Violets Were Blue
Disclaimer: I own no one.
Notes: Crossover with Witchblade. Please don't shoot me.
Summary: Abby, Tony and Ziva attend a Christmas party in New York.
"...that keep the word of promise to our ear, and break it to our hope. I'll not fight with thee."
Macbeth, Act v, Scene viii
"This? Is awkward." Ziva wrapped her arms around Abby from behind and pressed her face into the side of her neck.
Abby hummed in agreement and accepted the glass of red wine from Tony's outstretched hand. It was Sara's 'thing'. Originally, Tony hadn't even been invited. He claimed that his last-minute invitation had been due to the fact that she, Sara, couldn't get enough of his charm and wit. Ziva was fairly sure it was because McGee had canceled at the last minute, but what Tony didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
"C'mon, Ziva, get into the Christmas spirit!" Tony was on the verge of being drunk.
"I would. Maybe if I actually celebrated Christmas and or knew any of these people," Ziva retorted, keeping her voice low.
"You know us," Abby objected. "And Gabe."
"Who is so not getting lucky tonight, by the way," Tony laughed, flicking his eyes to the other side of the room where the unfortunate young entrepreneur was obviously doing his best to make nice with Sara and being completely shunned for his efforts. Abby giggled.
"Oops. That... may be my fault."
Tony snorted. "Abs, anyone who doesn't know you two would think you and he were sleeping together-- Did that sentence work?" Tony frowned seriously, trying to figure out exactly what he'd just said.
Abby gestured carelessly with her wine glass. "Who says we aren't?"
Ziva untangled herself from the Goth. "I don't need to know this."
Abby twirled, the black velvet of her skirt flouncing up in her wake. "I still love you," she leaned in, kissing the Israeli. Abby tasted like expensive, waxy lipstick and even more expensive wine. Her hair smelled of the rose perfume Ziva had bought her as a holiday gift and the cherry cloves she'd been chain-smoking earlier. She disengaged herself from the kiss and balanced herself against Ziva's shoulder, trying to catch a glimpse of something over her head. "Why's Irons here?"
"He found out about it from Nottingham and decided to tag along," Jake McCardey said from right behind her. Ziva tried not to laugh at Abby's sharp inhalation as she spun to face him.
"Don't sneak up on me like that!"
McCardey shrugged. "She knew I was here." (pointing at Ziva). Abby poked him in the chest. "I hate you. You're a very mean man."
Ziva tried to remember how many glasses of wine Abby had had over the course of the evening and decided that she was probably on the same level of not-quite-drunkenness as Tony. McCardey smirked. "I'm flattered."
"Stop scaring the nice Washingtonians, Jakey," a woman stepped up beside him, looping her arm through his. In her other hand she held a can of cola. Jake's eyes lit up and Ziva glanced behind him to make sure he hadn't sprouted a tale to wag. Abby and Tony were busy cracking up over his unfortunate nickname.
"Abby? Tony? Ziva? This is my fiancée, Vicky Poe."
"Nice to meet you," she held out her hand. "Sara told me I should come rescue you from Jake."
He gave an offended huff. "Rescue them? Believe me, these guys are far scarier than I could ever hope to be. It's me you should be concerned with rescuing."
"That's because you're FBI, McCardey," Tony smirked. "It's a natural reaction to be scared of people who are better than you. Don't be ashamed of your inferiority, embrace it."
McCardey flipped him off. "You wish, DiNozzo. Fornell's told me stories about you. Something about getting tossed out of a moving vehicle?"
"Good God, you've talked to Fornell," Abby cringed. "Whoa. Weird mental image. You two haven't?"
"Stop talking, Abby," Tony said calmly. McCardey frowned confusedly. Ziva shook her head and took another sip of her drink to dispel the thoughts Abby had put into her head.
"So!" Vicky cleared her throat in the awkward silence that followed. "How did you meet Sara?"
"Case," Tony said immediately, obviously equally as eager to get onto a different topic. "Few years back. Almost six years ago, actually."
