For the Ghost of Timothy McGee
by B. Cavis
For the Ghost of Timothy McGee
by B. Cavis
Tony gasped, cursing and crying and trying to help. Gibbs swore and threatened God himself for this act of treason.
McGee bled. That’s all Kate really remembers. The color, the texture, the smell of him as he poured out onto the concrete.
Flashes of conversations; teases long since carried out and forgotten. She remembers watching him stain the ground, hands sticky with him, and wondering if he had been really super embarrassed by her and Tony showing up at his apartment and breaking down the door that morning. Had he forgiven them? Had he been angry in the first place?
Her palms had started to sweat through the blood, turning her skin a pale pink as opposed to violent red. Fading him.
She hadn’t wanted him to fade. Hadn’t wanted him to go away. She had watched the light leave him--- the air push out of his body and his anus relax and release, and she had known that it was wrong. Known it made her sad.
She didn’t want him to go away. She never wanted him to go away.
Sitting on Tony’s couch, mascara waterproof and light, Kate looks down at her palms and swears she can still see that pink on her. Still smell that iron tang that blood has.
“He’s dead,” she whispers silently to herself, feeling the words out on her lips, and when she looks up, Tony is staring up at the ceiling without saying anything, while Gibbs stares down at the glass resting in his hands. Helpless, she thinks, and angry at his helplessness.
The funeral was nice, she thinks, and almost says it.
I’m glad I’m here with the two of you, she thinks, and almost whispers.
The whole thing is pointless if you ask him. McGee is dead. McGee has been dead for days-- his corpse is cold and stiff enough to be called a corpse instead of a body, and he’s started to smell like decomposition. He’s dead as a fucking doorknob, though that expression makes absolutely no sense and comes no where near capturing the complexity of THE END of a life.
THE END is just that. No more, nothing. Tony’s not sure if he believes in an afterlife, but it doesn’t really matter either way because it has little bearing on THE END status.
You die. No more breathing, no more anything. Your bowels relax, the shit spills out of you, and you start to smell from that moment on. Of death; of something that was once a person and is now… a corpse. A body. A composition heap waiting to happen.
Doorknobs have nothing to do with corpses. Fuck doorknobs.
And you know what, Tony says to the water stain on the ceiling of his apartment, fuck corpses too. Fuck all of this pity and all of this uselessness and all of this morbidity. Since when has death had so much ceremony attached? Since when has it taken this much Goddamned work to die? They attend the funeral, they say their pretty words, and then they leave and feel just as miserable as they did in the first place. The whole mess makes Tony fucking sick, and he makes no bones about it.
Abby cried through the funeral. Big, silent tears running down her face as she bit her lip hard enough to draw blood on an otherwise pale face. Ducky held her and let her wail weakly into his lapel, and even though he offered to take her home, she refused. She didn’t want to be the first one to leave; didn’t want to be the first one to give up on the miracle occurring and McGee walking into his own funeral and telling them all that they have a case or that he’s found the solution to some geek problem that’s been plaguing them.
Gibbs had stared straight ahead. A soldier; a rock. He’s stone and he knows it, and Tony watched as Kate tried to emulate him; tried to be a Big Girl. He knows the feeling. For all of his seniority, for all of his strength, he can’t remember a time he fought against himself harder than at that funeral.
Kate wanted to cry. He had wanted to curse. Neither would’ve been appropriate for them. Warriors don’t cry where others can see them. Warriors don’t disrespect the dead, ever.
Warriors don’t show emotion. Ever.
Tony glances down at Gibbs, sighs, and tilts his head back up. There’s a lump in his throat he can’t seem to shake, but he has confidence that if he just pours enough booze down there, it’ll be something he can ignore for a while longer.
…McGee wouldn’t recognize him like this…
Gibbs is to his right, Kate to his left. The Boss is pointedly not looking at anything but the amber in his glass, but Kate is blank. She’s not looking, not scanning, not searching the room and them for some sort of answers; searching for something to make it better. He watches her hands, playing across the glass he gave her, knuckles bruised from beating up on the punching bag for too many hours and is suddenly very, very angry at her.
