DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for the second 24 Hour Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Crying In Their Beer
By Jaina


"What are you doing here?"

"What are you doing here," Ziva retorted. Glancing at the bartender, she gestured for him to bring another beer.

Abby folded her arms over her chest. "I asked first."

Ziva glared, but answered.

"I wanted a drink."

"And you just had to come here?" Here being the bar where the team occasionally met up for drinks after a particularly bad case. Even after spending only a few months at NCIS, Ziva was already well familiar with it.

"It was my understanding that this bar was not your sole personal property."

Abby glared, and raised her beer for a sip. She put it back down, grabbed her purse and got up. Ziva watched her walk to a table in the far corner of the bar. She spent another half-hour subtly watching her out of the corner of her eye.

From what she could see - and her skills of observation and deduction were not in question - Abby seemed to be alone, waiting for no one and doing her best to get as completely drunk as possible. She had switched from beer to liquor shortly after she'd settled in at the table.

Ziva'd had a few drinks herself before she got irritated enough to go over to Abby's table. She sat down across from her, and set her drink down. Slouching back in the seat, she met Abby's eyes defiantly.

"You don't like me," Ziva stated. "Why?"

"You really want to know?" Abby asked. Her diction was remarkably clear for a woman who'd probably spent the past few hours since getting off work drinking. Ziva was impressed by her alcohol tolerance.

"I would not have asked, had I not wished to know."

Abby rolled her eyes, but answered. "For one thing, you won't let me get drunk in peace. You just keep showing up and you won't leave. me. alone." She banged her fist on the table in time with her last three words.

"Just when I think you're gone, just when I think maybe, just maybe we can put this all behind us, you have to keep showing up here. And now you won't even let me get drunk by myself. You have to keep showing up and reminding me of what I lost. The minute I think I can maybe not think about Kate constantly, you have to show up and - and -" she spluttered, "And be you!" She gestured at Ziva emphatically.

"And you just sit there like you don't care. Probably because you don't." She ended her rant with a mumble, looking down at her drink. She gulped it quickly and looked back up at Ziva.

Ziva was staring at her.

"You loved her."

Abby looked startled for an instant, and then the tense angry lines of her face fell away and she merely looked sad. "Yeah." She fiddled with the empty glass in her hand. "Yeah, I did."

They sat in silence.

Ziva downed her own drink, before she spoke. "I do care. That is why I am here. I," She paused, searching for the right words to express what she wanted. "I should have seen what he was doing. I was unaware that Ari had betrayed us, and your team paid the price. For that I am truly sorry. I cannot make up for what he did, but I can do this."

She straightened in her chair and pushed back from the table, preparing to leave.

"That's not the only reason."


"I may not be a 'very Special Agent', but I'm not blind. I've seen the way you look at the Director."

She stood as she spoke and got in Ziva's face. With her boots and additional height, she seemed to tower over her.

"What of it?"

"You like her."

"I respect her and I believe she's a good agent and Director."


Ziva stepped closer. There was barely any space between them.

"Most people are frightened of me. They do not wish to make me angry."

Abby cocked her head. "I'm not most people."

"True." Ziva rocked back slightly on her heels. "I think, perhaps, you frighten me just a little."

Abby laughed. "I have that effect on people. It's my evil genius."

"I see."

"You're avoiding the point."

"I'm trained in withholding information."

Abby kissed her. Her lips bumped into Ziva's, bruising lips against teeth, until Ziva responded, pushing back into the kiss. Lips met and tasted, until they both drew back.

"What was that," Ziva asked slowly. "I did not believe you kissed people you hated."

"I was trying to see if I could wipe that smug look off of your face."

Ziva smirked. "It takes more than that."

"I'd take you up on that," Abby replied "But I don't think either of us would really be with who we want to be, and I'm not interested in casual sex tonight."

"Drowning your sorrows, yes?"

"Yeah. Is that what you were doing here?"

At Ziva's raised eyebrow, she continued. "Instead of being out somewhere with your Director."

"She is not my Director." When Abby didn't comment, she continued. "She and Gibbs are catching up tonight."

