McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.
Chapter 426: Bad Shoot
For a split second, Tony glances at Ziva, shooting her the, I really wish these assholes would stop running look, before they break into a run after their suspect.
Where the hell does moron think he’s going to run? He’s in a tenth floor apartment. What’s he going to do, fly?
Ziva tacks right, through the living room. Tony takes left, into the kitchen.
The perp is cornered in the dining room. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. Two ways in, and each of them has an armed Federal Agent pointing a gun at him standing in the middle of it. He puts his hands behind his neck without being asked and smiles at Tony and Ziva.
It’s automatic. They’ve done this so many times they barely have to think about it. He keeps his gun on the Perp. She lowers hers, grabbing her cuffs, heading (wide) to cuff the perp. They’ll take him to the car, toss him in the back, then down to the Navy Yard, Processing, Holding, and Interrogation.
He’s looking at Tony, and something’s wrong. He’s still smiling. He’s looking at Ziva. He’s not acting caught.
Something is wrong. Tony feels it all through him. Something is wrong.
Tony fires before anything other than wrong can form in his head.
“Oh God!” Oh godohgodohgodohgodohgod please, please, please pleasepleasepleaseplease. Tony feels like he’s going to shit his pants, puke, and pass out all at once, and the only thing stopping that is that he’s got to see if the man he just killed has a gun.
He’s never… He’s shot people before, but never… SHIT. Ziva’s just staring at him, stunned, and he can’t move, can’t do anything but stand there, too awash in too much everything to even see if his life is about to end, too.
Bad shoots happen. That’s just part of being a cop. You get twitchy and someone moves wrong and FUCK! He can feel the tears starting. He didn’t wait. He didn’t see. He didn’t say stop, or freeze, or hands where I can see them, or anything. He just fired, three shots, all in the chest.
Ziva finally moves, to the body, not bothering to check if he’s still alive, they can tell by the smell and the puddle of urine to go with the blood that he’s gone. She reaches behind his neck, guessing that’s got to be what Tony saw, and then says to him, “He had a gun. It’s taped up between his shoulder blades.”
Tony nods once, exhales long and shaky, and then his knees go out, and he hits the floor, shaking.
When he’s got control of himself, he notices Ziva’s moved something. Their perp (victim) had been standing behind the dining table in his home. Behind that table was a painting of a woodland scene. Ziva’s moved it, swapped it out. Now there’s a mirror over the table, and he guesses the woodland scene is wherever the mirror was.
She’s calling it in, officer involved shooting, no need for an ambulance. AI will be here soon. He’ll give them his statement. Perp had a gun and went for it. Cut and dried…
“Tell me what happened,” Ziva says, crouching on the floor next to him.
“I don’t know.” Because he doesn’t. Not really. That’s not true, he does know. He knows exactly what happened. Someone made a threatening… something… not exactly a move, but something, toward his wife and child, and he killed the man for it.
“Wrong answer.” Ziva’s cool, and in control right now. She’s in clean up mode, and he wonders, vaguely, how many times she’s done things like this. Made a bad kill look good.
He rubs his forehead, takes a deep breath, lets it out, swallows, and then says, voice calm, “We chased Darner in here. I pulled my gun and told him to stop. He looked around, saw there wasn’t an exit, then turned to face us, hands up. He put his hands behind his neck. I nodded at you, and you holstered your weapon and proceeded to take your cuffs out. I kept my gun on him. You were going through his rights. I…” He doesn’t know. He’s not sure if he saw it, felt it, sensed it, or just knew, but somehow, something, maybe a twitch, maybe his arm tightened slightly, maybe it was a little move (maybe he was just going to scratch an itch, the little, and not very helpful, voice in the back of Tony’s mind says) but whatever it was, Tony read it as a threat, to Ziva, and he open fired without warning. Tony’s eyes flick to the mirror, and what Ziva’s given him with that. “…saw him reach for his gun. I told him to stop. He didn’t. I fired three times.”
Ziva looks at him, eyes steady. “Exactly.”
AI takes hours. Jimmy and Allan have come, taken care of the body, and gone while they’re still talking. Warner’s team has come, cordoned off the building, and processed the scene, and he and Ziva are still talking to AI.