“Stop looking like a kicked puppy dog,” he snarls, and she turns too wide eyes upon him, naďve and confused. She looks numb and out of it, and her indifference only makes him angrier. Fucking bitch. Fucking whore-- doesn’t she feel anything? Doesn’t she feel the way he does?
Gibbs doesn’t say anything. God damn it, doesn’t that man ever blink? Kate swallows thickly, shakes herself, and takes a deep breath. “Tony-”
He recognizes that tone. There is no fucking way she is talking to him with that tone. “Kate, if you finish that sentence, I swear to God I’m going to hit you,” he warns, and waits for the fear or the shock or the something to set into her eyes.
He’s rewarded with only emptiness. Only calm, soft emptiness in the eyes he loves to get fired up to see the sparks she holds in them dance and fizz.
“Knock it off, DiNozzo,” Gibbs warns, but the sound is empty and hollow. Weak. He sounds like a father pushed too far and too long, and it shakes Tony’s already fragile grip on life and reality. Gibbs weakened.
Kate stands up and looks even smaller than she did sitting down. He remembers that look from when he worked in Baltimore; the crack whores and the junkies had it. The look of a woman whose insides have all rotted away, leaving her to cave in on herself. Their arms were full of holes, their eyes wide and empty, and their bodies collapsed. Slumped.
Kate shouldn’t look like this, he thinks, and he’s up again to try and get to her, try and reach something inside her to make this pain in his throat better. To make it all better.
“You think this has anything to do with you? Huh? You’re pathetic.” She moves past him, towards his bedroom, and he grabs her arm and squeezes. “McGee’s dead, Kate. Come on, don’t you have some tears for me?”
“Let go of me,” she whispers, and the weakness in her is sickening too. Is she that much of Gibbs’s clone sans penis? Does she need to have that empty place there too?
“I told you to knock it off,” Gibbs warns, closing his eyes, but not raising his head. “Let go of her right now, DiNozzo, or I’ll hit you and we’ll see how you like it.”
“Yeah?” he challenges, the cub snarling at the bear. “You think you got it in you? Or are you too busy wallowing in worthless fucking self-pity too? Huh, Boss?” and that word is so condescendingly horrible, it makes Kate flinch.
“That’s a low blow, Tony,” she whispers, voice still raspy and soft. He grips her wrist hard enough to feel her bones grating together, then shoves her away from him with a quick jerk. She’s not ready for it, and when she falls to her knees and lets out a quick sound of shock and pain, Gibbs is up in a minute.
Tony has enough time to take one quick breath before the older man has him pressed up against the nearest wall, arm against his windpipe, cobalt blues on his face.
“You do that again and I’ll beat you so badly you won’t be able to eat solid foods for a long time,” he whispers, hard and mean-- no more emptiness, Tony thinks with appreciation. “You hear me? You want to hit someone, hit me.”
“I wouldn’t want to beat up on an old man,” Tony growls, and is thrown to the floor alongside Kate. He coughs a bit, glares at Gibbs, and glances at her.
She’s sitting on her butt, eyes on her hands, gaze turned inwards, and there’s a tremble around her mouth that makes him wish he were more powerful. Stronger for her. He looks away when she gets to her feet, and when she moves towards the bedroom this time, no one touches her.
Tony bought a king-sized when he moved in; he likes his space. Gibbs knows the feeling-- his own bed is just as large. Sometimes, it gets lonely, sure, but when it’s filled, there’s plenty of room to move; to play and to frolic.
Sometimes, when it gets lonely, he imagines who he wants it filled with.
Kate is a small little tuft of hair and clean scrubbed skin on the bed. Gibbs runs a hand down the ridge of her back, and she gives a shuddering gasp for air and a stifled snort. He rolls her over, sees her face, and digs out his handkerchief to do what he can for her. She lies still on the bed and lets him clean her like a child, blowing her nose when ordered, sniffling and wounded. Her bottom lip is still trembling.
“He didn’t mean to hurt you,” he offers her quietly, and watches her turn her face against the sheets and hide. “He’s not acting like himself right now.”
