thehappyfangirl: (Abby - quirk)
[personal profile] thehappyfangirl
Title: Resting Place
Author: [ profile] onlyonechoice
Rating: PG for now :)
Spoilers: Mild ones for Outlaws and In-Laws (7.06) and Faith (7.10)
Disclaimer: Not mine, I swear!
Author's Note: Written for [ profile] alesia027 for the [ profile] gaficathon - sorry it took me so long! Bonnie wanted: 'a happy ending, a good bit of romance, Bert the hippo'. She doesn't want 'a whimpy Abby, or Gibbs/other'

Thanks to [ profile] piwrit_queen for the beta :) and to my readers for their patience!

Summary: Gibbs offers to help Abby in a time of very odd need


Abby had managed to salvage the antique wrought-iron handles from her original coffin, and they lay on the workbench for when they could be fastened to the new one. Past meets present for future comfort, Abby said, trailing her finger along the handles.

Gibbs was still wrapping his head around the 'comfort' aspect of it to agree with her. It didn't help that smelling sawdust in her hair on movie nights, seeing her in his t-shirts when they worked downstairs and having her as more of a full-time aspect of his life made him more and more reluctant to picture her ever lying in that coffin for its intended purpose.

The more the coffin took shape, the harder Gibbs found it to go down to the basement to work on it with her. He tried not to let his feelings force a slowdown in the task, but the only thing that took him down those stairs, most of the time, was Abby's obvious enthusiasm for making the coffin instead of having to search high and low for just the right one. It took more than most people had in them to resist that smile, and while he had more exposure, he had yet to be desensitized.

He did find himself taking more frequent breaks than he'd ever done when working on his boats or the toys for the kids last Christmas, but Abby didn't seem to notice or, if she did, mind when she found herself alone with her task.

For all of that, however, he did find himself smiling more, taking comfort in cooking for both of them and continuing the puttering that made his house feel like a home instead of a place for him to store his stuff. The last time he'd felt this comfortable at home...

Well, it'd been a while.

Today he was getting lunch ready out back while Abby stroked the sander along the ebony curves they'd layered onto the lid of the coffin. She didn't need him to be there for that, and they both needed to eat, right?

He looked down in surprise when his phone buzzed at his hip; he'd started putting the phone on vibrate in the morning when he rose before her, and he must have forgotten to turn up the volume. For someone who slept as seldom as he'd seen during her stay, he didn't want to wake her any more than was absolutely necessary.

He glanced at the caller ID and smiled, flipping the phone open with one hand while the other flipped the burgers on the grill. "Hey...Jack."

"Leroy! Hope I'm not interrupting anything." He could always hear the smile in his father's voice, and since they'd reconnected it always made him smile in return, at least when he wasn't at work or around the team.

"Just making something to eat," he said, pressing some of the grease out of his burger. Thankfully, they both liked them pink in the middle, despite the vaguely nauseating things Abby had told him lurked in undercooked meat. "How about you?"

"Oh, just sittin' on the porch." Gibbs heard the creak of his chair in the background. "The weather's warming up nice out here, was wondering if you wanted to come visit a few days. Fish are bitin' pretty good at our old spot."

"I'll see what I can do. Got some things going on here--"


He looked up to see Abby standing at the back door, grinning at him. "Smelled the burgers from downstairs! Toasted buns for me, okay? We'll eat out here today? I'll throw some frozen fries in the oven."

Gibbs lifted the spatula with a smile of his own and nodded, turning to show her he was on the phone. She smiled and signed, Sorry! Shout when you're done, and retreated back inside, leaving him with what he knew was a very curious father on the other end of the line.

"You sure I'm not interrupting anything, son?" This time he heard much more than a smile in Jack's voice. "That voice sounded a little familiar."

"Abby's apartment flooded a while ago, Dad." He tried to concentrate on the burgers, and slid one of the buns on the grill to toast for her. "She's staying here until things are ready for her to go back."

"That right?" Jack knew when he had the conversational upper hand, and pressed it with another grin he could hear. "She get you out of that basement yet?"

"Actually, she's in it more often than I am these days. We're...building some furniture that got damaged in the flood." Jack didn't need to know about the coffin. It wasn't as if he'd have to explain it after too much longer, right? Abby would be back in her apartment whenever the coffin was ready to take back, which led to him thinking exactly how they would need to transport it.

He was not going to rent a hearse for the damned thing.

