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Title: Those Who Live In Glass Slippers
By: sandersyager
Pairing: Abby Sciuto/Tony DiNozzo, hints at McGee/Abby, McGee/Ziva
Fandom: NCIS
Rating: PG-13, to be on the safe side Spoilers: Twilight, Kill Ari 1&2
Notes: For the moment, let's assume this stands alone. Also, Kate makes an appearance in this one.
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Fairytale girls don't go home to empty rent-controlled apartments to tuck their dress into the back of the closet.

***

"Never really pegged you for the fairytale princess type, Abs."

"Got tired of being the godmother. Granting the same three wishes every year gets boring. You know, studies show that seventy-six percent of people name more money as their number one wish. Love didn't even make the top ten."

"Is that so?" he turns her smoothly on the dance floor. Those years of ballroom lessons come in handy from time to time. "Well, I guess that makes us the lucky ones."

"This, us, Tony, isn't love. It's sex, which ranked numbers seven, thirteen and sixty-nine, but I think the pollsters rigged that last one."

"Ah, of course. Wait, it got three rankings?"

"More of it, more often, with more partners and preferably with a close friend," she says. "By the way, you make a very hot 007, but did you have to bring your own Bond girl?"

"What's wrong? Jealous, Abs?"

"Of Botox Barbie? Not so much. You should be sure to keep her away from sharp objects. Those blow up dolls can puncture easily. They're flammable, too."

"Says the woman whose Prince Charming is trying to cop a feel with our favorite ex-Mossad officer. Really, Abs, McGeek's no one's knight in shining armor."

"Who's jealous? I think that'd be you. And besides, I'm no damsel in distress. Every good princess knows how to save herself these days."

"More feminist babble. If you want to spend Halloween hunched over a computer screen, playing with his joystick, that's fine by me. Now, me, personally, I prefer less cerebral encounters."

"Well, Tony, when your date's fresh out of junior high, how much could you really have to talk about?"

"You are jealous."

"No, I just feel sorry for you. A middle aged man chasing after barely legals. If they get much younger, you'll be carpooling them to daycare instead of making breakfast the morning after."

"I am not middle aged."

"To them you are."

"Shows how much you know. Younger women like older men, we're more stable, mature, skilled."

"Mature? DiNozzo, there are a lot of words I'd use to describe you, but that's not one of them."

"I'm only going to say this once, so listen, Abby. You, you not me, you own a stuffed farting hippo."

"And? I also sleep with a teddy bear and wear pajamas with feet and a buttflap. Big deal."

"I'm just saying," he shrugs, guiding her through the beginning of the next waltz.

"So, Abby, tell me this—what if it's not just sex?"

"But it is, it's just chemical and muscular actions and reactions between two bodies."

"Do you really believe that?"

"With us? Yeah. You don't do relationships, DiNozzo, and I don't wanna get hurt, and anyway, we work together."

"Hasn't stopped you with young Timmy."

"McGee's different. Besides, that's not love either, although I do have a certain affection for him. And I'm not sleeping with him."

"You don't sleep with me, either," he whispers into her ear, feeling the way she tenses just a little. "At least not much."

"Smile, Tony. We're being photographed for posterity," she glances at the photographer crouched at the edge of the dance floor.

"Wonder if we can get copies. It'll be nice to show our kids one day."

"A herd of little DiNozzos isn't exactly in my plan."

"Petite McGeeks, then?"

"I was wrong, DiNozzo. Your date's more like Skipper, Barbie's little sister."

"Vicious. Good thing you look fantastic in green," he says, leading her off the floor toward an empty table. "I have a question, Abs."

"What's that?"

"When you and McGee do it, is it cyber or does he unplug long enough to actually touch you?"

"You're being an ass, and this conversation is over," she starts to walk away and he grabs her wrist.

"Wait," he says, giving her his best contrite expression and loosening his grip on her arm. "You never told me which fairy princess you were."

"Isn't it obvious?" she says, lifting the hem of her ball gown as she hurries away.
*

"Thanks for coming with me, Tim," Abby says as they cross the parking lot. Three sets of footsteps echo through the garage.

"No problem. I'm happy to be your prince, even if it's just for tonight," he waits while she unlocks her car. "You're sure you'll be okay getting home?"

"Yeah. You kids have fun. Don't do anything I would do," Abby grins as she kisses his cheek.

"Good evening, Princess Abigail," Ziva gives her a deep bow, then reaches out for a hug.

