Sorrow's mysteries

Dead children.

Tim doubts there is anything worse than seeing children’s bodies, eyes staring sightlessly ahead.

A little girl’s dress, drenched in blood.

Ducky’s report had been enough to make Tim run to the bathroom. He can’t remember the last time he puked during a case, but this—

At least they caught the bastard.

Not that it came without expenses – Tony at gunpoint and then there’d been shots and Tim still can’t really tell what had happened because it had all been loud noise and fear ringing in his ears.

Now every time he closes his eyes, he sees Tony, jaw set, eyes black with fury, a gun to his head. Tim’s heart races just like it did back there in the apartment where the walls were lined with pictures of little children.

Tim gets home and he stares at his apartment as though he’s never been there before. He doesn’t see any of it; the case keeps replaying in front of his eyes. The girl. Her little brother.

Five minutes pass before he removes his shoes.

He’s sitting on his bed still wearing his coat when the doorbell rings. He startles at the sound and walks to the door before he has time to think that maybe he could ignore it.

He smells the pizza before he gets the door open. For once, the smell isn’t delicious; it makes his stomach churn violently.

Tony isn’t wearing his usual smile. Instead, his eyes are hollow and there are shadows across his face that make him look old, so old. He holds the pizza in one hand. In the other, a bottle of vodka hangs. Tim manages to raise an eyebrow up.

“’s not a night for beer,” Tony says.

“Not sure I’m up for pizza.”

Tony shrugs. “We can do just the vodka.”

Tim lets Tony inside. He’s not sure what Tony is doing there at the same time as he knows exactly what he’s doing there. Neither one wants to be alone tonight and they can’t exactly go to Gibbs. Tony could probably go to Ziva, though. Tim isn’t sure why he didn’t.

Tony drops the pizza in Tim’s tiny kitchen and grabs two glasses. They’re regular glasses, the kind Tim usually uses for milk and juice and never ever vodka, but Tony pours vodka in them anyway and takes a gulp of it, shuddering and making a face as it burns its way down his throat.

He holds out a glass to Tim. Tim takes it, but doesn’t drink.

“You sure this is the best idea?” Tim asks.

“Got a better suggestion?” Tony’s voice is rough. When he looks at Tim, Tim just wants the light to return to his eyes. “Thought not.”

Tim really doesn’t have any other ideas. Drowning himself in some virtual world doesn’t seem nearly enough after today. Drowning himself in liquor is more inviting. Maybe with vodka, he can scrub off the images of blood in blond hair and stains on a little green dress with a bow in the back.

Tony is already re-filling his own glass and Tim worries briefly about alcohol poisoning, but Tony is a grown up so he should know his own limits.


That isn’t to say that he’ll actually remember them right now, when his eyes are dead.

Tim reaches out and puts a hand on Tony’s arm, stopping him as he’s raising his glass to take another swig of liquor.

“Tony, maybe—”

He doesn’t get any further because then his mouth is covered by Tony’s. Lips tasting of vodka, tongue pushing past Tim’s lips with little to no invitation. Not that Tim is resisting – he’s in shock, because no, this wasn’t expected no matter what horrors the day has brought – he just stands there, hands to his sides as Tony presses against him.

Then it’s impossible for him to not respond because there is urgency in Tony’s actions that screams to Tim, screams to do whatever Tony wants right now.

Anything to get the light back into Tony’s eyes.

Anything to forget.

And Tony’s tongue is like fire, heating Tim from the inside until he’s kissing back with equal fervency.

He doesn’t think much at all after that.

The glasses and the bottle stand forgotten on the kitchen counter.


new scene


The morning sun stings his eyes when he wakes up. They never closed the blinds the night before and now—


Tim stops short, because there is so much in that little word.

He had sex with Tony last night. Tony, his friend and colleague and—lover?

He lies perfectly still, eyes shut, pretending to still be asleep. What is he supposed to say? When he turns around and sees Tony there, what are they supposed to do? There’s a slight panic causing his heart to beat quicker.

Then he realizes that he can’t hear the sound of another person breathing. And that probably means—

When he turns around, he finds that he’s alone. The other side of the bed, where he’s pretty sure Tony fell asleep last night, is empty. The sheets are rumpled at the end of the bed and the pillow is on the floor. Tim’s cheeks flush when he remembers what they were doing when the pillow hit the floor.

