elementalv: Screenshot from Sherlock of "You know where to find me. SH." (Default)
[personal profile] elementalv
Title: That NCIS Thing
Author: elementalv
Rating: PG
Characters: Gibbs/Abby
Notes: I started this a few months ago then kind of lost interest in NCIS. Ah well. It was fun while it lasted. Posted as part of [livejournal.com profile] wip_amnesty.

~*~*~

He walked into the club and only just managed to prevent himself from flinching at the noise coming from the speakers. He’d told the director this wasn’t his thing, that he’d stand out like a sore thumb, and judging from the looks he was getting, he’d been right. Gibbs shook his head and started walking toward the bar, only to be stopped by a young woman wearing, of all things, a spiked dog collar.

He couldn’t tell much with the make-up she wore, but at a guess, he thought she might be pretty — or if not pretty, then pretty damn confident. But then, the young always were. The amount of energy she threw off just standing there made him ache a little and feel a lot like an old man. The strip of skin he could see between her waistband and the bottom of her shirt made him feel like a dirty old man, because there was no way in hell she could possibly be legal. He figured she had to be carrying false ID, and if he’d been there for any reason other than work, he would have called her on it.

As it was, and with his target due any time, Gibbs simply gave her a tight little smile and shook his head. She was persistent, though, and she yanked hard on his arm to get him to stay where he was. He leaned down and heard, “... know you ... work at ...”

Shrugging, he pointed at his ears and shook his head, only to find her signing, I know you office.

And okay, that was different, but he took a second look at her and hesitantly signed back, L-A-B?

She grinned broadly and signed, Name my A-B-B-Y.

At that, Gibbs nodded, finally recognizing his newest colleague. At the same time, he realized she had no idea why he was there, so he signed back, I work. No talk.

Her eyes grew large and excited, and then she disappeared into the crowd when Gibbs blinked. He tried to locate her, but no dice. For a moment, he was irritated, and then he wished Mike was still around to slap him up the backside of his head, because really, Sciuto — Abby — had only done what he’d wanted her to do. It was just as well — Gibbs’ target came through the door, and he didn’t have to worry about her blowing his cover.

~*~*~

Monday morning, Gibbs didn’t bother going to his desk. Instead, he headed straight down to the lab, where he found Abby bouncing to a hard driving, rhythmic piece of noise. He was about to reach around her to turn it off when she slapped it off herself and spun around with a wide grin on her face. She wore considerably less make-up than she’d had on the other night, and for the first time, he could see that yes, she was pretty. She also looked like she was all of sixteen, even though that was impossible. Given her job description, she had to be at least twenty-five, maybe a little older.

“Gibbs! That was so cool seeing you on Friday night. I didn’t blow your cover, did I? Because I never thought I’d see anyone from work at District Club, but there you were, and I just had to say hi, because to be honest, I never ever expected a guy like you to go there — you strike me as more Johnny Cash than Johnny Thunders — plus, you’re an ex-Marine, and I can’t see —”

Gibbs put his hand over her mouth and asked quietly, “How much caffeine have you had this morning?”

She started mumbling behind his fingers, so he lifted his hand away to hear “... ow, but that’s only because Ducky forgot to bring me my second one for the morning.”

“Pow?”

“Not Pow. Caf-Pow. And don’t even start with me on the amount of caffeine in the Economy Giant Supersize, because I’ve seen the number of coffee cups in your wastebasket at the end of the day, so you have no room to talk, mister.” She glared at him, apparently for good measure.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Good. And while we’re on the subject, you have got to stop getting coffee from wherever you’re getting it, because that stuff’s going to kill you,” she said, spinning around as one of the machines beeped.

He frowned for a moment then said, “You think the caffeine is going to kill me?”

“What? Of course not. But the outgassing from the Styrofoam cups just might. I have no idea why the government hasn’t banned —”

“Abby.”

She blinked and gave him a sweet smile. “Gibbs.”

“Are paper cups safe?”

“Totally.”

Before she could get started again, he said, “How often to do you go to District Club?”

“District Club?”

“Yes.”

