very much an either or type of thing, so there wouldn't be any need to have two of them. He swallows, hard, as why you'd have two of them, why you might need two of them, hits.

"Was this before or after you and Jimmy and Breena had that chat about how we are going to be talking more about what we're doing?"


He nods. "So… that second collar would be for… Breena?"

"Or Jimmy, maybe. Eventually. If we go there. If not, it's just a pretty piece of leather. I ordered the second cuff and collars online. Jimmy and Breena don't know about them. We talk, we decide, for ourselves, first. But… I like the symbolism of it, so if we ever go there, we're ready. And if we don't, that's fine, too."

"Ah." Tim's not sure what to do with that.

"But, like with the rest of this," he knows she means, today in general, and Jimmy and Breena in specific, that they're talking about anything, but just talking, "we can talk, but we're not making any decision about anything until you're sober again."

"Good plan."

Abby's fingers trail down his chest, down his stomach, intending to just pet him, but finding that part of him is up. "Some of you likes that idea."

He smiles and rolls his eyes some. "Yeah. I'm hurt, not dead. You, Breena, naked, matching collars, ready to be played with. Or… Like you said in the club, having Breena and I sub while you and Jimmy play, okay, yeah, I liked that fantasy, and I still like it, and knowing you've got some costuming coming for it…" He shrugs a bit with his left shoulder.

"So, how hurt are you? This," her hand trails over his dick, still a very light touch, she's got no idea how it feels to get an erection if your balls and dick is bruised up, "looks like it's working."

Tim's eyes drift shut, and he hums with pleasure. "Yeah, that's working just fine." They laze open again, and he shakes his head a bit. "Gentle. The bruised parts are really sore, and everything that isn't my dick aches. Honestly, the idea of you on top even, just makes my hips hurt."


"Shoulder and arm hurt when they get pressed too close to my chest, so the kind of loose spooning I need to do to keep my arm okay means about a half inch of my dick can get into you."

She's thinking that he's not really thinking through that, but he's also really drugged, so she doesn't expect him to be Mr. Kama-Sutra right now. However, in that she can bend at the waist, getting her bum snugged up against his pelvis and lots of room for his arm isn't precisely an issue, but she'll roll with it.

"Okay. I know what to do. Lay back, get as comfy as you can. Today's all about you. Tomorrow or the next day or whenever your hips are working, you can owe me one."

He's got a pretty good idea of where this is going and approves.

She gets up, and resettles herself between his legs. "Good, comfy?"

He nods, and she bends, gently licking from the base of his dick to the tip, tongue slipping over and over on him as her hand gently holds him steady.

A soft breath slips out of his mouth at that, making his ribs ache, but she eases her mouth down him, enveloping him in soft, wet heat, erasing that ache.

His body goes limp, relaxing into the bed as he closes his eyes. Feels so good. Feels amazing. This is probably the first time he's been awake and not hurting (mostly) in what feels ages, and if he watches, he's going to come, and right now he wants to stay right here for as long as he can.

She either senses that, or just intuitively gets it, or can read what he's doing by not watching, but she keeps up a slow, steady pace, mouth sliding up and down, light and wet and slick. No suction, she's not sure if that would hurt the bruises, her hand just holding him steady.

But she can't keep him there forever, even with a holding pace, he's ramping up. It has been a long time since she's touched him like this, and his body is more than eager to get off. It's building in his balls and the pit of his stomach, thighs growing tense and tight, left hand fisting, hips rocking against her mouth.

She shifts her position, straddling him, slipping most of him into her, but not settling all the way down, keeping her body, her weight, off of him.

He cries out at it. Feels so good, hot wet pussy slipping most of the way down him, breasts and stomach just lightly brushing against him, and a second later it's better, she's kissing him, deep and wet, lips on his. She pulls back a little, to look him in the eyes, stroke his face, smile.

"Love you. Always, Tim." Another kiss, and that does it, friction and love and wet and thrust and he feels like he's coming apart in the best possible way, tingling from toes to head and everywhere in between while happy, wet pulses and muscle spasms rock his body.

For about a minute, he's really, really good. Happy, comfortable, feeling excellent. And then the aches and everything else comes back. And if he's being honest, he hurts worse now than he did before; he did tense up enough that his body isn't happy with him, but he doesn't much care, because what got him in this situation was worth it.

Abby's still supporting herself on her hands and knees, staying close, his body still in hers, face just above his. He'd like it if she could spoon up and snuggle against him, rest her head on his shoulder, drape her legs over his, but that would hurt, a lot. So, she's in a good place. He pets her hair, kissing her.

After another minute, she grabs a tissue, and then slips off of him, to cuddle as close in as she can on his left.

He kisses her again and says, "So, I'm going to need you to take a leave of absence and do that about… every fifteen minutes for the next three weeks or so."

She looks up at him, chuckling, kissing his chin. "Uh huh. And is Jimmy writing you the script for Viagra?"