She nods, stiffly, and he tries to think of something soothing and good to do for her. He used to rub his third wife’s lower back when she got like this, but he’s not sure how much she liked that. She did divorce him after all.
He remembers a time, not too long ago, when he used to know all the answers when it came to these people. These… two.
God he misses that.
She starts to cry again, choking, whining sobs-- she fights each tear, each breath, and even though they win in the end, she still fights. Still the brave one. His brave soldier girl, brave little prodigy. The other one is in the kitchen, storming and fuming, trying to soothe his own pains.
This one denies that she has them to begin with, fights them when they surface, and raises her sword to go into a battle she can never win.
And he sits by. Worthless. Useless. McGee’s dead, Kate’s shattered, Tony’s wounded, and he’s…impotent.
Ducky took Abby home after the funeral, and sent Gibbs with Tony and Kate. “They need you, Jethro” he had said quietly, and Gibbs had followed the two of them into the black chauffeured car that the Director had arranged for once he’d seen the state of the three of them.
Couldn’t even drive himself to the boy’s funeral, he thinks, looks down at his hands (his worthless, useless hands) and wishes he wasn’t the hard ass he was. Wishes it was okay, that it was even possible, for him to cry with her right now.
She needs him and he can’t help. Tony needs him and he can’t get close enough to touch. McGee needed him, and he failed.
McGee is dead, his team is broken, and he failed them all.
I’ll do it again, he thinks. I’ll fail them again. He did it then, he’s doing it now, and what’s to say he won’t do it next time? What’s to say that the next time there’s a threat, a gun at someone’s head, he won’t screw it up then? What’s to say that he won’t wear this suit two more times before they burry him in it?
He doesn’t have the strength to lose any more of them. He’s still not sure if he has the strength in him to recover from this one.
God, please, he begs, let me have the strength.
Weak, snarls a voice inside of her, weak little girl crying on the bed. Want someone to tell you it’s all going to be okay, don’t you? Well, it’s not, and you’re going to have to learn to live with that. Suck it up. He would want you to be stronger than this. He had you blow your nose for him, for the love of God. Can you even imagine how disappointed he must be in you right now?
She feels small. She feels weak, and she feels small, and she can’t ever imagine feeling all right again. God, he must think she is just this weak little female who needs to be help and comforted and coddled. He probably thinks she’s pathetic. A nobody with a soft heart who isn’t strong enough to work with him. He’s going to fire her, she just knows it. He doesn’t want her after this. No one will want her after th-
“God, please, let me have the strength,” he whispers, a prayer, a thought that snuck away from his brain and spilled out of his mouth, and she stops.
…she’s not the only one who needs right now. ..
Kate raises her eyes from the blanket, now soaked with her tears, and has a brief internal debate. She loses.
“Gibbs,” she sniffs, and he looks down at her. “Could you… could you do me a favor?”
“Yeah Katie. What?” Sure, he thinks, let me screw up your life even more. She’s looking at him, oh so trusting and oh so sure in his abilities, and it makes him feel like the biggest fraud that’s ever walked the face of the Earth. Don’t ask me for the moon, Katie. I won’t even bring you the stars.
“Could you… hold me for a bit.” Her voice cracks off and she winces at the weakness, closing her eyes and hiding a bit more of herself. “I know it’s… but… could you just hold me? Please?”
She’s small, he thinks. Tiny and weakened. The bed is too big for her, and it must be lonely because she has that look on her face that speaks to just how on her own she feels right now.
I can give her this. If nothing else, I can give her this. I’m not that useless yet. He takes a deep breath and nods, kicking off his shoes.
She’s so compacted in on herself that it’s easy to fit her, but he’s so out of practice with this that it takes several gentle adjustments for her to be comfortable against him, and it takes several more for him to fall back into step. You never forget this, he supposes, breathing in the smell of her hair and the dull scent of the funeral home that clung to her despite her brief wash in DiNozzo’s sink. You never forget how to hold a woman.
