All of the lights were off in the forensics lab. He could tell it was later than he had expected because the streetlights were shining through the windows, illuminating the lab. August in DC meant they usually didn’t come on until after 9pm. Where had all the day gone to anyway?
Abby liked Fridays, mostly. If there were no hot cases she could likely have the weekend all to herself…just like she has had for the last eight months. Ducky had become exceptionally cold towards her after their fling around the holidays. At first she could believe it had to do with his Mothers’ rapidly declining health, move to a nursing home, and then inevitable passing…but something lingered with him. He had been nice enough, not outwardly mean in any way, but not the man she had come to know over the past decade. In those last eight months, not a single hug, peck on the cheek, or even a sidelong smile had he spared for the Goth.
On her walk into NCIS, Abby was met by McGee who seemed extra cheery today, something she was ill-equipped to deal with.
“Hey Abby, got any plans for the weekend?” McGee asked gleefully as he sipped his coffee.
“No McGee, no plans, never any plans.” Abby answered as she drank angrily from her caf-pow.
Casual Friday meant that in her skate shoes and pants, Abby could have easily outran McGee, but she knew that he would insist on trying to figure out what was wrong. She just desperately wanted to be alone in her fortress of solitude. Grudgingly, she matched his stride and let them walk toward the building together.
“Um…if you…wanted to, that is…Tony and I are going to have a Bond marathon weekend…” McGee inquired before getting cut off.
“Thanks Tim, just going to have a few relaxing days at home…lady troubles.” A sure fire way to get McGee to drop the subject. He hated talking anything to do with ‘that part’ of women and it was Abby’s go to excuse when McGee wouldn’t back down.
As Abby and Tim approached the main doors to NCIS, Gibbs walked around the corner with his morning coffee in hand, newspaper tucked neatly under his left arm. McGee held the door for Abby and she shouted a parting “Thanks Tim” as she ran for the stairs to pound out some anger on her way to the lab. Tim stayed at the door until Gibbs got there, a puzzled look on the young agents face.
“Problem, McGee?” Gibbs asked as the agents slipped in the door and headed for the elevators.
Unlocking the door to her lab, Abby threw the lights on and started to wake up her machines with electricity and the comforting cries of Ville Valo screeching through her speakers. After scolding Major Mass-spec for his failure to boot up upon initial request, Abby went to sit at her desk and try to push all thoughts of Ducky out of her head. Never in her life has she been so hung up on a man and it was starting to affect her sleep. She hated losing sleep.
“â™« Your love is a razorblade kissssss….sweetest is the taste from your lipssss â™«”
Abby lay her head on her folded arms atop her desk. You are NOT helping my mood any this morning Mr. Valo! Letting the song play out until the next chorus, she angrily lifted her head from her desk and used the remote to switch the sound files to Chemlab. As the guitar riffs from ‘Rivet Head” filled the lab, she pulled her attention to the storage locker to her left.
“Morning Bert…..” she trailed as she stared at the spot where she had left him…finding it empty. A quick glance around the lab revealed nothing, so she pushed herself out of her chair to investigate. Her sour mood and the anger she had pounded down the steps with had made her temperature rise, even in the cool of the early morning air. She shrugged her black leather jacket into her desk chair, leaving her clad in her black skull jeans and “I heart Nerds” t-shirt. She had even been too impatient to fiddle with her signature pig-tails this morning and went with a no muss ponytail.
“I swear to God Tony, if you came in here after I left and took…” she stopped at the end of the evidence counter and glared across the room to where Bert was sitting. Right…in front…of the Autopsy monitor. Shit. So much for getting him off my mind this morning. After staring for a moment and chewing on her lower lip, she took a deep breath and walked over. The single rose was visible from across the lab but the notecard had to be in hand for her to read the message it carried.
A wise man knows himself to be a fool. I am sorry beyond words. –D
Before she could try to push them back down, Abby felt the first tears roll down her cheeks. She didn’t know if it was sorrow, anger, frustration, maybe even relief driving them. Moving Bert and his two new accessories out of the monitors view, Abby wiped her cheeks with her hands, then transferred the few tears that had been shed to her jeans.
Alright Sciuto, pull your shit together.
Flipping on the monitor to Autopsy, she started a live feed. Abby wasn’t terribly surprised to see the exuberant face of Jimmy Palmer on the other end of the video feed.
“Hi Abby, what can I do for you this fine day?” Jimmy greeter her with the ear-to-ear smile that was his typical style.
“Hi Jimmy. Is Ducky in yet by chance?” she said with her best poker face, playing at a smile.
“Sorry Abby, Dr. Mallard has the day off…personal day. Should be back first thing Monday though!” he said trying to adjust his scrub cap without transferring the disinfectant to it from his gloves.
Faking a large smile to mirror Jimmy’s, Abby thanked him and turned off the video feed. Staring at the note and the rose, Abby decided that she needed to talk with Ducky…eight months of guessing and wondering was more than she could handle. She could break at any moment. Placing Bert back in his proper spot, Abby set to work on her computer.
Ducky had sold his Mother’s house and bought a brownstone on the outskirts of town. He had told Gibbs whom had told Abby, but Ducky never had a house warming and no one besides Jimmy knew where the new mystery house was actually located.
You cannot hide from me and my computers Donald. You may underestimate the information I can gain on you at any given point. Think you can get off-grid in this day and age…AHA! Thank you USPS for keeping change of address forms active for 90 days!
Abby phoned Director Vance for her approval to utilize some ‘sick time’ for her woman’s troubles that McGee would likely verify if need be. He approved it without question, typical man. Even mention your period and they all scatter like you have the plague. In the chaotic fury of turning off all of her equipment for the weekend, Abby hadn’t noticed Gibbs enter the lab until he caught her arms as she raced between machines.
