Chapter 8 – She Knew
"Abby?" the far away low and soft voice barely reached her mind. Abby once more ran her fingers over the frame of the photograph. A singel tear rolled down her cheek.
"Abs?" she heard someone softly calling her name and slowly she became aware of her surroundings. She was standing in front of the fireplace in Gibbs´ living-room. She remembered having made him lay down on the couch to rest. She turned around, not bothering to wipe away her tears. Sadly she looked at him.
Gibbs was sitting on the couch. He was feeling much better now and he recognized he must have slept for about three hours at least.
When he had woken up, it had taken him some minutes to remember what had happened and that he had been having dinner with Abby and then he had... . Abby! How could he forget! He heard a low sobbing and - after reminding himself to not make any abrupt movements and therefore slowly turn to look around - he found she was standing in front of the fireplace. Although she had her back turned towards him, he quickly realized what must have made her feeling down.
He called her, softly, to not frighten her and when she didn´t react, he tried again and he finally got through to her and when he saw she was crying he waved her over.
"Come here," he said lowly.
Abby approached him. He took her hand and not letting go signaled her to sit down opposite him on the low wooden table. She still held the photograph in her hands, cautiously, as if she could hurt the two people in it. She didn´t dare look at him as more tears were welling in her eyes. Gibbs put one finger under her chin and slowly and softly made her lift her face so that she finally looked at him.
"They were so beautiful," Abby whispered huskily and her voice broke with tears.
"Shhh... . Don´t cry, Abs," Gibbs said, as he wiped away her tears and leaned in to kiss her on her forehead. It hadn´t been easy for him all those years and it still wasn´t. The worst being the constantly recurring grief of not having been given the chance to properly say good bye´ to Shannon and Kelly. The pain over the loss of his family would never really go away. It would be more or less present, more or less hurtful, but it would always be there. Abby hadn´t known Shannon and Kelly and although Gibbs knew she felt sorry about his loss - always had ever since he had told her years ago - he also knew, she could never take away that pain from him. And he didn´t want her to.
Gibbs could only guess where´ Abby must have been during the last hour or so and his suppositions were confirmed when she self-reproachfully tried to excuse her inappropriate behavior back then, sixteen years ago:
"If I had known back then, believe me, I would not have bothered you! Gloria would have severely scolded me, if she had known ... ." The words died on Abby´s lips as Gibbs placed his index finger across them.
He searched her eyes and when he had finally found them and she didn´t look away, he said: "She knew."
Abby´s eyes widened in shock. She, Abby, hadn´t known. Gloria, her mother, had never told her that she had known about Shannon and Kelly. And by the time Abby had learned about them, Gloria had already been dead. Gibbs could see the confusion in Abby´s face so he tried to explain. And finally Abby understood what had happened that very evening at her 14th birthday, when the man with this sad blue eyes had eventually begun to speak.
"Abs, I would most likely have died, if it hadn´t been for you! A 14 year old girl, that was more stubborn than me and bold enough to approach someone who´s about to shoot himself ... I admire you for that. And you can be very proud of yourself. Gloria was very proud of you. She was afraid of what might have happened to you, but she never showed it."
Abby just watched him, so he went on: "That evening, Gloria wanted to hang up my wet clothes and I took the flask saying Shannon and Kelly out of its pocket. Your mom took me to your living-room and made me sit down at the dining-table. She brought me a mug of hot coffee and sat down, paper and pencil in hand to talk´ with me.
"She asked me right away if Shannon and Kelly were my wife and my daughter and if I was so sad because of them. It was quite a shock to me that she put it that straight and I think I just stared at her. And so did she. Looked at me, sorrowfully, for I don´t know how long until I finally must have nodded and told her that they were dead. Not how or why, just that they had died.
"And Gloria wrote down: You want to die as well?
"When I nodded again, she continued: See, they might not be here anymore, but somehow they are still near. They take care of you and they protect you. They don´t want you to die and Abby showed up just in time to keep you from doing what she quite properly called something very stupid. Abby has lost her father about one and a half year ago. It isn´t easy without him and we miss him a lot. But - you know, what keeps us going is what we belief in: People never die, as long as somebody remembers them."
