A/N: Because I couldn't help but remember how badly Abby has walked all over Tim's heart over the years.

"So. Delilah"

"Not you too. Look, I didn't have a choice. I can't go to the Awards Gala with her. I feel bad, okay?"

"It just seemed like…like you didn't really wanna go."

"I didn't."

"McGee! I thought you really liked her?

"I did. I do! We're together all the time, which is nice. We went on a trip together. She leaves clothes at my apartment. She bought me a tuxedo! That's a little much, don't you think? Too much. I think I need to slow things down. I need…space."



"Oh, boo hoo. My super-hot and super smart girlfriend likes me too much? McGee, this isn't about space. It's about you being scared. You're scared that things aren't going to work out and that somebody's going to get hurt and you'll have to deal with those messy emotions. Delilah is like the best thing that's ever happened to you. You can't protect yourself from everything."

***beep ***beep*** beep***


From where he's standing outside Abby's lab, perfectly content to eavesdrop on the two people he knows are more open with each other than they are with him, Tony can only frown. While he's elated at this chance to hear Abby pull from Tim what the Computer Geek wouldn't tell the Senior Field Agent, he also can't help but see the glaring hypocrisy in Abby's verbal chastisement of the younger man who's always had a tough road with love.

For many reasons, he doesn't want to be seen eavesdropping in this case and slips down around the corner from the stairwell, waiting until Tim leaves to go back upstairs. He breathes out a sigh of relief when that happens not even a minute later as the dinging of the arriving elevator gives proof of that. On silent feet, he retraces his steps to the Lab., knowing this won't take very long but also realizing it can't wait – since the timing is only perfect on the heels of what he's just heard.

"Hey, Abbs."

"Tony? Why aren't you upstairs getting ready to head out after this guy?" Abby whirls around to look at him, her pigtails flying with her movement.

"Oh, I'm going, trust me. I just need to ask you something before I go." Tony replies calmly and without hesitation.

"Okay, shoot."

"That pep talk you just gave McGee – don't you think that's like the pot calling the kettle black? Don't get me wrong – I think you did him a world of good with it, it's just…"

"Just what, Tony?" She's quick to angrily demand. "And why were you eavesdropping?"

"Because I was just as concerned about him as you obviously have been and I knew you'd be able to get it out of him."

" Doesn't explain why you're still down here, Tony." Abby's tone has turned haughty since she's obviously still angry at having been overheard while she had that heart to heart with Tim. That was what it had been. She doesn't care what anyone else says..

"Abby, don't you think it's just a tad bit hypocritical of you to accuse McGee of hiding behind being scared in his relationship?"

"Bite your tongue, DiNozzo! I am NOT a hypocrite!" She snaps out as she looks away.

"Look, I'm just saying, that you have to admit – you do… you did the same thing."

"What are you talking about?" The sullen tone is still present and now Abby turns to face him, her arms crossed over her chest defensively.

"I'm talking about you dropping the best thing that ever happened to you when he was willing to lay down at your feet, just so you wouldn't have to feel 'those messy emotions'. Tony pushes with just enough sympathy to make his point that he's opening this can of worms further because he cares.

"Tony…" Abby's voice breaks as she feels the punch to the gut that his bringing up her long ago choices with Tim, always does to her.

"Let's face it, Abbs; Tim was the best thing that had ever happened to you – and you did the same thing to him that he's trying to do with Delilah. Only he's got good reasons for doing it now."

"What do you know?" Abby's tone is filled with sadness now, all traces of anger gone as his words hit home even further. "Why does it matter now anyway, Tony?"

"Are you serious? It matters now because the reason he's so afraid now? Is because of all the heartache he's been through – starting with you!"

"I'm not the one who pretended to be an online woman looking to date him, Tony!" Abby fires back angrily as one of her hands comes out to point in his direction.

"And I'm not the one who decided he wasn't good enough for me – just because I was afraid to settle down and or appreciate everything he had to offer me." Tony gives back with a straight face.

"What's your point, Tony? Why are you sticking your nose in this?" Abby asks with a resigned tone as she turns back around to face her computer again, no longer willing to face her surrogate big brother in his 'tough love' mode.

"Because, I care about you. I see you still doing it yourself andI don't want to see you miss out on the happiness that comes with a good relationship, Abbs. It's like you just told Tim. You owe it to yourself to face the truth. You just made Tim own up to his truth a minute ago. You need to look in the mirror and face your own truth now. "

Now, Abby can't think of anything to say, her heart and head are all tangled up in memories as well as Tony's pieces of advice that are coming at her hard and fast.

But Tony isn't quite done because he isn't just doing this for Abby. "And speaking of Tim; you owe it to him to cut him some slack when he actually trusts you enough to open up to you about his relationship."

All she can do is look at him in shock. She'd never even given the history between herself and Tim any thought! The shroud of shock is such that she's unaware of him kissing her cheek and she barely hears what he says next.

"Don't forgot to look in that mirror before handing out anymore advice, Abbs."

Biting her lip, she breathes in a ragged breath while behind her Tony turns around and heads out of her lab, taking the stairs rather than disturb her thought process with the dinging of the arriving elevator. He hopes she understands that he's only trying to push her to find Mr. Right for herself before she, too misses out at the same time as he's trying to get her to see Tim's genuine fear with his current relationship for what it really is – her creation from long ago. He can only hope that he got through to her.

With a sigh, Tony runs his hand through his hair. A big brother's work is never done.