Written as a Christmas Present for Shelbylou
Follows: "Resounding Tides" which follows "Waves From Mexico"
Series Episode Tags:
Dog Tags , Hide and Seek & Borderland
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. Any original characters and out of cannon plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this fictional creation. No copyright infringement is intended.
December 24th - 2010
Suddenly, it was over and the Minister was announcing that Tim could kiss the bride and the next thing Pam knew, her husband was kissing her more sensually than he'd ever kissed her before, whispering to her "I love you," as he finally pulled away and took her hand once more.
"I give you "Mr. and Mrs. Tim McGee!"
The young woman smiles as her mind returns from visiting one of the happiest days of her life, November 6th of this year. She rests her hands maternally on her large pumpkin sized stomach, as her mind travels back to the phone call she's just received from her doctor's office. With her long black hair freshly washed and still wet as it hangs down her back, she's able to breathe a sigh of relief that she'd done all the preparations she'd needed to do for tonight before the phone rang.
She looks around at her modest home, bought for her by her loving husband, kept safe by his unwavering sense of duty and protection both when he's home and when he's not– through the help of not only his fellow NCIS team members but also the home security system he's set up and his former Army drug sniffing German shepherd currently patrolling the back yard for the thousandth time. She's never felt more secure in her life; yet that one phone call has shaken that feeling. How can she break this news to Tim and not spook him, if she herself is feeling overwhelmed with it?
Here it is, Christmas Eve and the night is about to get very busy and full, full of laughter and fun, family and friends. Even more thrilling will be the presentation of the Christmas present for her husband. She had considered carefully before finally deciding and then commissioning the most trusted name she knew to do it for her. Now she has to find a way to stomp down on the emotions that have arisen from the phone call and put everything else first. The doctor's news- how it feels and what it means– has to wait.
Glancing at the clock, she knows it won't be long now before she'll be hearing her husband's car in the driveway. She smiles but remains in her chair, knowing the man, who adores her, worries about her more when she doesn't at least look like she's been resting at the end of a busy day. They've talked about it in depth, with her promising him that being the Administrative Assistant for the Director of NCIS is not too much for her to handle while pregnant with their first child. In addition, because he's been worried about her driving herself home after work, his team and the NCIS family have graciously stepped up to make sure she gets home safely every day, without having to take the wheel herself.
Since the MCRT has taken her under their wing, as the wife of one of their own, her days have changed considerably. They're now filled with not only her work, but also lunches and break times filled with the shared laughter, fun and camaraderie of Abby and Ziva.; The two are always hopeful for new ultrasound pictures of the baby or wanting to plan a shopping trip for more nursery decorations or even maternity clothes for her.
It has never failed to amuse her as she watches her loving husband silently sit by and let his team take care of her to their hearts' content, almost to an extreme. She understands his worry – all of their worry. She knows the scare they were put through at the hands of her maniacal ex-husband when he hired someone to kill her husband and threatened to harm her if she married him just four months ago. This has kept them all on edge for her safety, most especially her husband. In spite of the trouble, the MCRT has drawn her into their fold, making her and her unborn child as close to being a family member as she could be, as much in need of their protection as Abby.
As the resident Lab Rat's name crosses her mind, she thinks back to that first conversation she'd ever had with her – in which she staked her claim on her then future husband in no uncertain terms.
. "Abby? Can we talk?"
"It's obvious that you're really upset. If I have anything to do with that, I'm really sorry."
"I thought we were friends, Pam. Why didn't you tell me?"
"Abby, you and I get along great in the office. But, we've never done anything outside of work. Think about it, we've never even so much as called each other over the phone. I think you and I have completely different ideas of the meaning of 'friends'."
"Yeah. I guess so." Abby admitted guiltily. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay. Abby, I need to be able to talk to you, woman to woman. Can I do that?"
"Of course, Pam. Anything you need to talk about, I'm here for you."
"Abby, I'm talking about where Tim's concerned." Pam corrected Abby's assumption.
"Oh. Okay. Well, what about him?"
"Abby, Tim needs you to let go of him." Pam told her gently.
"Why does everyone keep telling me that?" Abby demanded.
