Those Left Behind by DD Agent
I do not own NCIS or Criminal Minds, and neither any of their characters, or settings - both belong to the lovely folks at CBS.
Just FYI, I'm only a casual watcher of Criminal Minds so please forgive any canon mistakes! This fic is for flashwitch as part of our fic swap. Hope you like it!
Normally when they dealt with the FBI, NCIS would team up with Fornell and whatever agents were running with him. But this wasn't a normal case. Over the past three years, several navy dependants had disappeared from several states. It was only when the two teams separately put the pieces together that they realised there was a problem. Now both teams were out in the field, tracking down a dangerous individual and seeing if any of the navy dependants were still alive.
The two tech specialists for both teams, however, were not out in the field. Instead, they were in Penelope Garcia's den of wonder. They had stocked up on various snack foods, and Abby Sciuto had a couple of Caf Pow's waiting on the desk once she had finished the one she was currently slurping. Both knew each other from various forensic conferences, but busy work schedules meant that they rarely got together. The current joint operation presented a perfect opportunity to catch up.
"They look at you like you're crazy when you complain about change," Penelope started after a few moments of quiet, turning to Abby.
The forensic scientist nodded enthusiastically, putting her Caf Pow down. "And they don't seem to understand that you're not used to people suddenly being gunned down in Californian diners!"
"Or killed by Irish terrorists."
"Exactly!" Abby sighed. "I love my team, but it's like sometimes they don't get that I want us to stay a family. They just indulge you with speeches about how it's all going to be okay, but it's not."
Garcia looked at her computer screens with a sigh. Scattered around were pictures of her team, and as she turned to Abby she knew they were thinking the same thing. Every time they went off on a mission, there was a chance that one of them wouldn't come back. Normally those thoughts wouldn't enter, but as the numbers kept rolling up from zero, the odds of one of their friends not returning was getting higher.
"Hotch is talking about people leaving because of budget cuts and I just…I can't lose any more people."
Abby reached over on her swivel chair and hugged Garcia tight. The tech reached with her hands and clasped one of Abby's arms in response. Eventually Abby broke away from her and sat back down in her chair, spinning around a few times before stopping because she was dizzy. They broke into laughter, breaking the mood of the moment. However, it soon faded back to their morose tone.
"Do you ever think…" Abby stopped, not wanting to say more. Garcia pulled her chair over and put her hand on Abby's, urging her to continue. With a gulp of Caf Pow, she started to explain her theory. "When Jenny passed away, Gibbs didn't even cry. He didn't go all Revenge of the Marine, he just…carried on."
"Yeah, Hotch was the same. It was like Prentiss dying didn't mean anything. Maybe he's just good at hiding his emotions better than I am."
Abby nodded, her pigtails bouncing on her shoulder. "Normally Gibbs is, I mean it was only a few years ago we found out he was a widower. But when someone close to him dies he's all over the place. When Kate died he declared World War Three on her shooter. When Jenny, someone he cared about and knew for years died, he just rolled over. He didn't even get all nice. Makes me think something hinky is going on."
Garcia reached over and passed Abby a Twinkie and a tissue. Abby slumped in her seat, not sure which to use first. "Abby, are you saying that there's some conspiracy theory going on?"
Abby nodded, before taking a bite of her Twinkie. "I think Jenny is alive. I'm not getting my hopes up or going out searching for her or even going to tell Gibbs. But I'd rather believe she's alive and out there than believe she's rotting in the ground."
Penelope nodded and reached over to drink some of her coffee, wincing at the cold taste but liking Abby's method of dealing with grief. "It goes against logic but it's a much nicer outcome. They're still gone, they can't come back."
"Security reasons. Too many people after them."
Abby finished her Twinkie, and Penelope reached for her own, smiling at the fantasy they had created. "But they're happy. And not rotting in the ground somewhere."
"Nope." Abby's smile faded as she finished one Caf Pow and tossed it before reaching for another. "Naivety is a beautiful thing, Garcia."
There was still no word from their teams, so Garcia had turned to her online games and Abby was trying to hike up the processing server for better game play. She wished McGee was there to help her out, but he was probably getting shot at and most likely killed.
Garcia poked her head round the back of her console to see that Abby had electrocuted herself. The scientist decided it was probably a good idea to stay out of electronics and away from things that could kill her while she was angry and also worried about her team. Sitting down on the floor with her third Caf Pow and wishing she had Bert, she turned to Garcia.
