Friday, January 9, 2015

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 398: The Long Road

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

Chapter 398: The Long Road

If you had asked Tim what he would have thought of a three-week-long vacation where all he had to do was lay around, eat, and sleep, he would have told you…

He would have told you that sounded boring.

A week. Sure, a week of laying around sucking up time with Abby and Kelly, maybe playing in the pool or on the beach, great. Lots of time to read and game, wonderful. Hours to write, excellent.

But after a week, he'd want to get back to work, check in at least. Because he loves his job, and he's great at it.

So the fact that shortly after he logged in on Monday (from home, and yes, it took six attempts, because he can't bloody well type one-handed, and it's possible the Percocet he's on isn't exactly helping his accuracy in said matter) to check in and see what was going on in the office was met by a call from Leon whereby he explained that: A: Just because Tim has hit Director level does not mean he can get back to work after almost dying without a psych eval. That is utterly non-negotiable. B: As long as he is on narcotics he is not to be doing anything involving the computer systems, and if need be Leon will hunt down his three best techs and task them with keeping him out of the computers. And knowing how Team Gibbs and the remnants of Team Gibbs works, Leon wants a clean piss test, proving that Tim's no longer on narcotics before he's allowed to do anything beyond supervise. And given A and B, C is their natural successor, namely Leon does not want to see Tim doing anything even remotely case related for at least three weeks. However, should he desire to head in to fill out paperwork, approve time off requests and the like, he is more than welcome to do that.

Tim had some exceptionally choice words in response to said orders, which left Leon staring at his phone in shocked wonder, and reiterating that his 'No one on Narcotics works a case' rule is sound.

If you were to ask him, Tim would tell you the worst part of this is that he's still doped to the eyes on painkillers, so he's got no filters, so the loud and very profane tirade that went with not being allowed anywhere near anything work-related made him feel even worse than the vast horde of broken bones because it did a masterful job of proving Leon's point that he's not fit to work.

Having Heather poke her head in his office, ask if he was, "Okay?" and then basically snarling at her, really didn't improve matters much, either.

It's not her fault that he's a mess right now, but she's having to be near it, which he finds horrifically embarrassing. (And he doesn't even want to begin to get into how his year-old-baby-girl knows words, fortunately so badly pronounced as to be unrecognizable, such as bastard, fuck, shit, asshole, and on and on. Let's just say Sunday involved an epic meltdown when he couldn't get his new phone working.)

He's useless (or as Abby says, "resting" and "healing"). He can't work. Sure, he can check in, log on, and keep an eye on things, but the amount of time it takes for him to type his password in with one bruised up left hand is also killing him.

Not being able to type also means he can't really write. (Because if his keyboard on his computer is giving him trouble, the manual action on his typewriter is going to destroy the only hand he has that still works, sort of.)

He can't game one-handed. At least, not anything more complicated than Myst or Sudoku, both of which he's way too drugged to actually win at.

He'd be okay with watching TV, except right now there's only three things he's really watching, and he wants to see them with Abby, who did not just suddenly get a month-long paid vacation. And who is, in fact, back at work, doing useful things with people she likes, instead of sitting around like a wart on the ass of a frog.

He's stuck in his office, alone, cursing quietly and crying, feeling absolutely defeated.

Eventually he pulls himself together again, eventually it's time for more meds, he takes them, and he heads to the futon so he can get a nap.

"Healing" means he's basically on a twenty-four hour cycle. He sleeps about two and a half out of every four hours, but he's doing them in four hour cycles. Wake up, eat, mess around, vibrate his bones, (Thank you for tracking down another vibrational head, Ducky! Yes, it does ache, but now he's only got two and a half hours of even more intense aching instead of five.) be bored, get meds, go back to sleep.

The bored, especially at night, is killing him, too.

When he's awake, he's very awake. Not like he can just shut his eyes, snuggle in closer to Abby and drift back to sleep. No, his eyes jerk open, and he's AWAKE, mind racing around to places he'd rather it wasn't.

Hours of nothing to do but think.

Thinking about the attack. At this point, he's not sure how much of what he's thinking about is memories of the attack, or his brain just working on scaring the shit out of him over and over, but it seems like each of these memory cycles involves more images of the fight, in more detail, and more terror, and more pain. Abby's mentioned that when she was still on narcotics after Kelly that she had a hard time pulling out of bad thoughts and memories, and he's really hoping this is just a side effect of the meds.

