It was going to be one of those days.

She couldn't escape, even in here, her lab, her safe place. Although the windows were small and restricted to the top portion of the lab, up by the ceiling, it was more than enough to see that it was a dark and dismal day. Indeed, if they were big enough for a sniper to get her through...

No sunlight shone through into the lab today; the sky was overcast and threatening rain. It was days like these that her memory overpowered her, disallowing her to push it away and focus on other things. The shadowy room haunted her thoughts.

Kate. They didn't really talk about Kate very often any more, but it didn't mean that they didn't think of her. Abby did. Abby thought of her all the time. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't stop missing her. It was even worse now that they had a new 'team' member, the one and only Zi-va Da-veed. Every time she saw her, she was filled with resentment. After all, it was her brother that took away her most precious of friends, who threatened the lives of everyone else on the team and took that shot at her (Abby shuttered at the thought), and, however it happened, it was this same Ziva herself who took Kate's place. She saw Tony's playful banter with the woman and was immediately reminded that it should be Kate that Tony sparred with, not her. Not her. Not after all that her brother had done, and all that perhaps she could have prevented, but didn't.

When Kate had joined the team, they had hit it off right away. Abby was so used to working with the guys, and of course, she loved her men beyond measure, but it had been a long time since Abby had a true friendship with another woman. Kate, so different from her in so many ways, was a perfect companion. For the first time in years Abby felt like she could embrace a whole different side of herself that she couldn't possibly with the guys or with her gothic friends. They shared so much in the short time that they had. Her only regret was the one thing that they had never gotten to do.

They had contemplated going on vacation together, and came to the conclusion that they'd best schedule only a weekend trip, since neither of them would be able to get the time off of work. And as if by fate, a new spa opened up not too far from them that catered to exactly the type of weekend retreat that they were looking for. The day of its opening, they both called continuously in the eager hope that one of them would get through and be able to make reservations. It was Kate who got through first- and she managed to set up an appointment within a month. They were lucky; they must have been one of the first callers.

Abby was looking forward to it- it had been a long time since she able to relax like this. They were both so excited... and then the case had come up. Gibbs had promised to reschedule for them, and he stayed true to his word. Unfortunately, though, since the place was still so new, he wasn't able to schedule it until a few months later. Kate didn't mind- looking on the bright side, as always, she smiled and said that it would be even better, because they'd get full use of the outdoor facilities in August, where they wouldn't have in the beginning of May. At that time, she seemed right, and they had something to look forward to for the summer.

She got a packet in the mail the week before their rescheduled trip, almost identical to the one they had received the first time around, only this time, the brochure flaunted their outdoor facilities, just as Kate had predicted. They offered the option of outdoor massages, lazy days spent basking in the sun next to one of their many pools or hot tubs, and recreational sports for the more ambitious.

That weekend was the worst for her since Kate had been killed. She drank herself into a stupor, and even now she remembered none of it. Sunday evening, Gibbs showed up. He remembered, of course. He found her on her knees in her living room, with her head in her hands, rocking back and forth. The floor was littered with used tissues and empty bottles of assorted alcohols. There was an unfinished, open bottle of vodka next to her- the only one standing upright. The brochure and the rest of the contents in the package from the spa were scattered all over, in the form of ashes. Abby didn't remember setting them on fire...

The 'ding' from the elevator stirred her from her thoughts. The lab was still dark; Abby had lost herself in her solemn reflection, staring blankly out the window, without having even put down her things or turned on the lights. She sighed as she quickly went about the process of making everything look normal. She hoped it wasn't Gibbs. Although she had perfected the art of pretending long ago, she never could fool Gibbs. He knew sometimes without even looking at her when something was wrong. Then again, she hoped it wasn't anybody. She wasn't in the mood to deal with anyone and she wasn't ready to pretend that she was okay. She stood there, listening, waiting for the footsteps that never came.

The elevator had certainly 'dinged', but nobody had gotten off. She knew that it wasn't scientific; she knew she couldn't prove it, but she felt like it was Kate herself, rousing her from her depression to tell her that she would be okay. And with a soft smile that mirrored the sun as it began to break through the clouds and fill the sky (and Abby's lab) with beautiful streaks of light, Abby was ready to begin the day.