a/n - This is my contribution to the annual WEE writing event. I didn't plan on doing one this year because of my schedule, but one of our writers died suddenly a few weeks ago and under the circumstances I offered to fill in. First five chapters are done, the entire story has to be finished by the end of the month, so I will be posting every day until it's done. Then I can back on other stories.
In the Eye of the Beholder
"Mmm, morning." Tim smiled and kissed the warm skin he'd been using as a pillow. "You want the first shower or the extra sleep?" For an answer, his bedmate's head burrowed under the pillow, making Tim laugh. "Okay, sleep it is."
Ten minutes later, when McGee came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel, the lump in his bed hadn't moved. Jethro sat patiently at the door, his tail softly thumping against the carpet. Grinning, Tim jerked his head and the dog happily trotted to the bed and started tugging on the blankets.
"Damn it, Jethro." Sleepy green eyes opened as hands scrambled for the vanishing warmth. "Whose bright idea was it to teach him that?"
"That would be yours, Tony." Laughing softly, Tim started digging through the dresser. "Remember, when Ziva's apartment was being painted and she spent the weekend with us?"
"Well, it was funny then." Giving up control of the blankets, Tony rolled onto his back, rubbing his face. "Today's gonna to suck."
"Why, because the FBI has the lead on the surveillance detail or because Fornell has us stuck riding bikes in the park until the suspect shows up, if he shows up?"
"It's going to be in the nineties today." Tony's voice trailed off as Tim turned towards him, dropping the towel, leaving him naked except for the small gold medallion around his neck. The older man perked up at the view as other parts of his body registered their approval. "Of course it does mean an entire day of staring at your butt."
Tim turned back around and wiggled his rear end as he held up a pair of skin tight bike shorts. "Be glad it's hot, otherwise I couldn't justify wearing these."
That got Tony up and out of bed, his own matching necklace catching the morning sun. He snagged the shiny fabric out of McGee's hand. "When did you get these? I know I've never seen them before."
"Why do you think I offered to make the lunch run yesterday?"
Tony laughed as he moved in for a kiss. "You sly dog, McSexy. For that, I'm treating you to breakfast this morning."
"Oh, a smoothie from Litestars would be perfect. Better get one for Ziva, too. She's paring up with Sacks today for us, so we owe her."
Her dislike of Sacks was almost as strong as Tony's. "We owe her big time."
Separate cars and the stop for breakfast smoothies had Tony arriving at the Yard about twenty minutes after McGee, which was their usual gap. Grinning at the pretty brunette in the lobby, he managed to duck into an elevator with Palmer before she could move too close. "Good morning, Jimmy."
"Good morning, Tony." Jimmy waited until the doors closed, giving them some privacy. "Isn't your anniversary coming up soon? Have you decided what you're getting him?"
"Not yet, I'd love to surprise him with a real honeymoon, but..."
"But how do you explain to Agent Gibbs why you both are taking vacation at the same time? Maybe it's time you told him." Jimmy knew it was a continuing disagreement between the two men, the only thing they really ever argued about.
Tony shook his head. "We can't take the risk. You and Ziva have been great, but the Boss... Gibbs could transfer one of us half way across the world, and Abby..."
Understanding that problem, Jimmy finished his sentence. "Abby wouldn't be able to keep a secret like that from Gibbs." The elevator arrived at the squad room and they separated. Before walking to the back elevator, Jimmy watched as Tony slipped on the playboy persona everyone expected and started to flirt his way across the room.
"Here you go, Ziva, one mango berry smoothie." With a flourish, he set the large cup on her desk, leaning forward to whisper in her ear. "Thanks for taking on Sacks for us."
She glanced around, but no one was paying attention. "We cannot have you in jail for murder on your anniversary, can we? I will enjoy keeping Agent Sacks in line." Ziva leaned back and took a sip just as Gibbs walked in with a coffee and a bad mood.
"We're meeting the FBI in less than an hour, where in the hell is McGee?"
"Here, Boss." McGee arrived from the other direction, his hands full of electronics. "Got the cameras and equipment all ready to go."
"Good." Gibbs looked over the three of them. Ziva was wearing cargo shorts and a tank top, while DiNozzo was in basketball shorts and an old college t-shirt. Across from them, Tim was wearing sweat pants and a baggy shirt. "Gonna be pretty warm today, McGee."
The younger man tugged at the waistband of his sweats just enough to show a second, snugger, waistband. "Layers, Boss, I'll be fine."