"He'll understand. It's a pressing need. First time in way too long that nothing hurt."

"Good." She smiles, looking him over carefully. "How about now?"

He winces a little. "Sore. I'll live. I… I get it now. When I almost got killed right after Kelly was born, and it hurt but you said you needed it… I get it."

She smiles at that.

"And, I bet there's something you need, and if you're careful, I bet I can return the favor."

"You want to?" She looks a little surprised by that. He gets the sense she was expecting him to crash into another nap, and he'd be lying if he said that wasn't appealing, but he wants her pleasure, wants the completion of both of them getting off, even more.

"Oh yeah." Though exactly how successful he's been at anything requiring any sort of fine motor control today flashes through his mind, and he looks a little sheepish at that. It's been a long time since he didn't have the skill to reliably get her off. But he still wants it, still needs her pleasure, too, and it's not like he's just a body, there's a brain and a voice, and they both still work even if his body's kind of clumsy. "And if I can't, 'cause honestly, I have no idea if I've got the fine motor control for it right now. I couldn't log in on your phone, so I may not be able to do this, but, if I can, then I want to, and if I can't, then I want to hold you while you do it for yourself. Come on up here."

Getting a working position is a bit awkward. Her usual straddle-his-face routine involves her feet resting on his shoulders or chest, and that isn't going to work. But, he can lie on his side, and her thigh works as a pretty good pillow, but the correct answer is, no, he can't, not yet.

He can get close. Get her warmed up with gentle licks and soft sucks, but trying to use the hand that's attached to the arm on the side he's lying on doesn't work all that hot, (Which is why he usually sleeps on his right side, her snugged up next to him, so his left hand is free to roam around and make them both happy.) and he can make nice little circles with his tongue, but not fast or focused enough.

The second time she's tensed, making happy noises, and he slips off target, earning a somewhat frustrated groan, he kisses her gentle and deep, pulls back, and says, "Okay, not going to happen, not like this."

She sits up, kissing him, little disappointed, but also relieved that this isn't going to be an orgasm death march, where she feels like it's never going to happen, but the guy's not going anywhere until it does, and she's got to fake it to keep from having her clit rubbed raw. (Fortunately, this has never been an issue with Tim.)

"Flip around, on your side, facing me, want to feel you do yourself."

And she does, resting her neck over his arm like she usually does, close enough for eye contact and kissing, close enough to feel the heat of his skin, and the plastic of his cast just lightly brushing her stomach every time she breathes.

His hand cups her shoulder and he kisses her, soft and deep; she responds, gently sucking his tongue.

Her hand slips down, between her legs, and he can feel the back of it lightly brushing his hip.

"Feel good?"


He kisses her again, drawing a pleased hum from her. "A week, hopefully, and I'll be off of this stuff. And… let's see…" He's going through some mental positioning acrobatics, trying to find something that'll maximize his ability to use the functional bits of his body on her. "I'll sit on the floor, back against the wall. You'll stand up, facing me."

She smiles, knowing how that'd work, breathing a little faster as her fingers speed up. She'd been pretty close a few times, so it won't take much to get there.

"I'll spread you open and lick you to your heart's content. Eat you out and make you come over and over until your knees won't hold you up anymore." He licks her lips, soft, gentle, and then pulls the bottom one between his for a wet suck.

"Just like that. And my fingers. Gonna do good things with them. Spread you open, slide and thrust all wet and slick. Pinky up your ass, other three in your pussy, thumb and tongue making sure your clit gets lots of attention."

She whimpers at that.

"Yeah, just like that. Alternate it, wet licks, so soft and delicate with my tongue, and firm, focused circles with my thumb. Take you good and high with that, feel your whole body clench on my hand."

She is clenching up, muscles getting tighter as her hand moves faster and she pulls his mouth closer for another kiss.

He pulls back just a hair, so he can talk while his lips brush over hers. "Feel it? My mouth on you, hand in you. Feel your body pulling tight? Feel me lick faster, harder, over and over? You're on edge, right? Body hovering, just about to fall over, tingles a breath away?" Another wet kiss as she rubs herself closer to the edge. His tongue traces over her bottom lip. "Gonna lick faster, harder, fingers curling into your g-spot—" He feels Abby twitch, hard, and start to shudder. "There you go." He kisses her gently, forehead to forehead, lips to lips as she rides her orgasm. "Perfect. Love you so much, my beautiful girl."

The sun's setting the next time he wakes up.

Means he slept through dinner and Kelly's bedtime. He feels a little bad about not at least getting a hug in, but… But she won't remember, and there's always tomorrow morning. Maybe he'll feel like hobbling downstairs and stacking up blocks for her to knock over on the rug tomorrow.

Or maybe Abby'll bring her in here and they'll have naptime together.

