McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.
Chapter 401: Writing
It's a lot easier, safer, to handle it that way. It's also clear that whatever this story ends up being, father-son relationship stuff is definitely going to be a major theme.
It's also clear that he needs Lorcan (Gibbs) in the place of step-dad/adopted-dad/mentor-dad/chosen-dad whatever, but not in the place of birth-dad. And that for as much as this is about dealing with Fairrge (John) in this story, it's also about creating something that honors Gibbs and who he's been for him these last few years.
He's not sure what he's doing with Fairrge in this, beyond killing him/shaming him/destroying him in numerous exceptionally messy and violent ways.
That's not entirely true. He knows that he wants them, him, Daegan (Jimmy), Brigit (Breena) and Lorcan to be shape-shifter dragons. He knows that as he's setting up the stories the Dragon Knights are a thing mostly of the past, few and far between. Thought to be legend by the common people. Even in family lines, like the M'Gy (Earliest spelling of his family line that Ducky found when he was looking up the tartan for his clan, and eerily similar to how Gibbs pronounces his name.) the Dragons are going to be rare.
He's thinking that Gabe'll be a dragon, but Fairrge won't. That'll be tension line number one. Fairrge will be a loyal knight in whichever King's army. Gabe won't. Said King, (Tim doesn't have a name for him, yet) will be at war with some other guy, and Lady Skye (Abby) will be working for that side. Eventually, he'll run into Skye over the course of the fight, they'll hook up, and break away from both sides, setting up a third line. End there, Fairrge dead, Skye free from her overlord, and the M'Gys setting off for some new land of their own, and that sounds like a good first book to him.
Those are "working" thoughts. The part of his brain that's in charge when the painkillers are fading away. When he's got plotting and longer arc functions going.
The more drugs in him though, the more violence comes out.
He's gotten to the point in his life where he's not ashamed to be writing really horribly violent graphic murders of his father. He's fairly sure that five years ago, he couldn't have done this. He could have thought about it, but not written it out. Now he can. After all, he's made the deal to have the man killed for real, compared to that, this is just… just letting the dark out. Letting him play with it and then let it go. He does notice that as the days pass, the first few scenes got more and more violent, but he's getting less interested in them.
By the time he's written four versions of it, he's done. He doesn't need to do that again. It's getting boring.
He knows he's not done with writing about his dad, but he's done ending him.
And from there, writing can turn to more pleasurable things. And, as Friday turns into Saturday into Sunday and onto Monday and on… It also becomes clear that whatever else is true about this project, it's also a massive smut-fest.
Smutty, smutty, smutty, smut! All over the place. As of right now, he's got at least a hundred pages of smut, which means this is either going to be an awfully long novel, or it's going on the paranormal erotica shelf. He's got some suspicions as to why this is true, beyond the fact that he likes sex. After all, he was just as fond of sex as he wrote all of the Tibbs books, and none of them contain even one explicit scene.
First and foremost, there's that golden three or four minutes where he's close to getting off, getting off, or just gotten off where he's not hurting. At all. Yes, he's on pain meds, a lot of them, and they are keeping him "comfortable." They are not keeping him pain-free. They're not keeping him in the range where he can just forget he's hurting either. What they are doing is making sure he can function, more or less.
So, if he can't be in those moments, he can be writing about them.
Part of it is that sex is how his body knows it's alive. On a really basic, biological level, fucking keeps him centered on the fact he didn't die. And unlike all the other times where he almost died, he healed up pretty quickly. Pretty quickly isn't on the menu for him, not this time. It's getting onto two weeks later, and every time he moves, every step, every time the habit part of his brain tries to reach for something with his right hand, all of it is a constant reminder of almost dying. (And all of it hurts, which just goes back to point A about chasing time where he's not hurting.)
But, though he's been exceptionally affectionate whenever she's home, Abby does still have a job, so, if he can't be fucking with her, he's writing about it. (And sending what he's writing to her, which means she's usually in an awfully frisky mood by the time she gets home.)
