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08 August 2009 @ 11:43 am
Vindicated :: Chapter 3  
Title: Vindicated
Rating: T (for now)
Pairing: Gibbs/Abby (Gabby!)
Summary: Abby's involvement in a recent case leaves Gibbs stuck between his head and his gut. It's hard to be cleared innocent when you've been caught red-handed...literally. Gabby.... Ziva's being pretty ambiguous with who she's fancying at the moment.
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS; otherwise, this wouldn't be a fanfic ;D
A/N: Transferring this to LJ for gibbs_abby Oh, this version might be slightly different from the FF.net version; I do last minute editing on their document manager and forget to do the same on the original files, which I'm copying onto here cuz it's easier like that. I really liked this chapter; it has everyone in it, and this was also my first "lab scene." :3 But alas, tension builds between the two....lovers? *gasp* Ignore me.





Caf-Pow in hand, Gibbs took the stairs instead of the elevator. He didn’t care how he got there; he just needed to escape DiNozzo and McGee's constant bickering before he had to smack another field agent... Looking at the jumbo-sized caffeinated drink, the coffee drinker still couldn't understand why Abby consumed it in such amounts. He remembered spitting out the only (putrid) taste of Caf-Pow he ever had. He had to laugh – Abby wasn’t fazed by his reaction at all.

As long as Abby enjoyed it, her daily dose of caffeine was Gibbs’ excuse to visit the lab – besides the usual evidence updates. No Caf-Pow (or no new updates), no need to visit her.

Though, Gibbs stopped to think, there were times when he wished he had dropped by, simply because. Times when Abby was alone and probably needed something.

Or someone.

She would never admit it, or ever admit in time. Like when she had not one, but two stalkers preying on her. He wanted to be there when the next wacko wanted her dead, or wanted her all to himself. He wanted to protect her – he needed to. He only wished she would let him.

On top of it all, the special agent stood uncertain of his feelings, feelings his gut couldn’t or wouldn’t clarify. That’s what he always thought; he didn’t know what he felt when it came to Abby...

For now, he was content being Abby's boss, friend, and Caf-Pow supplier. Maybe today would be the day he would stay behind to see the grin of satisfaction on her face when she took that first sip...

Except he was still standing at the doorframe, still holding the Caf-Pow.

And Abby wasn't just grinning with satisfaction; she was basking in it.

She giggled with glee like a little girl....and twirled her hair around her ungloved finger. All while she talked softly on her cell phone. It was cute. She was cute.

His gut, however, wouldn’t leave him alone.

“M-hmm,” he cleared his throat.

Abby’s eyes lit up and she spun away, her back now facing him. Gibbs closed the distance in a matter of strides.

“Right. I’ll see you there,” she practically mouthed into the phone. No one could escape Gibbs’ canine hearing, though, and her last sentence was crystal clear. She hung up and began to turn in her computer chair. “Hi Gibbs, I – whoa!” Her eyes widened at what distance was left between them. “Gosh, how do you do that?”

Gibbs cocked a brow and held up her drink.

“Don’t answer that, I already know,” she said quickly. She kept grinning from ear to ear as she took the beverage out of his hand and slipped her arm around his neck in one swift motion. “You always know when I need a little pick-me-up.”

Her happiness spread like a virus. Gibbs pretty soon mirrored Abby’s smile, even when he came face to face to question her. “Who was that?”

Abby’s smile faded a little. “A friend,” she answered.

Gibbs’ look was both hesitant and wary, but intense as always. “A friend?”

Abby gazed behind her thick lashes. “Yes, my silver-haired fox.” She placed her hands on his shoulders. “A friend.”

Gibbs eyed her phone lying next to the keyboard.

“You have nothing to worry about, Gibbs,” he heard her say. “Even if I was...if I was ambushed by ninjas in the dead of night – I could take care of myself. Then...I probably wouldn’t be ambushed by ninjas in the first place....but then, where would they come from, and why would they attack me...?” Her brow furrowed in thought at the serious matter of ninjas and surprise attacks.

Gibbs turned his attention back to Abby; she had become the female Gothic version of The Thinker sitting in one of the rolling chairs. He rested his hand on her shoulder and brought the pigtailed statue back to life. A smart bit of wisdom stood at the tip of his tongue, but the lonely jumbo Caf-Pow stared intently at Gibbs from the desktop.

“Aren’t you going to drink that?” he asked.

She held his gaze a second longer than he expected, then hurriedly spun away from it. Gibbs’ hand fell from her shoulder and dropped to his side. She began to inhale the drink almost immediately.

“Thanks again – Gibbs,” she chirped between slurps.

Maybe he was being paranoid, but he couldn’t help worrying about his Abby.

He leaned in behind her and watched the goosebumps form on her neck from the touch of his breath. “I’m always here for you, Abbs.” He paused. “We all are.”