Their stories match, but not perfectly. They know how this works. They’re pros. The main details are all the same, but Ziva remembers him saying ‘Freeze’ he remembers it as, ‘Stop.’ Little details that get muddled when you look at real eye-witness statements are different, instead of rehearsed, prepped statements you get from people who don’t know how to do this.
Ziva claims she saw Darden shift his left hand toward the gun. Tony claims right. Tony was watching in the mirror. Ziva saw it from in front of him. Just little things like that, easily explained by people being people.
It’s not a fun six hours, but when it’s done, it’s done. Tony’s a good cop, with sixteen years at NCIS and a clean record. The wrong guy tried to see if he could get the drop on the wrong cop.
“You gonna yell at me for this, too?” Tony asks Jimmy as he steps into Autopsy. (He’d gotten a text saying, Come down.) “Gonna wake up and find you’ve pulled some cruel shit to go with another bad decision?”
Jimmy raises one eyebrow, and Dr. Allan decides now is a very good time to dematerialize. Two seconds later, he’s vanished, and Jimmy says, “Guy draws on your pregnant wife, you can shoot him as many times as you want and then cut his balls off and wear ‘em for earrings, and I won’t say boo.”
Jimmy takes two steps over and gives Tony a hug. Tony stands there, stiff, not letting himself be comforted. Jimmy sighs, so much for trying that. He steps back.
“I called you down so you can run me through it. If anything doesn’t match your version, it’s not going to make the report.”
“You don’t need to--”
“You’re right, I don’t. But I will. Because you did the right thing, and I see no reason for you or Ziva or your child to suffer for it.”
That gets through where the hug didn’t.
“I don’t know that I did.”
“He’s dead. She’s not. You did the right thing.”
“I shot before he reached for it. I think he was thinking about it, but…” Tony shakes his head, leaning heavily against one of the autopsy tables, staring at Darden, who is lying on the other table. “I didn’t see him move.”
“He was looking at her, and…” Tony’s replaying it, again, trying to find the trigger, what made him move. “It felt bad. Something was wrong, but… I didn’t know about the gun until after he was dead.”
“Ah fuck.” Jimmy bites his lip and says, “All the more reason to make sure everything’s clean then.”
Tony narrows his eyes. “You ream me out for Jeanne but give me a free pass on this one? This one is dead because I fucked up.”
“You’re a good cop. No one has ever doubted that. It felt bad or wrong… So you got him before he went for it? You don’t spend half your life training your gut to scream when something’s wrong to ignore it. You don’t have to let him take a shot at Ziva, not for me.”
Tony’s eyes are narrow, and he’s not looking relaxed or comforted.
“I didn’t ream you out on Jeanne for making a mistake. Jeanne wasn’t a mistake. It was wrong and you knew it and you did it anyway. This, at worst, is a mistake. People make mistakes. It happens. Place a credible threat against Breena, and I’ll attack, too. Tim’d do the same for Abby. Anyone who tries to mess with Abbi Borin better be ready to have so many holes in him he’ll work as a sieve. And that’ll be before Gibbs even gets to him…” Tony flinches. “What?”
“Gibbs’d have to get in line, because Abbi can take care of herself and she’s got all of those years of training and a gut that yells when there’s danger.”
“Ziva didn’t feel it. She was relaxed enough in it that she was looking down and getting her cuffs.”
Jimmy winces, too. “Nothing?”
“After, she looked at me, and she was surprised. That I remember.”
“Then you made a mistake. It happens. And this wasn’t some unarmed, innocent bystander, and it’s not like you were gunning for him because he wasn’t paying taxes or had a joint on him. He’s wanted for…” Jimmy waits, letting Tony fill in the blank, hoping that saying it out loud will help.
“A few bombings, believed to have killed three cops in the UK, mostly he’s a courier. Gets things from point A to point B.”
“So, this,” Jimmy points to him, “was not a good guy. This is not Mr. Wrong Place Wrong Time, and he’s sure as hell not Mr. Even If He Is Guilty of What You’re Saying He Did, That Doesn’t Deserve the Death Penalty. If you brought him in, and he didn’t deal, we’d have fried him.
“And, here… haven’t sent them over to Abby and trace yet, but…” Jimmy grabs the bag that has Darden’s belt in it. It looks like a plain, black leather belt with a silver tip on the tongue. Jimmy tugs on that tip, and out slides an inch long knife. “Razor sharp. Can’t stab with it, but it slashes just fine.” He places Darden’s boots on the table next to Tony, flips one of them over, and turns the heel. There are lock picks in there. “God knows what else he’s got hiding that I haven’t found, yet. What else he may have had in that room. Take me through the shooting.”
