Leroy Jethro Gibbs quietly entered the lab. He'd heard so much about the new lab rat he found himself eager to meet her; not that he would ever admit that to anyone. He'd seen her from afar, of course; she was impossible to miss, her gothic style made her stand out in the otherwise staid professionalism of the Navy Yard. Not that her eccentricity had stopped anyone from hiring her, her professional qualifications far outweighed anything else about her. She was known to have a brilliant scientific mind and NCIS was lucky to have her. You'd never know it to look at her but Gibbs had known since he was a boy never to judge by appearances.
Gibbs stared at the woman he'd heard so much about in the short time since she had started. Looking at her back as she faced her computer, he got his first close-up view of her. With the lab coat on, the effect was muted. Two black, braided pigtails framed either side of her pale, almost milky cheeks. Bright fire engine red platform boots offset the long, white lab coat. Gibbs eyes roamed from her feet to her head, realizing how tall she was. With the boots on, she would easily look him in the eye.
She hadn't yet seen him so he took a moment to watch her work; she focused on the screen in front of her, intermittently typing something in and waiting for more information to pop up on the screen. There was an air of confidence in her work. Her movements were efficient, competent and focused. Clearly, a professional no matter what she wore.
Finally, he cleared his throat. "Ms. Sciuto?"
She wheeled around, startled out of her reverie. As Gibbs made eye contact, he found himself taken aback by her clear, bright and cheerful eyes. He saw her eyes roam him up and down over a split second and a smile lit up her face. "Oh…hi. I hadn't heard you come in," she studied him for a moment. "Who are you?"
He couldn't help but smile back and as his face stretched to accommodate the smile, he realized he hadn't smiled much recently. "Gibbs."
"Gibbs?" she repeated as though it wasn't nearly enough information.
"Leroy Jethro Gibbs." He clarified.
Abby laughed; a happy, pleasant sound and he waited for her reaction, curious, despite himself, on what she'd say next. "Leroy Jethro? That's straight out of Beverly Hillbillies!"
Gibbs rolled his eyes but didn't hide his amusement. He'd heard it before but coming from her, so lighthearted and amused, he found he didn't mind. Something in him already responded to her warmth. He hadn't felt that in a long time.
Abby only remained silent for a handful of seconds. "Okay, Gibbs, word of advice…don't sneak up on me like that! I could've been startled into fight or flight and I'm more inclined to fight and then I might've accidentally killed you." She rolled her eyes and shuddered, "I wouldn't do well in prison…so not my scene…and then I would have been forced to hide the evidence. Just not worth it, okay?"
Gibbs smile turned into a full-on laugh. "I'm a trained Marine. I wouldn't go down without a fight." He realized he was straightening…posturing, he amended, but it was true.
Abby raised an eyebrow in sardonic amusement, the smile still on her face. "Oh…so you think I've met my match huh?" Her smile changed to smirk. "Hmm, maybe so but I never back down from a challenge and I don't give up without a fight. Got it?"
Gibbs shifted uncomfortably. He felt the charge in the air at her words and he didn't know what to make of it. For a moment, he felt like she was flirting but the look on her face looked like teasing of a different kind. He wasn't quite sure what to do with that but he liked her already and her fun-loving side won. "Got it."
"Good then. Okay, Gibbs, at your service, Sir!" She clicked her heels together and stood up straight and executed a perfect military salute that would have made any drill sergeant proud.
Gibbs laughed in spite of himself. "Don't call me, Sir, Ms. Sciuto. Just Gibbs. Petty Officer Reginald Smythe. Ballistics."
Upon, hearing the name, all humor faded and Abby was back to science mode though the amusement was still in her eyes. "It was 22-caliber. Bring me the weapon and I can match it."
"Working on it. That it?"
"The residue was talcum powder."
Gibbs frowned at this. "Talcum powder…can you find out if any of the employees at the warehouse had kids?"
Abby smirked. "Two of them have babies and three more have kids under the age of 6. Of course, baby powder is useful for people at any age but most likely with small children."
"Yeah, got it."
"If none of them turn out to be your guy, I might have a couple of other ideas."
"Well, talcum powder has a lot of uses beyond children though that's the most common; just saying, if the employees with kids don't turn out to be the one you're looking for, the powder isn't a dead end but ruling out the most common will make it easier to narrow down the less common." She handed him the list of names of employees with the young children.
