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Title: Morning After
By: sandersyager
Pairing: Abby Sciuto/Anthony DiNozzo/Kate Todd
Fandom: NCIS
Rating: R
Author's Notes: One from the vaults today. There are a couple of reasons this came about. I opened it because there's a breakfast prompt on both of my tables of doom, and I thought, "Oh, I've written Abby making waffles for Tony." The story overall happened because of this challenge on the NCIS archive:

What if after a party, where everyone got seriously drunk, Tony wakes up in bed with Kate and Abby? And all are naked... Will they ever remember what happened in that night? How will it affect them?
Conditions/Restrictions: Tony/Kate/Abby
You can make it as raunchy/naughty as you want, but it is no necessity. Humor and the building of a long-term relationship would be a bonus but only if you can make them work.
It can be anything from a one-shot to a big multi-part story.

So, this is my attempt at Tony/Abby/Kate waking up together, and some things that could have followed. It's incomplete because real life intruded, and the story arc I'd set out got impacted by the canon arc. Other notes follow the story.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.


Laughter. He woke up to the sound of laughter, cackling really, shrill and entirely too loud. Sort of like if hell made alarm clocks, he thought, rolling over toward the bedside table. Hand reaching blindly, expecting plastic, seeking a snooze button, finding instead warm body. One of those nights, hoped she was still pretty, ran through last night’s catalogue, could be the blonde leaning oh-so-casually against the pool table. No, she gave a mocking smile when Abby beat him and then beat a retreat to the bar. The redhead, oh, with the mile long legs and three inch skirt. She had a thick Atlanta drawl and a tattoo, clover or a lily or was it a rose? Tony hoped it was the redhead, slid his hand up, found a breast and moved closer.

“Mmm...morning,” he tried to say, tongue three sizes too big, sandpaper mouth. A softer giggle now, not from this one in his arms, but from his left. So, it was one of those nights. The redhead had been chatty with... what was her name? The tiny girl, eyes like sapphires and a discreet nose ring, Caroline. Tony smiled to himself, opened his eyes slowly. Black hair, spider web creeping across the shoulder. What the hell had he done? Who had he done? Surely he and Abby didn’t... Oh, god...

“Cute when he wakes up, isn’t he, Abs?” Oh, god. Oh, fuck. No, not that. Not that, couldn’t have. Not with Abby and Kate. He turned his head slowly, Kate smirked down at him.

“Not enough alcohol on the eastern seaboard,” he murmured, closing his eyes again. This was one of those dream within a dream things. Had to be. Come on, wake up, get a grip, he thought, conscious of how at that moment his left hand was gripping a very nice breast and maybe that wasn’t so very bad.

“Well, not anymore, since you and Kate drank most of it,” Abby shifted, pressing her hips more firmly against him, her hand covering his gently. He was starting to remember, tequila shots at the bar, bringing the girls margaritas.

“Oh, you had your fair share, too,” Kate slid back down into the bed, aligning herself to Tony’s body, but not quite touching. Another flash, Abby sliding across the booth toward him, hand on his thigh. Kate shaking her head, ordering one last round as Abby leaned against him, darting her tongue against the side of his neck. Kissing her, finally, like breathing didn’t matter, like he’d thought about at least weekly for the last few months. Not quite what he’d imagined, better in some ways, merely different in others.

“Not denying it. With the way my head’s pounding, I couldn’t if I tried,” Abby answered, touching on just one of the things Tony was noticing about this morning. He felt like someone had driven railroad spikes into his brain, but didn’t think Abby was that kind of kinky. “A round of aspirin, then?”

“Please,” Tony managed to say, sliding his hand down Abby’s side as she pushed herself to sitting. He and Kate both turned to watch her leave, a smile he’d never seen before on Kate’s face.

“Lovely, isn’t she?”

“Yeah,” Tony agreed weakly, falling back against the pillows. “Kate?”

“Yes, DiNozzo?”

“Did we...?”

“No, Tony.”

“Then why... how... what happened?” he finally settled on a question, but couldn’t shake feeling unsettled by it all. Kate looked at him for a long moment, brow knitting together.

