"Ziva! Tony's been trying to reach you! We all have! Ziva, you're in danger! Trent Kort! Oh! He blew up Eli’s farm house, we thought you were dead."
"I know, Abby."
"Listen, I have… a lot to say and not enough time to say it."
Abby smiled at her friend’s seldom correct use of an expression. However, her smile quickly turned into a frown at the somber tone.
"Look… Abby... I am sorry. I am sorry for leaving. I am sorry for not saying goodbye. I can only hope you understand why I did it. But, Abby, I never meant to hurt you guys, I-"
"We know, Ziva. Tony talked with us. I’m not gonna lie and say it was easy but "for Gibbs", right? What's going on?"
"I love you guys. You are my family." Abby heard an uncharacteristic sniffle from the other side of the call. "I know I have no right to demand you never stopped thinking of me as part of yours, especially after all the pain I've caused..."
"Zi-" Abby was ready to reassure her friend but was muted by a heartbreaking sob she never expected to hear from the warrior on the other end.
"Abby…" A deep sigh. "I'm running out of time..."
Frozen in front of her monitors, she let Ziva continue talking.
"I need you to let Tony know that I love him. I always have and never stopped. He is my better half. I'm extremely sorry for what is about to happen. It is the best I could do, and I know she will be safe with him. I did not mean for him to find out this way. Abby, I swear. I just thought I had a little more time." Her voice broke towards the end.
"A little more time for what? Look Ziva, Tony is packing his bags. He didn't believe you were dead. Just stay where you are. He's on his way, everything will be fine."
"I'm sorry, Abby."
An infant's cry could be heard in the background.
"Please, keep my secret. For my family. It is my turn to fight for him… for them. I love you all."
The end tone of the call echoed in the unnaturally quiet lab.
Still frozen, her mind raced as she distantly heard the ding of the elevator.
A different, softer voice pulled her out of her thoughts. She turned around to face the origin of it, a few feet behind her.
"McGee... is everything okay?"
Their eyes met.
"No, Abby, it's not." His voice breaking.
Confused, she opened her mouth to reveal the weird call she just received, but remembered Ziva’s last words… what secret was she talking about?
As the tears started to fall down his face, she rushed to pull him into a hug and the tears turned into sobs.
"Oh Timmy, it's okay. What's wrong?"
"Director Vance got the call, Abs…" His voice started wavering.
Out of all the things she was expecting to hear, it wasn’t this.
"What? No! You're wrong, Tim! She just- She- Just here- A second ago- No- You’re wrong. Vance’s contact is wrong-"
McGee put his hands on her shoulders, forcing her to look him in the eyes.
"She's dead. Abby, we were too late."
He pulled her in for another hug, and this time, his tears were joined by hers. Like the time of Mike Frank's death.
After a few minutes, she slowly pulled back enough to look him in the eyes.
"Does... Tony know?"
He brought his hand to wipe a tear from his face.
"No, uhmm… since his plane is not set to leave yet and I figured he would still be at the apartment. I asked the boss if he could hear it from us... it's better that way."
Her face scrunched up, tears welled up in her eyes, and she could only nod because her throat had closed up, too.
After a few moments of silent comfort she asked her friend to get the car while she finished something real quick.
"I'll be there in a second, just go right up."
A sad smile appeared in his face as he reluctantly left her alone.
She waited to hear the ding of the elevator before turning back towards her phone.
Blocked User ID
Incoming Call 1m 59s 43ms
"Oh Ziva..." Fresh tears started filling her eyes. "So that’s the secret."
She pressed the delete button.
"Good luck, friend."
Abby turned to exit the lab and deliver the worst news a man could receive about his better half.