CHAPTER EIGHTEEN


Tony hesitated a little, , weighting the pros and cons of telling her what had happened. But then he smiled as he remembered when he'd first met her, a few weeks before this entire horrifying story had begun.

It was on a Wednesday and Abby had been excited all day long—Abby always was excited,—but this was different. She was really extremely excited. He would understand why that very same day.

'Round eight PM, Abby came to Gibbs with a huge smile which was not something unusual since she was constantly smiling and definitely when Gibbs was around. A moment later, Ducky came out of the elevator.

When he was near her he asked:

"So Abigail, I'm here. Why did you need me here for?"

"Abby looked at Ducky with an upset-faked look. Duck-man I've told you a thousand times already not to call me Abigail."

As an answer the corners of his mouth lifted up.

"Good you are all here. Now, there is someone I want you to meet…"

Her words spoken, a beautiful young woman with long dark and piercing blue eyes came wheeling into the bullpen toward them a huge smile gracing her face. All faces turned to her. Gibbs's face visibly lit up has he recognized the person who just entered.

Gibbs looked at Abby and smirked before asking her why she didn't tell him someone would visit.

Abby Sciuto smirked "Because I wanted to surprise you, boss-man."

Dawn Wilkerson stopped in front of Abby and opened her arms, the lab tech immediately bend down to hug her friend. After a few moments they let go of each other and the young woman in a wheelchair turned to face the little crowed that was formed by her best friend's friends.

"Everyone, I want you to meet, Dawn Wilkerson. She's an amazing lawyer. And never lets her condition stop her from doing anything."

"Hi, everyone!" Dawn said in a strong clear voice.

Abby couldn't help but laugh at the sight of Tony: he was looking like a fish that was held out of the water, desperately trying to breathe. So she said…

"See the guy here who's looking like his jaw's gonna end up on the floor? That's Anthony DiNozzo, my second male best friend."

"Please to meet you, Anthony, she said extending her hand. As no reaction came, Gibbs stood up and gave him a slap on the back of his head. Tear out of whatever state he was in Tony finally took the woman's hand and shook it.

"Please to meet you, too, Dawn, but call me Tony." He said with a James Bond-like smirk. And then, added "Sorry… that my reaction wasn't immediate."

"It's okay, Tony, I understand, you are not the first one blinded by the shining of my wheelchair." She retort with a laugh. "I should stop polishing it like I do. One of these days' people could really end up blind."

Tony laughed at her response, he hadn't expect her answering the way she did.

"And this …" Abby said, "… is my best friend at work, Kate Todd, she's an amazing profiler." Abby told her as she pointed a finger at Kate.

Dawn shook the agent's hand as she started to say "Pleased to finally meet you, Kate, Abby, has told me a lot about you…"

"Likewise." She told, Dawn Wilkerson.

"And this is…" Abby begun as she walked toward Ducky putting an arm around his shoulders as she stood next to him, a smile was brightening her face. "… Dr. Mallard, Ducky: my second father."

Ducky made a face.

"Abby, my dear, now you make me feel old," he said, placing is right hand on his heart, vexed.

Abby leaned in and placed a kiss on his cheek. You're not old Ducky.

"Enchanted, meeting you, Dr. Mallard." She said, shaking Ducky hand.

"Delighted, meeting you, my dear."

Gibbs then came closer to Dawn and grinned, squatted down in front her.

Gibbs took her left foot and lifted the footrest, before slowly letting her foot rest on the floor then he did the same with the other foot and footrest. And then Gibbs encircled her with his arms. Dawn slid her arms around his neck and he lifted her out of her chair and stood, Dawn was in his arms now and she rested her head against his shoulder.

Dawn laughed a crystal clear laugh.

"Hey, Gunny, happy to see you again!" she said, lifting her head to be able to look at him and to place a sounded kiss on his cheek.

"It's so good to see you again, Blue, what brings you back, here in D.C.?"

