Tony was an investigator. It was a good career choice for him as he was naturally nosy. Things piqued his interest and he would study them, learn them. And something that Abby and Gibbs did all the time caught his attention. They spoke in sign language. And he suspected that a lot of the time what they said with their hands did not match what they said verbally. So he decided to learn sign so that he could be in what they were saying.
It took him a while to catch them, they were very skilled and he was a novice, plus it seemed like they kept their gestures very small for some reason. He figured that one off fairly quickly. It was to hide the conversation from the security cameras, anyone watching would just see random hand gestures.
The first time he was surprised, he really expected them to be talking about the current case or about the rest of the team. Instead a simple signed question from Gibbs, "Dinner?" and Abby's happy, "Yes. My place?" made Tony look at these silent conversations and the two of them in a whole new light.
That innocent dinner question put Tony into full observation mode. Everyone knew how touchy-feely Abby and Gibbs were with each other but Tony saw more. It was the way that Gibbs would pat Abby on the back and ever so subtly let his thumb brush the skin on the back of her neck. The way that Abby would purposely take Gibbs by the hand to lead him around the lab to show him results and the way they let their hands linger together. Tony saw a lot that he just missed before and wondered if he had been blind.
Over the months he got better at translating the sign language and often had to keep himself from smirking in awareness. He didn't realize exactly how far the Gibbs and Abby relationship had progressed until they had a case over the summer involving a female petty officer found murdered in her lingerie. Everyone was in the lab listening to Abby rattle off what she had found on the victim's rose colored bra and panties. Meanwhile Gibbs was signing to Abby, "I like the color."
To which Abby replied, "It's almost pink Gibbs."
"It would look good on you."
"I'm going shopping later."
"I double dog dare you."
"I buy it, you wear it."
Tony almost died viewing that conversation and had to pretend to swig and choke on his coffee to cover up the laughter that was threatening to escape. And Tony was the only one not surprised later when Gibbs announced that he would personally handle checking out the upscale lingerie shop that the petty officer's garments had come from.
Tony was very very tempted to investigate Gibbs' car when he got back that afternoon to see if there was a shopping bag hidden in it.
The agency holiday party had been announced and Tony was very curious to see how Abby and Gibbs handled that. And sure enough when Ziva asked Gibbs if he were bringing a date he just glared at her and told her he wasn't big on parties. And a little plan hatched in Tony's mind to test his theories.
A while later in the lab Tony asked Abby casually if she were going to the party. She hemmed and hawed but didn't give him a straight answer. He was about to implement the second part of his plan when the rest of the team with Gibbs in the lead entered the lab for some test results. Tony found a prime viewing location to watch the two of them and didn't have to wait long.
"I hate parties Abs."
"I know but its only once a year."
"You really want to go?"
"Yeah. But if you don't I can go alone or bring a friend."
As the rest of the team headed back upstairs Tony implemented part two of his plan, "So Abby, wanna be my date to this holiday bash?"
Before she could answer Tony received a head smack from Gibbs, "DiNozzo don't you have work to do?"
"Yes Boss. On it." He said as he turned to leave the lab.
"She has a date."
And so while it was a huge surprise for most of the NCIS staff to see Gibbs walk into the party in his tuxedo with a beautifully decked out Abby on his arm in a deep blood red velvet gown Tony just smirked to himself over his champagne.
There was almost tangible tension in the lab when the team gathered down there. It wasn't caused by the excess of non-stop April showers, it was flowing off of Abby and Gibbs in waves. Tony was watching carefully to see if they would give him a clue as to what's wrong. Abby was running off the details of the evidence she had processed and she and Gibbs started a private conversation. Tony wondered if they ever felt slightly schizophrenic trying to keep everything straight.
"Please tell me what's wrong."
"Now you want to listen? I've been trying to talk to you for two days."
"We're in the middle of a case Abs."
"You could have spared me five minutes."
"I'm listening. Tell me now."
"Late for what? There aren't any meetings this afternoon."
"Late Jethro. Late. Think."
Tony actually saw Gibbs blanch a little as the meaning sunk in. And Abby got a silly little expression.
"Are you sure?"
"Pretty blue on the test this morning."
McGee and Ziva stood there with their mouths hanging open at the sudden sight of Gibbs smiling and hugging Abby, swinging her around.
Tony just grinned. And met Abby's eyes and signed, "Congratulations."
Gibbs caught him and gave him a raised eyebrow and signed, "Do you know the meaning of private conversation DiNozzo?"