He's thinking he's not going to be feeling like doing all that much more tomorrow than he did today.
More sex and less crying would be nice, but he's got the sinking suspicion that as long as he's on Percocet he's not going to be very good at the former or have much control over the latter.

He doesn't see Abby, or hear any breathing, so she's probably not in the room. He's temped to sit up and make sure of that, but he's fairly comfortable right this second, so he stays put, lying on his side, left arm stretched in front of him.

He stares at the new cuff, late evening sunlight bringing up the red highlights in the leather. It really is beautiful work. Tim carefully rolls onto his back, and tries to get the cuff under the fingers on his right hand. The cast is rigid, but it's also a web, so his fingertips are exposed, he can, sort of, if he can get his wrist into the exact right place, actually touch the cuff and feel it.

He eventually works it under his fingers. It's smooth, supple, faintly warm like leather worn on skin should be. Tim gingerly gets it out from under his hand and sniffs it. Doesn't smell like him, or skin, or Abby, or cologne yet. (All of which, assuming he wasn't just imagining it, his old cuff smelled like.) Just smells like new leather. Nice enough, but not a little bit of home he carried on his body.
Not a tangible reminder of Abby running his body, pulling pleasure out of each cell, making him so hard, taking him so high he ripped the bed apart. It doesn't have that wide open, naked, completely in her hands, at her mercy, letting himself be cared for and played with feel.

He wore it on his left wrist, only took it off to shower or swim. He's licked and wiped cum, his and hers off of it. He's felt Abby bite down on it when she was close. It had his and Jimmy's blood on it from different times when they fought it out together. There was salt from sweat and tears in that leather. Happy and sad tears. And not just his. He's wiped Abby's and Jethro's and Jimmy's and Breena's tears while wearing that cuff. He wore it the first time he touched his daughter and nieces, and it's had every fluid a baby could spew wiped/scrubbed off of it.

Okay, obviously he's got way too damn many drugs in his system if he's getting sentimental about scrubbed off baby puke.

But... As he thinks about it more, this is starting to feel a little gross... But, it was in a very real sense, alive, with his family and history and loves.

The sun is getting low, his room is dimming down, but there's still enough light to make out the dragon on the new cuff. This one has none of that. Can't, not yet.

But his loves got together and got it for him. All three of them working together. He flips his hand over, looking at the dragon from head to tail.

The swirls on the first one were random, energy coalescing, getting ready to become something, but not yet formed.

This one is energy formed, destiny… That feels a bit too weighty for a wrist cuff. Personality, that'll work, formed.

This is who he wanted to be, his own man… he laughs a little at that… his own dragon.

"You laughing at something?" Abby asks, sitting on the bed next to him.

"Hey. Just get Kelly to bed?"

"Hour ago, you were sleeping, didn't want to wake you up, but thought I'd check in, you're due some more meds soon." He nods at that. "So…"

"Pretentious thoughts."

"Oh my." She looks at him expectantly, and he shakes his head. "Silly stuff. Jimmy picked out the dragon?"


"It's beautiful."

"Yeah, it is. Thinking about it?"

"Little bit. I was really attached to the old one, you know?"

"Yeah, I did. It and your wedding ring were the only things you kept hold of. Watch, phone, computer, wallet, you let them have all of that, but you kept the cuff and the ring. I saw that on the inventory… I knew. I wish I could have kept the old one for you. If we had run it…"

"I know." And he does. If his people had run the investigation, he would have gotten it back in one piece. "This is good. Just… needs some living and loving in it."

Abby kisses him, then kisses his wrist, on the cuff. "One day at a time, just like the old one. So, getting hungry?"


"Good. I've got something you want, downstairs."

His eyebrows lift, pleased and curious. "You've got something I want, up here, too." He smiles and winks.

"It good to see you coming back."

He kisses her. "Yeah. So what's downstairs?"

"Well, the next episode of Twin Peaks is queued up and ready to go," he makes an approving noise, "then there's the one that's on tonight, your next Percocet is down there, and there's some grilled chicken legs and veggies waiting for you down there, too."

Tim nods, all of that sounds good. "Okay, help me up." He starts to swing his legs to the side of the bed, and she heads over to help him stay steady and get his crutch within easy reach. Once he's up, he leans in and kisses her, then he looks down, notices he's naked, and says, "Are we the only ones here?"

She smiles. "Think I'm bringing you down in the buff to entertain Gibbs?"

He laughs at that, too. "He's seen it before. I don't think he found it particularly interesting."

"Bad taste on his part."

Tim starts to step forward. "Let's not go there. I don't even want to think of how complicated this would be if Gibbs had been interested," he says, light, joking.

Another step.

"You know, in some lights your hair is kind of reddish," she says with a smile.

"I thought we weren't going there." He stops and pokes her gently.

She nibbles his ear lobe. "Come on, let's get you fed."

He kisses her again. "Thank you."

She nods. "I love you."

"I love you, too."


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