Title: Need to Know
Spoilers: Major ones up until the Cloak/Dagger arc, season six.
Summary: He feels Langer's presence with him, residing not in his mind or by his side, but in his gut. And Abby's always been perceptive.
Author's Note: Yeah, I know… this isn't an Acta update. I'm sorry, I suck! XD
Leaving Langer's expired FBI identification amongst the pictures of dead agents, Gibbs returns to his drink, turning in his seat to regard the memorial wall. In the Line of Duty – The Fallen, proclaims the plaque.
He's seen a lot of agents lose life's battle on the job. He can hardly remember the faces of some, although the names remain vivid. The most recent stand out more clearly in his memory. Chris Pacci. Kate Todd. Paula Cassidy and her team, Rick Hall and Jim Nelson.
I will find the truth, he silently swears to the ID card, turning back to his drink. And I won't rest until I do.
He was telling the bartender the truth when he said he wasn't here alone tonight. Although he's physically on his own, he feels Langer's presence with him, residing not in his mind or by his side, but in his gut. Every time Special Agent Michelle Lee walks by his section of the squad room, that presence grows stronger. He wasn't convinced of her innocence at the time of Langer's death, but he wasn't stupid enough to show his hand.
He's worked with Lee for long enough to know that whatever she's entangled in, it's bigger than just her. And until now, he's put his acting skills to good use pretending that the entire affair's over with.
Finding Langer's ID card seems a portent, an indication that the time is right to move in. Perhaps it's superstition, but it's not coincidental. Coincidences… they don't exist.
He finishes his bourbon, orders another. Lets the subdued atmosphere of the bar soak into him.
He registers the slight cold draught as the door to the place opens, but he doesn't glance up. He's not here for conversation with strangers; he's here for the memories.
Someone slides into the bar-stool next to him, and the bartender looks up expectantly. "Vodka Red Bull, easy on the vodka," a quiet, husky voice says, and Gibbs fixes a mildly surprised gaze upon Abby Sciuto, whose attention is focused on him.
She smiles and shrugs, indicating the memorial wall. "Figured you'd be here tonight."
Gibbs takes a sip of his drink before answering, letting the alcohol burn down his throat. Abby had by chance once encountered him on the street outside his favoured watering hole, a picture of Kate held in his hands, and she and Ducky are the only ones who know he comes here. "How much did Ducky tell you?"
Abby pulls her drink toward her, handing over the cash, and regards him with concern. "Enough."
Gibbs inclines his head, unsurprised, and watches her take a gulp of her drink. "Doesn't get any easier, Abbs."
"No kidding," she agrees ruefully, sliding off her stool and wandering over to the memorial wall.
Gibbs joins her, and they stand together, letting their eyes wander over the myriad pictures, each life given for the noblest of causes. Without comment, Abby trails a finger down Kate's smiling face before turning her gaze to Langer's ID.
"I didn't like him," she admits.
It's not news to him. She saw the former FBI agent as a replacement for Tony, and never warmed to him.
"But I want to help," she carries on, her eyes fixed on his face now, an intensity in them that makes him long to kiss her. Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last.
He turns away with a last glance at Langer's picture, heading back to the bar, hoping to shake off the impulse by the time he's sitting back down. She follows, hopping up onto her stool with characteristic grace, and regards him expectantly.
Gibbs sighs. "Help with what?"
"Your mole-hunt," she says, folding her arms and daring him with her eyes to tell her that she's wrong. A slight smile plays about her lips, and he looks down at his drink to distract himself, with a soft laugh at his own folly.
"Perceptive," he murmurs, and downs the rest of the bourbon. "Even Ducky didn't get there."
Smugly, she sips her drink, her tongue darting out to catch a stray droplet of the alcohol as she sets down the glass. "And this is a shock to you? Read me in, boss-man."
Gibbs shakes his head, attempting to banish temptation. "Abbs… Not here."
She necks the rest of the vodka Red Bull, the move baring the flawless, pale skin of her throat, and then puts the empty glass down on the bar with finality. "Fine. Let's go to your place. You're probably over the limit, so I'll drive."
