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SPOILERS: "Left for Dead"
Abby pushed in her code and stepped into the lab, her eyes glazing over when she saw the stack of burnt rubble sitting on top of her worktable. "Man," she muttered, pulling off her headphones and putting the cassette player on the desk and headed for her work station. She was halfway out of her coat when she felt a familiar stirring in the hairs on the back of her neck. It was how she always knew when Gibbs was sneaking up on her, how she'd always been able to tell when one of her parents had entered the room.
She turned and saw Kate sitting in the corner, drawing circles on the glass of the cabinet with her thumb. She shed her coat and draped it across the nearest chair, moving over to Kate and crouching a few feet away. "Hi."
Kate glanced in her direction but said nothing.
"Are you okay?"
"Gibbs told me that you were the closest to the blast." Nothing. She reached out and brushed a loose strand of hair out of the other woman's face. "Kate?"
Kate turned and looked at her.
"It's not your fault for trusting her."
A tear slid out of Kate's eye, trailing down her bruised and bloodied cheek. When she spoke, her voice was hollow, a specter of her usual self. "I used to protect the President. I should have... she shouldn't have been able to fool me like that. I'm... ashamed. Embarrassed..."
"Blah, blah, blah," Abby scoffed.
Kate's eyes widened. She scoffed, running her hand under her nose as she rolled her eyes. "You suck at the comforting thing."
"You wanted to believe her. You're not sad because she pulled one over on you. You're sad because... you liked her."
Kate looked down at her hands, one fingernail black with blood. "I don't... I let myself be fooled, which is just as bad as if she'd fooled me."
"It's not a failing to trust someone," Abby said.
"The last thing she said... I-I had just realized she knew something she wasn't supposed to have known. I... it felt like... dread. Pain, anger, anguish... I was horrified that I'd let her fool me and... she..." She closed her eyes. "The last thing she said to me...
"Sorry, Kate." She turned her hand over, dropping the plastique to the ground. The little ball exploded in a wave of fire, knocking her back into Gibbs and Tony. The flame was so intense, feeling it in her clothes and singing her clothes and the hairs on her arm.
She vaguely remembered the paramedics patching her up, barely remembered making the drive back to NCIS headquarters, barely remembered getting into Abby's lab. All she could hear was "Sorry, Kate." All she could see was Suzanne's face, the apology evident in her eyes, but her hand still dropping the bomb.
Kate closed her eyes and a fresh well of tears was tapped. Abby scooted forward, pulling Kate in and hugging her tightly. "I don't know why I came here."
"Do you trust me?" Abby asked.
"Yes," Kate said against Abby's t-shirt.
"Do you want to stay here tonight?"
Abby stroked Kate's hair and pulled back. "There's a pillow in the cabinet. You can stretch out on the floor while I work."
"I won't get in your way?"
"Never," Abby promised.
Kate smiled, clinging to Abby's shoulders before she let the younger woman stand and retrieve the promised pillow. Kate took it, putting her hand on top of Abby's and letting it linger a moment longer than necessary. Abby smiled, taking Kate's hand and squeezing the fingers. "I trust you, too, Kate."
Kate took the pillow and put it on the floor, curling her knees up to her chest and hugging them as she closed her eyes. Abby kept the music to a dull roar, her boots making vibrations that echoed across the floor and slowly lulled Kate into a deep, nightmare-free sleep.
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