Disclaimer: They're not mine, just enjoying their company.
Abby believes in Santa and miracles. So its quite logic that she writes a letter … to Shannon.
It feels a bit weird to write to you, it's like writing to Santa.
I really need to talk to you about Gibbs, you know, Jethro. There's nobody else I can ask this.
Can you help him?
He keeps locking his emotions in and physically locking himself in in his basement.
You know he's been married 3 times after you?
Well of course you know, you're still watching over him, even maybe if he doesn't believe it, I do.
He loved you and Kelly so much, and I know he still does.
And I don't want him to stop loving you guys, ever!
You must have been so happy together and he keeps trying to find some happiness again with other women, but he never does and it really hurts me to see him struggle like that. He needs someone to really love again. Well, maybe if Jenny hadn't died... she loved him too.
All the others just didn't seem to understand that you and Kelly will always be an important part of him, he is who he is partly because of you. They should embrace you and not be scared of you!
So, please, can you help him? Make life easier for him? It's been 20 years, it's time that he knows that he is loved and that you and Kelly are too and that it's all right to love again. Could you tell him?
I wish we could have met.
Abby read it for the last time and wiped a tear away , folded the little piece of paper back up and wrapped it carefully in plastic. The graveyard was deserted this late afternoon, there was no wind and everything was so quiet, as if the world stood still for a moment. She loved the quietness, every now and then she would come up here when in need of silence and solitude, quite the opposite from the rush and noise in her day to day life. Usually she would just sit on the bench at the beginning of the path and let her analytic mind have some peace for a while, allowing her emotions to roam free, but today was different, today she really felt the need to talk to Shannon. The cold was gone, the snow had melted and there was the promise of spring in the air, even if it was just the beginning of March. Spring, when nature came back to life after the death of winter, the beginning of new things, new life was born and flowers bloomed and romances began.
"I wish nature could bring you back to life", she whispered. She placed the letter out of sight near the yellow rose she had laid on the grave. Yellow, not black. It was the right colour to accompany the letter, Shannon would have liked it. Please, let this be good, she thought. Her heart was heavy with grieve for the man in the letter. He needed love in his life. She loved him, was in love with him, but there was no way she was ever gonna tell him that. What they had was more than special, she didn't want to ruin that by scaring him away if she told him she loved him. Besides, she was nothing like the sort of women he was interested in. Wrong age, wrong hair colour. She would grow old, loving him, watching him struggle with other women. All she wanted was for Gibbs to be happy, with a woman who loved him and would not shy away from his past. She hoped for a miracle for him.
"Goodbye Shannon, goodbye Kelly", she greeted them both before slowly walking back to her car, tears kept falling as she felt his pain today. He watched her intensely as she passed without seeing him.
She didn't leave immediately. Writing the letter had been harder than she thought and for a moment she doubted her decision to leave it where she did, almost going back and get the letter, but her heart told her not to. Only time would tell if it was the right thing to do.
On her way home she stopped for some grocery's and that's when her car decided to break down. Damn!, she thought, just what I need on a Saturday afternoon! She was in no mood to look under the hood and maybe even fix the problem, so she just took her grocery's, called a taxi and gave the driver Gibbs' address.
He wasn't home when she arrived, but the front door was unlocked, as usual. With the grocery's put away in the kitchen there was only one place she wanted to be right now, so she took the blanket from the couch and walked down the stairs into his basement and installed herself in the chair in the corner, the blanket firmly wrapped around her. That's how he found her, hours later, sound asleep.
A few hours earlier ….
When he saw her hearse in the parking-lot of the graveyard he hesitated. He knew where she would be, sitting on the bench, staring over the graves with eyes that didn't see. More than once he followed her here, just to be sure she was safe. With a sigh he parked his car a bit further down the road and walked back. Just after he entered through the gate he saw her coming up the hill, her head bent down and, as she came nearer, he could see she was crying. Without noticing him she walked by, got in her car and eventually drove away. He swallowed hard, torn between live and dead, between the woman he loved and his wife and daughter. So much for her knight in shining armor, he thought grimly as he walked down the path, almost feeling the tears streaming down her face as she walked by him.
He couldn't believe 20 years had gone by since they died, it felt like yesterday.
"Hey girls", he whispered. "It's been a while".
