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SPOILERS: For Kill Ari Part II, Hiatus and other Season 3 episodes.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Erasing The Past
"Director," Abby said as she brushed past the other woman to check her mass spectrometer.
"Abby," she said with a nod of her head. "I've got some," she hesitated, obviously searching for an appropriate word, "news."
Abby stopped fiddling with her mass spectrometer and whirled to face her. "Gibbs," she asked hopefully. "Is he coming back? 'Cause that would be awesome. I mean, not that Tony isn't great, but he isn't Gibbs, you know? And-"
"Abby," Jenny put a hand on her arm, to stop her. "Gibbs isn't coming back," she said as gently as she could. "Not right now."
"Oh," Abby said, turning away again, "right. Should have known."
The Director was clearly just as uncomfortable. "Actually it was just brought to my attention today that the Internal Affairs Division of NCIS has recently caught some red flags regarding this team, and Agent Gibbs actions in particular. I've been instructed by the Sec Nav that they should be given full cooperation from all Special Agents and other NCIS personnel."
"What?" Abby was indignant. "Gibbs would never tamper with the outcome of a case. He's by the book, through and through."
"I'm not suggesting that I agree with them, Abby," the Director corrected. "However, we all know that Jethro wasn't afraid to follow his own rules when the situation demanded it," she said in a low, almost inaudible voice.
Abby glared. "Gibbs didn't do anything."
"I'll expect your cooperation."
Abby folded her arms over her chest and said nothing.
After a moment, the Director sighed and walked past Abby to the elevator.
Abby waited until the elevator doors had closed before she started pacing. "This is bad," she muttered to herself, "Bad, bad, bad."
Especially with Gibbs out of contact in some unknown location.
The call had come in late at night. It was past midnight when Abby's cell phone rang. The only reason that she'd answered it at all was because it had been Gibbs calling.
"Yeah," she answered, holding Bert to her more tightly than ever. If she held him hard enough maybe she could finally choke back her tears.
"I need you," Gibbs had said calmly into the phone. There was steel in his voice.
Abby swiped at the tears that had been trailing down her cheeks. If she had something to do maybe she could stop thinking for just a little while about what had happened to Kate.
"What do you need," she asked in as normal of a voice as she could muster. "Prints, blood, ballistics I'm your girl." She tried to inject some of her usual humor, but even she could hear how it fell flat. She squeezed another fart out of the stuffed hippo in her arms.
There was a moment's hesitation from the other end of the line. "Abby, this isn't-"
She cut him off. She already had an idea of what he was going to say and it didn't need to be said over an easily traceable phone line. "I'm in, Gibbs." She didn't give him a chance to continue to give her an out. "Where are you?"
There was a moment's silence and she knew he was warring with his reluctance to involve her. She knew, however, that the decision had been made since he'd called her. "My house."
"Okay. I'll be there in twenty minutes." She hung up her phone and then buried her head in Bert's furry shoulder for an instant, adrenaline already beginning to surge through her veins again.
She only stayed that way for a second and then lifted her head and pushed the sleeves of her lab coat up. McGee was better with computer's than she was, but she could manage to erase any traces of one little cell phone conversation on her own. That was first. Then Gibbs.
"State your name and job title, for the record."
"Abigail Sciuto, Lab Technician."
"Thank you, Ms. Sciuto. Now, in your capacity as a lab technician, have you ever seen Agent Gibbs break the chain of custody for evidence?"
"To the best of your knowledge, have any of the Agents on this team ever tampered with evidence?"
Gibbs' house seemed almost deserted as she pulled up. She followed his instructions to the letter. She pulled her car up quietly, with lights off and parked in the backyard. As quietly as she could, she grabbed her kit out of the passenger's seat and then started towards the outside entrance to the basement.
She walked down the narrow flight of stairs and then froze. The body of Ari Haswari lay on the cement floor, obviously dead. A bullet hole was visible in the middle of his forehead and he lay in a still expanding pool of his own blood.
She felt horror threatening to rush up within her. She had just begun to make her peace with the dead bodies in autopsy, but this was different. This was also the man who had killed her best friend, she reminded herself. He deserved to die a thousand deaths worse than this.
"Abby," Gibbs said in a low voice. It jerked her out of her thoughts and she focused on her surroundings once more.
To her left she suddenly noticed the slumped figure of the Mossad Agent who had been Ari's controller Ziva David. A gun still hung limply from the distressed woman's hand and she stared into the space just above Ari's body. She mumbled words that Abby couldn't quite hear.
"Gibbs what?" She questioned. What had happened here? Why wasn't Gibbs taking this woman into custody? Why hadn't he called in the usual team?
He caught her forearm in a light grip, and Abby let him pull her away from Ziva and the body. "Abby, I shot him." He paused for a moment to let his words sink in. "I shot him, and I need the ballistics, and all of the evidence to match that. I need you to help me do that."
"Gibbs!" There was anguish in her voice at his betrayal. "She was working with him! He killed Kate!"
Gibbs hand tightened like a vice around her arm for an instant and then loosened almost immediately.
"She didn't know that he killed Kate. She's innocent in this." He leaned very close to her and put his lips next to her ear. "Haswari's father is a Mossad Deputy Director. Ziva's father is that same Deputy Director. She killed her brother to save my life and avenge Kate. I can't leave her to face that. She didn't have to save my life. She could have let Ari kill me."
He saw realization dawn on Abby's face.
"We have to work fast." He could see Abby's hand start to shake at the enormity of what they were about to undertake. "This this'll be complicated, but it can be done." Abby began to walk carefully around the scene, talking to herself under her breath, noting every piece of evidence. Everything would have to reflect their version of events, not the true story.
