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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:02 pm 
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Nothing Stays the Same
by channelD



written for: Jo, as a Haiti Relief ficlet. Thanks for your donation!
rating: FR13
characters: Gibbs, Abby, Tony
genre: friendship/drama
prompt: interview

- - - - -

“Tony, check with Abby before you go to lunch. She should have the test results by then.” Gibbs put on his coat. “Get printouts, and leave them on my desk.”

“You got it, boss,” Tony said, soberly. The way that Gibbs handed off the assignment, as if distancing himself from it, troubled him…although he couldn’t say why. Tony watched the senior agent walk out of the squad room without looking back.

- - - - -

Abby greeted Tony with delight when he walked into her lab, shortly before noon. “Tony! My day-brightener! Because I’ve had such a crummy day. Not that you aren’t always a day-brightener! I should start calling you D.B.”

He smiled, returning the enthusiastic hug. “Thanks, Abbs. I came to ask you if you wanted to go to lunch. And, Gibbs wants the analysis if you’re done with it.”

“Just finished it, not too long ago. I was expecting Gibbs to pop out of thin air, as he usually does, and say,”—here she deepened her voice—“ ‘What d’you have for me, Abbs?’ Where is the Man in Gray, anyway? I haven’t seen him all day!”

“Gone out somewhere. He’s wearing a suit today,” Tony remarked, looking slightly puzzled. “And it’s not even a gray one.”

“Maybe he’s meeting with someone important,” Abby said, hanging up her lab coat. “He does wear a tie now and then.”

“Not so much anymore. In fact, this is the second time this week he’s worn a suit, and left for a couple hours in the middle of the day. That’s not like him.”

“Is he testifying in court? Meeting with the SECNAV? Attending a conference of gunnys?”

The thought made Tony solemn again. “I don’t think it’s any of those. My gut says…well, I don’t know. But I have a feeling I wouldn’t like it if I did know.”

“But you have a hunch,” Abby said, cluing into his emotions.

“Yeah. Maybe. Gibbs will have 19 years with the agency this year. One more year and—”

“No,” Abby cut him off, raising a hand to try to stop the words from leaving Tony’s lips. “No! Gibbs is not leaving us! He’s not retiring! He wouldn’t!”

“I don’t think he is retiring, yet,” Tony said slowly. “He needs 20 years, and he won’t have that until 2011.”

“But his military time…”

“That doesn’t count toward the number of years served. You can buy more pension money by making a contribution based on your military time, but you still have to have 20 years as an agent. And then…you can retire at any age.”

“So…”

“And that doesn’t explain his dressing up and leaving the building.”

Abby lowered her eyes as she made the connections. “He’s going on job interviews. And that means he’s still going to be leaving us…”

- - - - -

They never made it out to lunch, instead spending a long time talking. Gibbs found them in the lab around 2 o’clock, when he returned to NCIS. Tony still held Abby’s printouts in his hand. “Those my results?” he asked.

“Oh, hi, boss. You’re back,” Tony remarked lamely.

Gibbs only had eyes for the test printouts, grunting as he read them. He seemed the same as always, but…

Neither Abby nor Tony dared voice their suspicions. Finally, desperate to say something, Abby blustered, “It’s a good report on Master Mass Spec’s part, Gibbs. Even if it took him awhile. He’s due to be replaced by a newer model of by the end of the year. I wish he didn’t have to go…”

“Nothing stays the same, Abbs. Nothing.” Gibbs gave her a slight smile, and walked out of her lab for the elevator.

Words died in her throat. Some things should stay the same, was what she wanted to say. He didn’t turn around, though, and didn’t see the tears on her cheeks.

- - - - -

The next day, Gibbs was back in a gray sports coat over a shirt, with no tie. Tony smiled on seeing this, and then buried his face in his work before Gibbs returned the glance. Before too long, Tony made an excuse to him and hustled down to Abby’s lab.

“…and he’s dressed normally again! Maybe we were all worried about nothing. Gibbs—”

“You got a question, DiNozzo? Why don’t you come out and ask me?”

Their faces pinking, Tony and Abby turned to see Gibbs stepping in. “I, uh…no, no questions, boss.”

Abby shot Tony a mild glare, and summoned all of her twist-Gibbs-around-my-finger powers. “I have a question, Gibbs. What’s up with you? Why have you been dressing up and sneaking out?!”

“Not sneaking out, Abbs. Vance knows where I’ve been going.”

“Well, well, we don’t!”

“You haven’t asked until now.”

“You look like…yesterday you looked like you were going on a job interview.”

“I was.”

The look on their faces was more than he could bear. “Understand…”

“I don’t understand! I refuse to understand!” Abby cried. “You can’t leave us. This is where you belong. No one needs you more than we possibly could!” She threw herself at him, hugging him tighter than she had ever hugged anyone.

“Abbs,” he said, pulling himself somewhat loose, “I’ve been on three interviews. It was time to explore my options. I was offered jobs at the DoD, the Army CID, and the Treasury Department. I turned them all down, and I’m not looking for anything else, for now.”

