DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: There was no beta. If you spot any mistakes, um, sorry? I hope they aren't too horrible. This was just an exercise to try to get my muse back into motion at one point. I don't know that it is one of my better shorts, but I wanted to try something different. So this goes to jaina whose prompt inspired it. I'm not sure I have Abby's voice down, but I tried. On, and the title sucks. *shrug* Couldn't think of anything better.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Through season 6 up to maybe 6.2
FEEDBACK: To cirroco[at]gmail.com
Not so impulsive
By Cirroco DeSade
Abby wasn't quite sure when it had happened. She was not exactly the introspective type; actually, she was more impulsive and emotional than anything else. That was what had made her and Kate such a good pair. Caitlin was all analytical and cautious, which balanced out well with Abby's spontaneous nature. They really had brought out the best in each other at times. When Kate had died, Abby was sure a piece of her had gone with her. It had taken her a long time to not feel that absence so keenly.
Staring down at the large yellow sheet of paper, she saw she had just drawn a great big frowning face that completely conveyed her feelings. Big fat tears she did not even remember adding streaming down the comically childish drawing said it all. Something was missing again. She had not felt this miserable for a while; not since she had started to heal over Kate's absence.
She stood and strode over to where she had taped pictures of her missing teammates. She refused to accept that they were gone for good. In her mind, they were simply misplaced. Gibbs would get them back she knew it. She taped up her drawing, rearranging the pictures so they surrounded it. It spoke perfectly to how she was feeling.
Pausing after she taped up Ziva's picture, she touched the Isreali's face, wishing she could do it for real. No, she wasn't sure when it had happened. When had Ziva come to mean so much more to her than the friend she had believed they were? When would she get a chance to tell the Mossad agent what she was thinking?
Stepping over to her calendar, she started counting. She counted back to the day her world had imploded: the day of Jenny's funeral. It was the day Director Vance had ripped her world apart, sent her Three Musketeers in three different directions and left Gibbs with three not-so-bright replacements. Sixty-six days had passed. It seemed like a lifetime, but she wrote down the number on a post-it note and put it right in the middle of her frowny-face drawing.
She felt a tear escape and tried to reign in her emotions. It wouldn't do to sit here crying about it. She really should be trying to figure out what it was that had changed in her that caused her to miss Ziva so much more than the boys. However before she could give it another moment's thought, she heard the elevator, so she wiped at her eyes, preparing herself for a visitor. It was Michelle Lee, Ziva's not nearly as talented replacement. Chiding herself for her less than nice thoughts, she tried her best to smile as the agent came in the door carrying a box.
"Hey, we collected this at the scene," Lee began as she set the box down on the first empty table. "Gibbs, wants you to work on the tire tracks first, okay?" The shorter woman finally looked up at Abby. "Hey, are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Abby said briskly, not feeling the least bit like opening up to Lee. "I'll get right on this."
Agent Lee seemed dubious, but nodded and left Abby alone. The tall Goth just sighed, and began pulling on her gloves to sort through what had been brought to her.
Another two months passed before the forensic scientist finally confronted Gibbs. He had come down to the lab, bypassing the elevator, which freaked her out enough and then much too gently asked her about her progress. She had not really planned to confront him, but she had just updated her post-it so the number, plus what it represented, was still fresh in her head. Therefore, when he asked her what she had she answered with the first thing that popped into her mouth.
"A number," she said firmly. Upon seeing his baffled look, she began explaining. Before she knew it, she had pled, threatened and just about cried to him to get her teammates back. She would not say how badly she wanted Ziva back the most.
Gibbs gave her that soft look he seemed to reserve just for her and simply said, "I'm working on it."
It was the best news she had received in months. She had known in her heart Gibbs would not fail her, but hearing him say it was better. Because when Gibbs made a promise, he kept it. Now she just needed to figure out what to do when he succeeded.
It was weird to find out that Ziva was hurt through Michelle Lee. The small woman had come down to bring Abby copies of the photographs, forgetting that the Goth could pull them up digitally. She mentioned it off-hand that Ziva had been found.
"Yeah, you've got to give it to that woman. She's always into something exciting," Lee had said with an incredulous snort.
"Exciting? What do you mean exciting? Like, good exciting, or scary exciting? Because I never know with you guys, especially Ziva," Abby said. She looked down to see Michelle's eyes practically bugging out of her head in shock and realized that she had gripped the agent's shoulders in her rush to find out what had happened. She wasn't sure, but she thought she remembered shaking her too. Woops.
"Well," Lee said carefully while slowly backing up a step from Abby after she released her. "Keating happened to find her on a feed from ZNN. There was a bombing in Morocco and apparently, she was there. The camera just managed to catch her being wheeled out to an ambulance."
