DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: abby_forever continues to be willing to beta these fics for me. I'm amazed.
SPOILERS: Abby and Ziva's conversation in 4.17 Skeletons.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
In the Downpour
Rain dripped off of Ziva's shoulders. Her hair pressed down against her back in one tangled, sodden lump. Its usual curls were flattened under its own weight. The black hoodie that she wore looked grey as the water soaking it made it cling to every line and curve of Ziva's body. Little lines of water dripped from the hem and the bottom of its sleeves and fell down onto her shoes.
Abby took in every detail of Ziva's appearance as she stared out the peephole of her front door for a long confused moment. Then clarity broke through and she quickly undid the chain, swung back the dead bolt, and yanked the door open.
"Ziva! What are you- Get in here!" She cut herself off when Ziva still stood outside her door, not making a move to come in even as the rain continued to pour.
When Ziva still didn't move, she stepped out onto the steps. She reached for Ziva's elbow and then yanked back her hand hesitating. Obviously something wasn't quite right if Ziva wasn't standing outside her door in the rain. She didn't want to trigger any scary, Mossad assassin stuff.
Abby bit her lip and then more slowly, she reached for Ziva's arm again. The damp cloth was under her skin and for the first time, Abby noticed the rain as it hit her bare shoulders. She shivered and tugged gently on Ziva's arm, guiding her into the house.
Abby was well on her way to getting freaked out by her silence.
"I was going for a run."
Startled by Ziva's sudden speech, Abby jerked and hissed. Her hand was over her heart and she half-glared at Ziva as she started focusing on breathing calmly. Then a thought occurred to her.
"You went for a run in the rain?" It didn't sound like much fun to Abby and she wrinkled her nose at the thought.
"It was not raining when I left."
"But it's been raining since noon."
"I left this morning."
"Oh." Abby wasn't sure what to say about that. She wasn't sure what to say at all until she noticed Ziva's clothes dripping on her carpet and remembered that Ziva was completely soaked.
"You need to get out of those clothes," Abby said abruptly. "You could get hypothermia or something."
Ziva nodded as if what Abby had said made sense but she didn't move.
Abby frowned and for the first time wondered if she should call Gibbs. With a small sigh she decided against it. If she called Gibbs, he would come and he would deal with it, but Ziva had come to her, not Gibbs. Abby would accept that trust and cherish it, at least for now.
Slowly she reached out again. This time she caught the hem of Ziva's hoodie. She lifted it up. Ziva helped her by lifting her arms and carefully she pulled it off over Ziva's head. The black tank top that Ziva had on underneath it was equally soaked and immediately the skin of her arms were goose-pimpled with cold.
"I've got some clothes that you can change into," Abby said, turning for a moment and going into her bedroom to get them.
She kept talking as the grabbed them and a towel, mindless words that bridged the distance between them. She was surprised when she turned around to give the clothes to Ziva to find her standing a few feet away.
"Here, you can change into these. The bathroom's right through there." Abby made a gesture in the appropriate direction.
Ziva took the clothes when Abby held them out to her, but she still didn't move.
Maybe Tony would be better than Gibbs? Ziva definitely seemed to be crushing on him these days. But no, that would be an even worse idea than Gibbs, especially if Ziva was crushing on him. There was no way that she would want Tony to see her like this.
"You said that I could talk to you - if I wished - about Roy?"
"Oh. Yeah." Abby's head bobbed up and down in an emphatic nod. "Yeah."
Abby saw Ziva's knuckles go white where she clutched the dry clothing against her stomach.
"I thought about him this morning. I went for a run." Ziva tilted her head slightly and Abby wondered if she was recalling the path that she'd taken and the people that she'd seen. "I could have - he could have been something. To me." Ziva stared at Abby and through her at the same time.
"Tony thought that I was in love with him, in love with a dying man. It was foolish."
"It seemed like you really cared about him." Abby wasn't sure how to fill the sudden silence, but she had to try.
"He was...there." Ziva finally settled on the word carefully. "He was always there in the mornings when I ran. I enjoyed seeing him smile each day. I am sad that I will not get to see him smile anymore."
This time Abby remained silent, sensing that it was better to wait and let Ziva speak. Her words were starting to come more freely now.
"I thought about the things that I would miss the most if they were gone from my day."
Abby nodded slowly in understanding. "Tony." She breathed his name with feeling. Tony was cute enough, and despite what he presented to the world he did have sensitive layers - buried deeply - but still there.
Ziva frowned. The first time that she'd really responded to Abby. She shook her head, sending little droplets of water flicking across Abby's room. "Not Tony. You. You are what I would miss the most if it were gone from my day, Abby."
Abby froze. It was the last thing that she'd expected to hear from Ziva. She expected it even less than Ziva turning up on her doorstep in the middle of the rain.
"I understand." She suddenly looked defeated and dragged down in ways that the rain hadn't managed. "You do not feel the same way." She turned, patting at her hair with the towel before awkwardly handing it and the clothes back to Abby. "I'll go."
Abby took the bundle of clothing automatically as she watched Ziva walk away. She felt as frozen as Ziva had been at first. It lasted until Ziva was almost to the door. Then Abby sprung into motion. She dropped the clothes in her rush and caught Ziva's wrist just as she was about to step out into the rain.
"Wait," Abby said quickly. "Wait just a minute." She paused and took a deep breath. She turned her head from side to side, as if examining Ziva for the first time. A hesitant, slightly flattered smile stole over her face. "I didn't know you felt that way."
Ziva shrugged helplessly. "I did not either."
"Huh." Abby made up her mind in an instant. "Come back inside. You're getting wet again."
Ziva obligingly took a step out of the rain, but then stopped when Abby started to pull her further inside.
"Abby, do you-"
She wasn't quite sure how to finish asking what she wanted to ask, but fortunately Abby seemed to know what she was trying to say.
Instead of answering, Abby leaned over and kissed her. It was tender and passionate, made wonderful by all the small uncertainties of every first kiss.
"Does that answer your question?" Abby asked after the kiss had ended.
"Mmm, I am not sure. Perhaps you should try again?"
A mischievous teasing grin flashed over Abby's face. "Haven't I been trying to get your clothes off for the last half hour?"
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