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08 August 2009 @ 12:03 pm
Vindicated :: Chapter 4  
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. Mostly.
Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS; otherwise, this wouldn't be a fanfic ;D
A/N: Transferring this to LJ for gibbs_abby One valuable lesson I've learned from writing an NCIS fic: RESEARCH. Lots and lots of research...





The dull white lights of the elevator shone in Gibbs’ peripheral vision. Ziva’s monotonous voice, void of any biased emotion, and with the sole purpose of reporting the information to Gibbs, read the database profile of their victim. His senses were still submerged in a stupor and only picked up the essentials. Their victim was assigned to the USS Enterprise docked at Newport, before its last voyage. He was young (“…just turned 27…”). He was exceptionally bright (“…often gave technical assistance on board…”). He was a model seamen (“…no criminal record…”).

He was almost too perfect.

"If you're here to see Seaman Jason Knight, you're a bit early. I've only just begun." Ducky remarked and tapped the seaman's lips with a scalpel.

Gibbs’ mind cleared. He and Ziva entered the morgue, where the light and overall atmosphere seemed, not surprisingly, lifeless. Their dead seamen lay under a halogen-bright light. He had brown hair, a prominent nose, and a soft cleft chin. Deep in his ashen abdomen were sloppy slash marks and stab wounds, some deeper than others. His neck was strangely stained with light, lavender smudges, with his forearms and wrists bearing a similar hue.

Without thinking, Gibbs bumped into the next table behind him and startled Ziva and himself. He didn’t even know he had taken a step back from the body. He glanced behind him out of caution.

The evidence boxes holding the blood-stained clothes sat at the foot of the table. Gibbs placed his palm on the metal surface; it was still warm. Someone had been lying there; someone was gone.

Suddenly, his blue eyes darted around the rest of the room. He was silent for a while in his futile search, and gained quizzical looks from the two others in the room. Ducky tucked away an interesting thought of what Palmer’s expression would look like if the lad were in the room, but the doctor shook his head.

"But judging by your....acute attention to the victim, I see you have something else on your mind."

Gibbs’ nerves settled at the sound of his statement. The agent rested the heels of his hands on the edge of the warm examination table. His cold eyes rested on the ME.

"If you're here to see her, you’re late. For once."

"Where is she?" he only asked.

"In the showers - the girl was an absolute wreck.” Ducky thoughtfully tapped the scalpel on the seaman’s face a few more times.

Gibbs was halfway to the doors in mid-sentence.

“Jethro,” Ducky said a bit exasperated.

Gibbs stopped in the doorway.

“Go easy on Abigail – please.”

Ziva looked at Gibbs and nodded.

The agent shifted glances between them, and then stormed off.

The ME heaved a sigh. “Care to stay for the show?” he asked out of the blue and waved his scalpel like a wand. “It’d be nice to have half a living audience listening to me, than to have an entire audience fully alive ignoring me.” He eyed the most recently used exit.

Ziva kindly declined. She craned her neck to see her boss depart; she would have gone with him, but she felt it more appropriate to leave him alone.

The elevator bell rang, once the doors slid to a close, and - for a split moment - framed the face of a tortured man.

Ziva blinked. “Gibbs is going to the showers with Abby?”

Ducky couldn’t move his scalpel through the dead flesh. “Oh dear.”

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

Abby ripped off her body suit and flung it off to the side. She did the same with the little garments left on her body and disappeared into one of the showers. That’s all she wanted to do: disappear.

Her memory of last night had been reduced to fragments and dull images. She remembered swirling lights…dancing…kissing…a huge blur of fun.

There were also swirling lights that followed pain…struggling…bleeding…along with bits and pieces of tangled, or mangled metal, and walking through darkness.

She hugged herself. Another piece of the film reel came back to her. Walking….a cruel breeze….stumbling over steps….falling into someone’s arms….feeling someone’s heartbeat…and the smell of….sawdust.

Abby gasped. A different kind of pain overwhelmed her. She held back tears that threatened to fall as she turned on the water. She wanted it hot, scalding hot. She wanted to wash away everything and let the heat sear into her skin.

