DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to abby_forever for beta'ing this for me. She's the best.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: for 5.07 Requiem.
A Family Way
Gibbs rides the elevator down to her lab with her, walking her back. She smiles over at him and bumps his shoulder.
"Dinner on Sunday? After church."
He smiles, still in a good mood over ensuring that one Maddie Tyler was still alive.
"You gonna cook," He asks sardonically.
Abby bobs her head in the affirmative. "Better me than you."
He smirks. "Always."
"Aw, Gibbs." Abby's smile is brilliant as she gives him a huge hug. "You're too sweet." If she holds him a little bit tighter and doesn't let him go for a moment longer than usual, he doesn't comment on it. He holds her back.
"Stop fidgeting," Abby says calmly. "This is no big deal. We're just having dinner. That's all."
"Of course it is a big deal."
Abby's having a hard time not smiling. "I didn't think you'd be this nervous about it." She finally says what she's been thinking all day. She'd thought Ziva was going to hyperventilate before she'd left for church earlier that morning.
"Are we going to arrest an angry arms dealer? Interrogate a terrorist? Assassinate someone? No. We are having dinner with Gibbs. I should be nervous. I would be more worried if I were not nervous."
Abby looks over at Ziva, as she gently brings the hearse to a stop at the stop sign. "You're babbling," She notes, amazement plain in her voice. "You never babble."
Ziva glares and Abby tries a different tact.
"It's just Gibbs," She says reassuringly, reaching across the seat to take Ziva's hand and give it a light squeeze.
"I know!" Ziva replies with exasperation. "It is Gibbs that I'm worried about."
"Oh." Abby's tone shows she's still not quite understanding Ziva's nervousness.
"Abby, do you realize what happened to the two men who hurt Maddie Tyler?"
Abby nods, suddenly sobering at the mention of the incident that had almost left Gibbs dead.
Ziva cups Abby's check tenderly with one hand. "People who hurt those that Gibbs loves often end up dead."
"Oh." This time Abby's voice is full of realization.
Hollis opens the door in a faded NIS t-shirt that's clearly several sizes too large and faded blue jeans. Her hair hangs down her back in loose curls.
She holds the door open and gives them her trademark, slightly mysterious, smile. "Come on in."
A quick glance to the side, confirms that Abby is speechless and apparently frozen in place. Ziva stifles a smirk and instead offers Mann a polite smile.
She reaches behind her to take Abby's hand to tug her inside. Abby gets her feet moving and they make it inside.
"So you're having dinner with us?" Abby's question comes out a little more bluntly than Ziva thinks it was intended.
She gives Abby's hand a quick squeeze.
Mann looks a bit startled. More surprise at her place here being questioned, Ziva imagines. She's glad that she won't be the only uncomfortable one at this dinner, at least.
"Yes, it sounded nice. Jethro said you're cooking?"
Abby nods. "I like to." She shrugs, still not back to her usual energetic self. "I'm better at it than he is, anyway."
Mann nods and gestures towards the rest of Gibbs' house. Ziva casts short glances around. This is only the third time she's been here and there are still too many memories here.
Gibbs appears up the steps from the basement and Abby's face lights up.
"Gibbs!" She tackles him with a hug that he returns with a smile and a chuckle.
"Abs," He pats her on the shoulder as she steps back. "You ready to take over my kitchen?"
She grins brightly. "Absolutely."
Gibbs nods at Ziva, as Abby heads into the kitchen, not seeming surprised to see her here with Abby at all.
Ziva wonders when the threats of bodily harm will start.
Folding like a flimsy paper napkin is not something that Ziva's used to doing. It seems to be something that only Gibbs can bring out in her. At least that's the only explanation she can think of, because the moment that Abby and Mann left them alone in the kitchen, it only took one glance from Gibbs before she started talking.
"I won't hurt her, Gibbs," She says in a low voice.
He picks up a plate and dries it, before setting it down on the counter. He looks up and smiles. "I know."
"I, perhaps, am not the best person for her. I have a horrible track record with relationships, and I am not much of a people person really, but I'm trying my best."
Another smile. "I know."
Ziva is silent for a moment.
"I love her, Gibbs."
His smile is wry as he looks at her. The trust in his eyes is staggering to her. This is Gibbs and his Abby. He gently lays a hand on her shoulder.
"I know," He repeats more firmly. "Be sure you tell her that."
And then they finish up and go to save Mann from Abby. Or possibly the other way around. Ziva is sure there's some sort of saving going on, because she's not so sure that Abby and Mann can spend too much time together without the world imploding. Opposites are an understatement.
She's smiling though when she and Abby are leaving. Everyone has survived and she thinks she even had fun at some point. She's happy enough, or relieved enough perhaps, to pull Abby into an embrace and kiss her in Gibbs' driveway before they get into the car.
"Same time next week," Abby calls over her shoulder as they're about to get into the car.
Ziva looks back over her shoulder in time to catch Gibbs' nod.
So this is what family feels like.
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