A/N: So, this has been playing around in my head for about a week now, and I finally was able to get the first chapter down tonight. Updates will be sporadic, as this fic requires a very specific mood to be able to write it, but each part is all planned out in my lj, so it will be finished. And reviews make my day.
Oh, and just so everyone's clear, I? LOVE Ziva. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Kate's character really, I just think that Ziva's a much more interesting character, and I also love Cote de Pablo's acting. Yes. That is all.
Summary: Abigail Sciuto and Ziva David try to make each other something better. Ziva/Abby, Gibbs/Abby, with McGee lusting after Ziva as comic relief.
Part One: In which Abby isn't quite frozen.
Heavy sheets of rain pelted down on her as she bolted inside HQ, waving her I.D absently at the guard at the front desk. He'd only stop her if he were new, and they hadn't had a new guard in the last three years. It was dark outside, lightning the only illumination, the moon being obscured by bloated black clouds that hung in the sky with all the grace of turtles yet all the ambivalence of an axe murderer. No one was in the office at three-thirty AM, and she was glad that there wasn't anyone to see her, rushing through the halls, her hair down, her black skirt and fishnet shirt soaked through from the rain, her makeup running all over the place. Her heals clicked on the tiles of the hall that lead to her lab, and the many rings on her fingers felt tight and constricting as she worked the key in the door.
She fell into her computer chair gratefully, pressing the heals of her palms into her eyes, breathing deeply. She had been out, at some bar or another with some people that she kinda sorta might have known at one point when a breakthrough on the current case had struck her over the head with a large and very hard hammer. She had run the twelve blocks to the NCIS building, not trusting herself to drive, and thanking any god that cared to listen for the treadmill she kept in her apartment that allowed her to run that far without collapsing. Sucking in lungfuls of air, she turned to her computer, and began to type furiously. She spun her chair, and wheeled over to a microscope, shoving a slide under the lens and leaning closer.
"Why the hell didn't I run a drug scan earlier?" she breathed, noting every discoloration in the blood that she hadn't been able to identify that afternoon. She had run a battery of tests, however hadn't bothered to check for drug use, as their victim had seemed in perfect health, according to Ducky. Moving over to another piece of equipment, she carefully placed a blood sample down in it's proper spot, and began the test, sitting back, waiting for the results. Behind her, the door opened. Not even looking up, she said "Our vic was a crackhead, Gibbs. I just thought of it now, I'm sorry. I don't know why it didn't cross my mind to check before now, and—"
"As much as that does interest me, I'm not exactly Gibbs," an amused voice spoke from directly behind her. She jerked upright, spinning, almost colliding with the person behind her.
"What the hell are you doing!" she demanded irritably, seeing the identity of her unknown visitor and relaxing marginally.
Ziva David folded her hands behind her back and watched Abby, hints of a smirk playing at the corners of her mouth. "I could ask you the same question."
"I just got in," Abby muttered. "Had a thought while I was out, thought I'd check it out."
Ziva nodded. "I haven't left yet. I was rerunning the keyword search on McFadon's email correspondence, trying to see if there's anything that McGee and I missed the first time."
Abby nodded. "And I care why?"
"I was just leaving, and one of the night patrollers asked me 'why Miss Sciuto was running down the corridor like a bat out of hell dressed like a hooker from a bad porn movie and looking like her mother just died'. Naturally, my curiosity was perked."
"Peaked," Abby corrected automatically. "And nothing's wrong, but it's kind of raining outside, if you hadn't noticed, and I came twelve blocks through it to get here, so of course my makeup's all runny."
"Ziva held up her hands. "I was just quoting him."
"I bet it was Stan," Abby muttered.
Ziva arched an eyebrow. "You're on a first name basis with the night patrollers?"
"Yeah. Don't you know? True geeks get their best work done at night."
Ziva blinked. "Geek?"
Abby quickly backtracked. "Never mind. Gods, McGee's rubbing off on me."
