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 Post subject: Play for Me (Tim/Tony)
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:20 am 
Director's Secretary

Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:47 pm
Posts: 2382
Location: Southern Tier
Name: Jennie (please NOT Jen)
Gender: Female
link: Blog
link: First Novel
AN: For everybody who wanted to see Tony's reaction when Tim got him the piano, here it is. :) As always, many thanks to the lovely Kyrie for editing.

Play For Me

Saturday, mid-December

After their run that morning, Tim let Jethro into the backyard and proceeded to stretch before heading inside. In the mud room, he toed off his running shoes and added them to the pile of sneakers and boots he left there. It drove Tony crazy that Tim didn't share the same obsession over his wardrobe, so he tried to keep it where Tony wouldn't have to see them all the time. His sweaty running clothes went right into the washer, while he wrapped himself in the robe he kept there for after his run and headed upstairs to shower. He found Tony pulling on a long-sleeved T-shirt as he walked into their room.

"What time are you meeting Abby?" Tim asked as he headed into the bathroom.

"She's picking me up in an hour," Tony said, following him and leaning against the counter. "Why did I let her talk me into this again?"

"Because she's Abby," Tim said as he draped his robe over a hook on the wall and stepped into the shower. "Even Gibbs can't say no to her when she has her mind set on something. Besides, you know she got the idea from talking to Keith when we ran into him at the coffee shop."

"But a yoga class? How on earth is learning how to stand on my head going to help my lungs?"

Tim shrugged even though he knew Tony couldn't see him from the other side of the shower curtain. "Don't ask me — Keith is your breath therapist. And Abby's the expert in alternative therapies." He thought about his friend's conviction that she could help find a way to reverse the damage to Tony's lungs. "Every time I'm in the lab she's handing me another pamphlet or article to read and pass on to you about acupuncture or some other alternative therapy." Tim turned the water off and stepped out, grabbing a towel. "You run on the treadmill this morning?"

Tony nodded, but his eyes were focused on Tim. "Five miles. It's boring as hell, but it beats hacking up a lung after two miles outside." He stepped closer to Tim. "I have a better idea for exercise, though." He finished drying Tim off and tossed the towel aside, sliding his arms around the other man's waist. "I've still got plenty of time before Abby gets here."

Tim rolled his eyes and fought off the wave of desire that came from having their bodies pressed against one another. Tony didn't know Abby would actually be here in about 15 minutes to whisk him away well before his presence would ruin the surprise Tim had in store. And Gibbs and Jimmy were scheduled to arrive in just over half an hour to help. He reached behind him to squeeze Tony's hands and gently slipped out of the man's embrace. "As appealing as that sounds... If I don't have the last chapter of my book finished and in the mail Monday to Lyndi, she's going to make my life miserable."

"You're no fun when you're being responsible," Tony said, pouting.

Tim bit the inside of his cheek to keep a straight face and leaned in to kiss him. "You go tie yourself in knots with Abby. I'll write Tibbs and Company into the solution of the mystery, and then we'll have all evening to do whatever you want."

"Whatever I want?" Tony wiggled his eyebrows. "Now I'm really looking forward to that yoga class. Maybe I can learn a few new tricks."

Tim slapped him on the back of the head and walked around him into the bedroom, pulling jeans and an old sweatshirt from the dresser. "My body doesn't tie itself up in knots," he said. "Trust me on this one."

Tony flopped on the bed, rolling on his side to watch Tim as he got dressed. "Ohhhh? Has our mistress of the dark tried this on you before? Maybe I can get some tips."

Tim felt his entire face turn red. "You know, I'm glad Abby's OK with us now. But the fact that you two are able to have conversations like that? It's just... weird."

Before Tony could answer, the doorbell rang. He rolled off the bed and headed downstairs while Tim finished getting dressed. Tim glanced at the clock — Abby was right on time. Sure enough, by the time he managed to get downstairs, Tony was pulling on his coat.

"Hey, Timmy," Abby said, pulling him into a hug. "My yoga teacher wanted to see Tony before class to get a better idea of his medical stuff, so we're going now."

"OK, Abbs. He's all yours until dinner." Tim grinned as he stepped back. "I'll make sure Tibbs solves the case by then." Actually, the final chapter of his book was already sitting in his desk drawer, stamped and ready to be dropped in the mail Monday. He didn't think Tony would mind the deception, so his conscience was clear when he kissed Tony and whispered, "No conspiring with Abby to get me tied up in knots."

"Awww. You guys are so cute," Abby said. Tim just rolled his eyes, pulled away from Tony, and waved them away.