"Because it's the truth. The way you treated him in Mexico, the way you treat him when you want something and won't take no for an answer. It has possession written all over it and you really need to realize that, and let go. He's with me now and I won't hurt him but Abby, I won't let you hurt him anymore, either. He's been hurt enough; more than enough, too much, really."
Coming back to the here and now, she realizes there are things she should check over once more to get ready for tonight, but she can't seem to stop thinking about the news from the doctor's office, at least in some small part of her brain. That news is already exacerbating the nervous energy she's feeling, so she's in no hurry to get up just yet, not that it's something she can accomplish in any quick fashion at this stage of her pregnancy, as big as she's become. Resting her hands once again on her very large stomach, she can't help but smile as her loving husband's reassuring words on the subject come back to her now.
"Just means there's more of you to love, sweetheart."
As she lays her head back contentedly against the back of the chair she lets her mind take her back to the catalyst for all things blessed and wonderful in her life and that of her husband of only a few months, that god-awful trip to Mexico..
"Yeah...No...I don't know. I just feel lost at the moment and even though I know the suspension is temporary, I can't help but feel as though my job is gradually slipping away from me."
"It's not. They just want to know who and what you are protecting. I have to admit, I'm wondering the same thing." Pam grabbed his hand and held it loosely in her own.
"Is that what everyone thinks?" He felt Pam shrug against his shoulder.
"It's what I think. I can't speak for anyone else."
"I'm not protecting anyone, not really it's…I just don't know how to say what I need to say without hurting people." Tim's earnest answer got her attention and she found herself wanting to look at him whilst he told her what was on his mind. She sat up and moved so she was kneeling in front of him with both her hands resting on his thighs.
"Talk to me, Honey. Let me in. I know it's hard because I work for Director Vance, but I'll never betray your trust and go to him."
"What? Pam, that is one thing that will never be in question, baby. I know you won't do anything like that. It's just hard, you know? I don't want to put you in a bad position with him."
"I know, but you need to talk, otherwise it's going to consume you and I've seen it happen a couple of times, where you have closed off to people. You don't have to do that now."
Tim smiled and glanced down at her hands; he loved the closeness that they shared and knew that it just somehow felt right having her in his life.
"Thank you. Have I told you how much I love spending time with you…how much I love you?" There it was; the declaration that he wanted to make so desperately but didn't want it to ruin something so precious.
"I love you too, Tim. I have for a while but didn't know how to say it." Tim glanced up at her with a look of surprise in his eyes.
"We make a pretty pair don't we. We've both been feeling the same way for ages and haven't told each other how we feel." Tim was cut off by Pam rising on her knees and kissing him deeply.
"So, Special Agent McGee. How about you tell me what's on your mind." Her eyes were playful, but there was a hint of sincerity there that made Tim want to bare his naked soul to her.
"It's silly, I guess. It's just that…when we were in Mexico, Abbs started acting weird."
"That I do know. What I don't know is what it is that is driving you crazy."
"Gibbs." Tim's one word answer confused his girlfriend.
"Gibbs? You said he was her champion. Is that what you're talking about?"
"Yeah. Abby's always been his favorite; in his eyes she can do no wrong. Who am I to throw a spanner in the works by complaining about what she did? "Tim's expression darkened as the memories of what happened in Mexico filtered in.
"That's what you are keeping out of your report? I had no idea it was this serious!""
"Yeah. It is. This isn't the first time I've had to pay the piper on her account. How do I tell them that the reason why I didn't tell them was because I didn't think anyone would believe me? She's his golden girl which makes it difficult to say anything bad about her."
"Oh baby. That's not fair and you know it, you should be able to turn to your boss when you need to. You have to say something because it's going to go on your record otherwise."
"I can't, Pam. I just can't. It's bad enough that they found out but now they're not gonna care that I was too worried about Gibbs blaming me for Abby's shenanigans getting out of control down there to call him about what happened or report it at all. But, that's it in a nutshell."
"Trying to tell that to Vance without making Gibbs look bad is not something I know how to do. I refuse to tarnish Gibbs' name by getting Vance on his tail for that favoritism." The hurt in Tim's voice was palpable. "I don't know how to fix this except to just take what Vance has doled out."
"You can find a way to fix this that doesn't include sacrificing your good name like this! You have too! Please baby, don't let this get you down like this, at least promise you'll continue to talk to me when you need too. I can't help you if you bottle it up. Promise me you won't do that anymore."
