Gil walked into the hotel's restaurant, resigning himself to a night of eating alone, thinking about the presenters' words. He sighed to himself. It wasn't his usual practice at these things; but the hotel's restaurant was going to be extremely noisy, and his hearing just wasn't up to it. He moved to find the table with the best lighting, and sat down, perusing the menu.
However, he was pleasantly surprised when he caught two other people walking into the same area, fingers flying. He tried not to 'eavesdrop', but it was such a welcome sight that he couldn't help it. The young lady – who reminded him of a cross between Sara, Lady Heather and Greg (as odd as that seemed) – was commenting on some of the new equipment they'd had on display in the forensic seminar. He'd taken a look and realized their department wouldn't be able to afford something like that for a long time. Not unless they cut way back on staff or other essentials. He chuckled softly at her phrasing, and both of the signers looked up at him.
YOU SIGN? The older man asked. He seemed to be about the same age as Gil himself, and looked remarkably similar. They both had gray hair, wore serviceable clothes, and carried themselves with sure steps. However, the other man's steps were more precise, like he was continually pacing himself. Gil thought maybe he'd had military training.
He replied with a nod and then gestured toward the seat opposite him. SIT WITH ME? His face held the inquiring marker for a couple beats longer than necessary. COP, ME-TOO, he clarified for them. WORKSHOP, TOUCH SAME I'm attending the same workshop.
That got the young lady excited, and she grinned widely, speaking out loud for the first time. “Please, Gibbs? What are the odds of us running into someone who would understand and ”¦ it looks like he's having trouble...” She turned her head and lowered her voice, so the rest of the sentence was lost to him. 'Gibbs' seemed to acquiesce, though, but not without checking the other man out.
“I'm Jethro Gibbs, NCIS. You can call me Gibbs, though.” He supplemented the name with his name sign, a G coming out in a salute.
“Gil Grissom.” Gil showed his own name sign, the double G tapped first on the right side of his chest, then on the left. “Las Vegas Crime Lab.” He pursed his lips. “Nevada, not New Mexico.” Someone had already made that mistake, amazingly enough. He signed the next part, not really wanting the other patrons to know it. HEARING BECOMING-SMALLER. I'm losing my hearing. “So, finding someone to talk to is kind of nice.” He gestured again to the seat across from his. “I won't bite, I promise.”
The young lady laughed at that, and signed as she spoke. A natural. “I'm Abby Scuito.” She spelled out her name. He'd heard of her from some of the forensic journals, and tilted his head, leaning forward a bit as he did. “My name sign's either...” She made a smile with the A hand. “...or...” She ran the A along her neck in reference to the thick black collar there. He nodded. Both made sense. With introductions made, they slid into the seat, arranged themselves, and signaled the server to come over to add to the order for the table.
“Nice to meet you both.” He switched to sign again for ease of understanding. The dull roar seemed to be growing as more cops and scientists streamed into the small space. EQUIPMENT FOCUS SPECIAL WHICH? Which equipment were you looking at in particular?
That got the conversation started, and the three of them passed their time amicably, debating the pros and cons of the different machines and the methods of gathering information. Gibbs seemed to be a no-nonsense kind of guy, and Abby was just the opposite. She was an effervescent young lady with a passion for the science that Gil could empathize with.
After they finished their meal, Gil smiled, and thanked them profusely for joining him. “If you'd like to get together again while we're here...” He fished into his pocket, pulling out a business card. He put his room number on it, and passed it to Gibbs. “It was nice finding someone to be able to talk to.”
The other man just nodded, but the look on his face was pensive. Gibbs was, by Gil's estimation, a man who spoke little, communicating more through his facial expressions than words.
Abby signed her happy agreement with that idea, and Gil slid out of the seat to go pay for his meal. He smiled happily as he headed up to the room.
Later, as he was skyping with Catherine, checking up on things at home, he mentioned the encounter.
“Pretty lucky, there, Grissom.” Catherine replied, her smile widening.
“Yeah, I thought so.” He gave a soft chuckle, and signed off for the night.