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God," Abby started repeating over and over, feeling like she would hyperventilate any second. She started pacing back and forth. "Has anybody contacted her father or anything to see if she's okay?"
"Abby," Lee tried to calm the Goth down, "Gibbs said he got in touch with her and she's alright."
"What else? How alright is alright?" Abby almost pounced on Lee again.
"I don't know," Lee said quietly. "You know Gibbs. He plays it pretty close to the chest."
McGee had come back first. Of course, he had not really been gone, just moved across the street. It turned out they were all on a very secret special assignment. Well, McGee and Ziva were. Tony really was just stuck on a boat, miserable. Nevertheless, Abby had faith Gibbs would fix that too. In the meantime, she caught up with McGee while waiting on Ziva's return. She could hardly contain herself and wished the Israeli would just get here already, but Abby knew she had to tie some things up back in Israel and that international flights were not exactly quick things anyway.
So, she and McGee went out to eat that night and talked about everything just like old times. He even invited her back to his place and they played computer games way into the morning. She was grateful for it and the distraction it gave her. She was not sure how she would get rid of all this nervous energy between now and when Ziva arrived.
It was kind of sad watching Michelle cart off her box of belongings, Abby thought. She felt bad that the young agent had just been placed there temporarily, unknowing that she was being watched as a possible spy. Lee had seemed to really want to do well. Maybe she would have another chance one day with another team. Abby thought it was weird that she had never gotten an icky vibe off Langer, but then again, everybody said she was too trusting. That was why she liked her instruments. They never lied.
Even as she was thinking all this, the elevator bell dinged and as the doors opened, she spotted her first sign of Ziva. The Mossad agent looked good. More tanned than Abby was used to seeing, a new scar where she had gotten hurt in the bombing, but otherwise good. The Israeli stopped and politely spoke to Michelle for a moment, seeming to understand that she was usurping her spot on Gibbs team. Then she turned and faced the bullpen.
Abby couldn't help herself. She started bouncing up and down. "Ziva!" she exclaimed excitedly.
It was one of those rare occasions where Ziva's entire face lit up with a smile and she moved quickly to her team. Ziva hadn't taken her eyes off the bouncing Goth even as she got closer. Neither of them planned it, but Abby couldn't stop herself from engulfing the shorter woman in a bear hug.
She knew she said some kind of goofy greeting, like "You're back," and also remembered saying "I missed you," but couldn't remember what else had left her mouth. She did however remember hearing Ziva whisper something in Hebrew up against her neck during the hug followed by, "I missed you too."
After that, she reluctantly let her go so that Gibbs and McGee could also greet her. She tried not to stare at her, but didn't succeed. In the end, she figured the guys would chalk it up to her excitement, if they even noticed. They seemed pretty intent on hearing her stories too.
Abby couldn't believe her luck when Ziva mentioned she needed to find a hotel because she was getting her apartment fumigated. There was no way she would let any friend stay in a hotel like that, let alone Ziva. Plus, it would be the perfect time to get some alone time with the younger woman. Yes, they had gone out to dinner since the other woman had returned to DC, once with the team and twice just the two of them. Yet, in Abby's mind, it was not enough. She wanted to be truly alone, not alone in a roomful of strangers alone, with Ziva when she tried to communicate with her what she had been thinking and feeling all these months.
Of course, now as she paced around her apartment tidying up while waiting for Ziva to show up, she was getting nervous. She still hadn't figured out what exactly to say to Ziva. And she didn't think she should take the same approach she did with Kate and just surprise her by kissing her senseless. Ziva's scary assassin reflexes made surprising her a rather risky business. Besides, Ziva and Kate were worlds apart. Kate had never been with a woman, never considered it. Abby knew at the time if she had waited for Kate to figure out that they were practically a couple, she would be waiting a long time. She wasn't known for being that patient.
Thinking of Kate again gave her a slight pang of guilt. She had not really allowed herself to get really close to anybody since Kate had died. It never seemed right. Nobody could replace Kate in her heart. Nevertheless, despite Abby's initial efforts to shut her out, Ziva had wormed her way in and just made up her own spot, quite unbeknownst to Abby. It had taken her getting removed from Abby's life for her to realize it.
The doorbell rang and Abby jumped, gasping in surprise. She laughed a little at herself and went to open it.
"You did not check the people hole," Ziva immediately scolded.
"What?" Abby asked, then translated. "Oh, peephole. I knew it was you."
"How?" Ziva said with a smirk as she entered the Goth's apartment.
"Um," Abby hedged. "Sixth sense?"
"I worry about you when you do not show proper care for safety," Ziva said.
