I'll Be There

by Audrey Lynne

Gibbs had come down to the lab personally to get Abby, promising her that there was something in the squad room she didn't want to miss. Abby let him take her, smiling as she caught sight of their reflection in a passing window, her and her Gibbs. She always felt safe with him, no matter what.

The elevator slid open, and Abby burst into giggles when she caught sight of Kate, who was covered in what looked like whipped cream. It was on her clothes, in her hair...she was a mess.

"What happened to you?" Abby asked once she could finally contain her amusement enough to speak.

Kate shrugged, spreading her hands out in front of her. "Would you believe the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man?"

Abby's first instinct was to hug Kate, but she restrained herself. It didn't matter, because when she looked at Kate and giggled again, Kate frowned and wiped a few fingers full of the stuff on Abby's cheek, saying, "See how you like it."

Tim walked over and grinned at Abby. He was clean, but he hadn't gone out with Tony and Kate. Where was Tony, anyhow? Abby was about to ask when Tim pointed to her marshmallow-y cheek. "Want me to wipe that off for you?"

"Want to lick it off?" Abby challenged him.

Tim's eyes lit up, but Gibbs had overheard. "Rule 12, McGee. Break it at your own risk."

Tim nodded. "Yes, boss."

Kate touched her hair, then made a face. "I'd better hit the showers. When Tony gets back from booking that guy, tell him his ass is mine."

Abby crossed her arms over her chest, frowning. "Did Tony throw you under the bus?"

"And how." Kate nodded. "Stay at my place tonight and we'll talk about it?"

"I love sleepovers!" It was hardly the first time Abby had stayed at Kate's apartment, but it was always fun. "I keep a pair of spare jammies in my lab, so I'm set." It was Friday, so she didn't have to work tomorrow. She could wear today's clothes home; it wouldn't kill her.

Gibbs got a phone call as Kate headed to the shower. He took some information down, then stood as he hung up. "McGee, you're with me. Abby, you too."

"Me?" Abby looked surprised. "Why me?"

"Because there's still one member of that Thailand cartel that's after you, and I'm not taking chances. I trust Kate to watch you tonight, but for now, you're with us. Let's go."

Abby practically glided down the stairs on the way to the car. Suddenly, she felt the world being pulled away from her, as if she were being sucked through a wormhole or something similar. She reached forward, trying to hold onto the moment. She tried to think of Kate, and it didn't work. She tried to think of making out with Tim, and she wrapped her arms around herself to try to jump-start the memory. Then a new feeling set in, a more alert one...

Reality.

She was awake.

Abby stayed perfectly still in her bed for a few more moments, willing herself back to sleep so she could resume the dream and see what happened.

It didn't work.

Sighing, Abby rolled from her side to her back, trying to process the memories of her dream. It had felt very real at the time, but now it just seemed surreal. Abby had no idea where the Thailand cartel had come from; she didn't have one after her now, nor had she ever. She didn't even know there was a cartel from Thailand.

And Kate. Oh, how Abby missed her. Her breath caught as she thought of how real it had felt, how much she would give to have Kate back in her life. She loved Ziva, but new friends were never replacements for the lost, nor should they have been. Abby would do anything if it meant one more sleepover with Kate.

It was harder to pull away from this dream than most. It clung to her. She wanted to cling to it. Abby picked up her cell phone from the nightstand to glance at the time. It was the weekend, but it was time to get up. It was a reasonable time to call a friend. She needed to talk her way through this one, and she knew the best person to call.

Abby scrolled through her contacts until she got to the T's. Two rings, then an answer. "Hey, Abby, what's up?"

"Hi." It was an awkward way to start a conversation. I just called to talk to you about Kate. "I just needed to talk to you. I had this dream, and it was about Kate..."

"Oh." There was a bit of surprise in his tone, but when he spoke after a brief pause, he sounded genuinely interested. "Tell me about it."

Abby smiled. "Thanks, Tony; you're the best." She took a deep breath. "Well, she was covered in whipped cream or something like that..."

Tony laughed. "Ooh, sounds kinky. I never rate dreams like that!"

"Not like that," Abby insisted. "It was on her clothes and in her hair..."

Author's note: I promise I have no plans to neglect "Breathless." This just popped into my head and my brain wouldn't settle until it was written. I'm still on winter break, so I've got plenty of time to write for a couple more days.

Title comes from Escape Club's song "I'll Be There."

Because I'm on your side

And I still care

I may have died, but I've gone nowhere.

Just think of me, and I'll be there.