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Title: The Worst Is Over
Pairing: Jimmy Palmer/Tim McGee
Prompt: Story 10
Author's Note: Mentions of rape.
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 stood stock-still, not even looking at the other memebers of the team. They had found out where Jimmy was -- or at least where they thought he was. They couldn't be sure that the information they'd received was correct, or a ruse to lead them in the wrong direction.
The man they were holding on suspicion of Jimmy's kidnapping hadn't told them a thing -- but at least they had managed to capture him. The other man, the one who had apparently helped engineer the kidnapping, had spilled his guts, thinking that he would get a deal.
Deal, my ass, Tim thought to himself, anger forming a red haze in his mind. That bastard had helped to abduct his boyfriend. There was no way they were going to cut him any kind of a deal, even if they did find Jimmy here and brought him home safely.
He might not have been the one who had raped Jimmy, but he was just as much a part of it as the rapist was. Tim intended to make them both pay; he didn't care how he did it, but those two men would suffer for the rest of their lives, however long they might last.
Once they caught the bastard that had done this, Tim intended to make sure that he spent the rest of his life behind bars, with no possibility of ever getting out. That was, if he didn't do something that would necessitate killing him -- which Tim was almost hoping would be the case.
He had never hated anyone with the intensity that he hated the man who had done this to his beloved. All he wanted now was to find Jimmy, to get him out of here, and to take him home. They would deal with whatever problems this might cause later, after Jimmy was safe.
It was still hard for Tim not to feel that he had somehow been the cause of all this, that Jimmy had suffered through this because of something he himself had done in the line of duty. If he'd know his actions would lead to this, then he might never have ....
Tim closed his eyes for a moment, taking a deep breath. No, he would still have done what he had, and taken the life of a criminal. It had been an inevitable act; it would have been Tim lying dead on a slab if he hadn't taken the shot when he had.
It still felt like this was all his fault; if only things had worked out differently, and he hadn't to shoot to kill in that moment that now seemed so long ago, then Jimmy would be safe. But he couldn't think about that now; this wasn't the time for him to relive past history.
They had to get into that room and get Jimmy out of there. Tim had no idea whether his boyfriend was even still alive or not; if Jimmy was dead, then he would hunt down the bastard responsible and subject him to a slow, agonizingly painful death -- even if it meant that he'd be put behind bars.
It would be worth spending the rest of his life in prison to end the life of the man who had taken everything away from him. If Jimmy was gone, then he'd have nothing to live for, anyway. He would have no reason to draw another breath, no reason to keep going.
"Tim." Gibbs' voice was soft in his ear, though it sounded very loud to him in the unnatural quiet. "Tim, he's in there. We'll get him out safely. Just focus on what we have to do. It'll be over soon, and you can take Jimmy home and get him the care he needs."
Tim nodded woodenly, praying that Gibbs was right. All he could think of was the possibility that they might be too late, that Jimmy might already be gone. But he didn't feel the emptiness within him that would signal such a loss; he still had a spark of hope that Jimmy was all right.
All right. That wasn't the phrase he would use, not after he knew what Jimmy had been through. He'd seen it in living color on that tape. He shouldn't have watched it, but he'd insisted, even though the rest of the team had told him not to.
He'd had to watch. He'd had to know just what had happened to Jimmy, had to know that the man he loved was still alive and relatively unscathed. He had to know that there was still hope that he would hold Jimmy again, that he hadn't lost all that made his life worth living.
Gibbs held up a hand, looking around at the team. One finger, then two. Tim waited breathless for that third finger to join the others; the moment it did, he surged forward just as Tony kicked in the door, holding his gun steady, prepared to look Jimmy's rapist in the eye.
Tim stopped dead in his tracks as soon as he had rushed into the room, lowering his gun. There was no one there- - no one but Jimmy, tied to a chair, a gag in his mouth, his dark eyes wide and frightened as he regarded the team who had come to his rescue.
