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 Post subject: Ever After ~ for Valerie
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:28 am 
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written for: Valerie, as a Haiti Relief ficlet, which ran a little over ficlet size. Thanks for your donation!
rating: FR13
characters: Tim and an OC
genre: drama
prompt: Happily ever after…never came
A/N: I wanted to do something different than break Tim's heart, but of course there had to be a broken heart somewhere. This is what came out. I hope it's okay.

- - - - -

Tim smiled as the middle-aged waitress took away their menus, but his eyes were really on his dinner guest. “I’m so psyched that you found some time in your schedule to see me, Uncle.”

“I’d never hear the end of it if I came to Washington and didn’t see you, Tim,” Millar McGee laughed.

“You got that right. At least, I wouldn’t let you forget it.”

The older man picked up his water glass. “So, what’s new with you, Tim? Seeing anyone?”

Blushing, Tim set down his own glass awkwardly. “No. I guess I’m not the settling-down type.”

“Aha! There’s a Casanova in every generation of the McGees.”

“That’s not what I meant. I can’t find anyone to settle down with…at least, no one who wouldn’t quickly drive me crazy. I’m 32, Uncle Millar. Do you know that, not so long ago, prospective employers looked down on male job applicants who were over 30 and still not married? Like they were unstable for not having married.”

“Does NCIS look down upon you, Tim?”

“No. And…oh; crap. Uncle, I’m sorry. I’ve put my foot in my mouth again. You’ve never married.”

“Eh. The Navy doesn’t care. I don’t have anyone nagging me to come home from a long sea voyage.” His smile was warm and understanding. This favorite uncle of Tim’s had plenty of laugh lines around his gray eyes.

“So, you’ve never felt like you were missing out? I wish I could make myself feel that way.”

“Life is complicated, Tim. Finding someone, a soul mate, can be part of it…but it doesn’t have to be.”

“Well, I’m glad of that,” Tim said, still trying to fight his way out of the faux pas. “If you can do it, then I can, too. It’s frustrating enough, all this rejection. If I just stop trying, then I’ll—”

“Now, hold on, Tim,” Millar said quickly. “I’ve never married. But that doesn’t mean I was never in love.”

“You were?” Tim was startled, and he searched his memory, trying to dredge up an image of his uncle with any female who wasn’t a relative.

“It was some time ago,” said Millar, as if reading Tim’s thoughts. “More than 30 years back. Her name was Gisele, and I thought she was the most beautiful creature who had ever walked the earth.

“We met in Marseilles. She wasn’t a native; she was from Switzerland. I was posted there for six months. She was an artist, recently moved there and liking the effect of the light on the sea. She was at the table across from mine at a café. We met when the waiter, who was new on the job, mixed up our orders. He was so apologetic, we wound up doing everything we could to make him feel better and not get fired. And Gisele then invited me to join her at her table.”

“Was it ‘love at first sight’?” Tim asked. “I’ve heard of that, but I suspect it only happens in fairy tales.”

Millar smiled, and his eyes glowed. “We talked for hours, until the café closed. I walked her home, and her kisses were sweeter than any wine I had ever tasted. Cliché, maybe, but it was true. The next day was a day off for me, and I took her on a picnic. We had an entire summer ahead of us, and it was…glorious. I’ve never been able to think of any word other than that.”

Tim was both afraid ask what happened to that romance, and wrapped up in his own disappointments in that same department. He gave voice to the latter. “I’ve never even been close to that. Have you heard the statistics for people who work in law enforcement? Sixty to seventy-five percent of marriages to a LEO end in divorce; did you know that? Why would I want to inflict that kind of pain on someone I loved?” His face drawn, he looked up at his uncle, whose look was still far away.

“I proposed to her. It was down by the docks. Not a beautiful place, but she said she could find romance in any spot, being an artist with a fairy tale soul.

“She said ‘yes’! I was thrilled. We had to work out little things like where we would live…but it seemed simple enough; I could probably get permanently assigned to Marseilles if I desired. I didn’t care; I’d be happy anywhere with her.

“Gisele wanted to take a trip back home to Switzerland, to tell her family in person and bring back to Marseilles some possessions. I was to go with her, but at the last minute a base emergency kept me in Marseilles. I told her to go on without me, and I’d join her in a few days.

“Her train…the car she was in derailed…there were ten deaths…” Millar choked and couldn’t continue.