Before he can protest that he hasn't had that much, she slides off her stool and grabs his hand, tugging him with her toward the door. Her touch is electric, and he drops her hand as soon as she'll let him, glad of the shock of cold air that diverts his mind from the forbidden.
They get into her ridiculous little car, and she manoeuvres it expertly through the streets to his place, chattering about his team's treatment of the rookie, Dwayne. The whole way there, Gibbs responds in monosyllables, distracted by the scent of her gunpowder perfume and the amusement in her voice as she describes events.
By the time they're in his basement, coffee mugs in hand, he can hardly think past the knowledge that they're alone together.
"What makes you think there's another mole, Abby?"
Her mind brought back to the intriguing puzzle before her, she shrugs. "Simple. Your gut's telling you something's hinky."
"And you know this because…?" he asks, curious.
"Langer's picture wouldn't be up on that wall if it wasn't," she states matter-of-factly, her gaze incisive. "Tell me what you know. I wanna help."
He lays it out for her, aware that he doesn't have much more to go on than his gut. Abby listens in silence, giving him all her attention, her coffee forgotten. When he finishes, she sighs. "I wish it wasn't Michelle. I like Michelle…"
"It might not be," he reminds her, but she shakes her head.
"If your gut says it is, then it is."
Her conviction is touching, but he doesn't stop to analyse it. "Need proof, either way."
Abby jumps up, beginning to pace. Watching her swaying hips, Gibbs thanks god that she's not wearing one of her sinfully short skirts tonight. "Okay, so we set a trap. I mean, I don't know what sort of trap, cause you're the one with the genius plans, but imagine there's a hypothetical trap, with hypothetical bait. I could mix something to cover the bait, so when Michelle touches it it'll get all over her hands and be impossible to wash off. It'd be like Lady Macbeth all over again…"
When she looks over at him, her face alight with an almost Machiavellian glow, her pigtails swinging about her face, he can't help but chuckle. Only Abby could bring enthusiasm to this, although he knows that her mind is firmly concentrated on the science rather than the implications of a mole at the Navy Yard.
"Need something a little less theatrical, Abbs."
She sighs, dropping back onto her improvised seat, and shoots him a mock glower that steals the breath from his lungs. "Spoil my fun," she grumbles, and then lapses into thought, turning her attention to her coffee while he reins in his fantasies.
"How about… radioactivity? Not in harmful levels, just… a signature ingredient that reacts differently to a Geiger counter."
Gibbs considers it, gives a slow nod. "Has potential," he tells her.
"I'll be a couple of days planning it out – is that okay?"
Nodding, he sets down his coffee mug. "I'll be a week or so planning the rest. Take your time."
Both of her perfectly-plucked eyebrows shoot up at his words. "Well, that's a Leroy Jethro Gibbs first. Usually you need it yesterday." Restless, she gets up again, beginning to move past him to examine his boat.
On impulse, he grabs her wrist, and she turns to face him, startled, as he rises from his seat to meet her. "Can't afford to put a foot wrong on this, Abby," he tells her, unable to look away from her clear green eyes. "This is need-to-know. Just you… and me."
She nods wordlessly, her surprise fading to… intrigue? He should let go of her arm, but he can't bring himself to. And when she takes a step forward, positioning herself a scant inch away from him, it feels natural to slide his free hand over her hip, to the small of her back as he draws her in closer. Her arms loop around his neck, and the platform boots she's wearing mean that she only needs to tilt her head back a little to meet his lips.
The kiss begins slow; an exploration. When she purrs seductively, pressing herself closer as if to remind him that she's no porcelain doll, he responds in kind, driving her back against his boat and devouring her lips until her body is trembling against his.
He draws back a little way; she follows an inch or two, as if reluctant to be parted from him, before allowing him to break the kiss. Breathless, her lips parted in an irresistible pout, she opens her eyes slowly. Something in his face makes them sparkle, and she gives a languid grin, dispelling any misgivings he might have had about the moment.
"Just you and me," she agrees, and leans forward for another kiss.