There it sat…
Lying open on the floor. He didn't remember dropping it; but mostly because he was already forcing the last thirty seconds out his mind. He hadn't heard what he was just told…His knees didn't just get weak…his hands weren't quivering…and his eyes weren't filling with tears.
But there it sat…
Beckoning him to pick it up a second time. To fearfully confirm the words he'd already started to deny existed. As he heard his name come from the speaker, he found himself shaking his head.
"No…" He spoke out loud into his empty basement, as his phone lay open on the cement floor. He reached down and closed it; temporarily silencing its calls. It was only seconds before the ringing began again; and only seconds before he picked it up and shattered it against the outer bearings of his boat.
He listened to it shatter and the sound almost comforted him. He sat silently staring at its remains before he heard footsteps making their way down the stairs.
"Don't say it Duck…" Gibbs turned to see his friends face covered in grief.
Gibbs put his hand up. "Don't! She can't be…I just left her a few hours ago…"
Ducky fancied himself a learned man. One that always had an answer; always had a story, and always knew the right words to express. But not now. Right now, no one did. And he wasn't entirely sure that his friend would hear them anyhow.
"I went to the scene…."
Gibbs stood up. "No! Damnit!" He managed to yell loud enough; that a tear lodged in his eyes broke free down his face. He paced towards his boat and began to kick the tiny remains of his cell phone around on the floor. "I didn't just get that phone call, she's not dead…she's not."
Ducky stood there speechless; as the remaining team members arrived one by one; joining the ME in the still basement. Each of them had gotten the same call Gibbs had and each phoned the other instinctively. But after getting nothing more than Gibbs voicemail; they were left with no other choice but to come there.
Tony stepped forward first in an attempt to comfort; but was politely shied away by Ducky. "Leave him be my boy."
And so they did; with nothing to do or say, but stand in silent reverence. They watched him pace around the basement for minutes. Ziva had chosen the steps to sit down while McGee stared straight ahead aimlessly. Ducky had been through tragedies in his past; some more horrific than he cared to remember but nothing pained him more than losing a friend. Tony watched the rest of the team carefully; unsure of what the news had done to them. But first and foremost he eyed Gibbs. As soon as he heard the news he knew he had to be here; he knew he would be seeing a part of his boss he'd never seen before. Not even with Kate. But what happened next was something he wasn't prepared for…
Gibbs almost stormed towards them and held his finger close to their faces. "Tell me…DiNozzo! You! Tell me she's alive…David…hit me…wake me up from this nightmare…" He watched neither of them move a muscle and swallowed hard. "Tim…you tell me, tell me that it wasn't her car…tell me…"
McGee seemed to be the only one not shocked by Gibbs reaction. "She's gone boss."
The rest moved towards Tim as Gibbs came inches from his face. "What did you just say?"
Tony tried to step in between them; in fear of what Gibbs was capable of; but watched as Tim didn't waver. "She's gone."
And it was then the four witnessed a sight they never thought they would; as Gibbs slowly collapsed to the floor in grief. McGee and Tony reached out to ease him down, as Ducky immediately raced to his friend's side.
"Easy Jethro…we are here…"
Gibbs wasn't crying. He wasn't weeping. He wasn't sobbing. He was just there.
Ducky reached his hand out and wrapped it gently behind his friends neck; pulling him into a solemn embrace. "Abigail loved you dearly..."
Gibbs eased himself away and slowly nodded. "She's really gone isn't she Duck?"
"I'm afraid so."
It was then Gibbs lifted himself up on his own power and stared intently at his team. "Take me to her."
Ducky took hold of his friends arm and slowly but surely the five of them left. Left a place where they'd witnessed something they would never forget. That night was one of the longest nights of their lives…and the days that followed weren't any easier.
The day of her funeral was filled with sunshine. The irony was heartbreaking to everyone there. No one had an answer to the why question…but whoever does? A young vibrant life had been robbed away; and no stoic form of reasoning would change that. The team itself was once again facing a loss; and one that none of them was ready for. But who ever is?
Timothy McGee had barely spoken a full sentence in days; and Tony was hovering over him more than he would've liked. He couldn't sleep; he couldn't write…all he could was think about her, and what might've been…
Ziva David had found herself shedding more tears than she could recall; and wasn't all too sure how she'd let Abby get so close.
Anthony DiNozzo barely found time to grieve as he lost himself in caring for his teammates. In an odd sort of way; like Abby would have.
Ducky had been deemed the over seer of Gibbs; a task that no one wanted but each volunteered for; and one that his friend uncharacteristically welcomed. As he watched Gibbs closely he wondered if the man he knew now was only a mirage of the man he once was…and feared after the loss of another daughter…just what kind of man he might become.
It was days before Gibbs gathered the courage to tarry down his basement steps again. And still…there it sat…
The shattered remains of a night that devastated what was left of his heart…