Hello to my wonderful reviewers! Thank you so much for your kind words, and please keep them coming. This is my first multi-chapter NCIS fic, so I'd really like to hear all of your opinions :-)
Day One Gibbs
I hear the clatter of something being dropped on the porch and call out to Mike. "Since you're awake, want to throw me up a beer-"
I stare at Abby. To say that I hadn't expected to see her face would be a drastic understatement. She was pissed at me and hurt when I had left. When I had leaned down to place a kiss on her cheek she was already crying. She had looked like she was torn between running away from me and wanting to smack me. But she just stood there. I had turned my back on her before I could shed any tears of my own. Saying bye to NCIS was possibly the most difficult decision that I have ever made and looking into her hurt eyes nearly made me stay.
"Hey," she says awkwardly, shrugging her shoulders a bit. I nearly don't register that it is actually her that is standing below me and have to shake myself back to reality before climbing slowly down the ladder.
As soon as I turn around she has wrapped herself around me. I close my eyes for a moment and breathe in her familiar scent before asking the question that I already know the answer to. "What are you doing here?" I know that the only reason that she would be here is to try to convince me to come back, but Abby can be surprising, so I ask it anyway.
When she doesn't reply I pull out of her grip, resting my hands on her shoulders so she has to look in my eyes. I nearly regret it when I see how full of emotion her eyes are. Her face is an open book. "Abby?"
Nearly instantly a rush of words come streaming out of her mouth. All of them about exactly what I knew they would be about; her wanting me to come back to NCIS.
"…I thought that I would come down here and try to get you to come back with me and if you didn't after a week well… I'd say goodbye and that's that."
I'm surprised that she even wants to see me now. Abby's pretty good about hiding her emotions to anyone but me. But I've always been able to read her, whether she likes it or now. It might be that she's never quite felt the need to hide her emotions from me, but even around others, I can read her.
I have to breathe in deeply to control my voice. I wipe a tear from her face before speaking. "I'm retired, Abby."
I can tell that she had expected me response because she quickly shakes her head at me. "Not officially," she counters. "Not yet."
She's right. Jenny has refused to file my retirement papers until my personal leave entirely runs out. If I've calculated correctly, I still have about two weeks of personal leave left and then Jenny will be forced to file for my retirement.
"I'm not coming back, Abby," I tell her as softly as I can. "I made a decision and I'm staying with it."
Her eyes narrow at me, and I can tell that she's not going to be pushed away as easily as I had hoped this to be. As soon as I saw her I should have realized that. She's traveled to Mexico to try to get me back at NCIS and a ten minute conversation won't send her away.
She steps away from me so that I am no longer touching her before she says anything. "I'm here for a week Gibbs," she says forcefully. "And you're either coming back with me or we'll never see each other again because if I leave here and you don't come back with me…well I never want to see you again."
Her words hurt me more than I would have liked them to, but Abby and I have always been close. I care deeply about her and walking away from her was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I don't like getting close to people just for such reasons. Either way, someone in the relationship gets hurt; growing apart or even death. It's hard to handle and I tend to handle it by ignoring it. Abby doesn't let me ignore it. She doesn't let me ignore her.
Luckily, I am saved from responding by Mike waking up.
I watch their exchange carefully as she walks around me to give him a tight hug. When I had regained my memory, Mike had told me how much he liked Abby. I hadn't realized how close they must have gotten. He offers her his couch to sleep on and then walks inside, leaving the two of us alone again.
Abby looks at me and I shake my head at her. "It won't work, Abby," I say, not quite sure that I believe myself. I turn back to the cottage and climb back up on the roof, getting ready to finish repairing it for rain.
"Still want that beer?" she calls up to me, dangling it between two of her fingers. I can't stop myself from smiling at her. I don't think that she believes me either.
Picking my hammer back up I look back down at her as she sits down at the table, opening the beer she had just been taunting me with. I grab a nail and shingle and continue patching where I had left off. Mike joins her in a few minutes and every shingle or so I glance at the two of them.
I reach behind me for a new stack of shingles and raise an eyebrow at where Mike is sitting alone and Abby is no where to be seen.
"Bathroom," he says, shaking his head, correctly reading my look. "You have yourself quite the admirer."
"Remember what you told me about your personal life?" I ask him rhetorically.
"Stay out of it?"
"Yeah," I reply, hammering down a nail.
He starts laughing. "I don't think so, probie. That girl just spent the entire day trying to get to you. If you just let her back out of your life…well I'm not going to let you forget it. What do you say you get down here and help me grill up some dinner?"
I look towards the setting sun and collect the box of shingles and nails behind me, placing the hammer at the top before climbing back down the ladder just as Abby walks back out of the cottage in pajama shorts and a tight tank top.
She smiles at me when she catches me looking at her body. In the shape that she's in, and the type of clothing that she wears, it's hard not to notice her body. "Happen to have any tofu?" she asks me with a smirk.
"Not a chance," Mike replies. "But plenty of vegetables."
"Need any help?" Abby asks him, looking towards the grill.
"Nah, you just relax."
With a glance to me, she turns away from Mike and walks off the porch onto the beach. As she stretches her arms above her head, I catch a glimpse of the large cross tattoo that covers her back. I have no idea just how many more tattoos she has, but I have no reason to question that the cross isn't the most magnificent.
I turn to Mike after he smacks me in the back of the head. "Hurrah, Gunny," he says in a low voice, "don't let her go."
Looking back to Abby as she tests the water with her toes, I nod at Mike, not completely positive what I'm agreeing to. I need retirement. At least I thought I needed it. Maybe I just wanted it.
To say I haven't thought about being back at NCIS would be a lie. Hardly a moment has gone by since I've been in Mexico that I haven't imagined being back at headquarters or splitting up an argument between Tony or Ziva, or making a teasing comment to McGee, or sneaking up on Abby in the lab.
Maybe I just needed a vacation.