Part of it is wanting to fuck. Pretty much, right now, they've got cowgirl, and reverse cowgirl, soft and gentle and slow, and that's nice and all, but he really wants to fuck. He wants to pick Abby up and rock her world. Wants the feel of his body moving fast and hard, sweat and lube slick skin, breathing hard, flushed, hot, aching full-on, fucking sex.
And that's not happening anytime soon.
So… he's writing about it. In explicit detail. On a pure neurochemistry level, his brain can't tell the difference between real sex and sex on the page. (Sure, it knows the difference between arousal and climax, but chemically porn, fantasy, sex, all of it triggers the same pleasure centers of the brain.) Likewise, he knows it's imaginary, but his dick's a bit fuzzy on that idea, and the only message it's getting is get hard, stay hard, and pounce (in a very slow, gentle, being easy on a whole mess of broken bones sort of way) on Abby when she gets home.
Part of it isn't sexual so much in an erotic sense as in a post-traumatic experience sense. In a very real way Abby, and to a lesser degree Jethro, Jimmy, and Breena all signal safety to Tim. When she's home, and he's awake and can stand to be near people (because he's still having porcupine days, too) he wants to be within touch range. He wants to have Abby holding his hand or a warm arm around his shoulders. And touch feels good, and sex feels better, so hugs turn into stroking which turns to kissing and merges into sex and from there more cuddling and sleep.
He's very, very glad that Abby doesn't mind ending the evening or starting the morning with sex, and then getting some very hot notes during the day to go with it. He thinks the last time they had this much sex, they were on their honeymoon.
And he's also very glad that she's putting up with his mood swings as well, which is another reason to keep writing about sex, because it keeps him on the perky side of things. When he's not focused on sex, he can go from doing okay to crying in less than a minute, and he hates that.
So, at least for the time being, the only downside of the vast wodges of smut he's producing is that occasionally, when he gets a chunk of "writing" done (because after all, he has to speak to his computer to "write"), he'll hobble out of his office, and Heather will just stare at him, which is making him wonder exactly how bad the sound-proofing in their house is.
Another Wednesday, another day home, but today, he's noticing something. There's only one Percocet left, and he's not feeling any sense of panic from that. He can go the full six hours between doses now, and shifting down to Tylenol 3 seems like a good plan.
Seems like it will work.
He knows Tylenol 3 is also a narcotic, but it's a much less strong one than the Percocet, and he's really, really hoping that he can take this last one, let it meander out of his system, start up on the new stuff, and get some more control back.
He swallows it down, and tosses the bottle toward his trash can. He misses and sighs. Time to move the vibrational head to the next break, then more ankle flexing and shoulder lifts.
That's also getting less painful, but he knows that as soon as he's got full range of motion on his ankle, Jimmy's going to want him to start working it with weights, and that'll just drop him right back to square one on the pain level.
The Tylenol 3 is mostly getting the job done. He's back down to a five hour pain pill cycle, but he feels a lot more like himself. He hasn't broken down crying for (what he considers) no good reason for two days.
Heather graciously accepted his apology for being such a bear the last few weeks. Told him he didn't need to apologize for it, but he knew he did. Even if only to make himself feel better.
No Percocet means his one-handed typing is getting better, and Dragon means that mostly all he's doing with a keyboard is fixing spelling and formatting.
No Percocet also means that today, he's got a job to do.
It's time to start writing up that report.
It's slow. Partially because he still has to get fairly frequent naps. Partly because he can't work on the report without thinking about what was going on, and as Wolf said, flashing back to the fight, and to the life before is normal, and working on the report triggers it. And unlike the story, there isn't the safety of Gabe here. Here he's reporting, not creating, so he can't shift and tailor the story to make himself feel safer.
But he keeps working on it. Keeps making himself put it in the past. He's home, at his desk, safe, working. He's not on a ship. His father is nowhere nearby. (He got an email from Burley about that. For the time being, The Admiral's rented a place in Hawaii. Alas, for the time being he's also not finding much in the way of anything useful in any of those missing sailor cases.) And yes, some of his work he's done with Abby right next to him, keeping him grounded in now, but he's kept working.
