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Ziva slipped her key into the lock and twisted as gently as she could, hoping that the bolt would slide back into place more quietly than usual. She breathed an inaudible sigh of relief when it didn't thud heavily back into place and carefully opened the door just enough for her to slip inside. Any further and it would have groaned loudly.
As a spy and assassin she viewed these various noises as an occasional annoyance, but in actuality a failsafe alarm system. It wasn't as if an assassin could know ever creaky door or loose floorboard in an apartment if they weren't intimately familiar with a place and most spies and assassins weren't. Tonight however, avoiding all of these noisy places was creating quite a bit of work for her.
She eased the door shut behind her, and remained standing where she was to slip out of first her shoes then her jacket. She picked both up to carry them with her and then straightened.
Ziva found herself staring directly at Abby who was staring back at her with equal directness.
Abby's hair was out of its usual pig-tails and hung down around her neck, almost concealing Ziva's favorite tattoo. She was sitting slumped back on the couch with a blanket haphazardly thrown over her. Dark makeup was smeared down her cheeks and Ziva could see the trails of tears where they'd made dark paths through it.
"Abby, what's wrong?" Ziva's voice sounded unnaturally loud in the silence of the apartment.
There was a long moment of silence where Ziva's heart began to pound. Fear and adrenaline were rapidly taking a hold on her, the worst case scenarios slipping into her mind with ease.
"Are you sleeping with someone else?"
The words were almost a relief to Ziva.
"Of course I am not sleeping with someone else, Abby." She dropped her shoes next to the coffee table and her jacket on top of it, before she went around it and sat down. Abby's hard glare kept her at the opposite end of the couch.
"I was working on -"
"You weren't working." Abby sat up quickly, the blanket falling down to her lap. "Gibbs already called for you."
Ziva cursed in annoyance when she remembered that she had turned her phone off several hours ago to insure that she wouldn't be interupted.
"Abby, let me explain." When Abby wouldn't look at her and didn't seem to be listening Ziva tried again. "Look at me, Abby."
Finally Abby turned her head slowly to glare at Ziva. Ziva took the opportunity given to sketch a few gestures through the air, bending her fingers in various movements.
It took a moment for the meaning to penetrate Abby's distraction.
"You're learning ASL?" Confusion was still evident in Abby's voice.
"Your parents are coming to visit you in a few weeks, yes? I wanted it to be a surprise."
Abby could only shake her head. When Ziva scooted closer and held out her arms she could only slide into them gratefully, laying her head on Ziva's shoulder.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "Thank you."
Ziva's hands stroked her back gently as she placed a reassuring kiss on Abby's cheek.
"Only for you."
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