Just a passing thought made into a simple oneshot. Contains Major Character Death, you have been warned.
Disclaimer: To say that NCIS belongs to me would insult your intelligence as well as mine.
Nothing felt right. Despite the absolute normality that currently resided throughout the NCIS building, everything was wrong in the eyes of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He glanced around with said age old eyes, scouring the square yards of the building that his sight could reach. His Senior Field Agent, Anthony DiNozzo, currently sat at the desk across and to the right of him, staring determinedly at the computer screen before him, his eyes blazing with the stubbornness he was sometimes known for. Tony's partner, Special Agent Ziva David, sat at the desk in front of Tony, her features radiating with the resoluteness that only a former Mossad Officer could have, yet the emotion that shone in her eyes came from the family aspect of her NCIS team.
Gibbs sighed and brought his ever present coffee cup to his lips for a sip before his eyes landed on Special Agent Timothy McGee. Tim typed almost furiously at his keyboard, his usual kindness towards the machine gone, replaced with the pain and anger of almost losing someone very close to his heart. Gibbs sighed once more and sat up straighter, alerting the team, except for McGee, to his presence.
Tony stared up at his boss blankly, his upper lip twitching from being pulled so suddenly from his work by the silent call from Gibbs. But Jethro saw through the façade, and recognized the pain in his Agent's eyes. The two shared an understanding glance before DiNozzo abruptly stood and left, ignoring his belongings as he knew he would return.
Jethro then turned his gaze over to Agent David. She stared at Gibbs with a deadly look, almost challenging his decision in regards to her presence. Jethro nodded at her and her gaze softened slightly, going almost undetected as she returned to her computer screen and returned to her job.
Jethro took this moment to stand and walked up to McGee's desk, which resided right in front of Gibbs'.
Tim hardly noticed Tony's sudden absence, let alone his team leader's presence, as he was too busy trying to pry every piece of information possible from his once beloved computer, using any means necessary. Gibbs was surprised to see McGee lash out at something he considered so dear to him, and cleared his throat. When his Agent still gave no signs of recognizing his presence, Gibbs slammed his hand as hard as he could onto the young man's desk.
"McGee!" he shouted, allowing all of the breath in his lungs to leave as he yelled that one word, causing his breathing to become heavier. McGee jumped slightly and looking up at his superior, a determined gaze settling on his features as tears formed in his eyes. His face was tinted pink and his eyes were slightly puffy, but not one tear dared to roll down his face.
Jethro's own features soften at his youngest agent's obvious pain, and he put a hand on the boy's shoulder, giving him the best 'Gibbs' stare he could muster. McGee brought his lower lip into his mouth and shook his head fiercely, not bothering to hide the pain in his eyes any more. Gibbs raised an eyebrow at this and huffed, setting his coffee down before placing both hands on McGee's desk, staring him down as he had done many times to DiNozzo.
McGee remained adamant, and outright refused to move, drawing his lip further into his mouth as his eyes narrowed, shaking his head once again. Gibbs too narrowed his eyes, staring down his quietest and most reserved member of the team before uttering one word.
With that said, Gibbs stood up straight, grabbed his coffee cup and cast one last glare towards McGee, as if to solidify the order, before strolling out of the bullpen and towards the elevator.
McGee's shoulders slumped and he lowered his head onto his desk. Ziva shot him a guarded, yet reassuring glance as his head came up, nodding towards the exit and smiling sadly before returning to her work. Tim sighed, yet collected his things, and stood up, murmuring a 'goodbye' to Agent David before heading to the exit.
Gibbs sighed as he entered the Lab of Abby, or Labby, and his brow naturally creased as his frown became more prominent. It wasn't the first time he had been down here in her 'absence' as most preferred to call it, but today had been hard on the whole team, and he felt that one last visit wouldn't hurt. It, however, was only a theory.
He sighed and bowed his head, allowing for a moment of vulnerability as he set down the Caf-Pow he had brought out of habit. The lab was silent, as it had been for the past few weeks, and Gibbs frowned at how normal that now seemed; for there to be no noise or chatter, only a dead silence that constantly reminded Gibbs of its previous occupant.