Thinking about his dad. He's out there, somewhere, doing God alone knows what. Completely free. Not like he's got a fleet to take care of anymore. Sometimes it leaves him shaking, scared. He's out there. He's lost everything that ever mattered to him. God alone knows what he's going to do, but Tim wouldn't put it past John to blame him for it and come after him.

Most of the time it leaves him shaking, angry. He knows that Jarvis is out there, planning whatever happens next. They aren't talking to him about it, because he's still on drugs, but he know Jimmy and Abby, and Gibbs have something in the works, too. But right now, good reason or not, he's not in the loop, and that adds to his anger.

Half of the time he wishes he hadn't taken Jarvis' deal. Half the time he wants to heal up, get a gun, and show his father, first hand, that he can tie John to a goal post and then hit every joint in that man's body from the fifty yard line on a football field. When he's thinking like that, he almost wishes his father would come for him, let them finish this. Because whatever this is, it's not finished.

Half the time he's crying about it. Sorrow for not being wanted. Sorrow for not getting his own back. Sorrow for… sorrow. For the fact that this whole 'family' was a screaming disaster and he had to be born into the middle of it.

He's thinking about life and about what happened to him, and his mom and this absolute fucking mess of a birth family. Even with his Dad not going, he's still dreading running into his mother at Sarah's wedding.

Too many hours thinking. Way more crying than he'd like. Way more everything emotional and messy and painful, than he'd like.

And then enough time goes by, and he sucks down another Percocet, and it starts to knock him out, and he cuddles into Abby if she's nearby, keeping her close, because her body and breath keep the nightmares away.

On Tuesday, Wolf came to visit. He introduces Kelly (who Wolf coos over appropriately) and Heather, and they both head to his office.

"Thanks for coming."

Wolf looks at the crutch, the casts, the bruises. (Tim's cursing his pale skin, on Tony or Ziva ten day old bruises are pretty well-faded. On him, they still stand out.) "Not a problem. I take it you can't drive?"

"Not yet. I probably could if I absolutely had to, but the medication means it's a bad plan."

Wolf nods. "You're the Director of Cybercrime now."

"Since January."

"Congratulations. I take it, though, this wasn't a standard operation," Wolf says as he sits down.

Tim shakes his head. "I have clearance to talk to you, because I need it to get back to work, but… Classified Op, on a lot of levels."

"Leon told me to clear my afternoon for this, so… As you know, everything is confidential. Anything you tell me, about this op, about the fallout from it, about anything, stays between us. The only thing I keep notes on is if you're ready to go back to work."

"According to Leon, that won't be true for anything other than paperwork until I'm off the pain meds."

He can see Wolf cataloging how beaten he is. "Probably a wise decision."

Tim shrugs. For a second, he's about to say something about hating being useless, but he knows that's just a way to keep from having to get into it. Wolf watches him, seeming to see the way he's shifting topics, not ready to start.

"How about you start at the beginning? What was the op? Other than the fact that you were involved in it and it didn't happen at the Navy Yard, I'm completely in the dark."

Tim licks his lips, sighs, and says, "This begins more than thirty years before the op."

That catches Wolf's attention. He's looking very curious.

Tim takes another deep, steadying breath. He exhales as slow and smooth as he can without making his ribs ache. He's looking fairly intently just behind and to the left of Wolf, and very much wishing he'd set this for a time when Abby could have been here to hold his hand. He inhales, about to speak, getting ready to form words, but they don't form, not the first shot, he's just sitting there with his mouth open. So he closes it, tries again, and this time gets out, "I was an abused child." His voice breaks on it. He's talked about it, but… he's never named it, not like that. He's never specifically said those words about himself. "Umm… from… probably about the age of six until I cut ties for the last time at twenty-six my father threw every hard, painful, terrifying word he could at me. It was never physical, but…" he licks his lips, then wipes his mouth, "everyone who knows the details is willing to call it abuse, including his Mom. He kept me terrified pretty much my entire childhood, and I stopped talking to him the first time at seventeen, made up, sort of, when my grandfather died, talked a bit from nineteen to twenty-six. Not a lot. He'd yell at me for not joining the Navy. I'd hang up. My mom would complain about how it wasn't good for us to just not talk. I'd call back a few months later, he'd yell some more, and the cycle would repeat. That kept up until I got on Gibbs' team, number one MCRT, and it wasn't good enough for him, so I hung up, and I didn't call back for seven years. Tried again one more time. It was a disaster. That was the end of it."