Tony shakes his head. “Don’t need to. It’ll all match up right. Everything in the story happened the way it really did. Only difference was I saw him go for the gun in the story and told him to stop.”
“Okay. AI done with you?”
Two days later, his gun is back in his holster, and the case is behind him.
Personally… Not even close.
He can’t talk about it. Not yet. Not to Ziva, not to anyone. He can give the route answers as to “what happened,” but they’re lies.
He fucked up. That’s what happened. Doesn’t matter what he had tucked away. Doesn’t matter that Darden wasn’t a good guy and the world is better off without him. He fucked up. There are procedures. There are steps in play to make sure you take the guy, and all of the information in his head (which was why they wanted him) into custody, alive.
He and Ziva were out there. A man, who he didn’t know was armed, made a move (probably, something had to set his threat sensor off) and he took him out. All of it happened before the part of his brain that actually thinks got into the act.
On a sub-thought level, he knows they were chasing Darden because he was part of a trafficking ring. He ended up on their radar as a link to a link that Bishop pulled out of their data feed. He was, of all covers, pretending to be a Petty Officer working for the Quartermaster out of Norfolk. Not a bad way to get things from here to there. He could find a ship, add an extra box of, something, and whoever else he had in his circle could pick it up later. He was wanted for moving humans, drugs, guns, money, anything that anyone might want, into and out of the country. According to Interpol, ‘he was a person of interest’ in two bombings (thought to have been the guy who got the explosives from point a to point b). He had successfully escaped capture three times, and killed cops twice to do it.
When Tony thinks about that, he feels better about jumping the gun. (Literally.) Obviously this guy had some sort of ace in the hole. (A plastic derringer taped to his back. And lock picks in the heel of his boot. And a tiny knife hidden in his belt. But he didn’t know that until after.) Tony likes to think all of that was processing in the back of his mind, and that, plus that move (that he doesn’t know if he actually saw or not) made his body fired before Darden could get the drop on him.
When he thinks about the fact that there are no good reports on how Darden had killed those cops, (bodies were found burned to skeletons and parts were missing) that there was no way for Tony to have known he had a gun, that he shot on blind panic, that he does not, in fact, remember seeing a move, he feels terrible.
Bad shoots happen. They just do. The cop who’s never screwed up is like the surgeon who’s never lost a patient, one who’s been on the job for such a short time the opportunity just hasn’t arisen.
If you’re lucky, like Tony, you’ve got cover, you guessed right, and the next day you go back, promising to do a better job.
If you’re not, that’s the end of the perp, and it’s the end of you, too.
But the fact that it happens. That everyone has one… That’s not making it easier to deal with the little voices in his head.
It’s been a week. It’s well after midnight, and he’s not sleeping.
He rolls out of bed and grabs his phone. You up?
Five minutes later, when he’s decided that Gibbs probably is sleeping, or might be at Borin’s or something, he gets back. Door’s open.
Gibbs is in his basement, working on Little D’s rocking chair. He’s actually been up all night working on it. After dinner he hit his groove and has been happily crafting away. The only reason it took him so long to respond was he didn’t hear his phone buzz. He’d been sketching out the shapes he wants each piece to be on the wood he’s using and decided his pencil was a bit duller than he likes for this kind of work. When he turned to the bench to sharpen it, he saw the text icon on his phone, and replied.
He knows that Tony killed someone last week. They talked about it a bit at Shabbos, but he blew it off, and Ziva gave them that little headshake that said, ‘Sensitive, don’t poke.’ So they didn’t poke.
But Gibbs knows that look. He’s worn it himself. He’s seen it on Tim. He’s seen it on Fornell. And he’s seen it on Mike. No matter what actually happened, Tony thinks it’s a bad shoot.
And he knew, when he saw Ziva’s headshake, that Tony’d be here, sooner or later, when he’s ready to talk.
By the time Tony gets there, Gibbs has two more slats sketched out, and the bourbon poured.
“She had to move the mirror,” Tony says in lieu of Hello.
