WHAT TO DO
A sequel to Are You Dancing?
Faced with the fact that Jimmy works for NCIS, Tim has to evaluate what they are going to do.
An established relationship story.
Written: March 2013. Word count: 2,425.
Tim had to confess that Jimmy didn't look particularly reassured and in truth Tim couldn't blame him because even though he was smiling in a reassuring way, he wasn't feeling very reassured. Of all the men he could have met at Enrico's, and not only met but fallen for and was looking forward to getting to know, he had to meet a man who would, the very next day, turn up at NCIS as a new employee.
What was he going to do? He didn't want to give Jimmy up, but Gibbs's Rule #12 was quite, quite clear, and even though Jimmy wasn't a field agent, Tim wasn't sure if Gibbs would be okay about it - always assuming he would be okay with Tim dating another man. Actually Tim was quite certain Gibbs would be okay about that, Gibbs had never once showed even a hint of homophobia (unlike Tony) - he didn't judge people like that - but non-field agent or not, Jimmy was now a coworker.
Suddenly the sound of Gibbs's cell phone ringing cut into Tim's thoughts. "Gibbs. Yeah?" Gibbs listened for a moment or two, before saying, "On our way," and he hung up. "Got a body for you, Duck, just outside of Quantico. Looks like you're going to thrown straight into it, Palmer," he said, before he turned and headed out of Autopsy followed by Tim, Tony and Ziva.
To Tim's faint surprise Gibbs told Tony and Ziva to take the van and told Tim he'd ride with him. As was normal for Gibbs, Tim's butt had barely touched the seat, he certainly hadn't even reached for his seat belt, before Gibbs had gunned the engine and was pulling out of the Navy Yard seemingly completely oblivious to any other traffic that might be about.
As he gripped the dashboard with one hand and grabbed his seat belt with the other, Tim told himself that Gibbs wasn't oblivious, he wasn't oblivious at all. He knew exactly what other traffic was around and he was a first class driver; Tim was quite safe with him. He told himself that the tightness in his chest was perfectly normal, that he wasn't about to have a heart attack and that he wasn't worried; he really was quite safe. He told himself that twice as he did his seat belt up and finally let go of the dashboard and settled back in his seat.
Nonetheless despite reassuring himself Tim realized the tightness in his chest wasn't going away and if he was honest he didn't expect it to go away any time soon. It wasn't caused by fear for his safety, nor by believing that Gibbs was a dangerous driver, it was because of the young man who by now would be in the Autopsy van and on his way alongside Ducky to the crime scene - he may even be driving. Well, it wasn't caused by Jimmy himself, but by what he was going to do about Jimmy and by the fear, because he suddenly realized it was fear, that he might have to lose Jimmy before he even got to know him.
His mind went back to the previous evening and to how Jimmy had felt in his arms as they'd danced together; to how Jimmy had looked; to how Jimmy had smiled; to how Jimmy had flushed; to how Jimmy had smelled; to the sound of Jimmy's voice; to watching Jimmy walk away to the bar; to how right Jimmy's lips had felt on his; to how much he wanted to hold and kiss Jimmy again and not in a public place, not in a gay club, but in his apartment and not just kiss and hold Jimmy but - "Sorry, boss," he said quickly. "I was -"
"Yeah, noticed that, McGee." Gibbs took his eyes from the road and turned to glance at Tim for a moment or two. Tim swallowed hard and ignored the fact the tightness in his chest increased for a second or two until Gibbs looked back at the road. "So you know Palmer." It wasn't a question.
Gibbs had many rules; Tim had one: never lie to Gibbs. Nonetheless for a fleeting half a second no more, he gave serious consideration to breaking his rule. But of course he didn't, not only was there no point in doing so, he respected Gibbs too much to lie to him. "We met recently," he said.
Gibbs nodded then glanced at Tim again. "You're a good agent, Tim," he said, turning his attention back to the road, "just remember that. And remember something else; even I've broken my own rules at times."
