Monday, February 23, 2015

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 415: Stripped

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

Chapter 415: Stripped

Tim's wondering, as his grandmother (as the family matriarch) sings the prayers and blessings, at what point you qualify as Jewish.
It's an idle thought, mostly amused. Tony and Ziva aren't here. But they're still lighting the candles and doing the blessings and singing the hymns and… all of it, because, apparently they all like their rituals and no one in this family has any problems with saying thanks for a good week and good food.
So, yeah, at what point does this stop being something you do because some of the members of your family are part of it, and start being who you are?
He doesn't have an answer for that, especially since he'll likely be going to church and supper with the Slaters on Sunday.

"Nope." Jimmy grabs Tim's glass of Riesling and puts it at his place as they pass drinks and food around the table.
"Nope?" Tim's staring at the glass; he'd been looking forward to that.
Jimmy shakes his head and pulls a prescription bottle out of his pants pocket. "Percocet tonight. We're working on your shoulder, biceps, triceps, pec, rotator cuff, and inter-costals."
"Should I be happy about this?" Tim's feeling some trepidation, wondering how much this is going to hurt, but he takes a Percocet anyway. It should be really working by the time Jimmy gets started on whatever comes next.
Tim's looking at the bottle, five more pills in there, as Jimmy says, "Probably not. But, you'll like what it gets you."
"What's that?"
"More movement, faster, less pain in the long run."
Tim nods. He wants that, and he wants it yesterday, and if he's got to hurt to get it... Then bring on the Percocet. Abby's putting a piece of grilled salmon on his plate as he holds the platter (can't hold and take at the same time yet). "So why do you get my wine?"
"Because I'm gonna have to listen to you whine about it, and I don't get to have any Percocet for that."
Tim laughs. "I'm not that bad."
"Keep telling yourself that." Jimmy takes the platter from Tim, and sends it down the table toward Jethro.

"So, I get why Tony's not here. He's en route, right?" Breena asks. "Where's Ziva?"
"Last I heard he, Bishop, a pile of evidence, and a suspect are on their way back. I think she's meeting up with them at Andrews so she can Draga can take a swing at the suspect as soon as they get him in." Tim's been texting back and forth with Tony and Ziva all day, his guys hunting through the data dump they've got for things that may be useful to interrogating their suspect.
"So, weekend interruptus for the rest of us?" Jimmy asks. Evidence for a bombing often involves bodies, and Abby's nodding along as well.
"Maybe," Tim answers. "Not sure. I think they're escorting the evidence and CIA is getting it. Ziva tells me that she and Tony are getting a reputation as the people you send suspects to when you want them broken, but you also want to be able to show it was clean. They've got black sites for when they want it done yesterday, or messy, but when they want to look like boy scouts, they send them to us, now."
Gibbs smiles at that, something of the proud daddy look on his face.
"Looks like all of your training is paying off," Penny says to him.
He shrugs, modest, still smiling.
Of course, Gibbs didn't just train two investigators. And number four is staring at him, thinking there's something else going on with that smile.
"Okay, what's up?" Tim asks.
Gibbs spreads his hands in a nothing gesture.
"Nope. As Ziva would say, you look like the cat that ate the canary. What are you thinking?"
Gibbs takes a sip of his wine and shrugs. "Nothing."
"Gibbs!" Abby says.
He shakes his head. After a few seconds he says, "Your guys still pullin' data for her?"
Tim nods. "By now, it's Okinawa doing it again, and a few of my night owls."
"So, she's probably at Andrews, readin' up?"
"Should be. Last I heard Tony was due in round 05:00."
Abby looks up at that, smile on her face, and Breena gets it after a tenth of a second, too. If Tony's getting in that late, Ziva normally would have had dinner with them, gotten a nap, and then headed over. So, if she's not here right now, it's for a different reason.
Like, maybe the bottle of wine, the blessing and drinking of which is a big part of each Shabbos.
Or maybe, if she happened to have some really good news she hadn't shared with Tony yet, that she didn't want to let out before he knew it, she could be hiding away.
Or they could all be a bunch of ninnies with overactive imaginations and she's just putting in the due diligence to do her job right.
