I'm Not Sorry, chapter 4 & 5
Title: I’m Not Sorry (chapter 4)
Disclaimer: NCIS doesn’t belong to me. If it did, certain things would be different. :)
Abby drove home from the Georgetown University OB/GYN clinic later that afternoon, the despair of the morning almost completely replaced by euphoria. Seeing the ultrasound of her developing baby had wiped away all traces of uncertainty. She was so excited that she wished she could do cartwheels all the way home.
The ginger lozenges had already begun to ease the nausea, and she had picked up a bottle of prenatal vitamins at the hospital’s pharmacy. Her only regret was Dr. Cornwall’s insistence that she give up caffeine – no more Caf-Pow! “I need my caffeine!” she whined to Bert, who was riding in the passenger seat of the hearse. His response was a comforting fart-sound when she poked him.
As she turned into the parking lot of her apartment complex, she wondered where she might be able to find “Abby-style” maternity clothes. There was no way she was wearing those flowery tent dresses! So intent were her thoughts that she completely missed the familiar car parked next to her usual spot. She climbed out of the car, grabbed Bert and her bag from work, and stuffed the ultrasound and the vitamins inside the bag.
Gibbs had spent several hours driving around the outskirts of D.C., trying to decide how he would approach Abby. Thinking over the last two months, he realized that little had changed at work, but she had not visited him at home since that one night. ‘How did I not notice?’ he asked himself. Her regular routine was to show up at least once a week. Probably he knew, somewhere in his subconscious, why she wasn’t there, but didn’t want to recognize it.
Yet another reason for the pangs of guilt assaulting his gut. In spite of what Jen said, he didn’t see how Abby could possibly forgive him for such a violation.
Halfway through the drive he began to imagine what it would be like to have Abby with him all the time – sharing his bed with her, waking up beside her, knowing she would be there every time he returned from a difficult case. And the baby – he smiled as he pictured Abby heavily pregnant, gripping his hand tightly as the labor pains crashed through her body. Then when he was handed the baby for the first time…
His mind betrayed him, flashing a memory of Kelly’s birth into his consciousness. He gasped and slammed on the brakes, barely hearing the insistent honking behind him. The pain was severe but he still heard Jen’s voice in his head, ‘You have a family now.’
‘I have a family… again.’ The thought both terrified and thrilled him. He had promised Jen he wouldn’t run away, and what’s more, he didn’t really want to. He loved Abby far too much to leave her now.
Despite the fear and the guilt, he had to try.
Turning towards the building, Abby saw the figure leaning against the next car, his expression unreadable. “Gibbs!” she squeaked, dropping Bert and her bag. She wasn’t sure whether to be happy to see him or nervous. “What are you doing here?”
He walked slowly towards her, watching intently for any signs of fear in her expression. “We need to talk, Abbs,” he said, quietly.
“I know,” she whispered, hugging herself and shivering slightly.
“Are you cold?” He stopped about three feet from where she was standing.
“Yes. No. I mean, I don’t know.”
“The wind is blowing pretty hard. May I give you my coat?”
She recognized that he was being very careful not to cross any boundaries. That meant the director had talked to him. But how did he take it? She couldn’t tell. “Yes, please.”
He moved closer, still watching her eyes, and held out the coat.
“Will you put it on me?” she asked softly.
“Are you sure?”
Abby knew the question wasn’t really about the coat. Gibbs had a way of speaking volumes with only a few words and his eyes. She half-turned and bent down for a moment.
“I’m sure,” she said, standing up and handing him the ultrasound. She stood looking at him uncertainly, with her head down slightly and hands clasped behind her.
He gazed in wonder at the image, the arrows marking ‘head’ and ‘arm’, the ‘A. Sciuto – 9 weeks’ at the top. When he finally looked at her again, she could see his eyes were moist. “Abby, I am so sorry,” he murmured.
“You’re sorry?” she asked with a tinge of hurt. “Why, Gibbs? You don’t want a child? Or is it me you don’t want?”
“No, no, no Abby! That’s not what I mean at all.” The anguish was so clear on his face that she moved closer and embraced him tightly.
“Tell me what you mean then,” she sobbed against his shoulder.
He wrapped his arms around her, laying his cheek on the top of her head. “I should not have done this to you, I should have listened, I’m so sorry I didn’t listen…” His voice broke and she could feel his sharp intake of breath, followed by an attempt to swallow the huge lump in his throat.
“Gibbs, Gibbs.” Abby pulled her head away from his, then tenderly placed her hands on the sides of his head. “Listen to me now. I’m not sorry.”
“No, I’m not sorry at all! Do you have any idea how long I have been in love with you? I have kissed you, dressed up for you, joked and flirted, called you ‘silver-haired fox’, ‘wonderful wizard’, and ‘God’ even, and I know you probably thought I was just kidding, but I wasn’t. I wanted you so much that night –“
“Then why did you say no?”
