The second part of the Reconciliation Series.
The kids are worried.
An established relationship story.
Written: October 2006. Word count: 1,645.
From the Late Latin syzygia (a conjunction), from the Greek syzygos, which means yoke together. This word was recognized as English in 1847.
It is the shortest word in the English language to contain three ys; one of the longest not to contain a vowel; as well as the longest word in the English language from which no other words or phrases can be formed by rearranging its letters (i.e. the word can produce no anagrams).
It has a variety of meanings in various fields including, Astronomy, Gnosticism, Mathematics, Medicine, Poetry, Psychology, Zoology and Philosophy
This story uses the Philosophical meanings:
The Russian theologian/philosopher Vladimir Solovyov
2. The joining of two entities, without loss of identities.
Wordplay: The Philosophy, Art, and Science of Ambigrams, John Langdon.
"We have to do something." Abby spoke decisively. She looked at her coworkers, daring them to argue with her.
"So you keep saying, but do what, Abby?" Ziva demanded.
Abby threw up her hands and began to pace around her lab. "I don't know. But this isn't like them. They're so bitter around each other."
"I would say that bitchy covers it more accurately."
"I think Ziva's right, Abby." McGee spoke quietly as he looked at Abby.
Abby glared first at McGee and then at Ziva. However, she didn't argue; she couldn't. Like it or not, Ziva was correct.
"Dr. Mallard is very angry with Special Agent Gibbs." Jimmy spoke for the first time.
"And what would you know about it, Palmer?"
"Sorry." Tony even sounded apologetic, and he touched Jimmy's arm.
"I probably see them together more than any of you do, at least when they're not out at a crime scene."
"That's true. So go on, Jimmy, tell us, what have you noticed?" Abby smiled at him.
"It was when Agent Gibbs came back, really came back. We, Dr. Mallard and I, were down in Autopsy. Dr. Mallard seemed uptight; he kept watching the door. Finally Agent Gibbs came in, it was just as I was going through some questions with the Doctor for his exam. For a minute I thought everything was fine. Then Dr. Mallard said 'I was wondering when you'd come down and see me'. Agent Gibbs replied 'I was busy' and Dr. Mallard added 'Or avoiding me'."
"Wow! What did Gibbs say?"
"I don't know. I thought I'd better leave. So I went into the store cupboard. I couldn't hear their words, but Dr. Mallard in particular was angry whereas Agent Gibbs seemed defensive. And I could see them, they were really far apart and Dr. Mallard had his arms folded."
"See, and it was the same earlier today. You were all here, well not you, Jimmy, but the rest of you were. It was just after Gibbs had told me my computer was on fire; Ducky arrived and he suggested some passwords. Did you notice how they didn't use names, except when Gibbs called Ducky 'Dr. Mallard'? Gibbs never calls Ducky 'Dr. Mallard', unless he's worried about him. And they barely looked at one another, and they didn't go near to each other. And normally . . . " Abby broke off. "Well you know. You've all seen them. And the atmosphere . . . " Abby shivered.
"Do you think it has something to do with Gibbs leaving?"
"No, McGee, I think it has everything to do with Gibbs leaving. " Abby glared at McGee. She then added, more quietly, "And if they don't make up, Gibbs just might go back to Mexico."
"Maybe that's what Ducky's worried about." McGee spoke softly.
"But then why is he being so . . . so . . ." Abby couldn't find the word. "UnDucky-like," she suddenly said.
"Gibbs hasn't really been Gibbs since he came back; we've all noticed it. Tony and I were saying earlier that he's become mellower, more human. He even calls me Tim and he praises us."
"And he's stopped slapping me around the head. Which is nice, but -"
"It's not Gibbs." They all spoke in unison.
"Don't forget the mustache," Tony added. "That is so not Gibbs."
They all nodded.
"And Ducky isn't Ducky. Have you ever heard him snap at Gibbs? I mean really snap? Have you ever seen them not look at one another? Not stand close together? Not . . . Connect?"
"And what about Dr. Mallard's stories?"
"What about them, Palmer?"
"He hasn't told any."
Silence fell as they all looked at one another.
"Neither of them is them," Abby finally said. "They've got to make up. They need one another."
"Gibbs doesn't need anyone, Abby," Tony said.
"He needs Ducky." Abby spoke firmly, daring Tony to argue with her.
"Well there's nothing we can do."