Abby sank back into her seat. She tilted her head up to meet Ziva's gaze. "At least she's still alive," she said with a sad smile.

A Week Later

"What can I do for you, Ms. Sciuto?"

Abby tugged at the hem of her skirt as she sat down. "I wanted to talk to you about some new equipment I need for the lab. New discoveries are being made every day in the forensic field and with those new discoveries come new techniques that can be used to put away the bad guys. Gibbs demands the best; I need the best to give him what he demands, Madame Director."

"And how big of a chunk of the budget would this best entail, Ms. Sciuto?"

"Not as big as you'd think," Abby stated quickly, "And please call me Abby."

"Very well, Abby."

"Thanks. Now," Abby sat up a little straighter. "I'm pretty busy. I only had time to come up here because I'm waiting for some results. Would it be possible to discuss this later this evening?" Abby grinned. "After I get done performing forensic miracles."

Jenny leaned back in her chair, unable to help but be charmed - even against her will - by the unorthodox forensic scientist. "I'll check with my secretary."

Abby beamed. "Great." She smiled as she head for the door. "I'll leave the details for her."

As she left, Jenny realized she no longer had to wonder about the power this girl seemed to have over Gibbs. There was something about her that seemed to make saying "no" simply impossible. She laughed softly to herself as she went back to her paperwork.

Ziva checked her voice mail for the third time.

"Ziva! It's Abby. You need to meet me at the bar. 9 PM. Don't be late."

The lack of explanation not withstanding, Ziva was still surprised that Abby was demanding her presence at the bar where they had met a week earlier. While they had been friendlier at work, they weren't quite at the friendly drinking buddies stage yet. Unless, of course, Abby had decided she was interested in the casual sex now.

She glanced around curiously, unable to catch sight of Abby. Looking down at her watch, she confirmed that she wasn't late, and was actually a few minutes early, as she approached the bar.

The place was crowded and she almost stumbled as a man turned away and abruptly headed back towards his table. She slipped out of the way and bumped into someone else. Turning to apologize, Ziva found herself looking at Jenny.

"Director." She blinked. While not quite the last person she was expecting to see here, she wasn't aware that Jenny knew of the team's hangout.

"Ziva." Jenny seemed equally surprised to see here. "What are you doing here?"

Ziva bit back the chuckle that Jenny wouldn't understand. "Do I look as if I do not drink? You know better than that," She pointed out. "So why do people keep finding it so odd to see me here."

Jenny seemed a bit startled at her outburst. "I'm not sure. But I do know that I wasn't expecting to see you here." She glanced around. "I was actually supposed to be meeting Abby here. She wanted to discuss something about the lab with me."

"Abby?" Ziva questioned, a trickle of understanding beginning to develop.

"Were you coming with her," Jenny asked. She hadn't been unaware of their animosity.

"Just a moment," Ziva said, holding up her hand. She pulled out her cell phone and dialed Abby's number.

"Abby's phone," The woman in question answered cheerily.

"You are deceiptful and dishonest."

"Ziva!" Abby sounded positively jubilant. "You went to the bar," She crowed in delight.

"Yes." She looked at Jenny. "I take it you arranged this?"

There was a pause. "Yeah." Abby sounded less excited and more hesitant. "You're not too angry, are you," She asked quickly. "I just thought - You and the Director. I don't have any more chances with Kate. She's gone." Her voice broke. "But you still have a chance. I just thought you should reach out and take it, instead of drowning your sorrows. So I decided to help things along a little."

Ziva wasn't quite certain what to say. Abby's gesture was more than she had expected.

"How mad are you," Abby repeated into the silence.

Ziva looked at Jenny, who was now staring at her with a bemused expression. At this moment, Abby's suggestion didn't sound so bad. She was here; Jenny was here. She could certainly take advantage of the opportunity that Abby was giving her.

Really, it didn't sound so bad at all, now that she thought about it. It actually sounded very promising.

"I'll let you know in the morning," She growled into the phone and hung up. There was no reason to let Abby know that she might actually be happy about this. At least not until tomorrow.

Across the city, Abby smiled as she folded up her own phone. Her work here was done.

The End

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