Chapter One

Gibbs found himself subconsciously pressing his foot into the floor, as though putting pressure on a brake pedal. It was a reasonable response given that the sedan was fishtailing after an 80 mile an hour sharp right hand turn. The fact that there was no brake pedal on his side of the car was of little interest to his nervous system. He preferred to be in control, but at this point it seemed smarter to let Ziva drive off her steam than take out her aggression on the catalyst.

"Why don't you reel him in? Why do you let him run his mouth all the time like a, a, I don't know what? I'm going to shoot him one day. He will be dead as a door and we will have two minutes of peace and quiet."

The team leader remained silent. They reached the parking lot and Gibbs climbed out almost before the tires stopped screeching. "Go home Ziva, it's late. I'll see you at oh-eight hundred." He started toward his own vehicle but noticed a light on where it shouldn't be and turned back toward the building.

"What about you Gibbs? You going to work all night?"

"No Officer David, I am not, just checking up on something before heading out."

The music was deafening. The girl was who was, Gibbs had a hard time calling it singing, but for the sake of argument, singing, was apparently only happy when it rains.

"Abbs?" he yelled but it was a raindrop in the ocean of sound. He stood behind her and rested his hand on her shoulder blade causing Abby to drop her Caff Pow. "Geez Gibbs!" was lost in the music. He wiped clean her workbench while she turned down the cd player and examined her shirt, which was soaked through. Sighing she snapped on a lab coat and removed her top underneath it, a move Gibbs watched with a smirk.

"See something you like?"

"Sexiest thing I've seen all day Abbs. What're you doing drinking Caff Pows at 2AM?"

"You expected milk? I've got 5 dna samples to run and about 6 different types of goo to run through the mass spec."

He tossed the paper towels soaked with soda in the trash and moved behind her, massaging her shoulders. "What can I do?"

She picked up her empty cup and shook it, the straw rattling sadly.

"Aside from sending you to an early grave from caffeine overload."

She relaxed into his hands, "You're doing it."

His thumb caressed the back of her neck as his fingers worked tension from her muscles. "Put me to work Ab."

"Thanks. As good as this feels though? I gotta get moving. You should go home."

"You don't trust me as a lab assistant?"

Abby began to pace, talking with her hands "Okay, picture this, this goes to trial and some defense attorney questions the evidence. 'Oh, tell me Miss Sciuto, how did you determine that the substance on my clients shoes was indeed KY Jelly?' 'Um, well, Madame Attorney, Gibbs swabbed it and then after dropping the swab in the sink put it in the mass spec and came up with about 1600 peaks, four of which…"

"I get it Ab."

"You know, I know you mean to be helpful, but you suggesting you could just step in and help in my lab is like my suggesting I'll just trade places with you for the day out in the field."

He kissed her cheek "I'll be upstairs if you need me."

"You're staying?"

"If you're here all night, I'm here all night."

He was upstairs roughly 15 minutes when her phone rang.

"KY Jelly?"

"I just picked a random substance, I wasn't giving you results."

He shook his head and hung up the phone. He almost always found himself smiling after an interaction with Abby. There weren't many people he could say that about. The day had been long, his team had been particularly rambunctious and he was tired right down to his aching arthritic bones, but knowing Abby was here was enough to give him a second wind.

Computers never do what he asks them to. He hates them because other people can get them to tell all sorts of secrets and he can only get them to make him feel like a dinosaur. Three failed attempts to log on and he's barred for 12 hours from the site McGee set up for him to use as storage.

Closing his eyes he leans back in his chair, ignoring the complaining squeak of its backrest. He does not review the day in his head; it would only push his blood pressure up. He gives no neural activity to the case they are working; the leads will do no good until Abby's analysis is finished.

Abby. His mind settles there like a cat in the sunshine. He doesn't analyze his feelings for her; no good can come of examining too closely what draws him in. If he did he might find that she is the one true place he can be soft with no fear of malice or taunting. Or he might find that it is nothing more than the appeal of a lily-white thigh peaking out from under a short skirt. Either way, it's best left alone. They have fallen into a comfortable space of acceptance and he will be happy with that.

Only it isn't enough. Gibbs is an obsessive man. Normally this obsession manifests itself through work, or in lieu of that, his boat, but increasingly he finds himself inventing excuses to press Abby for interaction.

He fights his demons for as long as he can and then switches on the monitor in the bullpen. Flicking he watches dark rooms pass by until with a sudden tightness in his chest he observes as the lab technician fills the plasma. She isn't talking to herself, or singing. She is working, absorbed in extraction. Beautiful and precise she is an elegant contradiction of science and wild woman. She bites her lip as she draws liquid into a pipette and Gibbs wishes he could freeze the frame, zoom in on her blood red mouth. As quickly as he had turned it on he punched the button to shut the screen off.

Watching her work had made him feel like a stalker, a criminal. He didn't want to invade her privacy; he just wanted some of the magic dust that seems to spread over him when she was around.