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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:26 am 
Director's Secretary

Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:47 pm
Posts: 2382
Location: Southern Tier
Name: Jennie (please NOT Jen)
Gender: Female
link: Blog
link: First Novel
AN: This fits just after Ch. 49 in my Razor's Edge story, but didn't really belong in the story as it evolved. It originally was supposed to be the final chapter, back when it was only going to be seven or eight chapters. After I had planned it out, I was listening to my iTunes and realized I had the perfect soundtrack for the story. It's not a song fic, but if you listen to Missy Higgins' "Where I Stood" while you read, you'll see where the title comes from. If you haven't read Razor's Edge, this might not make much sense, so if you get lost, please go read. :)

Dares to Stand

Abby held it together until she was outside the house and back in her car. The forensic scientist blinked back the tears that threatened so she would be able to drive. The last thing she wanted was Timmy or Tony catching her sitting outside.

She wasn't sure quite how she got there, but the next thing she knew, she was standing at the Jefferson Memorial looking out over the Tidal Basin. In the summer, the rotunda would be bustling with tourists, but on this cold November evening, she was alone. She wrapped her cape more closely around her and slid down until she was sitting at the base of a column. With its solid support at her back, she finally let her tears fall.

She didn't know how long she sat there before her mind registered the cold seeping into her body from sitting there against the stone. Abby stood up and swiped the back of her hand against her eyes and stared across the water, but instead of the Washington Monument, all she saw was the cozy brick house where she'd spent the evening with the rest of the team. It wasn't the first time she'd been to their new house or the first time she had been to either Tim or Tony's apartments. It wasn't even the first time she had seen...

God. She was such an idiot. She should have seen it when she found both of them at Tony's apartment after their return from Somalia. Or when she saw them IMing a few weeks ago. Or when Tony hugged Tim's mom on moving day. How had she missed that her two best friends were dating? Not just dating, but living together. Together, together, not just roommates together.

Why hadn't she thought of it when Tony ruffled Tim's hair the other day? Why hadn't she noticed something when she was listening in on the undercover op last night? Why hadn't something seemed hinky when Tim looked to Tony after she asked him out?

She was a scientist, skilled at assembling evidence and deducing the truth from it. She wanted to say she hadn't felt this betrayed by evidence since Chip tried to frame Tony, but she knew that wasn't fair to the evidence. It had been there; all the pieces waiting to be assembled. She had just ignored it. When she and Tim started tackling the Damocles evidence, she had even told him not to have a plan. If you have a plan, you miss things because they don't fit with what you're looking for. She'd had a plan, all right. And she'd missed all the big, fat clues sitting there, just waiting to save her from making a fool of herself. Until she'd found the one clue she couldn't explain away.

Abby stood on the memorial looking over the Tidal Basin. But instead of the trees on the opposite shore, she saw the collection of framed photos on the bookcases in Tim's study. In her mind, she was back in that house, sinking to the ground, legs crumpling beneath her at the sight of the collage frame. It had the word "Family" engraved on it. There were photos of Tim and Sarah, Tim and his parents, the four McGees sitting on the porch, even a team shot — the seven of them at the bar one night. But the focal point was a photo of Tim and Tony kissing while Jethro tried to get his nose between them. She sat there, staring. Sat there until she heard Tony come in and sit down next to her. He spoke, and she looked over at him, struggling to see what she hadn't seen before. But when he reached over to wrap his arms around her, she pulled away. She didn't think she could handle that yet. Not until she found out what was going on.

"Abbs, I'm sorry. We meant to tell you."

"How long?" She could barely get the words out, past the lump blocking her throat, pressing against her collar.

"Come on, let's go sit in the living room. We can at least be comfortable." She took the hand he offered, barely feeling it. She picked the far end of the couch, needing the distance for perspective, because she'd obviously lost hers.

"How long?" she repeated.

Abby only remembered parts of the subsequent conversation. It was like she was her cousin Ed, only hearing every other word and what did make it through was garbled. But what she saw was clear. After all those months of clouded vision, it was like the rain had washed away the dirt and the sun was out, its light showcasing every line and color in the image. And she kept watching all evening — watching how they sat together during the games, how they were constantly in each others' space, how they worked together without saying a word — like when they tag-teamed to keep Palmer from winning Twister. Watching how as they wound down at the end of the night, they snuggled together on the couch until Ziva talked Tony into playing for them. And then seeing Tim's face as he watched Tony play, seeing that look in his eyes that she'd never seen directed at her in all the time they had been together. It was then she realized they didn't just like each other; they loved each other like Gibbs had loved Shannon. And when he had lost Shannon, it had almost destroyed him. So Tim couldn't lose Tony and Tony couldn't lose Tim. Because if Gibbs, who was the strongest person she knew, had almost broken, then they would shatter. And the rest of the team would crumble with them.

Ziva had been right; things were different between them. They were better versions of themselves. Tony was still the screwball who used a thousand words where one would do. But he was anchored, like Tim was one of those Macy's parade volunteers who kept the Goofy balloon from flying off and wreaking havoc by bouncing on the wind. And Tim was still her geek - well, OK, Tony's geek - but in a confident, I-can-be-a-geek-and-a-badass-field-agent-and-a-best-selling-author,-and-that's-just-who-I-am-so-accept-it-or-buzz-off way. And Gibbs! Gibbs was OK with them. OK, so he had threatened to move Tim to CyberCrimes if their relationship got in the way of their work, even if it wasn't Tim's fault. Even if it was her fault. And it couldn't be her fault. Timmy had been miserable in CyberCrimes. And it wouldn't be the same this time because the rest of the team wouldn't be split to the four winds. And now that she wasn't looking at them through the Fun House mirrors, she could totally see that Tim would rather go home to Tony than work with him if he had to choose, but he shouldn't have to choose.

And Tony! He would stop being friends with her if she couldn't accept them, even though she was as close to being his little sister as she could get. Tony, who was Gibbs' loyal St. Bernard, would rather leave NCIS than leave Tim. And that meant she needed to stop standing here kicking herself for being an idiot and just accept that she had screwed up. They weren't going to hold it against her, and OK, so maybe she should have noticed it before... But who knew Tim was getting so good at undercover work? Sure, Tony was good at it — having a secret girlfriend who was really an undercover op for almost a year — but Tim had never been good at lying, even for a good reason. And he was still her best friend, so she really needed to get over herself before Monday morning so Gibbs didn't make good on his threat. Because now that she was seeing clearly, now that all the mud was gone and the sun was out, she could see that Tony was right for Tim in a way she had never been. They fit. Like she and Tim fit together in the lab — only Tony and Tim fit together in every way possible. Like she had told Tim once upon a time, he had all that love to give, and Tony needed love so badly — always had. Tony needed somebody, and Tim needed to be needed, and she didn't want to need anybody. Though if Gibbs stuck her in interrogation, she might have to admit that she needed Tim to keep her on an even keel. And maybe in another universe, another time, she might have been able to admit that to herself and to Tim before it was too late. If she had been the person she was now back when they dated six years ago, or he had been the person he was now back then. Before Tony was the person he was now. But they'd all been through stuff, and it had changed them all. She couldn't just say, 'right person, wrong time.' Because without the time, they wouldn't be the same people, and it wouldn't be 'right people, wrong time.' It would be 'wrong people, right time.' Or 'wrong people, wrong time.' Or something. Tim and Tony were right together and that was that, and she was just going to suck it up and like it. Because she didn't want to be the reason Tim ended up in CyberCrimes. Because even though he wouldn't hate her and Tony would only hate her a little, she would never forgive herself.

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