Warnings: Slight Hiatus spoilers.
Disclaimer: Don't own. If I did, would I be posting fanfic? I don't think so.
Each day, she returns to the NCIS office. She comes back to her lab, does her job; does it well. She's always been good at what she does. And she waits. Knows that, someday, Gibbs will make it right; will fix it. Because he has to. That's why she checks her phone for messages two times every hour; checks her email every day, holding her breath while the new messages load. There isn't ever a message, but she can't give up. That isn't what she does. Besides, Gibbs has a hate/hate relationship with technology, she knows that. So it comes as no big surprise to anyone when, months later, a box comes in the mail.
It makes its way to Abby, and when she reaches down to open it her hands shake. Tony opens his mouth to make some snarky comment, but shuts it again at the look on her face. She pauses a moment, closes her eyes and prays that it will be good, prays that it will solve her sleepless nights, end her pain.
The Box (because Abby's already capitalized it in her head) has three things in it: a picture of Gibbs on the shores of some beach in Mexico, his eyes squinted a bit against the sun, his hair a little longer than usual, blowing in some breeze; a brief note to Tony, and when he reads out loud and the words "Don't get comfortable," echo around the office Abby wants to laugh. But the third thing, the most important thing, is a slim white envelope marred by a familiar scrawl; it's addressed "To Abbs," and Abby holds it like a life raft and the others leave.
She has to go get a letter opener; her hands are shaking too much and she can't concentrate enough to make them stop, so she just jabs the blade in and tears the end off. Inside lies a plane ticket; she checks the dates and the airports twice before understanding. On the back, three words are scribbled, more hastily than the first, she thinks, because the lines are weaker, less decisive. It says "I need you," and Abby understands the subliminal "I love you."
It takes Abby all of five minutes to clear out her lab, hit the elevator twice for going too slowly, and arrive at Tony's desk. It takes her three to explain it all, because maybe Gibbs' gut is catching and Tony seems to know. He promises her two weeks, three weeks at best, paid leave, and tells her to move, damn it, or she'll be late, and doesn't she know how Gibbs feels about that?
A week later, McGee gets a postcard, and Tony wonders if the order was messed up just because Gibbs thought it would be fun. It, too, holds a photo, similar to the first with a few notable changes. Abby faces the camera, arms around Gibbs, squinting into the sun on some Mexican beach. Gibbs is kissing Abby's forehead and making her laugh. The photo seems intrusive, but McGee buys a bulletin board and puts it up in the office anyway.
Three days later, one arrives for Ducky, and a second for Ziva. Tony figures this is Gibbs' way of shitting on him from afar. It's working. Each holds another photo. Ducky's envelope contains an image of them, back dropped against a sunset, taken from the porch of what he assumes to be the house. Someone else has taken this one too, and apparently caught them unaware. Ducky can't decide if he finds it odd to receive a photo of his friend necking a young lady he admires, but nonetheless, the photo is added to the board.
Ziva discovers hers with scribbling on the back. It gives a date, and in Abby's writing says "I actually feel safe now." The photo is taken from the back, and Ziva wonders who they've gotten to take all these, but she figures the extraneous information doesn't matter, and studies the picture closely. They are sitting on the sand, Abby nestled against Gibbs' shoulder, and he has his arm around her, his head leaning on hers. Ziva walks to the board, shoves a tack in the top, and it joins the others.
The board is nice, they all decide. Letters, mostly written by Abby with a few notes in Gibbs' writing, and the pictures, seem to remind them that life works out, for the most part. Any hesitation towards this relationship seems to have vaporized in a stream of Abby's joyful missives and those pictures.
Three weeks are up, and Tony hopes Abby won't make a mistake and not come, he hopes she won't quit, because how will he survive with no Gibbs and no Abby? And a letter comes, no picture, and Tony smirks a little to himself and ignores the hurt. When he reads the whole letter he smiles, and looks up to find them, arms around each other, and does Abby have a slight tan? And they smile, and Tony looks at them and smiles, and reaches for the badge and gun, happier than he thought he'd ever be to give them back.
And life returns to the oddball definition they have of normal...