Neisler: But I can see why you'd want to keep things casual.
Abby: Why is that?
Neisler: What if he's 'the one'? You're obviously married to your work, it's too soon to meet 'the one'.
- False Witness, season 8, episode 10
Binary was a compute language, and Abby understood it well. Add ones and zeroes together in a string and you came up with a code that a computer could read. It was simple and elegant, yet deceptively complicated.
It was rather like her relationship with McGee, she thought. Simple, yet deceptively complicated. Simple in that McGee would always be there for her, would always be her best friend, the one she could be most Abby with. She knew that he would never judge her, never look down on her for her actions. He would just accept her. And she knew that no matter what, she could count on his love and affection.
But it was complicated, too. Because mixed in with the respect and affection was something deeper, something that scared Abby with its depth. Deep down she knew she needed McGee, and that terrified her. She was supposed to be independent. She was supposed to not need anyone. But she knew that if anything ever happened to McGee, if he was ever taken from her, she would cease to function properly. He was a part of her, and she needed that part. That terrified her enough to push him away constantly rather than acknowledge that need, breaking his heart each and every time he offered it to her.
Eventually, of course, he had stopped offering. And she couldn't blame him. He was only trying to protect herself. But there was a part of Abby, a part that she ruthlessly suppressed and buried deep, that knew just how much McGee meant to her. He was her Timmy, her rock. The one person she would call if she had a broken heart or a broken arm. She could always count on him.
She wasn't willing to admit it, but Petty Officer Neisler's words had shaken her. What if Timmy was her One? What if she was giving up the chance to be with him, just because she was scared? She was edging on thirty, what was 'too soon'? Abby knew that she had hurt McGee in the past – what if the time came when she figured out she was ready, and he wasn't willing to be hurt by her again?
Abby glanced down at her computer, at the ones and zeroes that were scrawling past her on the screen. What was a one without a zero? What was a zero without a one? They needed each other to be deciphered and read properly. If McGee was a one, and she was a zero, did that mean without him she didn't make sense?
Abby glared ferociously at her screen. She did not like the where this line of thought was headed. Who was Neisler to make her feel this way anyways? He didn't know her, or hers and McGee's relationship! He didn't know anything about either of them!
… So how was it that he had gotten it exactly right?
Maybe McGee was her One. Was she prepared to deal with the implications of that? Could she spend the rest of her life with McGee? The thought of spending the rest of her life with anyone used to give Abby chills. The very thought of commitment used to make her feel trapped, enclosed in a cage. Now, the thought of sharing her life with McGee made her smile. He already knew everything about her, it wouldn't be too much of a leap to share other things, like a house, or a future.
And after all, no one but a fellow NCIS agent would understand her relentless devotion to her job. Anyone else would be jealous of the time she lavished on her work. But not McGee. McGee would understand. McGee did understand. He knew how important her job was to her, how much she loved to solve puzzles and dig down to the truth. He shared her absolute devotion to the work they were doing in helping catch criminals. No one else would understand that drive the way he did.
Maybe, just maybe, she had been wrong to push McGee away.
Maybe, just maybe, McGee was her One.
The swish of her door opening startled Abby from her contemplations. She jerked upright in her desk chair, crashing her knee painfully against the edge of her desk.
"Abs?" called McGee's voice. "You in here?"
"In the office," Abby responded.
McGee came into view, walking through the clear sliding doors into the half-light of Abby's office.
"What're you doing in here?" he asked. "It's so quiet I thought you'd already left."
"I told you I was going to play around with my computer before I went home," she said.
"You wanna grab a bite to eat with me?"
"Sure," said Abby, getting up from her chair and stretching. McGee grabbed her coat and helped her into it. She was surprised at how gloomy her office had become. It had gotten dark without her realizing it.
"What were you doing sitting in there in the dark?" McGee asked as he opened the door for her.
"Thinking about ones and zeros," Abby replied. "Actually, more like thinking about ones…"