Contains references to Bete Noir. Pre- Twilight.
Abby has nightmares.
She's nearly forgotten this one. It creeps through her unconsciousness, blowing in like a fog.
It starts in the elevator.
She prods the button with a black talon, the arrow glowing green like some bestial eye.
She somehow feels its watching her as the doors welcome her inside. It's dropping, and the lights darken and she descends.
She's holding a box of evidence for Ducky. She knows that, but doesn't know why or how.
It's near black as the doors open to the autopsy floor.
In reality, her body recalls.
It starts to twitch.
A light is flashing above her head, red glaring down on her head. It's dazzling. Her hands pulse under the glow, bone white under the red.
Knocks, speaks, but not a sound.
There's no sound in Abby's dreams.
Ducky's face emerges from the gloom behind the door, ghoul white.
Like this, he scares her. His eyes are too dark.
His mouth moves, and the part of her mind detached from the dream world wonders what he's saying.
She puts down the box, and turns back to the jaws of the elevator.
Something stops her, and she turns back.
In reality she's shaking. When she wakes she won't remember his face, but she knows it's terrifying, monstrous.
Her monster beckons.
Inside the autopsy room. Ducky and Gerald are shadows, statues with hidden faces. They're crouched, heads bowed as though deep in thought. Fingers locked behind their head, they watch. Shadows rest in the sockets of their eyes.
Silently, she is moved to stand by a table.
Dark shape. A body. Man, Woman?
Something cold touches her back. Pressure.
Ducky looks up, and she sees something in his eyes that makes her heart shriek.
Gunshot, Deafening, final.
Rippling through her insides. She feels each organ pop.
The room flashes, and she sinks down. The world pitches and swirls; Gerald's and Ducky's faces start and judder through her mind in a swirl of pain.
Then it... Stops.
Her body is lying stretched out across the autopsy floor, half covered by a sheet. Like ghosts they walk around her, bending over the man took the shot from Gibbs.
She sees Gibbs half sit, then look at the unmoving shape and fall back.
Body. Corpse. Cavader. Empty.
Sees it again, unwrapped and glistening on an autopsy table.
In reality, she is shrieking.
The evil breathes on her neck, wrapping her in darkness.
She's drowning, throttled by nothing.
But it's the finale to the nightmare; this is a well beaten path inside her head.
She'll drown in the dark, then will wake shaking in a world that's real.
Silence. She's on a rooftop.
The world is quiet, holding its breath.
Everything is hyper-real. Sun is burning her skin, her eyes water in its furious light. Early morning chills raise her flesh in rippling bumps.
She sees Gibbs, Tony, Kate.
They are unaware, moving and talking elsewhere to her.
But she sees him. It. The thing without name.
Her monster, her madness.
Gunshot, and blood rains down on Tony's face.
"Abby, what's wrong?"
Darkness, suffocating and murderous.
Then again. The roof, the madness, Tony.
Somewhere, McGee is shaking her.
Not in her head, real flesh and bone. She's shaking there, and she feels something strange on her cheeks. Tears. She's sobbing, but her eyes are blind."Abby, wake up!"
She's in the lab. Her body's freezing, but she's unattached, barely aware. She's elsewhere.
"Abby!" McGee sounds frantic. Faraway.
She's still lost inside her head.
On a rooftop, watching red life fly.
Help me, help me!
Past her parents car crash, metal entwined and twisted in a deathly embrace with wood. It haunted her dreams a year before reality found it. Somewhere, her darkness waits behind the wheel of a white ute.
The body of Mike, watching her for three weeks. Darkness ate at his eyes and bloated his body before he drowned. Her monster then was a tide than washed in and out, stroking her lover's body…
Others, more. Some faces she knows, others only when Ducky introduced them to her as corpses.
An each time her madness is there. Black, shapeless, monstrous. He is the murderer, every time. He will show how they die.
Black Beast. Monster. Madness. Bete Noire. Nightmare.
He's behind a rifle, and Tony's blood flies.
"McGee, what the hell-"
"Something's wrong, she's having a seizure or something-"
Her Bete Noir; the greatest fear of all. A madness that will trap her inside her own head, watching people die over and over again.
Inside her mind she cowers, quakes. She used to think she was going crazy, then began to hope she was.
Blood on Tony's face.
But madness doesn't show the truth. It can't.
"McGee, get some water."
"Should we get-"
"That wasn't a suggestion."
Rooftop. Gunshot. Blood.
"Abby, wake up."
Gibbs. Somewhere, Gibbs…
The black hurricane pauses.
"Time to come back."
Everything. Stops. Lab. Gibbs.
She breathes. Air runs into parched lungs.
He's holding her head, her anchor. Her thumbs are across her cheeks, tipped with tears.
"Stay with me, Abby…" his mouth moves with the words, but all she hears is the echoing of a gunshot.
She watches his eyes, pooling back into the real world.
Gibbs sees her blink, focus, but doesn't pull away.
He sees something inside her eyes, watching him. Then it fades. He takes his hands away from her wet cheeks
Last time Ducky had found her, half in reality and half stuck inside her head. Gibbs had come to see him shaking her like McGee, seeing madness in her eyes.
Somehow, they pulled her out.
She'd told them of a nightmare, her own autopsy.
Ducky had sympathised. Gibbs said nothing.
Abby saw something in him that told her he knew she was keeping something back.
He was right.
She hadn't told them it was going to be real.
Just a dream, they said.
But they weren't. Not for her. Dreams don't become real. A month later the events started to play out, and in terror she had refused to follow their path.
She lived. Gerald suffered.
But she lived.
She's tried to change them before, her nightmares. Baulked at the path set before her eyes by a madness she tried to ignore.
Things went wrong. Instead of loosing just one, she lost both of her parents, entombing them in twisted metal.
She lost Mike to an ocean instead of the lake. She never found her lover's body.
Never said a word about her dreams now. She prefers to pretend they are just that, dreams.
She told once before.
(Only Gibbs knew about her brief stay in an asylum, and she intended to keep it that way.)
McGee comes back, holding water. Behind him, Tony pokes his head around the corner, curious at the noise.
Gibbs sees Abby flinch.
McGee gives her the water. She clutches it in clumsy hands, seeing his anxiety.
"I'm alright.' Her throat croaks, cracks.
The glass is foreign, strange in her hand.
She can't force a truth when it doesn't exist,
"…Just a dream?"
She looks at Gibbs,
Her mouth opens, then she closes it.
"Something like that," she says softly.
Sorry if that was kind of…abstract.