Title: Worth Three McGees
Spoilers: See No Evil, season 2
Summary: Gibbs and Abby are both affected by the Watson case, in different ways.
Author's Note: This is a repost from the Gabby Collaboration Project (see author profile GabbCollab for details).
Sandy Watson was an amazing kid. Her knowledge of sound frequencies had blown Abby's mind – she knew, as the hearing child of deaf parents, that where one sense failed others made up for the deficit, but even so…
She didn't understand how the girl's father had put her life – and her hearing – on the line, all for the sake of money. She just didn't get it.
After the case was over, she skipped out of work early and headed to the nearest bar, staring up at the wall of NCIS agents killed in the line of duty for a moment before approaching the bartender. "Hey, Pacci. We still miss you."
The photograph didn't respond, of course. But Abby didn't mind. She had faith that Chris Pacci, killed a few months back, knew she was thinking about him.
As she ordered a vodka Red Bull at the bar, her thoughts turned back to Sandy. Thank god she'd made it through okay. The image of the hired madman, as he'd held a screwdriver to the sobbing blind girl's ears, sent shivers down Abby's spine every time she thought about it.
Total silence and darkness, forever.
Abby feared losing her senses more than anything. One was bad enough, but two? Who would do that to a little kid?
By the time Gibbs walked into the bar, she was drunk.
He obviously hadn't expected to see her there, and she hadn't expected him to walk in, either. She'd resolved never to get drunk around him, in case something inappropriate – meaning, contradictory to his rule number twelve – slipped out. Even so, she couldn't bring herself to get up, make her excuses and leave.
"Hey, Gibbs. Buy you a drink?"
There were reservations in his expression, too, but he accepted with a nod, sliding into the seat beside her as she ordered a bourbon, straight up. What else would Gibbs be drinking, after all?
"You okay, Abbs?"
She shrugged. "Sure. Why wouldn't I be?"
She raised her glass in an ironic toast. "To your excellent powers of observation. Wanna join me?"
He smiled a little, though his heart wasn't in it, and clinked his glass against hers. "What's eating you?"
"I don't get how a father could put his amazing wife and kid through total hell, just for cash. I mean, she could have died. Or worse, lost her hearing. She's so talented, but he goes and does that. Why?"
Gibbs shook his head, taking a gulp of his own drink. "Don't know."
She was drunk, but not drunk enough not to notice the pain in his eyes. "What's eating you?"
She didn't ask why; just leaned her head against his shoulder. He put his arm around her, his breath escaping in a sigh, and together, they finished their drinks in silence.
Gibbs ordered the next round, and they moved from their bar stools to a booth in the corner. Abby changed the subject, beginning to talk about McGee's instatement to his team, and how 'cool' it would be to have him around.
"Figured you could use the extra help as well as I could," he teased her gently, and she gasped indignation, her eyes flashing.
"Gibbs! Just because I couldn't hack the damn Pentagon on my own, that doesn't mean I'm incompetent when it comes to computer forensics! I mean, okay, McGee's really smart and he went to MIT and he's better trained at that stuff than I am, and has more experience, but-"
Gibbs didn't want to hear it. Bad enough that he'd witnessed their flirtation earlier on – he was more than aware that by hiring McGee as a field agent, he was giving him more access to Abby.
Great. One minute you're mourning your dead wife and daughter, and the next you're getting jealous that Abby has feelings for McGee.
He knew it was illogical, but that didn't mean he could control it. Especially not with alcohol around. "Abby."
She stopped mid-sentence, looking at him expectantly. "What?"
"You're worth three McGees to me."
She visibly brightened, and leaned over the table to give him a hug. "Aww, Gibbs… the feeling is totally mutual."
Somehow, he doubted she'd still say that if she knew the truth. That her presence had distracted him from the ghosts of his past. That the memories of her face, her body, her voice, her smile were enough to get him hard when he was home alone at night.
There in the present moment, Abby went back to the bar to order more drinks, and he watched her pigtails – and hips – sway as she crossed the room. "Get a grip," he muttered to himself.
Love to, his mind responded instantly. A grip on her.
By the end of drink number three, he knew he should get up and leave, for the sake of their professional relationship. He couldn't make himself move, however.
"Surprised you haven't asked about you and McGee and rule twelve yet," he said, against his better judgment. "Now that he's working from the Navy Yard, I mean."
He didn't even know how many drinks Abby had had, but her inebriation seemed to have plateaued. She gave him a blank look.
"Why would I? We haven't been together for months."
That was something he hadn't known, and despite himself, he felt his heart lighten. "Hmm. Coulda fooled me."
"Oh, please," Abby said, rolling her eyes. "He wanted to get all committed, and he's a great guy, but I can't get into a serious relationship when my heart belongs to…"
She trailed off, looking relieved that she'd managed to stop herself, and then finished softly, "Someone else."
"Lucky guy," Gibbs said, and meant it. Anyone who managed to win Abby's heart would be. And yeah, he was jealous, but what could he do?
Abby fidgeted, her eyes on the table top. "He doesn't think so."
Then he's an idiot. Gibbs washed down the words with more bourbon. "He say that to you?"
She shrugged, still not meeting his eyes. "He doesn't know. But I'm not his type."
The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. "Abby, you're smart, you're beautiful and you're a good person. You couldn't not be his type."
She did look at him, then, seeming startled at the compliments he shouldn't have paid her. Then her lips curved in a wry smile. "For starters, I have the wrong hair colour."
The way she was looking at him – so vulnerable beneath the bravado, as if he held the power to shatter her very existence – made his instincts hum with realisation. The truth didn't dawn on him instantly, though, and he was too slow.
She jumped up from the table, gathering her things. "I think I've had a little too much to drink. I better get home. See you tomorrow, Gibbs."
By the time he got to his feet, she was out of reach, so he pursued her toward the door, catching her wrist and spinning her to face him. Her eyes shone with unshed tears, and his need to reassure her outmatched everything else. Cupping her face in his hand, he leaned in and kissed her gently.
Abby's eyes widened, then fluttered closed, and she returned his kiss tentatively, her shoulder tense under his palm, as if she expected him to reconsider at any moment. Wanting nothing more than to chase away her doubts, he deepened the kiss, slipping an arm around her waist and pulling her closer.
She melted against him, relaxing into the embrace, and her tongue brushed his for the first time, sending a jolt of desire through him. He broke off before his inebriated brain decided to take things further right there, right then, dimly aware of the smattering of applause and catcalls from some of the bar's patrons.
They weren't worth his time and attention, though. All his awareness was centred upon the promise in Abby's smile, and he returned it, tugging one of her pigtails gently. "Feel better now?"
"I'll feel better when we go somewhere private," she said, her voice low and seductive.
The part of his brain that fancied itself a gentleman protested. "Abbs, we're way too drunk for that now."
"You think you'll regret it when we sober up?" Her confidence was high, but still, there was a fragility to her question.
He shook his head. "Not a chance. But-"
Abby held up a hand to silence him. "Then I'm calling us a cab. That okay with you?"
It was more than just 'okay'. The gentleman within him retreated, overpowered by the lustful and longing and altogether drunk parts of his mind. He nodded, and Abby grinned, pulling her cell phone from her pocket. "Good. Discussion over."
How could he argue with that?