Wolf is nodding, not taking any notes, watching Tim carefully.

"He's Admiral John McGee. Or was. I guess. He resigned on Friday. My sister blackmailed him into it. But, before Friday he ran the Pacific Combat Theater from the USS Stennis. The op was a Cybertest. I hacked his Carrier Group, made the different ships think they were attacking each other, and then watched to see how they'd handle it. They failed the test." Tim looks at his arm. "And he tried to kill me for it."

The dryly ironic part of Tim's mind is a bit gratified to see that he's come up with something that actually shocks Wolf. He bets that doesn't happen very often. It'd be a lot more satisfying if it hadn't happened to him personally, though.

They talk for about two hours, as long as Tim can stand talking, which leaves him exhausted and feeling crushed. No defenses, no filters, means everything comes pouring out in a great, uncontrolled, profane, angry, spiteful torrent of pissed-off invective.

Wolf seems to think that's a good thing, but all Tim wants to do is curl into a ball and hide for the next ten years.

No luck on that. Wolf's coming back in a week, to talk more. Tim's got the sense that's going to happen a lot. And he knows for a fact that Abby's going to be with him for the next chat, because that would have been a lot easier with her right next to him.

He's not exactly enjoying being around people right now. Mostly because he's got the emotional control of an overtired toddler. An overtired toddler on drugs.

He's crying, a lot. Which is, supposedly, normal and, supposedly, good and, supposedly, something he should be doing because that was a horrendously traumatic experience and just burying it isn't a good thing, and supposedly actually feeling the pain and dealing with it is useful, but, really, right now, he'd MUCH rather stuff it back into his subconscious and leave it the fuck alone.

He got many good years, decades even, of not dealing with this shit, and he'd really like to get back to that.

Wolf says this is normal and part of healing, and that he will flash back to memories of the Admiral, and the fight, and all the rest of this, but it'll get better, happen less often, and he'll develop better coping mechanisms for it.

But, for the first time, he's really grasping the desire to drink yourself stupid.

He's not going to, first because he can't take his pain meds and drink, and secondly, because from everything he can see that'll just mean he has to deal with even more of this shit.

Plus, he still can't carry anything and walk at the same time, and he'll be damned before he ever admits out loud that he wants to drink like that.

Gibbs has been over a lot. Partially as a buffer between Tim and Heather. She didn't hire on to be his nanny. And she does know that this is not usual Tim, that he's drugged to the eyes, and that he's horribly embarrassed by the guy he is right now, but that doesn't means she's enjoying it. Partially because Tim is hurting, and Abby's working, and he might as well have someone nearby who knows something about hurting and healing. Partially because, even though Tim isn't exactly a boatload of fun to be around right now, he's still Jethro's, and he takes care of his own.

Though it's true that the look Tim is giving Jethro is… skeptical, (that's the polite version, the more accurate one is probably are you out of your ever-loving fucking mind?) as he's driving them to the house on Thursday.

"You do realize there's literally nothing, at all, I can do, that's even remotely useful out there?"

"Keep Duck, Penny, and I company."

"Oh God." That involved an epic adolescent-know-it-all eye-roll.

"Hush it. You're getting out of that house and out of Heather's hair, and into the sunshine. And if I have to drag your ass out of this car and plop you in the middle of the grass to do that, that's what I'm going to do."

"As opposed to?" Tim bites out. "If you don't do that, all I can do is just sit in this goddamned truck and get slobbered on by your bitch." (That's Tim feeling sorry for himself. He can get into and out of the truck, it's just very slow, and it makes him ache.)

Mona looks hurt by that. Yes, she has been licking his face, and he's been trying to push her away, but she can tell he's not in a good mood and she's trying to help. Licking cheers Gibbs up, and it makes the girls stop crying, so she's doing her best for Tim.

Gibbs narrows his eyes. "As opposed to me tossing your ass in the river and letting you swim."

"I'll drown," Tim says with a glare.

"Not in two feet of water, you won't." That gives Gibbs an idea. He looks Tim over, thinking about the casts and everything. "Call Jimmy, ask him if you can swim."