Abby turned in her seat, and she stared back at Gibbs with a knowing glint in her eyes. “Same to you, too.” She tilted her head and simpered; her cheeks flushed faintly.

Gibbs wore a lopsided grin. He pressed his lips against her cheek and kissed Abby goodbye.

*** *** *** ***

“Gibbs has been the silent one since we arrived here,” Ziva observed. She thumbed through pictures she had taken so far on the camera’s memory card.

Tony folded his arms. “Not to mention the pissed one,” he grumbled.

Ziva scoffed, “I see he is not alone, if what you say is true.” She stepped closer to him and scanned him closely. “You’re the only one not doing his job right now,” she hypothesized. “That’s why.”

The senior field agent was staring at the morning clouds and was paying no attention to Ziva’s scrutiny. “Abby’s still asleep.” He shook his head and kicked some dirt off the ground.

“What was that?” Ziva squinted at him, questioning his random actions.

“Why would Abby want to kill someone?”

“Tony,” Ziva gaped in disbelief, “we don’t know anything for sure. I’m surprised you did not consider her innocence.”

“I never said I didn’t,” Tony rejoined. He looked back uneasily at the clouds. “Am I the only one that finds it weird - in the creepy, horror movie sense - to carry a box-cutter on your person?”

Ziva laughed darkly. “I carry two firearms and a knife, Tony.”

“Yes, but you’re Ziva, Ziva. Abby’s not an assassin or a field agent....nor does she open supply boxes in the back of a Wal-Mart truck.”

The Israeli snickered. “She does open evidence boxes, sometimes with a box-cutter if it’s that kind of box.”

“In the lab, Ziva - in the lab, for the lab.”

“Thanks, Captain Obvious,” McGee chimed in. “Like we all didn’t know that.” The cyber agent carried a box of bagged-n-tagged evidence – one of the contents being a bloody box-cutter knife.

Tony shuddered. “Yeah, Probie, just put it in the back already.” He walked away and headed for Ducky’s van, back to his post.

“What’s with Tony?” McGee asked after he put up the evidence box.

Ziva peered through her camera lens. “I’m sure you feel it too, McGee.”

McGee carefully stepped down from the NCIS truck and adjusted his cap. “The breeze?” he asked.

“No,” Ziva said coolly. The camera lens rested on her desired target. “The wrath of Gibbs.” Snap!

Yellow caution tape squared off the entire block where the car and construction barriers were. A black Chevy Neon had crashed into a cement road block between 0300 and 0400. The bloodied victim was silenced with duct tape and handcuffed to the steering wheel of the vehicle. Authorities were called to close off the area, but the team was summoned as soon as it was confirmed that the victim was a dead seaman.

McGee was heading back to the vehicle to check the backseat and trunk, Tony was climbing back inside Ducky’s van to look after Abby, and Gibbs, Ducky, and Palmer were examining the body.

Gibbs’ face was cold, his blue eyes a hue darker and detached in the morning sun. He stared intently at the seaman’s face, particularly his cheek. He first thought it was a bruise on his skin, but after a closer inspection, the shape was identifiable. Gibbs tisked to himself; the maroon shade of the lipstick had misled him.

“Time of death…” Ducky pulled out the thermometer from the body. “Hmm.”

Something red, other than the puddles of blood on the victim’s shirt, distracted Gibbs briefly, but his patience ran thin. “Time, Duck?”

“Just as I thought,” the ME frowned. “About ten or so hours ago.” He packed away the thermometer. “Your boy died before the crash, if your estimated time of the accident is correct.”

Gibbs reached for the bright red, metallic object from the pant pocket of the victim. He held it in his hand and let the thoughts and initial feelings run wild.

It was Abby’s cell phone.

“This was no accident,” he glowered at the new piece of evidence. “A toolbox didn’t accidentally appear on the gas pedal, and the brakes weren’t accidentally broken.” Her cell phone slid into an evidence bag.

Ducky frowned. “My mistake, Gibbs.”

Gibbs rose and walked away.

Ducky took off his hat and took a deep breath. Palmer watched the special agent with a questioning look in his eyes.

“I believe I might have an answer to your question that’s obviously troubling you, Mr. Palmer,” Ducky said.

The medical assistant shook out of his thoughts. “What was that, doctor?”

The ME zipped his bag. “It appears this case has become a personal matter for Special Agent Gibbs.”

Palmer moved to the head of the body while Ducky had already gone to the feet. “Are he and the victim connected in any way?” the former asked the latter.

“Not to my knowledge, no,” Ducky shook his head. “But.” He raised his index finger. “Gibbs is certainly more than connected to our dear Abigail.”

Palmer nodded. If he had heard the ME right, the idea was hard to wrap his brain around, but it seemed to fit. He continued to watch the special agent leave; the bag containing Abby’s cell phone crinkled in his gloved fist.