Tim waited until Abby had pulled her hot rod away from the curb, before starting to shift books and DVDs from the shelves along the wall.

Ever since Tony had taken Gibbs' instruction to spend time playing his keyboard as an emotional outlet, he'd suffered from fewer and far less tormenting nightmares — even letting Tim hold him after the few that weren't completely quelled by the music. Every evening, Tony would pull out his keyboard and stand from the closet and set them up when he wanted to play. Despite Tim's assurance that he was okay if Tony left the instrument set up all the time, Tony was just as insistent about not leaving it out. When Tim had pushed, Tony said he didn't want Jethro to knock it over. They wouldn't have that problem with the piano, and Tony's outlet would have a permanent home the same way Tim had his study. Tony would never do it for himself, so Tim was doing it for him.

That was Tony all over. He was always making room for Tim and putting Tim first, but he brushed off his own needs. Tony needed Tim, and he didn't mind admitting it, but he didn't advertise it. This was something Tim needed to do for Tony, something to show him that Tony and his needs were as essential to his life as his ancient typewriter. A piano couldn't be folded up or stashed away. And the fact that the team had so readily agreed to help with the surprise just made it more special, in Tim's mind. Everybody was coming together to show Tony he was important to them. He always had been, but they were so busy day to day solving cases, that it didn't always come across. Unfortunately, it seemed to require Tony being taken to Bethesda or down to Autopsy to get checked out for yet another case-related injury. Abby was the only team member who handed out affection like it was candy. Ducky was there if needed, but he only pushed if somebody was teetering on the edge. And the rest of the team felt strongly, but rarely shared. Even Tim, outside of the physical affection he shared with Tony at home, was far better with words on the page than actually saying them.

Tim knew the team had become a family. Ziva and Abby were as much his sisters as Sarah, and Jimmy was the brother he'd never had. Gibbs was as much his dad as his own - even before Tim recast the team leader as his father-in-law. But he'd never said that to any of them, and he probably never would. The best he could do was show them, through big things - like co-hosting a family-style Christmas with everybody on the team - and through little things - like enlisting them to help surprise Tony.

His musings were interrupted by the arrival of Gibbs and Jimmy, and they set to work moving furniture to make room for the piano against the wall near the fireplace.

"She sounds good," Jimmy said later, having checked to make sure that it had stayed in tune after being delivered. "Tony's going to really love this."

"I hope so," Tim said. He checked his watch. "I'll have to text Abby to let her know the coast is clear."

"That's my cue to head out," Jimmy said. "See you guys Monday."

Gibbs lingered. "Tim?"

The rare use of his first name tipped him off that this was something important. "Yeah, Boss?"

"You did good. Palmer's right. Tony's going to love his Christmas present. Both of them." He clapped Tim on the shoulder.

Tim felt his ears turn red. "Thanks, Boss. I really appreciate all your help." He wanted to say more, to thank Gibbs for being there for Tony in a way the senior agent's biological father never had been. But he knew it would embarrass the older man.

Gibbs shot him a half-smile. "Glad to help. He's lucky to have you. Lucky to have this."

Tim returned his smile. "We're both pretty lucky."

"Yeah, you are. He hasn't had it easy in the past, you know that. Every important man in his life has hurt him. I did it too, leaving for Mexico that time, then coming back without a word. Doing my best not to repeat that mistake. I think you're good for him. He's good for you. Just remember, he's not as tough as he makes out."

"I know, Boss. Can't promise I won't do something stupid and hurt him — I'm sure there are land mines in his past neither of us has thought of. But I'm never going to hurt him on purpose."

Gibbs just clapped him on the shoulder again and headed out. Tim texted Abby, pulled out the big bow he had stashed in the study, and put it on top of the piano. When Abby's hot rod pulled up, Tim was sitting in the living room chair reading "Murder Must Advertise." He felt his adrenaline surge as he heard Tony walk into the house, and it was all he could do to force himself to keep his eyes on his book.


When the yoga class ended, Tony didn't want to move. He would never hear the end of it if he admitted it to Abby, but he hadn't felt this at ease since the last time Ducky had insisted he take a muscle relaxer after one of his more severe on-the-job injuries. Even better, he felt his lungs and chest open in a way he hadn't felt in a while. Part of it was probably the warmth of the yoga studio, but he had to confess that maybe Keith had a point about this being something that would help him breathe better. The stuff the instructor had them doing certainly felt like some of the exercises Keith had him do as part of his breath therapy.

Abby interrupted his thoughts. "So, what'd you think? Cool, huh!" She offered a hand, and Tony got to his feet.

