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Title: Make Up For Lost Time
Pairing: Jimmy Palmer/Tim McGee
Table: 5, 12_stories
Prompt: 2, Comfort
Author's Note: Spoilers for the NCIS episode "Pyramid."
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Jimmy Palmer or Tim McGee, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.
"Tim, I'm all right, I swear," Jimmy protested as Tim brought him a cup of hot tea from the kitchen, setting it carefully on the coffee table. "You don't have to keep fussing over me. I'm not going to suffer any ill effects. The doctors all said so."
Tim frowned, sitting down on the couch beside Jimmy and wrapping his arms around his boyfriend. "Then why are you still shaking?" he asked, his voice soft. He tried to keep the worried tone out of his words, but it still seemed to seep through.
Jimmy held up a hand in front of his face; it was obvious to them both that there was still more than a slight tremor. He sighed, looking away from Tim. "You should know better than anybody else that a traumatic experience stays with you a while."
"I know it does," Tim said softly, moving closer to Jimmy and sliding his arms around his boyfriend's waist, pulling the other man close against him. "You shouldn't have had to go through that, Jimmy. I'm so sorry that I wasn't there to help you."
"That's not your fault, Tim," Jimmy said softly, leaning into his boyfriend's embrace. "You couldn't have known what Cobb was planning. He didn't make it obvious that he wanted to get into NCIS. And there was no way of knowing that I'd be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Tim shook his head, not yet willing to let go of the guilt he felt for not being there to help his boyfriend when Jimmy had needed him. "I'm there for so many people, whenever I can be," he murmured, the guilt washing over him again. "And I wasn't there for you."
"You can't keep blaming yourself for that," Jimmy said softly, raising a hand to cup Tim's cheek. "If you'd been there, he might have taken you, too. And that would have killed me. I'm more than willing to put myself in danger to keep you out of it, Tim."
"That's not what you signed on for when you started working for NCIS," Tim protested, though he couldn't help feeling a little glow around his heart at Jimmy's words. No one else had ever cared for him in that way. No one else had ever been willing to sacrifice themselves for him.
But he wouldn't let Jimmy do something so foolish, he told himself firmly. Nothing would be worth losing his boyfriend -- not even protecting his own life. How could he want to go on living if there was no Jimmy Palmer in the world to make him happy?
"No, it's not -- but I think it's the risk that anybody who works for the Navy takes," Jimmy told him, his tone serious. "I hadn't expected to end up in that kind of a situation -- but I never doubted for one second that you would get me out of it. I knew you'd rescue me, Tim."
Tim didn't know what to say to that; no one had ever believed in him and in his abilities the way that Jimmy did. His throat tightened when he tried to speak; all he could do was hold his boyfriend close against him, turning his head and brushing his lips across Jimmy's hair.
He'd never felt that he was much good at dispensing comfort to anyone who needed it. That had always made him feel more than a little awkward; Tim cursed himself for not knowing what to say, for not having glib words on his tongue, like Tony would have in this situation.
Tony would be able to give those words of comfort. Tim couldn't think of anything to say, other than to blame himself for not being there to have kept Cobb from taking Jimmy hostage. And those words didn't do any good at all, now that it was all over.
Jimmy was right, Tim thought with an inward sigh. He couldn't blame himself. No one could have known what Cobb was planning. Everyone had thought that they had him where they wanted him -- when he had really been playing them all along.
All he could do was snuggle his boyfriend close, and feel grateful that Jimmy hadn't been harmed. He had suffered no ill effects that the doctors could determine, even though Tim was sure that he would have a few nightmares before the memories began to fade.
If he did, then Tim would be there to soothe them away. He wasn't going to let Jimmy spend a night alone; he had already convinced the other man to stay with him for the rest of the week, and he would do his best to make sure that Jimmy stayed with him as often as possible after that.
And if not, then he would stay at Jimmy's place. He'd already made up his mind about that; nothing and no one was going to change it. He wanted to be close to Jimmy, to be sure that his boyfriend was protected, that he didn't have to be alone.
All right, so maybe he was overreacting a bit, Tim thought, sighing out loud this time. But he couldn't back the vestiges of the overwhelming fear that he had felt when he knew that Cobb had Jimmy. The panic was still threatening to come back, to wash over him when he least expected it.
"Tim, whats' wrong?" Jimmy asked, his voice very soft. "Are you still blaming yourself for Cobb kidnapping me? If you are, I want you to stop. That wasn't your fault" A shudder went through his thin body; Tim held him closer, the frown between his brows deepening.
He was sure that Jimmy would have to get over some bad memories from that experience, and he had to try his best to give his boyfriend the comfort he needed. If only he was better at doing that! Even with Jimmy, who he knew so well, he still felt tongue-tied.
He had to get past that, Tim told himself firmly. Jimmy needed comfort from the person closest to him -- and he was determined to give his boyfriend whatever he needed. He would simply have to learn how to be more comforting, even though it didn't seem to be in his nature.
Tim tightened his arms around his boyfriend, letting Jimmy lean against him. Slowly, gently, he ran one hand up Jimmy's back, up and down, not realizing that his touch could be just as comforting to the person he was holding as any words could possibly be.
"Tim?" Jimmy's voice was very soft, even a little shaky. Tim held him closer, wishing that he never had to let Jimmy go. He wanted to keep this man in his arms for the rest of their lives, to hold on to him and protect him from anything that could possibly hurt him.
"Yeah, baby?" he whispered, not realizing until the word was out that he'd used the endearment. He had never called anyone he'd dated by that kind of name -- but that was because no one had ever touched his heart and soul in the way that Jimmy had.
"I love it when you call me baby," Jimmy murmured, raising his head to smile at his boyfriend. Tim could almost feel his heart melting in his chest; there was something about that smile that could make him weak and hard at the same time, make his heart flutter and beat faster.
"I love saying it," he whispered, the words coming to his lips almost before he realized he had said them. "I love you." There. They were out. The three words that he had wanted to say to Jimmy for so long, and hadn't had the courage to utter.
"I love you, too," Jimmy whispered, his gaze meeting Tim's. "I've wanted to say that to you for so long, but I thought it would scare you away. I kept thinking that it was too soon to say it -- and then, when Cobb had me, I thought that I'd never get to say it."
"I was so afraid that I'd never be able to tell you how much I love you," Tim replied, his throat tightening. "I thought I was going to lose you, and then you'd never know how I felt. I promised myself that I was going to tell you how much I love you every day of our lives."
"You've got a lot of days to make up for, then," Jimmy told him, his tone breathless. A slow smile started to spread over his features; Tim could swear that he felt his knees tunring to water when he saw that smile, his senses leaping to full attention.
Jimmy leaned forward to brush his lips against Tim's -- but the other man had a different idea. He slid his arms around Jimmy's shoulders, pulling him close, pressing his lips against Jimmy's with a long, satisfying pressure that took both mens' breath away.
"You can keep doing that as much as you want to," Jimmy breathed against Tim's mouth. "I think I'll feel a lot better if you just keep on kissing me. That says a lot more than words ever could." His voice was soft, breathless, the words sending a tingle down Tim's spine.
Maybe he wasn't so bad at giving comfort, after all, Tim told himself as his lips met Jimmy's again. This was the kind of comfort he could get used to giving. He intended to keep giving it for the rest of their lives -- and he intended to make up for every second of time that had already gone by.11