Title: Keeping Track
Author: A.j.
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Done for Beka Cavis's birthday. smooches her


The first time Abby kissed him, he'd known it was a bet.

He and Kate and Abby had been eating a very late dinner in trace, sorting over some last-minute evidence that Jethro had been rather insistent about having the next morning. They'd been laughing and chatting – Abby doing a dead-on impression of their illustrious leader that had nearly had him snorting rice out his nose – when Kate had joked that if Tony had been there, he'd have proposed a dirty game or six by that point.

He'd raised and eyebrow and, in a fit of mischief, suggested a game of spin the bottle. Both women had laughed, Abby saying "You just want to see me make out with Kate."

"You've found me out, my dear," he'd smiled and winked at her before stabbing up the last piece of his moo-shu pork. He'd been only slightly aware of some kind of complicated hand gestures and such going on around his head because the pork had been difficult to grasp with a set of cheap chop sticks and too-tired fingers. If he'd actually followed any of the girls' communication, he wouldn't have been nearly as shocked as he'd been when he'd looked up - after finally, successfully popping his food into his mouth, chewing, and swallowing – and gotten an arm and mouthful of young-enough-to-be-his-grand-daughter (and lord that was depressing) goth-girl.

Instead, he'd been caught completely flat-footed.

As such, his memories of their first kiss are dazed and soaked with a lot of uncertainty. He remembered her lips being warm and soft and slick. She'd tasted of garlic chicken and fortune cookies, and by the time he'd recovered enough to actually realize the happy tingle in his spine wasn't from her weight depressing a nerve, she'd been back in her seat, taking the dollar from Kate and bragging that he'd been better than her last three boyfriends combined.

Later, when he'd walked her to her car in the bright floodlights of the parking lot, she'd leaned over and kissed his cheek.

"I'm sorry about earlier," she'd said, staring him straight in the eye.

He'd shrugged and opened the car for her, waiting until she'd safely folded herself into the front seat before replying. "Oh, don't be sorry, Abigail. It was the most fun this old man's seen in months. After all, it's not often we're kissed by pretty girls."

She'd just shaken her head and smiled at him. Not a grin, or a smirk. Just a quiet little grin that had screamed at everything male in him. It had been the smile of a woman who was sure of something.

"I'm not sorry for kissing you, Ducky. I'm sorry I stopped."

He'd been too shocked to do anything other than watch as her taillights disappeared into the darkness.

The second time Abby had kissed him had been three months later.

It had been winter then. So cold outside that he'd felt the dew of his breath freeze to his eyebrows on the short walk from his car to the office door. It had snowed the night before, and he'd been giving Palmer a rather involved lecture on the history of meteorology – his Christmas present to himself as he'd been planning to giving up torturing the poor lad quite so much as a sort of New Year's resolution – when a vision in red and green had suddenly materialized in front of them.

Done to the fifteens with fake fur, striped stalkings, and wonderfully realistic elf-ears, Abby had waved a sprig of real mistletoe at them. Poor Palmer, bless the boy's heart, had turned bright red and nearly died when she'd dipped him back over her arm and proceeded to explore his tonsils.

When she finally put him back on his feet, the whole office had been laughing and clapping at their spectacle. Even McGee clapped and hooted, his rather infamous jealousy apparently boxed for the holidays.

The second time she kissed him – tasting of sugar cookies and the menthol cigarettes he's only caught her smoking by the dumpster once – he was ready for her. Had three months to run the last kiss through his mind and plan for the slight possibility that it would happen again.

She was grinning with good humor and too much of Gleeson's punch when she leaned down slightly and sucked his lower lip lightly. The tip of his tongue met hers and there had been heat and wetness and dirty tingles all the way to his toes.

When he'd finally pulled back some indeterminate time later, their lips separating with a slight pop, she'd moved to follow his retreating mouth. They'd both been flushed and slightly panting. And, if the crowd had gone wild for Palmer and Abby's little show, it'd been nothing on its response to he and Abby.

More clapping. More cat calls. Comments on his virility – that from Tony – and sexiness – that from Kate. One for the ego being McGee glaring at him before bustling over to the pretty new intern and grinning in an over-bright way. And in the background Jethro, staring at and through the both of them. If there was one thing to be said about Jethro Gibbs, it would be that he was a keen investigator.

Abby just smiled her smile at him before moving off to raid Kate's cookie tin.

The third time she kissed him, there were no witnesses.

He had been carrying a bag of New Year's fig cookies his mother had baked – after four burned tries – towards the break room when he was rather suddenly turned against the wall.

Her mouth was hot on his. Carnal in a way that the last kiss only approached near its ending. His hands were under her shirt as hers slid under his scrubs and traced patterns across his lower back with her fingernails. He only pulled back long enough to pant her name and stretch for three very specific pressure points that had her slumping against his shoulder and whimpering.

Stroking her back in a very public hallway, waiting for her to come down, he'd wondered how this was going to play out. They were colleagues – which he'd done before in his younger, sillier days – and friends. She listened to his lectures, countering with her own extended babbles. This would hurt when it ended.

But before he could say any of that, she was grinning at him again, all glossy and dark and Abby. And bright and clear in his brain was the knowledge that if there was ever a person who he could love and give back up to friendship if he had to, it was this beautiful sparkling little girl and her completely amazing sprit.

"You are beautiful, Abigail," he'd said, stroking the side of her cheek and grinning. "And if you do want to play this game, you have a more than willing partner."

That time, he was the one grinning and walking away, his mother's fig cookies only slightly broken from the short drop to the floor.

She'd walked him to his car that night, nearly skipping. Bouncing around him like a balloon in the wind, she'd held his arm and chattered about the aardvark's amazing ability for food storage. As she settled into his creaky leather passenger seat, he'd segued into food preparation techniques during Victorian times. He'd walked her to her door while they'd comparing the least appetizing café's they'd ever visited. And when she'd invited him in to look at her purple twinkly lights, he'd run a hand down the back of her skirt and squeezed.

Somewhere around seventy-eight, he'd lost track of the exact number of times Abby'd kissed him.

But from where he's lying – happily admiring the way the bright purple lights contrast against her red walls and ceiling – this isn't a tragedy at all. Abby is snoring lightly on his shoulder, and he's very, very sure, that when she wakes up he can kiss her back.