AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Timothy McGee/Jimmy Palmer
SUB-GENRE: First Time
SUMMARY: Tim is angry and upset and makes a vow. However, Jimmy has other ideas.
WORD COUNT: 2,875
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for angstytimelord : N - Never say never (08/41)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
"Well, that is that. It is exactly as we thought. Now, Jimmy, would you be kind enough to take this report up to Jethro, please?" Ducky glanced at his watch. "Although I do not believe even he will not be quite here this early."
Jimmy took the report and beamed. "Of course, Doctor," he said.
"And thank you again, Jimmy, for coming in quite so early."
Jimmy beamed again. "That's quite all right, Doctor," he said, his tone making it quite clear to Ducky that he meant it.
Ducky smiled and patted Jimmy's hand. "Once you've delivered the report, why do you not go out and get yourself some coffee or even breakfast?"
"Would that be all right, Dr. Mallard?"
"Of course it would be, Jimmy," he looked at his watch again. "And now I had better change and get on my way to the Medical Examiners' conference," he sighed. "Why they have to hold these things in such inaccessible places, I do not know." With another smile at Jimmy, he left Autopsy to change.
Jimmy followed Ducky out of Autopsy and took the stairs up to the squad room. It was only dimly lit and there were only a handful of agents at their desks and most of them were pulling coats on and grabbing bags or briefcases.
He nodded and smiled as he hurried past them. He was sure that Dr. Mallard was correct and even Gibbs wouldn't be in quite so early, but he knew that if he was then no matter what Dr. Mallard had said he wouldn't feel as if he could go out and get breakfast or even coffee.
As he got nearer to Gibbs's part of the squad room he heard a raised voice. It took him a second or two to recognize it, as he'd never heard Tim raise his voice before. "That is it. Never again. Never, ever again. I'm done. That's it." And he heard the sound of something being thrown onto the desk.
For a moment Jimmy hesitated and seriously considered leaving, but he had been given a job to do and he would do it. He swallowed, tightened his grip on the folder and walking more slowly went into the area where Gibbs's team had their desks. "Good morning, Tim," he said, as he once more picked up his pace and hurried across to Gibbs's desk.
"What do you want?" Tim snapped the words.
Jimmy stopped, turned around and just stared, his mouth falling open, at Tim. He felt his cheeks become warm and knew as soon as he opened his mouth, he'd begin to stutter. "Er," he started to say.
But Tim hurried over to him and put his hand on his arm. "I'm so sorry, Jimmy," he said his voice was sincere and he looked not only genuinely sorry but also more than a little ashamed. "I shouldn't have snapped at you; I didn't mean to. It's just . . ." He trailed off and sighed.
"Just?" Jimmy dared to ask.
Tim stared at him and shook his head. "Nothing, it's nothing, Jimmy. You don't want to know," he added.
Jimmy swallowed. "You never know, Tim, I might be able to help."
Tim gave him a half-smile and sighed. "Don't you have to get back to Autopsy?"
Jimmy shook his head. "No. Dr. Mallard and I came in early so that we could finish the Autopsy and report on Petty Officer Jenkins before Dr. Mallard went off to his Medical Examiners' conference. He asked me to bring the report up and leave it on Agent Gibbs's desk, then he said I could go and get coffee or even breakfast. So I have time."
Tim looked at him and then glanced at the clock. "Didn't you have breakfast before you came to work?"
Jimmy shook his head. "Not this morning. Well, I had a cereal bar, but that's all."
Tim stared at him. "Are you sure you want to know?"
Jimmy nodded. "If you want to tell me."
Tim glanced at the clock again. "Come on, let's go and get coffee and something to eat before Gibbs gets here."
They walked to a nearby coffee shop and both decided on coffee and scrambled eggs. They ate the eggs in silence before both settling back and sipping their coffee which was very hot and strong enough that even Gibbs might have liked it.
"Well?" Jimmy said softly.
Tim sighed, pulled out his cell phone, touched a couple of buttons and handed it over to Jimmy.
Jimmy stared and felt his mouth fall open. "But . . . Tim?"
"Scroll forward; there's five more," Tim said his tone grim.
Jimmy did as he was told and then scrolled back and looked at the pictures again before he stared in horror at Tim. "This is your apartment, isn't it?" he asked, handing the phone back to Tim. Tim's fingers brushed against his and Jimmy felt a zap of what felt almost like electricity race through him, and from the way Tim widened his eyes and started slightly, Jimmy thought Tim had felt it too. His mouth became suddenly very dry and he grabbed his coffee and took another sip as he stared at Tim.
Tim finally nodded. "Yes, Jimmy, it is."
"But what happened? Have you been burgled?"
Tim shook his head. "I almost wish I had," he said. "It'd better than what actually happened."
"What has happened, Tim," Jimmy said softly, leaning forward and without consciously thinking about it touching Tim's hand.
