DISCLAIMER: NCIS and its characters are the property of CBS, no infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Bete Noir
The Sound and the Fury
Abby woke up deaf.
She blinked at the ceiling, wondering why her alarm clock hadn't gone off and rubbed her face, rising from her coffin like countless B-movie Draculas. Bela Lugosi never looked so good, she complimented herself, getting out of bed and grabbing the first t-shirt she found. Padding to the bathroom, she turned on the light and twisted the faucet of the sink.
It took her a moment to realize the water wasn't making a sound as it splashed against the basin. She frowned, running her fingers under the stream as if to assure herself it was real. Turning the faucet back off, she realized it wasn't squeaking as it had since she'd moved into the apartment.
Hands shaking, she brought both hands up and covered her ears, plugging them with her fingers and trying to work loose any build-up that may have accrued there. She opened her mouth and said, "Hey!" She could feel the vibration in her vocal cords, but nothing reached her ears.
Beginning to panic, she staggered out of the bathroom and walked stiff-legged down the hallway to the living room. She grabbed her cell phone, realized it was futile, and tossed it onto the chair in frustration. She found a pair of jeans and rushed out the front door, barely even noticing her lack of make-up. Her hair sat atop her head like a rat's nest, but she didn't care. She was barefoot, but her feet made no sound against the hardwood of the hall.
She pounded the down button for the elevator, panicking now as she didn't hear the loud 'ding' that indicated the door was open. There were three other people in the car, one of them smiling and saying something to her despite her disheveled appearance. Nothing... she heard nothing.
Her heart was pounding in her chest, her hands trembling as she hit the "Lobby" button. She swallowed hard, pushing her hands through her hair as she tried to figure out what had happened, how it had happened. When the elevator deposited her at the lobby, she ran from the car and a destination began forming itself in her mind.
Gibbs, his house smelling of sawdust and aftershave, was down in the basement. She entered through his unlocked front door, bare feet pounding silently down the stairs. Gibbs was standing by his skeletal boat, sandpaper in one hand and a glass of milk in the other. His back was to her, focused on the television. "Gibbs!" she tried to say.
He turned around, frowning at her appearance. "What happened?" he said, his lips barely readable for some reason.
'I can't hear anything!' she signed.
Gibbs watched her hands and lifted his index finger, putting the pinky of the other hand against the tip and drawing an arc. Abby frowned at this display, shrugged and motioned for him to repeat it. He copied the move and she shook her head, unable to decipher what he was trying to say. She signed that he wasn't making sense and he shrugged, picking up a tube of glue. He walked over to her, tilting her head to the side and squirted a glob into her ear.
She pushed away from him, batting at her ear to get the goop out. Gibbs held his hands out, revealing two wooden ears. She backpedaled, shaking her head and covering her ears with both hands. Gibbs put down the ears and drew a circle in his palm while wiggling his fingers.
Abby turned and fled the basement, leaving Gibbs' house and going immediately into Autopsy. The transition was lost on her, the fact that she'd just covered several miles in an instant not connecting with her brain. Ducky and Gerald were across the room, Ducky writing in an encyclopedic book while Gerald sat in the corner, holding his severed left arm in his lap. Abby ignored the gruesome prophecy and focused on Ducky, waving both arms to get his attention.
When he finally looked at her, she covered her ears with both hands and shook her head. He frowned and she said, "I can't hear!" The words should have echoed across the room, bounced from one metallic row of shelves to the antiseptic green tiles along the opposite wall. Instead, she heard nothing.
Ducky nodded, lifting a finger in understanding as he slid from the table he was sitting upon. She followed him across the room, praying he had some sort of technique to clear her aural passages. Instead, he turned back to her with a bone saw and a drill in hand. His face was now covered by the plastic facemask he used during autopsy.
"Let's see what's clogging you up, my dear," Ducky said, his lips easier to read than Gibbs' but not much. She backed up a step, only to collide with Gerald. He tried to hold her with his one arm, but she easily slipped out of his grip and ran from the room. Panicked, she ran up a short flight of stairs and found herself in the squad room.
DiNozzo was at his desk, making out with Paula Cassidy. Kate looked up as Abby approached, tilting her head curiously at the other woman's attire. "What's this, Abby, non-conformist by way of conforming?"
Abby stopped in her tracks. "I heard you," she said, still not hearing herself.
"Why wouldn't you hear me?" Kate said, standing up and coming around her desk.
"I can't hear," Abby said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Kate smiling knowingly, putting her hands on the sides of Abby's head. "Of course you can hear." She leaned down and kissed Abby's lips, a gentle brush, a slow and seductive ballet of lips together. As they kissed, sounds began to arise... the hum of the air conditioner, the sound of DiNozzo and Cassidy, the buzz of the fluorescent lighting overhead, phones ringing, an airplane passing by outside, people talking back and forth and most importantly her own voice, whispered against the pillowed cheek her lover as she whispered, "Kate... I can hear."
Abby opened her eyes, blinking a few times as she took in her surroundings. She was in Kate's bed, pressed against the other woman's back. Kate's hair was mussed, her face half-buried in the pillow. Her eyes were still closed and her repeated, "Hear what?" was half-mumbled in sleep.
"Nothing," Abby smiled, leaning down and kissing Kate's earlobe. "Everything. Enough."
She wrapped an arm around Kate's waist and settled in, closing her eyes again and feeling unafraid to dream.
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