“You passed out,” she answered tersely, gathering the sheet around her as she slid from the bed.

“No... I couldn’t have,” he said.

“You could and you did. Mumbled something to the effect of, what was it? Oh, yes, never fear ladies, the sex machine is here, and then dying elephant snoring.”

“I don’t snore.”

“You do, and it’s a good thing, too. Abby thought you might be dead and she was all worked up over how to tell Gibbs why you were in our bed. Then the idea of Ducky coming in and seeing you in the angel wings and my panties,” Kate smirked at him again, pausing at the dresser to pick something up. “Don’t worry, we took pictures.”

“Panties? Wings? What the hell did you two do to me?” Tony sat up, his head screamed in protest and he fell back again with watering eyes. When the room stopped pulsating, he noticed the three polaroid shots Kate had tossed down beside him on her way out. Sure enough, there he was, slack jawed, possibly drooling, dressed in impossibly tiny black bikinis with a pair of massive black wings strapped to his back. This was officially the fifth worst morning after in a long line of mornings after. Make that fourth, he corrected himself as he flipped to the next picture. A debauched Goth cupid, complete with bow and arrows, artfully arranged with pink wings this time. Jesus, how many pairs did Abby own? Three apparently, the last baby blue, and photographed with him on his stomach. The wings were nothing, however, compared to the matching thong that covered nothing and included what appeared to be a curving tail. Tony dropped the pictures, dropped his head and moaned.

“Hey, Tony,” Abby touched his foot, the bed shifting with the return of her weight. He responded by pulling the comforter up over his head. Whether this was anger or abject horror, either tinged with embarrassment, he hadn’t quite decided.

“Pictures. They dressed me up and took pictures,” he grumbled. Outside the blanket, Abby sighed.

“Either you come out or I’m coming in, Tony,” she said. The third worst morning after, which was something given that the only ones that topped it involved, at number two, a hospital visit and several very nasty shots, and number one... well, he still couldn’t think of number one without crying. With his luck, Abby would want to photograph that too.

“That’s it, I’m coming in,” Abby tugged back the edge of the blanket and eased under it, half on the bed, half on him. “Look, I know you’re embarrassed, but it happens to every guy once in a while.”

“What are you talking about, Abby?”

“Last night. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, really,” she murmured, smoothing her hand over his chest.

“You dressed me up like cupid, Abby. That’s just...mean.”

“Hey, I kept Kate from putting them on our website. We started a blog, you know. It’s mostly Kate writing but I’ve been creating all the graphics. There’s this great one with high velocity splatter patterns and how they happen... and you don’t care,” Abby’s voice trailed off, traces of hurt showing in her face. It was sort of like the look she got when Gibbs had already figured out what she was trying to tell him. The look that made Tony want to kiss her. So he did, cupping her chin gently, pressing his lips to hers much more briefly than he wanted out of awareness of his ripe morning breath. Abby, he noticed, was cinnamony fresh.

“And what happens to every guy? What happened last night?” he asked again, pushing back the top few inches of the blanket, careful to breathe away from Abby’s face after she wrinkled her nose at him.

“Well... how do I say this... You know how you can have the target in your sights... no, bad analogy. It’s like in a basketball game when you’re lining up for that three point shot... no, no sports... Did you ever play a musical instrument?”

“No. I love the rambling but can we take the direct route?”

“You love my rambling? Aw, thanks, DiNozzo,” Abby grinned then frowned. “I ramble?”

“You ramble, and it’s adorable. What happened?”

“That gun,” Abby’s hand moved over his stomach, stopping just short of where he wanted it. “It went off a little... prematurely, but really, it was fine. Nothing to worry about, happens to every guy. And I’m rambling again.”

“It does not happen to me,” Tony said through clenched teeth.

“Sorry, sweetie,” she said softly, shifting slightly against him. “I told Kate we should give you another chance.”

“Where is she?”

“Showering. She’s meeting McGee down at the gym. How’s your head?” she reached for the bottle of aspirin on the bedside table.

