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NCIS: Worth Talking (Abby & Tony)

blueraccoon organized the NCIS Ficathon. I was given the following prompts:
All I'm asking is to be alive for once. - Vienna Teng

I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw. - William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Title: Worth Talking
Author: voleuse
Fandom: NCIS
Characters: Abby Sciuto & Tony DiNozzo
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: i set fire to the phone book.
Notes: Post-S2, spoilers for "Twilight"



It's Tony's hands that tip Abby off.

Usually, his nails are perfectly manicured, though he never, ever admits to having them done. Three weeks after the funeral, though, she asks him to hand her the other carton of tofu rad nah. When he passes over the empty box, she glances idly at his hand, then freezes. Looks closer, and sees ragged cuticles. Weird.

Tony clears his throat. "Abby?"

She grabs the proffered noodles, covers her pause with a grin. "Sorry. Thought I saw a piece of shrimp in there."

Tony returns his attention to the curry before him. "Nothing wrong with a little seafood, Abs."

"Do you know what shrimp eat, Tony?" She wrinkles her nose. "Ew."

"Your loss," he mumbles, through a mouthful of food.

When Gibbs storms in, as he's done for the last three weeks, spitting information and impatience like hail, Abby tunes him out for a second. Tilts her head, and watches Tony's face.

*


Of course something's up with Tony, Abby thinks. Something's up with all of them, how could something not be up with him?

She hates the way the line of his jaw has changed, since Kate died. Instead of shifting to accommodate his familiar, easy smile, Tony's jaw is set. Stern. Immobile when he isn't talking, and if courtesy dictates he smile, he does it tightly, his lips thin. The smile never reaches his eyes, never transforms him back into himself.

Sometimes she wonders what happened to the Tony she loves, the one that always had a joke to share with her, but when she catches glimpses of herself, she realizes she's stopped smiling, too. They all have.

This, she thinks, will not do.

*


Four weeks after the funeral, McGee comes down to the lab during lunch, bearing organic fajitas and Halo 2. Abby produces forks and an Xbox, and for half an hour they immerse themselves, muttering goads over the tin of the sound effects, snatching bites of food when they can.

The lab phone rings, startling Abby into provoking an ill-planned explosion. She yelps, then spins her chair around to grab the phone. "This better be good."

It's Ducky. Abby gestures to McGee, has him pack up the game and the trash while she confers.

When she sighs, hanging up the phone, McGee raises his eyebrows. "What's up?"

"No joy on the Baltimore autopsy." Abby swivels to her computer, opens up two windows to type in the results.

McGee curses, then settles in his chair beside her. Doesn't say anything.

She turns her head, but keeps typing. Purses her mouth and waits.

"So." He scratches behind his ear. "Tony's taking it kind of hard, I think."

Abby turns back to her monitor. "Yeah." She manages not to add duh, because she knows what he means. She also doesn't add, So am I. Instead, she lets him continue.

For a while, the only sound is the click of the mouse, the faint rattle of her keyboard. Then, finally: "I'm worried about him."

"Did you talk to him?" she asks. "What'd he say?"

McGee grimaces. "I wasn't--Tony didn't--" He shakes his head.

Abby bites her lip, stills her fingers. "I'll try."

McGee touches her elbow, smiles. He starts to say something, but then his cell rings.

When he answers, Abby can hear Gibbs shouting over the line.

Four weeks ago, that would have made her laugh.

Not anymore.

*


She finds Tony at home, and she's disappointed. She wanted to find him at a bar. Or a club, or a concert, or a restaurant. On a date, or out with his frat buddies.

Anywhere but at home.

He smells like aftershave and tequila when he opens the door, and she wants to give him a hug.

Instead she skips around him, through the door, and into his living room. There's an open box of pizza on the coffee table, and Space Cowboys is playing on the big screen TV. Abby helps herself to a slice, kicks back on the sofa.

"Hey," Tony says, dropping onto the sofa next to her.

Abby points her pizza at the screen. "Slumming, Tony?"

"I'm a completist," he replies. "How'd you know I was home?"

"I tried calling."

"And I didn't answer."

"I know," she says. "So I hacked into the GPS tracker in your car."

"You..." Tony frowns. "Is that legal?"

Abby shrugs. "What's an infringement of privacy among friends and coworkers?"

He snorts, grabs a bottle from the coffee table, and she notes the empty ones underneath.

She looks at him directly, he looks at her sidelong. "What?" he asks.

"Nothing," she responds.

He shrugs. "Okay."

"Whatever."

They watch the movie.

*


There's a break in the case the next day, but three nights later, she shows up on his doorstep again.

"Ever seen D.E.B.S.?" she greets him, patting him on the arm as she shoulders past.

He shuts the door. "Never heard of it." He shrugs. He's been shrugging a lot lately.

She smiles. "You'll probably hate it."

He does, but they watch it anyway.

When the credits finally roll, though, he's almost smiling, almost Tony, so Abby bites her lip and takes a deep breath.

"I miss her," she blurts out, because she can't think of a better opening.

Tony turns the TV off, stands up. "See you tomorrow, Abs."