"I met her through Gabriel," Abby added. Ziva didn't say anything. Tony's eyes lit up suddenly.
"I remember you!" he nodded at Vicky. "You're the ME for the NYPD!"
She laughed. "Yes I am. I can't say I remember you, unfortunately."
"Oh it's not unfortunate," Ziva murmured, earning a sharp glance from Abby, which she blithely ignored.
"Gabe needs a hug," Abby said suddenly. Ziva blinked and watched her back as she disappeared across the large room.
"That's gotta start to make you want to go homicidal after a while," Jake said, smiling sympathetically. Ziva clenched her teeth.
"Abby's a physically affectionate person."
"Yeah, but c'mon. If my girlfriend was as close to some guy as yours is to Bowman I'd have a few things to say about that."
Vicky elbowed him in the ribs. Hard. "Do you want to sleep on the couch for the next year?"
Tony glanced at Ziva. "Did Abby ever talk to you about the whole poly thing?"
Ziva blinked. "What?"
"I'll take that as a no."
"What are you talking about? What's a poly?"
He snorted into his drink. "Um... You know what? I don't think it's my position to... Um... Explain the term to you. Especially if Abby, the world's biggest commitment-phobe, hasn't brought it up."
"I'm leaving," Ziva informed him. Vicky whimpered.
"Don't leave me here with all this testosterone!"
Ziva ignored her, walking toward the most deserted corner she could find thus to plot the best way to kill Jake McCardey. She'd only met the man earlier that day and she already hated him.
Sara had moved all of her furniture to the edges of the loft, leaving the living room area open. A little Christmas tree perched precariously on the kitchen counter, right beside the coffeepot. Nottingham had already claimed the kitchen as his hiding place, but there really wasn't anywhere else to go and she honestly didn't mind the company of the quiet 'poet-warier'. He was not drinking, which, considering the presence of Irons, she thought to be a good thing. Once upon a time, Gabriel told her, Irons had been dead for a period of almost a year. This was before Sara and Abby had pounced on him, hushing him and changing the subject faster than Gibbs could deliver a head slap. Ziva wasn't oblivious. She knew there was more going on within the small group of people than she was being told, and it was obvious that Gabriel had assumed that her relationship with Abby was a free ticket to the fountain of knowledge. The others disagreed. She didn't mind. As far as she could tell, Abby's geographic location (that was, not in New York), kept her out of a great deal of the "action". She would only get involved if she felt that Abby was being put in unnecessary danger.
"Officer David." She glanced up and smiled at Nottingham. He was dressed in black, was clean-shaven and his soft hair was a little long and loose around his face. She had the sudden urge to run the silky strands through her fingers. Naturally, she quashed it almost before it was fully formed.
"Mr. Nottingham." She kept the formality that he had begun with.
"I find these gatherings to be incredibly uncomfortable," he told her, as if offering an excuse for his presence away from the rest of the group.
"Me too," she leaned against the counter, folding her hands in front of her.
"Abigail forced you to come?"
"Yes. Sara forced you?"
He nodded. "Where are you staying?"
"Gabriel offered to let us stay with him, but I put my foot down and got us a hotel room."
"Sara should not waist her time on such a man. He is unfaithful to her over and over again. It disgusts me."
Ziva closed her eyes briefly and wondered why she couldn't have a conversation that didn't involve Abby and Gabriel and the way they did not keep their relationship secret from anyone, including herself and Sara. According to McCardey, it was also a well-known fact that Nottingham had been in love with Sara for years and from the way he was acting, she didn't doubt it for a minute. Personally, she didn't see the attraction. Nottingham was smiling slightly when she opened her eyes. "You would understand that well, I think."
"I'm not a jealous woman," she replied. He nodded.
