Spoilers: Major for Blood Bath

Authors note: I watched NCIS for the first time the day the DVDs came out. Since then, I've watched all of season 1, plus about 5 or 6 season 3 eps. I have fallen hard for the show. Here's my first NCIS fanfic. I hope you enjoy it. This is for Brightillusions because without her I wouldn't have watched the show, or fallen in love with Abby and Gibbs.

II

She's the first person he sees when he walks out of the interrogation room with Mikel's desperate insistence of love following him. If she hadn't been there, he might have been able to return to his desk and pretend to work for the rest of the day. He can't make himself walk past her though. She's changed out of that god-awful outfit she wore to court; in a black skirt and red brocade shirt she looks like Abby again. But then he looks at her eyes. She's starring at the door to the interrogation room as if Mikel's going to come bursting out at any moment. Vulnerable isn't a word he equates with Abby, and he doesn't like to see her so fragile.

"Let's go celebrate," he says as he presses his hand to her shoulder.

"Celebrate?" she asks as if she's forgotten the meaning of the word. Tony and McGee and the rest of the staff pretend they aren't watching the pair, but they move slowly as they listen with surprise. Tony quietly jokes that hearing the word celebrate come out of Gibbs' mouth is one of the signs of the apocalypse. Gibbs turns from Abby long enough to glare at him.

"The bad guys are all locked up," Gibbs says, stressing the word 'all.' The stalker, the hired hit man, and the weasel she testified against; locks and bars and armed guards separate them from Abby now. "So what do you say?"

"I could go for pizza," Abby replies with a faint smile.

"Pizza it is then." Ten minutes later the computers are shut off and Tony, McGee, and Ziva are waiting with them at the elevator. Abby takes one look inside as the doors open, and decides that she's taking the stairs.

"I've had enough of elevators for a while," she declares. No one argues. Gibbs is worried when it takes her almost fifteen minutes to emerge from the building, but when he sees Ducky walking next to her, rambling on about the history of pizza, he understands.

"We all need to celebrate," Abby explains softly.

Tony mentions a pizza parlor across town. Everyone offers Abby a ride but she opts to take her own car. Two days of feeling like a prisoner is enough; she needs to feel safe again and that's not going to happen so long as she is afraid to be alone.

"Are you sure, Abbs?" Gibbs asks. She nods her head so emphatically that her pigtails bounce. Any hesitation and he'll insist on driving her. She can't keep relying on him.

Before he leaves, he walks her to her car and waits until she starts to drive away before getting in his own car. She looks over her shoulder once, and he wonders if she is looking at him or looking for something more sinister.

II

Gibbs stops at the ATM on his way, and by the time he arrives at the restaurant the pizza is is already on the table. His team is laughing, and it's a good sound.

"A whole pizza, Tony?" Ziva asks.

"It was a dare. I won ten bucks, and got the numbers of two sorority girls," Tony explains.

"I would hazard a guess that you were too sick to call either of them that night," Ducky chimes in the teasing.

Gibbs pulls a chair up to the edge of the booth and helps himself to a slice of pepperoni pizza. Without asking, Abby pours a mug of beer and hands it to him. He nods his thanks. She's drinking some kind of soda, and he wonders if she always drinks soda with her pizza or if it's because of last night. He tries to remember if he has ever seen her drink beer, but all he can picture is her standing in his basement with a bottle in her hand and guilt in her voice.

By silent agreement they don't talk about the events of the past few days while they eat. Conversation revolves around the mundane and safe; favorite pizza toppings, pranks pulled during their teenage years, and the unseasonable weather. The pizza is long gone when they finally decide that it's time to leave. No one wants to be the first to call it a night, but finally Ducky makes a comment about not being as young as he once was, and needing his sleep. Ziva and Tony leave a few minutes later, and Gibbs once again insists on walking Abby to her car.

"It will be good to sleep in my own bed," Abby remarks as he opens the door for her. She's not sure if anyone has ever made that gesture before; it's not the kind of thing most the men she dates would think of.

"Sleep well, Abbs," Gibbs says as she gets into the car. It's clichéd, but it's the safest thing he can think off. He stands in the parking lot and watches until the red taillights disappear.

II

She can't sleep. She lies in the middle of the bed, head cushioned by a perfectly fluffed pillow, but despite her exhaustion she can't fall asleep. Every time she closes her eyes she's being chased through McGee's apartment, watched through the lab window, or attacked in a van. An hour later when she's tried a boring book, hot milk, blasting punk music, and a violent computer game, she gives up. At least if she goes into work she'll have something to do besides stare at the ceiling.

She stops at the donut shop on the way. At four thirty in the morning they aren't even open yet, but when she taps on the glass they unlock the door. They know her. Before she even asks the woman behind the counter is filling a pink box with warm donuts covered in sprinkles. She gives one to the security guard at the yard, and carries the rest to the lab. Tony and Ducky will both want some, but it will be a couple of hours before either of them arrive.

One of the things she loves about her lab is that there is always something to do. It's soothing, mixing chemicals and analyzing materials as she losses herself in the music of her CD player. Humming along with the song and looking at files on the computer, she doesn't notice that she is no longer alone.

"What are you doing here, Abby?" Startled, Abby turns too fast in the chair and hits her knee on the desk.

"Gibbs! Are you trying to give me a heart attack? You scared me." She rubs her knee absently as she scolds him.

"It's four thirty. You should be at home." He should be at home too, but three hours after he had gone to bed he woke up feeling restless, and not even working on his boat could calm him.

