Characters: Abby and Kate
Prompt: Eight Shades of Black
Summary: It starts with black coffee
Author's Notes: If I'm contradicting anything in canon, I apologize now. I've only sporadically watched from season 3 onwards and it's been a while since I've caught any of 1 or 2 other than briefly in the background.
Kate has only been working at NCIS for two weeks before the team pulls its first twenty-four hour shift.
Abby watches Kate trying to hide a yawn when she waves at Abby who actually gets to leave for the night (or what's left of it at least).
The next morning, Abby stops off at a little coffee place around the corner and picks up coffee for her (And Gibbs, because no one gets coffee if Gibbs doesn't get coffee)
Kate smiles her thanks and sips at it. She winces.
The coffee is black.
Abby's spent too much time around Gibbs.
She'd forgotten that there's ways to take coffee other than black.
Kate drinks it anyway.
(But Abby makes sure that she remembers next time to add cream and sugar to Kate's cup.)
* * *
Kate was seven when her grandfather died. Everything was black, from the dresses and suits to the cars. Even the delicate handkerchief her grandmother had kept clenched firmly in her hand.
It sticks with her for a long, long time that black is death. Even when she is wearing black suits in the Secret Service, she still is unable to shake the connection ,and too often when she is protecting the President, she can't help but think of death.
It isn't until she meets Abby that she understands that it's not always true.
With Abby, black is life.
* * *
Abby got her first tattoo when she was sixteen. The black lines looked odd at first as they stood out in stark contrast against her pale skin. Once the temporary bandaging had been removed, she had stood in front of the mirror, tracing the design.
Kate has been at NCIS for almost six months when Abby first declares her intention of adding yet another tattoo to her collection. She suggests that Kate should come with her and get one herself. Kate isn't so keen on the idea.
Abby's got her persuaded within a week.
This tattoo is Abby's ninth – and the first one she has in color.
Kate leaves the store with a small, black panther on her ankle.
* * *
One of Kate's most vivid childhood memories was Halloween when she was five. She had been dressed as a fairy princess, much to the mocking of her brothers (a pirate, Han Solo and a ninja). Her older sister (a Charlie's Angel) had defended her, and escorted the four of them around the neighborhood, where Kate's sparkling pink had attracted many comments from mothers handing out candy.
The first Halloween Kate's with NCIS, Abby insists that she has to come to a party with her. Kate's not so sure, but by now, she knows better than to try and withstand Abby's pleas.
Abby neglects to mention that it's a costume party until lunch that day, and with work, Kate's concession is to stop off and buy a black, pointed witches hat. It's a cliché, she thinks, pairing it with a plain black skirt and top, but she's not really in the mood.
Abby thinks it's great when she appears to pick Kate up, declaring that they must be psychically linked or something. Abby is also dressed all in black; as a black cat, with a tail sewn to the back of a leotard and a pair of pointy ears carefully pinned in her hair.
Kate loses count of how many 'pussy' jokes Abby is the recipient of that night.
* * *
Abby knocks on the door to Kate's apartment one evening. Kate answers, her hands black with charcoal dust. She has been sketching on her kitchen table, and Abby darts in to look at and exclaim over the work. Kate protests they're just rough sketches.
Abby is not an artist; not in the traditional sense of the word. Her science is her art and in that, she is a master.
But there are still moments, like when Kate has black smudges across her forehead and her eyes are bright when she's explaining why sometimes she likes to use that particular medium even though it's messy, that Abby wishes she could actually draw.
It's a futile wish, as her high school art teacher would attest to, but that's never stopped Abby from wishing. Sometimes you just have to dream.
* * *
Kate has often heard people commenting that the sales on Black Friday are to die for. This year someone did. A young petty officer and the call from Gibbs pulls Kate away from her own shopping.
After four long hours at the scene, it is a relief to be back at NCIS headquarters. She drops down into her chair and leans back, closing her eyes for a moment. It's not even lunchtime, and she knows it's going to be another long day.
"Look what I got in the sales this morning! What do you think?"
Kate sits back up again and opens her eyes to an unexpected sight; Abby in a dress.
To be exact, Abby in a little, black dress.
It's an incongruous sight; the light and flimsy silk matched with Abby's hair in pigtails, her red and white striped socks pulled up to the knees and her steel-toed boots.
Kate just has to smile.
* * *
'Highly adaptive' has been used on Kate's resume ever since she had one. NCIS has required perhaps the most adapting of any of her previous jobs (including the Secret Service).
It's been nearly six months and it doesn't faze her that sometimes she can walk into the strangest conversations.
She's bringing Abby some evidence from the latest case, and finds Abby and Ducky trading information about the Black Death. "Wasn't it caused by Y pestis?" "Yes, and it's estimated from anywhere between thirty and sixty percent of the population of Europe perished in this pandemic..."
Abby thinks its fascinating. Kate isn't so sure. Ducky just smiles and pats her on the shoulder as he leaves them to it.
"It's just history, Kate," says Abby as she turns to look at a hard drive. She laughs. "I mean, whoever heard of anyone getting the plague nowadays?"
* * *
Black is not Abby's favorite color.
This comes as a surprise to just about everyone she meets, but she doesn't explain it, and she doesn't tell what her favorite color actually is.
"Everyone always expects black to be a Goth's favorite color!" she exclaims. It's Kate's third day on the job.
Gibbs always smiles knowingly. It drives Tony crazy.
Kate just tilts her head curiously and smiles.
"Well, technically black isn't a color, is it?" she points out.
Abby just laughs.