“So, while you were dressing me up like Cupid, did you also hit me with a sledge hammer?” he asked, accepting the two pills she pressed into his hand.

“I’m not into violence, Tony, you know that,” Abby took a sip of water then handed him the glass.

“I’m starting to think that there’s a lot that I don’t know.”

“That’s true,” Kate, wearing that perma-smirk and a towel, commented from the doorway. Tony looked away, biting back the snark on the tip of his tongue. “For starters, did you know that Abby is an incredible cook?”

“I don’t know about incredible. I think maybe you’re a bit biased,” Abby made no move to move away from Tony as Kate crossed the room to open the closet. He may not have known much, but that was weird. Kate had said our bed, our website. Abby cooked for her. Neither of them seemed disturbed about the sleeping arrangements. What the hell was going on? The teasing last night, sitting a little closer to each other than necessary, Kate disappearing to the lab at work, Abby even giddier than normal. Something was definitely going on.

“Are you two...? Tell me you aren’t,” he whispered to Abby. She nodded once, twice, then a little shrug. The world was ending, he knew that now. Kate and Abby living together. Kate and Abby sharing a bed. Kate and Abby doing all those things he’d dreamed about. Maybe this morning wasn’t so bad. Kate and Abby bringing him to their bed to do all those things he’d dreamed about. If it weren’t for the splitting headache, this would be heaven.

“Abs, have you seen my sneakers?” Kate poked her head out of the closet. Tony was smart enough to recognize that this would not be an appropriate moment to laugh. He settled for a snort and immediately regretted it as Kate glared at him.

“Sorry. It was just you, and the closet, and oh, god,” he gave into the urge to laugh. “This is great. This is just great. I can’t tell you how long I’ve dreamed of this and here we are.”

“Tony,” Abby lifted her head. “Shut up before you say something else you’ll regret. And they’re by the door, Kate.”

“Just tell me this,” Tony said. “If you’re, and you apparently are, why am I here?”

“Well, Tony, Abby asked for one thing for her birthday and I wanted her to have it,” Kate moved to the mirror, tugging her hair into a low ponytail.

“Me? You wanted me? Man, this just keeps getting better,” Tony’s grin stretched so far his face ached.

“No, DiNozzo. She asked for a puppy. You’re just the dog that followed us home.”

“Aw, Kate, that’s not very nice. Besides, he’s better than a puppy. Already housebroken,” Abby said as his grin, along with that last shred of dignity and his fledgling hard-on, shriveled and died.

“He seems to be taking it well, the news about us,” Kate said, leaning forward to tie her shoes. Abby had followed her from the bedroom and was now stretching across the carpet, catlike, in the patch of sunlight breaking through the curtains. It was the number of windows that had drawn her to this house, a counterbalance to the white sterility of her basement lab.

“Yeah, I’d say the complete look of terror about all of this is taking it well,” Abby rolled onto her side, listening to the life sounds of the house, the way the couch squeaked as Kate stood up, her footsteps shifting the floorboards as she came to stand over Abby. The shower sounded like thunderstorms, the pipes whining, and under that, it seemed Tony was singing. Last night had been strange, even by her standards. She hadn’t meant to kiss Tony. Rather, she hadn’t intended it, she had meant it when it happened, she just hadn’t planned it. She mostly didn’t think about him like that, except for that dream about the zoo, and certainly didn’t think he thought about her. True, there had been a little flirting this week, teasing to break the tension during the case, trading back rubs and sharing coffee as everyone worked through the night. When it was done, bad guy captured, world set to rights again, McGee suggested a round of drinks. Kate crouched down over Abby’s knees and looked at her.

“You’ll talk to him? Explain everything?” Kate asked.

“Swear him to silence and all that? Yeah,” Abby said, sliding her legs back and sitting up. “I hate it when you do that by the way.”

“Do what?”

“Lean over me like that, all alpha top. If you wanted to keep this a secret, why invite him home?” Abby asked.

“Honey, we’ve been through this. I don’t have time to rehash,” Kate pulled herself to standing, slung her gym bag over her shoulder and headed for the front door.