"I promise and I'm sorry. I know it's not easy being in the position you are in and I appreciate you listening to me." The look on Tim's face brought tears to her eyes, there was still something lurking in the depths of his soul that he just wasn't ready to talk about; something that she would respect and wait patiently until he finally, truly ready.
"I'm always here and I know that there is something else that you are not ready to talk about playing on your mind. Whatever it is, I'm ready to listen when you want to talk."
"Thanks. Oh, er….I bought you something back at the mall. I hope you like them." Tim pulled the small box out of his jacket and handed it over. He watched her expression as she opened the box to reveal the white gold, diamond hoop earrings he had bought for her. He remembered standing in the store looking at them and judging by the look on her face, it was money well spent.
"Tim...Oh, honey! They're gorgeous! You shouldn't have spent t…" Tim cut her off with a kiss and wrapped his arms around her.
"You're worth it. Thank you." Pam pulled away and looked at him with a confused look on her face.
"For just being you; for accepting me for who I am; for loving me. There are so many things I want to thank you for but we'd be here all night if I tried to list them all." He chuckled slightly and pulled his girlfriend close to him once again. "I love you, Pamela Cook."
"Sweetheart? Pam!" her husband's now urgent voice reaches through Pam's reminiscing, his concern evident and not just in his tone. His eyes are wide with fear as his hands caress her face and bulging stomach at the same time.
Without getting up, she reaches out to him, always ready to caress him where his hair covers his ear. "Hey, Tim."
"Pam, are you alright? I've been talking to you for at least a minute now."
"I'm fine, Love. Just remembering things."
"Ah. Anything good?" He teases her as he gently helps her to her feet and wraps her in a hug most gentle in consideration of her large belly.
"Just our humble beginnings." She tells him almost dreamily.
"Honey, you're tired. We can move the dinner to Ducky's. He offered to host it again this year like he's always done."
"I know, Tim. But I'm fine. And they went through all that hard work for us with our wedding and they've been really, really great at helping look after the baby and me, even at work. This is the least we can do. Besides, they're bringing most of the food themselves. They insisted. You know they're as protective of your wife and child as you are." She reminds him.
"Yeah. They've been really great. I know they've been over here every night this week helping you decorate, too. Alright. What can I do to help?" He replies as he kisses her tenderly.
"Thank you, sweetie. Your 'honey do' list is on the refrigerator." She smiles beguilingly at him. "Everyone will be here in about an hour and a half."
"So in other words, I've got maybe 45 minutes to get this done." Tim replies knowingly, his face wreathed in a smile that lit the room. He loves doing whatever she needs done. They're still in that euphoric stage of newlywed bliss that finds little reason for arguments. Their toughest challenges came before the wedding and with the team's help, they came through not only unscathed but closer not only to each other, but to the members of Tim's team as well, for which Pam is extremely grateful as she stops to remember that difficult time and how they all got through it together.
…"Boss! How is he?" Tony called out the minute he laid eyes on the Team Leader as he came around the corner from the back elevator.
"Banged up. Won't know anymore until Ducky's done checkin' him over."
"Agent Gibbs? Tim was in a wreck?" Pam asked as she suddenly appeared at his desk seemingly from out of nowhere.
"You'll have to talk to Ducky about McGee's condition. I don't know enough to tell you anything." Gibbs told her as he glared at her with the fury from earlier returning to both his eyes and his tone…
…"Poor McGee." Ziva said softly but loud enough that both men heard her
"Poor Pam. If I find out her breaking her promise not to hurt him was the reason he wrecked, she'll wish…" Tony started to spit out angrily.
"DiNozzo! You really think that's the way McGee would want you to handle it? Think that's why he sent you that text?"…
….The team leader read the report. "One of the kids saw the look on the other driver's face?" Gibbs asked in surprise.
"Yeah. And that's not all, Boss. According to the breathalyzer test, he wasn't even drunk." Tony stated,
"There was still more, Gibbs. According to that same witness, the other driver was looking directly at McGee as he barreled towards him." Ziva reported with anger laced in her voice
…"What's the driver's name?" Gibbs demanded. Looking back down at the report in his hand, he perused it until he found the answer to his own question. "Guy's name was Lonnie James Adams?"
