NCIS Tag-a-Day Project (Update: as of July 3, 2011 this is now the NCIS Daily Drabble)
Day 1 – JAG Episodes: Ice Queen & Meltdown
Original Airdates: April 22 & 29, 2003

Title: Will the Real Ms. Sciuto Please Stand Up?
Characters/Pairings: Abby Sciuto
Word Count: 443

Summary: Abby contemplates her authentic self after testifying at Commander Harmon Rabb's murder trial.

Beta: The marvelous Karaokegal

A/N: This is Day 1 of a (probably overly-ambitious) project to write an episode tag per day as I work my way through every season of NCIS episodes, in sequence. I may not be posting every single day, but if that happens I'll be doing my best to catch up within a day or two. Average story length will be between 400 - 1,000 words, but I may throw the odd drabble in there for good measure (especially if time is short). We are starting at the VERY beginning, with the JAG spin-off episodes that spawned our beloved NCIS. Enjoy!

Update July 3/11 - This project has been changed to the NCIS Daily Drabble. We will stick to the strict definition of a drabble, 100 words exactly.

She hastily removes the pale blue suit jacket, tossing it to the floor in disgust. She could have done without Charlie's cat-calls and suggestive comments as she climbed the stairs to the front door of her apartment complex. She really could. He never does that when she's wearing chunky platforms and a skirt so skimpy you can practically see her crotch. So, what gives? She can't wait to slip back into the dog collar and cuffs – that'll shut him up. He's usually just a little bit scared of her, and that's the way she likes it.

Piece by piece, the unfamiliar and uncomfortable articles of clothing fall, leaving a trail from the front door all the way to the bathroom shower. She steps in, letting the hot water beat down on her to wash away the false skin she's been forced to wear all day. The Ice Queen melts. Her breathing slows. Her shoulders relax.

She's spent the whole day pretending to be something, someone, that she's not. All for the sake of...what? Justice? Truth? She pouts as she contemplates the irony of being told to take on a phony persona, in order to make herself more believable.

"I don't need glasses."

"I do. This isn't about you."

Oh, yes it is, Major. This is all about me. It's all about how I don't fit into your stereotypical mould of a forensic scientist.

She's keenly aware that most people don't know what to make of her on their first encounter. She's bouncy by nature. A bundle of energy, incredibly focussed at her work. She's good at what she does – very good – and she knows it. She also knows she can come across as a bit of a scatterbrain to those who've never met her before. Oh yeah, she gets it – she understands why Major McBurney wanted her to tone it down. But at the same time, it saddens and bemuses her that no-one will take the REAL Abby Sciuto seriously.

No-one, that is, except her surrogate family. Gibbs. Tony. Ducky. At least THEY appreciate her. They understand her. They respect her.

They love her.

She slips into a pair of black, white and red skull & cross-bones pyjamas, and settles down on the sofa with a Caf-Pow! to watch Edward Scissorhands. A kindred spirit; someone who didn't seem to belong anywhere, but who found his place, and his purpose.

Abby smiles to herself contentedly. She is happy in her lab. With her team. With her family. She has found a place to belong: NCIS.