"So, how are things going with you and Kevin?"
The tech brightened at the name of her boyfriend. She turned off her game and looked at Abby. "It's going good. He wants to buy a farm that we can run together, out of the way of guns and terrorists. He's worried about me; things have been getting to me lately."
"He sounds like a good guy."
Garcia grinned. "He is, perfectly lovely and perfectly harmless."
Abby noticed something in her tone. She sat up and turned to her friend, concerned. "But he's not the guy you want, right?" She could see her friend's eyes get a little wide, and her mouth started moving like a fish. "You don't have to explain anything, or tell me who it is or whatever. Just know that you deserve to be happy."
"Oh." Abby knew all about Derek Morgan, Garcia talked about him more than she talked about Kevin, talked about him more than any other member of her team. She supposed it must be similar to how Garcia perceived Abby's love life - the few dates she had gone on in the last couple of years had been overshadowed by how much she talked about McGee. "Well my boss has a set of rules, and rule number twelve is "Never Date a Co-Worker"."
Garcia looked at Abby sceptically. "Is it a strict rule?"
"Not especially. Gibbs broke it with Jenny. I sort of broke it with McGee, although when we were dating he wasn't working with us the whole time yet. It's more a guideline - things get messy when you introduce feelings into the workplace."
She nodded, and joined Abby down on the floor. She wrapped an arm around the forensic scientist who hugged her back. "Is that why you and McGee are still dancing around each other after eight years?"
Abby looked at her solemnly. "I'd rather have my dead friends in hiding and the loves of my life as just friends then have to deal with losing any more people in my life. Naivety for the win."
Garcia didn't know what to say to her friend - this was something she had been struggling with for some time now and it seemed that long periods of time in her lab were leaving her a little lost. Garcia knew how she felt - she spent so much time alone that Morgan's calls were lifelines during cases.
"They should have been done by now," Abby whispered, looking to the clock. Their teams had set off three hours ago to raid a warehouse where the perpetrators of the missing dependants were said to be holed up. They had not received a call in all that time. Now that the clock had been brought into the scenario, they couldn't stop watching it.
"Please not McGee."
"Please not Derek."
As both their phones started to ring, the two techs jumped for them and ended up in a heap on the floor. Abby managed to pull down her phone and her Caf Pow as she answered the call, her heartbeat ringing in her ears.
They had been lucky today.
Garcia fussed over Morgan, currently sporting a cast. He had his free arm wrapped around her, and was trying to stop her worrying so hard. McGee had a broken nose, and Abby had her arms thrown tight around his shoulders, seemingly trying to protect him from anyone else who would want to hurt him. The rest of the two teams were celebrating a relatively clean operation, and the rescue of three of the missing dependants. All in all, it had been one of MCRT and BAU's better operations.
"We better get back to DC and write this up," Gibbs announced, holding out a hand for Hotch to shake. The other man took it and shook it firmly. "Good working with you, hope to do it again some time."
"Hopefully with the same outcome. Have a safe trip back."
As it seemed NCIS were packing up, Abby left Tim's side and went and hugged Garcia. The other woman hugged her back just as tight. When they broke apart, Abby was smiling.
"Lunch, next week. We need to see each other more."
Garcia smiled. "Sounds good to me. And Abby?" The scientist turned her head from her retreating colleagues to Penelope. "Things hurt, but sometimes it's worth it."
Abby nodded. "And rule twelve is bogus." She turned around at that moment to see Gibbs staring her down, looking at her with a frown. "My rule twelve, not your rule twelve boss because that's NCIS law." She smiled painfully at Garcia. "Bye Garcia, see you next week."
Penelope waved at the departing NCIS team and turned to Morgan, who was watching her curiously. His free arm had moved back around her.
"What was all that about?"
Garcia smiled up at Derek, working through her options and deciding whether she could finally be happy, truly happy. "I'll tell you later."
Heading out of the room to his office, Hotch just smiled. It was about time his team decided to give happiness a try.
As the NCIS team walked out of Quantico, McGee turned to Abby with his eyebrows raised, his face curled in a question and a little bit of hope in his heart. He put an arm around her collarbone, which she welcomed eagerly.
"What was all that about?"
Abby grinned, feeling good for the first time that day. "I'll tell you later, Timmy."
Out in front of the group, Gibbs just smiled. It was about time his team decided to break rule twelve.