DISCLAIMER: NCIS and its characters are the property of CBS, no infringement intended.
SPOILERS: "Terminal Leave," "Frame-Up," small one for "Red Cell"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Only Horses and Men
By Geonn


Abby: "All the information is still here. It's just a matter of humpty-dumptying it."
Tony: "I thought they couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again."
Kate: "That's because the king only had horses and men."

Abby stared.

It didn't make sense. No, worse... it made complete sense.

She leaned back and cleared the screen, once again inputting the numbers. She checked her books, making sure she hadn't mislabeled anything. Everything added up... it was the sum that she was having a hard time believing. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine Tony DiNozzo holding a woman hostage, torturing her, raping her, doing...

No! She would never believe it!

"Ma'am? Um, Abby?"

"Not. Now. Chip," she said through grit teeth. God this man grated on her. At least Gibbs had made him get rid of that stupid little lip critter.

"I'm just wondering... I mean, I know I'm new here, but maybe we should consider the possibility that..."

Abby stood up and aimed a finger at his nose. "Not another word, Chipper!"

"I'm just saying. DiNozzo does seem like a womanizer. Maybe he's just hidden the extent of his..."

"You'll want to leave this room, Charles," Abby said, her voice deep and threatening. Chip closed his mouth and nodded slowly, tucking his chin against his chest as he returned to the main lab. Abby dropped back behind her keyboard and stared at her conclusions. "I'd rather every forensic fact I know turn out to be wrong than consider the fact that Tony DiNozzo is the sleazeball these results say he is."

"Good for you, Abs."

Abby nodded, pressing her lips together and not bothering to look up. Kate had been hanging around the lab. She didn't mind. Usually, people looking over her shoulder while she tried to work made her antsy. But Kate, for some reason, helped focus her mind. She cleared the screen again and started to re-input her data.

Kate passed in front of the desk and Abby glanced up. She was wearing her blue and green plaid skirt, the white blouse open halfway to reveal the tank top beneath. Intrigued, Abby leaned forward and saw that Kate was also wearing knee socks. "Nice outfit," she complimented.

"Thanks," Kate said. "DiNozzo put me in it right after I died... you should see what McGee had me in." She laughed at the thought and said, "Actually, if you want..."

"Nah, schoolgirl is fine," Abby said. She typed some more and then stopped, leaning back and staring at her computer. "Do you think I'm wrong?"

"About what? DiNozzo or the forensics?"

"Either. Both. I don't know!"

"This isn't you, Abby," Kate said, walking around the desk. "Doubting yourself? Where's that 'can-do' Sciuto spirit? Where's the attitude?"

"It died when you did," Abby said softly.

She felt Kate's hands on her back and shoulders, massaging gently. "Abby. You don't need me. You were doing fine before I came along."

Abby turned in her chair, facing Kate. "Before you came along, I didn't know I was missing anything! It was like... forensics twenty years ago. They thought they were doing a great job, but then DNA was discovered and they realized how wrong they'd always been. You're my DNA, Kate."

Kate smiled. "That might be the sweetest thing you've ever said to me."

"And you never heard it," Abby said, bowing her head.

"I heard it," Kate promised her. She knelt and cradled Abby's head against her shoulder. Stroking the jet black hair, she whispered, "Tony DiNozzo is not a sleaze. He's a little boy who likes to make jokes about boobies and heinies and he would never, ever take advantage of a woman."

"He broke into a bathroom where you were taking a shower," Abby reminded her.

Kate smiled and looked down at Abby's knees. "He... didn't exactly break in."

Abby tilted her head to the side.

Kate blushed and shrugged. "I kind of left the door unlocked. He didn't know I was in there until he actually came in. I was lonely. I was... feeling a little stupid. I think I wanted him to take advantage of me."

"You... threw a sponge at his head."

"I've slept with a co-worker before. I didn't want to seem too eager. Didn't want to be labeled the slut of NCIS."

"You were the slut of the Secret Service?"

Kate shrugged. "Never in so many words..." She sighed. "Look, the point I'm making is that DiNozzo was in the room with me. I was naked. And he... well, if I said he was a perfect gentleman, I'd lose all credibility."

Abby smiled.

"He didn't take advantage. Never even crossed his mind. And Abby? You are never wrong when it comes to forensics. When it comes to the itty-bitty parts of what makes up the world, you are an absolute genius. You are legend. You are unstoppable."

Abby inhaled, puffing out her chest and throwing back her shoulders. "I'm Abby Sciuto. Vamperstein."

"Five-Fingered Sciuto," Kate said.

"You remembered the nickname I wanted!"

Kate smiled. "You're the greatest I've ever seen, Abby. And you don't need Chip or Gibbs or Ducky or the ghost of the woman you're still carrying a torch for to tell you that. Who are you?"

"Abby Sciuto," Abby said, slightly under her breath.

"Ew, no," Kate said, shaking her head. She stood up and put both hands on her hips. "No, the Abby Sciuto I know would never be so meek. So? Who the hell are you?"

Abby looked up. "I'm Abby Sciuto."

"Still not buying it."

Abby stood up and got in Kate's face...

Chip jumped when Abby yelled. "I'm Abby Five-Fingered Vamperstein Sciuto and forensics does not own me, I own forensics and I am going to work this evidence until it tells me the truth!!"

She stormed out of her office and into the main forensics lab. Chip cleared his throat and said, "Ma'a, uh-- Abby?"

"Yes, Chip."

"Are you... better?"

Abby looked up and saw Kate through the glass in the other room. "Yes, Chip. I am better. Now. Get your unnecessary lab assistant butt in gear!" He scurried off and Abby smiled at Kate.

The inner forensics lab was now empty, not even a wisp of smoke to indicate Kate's disappearance. Abby went back to work with a renewed vigor.

The End

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