Tim gets out of bed. His mind is filled with thoughts of Tony – naked Tony, sweaty Tony, Tony’s hands everywhere and—

It’s confusing. He’s never had sex with anyone without being in a meaningful relationship with them – and now this? With Tony?

He had sex with Tony.

And it was good.

Like, really good.

Although it’s weird and although he doesn’t have a clue of where that leaves them, he’s a little glad that it happened. It’s making him think about other things than a little boy’s broken body.

He doesn’t know if he feels anything about Tony. Beyond the friendship and colleague thing, that is. Sure, there have been times when he’s pondered what Tony would be like in bed. Tony has forced so many stories about all of his conquests onto them, it’s impossible not to wonder. And Tim’s pretty sure Ziva has had her go with Tony, so he’s spent a few lonely nights thinking about that too, even though it’s a little weird.

But Tony as more than a friend?

Kissing him was nothing short of fantastic. Does that mean Tim’s in love with Tony?

Does good sex have to mean anything but that it was good sex?

Thinking isn’t getting him anywhere. But he’s not sure what else he can do because Tony is gone and Tim is smart enough to realize that that means Tony doesn’t want to talk. Quite possibly ever. He won’t get the ever part, because they do have to go to work on Monday morning, but Tim can give Tony time until then.

Tim makes breakfast – the pizza is still on the counter so he grabs a slice and he thinks that eating pizza for breakfast is something he learned from Tony while on stakeouts – and cleans up the glasses they used for vodka.

Then he spends the day by his computer, pretending to be an elf lord and trying his very best not to think about Tony.


new scene


Tim is starting to think that maybe Tony will in fact stay away until Monday morning when they have to see each other in the bullpen. It’s Sunday afternoon and Tim hasn’t heard so much as a peep from Tony. It’s unusual, because Tony tends to forward stupid emails to him and send him silly messages on the phone at least a half a dozen times on any given day. Tim finds himself missing Tony, which surprises him. He’s snapped at Tony to stop bothering him on more than one occasion.

Then the doorbell rings and Tim pauses the game. His heart beats a little faster as he walks to the door.

Tony stands on the other side, hair standing on end and gaze studiously on the ground.

“Hey,” Tim says.

Tony doesn’t say a word. He appears to find the floor of utmost interest.

“Wanna come in?” Tim asks finally.

Tony shuffles, looking young and very old all at once. He’s wearing sweatpants and a sweater, but his face is drawn and the shadows that were there on Friday are still there, deeper and darker now. Tim isn’t sure Tony has slept at all.

Tim doesn’t know what to do, so he just stands there and waits until Tony moves inside. Tony removes his shoes in a mechanical way and then stands in the not-really-a-hallway of Tim’s apartment. Tim suddenly wishes he owned a couch. As it is, there is the chair by the computer and then there’s the bed. His apartment isn’t made to entertain guests.

“Do you want something to drink?”

Tony looks at him and makes a sound. “Been drinking enough.”

That doesn’t come as a surprise; Tim can smell the lingering scent of alcohol surrounding Tony.

Tim sighs. “Not to sound rude or anything, but—why are you here?”

Tony looks up at him, finally. Tim can only describe Tony’s eyes with one word: haunted. Tony looks like he’s being chased by an invisible force, slowly drawing the life out of him.

“I shouldn’t have come,” Tony mutters.

“Yeah, you should have.” Tim interrupts, gentle but firm, and comes to stand between Tony and the door, stopping him from leaving. Not that he could stop Tony if he really tries, but Tony doesn’t seem to have the energy to fight Tim.

The slumped shoulders, the downcast gaze – Tim is suddenly overcome with the urge to gather Tony up in his arms. He can still remember what Tony feels like, naked skin against naked skin, warm and alive.

But he stays where he is because he’s pretty sure that Tony will bolt if Tim so much as touches him.

“So I guess you want to talk about Friday?” Tony asks, sounding tired.

Tim shrugs. “We don’t have to talk about it right now.”

Tony gives a soft snort. “When are we supposed to do it, then? In the bullpen tomorrow with Ziva eavesdropping and Gibbs repeating rule number twelve?”

“You just don’t look like you’re up for a talk right now.”

Tony rolls his eyes but it comes off as a shadow of his usual self. “I’m fine.”

“Is that why you’ve been drinking your way to oblivion?” Tim hopes he doesn’t sound like he’s judging; he’s not. He’s been doing the same kind of reality avoidance as Tony, except his has involved online gaming instead of the bottom of a bottle.

