Abby And The Gibbs
By Gunnery Sergeant
A NCIS retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", GABBY style.
Abigail Scuito, simply Abby to her friends and colleagues, was an uncommon person; and not because her peculiar tastes in clothes, music and boyfriends. She was a scientist who wanted to believe there were things science couldn't explain. More, she was a scientist who wanted to scientifically prove there was something science couldn't explain.
That was why she was so fascinated by UFOs, vampires, superpowers, strange happenings. Heck, her master degree dissertation had been about SHC, Spontaneous Human Combustion, and she still remembered how most members of the commissions had reacted to that!
Abby was also very curious and that, coupled to her tendency to trust everyone, had put her in trouble more than once.
Mike Franks, her boss at NCIS, often said she was too curious and golden hearted for her own good, but Abby knew it wasn't something she could change.
"And also being curious helps the brain to stay young," she muttered, concluding the inner debate she had been having about the rightness or wrongness of what she planned to do.
Abby stared past the tall, rusty gate she was planning to climb and peered at the house she could barely see at the end of a long, slightly uphill driveway.
She stared up to the neglected house that had been the theatre of a romance for the ages, a series of family tragedies and, apparently, a mysterious disappearance.
Its name was Colebrook Manor and it was located on the edge of the suburbs, near Sister Rosita's nunnery.
As a matter of fact it had been the nun who told her, a few evenings before, about it and the story of the family who used to live there.
As they had walked past the gate returning to the nunnery after a bowling match, Sister Rosita had told Abby the house had been built in the early 1900's by Jeffrey Colebrook, a man who had made a fortune after discovering a diamond mine in Canada, after starting out as miner in the Pennsylvania coal county. A traditional family that had never forgotten their humble beginnings, the Colebrook's had been well-liked in the area.
"They were very nice people, Abby," Sister Rosita had said, as she had looked with a small smile at the deserted house. "Stanley, Jeffrey's son, had been a childhood friend of mine, despite being older than me. He was a very good man, but stubborn as a mule. We all found it quite funny when this trait of his was inherited by his youngest child, a red haired girl with a fiery temper. Stanley tried to tame her in every way he could think of. He even sent her to work for a summer in the small Pennsylvania town where his father had been born, but the plan backfired- spectacularly so."
The nun's smile had transformed into a grin, prompting Abby to ask, "How so?"
"Shannon was just sixteen when Stanley sent her to Stillwater. While she was there she met and fell in love with a local boy, a youngster of eighteen who had just enlisted in the Marines. And it wasn't a crush destined to last only a few months, it was real love on both parts. Stanley didn't take it well. He thought his daughter deserved more than that and did everything he could to break up the pair—he even threatened to disown Shannon. But the youths' devotion to each other never wavered, and they got married as soon as the groom was able to support his wife. Shannon went to live with her husband on the various Marine bases where he was stationed, and two years later they had a daughter."
Sister Rosita smiled, "Her birth was the last happy event for Stanley, because in the next few years he lost both his sons in freak accidents-- one in a train wreck, the other in a plane crash—and none of them had left heirs behind."
"Sounds a bit like the Kennedy's…" Abby had commented.
"More than you imagine…" Sister Rosita had sighed, before going on, "Alone in a far too big house and with no heirs to carry on the family company, Stanley turned to Shannon, and it was agreed that at the end of his current tour of duty, her husband Jethro would leave the Marines and join his father-in-law at the head of the Colebrook Mining Company. It was November 1990 and I remember Stanley was so happy because his remaining family had moved in with him. Sadly, happiness didn't last long. His son-in-law was deployed to the Middle East the following month and Shannon and Kelly followed him to Camp Pendleton to see him leave. Stanley would never see them again. While they were there, Shannon witnessed the murder of a Marine. She offered to testify against the killer and was put under protection. Alas, it wasn't enough: in February 1991, she and Kelly were killed, while Jethro was wounded in Kuwait."
"That's so sad," Abby had murmured.
"It is indeed. Jethro returned here a broken man, just in time to see Stanley die worn down by too many tragedies. He settled in the house and for a while lived there, almost like a hermit. And then one night – a dark and stormy night at it – Puff! He disappeared."
"Just like that?"
"Yes. One day he was there, walking in the garden, the next the house had been closed down. It was October 1991 and he hasn't been seen since."
"Weird," Abby had commented.
"I think he moved somewhere else, to a place not so filled with memories. I hope God granted him peace and allowed him to find happiness again."
Abby had been touched by Sister Rosita's story, feeling deeply for that unfortunate family. She had been intrigued by the disappearance of Shannon's husband and thus, two days after, she had used her skills and NCIS resources to discover what had happened to "Jethro", whose complete name had turned out to be Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
She had tracked down his military records, his school records, and his wedding certificate. She had found his only surviving relative – his elderly father – and some of the Marines he had served with. She had talked with them and the accounting firm that managed Colebrook Mining Company's business: none of them had heard from Gibbs since 1991. The accounting firm had just said that every year they received a letter that confirmed their standing as official representative and manager of the company, authorizing them to pay taxes and bills, but that was all. No money was ever withdrawn from the company's bank accounts and if it were not for those letters, always hand-delivered to the mailbox during the night, the firm would have suspected Mr. Gibbs had indeed died.
Abby had then investigated a bit around the house, talking with the closest neighbours and had learned something Sister Rosita, probably due to her religious beliefs, had not seen fit to tell her: it was rumoured Colebrook Manor was haunted.
People claimed roar-like noises had come from the building and that now and then a strange figure had been seen walking in the garden.
It hadn't been much, but it had been more than enough to stir Abby's desire to know more.
I hope you'll enjoy this tale. Please let me know, OK? Reviews make me update faster.