Gibbs would have to admit that that’s a tad more cryptic than he’d like, but he can pretty much figure out what Tony has to be saying by it. Only one she he could be talking about, and only a few reasons to move a mirror.
Gibbs hands over the drink, and pretty much puts Tony onto a stool. “Start at the beginning.”
So he does.
Tony gets to the part about seeing or not seeing or whatever it was, and Gibbs interjects, “The gut knows.”
“Try telling IA that.”
Gibbs inclines his head. “I know.” Then he looks at Tony, waiting for the rest of the story. And, finally, the mirror comment makes sense.
“She gave you cover, something you could explain to IA.”
“Yeah. She knew it was a bad shoot—“
“Stop that. Your wife and child are breathing. Any shoot that accomplishes that is a good shoot.”
“Jimmy said that, too, but I didn’t know Gibbs, I panicked.”
“You knew. You knew he was dangerous. You knew he was in his own home. Why run into the room with no exit in his own home? Not like he got lost. You knew he’d killed other cops. You didn’t know how, but you knew he’d done it. He puts his hands behind his neck, not his head, why? Without being told, why? You knew.”
“Felt like panic. I’ve made good shots, besides the first one, I never almost pissed myself or hit the floor. Never didn’t sleep for a week after a good shot.”
“But all of those things did happen the last time you almost lost Ziva.”
“Yeah. That’s why I panicked. That’s why I didn’t say stop. I shot before anything…”
“And it was a good thing you did. He had lock picks in his boot, a hidden knife in his belt. You yell stop. He stops. Ziva grabs the gun, cuffs him, hands behind his back. Into the car you go. Call it in. On the road, he picks the lock, pulls the knife, holds it to Ziva’s throat until you stop the car and let him out. Maybe he takes your gun, too. Maybe he slits her throat before he runs, knowing that calling for help and trying to keep her from bleeding out means you won’t follow. The gut knows. You knew.
“As a husband and father, as the man guarding my daughter and grandchild, you did the right thing. As your father-in-law, friend, mentor, whatever it is we are to each other, I am proud of you. Your family comes first, above and beyond everything else.”
“As your ex-boss, as a cop, you fucked up, and not because of the shot, but because you had the person you’d take a blind shot for on your team. That’s why you were ready to piss yourself, not because it was a bad shoot, but because Ziva was the one next to you. You wouldn’t have taken that shot if Bishop had been there, and knowing how close to FUBAR you could have gotten wouldn’t have hurt so bad if Draga had been in that car with you.
“There are a lot of good reasons for 12, and that’s one of them. I have been exactly where you are, and the only reason I was even around to ever be your Boss is when Jen and I finally got the shit cleaned up, enough people had stopped breathing that no one besides us knew what had happened.
“Jen and I split after that. Lots of reasons, but one of them was I’d made it clear I couldn’t work with her. Same for you. You’re done. You can’t work with Ziva. Since you’re the problem and she isn’t, normally I’d say you need to hand in your badge, but you know she’s planning on leaving soon, and there’s no one else you’d make that mistake for.”
Tony nods, feeling absolved.
“But don’t put that gun back on if you go out with her. Better yet, don’t go out with her. I know it’s early days, but it might be time for her to leave, or go on desk work, or whatever it is she wants to do.”
Tony shrugs. “She’d been talking a bit about working with you on the houses.”
Gibbs smiles at that. He'd like having Ziva working with them.
McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.
Chapter 425: Talk It Out
It’s Wednesday when Jimmy gets a free lunch period and heads down to the Dungeon to find Tim. He’d been hoping to get some time to talk with him, but between the dead body they collected on Monday morning and giving himself some thinking and experimenting time, Wednesday’s the first day he’s been ready to really talk.
“Got time for lunch?”
Tim nods. “Yeah. What are you thinking?”
“Pretty nice out today, how about the Smithsonian? Grab some food, eat in the sculpture garden.”
“Sounds good.” He takes a moment, logs out of whatever he’s working on, sends a quick Out for an hour or two text to the Minions (he’s been wanting to talk to Jimmy, too.) grabs his crutch, and off they go.
As they head toward the elevator, Jimmy watches how Tim’s walking. “Looking pretty smooth.”
Tim nods. “If we were staying closer, I’d have left it in the office.”
“I guess. Friday I might get my last two fingers back.” Tim holds up his cast hand. “Or he might take a look at the scans and give me two more weeks in the cast.”