Memories flashed through his mind, happy memories. Horseback riding, fishing, camping, watching movies, having dinner, all the things they had done together. For a few moments they were back with him. He cherished these memories, but dreaded the moment that reality would bring him back to the real world. Remembering was painful, but he also needed that pain to feel alive, to feel that their lives together had been reel. And sometimes when remembering wasn't enough and the fear of forgetting made him almost lose his mind, he would desperately look at the photographs, listen to the tape with their voices and he would feel it, deep inside his heart. Their lives had been reel.
Abby understood, like she understood everything about him. For a second his face lit up, it always did when he thought about her.
He noticed the yellow rose on Shannon's grave. He kneeled down and picked it up. There was no card but he knew it was from Abby. With a sad smile on his lips he placed it back.
He removed some leaves and sand from Kelly's grave, talking to her, wondering what she would look like if she would have been alive today. No doubt she would have been beautiful, just like Shannon.
Again he picked the rose up, closed his eyes and smelled the fragrance. Why a yellow rose? Abby's roses were always black, he thought suddenly. He swept a few leaves from Shannon's grave too, dusted the sand away and tried to remove a bit of plastic. Somehow it seemed to be stuck, so he tugged till it came loose and without thinking about it put it in the pocket of his coat to throw it in the bin later. He stayed as long as he could, until darkness caught up with him and he could hardly see.
He kept wondering about the yellow rose and he decided to drive to the office. Once inside the deserted office he put his coffee down and threw his coat over his desk, started the computer and began searching for the meaning of a single yellow rose. Joy, friendship, a new beginning, I care. He was dumbstruck by the symbolism of the single flower. What was Abby saying? And why was she saying it to Shannon? He leaned back in his chair to think it over, his hands behind his head, his eyes closed. But the long days and short nights from the week before took their toll and before he could start his mental investigation he was already asleep.
Kelly, Shannon and Abby were talking and laughing together in the back yard of their home. Shannon handed Abby a single yellow rose, telling her how glad she was that she was her friend. And then Shannon looked at him and said "she loves you too", showing him a letter but he couldn't read it. He reached out, wanted to touch them, hold them …
He woke up, at first not realising where he was. The heart wrecking feeling that he lost them again was so painful he could cry.
He checked his watch, he'd slept for almost an hour, he must have been really tired. The image of the yellow rose was still on his computer screen and brought his dream back to life. "She loves you too" echoed in his head. And the letter, why couldn't he read the letter?
He sighed deep and logged out, time to go home. A little plastic object fell out of his pocket as he put his coat on. He picked it up and almost threw it away, but it seemed more than just a bit of plastic. He hadn't noticed it before, but it looked like there was some kind of paper inside. He sat back down and started reading.
As he reached Abby's apartment he cursed. Her car wasn't in the parking-lot, she wasn't home. Against better judgement he went up and rang her doorbell. And again, and again, finally silence and a closed door convinced him that she really wasn't there.
With the hope that she had gone to his place instead, he manoeuvred his car dangerously fast through traffic, but when he arrived home he found his driveway empty. Looked like she wasn't here either, he thought disappointed. He considered calling her cell phone, but he didn't.
He went in the house and straight into the kitchen to get a beer. When he opened the refrigerator door he was surprised to find enough beer and food for a whole weekend. Of course, Abby! She knew he would go to the cemetery today. She always knew. There hadn't been time during the week, with a difficult case keeping him busy and preventing him to spend precious time with Shannon and Kelly, until today. Abby! He hoped she would not let him spend the evening alone, he needed her.
He took a beer and walked down the stairs to his basement. His heart skipped a beat when he saw her, curled up in his chair. Her eyes closed, still a trace of tears on her cheek, her black hair a bit tangled. She looked so vulnerable and so beautiful. He sighed deep. Was he ready to forget all the reasonable doubts that had prevented him from acting on his feelings for her for so long? Was he ready to surrender?
"Oh Abbs", he sighed and placed a light kiss on her lips. He could hardly believe that she was sitting here. Cemetery-night, as she called it, was his, she would never disturb him. And yet, now that he needed her to be here, she was!
It took a few seconds before she woke up, stretched and then stood up. "Hey Gibbs, I brought food and … oh, you found the beer", she said too cheerful. "I will leave now and let you do your thing". Clearly uncomfortable that he found her here, on cemetery-night, made her want to run and hide.
"Where's your car, Abbs?"
"It broke down, again, I took a cab."
She stood in front of him, a bit smaller now without the shoes, or maybe the sadness in her eyes made her look smaller. He didn't say anything, just gazed in her green eyes.
