Title: Ground Control to Major Tom

Characters: Ziva, Abby, Ducky, Gibbs, Palmer, Tony, McGee

Pairings: Ziva/Abby

Rating: T

Summary/Note: Shameless David Bowie chapter/story title stealing. Ziva is hurt on a mission, and Abby is none too pleased. Written for NFA's Secret Santa fic exchange, 2008.

Chapter 1—Ground Control

"Ground control to Major Tom," Abby said into the speakerphone. "Ground control to Major Tom." She rolled her eyes in frustration and repeated, "Ground control to Major Tom."

Finally she got a response. "What is it Abby?" Gibbs whispered, trying not to alert the suspect that they were tailing him.

"And what's with the David Bowie?" Tony quickly added before Gibbs could tell him not to.

"Not the point Tony," Abby reprimanded, gesturing as if he could see her. She triumphantly thrust a finger into the air and continued, "What is the point.." she briefly paused for dramatic effect before she could almost feel the force of Gibbs's inevitable glare. Grinning slightly she added, "Is that I was able to get DNA off of the hair you found at the crime scene and I ran it through three databases before I got a hit." She clicked her mouse to bring up the photo, as if the team was actually in the lab (who was she to alter tradition after all?), and stated, "A one Jack James Parker."

"Ouch," she heard Tony's voice say in the background. "Enough with the J names already."

"Anything else you can tell us about him Abs?" Gibbs asked. "He could be any one of this group."

"He's short," Abby replied. "Like really short. For a guy. Five foot two."

Gibbs paused, then she overheard him say, "McGee, you're with me, Tony and Ziva go around that way." The sound of footsteps told her they had gone. "Thanks Abs," he said.

"Tell me I'm good Gibbs," Abby near bragged.

She could almost see the wry smile on his face as he replied, "You're good," then hung up.

Abby set to work on other tasks, waiting for what she considered "her" team to return. Two hours later they still hadn't returned, but she wasn't worried. Even just the travel took time, not to mention the precise attention to the details of the mission that were always necessary for success, regardless of the scope or perceived importance of the crime they were investigating. After two more hours and one hurried lunch of some strangely good salad from a fast food place a little niggle of worry started to creep into her mind. Surely at least someone would have come down or called to say they were back, even if they didn't have anything for her to process. However a more rational part of her mind said that maybe they were interrogating someone they caught, or processing them, or were otherwise caught up in the formalities of closing a case and getting it ready for whatever sort of prosecution was to come. Even if something bad had happened to them surely someone would have told her. Right? She calmed herself down and went back to work. Another hour passed, and then the worry came back. Why hadn't anyone called her? She began doubting her self worth. Surely she merited some kind of personal visit or call or e-mail? At this rate she'd even take an impersonal text message. "That's it!" she shouted to the air. "Ducky's got to know something." She marched out of her lab and headed for autopsy. When she got there she screamed in frustration. It was quarantined, lights flashing and all. She paced around in front of it for a minute, before she heard a whoosh of air. The doors had opened. Whatever it was wasn't considered a danger anymore. Nevertheless, and despite her worry and eagerness to get some sort of answer out of Ducky, she strode cautiously into the room.

"It's all clear," Ducky said. "False alarm." He gestured to Jimmy and with a pointed stare added, "Mr. Palmer here was just a little too eager to add some sense of mystery to the mundane."

Abby gave him a quizzical look. She was not quite fluent enough in "Ducky" to be able to understand that.

The autopsy gremlin explained, "I thought it might be something dangerous. But better safe than sorry right?"

"Indeed," Ducky replied. With a good-humoured glare he added, "Do try to be less eager for adventure though. I assure you that the plague is no one's idea of a good time." He walked over to the bin and peeled off his gloves. He turned to Abby and said, "Right then. What brings you here my dear?"

It was a statement to her anxiety that she didn't make a crack about being able to visit a friend. "Have you heard anything from Gibbs?" she blurted out. "I mean it's been hours and hours and they should have been back by now, unless something happened, which I hope didn't happen, but maybe there's a good reason like the mission's just taking longer or they're all doing stupid paperwork or something?"

"Calm down Abigail," Ducky said, though he too was starting to wonder. He was about try and come up with some sort of explanation for the situation, but the phone rang. He picked it up, and instantly Abby was on alert. "Jethro?" Ducky inquired, the rest of his questions unasked but implied. A long pause. "How is she?" he asked. "I see." A shorter pause. "Alright, I shall stay with her until he comes." Another pause. "I am no Lancelot Jethro, I have never slept with the king's wife." He smiled and straightened himself up to his full height. "Perhaps a dashing Sir Galahad?" Ducky raised an eyebrow at whatever Gibbs said in response, and hung up.

"What is it?" Abby asked. "What is it? Who's she? Is that Ziva? What happened? Where are they?"

Ducky saw no need to mince words. "Officer David was wounded, and is currently in the hospital. J—"

Abby interrupted with more frantic questions, which though short she rushed to get out, "Which hospital? Was anyone else hurt?" She turned to leave, intent upon getting there anyway she could.

"Abigail," Ducky barked, calling her back to reality with a sharpness not usually present in his voice.

She snapped back around to him.

"That is what I was trying to say," Ducky said calmly. "No one else was hurt, and Timothy is on his way to fetch you. Jethro knew you would want to see her as soon as possible."

"Oh," said Abby, her mood deflated. "Right then." She held out her arm, and, trying to lighten the mood despite her worries about Ziva, added, "Sir Galahad, care to escort me to the lobby?"

Ducky, cottoning on to Abby's attempt to put on a brave face, went along with it. "Of course fair maiden."

Abby cracked a small smile at that, as Ducky led her up to wait for McGee.