This only seemed to serve the purpose of further confusing the other woman. "So, you're running a drug test on the blood?" she asked.
Abby nodded. "Yeah. I figure that might have caused some of the discoloration, I mean, if the white blood cells were being killed off trying to defend the body against some sort of harmful substance…"
There was a click, and Abby heard the horrifying sound of her computer shutting down. All the lights went out, and they were left in total darkness. "Fuck!" Abby screamed, jumping out of her chair and trying to find her tox scanner in the darkness to see if it would run on back-up-generator power. She hit her knee on something sharp, and swore violently as it began to throb. She was completely disoriented, and she had a sneaking suspicion that the three drinks she had consumed before coming might also have something to do with that fact.
Strong hands caught her upper arms, running up until they held her shoulders. "Abby, calm down."
"Get off of me!" Abby snarled, her hatred of the other woman coming out full force. She tried to struggle away from her firm hold, but Ziva was much stronger than her, and she eventually gave up, standing very still.
"Are you done?" the other woman asked dryly. Abby didn't answer, feeling very much like a petulant child being restrained by a parent. Ziva released her, but kept a hand resting on her shoulder, leaving Abby with no allusions of what the results of her trying to bolt would be.
"We need to get out of here and to somewhere where there's some light. You can run the test tomorrow, and stumbling around in the dark isn't going to help anything."
Abby hated her for making so much sense, and being so logical at a time when she, herself, would like nothing more than to rip her head off.
Ziva began moving, keeping a hold on Abby, forcing her to follow along, in full keeping with the child metaphor. Abby was about to ask, snidely, just how Ziva knew where the doors were in the pitch blackness, when she found herself being guided out into the hallway, where emergency lighting provided an eerie red glow to everything around them. A tall man, whom Abby recognized as Marc, another night patroller, moved towards them through the bloody red landscape.
"There's been a power outage. If you would both please exit the building as quickly as possible, I'll take you down to the garage."
"We are capable of walking by ourselves," Ziva said patronizingly.
Marc puffed his chest, trying to make himself look important. "With all due respect, Ma'am, it's NCIS protocol, I have to escort you directly from the building in the case of a power outage, for your security, and that of NCIS, in case you were to use the lack of lights and alarms to perform any criminal actions."
Abby smirked at Ziva's slightly offended expression, and gave Marc a thumbs up. They all began walking toward the garage, and Abby fell back to walk in step with Marc.
"So, when ya think the power's gonna be back on?"
"I don't know, Ma'am. The storm's pretty violent, so I'd guess we're going to be down for at least an hour."
"How many times do I need to tell you to call me Abby?" she asked, rolling her eyes.
"NCIS will be down until the morning, anyway, until we can check over everything and make sure nothing was done to endanger employee security," he ignored her last statement.
"Thank God my lab's only a floor above the garage," Abby commented, staring at the seemingly endless flights of stairs above them as they descended. Marc laughed.
"Well, have a nice night," he said politely once they entered the garage.
"Thanks," Abby called after him. Ziva didn't comment. It wasn't until Marc had left back up the stairs that Abby realized she had left her car at the bar. Deciding that there was no way on Earth she was relating this little bit of information to Ziva, Abby made as if to walk down the rows of parking stalls, hoping that Ziva wouldn't want to stick around.
"Abby." She stopped, turning around, looking questioningly at Ziva, who was leaning against her car, watching her.
She made a gesture at the car. "My car's right here. Passenger door should be unlocked."
Abby blinked. She tried to formulate an answer, but nothing came to mind. Ziva pushed off the side of the car, and walked over to her, lightly shoving her toward the passenger side of the vehicle.
Feeling unnerved and awkward, Abby obediently opened the door and hopped in, leaning back in the soft leather interior happily. Ziva came around to the other side, settling down and starting the ignition.