Could be… But speculation is fun.

At the end of dinner, after everyone besides the Palmers have taken their leave, Tim heads upstairs to swap out his work clothing for a pair of PJ pants. He's not sure exactly what Jimmy's going to do to him, but it doesn't sound like something he'll need a shirt for. Plus, not like anyone in this crew is bothered by him in his PJs.
Once out of his shirt, he takes a moment to really look at his arm. First shot since before the cast.
It's so thin. He feels stupid thinking that, because it requires him to admit how proud he was of what he had done with himself over the last two years. And being the guy who checks himself out isn't part of his self-concept, but… It's so thin. Thinner than it was the first time he lost weight. He's got have lost at least four inches around over the last six weeks.
New scars, thin and red and angry. He guesses the two around his deltoid must be from putting his humerus back into the socket and reattaching his ligaments. More scars, long lines, one on the inside of his arm, other on the outside, right below his tattoo, he guesses that's where they had to open his arm up to screw his humerus back together.
He can see at least two more hiding under his wrist and hand cast.
His fingers hover over his shoulder, he hasn't touched, explored, yet. Tim figures they won't mind if he takes a minute to get a feel for his own body before everyone else hops on.
He makes contact, letting himself touch for the first time in weeks. For just light, gentle, stroking touch, it doesn't hurt. Feels kind of nice actually. The scars are numb, and so are several areas under them. He wonders if that's supposed to feel that way.
Soft pressure is okay, too. As long as he's not moving anything, placing his finger tips on his shoulder and lightly poking isn't an issue.
He gently circles his knuckles into his pec, right where it meets up with his shoulder and winces, that hurts. A light squeeze to his deltoid is fine. Slightly more pressure burns and aches.
He can remember looking at his arm and puking. By then he was in shock so hard and had so many endorphins flowing through him that he hurt, but couldn't really feel how bad it was. And then he looked, and… and he can remember the feeling of puking, and the resolution that he wasn't going to look again. But, beyond that one second of recognizing that his palm was up and his wrist was down, his mind blocked out exactly how bad it was.
Looking at the scars, he's feeling very glad he doesn't remember exactly how bad it was, and hopes he won't.
"You okay?" Abby asks, popping her head into their room.
"Oh. Uh… Yeah. Probably. Just… getting reacquainted."
"Oh." She smiles and walks over to him, fingers hovering over his shoulder. He nods at her, and she gently strokes them down his arm. "Hello, arm." She lightly kisses the top of his shoulder. "Hello, shoulder, been a while. Looking forward to resting my head on you again."
Tim kisses her. "Me, too."
"That feel okay?"
"Yeah. Anything more than," he gently squeezes her hand, "hurts, but very light touches like that are fine."
"Can't feel the scars."
She nods at that. "Join the club." Right after her c-section the numb area at the incision was almost four inches wide. It's down to closer to one now. She's figuring she'll have full sensation back just in time for Sean to come out. "Feeling'll come back, sooner or later."
He inclines his head and they head downstairs.

"So, how does this work?" Tim asks when he gets back into his living room.
At his physical therapist's office there's an exam table, and exercise equipment, and elastic bands for stretching, electro-stim equipment, various oils and gels that make his skin heat up or cool down, and just piles and piles of stuff.
If there's any stuff beyond Percocet and Jimmy, Tim can't see it.
Jimmy's just sitting on his sofa, talking to Breena, and the only concession to the idea of doing something with his hands is that his sleeves are rolled up.
Jimmy leans forward and pats the floor between his feet. "You go here. Abby, you've got some massage oil, right?"
"Of course." She goes back upstairs to get it.
Tim's getting himself settled on the floor. "Facing away, right?"
"Yeah, back to me." Jimmy taps his knee. "Head goes here."
Tim feels really bizarre sitting on the floor between Jimmy's legs with his head on his knee, but… Okay, first off Jimmy's a doctor. Second of all, they're friends. Third, Jimmy's still in his work clothing, not his usual weekend in the summer time shorts, so it's not like he's snuggling his cheek against Jimmy's bare knee. And having done so, he's got an idea of what Jimmy's hoping to do, because like this his neck and shoulder are easily accessible and he's not using his neck to hold the weight of his head.