“Either way, by the end of the month you’ll be down to the wrist cast. By the beginning of September, you’ll be out of them, period.”
It really is nice out. A day that belongs in May, cool, breezy, bright sun, not the traditional hot, sticky, smog, walk outside and feel like you’ve been hit in the face with a steaming hot, wet, wool blanket that’s a usual August day in DC.
Perfect day to grab a bite amid the artwork.
Better yet, in that it’s August, the place isn’t covered with tourists. Most people know to show up in the Spring or Fall, so the Smithsonian Sculpture garden isn’t abandoned, there are several people hovering around snapping photos, and a few locals, like Tim and Jimmy, taking advantage of a lovely day, but for the most part, it’s pretty empty. Which suits Jimmy just fine. He doesn’t mind if strangers overhear this. Two nameless, faceless guys talking about something personal, no big deal, but they’re well away from the office for a reason.
Jimmy’s been looking for a way to start this conversation since last night, when Breena assisted him in a very successful experiment, which did indeed help him figure out why he slid into that fantasy so fast and hard, and also why he’s somewhat uncomfortable with Tim running the show.
So, yes, turns out that he does, really like having someone else run the show for him. (At least, as a fantasy, they haven’t tried for real, yet. Given how much he liked it as a story, Breena’s intrigued about trying in real life.) A story of Breena and Abby tying him up and playing with him, telling him what to do worked just fine for him. A very good time was had by all, and there were no lingering concerns about why that was a big deal.
But he’s damned if he can think of a good way to say to Tim, So, yeah, I loved the stories, those were hot as fuck, but don’t Dom me, that’s squirmy.
Instead, he ends up saying, “So, you do anal bareback? Isn’t that… risky?” because it’s easier to talk about the mechanics of sex than the emotions, and he’s sure they’ll get to the emotions sooner or later. (Plus he is curious about this, too.)
Tim shrugs. He knows it can be, but so far he’s been careful and lucky. “I’ve never gotten a urinary tract infection, if that’s what you mean.”
“Some. Kind of messy?”
Tim’s looking at him with dry humor in his eyes. “I’m sorry, didn’t you spend your whole morning elbow deep in a corpse?”
Jimmy raises an eyebrow at him and replies, also dryly, “Yes, but I was wearing gloves.”
Tim nods, chuckles a bit. That’s a point. “Yeah, it’s messy if you don’t prep for it. I mean, look…” Tim’s searching for a way to say this that isn’t too gross. “It’s obviously not something you want to do without hitting the head first, and especially if there’s going to be rimming, you don’t just take a shit. You do need to really clean up, inside and out. But anal’s not an on impulse thing, usually. Between the lube and the prep and… most of the time whoever bottoms puts it on the menu and makes sure to clean up properly. And in that case, it’s not any messier than any other sex.”
Jimmy nods, remembering that comment about Abby’s strap on, which he assumes is a dildo of some sort. He’s not sure if he should ask, though. Apparently it shows on his face.
“Just ask,” Tim says, taking a sip of his iced coffee.
“Whoever bottoms? And is bottoming what I think it is?”
Tim looks a little amused a little bemused. “I’d imagine so.” He takes a bite of his tuna wrap. “And yes, both of us can and do end up on the receiving side of anal. I take it you’ve never tried that?”
Jimmy’s not sure if he’s feeling shocked at that or not. No… he was kind of expecting that answer, so… mostly curious. He’s not seeing why anyone would want to do that. He gets why being on the doing side would feel good, but when he tried with Breena, she said it hurt, so… He’s not getting the appeal. “Uh. No. Don’t have anything against it, but… Just never thought about it.” Not entirely true. Like most guys he’s been teased about it, and responded with the traditional and expected ‘over my dead body’ line. But that’s a knee-jerk reaction coming from being teased and poked at by other guys. Beyond that, it’s really not anything he’s ever thought about. “Is it good?”
Tim smiles, many happy memories in mind. “You ever hear the line, ‘Beer is proof that God loves us?’”
“Yeah.” He’s staring at Tim wondering how those two things could possibly be related, but Tim’ll get there soon.
