DISCLAIMER: NCIS and its characters are the property of CBS, no infringement intended.
SEQUEL/SERIES: First part of the Baby Steps series.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Filters are for Coffee
By Geonn


Kate knocked on the door frame, leaning into the lab to see if she could spot the tech anywhere. "Hello? Doctor... or Miss... Agent Shooto?" She stepped inside and listened to the low hum of the computers, trying to detect the tell-tale sounds of movement deeper in the widespread lab.

As near as she could tell, she was alone. DiNozzo had told her to come down, get acquainted with Abby. The sooner, he said, the better. Apparently, this Shooto was not someone you wanted to try and understand on the fly.

She had seen the Goth lab tech once before, when she had still been with the Secret Service. Kate had been shocked when a tattooed, t-shirt-wearing woman entered the squad room. She had been wearing a lab coat, presumably to assure strangers that she hadn't just wandered in off the street. Her vernacular, however... the guy whizzed green, turned his blood into cottage cheese... and then the question that still made her smile... "Do you guys on the Secret Service ever think about throwing yourselves in front of the President's diet?"

She may have to crochet that onto a pillow. They were talking about a dead man, a man she'd watched die... and this woman, this Abby Whatever had made her smile. That alone made the forensic scientist worth a second meeting.

The lab space was cluttered, filled with various knickknacks that Kate was sure had a purpose. She wandered over to the computer banks, picking up the small Goth-girl doll standing next to one of the monitors. She was about to put it back when a gravely voice behind her said, "That's Suzie Q!"

Kate turned and saw Abby strolling into the lab. She was wearing another t-shirt under her lab jacket, this one with a grinning cartoon squirrel declaring he wanted to 'grab your nuts.' "I'm sorry," Kate said. "I was just looking at..."

"No, it's totally cool," she took the figurine from Kate and tapped it on the head with one finger. "I got her about two years ago... found her, would be more accurate, because I just happened to find her in this cute little shop in La Brea."

"Like the Tar Pits?" Kate asked.

"Not especially," Abby replied, putting Suzie Q back in place. She angled it just right and said, "Do you think she looks like me?"

"Sure," Kate said, trying not to focus on the studded band around Abby's wrist. "Give or take a few feet."

Abby snickered and said, "Is there a new case?"


"I was just wondering, you know... since you're down here and all. Or maybe you're just taking the tour of the building." She looked around and said, "Although I don't see Ducky anywhere. If you haven't taken the tour yet, ask Ducky to show you around. He'll talk your ear off, but better you get used to it here than out in the field."

"Yeah, I'm starting there's a lot I need to be acclimated to before heading out in the field."

Abby lifted one dark eyebrow. "We're not your typical G-men here at NCIS."

"Hardly. No, the Secret Service was a little more... button-down."

Abby nodded. "Well, here, we're the zipper squad."

"Zippers and chains, apparently," Kate said, fingering the chain Abby was currently using as a belt.

"Oh, you like that? I got the idea when I saw this guy chaining up his bike outside of a café. And I know it's supposed to be the ecological thing to do, good for the environment and all that, but when it boils down to the environment or me watching a forty-something accountant in bicycle shorts, I say screw the grandkids and drive an SUV."

Kate snickered and said, "Wow. You certainly do speak your mind, huh?"

Abby turned, smiling and looking Kate straight in the eye. "I do."

"It's good to know." She extended her hand and said, "Caitlin Todd. Kate."

Abby took the hand and shook it. "Abigail Vamperstein Five-Fingered Sciuto."

Kate raised her eyebrows. "Vamper..."

"...Stein Five-Fingered Sciuto."

"Is that your real name?"

"The Sciuto part is," she said, dropping Kate's hand and turning back to the computer. "And the Abby. Naturally. The rest I'm just kind of hoping will catch on. Except for Vamperstein... I'm not crazy about it."

"Do you have a single unfiltered thought?"

"Filters are for coffee," Abby stated, obviously feeling the statement needed no further explanation.

Kate raised her eyebrows and mouthed, "Okay," before heading for the door.

"Wait, Kate!"

She turned and saw Abby approaching her. "I wanted to say one thing." She cupped Kate's head in both hands and pulled her in, kissing her lips. Kate kept her eyes open, looking down at where Abby's deep crimson lips met her own unadorned mouth. When the kiss broke, Abby smiled and said, "Welcome to NCIS."

"Uh... huh," Kate said.

"You could sue me for sexual harassment now, you know. Forcing a kiss on you and all that."

"I... no, I don't... think..."


She went back to her computer, swishing her lab jacket behind her like a cape or a tail. Kate reached up and touched her lips as she backed out of the lab.

Working for NCIS was definitely going to be a challenge.

The End

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