|The Darker Side of Solace
Author: AislingK PM
Tim deals with the psychological aftermath of having killed someone. Tag to S3 episode Probie. Warning: Contains the spanking of adults.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Tim M. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 8,758 - Reviews: 59 - Favs: 31 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 04-13-10 - Published: 04-08-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5881113
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tim was getting desperate. He knew that things were starting to come apart at the seams. His teammates could clearly tell that something was up, but he'd gotten so good at avoiding their questions that they didn't even bother to ask anymore. His efforts to intentionally drop the ball at work in pursuit of a punishment had become confusing, and Tim was pretty sure that he was now making mistakes without aiming to. The lack of sleep, the anxiety, and the cutting were all starting to take their toll.
On his way back from MTAC he passed Dr. Avery's office. She wasn't in today – her position at NCIS was only part-time. Tim lingered in front of her door and wondered if he should make an appointment to see her. She had seemed really kind and helpful when he met her, and maybe she could help fix whatever was wrong with him. Tim shook himself back to reality. When he had seen Dr. Avery the first time, he had known that the risk of confiding in her was too great if he wanted to keep his job, and that was when he was only having insomnia and panic attacks. Now he was cutting himself with a knife on purpose – he'd be lucky if she didn't lock him up in an institution, never mind get him fired. There was no choice – he'd have to deal with this on his own. And this time, he'd make sure that he got it right.
Tim fidgeted outside the interrogation room, clutching a folder to his chest. This really was the most insane plan, but he just didn't see that there were any other options. He looked again in the folder to make sure the form was still in there. It was, just as it had been the last time he'd checked 30 seconds earlier.
Tim watched Gibbs through the two-sided mirror, waiting for the right moment. Gibbs had been pursuing this suspect for weeks, and now that he was finally in custody, Tim knew that his boss was going to make this interrogation count. There was clearly a battle of wits going on. Tim knew that Gibbs would prevail in the end, but it looked like the suspect had the upper hand at the moment. Under normal circumstances Tim would watch the dramatic scene unfold with a mixture of fascination and awe, but today he was only interested in one thing.
Gibbs slammed his hand down on the table and leaned forward menacingly. Tim took his cue. He knocked on the door and without waiting for a reply, walked boldly in to the interrogation room.
The glare from Gibbs was vicious. Tim cowered inside, but fortified himself. He was going to get this whipping if it killed him.
Gibbs spoke through gritted teeth. "Can I help you, Special Agent McGee?"
Tim tried to keep his voice from shaking. "I need you to sign a form."
Gibbs eyes narrowed. "A form? Is it urgent?"
"Well, I needed to requisition some extra supplies before heading over to Quantico, and it needs a signature from my supervisor here…" Tim pointed at the form for good measure.
"Wait for me in Interrogation Room 2, McGee. I'll be in there to sign your form in just a moment."
Tim nodded in assent. The look on the suspect's face showed that even he recognized how crazy it was for Tim to interrupt Gibbs. He doesn't know the half of it, Tim thought as he quickly exited the room.
It didn't take long for Gibbs to come storming into the room where Tim was waiting.
"You don't EVER interrupt me in Interrogation!" Gibbs roared. "You may still be a probie, but you're not that green!"
"I'm sorry, Boss. I thought maybe you wouldn't mind just this one time."
"Well, I guess this is going to come as a bit of a shock, then." Gibbs reached down to unbuckle his belt.
Tim almost sighed in relief seeing that his plan had worked. He turned to bend over the table.
"Not so fast, McGee."
Tim straightened up and looked at his boss perplexed. Gibbs was folding his belt in half – surely he couldn't be misreading such obvious signals.
Tim's hands automatically went to unzip his pants when the realization hit him. He looked up at Gibbs, stricken. "I can't, Boss."
"What the hell do you mean you can't? You've done it before, and I haven't got time for false modesty."
Tim shook his head vehemently. "Please, Gibbs. Don't make me do that. I'll take twice as many licks as you were planning on giving me. Or you can spank me today and tomorrow. Just don't make me take off my pants."
Gibbs stared at him in disbelief. There was a short stand-off, and then Gibbs softened his face. He laid his belt down on the table and said in a calm voice, "Tim, take down your pants."
Tim shook his head 'no'.
"Yes, Tim." Gibbs waited.
Tim reluctantly undid his pants and slid them down to his ankles. He stood back up but avoided looking at Gibbs. Tim knew that there were ladders of scars down the front of his thighs. There was a long silence before Gibbs spoke.