Abby's back, with their massage oil, and some towels, and a few pillows, too.
He's got the sense she's got a better idea of what's coming next than he does.
She puts one of the pillows in his lap, which is when he notices that he's been holding his arm in place. (After all, the sling is still sitting up on his bed. Right now it'd just get in the way.) He lets his arm rest on the pillow, which does involve a little straightening at his elbow, but it's within the comfortable range.
Then Abby hands the massage oil over to Jimmy. "Don't have any unscented, hope this is okay?" Which is when Tim remembers that the only massage oil they have right now is 1001 Nights scented, which means he's got a lot of very strong sensual and sexual images, memories, and sensations attached to this fragrance and that maybe if they do this again having a bottle of unscented might not be a bad plan.
Of course, depending on how much this is going to hurt, thinking about sex and pleasure might be a good distraction.
Jimmy opens the bottle oiling up his hands, and Breena says, "Oh, I like this one," while slipping around so she's sitting with Abby on the love seat, instead of next to Jimmy on the sofa.
"What are we doing?" Tim asks.
"Right now," Jimmy lays his hands, gently on Tim's neck, right below his ear, and slowly strokes down his neck, over his shoulder, cupping his arm, to his elbow, "we get everything warm and soft. Happy muscles, happy limbs, are soft, and flexible, and pliable. The skin slides over the muscles underneath, muscles slide over bone, ligaments can bend and flex, and everything is in this web of soft silvery stuff called fascia."
"The stuff between the chicken breast and the chicken skin?" Breena adds.
"Exactly." Jimmy pulls his hands up Tim's arm, cupping his palms against the skin, and when he gets to the top of Tim's shoulder, he presses down gently and pushes to the left a bit. "Yeah, see the skin should flow over the muscle. Everything should be able to move together and move around each other. The fascia keeps it in place, but allows for some glide." He pokes, gently, again, and Tim feels some burn with that move. "You're not gliding.
"When your body is working properly it uses its strength to do whatever it is. Strength is good, everything is doing its job right and is able to do that job. You get hurt, and suddenly your body doesn't have the strength to do the job anymore, so it replaces strength with rigid. Things get stiff, they stop moving, the lymph and other fluids don't flow properly, fascia dries out, and you end up stuck. Right now your arm is all stuck together like a dried out piece of jerky."
"Vivid image." Tim says dryly, though given what he was thinking about his arm being so small, there is a sort of withered vibe about it.
Jimmy nods. "Step one, get everything warm and soft. Taking a pinch of your skin and pulling it away from your arm shouldn't hurt." He does it on Tim's left arm, and it doesn't hurt. He tries on his right and it does.
"What's step two?"
"Unsticking the muscles."
"Let me guess, that's the Percocet part of this?"
Jimmy nods.
"Okay then. And five more Percocets means this isn't all happening tonight?"
"Exactly. We're not even touching step three tonight, which is where I start going after the ligaments."
Tim nods at that. "Do I need to do anything?"
"Relax as much as you can and don't fight me."
"Will do."

Okay, honestly, this feels pretty nice. Getting a shoulder rub from Jimmy's a little weird, but he's getting used to having a guy rubbing on him. The PT does it for his foot and ankle, and, so far this feels a lot better than that.
Jimmy's either really good at giving massages, or the euphoric side of the Percocet is already kicking in, and maybe it's both, but right now, this is awfully nice.
Abby and Breena look like they may be enjoying this a bit too much. They're both really, really watching and he can see them tracing the path Jimmy's hands are making over his arm, shoulder, neck, and chest, but, hell, if it's making them happy and doesn't hurt… why not? Plus, he's in favor of getting really well-laid tonight, and they're lapping this up like two kittens with an extra-large bowl of cream.
Two, happy, sexy kittens, talking with each other, watching him, and he's sort of idly thinking about having them head on over and help out, because, he's got an arm and leg that don't hurt and wouldn't mind some rubbing when, "Feels weird being half-naked and all of you are dressed," comes out of his mouth.
It occurs to him that this could possibly be the Percocet talking.
