He looked away from the screen and pursed his lips. "Abbs, don't make me slap you like DiNozzo."

She continued clicking the keys, smiling confidently, "You wouldn't."

He tilted his head slightly and murmured, "Not on the head."

He had said it quietly, but couldn't believe he said it at all. Lately he'd been flirting more aggressively with the lab tech than he was strictly comfortable with.

Abby stood, sliding her stool out of the way with a black booted foot. She got as close as she could to Gibbs face and reminded him in a very soft voice, "The key to a good bluff…"

He spanked her.

It wasn't near hard enough but he had done it nonetheless. Her short pleated skirt caught up in his arm, his fingers tingling as they hit the bare skin exposed by her bikini briefs. The force of his hand on her backside caused her to fall into him. Steadying her against him by way of his hand on her rear he finished her sentence trying to ignore the delicious shudder that he felt race down her spine, "Don't be bluffing."

"Gibbs" her voice was soft but contained a gentle warning. For one terrifying moment he feared that he had misread their banter, he stiffened slightly and braced himself for what she might say.

Her fingers traced his hairline at his forehead, brushed a stray silver lock back into place before she gave him her eyes, "Be sure, because if you don't mean it…"

He enveloped her in his arms, lifting her slightly from the floor. Kissing her softly in the tiny indentation of her neck just behind her earlobe he murmured, "I'm sure Abbs. Very sure."

Before she could respond the door to her lab opened and Gibbs took a half step back. Tony's face showed no sign that he had witnessed anything out of the ordinary, he simply told his boss that they had a lead and waited for Gibbs to follow him out.

He raised his eyebrows and smirked slightly at her still shocked expression. Kissing her cheek he assured her, "We'll talk later."

It was a long day in Abby-land.

At 6:15 she heard the quiet whoosh of the door and tried to stop her heart from leaping into her throat. She stared at the screen display connected to the SEM but didn't really see.

Her blue eyes closed when she felt his warm hand press into her side. "Hungry?" It was such an innocent question, but his fingers against her flesh felt anything but innocent.

"I, I could eat." She stammered.

He kissed the back of her neck, "Get your coat."

She turned to look at him and smiled. For all the bravado in his voice and touch he looked like a little boy, waiting and hoping.

As they walked to their cars they discussed where to eat, her places were too loud, his choices too stuffy. Eventually they decided the way to go was take-out Thai at his place.

She chewed her nails the whole drive over, but it turned out to be comfortable. He changed into jeans and a soft, worn gray t-shirt before they ate and offered her a t-shirt and some sweats to get more comfortable. She thought maybe he was more worried about the buckles from her clothes ripping his sofa, but took the offered wardrobe into the bathroom with her.

When she came out she wore only the navy t-shirt, which she had cut with scissors she'd found in the bathroom so that the collar was now a deep V to her cleavage.

"You cut up my shirt." The annoyance he tried to display with his voice was betrayed by the amusement in his eyes.

"I improved it. It's an Abby original now." She folded one leg under her as she joined him on the couch.

His gaze traced her thighs right up to the bottom edge of the shirt; it was a moment before he could speak again, suggesting that they eat.

After dinner she went to the kitchen and dumped the cartons in the trash. He moved to join her but she pushed him gently back to his seat, "Stay."

When she returned she sat, much to his surprise, facing him on his lap. With her hands at the base of his neck she gently tilted his head down and began again, running her fingers along his scalp. "You're too tense Gibbs."

He ran his fingers along her calves, folded outside of his thighs. Her skin was smooth and cool and he wanted to push her off of him and lay her down, taste her flesh but the massage she provided felt too incredible. Abby released tension he had been carrying for so long he wasn't even aware of the pain until it fell away to relief. . She stopped when she felt a scar, her eyes asked the question for her.

"Wife number 3." He informed her resignedly.

She kneeled up and kissed it softly. "I always thought you were kidding about that."

"Nope." He took her hand and moved it to another small mass of scar tissue. "Number 2."

She kissed this one as well and then sat back in his lap and smiled.

"I'm not good at relationships Abbs." His mouth said the words, but his hands explored her thighs.

She considered this for a moment. "Maybe you just weren't good at those relationships because they were with the wrong person. You're really good at this relationship."

"I hate the thought of screwing this up and losing you."

"Shhhh." She reached for his shirt and tugged at it, he questioned her with his eyes but she just continued trying to raise it over his head. Ultimately he gave in and removed it himself.

She squinted and leaned into him, stopping at his right bicep. He followed her line of vision, "Shrapnel, South America." Another soft kiss.

A kiss for the left shoulder where Ari had shot him before she picked up his hands and kissed the small white ghosts of cuts gone by. "Boat." He simply stated, his eyes closed.

Her lips pressed finally on his chest, in the place of his heart, which she knew to be scarred more deeply than any other part of him. His hand cupped her head, his thumb gently stroking her hair as she turned in his lap and lay against him.

He could never get the words to tell her past the painful lump in his throat, but in that moment Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs knew how it felt to be loved completely, and without expectation or demand for the first time.