He lifts a leg up, and she slips hers underneath it as he wraps it around her back. She hurts right now-- she’s embarrassed to be crying but she can’t stop herself, and therefore she hurts. He covers as much of her as he can with himself, hiding as much of her as he can fit into his own body, and she makes the soft shuddering breathes of the emotionally worn out into the cavern he built for her against himself.
“T-Thank you,” she whispers, and he nods.
“Yeah. Think you can sleep?”
She shrugs, but doesn’t say anything. He nods and settles himself in for the long haul, meeting the dark eyes that have watched the whole display from the doorway. After all, Kate’s easy. She needs comfort, human contact; she needs to feel like everything’s going to be okay, and all he has to do to make that happen is hold her close enough to feel her heartbeat running through him.
Tony… isn’t easy. The last time he had to deal with Tony in a mood like this was after the whole Pachy thing last year, and it had taken considerable energy and time to make him behave again. Energy that Gibbs doesn’t have right now.
Kate snuggles harder into his chest, whimpering slightly, and Tony’s face pinches slightly, mouth tightening. Gibbs doesn’t say anything; he doesn’t know what he’d say even if he had enough focus to form words.
Tony’s dress shirt is untucked, pants wrinkled. He discarded the jacket somewhere, and the no doubt insanely expensive tie has been undone and twisted between his fists so many times that it’s hanging limp and sweaty around his neck. He looks like a man who’s been in a bar fight, only the only blood on him is his own.
He walks over to the bed, eyes focused on the small bit of Kate’s back that Gibbs hasn’t been able to cover with his body. He stands there for a while, just watching, and Gibbs doesn’t take his eyes off him for a moment.
As if you can control what he does just by looking at him, his mind mocks him. As if you’re powerful enough to keep her safe from him.
But Tony doesn’t say anything, and Gibbs doesn’t look away. Kate breathes, even and deep between them, her body curled up to Gibbs’s and her hair spilling out from between them. Sometimes, when the beds get lonely, they both see that brown on their pillows.
Tony touches her back, Gibbs shifts uncomfortably, and Kate sighs.
“Katie,” Tony asks softly.
“Can I join you?”
The younger man’s eyes close for a split second, and when he opens them again, Gibbs has turned his attention elsewhere. Kate accepts the warmth of another man behind her with little complaint, and when his back is touched by another man’s hands, hesitantly, Gibbs raises no arguments. He can see the start of bruises on Tony’s throat from where he pressed his arm.
Tony’s eyes close and Gibbs pretends not to see the tears steadily, silently trailing down his cheeks.
Around three in the morning, Kate slinks out from between them and uses the bathroom, taking a quick shower to wash the tears from her skin. The water soothes her muscles, the aches and the pains she has from her scuffle with Tony, and she opens her mouth and lets it pour down her throat to wash away the hurt inside.
After five minutes of scrubbing with soap and swallowing shower water, she sighs and gets out, wrapping a towel around herself absently. She still feels like crap, her knees are turning black and blue, but there’s something… warmer inside of her than there was before. She shakes her head to clear it and opens the door.
The two men on the bed watch her as she slips out of the towel, eyes slit to silver reflections of moonlight. For a moment she is highlighted, glorious and primal, against the light from the outside world, but neither one of them say anything. She digs through DiNozzo’s dresser, finds a T-shirt that’s five sizes too large on him, and pulls it on along with the panties she was wearing before. She swims, but she doesn’t seem to notice.
Moving steadily and slowly back onto the bed, as though not to wake them, she slips back into her spot and takes a deep breath to slip back into the place of sleep; trying to get her bearings again.
Tony rolls her over onto her back, shoves the t-shirt up, and starts tonguing her bellybutton before she’s gotten a word out, Gibbs has a hand down her panties before she’s let out the first moan.
“What the hell are we doing?” she asks the ceiling, fingers curling into Tony’s hair and hips shoving up at Gibbs’s fingers. She’s sticky and warm in his palm, and he cradles her clit between two fingers, drawing the tension in with slow, steady strokes.
“Avoidance,” Tony whispers against her flesh, but the sound is lost in the low growl of Gibbs as Tony pulls his own shirt off and bares a bit more of himself to them. His undershirt is just as quickly discarded, and the tie goes flying to land in the corner.