"OK. What did I do wrong to get the stare-treatment?", Abby finally said and looked away. "You want to be alone, I will go".
"You are expecting someone special and you want me to go? Because if you do, that's totally cool. I understand. Wow, that's quick. That would be faster than Santa."
"All right, bye Gibbs".
She sprinted up the stairs only to return a few seconds later, descending slowly.
"Forgot my shoes".
"Abby, I was hoping somebody special..."
"No problemo, I'm going, well as soon as I get my shoes".
It was only then that she saw the letter in his hand.
"Was hoping... so she's not coming. She wrote you a dear Jethro letter?"
He grinned. "No, on the contrary."
"So she is coming?"
"She's already here".
"Then I'm definitely out of here. Have fun!"
"Abbs, it's you!", he said softly as he grabbed her arm when she ran for the second time.
"Gibbs! I'm very emotional today, so don't be nice to me, you'll make me cry again".
"Don't be nice. Got it", he smirked, still holding her arm.
"Will you let me go? I won't run. OK?" Abby desperately needed some distance between them, he was way to close for comfort and the way he held her arm was killing her. Was his thumb caressing her arm?
"Do you want something to eat? I'm starving. I promise I will be very quiet, you won't know I'm here. You can perform your basement rituals like every year."
"Dinner together would be nice, Abbs", he said with a soft voice.
"OK, I'll cook", and with that she ran up the stairs, glad to be away from his piercing blue eyes.
Gibbs! What has gotten into you? You always want to be alone on cemetery-night. And now you're not sad, not depressed, you are .. I don't know what you are, but you confuse the hell out of me. And why were you holding my arm like that? I could have sworn you were caressing my arm! Clearly you have no idea what you do to me. I could have kissed you right there and then. Abby couldn't stop thinking about what happened before. While preparing the pasta her mind interrogated every memory. Gibbs was different, something had changed. Someone special … Abbs, it's you! What was he saying?
In the mean time in his basement, Gibbs sat down in the chair, his head resting in his hands, trying to figure out what to do next. He had to do this right or he would lose Abby and losing her was not an option, he had lost too much already. O hell, it doesn't matter what I do. First we'll have dinner and we'll take it from there, he thought. Now there was only one thing left on his mind that puzzled him, but he would deal with that later, he thought as he picked up the blanket and walked up the stairs.
Abby's absent mind had not prevented her from making a lovely dinner. The pasta was al dente, just the way he liked it, and the meat-sauce was excellent. The red wine complimented the dish and by the time Gibbs opened a second bottle they were back to their usual self, warm and open, trusting each other, talking without any reservations or awkward silences. They had moved from the kitchen to the living room and with the log fire burning there was no need for extra light as they sat in front of the fireplace.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"You just did."
"I know, I mean .. "
"Do you believe in miracles?"
He watched her silently. The warm glow of the flames made her green eyes look like they were on fire and her skin shine like silk. He was so relaxed, enjoying this evening with her without the urge to run away and find solitude in his basement. It must be a miracle.
"It takes a miracle to believe in one", he finally answered.
"Right... so yes or no".
"Do you believe in miracles, Abbs?" he answered her question with a question.
"Miracles happen every day, Gibbs. Of course I believe in them. But you're avoiding the question."
"Yes, I believe in miracles." His blues eyes caught her green ones and for a moment she thought he was going to kiss her.
"Good. Because only if you believe the miracle will happen", Abby said with a husky voice. "Now it's your turn to ask a question."
"About what, Abbs?", he whispered.
"Believe, hope, dreams, anything you like." She kept looking at him. He looked so damn good tonight, specially with the light of the fire dancing on his face and arms. Oh, to be held by those arms, lying against his chest …
He cleared his throat.
"Dreams too, huh?"
"Sure, you do have dreams, don't you. Or at least, you dream when you sleep, right? Do you need to have your dreams explained?"
He was silent again. If there was ever a right time to tell her about his dream it was now. But he wasn't ready, not yet.
"Maybe tomorrow Abbs. Now it's time to go to bed and dream."
She sighed. "All right, you dream too, and we can talk about it tomorrow."
"Thanks for letting me stay."
It was hours after they had gone to bed and he was still awake. He couldn't get out of the loop of thoughts about the letter, a yellow rose, his dream and the woman in the guestroom next to his. The dream was the hardest part to figure out. Or maybe it hadn't been a dream, maybe … He didn't even dare thinking it, the thought that Shannon would send him a message from the other side was too scary. He had seen her before, once, when he drowned in an attempt to safe Maddie. He was dead, but they send him back. That part he could hardly understand, but getting a message from her while he was alive and just sleeping, that was creepy and far beyond his understanding. Maybe he had to talk to Abby about it.