The girls are glancing at each other, and then look at Jimmy with big kitten eyes. He rolls his eyes, sighs, stops, and strips his shirt off fast before going back to working on Tim.
Tim pouts at that. "You weren't the one I was hoping would take some clothing off."
Jimmy rolls his eyes and adds a little more oil to his hands. (He's also in favor of getting very well-laid tonight and has I really hope you enjoy this all over his face and aimed at Breena. She's beaming back at him, grinning, and then licks her lips. He gets the I am message loud and clear.)
"Yeah, but we were, so you got out-voted," Abby says.
Tim looks at the girls, and then looks at Jimmy, counts, blinks, and says, "Okay, I know I'm on drugs, but… There are two of you and two of us, how did we get out-voted?"
"He didn't vote." Abby says.
"I'm voting!" Jimmy sounds surprised at the idea that he didn't vote. He was eyeballing Breena at the suggestion of less clothing. "If the question is, do you want to see more skin on the girls, the answer is always YES. The only time I'm going to tell you to put more clothing on is if you're in danger of sunburn or cold. Oh look, we're inside, at night, in a pleasantly temperate house. Hmmm…"
Breena stands up and twirls around, which both Tim and Jimmy enjoy because she's wearing this cute little sundress and that flares the skirt some, flashing her panties. Tim, on the floor, gets a bit more than a flash and he approves heartily. "I'm already half-naked." Then she sits back down again.
"Abby?" Tim asks.
"You okay with it?" She's once again at that stage of pregnancy where her real clothing is snug, but not quite ready to move into maternity gear. So, lately she's been wearing one of his button downs with the sleeves rolled up, leggings, and boots.
"Trust me, I'm good with this." And right now, he doesn't care if Jimmy's watching, too, he's really good with it.
She slips off the leggings. Since it's one of his shirts, it's long enough to cover her butt, but that's all it covers. It's shorter than her shortest skirt.
Tim's eyes are slipping all over her, enjoying naked legs, and liking that quite a bit.
"Feeling more comfortable?" Abby asks, standing up, reaching over on the coffee table, making her shirt inch up just a hair, getting the bottle of wine they didn't finish at dinner, and pouring the last of it into a glass for Jimmy and Breena.
Tim nods, very happy. "Yes, thank you." He eyeballs the glass, and then looks at Jimmy. "Not going anywhere, certainly not driving, and you want me relaxed, right?"
Jimmy thinks about it for a few seconds while he keeps rubbing his fingers over Tim's bicep. He increases his pressure slightly and feels Tim wince. That's just the pressure level he's going to need to get the skin mobile, getting into the muscles will be worse. "Quarter glass. Start seeing double or having any trouble breathing, you let me know, right away."
"Sure." Tim takes a sip, and yes, it's as good as he was hoping it was going to be. "Read a review of this online, wanted to try it with the salmon."
"It was really good," Breena adds.
"Have to get more for next week." Another sip, and Tim starts to slide into a very relaxed headspace.

"Shit, that hurts!" Tim yelps, jerking up and away from Jimmy's hands.
Jimmy gently presses, letting Tim know to put his head back on his knee, and returns to the long, slow stroke he'd been using on Tim's pec. Tim does, but this time his body is wary, and it's harder to just melt.
Tim had been just chilling out, leaning against Jimmy, kind of aware of the fact that there's a conversation going on, but mostly just relaxed and happy. All was good and right with the world and he was thinking that he really wouldn't mind spending more Saturday evenings like this. (In fact, to be really precise, he was thinking about how Percocet with a little alcohol when you aren't really hurting is a really nice sensation and that anytime Jimmy wants to drug him and rub his shoulders, he's game for it, and if one, or better yet, both, of the girls would get over here and make out with him, this would be the literal definition of heaven.)
And now Jimmy's ripping his arm off.
"Level two, Tim, stripping scar tissue hurts. Gotta break it down, stretch it out, get it soft and pliable again, or you're never going to get full use of this shoulder back."
Tim whimpers, as Jimmy slowly, with deep, firm pressure, strokes his thumb across the underside of Tim's collarbone. He thought that Jimmy working on his foot was awful, but this is almost as bad as when he first got hurt. Okay, not really, when he first got hurt he was on a boatload of narcotics and felt this bad, and right now he's just got the one, but this still HURTS.