Kate and Gibbs watch him this time, eyes hidden by heavy lids, as he licks and sucks at Kate’s skin, muscles in his back clenching and releasing beautifully. She tilts her head to look at Gibbs desperately. “We really shouldn’t do this,” she breathes, and he nods.
“No.” But his fingers speed up, and she offers no complaint to his teeth at her throat.
Tony kneels by her side and pulls her panties down in a movement that would be awkward if he wasn’t such a slut and didn’t know exactly what he was doing. She groans as the cool air hits her and spreads her legs a bit wider. Tony tries to remember what they say about good little Catholic girls, can’t get passed the image of the skirt and the knee socks, and pushes her legs as far as he can get them to go.
“Spread for me, Katie,” he tells her and gets on all fours to loom over her. Gibbs’s fingers are still working, still pulling the little gasps of a woman building to release out of her, and the look on her face makes him wonder why he didn’t give in and fuck her earlier.
Best not to think about it, he tells himself. Best not to think about a lot of things right now. He kisses her to try and lose himself in her mouth and she kisses him back for the same reason.
Her fingers unzip Gibbs’s pants, and the sound is like a shot in the quiet room. Tony pulls back, Gibbs sucks at her throat, and she glances down to see Gibbs’s cock in her hand, just like it was with the boys she used to date in high school, college, and the Secret Service, only somehow a bit different.
“Kate,” he hums, but says nothing else. She looks up at Tony as her hand starts to trail over the thickness of her boss, and her co-worker looks back down at her like she’s his last meal before execution.
“Tony,” she whispers, she the sound of her is better than all the dirty talk in the world. If she had just rolled over, smacked her own ass, and begged him to do her like the slut she is, like his little whore, like a naughty school girl-- it couldn’t be as good as that.
He knows. He’s heard it all before and more.
She spreads her legs wide for him when he scoots down her body and presses his face against her belly, and he moves accordingly. Gibbs’s fingers are covered in her, slick and scented, and he can’t stop himself from licking them both at the same time.
Kate gasps and throws her head back, and Gibbs thrusts harder into her hand, eyes focused on Tony’s brown head.
Sometimes, when his bed gets lonely, he sees that brown on his pillow.
A woman taste different when on a man, Tony discovers. He’s never experienced that-- on his list of goals not yet accomplished has long been Threesome, but that dream usually meant him and two long legged dark haired beauties, not his boss and his comrade.
A woman tastes different. Kate tastes different when she’s on Gibbs. The cock being jerked off so near his head tempts him, but he has been dreaming of robbing this woman of voice for a very long time, and stopping now isn’t in him.
Kate whimpers when he traces her with his tongue, darting in to play and darting out to tease. One hand regains the grip in his hand, holding steadily as the other jerks Gibbs off. Tony licks down her opening to play with her asshole, tongue sharpening to a point and flattening to a thick caress where necessarily, and she gives the reactions he recognizes, and then some.
He’s been doing this for over fifteen years and Gibbs has been doing it for longer. She doesn’t stand a chance against the two of them, but given the hard, desperate way Gibbs is watching her, they don’t stand much of one either.
Her hand is tight and smooth around Gibbs’s cock, and he thrusts into the hole she provides, nibbling at her lips in between pants and groans. Come on, his body begs, I need this, I need this.
Kate denies him. He fucks her hand harder, body shaking subtly. His hand is losing dexterity on her clit, and she must be able to see how desperate he is for it-- how much he needs this-- but she’s not going to let him out yet. Not until she wants to, her eyes proclaim hazily.
Tony slips two fingers inside her, digs, and finds her G-spot, and she arches off the bed as he strokes her. “Oh Jesus, Tony, there, there, there!” He does it again, and she moans helplessly, eyes locked onto Gibbs’s. “Jesus…”
“That’s the spot, huh?” Tony asks, sounding almost amused. “That’s the spot that makes you mine, baby girl?” The name sounds ridiculous on his tongue, and she’ll mock him for it later-- when she can breathe again. Gibbs grins at the look of complete abandon on her face.