"I hate swimming." That's not precisely true. He doesn't particularly like swimming, that's true. But he doesn't mind playing in the pool or the ocean some. It's just not anything he'd ever do on his own for fun. After all, cold isn't his idea of fun, and all the pools he has access to are cold.

"You hate everything right now. Give him a call. Ask if you can swim."

"I can't fucking swim, Jethro! You need two fucking arms to fucking swim!"

Gibbs' turn to roll his eyes. He mutters something about Tim having been a bastard as a teenager and then says, "Call him, ask. You can swim with no arms, and you can definitely float without them, so get on the damn phone, call Jimmy, and find out if I can drop you in the pool and get you doing something again so you stop sulking twenty-four seven."

Tim glares, but calls.

"Gibbs wants to know if I can swim," he says as soon as he hears Jimmy pick up.

"Hello to you, too, Tim."

"Hi." Tim takes a breath, trying to be less of a pain in the ass. "He thinks dropping me in the pool might make me feel better."

"I don't think it would hurt. Not like you'll feel worse, and you do need to build up muscle strength and lung capacity again, should be good for that."


"Yes, it is. The more things you can do, the better you're going to feel. But, skip the pool at NCIS and go to the one at our gym. They've got saltwater pools, and right now soaking in chlorine isn't good for your lungs." Salient point. Even when he doesn't have a pile of healing ribs, Tim's lungs don't exactly relish spending lots of time breathing in chlorine.

"So, what's he got you doing today?" Jimmy asks.

"Dragging me to the house."


Tim rolls his eyes again. "For what? I've got one hand, and it doesn't want to do anything even remotely like work. I can't even weed flowerbeds right now."

"Then it's a good thing we don't have any flowerbeds," Jimmy says.

"You can still go over electrical schematics and start working on the new wiring layout," Jethro says.
Jimmy hears that and agrees.

"Uh, yeah, if you want the house to burn down. You do not want me planning electrical systems right now. It takes me six tries to log into my computer, and you want me to lay out the wiring? Are you completely insane?"

"Okay, I'm going to leave you two to that," Jimmy says, getting ready to hang up. "Go swimming tomorrow, though."

As Tim tucks his phone into his pocket, Gibbs stops the car and turns to look at Tim. "Do you want to be sitting at home?"

"No." And he doesn't. He's sick of home.

Gibbs gives him the Well… we're not at home look.

"There's nothing I want to do that I can do right now. I can't write, I can't read, I can't work, there's no TV show I want to watch, I can't game, I can't drink, I can't fight, there is NOTHING I enjoy available at this point in time, and everything and everyone is pissing me off, and I hate that, too."

Gibbs sighs. "I know. Been there, done that, I know."

"I just want to be done with this." He's crying again, hating that, too.

Gibbs rubs the back of Tim's head. "One minute at a time, Tim. We get through now, and then a little more now, and some now on top of that, and next thing you know, it's tomorrow and you're one day closer to normal again."

"What if I can't ever find normal again? What if this anger and pain…" he wipes his eyes again, "What if this fear…" Abby knows he's scared, because she sleeps with him, and Wolf does, because he's said, but until now, he hasn't said it to anyone else. "Doesn't go away? He's out there, no job to keep him busy… I used to be able to go months without thinking about this, and now… Now I can't go an hour without it popping up. Because he's out there."

Gibbs' voice is quiet, soothing, but the look on his face is terrifying. "Not for a second longer than you want him to be. You heal up some more, get off the drugs, and once they're out of your system, we'll talk, and if you're still scared, that's the end of him. Deal, no deal, doesn't matter, he's dead. He's a walking corpse, Tim, and all it boils down to is time and who's going to pull the trigger."


Gibbs shakes his head. "Not unless you want it right away. We can wait, let Jarvis handle it. Or it'll be Jimmy. We're working on that. Or you, if you like. Or Abby, if she gets too impatient. When's his birthday, Tim?"

"April 18th."

"He won't make it to his next one, unless you want him to. He won't get within a hundred miles of you, unless you want him to. We can shut down his travel authorization, freeze his finances, stick him on the no fly list, make it so his prints identify him as a dead terrorist, whatever you like. You are a Director at a Federal Agency. You can pull a Jen on him if you like. Not like Leon's gonna fuss if you want to run a coup against him, as long as you keep doing your job, too." Gibbs gently squeezes Tim's shoulder. "You're the one in control now, not him."