“You…turned them down?”

“Yep. It wasn’t the right time.”

“But there will be another time?” asked Tony.

“Maybe. Or not.” Gibbs smiled a bit wistfully this time. “Nothing stays the same.”


-END-

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:06 pm 
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Very nice. Melancholy, perhaps, but true to life and I like the way you wrote them all.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Thanks! Yes, 'melancholy' is fitting. It's not a happy ending, but more of an affirmation that things do change. One of my best friends at my office got a promotion and last Friday was her last day with us. Definitely a bittersweet moment.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:36 pm 
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Bittersweet is the word. Very good. Makes me feel sad for that moment.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:37 pm 
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*clings to her team*

Lovely but yeah, very bittersweet. Gibbs is right, nothing does stay the same, and I really liked the way you showed that with this piece. I also, perhaps predictably, loved how you had Tony and Abby's friendship come through, and each of their reactions to the thought of losing Gibbs, too.

Loved it, Pam, thank you :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:24 pm 
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Aww, that was nice. Kinda reminds me of when Abby was getting all those job offers and everyone was freaking out about it. Very nicely done. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:34 pm 
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Thanks, Kelley! Yes, it was meant to be sad...but at least it's sad in the sense of "what if?" rather than "it's happening."

Jo, I'm so glad you liked it! This isn't a character group that I often do, so it was a bit of a challenge for me. :) I can't really imagine Gibbs working anywhere else, but I'm sure the thought has crossed his mind a time or two. That happens to most people.

I was thinking of that episode (though I can't remember the name) when I wrote this, Sherry. :) I figured Abby couldn't be the only one with job skills in demand.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:09 pm 
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This was really nice. I loved how you portrayed the friendship ties between them all. Very well done.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:17 pm 
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Thanks! They've been friends since the JAG days, longer than with anyone else (save Ducky), so breaking those ties would be exceedingly painful, I would think.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:02 pm 
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Gibbs leave NCIS? Surely not! But he’s right, nothing stays the same, and he should keep his options open. Having said that I think Abby would chain him to his desk if he tries to go, and Tony...he’d be lost. Lovely piece Pam.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:30 pm 
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Thank you, Mad! Abby would undoubtedly chain him, or kidnap him, or whatever it took to keep him at NCIS. You're right in that Tony would be lost. Moreso than Tim, I think Tony would feel he had no one to lean on if Gibbs left.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:33 pm 
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I loved it! It's kind of bittersweet; we don't want Gibbs to leave, but at the same time, it's nice to see that he is being recognized for his talents. Tony and Abby were completely in character, too. I'm glad Gibbs is not leaving--this time.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:04 pm 
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I don't think the show has ever seen him considering a job change, has it?

Promotions/job changes are always bittersweet (unless you're glad to see the person leave, of course!). You're happy for them, but sad for your own loss. I assume Gibbs must really like NCIS to have stayed with it for so long.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:28 am 
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Pam, explain White Elephant Exchanges to me, please?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:34 am 
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Our White Elephant Exchange is a chance for NFA members to write a fic for another NFA member, like the Secret Santa. The difference is that each person who wants to participate submits, anonymously, a couple sets of prompts for a story they'd like to have written for them. Other participants then select the sets they want.

Barbara is running it this year. She'll post information on how it's all going to work shortly. :) (For the benefit of anyone who participated last year, you'll notice that there will be some changes.)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:45 am 
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Oh man. Not something I wish to imagine really happening. Tony and Abby's reactions were very true to form. Exactly the way I would imagine them behaving on the show. Oh, it's sad to think of Gibbs leaving!

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:52 am 
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channeld wrote:
Our White Elephant Exchange is a chance for NFA members to write a fic for another NFA member, like the Secret Santa. The difference is that each person who wants to participate submits, anonymously, a couple sets of prompts for a story they'd like to have written for them. Other participants then select the sets they want.

Barbara is running it this year. She'll post information on how it's all going to work shortly. :) (For the benefit of anyone who participated last year, you'll notice that there will be some changes.)


Oh, HERE'S where I put that question! Sorry for the cross-post. Thanks for the explanation, though! It makes me nervous as heck to sign up for something that has an actual deadline, but I thought I might try that this year.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:54 am 
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I don't want to think of Gibbs leaving, either, but some people brought it up in one of the season seven threads, so...never look a gift plot bunny in the mouth, or something like that. ;D

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:56 am 
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channeld wrote:
I don't want to think of Gibbs leaving, either, but some people brought it up in one of the season seven threads, so...never look a gift plot bunny in the mouth, or something like that. ;D


But you know, the show will eventually have end. That's just the way it goes. But WHEN it does (several years from now, Lord willing), I hope we get closure for each of the characters and know what their lives will be like in the future.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:13 am 
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That would be nice, I agree.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Very nice, and very true, though it's not something we always like to think about :yes:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Thanks, Colleen! No, it's not something we like to think about, and it made me sad to write it. Time for something more cheerful, I think.

*pulls out file of WIPs; finds nothing but doom and gloom* :P

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