Tim stared at Gibbs, aware his mouth had fallen slightly open. He shut it firmly and blinked; had Gibbs just said, well implied, what Tim thought he'd implied? His chest thought so, because suddenly it became slightly less tight. "Thank you, boss," he stammered and once more Gibbs nodded before increasing the speed he was driving at which forced Tim back firmly into the seat and all thoughts of Jimmy slipped from his mind as he just concentrated on breathing, watching the road and telling himself Gibbs was as good a driver as he was a shooter.
LATER THAT DAY
Tim sat at his desk, staring at his computer screen as his fingers automatically found keys. He was frowning and e was starting to feel a little cold, but he couldn't spare the time to pause and put his jacket back on, he was in need of a drink and also a visit to the bathroom, but both would have to wait until he'd solved the problem he'd been working on for over an hour now.
From time to time Gibbs would glance at him and raise an eyebrow and Tim would give him a minute shake of his head before turning his full attention back to the screen. He was close; he was very close; he could feel how close he was - it shouldn't take him more than a minute or two to - "Got it, boss!" he called, taking his fingers from the keyboard and flexing them several times.
Gibbs got up from his desk and strode over to Tim; he went around the desk behind Tim and leaned over him as he tended to do as he stared at the screen and read the text Tim had high-lighted. "Good work, Tim," he said, squeezing Tim's shoulder.
Tim looked up at Gibbs and smiled; Gibbs didn't give praise very often so when he did it really mattered and it mattered to Tim more than maybe it should matter. It mattered so much because even though he'd worked for Gibbs for quite some time, he still felt unsure from time to time, uncertain as to whether he really had what it took to be an agent on Gibbs's team.
Gibbs squeezed his shoulder again before straightening up. "DiNozzo, David - go and bring the bastard in. We've got him."
"Why me, boss?" Tony said, even though he was already standing up and reaching into his desk drawer for his gun. "Why can't McGeek go, he's the one -"
"Who did all the work while you played Tetrus."
"Tetris," Tony said. Tim looked in amazement at him as Gibbs, who was on his way back to his desk, stopped and turned around and stared at Tony in silence. "But you know what, boss," Tony said quickly, pushing his gun into his holster and grabbing his coat, "you can call it whatever you want. Well come along, Office David, what are you waiting for?"
"You," Ziva replied silkily from where she was halfway across the squad room. Tony glared at her and raced off to join her.
"Take a break, McGee," Gibbs said sitting down at his desk and stabbing a button on his keyboard before frowning and stabbing it again.
Tim hesitated for a moment, he was torn between trying to save the keyboard from Gibbs's attack and his desperate need to visit the men's room. The latter won out.
Fifteen minutes later after hurrying out of the Navy Yard to get himself a coffee and also bring one back for Gibbs, Tim went back into the squad room to see Gibbs sitting at Ziva's desk. "Boss?" he handed Gibbs the coffee.
"Keyboard's broken," Gibbs said, nodding towards his own desk where the keyboard lay upside down balancing precariously on the edge of Gibbs's desk.
McGee hurried over to Gibbs's desk, unplugged the keyboard and turned it over. His eyes widened as he stared down at it - he didn't think it was possible to do that to a keyboard. He swallowed and looked at Gibbs who was watching him.
"I'll get you a new one, boss," he said and taking his coffee with him he hurried out of the squad room, pausing only long enough to put the broken keyboard down on his desk - no one would believe it, not even if they saw it.
THE NEXT EVENING
Tim dressed carefully for what he guessed was his first proper date with Jimmy. He'd opted for a pair of charcoal grey smart trousers, a white dress shirt, a dark green tie and a dark grey jacket.
More than once during the day he had given consideration to calling or texting Jimmy and postponing their date. It wasn't that he didn't want to see Jimmy; he did, he wanted to see him very much. It was just that despite Gibbs's approval for want of a better word, he wasn't certain he wanted to date a man he worked with. He'd always been the kind of person to keep his work life and his personal life separate and if he and Jimmy did let their relationship develop in the way it seemed likely to develop the two, despite Tim being a field agent and Jimmy the autopsy assistant, would collide.