Abby was so infuriated at herself she could shoot something, but she was so confused, so lost and terrified – and the only one she really wanted to pour her feelings out to was the one person who could lock her away forever.

Abby knew something grave had happened and she was somehow caught in the middle of it; she didn’t know that she had accused herself of murder earlier that morning. The scent of blood and the soreness in her body were so vivid – surely that must have been her own blood. Wasn’t it? Abby didn’t know what to do with herself when Ducky told her what she had unconsciously done when she woke up in the morgue.

Being a hopeless optimist, the forensic specialist tried to focus on a better, more soothing memory that she could recall: Gibbs….he’s so warm and fuzzy on the inside. She giggled.

Abby, for the first time that day, could feel a smile forming across her cheeks. She didn’t think she deserved his being there, but he was there, for some strange reason, holding her hand. She never wanted to let him go.

Feeling the water running tepid, Abby shrunk into the corner of her shower chamber and hugged her knees. Her eyes opened reluctantly; Abby started to shiver.

Whenever she thought of Gibbs, her silver-haired fox, she always felt like she was a little girl crushing on her fifth grade teacher again. He was simply a dream - so close but so far away. Rule #12 was a giant red stop sign in Abby’s way, not to mention the noticeable distance between them in age. Regardless, she liked to believe they shared a special bond no one else had. They even had a “secret language” like other couples....but, Abby knew, American Sign Language wasn’t exactly undisclosed to the world. Thinking of Gibbs only made her head ache in the end; she had a feeling something else ached inside her, but she never dared to uncover it.

Abby pouted. Thinking in general wasn’t helping her anymore. Neither did crying – she was empty of tears. She let the water run forever.

She didn’t hear the room door open or close. She didn’t notice the quiet footsteps coming up to her shower chamber and stopping right at the shower next to hers. There were no curtains – just a barrier of silence. The barrier closing off Abby seemed to take bodily form in the cloud of mist rolling from the shower.

It was so thick, Gibbs couldn’t see Abby at all.

For a minute, Gibbs really thought Abby had taken someone’s life….someone she obviously held some type of interest in. He took her words as a conscious confession, and everything after that was fueled by his anger. And his anguish.

Gibbs ran a hand down his perspiring face. It was getting hot with all the steam clouding around him. He took off his blazer, sunk down to the floor, and set his blazer on his crossed legs.

From what he heard, from her maroon lips to his sharp ears, she had killed him, killed him, killed him. The words just tumbled from her mouth and wouldn’t stop.

Gibbs buried his face in his hands. Her dead eyes, her face numb with sadness and panic, were clear in his head. Was any of this clear in her head…? He asked himself.

Her “confession” was what led Gibbs to leave Abby in Ducky’s van. After that, he drove alone in his own car back to NCIS and stayed in the bullpen for as long as he could. He hadn’t seen Abby since then.

Abby hummed a vaguely familiar tune. The melody was reminiscent of a children’s song he couldn’t put his finger on. Gibbs smiled to himself.

The agent kept his gaze to his right, well away from the shower and any view of indecency… He didn’t want to come off as a lecherous boss; he was well aware of how hated he was already and didn’t want to add more to his “dirty old bastard” status.

“If only Gibbs could see me now,” Abby chuckled to herself. “He probably doesn’t want to see me – now, or ever.”

Gibbs’ heart melted. He gulped, looking down. “You’re probably right,” he said aloud.

Abby gasped and backed away from his voice.

Gibbs turned his head so he could only see the discarded body suit on the floor in front of him. He hesitated. “I need to see you, Abbs.”

Abby stood up in a defensive demeanor. “Gibbs, I’m gonna trust that you can’t see me butt naked.”

Gibbs opened his mouth.

“DON’T COME ANY CLOSER!”

“Abby,” he said emphatically, but he nearly laughed, “I’m nowhere near you.”

“So,” she faltered, “so are you the Gibbs voice in my head…?” Abby knocked on the shower wall she’d been leaning against.

Gibbs laughed at last and knocked the neighboring wall. “Hello, Abby.”

Abby blushed. She didn’t know what scientific method of thinking she was using, or if she had turned off her brain completely. “Hi Gibbs,” she greeted with a small smile in her voice. “Sorry about…that.”