“No, I guess you don’t. When are you coming back?” Abby followed her, dragging the afghan from the couch behind her. At the door, she wrapped it toga style around herself.

“Late. I’m going into the office for a bit then dinner with Ducky, so...”

“Right. Well, be careful,” Abby tried to smile, mostly managed, and accepted the quick kiss on the cheek. Kate hurried out the door, and Abby headed for the bedroom, the shower slowing and the sound of the engine moving away. For the most part, they were good, really good, but Abby didn’t like secrets and she really didn’t like being someone’s secret. She knew she had a lot of leeway at work, being a labrat had advantages, and Gibbs indulged her. Enabled might be a better word some days, but all he asked was that she do her job, and she did it well. That was all he asked of any of them, show up, work hard, don’t die. Kate did all of these things, too, but she was afraid, and Abby didn’t understand. It was true that Kate had struggled to prove herself, first in the Secret Service and then as one of the few women at NCIS, but she was bright and strong and devoted. The fact that she was attracted to women had nothing to do with any of that. Should have nothing to do with it, but theirs was still a government agency and Kate still worried about being outed then ousted.

These thoughts crowded Abby’s head as she got dressed. Most days, she liked costuming herself, being a punk goth, a vampire goddess, a Big Kid in woman’s skin. The contradictions fascinated her, wearing fuck off clothes with a yes please grin painted Kiss Me Kill Me shades of red. Most days, she looked like every midwestern mama’s nightmare child, but today, she just wanted to be comfortable. Battered jeans from her skateboarding days, ripped and worn in all the right places, and a black sweater that smelled like home. No matter how many times she wore it or washed it, the scent of dried roses and brown sugar clung to the yarn and felt like a hug from her mother. She brushed her hair, but left it down, opened the curtains and curled into the corner chair.

“Abs?” Tony paused in the doorway, drops of water glinting in his hair, sliding down to speckle the shoulders of his light blue shirt. He still held the towel in his hand, not sure where to put it.

“Hamper’s over there,” Abby gestured toward the closet. “How do you feel about waffles?”

“I should probably get going. You have things to do,” he put the towel away, kept his back to her.

“Actually, I don’t,” she admitted. Days off were blank slates, and she liked letting them shape themselves. Their jobs didn’t really allow for much planning. “Do you?”

“Not really,” he said. “I was just being polite.”

“Hmm, a polite DiNozzo. Not sure what to do with that one,” Abby grinned, making a quick decision. “Stay for breakfast. I hate eating alone.” Actually, she hated being alone, but he didn’t need to know that.

“I think I said some things last night...” he began as they walked out to the kitchen. Abby pointed him toward the small table, and noted that Kate had put on coffee before she left. She took two mugs from the cabinet and poured them each a cup, straight black. The way Kate made it, it barely tasted like coffee, but she tried. She’d just never understand the power of a strong cup the way true caffeine addicts did, despite Abby’s careful instructions.

“You said a lot of things last night,” Abby sat across from him, hands wrapped around her mug. He had talked during the taxi ride, almost half an hour from door to door, his head cradled against her breasts. She’d kissed him then to shut him up, to keep him from saying things that would complicate all of their relationships. He spoke of wanting and need and desire, but when he started in on love, she did the only thing she could.

“But I think some of them were more...” Tony shrugged, blushing like a school boy.

“We’re all vulnerable some time, Tony.”

“Not us, not people like us.”

“Especially people like us. We see the worst that humanity can do, and still, we pick up the pieces and go on,” she said, staring into her cup. This was all weird, and probably complicated, and possibly a mistake, but it had happened. Her head was still throbbing and she regretted getting out of bed. Bed had been nice, there wasn’t the pressure to talk, just to be curled flesh to flesh. “Listen, Tony, about me and Kate...”

“How long has this been going on, by the way?” he interrupted, eyes sparking.

“Six months,” she said, watching as his eyebrows shot up. She knew the stammering would be next.

“Does... does Gibbs know? What about rule number whatever it is?” Rule number twelve, never date a co-worker. Abby was well aware of that rule, and that Gibbs himself had been willing to ignore it a time or six.