"You make a great Indiana Jones," Abby kisses her cheek, too, and watches them get into Tim's car. She waits until they've pulled away to slip off her shoes. The left one she tosses into her passenger seat, the other she carries with her. His car sits at the end of the row, and she slips the copied key from her tiny bag. The override code for his car alarm isn't hard to figure out, and she's watched him enter it enough times on the little number pad below the door handle. She's in and out in no time, a satisfied smile on her face and a chill in her feet.

She makes it home seconds before the church bells down the block declare it midnight. She stands in the entryway, unzipping her dress as they ring out. So, this is how it feels, she thinks, folding the gown over one arm as she pads through the apartment. This is how it feels, except fairytale girls don't go home to empty rent-controlled apartments to tuck their dress into the back of the closet. She's never read a story that involved a princess pulling on a tank top and track pants after the ball, or doing yoga stretches in front of the fireplace while Star Trek plays on the television.

"You're a modern princess, Abby," she says to herself, rolling up from the floor. "And modern princesses know how to serve themselves. We don't need silly men and their stupid James Bond tuxedos. Even if they do have great mouths and oral fixations. And stupid dates who look like freaking prepubescent supermodels."

No, she doesn't need men. She needs a cup of coffee. The kitchen is spotless, only because she's not been near it since the Big Clean two weeks ago. Between the last few cases, a week's worth of pre-Halloween shindigs and the Tri-Bureau Ball, she's barely been home, let alone had time to cook. She decides to treat herself to a cappucino, even though it means cleaning the espresso machine later. It's a holiday after all, and there is still time to go out later if she can't sleep. The Suicide Ball will be going until dawn, and she still has a few standing invites to various play parties if it turned into that kind of not sleeping. She has options.

She glances at the clock and does the math, steaming the milk to a nice froth. She sets her mug on the table and goes back to the fridge for the pitcher of sangria. If there was ever a night for hope, this is it, and the glass of sangria is placed across the table. Abby lights the white candle at the center of the table, and watches the flame dance as she sips her coffee.

"This whole thing would have been a lot more fun if you were here," she says softly. "I wonder what you'd say about all of this, about Tony. I think you'd have liked Ziva. It took a while to warm up to her, but she's... she's good, and she cares about McGee. She keeps DiNozzo off-balance, not like you, but he smiles around her. I thought I'd never see that after you..."

"Died, Abby. I died, and you can say it," Kate sits in the chair across from her, dressed in a three year old costume. That year, they'd been insects and gone trick or treating together.

"You were a cute ladybug," Abby smiles, remembering how the old ladies in her building had laughed in delight and brought out pictures of grandchildren and great-grandchildren similarly attired as they forced homemade sweets on her and Kate.

"You weren't so bad as a bumblebee yourself," Kate returns her smile. "Although you were lovely tonight. I always thought you'd be a beautiful princess."

"You saw? Of course you did."

"Bits and pieces. I had nieces and nephews to watch, too. That's one of the perks, I can be anywhere in the world or nowhere at all," Kate waves her hand, watching it fade and come back into focus as she does so. "But you called to me, and I came."

"Just how much did you see at the ball?" Abby asks, leaning back in her chair. Kate just smiles, at first. Then the giggling begins.

"Not what I saw. It's what I heard. DiNozzo? Abby, I'm so...how could..."

"Oh, shut up. You know you thought about it," Abby almost forgets, and reaches to touch Kate's arm.

"You know the rules. Sorry, Abs," Kate gives Abby an apologetic look as her fingers meet nothing but air.

"I know I'm just imagining you, you're not really here, but...Miss you, Kate," Abby says softly. "Tony's been good for me. Saved my life one night, and it just kind of happened."

"I know the feeling. He saved my life a few times, too. Under all the bravado and bull, he's a good man, Abs. Ziva's not the only one who keeps him off-balance, or who makes him smile, you know."

"I don't know. Tonight, I almost felt like... it was like listening to you and him, when we were dancing. The way you two used to banter, I'll never be that."

"And you don't have to. You're you, sweetie, and that's all you have to be."

"You sound like my mom. Well, you know what I mean," Abby's hands move under the table of their own accord.

"I have to go. Your prince is out there, Abs." Kate blows her a kiss, gives her a wink and vanishes as Abby hears footsteps in the hall. Just her neighbors stumbling in, from the sound of it, the newlyweds down the hall. She sighs, blowing out the candle. Outside her window, rain starts to fall.

***