"Do you have to do it that hard?" Tim asks, trying to make himself relax and having a very hard time of it. Jimmy's 'don't fight' instruction is going to kill him.
"Harder!" Breena says with a giggle, causing both of the guys to stare at her. Yeah, it sounds silly, but she's hoping this'll distract Tim from how bad this hurts. "Oh come on, this is fun to watch!"
Actually what Jimmy was doing to Tim was fun to watch. She didn't think that watching Jimmy give Tim, or any other guy, a massage would do much for her, but… yeah, Jimmy's hands, warm and firm, slipping all over Tim's shoulder and chest. That was working just fine for her. But as soon as he hit the point where Tim jerked and started wincing, it got a whole lot less fun, real fast. She knows Abby feels that, too. She glances at Abby and they're both on the same page, Mission: Distract Tim. And if anything is going to distract Tim, it's sex.
Abby nods. "Watching you two play doctor is pretty nice."
Tim sighs and grits his teeth, and Jimmy sputters, "It's not playing doctor if you've got an MD!"
Breena looks at him, sweet and sexy. "You and I have played doctor."
Tim flashes him a curious look.
"Oh, like you haven't done something similar," Jimmy shoots at him, rippling his fingers over Tim's pec muscles.
"They play dragons," Breena adds, and now it's Jimmy's turn to give Tim the curious, rapidly morphing to full-out stupefied, look.
"How does that even work? What, do you pretend to sit on eggs or something?"
Tim rolls his eyes, staring at Abby. "You told her that?"
Abby shrugs, about to say something when Jimmy (who is, because he's a professional and very good at what he does, and likely has some idea of what Breena's ulterior motive is, still working on Tim's shoulder) says, "Holy shit!" he's staring at Tim. "Oh my God, your dragon story! Is that where that comes from? Are you writing a novel about your sex games, with all of us in it?"
Now Tim's really staring at Abby with a really, you had to tell her that? look. She shrugs, looking innocent, letting him do the explaining.
He shifts a bit, so he can easily look up at Jimmy, who as he shifts slides his hands over to Tim's deltoid and begins stripping there. He mentally sighs, the whole thing is locked up with rock hard muscles, dried out fascia, scar tissue, extra bone calcification, staples, and ligaments that haven't moved in weeks. To say Tim's deltoid is a mess is to say the ocean is damp.
"They're shape-shifter dragons, Jimmy, and in human shape when there's sex happening, and…" Tim grunts as Jimmy starts to apply some real pressure, "And if you had even half of my imagination," said through clenched teeth, "you'd do it, too, Dr. Palmer."
"Has he let you read some of the sex scenes?" Abby chirps. "Oh my god, they're so hot!" She looks at Breena. "You know, soaked panties, squeeze your thighs together and get off, hot."
Breena looks impressed. "And why didn't they end up in my inbox?"
Tim's staring at them, feeling kind of lost, and wondering when they started sending each other smut. Though… Yeah, Abby did give Breena his smutty books, and Breena gave Abby Fifty Shades, and that's the only one he heard of, but for all he knows they may be swapping erotica right and left. He does know that there have been, 'Hey, let's try… insert new position or thing here' nights, so… maybe that's where the inspiration was coming from.
He gets the sense he should say something before those stories do end up in Breena's inbox. "They're just for you. I was stoned off my ass when I wrote them, they're never seeing the light of day."
"They should, Tim. They're smoking hot."
"They need at least a rewrite before anyone else sees them."
"So, wait, Breena said some bits of the Dragon book were sexy. I thought it was like… Like Song of Fire and Ice. How smutty is this thing?" Jimmy asks.
Tim shrugs with his left shoulder; he's gotten pretty used to gesturing with only the one side. "Right now about two thirds of what I've got written is sex. I was home, doped up on pain meds, not like there was any real work I could do, so I wrote, a lot. Anyway, apparently if you take away most of my higher level mental function, I spend a lot of time thinking about sex."
"You mean you don't normally?" Breena's curious.
"There's usual being a guy thinking about sex, and then there's spending six hours a day on it." He quickly looks at Jimmy, "And if that's how long you usually spend thinking about sex, I don't want to know."
