-1Well, this one took a while. Sorry about that. I've been working a lot on 'Won't Let Go', 'cause I hit on a good streak on writing that one. But I'll try to get back to this one, too. Heh, college and four stories all at once; try to be patient with me. Anyways, review please! Thanks.

Chapter Nine

Gibbs' house had been empty. It hadn't been a mess, and there were no signs of a struggle, but some things hadn't been right. The tools in the basement, for example. It looked like he'd walked out in the middle of working on his boat; nothing had been in its proper place. Tony knew Gibbs would never leave them that way on purpose. And the bed was untouched, like no one had slept in it the night before. That the car had still been in the driveway was the main hint that something wasn't right, though. And then when Ziva found the gun lying on the hallway floor, there was no question that something was definitely wrong.

Finding nothing useful, they'd bagged the gun and headed to Abby's house as Tony mentally attempted to explain all the abnormalities they'd found. Maybe he'd spent the night elsewhere. And he could have left in a hurry for some reason, left his tools out. The gun could have possibly been an oversight, and maybe someone had picked him up so he hadn't taken his own car. Maybe he'd spent the night at Abby's house. It was possible.

But the possibility disappeared when they reached her home. Her black hearse was parked conspicuously in the driveway. That wasn't too odd - she'd taken the bus before. Rarely, but… He reached for the brick hiding the spare key, but stopped halfway. Ziva had tried the door, and it swung open easily.

"That's not good," McGee pointed out nervously. "Abby's obsessive about locking that door."

Tony stepped past him into the house, stopping a few feet shy of the living room. "And… that's even worse."

The living room was a mess. The table lay on its side; the couch was at an odd angle from its usual spot. A bookshelf had been knocked over, scattering books everywhere. The candles that usually sat on the table lay broken on the floor; black glass candleholders had been shattered. Knick-knacks lay scattered about, some broken, some intact, but none where they should be. Tony bent, examining one of the books on the floor. The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. "Hopefully not appropriate," he muttered, standing again.

"I think it's safe to say she did not just oversleep," Ziva stated, pulling on a pair of gloves before kneeling to pick up a cracked figurine of a wolf.

"Yeah, that's a good assumption," Tony responded sarcastically.

"What… what do we do?" McGee asked, looking a bit overwhelmed.

"We process the scene, Probie!" Tony snapped. "You take the living room. Ziva, kitchen and dining room. I'll go upstairs." He headed for the stairs, gazing around, trying to form a picture in his mind. She'd put up a fight in the living room. A bunched rug suggested she'd been dragged to the stairs, if not down them. The hallway was clear except for an end table that had also been knocked over, shattering a crimson vase and spilling water and both black and red roses onto the hardwood floor. He stepped carefully over the broken glass, pausing a moment to pick up one of the black roses. Away from the rest of the team he could let his emotions show a bit, but he wasn't even sure what to feel: worry, fear, shock, anger, all at the same time. He put the rose back among the broken crimson glass.

He reached her bedroom. The first thing he noticed was the dents on the front of the door. It didn't take long for that to add another picture to his mind: Abby trying to take shelter behind the thick wood, fighting with all her strength to hold it shut against her assailant's pounding attempts to get in. The picture was enhanced upon entering the room. She'd been chased around, caught, and had struggled; things had been knocked over; the bedcovers had been torn from the bed; even the heavy dresser lay on its side, drawers opened by the fall, clothes scattered everywhere. Yeah. Definitely anger was the big one here.

The hardest thing was deciding where to start, and what was important enough to actually collect. Honestly, he wanted to clean more than collect - Abby wouldn't like her house, her bedroom, being such a mess. And she probably wouldn't want them all probing through her stuff. In the end he ended up with mostly pictures, a couple collected items, and a swab of a red stain on the hallway floor that he really hoped was not Abby's blood. Resisting the continued urge to clean up the room, he headed back down the stairs.

He found McGee just finishing up with the living room and Ziva watching him from the kitchen doorway. "What'd you find?" he asked her.

"Not much," she said, almost too calmly. "There was a broken cup on the kitchen floor - looks like tea, I took a sample of it, though - and, hm, oh yes… A rather large lizard on the dining room table. I decided not to do anything with that."

"Oh, I forgot about her!" Tony exclaimed, heading for the dining room. As Ziva had said, a green lizard gazed up at him from the table. "That's Zephyr, Abby's pet iguana. Her habitat was knocked over in the living room. She must have gotten out."

"Abby has a pet… lizard," Ziva stated, sounding like she wasn't sure whether to be surprised or not.

"Yeah. And for the record, she's not that big. Iguanas can get a lot bigger, but she's still young."

As a confirmation, McGee chose that moment to walk in. "Oh, that's where Zephyr is!" He sounded a bit relieved. "Abby'd be upset if she were lost or something. I set her habitat back up; nothing's broken."

Tony sighed and walked over to the table, lifting the iguana into his arms and heading for its habitat. It was nice to focus on this and not think about the reason they were there, but unfortunately they couldn't do that for long. "Find anything, Probie?"

"I don't think so. I mean, other than a lot of broken stuff. Abby's not going to be happy about how many of her statuettes got broken." He fidgeted slightly, obviously feeling the same way Tony did about the situation.

"We'd better call the director," Ziva suggested, as if she'd just realized that maybe they should have done so earlier. "We'll need to figure out who would have a reason to go after Abby."

"And Gibbs," Tony reminded her as he placed Zephyr into her habitat and watching as she scurried into a little rock tunnel to hide, her tail poking out one end. "They're both missing, and there's enough evidence to say they've both likely been abducted."

"Too coincidental to not be related," Ziva offered. "At least we can predict that they're together."

Tony sighed again. This was not a promising situation, but that was one reassuring thought. Gibbs would keep Abby safe. And they were both intelligent, and resourceful. And now he was on this case. He circled the iguana's cage and knelt down to peer into to the tunnel, where he could just make out the lizard's outline. Zephyr had probably seen the whole thing. "If only you could talk," he muttered. He stood again, headed for the door. "Come on. We need to get what we have to a lab, let the director know what's going on." McGee and Ziva followed along behind him. "We're going to find them." He just hoped they weren't already too late.