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Cosmos, CafPows, and Coworkers
By Mammothluv


It was possible this was the worst day of Caitlin Todd's life. At the very least, it was the worst day in recent history. She tried her best to stay in the background, slowly edging behind Tony as Abby explained her findings to Gibbs. She thought she saw Abby look her way and scooted further behind Tony in response. This was embarrassing.

She remembered leaning into Abby as Abby helped her put on her coat. She remembered how nice Abby smelled as she leaned her head on her shoulder as they walked out to her car.

Really, really embarrassing. Kate peered out from behind Tony trying to determine if Abby was indeed looking at her. Abby took another sip of her CafPow and concluded, "So, the guy you're looking for drives a white '85 or '86 Camry. You wouldn't think an '85 or '86 would still be running but Camrys are really reliable cars. I have this friend who..."

"Thanks, Abs." Gibbs cut Abby off and headed out of the lab. Kate turned to follow before there was a chance of being left alone with Abby for even a second.

Tony and Gibbs talked about their next steps in the case as the elevator took them back upstairs. Kate leaned against the wall and tried to nod every now and then so it seemed like she was listening.

She remembered giggling. Reaching across to the driver's side of the car and gently tugging Abby's braid. "Abby, Abby. You're so pretty." Oh, god. This was not good.

The day was almost over and, despite one near miss in the hallway near the morgue, she'd managed to avoid being alone with Abby. She had no desire to lose her friendship with Abby over a stupid unrequited crush. Okay, if she was honest with herself, it was more than just a crush but that didn't really matter since Abby was clearly not interested. After last night, she knew that for sure. She'd have to talk to her and apologize soon but the agonizing embarrassment of it all was just too fresh today. If she could just finish this report, she could go home to a nice long bath and figure out how the hell she was going to talk to Abby tomorrow.

Tony walked by and slammed his hands down on the edge of her desk startling her out of her thoughts.

"Okay there, Todd? You hit the cosmos pretty hard last night." He shot her a knowing grin.

"Shut up, Dinozzo." She turned back to her report. Tony was the last thing she needed right now.

They were out celebrating the close of a tough case and they'd all been pretty drunk. Well, except for Abby who insisted caffeine was her drug of choice and that alcohol didn't really do much for her. At the end of the night, Abby called taxis for McGee and Tony and offered Kate a ride home. Kate said yes. It seemed like a good idea at the time but in retrospect it had been bad. A very, very bad idea.

Twenty more minutes. Just concentrate, Todd, and you can be out of here in twenty minutes.

Abby had helped her into her apartment, helped her get her shoes and coat off, and followed her into her room to make sure she got into bed. Kate remembered the feel of Abby's hands against her skin as she helped her into bed, she remembered pulling Abby towards her and kissing her, the way her lips tasted like her favorite cherry CafPows, the way she thought for just a second that Abby might have been kissing her back. "Stay." she had whispered.

Kate almost wished she'd been drunk enough not to remember the rest. The shocked look on Abby's face after the kiss, how quickly she had backed out of the room. "I should go. Remember to drink water and in the morning, if you have a headache, you should totally try some caffeine. Always works for me. And okay... going." Abby was gone before Kate could even get out an apology.

She'd woken up this morning with a feeling of dread as the events of last night came back to her. Stupid. It had been incredibly stupid to let Abby drive her home and to let a few drinks convince her that maybe Abby was interested, maybe it was worth a shot.

Kate somehow managed to concentrate long enough to finish the report and put it on Gibbs' desk. She was free to go. She was looking forward to regrouping tonight, getting a decent night's sleep, and hopefully smoothing things over with Abby in the morning.

She was in such a rush to get out of the building and get this day over with that she didn't pay attention. The elevator doors closed behind her before she saw her one and only companion.

Abby's black boots tapped against the elevator floor. She crossed her arms and looked right at Kate.

"Hey, Abby." Hey, Abby? Really that's the best you can come up with after throwing yourself at her last night?

Abby didn't say anything. She was just...staring. She reached across and pushed the button to halt the elevator. She continued to stare.

It was unnerving. Abby had a stare that could break just about anyone. Kate had even seen Gibbs give in to it on occasion. "Abby, I'm sorry about last night. It was a mistake. I had too much to drink and it was a mistake and I don't want it to affect our friendship because well Gibbs is Gibbs and Dinozzo.... Well, you're the best friend I have here and I hope I didn't screw it up permanently. Maybe we could just forget what happened?" She looked at Abby hopefully.

Abby looked thoughtful. "Kate, you did have a lot to drink last night and I can understand if it was a mistake. So, if you really didn't mean it, we can just forget about it." She pressed the button again and the elevator shook, then started back up.

Kate let out the breath she'd been holding. At least Abby wasn't going to let this affect their friendship. It was really the best she could have hoped for.

The elevator arrived at the parking level and the doors slid open. Kate moved but Abby grabbed her arm before she could go too far. Her hand on Kate's shoulder, Abby leaned in until her face was inches from Kate's. In a low voice she said, "But Kate, if you did mean it, try me again when you're sober." With that, Abby walked away. She was in her car and driving away before Kate could recover.

When she did recover, she reached for her cell phone and dialed Abby's number.

Abby answered with a laugh. "Hello, Agent Todd."

"I'm sober now. Want to go get some dinner?"

Another laugh from Abby and then, "I'd love to. Thanks for asking."

It was possible this was the best day of Caitlin Todd's life. At the very least, it was the best day in recent history. And tonight, tonight might be even better.

The End

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