DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
TIMELINE: The breakup takes place after Shalom, references the events of Once a Hero and the fic actually takes place after In the Dark.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 1001 Nights Challenge - brief encounter
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Full Circle.
Quitting the Drink
She quits the caffeine because she can't sleep at night. At first she doesn't notice anything different. It's not like she hasn't been well acquainted with insomnia before. Then she blames it on the breakup with Marty. But when she still can't sleep at all, she gets desperate and quits caffeine.
At night she lays in bed and wishes for sleep to come. She stares up at her ceiling which is obscured by the darkness of the room. What she sees instead is Ziva standing in front of her. She's looking, not quite at Abby's eyes, but just over her shoulder as she talks. Her voice is low and her body unconsciously angles inward towards Abby's. The bruises on her arms and her broken nose keep drawing Abby's attention.
She sees over and over again Ziva breaking up with her, telling her that their relationship is no longer a good idea.
At first she thinks that it was because of Gibbs. Can it really be a coincidence that Ziva breaks up with her just after Gibbs returns? For a while, she almost resents Gibbs, but it's hard to resent him when she's missed him so much.
Abby goes back to work. She's very good at her job and she does her best, but it's not quite the same. The everyday things that she usually enjoys so much seem dull and faded and just there in the middle of her chest is a constant dull ache that she tries to keep herself busy enough not to think about.
Then one day they land a case about a fallen marine and she needs access to a machine that she doesn't have. That's the day that she meets Marty. He's cute and funny and sweet. He's as smart in his own fields as she is in hers. For the first time that ache in her chest fades just a little.
But when he breaks up with her that ache returns, worse than it had been before. It's only when she's talking to Gibbs, okay being interrogated by Gibbs, about Marty that she realizes that Gibbs has nothing to do with the reason why Ziva broke up with her. She's still not sure about that reason, but now she's curious.
Curious instead of angry. That ache in her chest once dulls and then gets sharper. She has her first dream about Ziva that night. She wakes up shaking and nothing that she does can get her back to sleep. The dreams only get worse every night until she can't sleep at all.
By the time Abby finishes filing the paperwork and evidence she has a splitting headache. Even a whiff of caffeinated beverage is enough to have her drooling. That when she notices Ziva sitting in one corner of her lab watching her. Fear jerks through her for an instant, and her hand jerks up to come to rest over her heart.
When she catches her breath, she glares and says, "Lurk more loudly next time."
Ziva stands up and walks over to where she's cleaning her microscope. Abby focuses on the way that she walks, confident and a little cocky, instead of watching her face as she approaches. Ziva pauses beside her and leans back against the counter where Abby is working.
Abby can feel the heat from Ziva's body.
"You look tired."
"It's been a long week." Abby turns away and brushes passed her as she walks to the other side of the lab.
Abby can't help but think how sexy Ziva looks dressed in black as she leans back casually. She hates that she still notices that.
"It's more than that."
It's Ziva's knowing tone that changes her from sad to pissed off in an instant. "You know," she says as she whirls around and marches towards Ziva, "You don't have the right to comment on my life anymore."
Ziva doesn't even blink at the outburst. She pushes away from the counter in one smooth motion and Abby suddenly finds herself far closer to Ziva than she had intended to be.
"You aren't sleeping," Ziva comments, as if Abby hadn't even spoken. She slowly looks Abby up and down, and Abby can feel her taking in every detail of her appearance. She's sure that Ziva can see the evidence of her splitting headache. "You haven't been sleeping," she concludes.
Abby's body is almost vibrating with tension, but she can't seem to bring herself to step away.
"Do you care?" Her voice comes out breathy and soft, without the edge that she'd meant it to have.
Abby feels a touch on her cheek. Ziva's fingers caress her cheek, her thumb strokes Abby's chin, gently reverently. She grips Abby's chin gently, but firmly and forces Abby to tilt her chin up to meet her eyes. Abby leans into the touch without hesitation.
"I care," Ziva says the words so softly that even as close as Abby is she can barely hear them.
The room is so quiet that when the elevator dings in the hall, it sounds loud in the enclosed space. Ziva jerks back from Abby instantly, leaving her head spinning from the sudden absence of her proximity.
From no where Ziva produces a large cup of Caf Pow, and puts it in front of Abby. "Drink this and sleep well. Doing this to yourself is not helping."
Abby accepts the cup from her, her fingers brushing over Ziva's as she grasps it. Abby sees the way that Ziva's eyes fall shut at the contact, and she sways slightly before her eyes slip open again. Abby almost gasps at the look she sees in Ziva's eyes. It's one that she hasn't seen in months and that she's missed very much.
She wants to ask Ziva what's going on, why she really broke up with her, but Tony walks into the lab then and she can't say anything more. So she just accepts her Caf-Pow and turns away.
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