"Nice car," Abby said finally, not sure what else was appropriate for the situation. Ziva shrugged slightly, turning the key and making the machine make a delightful little purr.
They pulled out into the downpour, and Abby shivered, remembering what it was like to be outside in that. The sheets of rain fell, making the buildings and other vehicles outside of her window nothing more than faint ghostly outlines against the blackness of the night.
Another flash of lightning lit up the world in a cruelly stark whiteness, momentarily blinding her. By the time she regained her vision, the crashing thunder was exploding overhead with all the force of the gods. She wrapped her arms around herself, and leaned her forehead against the window, the cold glass against her cold skin just adding to her general feeling of being frozen inside the storm.
"No streetlights. People can't drive," Ziva commented. Abby heard her as if through a thick fog, her mind focused on the cold and the white and the rhythmic pounding of the rain on the hood of the car. Big round droplets of rain hit the pavement with such frequency that they created their own little spray, car tires adding to the waterfall effect as the water jetted back up from it's impact with the pavement. Abby couldn't feel her body, as if she were being tugged outside into the storm, her consciousness being divided into a billion little drops of water to hit the pavement and spray in every direction imaginable.
She didn't realize the car had stopped moving until Ziva forcibly grabbed her chin and forced her around to look at her. Abby came out of her trans-like state slowly, and when she realized what was happening, jerked her head back so quickly that it struck the glass of the window. She released a breath, and watched as it crystallized in the air, and wondered how long they must have been stopped for the heat to so utterly leave them.
"Don't do that," Ziva said quietly, no anger, just a simple statement. "It's dangerous to go that deep into your own mind."
Abby shivered, not from the cold, which she had become immune to, but from the dead quality of Ziva's voice as she said those words. It was as if she had been out in the storm so many times that her entire soul had been frozen by the cold, and shattered against the pavement as it fell with the rain and hale.
"Where are we?" Abby asked, finally.
"I'm feeding you."
Abby blinked. "Nothing's—"
"Denny's. You don't have to live here long to know it's always open."
Abby nodded, agreeing. "You don't have to, I mean, I'm fine…"
Ziva held up a hand. "Shh. Get out." Abby nodded, too tired and numb to fight.
They walked through the rain, getting utterly soaked in the process. Inside, the restaurant was quiet, nothing more than a few nightshift cops and doctors talking quietly amongst themselves, and the clink of knives and forks against cheep china. The radio was tuned to an easy listening station, that reminded Abby of elevator music.
The hostess barely gave them a second glance when they entered, dripping and silent, like two rates sent as messengers of the storm itself, merely jerking her head in the direction of a wide expanse of empty tables. Abby picked a booth, and Ziva followed without complaint.
"You don't want to die," Ziva said as soon as they sat down. Abby glanced up.
"No, not really."
"Then wear your seatbelt when we get back in the car."
The ridiculousness of the order struck her, and she released a semi-hysterical little giggle. And then, the utter unbelievability of her entire situation came crashing down on her, and she leaned back in the booth, shaking with silent laughter.
Ziva merely watched, seeming to understand what Abby was going through. Finally, when her laughs had settled down, Abby looked up at Ziva. "I hate you," she told her, in all seriousness.
Ziva inclined her head, and reached out across the table, taking Abby's hands in both of hers, and Abby realized that no matter how cold she felt, Ziva was pure ice.
"I here the pasta's good," she told her, even as she tightened her grip on the other woman's hands. Ziva smiled at the non sequitur.
"You're not ordering coffee?"
Abby laughed, interlocking her fingers with Ziva's. "That comes later. Besides, I think I'm too numb to dream tonight, anyway."
Ziva looked away. "That… It isn't a good thing, Abby. No matter how horrible your dreams, they still allow you to feel something."
Abby watched her for a long few minutes. Finally she tugged on her hands gently to get her attention. "I'll try if you try," she told her. "Because I think no matter how frozen something is, it can always be unthawed one little bit at a time."