His bedroom door clicks shut.

Abby turns off the lights, lets herself out.

*


The next morning, as Abby logs onto the database at work, a large cup of bubble tea appears at her elbow. She looks up.

Tony offers her a smile, the tight one that doesn't mean anything.

She looks at the tea, then up at him again. "If this is an apology, it's a pretty sucky one," she says. She takes the cup, takes a sip.

"Yeah, well." Tony drags a chair over and straddles it. He stares at the blinking cursor on her monitor. There are faint shadows under his eyes.

When he doesn't say anything more, Abby sets the tea down and gets to work. She answers her e-mail, logs the few files that have come in so far. There's a soil sample that needs analysis, so she runs it, faxes the results to the necessary parties.

Eventually, she runs out of things to do. She settles back in her chair, and swivels to face Tony. Raises an eyebrow.

After a long minute, he blinks, and whispers, "I miss her, too."

Abby reaches out, takes one of his hands in hers. She traces the shape of his nails with her fingers until she's blinked the tears from her eyes.

"Yeah," she whispers back. "I know."


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Tim Blackwell's nights. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Originally linked here.

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Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm thrilled you liked it. (And thanks for the rec!)
bantha_fodder
Jul. 12th, 2005 10:08 am (UTC)
Oooh. Nice.

Also, I choose to read into this that Kate was doing his nails. Or something. *g*
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:46 pm (UTC)
*g* Thanks!

I choose to read into this that Kate was doing his nails.

Awwwww. Now I'm even more sad about the finale. Tony will never get his nails done ever again!

thenewhope
Jul. 12th, 2005 11:34 am (UTC)
this is totally my favorite thing to've come from the ficathon. your Abby and Tony and McGee (and even Gibbs, with his tiny appearances) are all pitch perfect.

also, D.E.B.S. made me squee like a gay thing. ;)
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

D.E.B.S. made me squee like a gay thing.

Hee! I watched it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and LOVED it. Giggled the whole way through.
cbackson
Jul. 12th, 2005 01:48 pm (UTC)
Ohhh...so good. Sad and angry in a real way. No stupid "let's-go-get'm" crap.

Good for you.
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
azuriana
Jul. 12th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Here via Meyerlemon, my official enabler of all things great and shiny.

Very, very, very good. Almost enough to restore my faith in NCIS fic. Your characters are spot on and I'm particularly fond of your Tim. All in all, it felt like watching part of an actual episode and I can't think of a greater compliment for an author. Well done!
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
twoweevils
Jul. 12th, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC)
I only wish we would see this in an episode.

K.
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
Me, too.

Thanks!
thekatebeyond
Jul. 13th, 2005 01:21 am (UTC)
Lovely. This has a very wistful feel to it - sad but still light; it affects you but isn't painful to read. I really like that.
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
cukecumber
Jul. 14th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
The Abby/Tony relationship in this story is wonderful! Thanks for sharing it.
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
allhoneyboo
Jul. 15th, 2005 04:51 am (UTC)
I miss Kate.

Lovely story. :-)
voleuse
Jul. 19th, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
Me, too. *sigh*

Thanks!
teddibear
Aug. 26th, 2005 04:13 am (UTC)
*cries* that was such good Tony angst. Loved how Abby kept trying to be there for him. Awwww. They're so cute, like brother and sister. Poor Tony *hugs him* I think Kate's death is gonna hit him especially hard which we'll see in the first few eps or so. I can't wait. Also loved that line Abby said about infringing on their privacy. Too cute, and very Abby.

Nice job. :)
voleuse
Aug. 29th, 2005 05:42 pm (UTC)
I know! Poor Tony. It's going to tear him to pieces.

Thank you for the feedback!
katikat
Aug. 31st, 2005 07:00 pm (UTC)
A wonderful story! I love the relationship between Tony and Abby. Like brother and sister. Too bad that there aren't more stories like this one! Great. Really really great! :)
voleuse
Sep. 8th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it!
magnifica7
Nov. 13th, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC)
This, she thinks, will not do.

Your story does!

I love the way Abby is so *there* for Tony - despite her own feeling of loss!
moodfic
Nov. 28th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
aworldinside
Jan. 3rd, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC)
I just got pointed this way and I'm so glad I did. I love Tony and Abby interaction and this was wonderful. So them and so poingnat. Very well done. :)
voleuse
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it.
rhienelleth
Jan. 25th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
What a great follow-up to the finale last season. I loved how the show handled everyone's grief, but this just gives us that extra insight into their personal lives that the show usually skims past.

You should write lots and lots more NCIS fic. :) You have all the characters down so perfectly.
voleuse
Jan. 28th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you!
smackalalala
Sep. 1st, 2006 08:22 am (UTC)
So, this is like a year after the fact, but I was searching for Tony/Abby fic, and this one came up as a winner in an NCIS fanfic contest, so I knew it had to be good. (Plus, hello, it's on lj.) I loved this so much. It was real, and that's not something you see in fic a lot. I want you to write Tony/Abby for the show. It's a great fic.
moodfic
Sep. 5th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked the story.
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( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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