Despite the use of bicycles, the surveillance detail was pretty standard. McGee and DiNozzo patrolled on sleek touring bikes through the paths that crisscrossed the roads on the north end of the park, while Ziva and Ron Sacks rode mountain bikes in the more rugged and remote southern region. Gibbs and Fornell were each dressed as rangers as they drove around in Park Service trucks, checking in with both teams when and if it was needed.
After the routine was established and the sun had burned through the morning clouds, Tim stopped long enough to shed the sweats and loose shirt. Since they wouldn't activate the cameras until they spotted some activity, Tony enjoyed the view. The compressive fabric of the shorts and shirt left little to the imagination, showing the lean muscles his lover had developed during his weight loss.
Alone for the moment, Tim made sure Tony had a good view as he folded his outer clothes and shoved them in the right hand bag attached to the bike, the left being reserved for his weapon and badge. "Like what you see?"
"Damn, what are you wearing under that?"
"Nothing." Tim turned around just in time to see Tony pull his sunglasses down to look closer. "Built-in pouch to keep the boys in place, special fabric to wick away moisture and prevent – chafing."
"Yeah?" A lazy grin spread over DiNozzo's face. "Well, I think I'll be checking tonight, just to make sure it did its job."
Tim flashed him a bright smile as he swung back onto the bike. "I'm counting on it."
By mid-afternoon, even the view of Tim's well shaped ass couldn't totally outweigh the toll of six hours on a bike and Tony was glad for the interruption when Gibbs was parked at one of the spots the road crossed the bike path. Tim still in front, they stopped next to the green truck.
Tony caught the cold water bottle that was tossed to him before Gibbs turned his attention to McGee, raising an eyebrow as he tossed the second bottle. "Last layer?"
It took Tim a minute to realize Gibbs was talking about his clothes and he blushed as he fumbled with the water bottle. "Umm, yeah, they're designed for long distance riding." Flustered, he tilted his head back and started swallowing down the refreshing drink. Behind him, Tony was, once again, enjoying the view as Tim's throat worked. With Tim twisted around to face the truck, Tony could not only see the subtle shaping of his narrow waist, but his package, held firmly in place by the compression shorts.
Gibbs rolled his eyes at the younger man. He hid his body well in the clothes he usually wore to work, for which Gibbs was grateful. If some of the women at the Yard could see him like this, DiNozzo would have some serious competition as most desired bachelor. Fornell's voice crackled over their earpieces.
Suspect's been spotted in the parking area adjoining the playground. All units move in now.
Gibbs bit back a curse as as he cranked the steering wheel hard to the left and floored the engine, throwing up a spray of gravel. Tony instinctively threw his hands up to protect his face and watched in horror as the extended bumper on the heavy park services truck caught the rear wheel of McGee's bike, cartwheeling him over the guardrail.
"Tim!" Tony got one quick glance at the terrified face before McGee tumbled backwards down the slope, his yell suddenly cut off. Frantic as he tried to follow Tim's path through the thick underbrush, Tony was half way down the hill before he remembered to key the mike for the right frequency. "Agent down, we have an agent down, Miller Creek Bridge."
"… again... say again... breaking..."
Tony grabbed at a nearby tree to keep his knees from buckling. He knew the further down he went, the worse the reception would be. He needed to get to Tim, but he needed to get help on the way, too. There was no way Gibbs would have felt the impact, and focused on the children that could possibly become hostages, he probably never looked in his rear-view mirror while pulling away from them. Tim's best chance was for Tony to climb back up and summon all the help they would need. Angrily scrubbing at the tears that blurred his vision, Tony reversed his path.
It took far too long for the dispatcher to be sure of their location. She urged Tony to stay where he was, but he wasn't going to back down. "No, I've got to find my partner. Tell the rescue team that we're below the bicycles." Ignoring her arguments, he climbed back over the railing and Tim's bike to continue down the hill.
It didn't take long to be out of sight of the roadway, but Tony kept going, following the broken branches straight down. "Tim? Come on, Tim, answer me. Where are you?" Just as he was about to start working his way down the canyon, he saw a hand under some shrubbery.
Tony didn't even feel the bark tear at his skin as he scrambled over a fallen log. Tim's body was unnaturally still and twisted, his lower body submerged in the creek, the only movement his slowly blinking eyes. "Tim, can you hear me?" Tony dropped down next to his life partner, touching his limp hand. "Help's on the way, just try not to move. Where does it hurt?" The answering voice was so weak he could barely hear it.
"My neck, I can't feel anything else, Tony."