She frowned as she thought about it then said, “I’ve been there twenty-seven times in the last ten months. No. Twenty-eight. I forgot about the third of April because —”

He put his hand over her mouth again, which was really unnecessary. She’d already shown she responded instantly to her name, but Gibbs kind of liked touching her, enjoyed the feel of her breath on his fingers, and he didn’t see any real reason not to do so other than it was an incredibly bad idea. On the other hand, most of his incredibly bad ideas had eventually proven to be good ones, so he kept his hand where it was and said, “I need your help to blend in.”

She started shaking her head at “help,” and by the time he finished speaking, she pulled his hand from her mouth and said, “No way.”

“You won’t help?”

“You won’t blend in,” she answered matter-of-factly. “Look at you. Even when you’re standing there, you look like you’re at parade rest or something. Also? Your hair — which, though incredibly sexy, is also too gray and too short. I can fix the color, but I don’t see you letting me put product on the top part to give you a spiked Mohawk.”

He smiled. “I’ll be happy to let you play with my hair.”

That earned him a smile before she squinted one eye at him. “Can you pretend to like the music, too? ’Cause I’m thinking the answer to that is probably a big, fat no.”

“I can — do what I need to do,” he said, grimacing at the thought of the noise.

She rolled her eyes at him. “Yeah, right.”

“Abbs, it’s important.”

That earned him another sunny smile and, “I like that.”

“Like what?”

“Abbs. Abbs and Gibbs. It’s like a comedy routine, only not, because I’m not that funny, but I’m way funnier than you are.”

“Hey!”

“Or — I know! We could be like that crime-solving couple — you know — Tommy and Tuppence Beresford!”

“We are not Tommy and Tuppence Beresford,” he said firmly. And then he wondered just how the hell the conversation had gotten so far off track.

She patted his cheek and said, “Give it some time. We’ll get there. But we’ll need to go shopping first, because there’s no way I’m going to be seen with you if you try to wear that outfit again.”

“You didn’t seem to mind Friday.”

“Yeah, well that was then. This Friday, it’ll be like we’re on a date, and all my friends know what I’m like when it comes to dressing people, and they’d never believe I’d let you out of the house looking like that.” She did a sort of shuffle dance around Gibbs to get to another machine that was beeping, so it took him a moment to process what she’d just said.

“No. Absolutely not. You’re a lab tech —”

“Forensic specialist, thank you very much!”

He glared at her. “There’s no way in hell you’re going undercover with me.”

She crossed her arms and glared right back at him. “Then I’m not helping you.”

“What!?”

“You heard me,” she said, not backing down an inch in the face of his irritation. And that? That was kind of ballsy. It spoke well of her courage under fire — not that he planned to take advantage of it, because there was no way in hell she was “— going to be there anyway, Gibbs. My friend Paul finally got the go-ahead from his therapist to start taking testosterone, and a bunch of us are going out to celebrate his impending facial hair.”

“Absolutely — wait. Testosterone?”

“Yes. Testosterone. He hasn’t decided if he wants to do anything more than the top surgery, but he’s beyond ready to start hormone therapy, and his therapist finally signed off on the paperwork.” She pulled a bunch of test tubes out of the machine and turned off the beeping. “So you see, I’m going to be there anyway, and if you’re with a bunch of people, you’ll look less conspicuous, right?”

“I —” His brain was still stuttering a little over Paul, but it was working well enough to see the logic of what she proposed. “The director won’t like it.”

She shrugged and gave him another of her smiles. “Not my problem, Gibbs.”

He sighed heavily. “Fine. I’ll work it out with him.”

“Excellent! Also? The next time you come down, could you bring me a Caf-Pow? Please? Pretty please? I’m seriously undercaffeinated here.”

That was clearly a lie, but Gibbs knew defeat when he saw it smiling brightly at him. He nodded at her then started to walk away before stopping. “Abbs?”

“Yeah, Gibbs?”

“How did you know I could understand sign language?”

“I’m a psychic!” she said with a cheerfully straight face.

He waited.

She stared.

He waited.

She caved. “And, um, I might have seen you spelling out ‘asshole’ to yourself last week when you were talking to that FBI guy.”