The woman of his dreams, or rather his thoughts, just entered his bedroom, hardly visible in the dark. Dressed in one of his old shirts with no make-up on she just stood there.
"You called me?"
"Eh .. no, I don't think so."
"Really, I'm sure I heard you call my name."
"I didn't Abbs, go back to sleep."
"I had a dream, Gibbs. A really weird one and now I'm afraid to go back to sleep. Can I sleep in your bed?" She was shivering in the cold night air.
"Sure, Abbs." He shifted position when she climbed into his bed and he put his arm around her as she snuggled up against his chest.
"Wanne tell me about it?"
"This is really weird, Gibbs. And I don't want to scare you or anything ..."
"Tell me, Abbs."
"I dreamt about Shannon ..." She stopped talking when he stopped breathing.
"Gibbs, you still with me? It's not really scary, it's just … "
"Yeah Abbs, still here."
"You know I was at the cemetery today ..."
"Well, ehh, I left a rose on Shannon's grave, a yellow one, real beautiful. And now the weird part is: in my dream she returned it, saying everything would be all right. I saw her, giving you the letter. And then she … ". Abby fell silent.
"She what, Abbs?" He felt her stiffen against him and tightened his grip around her to reassure her. This was hard for her. For him too, but for a very different reason. She must have had the same dream.
"Gibbs, I can't tell you what she said.", Abby whispered.
He swallowed, inhaled, exhaled. He knew what Abby couldn't tell him.
"In your dream, Shannon told me you love me", Gibbs whispered. "Just like she told me in my dream."
"You had the same dream? That is so weird! You know I've often wondered if people in a dream would have the same dream, but ...ohhh, now you know!"
She rushed out of bed and ran into the bathroom. He switched on the light and went after her.
"Go away, Gibbs."
"Abby, come out of there."
"Of course you can, just open the door."
"You really had the same dream?", slowly the door opened.
He was leaning against the wall, staring at the floor.
"Yeah, and I read the letter too, Abbs", he said in a husky voice. She suddenly remembered the letter he showed her earlier in the basement.
"She gave you the letter? How .. What .. No way, Gibbs! That is spooky! Even for me."
"She didn't "give" me the letter, it just ended up in my pocket when I was at the cemetery. Well, maybe, in a way, she did give if to me."
"You read the letter?" She couldn't look at him. Afraid to read in his eyes what she didn't want to know she just closed her eyes.
He said nothing but reached out to her, took her hand and pulled her slowly closer to him until there were just a few inches between them. She could feel the warmth radiating from him.
With his finger he lifted her head up so he could look in her eyes.
"Abby, look at me."
Slowly she opened her eyes to find him looking at her with a look in his blue ones she had never seen before. Her heart was racing when she realised why he looked at her like that.
"Why did you write the letter?" he asked softly.
She stepped away from him, but he pulled her right back, this time putting his arms tightly around her and kissing the top of her head. She felt his arms around her, her body pressed against his and his breath on her face. It was very hard to think straight.
"Abbs, tell me, I need to hear it", he whispered in her ear.
"I … wanted some help ... for you … so you could be happy again, you know, and find a woman who loves you." That didn't quite come out the way she wanted.
"You really want me to find another woman?", he asked surprised.
"NO! Well, yes, maybe… I don't know. I love you and I just want you to be happy, Gibbs. And if that is with another woman then go on, be happy!" She offered him an escape, but he didn't take it.
Instead he kissed her cheek as he pulled her even closer, his breath not so steady any more. Abby gave up her fight to withstand him and with a sigh she put her arms around him and rested her head against his chest. That made him finally surrendered to her.
"I don't want another woman, Abbs."
"But you're lonely, sometimes."
"Alone is not lonely, Abbs, you know that."
"But still ..."
"I've got all I want right here. Remember, I takes a miracle to believe one. You're my miracle Abbs."
"I am? So you're not mad at me for writing the letter?" came the soft question somewhere from his shirt.
"Hey, you asked for a miracle and you got it. How can I be mad at you?" he flashed his special smile at her.
"Come to bed, Abbs. I've got a dream I need to share with you." And with that he finally kissed her until they both were breathless.