He took the list and stood there, waiting. Abby stood there looking at him, staring into his eyes, waiting for him to speak. He stood there in stoic silence for a moment looking at her, surreptitiously taking in the attire he could see under her lab coat. A black mini skirt with spider webs, a black t-shirt with words on it though the only thing he could make out was -ENCE which he suspected might be 'science' but he couldn't tell for sure.
"I don't have anything else for you, Gibbs. Still processing the rest."
Gibbs turned around and made it for the door.
"Wait just a second, Buster!"
Gibbs stopped and turned again, his eyes set in a glare.
"Oh no, you don't get to glare at me. This is my lab, my turf, my rules. I heard all about you and your rules, but these are my rules right now. Rule number 1, never ever lie to Abby. Rule 2, no Caf-Pow means I'm not happy and you always want Abby to be happy."
Gibbs nodded curtly. "Make me happy and get me this dirt bag, you get Caf-Pow." He turned around and walked out before she could respond.
He was almost to the elevator when he heard her yell, "That's not the way this works!"
He smirked as he got on the elevator and chose his floor. They were going to get along just fine.
Gibbs got off on the floor of the bullpen and Stan looked up as Gibbs set the list down on his desk. "Run these. Ms. Sciuto identified talcum powder at the scene. These are all the ones who have young children or babies. If they don't turn out, she might have more ideas."
Stan nodded taking the list. "She's something else, isn't she?"
Gibbs, normally stern and abrupt broke out into a smile, chuckling at the memory. "Yep."
Stan, upon seeing the smile, couldn't help but smile back, one of the very few times he'd ever seen Gibbs smile. "Heard that half the guys have already asked her out."
Gibbs snorted but didn't respond. That was no surprise.
"Coughlin was one of them."
This got Gibbs' attention and his head jerked over at him with a start. "Jim Coughlin? You're sure?" Gibbs' tone turned dangerous.
"What'd she say?"
"He said she said yes. Seemed smug about it."
"The hell he will," Gibbs growled and headed to the elevator, making a note to buy Stan a cup of coffee later. Stan didn't often share gossip with him but this time he was grateful for it.
Twenty minutes later he showed up in the lab and closed the door. He set the large Caf-Pow on the work station, his face set in stony displeasure. Abby looked up with a start. "Gibbs! You did it again! You snuck up on me. Don't do that! You scared the crap out of me. You…" She now noticed the expression on his face and stopped, staring at him. She took a step backward, her pupils dilated with fear.
Gibbs voice was quiet but clearly, he was a man on a mission. "Coughlin will be calling you in the next half an hour to cancel your date. Let him off the hook easy. Don't ask him why. Don't mention rescheduling."
Abby blinked once, twice, her eyes big and round. "But…wh-why?"
"Because I don't like the guy." He started to turn out the door but Abby reached out and grabbed his arm.
"Why? Tell me why!" she demanded, her pale face looked even paler but brooking no argument.
Gibbs huffed. "Guy is a father of a 3-month old and he left his wife two months ago. He's asked out every single woman in the building and I've seen him hit on other women at the coffee shop and at the restaurant. You deserve better." He turned to leave again.
There was a slight pause and he almost made it to the door. "Wait a second, Gibbs. Please…" He stopped and turned again and she had big puppy dog eyes and a sad but sweet look on her face. "You…told him to cancel the date with me?"
"You were worried about me?"
He nodded again.
"Why? You hardly know me."
"Your rule 1 synched with my rule 1."
"What's your rule 1?"
"Never screw over your partner."
Abby looked startled and a little confused. "We're partners?"
"Can't catch bad guys without you, Ms. Sciuto. That makes you my partner."
It took only a second but the smile that lit up her face could've melted steel. "Okay then, partner. First thing…call me Abby. Second, find me more evidence and I will find your dirt bag."
"Working on it," Gibbs smiled then and as he turned, the phone rang. He stopped and raised an eyebrow at her as she looked at the caller ID. She nodded a confirmation at him and he waited.
"This is Abby," she answered. "Oh, hi Jim. What's up?" She was silent for long seconds as she listened. "Oh, well that's okay. I understand. Job comes first." Another shorter silence. "Mmhmm, yeah, that's fine. Good luck on your case…bye." She hung up and set the phone down. "Done."
