A/N: I wrote this well over a year ago - after watching the Cast Roundtable discussion -for Season 7
- the season Abby treated Tim absolutely horribly-
WARNING: If you didn't have a problem with Abby's character in Season 7 - Don't read this.
It had been said. No matter how hard it was to believe, it had been said; in front of the entire team, no less. Well, everyone except Ducky, that is. The M.E. hadn't been here, but everyone else was. They'd all heard her say it. What's more, she'd said it to a reporter who'd asked her a rather pointed question.
What he couldn't figure out, was what caused her to give that answer in the first place. She wasn't one to ever say something she didn't mean. This meant she obviously meant every word of the answer she'd provided the reporter. Of that, there was no doubt.
The trouble with that was that it wasn't true. Her answer couldn't be the truth. There was no way that it was. The only way it could be true, was if her definition of those words she'd spoken were as warped and twisted as her words, attitude and actions had been towards him on more than one occasion. especially in this last year alone
It was those occasions that made her answer the falsehood that it had been. When he recalled the way she'd turned on him and practically growled and snapped at him back when Jethro the dog had attacked him, as well as the careless and insensitive way she'd bullied him into taking the dog in the first place, he found the opposite of what she'd claimed here tonight. Looking back even deeper, he found that her words rang hollow when he remembered the situation with her ex-boyfriend, Michael Mawher, as well. Alongside the bitchiness she'd heaped on him down in Mexico, as well as the bull-headed stubbornness that had nearly gotten them killed; it was damn tough to find any truth in what she'd claimed here tonight. Even the way she'd belligerently berated him and disappeared for the day, going completely off the grid while he'd taken the heat for it in the midst of the case with the victim everyone claimed had been crazy, had screamed disrespect and belittlement.
When had these changes happened? How had he missed the changes in her that left them with this strange, yet familiar version of who she'd once been? How could he get her to see how 'off' she was with what she'd just told the visiting reporter who'd asked her about her relationship to him?
Blowing out a breath of frustration, he rolled his shoulders once and moved his head around on his neck to ease the strain; remaining where he sat, alone in the squad room, comfortable in his own desk chair, surrounded by the peace and quiet of second shift, his own team having already gone for the day.
He couldn't leave. He was too bothered by what she'd said to concentrate fully on safe driving. After the number of incidents where she'd heaped the crappy attitude and less than civil tones and patronizing if not ugly words on him over the years, what she'd said tonight had been rich coming from her.
"I respect McGee."
Really? She sure had a funny way of showing it.
Had she been someone he didn't know very well, he'd have said that her answer was a bald faced lie. But, the trouble was, he did know her very well and she wasn't a person who lied. This brought him back to the original explanation.
She obviously genuinely believed what she'd said here tonight. Sadly enough, this realization brought home yet another realization. It wasn't up to him to show her she was wrong to think this way. It was up to him to change the dynamics of their working relationship.
If he didn't like the way she treated him, it was up to him to change the way he allowed himself to be treated by her. He had every right to put a stop to it. As a matter of fact, only he could. No one else was gonna do it for him.
Still, the change in the way things were between them had to start somewhere. Looking at his watch, he was relieved to see that it wasn't too late to get this addressed tonight. No time like the present, after all. Opening up his cell phone, he sent a text message.
He'd had enough. Starting tonight, things were gonna be different between them.