Just a really quick note that the title isn't a typo and it isn't to be taken at face value either. Agent here means instrument or bringer – it's not one of the team.
And yes, this is going to be rather angsty – but then it's a plot-driven story and they usually tend to be. Well, mine do. All I ask is .. go with the flow instead of getting upset with me?
Ziva walked into the bullpen.
"She told me to take a number" she said, obviously bristling.
McGee and Tony looked up from their desks.
"Are you speaking metaphorically, Zee-vah?" Tony asked.
The Israeli sat down heavily on her chair.
"I am not" she said. "I went to Abby's lab to see if she had made any progress on matching the semen samples found in the Warner case. She told me to get a number."
"Maybe she's feeling tired, overworked, and taken for granted again" Tim said.
And immediately wished he hadn't.
"That, McGee, was low – even for you" Abby said as she stormed past his desk.
She tossed a piece of paper onto Ziva's desk.
"I combined two different types of DNA tests" she started. "Short tandem repeats test with polymerase chain reaction. To amplify the samples. Then I compared them with Petty Officer Warner's DNA. I got a match. Go pick him up before he deploys – because he's definitely your guy."
She turned on her heel and stood there glaring at McGee for a long moment.
"What!?" she yelled in Tony's direction when she felt his eyes bore into her.
"Nothing .." he replied, as he lowered his eyes back to his monitor.
"Well then get moving" she snapped.
"Just waiting for Gibbs to come back from his meeting with the Director" Tony placated.
Or tried to.
"And don't think you're getting off that easy, Timmy" she said, crossing her arms across her chest. "That was uncool. Really really uncalled for. And I'm not going to forgive you anytime soon."
She was still standing there like a pillar of salt making McGee squirm when Gibbs walked into the bullpen.
"What's going on?" he demanded.
Tony jumped from his seat.
"Abby nailed Warner, Boss."
"Then why are you still here?" Gibbs asked, his eye still on the figure standing menacingly in front of his desk.
"Trying to avoid bloodshed" Tony hissed as he pulled his weapon and badge out of his desk and headed for the elevator with Ziva on his heels.
McGee rose and made to follow.
Abby blocked his path, and Gibbs was quick to intercept.
"Whoa .. easy Abs."
He nodded at McGee to slip by, and the younger agent was gone in the blink of an eye.
"What's going on?" Gibbs asked. "You seem kinda wired."
She deflated instantly.
"Lots going on" she said, looking anywhere but at him.
"Maybe it's time to call it a day then" Gibbs said.
"I still have work to do" she replied.
"That wasn't a suggestion, Abby" he replied. "Lay off the caf-pow. Go home. Get some sleep."
"I don't believe this. Are you angry with me, Gibbs?" she asked incredulously as he started to walk away.
He could hear the anger in her threatening to spill over, and turned and gave her one of his patented looks.
"I didn't start it" she argued.
"I don't care who started it. I'm ending it. I don't want to see you before Monday."
McGee tapped away on his typewriter – torn between wanting to write the next chapter of his novel and calling Abby and apologising.
The gentleman in him won out.
She didn't answer her landline and she didn't answer her cell phone. He wasn't really surprised that she didn't want to talk to him – he really had been out of line. But that didn't stop him from wanting to apologise. In fact it only made him want to apologise more. He tried calling a few more times before giving up. By then he didn't feel like working on his new novel anymore. He fixed himself a warm drink and settled in front of the television – hoping to catch the tail end of the news before a late night viewing of something mindless.
He caught the tail end of the news – and it had him up and out of the house in moments.
Gibbs was almost asleep when his cell phone went off.
He peered at the caller id.
"McGee?" he asked as he answered.
There was enough in the younger agent's tone to make Gibbs sit bolt upright. He could hear traffic in the background
"Where are you?" he asked.
"On my way to Abby's house" McGee replied. "Three people were hospitalised this evening" McGee continued. "It was on the eleven o'clock news. They were taken to the ER at Washington Hospital Center suffering from various degrees of acute paranoia and aggression. I just left there."
"What's the connection?"
"Boss .. the only thing these people had in common is that they they all work at Yard, and they all drink Caf-Pow. Whatever it was ... I think it was in the machine."
"How far away are you?" Gibbs asked, heading for his front door.
"Pulling up to her apartment now."
Gibbs heard the car door slam and the sound of Tim's footsteps hurrying up the gravel path.
"She isn't answering any of her phones" McGee said as he knocked on the door. "Abby? Abby!" he said – more forcefully the second time round.
"Kick it in" Gibbs snapped.
"No need – I have a key" Tim replied, fumbling with his keyring.
"Talk to me, McGee" Gibbs said, as he slipped into his own car.
"The door isn't locked" McGee said – his anxiety rising a notch.
He slipped inside the apartment.
"Abby ..." he called gently, his weapon at the ready. "Lights are on in the bedroom" he whispered to Gibbs.
There was silence for a few moments as he cleared the rooms. When he reached the bedroom he inserted his hands under her comforter.
"Coffin's still warm. Wherever she went she didn't leave long ago."
"There any signs of a struggle?" asked Gibbs.
McGee's eyes travelled round the room, and his blood ran cold.
"She didn't go willingly" was all he said.
"Call Tony and Ziva" was all Gibbs said. "I'm on my way."