TWENTY - FOUR
Tony and Dawn were sitting on the couch sipping at their glasses of red wine. With tears in his eyes DiNozzo had explained to the woman, he loved what had happened to their respective friends.
Dawn couldn't believe it. This entire case was completely crazy. She hoped, someone would come to wake her soon, she would realize then that it had all just been a nightmare and not the horrible reality she was living in. That was what she told herself repeatedly.
Dawn Wilkerson couldn't help herself but feel sad that Gibbs hadn't mentioned anything about what had happened during their conversation. She understood his reserves, she had left them without a world, but she was Abby's friend and on the other hand, she knew the NCIS team leader was not the kind of man that was open about his feelings. She also knew that the man was very fond of her friend. Dawn had always known there was something more going on between them even when Gibbs and Abby weren't aware of it themselves.
As he told Dawn how it had all happen, Tony kept having flashbacks about the horrifying events. He remembered it has if it had all happened five minutes ago, Tony remembered how Gibbs had called Abby's name and got no answer coming from her, how deadly silent her lab had been...
Abby's Coffee-Pow spilled on the floor. Gibbs's heartbeat rose as he took in the sight. When he had entered the lab right behind his boss, he'd known right away that something was terribly wrong. He heard Gibbs call her again: "Abby!" They'd been met with deafening silence.
DiNozzo remembered, how his blood had ran cold in his veins, when he had seen Abby's body on the floor soaked in a pool of blood, a vision of nightmare for the both of them. The words were still echoing in his mind.
"Call an ambulance!" He had yelled in unison with his boss.
DiNozzo had to take a few minutes before he could continue to talk. Everything that had happen then was still so clear in his mind.
McGee had, by then, managed to shake himself out of his drowsiness and took his cell phone out of his jacket pocket.
Ziva on the other hand had been true to herself. She'd stayed calm looking around her for anything out of the ordinary when she rounded the counter her eyes caught something that shined under the lights of Abby's lab. She couldn't quite make out what it was at first as it seemed stuck under a metallic hard drive that had been thrown off of one of the desks, more than probably due to the fight that had occurred and landed behind the counter somehow. When she approached, Ziva realized the shiny piece was actually the tip of a knife and she… also found something else.
Ziva slowly managed to dislodge the knife. Probably the knife that'd been used. She'd bagged and tagged it before informing her boss and it. He had then looked up at her before his eyes focused on Tony. Without a word, Tony went to see what she had found. When he neared her, Tony called Ducky to come and take a look. Jenny Sheppard who had just entered the lab knelt down beside Abby and Gibbs. The NCIS team chief was still holding Abby, trying to apply some pressure to her wounds.
When he could Ducky arrived Tony did take a look at Gibbs to see if he was still with Abby, when he saw the look on his boss's face DiNozzo thought, he was about to kill the NCIS director with his eyes only.
Sheppard was about to lay her hand on Abby's wound, but Jethro waved her hand away. Jenny opened her mouth to say something, but then she just got up and left the lab.
She'd looked at him as if he had just stabbed her in the heart, which Tony hadn't really understood why she'd looked at him the way she had. Had something to do with what had happened between Gibbs and Jenny years ago?
He could easily see that his boss's blue eyes were full of pain and angriness. Tony guessed Jenny couldn't completely blame him.
DiNozzo took another pause to collect his thoughts the events that had happened that particular day when they found Abby in her lab.
Tony DiNozzoremembered the conversation between his boss and the NCIS director Jenny Sheppard. Gibbs was mad at her because of something he had told her weeks ago… Something about Abby and the fact that she needed to work alone… Something about the fact that she never listened to what he said because she was his superior…
From what he had understood, Gibbs seemed to blame Sheppard for what had happened to their forensic scientist.
Anthony DiNozzo stopped talking then. Dawn looked at him for a minute and told him that he didn't have to tell her everything if it was too difficult. She then caressed his cheek with one hand. She made her chair turn and headed toward the fridge when she took two bottles of water before wheeling herself back to him.
Dawn handed him one of the bottles and told him to drink some of its contents. As he did so, she wheeled her chair to the sofa and put on the brakes and struggled somewhat to get in the sofa. As always since the beginning of their relationship, Tony watched her, but didn't offer his help.
Not that he didn't want to. But he knew that it was best to let her do… she would ask for help if she needed it. Another reason why Tony he had fallen in love with her. She was so independent.
Dawn reached for the bottle of water she had placed on the coffee table before she had installed herself and took a long sip of it. After that, Dawn placed it back in the table and set herself better again more comfortable.
Once settled, she padded the empty place next to her with her hand. Dawn smiled at him and Tony came to sit next to her.
"We've wasted so much time." He told her.
Dawn didn't answer, but simply nodded her head.
"I'm not really sure anymore, but I the time it seemed to be the right decision but now, it all seems to futile." She leaned closer to him to kiss his cheek.
