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Team Gibbs was settling in for a boring day. Tony had tried everything he could think of short of some kind of modified rain dance to get a case. He'd even asked Ziva if she wouldn't mind running out and murdering someone just so they could get some action.

Honestly, Mcgee wasn't all that opposed. Finally, finally, Gibbs' phone rang. Once he got the report, the boss looked like he was resigning himself. Who died? They were all here, Mcgee knew that Abby, Ducky and Palmer were all downstairs in their designated areas. He'd even seen Vance floating around recently.

"Marine and his kid, hit and run, no survivors. Grab your gear." Gibbs instructions had Tony and Ziva out of their chairs immediately, as was routine. Mcgee didn't move, rather he kept up the staring contest that he had somehow found himself in with Gibbs.

The looks he was receiving answered all of his unspoken questions. No, Mcgee could not go and see her. He would do his job. But yes, Gibbs knew exactly how bad this was going to be. "Now, Mcgee." Verbalization. He had no choice but to follow orders.


Abby's life was officially spinning out of control again. She couldn't control anything. No more than she could when she was young. Stupid case. Well no, it was not a stupid case. No case was ever stupid, but why did it have to be this case for her team? Some part of her wanted to pack it up and check out. Thanks for everything but she didn't want to do this anymore.

Running wasn't an option. She would never leave her lab. Beyond that, NCIS had given her everything. A father, a brother, two sisters, a grandfatherly uncle, a cousin and a Mcgee. Who in their right mind would give that up? Not Abby. She knew enough not throw away what she couldn't afford to lose. She would deal. She would be fine.

"You are okay. You are safe. Nothing is going to happen."

It was her mantra. Over and over hundreds of times a day when things were bad, when they weren't, when she was in new situations, when she was stuck in the past, when she couldn't predict. It kept her together, kept her from spinning out of control. There was so much she couldn't control. The whole world outside her lab. She was wound so tightly, collapse imminent if anything fell out of line.

She tried to keep it in her head, most of the time with great success, but sometimes when she felt the panic creeping up, she'd taken to whispering to herself. Ever since Gibbs had called to warn her, it had been happening all day. That was when Mcgee had started to catch on.

Abby knew that she could fake it around the others but she spent so much time with him that it was harder to hide. He always picked up on irregularities in her behavior before the others, well except Gibbs. Mcgee was still the most likely to comment though.

She had all too much experience with cases like this. It was devastatingly real, and she really wished that it wasn't. She and her dad had taken a walk. Abby had wanted to go and watch for fireflies and the park was the best place to find them, everyone knew that. If they took the shortcut from their backyard, it was only a ten minute walk. Her mother had stayed at home with Luca, he was always scared of the dark.

It had always been a daddy/Abby activity. Her dad had never heard the engine. Abby had reacted and turned to meet it. It was too late, she was too late. The next thing she knew the vehicle was speeding and weaving off down the road and her dad wasn't standing anymore. No matter what she did, he wouldn't open his eyes to see what she was saying.

"You are okay. You are safe. Nothing is going to happen."

It had been a very long time before anyone found them. She still didn't know exactly how long, but it had seemed like an eternity then. Cell phones weren't common, this was before texting, her dad wouldn't have had one anyway. She knew that she couldn't wander off. She was never allowed to go off by herself, that was hard, because she was a very wandering child. So, she sat. Even humid Louisiana got cold in the evening, especially when you had blood on you.

Abby knew enough now to realize that they had probably taken her father to the morgue. Back then she hadn't known. All she knew was that she had been alone waiting with her father, not wandering off, then there had been flashing lights. Paramedics had taken her to the hospital, not knowing what else to do with her, and someone had been sent to get her mother.

Nobody would tell her where her father was. "Let's talk about that when your mother gets here, Sweetheart." At the hospital nice nurses had taken care of her, cleaned her up and sat with her until her mother had flown in dragging a very confused, half-asleep Luca behind her. Abby really hated remembering. She still couldn't even stand thinking about that night.

"You are okay. You are safe. Nothing is going to happen."


Watching her work was becoming concerning. They weren't even into the really hard evidence yet. Mcgee knew full well that she was putting off looking at the pictures for as long as she could. Abby was so wound up during her preliminary analysis, basically stating that she had nothing, that she looked like a spring on the verge of popping.