“Woah, Abs, where’s the fire?” Gibbs asked in his calm, dry humor tone.
Abby, finally stopped, was released from his hold. Instead of talking and risking crying yet again, she handed him the 3x5 folded notecard. He held it at arm’s length and squinted to make out the words. Handing the folded note stock back to her, he simply gave her a hug and a peck on the cheek.
Ducky had just cleared the table from his breakfast, a pair of perfectly cooked Scotch eggs, two tattie scones, and his lovely breakfast tea blend. Mother would have enjoyed that…had she even been able to remember that Scotch eggs had been her favorite he sighed. Even on his day off, he was clad in his typical dress shoes, pressed trousers, light blue button down shirt, navy blue suspenders, all topped off with a blue bow-tie with red speckles. He had been raised in a time and place where you never left the house in anything less than your Sunday best. The knock at the door took him by surprise and made him jump, thankfully not dropping his plate into the sink in the process. You do know what a day off means Jethro, do you not? He removed his apron, throwing it over the back of a dining chair as he headed to answer the knocking.
“I swear Jethro, just because you never take time off from work doesn’t mean that the rest of us…” He trailed off as he opened the door and instantly recognized the 5’10” frame on his stoop. Even in flats, Abigail was a solid 3 inches taller than he. It didn’t help his resolve that with the door open, her scent assaulted his nostrils. It was a glorious scent at that; a scent that had plagued his memory for months now. He looked her up and down quickly, tying to assess her current state before locking his crisp blue eyes with her always vibrant green.
“Abigail…to… what do I owe… the pleasure?” Ducky fumbled through his words. He hated that the younger woman could tie him in knots; a sensation that he both adored and abhorred. In all his nearly eighty years and countless lovers, no one had ever shaken his foundations…no one until Abigail.
He watched her as she reached into the front left pocket of her jeans and retrieved the 3x5 card. Holding it up at eye level, she opened it, briefly, between the fingers in her left hand. She then slid the folded cardstock back into her pocket.
“We need to talk Ducky.”
The statement was short and to the point. Eight months of avoidance had met her fill of dancing around the issues, whatever the issues might be. She wasn’t entirely sure. Ducky stepped back from the doorway and motioned her in. Abby passed through the threshold, past him, and into his house, her ever intoxicating aroma attacking his senses yet again. He slid the door shut and redid the locks, staring at them a second or two more than necessary.
“You’re right my dear…we do need to talk.” He said into the door, building the courage to face her.
As he turned around he could see the tears already welling up behind the celestial olive green of her eyes. He swore he could feel a crack rip through his heart watching the hurt on her always expressive face. He opened his arms to shrug that he didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to progress. To his surprise, Abby ran to his open arms, wrapping hers around his shoulders, resting her head in the crook of his neck.
Without any regard for thought, Ducky wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her tight to him, not wanting to ever let go. He could both hear the wavering breaths beside his ear and feel the moisture from her tears dampening his shirt collar. Trying desperately to memorize every inch of contact between them in case it was the last hug he was ever granted, he pulled enough neural power together to try and speak.
“Abby.” His voice quavering slightly, “I…I don’t know what...” He was cut off before he could finish the thought.
“I had to get in one last hug Ducky. No matter how things play out from here, I had to have one more.” She added with an additional squeeze.
Even though he wished the hug would last for half an eternity, Ducky let her go and pulled himself away just far enough to look her in the eyes once again. Reaching up to cradle her face in his hands, he used his thumbs to wipe away the tears still spilling from her eyes. Amongst all the sadness, all the heartache, having her back in his arms made him smile.
It was the first smile Abby had received in the better part of a year. Even without knowing the cause or reason behind it, she couldn’t help but mirror it. However, their shared smile was cut unexpectedly short. Half a heartbeat later, their lips were pressed together, longing mixed with loneliness and wrapped in desire…it was precisely what both of them needed.
Ducky closed his eyes and pressed his lips to hers. She might have needed the hug but he needed the kiss. Needed to taste her, even if it too was for the last time. If, indeed, it was to be the last time, he damned well planned to make this one count! No more than two heartbeats after he pressed his lips to hers, his tongue pleaded for entrance from her ebony shaded lips. A few begging passes was all it took before her mouth opened for him and their tongues danced with each other. With one smooth motion, he moved his left hand from her cheek to her waist and spun them so that her back was now against the door. Adding just enough force to hold her against the door, Ducky furthered his assault on her eager mouth, nipping the tip of her tongue and chewing, ever so slightly, on her bottom lip. He eventually released it back to her as a gravelly moan escaped her parted lips.
As quickly as it started, it was ended. Ducky pulled himself back from her glorious mouth after a final, parting taste. Removing his kerchief from his back pocket, he wiped the remaining lipstick from Abby’s lips and surrounding skin with the gentlest of care. When he had finished, he turned it on himself to remove the smears he could easily feel. Leaning up from the door, Abby guided his hand to a spot he missed over his left upper lip. The smile returned. For the first time in months, she felt wonderful.
“I thought that black wasn’t your shade, Doctor?” she teased, the final few tears blinked back into submission as she laughed.
Ducky grinned too. Like Abby, it had been many months since he had felt a reason to do so. With a chuckle, he straightened his spectacles and spoke. “It might not be…but you, my dear, most certainly are!”
Ducky returned his kerchief to its proper pocket. Helping Abby out of her jacket without even asking, she willingly let him slide it off her shoulders and hang it in the entryway. Returning a hand to her waist, Ducky used just enough pressure to guide her towards the lounge room.
“Come, my dear,” He said… “We have much to discuss.”