She stood idly by the door, hesitant to leave the note. It felt like the coward’s way out… it was the coward’s way out. As she stood, still contemplating her options, the door opened.
“Waddya got, Abbs?” Those three words broke the dam inside her and suddenly she was crying.
Gibbs held out his arms and she gladly accepted the tight hug.
“What’s the matter?” he asked quietly, still holding her.
She pulled back, wiping the tears from her face. “Can I come in?”
He stepped back and welcomed her inside, shutting the door behind her.
The two of them sat on his old couch in silence for a few minutes before Abby stood up and started pacing while Gibbs patiently watched– waiting for her to say what was on her mind.
“I’m leaving NCIS, Gibbs.”
Abby paused, a little unsure of how to proceed before gathering herself back together.
“I wrote a goodbye letter to you, because I was afraid that if I said it in person you’d ask me to stay and you know I would because there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. You’ve always been there to tell me it’ll be okay… and it would be because you’d make it okay, because you’re Gibbs. But… Reeves is gone. And this time you can’t fix it, because he’s gone for good and it’s partially my fault. I’m thankful for every moment we’ve shared together and nothing can ever take them away from us, but I have to leave NCIS. For Reeves. He was going to start a charity in honor in his mother and I owe it to him to make sure it happens.”
She took a deep breath, having blurted this all out in her signature fast, babbly way.
Gibbs looked up at her from his position on the couch.
Abby fidgeted with her fingers. “Well, say something.”
“I know, Abby.”
Gibbs pushed himself up, strode over to her, and put his hands on her shoulders.
“I know you need to do this and I’m proud. I’d never stop you from following that gentle heart of yours.”
Abby threw her arms around the man she’d seen as a father for over a decade.
“I’m gonna miss you, Gibbs.”
“I’ll miss you too, Abbs.”
Abby pulled back and looked into Gibbs eyes.
“This isn’t goodbye forever. This is just a goodbye for now,” she told him, mimicking her earlier words to her best friend.
Gibbs gave her a small smile and a kiss to the temple.
“Go get ‘em.”
Abby smiled and gave his hand once last squeeze before leaving his house.
After she crossed the street to her car she looked back– Gibbs still watching her through his window.
Love you, he signed.
I love you, too, she signed back.
She felt a weight lift off of her shoulders as she drove away. Because truly, this wasn’t goodbye forever. Her family would always be there with open arms and open hearts to welcome her home.