Pam's face lost all color and her knees buckled, forcing Ziva to catch her and ease her into a chair.
"You know this Adams guy?" Gibbs demanded as he sat down in the chair next to her and glared at her angrily.
"Yes." She admitted tearfully, as her stomach became queasy and nearly had her needing to bolt from the room for the ladies room. Swallowing hard, she forced herself to calm down. This wasn't helping her and it wasn't helpin…
"Ms. Cook. I think you'd better tell us what exactly it is that we're dealing with here." Vance instructed his assistant sternly, interrupting her thoughts.
"Lonnie works for my ex-husband Ryan's Import business." She stated quietly, looking at no one, her eyes remaining fixed on the table in front of her.
"Oh, jeez! " Tony exclaimed angrily.
Gibbs glared him into silence and then returned his glare back to Pam, silently daring her to continue stupidly keeping her mouth shut in the face of these new developments, letting her feel his anger as it literally radiated off of him, even though she had yet to look at him.
"Three months ago, I talked to my ex-husband and told him I had fallen in love with Tim and we were probably going to be getting married."
"I'm guessing he didn't take too kindly to that news?" Tony asked sarcastically.
"Actually, he seemed to take it quite well." Pam replied quietly, as she finally glanced up and over at Tim's team members and leader in turn.
"Too well, perhaps?" Ziva questioned.
"As a matter of fact, yes. But, I didn't find that out until three weeks ago when he called me and …" She looked hesitantly at her boss and then back down at the table, no longer comfortable seeing any of their faces in light of their anger.
"And what?" Gibbs pushed sternly.
"He swore he'd hurt Tim if I agreed to marry him. Said he'd ruin him; destroy his name, his credit, his financial accounts, everything. Ryan was suddenly extremely possessive, and jealous."
"Doesn't explain why you wouldn't tell us." Vance reminded her.
"He was a consultant at Boston College for their Business Degree Program, where I attended and now the CEO of his own company. His threats to ruin Tim and his name as well as whoever tried to stop him from making Tim's life miserable weren't something I was willing to take lightly, Sir. I wasn't willing to let him come after anyone else associate with either Tim or myself."
After the first phone call with him threatening to hurt Tim, I started recording all of his calls – he's called almost every day to remind me of his intention and what I have to do to prevent it. He always calls my apartment when he knows Tim's not there."
"Apparently, all of that wasn't enough. He had to try to kill McGee, too?" Tony asked in confusion.
"He did threaten to hurt him if I didn't cooperate. But, I've been cooperating so I don't' understand why he would do such a thing!"
"Because you made a critical error, Pam." Ziva informed her.
"What? I was trying to keep Tim safe! Why else do you think I turned him down when he asked me to marry him last night? Do you think I wanted to hurt him like that? I wanted to keep him safe!" Pam replied in horror. "What did I do wrong?
"You tried to handle it alone." Leon told her, his disappointment in her decision clear.
"Your second mistake was in deciding to go along with this creep!" Tony bit out. "We almost lost McGee today! Do you realize that?"
Pam's tears began to flow in earnest now. "I never wanted any of this to happen. I was only trying to save Tim."
"I'm still trying to figure out why you didn't trust Tim to be able to handle the situation for himself." Gibbs remarked with disappointment and anger. "He's a Federal Agent with skills of his own not to mention a damn sharp mind. You think he couldn't figure out how to deal with this guy?"
"I just didn't want him to get hurt! "
"So you simply chose to keep him in the dark." Ziva commented. "I find that disturbing. You claim to love Tim, yet you ignore his absolute faith in your honesty. He has allowed himself to be completely open with you and let you in because he trusts you to return such openness. And this is how you repay his trust?"
"I know." Pam cried as she wiped desperately at her tears as they cascaded down her face. "I've never lied to him before this; about anything!"
Tim whispered in Pam's ear. "I'm not going anywhere. We'll fight him together. I love you. And I'm not giving you up without a fight." He pulled back and turned her to face him, as he hung onto her arms with his hands, making sure his grip was strong but not too harsh. Looking into her eyes, he smiled at her. "It's okay. We can do this. Together." He told her quietly as he took his left hand off her arm and used his finger to wipe the tear from her face.