Jimmy laughs. "I don't think even Tony spends six hours a day thinking about sex."
"At least, not since he hit forty," Tim says, making the other three laugh. "Anyway, can't work, bored, horny, I wrote a lot of other stuff, too, but yeah, lots of sex scenes, and you didn't mind getting sent them in the middle of the day."
"Anytime you want to send me smut, I'm happy to receive it." Abby says with a smile. "I think Percocet just gets you horny."
"Uh…" Well, that could be true, he's, well, was, in a pretty mellow bring-on-the-sex sort of mood, which was just perfect and probably would be again in about two minutes if Jimmy would quit trying to shred his arm, but… "I think horny might be my default setting and Percocet just peels everything else away. But, once again, I think that's just being a guy, too. How about it, Jimmy?"
He makes a non-committal noise. Tim's relaxing some as he talks, and he's getting into his delt a bit deeper, running the edge of his thumb along the grain of the muscle.
Abby looks at Jimmy. "So, playing Doctor? Anything you really like, Dr. Palmer?"
That does a better job of getting his attention, he looks up from Tim's arm. "Hey, everyone has a playing doctor fantasy, and who says I'm the doctor when we're playing?"
Abby's interested in that. She knows Jimmy and Breena role play some, but this level of detail hadn't been brought up before. "You aren't?"
"Well, it's not exactly playing when you've got the MD, now is it?" Tim and Abby are staring at him. Breena's grinning, very pleased. Jimmy rolls his eyes. "About half and half. And it's not playing when the person you're working on is actually hurt, and what you're doing helps…"
"And it hurts like a fucking son a bitch." Talking about what they're doing not being playing doctor refocuses Tim on how this actually feels. "Back to my question, do you have to do it that hard?" Tim asks, because really, this is so far away from an erotic massage they're not even on the same continent.
"Depends, do you want it to work, or you want me to just oil you up and play with you?"
"Uh, I'm all for the oiling and playing!" Abby chirps.
"Maybe we could oil you up, too," Breena say to Jimmy.
"Keep that up, and you don't get to watch next time," Tim says. "This couldn't be less sexy if we tried."
Abby laughs at that. "You're way the hell out of it right now, aren't you, baby? Have you noticed what we're talking about?"
"Yeah, what we're," he gestures his left hand at him and Breena and Abby, "doing is sexy. What he's doing to me really isn't."
Breena and Abby pout. "For you. Different story for us," Abby says. "Your skin is all slick and pink." She goes to sit next to Jimmy, and kisses Tim. "And he's rubbing all over you. Trust me, Breena and I love this show."
Both the guys kind of sigh at that. They know they're playing with it, but it's easier to play with if the girls don't flat-out say they're getting off on it. Tim's starting to feel a little self-conscious about it, and Jimmy's hands have stopped working.
Looks like Abby notices she and Breena pushed them a step too, far, so she scoots right next to Jimmy, her hip against his. "Okay, show me what you're doing so I can do it." She gently kisses Tim's neck. "Would that be better, me doing it? Or me and Jimmy doing it together?" She looks at Jimmy. "We've got… the rest of the deltoid, rotator cuff, and bicep to work on, right?"
Jimmy nods. "Traps, too."
"No reason we can't do you together. Intercostals after, too, right?"
"Wanna help, too Breena?" She kisses Tim again. "All three of us on you at once?"
The addition of the girls to the mix is perking Tim up quite a bit. Okay, yeah it hurts, but if they're willing to rub on him some, too, that'll go a long way to keeping him nicely distracted, and… "Can I have more alcohol?"
Jimmy shakes his head. "Want you relaxed and happy, not unconscious and having a hard time breathing."
Tim sighs, then Abby starts rubbing her hands up and down his neck, focused, firm, not hurting pressure, helping distract him from what Jimmy's doing to his deltoid and…
"Why are you working my armpit?" Tim asks, jerking, that hurts and tickles.
"Because your shoulder joint is three dimensional and the muscles that bring your arm closer to your body are here."
"Come on, Breena, grab a part." Abby adds.