Tim blinks, wipes his eyes, squeezes Gibbs' hand, and nods. "The brain knows; the heart doesn't."

Gibbs kisses his forehead. "Yeah. I know. Come on, let's get to the house. Get your mind off this."


Turns out one thing he could do at the house is sit with Penny, and between the two of them start sketching out ideas for how they're going to rearrange the interior of the house.

They start with a sketch of the outside walls, none of which are moving, and the load-bearing walls, which likely aren't moving. From there they break the house into nine sections.

The main room, entry/living room/dining room/kitchen area. It's big and open, fireplace in the center. Kitchen, entry, stairs to the second floor are on one side, living/dining area is on the other, and both open up onto the patio/grill area.

Five "family suites" that are, for the time being, just exterior walls, are scattered throughout the house. Figuring out how to configure what'll go in those sections will be up to each branch of the family. Penny sketches out the space that'll be his and Abby's suite, and he makes notes on that for what he's thinking. Talking it over with Abby tonight will be a good thing.

Their suite is right where they were talking about back when they saw the house the first time. Off on the west wing. It's a long hallway with rooms to the left and right. Now, as Penny's sketching, they're keeping that hallway, McGees on the right, Palmers on the left.

He's thinking a little about the other thing no one's willing to really talk to him about until he's off of the pain medication, and that's whatever's brewing with them and the Palmers. He can see that hallway, and part of him is thinking that those aren't load bearing walls. That they could scrap that hallway, split the wing in half, set up a large open area on the one side, space for the adults, space for the kids, some sort of nursery area, then on the other side, they could set two suites, one for him and Abby, one for Jimmy and Breena, put a large, all decked out shared bath in between them. Space for time on their own, easy access for time together, nothing so obvious that it'd cause too much talk.

"Tim?" Penny asks, he's very clearly not paying attention to what they're doing. "You okay?"

"Yeah, just thinking."

She's looking at him, deeply, trying to see if he's really okay.

He nods. "Not thinking about him right now. Talked a little about sharing a nursery with Jimmy and Breena…" That's close to what he's really thinking about.

Penny nods, and gets her eraser out. "One large area, here?"

"Maybe. Only mentioned it once."

"You thinking about having rooms for each of the kids?"

Tim shakes his head. "Don't see how we can do that now. No idea how many we'll end up with," and that gets them talking about the next area of the house.

The basement is being turned into a kids' play zone/dorm. He's fairly sure that, for the time being, having babies in their own little nurseries near mom and dad is be a good thing, but eventually, these kids will get older, and the potential for say, six? (More? Likely there'll be buddies coming to visit, too, so maybe a whole lot more?) teenage kids all sharing a space with them doesn't sound great.

So, eventually, they'll wall the little boogers off in their own space, where they'll have some privacy and won't be entirely underfoot.

Eighth section is the entertainment/game area. Fairly small. Tim's writing up what should go in there, so Tony can watch movies the way he thinks movies are supposed to be watched, and he and Jimmy and Abby can do full sensory Call of Duty or Warcraft or whatever.

Last section, on the fourth floor, is the library/computer/reading zone. Some place comfortable and quiet to curl up with a good book/study/work. Tim's hoping that they'll manage to turn out at least one bookworm, and whether the kids like school or not, they'll still need quiet spaces to work, and the kid zone down in the basement is not going to be a quiet place.

Penny finishes up the last line of the last zone, while Tim finishes up his notes for what goes where, and they both look at each other, noticing that for the last two hours, focused on building their futures, the present didn't hurt so bad.

She smiles a little at him, and he squeezes her hand, kissing her forehead.

When Abby gets home, Gibbs is on the back porch grilling away. Kelly's on a blanket behind him, on all fours, rocking back and forth, doing that I'm almost ready to crawl but just haven't figured out the whole pick my hands and knees up motion.

She kisses Gibbs cheek and picks up Kelly for a hug and quick snuggle.

"Tim snoozing?"


Abby nods. "Okay, let me say hi to him and get changed, and I'll be down in a minute. Got something you might find interesting in the meantime." She pulls a piece of paper out of her purse and hands it over.

Gibbs unfolds it, reading the Stars and Stripes announcement of the retirement of Admiral McGee. Looks like pretty standard bullshit about service and loyalty and all the rest of that, but he does catch what he assumes is why Abby gave it to him.