His lips quirked a little, but he left before they could curve into a full smile.

~*~*~

It was Wednesday before he could get the director’s buy-in for Abby’s participation, and by that time, Gibbs was ready to rip into the next person who questioned his sanity on the subject. Granted, she wasn’t a field agent, but Abbs had shown herself to be adaptable and, most important, she was smart — book smart and street smart. She was going to be there regardless of what Gibbs did, but at least this way, he could make sure she stayed safe.

Before he headed down to her lab, Gibbs stopped to get her a half-gallon serving of Caf-Pow and was met with a scowl from the cashier. He scowled right back and said, “What?”

“Nothing,” the woman said on a sigh. “Just tell Abby I’ll get her money to her later.”

“For what?”

“She bet you’d remember to get a Caf-Pow, and I didn’t think you would.”

He looked at her in disbelief. “Do I know you?”

She — Nancy, according to her name tag — had the gall to give him a hurt look. “I’ve worked here two years, and up until yesterday, you always bought three large coffees from me in the morning.”

Yeah. That was bad, and she had every right to be hurt that he didn’t recognize her. But — “Your hair is different.”

She touched her hand to the back of her head and blushed a little. “I had it cut and colored over the weekend.”

“It makes you look different, so don’t be surprised when people don’t recognize you,” he said, moving quickly toward the door. No way in hell was he going to get trapped into a discussion of whether she looked better or not.

When he got down to Abby’s lab, she pumped her fist and said, “Yes! Nancy owes me five bucks.”

“She said to tell you she’d get it to you later.”

“That’s cool. Gimme,” she said, reaching for the Caf-Pow.

Gibbs pulled it out of reach and said, “You said something about taking me shopping for clothes?”

“He said yes?” Abby squealed and pretty much attached herself to Gibbs with a hug that was — interesting. Very interesting. Too interesting, in fact, especially for work. He stepped away before it could get anymore interesting and handed her the Caf-Pow.

“Be ready to go at two,” he said, heading back toward the door.

“No can do, Gibbs,” she said before sucking down a goodly portion of the drink.

He stopped short and turned around. “Why not?”

“Sisters of Mercy Thrift Store doesn’t open until four on Wednesdays,” she said before taking another slurp.

“Thrift store?” he asked, his eyebrows going up. It hadn’t taken Gibbs very long to figure out that Abby was smart as a whip and that her brain didn’t just operate at high speed, it operated at high speed and in multiple directions all at once. That was fine for her and great for the agency, but when it came time to follow her conversation, it was like trying to trace the path of a bumblebee on meth.

“Yeah. Thrift store.” She sounded surprised that he even asked, and when he waved his hand to request more information, she rolled her eyes and said, “You don’t think you can go into any old retail shop to get the right look, do you?”

“Abbs —”

“Of course you do.” She sighed heavily. “Please tell me you’re not one of those people who gets weirded out over wearing second-hand clothes.”

“What’s wrong with buying new?” It wasn’t that Gibbs was a prima donna about his clothing. His years in the Marines had knocked out whatever fashion tendency he might have developed with regard to what he wore, but he’d reached an income where he didn’t have to buy secondhand, and he was at an age where he didn’t really want to.

“Wrong with — look. Trust me, you’ll be fine. I know a dry cleaner that can do same-day turnaround, and they don’t charge an arm and a leg.”

It was clear that she had a plan, and a plan was something Gibbs could respect. He said, “Fine,” without sighing and turned to —

“Oh, hey! I know what I wanted to ask you.”

Gibbs turned again, gave her a very direct look, then said pointedly, “What did you want to ask?”

“Um, that guy you’re after?” He nodded for her to continue. “Why are you going after him?”

~*~*~

Gibbs showed up at Abby’s place a few minutes early, which was apparently enough to fluster her. Badly.

“It’s just — I didn’t expect you until seven,” she said, racing around her apartment to shift stuff around. Gibbs thought it might be her version of tidying up the place, but to be honest, he couldn’t actually see much difference between the before and the after.

“That’s five minutes from now,” he said.

“Well, yeah. But still —” He started to sit down when she said, “Oh! Not there.”