"Hey! My knees didn't pop!"

Abby just pulled him in for a hug. "See," she said. "Yoga rocks. And you didn't even try Sirsasana yet. Once you learn that, you'll have to start keeping a pillow under your desk like I do."

"You do yoga in the lab?" Tony followed Abby outside the studio and put his socks and shoes back on.

"I do yoga pretty much anywhere," she said. "But Bossman caught me standing on my head one time. I think he thought I'd finally lost it."

"Abbs, there are days I think he wonders if you ever had it." Tony dodged the expected punch on the arm and slipped on his jacket. "But he'd be cool with it. He never minds me meditating, as long as I have the information he needs."

"Yeah, I always wondered about that," Abby said. "Where did you learn to meditate? It seems like such an un-Tony thing to do."

"College. Some grad student was doing research on meditation and its effects on athletes, so they were looking for volunteers for a research study. It was an easy way to make a couple of bucks for beer, and I figured if it actually did some good, it would help me go pro. That was before Brad broke my leg. Anyway, I found that meditation did help me and for more than just sports, so I kind of stuck with it. Clears my mind."

"Why didn't you ever tell Kate that when she accused you of napping?"

"None of her business," Tony said. "She wouldn't have believed it anyway. The frat boy persona's there for a reason, Abbs. You know that."

She just pulled him in for another hug, and Tony started laughing.

"What! Since when is my hugging funny?" She pulled back and glared at him.

"It's not that, Abbs," he said. "I'm laughing because you hugged me and it didn't feel like somebody was trying to put my chest in a vise. Between this and Keith, I might actually be getting better."

Abby started jumping around, and the other yoga students in the hallway outside the studios stared at her.

"Abbs, calm down," Tony said. "You're scaring people."

She stuck her tongue out, but settled down and strapped on her boots.

"OK, so now what? Lunch? McWriter's going to be busy for a while."

"Sure," Abby said. "There's a Thai place across the street that's pretty good."

"OK." He thought of the conversation with Tim before he left. "Besides, I've been meaning to ask you. That one pose - the one where we stretched one leg back and up and the other one..."

"Timmy doesn't bend that way," Abby said. "But I do know a couple of others..."

When Abby finally dropped him back at the house, Tony had already made plans to meet her one night after work for another class. With the cold weather, he needed all the help he could get, and maybe he could even talk Tim into coming along. He walked in the house to find him curled up with a book.

"Hey, Tim-" But before he could finish, he saw the addition to the living room crowned with a red bow on top of its gleaming wood. He stopped and just stared.

"Cat got your tongue?" Tim asked, his mouth stretched into a grin that would have made the Cheshire cat proud.

But all Tony could do was walk over and sit down on the piano bench, letting his fingers glide across the keyboard cover. Reverently, he lifted the cover and folded it back, then gently moved his fingers across the keys. It had a beautiful sound, rich and full - just like the feeling that flooded his heart at that moment. He looked up as Tim sat on the bench next to him.

"Merry Christmas," Tim said.

Tony's fingers stilled on the keys, and he just looked at his partner. "Tim? Why-?"

"When I heard you play that night at the club, heard you on an actual piano, it blew me away," Tim said. "It's a good thing I didn't have time to really pay attention until after my glasses got smashed, because I'm not sure I could have focused on the case by then."

Tony looked at Tim and saw in his eyes the love he had for this man reflected back at him. Its light dissolved the last shadow of hesitation he'd been holding onto about his own Christmas present for Tim, and he pulled his partner into a hug. "It's perfect," he said. "That you'd think of this, do this for me. It's... perfect."

Tim just pulled back and smiled at him. "Play for me?"

Tony turned to focus on the keys and started to play. He thought of Tim, of everything the younger man had done for him since the summer. He thought of all the nights Tim helped him through his nightmares and of all the days he went into the office alone, waiting for Tony to call and tell him what Brad had to say. He thought of the late nights cracking cases and of the early mornings in bed before facing the day's challenges. Tony let everything flow from his heart through fingers, let the music say what words could not.

It was odd, him not having the words. He was almost never at a loss for words. But everything he could think to say sounded too small, too insignificant.

Though it had only been a few months since their partnership had manifested in ways more personal and more intimate than what they had previously shared as co-workers, Tony knew they had been building to this point for years. The piano was just one more tangible way Tim showed him what they both had known almost from the beginning. This was real, and it was for keeps. And if he couldn't find the words to tell Tim that, he could play for him, play until he'd said everything he couldn't say with words.

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