"I'm sorry." She whispered on a broken sob. "I didn't want to hurt you like that, but I didn't know what else to do. I'm not giving you up without a fight either."
"Ssh. It's okay. We'll talk about it later, okay?" He murmured softly. "C'mon put your game face on. I'm sorry I sent Tony that text before thinking this through. I know you wouldn't hurt me like that without something being seriously wrong."
"That's about right. Thank you so much, sweetheart." Pam offers now with an appreciative smile. She loves that he never complains about what she asks him to do.
"You're welcome, honey. Did JD give you any trouble today?" Tim asks, speaking of the German shepherd with the recently agreed upon new nickname. They've found it much easier on both of them than having to say his boss's first name while talking to a dog. Somehow, Abby will just have to understand.
"No. He's been outside all day. Not a bit of complaining out of him."
"Good. You stay off those feet while I do this. Alright?"
"I can do that." Pam promises with a grateful smile. "Although I have been sitting here for quite a while, just like every Friday, since Director Vance has decided to let me have them off these days. I really am getting lazy."
"And you need to move around a bit anyway." Her husband sympathizes as he slips from her arms to stand at her back, gently massaging her shoulders alternately with her stomach, drawing contented hums from her.
"Mmm. That feels soo good. Thank you."
Kissing her on her cheek, Tim tells her. "Anytime, sweetie. Matter of fact, if I have any time left after I've done everything, I'll give you another one. I want you to be as relaxed as you can be tonight."
"I know. You worry too much." She kisses him back as she shoos him off to do the last minute hanging of things, feeding the dog and pulling the last dessert she's made from the oven. Quickly showering and changing, Tim is just as quick to be back downstairs, settling with her on the couch as he once again massages her back, neck and stomach, lulling her into a light nap.
Slipping from behind her, he lays a blanket over her and goes to the front entryway, unlocking the door as he turns on the porch light and opens the door. The team will be arriving shortly and he doesn't want them feeling the need to ring the bell, or knock on the door or wake Pam with the noise from either. He stands out on the porch, relishing the fresh air and the contented feeling that comes from having the woman he loves more than life as his wife, in their own home, their first child safely on the way, with a job he loves and with the best team of co-workers he could ever ask for.
Lost in his happy thoughts, the sound of a car door in the driveway stirs him as he looks to see that as expected, Abby is the first to arrive. Only she's not alone, for which Tim is grateful, not only so she won't be driving home alone, but so that she'll be easier to talk to about the change in the dog's name – since she's the one who named him back in the day. Everyone on the team knows she's very invested in the dog's well-being, even if it is from afar. Tim doesn't begrudge her that anymore. Thanks to Pam, he's learned to accept things that have happened and be happy they've turned out as well as they have.
"Hey, Tim!" Abby greets from the end of the walk as she quickly traverses its short length.
Holding his finger to his mouth, he silently lets it be known Pam is sleeping even as he returns her one armed hug. Her other hand is holding a covered food dish while supporting the handles of a large paper shopping bag on her outstretched fingers.
"Pam's sleeping? Good. We'll be quiet. Won't we, Ziva?"
"Of course." The Israeli woman, whose own arms are full with several covered dishes and like Abby, shopping bags, replies without hesitation. "Is she alright?"
"She's fine. Just a little worn out. Though I think she's worried about something. I can see it in her eyes."
"We'll get her to talk." Abby promises.
"Abby. Pam and I wanted to tell you personally. We've changed the dog's name. Well, shortened it."
"Shortened Jethro? To What?" The Lab Rat asks in both surprise and hurt.
"JD" Tim tells her. "Since Pam's gotten closer to all of you, even Gibbs, she's more comfortable using that – and I am too."
"For Jethro Dog." Ziva surmises with a smile. "I like it."
Abby smiles. "Me too. How well has he taken to it?"
"Really well, actually. And for tonight, with so many people here, he'll need to stay out in the yard. I don't want him tripping anyone, especially Pam."
"Of course not!" Abby agrees. "C'mon, let's get this food inside and I wanna see how she's doin'."
"Abby. You saw her at work just yesterday and I am certain Tim does not want us waking her until absolutely necessary." Ziva reminds her.
"Don't worry. I won't."