A/N: Written for the NFA There It Sat challenge. Tim-centered, slightly gruesome, but for me, this isn't even very angsty. Just a relatively short trip on the ocean...and who doesn't love that? ...besides Tim, of course.
Disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I ever owned NCIS. I am not making any money off this...more's the pity.
by Enthusiastic Fish
There it sat, swaying gently back and forth as the waves rocked the small boat. Ignoring the corpse, it would have been a picture perfect setting: The sun nearing the horizon, casting reddening rays across the water, a cloudless sky, soft rocking. Perfect...except that the solitary living occupant of the lifeboat was currently feeding the fish what little was left in his stomach...and the boat was in the middle of the ocean...and his only companion was...well, a corpse.
Weakly, Tim sat back and stared at the dead body. It sat and stared back more blankly. He swallowed convulsively and tried not to think about the nauseating rhythm of the boat. He tried not to think about the fact that he was alone in the middle of the ocean with only a corpse for company. He tried not to think about how many fathoms deep the water must be at this point. He tried not to think about the ship that had sunk a few stormy hours before, taking with it, not only all his supplies, but the murderers and possibly even the rest of the NCIS team. He tried not to think about all that.
Retching violently, Tim pulled himself over the side and heaved into the ocean once more. It really wasn't fair. Of all the people who should be stuck in a boat (yes, it was most definitely a boat and not a ship), Tim was the one who really shouldn't be there. He sunk back to his seat and looked hopelessly at the oars. Where in the world would he row to? Then, his gaze fell to the bottom of the lifeboat. The water down there was red...bloody. Tim supposed he should be grateful that the harpoon hadn't punctured the boat itself after killing his erstwhile companion.
He looked at the dead body and felt little remorse. It was the dead man's fault he was here at all. One wrong turn as he had headed for the head at the height of the storm and suddenly, instead of heaving his guts out as he had planned, he was vomiting on the floor as he was dragged to the deck. Tim still had no idea how he had ended up in the lifeboat. He remembered trying to run on the reeling deck. A wave had crashed over the side, pulling him toward the edge. He had flailed...as had his captor. ...as had the man at the deck-mounted harpoon. Whether it had been fired on purpose or on accident, Tim didn't know, but suddenly, he and his captor had been flung into the lifeboat and another wave had carried it away...down down down to the water below.
The ocean waves had been so violent and the rain so heavy that Tim could barely see the ship, but the weather had cleared just for a moment...just long enough for Tim to watch the ship capsize and begin to sink beneath the waves. It seemed as though the universe had paused in that moment that Tim watched. There was no way that Gibbs and the rest of them had been able to get out, to get to the Coast Guard cutter that surely must be just out of sight. They must be dead. Tim's thoughts had been cut off fairly abruptly by a wave of water that rose up, like Poseidon emerging from the depths, and crashed over Tim with the force of a ton of bricks. It knocked his head rather soundly against the side of the boat and he was out.
When he had awakened, the cutter was nowhere in sight...nor was anything else. His stomach had promptly begun protesting its current location and now, even with all the food he had in his stomach feeding the fishes, he still felt like any injudicious movement on his part would result in another stretch of vomiting.
"This is all your fault," he said to the dead man.
The dead man didn't respond, but Tim thought that the face looked smug.
He sat up and looked around, hoping that maybe the view had changed. It hadn't. There was nothing to see, nowhere to go. He didn't even know where he was. When they had boarded the Coast Guard cutter, they were somewhere north of Bermuda...but now, Tim had no idea how long he'd been out and he didn't have a clue if he was closer to Bermuda or the US or the Bahamas...or Newfoundland. He just had no idea. If he was caught in the Gulf Stream...or the Antilles Current, he could be heading northward. That was a possibility. Panic began to rummage around in his head, trying to find a foothold.
Are there sharks in the water around here?
Will anyone find me?
Is anyone left alive to find me?
Will I die of thirst or of hunger...or from a shark eating me?
Could I get hungry enough to eat...no...definitely not. I'll starve first.
Tim hoped there were no sharks, but as for the rest, he tried not to think about it. He tried really hard.
...but he failed.
As the sun set completely, bringing darkness to the world around him, Tim felt the unmistakable vestiges of fear taking root in his gut. He swallowed. Just before true night came on, he looked around once more...and he met the dead eyes of the corpse.
...and there the corpse sat.