Gibbs nodded and turned once again to leave.
She smiled at the nickname. "Thanks."
Gibbs stood there a second before he spoke. "See if there's any DNA in that talc residue, will you? If it had touched skin we might get a profile."
"It's already running. I did that first. Gonna take a while for results but it's running."
"Call me." He pointed to the Caf-Pow as he turned again and this time made it out of the lab.
"You remembered!" He heard her exclaim excitedly as the doors swished open.
Once Gibbs was on the elevator and it started moving, he hit the emergency stop. "Wow!" he said quietly to the empty box. He took a moment to gather his wits. She was beautiful, super smart, already anticipated without even being told and she had rules. Okay, he didn't really care much for tattoos on women but on her…it was completely different. Something about her had inspired his protective instincts. Despite being one of the tallest women he had ever seen, there was something about her - a little vulnerable, a lot of sweetness but she also didn't put up with any crap. He respected her on their first meeting but finding out that Coughlin sweet-talked her into a date…that wasn't gonna happen…not on his watch. It had only taken his signature glare and a few terse words to convince him to cancel and stay away from her. Coughlin wasn't fit to lace her platform boots.
He turned on the elevator again and went to get coffee, picking up one for Stan too. His gut relaxed now that he knew that date was cancelled. As he returned to the bullpen, he set the coffee on Stan's desk and the man looked so surprised he almost knocked it over.
"Boss?" Stan said, puzzled by the generosity.
For once, Gibbs looked directly into Stan's eyes. "Abby's date cancelled." He walked back to his desk but not before he saw the little smile on Stan's face.
He smirked a little to himself as he thought about how she stood up to him. Few women and even fewer men had the guts to do that but she was no ordinary woman. She was going to be a firecracker…he could tell that already. If he was about ten years younger…
He slammed the door on that thought. He was not going there. Rule 12 was established for a reason plus he was too old for her and letting her into a train wreck of his life…she was too good for that. The fact that Stephanie wasn't intimidated…
He smiled at the thought of Stephanie. She'd accepted another date with him and he looked forward to it. This would make the third and he had high hopes this time it was going to work.
He heard Stan on the phone as he made calls checking on the background of one of the names on the list and he looked up in time to see one of the guys from one of the other teams walk by with a Caf-Pow. That on top of the one he just brought her. He smirked to himself. Everyone wanted her on their good side. She obviously drank Caf-Pow the way he chugged coffee. He chuckled despite himself and was glad Stan was too preoccupied on the phone to notice. As hyper as she seemed to be without one and who knew how many she had already had…he was going to have to monitor that…he wondered if she'd turn to chaos.
Gibbs smiled to himself and then typed in a search and pulled up what he could find on her. Just the papers she had published already in professional journals was astounding. He found up one that interested him and started to read, skimming quickly because he needed to get back to the case but wanted an idea of her professional qualifications. For all her rambling in conversation, her paper was interesting, informative but concise and to the point. Everything that should be included was there and nothing extraneous. He made a mental note to read all of her papers. She was smart, brilliant even. He could learn a lot from her.
His desk phone rang, interrupting his thoughts. "Gibbs."
"Oh good, you're at your desk. Forgot to get your cell number. Come to the lab. I got something."
A few minutes later, he re-entered the lab as though he owned the place though they both knew better. "Abs? Got my DNA?"
Abby rolled her eyes. "Gibbs," she drew out his name in exasperation. "DNA takes time. It's only been running for a few hours. I went through some of the fabric scraps and I got a match to the fabric scraps. It's a match to the heavy woolen coats that the employees use to handle the frozen food. Only one of those guys has a kid, Gibbs. You're looking for Daniel Franklin. He dropped out of boot camp…he served at the same time as Petty Officer Smythe." She handed him a post-it note. "There's his address."
"That's good work, Abs." He leaned in and kissed her cheek before taking off.
"Anytime, partner," she said softly, a happy grin lighting up her face. "And you are so going to buy me dinner once you wrap up this case," she murmured as she heard the ding of the elevator.
Gibbs' first impression of Abby. This is #1 in the Dark Light series.
Challenges: First Impressions Challenge
Challenges: First Impressions Challenge
Series: Dark Light
Thanks to DeepBlueJoy for her beta services.
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