“Oh, my God…Uncle, I never knew…my parents never said…”

“They don’t know,” Millar said swiftly. “I never told the family about this. I was about your age when this happened. The family had been nagging me to get married, already. Your parents had settled down. I was being cautious; I wanted to be sure that Gisele was the right one, and not some will-o’-the-wisp, before I told them. I was going to call my brother that very day that Gisele left for Bern…and then, I couldn’t. And as time went on, it became harder and harder to think of revealing it. It would seem strange, now. You’re the first McGee who’s heard of this. I hope you’ll keep this in confidence, Tim.”

“Of course I will. I swear it.”

Millar nodded. “You’re a good man, Tim.”

Tim felt awash in emotions. The story was so touching, and yet…his detective mind sounded a very small alarm. It was hard to believe that his uncle had kept this a secret from everyone for decades. True, he was often somewhere across the world with the Navy, far away from the family, but still…

“Tim, I hope there’s one thing you’ll take away from this,” said Millar, pausing only as the waitress brought out the appetizers. “And that’s that fairy tales can come true. One almost did for me…almost. We could have lived happily ever after, Gisele and I, and I think we would have. So you must never give up. Someone special could be just around the corner for you. Just be receptive when you meet her. And don’t be afraid to give her your heart.”

Now Tim was positive that this was all a hoax, a pep talk from the family, with a hint of you’re not trying hard enough, Tim! Still, it was meant with love. He could accept that. Even if he never found someone, the warmth of his family was probably good enough.

But Millar wasn’t finished. He blinked, and reached for his wallet. “It’s been awhile since I pulled these out,” he said. “They’re so fresh in my mind; I don’t need to do so very often.” Out came worn pictures: one, Millar as a much younger man, on a beach, his arm around a beautiful woman with honey-colored hair. The other was of him with an older man and woman in black; the woman a mirror of the woman in the other picture. The setting looked to be a wake.

“Happily ever after doesn’t have to be ‘ever after’ in reality,” said Millar. “If you get part of it…you’re golden. It can sustain you.”

“I’ll remember that,” Tim whispered, as the pretty assistant manager came by to see if they needed anything.


-END-

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:36 am 
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A lovely twist on what could have been a predictable (if still enjoyable) story. Very nice. I like it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:45 am 
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Thank you! :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:06 am 
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Okay, not to sound stupid or anything, but I'm confused by the ending. She didn't die but married someone else?

It was a great story, Tim confesses that he would like to settle down and everything.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:11 am 
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Gisele died in the train derailment. Millar's saying that they would have lived happily ever after if that accident hadn't happened.

In fanfiction, I'd love to see Tim settle down. On the show, I'm content to have him be unattached. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:31 am 
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Wonderful, Pam! ;D

This was not at all what I was expecting! What a clever and realistic twist.

Millar McGee seems like he would be a great guy. I loved that you had Gisele be from Switzerland. My grandmother was from there. In a way, this reminded me of how she met my grandfather. :blush:

McGee's doubts were down to earth and heartfelt. Maybe the "pretty assistant manager" can help him with some of them. ;)

Thank you so much! I love this.

Valerie :D

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:49 am 
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I'm glad you liked it, Valerie! And what a nice coincidence about your grandparents! :D

The assistant manager might not be the one for Tim, but he does need to start considering all the possibilities. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:12 am 
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channeld wrote:
Gisele died in the train derailment. Millar's saying that they would have lived happily ever after if that accident hadn't happened.


Okay, but who was the older woman in the picture, her mother?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:15 am 
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Yes, the older woman was Gisele's mother. Millar went to Switzerland for Gisele's funeral.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:44 pm 
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Very sweet, though sad :'( Still, I like his uncle's words to him, telling him not to feel so hopeless :yes: And I'm guessing the pretty assisstant manager was a hint ;)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:15 pm 
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She was indeed a hint. :) Love can be found, even in restaurants. 8-)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:19 pm 
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A beautifully sweet and sad story...Millar is a great character, and I hope Tim takes his words to heart...plenty of time to find the right woman, and hopefully there will be no need for Tim to carry a fading photograph in his wallet...another lovely one shot Pam!! :heartsthree:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:47 pm 
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Thanks, Mad! Millar is the kind of uncle I would like to have, so I'm pleased to have Tim have him. He may pop up again in another story.

Yes, Tim should not be burdened with a worn photograph...but it is better than having no memories at all. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:06 pm 
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Sweet story, Pam.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:17 pm 
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Loved it. It so fits Tim at the moment, and I adored the uncle. I would love to see him in another story. He kind of reminds me of a great-grandfather I've been meaning to write about.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:47 pm 
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Thanks, Shellie!

Uncle Millar will be back, I'm sure, Carolyn. Just need to find the right story for him. :)

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