“I think that might just be it, Tony,” he hums, and she scrunches up her face tight as he hits it again, mouth going slack as Gibbs rubs her clit harder to catch her on the downswing and throw her back up. She grips his cock hard, almost to the point of pain, but he’s too wired to feel it as anything but friction, and his hips start hammering again.
He imagines putting her on her hands and knees, fucking her until she begs for more, while Tony lies underneath the two of them, licking his balls and playing with his ass. Her pictures Tony, head cushioned in her lap as she fucks his mouth with two fingers, and him, fucking the frustrating, arrogant, so utterly fuck-able man into submission, making him grunt and beg and whine for it, for more, for him, for them, for them, for them…
Tony laughs harshly against Kate’s clit as Gibbs’s comes all over her hand and his head, rubbing at his cheek with the back of his hand and pushing his fingers inside her again, hard. She’s still begging quietly, still whimpering and pushing against him, and he pauses just to see what she’ll do.
“Tony, if you stop again, I’m going to hurt y…” He pushes them back again, rubs harder, and watches her body tighten up. One more push should do it. One more push is all he needs.
“You gonna come for me, Katie? Huh? You gonna blow for me?” He pushes his thumb up to press against the fingers that have gone still and sated, shoving them aside to press into her. “Come on, Katie, don’t leave me hanging.”
Her hips are shifting, moving, searching, and he licks at her with the very tip of his tongue, pressing as hard as he can with just that, and watches as her hand comes away from Gibbs’s soft cock, palms slamming down on the bedcovers, grinding come into the fabric as she throws her head back and begs one last time before tumbling over and squeezing so hard around his fingers that he groans in anticipation.
Jesus she’s tight.
He looks down at his own, depressingly quiet groin. Kate lifts her head up off of the bed, eyes hazy, lips sticky with mixed saliva. She’s smiling like the cat that just got the cream. “I think it’s your turn.”
He sighs and flops down on the bed beside her, on his back, and doesn’t protest when she rubs a hand over where his bulge would normally be. Gibbs is still conked out beside her, but he perks up noticeably when she climbs up to straddle Tony-- or at least enough to give her an affectionate pat on the ass before going back to seeing stars.
She looks down at him, her eyes gentle, and it’s too much for him to look at right now. He throws an arm over his eyes, taking deep steady breaths and trying not to think about the sticky feeling on the side of his face and hand.
He gets caught up in moments sometimes.
“Tony,” she whispers, “could you do me a favor? Please?”
He pulls his arm away wearily, and finds two pairs of calm eyes on him; all-knowing brown and all-powerful blue. He’s not sure which pair is more disconcerting. “Yeah, what?”
“Whatever it is that you’ve got in here right now,” and she points to his chest. “Don’t do it to yourself. If you’re going to hit anyone, hit me. At least I’ll hit back. But beating yourself up over things just leaves you broken.” She shakes her head. “It’s not healthy for you.”
“And if you’re going to hit her,” Gibbs mutters darkly. “Hit me instead. Because I don’t want to see what she’ll do to you in retaliation.”
She puts her head on his bare chest and breathes him in slowly. There are tears on her cheeks again, thick mucous in her throat, and Gibbs is clearing his throat suspiciously often.
Tony lets her be his blanket and doesn’t say anything. He’s thinking about the cool hardwood floors of McGee’s apartment and the bookshelves that took up all his floor space, and wondering if anyone would mind if he went by to get something to keep of his before his parents get to take all of his stuff home with them.
He wonders if Gibbs is going to cry, and if he’ll be around to see it.
He wonders if Kate will ever stop crying, and holds her tighter even as he shifts closer to the older man to share body heat and comfort.
Gibbs looks at him, calm and helpless, and they close their eyes to try and get some sleep. To try to escape.
Kate throws an arm and a leg over Gibbs to keep them both close to her and bathed in her female comfort, and listens to their breathing even out and soften. The clock on the wall counts out the seconds, and she waits for the ghost of Timothy McGee to come to haunt her.
The clock keeps ticking, they all keep breathing. She sits and waits for closure.
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