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Tony was alone at his desk when she found him. The head doctor had her on edge all day and now apparently the whole team had jumped ship. "Where is everyone?" "Ziva left, No idea where Mcgee went, Boss is out somewhere with Rachel." "Rachel? Did you have a change of heart about shrinks?" Tony was quiet for a minute. Actually he'd been very Un-Tony since she found him. The way he was looking at her was off-putting, reflective and not her loving jokester at all. "She's her sister Abby." "Who's sister?" "Rachel, she's Kate's sister." She took the necessary steps to sink down into Mcgee's empty chair before her legs had the chance to give out on her. "Kate." "Yeah."
There wasn't anything else to say as she absorbed that revelation. Kate. She had half a mind to crawl under Tim's desk. Or better yet Ziva's and pretend for a minute it was still Kate's. But she didn't. They didn't talk about Kate anymore. She was almost taboo. Tony had never talked about Kate. Not since they had buried her. Only in extremely occasional passing was she ever mentioned by the senior field agent. They had never had the conversation about what they had lost. "I told her about Kate." He looked at her with only vague curiosity. "What about her?" "I told Dr. Cranston, Rachel, How much I miss her. How I don't have anyone like that anymore. If I had known who she was…" Her voice had caught in the middle of her statement. It was easy to forget how close, how connected, Abby and Kate had been.
He didn't know what to say to her, the whole day had him utterly overwhelmed. "Abby…" She knew, understood, she always did. "It's okay Tony." Time had passed and a lot had changed. They had lost more friends. In a way, Kate had been only the beginning. She didn't hate Ziva. In fact, she counted Ziva among her dearest friends, her makeshift family. She was as close to Ziva as anybody could ever really be, as close as Ziva would let her. It was never like it had been with Kate though. There would never be another person in that role. Abby had accepted that. Even Tim, as close as they were, could never fill that empty space. In some ways, she still held the role of walking memorial. The years had not changed that.
Gibbs found them still sitting in silence. He knew that Tony had figured out Dr. Cranston's connection to their team. And by the way Abby was staring off into space he would guess that Tony had enlightened her as well. Cranston had followed him back up to the bullpen. It had been a good decision, taking her to his basement. Some closure was better than none. He gave it less than two minutes before Abby attacked. He was right.
Within seconds of realizing they had returned, Abby had flown out of her seat and was hugging the doctor with all her might. The doctor cleared her throat before addressing the younger woman. "I was going to tell you." The only response she got was a vigorous nod into her shoulder. Rachel had felt a bit odd about keeping back who she was. With most of the team it had been fine. She knew Gibbs knew who she was from the start. The others didn't bother her as much. However, she had not felt right keeping it from Abby, especially as they talked about Kate, not from her sister's best friend, who so blatantly missed her.
Gibbs wondered if they were going to end up having to forcibly extract Abby from the doctor. If you looked quickly, it was almost like seeing her with Kate again. He wondered if Cranston was suffocating yet. Before he could decide upon the best manner of removing her, Abby had finally released her. Abby pulled away but continued to stare at her in awe. "Kate. She… I never…" Rachel put up her hand to stop Abby trying to speak. For Rachel, her sister's death had changed many things. She knew that the same went for Abby. She had observed the team, weeded out information about all of them both from Kate, years ago, and from themselves in her interviews. They had helped her more than they would ever know. But maybe she there was still something she could do, could validate, for Abby. "She loved you too, Abby." It was all there was to say. One of those precious moments where Abby could almost feel Kate. They were both half smiling, half crying and looking at each other with complete understanding.
Tony still thought about his fallen partner. He would never forget her. But, He knew he had moved past Kate. He was glad that Rachel had come, sought them out. He hoped she had found what she was looking for. The boss was good at helping you find what you needed. Even when you didn't know what it was you needed. However, he was not totally sure it was a good thing that she and Abby had finally met.
He worried it had the potential to drag them back into the dark recesses where Kate still lingered, feeding off each other. But watching them, Abby and Rachel, he knew Abby had finally found someone else who understood. Who like herself, was never going to be able to leave Kate behind, to never completely accept that she was gone. If Rachel could give her someone to connect with, a way to not be alone in her head with Kate. Maybe instead of darkness, there would be light.
The following weeks found the whole team returning to the status quo after Dr. Cranston's appearance. Psych visits always made them all uncomfortable, usually bringing up issues they would all rather keep quiet. Head doctors made them all think a little too much. Put them all on edge. Especially this one. Abby had ended up agreeing to spend the evening at Mcgee's.
They had actually agreed upon a movie and she knew he still had a bottle of the really good wine his publisher had sent him. Throw in everyone's favorite German Shepherd and she was set. Throughout the film, Mcgee had apparently decided to make it his own personal game to try and get her hair out of the braids. He'd been successful. He had moved on to tracing the infinity symbol on her arm. She let him; after all she had turned him into her personal pillow. So as long as she didn't have to move, he could do pretty much whatever he wanted.
As the credits rolled, neither of them made any indication of moving. "Hey Abby?" "Hmm?" "Can I ask you a question?" She did lazily turn her head enough to look at him. "Since when do you have to ask?" "A real question." His real questions were to be handled with caution. They usually involved topics she didn't like discussing. He had felt her still, her pause almost made him tell her to forget it. Just as he was about to open his mouth she broke in. "Okay." He watched her for a second to make sure she was legitimately okay with it instead of trying to appease him.
Apparently she was. "If Kate hadn't died, if she was still here, do you think things would be different?" "Of course they would. Everything would be different." "Even us?" That one stopped her. Would she have stayed with Mcgee if Kate had been around? The sincerity with which he asked, not judgmental or demanding, just his own brand of curiosity, was comforting, was Tim. She sighed. "I don't know. Things were really bad, for a really long time. I couldn't seriously be with myself let alone anyone else. But I don't know. Maybe." It wasn't a lie but she knew the real, one hundred percent honest answer, was closer to yes.
She had multiple reasons for leaving him back then. They had been mostly broken up before she had died. Not that Tim had ever wanted that. Had Rachel said something that made him think about all this again? She had certainly refreshed the idea in Abby's head. After Kate, she couldn't risk letting anyone that close. Somehow over time, it hadn't mattered; he had worked his way in despite her attempts at self-preservation.
"Maybe." He repeated after her. "Probably." She conceded. He didn't push the subject any further. It was enough for one night. He was shocked that she had admitted it. He flicked the movie over to television and found one of the channels she liked. She hadn't fled when he asked. He'd been wondering, thinking about how things might have been. He didn't know what it meant, if she would consider trying to change anything or not. But he had gotten a real answer. It was a leap forward for him. Maybe even for them. He still had hope. It was complicated. But that was living.
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