Ways To Die
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS, nor am I making any profit.
A/N: Written for the NFA "I can think of worse ways to go" challenge. It was noted that Tony and Abby have very similar top 3 'ways to die', as mentioned in 1.22 and 3.11. The challenge: Tony and Abs either had a conversation about this at some point and agreed on getting eaten by a shark and falling into a wood chipper. Or it's pure coincidence that two of their top three ways to die are matching - they'd have to find out about that then.
Reviews are muchly appreciated :)
A creaking floorboard woke Tony up. Before he could fumble for his gun in the top drawer of the bedside table, the bed shifted to the side.
"Hey Abs," Tony smiled, reaching out and groping blindly until he found the cold body huddled on the edge of the bed.
"C'mere." He pulled her closer and she burrowed into him. Tony squinted at the clock beside him. The glowing green display said it was almost 3am.
"When did Gibbs teach you to pick a lock?" He asked sofly.
Abby gave a muffled snort. "Me? I was the one who taught Gibbs how to pick locks."
She laughed again, wrapping her long arms around him. Something sharp jabbed into Tony's jugular and he twisted his head back so he wouldn't be impaled.
"You're spiky, Abs."
She sat up, removing her spiked leather choker and studded cuffs. Tony flipped the light on to help her and realized she was still wearing the same clothes she'd worn to work.
"Abby, did you even go home?"
She shook her head. "Can't sleep."
Abby unzipped her chunky vinyl boots and slipped out of her skirt, then climbed back into bed next to him. He pulled the thick comforter up so she wouldn't be cold.
They lay that way in silence, Tony staring up at the ceiling and Abby with her face pressed into the crevice between Tony's body and the mattress. Finally she spoke.
"What's the worst way you can imagine dying?"
He said nothing for a moment, holding her close to his body. It definitely wasn't a question he was usually asked by beautiful, half-naked women lying in his bed. Then again, it wasn't the strangest ("Do you think the aliens will keep us as pets when they invade?" definitely took the cake). For Abby, a question like that was practically foreplay. Except Tony knew better. He knew the reason why she couldn't sleep. It was the same reason she was still in yesterday's clothes, the same reason she was shivering in his bed.
A twenty-two-year-old Petty Officer had been kidnapped and tortured, his fingers and toes systematically removed over the course of 48 hours. The petty officer was tied up and forced to watch as his captor, emboldened by NCIS' failure to find him, took up a hacksaw and performed amputations of both legs and an arm. By the time NCIS located them, the man was dead from a combination of infection and blood loss.
Tony hadn't worked the case, but he'd heard about it. Everybody had. He'd seen the bruised, bloodied body in Ducky's lab while he was getting the autopsy report on their current case, and it'd been enough to put him off his lunch and dinner.
Abby'd had to analyze the crime scene photos, examine the victim's foul, bloody clothes as well as run all of the DNA and trace. One glimpse of the body had been enough for Tony so he could completely understand why she couldn't sleep. Which brought him back to her original question.
"I think it would suck to fall in a wood chipper." He said finally. She lifted her head from his chest and laughed
"That would suck. The longest three seconds of your life – watching as your legs were demolished beneath you… feeling – and hearing – the bones splinter."
They both shuddered, then she laughed again and Tony smiled. That was more like his Abby.
The conversation topic was forgotten for several months, until Abby and Tony found themselves riding the elevator together when it suddenly stopped moving, trapping them between floors.
"I bet Gibbs did this," Tony muttered, jamming his finger down on the call button. "The brakes are worn down from all of his 'conference room' meetings. Pretty soon the cables will snap and we'll plummet to our deaths."
Abby chuckled, earning a fierce glare from Tony. The operator responded to their call, telling them that a technician had been called but it'd take at least an hour for them to arrive.
"Great." Tony slammed his open hand against the metal wall, sliding down to join Abby who was sitting cross-legged on the floor. "That gives us just enough time to starve – or freeze to death."
"Relax," Abby said, shifting closer to him and leaning her head on his shoulder. "It's not like you had big plans for tonight anyway."
"A movie marathon beats sitting in an enclosed space with limited oxygen, Abby."
"Aww, you're not claustrophobic, are you?"
He glared at her again and she laughed again, only making him more irritated.
"How many people die in elevators each year, Abs?" He asked, knowing without doubt that she would know the statistic.
"Five," she answered instantly. His face paled; he'd been hoping for zero.
"C'mon Tony, it's not that bad. At least if we die in here, we'll be together!"
That didn't make him feel much better, so Abby decided to try a different approach. "Well it's better than… drowning in lava."
"At least lava's warm," Tony said, but Abby could see a hint of a smile on his face. "I think it'd be worse to be buried alive. A tonne of dirt pressing down on you, plus there's bugs and worms…"
Abby nodded as he went on, resisting the urge to pump her fist in the air. She'd successfully distracted him from their current predicament.
"Yeah, but drowning in lava, you'd smell your own flesh and bone sizzling and melting as it sucked you down…"
They continued arguing long after the elevator doors were pried open and they were released from their cold metal cage.
That particular subject was not spoken of for several months. Not until Tony was drugged and locked in the sewers with Sergeant Atlas. By the time the mountain of paperwork was demolished, Tony found himself alone, covered in grime, in the car park, his hands trembling too much to even contemplate driving.
Abby swooped in from behind, nabbing the car-keys from his hand. "Like I'm gonna let you drive," she told him, pushing him into the passenger seat of his Corvette. "You –" she prodded him with a finger, starting the engine. "- are under the influence."
He stood under the spray of the shower nozzle for more than an hour, until the smell of death was well and truly washed down the drain. Abby was waiting for him in the kitchen, demonstrating her culinary prowess by heating up some leftover pizza for them both. It wasn't until he sat down that Tony realized his hands were still shaking. Witnessing the breadth of mortality first-hand was truly a sobering experience.
"It could be worse," she said cheerfully, chewing on pizza crust with her mouth full. Tony raised an eyebrow. Worse than rotting corpses, starvation and angry bees?
Abby swallowed. It seemed like quite an effort. "Well, you could be eaten by a shark. You know, all alone out at sea, treading water when WHAM!!!"
She slammed the dining table for effect.
"A shark rips your leg off!" Seeing Tony smile, she continued. "Then it disappears and you're alone again, in excruciating pain, trying to stay afloat in the red, frothy water. And WHAM!!!"
She slammed the table again. Tony, expecting it, didn't jump this time.
"He comes back, hungry for more and decides to taste your arm. And suddenly you're surrounded, the water is thrashing and throwing you around and you're about to pass out, but you can't give into the pain. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!"
He wondered if her hand was starting to hurt.
"The other sharks can smell the blood and they want some too. They all attack at once, ripping and tearing you apart and the last things you see are the sharp, white, bloodstained teeth closing down around your head…"
Tony wasn't sure whether to laugh or shudder. Abby was right, it was definitely not a pleasant way to die. He decided to go with laughter. After the day they'd both had, he figured it was probably better than getting completely and utterly drunk, especially considering they had work the next day. By the time they caught their breath, the remnants of the pizza were well and truly cold. Tony smiled across the table at Abby.
"Wanna watch Jaws?"