“Okay, I can take or leave beer… and God for that matter, but, I’m sure, that if there is a God, your prostate is proof that God loves you and wants you to have a very good time. Yes, it’s good.” He nods at that. “Not if you do it wrong. Hurts like a bitch if you do it wrong, but just like when you’re doing it to her…” Tim realizes he’s making some assumptions here. “Um… have you done it with Breena?”
Jimmy shrugs a bit. “Once. Didn’t seem worth it…” Felt good to him, really good, but Breena said it hurt, so they didn’t get past two strokes. “…And especially since Molly, that’s a no-go area.”
“Oh.” Tim was thinking that maybe Jimmy just didn’t know what he was doing, but some vivid, overheard conversations about how bad post-baby hemorrhoids can be spring to mind, and that’d put him off anal, too. “Okay, well, anyway, you take your time, lots of lube, lots of slow prep, but yeah you do it right and it’s blow your mind, cum like a geyser, maybe pass out, good.”
That has Jimmy looking intrigued. He’s all in favor of ‘cum like a geyser.’ “So, that comment about Abby with a strap on…”
“Yes, she really has one. I wasn’t just making that up for the story. It’s fairly plain, dark purple, kind of small, and she really knows how to use it.”
“Huh.” Jimmy slowly chews a bite of his salad.
“Why are you asking? Want pointers? I’m sure Abby’d be happy to talk Breena through it, especially if we get to watch.” And suddenly watching Breena bugger Jimmy hops onto the long list of things Tim wants to see. Even better if Abby’s playing with him, too. Tim swallows and licks his lips. “I mean, really, it’s well worth trying.”
Jimmy shakes his head. “Wasn’t exactly what I was thinking.” He’s not entirely sure what he’s thinking. But… Tim likes that, and he just scooped Jimmy up and started playing with him, he woke up with the guy wrapped around him, and Jimmy knows Tim was watching him, getting off on it… And, Tim’s got that excited look in his eyes at that idea… So…
Tim eats some of his tuna wrap, waiting for Jimmy to say what he’s thinking.
“Are you straight?” Jimmy asks.
“Uh…” Tim kind of remember mentioning that, but… that was before they started playing, and… okay, he’s been thinking about it, so Jimmy probably is too. Plus, there’s a few directions Jimmy might be interested in taking this, and Tim’s not sure where he’s going, so might as well get it out. “Yeah…Probably. I think so. Abby says I am. Why? I mean, does it matter?”
“Just, you like that, and you were watching me…” Jimmy says, quietly, fiddling with his fork.
“Because it feels good! And... you were watching me, too,” Tim shoots back.
“Well, yeah,” Jimmy looks back up to Tim, “because it was hot.”
“Exactly,” Tim pauses for a moment, another possible direction this might be going, and why Jimmy might be asking springing to mind, really surprising him, because he never got even a hint that Jimmy might be interested in something along those lines, but… well the can of worms is open, so might as well deal with it. Still… and Tim’s thinking this is a pretty definitive sign of not being bi, the idea of Jimmy topping him is really squirmy, and not in a good way. “Uh… I don’t want you to do that to me. Abby or Breena and a strap-on is fine, but… not you.”
Jimmy jerks at that, looking utterly stunned, and Tim can see, even before Jimmy starts to talk that he completely misread that situation. “What? Okay, I was so not offering! And…” Jimmy cringes, and Tim’s sure he’s thinking through the mechanics of how that would work. “I don’t think I could, even if you wanted me to.”
“But I don’t.”
“Okay. Umm… Good, right?” Jimmy’s intensely staring at his food right now. “Just, it really was hot, you know?”
Jimmy looks back at him. “Been thinking about that.”
“Me, too. Thought it’d be all about watching Breena and Abby, but… It wasn’t. But, even with as hot as that is, I don’t want to have sex with you.”
Jimmy nods at that. “Me, either. But I want to watch you fuck the girls.”
Tim nods emphatically at that. “Yeah. Same thing. Or watch them do you. Don’t want to do you myself.”
Jimmy nods again. “Okay, good, on the same page.” He takes another bite of his salad, and says, quickly, “I loved the stories, but don’t Dom me again.”
Now it’s Tim’s turn to look really surprised. “When did that happen?”
“What do you call it when you tie someone up and tell them to just sit there and watch while you run the show?”
