Wanting the Impossible
Spoilers: Singled Out, Season 4
Summary: Abby doesn't want to be tormented by a glimpse into what she thinks is an impossible future. Written for the Gabby Shipper Forum Hiatus Creative Drive and the prompt 'Photograph'
A/N: First time Gabby. This turned into a bit of a fluff storm, sorry about that... I'm not sure what came over me!
"You guys, will you just stop messing about." Gibbs could hear the note of amused exasperation evident in Abby's voice as he paused outside her lab.
"Oh come on, Abbs. It's fun."
"For you maybe but I'm busy Tony... in case you hadn't noticed."
"I thought you would be curious, Abby," came Ziva's warm voice.
"Maybe I am but just... not right now, Ziva."
"Go on, McGee," Tony cut in before Abby could protest further. "You've done you and Abby which was kinda hot… but in a disturbing way. Now do... I know, do me and Abby."
That explained why his entire team was gathered in Abby's lab, although from the sound of it, not with her approval.
Now that the case was over, his agents obviously still felt the need to play around with the morphing software which merged two people's photographs to produce an image of what their adult offspring might look like.
He'd experienced a shock a few days ago in the bullpen when confronted with a large image on the plasma of what he and Jenny's child... a girl... might have been like. Given his first wife's hair colouring had been the same as Jenny's, it had been a too painful reminder of what Kelly might have looked like, had she lived to adulthood.
Gibbs was pulled out of his musings by Tony's appreciative whistle.
"Wow, Abbs, look at that... we make stunning DiNozzo-lets. But I gotta tell ya, if she were my daughter, I'd lock her up so no man could get anywhere near her and Gibbs-slap those who got within grabbing distance."
Gibbs tried to ignore the jealousy which twisted his gut at the thought of Abby having a child with either McGee or Tony. From his angle, he couldn't quite see the images on the screen without venturing too far into the lab and risk being seen.
For some reason, his gut told him not to let Abby see him yet.
"Well, with green eyes from both of you," commented Ziva, "it is no surprise that the resulting offspring would be stunning."
"Okay, I'll admit that one. Not bad, Tony, not bad at all..." conceded Abby, with a husky chuckle. "Now will you lot please shoo. Some of us have got work to do."
"Yeah, yeah, in a minute, Abbs," replied Tony. Gibbs could almost imagine his senior agent rubbing his hands together in glee. "This is just too good to waste. We're not stoppin' you working, you go right ahead, just imagine we're not here. Okay, what about... Ziva and Gibbs?"
"Tony..." This time there was a sharp note to Abby's voice that Gibbs had a hard job pinning down without seeing her face.
"Wow, now that is a smokin' hot combination..." said Tony, admiringly, after McGee had cued up the image.
"It sure is, Tony," agreed McGee.
"Although with Ziva and Gibbs as parents, what guy would dare come near, eh, my little ninja?" teased Tony. "She'd be doomed to a life of celibacy... ow."
Gibbs smirked to himself as he imagined which part of Ziva might have caused that reaction... he was betting on an elbow.
"Okay, moving on," Tony continued, unabashed, ""Who haven't we done yet... I know, do Abby and Gibbs."
"No," came the immediate protest from Abby, this time her voice laced unmistakably with something akin to panic.
"Whoa... what's wrong, Abby?"
"Nothing, Tony..." Her voice was quieter now, but no less upset and Gibbs' hand tightened on his coffee cup as he listened. "Just don't, okay?"
"Where's the harm, Abbs?" asked Tony, sounding curious now.
"What about a boy, McGee, can you do that," Ziva broke in.
"Sure thing, Ziva, just give me a moment." A few seconds silence punctuated by the tapping of McGee's fingers, and then... "That's... impressive, Tony."
Despite himself, Gibbs' curiosity got the better of him and he edged a bit closer, but still couldn't see far enough into the lab to see the results of what he and Abby's son might look like.
"Very handsome," admitted Ziva, her voice low and amused. "Green eyes and dark hair... and apart from the eye colour, that could be how Gibbs looked when he was younger."
"Good point, Ziva. A definite chick magnet," conceded Tony. "Now do a girl, Probie."
Gibbs knew it was irrational, but he felt his chest constrict at the thought of what a young woman would look like with him and Abby as her parents.
"That is... wow, will ya look at that," came the appreciative comment from Tony. "Blue eyes, black hair... that is one stunning Gibb-let or Sciuto-let, whatever it would be."
"Look, will you all just go..." Abby's voice was now tight with anger and hurt.
Something in her tone must have finally penetrated as when DiNozzo spoke next, he sounded contrite. "Sorry, Abbs, didn't mean to upset you."
"It's just... it's nothing, I just really need to finish this and you guys are not helping. Can't you go and play in the bullpen or something."
Gibbs had heard enough and strode forward.
"How 'bout someone other than Abby doing some actual work round here?"
His agents scattered past him at speed and if his hands had been free of coffee and Caf!Pow, he'd have sent all of them on their way with head slaps... harder than usual for the distress he could see on Abby's face.
"Hey, Gibbs." Abby turned away and returned to her workbench, keeping her head down and not making eye contact.
"You okay, Abbs?" he asked, gently.