“Not exactly. He knows Kate’s living here, but that’s the thing, Tony. Kate wants to keep this quiet.”

“And you don’t?”

“It doesn’t matter. In any relationship, you honor the most restrictive boundaries,” she said, paraphrasing the book on her nightstand. “The point is, you can’t tell anyone. Don’t tease Kate, act like nothing happened, like you don’t know.”

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Abs,” he reached for her hand. “In fact, it’s kind of hot.”

“First, Kate’s right, you’re kind of a pig. Secondly, I’m not ashamed. Jesus, I’ve been going to pride rallies since I was fourteen. I’m not exactly new to this, but Kate is,” Abby squeezed his fingers gently before getting up from the table. She gathered mix and eggs and milk, all the necessaries, to start waffle batter.

“So, she never...?”

“Twice. A girl in college, then last year, there was someone. Really, Kate should tell you about it,” Abby plugged in the Mickey Mouse shaped waffle iron. “I just need you to swear you’ll keep this quiet until Kate’s ready.”

“So why tell me?” he asked me. Abby took a sip of coffee and looked at him for a long moment. “How else was I supposed to get you into that thong?”

“Funny. We’ll be burning those pictures after breakfast,” he grimaced. Abby shrugged.

“Do you think there aren’t copies? Give me some credit, DiNozzo,” she poured batter across poor Mickey’s face and flipped the lid.

“No one, and I mean no one, can see those, Abby.”

“Right. Just like no one can know about me and Kate,” she said, sitting back down at the table. “It’s not blackmail, I just need you to understand what’s at stake.”

“I wouldn’t do that to her, or to you. You don’t have to worry.”

“Neither do you,” Abby said, thinking about more than the photos. Tony was easy company, when he wasn’t objectifying women, talking about sex, making obscure references to old westerns, or some combination of all three. Moments like this, when his face sort of went soft and thoughtful, like maybe he was capable of tenderness. They never lasted long, and he didn’t disappoint her this time.

“About this puppy thing—-you really want a dog?” Not quite the question she expected, but far easier to explain.

“No, DiNozzo,” she said softly, rising as the timer went off. Kate had forbidden her to rig it to play “It’s a Small World After All,” and for once she was glad. It would have been in terribly poor taste. “I wanted you.”

“I can’t take much more teasing, Abs. I think the pictures were enough,” he sounded like he was trying to sound normal, but failing miserably. She slid the waffle onto a plate, added more batter. It’s funny how naked truth sounded among them, amidst all the banter, truth got lost sometimes.

“This is the way my mom used to serve them,” Abby said, sliding the plate in front of him. “The first waffle was always bare, pure, virginal.”

“There’s a word I’ve not heard in a while,” he cracked, breaking off one of Mickey’s ears.

“Tell me about it,” she offered a half hearted smile. “Actually, don’t tell me about it. It’s my day off.”

“Oh, it’s a great story, Abs.”

“I’m sure it is,” she lied, splitting Mickey’s face down the center. How much lower could she sink than mutilating Disney characters, she wondered. “Anyway, my mom would bring the first ones out plain. Then the next ones would have syrup. By the third or fourth, there would be whipped cream and strawberries, or vanilla ice cream and blueberries. Something yummy and messy. Sometimes, she’d get mangoes or pineapple,” Abby missed those mornings, with old school cartoons and pajamas with feet, not botched one night stands and arranging office politics. Mornings were almost easier before Kate. She missed mornings that didn’t mean biting her lip and wanting to cry, trying to find the right words to inevitably say the wrong thing.

“Are you okay?” Tony asked, touching her arm. That simple motion did her in, and tears rose in her eyes, a lump in her throat. Luckily the timer rang out again and she left him to finish the waffle. She never cried, never. Except for when she did, except for certain times of the month, except when a case was particularly brutal. Except for days like this. She sniffled a little as she opened the fridge. The in-case-of-emergencies can of whipped cream and dish of sliced strawberries landed on the counter next to the maple syrup. She decided to skip ahead to the fun part. By the time she returned to the table, the tears had passed but her coffee was cold.