"I hear your words, but I don't find that they ring true." He poured himself a glass of eggnog, and Ziva took the chance to regain her mental calm. She heard Abby's laughter floating in from the living room. Christmas lights from the neighbouring building glittered in through the window above the sink, casting weird patterns on the tiles. The glass clicked against the Formica countertop. A new song started on the stereo and one of the strings of lights on the tree flickered.
"If you truly love something, let it be free."
She choked on her drink, coughed, and slammed her glass onto the counter. "I think your father's looking for you."
She stalked out, hands shaking. Coincidentally, Irons himself was standing right outside the kitchen. She was overly glad that he did not know who she was. Abby was perched on the edge of the sofa where Gabriel and an Asian man she didn't recognize were sitting. Gabriel's fingers were intertwined with hers, and she was leaning over speaking quietly to him. Nothing changed when they saw her walking towards them.
"Ziva! Come meet Danny!" Abby called, waving at her. Gabriel snatched her wine from her hand before it splattered all over him.
"Hi," Ziva said lamely. The other man held out a hand.
"Hi. I'm Danny Woo. Nice to meet you."
She shook his hand. "Ziva David."
"She's my girlfriend," Abby said bluntly. Danny nodded. Abby took her glass back from Gabriel and sat up straight, swinging her feet like a child.
"Do you work with Sara?" Ziva asked.
"Yeah. I've been her partner for many years."
Ziva wanted desperately to ask him if he knew the great secret the others kept so well guarded, but restrained herself. Instead, she took Abby's glass and drained the remainder. Abby pouted at her. Ziva shrugged unapologetically. She set the glass down on a coffee table.
Danny stood up. "If you'll excuse me, Lee's trying to get my attention. I'll see you later. It was good to meet you, Ziva."
"Wife," Abby explained at Ziva's questioning eyebrow.
Gabriel moved over on the couch, and Abby slid down to sit beside him, pulling Ziva into her lap. Ziva flailed for a moment, caught off balance, and Abby wrapped an arm around her.
"You guys are cute," Gabriel told them. Abby beamed.
"Thank you!" Ziva didn't say anything. Abby leaned her head back against the couch and closed her eyes. Ziva caught her hand between both of hers and held it tightly. Gabriel was watching Sara on the other side of the room.
Later, when they got back to the hotel and Tony had vanished off to his own room, Ziva tugged the pins out of her hair and let it fall down over her shoulders and into her face. Abby watched her in the mirror as she removed her earrings. "I'm sorry. You didn't enjoy that at all, did you?"
Ziva shrugged slightly. "I barely knew anyone there."
Abby nodded. "And I wasn't exactly good about not leaving you alone. I really need to work on my 'ooo! shiny!' urges."
Ziva slid her toothbrush out of her travel bag and wet it under the tap. "It's fine, Abby. I don't want to become a burden to you, and it really wasn't that bad."
Abby shook her head fiercely, grabbing Ziva's shoulders and spinning her around. "You are so not a burden to me! Don't ever think that."
Ziva smiled affectionately. "I know, I know. I--" she sighed. "I wouldn't want to interfere with you and Gabriel."
She could almost see the shutters go down over Abby's eyes, the way her expression became cold and distant. Her hands dropped from Ziva's shoulders and she took one very deliberate step back. "Jealous, much?"
Ziva set the toothbrush on the counter. "Do I have reason to be?"
Abby flinched. "I thought you loved me."
Ziva stared. "How did this conversation move from my jealousy to if I love you or not?"
Abby glared. "If you love me, you wouldn't just stop loving me because I enjoy the company of other people."
"So you are sleeping with him."
Abby sighed. "That's not the point!"
"That is exactly the point, Abigail! Are you cheating on me?"
"So you aren't sleeping with him?"
Abby took another step back. "That is so far from the point of this conversation that there is no way I will continue to discuss this if you keep coming back to it."
"How can I not come back to it when it is the exact topic we're discussing?"
"We're not talking about me and Gabriel. We're talking about trust."
"We're talking about cheating."