Still crouched over the seat, he said, “Why not?”

“That’s not the best chair.” She patted the back of a chair that looked identical. “This one is better. Trust me.”

It wasn’t worth arguing, not when she was so determined to have him sit there, so he shifted over. “Better?”

“Much. Just let me finish putting on my makeup, and I’ll start on yours.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

“Absolutely not.”

She gave him a sweet smile — too sweet, and Gibbs didn’t trust it for a minute. “If you don’t want to stand out the way you did last week, you’ll wear makeup.”

“I’m not —”

“Do you want to get this guy or not?” She stood there with her eyebrows raised and acting like all she was doing was discussing the weather.

“Of course I do, but you didn’t say anything about makeup when we talked about this on Wednesday.”

“Duh!” She headed deeper into her apartment and called out, “If I had, you never would have agreed.”

“Damn it, Abbs!” He got out of the chair, which he had to admit was damned comfortable, neon zebra stripes notwithstanding, and followed her to her bathroom. “I can’t wear makeup to a bust.”

“Sure you can.” She tossed him a small bottle. “Put that on your face. It’s moisturizer, and it will help when I put the foundation on.”

“Foundation? No.”

“It’s death-goth night, Gibbs. You don’t look the part, you don’t get in. Don’t worry. It’s not regular foundation. It’ll just make you look a couple of days dead.”

“Jesus.”

“Don’t swear. It’s not nice.” She finished using the foundation on herself, and he had to admit that she was right about the fact that it made her look a couple of days gone. Oddly, it did nothing to detract from her basic prettiness — and that was a thought Gibbs shut down immediately. Clearly, he was suffering a weird variation of Stockholm Syndrome. The reassurance made absolutely no logical sense, but at least it got him to stop thinking about how she looked.

“When are you going to put that color crap in my hair?”

“I’m not.” She was using a black powder on her cheeks and eyes, and Gibbs was grateful, because she was starting to look more and more skeletal.

“I thought you said —”

“I did, but that was before Penny told me there’d be black lights all over the place tonight. Your hair under black lights is going to be pretty damn cool. I will, however, be putting other stuff in it, so you might as well make yourself comfy on the toilet.”

He made a face at her in the mirror as he moved past to get to the toilet, thinking it should never be said that he tolerated makeup with grace.

“I don’t know why you’re so grumpy about this.” She added a heavy amount of black eyeliner to her right eye. “I mean, when you were in the Marines, didn’t you ever have to wear greasepaint?”

“That’s different.”

“No, it isn’t.” She put eyeliner on her left eye then reached for mascara. “Camouflage is camouflage. Doesn’t make a difference what it looks like when it goes on, just as long as it keeps you hidden.”

He blinked. Then he thought about it for a moment, and then he said, “When you’re right, you’re right.”

“Does this mean you’ll stop acting like a poophead and put on the moisturizer?”

His voice mild, he said, “Poophead?”

“Sorry,” she said, flashing him a quick smile. “There’s this show, and one of the characters — have you — of course you haven’t. Anyway, there’s this character and — just — poophead works, okay?”

“Fine,” he said, squirting some of the moisturizer onto his fingers before rubbing it onto his face in a vaguely remembered pattern.

“Hey!” Abby turned from the mirror as he worked. “You’ve done this before!”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Then how —?”

“I have an ex-wife,” he told her, which was true, as far as it went. Shannon never liked him to watch her put on makeup, so everything he knew, he’d learned from watching Gloria. And Jenny, come to think of it.

“Oh. Cool!” Abby reached over to rub her thumb along his cheekbone. “Missed some.”

From anyone else, he might have expected a breathier voice, a shift to get closer, and an implicit invitation for him to rub right back. From Abby, he expected —

“There. Now sit still while I get the makeup on you. And while I’m doing that, you can tell me more about this drug dealer we’re chasing down.”

“We?”

“We.”

~*~*~


At this point, there should be a few more sections on the case, and then the story concludes with sex (or the intimation thereof) and snark and general happy-fun-times as Abby and Gibbs ultimately decide they’re better off as friends than as lovers.
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