In fact even as he'd showered and dressed in preparation for his date, he hadn't been certain what he was going say to Jimmy. As he pushed his wallet into his pocket he realized he still wasn't sure if he was going to let the relationship develop or whether he'd tell Jimmy given their working status they could only be friends. Suddenly he had a clearer understanding of just why Gibbs had Rule #12.
As he'd done two nights earlier he decided to walk to Enrico's rather than take his car or even call a cab, so he grabbed his coat, locked his front door, checked it before going down the stairs and out into the street.
TWENTY MINUTES LATER
He'd misjudged how long it would take him to get to the club and thus he was there ten minutes early. He decided to have a drink at the table rather than at the bar while he waited for Jimmy. Two minutes before Jimmy was due he hurried into the room, just managing to avoid colliding with one of the waiters - or rather the waiter managed to avoid Jimmy colliding with him.
As Tim watched Jimmy apologize before he made his way to the table where Tim sat, he felt a warm sensation begin to travel through his body, a lump appeared in his throat and his chest tightened slightly with the pleasure of seeing Jimmy again. He took a sip from his glass and put it down as Jimmy finally reached the table.
"Am I late?" he asked, pulling the chair out and somehow managing to bang his shin.
Tim shook his head. "No, I'm early. You look good," he said softly, as Jimmy managed to sit down without any further mishap; he touched Jimmy's hand.
Jimmy flushed slightly. "Thank you," he said, "so do you."
Tim pushed a glass across to Jimmy. "Vodka and tonic, right?"
Jimmy beamed as he took a sip. "You remembered," he said sounding surprised.
Tim smiled. "Of course I remembered, it was only two nights ago."
Jimmy smiled, took another sip of his drink and then said softly, "And I suppose in your job you learn how to remember things."
Tim stared at him; he admired Jimmy's courage in being the one to raise the issue.
He shrugged. "Yes, but I'd have remembered anyway. I remember things about people who are important to me." With those few words he had made his decision.
Jimmy stared at him. "Do you mean . . . ?"
Tim put his hand over Jimmy's. "Yes, Jimmy," he said firmly. "I do - as long as you're happy."
Jimmy flushed and smiled at him. "Yes, Tim," he said. "I am. I was really worried that you'd think it wasn't a good idea to continue to see one another as we have to work together."
"Well, if we were both field agents," Tim said honestly, "I'm not sure it would be. But it's not as if we are going to see that much of one another during the day, is it?"
"No," Jimmy said, and for a moment looked so forlorn Tim had to stop himself from laughing.
"But I'm sure we can grab lunch together from time to time," Tim said.
Jimmy smiled. "I'd like that."
"So would I." Tim smiled at Jimmy; he noticed he was still holding Jimmy's hand and realized how good it felt so he left it there.
They enjoyed their meal and talked about their work and why each of them had chosen to go into their respective professions. Jimmy told Tim he hoped to go to Medical School and that he didn't want to be an autopsy assistant for the rest of his life. In turn Tim confessed he was Thom E. Gemcity and it was his turn to flush when Jimmy told him how much he'd enjoyed the book and how he hoped Tim planned to write some more.
They made arrangements for the weekend with Tim inviting Jimmy to his apartment for pizza, beer and a good movie; an invitation Jimmy accepted happily. They kissed goodnight in the shelter of the doorway, before parting to go their respective ways.
"See you tomorrow, Jimmy," Tim said, finally letting go of Jimmy's hand, he realized how good the words sounded; how right they sounded.
Jimmy smiled. "See you tomorrow, Tim," he said.
Tim smiled back. This was going to work; he knew it was; he felt good about it. Gibbs talked about trusting and relying on his gut - well Tim was doing just that.
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