"Jimmy!" The cry came from Tim's heart and soul; he couldn't have said another word if his life had depended on it. He dropped his gun, not caring where it landed, rushing towards his boyfriend and taking that beloved face between his hands to gaze into Jimmy's wide eyes.
It took a moment of fumbling to loosen the gag and remove it, then his lips brushed gently across Jimmy's mouth, convincing himself that his boyfriend was still warm and alive, that he was still here with him, and that Jimmy was safe now that they'd found him.
"Where is he?" Gibbs barked, relief evident under the clipped tone of his voice. "Is he still here, Jimmy? Do you have any idea where he is if not, and when he might be coming back?" The questions were rapid-fire; Tim knew that Jimmy might not be able to answer them.
Jimmy shook his head, swallowing hard, obviously having a hard time getting words out. "I-I d-don't know, Agent Gibbs," he managed to whisper, his voice hoarse. "H-he said y-you were getting too close. I don't know where h-he w-went. I'm j-just glad he's gone."
Tony had knelt behind the chair and used his pocketknife to cut the ropes that bound Jimmy's wrists; Ziva had done the same with his ankles, and together, she and Tim helped Jimmy to his feet. But Tim knew he would be unable to stand up; he'd been tied up in one position for too long.
Tim slid both arms around Jimmy's waist, letting his boyfriend lean on him, running a gentle hand through his hair. "Jimmy, it's okay," he whispered, tears welling in his eyes at the thought of all that Jimmy had been through. "We've got you, baby. You're safe."
"I-I know, Tim," Jimmy whispered, resting his head on Tim's shoulder. Jimmy's arms were around him, almost crushing him; his boyfriend was clinging to him as if for dear life. "L-let's j=just go home," he croaked, raising his face to look at Tim.
"We can't take you home yet, Jimmy," Tim told him, knowing that Jimmy would understand why they couldn't simply go home together and forget about this. "We've got to take you to the hospital, get you checked out. I know you don't want to, but it's kind of necessary."
Jimmy nodded slowly, managing a slight smile. "Okay," he whispered, leaning even more heavily against Tim. "I-I think I'm g-going to --" His words were cut off abruptly as he fainted in Tim's arms; Gibbs came forward to help support his weight, even though Tim knew he could hold Jimmy up.
Tim's eyes met Gibbs', asking him without words if he had permission to carry Jimmy out of here. He could call the paramedics, then go with Jimmy to the hospital and stay with him for as long as he had to be there. From this moment on, he wasn't leaving Jimmy's side.
He would have to do that eventually, Tim thought, but it would be a while before he did. He didn't think that Jimmy was going to feel safe without him around, and he felt uneasy at the thought of Jimmy being at home alone after all that had happened.
They were both overdue for some time off, anyway. And if there had ever been a time when they needed it, this was that time. But he could think about that later, when they were safely at home and the next difficult part of dealing with all of this was over and done.
It was easier to lift Jimmy in his arms than he'd thought it would be; he hadn't realized how little his boyfriend weighed. Tim took small, careful steps, feeling as though it took him forever to get outside the building and into the bright sunlight, where Ducky and Dorneget were waiting for them.
Jimmy didn't wake up as Tim laid him gently on the stretcher that Ducky had waiting; Tim climbed into the back of the van with him, sitting by side and holding his hand. He didn't want to relinquish contact with his boyfriend, or take his eyes from Jimmy's face.
The worst was over now, but Tim knew that his lover was going to face a long, hard road back to normality. Their lives had changed irrevocably in the past few days, and neither of them was ever going to be the same again. There was no going back to how life had been before.
But the important thing was that they'd found Jimmy, and just as Gibbs had promised, they were bringing him home safely. He had to focus on that, Tim told himself firmly. Yes, they would have a difficult time ahead of them, but as long as they had each other, they'd make it through.
Tim looked down at Jimmy again, blinking back tears as he squeezed his boyfriend's hand. Yes, they'd make it through, no matter how hard things might get. Jimmy was here with him; they were together, and they would stay together. In the end, nothing else really mattered.