“This was a hard week,” Abby hated it when her work got to her like this. There’d been a girl, six years old, the daughter of an officer. There wasn’t much left of her, kid bits, Abby had thought in her more detached and callous moments. It had been her job to figure out how exactly she had been taken and then taken apart. There were four more just like her, Tony and Kate had found the fifth just in time. The kid had been unharmed but terrified. McGee had his moment as hero, stopping the kidnapper.

“But we got through. Caught the bad guy and all that.”

“And three families will bury four babies come Monday,” Abby pushed her plate away, not so much losing her appetite—she had a stomach lined with steel—but her ability to swallow.

“I always have a hard time seeing them, the families. That’s almost the worst part,” Tony said. Abby saw tears shining in his eyes, too.

“What’s the worst part, Tony?” she asked, closing both of her hands around his. She already knew the answer. It was the same for each of them, Kate, Tony, Gibbs, McGee, even Ducky.

“When we’re too late,” he whispered.

Loving Abby was sort of like having an overly devoted cat. She had a habit of leaving dead things on Kate’s pillow as tokens of affection. The first night they’d shared a bed, there had been a bouquet of three day old roses, darkening and dropping petals. It had almost been sweet. Later there had been a shrunken head—Kate was afraid to question its authenticity. Tonight, there was a photo, another Polaroid, clearly taken by Abby herself. She pouted up at Kate from the picture, and across the bottom she had written “Missed you.” Beside it, Abby slept, curled tightly on her side, fingers in her mouth. Most nights, Kate thought it was cute. Tonight it irritated her in its childishness. She needed to talk, needed Abby to be there, awake and waiting for her with reassurances. Kate needed to know that Tony wasn’t going to screw them, that Abby wasn’t going to leave her, that they hadn’t made a huge mistake.

Kate sighed and unzipped the simple black dress she’d worn to dinner, letting it slide to the floor. She put on her pajamas, a white cotton shirt, and hung her dress neatly on her side of the closet. She refused to even look at Abby’s side of the walk in. It was funny, closets were the source of their biggest fights. Abby often used this one to push Kate’s buttons about the metaphorical one, and Kate pushed right back, the irony not lost on her. Kate’s side of the closet was ordered, compartmentalized, everything had a place and nothing was put back by mistake. Abby’s looked like a bomb had exploded, black boots tossed among hundreds of pairs of black pants, shirts, corsets, dresses. The only thing she took the time to hang were the wings, six pairs, lining the side wall. Kate couldn’t even look in their direction.

She didn’t know what to think about last night. The whole situation made her sick.

Anthony DiNozzo had a conscience. Not many people seemed to realize that, and certainly not Kate. Yes, women moved through his world at the speed of life, but he did actually care. He learned things about them, knew which one liked lilies better than roses, who was allergic to cats, who had one brother in Portland, Maine, and one in Portland, Oregon. True, he also knew which one took Pilates and who taught the class, who wore La Perla, who knew Victoria’s Secret and in which size, and he could tell at fifty paces whether breasts were real or augmented and if there had been surgery, who had performed it.

He remembered birthdays and mothers’ names, why each former relationship had failed and avoided doing those things—at least until it was time to end it. He bought small gifts for pets, always sent flowers at the right times, cooked elaborate candlelit dinners. Basically, he did all of the things good guys did on the streets, and all of the things good girls dreamed of in the bedroom. He was a pig, but he was, mostly, a thoughtful pig.

Today, he was a worried pig. Man, worried man. Tony was a worried man as he walked through the front doors of the building. Specifically, he worried that Kate would shoot him dead as soon as he stepped off of the elevator. She’d had two days to think, and with her twisted troll logic, had probably found a way to blame him for everything that had happened. It wasn’t that he didn’t think he was responsible, although he would argue to the end that alcohol had played a significant role in Friday night’s events, and Abby had been assertive one on Saturday, but somehow, Kate was going to blame him. Somehow, he suspected that she wasn’t as ready or willing to face what happened, or as willing to share and play nicely with others, as she’d insisted on the phone last night.