"Fine..." she paused before asking quietly, "How much did you hear?"
"Some," Gibbs acknowledged without elaborating.
"They were just messing about, y'know. I'm sure they didn't mean any harm," she risked a glance up at him before continuing, her voice soft with concern. "And about the other day, Gibbs, I'm really, really sorry. I didn't think before I made that crack about Gibblets, y'know, in the bullpen when they were playing around with this software."
"It's okay." He put their drinks down and squeezed her shoulder, trying to reassure her. He'd barely heard her remark at the time, distracted as he'd been by the striking image on the screen.
"No, it isn't all right," Abby shook her head, biting her lip. "You know I'd never hurt you for anything, and I'm sure the guys and Ziva didn't realize. They wouldn't hurt you either, I hope you know that."
"I know, Abbs."
However much he might get annoyed with his team when they fooled about, Gibbs knew they would never intentionally do anything to hurt him or remind him of his lost daughter. As none of them even knew what Shannon's hair colouring had been, they could hardly be expected to realize how much the photograph had startled him.
"I'm sure they just didn't think, Gibbs, but I should've realized it'd be an uncomfortable reminder."
"Don't worry about it." He leaned forward to kiss her cheek and was rewarded with a brief, but genuine smile.
Gibbs waited till she'd gone through the test results he'd come down for and let her relax, thinking it was the end of the topic, before asking what he really wanted to know. Although he wasn't sure he wanted to know if the reason for her distress just now was because she was repelled at the thought of a child of theirs.
"What else made you upset, Abbs?"
She tensed immediately and looked away from him, but not fast enough that he didn't catch the hurt that washed across her face. "Nothing, Gibbs. It's... nothing."
He wasn't sure he wanted to push, but something in her face now and voice earlier urged him on.
"Didn't sound like nothin'."
When she didn't reply but just shook her head, Gibbs sighed and turned to leave only to be stopped in his tracks by her quiet voice.
"Maybe I didn't wanna be tormented by seeing something that'll never happen?"
Gibbs turned back but Abby still kept her head down, fiddling with her rings. He walked back and gently cupped her jaw in his hand, raising her face so he could see her eyes, not missing the slight hitch in her breathing as he touched her.
What she saw in his face had her eyes widening.
"Let me see."
Staring at him, Abby reached over to press a few keys and two pictures came up on the screen... one of a young man who did indeed look a lot like him in his early twenties, except for the green eyes, and the other image... a striking black-haired beauty with Abby's strong features and his blue eyes.
Before she could say anything, he hooked a hand round her neck and pulled her close to kiss her softly.
One kiss deepened and became two and then three, and when they broke for air, he murmured in her ear, "You sure it'll never happen?"
20 years later...
Gibbs sat on the back porch of their house, watching his family.
The battered photos he'd carried around in his wallet for so long were on the table... and he smiled as he looked from the computer generated images to the living, breathing reality in front of him.
His son and daughter arguing good-naturedly as they helped in the preparations for the summer barbecue for family and friends that had become an annual tradition in the Gibbs' household.
Home from college for the holidays, his daughter... Kate, who'd inherited her mother's stunning dark beauty but his blue eyes... a combination that triggered in her father the urge to head slap every man who came anywhere near her.
And his son, Tony, on a break from the Naval Academy... a dark haired mirror image of his younger self, but with a personality frighteningly like his namesake, Gibbs' long ago second in command, who was also now retired like him. Abby called it a killer combination of his father's looks, her eyes and the DiNozzo charm.
Gibbs smiled as he remembered the emotion on DiNozzo's face as he held Gibbs' son in his arms for the first time after being told his godson was going to be named after him… and his pleasure at the thought of being involved in their family.
"Pretty accurate photos, weren't they?" came the husky, amused voice behind him.
He turned to pull his wife onto his lap and buried his face in her neck. She looped her arms round his shoulders and chuckled as he nuzzled her skin.
Abby's hair was loose around her face but still a thick dark curtain, although shot through with strands of grey that she'd long ago given up trying to hide. There were more lines now around her eyes, but to Gibbs she was as beautiful as the first day he'd walked into her lab and she'd turned his life upside down... giving him another chance at happiness.
Abby cupped his face, eyes roaming over his tanned, handsome face, the wrinkles around his still piercing blue eyes now caused more by laughter lines than stress.
She kissed him and even after all these years, they soon lost themselves in the familiar taste and feel of each other until they heard an exasperated, "Jeez you two, get a room, will ya?"
They broke apart, laughing and Abby reminded her son, "When you two aren't here, I think you'll find we've got a whole house and take advantage of every room."
"Yeah, well, not only is that way too much information but we're too young and innocent to witness such behaviour," said Tony, with a broad, heart-stopping grin reminiscent of his father's.
Kate interrupted her older brother before he could carry on teasing, "You gonna come and do your magic with the steaks, dad."
Rolling his eyes but unable to refuse his daughter anything, Gibbs joined her in the yard, throwing an arm casually round Kate's shoulders. Abby settled into his seat, watching her family. Kate had had her father wrapped round her little finger from the first moment he'd held her in his large hands.
Perhaps wanting what you thought was impossible didn't turn out so badly after all?