"As I see, you haven't changed a bit, always asking questions, huh? Well, believe it or not, boss-man, I'm on vacation."

The team members, except for Abby looked surprised and amazed by Gibbs's behavior toward Dawn Wilkerson.

For as long as they'd known him they had never ever seen Gibbs act with someone like he did with her. They all wondered what the story was behind such a obvious complicity. They all turned to their forensic scientist, but she just shrugged.

The way she looked at Gibbs and Dawn gave away the fact that she know more.

Gibbs looked her in the eye and immediately sensed she was holding something back, but he didn't push through, yet. There was a tremendous sadness shinning in her eyes and he was sure Abby must have seen and sensed it as well.

Turning her face to avoid his piecing gaze, she said, "as much as I love being in your arms, Gibbs, I need to go somewhere no one else can go for me."

Walking back to where her wheelchair was Jethro Gibbs gently placed her back in her chair. Thanking him with another kiss on the cheek.

"The ladies room, still where it was?" Gibbs nodded and Dawn wheeled herself to the ladies room.

They all watched her wheel away for a few moments and then everyone looked at their boss and Abby.

"What?" They asked in unison.

"How come we never heard about her before?" Tony wanted to know.

"That DiNozzo, is because she's been working like crazy for more than 20 years, to prove to her parents that she wasn't about to give up her life and dream because of a drunk driver who though he could handle the alcohol in his blood and that it wouldn't affect is driving conduct.

The woman who paid the stupidity of Thomas Johnston, the drunken driver, was, Dawn." Gibbs explained.

"Yeah, and he's still free," They heard the young woman in the wheelchair clarified before adding, "… and he has done it again, but this time: the person died. His wife."

All the team, turned at the sound of her voice.

Gibbs looked at her in disbelief that alcoholic bastard was on free foot again and now he killed his wife. That all because the evidence was substantial. Gibbs suddenly knew why he so the immense pain in her eyes.

"That's the reason you are here, isn't it, Blue?"

"The first reason is because it's been too long since I've last seen Abby and you." She said, her eyes drifting away to the floor. "But, yes, I'm here because of Johnston, Gibbs, he is here in D.C. I know he is not a Navy officer, but I thought you could help me. I'm so pissed, tired and disappointed, Gibbs, I didn't know where else to go. I'm sorry." She said, as tears were rolling down her cheeks.

Seeing this, Abby rushed to her and hugged her tightly.

"We will help you, honey." Abby soothed her friend, caressing her hair gently.

Jethro Gibbs walked toward her like he had done when she'd arrived, and crouched next the chair, posing one hand on the armrests and the other on Dawn's knee.

"Dawn?" He called her name softly.

Abby loosened her embrace on her friend so she could look at up the most wonderful man and best NCIS agent, she knew, Abby was watching him as well…

"Don't you remember what I told you a couple of years ago, as Thomas wasn't put behind bars because of lack of evidence?"

"You told me that you would nail him no matter what it would take or how long it would take you... you'd get him one day…." Dawn said in a broken voice.

"Exactly. And what else did I tell you?" He asked.

"That I could always call you at anytime, if I had a problem…"

"We are going help you, Dawn."

After that was settled they all went out to take a drink, chatting about everything and nothing, and they'd had a fantastic time together.

Dawn knew as much as Tony about movies and they had chatted like mad about lot of things driving the others crazy. Abby had come to talk to them at some point and had said that she'd been sure that the two of them would get along.

*~*~*~*

["Tony? Tony? You still there?"]

Anthony DiNozzo was brought back to reality by his interlocutor's voice.

"Huh? Oh yeah, yeah, sorry, Dawn. Abby and Gibbs are at Bethesda, Gibbs is in a coma...

And Abby is still in some sort of shock I guess…"

["WHAAAT? What happened???? How come Gibbs is in a coma and Abby is she badly injured?"] She asked Tony in a panicked voice.

"It's a long story, Dawn…." DiNozzo sighed.

["I'm all hears, Tony."]