They both sat in silence as Abby took in what Gibbs had just told her. And Gibbs thought about Glorias words again and he had to admit to himself that he had at some point forgotten about their meaning. He had not tried to take his own life ever again, but he also never had cared about it either.
"Gloria never told me," Abby finally said.
"No," Gibbs said in return, and he took the photo and opened the frame. "Because I asked her to not tell you." And while saying: "You had lost your father one and a half year before and your life had just gotten kind of normal again. It would have been too much a shock for you to learn about Shannon and Kelly."
He took the sheet of paper that was stuck behind the photo and handed it to Abby. It was the sheet of paper Abby´s mother had then used to communicate with Gibbs and on it Abby could read everything he had just told her.
Being fully aware that this would bring up more tears, Gibbs had kept his hands on Abbys arms and despite the bruising on his arm did hurt like hell with this movement, he now just pulled her close and held her tight.
The minutes passed and somewhen Abby turned in his embrace, slowly pulled away and he could see some kind of relief on her face when she eventually smiled at him.
"You know what, Gibbs?" she asked. "I´m happy Gloria knew, because I never had the chance to tell her. She was very intelligent."
"Yes, Abs, your mother was a very clever person," Gibbs confirmed and smiled as well.
Then he remembered that before he had gone to take a nap´ at the couch, he had wanted to prepare the last course of their dinner. And as it had been Abby´s birthday, there was still something special to come. Something Gloria had used to do on birthdays. Something Abby continued to do on birthdays. Especially her birthdays and especially for Gibbs. He really enjoyed it.
"And you know what, Abs?" he asked. "Your mom indeed made the best chocolate-cake on earth!"
They both had to laugh at that and Gibbs was happy, Abby did react that way and did not get sadder.
"And her daughter is just as good," Gibbs added and of course wanted to know: "Now, where´s my chocolate-cake?"
He grinned widely and Abby suddenly remembered what she had done earlier that night when she had prepared the dessert and she suddenly wasn´t that sure anymore if it had been a good idea to decorate the chocolate cake.
She bit her lip and looked at him apologetically in advance. She gave view to what was on the dining table behind her. Gibbs eyes widened when he saw the bizarre structure.
There were two plates, each with a huge piece of chocolate cake on it. And what made it appear so odd was this: The huge piece of chocolate cake was surrounded by fried bananas and topped with what obviously were the riceballs.
"What´s that?" he asked in disbelief.
Abby just shrugged, trying hard to not laugh. "Umm..., Abby´s Gloria-birthday-chocolate-cake ... of course!" she replied with conviction.
But Gibbs could hear her giggle and whisper "... chinese style... ."
A/N First of all I need to apologize for the delay. I just hadn´t had the time to go over this last chapter earlier.
Well, this story will end here, hope I didn´t leave too many questions. Thanks for sharing this journey, which I think might be a possible way of how Abby met Gibbs. No? I´m a bit unhappy with Abby´s age here, though it´s only just within range, I think. Hope, you don´t/didn´t mind. Well, I don´t think so, your reviews told me you liked the story. That makes me happy. Thanks!
I also have to add another disclaimer: There´s one sentence in this last chapter that I have borrowed from another tv-show. No copyright infringement intended. Maybe some of you remember "The Incredible Hulk" starring the late and sadly missed Bill Bixby. The sentence is taken from the end of the episode "Married": "People never die, as long as somebody remembers them."
To whoever owns this sentence (the writer Kenneth Johnson? ): A very true statement. Thanks a lot!
I´m writing on my next story. Many sheets of paper, no files by now, sorry :-(
Only thing you can be sure of: It will be about Abby and Gibbs. Yes, I´ve fallen in love with those two, and as much as I believe (and hope) that there will never be more than friendship between them on the show, I also think anything can happen when it comes to fanfiction!
The cake? Um..., it indeed looked a bit ... strange? Funny? And I do not recommend eating riceballs that have completely cooled down!