As the weeks passed with no further contact from the kidnapper, life began to slowly return to normal for the team. Gibbs relaxed his grip on Abby and took to spending every spare moment in the forest searching, he knew he was too late but that didn't stop him.
Gibbs spoke even less than normal, communicating almost exclusively in looks, glares and head slaps.
Tony commented that he hadn't been this obsessed since the search for Ari.
"we must do something to help him" Ziva stated late one evening
"What do you suggest Ziva, coz right now, I'm willing to try anything" Tony was deadly serious, as always he was taking the brunt of Gibbs anger and frustration.
"That I do not know Tony"
"Big help Ziva, big help"
4 months later
Early morning, Ziva is alone in the bull pen, Gibbs desk phone rings.
Ziva answered the phone automatically, not realising it was Gibbs until she had lifted the handset.
"Special Agent Gibbs phone"
"hey, this is Lewis, with the Park Rangers. Gibbs asked to be notified if we found anything.."
Ziva cut him off in mid sentence "you've found Kathy?"
"We found something, no way to tell if it's who you're looking for"
Ziva wrote down the co-ordinates of where to meet Lewis, and called her boss.
The team congregated outside the wooden shack, they went inside slowly and with heavy hearts. Once inside they all stopped and stared at the body chained to the wall, it was unrecognisable, more skeleton than body really.
Gibbs gave them a few moments to accept what they were seeing before telling them to get on with their jobs.
Gibbs himself stood looking a little longer than the others, his mind full of questions, accusations and self recriminations.
"Boss?" McGee's voice snapped him back to the present.
"I'll be outside" Gibbs muttered and walked out.
He circled the building, other than the track the rangers had brought them along, the vegetation was untouched in all directions, no-one had been her for a long time. He walked into the woods a little, thinking, remembering.
A British agent, in DC covertly then kidnapped. There had to be a connection.
Agent Gibbs you have a choice. Why him? Why Abby? If it had been anyone other than Abby, would he have chosen differently?
A little incentive for Special Agent Gibbs. He didn't need any incentive to keep going, was this about him or about Kathy?
Gibbs couldn't answer of the questions he had asked himself and went back to the shack when Ducky arrived to take away the body.
There was a mound of evidence from the shack for Abby to analyse, it took longer than normal, her eyes kept filling up with tears making it hard to see and she was shaking so much she kept dropping things.
For once Gibbs didn't need to give her unreasonable deadlines, this evidence was currently her only priority, no matter what Vance and the other teams thought.
Gibbs came into the room with a Caf Pow and a "whaddaya got Abs"
"Her fingerprints are on the bug case, chair and beam"
"Most of the blood is hers, a little of it is mine"
"Still waiting for the machine to confirm what we already know, Gibbs, she was my friend"
Gibbs pulled Abby into him and held her till the machine bleeped and announced it had the result they all already knew.
Abby looked at the computer screen "Gibbs! The body, it's not Kathy"