She only looked up once to meet Gibbs' eyes. "This is our little secret right? Just the three of us?"
He met her gaze as solemnly as he could and nodded. This would be a secret held between them and no one else.
When she returned from lunch that day, there were easily a dozen unfamiliar men in her lab.
"Hey," she yelped as she got off of the elevator. "Watch what you're doing with that! There are tests running in here. You could compromise a criminal investigation."
"Relax, Ma'am," one of the men who seemed to be in charge spoke, "That's what we're here to find out. We've been given authorization to confiscate your files to determine that very thing."
Abby glared but stepped back. There was no higher power that she could go to for help, she knew. Gibbs was gone and the Director had already indicated that she wouldn't help her with this. All she could do was stand back and watch while they stripped her files. But she didn't have to like it. She knew that they would find nothing.
Two hours later she was in a small room, sitting across a desk from one of the IA's agents.
A casefile sat in front of her. It was open and showed the picture of a marine staff sergeant and several Hispanic gang members.
"According to this report, you and Special Agent McGee managed to discover that this man," he gestured to the picture in front of him, "had been playing the lieutenants of this gang, by pretending that their boss was sending him text messages from some South American country. Correct?"
"Yes." She kept her answers short and monosyllabic when she could.
"Is it also true that you couldn't find enough evidence to pin the murders of several good marines and the gang leader on this man?"
Abby glared and resisted the urge to expound upon his statement. It had been designed, like much of this conversation, to goad her into speaking without thinking.
"That was very disappointing for you and Agent Gibbs' team wasn't it?"
"Of course. No one likes to let the bad guys get away."
He nodded sympathetically. "I imagine that sometimes it feels as if justice is never being done."
Abby stared. "Was there a question in there?"
"Did you leak that information to the other gang members?"
"No." Her denial was short, flat and entirely unnecessary, but underneath the table she could feel her hands begin to shake. They knew a lot. But did they know everything?
The third time that she had met Ziva David, she had learned that she was being forced to work with the woman. It would be a constant and nervous reminder of what she and Gibbs had covered up.
She knew the truth of what had happened that night at Gibbs' house. She and Gibbs were the only ones that knew Ziva's secret, but she and Ziva had clashed from the moment that they met. She hadn't meant to be so angry and so harsh, but she hadn't been able to help herself. She was still so angry about Kate and all of it, and Ziva was just another constant reminder.
Slowly though it had gotten better. Ziva had worked to get on her good side and slowly they had achieved a truce and then a rocky friendship.
This threatened to end it all. She needed Gibbs Gibbs to tell her that he had it under control, that Internal Affairs would never uncover the truth that they had so carefully hidden, that it would be all right.
On her way back down to her lab, she paused in the bullpen, beside Ziva's desk for just a moment. "Girls' Night In tonight?" She asked in a cheery voice with a bright smile.
Ziva looked up from the paperwork that she was doing. "Sounds like fun," she said with a smile. "Want me to bring anything," she asked, as if she wasn't aware that they wouldn't be trading girly gossip and doing each other's nails all evening.
"Just yourself and the booze," Abby tried to grin, but she was afraid it was more of a tired effort than she would have liked. "It's been a long day," was all she said before she headed back down to the shambles of her lab.
It was late that evening before Ziva reached her apartment and she was almost glad of that. It had given her time to think and time to make sure that there was no way that anyone from Internal Affairs could be listening in on their conversation that evening.
When Ziva knocked on the door to her apartment, Abby jerked in surprise. She quickly went to open the door. She stepped back to let Ziva inside as she hefted the bottle of vodka.
"Booze as requested," she said in a quiet voice with no amusement.
Abby just stood there. They had never actually spoken about what had happened that night in Gibbs' basement. She didn't quite know how to go about it.
"I'm sorry about your lab," Ziva spoke quietly.
"This whole thing stinks," Abby almost spat. She folded her arms over her chest. "Have they been asking you questions yet?"
Ziva nodded. "The whole team. They won't find get anything from us." She shrugged. "Gibbs did nothing wrong." She let out a long breath, and corrected. "Only one thing wrong."
Abby was still scared. Her career would be over if they found out that the report had been falsified. All of the many, many criminals who had gone to jail because of evidence that she had processed would be reevaluated and some released. She would have to find something else to do with her life. Gibbs if they ever found him could go to prison.
"I'm glad that Gibbs did it," she said looking at Ziva. "I'm glad that we did it."
And that was that. They sat down together and shared the vodka that Ziva had brought with her. The next morning they were both hungover when they came into work, but it was a little more bearable even with Tony's frustrated yelling ringing in their ears.
It was two days later when Director Sheppard entered the bullpen while Abby was presenting some evidence for their current case and announced that they IA investigation had been completed and they had all been cleared of any suspicions.
Gibbs had driven her home after Kate's funeral. When they reached her apartment she had lingered in the car for a moment.
She surprised herself by asking, "What's going to happen to her, Gibbs?"
He shrugged. "Mossad won't be too pleased that her agent went rogue. She'll probably be assigned some boring desk duty as punishment if her father can pull enough of the right strings, or she'll be given some very, very dangerous assignment that she won't come back from."
Abby wrapped her arms around herself tighter.
Gibbs laid a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it lightly. "Thank you for helping me, Abbs." He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. "Sometimes the right thing to do isn't always by the book."
Abby nodded, remembering the devastation on the David's face. "I hope she'll be okay now."
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