Apparently, Tony hears judging anyway. “I shouldn’t have come.”

This time, he does brush past Tim, deliberately bumping hard into Tim’s shoulder when he passes.

Tim isn’t going to stand for that crap, no matter how lousy Tony’s feeling. The probie who would’ve accepted Tony acting this way is long since gone.

He grabs Tony’s arm and pushes him back, away from the front door. “I changed my mind. We’re talking about Friday.”

Tony looks suddenly angry. “What about it? You were here, you were convenient. Don’t worry, it’s not going to happen again.”

The words are like a punch and Tim flinches.


He’s not going to let Tony get away so easily, though.

“Then why are you here?”

Tony’s response is a second too late for it to be honest. “I thought I’d tell you now, so that you don’t make a scene tomorrow at work.”

Tim has been working with Tony for over five years. He knows the nuances of Tony’s voice, knows his different moods and he knows the way Tony likes his coffee and what toppings he wants on a pizza. After the undercover fiasco, he’s also taken the time to learn when Tony is lying.

The problem is, though Tim knows that Tony is lying, he doesn’t know what the truth is.

He takes a chance for once in his life. He takes two steps and suddenly they’re very close. Tim’s heart is beating so hard Tony should be able to hear it.

“Want to try that again?” Tim’s voice is low.

Tony’s response is unconscious; his tongue darts out to lick his lips. There is still darkness, so much darkness, in his eyes. The shadows beneath his eyes look almost blue.


Tony stops, staring at Tim.

“Thought so,” Tim says.

Tony growls. “Don’t play with me.”

A hint of a smile crosses Tim’s lips. “I’m not.”

And Tim realizes as he utters the words that it’s true. He’s not playing Tony. He’s not just trying to get the best of him.

He actually likes being this close to Tony.

“I swear, if you—”

Tim sighs. “Tony.”

Tony falls silent again.

This time, Tim initiates the kiss instead.

It’s nothing like it was on Friday.

This kiss is slow and gentle, exploring without the demons racing them on. Tony’s lips are warm and soft against Tim’s. Tim cups Tony’s face in his hands, running his thumbs along Tony’s cheekbones. The skin is a little rough.

Tim wonders why he never realized that Tony is in love with him. He’s not sure how or why he realizes it now, but he does. All the little things – the teasing and the funny emails and the touching and the pictures – all of it comes together, forming a full picture within Tim’s mind.

He hasn’t sorted out his own feelings yet, but he’s pretty sure that when it feels this good to kiss someone, when someone melts this easily against him, when he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Tony for the last thirty-six hours, then it’s more than just friendship. More than just two colleagues taking comfort in each other.

Tony doesn’t draw back when he speaks again; his words travel across Tim’s neck where Tim can’t see Tony’s face.

“I’m sorry about, you know.”


“Yeah.” It’s more a breath than a word.

Tim smiles slightly. “It’s okay. I was having a bit of a panic attack when I woke up, so it was probably easier that way.”

Tim is pretty sure he can feel Tony’s smile.

They’re quiet again. Tony is leaning on Tim a little more with each passing moment, like he’s ready to fall asleep against Tim, standing in the living room.

“I don’t think I’m up for anything tonight.” Tony sounds a little shy and Tim has to smile, because he doesn’t think he’s ever heard Tony being shy before. He likes it.

“That’s okay,” Tim says. “How about we just get some sleep?”

It’s not like Tim got much good sleep last night anyway. Nightmares about little green dresses and blood chased him, waking him drenched in sweat over and over.

Tony doesn’t respond and Tim takes that as a yes. He manages to somehow lead them into the bedroom and get Tony in underneath the covers, even though Tony is pretty much dead weight by now and even though it’s only four thirty in the afternoon. It’s not like they don’t have some catching up to do.

Tim takes off his pants and shirt. He lets Tony keep his sweatpants but manages to wrangle off the shirt and then he climbs in behind Tony. They fit nicely against each other and Tony gives a soft sound of contentment when Tim wraps his arm around Tony’s waist.

They still have to talk. There are still questions, the why and how and what the hell are we doing.

But it can wait until morning.

They’re asleep within minutes.

And this time when the nightmares start, they hang onto each other tighter until the demons are chased away.

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Author’s notes: This was written in response to this prompt.

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