Warnings/Spoilers: Spoilers for 'Twilight'
Characters: Kate and Abby
Word Count: 1,264
Disclaimer: Not mine
Summary: All she wanted was to protect
Feedback/Concrit: Is made of win and much appreciated
Prompt: lyssie asked for Kate and Abby, target practice, and not talking about How Hard It Is To Be a Woman in a Man’s Field
Author's Note: Massive thanks to llyfrgell for betaing this for me. lyssie, I hope you enjoy it
Kate nodded to Steve, the range officer, as she picked up two pairs of goggles and ear muffs. It was different, seeing the range so empty. Although Kate had no issues with being on the range when it was busy, she’d promised to give Abby a lesson. She imagined her friend would probably feel more comfortable if there weren’t other, much more experienced people looking on, so she’d booked it for an hour late in the evening.
They’d been leaving the hospital together after visiting with Tony a few days ago when Abby had asked Kate to show her how to fire a gun properly. Abby knew the basic mechanics of firearms but was unfamiliar with actual firing technique. When Kate had asked why, Abby had shrugged and muttered something about wanting to learn new things. Kate had raised an eyebrow: Abby was usually so open about everything that if there was something she didn’t want to talk about, Kate knew it had to be important. She hadn’t pushed any further though, instead electing to ask Abby again later.
Abby arrived a few minutes later. Kate watched her friend walk in and noticed the slight hesitancy in her steps, something very uncharacteristic of Abby.
“Hi, sorry I’m late,” Abby said, the tone of her voice sounding falsely bright.
“That’s okay,” Kate replied, handing Abby one of the pairs of goggles and ear muffs, as well as a pair of ear plugs, “You don’t have to use them both,” Kate explained, gesturing to the ear plugs and ear muffs, “But I do – it keeps your ears a little better protected.”
Abby nodded and they stepped through the first door, letting it close behind them before stepping through the second and into the range proper.
“Why do they have the two doors?” Abby asked as the second door shut.
“It’s to keep the noise away from the counter and the range officer,” Kate explained, setting her Sig down on the shelf in the first booth. A silhouette target had already been set up for them by Steve.
“Okay, before we start, I need to take you through the rules of the range – all the safety precautions and everything.” As she began to explain, Kate found she was enjoying being the one imparting knowledge to Abby; usually, it worked the other way round.
“So, let me just check I’ve got this all – don’t want to go shooting you in the foot accidentally or anything,” Abby teased, seemingly back to her normal self, “Keep the gun pointed down the range whenever possible, including when loading, unloading, or reloading; otherwise point it at the floor. Stay behind the ‘fire line’. Don’t put your finger on the trigger unless the target’s in the sights.”
As she went through the points Kate had mentioned, Abby counted them off on her fingers and Kate nodded with each one to let Abby know she was correct. There were a lot of things to remember, but Abby got them all first time around.
“Wow,” Kate said, impressed, “You got those faster than I did. Just one more thing before we begin.”
“Fire away,” Abby replied, sticking her tongue out when Kate rolled her eyes.
“Why do you want to learn to do this?” Kate asked, “I mean, why now? You’ve been at NCIS for years, and I’m sure you could’ve asked Gibbs or Tony to teach you.”
As soon as Kate asked the question, Abby tensed up and looked away. There was a long pause before she answered.
“I never thought I needed to before,” she started quietly, “I mean, I figured I can take care of myself, and if I needed someone with firepower, I’ve got you and the guys. But then Tony got...sick, and I felt so helpless.”
“Abby, you being able to fire a gun couldn’t have helped Tony,” Kate said, stepping forward to rest her hand on her friend’s shoulder.
“Logically, I know that,” Abby agreed, “But I can’t help thinking that it would just be a good thing to know. I hope I never have to do it, to actually shoot anyone, but I would hate it if someone got hurt because I couldn’t defend them.”
“As long as you’re sure you want to do this,” Kate checked a final time.
“I’m ready,” Abby said firmly, “Bring it on.”
Kate stepped into the booth and gestured for Abby to follow her.
“Right. First thing: loading your weapon.”
Abby looked straight down the range towards the silhouette. Bringing the gun up, she fixed the target in her sights and put her finger on the trigger. She breathed in deeply, holding the air in her lungs for a couple of seconds, and squeezed the trigger as she breathed out. Even with the ear plugs and ear muffs, she still struggled not tense up in preparation for the sound of the weapon firing.
She fired more quickly after that, emptying another five rounds from the chamber. Laying the weapon down, she pressed the button calling the target up to the booth. She removed her ear muffs and laid them down next to the Sig.
There were six small holes on the target. Three were clustered tightly together in the centre of the head of the silhouette shape. The other three were lower down, grouped where the heart would be. In the three months since she’d first learnt to fire a weapon, she’d improved greatly. She remembered that first night with Kate. She’d fired what felt like a couple of hundred rounds, though in reality the number was closer to fifty. By the end of the session, she’d been managing to get most of the shots inside the silhouette and had stopped jumping every time she fired.
Kate had been incredibly patient with her; more patient than Abby herself who’d found herself unusually easily frustrated. At the end of the evening, they’d gone out for drinks and Kate had made Abby feel better with stories of people she’d gone through training with who’d been much worse than Abby.
“You’ll get better,” Kate had said reassuringly, “Although I really hope you never have to shoot anyone.”
“I hope so too,” Abby had replied, “I just want to know that I could if I needed to. I just want to know I would be able to protect you or someone else if I needed to.”
They’d had one more session on the range while Tony was still off work. The planned third session had never happened: Ari had appeared on the scene and all other plans had been forgotten about. It wasn’t until the day after Kate’s funeral, when Abby was clearing out all the alerts on her computer – all the reminders that had flashed up when she’d been too busy searching for Ari to even look at them.
‘9PM, K, range’ was all the message said. Abby had stared at the screen until McGee had walked in. She’d closed the reminder, saving it to a private folder on the computer.
She only used the range late at night, when it was almost guaranteed to be empty, and always used the first booth by the door. Gibbs was the only one who knew she used the range: she’d told him when she went to him to ask for Kate’s Sig. If she aimed the gun at the target and closed her eyes, she could imagine Kate was still there beside her, telling her to lower her arms and relax.
“I’m sorry, Kate,” Abby whispered into the silent range, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you.”