Such Great Heights
An NCIS: Los Angles Fanfiction
This is the ninth story in my K/D universe, which I describe as slightly AU. While each story can be read on its own, there is a continuing storyline. The series starts with Personal Questions and the themes originally disclosed in that story are developed in each of the subsequent ones. This story begins immediately after Slipping Through My Fingers ends…
Full details of all my NCIS: Los Angeles stories and the reading order can be found on my profile page.
"Only you could get shot three times, and end up with just flesh wounds." Tony said jovially, and helped himself to another bunch of grapes.
"Sorry to disappoint you. I'll try to do better next time." Tim shifted uncomfortably in his bed. He still couldn't quite believe his luck, for although the wounds had bled copiously and required a blood transfusion, no bones were shattered, and no major organs had been shredded. It was little sort of a miracle, the doctors said. "And flesh wounds or not, they still hurt." And that was putting it mildly. His shoulder felt like someone was twisting a red-hot poker into it and his thigh felt like it had swollen up to at least twice its normal size.
"They're scratches, Timmy-boy. Suck it up like a man. We've got a wedding to go to the day after tomorrow. I hired you a suit, by the way." He strolled over to the window and stared out. "Nice view of the parking lot."
"I'm not exactly bothered about that right now, Tony. Anyway, they're discharging me this afternoon."
"So Gibbs said. You should see him, by the way. You'd think it was his daughter who was getting married the way he's acting. Just thank your lucky stars he's staying at the hotel with Kensi and her mom tonight." What with McGee's shooting, his duties as honorary father of the bride and the burgeoning relationship with Allison Blye even the normally unflappable Leroy Jethro Gibbs was somewhat less than his normal phlegmatic self. While it might be a slight exaggeration to say he was jittery, he was certainly on edge and DiNozzo had steered a careful course over the past few days, exercising considerably more tact that most people gave him credit for. It hadn't actually been too difficult, given how shaken up he was by the shooting. That sort of thing wasn't supposed to happen to McGee.
"Why?" Tim had a bad feeling about where this was going.
"Because you're coming back to Malibu with me. Well, back to Deeks' house. There's plenty of room. And you can't go stay in some hotel room by yourself. What if you needed something in the night?"
"And you'd be rushing to my bedside? I don't think so, Tony." He needed time to come to terms with what had happened – time and space. And that wasn't likely to happen with Tony around. DiNozzo might be many things, and he was proving to be a real friend, possibly the best friend McGee had, but no-one in their right mind could call him restful.
DiNozzo kept staring out of the window, careful to kept his back turned, and shook his head sadly. "You gave me a hell of a shock there. Finding you lying in the road like that, with Gibbs just about holding it together. Just about holding you together too." The memory was still fresh enough to be horrific. Once you'd seen your partner shot and killed right before your eyes, you never forgot it, and even if Tim was well enough to be sitting up in bed, diNozzo was still trying to come to terms with things.
"I can't remember anything about the shooting." Tim turned his head towards the window and felt the warmth of the sun on his face. "One minute I was walking back to the Mission with coffee and cakes and then the next thing I woke up in here, only to be told it was a whole day later." Those missing hours were enigmatically out of focus, vaguely floating around somewhere in his subconscious, but always just out of reach. The doctors had told him he might never get those missing hours back and had tried to console him that this was common with head injuries, but Tim refused to accept that. He was sure there was a clue somewhere – if only he could remember.
"We put an APB out immediately. They're still looking, but so far – nada." And that was bugging Tony. He needed to get these guys, get them for what they had done to McGee. "Anyway, you're coming with me. No arguments. Or I'll get Ziva in here."
"I can manage," Tim said wearily. "It's no big deal. And I've got to get used to this."
Tony strode across the room and gripped him by the shoulders. "Tim – I know you hit your head really hard, but would you stop talking nonsense? Until your sight comes back, you're going to need someone around – just to give you a hand. And that someone's going to be me. Whether you like it or not."
Tim brushed the hands away. "Don't kid yourself, Tony. You heard what the doctor said – with this kind of injury, I might be blind for the rest of my life. And I need time to come to terms with that. Time by myself," he added firmly. Just leave me alone, will you Tony? Can't you see I want to be alone?
"Okay – you're stubborn. I can do stubborn. Want to see me do stubborn? Scrub that – want to hear me do stubborn? And don't even get me started on Ziva, because she can do stubborn in half a dozen different languages." There's no way you're going to do a Greta Garbo on me, McGee, no way at all. If I've got to bring Abby across to LA to talk some sense into you, than that's what I'll do.
"I give up." He leant back against the pillows. "I'll come back to Malibu with you, but only because I've got this killer headache and you're making it worse."
"Look on the bright side – at least you won't be getting any more head-slaps from Gibbs. That has to be worth something, right?"
"You really know how to cheer a guy up. That makes it all worthwhile. Anyway – it's you he slaps, not me."
There was a long pause before DiNozzo found his voice. "Tim? I really am sorry. You know that, right?"
"I know that, Tony." For the first time, Tim was glad he was blind, because he did not think he could bear to see the look on his friend's face when he said that. Just hearing the anguish in Tony's voice was bad enough. Don't feel sorry for me, Tony. I don't think I can cope with sympathy right now – not from you at any rate.
