Title: Communication

Author: Unspoken Tragedy

Rating: PG-13 (pretty much my default rating)

Spoilers: None that I know of

Disclaimer: Yes, Abby and Gibbs are mine. Thanks for asking. Ehem. Or not...

Summary: Communication isn't just about speaking. Abby meets Gibbs.

Series: None

A/N: Sorry.

This fic (and probably every other I ever write) is dedicated to my mother. I miss her like hell.


Communication

When she was fifteen, she was forced to visit a psychiatrist. Her teachers had expressed "concern" over her dark clothing and assertive attitude to her parents and they, finding themselves also worried, told her in no uncertain terms that she would be seeing the shrink. One may think that it is impossible to yell in sign language but Abby, having been on the receiving end of it on many occasions, knew better.

His name was Dr. Evans. He smiled a lot as he explained to her that she was clingy and had anger issues. She sneered at him and told him that the only reason why she was seeing him was because he parents couldn't afford a better head doctor. That wiped the smile off his face, easy. She never went to see him again.

Sometimes Abby would wonder at the truth in his words as she sat alone in her bedroom, staring at white walls and crying over lost boyfriends. Her parents never came to comfort her. They never heard her sobs at all.

She once had a boyfriend ask her about her parents. Why didn't she speak of them more? She frowned, but didn't say anything. She didn't declare that they loved her and her them, or that they indulged Abby her quirks and tried not to push the issue that their daughter wasn't... normal. Nor did she sob over how her hearing created a wall between them, one that couldn't be bridged by ASL or hugs or kisses. She would forever be a part of a world they could never experience and it would always be a part of her that they could never understand.

He broke up with her soon afterwards; 'lack of communication' being the final verdict. She'd smiled sadly and turned away, too exhausted and bitter to explain to him that she never really learned how to communicate with words. She'd never heard the words 'I love you' uttered by one who truly did. She'd felt them in hugs and had seen them in signs- she thought that he would be able to feel her love as well.

Abby went to her first club when she was eighteen. She found herself liking the electric atmosphere and dancing bodies. No words were necessary there. She found her first real friends in such places, and they soon became her soft place to fall. When she had a bad day, she could pull a bunch of friends together and join the scene. When a relationship fell through, she might find a guy there... Sometimes rebound sex was better than the original, anyways.

No words necessary there, either. They were both there for the very same reason. She would be receiving no phone calls from these guys. It wasn't as if she'd given them her number in the first place.

The night before Abby started at NCIS, she joined her girls at a club. The hung-over forensic scientist met Leroy Jethro Gibbs the next day. It was the last time she'd ever gone with them on a week night.

"You the new lab tech?" he asked loudly, as he barged into her lab.

She tried to hide her grimace with a smile. "Abby Sciuto," she replied.

Gibbs frowned at her, then glared. At first she thought it was on account of her attire. "It would do you well to never come in here hung-over, drunk, or otherwise inebriated again, Scutio," he snarled.

She nodded emphatically. "Yes, sir."

"Good," he said only a bit more gently. "Welcome to NCIS."

She thought for certain that she had ruined any chance of rapport with the older agent and would be stuck in a job with a boss that hated her (thank god none of the other agents had mentioned it or she may have put in her resignation that morning).

Remarkably, the man didn't hate her. A day later he came in with a coffee and a grim smile, as if some part of him thought she might be in the same state he'd left her the day before. Agent Gibbs looked relieved to see that she was not. He pulled up a chair across from her and began with an explanation of his Rules. Embarrassingly enough, she'd begun to fidget after Rule Three. Abby wasn't used to just sitting there. Even in class, she'd always been doodling or twirling pens or translating her lecturer's words into sign language to herself. Stillness was not a strength of hers.

After crossing and re-crossing her legs, she glanced around at the walls. She quickly noted his displeasure, and reverted her gaze back to him. Briefly played with the chain around her wrist, then abandoned that as its noise earned her a glare. So, she idly signed his words in her lap. Most people when viewing this display simply thought that she was playing around with her hands. She had not met many who could use ASL; outside the deaf community, that is.

She'd been concentrating on her hands so much that it took her a moment to realize that Gibbs had fallen silent. In what she thought was the middle of Rule Ten. She glanced up at him to see that his attention was focused on her hands. "I'm sorry, Agent-Boss-Sir." She grinned apologetically and stilled her hands. "It's a nervous habit. You see, I'm not used to sitting around much, and-"

"You didn't put that you knew ASL on your resume," he interrupted.

"Oh. Oh, that. Well, it's not really something that I tell people. That I learned ASL almost before I learned how to talk. It kinda makes things awkward when I do. My parents were deaf and it was the only way they could teach me how to communicate with them; they had to hire a tutor to teach me how to speak. They'd always been sort of afraid that I would be deaf as well..." She twisted the chain around her wrist as she talked, looking anywhere but at him.

He grabbed her hand, and it was then that she realized she'd been hurting herself. "Abby." She looked at him, surprised that he'd used her nickname. "Stop being so nervous. You were hired here for a reason. You were the best qualified applicant that we had, and that's saying much. That's not going to change because you can't sit still or that you didn't tell us that you knew sign language." He smiled at her. 'Alright?' he spelled out with his other hand.

She'd grinned as she sat there, her hand in his much larger one, the revelation of that similarity still between them. Then she threw her arms around him.

Finally. Someone who spoke her language.


The End

A/N: This was written a looooooooooong time ago, and I just now decided to go ahead and post it.

This also happens to be my first NCIS fic. YAYA!

ASL American Sign Language