Gibbs shook his head slowly, his shoulders dropping and his eyes closing momentarily before he regained his composure and made his way back towards the elevator.
Ziva looked up as Gibbs reentered the bull pen, his eyes only slightly moist from the last time she saw him. She returned her gaze to her computer quickly, and proceeded to ignore him, allowing him time to think. However, this is not what Gibbs had planned.
"Go, Ziva." He said with a sigh, bringing his coffee cup up to his mouth before realizing it was empty. He discarded it with a huff and ran a hand through his hair. Ziva hardly glanced his way before replying with a simple 'no'. Gibbs frowned and tried a different tactic.
"They need you, Ziver, she needs you." he stated, staring her straight in the eye when she turned to look at him.
"I am more help here; finding whoever did this. And you need to be there for her as well, yes?"
Gibbs sat back in his chair, his frown deepening before he shifted his gaze elsewhere with a sigh. Then, without warning he stood and walked out of the Bull Pen, muttering something about getting more coffee.
"She'll be alright, right Tony?" McGee asked, staring at the lifeless body hooked up to so many wires and machines. It made him sick to think how much was needed to run the person who was so full of life only a week ago.
Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo swallowed the dry lump in his throat and nodded, his voice coming out a bit hoarse when he spoke.
"Yeah, I mean, she's Abby!" he stated, tossing one of his hands up for emphasis, as if that one fact made her immune to anything. Tim nodded and smiled slightly before sitting forward in his seat with a fresh new determined gaze.
Tony smiled a bit at this before it disappeared and he stared back over at the lifeless girl, who as every bit a sister to him. Naturally, his anger flared at whoever was responsible for this, and at for Gibbs for not allowing him to continue his search. He would even go as far as to be mad at Abby herself, for not excepting any medical attention when her head started to hurt, because that was the way he coped with it all. He had to be angry at someone else, because if he wasn't angry with anyone, he was angry at himself. Of course he felt sadness, that was also a dominant emotion. But for the most part, the anger he allowed to consume him blocked out any other emotion, and deep down, that was most likely why he felt it.
Gibbs sipped his fresh, hot coffee as he sat on the bench in the park and watched others walk by. His silver hair tousled in the wind, but he paid no mind, as his mind only started to wander…
Suddenly, he was in the Bull Pen, hearing the words that started it all, his words…
"Dead Marine! Grab your gear!"
The next statement he heard from Ducky, after the body of the petty officer was found…
"The poor girl didn't see it coming; One moment, she was enjoying a drink with a friend, the next, she has passed out, only to be discovered in a nearby dumpster..."
As fate would have it, Abby identified her own poison…
"This type of poison is very lethal, Gibbs; it's clear and flavorless, making it hard to notice."
And DiNozzo realized the connection…
"Gibbs, the women he's targeting have nothing in common other than the night club…"
But it was Gibbs who had said what they all were thinking, what they needed…
"We need a way to get on the inside, find out who's killing these women."
Gibbs shut his eyes tightly, trying to block out the last image: Abby staring at him with a determined look on her face, hands on her hips, with her head cocked slightly in a challenging fashion…
"I'll go, I can identify the liquid by its unique smell…"
Gibbs sighed, frustrated by it all as he set the coffee cup, in hand, onto his knee. He should have never let Abby go, he should have stopped her; maybe even had her double check her work to see if she was correct, because she wasn't. Abby had misidentified the murder 'weapon'.
Ziva sighed as she walked out of the NCIS building later that day. She was determined to find the killer, and nothing would get in her way. She, however, did feel that she owed it to Abby to visit, but when she made it to the hospital, the sight before her was one that could even tug on her heartstrings.
There, in front of her, as she peered in through the doorway, was Tony DiNozzo, Tim McGee and an empty bed.