"Martha," Tim said.
Jimmy frowned and shook his head. "I don't think I -"
"No, you wouldn't know her." He sighed and grabbed his own coffee and took a long swallow. "Why, Jimmy?" he said softly, "why does it keep happening to me? I really know how to pick them, don't I? What's wrong with me? Why do I like girls who either want to kill me or they steal from me or lie to me or trash my apartment? What's wrong with me?" he asked again.
This time Jimmy touched Tim's hand deliberately. "Nothing's wrong with you, Tim," he said meaning it. "So this Martha, she did this?"
Tim nodded and sighed. "Yeah. She even sent me the photos she took."
Tim nodded and gave Jimmy a wry grin. "As I said, I sure know how to pick them."
"Did she give you a reason?"
Tim nodded. "Yes. Because I told her I couldn't see her on Friday night as I'd already made plans."
"Oh, yes, we're all going out to dinner to celebrate Dr. Mallard's birthday," Jimmy said suddenly remembering he hadn't yet bought a gift for Dr. Mallard, and even though he'd said he didn't expect gifts Jimmy intended to get something. "Are you getting him a gift?" he asked suddenly.
Tim looked at him. "Of course I am. We all are."
Jimmy felt a flash of relief. "Oh, good," he said, "I didn't want to be the only one to do what he told us all not to do."
Tim laughed. "Have you bought it yet?"
Jimmy felt his cheeks flush a little. "No," he glanced down at the table. "Have you?"
Tim nodded. "Cuff-links," he said. "Ziva's bought a set of poetry books; Tony bow-ties; Abby isn't telling and I'm guessing the boss will go for whiskey."
Jimmy nodded. "I was thinking of a pen; I know he's been having problems with his ink pen recently. I thought I'd go shopping tonight after work."
"That'd be nice. Hey, if you want company when you go to buy it, I'd be happy to come with you."
"Would you?" Tim nodded. "But don't you need to get home and -" Jimmy stopped speaking abruptly.
Tim sighed. "I guess so. I think I was trying to put off walking through my front door and seeing just what she'd done."
Suddenly Jimmy had an idea. "How about you come shopping with me and then I'll come home with you and help you clear up?"
Tim looked at him. "You don’t have to do that, Jimmy."
"I'd like to."
"Would you? Would you really?" Tim sounded more than a little pleased.
Jimmy nodded. "Yes, Tim, I would, really."
Tim smiled, a genuine McGee smile, the first Jimmy had seen since he'd gone into the squad room. "In that case, it's a date," he said.
Jimmy felt a warm feeling race though him at the words and he suddenly realized he wished it was a real date. At the thought he coughed, took another sip of the coffee and said the first thing that came into his head. "What did you mean earlier in the squad room when you said never again?"
Tim frowned for a moment, then sighed and said, his tone grim and determined, "Oh, just that that's it; I'm never getting involved with anyone again. Never."
Jimmy stared at Tim and he felt the warm feeling begin to seep away - he didn't know why, after all Tim wouldn't want to get involved with him, outside of friendship, anyway. "You don't mean it, Tim," he said lightly.
Tim sighed and drained his coffee. "I do, Jimmy," he said firmly. "I'm never going to find the right person, someone who actually likes and respects me and isn't half-crazy, so I might as well quit now." He sighed again and looked so dejected that Jimmy had to fight his urge to put his arms around him and hold him tightly.
Instead he again put his hand on Tim's as they stared at one another in silence. Finally Jimmy broke it. "I'd better get back," he said, taking his hand away from Tim's and standing up.
"Yeah, me too," Tim said, standing up and pulling his coat on. "Thanks, Jimmy," he said as he turned his collar down.
"Offering to come home with me and help me sort my place out. I really wasn't looking forward to facing my apartment alone."
"It's my pleasure," Jimmy said and then realized quite what he'd said. "I mean, you're welcome, Tim," he said. Tim smiled at him.
"Do you think Dr. Mallard will like it?" Jimmy asked, as he turned the pen over in his hand.
"I think he'll love it, Jimmy. It's perfect."
Jimmy beamed. "Good. I'll take it," he said and handed over his credit card. It felt good shopping with Tim; it felt natural; it felt right. Jimmy knew he wanted to do it again - and it wasn't just going shopping with Tim he wanted to do again. But Tim had said - "Sorry, Tim," he said, realizing Tim had spoken and he hadn't heard him.
Tim smiled at him. "I was wondering if you wanted to grab something to eat before we went and faced my apartment."
There was nothing Jimmy wanted more, but he had what he thought was a better idea. "How about we go and sort your apartment out first and then order a pizza or something - as a reward?" He held his breath and waited.
To his relief Tim beamed. "That's a great idea, Jimmy," he said.
