She arrived at the address that Gibbs had given her after forty-five minutes of driving around, searching for it. In order to make her use of time efficient, she'd been forced to downgrade from the Starbucks coffee which she preferred to get her mornings started to a convenience store brew that came straight from the spout of an automatic machine and had been rung through by a clerk who reminded her far too much of Bowie. Reflecting on the torture she'd gone through to get the second-rate caffeine source and the amount of time she'd wasted just looking for the house, she decided that it really wouldn't have made a difference if she'd taken an extra three minutes at Starbucks.
"You're late," Gibbs called to her before she was even completely out of her car. She slammed the door with unnecessary force.
"Maybe next time tell me when the house is stuck in the ass-end of the city behind a junk yard that rivals Tony's desk drawers for disorganization, and surrounded by trees thick enough I practically had to get out my machete to get in here."
He shrugged. "You're a smart girl, I figured you could find the place."
She didn't give him the courtesy of a response, swinging her field kit out of the trunk and stalking toward the house that looked like it had jumped right off the screen of a psycho killer movie – rundown and really no more than a shack.
"Everybody else here?" She asked once she understood that Gibbs really was intent on following her at a very close distance until she entered the house.
"Nope. I can't get a hold of DiNozzo or David." She winced and wondered how much overtime the two agents would be pulling to make up for their sin.
Ducky was bent over what, upon closer inspection, turned out to be the body of a short and stocky man dressed in pajama pants decorated with white and red dots and a shirt that, at one time must have been white, but was now covered in the blood from his slit throat.
"Who is he?" she asked, keeping a respectful distance.
"Petty Officer Jack Daniels," Ducky stated.
She stared. "No, seriously."
He looked up at her, nodding. "I'm quite serious, Abigail. And if the reports of the wife were anything to go by, it was a most suitable moniker. Apparently our Mr. Daniels was quite a drinker when he was on leave. Unfortunately, he never had the chance to die from liver failure. No, someone beat his internal organs to the punch, I'm afraid."
She bit her lip in thought. "So naturally you're suspecting the wife." She was looking at Ducky, but speaking to Gibbs.
She snorted. "Not really."
"We're looking for whatever made that cut, as well as any trace that anyone aside from Mrs. Daniels and the kids has been here within the last eight hours," Gibbs instructed.
"I have worked a crime scene before," she snapped.
He frowned at her. "Once."
She glared. "I'll need to fingerprint the mom and kids."
He shook his head. "McGee's on that. He's doing interviews, too. You're just here to gather evidence."
She frowned. "And you're here because…"
He stared at her. "To do the interviews."
She frowned. "But you just said McGee—"
"I know what I said, Abby. Now go."
She sighed, overdramatically. "I won't be going far. First place to gather is at the scene of the crime. AT least, that's my opinion." She wasn't in the mood to be cheerful and sweet quite yet and therefore her usual Abby cuteness was lacking in her last bighting remark.
She was just pulling a pair of gloves from her bag when her cell rang, drawing Gibbs' attention.
"Yeah, talk," she said with as much cheer as she could inject into her voice.
"Abs. Thank God. Listen, I'm in the second floor bathroom…I need you to somehow get me a tie. I managed to spill coffee all over mine. I got it off the shirt, but the tie's a lost cause. And it'd be really fantastic if you could make it one without skulls. Send it in with Bryan, I think I can stand to be humiliated in front of him—oh hell, send Jackson I don't care! Just help me out? Gibbs is gonna kill me if I'm not at my desk within the next five minutes."
She couldn't help but laugh. "Nope, Gibbs is gonna kill you, period. Your phone was off. We're all out at a crime scene in the middle of nowhere."
"Hey! That DiNozzo?" Gibbs demanded. She nodded. He snatched the phone away from her.
"Why the hell was your phone off?"
Abby smirked, wondering what excuse Tony could come up with. Gibbs growled under his breath. "Well, you and Officer David have just earned yourselves a day of paperwork! We'll be back eventually, and it had better all be done."
He snapped the phone shut without waiting for a reply from Tony. She held out her hand for the phone, and he glanced over at her, frowning as if the world's largest thunder cloud had just taken up residence over his head. "Something funny?"
She shook her head. "No. Nothing… at all."