All of the pieces were creating a picture Gibbs didn’t want to see. At this point he wasn’t sure if they had all the pieces they needed. Everything so far made sense, and everything so far didn’t make sense. The only other red-eye witness saw just about the same things as Gibbs did….except for a blood-bathed Abby.

Given the circumstances, Abby’s survival was a miracle. When Gibbs thought he’d be relieved, he was only bogged further with questions. Why did only she survive? Why was she in a car rigged for death and destruction? Why and how did her cell phone end up in a dead man’s pocket?

Why didn’t you call me, Abby?

“McGee!” Gibbs barked.

The other agent was on his way back to the truck with more evidence: a roll of duct tape and other contents found in the trunk. Gibbs shoved the bagged cell phone at McGee.

He needed to see her again.

McGee stumbled back and caught the extra bag with one of his less occupied hands. “So do we know any more about our dead seaman, Boss?”

“Besides the fact that he was a seaman who was presumably with Abby last night – no, we don’t.”

McGee fell silent. He wanted to say more, but Gibbs had left him standing there with the bags of evidence to go to Ducky’s van. The younger agent could feel another pair of eyes on him before he could move again.

“Do you feel it now, McGee?”

McGee rolled his eyes and spun around. Ziva stood looking at him through her camera lens. Her lips curved in a mischievous smirk when she took a surprise snapshot of his face, the expression of which must have amused Ziva greatly, since she started chuckling as well.

The male agent tried to put on a lighthearted front, but his boss’s “wrath” remained with him. He turned back to Gibbs, who was now standing with Tony outside the ME’s van.

“Hey.” Ziva stood next to McGee and put a hand on his shoulder. She didn’t say any more, but her eyes held a comforting concern.

“I’m fine,” McGee answered and patted her hand. “I’m not sure about Gibbs, though.”

Ziva’s hand left his shoulder. “Indeed,” she said. “I would be...on edge, too, if someone I loved was caught in danger.”

McGee almost corrected her, but he realized she was completely right. The idea never sat well with McGee, but he never thought it was impossible. Just highly improbable. Gibbs had always hinted to fancying the Director when she was alive; moreover, Abby spent the night with another man...

Who was now dead.

So many ideas rushed into McGee’s imagination, one after the other, he needed to write them down as possible twists in his novel. They weren’t impossible. Just highly improbable. Highly.

At the van, Tony peeked inside and saw Abby, the team’s very own dark angel, sleeping peacefully. Her head was wrapped with a bandage, and her nose and lips were dressed accordingly. Her deathly fear of hospitals was respected, and so Ducky planned on bringing her to NCIS as soon as they were finished at the scene. Her clothes were put in evidence boxes; an unflattering NCIS body suit replaced her gothic apparel. She lay in an extra stretcher, the ones Ducky and Palmer used for the dead. Tony felt another chill run down his spine. From what he’d learned, Abby was a breath away from ending up in a body bag, and here she was lying in the back of Ducky’s van anyway.

She began to stir and frown in her sleep. Tony held his breath. Abby shifted to her side and touched her pillow.

“Gibbs. . .Gibbs,” she softly moaned.

Tony blinked.

“DiNozzo.”

Tony looked over his shoulder. Speak of the devil.

Gibbs beckoned him to come outside. The senior field agent gulped, but didn’t keep his boss waiting. What was waiting for Tony was the famous, versatile stare from Gibbs that never failed to produce his desired effect. Abby’s moaning kept Tony from thinking clearly for a second, but he recovered in time.

“She’s doing fine,” he answered Gibbs’ unspoken question. “I heard her t-talking in her sleep, but other than that, she hasn’t done anything else or gone anywhere since she’s been in there.” Tony cleared his throat. “Um, how late did you say you found her?”

Gibbs was looking over Tony’s shoulder. “Too late,” he answered tersely. He went inside the van without any further word.

The senior field heaved a sigh of relief he didn’t know he was holding.

Gibbs stepped inside and left DiNozzo to figure out what to do. He sat beside the stretcher in a nook created by the van’s storage compartments. Before he knew it, Gibbs was holding Abby’s hand, feeling a heaviness spread inside him. It started in his heart and made its way through his veins, until he could feel the warmth when he gently hugged Abby’s fingers.

“Gibbs?”

Gibbs looked up from their fingers’ embrace.

Abby stared teary-eyed at him and squeezed his hand.

“Gibbs, I’m sorry I – “

“Shh…” He placed a finger over her trembling lips. “You’re safe now.”

“I’m sorr - I’m sorry, Gibbs, I’m sorry,” she sobbed.

“You’re safe, Abbs, don’t be. No one can hurt you now.”

Abby only cried harder. She moved away from him and rested on her back. Gibbs thought she would choke on her own tears. He gripped her hand. “Abby – “ he frowned.

“I killed him, Gibbs,” she silently screamed. “I killed him, I killed him –“

Gibbs’ heart stopped.

Her jade eyes slowly drooped. “I killed him….I killed…Ja…son.”