“Because you were drunk, Gibbs, and I was afraid that that was the only reason you were doing it. I thought you were just, you know, losing your inhibitions and there was no real feeling behind it. Or maybe it was because you needed a distraction. I would have done that for you if you asked, but I didn’t know what your intentions really were, so I –“
“Shh.” He pressed a finger against her lips to stop her nervous babbling. “How could you not know that I love you, Abbs?”
“You never told me,” she answered, almost inaudibly.
“Well, listen carefully.” He pulled her closer, his lips so close to her ear that she could feel the warmth of his breath. “I love you, Abby. I love you very much. I don’t want to live without you or our child.” He pressed his lips against her ear, then slid them across her cheek until they met her lips. The kiss was gentle and sweet and neither wanted it to end.
Finally Abby pulled away just enough to separate them and said secretively, “Gibbs, you know what?”
He looked puzzled. “What?”
“We’re standing in a parking lot.”
He chuckled a bit. “That we are. Should we go inside?”
“I think we should.”
Title: I’m Not Sorry (chapter 4.5)
Disclaimer: NCIS doesn’t belong to me. If it did, certain things would be different. :)
“Have you ever wanted to sleep in my coffin?” Abby asked thoughtfully, as they climbed the steps to her third floor apartment.
He chuckled. “What makes you think I haven’t?”
She stopped suddenly on the step, forcing him to grab the banister to keep his balance. “When?” she asked suspiciously. “I think I would remember that.”
Gibbs grinned, pushing on the small of her back to encourage her to keep moving. “Do you think I didn’t try it out before I gave it to you? I had to make sure it was comfortable enough for you.”
“Ooooh, Gibbs! That’s so sweet! Remind me to hug you when we get upstairs.”
“Abbs, believe me, there will be more than hugging. Just a few more steps now.” He smacked her lightly on the fanny and she giggled as she unlocked the door.
“Gibbs! I can still kill you --” He closed and locked the door behind him, then took her bag and Bert and set them on the velveteen sofa.
“C’mere,” he murmured, and she melted into his embrace. For an eternity they just stood there, feeling the closeness both had wanted for so long.
Finally she stepped back just enough to see the tenderness in his blue eyes. “Gibbs, I love you!” She signed the words then started to move closer again but he stopped her with his hand, causing her to look at him with curiosity but with no fear, he was happy to see.
“Not Gibbs. Jethro.” As he spoke his first name, he saluted and simultaneously formed a ‘j’ with his right hand.
Abby chuckled. ”That’s not the name sign I use for you with my parents and my Deaf friends.”
Amused, he asked, ”What do you use?”
With the ‘g’ hand shape she smacked herself on the back of the head, grinning. He laughed outright. “Well, I suppose I deserve that.”
“But now I’ll think of a new one. Just for me. No one else can have it.”
He smiled, knowing what she meant by that. “You’re right, Abbs. No one else can have me but you. And you’re mine.” He pulled her close again, holding her even tighter than before.
“To have and to hold, from this day forward,” she whispered, one hand playing with the back of his shirt collar.
Startled, he raised his head from her shoulder. “Abbs, are you saying you want to get married?”
Did she want to get married? It had been an idle remark, but the thought of being “Mrs. L.J. Gibbs” was undeniably appealing. On the other hand, she would be the fifth Mrs. L.J. Gibbs. Maybe not so appealing. She smiled, a devilish glint in her eye. “Right now I just want the wedding night.”
He cocked an eyebrow at her, with a lopsided smile. “How about dinner first? And I want to know what the doctor said, too.”
She started to protest and pout, but she was getting hungry. “Take out? I don’t exactly look my best, Gi – Jethro.”
“Actually, you look amazing.”
“Well, I do look better now but you should have seen me this morning.” She shuddered slightly. “Ask the Director. What kind of food should we get?” They walked into the kitchen where an ornate brass frame surrounded a black cork board that was almost covered with take out menus. “How about
“Just no lamb brains this time,” he said with a pat on her back. She grinned and signed her agreement. He walked into the living area and sat on the sofa, taking out the ultrasound again just to stare at it. A child would be in his life again – his child, which was even more emotionally significant than the children he met in his job. He was still too stunned to really sort out his feelings; he had only scratched the surface so far. The feelings his mind had tried twice to make him forget ran so deep that it would take time, effort, and most importantly Abby’s love, to get him through.
Her voice on the phone brought him back; he heard her ordering two types of karahi as well as seekh and chicken kebabs. “Abbs!” he called, returning to the kitchen.
“Yes?” she asked innocently, hanging up the phone.
“That karahi is enough for two or three people by itself. Why did you order two, plus kebabs on top of that?”