“Don’t be sorry, Abbs,” he was still grinning. His grin turned lopsided when he said, “I just wanted to see you before…” He hated to be the one to remove the smile from Abby’s face, even though he couldn’t see it. “…Before I have to question you.”

Abby sunk back down in her corner. “Gibbs,” she more than frowned, “about what I said – “

“I’m going to forget you ever said anything but my name.”

Abby raised her brows. She felt more than relieved, and the words had a certain ring to them that made her smirk. “Gibbs – “ she smiled.

“I’m not letting you off the hook – know that,” he cut her off. “You were the closest one to the victim last night. I can’t ignore that.”

The fuzzy-Gibbs feeling fizzled away. Abby stepped toward the light still clouded in mist; she couldn’t see Gibbs.

The broken film reel started rolling in her head: more struggling….more pain…shouting at someone....a dimly lit warehouse. And Jason…

Abby shook her head. “Gibbs,” her voice shrank while she remained standing in the shower. “Do you really think I could kill someone?”

It was the question that stood at the tip of everyone’s tongue. The looks on his team’s faces spoke louder than their hesitant assents to his orders. Gibbs couldn’t let go of that scarlet-drowned Abby, totally helpless at his front step.

Then again, the blood could have been Seaman Knight’s. Gibbs remembered the twinge of an unfamiliar feeling; he’d never heard Abby say a man’s first name the way she had in front of him.

“I can’t say, Abbs,” was his answer. A pretty lame answer after he let it echo in his mind a few times. “Not until I interrogate you,” he added. That only made it sound worse.

The water abruptly came to a stop. Gibbs, in anticipation, got up from the floor and turned around.

Abby stuck her head out from her shower and gasped when she saw him looking at her. Gibbs stared at her with equally round eyes. Her porcelain arm was dripping with water. His eyes lingered on the tattoos he didn’t notice before that were imprinted on her forearm. Gibbs quickly turned his gaze to her face. Her black hair stuck to her neck and rosy cheeks. Her deep, jade eyes held him perfectly still.

The color in her eyes grew vibrant with conviction. “Gibbs, I swear on my worthless life I’m innocent,” she vowed. “Believe me, Gibbs, you have to.” She held the shower divider to support herself from a pending wave of tears.

Her silver-haired fox glanced at the floor and looked into her eyes again. Abby felt the subsequent goosebumps on the back of her neck. His blues had turned a shade bluer.

Gibbs wanted nothing else than to believe her, but her words upset him. He stepped forward; Abby’s pale arm slipped back behind the wall.

“Abby – “

He held out his hand. He didn’t know why he did – he wasn’t exactly inviting her to expose herself, but he reached out to her nonetheless. He stared at her, hoping that she could see the heartbreaking effect of her own words. Gibbs couldn’t believe she would think of herself that way.

“You’re not worthless.”

Abby’s lower lip quivered. “Oh Gibbs,” she choked and shook her head in disbelief.

Gibbs smiled commiseratingly. He walked over and brought Abby a fresh towel. He turned around to let her wrap it on, but less than a heartbeat after he did, Abby leapt from his blindspot and hugged him.

“Gibbs,” she sobbed. Her tears seeped into his shirt.

He kissed the top of her head. “Here.”

He wrapped his blazer around her and returned her embrace. Her damp skin was soft, and she fit like a glove in his arms. The steam settled about them like a fine fog at their feet.

“Gibbs,” Abby spoke up after a long, peaceful moment, “you weren’t there last night…”

Her boss looked at her and shook his head. He placed a finger over her lips again. “Tell me when we do get there.” Gibbs gently pulled away from her and patted her arm.

The main door of the shower room swung open. Abby held onto Gibbs, as he firmly held her arms and shifted into a protective stance.

Palmer stuck his head inside.

“Erm,” he uttered, not exactly knowing what to do, now that he walked into an awkward moment. He looked between the forensic specialist and the special agent and laughed nervously. “I’m…I’m gonna go report back to Dr. Mallard now – excuse me.”

Abby stared at the door before looking back at Gibbs, who wore his crooked grin.

“Damn Ducky,” he chuckled.