For a second, Tim’s about to say, It was just a story, I didn’t actually do it, but decides that the heart of this is not whether or not he actually did it. The heart of it is that even the idea of it was weird for Jimmy, so instead he says, “Oh. Yeah. Shit, sorry. Um… I like that, so…”
“It’s not that I don’t like it… It’s, I don’t want you to do it. Just like anal, the girls can do it and it’s fine, but, not you.”
“Would you like it if I ran that story?”
Tim thinks about that for a moment, it’s not making him feel weird, but he’s also going at it as a thought, not a reality. Of course, being topped by Jimmy was a thought, too, not a reality, so… “It’s not hitting me wrong, but it’s not real, either.”
“Why tie me up?” That’s been chewing at the back of Jimmy’s mind, too.
Tim shrugs again. “Like I said, I like it. I thought you’d like it, and I was working off a story Abby and I had already started so…”
“When we were at the club, Abby set the story, all four of us, in bed, me on my back, wrists tied to the headboard, Breena on me, hands tied behind my neck, you doing her, anal, from behind, Abby lying next to us, necking with me and Breena, controlling the vibrator in my ass. We don’t get to move. You and Abby run the show.”
“Fuck!” Jimmy’s not sure he could even say that out loud, let alone to Tim. “That’s the story you were telling? And once again, you kiss your baby with that mouth?”
Tim shrugs a little. “How do you think I ended up with that baby I’m kissing?”
Jimmy snerks at that.
“Anyway, that’s the story she told. She and you were running the show. You’re setting the pace for half of the action, and Abby’s got the control on the vibrator, so she’s got the other half, and Breena and I are just going along for the ride, completely in your and Abby’s control. So, I’m telling the story now, and all of us are there, and I want to keep some of the themes, but I want to play with them too, so, you get tied up and watch, Abby goes from watching to involved, but since she was running it before, she’s not getting off, and Breena and I are untied and get to play.” Tim thinks about it more, searching, making sure that’s what he had going through his head. “And I knew the girls would like seeing you tied up. Abby especially. She really likes that.”
“So, you liked it though… If Abby had run the story…”
“It would have been fine.” Jimmy notices one of the tourists is getting closer than he wants for this conversation, so he drops his voice, and Tim leans in a bit to hear better. “You asking if I want to watch you fuck my wife is one thing; Abby doing it is something else.”
Tim nods at that. “Yeah, been having some thoughts like that, too. Are you straight?”
“Always thought so.” Jimmy rolls his eyes some. “Part of why this weekend’s got me thinking. You know, you watch porn, and there’s a guy in it, but…”
“But he might as well be furniture, and you’re mostly watching the girl?” Tim finishes for him.
“Yeah. You can take him out of the show and it’ll be just as hot. But it wouldn’t have been as hot without you.”
“Thanks.” Tim says with a smirk.
Jimmy whacks him on his good arm with the back of his hand. “I’m being serious here.”
“I know. Okay, honestly, I spent most of my babysitting time thinking about this, and my great revelations on the subject came to this: A: It doesn’t matter if I’m straight or not. My number of sexual partners from here on out is maxed at… two… three… Shit. Do you count as one of my sexual partners?”
Jimmy rolls his eyes and shrugs.
“Anyway, I mean, none of you care, right?”
“So it’s a moot point. B: Watching real people enjoy real sex is hot. C: If you subtract Breena and Abby from the mix, your naked body is just about as sexy as over-cooked cauliflower to me.”
“Are you saying I’m white, lumpy, and mushy?”
Tim just looks at Jimmy. Then he smiles and continues on with, “D: I think it’s mostly an empathy thing, been there, done that, it was fucking excellent, and I’m getting off on getting to see you enjoy it, too.”
Jimmy thinks about that some. Those seem like fine points, but he’s got the feeling that he’s interacting with Tim’s brain right now, who Tim wants to be, not his guts, who he is, and that there might be some deeper levels here that he’s working out for himself. He thinks about holding Tim and waking up with him, and how all of this… stuff… fits together. Then he puts his salad on the bench next to them, fork in the bowl, and takes Tim’s hand in his, twining their fingers together.
For a millisecond, Jimmy thought Tim’s going to jerk away, but he doesn’t, and once again Jimmy’s got the sense that the brain wants one thing and the body wants something else, but the brain is winning.
Meanwhile, brain in charge, Tim’s looking at him, curious about what’s happening with their hands. “Experimenting?”
“Yeah. Remember the first time you held Abby’s hand?”