"I want us to start over, Dawn. If something doesn't work between us, I want us to talk to one another. No matter how difficult it might be."
"We will." She promised him.
Tony finished what he had started after her promise and a sweet kiss on the lips. He continued to tell her what had happened to Abby.
"Where is the damn ambulance?" Gibbs had yelled.
"On its way, boss," Tim had answered.
"Boss, I think we have another problem over here…" Tony said, slowly.
"What?" he asked his younger officer, anger evident in his voice.
"Well…" Tony started softly.
"Well what?" Gibbs snapped out.
Tony hesitated a second asking himself if he really had to tell his boss about what he had just discovered.
"Boss I think you should come over here and see what I've found." However, it had been a difficult to tell his boss to come over, because in his mind it would have been better to let that bastard bleed to death. Nevertheless, he had done it. It would have been too easy for that dreg of society and if he'd died he wouldn't pay for his crime.
A thought, DiNozzo had never shared with anyone until now. He realized he could confide in Dawn, when she was with him, she was with him. She made him feel like his was the most important on earth for her.
Chip was in agony, but still alive and aware of everything happening around him. Tony wanted to know why he Charles had done that to his best friend. What had she done to him to deserve such treatment?
"Well, DiNozzo?" berated Gibbs, still holding Abbs' bloodstained body close to him.
"We need another ambulance, here, boss." Tony confessed, finally looking Gibbs straight in the eye.
It took Gibbs a split second to register the information. Tony could see the exact moment his boss realized the implication of what he'd just said, because the sadness in his eyes turned instantly into anger rage even.
"Come over here, DiNozzo," Gibbs told him calmly, too calmly.
"Boss I don't think…"
"Don't make me say it twice, DiNozzo," Gibbs warned.
DiNozzo reached for the bottle of water again and brought it to his lips, his gaze staring into emptiness, one of the worse memories of his life was coming back to him. His best friend was dying in his arms. Tony wanted the memories to stop, but it wouldn't. it couldn't, it was all coming back to him so fast, he closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths.
His white shirt was turning red as he was holding her tightly against him, but he didn't see it. He wouldn't give a damn about it anyway, all of his focus was on Abby. He was not going to let her slip away from him, from his life. He felt a wave of sadness, fear and pure anger washing over him.
Tony still felt the same emotions that went through him then. Abby's body getting cold… life was leaving her. Tears were rolling down his cheeks as he remembered her last words. The woman next to him immediately put her arm around him and placed a kiss on his cheek.
"It's alright, sweetheart you don't have to tell me everything if it's too difficult for you." She told him softly.
"I have to get it out."
"Ok, but take your time."
He told her the rest of the story then.
He was watching her face, her beautiful face getting even whiter than it usually was and then Abby's eyelids slowly open. She looked at Tony with glassy green eyes, and he felt his heart break slowly bit-by-bit. Abby was struggling to find some energy to say the words she wanted so desperately to come out of her mouth. "Tell… Gibbs… I… I'll… never… forget… him…" Abby murmured weakly.
Tony could see that she was really fighting to find her breath. He felt tears wetting his eyes then Abby added in a voice that was barely above a whisper, "Tell… Gibbs… I… I… lo…ve… him…" Then Abby's eyes slowly closed and she was gone.
"Abbyyyyyy, NOOOOO! Stay with me! Stay with us!"
As he heard Tony's plea, Gibbs turned around, got up quickly, and rushed to Tony and Abby. Ziva did the same. Gibbs's body shivered with fear. He looked back and forth between Tony and Abby, and suddenly realization flooded him.
Gibbs trying to save her, he would never forget those horrifying moments. It'd also been one of the few times were he'd seen Ziva cry.
"NO, NO, NO… she's not gonna die on me!" Gibbs stated.
Gibbs slowly took her from Tony, laid her gently on the cool floor, and started CPR on her. Ziva looked at this surreal scene as well was now silently crying.
She and Abby hadn't been good friends at first because Abbs had seen her a bit like an intruder – like an enemy – maybe because she wasn't the only one to get attention anymore. Then after a while, things had changed, and Abby had started to accept her… and now…
Gibbs was practicing CPR on his lab tech with the energy of desperation. "Abby, come on, honey, don't do this to me, don't die on me. Come back to me. I need you!" he said forcefully as tears started to roll down his cheeks.
Dawn felt her own eyes water as she slowly got still closer to the man she loved, why did life have to be so cruel? She hated to see him like this, but she was also happy that he was talking about it because she suspected that just as Gibbs he had kept it all in or if he had talked to someone that someone would be no other than Gibbs, because he was and always will be a father figure to Tony.
The woman she had become wondered why she ever doubted the feelings she had for Anthony DiNozzo... there was and never had been anything doubtful about them they were strong and simple she was in love. And he was too she had seen it in his eyes the moment they'd laid eyes on each other when he had entered his apartment. If she had anything to say about it, she would stay with him for the rest of her life.