"Anything I can do – anything at all – you just let me know. Because I'll do anything." For a rare moment, DiNozzo let his mask slip. There was no laughter in his voice, there was nothing but devastation and the utmost sincerity.
"Tony, if there was anything anyone could do, you'd be the first person I'd ask."
It was cold comfort, but it was comfort of a sort, and that was better than nothing. The two men sat silently, not saying a word because in truth what could be said? Tim was blind and while it might be temporary, it was still devastating and he was working through it with immense courage and fortitude. The least that DiNozzo could do was to be there for him. So that was what he would do – he would be there.
"This is the last night I'll spend here as a single woman," Kensi thought as she looked around the entrance hall and remembered the very first time she'd set foot in this house. Back then it had seemed huge and imposing, and yet it also had the feeling of being a family home that had merely been sleeping for a while, and was just waiting for its owners to return. And in a couple of days' time, it would be her house… it hardly seemed possible.
"You think you can be happy here?" Jack wandered out of the library, a glass of whiskey in his hand and looking almost as if he had never left, as if the intervening twenty years had never happened.
"I already am." Kensi grinned at him, taking in the flushed appearance. "I take it you had a good game of tennis?"
"Last time we played, he could barely hit the ball across the net – now he can run rings round me. Guess I'm getting old."
"Or I'm getting better?" Marty appeared behind his father. "Ever think of that? And I wasn't that bad when I was a kid."
"You were terrible," his father informed him. "Half the time you missed the ball completely, the rest of the time you hit it out of the court."
"So that's why you took up sports that don't require hand-eye co-ordination?" Kensi asked sweetly. "I knew there had to be a reason."
"I'm a decent shot – you've got to give me that." And then Marty cringed, remembering sitting on the floor of the library and levelling a revolver at his father and being so damned terrified he nearly peed his pants. He could almost feel the way the recoil of the gun reverberated through his whole body, pushing him back against the desk.
"You're okay – I guess." Kensi saw how ashen he had gone and knew exactly what he was thinking. There was always going to be that huge elephant in the room after all. She turned to Jack, desperate to move away from the bad memories. "How about we take you and Rowena on at mixed doubles tomorrow?"
"Or we could make it very interesting and do girls against boys?" There was an evil glint in Jack's eye that Kensi instantly found recognisable, being only too accustomed to seeing and identical look on his son's face. The apple really didn't fall very far from the tree it seemed.
"Sure – if you don't mind having your asses whupped. Of course, Marty's used to it by now."
Jack patted her on the shoulder. "I can see why he fell in love with you. Sparky as hell. And beautiful into the bargain."
"And stubborn. Don't forget stubborn," Marty urged.
Kensi turned around and smacked him on the arm. "And you're not stubborn?"
"I'm tenacious. That's different."
"You keep telling yourself that, son. Maybe one day you'll even believe it."
"What is this – gang up on Deeks day?" Muttering under his breath, Marty wandered off in search of Bobby. Moments later, he reappeared, clutching the dog to his chest. "What the hell happened here?"
"Doesn't he look cute? And don't complain, because you knew the groomer was coming over. I think she's done a great job - you can see his eyes now. And he doesn't smell." That was a major plus, especially as Bobby had a nasty habit of getting into bed with them at the most inopportune moments.
"He's practically scalped. What did they do – shave him or something?" Marty held his pet out at arms' length and surveyed the damage, while Bobby wagged his tail apologetically and then licked his face for good measure.
"Maybe you could take a leaf out of his book?" Jack suggested.
"Enough with the remarks about the hair. I've seen the photographic evidence and you weren't much better. Any way, it's different for dogs. The breed standard is for long hair – or fur. Whatever."
"Just for the record, everyone had bad hair in the seventies. So what's your excuse?"
"None. Because I've got great hair, Dad. And anyway, I've got an appointment with the barber for Saturday morning. I'll be nicely shaven and shorn for the wedding, don't you worry."
"Don't get it cut too short," Kensi cautioned. "No going over board and getting a modified Marine buzzcut like Callen. I'd like some wedding photos we can actually show to people, not lock away in cupboard."
Marty contemplated suggesting that he could act as adviser on her hairstyle, just to be fair and equitable, but decided he really rather wanted to continue living and breathing in one piece. "You want to write down instructions or something? Just to make sure I get my hair done the way you want it? Because we wouldn't want the photos too look bad, would we?"
Either Kensi was immune to sarcasm, or she'd decided to ignore it. "That's actually a really great idea."
"Let me guess - not too long and not too short, right? That's as clear as mud. He'll have no problem following that. How about you give me some photos to take along?"
"Now you're just being stupid." Kensi stalked off to make sure McGee's room was ready for his return.
"Never joke about wedding photos, kid. Never." Jack patted his son consolingly on the shoulder. "And next time – just elope. It's a hell of a lot easier."
"Yeah – but the danger is you end up looking like Brittney Spears in Vegas. Now those really were bad wedding photos." Marty was beginning to realise that when it came to the wedding, he really would just have to learn to keep his mouth shut, because there was no way his personal preferences could even begin to compete with the dreams that were populating Kensi's head. When defeat was inevitable, sometimes you just had to go along with a smile. If nothing else, at least it confused the enemy.
I refused to let evil plot bunny have his wicked way with McGee. Even I am not that heartless.
Expect the wedding in the next couple of chapters!