She batted her eyelashes at him and smirked. “I’m eating for two now, remember? Maybe three,” she teased.
“You mean – did the doctor say --“ He couldn’t help letting his jaw drop open; a man can only take so many shocks in one day.
“No, Jethro, just kidding. But he did tell me I needed a little more meat on my bones, given my height.”
He steered her towards the door. “Tell me everything he said while we’re driving.”
For awhile she was silent as they drove. He wanted to ask her again, but knew that, like himself, Abby revealed her thoughts only when she was ready. Of course, once she was ready, there was no stopping her… The thought brought a little smile to his face, and he glanced over at her. Abby had a worried look and that ended his smiling. “What’s wrong, Abbs?” he asked, taking her hand in his and driving one-handed. “Did the doctor say something about the baby?”
She glanced briefly at him and held tighter to his hand. “Gi- Jethro, sorry, you know that since my parents were both born deaf and I have a deaf sister –“
“There is an increased chance that our child will be deaf or hard of hearing,” he finished.
“I know.” He said it in such an offhand manner that she turned to stare at him.
“You don’t care?”
He parked the car in the lot at Ravi Kabob and pulled out the keys before answering. “I’m not worried about it, if that’s what you mean. I’d rather it didn’t happen, because the world is not kind to anyone who is different. But look at your parents – look at you – and we both sign –“
“Your signing stinks, Gibbs,” she laughed. “You think in English too much.”
He just smiled, putting an arm around her and kissing her forehead. “I can get better. I will get better. I have the ultimate faith in your teaching skills, Abbs – just as I do in everything else about you.”
Two hours later they sat on Abby’s sofa, a bit of tension having fallen over them as they ate. Abby was restless and kept changing position as she babbled on about her vitamin pills and why ginger was good for nausea and the fact that she would probably throw up the next morning anyway and so he’d better be prepared. He knew she was nervous and he was fairly sure why.
“Abbs,” he stopped her, in the middle of a discourse on the trials and tribulations of pregnancy.
“We need to talk about what happened.”
“What is there to talk about? I forgive you; you know that, right?”
“Yes, but we need to talk it out. Tell me what you remember.”
She looked at the floor, sitting knees together and feet pointed in like a child. “I don’t want to, Gibbs.”
“That’s why we have to, Abbs. I know it’s hard, but we have to.”
She knew he was right. It had to be faced, and it must be done before anything else could happen between them. She thought about how to begin.
He waited, wanting to give her time. Not unlimited time, but some. Finally she spoke.
“Why were you upset that day?” She looked at him straight in the eyes and her cheeks glistened.
He wanted so badly to wipe away her tears and pull her close to him, but this was not the time. “That morning I received an email from one of
“It was her birthday? Oh, Jethro, you could have just told me…”
“I could have, Abby? You mean, like you could have told me about Michael Mawher, and you could have told me –“ He stopped himself and took a deep breath, trying to calm his anger down. He knew it wasn’t really Abby he was angry at.
“Are you angry at yourself?” Her question was innocent and wise at the same time.
“Do ya’ think, Abby?” he shouted. He stood up and began to pace. “I have screwed up every damn relationship I have ever been in. If I can’t push them away by being distant and hiding in my basement, I walk away. Look what happened when I left Shannon and Kelly. They died, Abby!” She said nothing, just nodded and listened. “Then I go and do the unthinkable – raping the woman who loves me more than anyone else.” She flinched at the harsh word, and a tear ran down her cheek, but she kept quiet. “How can I live with myself, Abby? What reason do I have to think that anything will be different this time? Maybe I am incapable of love, maybe I don’t deserve love. I’m afraid that I will do the same things all over again and that this will be a disaster just like every other relationship I’ve ever had.”
“Maybe it will be a disaster.” She gazed at him thoughtfully, waiting for his response, while he stood there in shock.
He sat back down and took her hands in his. “No, no, Abbs. It won’t be. Not for you. I’m not sure what I need to do differently, but I’m going to find out.” His voice was firm and decisive again, unlike the uncertainty he expressed only minutes before. “This will work, because it’s my last chance and I’m not going to blow it. I --”
When he saw her mouth begin to curve into a smile, he realized that she had used his own technique on him. “You got me, Abby. You got me right out of that spiral of guilt. Thank you.”
“I learned from the master,” she replied, embracing him tightly. “Now, do you still want me to tell you what I remember?”
“Not really,” he replied, absently tracing circles on her back. “Wasn’t there mention of a wedding night?”
“There was,” she replied against his neck. She gently pressed her warm lips against his skin, and he felt the burning of desire almost immediately. “Where?”
“Not in the coffin,” he chuckled as he pulled up her shirt so he could touch her skin. “I’m not McGee.”
“Guest bedroom, then, my silver-haired fox. You know the way.”