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SPOILERS: "Hung Out to Dry"
Trial by Fire
Kate gathered her things, stuffing them into her purse before slinging the strap over her shoulder. She was halfway to the elevators when Abby called out from behind her. "Kate! Hold up!"
Kate paused and let the forensics wizard catch up with her. "Hey, Abby. What's going on?"
"What you asked me earlier... how I got started at NCIS?"
"Yeah. You said you filled out an application."
"Right, well, that's not the whole story. That's like saying 'Star Wars' is about a bunch of furry little Ewoks fighting Stormtroopers on Endor. Beginning with the ending, you know?"
"Right," Kate said, unsure of where this was going.
They stepped into the elevator and Abby said, "Okay, so it all started because of this car accident..."
Abby paced by the side of the road, muttering curses at the police milling around on the sidewalk. Her beautiful car, the speedy little Camaro, crushed and mutilated. The passenger side was disfigured beyond redemption, the rest of it looking blasphemously pristine. It hurt her to look at it.
The man standing across the street had a buzz cut and a crisp, clean Navy uniform. The front of his truck was crumpled, but it was still drivable. Abby chewed her lip, looking down at her Living Dead Dolls t-shirt and the purposely-shredded dress she was wearing. The cops were already looking for how much to charge her, how to get this freak off the streets ASAP. She even caught one of them apologizing to the Navy guy for the inconvenience.
After about ten minutes, another truck pulled up and a tall man with graying brown hair strode past the police tape. He looked royally pissed off. "Since when do you call NCIS for a simple traffic incident?" she heard him bark at one of the local cops. They exchanged a few words and the cop pointed at the Navy man. Then, he pointed at Abby.
The newcomer's gaze lingered on Abby for a moment, taking in her outfit. When they locked eyes, she sneered and gave him the finger. He brought a cup of coffee to his lips then, but she was certain she'd seen him smile. She kicked the curb with the back of her boot and began pacing again. She was going to go down for this. She just knew it.
Two weeks went by and, sure enough, they were blaming her for the accident. She remembered the half smile of the federal agent with the coffee and looked up his agency's address. Then, it was simply a matter of sitting in the lobby and waiting for him to show up. The only problem was the security guard. He kept eyeing her, watching the manila envelope she was carrying, waiting for an excuse to take her down.
The agent finally came in, still with a cup of coffee, and made a bee-line for the metal detector. Abby stood and rushed over to him, the guard tensing as she made her move. "Hey, NCIS agent guy."
He turned. "The name is Gibbs."
"Guy in Back," Abby said. "What's the other 'B' for?"
"'Better not be wasting my time.' What do you need?"
Abby undid the clasp on the envelope, pulling out the photographs she'd taken. "Hold the envelope? Thank you." She moved to his side, fanning the photos out like a deck of cards. "I took these myself the day of the accident."
"The car accident," she sighed. "This Navy guy hit me, sent me spinning, disfigured my poor car and now you guys are saying it was my fault. Well? Here's the proof that your Navy guy is busted."
Gibbs put his coffee down on the metal detector's conveyer belt and laid the photos out. "Okay, what am I looking at, Miss..."
"Sciuto. Abby Sciuto." She pointed at the first picture. "The passenger side of my car. This is the damage done. Look at that, Gibbs! See how the metal is twisted? My car had forward momentum. I was going through that intersection with the right of way and your Colonel Sergeant Master Seaman guy hit me like I was a red-headed stepchild."
Gibbs pushed the papers around. "Skid marks," he said, picking up a shot of the street.
"Yeah. Mine. I slammed on the brakes when he hit me. Not smart, yeah, but..."
"No skid marks on his side of the road."
"Nope. Guy was barreling through."
Gibbs picked up a print-out and read a series of times and dates. "What is this?"
"The schedule for that light. I called the Department of Transportation and the lights at the intersection are on a timer. My accident occurred at..." She flipped through the file and said, "02:33:04pm... um, 14:33:04 to you jarheads." She looked at his hair, realizing she was just assuming it was a Marine cut. "No offense."
"And, according to this, from 2:32:45 until 2:33:15, the southern-facing light was as green as George Bush before he puked on the Japanese Prime Minister."
Gibbs' smile widened and he gathered the photos again, taking one last look at each one before replacing them in the envelope. "What did you say your name was again?"
"And you know all this stuff how?"
"I used to sneak into a scrap metal yard, look at all the wrecks."
"Know anything about forensics?"
"I know a college professor or two who thinks so."
Gibbs tapped the envelope against his thigh and glanced at the security guard. "Frank. Get Miss Sciuto an application, please."
"It's a thing you fill out to get a job here. That is, if you--"
"Yes. Please. Frank, the application if you would."
Gibbs smiled and held up the envelope. "We're gonna get this squared away. Good work, Miss Sciuto."
"Abby. Or Abs."
Gibbs chuckled and nodded, heading for the elevator. "Oh, Gibbs!"
He stopped and she brought his coffee over to him. "You left this on the table."
He took the cup from her, looked down at it and then nodded. "Yeah. I think you'll do fine here... Abs."
"No wonder he likes you so much," Kate said, smiling at Abby across the booth.
"Coffee has powers to soothe the savage beast that is Gibbs."
"So you cleared your name and got a job in one fell swoop. Good week for you."
"Eh, I've had better."
Kate raised her eyebrows. "Oh, yeah? What week could possibly have been better?"
Abby shrugged and put her hand on top of Kate's. "Well, I don't know. They've all been pretty good since you showed up."
Kate bit her bottom lip and smiled.
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