"Tim, what have you been doing to yourself?" His voice was compassionate.
Tim didn't think that Gibbs would understand what was happening to him. "It wasn't me, Gibbs. It was my dog. He's been jumping a lot and scratching lately, and I know I should train him better…"
"A dog doesn't make evenly spaced horizontal scratches down your legs, Tim. Don't lie to me. It's clear what you've been doing. I just want to know why."
It was the genuine sense of concern from Gibbs that finally got to him. Tim's face crumpled and he sat down on the floor, gathering his knees to his chest. "I tried to stop, Gibbs. I wanted to stop. I just can't. I thought this was going to work today, but I guess…" Tim made a concerted effort to pull himself together. "I'm going to stop, Gibbs, I promise."
"What did you think was going to work today?"
"Nothing. I don't know what I was going to say."
"Yes, you do."
"It doesn't matter. I'm sorry. Please don't tell anyone about this."
Gibbs sat down on the floor next to him and looked intently at Tim. "Were you trying to get me to spank you today so that you wouldn't cut yourself?"
Tim felt his face get hot. He dug his fingernails deeply into his arms until it hurt.
Gibbs put his hand on Tim's. He just laid it there gently, until finally Tim felt his own grip loosening.
"Why can't I stop, Gibbs?" Tim asked pleadingly.
Gibbs was silent for a few moments before he answered.
"I don't know, Tim. But I do know that getting me to whip you isn't going to solve the problem."
The words made sense, but Tim knew that it wasn't enough. He'd been through every rational argument with himself, but the cravings were just too great. A promise to Gibbs wasn't going to stop that.
"Do you think I need to quit? My job, I mean?" Tim asked fearfully, not really wanting to hear the answer.
"No, I don't." Gibbs's tone was confident. "But this isn't something that you're going to be able to deal with on your own, and I'm not going to let you self-destruct."
"What are you going to do?"
"You'll be staying with me for awhile, until we know that you're safe to be alone. And you'll be seeing that shrink here, as often as she thinks you need it."
Tim was startled by the comment. "But I thought you didn't believe in that stuff!"
"I don't. Not for me, anyways. But when I was in the Corps…" Gibbs trailed off for a moment, lost in his recollections. "Different people handle stuff in different ways, Tim. Some of what people saw, or what they did, it affected them. More than it affected other guys, I mean. It was just too much for them to handle."
Tim looked down, feeling ashamed.
"I'm sorry, Gibbs."
"For not being stronger."
Gibbs took Tim's chin in his hand and raised his head back up.
"These were good men, Tim. Strong, capable, brave men. How they reacted wasn't in their control. It wasn't their fault. And for some of them, the head shrinking brought them back. It was what they needed."
"And you think it's what I need?"
"I think that those men were in very dark, painful places inside their heads, and that you must be too if you're doing this to yourself." Gibbs ran his thumb over the worst of Tim's cuts. Tim winced, not from the pain, but from the humiliation of having Gibbs see what he'd done to himself. "Right now you need something more than what I can give you, Tim. Give the therapy a chance. Let Dr. Avery do her job."
Tim nodded without conviction.
"I'm serious, Tim. Because if you miss an appointment, then I will spank your ass." Gibbs grinned, but Tim couldn't muster up any amusement in the situation.
Quietly Tim said, "I killed someone, Gibbs."
"I know, Tim."
"I was doing my job, and I know I had to do it. But John Benedict was a good cop, and he didn't deserve to die, and I shot him. Someone's dead because of me. I don't think I can live with that."
Gibbs listened silently.
"It hurts so much, Gibbs."
"Will it ever stop?"
"You're going to get better, Tim. People get better."
"I'm not sure I deserve to." Tim whispered.
"You don't get to decide that." Gibbs replied firmly.
"OK." Tim sounded doubtful.
"Today is not the day you're going to believe me, Tim. And probably tomorrow won't be either. So for now, your only job is to do what I say, because I'm going to get you through to the other side."
More than anything, Tim wanted to tell Gibbs that he did believe him, and that he trusted him. But Gibbs was right. Today wasn't the day that was going to happen. But if there was one thing that Tim did know, it was that Gibbs wouldn't let anyone hurt him, and that included Tim himself. Tim realized that was all he needed to know right now.
"Yes, Boss." Tim said, and the words had never meant so much to either of them.