This is the third and final chapter of "Second Chances"...once again post-"Hiatus".
Chapter 3 - Revelations
For a while neither of them spoke. Abby was in shock because Gibbs was actually there after all this time. And for Gibbs, the surge of emotions that he felt when he looked into Abby's eyes made it impossible for him to even attempt to speak.
But as suddenly as it began, the moment was over, broken by the loud, incessant beeping of the timer attached to the centrifuge that held Abby's blood samples.
"Don't you think you should get that?" said Gibbs, the hint of a smile playing at the corners of his lips.
"I….um…..yeah….yeah, I probably should. If I leave the samples in the centrifuge for too long, it will totally mess up the results of the DNA tests that I need to do" Abby blurted out nervously. "You see, the whole process is time sensitive. If I don't remove the samples in the next minute or so, the samples will be ruined, which means that I'll have to start the whole process over again, and that will put me WAY behind, and then that will put the whole investigation behind,……"
"Abs?", Gibbs interrupted, "Shouldn't you get the samples?". He looked pointedly at the machine. Finally Abby snapped out of it, ran to the machine, shut it down, and rescued her sample tubes.
Abby still had her back to Gibbs; she was busy drawing blood out of each test tube for the first step of the DNA testing. "So, when did you get back from Mexico?".
"I've been back for about a month. I had to come in to sign some papers, so I decided to come and pay you a visit." Gibbs lied. "Sorry I didn't bring a Caff-Pow, but it looks like you've already taken care of that….."
Abby straightened up, and turned back to face Gibbs. He could see the anger and hurt in her eyes. "How can you just walk into my lab after all this time, and expect me to act like nothing ever happened? Well, I've got news for you. Things change. Things are different. You left, remember? Excuse me if it's going take a little time for me to adjust to you being back."
After a few seconds, Gibbs said, "Look, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.". He turns and begins to leave the lab. He was almost to the door when Abby spoke again.
"I can't believe that you're leaving AGAIN. Is that how you handle it when things get rough or you don't get your way? Yup, just get up and leave. That will solve EVERYTHING, won't it?", Abby was almost shouting by the end.
Gibbs stopped, turned back towards Abby, and said quietly, "Is that really why you think I left?"
"Not just me Gibbs. Everyone. We were all there that day. You were mad that nobody listened to you about those terrorists, but rather than dealing with it, and getting back to work, you took the easy way out and quit. Or as you like to put it, RETIRED. Why don't you just say it. You jumped ship, and abandoned all of us. Do you have any idea, ANY, about how hard Tony, Ziva, and McGee had to work to pick up the pieces of the cases you left? And Tony, how could you just throw him off the deep end that way? After all he's done for you. You didn't even give him a chance to think about it. But I'll have you know that he's done a fantastic job so far, and has managed the best he can to get through the adjustment. And I'm not even going to start on the effect that your leaving has had on Ducky."
Gibbs says nothing during Abby's entire speech. He just stands there, with his usual unreadable expression on his face.
Abby continued, "But no, of course, you have no idea about anything like that, because you're too busy being self absorbed as usual. I used to think you were different. The Gibbs I thought I knew would NEVER leave NCIS the way you did. You abandoned NCIS, Gibbs. Abandoned me……" Abby stopped short, mortified that she had almost blurted out her true feelings. She quickly turned back to her test tubes, trying not to let Gibbs see her face, which would give everything away.
"Abby, there's something that I need for you to understand.", said Gibbs, walking back towards her. Abby still had her back to him. "I'm not going to stand here and try to explain to you why I left, because to be honest, it doesn't make much sense to me anymore either." By this time, Gibbs is standing right behind Abby, who has long since stopped what she was doing. "I didn't come here to sign any papers, or to just pay you a visit. I came back today because I realized that there's been something missing in my life since I left."
Before she could stop herself, Abby said angrily, "What, you realized that you missed being the boss, and barking out impossible demands to everyone all the time?"
Gibbs placed his hands on Abby's shoulders, and slowly turned her around to face him. Her eyes remained firmly fixated on the floor; she couldn't let him see how she really felt.
"No," Gibbs replied, "The part that was missing all this time was you."
Abby could hardly believe what she had just heard. "What are you saying, Gibbs?", she said in an almost whisper, her heart pounding for the second time that day.
"I came back for you Abby. That is, if you'll forgive me."
Abby took a couple of deep breaths, trying to find the words to answer him. Finally she gave up trying and raised her eyes until they met his. As it turned out, words weren't necessary. Abby's eyes told Gibbs everything that he needed to know.
Gibbs stepped back slightly and made a few slow deliberate movements with his hands, signing something to Abby, just before wrapping his arms around Abby and pulling her close, He slowly lowered his mouth to hers, and kissed her, releasing all the pent up emotion that had been building for so long. Abby responded almost immediately, putting her arms around his neck, and drawing him deeper into the kiss. After several moments, they pulled apart slightly, but didn't release each other. Abby leaned against him, and rested her head against his chest, listening to the sound of his heart beating. For a while neither of them spoke.
"I love you too, Gibbs." Abby whispered. "Welcome home".