"Sounds cozy is what it sounds like, Leroy. Something I should know before I have to come out there again?"

"Always good to hear from you, Jack. Soup's on." Gibbs slid the toasted bun back onto the plate before it scorched.

"Fries'll be at least twenty minutes, but if you're ready to get back to your lady friend--"

"That'll do, Dad. I'll call you later."

Lunch tasted better when eaten outside, and Abby made him promise to tell Jack hello when he talked to him next.

"I'm going out tonight," she said as they nibbled the last of the fries. "I have tickets to Android Lust with some friends from school. I'll try not to be back too late." She grinned at him. "Want me to bring you a t-shirt? Based on the stuff I've been wearing your wardrobe could use a little updating--"

"Remember when I said that I wouldn't slap you on the head, Abbs?" He softened the mock-rebuke with a smile.

"Gibbs, you are such a tease!." Her eyes flashed with amusement and she gathered up the paper plates and condiments to clear the table. "Can you take a look at the coffin today? I think it's ready to be sealed and varnished, and that's not something I want to guess on."

"I'll take a look at it." It's important to her and she doesn't look at these things like you do, Marine. Man up.

Abby's kiss before she went inside helped ease the idea into his mind, yet he still waited until she was gone to head downstairs and take the promised look.

She'd done a fantastic job sanding; he smoothed his hands along every surface, every edge, without a single catch or splinter. When he took a knee to check the edges, everything was level and ready. If he started to varnish it tonight, it would be ready for the second coat and sealant by tomorrow morning. He checked his watch and looked up at the top of the stairs, then looked around for a brush and the can they'd bought a few days ago.

It wasn't as if he was going to bed until she was home.

He'd finished the main part of the coffin and had started on the lid when his phone rang again.

"Is this a bad time, Leroy? Don't want to interrupt anything if you two are--"

"Nothing to interrupt," Gibbs dropped the brush into the jar of thinner and rubbed the back of his neck. "Abby's staying here until her place is fixed, like I said."

"I see," Gibbs once again heard the smile in his voice. "And you two are doing a little woodworking these days?"


"Seems to me you and Shannon got up to a little woodworking when you were first--"

"DAD!" Gibbs felt the heat rise in his face, and he wasn't sure if it was from irritation or embarrassment. Haven't talked in twenty years and he can still hit those buttons.

"Okay, it's not like that," Jack gruffed. "Probably one of those rules that Tony asked about when you came to town."

"He still has that sweater you gave him, y'know." Gibbs grasped at the change of subject and held onto it like a drowning man. "How are you doing? Still seeing that widow of yours? The one that makes the cookies?"

"Here and there," Jack said. "She's a heck of a woman, knows what my life's like these days and still wants to be part of it. Sounds a lot like your house guest."

Gibbs sank onto one of the chairs Abby had brought down to the basement, already craving a shot or two of bourbon. "Little old to be playing Cupid, isn't it?"

"And you're not getting any younger."

"Dad..." He slid his hand across his eyes. "Do we really need to do this?"

"After three marriages since you lost Shannon, seems like we should have done this a little sooner." Jack wasn't about to be distracted from this, and Gibbs wasn't about to hang up on his father. "Life's too short to be alone these days. Pretty sure you know that with how often you've been on the wrong end of a gun."

Gibbs managed to get Jack off the phone before he said anything he shouldn't; it did renew his motivation to finish the coat of sealant just so he could have the shots of bourbon he'd been wanting. At least it would help him get to sleep before Abby got home, as the conversation with Jack had made waiting up for her a dangerous gamble.

Even after the bourbon, he still ended up staring at the ceiling and listening for her car.

Life's too short to be alone these days. He'd been reminded of that so often through the years, but not when Jack had surmised.

No, it had been every time Abby had been the one in danger. Every time he'd seen her eyes bright with fear or grief or anger, every time he'd had to leave her on her own or force her to let him do his job alone, it reminded him.

And now, as he watched her move, confident and comfortable in his home, her smile calm and her strokes even as she sanded the wood smooth, the reminder happened daily. Every time he smelled her when she leaned over to snag whatever bit of the newspaper he'd finished reading, or when he saw her face devoid of the makeup she wore to work, that reminder didn't just hit him hard, it made his fingers twitch with the effort not to take her in his arms...

He threw his arm across his eyes and sighed. It was going to be a long night.

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