"You would say that, Tony. You're just pissed because Gibbs came back and took his team back." Abby saw that everyone was looking at her in surprise. She didn't care; she loved Gibbs and Ducky, they were important to her. They were vital to her and to NCIS. Both of them were.
"Actually, I was offered -" Tony came to a sudden halt.
"Offered what, Tony?" Ziva asked.
Abby just looked at him, holding his gaze until he glanced away. "Tony. Tell us."
Tony shrugged. "Director Shepard offered me my own team. In Spain."
For a moment everyone was silent. They all stared at Tony and then at one another, each clearly willing the other to speak.
Finally Ziva broke the silence. "And why did you not take it?"
Tony looked at them all. Abby thought he wasn't going to answer. Then he glanced away, looked down at the floor, before looking up again. "Because I'm not ready to lead a team permanently. Okay. So I've admitted it. I'm not ready." He sounded defiant, daring anyone to say anything.
Silence again filled the room.
Then McGee said quietly, "I didn't mean what I said earlier, Tony." His face began to redden.
Abby glanced at him.
Tony squeezed McGee's shoulder. "I know you didn't, Tim. But it was true."
Once again they all stood in silence.
Abby was desperate to break it, but couldn't think how.
"I know," Jimmy suddenly said. They all, the relief clear on their faces, turned to look at him. "We could fix up some kind of date for them, for Special Agent Gibbs and Dr. Mallard," he clarified. "We wouldn't let them know they were meeting the other one." He beamed. "You know, a blind date."
"I doubt if either of them is in a mood to go on a date, blind or otherwise, Palmer."
"It doesn't have to be a date, date. Just get them both in the same place at the same time without letting them know the other'll be there."
"Or I could handcuff them together, like I did with Gibbs and me," Abby beamed. "And not let them have the key until they ki - talk," she corrected herself hurriedly. The entire team, well she wasn't certain about Ziva or Madam Director, knew about Gibbs and Ducky's 'more than just good friends' relationship, but it was never openly acknowledged, not even among themselves. And certainly not to Gibbs and Ducky.
"Don't think that's a good idea either, Abby. Think it might piss them off more."
Suddenly Abby said, "I know, Fornell."
"Fornell. Let's call him. He knows them both. He and Gibbs are friends. He got Gibbs back here. Maybe he can suggest something."
They all looked at one another.
"Well," Abby demanded. "Have any of you got a better idea?"
One by one they shook their heads.
"Right. I'll call him later."
Ziva suddenly spoke, her tone was quieter than usual, more hesitant, but nonetheless it carried more than a hint of the usual Ziva David confidence. "I do agree that there is something wrong between Gibbs and Dr. Mallard, but why can we not just leave them to sort it out for themselves? It's their lives."
Abby turned to her and glared. "Because, Officer David, they are our friends, as well as being part of the team. We're a family, all of us."
"We're like a community." Jimmy beamed.
Abby smiled. "Yes, Jimmy's right, we are. We're united."
"One for all and -"
This time Abby interrupted Jimmy. "And Gibbs and Ducky are the heads of the family, the community. Together we're stronger, without either Gibbs or Ducky, then we're less than we were." She put her hand over her mouth suddenly and grabbed Tony's arm. "I'm sorry, Tony," she said. "I didn't mean -"
Tony shook his head. "No worries, Abby." He grinned at her.
"And ignoring us, the team, Gibbs and Ducky are . . ." She paused and frowned. Somewhere in her mind was the word she wanted, but she couldn't instantly bring it to mind. One of her boyfriends, if you could call a man of fifty-five a boyfriend, had been a Philosophy professor and had enjoyed sharing his subject with her, as well as other less intellectual pleasures.
She shook herself, suddenly realizing that all of them, McGee, Tony, Jimmy, even Ziva were waiting for her to continue. Try as she might she couldn't think of the word, but she vaguely remembered one of its many meanings.
She began again. "Gibbs and Ducky are like one, while still being two." She shook her head, feeling her pigtails flap against her face; she wasn't certain she'd made sense. Wasn't sure she'd made it clear what she meant.
Then she looked at her friends, the rest of her family, her community, and saw understanding on their faces.
In silence they all stood and looked at one another.
Abby spoke the truth.
Gibbs and Ducky were just so . . .
Gibbs and Ducky.
At least the old Gibbs and Ducky were.
But these two they were . . .
LINKS TO ALL THE STORIES IN THE RECONCILIATION SERIES
Some Hurts May Never Heal
The Truth Can Heal
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