A/N: Written for Channel D as a gift in the NFA Secret Santa exchange. It's Christmas themed, but you can still read it. Also, it is a sequel to my story entitled Traffic Report. I do recommend that you read it first, but you could probably get the jist without doing so. I just want more people to read my stories. :)
Disclaimer:As per usual, I own nothing of the NCIS franchise...which is really a shame because I wouldn't mind being rich.
All I Want For Christmas...
Prologue: I Wonder as I Wander...
"...Someone has to die today. It's your choice. A stranger or someone you love. You get to choose who lives and who dies." Tim watched, powerless, as the moment of impact came ever closer. He wanted desperately to wait, to try and stop the tragedy from happening but there was nothing he could do and in a devastating detail, he saw his car hit the minivan. Seconds later, the impact with the second and third cars spun his own car out of control. He heard the echoing sound of the accusations that came later: Murderer... He saw their faces, hateful and grief-stricken. And there was nothing he could do...
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
The alarm pulled Tim from his old nightmare and he opened his eyes gratefully. Even a year and a half later, the lives he had taken still haunted him. Those first days had been bad, but they were nothing compared to the additional grief that had poured over him when Mikaela Koprik had died a few weeks later, never coming out of her coma. That was why he still met with a psychiatrist every other week, even now. As he dragged himself wearily into the bathroom, he thought of that pivotal meeting, the first time he'd taken a step toward admitting his grief and guilt...
"Tim, I'm beginning to think that we're not making any progress. Tim? Are you listening?"
Tim reluctantly tore his gaze away from the window. You couldn't see the Beltway from here, but it was out there somewhere.
"What? I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention."
Dr. Wyatt sighed and said, "That's the problem, Tim. You aren't paying attention. We can't make any progress if you don't make any effort."
"Effort for what?"
"Why do you think you're here?"
Tim laughed. It wasn't a pleasant sound. "I'm here because Gibbs told me I had to in order to come back to work full-time. So, I'm coming as long as he says I have to."
"You don't think this is necessary?"
Tim shook his head, even though he knew he should at least try to talk about it. He shook his head again, this time at his own thoughts. He didn't want to talk about it. He just wanted to forget it and move on.
"You've been faithful about coming every week, but is that just because your boss told you to?"
"I'm surprised you're not trying to deny it."
"What could I gain by pretending that I want to be here, Dr. Wyatt?"
"Probably nothing. But you could gain something by making the most of your required visits."
"There's nothing to gain," Tim said and then looked at his watch as it started beeping. Dr. Wyatt never had to say that their time was up. Tim was always the one to end their sessions. "Time to go. I'm on duty tonight." He stood and headed for the door.
"Yes, Dr. Wyatt."
"It's not over, is it."
For the first time in the weeks since the accident, Tim made a genuine response. "No. It will never be over." Then, he left.
That had been the beginning of the case that had broken him out of the wall he'd built around himself, a suicide. Tim looked at himself in the mirror as he began to shave, thinking of the time Tony had teased him about having no facial hair. It was early yet, but if he left early, he wouldn't have to fight so much traffic to get to work. He still got shaky in rush hour. He'd actually been forced to pull over to the side of the road and throw up the first time he'd seen an accident on the Beltway after the crash.
Lost in his thoughts, Tim didn't notice any of his actions as he got ready to leave. It was all so automatic he didn't really need to think about it anyway...not until he got to his car. It wasn't nearly as flashy as the Porsche had been. Tim didn't want to stand out anymore. He just wanted to get where he needed to go. It was still nice, but it wasn't sporty. He got into the car and tried to think about how wonderful today was.
"Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Everything is okay," he whispered to himself and took a deep breath. He wondered if he'd ever believe that. Another deep breath. "Right." He let it out slowly and started the car.