Title: The Edge (1)
Warnings: Mention of suicide
After he left, it didn't take her long to track him down. She was a trained scientist after all; did he really think she wouldn't find him? Although she wanted to fly to Mexico and confront him for abandoning the team (and most of all, her), she knew better. Instead, she confined herself to writing him letters every day, sometimes more than one in a day, but most of them didn't ever make it to the mailbox.
She knew he needed the space, needed the time away, but God, did it hurt. Did he really not know her feelings? Did he really not know how much she loved him? Every day another small part of her went dark and silent. She was slipping ever deeper into depression – of course, she didn't allow anyone, not even Ducky, to see the truth. Only Gibbs could possibly know how she really felt, but perhaps he didn't even read the heartfelt letters she sent him. Gradually the pain seemed to dull and she no longer had the words to write – she still cared, but the lassitude she felt was so deep that no amount of Caf-Pow! could relieve it.
He hadn't wanted to read Abby's letters at first, because they reminded him too much of what he had left behind. But they were so cheerful and funny that he found himself looking forward to their arrival. He didn't write to her, of course. He couldn't bring himself to acknowledge that he missed her, because she would ask him to come back, and he couldn't bear the guilt he would feel.
After the first month, the tone of the letters began to change, and finally one came that caused him to stop reading them entirely.
I know you're probably tired of all these letters. Maybe you don't even read them. If that's the case, then it won't matter what I have to say next. But I still have to say it.
Why did you leave, Gibbs? Why are you so far away? I guess you didn't know that I'm in love with you, or at least I hope you didn't know because if you did that means that you left me anyway, without even the courtesy to let me down gently. How could you not know that I love you, Gibbs? I don't mean the way I love Tony and Ziva or even McGee, either. Actually, I love you in every possible way.
I just thought you should know.
There were smears in the last part of the letter where her tears had fallen and she tried to blot them. Gibbs threw the paper away as soon as he read the words – the guilt and loss that tore through him left his heart crumpled and bleeding, and he spent the rest of that day hammering at Franks' roof until the incessant banging made his ears ring and drowned out her voice in his head.
Three more letters arrived over the next few days, but he couldn't bring himself to read them. Instead, they went under his bed along with the few personal items he brought from DC. He busied himself with the roof and cerveza, the hard work occupying his hands and most of his mind, while the alcohol took care of the rest. At night he slept fitfully and woke frequently from dreams that left him disturbed, though he couldn't quite remember why. A week passed with no mail, and he felt both sad and relieved that she had finally moved on.
He could not feel his body as he walked along the uphill trail, but he could see all around him for miles. It was night and the gibbous moon was bright. About half a mile away he could just make out a figure emerging from a large black vehicle. It took a few moments before he realized it was a hearse. "Abby," he whispered.
She moved slowly towards him, shoulders hunched and head down. As she passed him he started to call out, but at that moment she raised her head briefly and scanned her surroundings, seeming not to see him. He turned to follow her back down the hill he had just climbed. Up ahead the trail split and she took the left-hand fork, which led past a sheer cliff that jutted over the water. As he watched, horrified, she walked right up the edge, glanced at the moon, and jumped.
"Abby! No!" He sat straight up in bed, his pulse racing as he struggled to catch his breath. He switched on the bedside lamp and reached under the bed to grab the last three letters. Finding the one with the most recent postmark, he tore it open and began to read. Unlike the others, it did not begin with 'Dear Gibbs'; it was merely two short paragraphs, with 'goodbye' scrawled at the bottom. His blood chilled as he read.
I stand on the edge of the precipice, only a centimeter from certain death. All I hear is the keening of the wind as it blows through my body, slowly freezing my heart and numbing my mind. No one else is here. There is no light except the dim moonlight reflected on the water below me. Even the moon is shadowed; the lunar Goddess has been betrayed.
I shift my weight to the balls of my feet, closing my eyes and imagining the sensation of falling. I feel no fear, just a gentle sadness. No, that's not true. I'm not really sad, just resigned. For the first time in my life, everything seems right. All is in place. Just one more thing to do. Without hesitation, I spread my arms and lean forward.
He looked up into the darkened room, and in the corner he could see her, eyes red and swollen and cheeks streaked with tears. "Gibbs, help me…"