a/n - This is the first of several sequels for Memories of a Circus, you will need to have read that one first, as this one literally picks up at the end of that one. This story is not a case-fic, but a story about people, the lives we touch, and the effect we have on those around us, as two of our agents are about to find out.
Wishing upon a Memory
Melancholy; that was the word Timothy McGee would have used to describe himself as he left the circus. The midway was closing down, vendors packing away their wares to be brought out again in the next town. The last tent on the left was still up, the fortune teller still calling out for the curious to come know their fortune. McGee smiled and shook his head as he walked past, but she would not be so easily dissuaded and came around the table to stand in front of him. Ancient blue eyes stared back at the young agent as she pressed a coin into his hand.
"It's not your future you want to know, it's the past that is your heart's desire." Before he could ask what she meant, the woman disappeared into the crowd. Still lost in his memories, he slipped the coin into his pocket and continued on his way.
A month after the circus, crime was once again the center of attention at NCIS. Gibbs slammed his hands down on the table in Interrogation Room Two before storming out the door. He'd gotten his confession out of the husband, but if anything it made it worse, not better. Behind the mirror, DiNozzo shook his head sadly. There'd been an odd look on the boss's face ever since the body of the red-haired young woman had been found that morning. He turned to ask McGee if he knew what was bugging the old man, only to find the same expression on his partner's face.
McGee could see the question; it was one he didn't want Gibbs to face, so he gave the answer, much to DiNozzo's surprise. "She was the age Kelly would have been." His cryptic words brought more questions than they answered. Unfortunately, McGee didn't wait in the observation room to continue the conversation so DiNozzo's next question was asked to the walls.
"How do you know that?"
Distractions drug out the paperwork on any case, but never so much as they did tonight. Gibbs stared at his computer screen, lost in thought. McGee typed sporadically as his attention bounced between his paperwork and Gibbs. DiNozzo gave up on pretending to write his report as he studied the two of them, while Ziva kept her head down and covertly watched the three of them. Even with his attention divided, McGee was the first to finish.
Gibbs took the offered folder with a careful look at the agent handing it over. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm all right." Somehow, the tone wasn't as reassuring as the words.
He didn't pull on the folder until the younger man looked up. "You want to crash at my place tonight?" Over the last few weeks he had read enough of Tim's childhood journal to know that today was the anniversary of when he would have married Kelly. As much as he hated it, he understood when his offer was turned down.
"Thanks, but I think I really want to be alone tonight." He gave a sad smile and nod as Gibbs reminded him to drive carefully. At the other desks, two curious agents watched the exchange, but knew better than to ask.
Still unsettled, McGee parked in his assigned spot at the apartment complex and shut off the engine. It was late and he was tired, but he knew sleep was far away. The park across the street called out to him and he started walking the familiar paths. Soon a group of boisterous teenagers caused him to detour to a lesser maintained path he had never gone down before. The walkway took him further from the rest of the visitors to the park and at the end of the path was a small wishing well he'd never noticed.
Tim leaned against the rough stone wondering again what their life truly would have been like. The odd coin he'd carried ever since that day at the circus grew warm in his hand as he thought about the life he wished he'd had. Feeling foolish, he tossed the coin before he changed his mind.
"I wish… I wish…"
"Morning sleepyhead," the musical voice drew him from his sleep and Tim slowly opened his eyes. Bright sunlight filtered in through the large picture window across from the foot of the bed. Not recognizing the room, he sat up quickly and stumbled out of bed. His forward movement came to a halt as a beautiful redhead entered the room. She was obviously very pregnant and was carrying a sleepy toddler with the same red hair and eyes the same shade of green as Tim's. The little girl leapt from her mother and Tim opened his arms just in time to catch her.
"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" She wrapped her chubby arms around his neck and gave him a wet kiss on the cheek before snuggling down against him. He looked down at her and then up at her mother in awe.
"What?" She turned and looked at him, questioningly, before touching her shoulder length hair. "I only had it trimmed a few inches, don't you like it?"
"It's beautiful, you're beautiful. Do I tell you that enough sweetheart?" For a moment he thought his heart would beat right out of his chest as she stood in front of him, whole and alive.
"Beautiful? Did you hit your head, Timmy?" She rubbed her belly with another laugh. "Your son has me looking like a beached whale. Keep Kendra busy while I take my shower, all right? Then we'll go visit my dad."
Once the bathroom door closed behind her, Tim sunk down onto the bed, gasping. His little girl leaned back and looked him in the eye.
"Daddy needs a kiss." She kissed him on the nose before throwing her arms around him again. "Daddy needs lots and lots of kisses."
He returned the hug and rocked her back and forth, whispering. "My girls, my beautiful, beautiful girls."