A minute later, she's on the porch in comfy drawstring pants and a t-shirt.

"He still sleeping?"

"Yeah, just gave him a kiss and petted him some. He didn't even stir. You keep him up a while today?"

"We were at the house for five hours. He was awake the whole time. Sacked out on the ride home. Got him into bed and he just crashed."

Abby nods.

Gibbs holds up the paper before crumpling it and shoving it into his pocket. "Said here Admiral McGee's unexpected retirement was due to 'health issues.'"

Abby smiles a bit. "Yeah, it does. Could be just providing cover for why he left all of a sudden. Could be setting things up so when he drops dead of a heart attack in a few months that no one asks any questions about it. We read Jarvis' file. He's qualified to do this right. I mean to the point of planting false medical records showing John had heart trouble ahead of time. I don't know if he will, but he certainly can, and…"

Gibbs nods, that line about 'health issues' certainly sounds like Jarvis may be getting his pieces into play.


"Hi Stan." Tim feels a little sheepish as it hits him that it's two in the morning. After all, not everyone is on a twenty-four hour cycle these days. Then sheepish fades away because Stan's in Hawaii, and while it's true that off the top of his head that Tim has no idea what time it is in Hawaii, he's fairly sure it's not the middle of the night.

"Tim?" Burly sounds excited to hear from him. "Hey, how are you doing?"

"Better. Healing. It's slow." Which is code for woke up from another nightmare in a shaking cold sweat, spent half an hour clinging to Abby until his heart stopped pounding, trying to force himself to pull into the present well enough to know that he's not fighting for his life while being screamed at.

"Stan, is he still in Hawaii?"

Stan doesn't need to be told who 'he' is. "I can find out. Why?"

"Did you hear he resigned?"

"No…" There's a pause. "That's interesting."

"Uh. Yeah." Tim can hear what Stan's asking by 'interesting,' but he doesn't want to get into it.

"You want me to keep tabs on him?"

"If you can. When I get back to the office, I can take care of it myself, but…"

"Say no more. I'm allowed to keep eyes on anyone who looks hinky, and your Dad's got hinky written all over him."

"Thanks." Tim exhales, feeling a little calmer. "Um… Are you checking into the history on any of his ships?"

"Tim, some of the things the guy who ran the brig said got me interested. Yeah, I've been looking. A few guys have disappeared from ships your dad has run. Don't have anything concrete yet, I may never get anything concrete, it may not even be related to him, but I'm looking."

"Okay. Good. Thanks."

"Really, just doing my job. Nice that I can do my job and maybe also help a friend. I'll keep you in the loop. You won't end up getting surprised."

"Thanks." Tim hangs up. He wants to get onto his computer and start hacking and tracing. He wants to know every move The Admiral makes. He wants to know where he is, where he's thinking of going, and what he's spending his money on.

But wanting isn't having, and right now he's sure that if he tries, he'll get caught. So, at least for the time being, he's got to depend on someone else.

At least Stan really is good at his job, and when he says he'll watch, he means it. That helps. Some of the knots in his neck and shoulders, the ones that have been there because of fear and not because of his injuries start to ease, a little, at least.

He tucks his phone into the pocket in his pajama pants and begins the long, slow trek back up the stairs. Eventually he gets back to his room, eventually he peels off the PJs, gets himself onto their bed, and scoots up close to Abby.

He hates the cast. At least, he does right now. It keeps his arm bent at a ninety degree angle at his elbow, and folded across his stomach. Which means he can't really spoon Abby. He can snug up close (ish), too close and his shoulder aches (even more), and she can sleep with her neck over his arm, but his arm is in the way. His chest isn't against her back, he can't wrap both arms and his leg over her.

He wakes her up as he gets back into bed, and feels bad about that.


"Roll over, Tim."

He does, so his back is to her, and she snuggles in close against him, wrapping one arm under his neck and the other across his chest. "Bad dreams?"

He nods.

"Wanna tell me?"

"Not really." Right now, he doesn't remember the details anyway, just the terror.

She squeezes him gently. "Okay."

He twines his fingers between hers. She kisses the back of his neck.

"Gonna be able to sleep?"

"I hope so."

She kisses him again, already starting to drift off again.

Eventually the drugs and tired hit him hard enough that he does, too.


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