Abby just grinned goofily. Ziva was always worrying about her. It was rather sweet. She had even loaned her that zapper when she had needed it and shown her how to use it. "I'm sorry. I just was expecting you, so," Abby said, trailing off, hoping it was enough of an explanation. She noticed the Ziva only had one large backpack, and nothing else. "You didn't bring anything else?"
"I am accustomed to living with few amenities," Ziva answered. "I have more than I would normally pack in here since I will go to work straight from here." The Israeli set her bag down next to the long black couch that dominated the room. "I appreciate your letting me stay. I would not have minded a hotel, but this is much nicer."
Abby beamed and bounced a little. Striding over she sat down on the couch with the other woman and faced her. "So, I was thinking maybe getting some Chinese food delivered?" Abby asked. "Or pizza; there's that pizza place I know you like around the corner."
Ziva just grinned. "Whatever you wish, Abigail," she finally answered.
"Chinese then," Abby said, happily. She skipped over to her phone and drug the menu out of a drawer below. After ordering enough food to feed a small army, she hung up and made her way back.
Something caught her eye and she detoured, picking up the photo album she had been going through over the weekend. She had taken a strange trip down memory lane while trying to decide how to move forward and ended up pulling out all her albums, spending an entire afternoon figuring out how she had gotten where she was now. Following an impulse, she brought over the album that was devoted mostly to her and Kate.
"Hey, Ziva," she said quietly, "did I ever show you these?"
Ziva looked very intently at the album that was handed to her. She knew from the first page the importance of the album to Abby and wondered why she was suddenly sharing it. She allowed Abby to point and tell little stories that went with the pictures inside. She even kept the ball rolling by asking questions as they went if Abby seemed to need encouragement.
They got to a picture of Abby and Kate kissing, taken by a friend at a party. The Goth peeked up at Ziva to see what her reaction was. Ziva felt the inspection and lifted a brow in question. "I didn't know if you knew we had been a couple when she died," Abby said softly.
Ziva inhaled deeply then sighed. "Yes, I did," she answered. "Gibbs told me early on. He tried to explain why you seemed to hate me as much as you did. He was very protective of you." She smirked. "He still is."
"Oh," Abby said, almost disappointed, since now she couldn't gauge Ziva's reaction to her dating a woman. Tony had said the Israeli had a history with Jenny before either had appeared at NCIS, but she never knew what to believe with Tony's fertile imagination.
"I am sorry you lost her," Ziva said sadly. "I still feel somewhat responsible."
"I know, and we've talked about this, so stop beating yourself up, already" Abby said firmly. "I didn't show you these so you could get all guilty."
"Why did you show them to me?" the Mossad agent asked.
"I," Abby hesitated. "I missed you a lot when you were gone."
"I missed you too, Abigail," Ziva replied warmly. Her low voice actually made Abby want to shiver. Ziva knew the Goth was holding something back; she could see her practically vibrating with the need to share. She waited patiently.
"I missed you most," Abby blurted. Ziva's head tilted and she looked at the scientist quizzically silently asking her to continue. Abby got up and started to pace. "It wasn't just because you were the only one who didn't call or write or whatever, although I do wonder about that," she squinted at Ziva and shook a finger at her. Then she started pacing again. "I missed you more because you had this special place in my day that I didn't realize was there until it was gone. I missed you coming down and talking to me. How you were never afraid of flirting or laughing with me. I missed our girls' night out. I missed Thursday dinners. I missed how we would band together to play pranks on Tony."
She sighed and stopped. "I just missed you. And I realized I needed you to know." Abby turned back around to face the couch, planning on focusing on Ziva. Yet, the smaller woman had stood and was within an arm's length of her.
"You need me to know what?" Ziva asked as she put a steadying hand on Abby's arm.
"I think I kinda' have fallen for you," Abby said nervously. "But you don't have to feel the same. I would understand if you," she was interrupted by two soft fingers on her lips.
"And if I would like a chance to see if we can fall together?" Ziva asked gently.
Abby couldn't contain her smile and she didn't control her urge to give the smaller woman a big hug. "I think that can be arranged," she said as she pulled back, pleasantly surprised when Ziva didn't let her go all the way.
The two women looked at each other from inches away and Abby was more than thrilled that she would be able to kiss her without worrying about scary Mossad reactions and she didn't even have to instigate it. And then she was kissing her and very little thinking was going on except to wonder why they didn't do this much earlier.
When they finally pulled back from each other and grinned. "Wow," she said and giggled. "Do they teach you that in Mossad school or are you a natural?"
Ziva smirked, holding back a laugh. Before she could answer the doorbell rang. Abby pecked her on the lips. "Chinese is here!" she skipped away towards the door leaving Ziva standing behind.
"Check the," the smaller woman started.
"People hole! I know," Abby said and winked at her before doing just that.
She wasn't sure when it happened, but she was pretty sure she had gotten a girlfriend.
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