Abby hissed out a breath between her teeth, spun away and walked out of the bathroom. Ziva finished brushing her teeth, put away the items scattered across the counter, and zipped the bag closed. When she got out into the main room, Abby was curled into a ball on the far edge of the bed, her head barely peaking out from under the flowered bedspread. Ziva slipped in on the far side of the other side, and switched off the lamp. She lay there in the silent dark for what felt like hours; the clock on the table was broken, so it very well may have been. Abby's breathing was even, but Ziva had a suspicion that she was just as awake as she was. The sounds of other guests settling in for the night seeped in through the walls and the bed squeaked every time one of them moved.
"Abby?" she whispered into the darkness after the silence had become absolutely unbearable. The blankets shifted and Abby moved.
Her tone was politely distant. Ziva winced, but would not back down.
"Can we talk about this now?"
"Because you're going to freak out again."
"I wasn't the one acting irrationally."
Abby shifted again, turning her head into the pillow if the muffled way her words came out was anything to go by. "Okay. Whatever. I'm going to sleep."
"What would you like me to say?"
"Why are you sleeping with Gabriel?"
"We're friends. Very good friends with benefits and he's smart and geeky and adorable."
"Do you love him?"
She felt as if she'd been kicked in the stomach. "So. Then it's over?"
"Do you want it to be?" Abby was remaining frustratingly calm.
"Well I certainly don't, so it's totally up to you."
Ziva took a deep breath. "Do you love me?"
"Mmhm, of course."
"Do you think it's impossible to love more than one person?" Abby asked, and Ziva knew she was rolling her eyes in the darkness.
"I don't-- Abigail, I don't know how to--"
"I warned you before we made this official that I totally suck at relationships, and you didn't believe me. I'm sorry you can't deal with that anymore."
Ziva drew the blanket closer around her. "I know. I'm sorry." She didn't know what else she could say. Abby reached across the sheets, linking her fingers with Ziva's. Ziva did not sleep that night.
They met Tony for breakfast downstairs the next morning at an hour which Abby pronounced to be "earlier than the rooster crows". She wasn't really surprised to see Danny and Sara already at the table with him. They had managed to liberate the coffeepot from the clutches of the waitress and were clustered around it as if in homage to some great and powerful deity. Abby slid out a chair for Ziva automatically. Tony looked up at them.
Abby giggled. "Hangover?"
He dropped his head into his hand. "Like you wouldn't believe."
"Poor baby," Ziva pulled the coffeepot towards her.
"Thank God we don't have to go to work," Sara muttered.
Danny laughed dryly. "Speak for yourself. I get to go shopping for new dining room chairs this afternoon. That counts as work to me."
Sara smirked. "Marital bliss, eh?"
He took another sip of coffee. Abby flipped absently through the menu, but soon pushed it away. Tony lifted his head long enough to push it back at her. "You've gotta eat something, Abs."
She pouted at him. "Thank you, Gibbs."
He shrugged. "Just saying."
"So how long are you gracing the streets of our fine city with your presence?" asked Danny.
"Our plain leaves tomorrow. We were lucky to get this much time off," Abby shrugged.
"I can imagine. I'm surprised Gibbs let you go at all."
"Honestly? I was, too." Abby laughed and added sugar to her coffee.
Tony sighed. "Oh Abby, Abby, Abby. He didn't. I cleared it all with Jenny long before I talked to Gibbs about it. There was nothing he could do."
Abby snorted. "Oh, yes, because she doesn't, you know, worship the ground he walks upon or anything. There is always something Gibbs can do, Tony. Always. If he let us go it certainly wasn't because Jenny told him to."
"Okay, you have a point."
"Of course I do."
The waitress arrived at their table, grinning like her life depended on it and sporting a pink nametag declaring her name to be Angie.
"Hi! What can I get you folks this morning?"
Sara and Danny ordered the same thing (two eggs, scrambled, two strips of bacon and a slice of whole grain toast). Abby, after Ziva practically broke her fingers under the table, ordered a fruit salad. Tony ordered an omelet and Ziva a bowl of cereal.