"Uh… I don't know what I'm doing with this. Not like I've got an MD or Rolfing certification," Breena says, looking a bit nervous.
Tim's enjoying the idea of the girls helping out with this a whole hell of a lot better than just Jimmy manhandling him. "It's extremely unlikely that anything you do'll hurt worse than what they're doing to me intentionally."
"Nah. Not going to hurt at all," Abby says. "At least one of us should do something that feels good. Foot rub?" she asks Breena.
"That, I can do!"

There's the flirty, and beyond flirty talking they were doing before. And, the all of them not entirely dressed bit, too, and for a while, that helps keep up the lightness, helps keep Tim distracted, and makes this… fun.
But, when it comes down to it, this isn't fun.
Jimmy's not even trying to go after the joints or ligaments. He can feel Tim shaking under what he's doing just trying to work muscle, and with Abby working, too, they're doing it twice as fast, but it's still taking too long.
He's torn between backing off, doing this softer and more gentle, because that's an option, but it takes so much longer, and every day he's not really moving is another day of everything stiffening, sticking, holding in places it's not meant to hold.
He knows Tim wants himself back as fast as possible, so he's pushing, taking him right to the edge if not very slightly over what's a good idea, but as they're getting to the end, with Tim lying on his side, crying, while Jimmy's working the muscles between his ribs and Abby gets his traps and rotator cuff muscles, Jimmy really wants to stop. He can see Abby does, too.
"Almost done, Tim."
"Good." That's a whimper.
"We can stop now, don't have to—"
"Just finish it. Done this much, I can take a little more."
Breena's been down at his feet, gently stroking and rubbing his right foot and calf, but she stops at that and scoots up to hold his hand.
"Hey, come on, focus on me, okay?"
He looks into her eyes, tries to smile some.
"Really hurts, right?"
He nods.
"Okay, keep looking at me." She's holding his hand, stroking her fingers between his, then lays on her side, facing him, still holding his hand, but stroking his cheek, too. "I've got you. Just keep breathing. They're almost done, and you're gonna feel so much better after. We'll ice you down, and tomorrow you'll be able to move your arm more, hurt less. Maybe get you sleeping on your side again, soon. Know you miss that." Her forehead touches his and he's staring into her eyes. "Almost done, Tim, almost done."
He kisses the palm of her hand, and she kisses his forehead. "Almost done."
She keeps murmuring her little pep talk while petting his hair. Not making a whole lot of sense, but her voice is soothing, and Tim doesn't look like he's listening to her words so much as her tone.
Jimmy and Abby wrap up. It only takes them two more minutes, but they're a long two minutes.
And when they finish, when he's lying there, aching but no longer burning, with the three people he loves best, all with their hands on him, there's a heaviness to that moment, a sense of something shifting.
They all feel it, know what rationally comes next from here, can all see the next move, where Tim scoots into Breena a bit more and kisses her, and Abby spoons him from behind and Jimmy… Tim's not sure what the hell Jimmy does, but he's got the basic game plan down for what's supposed to happen next.
Though that sense of what's supposed to come next is unspoken, the desire to back away from it is also clear. Even out of it, Tim's not willing to jump off that cliff yet, and he can feel they all want thinking time.
Tim sits up slowly, and there the moment breaks.
Jimmy gets up and grabs ice packs and as he's heading back in he sees Tim gently squeezes Breena's hand, and kisses it again. "Thanks." He turns to Abby, pulling her into his lap. She gets a kiss, too, and Jimmy gets a hand squeeze as well as Abby takes the ice packs and starts draping them over Tim's arm and shoulder. "I know I'm a pain in the ass about it, but, thanks." It's getting late, and he wants time to be with Abby, and think. "You guys can crash here if you want. Guest bedroom's made up."
"Thanks." Jimmy's shaking his head. Normally he'd say yes. Girls are sleeping. The guest room is comfy, wouldn't be the first, and won't be the last time they stay over after a late night. But not tonight, he's already pulling his shirt back on. "Think I want to sleep in my own bed."
Breena nods at that. "But, tomorrow night, dinner, all four of us, we've got talking to do, right?"
"Yeah." Tim replies.
Abby nods. "Yeah, we do."

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