"I love you."
His free hand reached up to intertwine his finger with hers. "I love you, too." Tony answered her easily.
"I mean it, I swear." She told him.
"I know you do, but..." his voice trailed off then.
"But what, honey?"
"Abby promised too and..."
Dawn cursed herself then. How selfish of her. She slowly took Tony's bottle of water out of his hand and carefully place it on the small table then leaned backwards and pulled him with her before she placed a hand on his forehead.
"Never make promises you cannot keep. That's something that should be written in law books." Tony murmured.
"You're right..." She simply said.
DiNozzo suddenly took her hand from his forehead and stood up, leaving a surprised and somewhat stunned young woman on the sofa. He reappeared an instant later, holding a piece of paper in his left hand.
DiNozzo sat back next to her then and handed her the paper as he softly said. "I found this not so long ago..." The woman on the couch pulled herself up a little bit before unfolding the paper and started to read...
I'm sure as you're reading this letter you are wondering why I'm taking the time to write to you instead of calling you, right? Yeah, see, that's exactly what you're doing, right now. I know you so well; I've always been able to read you like an open book. (Smile)
Dawn had to smile as well. Yeah, Abby Sciuto did know Anthony DiNozzo well.
But if you are reading this letter, it also means that something has happened to me.
I don't want to you to be sad, but if you are, and you probably are just think about this poem written by Mary Elisabeth Fry in 1932.
I know you're not the kind of guy that is into poems, but do me a favor and read it anyway will you?
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
I saw something I shouldn't have so to protect you all, I decided to go and ask Fornell for help, but I guess, he must have failed too. So Tony, now it's up to you and the team to step in and find who did this to me.
Promise me one thing though, Promise me that whatever you discover you'll never hate me big brother.
I'll always love you, your favorite little sister,
PS: What the eye sees isn't always what's real.
A single tear rolled down Dawn Wilkerson's cheek as she folded back the letter before handing it back to Tony.
The woman sitting in the couch next to him had the feeling that something wasn't right about the letter. This isn't a simple goodbye letter. For Dawn there was more to this letter than just a goodbye message. It was even more like the opposite, a bit, as if she was telling him she wasn't dead. To Dawn the PS Abby had written said it all:
DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE.
She was certain Abby would be able to pull off something big like that. Her friend would be capable of faking her own death, if there was a woman on earth who would be able to do something like that it would be Abby. She decided not to tell Tony about her theory; he wasn't ready to hear it.
There was also that particular poem among a zillion of poem she could have chosen she pick out that one. That starts with Do not stand at my grave and weep,I am not there; I do not sleep.
Dawn Wilkerson was convinced now that her friend had faked her death, but to do it and make the ones she love believe such a huge thing, she must have or still must be in great danger. The most complicated must have been to lie to Gibbs...
However, the question was did she really lie to him or did she tell him? If you'd want to pull off such a huge thing, you would have tell someone you trust with your life and from what she'd seen about Gibbs, he's a master in hiding his emotions... so if she were Abby, she'd have told him about her plans to assure herself safety.
Dawn Wilkerson, girl, you are completely and utterly nuts! She told herself.
"You're never going to believe this..." Gibbs called out from down stairs.
"Never going to believe what?" Abby asked as she came out from the bathroom.
"Dawn called me."
"What?" She asked in disbelief while she walked down the steps bare foot.
"You heard me, Abbs." He said smiling at her. "I think, DiNozzo, is going to feel better pretty soon." Gibbs told her as he waited for her at the foot of the stairs. And took her in his arms, just because he could.
Abby tilted her head to one side and looked him in the eyes, before smiling back at him.
"Oh I just told her to let herself in his apartment and wait for him."
"Sure did. Abbs I know why she ran away, I know how difficult it's been for her, I know she's suffered from the decision she's taken then, but she was convinced she was handling for the best. I know it because I was like her."
"You didn't run away." She pointed out to him before leaning in to kiss his lips.
"No I didn't, but I didn't let anybody in for years. I thought that it was the best thing to do, but it some sort of backfired, it hurts even more to be alone, I've realized that now, but at that time I really thought, the best thing for me and everyone I care for was for me to stay alone."
"Don't love so you won't be hurt if you had to lose the one you love. I know."
"The thing is..."
"It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."
"You taught me that." He said softly before he captured her lips, and kissed her heatedly.
Five seconds later, she was in his arms and he was carrying her back upstairs, to the bedroom. This wasn't what they'd had in mind, but... there was nothing wrong with doing some physical activities, was there?
A/N 2: I've modified this chapter because as I re-read it had a lot of missing stuff in my eyes. I hope you guys don't mind and that you'll keep reading even it can take me a very long time to update. Thank you so much for your patience and for staying with me for this story.