Tony knew better than to try to avoid the subject, he was starting to know her a little and she was in a lot of aspects made in the same wood than Abby and Gibbs.

"Where are you?"

["Abby's place"]

"Okay, I'll be there in twenty minutes; I'll pick you up, and take you to Bethesda with us. I'll tell you the entire story on the way to the hospital."

["I'll be ready. Thanks, Tony."] She last said as she hung up.

A short time later, Tony and Kate were driving in the direction of Abby's place to pick up Dawn. Helping her get into the car hadn't been any problem 'cause they had done it before. Kate was sitting in the back of the car and Dawn in the seat next to Tony.

While they were driving to Bethesda, Tony and Caitlin explained every single thing that had happened since the day Gibbs hadn't show up at work.

"Tony how's Abby really doing?"

"Frankly, Dawn, I don't know. Ducky says she's fine, and that she's acting now as if nothing ever happened, but I don't buy it. I've seen how broken she was when Gibbs was missing. She even told me she wasn't sure she would survive if Gibbs would die."

"What?" The two women asked in unison.

"Tony, why didn't you say something, before?" Kate wanted to know.

"Because, Caitlin, you wouldn't be able to do anything."

Kate felt slightly pissed at DiNozzo's answer and said, "Well, I could have tried to talk her out of it maybe."

"You seriously think so, Kate?"

"Well, yeah!" She practically yelled.

"Sorry, to disappoint you, Katie, but I don't think so. Abby is not the suicidal type of person that is something I know for sure. Dawn can tell you so too, but when it comes to Gibbs, it's a whole different story."

"I'm afraid, Tony's right, Kate, when it comes to Gibbs, Abby can be very emotional and irrational.

"She's always emotional." Kate said.

"I know that, Kate, but you have to consider the fact that there's not only the emotional aspact that's involved when it comes to Gibbs."

"What do you mean?" Kate asked starting to get a little irritated by Dawn.

"Kate, there's absolutely no need for you to me pissed or irritated at me, I'm just saying something that's all. I'm just trying to give you an explanation. I'm not saying either that you don't know Abby, but Gibbs and Abby have saved my life in more ways than one, without them and epically Abby I'd be six feet under..."

"Sorry..." Kate apologized then.

"Let's forget it, will you? What I was trying to say was no matter how emotional Abby gets with anyone. When Gibbs is involved it's all taken to another level and it can come to extreme measures she can get totally irrational in no time. It's not like she's obsessed with him or anything, but she definitely is in love with him. Every single thing she's feeling is multiplied by ten when it concerns Leroy Jethro Gibbs…" her voice trailed off.

"Ah Ah! See, Kate, I told you so!" Tony intervened.

"What exactly do you mean, Dawn? So you think she'd do it if Gibbs wouldn't survive?"

"Well what you've told me about Abby being connected to Gibbs in some wired way didn't surprised me at all. I don't know what those two exactly share, and not sure they even know it themselves, but whatever it is… it's damn strong. I'm afraid she'd do it yes."

The rest of the trip to Bethesda was silent. Every passengers of the car were lost in thoughts.

Dawn Wilkerson's reasons for calling them in the first place, didn't matter anymore for the time being. She'd take of it later. What really mattered now was supporting Abby, and stay with her to watch over Gibbs. She knew her friend would not leave his side as long as he was in a coma regardless of what the doctors or her friends might say.

As Abby would watch over Gibbs she was going to watch over her.

This way Tony would be able to breathe a bit and focus on Jack Curtin…

She was supposed to catch her flight for Florida in a few hours, but would have wait now, her trip to Florida, to Miami to be precise was to verify a few tips she'd received about where Johnson might be staying.

As soon as she had read in the newspapers that Johnson's wife was dead, she'd suspected that something more that this stupid idea that her death was accident and that's why she had been trying to reach Gibbs and Abby.

She was going to ask for their help to finally catch Thomas Johnson and put him in jail for the rest of his life...

TBC...

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