Abby wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Kate was in love with her. That did funny things between women, he’d seen it before in situations like this, love made them excuse certain behaviors. Women grew closer for having opened their bed up to a man, and then turned on him, made him the enemy. This was what concerned him. Abby didn’t seem like that type, though. She sort of rolled with the punches, tumbling between beds and floors and couches and a whole world of contraptions with which Tony only had a passing acquaintance. There were times when she changed partners as frequently as he did, but he guessed that time was gone, what with the picture of domestic bliss she and Kate seemed to be enjoying.

Tony hadn’t known how to ask her about that. Women as a general population were easy, he understood them, but Abby as an individual made him tongue tied and awkward. She was smarter than him, for one thing, and impish, and distracting. Also, she scared the shit out of him. He still couldn’t make sense of Saturday, eating waffles and watching five hours of movie classics on cable. It was all so normal. Even sex with her had been normal. He’d been prepared for whips and chains and electric cattle prods, even kind of hoping for them. Instead it was school girl blushing and missionary positions, a shared bath and cuddling, all of which had felt kinky at the time precisely because of how kinky they were not. He was left with that thought as the elevator opened to an office in relative chaos. No sign of Kate, but Gibbs was already screaming about something. Tony took a deep breath and a tiny step forward to assess the situation.

“DiNozzo, do you know where the hell Kate is?” Gibbs stuck his head out of his office. Tony looked at McGee, who just shook his head and looked away.

“No, boss. Haven’t seen her,” Tony said, heading for his desk. “Did you try—”

“Cell phone, house, everything but send up a damned smoke signal. We’ve got a dead girl at the Lucky Six and I’m missing an agent,” Gibbs stood in front of the elevator, seeming certain that McGee and Tony would join him. Must be Monday. Tony noticed that Gibbs was also missing his usual cup of coffee, could explain the extra measure of crankiness. Nevertheless, the boys followed, and Tony regretted it fifteen minutes later. It had been another hair-raising, life-flashing-before-your-eyes, glad-to-have-skipped-breakfast kind of car ride with Gibbs behind the wheel.

“Looking a little green there, Probie,” Tony staggered a little as he and McGee followed Gibbs’ steady stride toward the motel room.

“Think one day they’ll take his license?” McGee wondered under his breath.

“I’d love to see the person who tried,” Tony’s grin died on his lips as they stepped just inside the open door. The room was small, barely big enough for the bed and dresser. There was a doorway, but no door, to the right, and a smashed sliding glass patio door directly across the room. Also, there was half of a naked girl on the bed. Most of the room was sprayed in drying or dried blood, and if Tony wasn’t mistaken, there was hand on the desk that was missing a body.

“It must be Monday,” McGee said, turning a more urgent and violent shade of green. Tony just hoped he didn’t vomit, contaminating the scene would just make everything harder. Plus, Gibbs would probably kill him and then there’d be two bodies and even more paperwork.

“Everything goes back to Abby, boys. If it ain’t nailed down bag it,” Gibbs barked. Wherever Kate was, Tony hoped she was having a better time.

So, that's most of what I wrote. That last scene might look familiar. I reworked it into the start of "Must Be Tuesday". The case Tony and Abby discuss over breakfast got harvested for "And Six Would Be Deadly".

The idea I'd had was that as the case was unfolding, Tony, Abby and Kate would be moving toward some sort of relationship, with Kate and Tony both being a bit wary of the other and Abby sort of mediating that. The team would investigate the scene at the motel, and through a series of circumstance, Kate would end up a suspect (the idea that got "DPB'd" by Frame Up), and Tony and Abby would each go to Gibbs to provide an alibi, neither telling the full story and making the situation stickier, eventually forcing all three to come out and come clean.

I don't know. I might revisit it once I clear some of the WIPs from my plate. I just thought I'd throw it out since I've been all emo girl lately and not writing. Ya'll came for the fic, after all, right? Thanks for sticking around for the stuff behind it. I appreciate all of it more than you could know and more than I have words for.