Tim thinks, but that’s lost to memory. He shakes his head. “I remember the first time I touched her.”
“All sort of sharp and tingly and your whole body lit up?”
“Yeah. We had a lunch date, and I headed down to the lab, and she looked up and said, ‘Hi! You must be Agent McGee,’ then she came over and hugged me.”
“What’d you say to her?”
“’Hi. Call me Tim.’”
Jimmy snorts at that. “And only fourteen years later…”
“Eleven years. Okay, yeah, it took a while. It happened.” He looks down at his hand in Jimmy’s. “This doesn’t feel like that, does it?”
Jimmy shakes his head, letting go. “Feels a little bit like holding Breena’s hand now. There’s no rush at it these days. It’s warm and comfortable. Feels good, reassuring, but not sexy.”
Tim nods; that’s a decent description. He’s not entirely sure about comfortable, but he’s not feeling any sort of negative sensation from it right now. Of course, they’re dressed and in public, and it's definitely not erotic. This couldn’t be less sex if they tried… Okay, it could, they could be talking about work, but, that was very clearly a platonic hand hold. And… and he’s rationalizing… more than whatever it is, he wants it to be comfortable, and if he’s got to tie his brain in knots to get there, that’s what he’ll do.
But that touch hints something else, making him think about comfort, and about his time thinking on the beach, and the first time he touched Abby, well, the second first time, because that time he knew he was in love with her. “Are you in love with me?”
“No!” Snaps out of Jimmy. He’s giving Tim the what the hell is wrong with you even thinking of asking that look. It occurs to Jimmy as he says that, that it’d be easier to wake up naked with Tim in his arms every morning than say, ‘I’m in love with Tim McGee,’ out loud. Great something else to ponder.
Tim hits him with his I’ve got a point here look, and deliberately takes Jimmy’s hand in his again. “Do you love me?”
Jimmy glances at Tim’s hand in his, wondering what he’s doing with this, but then looks back to his eyes and says, “Yeah.”
“What’s the difference? Been thinking about that a lot this weekend, too.”
“Oh. I…” Jimmy thinks about it, there’s got to be a difference, right? The romance thing, right? But… he’s felt the full-on hearts and flowers romance thing without being in love, and he’s been with Breena more than long enough to see that romance comes and goes, but the love doesn’t. “I don’t know.”
“You’re in love with Breena and Abby, right?”
“Yeah.” That one’s easy to answer, doesn’t make him feel off balance.
“Only thing I can come up with is that I want to have sex with them, and I don’t want to have sex with you.”
Jimmy squints a little at that, like he’s thinking hard. “There’s supposed to be more to it than that... Right?”
“Yeah, but I can’t find it.” Tim taps his fingers on the back of Jimmy’s hand. “I love you. I love Gibbs. I do not feel the same about you as I do about Gibbs.”
“Okay.” Jimmy flashes him a smirk. “Probably be kind of awkward if you did.”
Tim elbows him gently. “I love Tony and Ducky, too, and all of those relationships are different.”
“But I don’t feel like there’s a huge difference, besides the sex, between how I feel about you, and about Breena. I mean, there are some differences… Like… I think I’d be more protective of her than you, but that’s because she’s a girl and I know you can fight, not because I feel differently about her than I do about you.
“And I want to do nice things for both of you, but I don’t check in with either of you a few times a day, like I do with Abby. But I actively miss you if I go a few days without seeing you. And I run into things over the course of the day that I want to tell you about, and I make note of them so I can tell you about them the next time I see you. And I don’t tend to feel that way about Tony or Ziva. I’m always happy to see them, but if we don’t cross paths at work, Friday’ll be soon enough. But I’ll text Breena a few times a week just to see how she is and what’s up, ‘cause I know I won’t see her until Friday. I don’t know what, if anything, that means, but I’ve been thinking about it.”
Jimmy shrugs. Tim knows Jimmy’s got more thinking to do, and for that matter so, does he.
“Best guess,” Jimmy says, “just like if either of us qualifies as straight anymore, I don’t think it matters. It’s love; it’s making us happy; that’s enough.”
Tim nods then he looks at his hand in Jimmy’s. “Is it making you happy?”
“Yeah. Confusing as fuck. I’ve never spent this much time thinking about love stuff, but yeah, it’s making me happy.”