Once Mcgee was sure that the others had left, he stepped up behind her, until she was almost pressed up against him, a millimeter of space. He laid his hand over hers and pried it off the computer mouse. "Relax, Abby."

Gibbs would have been angry if he hadn't doubled back to find out why Mcgee wasn't following him and witnessed the whole scene. Confirmation. Three of them knew the truth. He wasn't sure at what point Abby had told Mcgee but at least it wasn't just himself holding one of Abby's secrets anymore.

Gibbs reappearance in the door must have sent a psychic link to the two because Mcgee calmly yet quickly put a good few foot between himself and Abby. Gibbs withheld his comment, they had bigger issues to deal with. Instead of entering the lab he gestured for Mcgee who resistantly followed. It was going to be a very long case.

Eventually, Gibbs planned to return. First, he had to delegate responsibilities rather than let them run off on their own, no matter how capable. More time had elapsed than he had planned before he made it back to her domain. Abby was crying over the pictures from the scene. Premonition complete. He had known this would happen, only a matter of time.

Obviously she didn't want to talk about it because she minimized the screen as soon as he crossed the threshold into her lab. "Caf-pow?" Abby looked at him, daring him to comment. He shook his head. No, not today. Gibbs analyzed her for a second. "Update?"

"He's just a little boy. He should have had his whole life ahead of him. It's not fair." Her watery eyes swept away from the screen to meet his."No, It's not." They both could agree on that. Kids should always be insured their lives. But it didn't always work out that way. Harsh but true, kids didn't always survive. Parents didn't always survive.

Sometimes you had to live through something that followed you the rest of your life. Things that never left you alone, made sure you never had a nightmare free night ever again. Changed the course of your life, made you demand answers.

Things that created a problem solver, invented a scientist or forged a cop, a doctor, a teacher. Horrendous things happened but they created people. Sometimes events bred revenge but sometimes they instilled tremendous compassion. Actions caused reactions, vibrations out into the universe altering the lives they touched. Yin and Yang. HImself and Abby.

Gibbs considered her for a moment. "If you can't do this. I need to you tell me and I'll call someone in to take over." The look she was giving him might have been appropriate if he had asked her to jump off the building." She would never willingly let anyone else work in her lab.

"I'll be fine." He could accept her response for now. He had faith that she could handle the work but keeping her head clear was another matter. Silence reigned. "It wasn't fair for you either, Abby."


"You are okay. You are safe. Nothing is going to happen."

She didn't talk about this. She never talked about this. It was on her do not go there list. It was a short list, she was a talker after all. Great, she was crying even harder. She wasn't a fan of crying. Trying to stop would just make it worse. There was too much going on in her head. "I should have done more. There must have been something else I could have done. Anything."

After her words had faded off, Gibbs picked back up his side of the conversation. "Kids don't have advanced medical training, Abs, no matter how smart they are." Her rebuttal was quick, as if prepared before she knew the question, as if it had never been voiced.

"He never had a chance, I should have warned him. I should have remembered more. Nobody else saw! I couldn't even tell them what type of car it was Gibbs! He never got justice. I couldn't give that to him. I should have done something besides sit there while he died."

Those moments haunted her. That was when the panic had started. It was the first time in her life that she had not known what to do. Someone had always been there to guide her before. Her first time, and it was so important, and she messed it all up. There was no rewind, no redo, dead was dead.

"Abby. You were eleven years old. You couldn't do anything then. Look at how many people you've gotten justice for now." Logically, he knew that Abby knew there was nothing she could have done to save her father. Yet, somehow he didn't think she'd be bothered to care about that fact or anything that had happened in her recent past.

Nothing would change her mind, not while she was focused on the distant past. Gibbs was proved correct in her answer. "It doesn't matter. That doesn't change anything. It's been too long. It was different back then, forensics, evidence, everything. My dad is a cold case. That's never going to change. I can't ever fix it."

He knew that Abby's mind wasn't going to be changed, some things you never got over. He would be back, he'd send Mcgee back, they would not leave her alone. For now, leaving her with the evidence would help. As much time as he spent in the past, he had proof, the present was useful in moving on, allowing the future to come into being.

Gibbs paused before his final reply. He leaned in to kiss her cheek then approached the doorway for his exit, as he left he conceded to her. "It will probably never be anything but what it is. But, this kid and his dad, they're not going to be a cold case. Their family is going to know what happened. They'll get a name, know who was responsible. We're going to tell them. You've got the evidence. Now, you find the answers."