Tony looked up slightly from where he had his head in his hands towards Ziva with a broken gaze. They stared at each other for a while, communicating silently, before an almost silent sob shook the form of the young man sitting between them. Ziva placed a hand on his back as McGee continued to cry quietly into his hands, refusing to look into the eyes of his co-workers. Tony stood, his back now straight, contrasting the slight redness of his eyes, and walked out of the room, sending an almost apologetic glance towards the other two.
Ziva nodded at him and crouched down to Tim's level, rubbing his back and offering the most support she could by just being there. She frowned, slightly uncomfortable, as she looked to the empty bed that occupied most of the room, trying not to feel awkward in her current situation. She was never a people person.
Outside the room, DiNozzo stood, his hands combing over his hair a few dozen times before he sighed heavily and sat down against the wall, defeated. It was hard for him to imagine Abby, the unstoppable force of nature, to be anything but alive and well. His breathing started to become uneven as he wondered how he could go back to work, as if nothing happened. And with that thought, came the realization that he couldn't. It was the simple fact of the matter, and it could not be altered. And with that thought, came a solitary tear, sliding down Tony's cheek slowly with the recognition that no more would follow, and Tony fleetingly recalled a distant memory in the words of his father:
"DiNozzo men don't cry."
Ziva chose this moment to enter, and to his surprise, she plopped down next to him with a huff, showing the frustration, annoyance, and pain that had been building inside her today. It was as much as she could let go, because anything else would be catastrophic, and a mistake. Not many people knew of Abby and Ziva's friendship, and those who did recognize it, never understood the closeness between the two. Abby had been the best friend that Ziva was never given the opportunity to have. Throughout her childhood, Tali had been with her as a constant, and while that was nothing to complain about, Ziva had always wondered at how a bond between those who were not related by blood could be formed. And although Abby had not welcomed Ziva with open arms, the Goth had warmed up to the Assassin, and the two developed a close friendship that Ziva had not even realized until now.
It was times like this (not that this happened often) that Ziva would pause to assess the situation. She was confused, that she knew for sure, yet there was an immense sadness, and although she grew very close to the forensic scientist, she was shocked to find how much it pained her to see her go in such an untimely death.
So as the two partners sat there in an almost shocked state, neither of them said a word, and as Tony slowly reached out to put a hand on his best friend's knee, she looked up and smiled softly, knowing neither of them had to say anything.
It had been a month since Abby had passed prematurely, and the team was all here for their final goodbye. As per Abby fashion, every one of them held a single black rose to offer. Ducky was first, walking up to the closed coffin, one that, ironically, Abby had made, and placed his rose on top, bowing his head in respect before softly saying goodbye; he had already said enough, as she was on his autopsy table less than a week ago.
Gibbs trudged up next, placing his rose down softly with his left hand, as his right held the ever present coffee cup. It was days like these (not that this happened often) that he needed it the most.
"You were like a daughter to me Abbs, You will be missed." And with that, he moved on, not giving a glance back, knowing that it would make it harder if he did.
Surprisingly, Vance was the next to come up to the coffin. He placed his rose onto it and nodded respectfully.
"You were one hell of a forensic scientist; the best we had."
Tony and Ziva walked up next, respectively, and too placed their flowers with the others. Neither one of them said anything, still recovering slightly from shock, and remained silent out of respect. Tony and Ziva had both been to one too many funerals, and for the next one to be Abby's? Although they would never admit it, it was too much for them to handle.
Palmer came up quickly and placed his flower. He joked through tears as he recalled the incident where Tony, Tim and himself had been left in charge of her lab, before promptly destroying it. But as usual, his joke ended a bit awkwardly, and he returned to Ducky's side, his face reddened and downcast. Ducky only patted the boy's shoulder as McGee came up to finish the NCIS crew.
His face was tinted pink and his eyebrows were drawn together in pain. His eyes watered, but no tears fell, and for that he was grateful. He wanted to stay strong for the team, even though it wasn't his place, and he wanted to stay strong for Abby.
With the placing of his rose, McGee gazed through unshed tears at the coffin, his hand gliding over it slowly as if the slightest pressure would crush it. He let out a single breath before pulling his hand away.
"I'll miss you, Abby."