"So what're your plans for the day?" Sara asked once the waitress had scampered off with their orders.
Abby shrugged. "I think I'm gonna go hang out at Gabe's later on, but I thought Ziva and I could do some shopping this morning before the crowds get too bad."
"I have some family that I'm obligated to visit while I'm here," Tony added, managing to look even more miserable at the prospect than he already did.
Christmas music was playing from a small radio sitting on the counter in the front of the restaurant, and Ziva focused in on the unfamiliar songs, trying not to listen to the conversation going on around her. She was exhausted, though she hadn't slept a wink the night before, and wanted nothing more to be back in DC, safe in her own apartment. Alone. She could already tell that the day was going to be a long one and that it would most likely end up the exact same way as the one before it. She needed time away from Abby in order to think everything through without the distraction of her affectionate glances and sweet kisses. She had known before even considering the idea of dating the Goth that she had a long string of short-lived relationships stretching out behind her from as far back as high school. McGee had warned her against it right off the bat. She, of course, had ignored any and all attempts he'd made to tell her that getting involved with Abby was a bad idea. Now she was starting to reconsider.
"Hey," Abby nudged her gently, squeezing her hand. "You still with us?"
She nodded. "Yeah. Sorry. I spaced out for a minute."
"Sara was just saying that she'd be willing to take us on the New York tour," Abby explained.
Ziva shrugged. "That's kind of you. I'd like that." She left out the fact that she'd spent six months under cover in the city a few years before.
"Great. We'll start out after breakfast."
"Do you want a ride anywhere?" Danny asked Tony casually. "I've got nothing better to do this morning and the longer I can put off shopping the better."
Abby snorted. "Chicken."
He nodded cheerfully. "Absolutely."
After the food had been eaten and the men shooed away to go do their own thing, Sara leaned across the table, fixing Abby with a steady gaze. "Abby?"
"Mmhm?" Abby was making tiny origami cranes out of empty sugar packets and not really paying attention.
"If you ever, ever hurt him, I'll kill you."
Abby glanced up. "What?"
Ziva was fairly sure if this topic came up once more she'd be able to plead insanity when accused of the murders of anyone around her. Abby, seeming to sense this, covered Ziva's hand with her own on the table. To Sara she said, "I know. But honestly? I've known him longer than you have."
Ziva almost asked if they'd been sleeping together for that entire time. Clearly, Sara wanted to ask the same.
"I don't know what kind of game you two play, or if it's just convenient for you to screw each other every time you see each other, but all I want you to know is that I care for him very much, and I won't let you hurt him."
Abby's hand went ridged over Ziva's. "Just for the record? Guys? Gabe and I rarely actually sleep together. Our relationship is so much more than a physical one."
"I don't know if that makes it any better," Ziva muttered. Abby didn't pull away from her, as she'd expected. Her shoulders slumped, and she took another sip of her coffee, leaving black lipstick stains on the ceramic.
Sara sighed. "You two can work out your jealousy issues yourselves. I'm just saying."
Abby nodded. "Yeah, yea. Hurt him I die. Got it. Can we go?"
She lopped her arm through Ziva's as they walked from the hotel, and as their feet crunched in the muddy snow in the parking lot, Ziva glanced at Abby from the corner of her eye. The gray light of the early morning sky made her pale skin seem lifeless and sallow, only accented by the dark make-up and curtain of black hair. She found herself wondering how anyone so full of life could look so dead. Abby opened the door for her when they got to the car, and got into the back with her, leaving Sara alone in the front seat.
Every single time Abby left someone or was left by someone, they took a tiny piece of her along with them. Ziva did not want to take anymore away from her, for fear that she would become as dead as she already chose to appear. Abby was staring out the window, almost vibrating from the caffeine. Ziva touched her shoulder lightly, getting her attention. When they kissed, Abby tasted of expensive lipstick and cheap coffee and Ziva decided that that was enough.