The great thing about drafts is that the first one can just be miles of crap spewed out on a page. You keep the good stuff, shuffle it around, and delete the embarrassing bits.
And that's what he's doing.
Tim's going over the feeds. He starts with the ships he wasn't on, viewing their data feeds, checking their techs, seeing what they did. He knows how things went on The Stennis, but that's not how things went on all the other ships. Some got communications back faster, some slower. One took a full two hours before they got their internal communications back online. One did it in fewer than two minutes. (He wrote up a separate recommendation for that tech, wanting to make sure he got some sort of a pat on the back for a very good job. Then he made a note to see about looking him up in eighteen months when his hitch with the Navy is up.)
Once communications were fully restored among the entire Carrier Group, they began working together on tracing the hack, and did, eventually, figure it out.
But Tim was on land and unconscious by the time they worked it out.
He writes up a review on how the attack worked, and a plan for how to pull a similar trick. He doesn't want whoever does this next to use his style verbatim; it's got to feel real, and it won't if the same attack keeps happening, but he can put useful parameters in place. Likewise, he dissects the response, pointing out who did well, who didn't, how standard Navy cyber-attack operating procedure worked well, how it failed.
He eyeballs the draft, sure this isn't anywhere near ready to go out, but it's a start.
Thursday. Swimming with Gibbs. That's good. He can actually walk when he's in the pool now. Yes, like with the rest of the ankle exercises, it aches when he's moving, but he is moving all the way through the correct placements and motions of walking.
When he's doing that he can also feel why he's still got the cast on his foot. Place weight on your foot and all those little bones in the arch of your foot, which on him are in various stages of healing back up again, spread apart and flex. Even with the cast they shift a bit, and that's not comfortable at all.
He's dreading putting his full weight back on that foot, but a week and a day, and this little cast comes off, and with it, even more rehabbing.
Wolf again. Sigh.
Fridays are supposed to be days of rest, right? What with the whole their family does Shabbos thing, right? It's in the rules. Ziva's told them avoiding unpleasant topics of conversation is one of the rules. And this is the mother and father of all unpleasant topics of conversation.
He is going on about that when Abby, who took off work to be here with him for this, looks at him, kisses his forehead and says, "You can cancel."
He slumps a little and shakes his head. He knows he's got to do it. Canceling just puts it off for next week or the week after, and that just pushes off him getting to actually go back to work even further. So, he doesn't want to cancel, he just wants to bitch about it and then get it done as fast as possible.
It's nothing personal against Wolf, but… he doesn't want to be talking about this stuff. Tim would much rather just ignore it.
But he can't.
And at least this time Abby's with him, holding his hand, like she promised to do back when they first started talking about this, back before Kelly was born.
They settle into his office, drinks all around, and begin.
They talk a little about how his body is doing, how healing up is going, and then get to the meat of it. Back to California and being a small child and getting on a boat for the first time.
And from there it only gets worse.
Abby hasn't heard a lot of these stories. Tim's never told most of them. Takes two hours. He's not sure what the point of this is, other than to rip his heart out again, but Wolf seems to think it's useful, and
Abby's holding onto him, so… So he keeps talking.
He's not sure if he feels any better, or different, or anything positive really, when he's done.
Tired. He feels tired. Like he's been wrung out. Like he's run fifty miles and done a million jumping jacks and infinite push-ups, and… just tired, all over, in all ways.
Abby sees Wolf to the door, and then heads back to him, snuggling in close, holding onto him as well as she can, and there's a faint spark of wanting to talk to her about it, but lulling tired wipes it out of his mind.
"You just want to rest?"
Abby kisses him. "Then you rest."
It's two in the afternoon, and they're on the futon in his office. He's so sleepy, aching tired, all he wants to do is sleep right now, but there's one other thing he needs. "Stay with me? Guard my sleep?"
One more kiss. "Anytime."