Tim unlocked the door to his apartment and Jimmy watched him physically and mentally prepare himself as he paused for a moment or two before he pushed open the door and they both stared into the vandalized room.
As he looked at the mess, Jimmy felt a wave of pure hatred for Martha pass through his body. How could she have done such a thing? Books, papers, the contents of Tim's closets and kitchen were strewn across the floor, the couch had been turned upside down, as had Tim's desk chair; his computer was lying on the floor; a picture of Sarah was on the table, the glass smashed; the whole place was a complete mess.
He stood by Tim's side as they just stared around the room. Then he felt Tim shake himself, he hadn't realized they'd been touching, and watched him walk determinedly into his apartment. Jimmy followed him and shut the door firmly behind them. Tim had crouched down next to his computer and was looking at it.
He stood up and looked at Jimmy. "Well," he said, pulling off his coat, standing his desk chair upright and dropping his coat on it. "It could be worse." Jimmy glanced around the room again and then looked back at Tim. "I've seen what some people who trash people's homes do, Jimmy; believe me it could be worse - a lot worse."
Jimmy took his coat off and put it on top of Tim's. "Where shall we start?"
TWO HOURS LATER
As Tim dialed for a pizza, Jimmy went into the bathroom to wash his hands. They'd worked well together; seamlessly really, they hadn't once tripped over or bumped into one another as they'd righted the mess Martha had made. And as they worked they realized that although the place was a complete mess and although the glass on Sarah's photo had been smashed, as had a few mugs and plates, when it came down to it, Martha hadn't actually done any real damage.
Tim's computer hadn't been damaged, nor had his typewriter and although she'd torn up a lot of blank paper and a couple of newspapers and even a couple of cheap paperback books, she hadn't destroyed the chapter of Tim's latest book which he'd forgotten to put away the night before, and even though the duvet and Tim's pillows were soaking - it was just water she'd poured over them.
"The pizza will be here in about twenty minutes," Tim said when Jimmy came out of the bathroom. "Here," he handed Jimmy a bottle of beer.
"Thank you," Jimmy said, taking it from Tim, putting it to his lips and taking a long swallow of the cold liquid; he nodded his appreciation. "It looks a lot better," he said glancing around.
Tim nodded. "Yes, it does. Thanks to you."
Jimmy felt his cheeks flush. "I didn't do that much, Tim."
"You did, Jimmy. You were here - that's what mattered. You were here. I couldn't have faced this on my own," he said quietly, going over to the couch and sitting down.
Jimmy again felt his cheeks grow warm. "Anyone would have done the same," he said.
Tim shook his head. "No, Jimmy, they wouldn't." Then he looked away from Jimmy for a moment before looking back at him and saying softly, "Well, they might have done, but I wouldn't have told anyone else."
Jimmy stared at Tim, swallowed hard and decided to take his courage in both hands. He went across to where Tim sat and sat down next to him. "Tim?" he said.
Jimmy licked his lips and felt quite certain he heard Tim make a faint noise and saw a hint of a flush on Tim's cheeks. "Did you really mean it when you said you were never going to get involved with anyone again?"
Tim sighed and then nodded. "Yes," he said his tone flat.
Jimmy took a sip of the beer and once more gathered his courage up. "I think you're wrong to say that," he said. Tim stared at him, eyes wide. Jimmy hurried on. "I can understand how you feel, Tim, really I can. When Breena and I . . . Well, I thought I'd never find anyone else who would . . . who could. But I was wrong."
Tim stared at him. "Were you?" his voice was soft.
Jimmy nodded. "Yes. I realized you should never say never because you don't know what might - Tim, you're too caring a person, too good a man, too honest, too kind, too nice just to give up on other people." He took another swallow of beer and stared at Tim whose cheeks were now quite red.
"How about too trusting? Too idealistic?" Tim said grimly.
Jimmy frowned. "You say that as if you think they are bad things."
Tim shrugged. "Yeah, well, maybe they are," he said. "At least in my experience they are. No, Jimmy, that's it. Never again."
Jimmy put his beer down, swallowed hard, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and then leaned towards Tim, put one hand behind Tim's head and put his mouth on Tim's and kissed him. He kept up the pressure until after freezing for a split second, Tim relaxed and began to kiss Jimmy back.
AN HOUR LATER
The pizza box was empty, two empty bottles of beer stood on the table and two more half full ones stood next to them as Tim held Jimmy in a loose embrace. Jimmy rested his head on Tim's chest and enjoyed the sound of Tim's steady heartbeat.
He titled his head back and looked up at Tim offering his mouth to Tim who after smiling bent his head and kissed Jimmy's lips.
"Never," Jimmy said after several minutes of very enjoyable kissing, "say never." And he kissed Tim again. "Right, Tim?" he said after a few more minutes had gone by.
Tim sighed with obvious please. "Right, Jimmy," he said before he once again put his lips on Jimmy's.