"I couldn't sleep."

"Did you try?" It was a stupid question but he had to ask.

"Now why didn't I think of that?" She rolls her eyes and shakes her head, but she's smiling at him.

"Donut?" she offers as she opens the pink box and selects a chocolate pastry covered with rainbow sprinkles. She's hoping the sugar will be enough of a rush to tide her over until she can pick up a CafPow.

"Thanks." Gibbs takes one of the smallest ones. He doesn't really want it, but it gives him an excuse to linger in the lab. They eat in comfortable silence, and when they are done Gibbs mutters something about his coffee getting cold. Before he is even out of the lab Abby has turned back to the computer. She's leaning slightly forward as she studies whatever is on the screen, and he's glad to see how comfortable she is. This is her space, and he would have hated for Mikel to have taken that from her. Satisfied, Gibbs leaves her to her work.

II

There are reports to be written, and the details of a new case to investigate. It's mid afternoon before Gibbs has any free time, and the first thing he does is head for the lab. Walking into the room the first thing he sees is that there are four empty cups neatly lined up on the edge of the counter. Next to them is the donut box, empty except for crumbs.

"Your too late if you were looking for another donut." It's Gibbs turn to be startled as Abby walks up behind him.

"I didn't know that anyone, even you, could consume that much sugar." He means it as a joke, and is relieved that she takes it that way.

"Don't look at me. The blame rests on the parade of people that have been in and out of here all day. Honestly, you'd think I was giving away free cars with the amount of traffic I've had. Tony's been here twice, once with Ziva and once alone. I've caught McGee lurking in the doorway three times. Ducky's been in so many times I can't even remember all the excuses he's come up with. Even the director has visited."

"They all care about you, Abbs." He was glad to know that everyone was keeping an eye on her, but at the same time it didn't feel right that he was the least attentive of them all.

"Yeah, but could they care from a little farther away? It's hard to get any work done." She had felt like she was an animal in the zoo all day.

"I'm sure things will return to normal soon." Abby opens her mouth to say something, but all that escapes is a yawn.

"Your tired," Gibbs states. "Why don't you go home? There's nothing here that can't wait until tomorrow."

Abby thinks about disagreeing, but decides that it won't be worth the argument. Besides, the greater then average caffeine intake combined with the lack of sleep has made her jittery, and she knows that she shouldn't be doing lab work. It's one thing for evidence to be dismissed because the science hasn't been fully vetted; it's another thing altogether if she messes up the results. She gathers her things, and after a quick goodbye to Gibbs she leaves.

II

On her way home Abby stops at the store to pick up chamomile tea and bath salts. When she walks into her home she heads straight for the bathroom and fills the tub with water hot enough to coat the mirror with fog in minutes. As she steps into the water she sprinkles the rose scented salts into the tub. The aroma is comforting, and she breaths in deeply. For the first time in days she is completely relaxed. She learned years ago that there is little in life that can't be made better by a hot bath. There's a waterproof CD player suction cupped to the tile wall, and she hits the play button. The pulsing base of i Android Lust /i fills the room, and she closes her eyes in order to immerse herself in the sound.

She stays in the water until it's no longer warm, then slips into the black silk robe that hangs at the back of the bathroom door and makes her way to the kitchen. Her stomach rebels at the thought of real food, so she settles for a bowl of cereal and a mug of hot tea. It's only six o'clock when she glances at the clock while rinsing her dishes, but she's having trouble keeping her eyes open. She quickly calculates that she's been awake for about thirty-six hours, and while that is nowhere near her record, it's not the same as staying up in college, or to go to a party.

She did a couple loads of laundry the night before when she couldn't sleep, and the black camisole and panties she pulls out of the dryer smell of Downey freshness. She lets her robe fall to the floor and changes into the black cotton before turning down her bed. Clicking off the light, she lies down and closes her eyes, welcoming the oblivion of sleep.

II

It's been forty-three hours since she slept, Abby grumbles as she stares out the window. She's given up lying in the bed, because doing nothing but watch the numbers on her digital clock change was making her frustrated. The clock paid for her frustration; it was now in the corner of the room, broken into several pieces. She stands in front of the window another minute, starring at all the lights that aren't turned on because everyone else is asleep. Giving up on the idea of sleep, she makes herself another mug of tea and turns on the TV. Flipping through channels she finds that nothing is on, so she loads i The Craft /i into her DVD player.

i The Craft /i is followed by a marathon of i Buffy the Vampire Slayer /i , and as she is crying over the death of Angel the sun peeks through the windows. On a normal day she would be getting ready to go to work about now. Today is not a normal day. Even if she did go into work Gibbs or Ducky would probably take one look at her and send her right back home. She calls into the office and leaves a voicemail for Gibbs letting him know that she was taking the day off. There's a carton of juice in the fridge and she pours herself a glass before returning to her seat in front of the TV. There are 144 episodes of Buffy, and she figures that if she can't sleep she might as well watch them all.

II

"Hey Gibbs, I just want to let you know that I'm not coming in to work today. I'm not sick or anything, so you don't have to worry... not that I'm saying you would worry... but I'm not so... sorry if that messes up any of your cases." Her words are slightly slurred, and Gibbs listens to the message twice, and then once more. Ever the investigator he listens for clues that something is wrong, but it mostly sounds like she's tired. He hopes that she is staying home to make up the extra sleep that she missed. Fortunately they don't have a new case today, and they should be able to get by without using the lab. They have a sub, but he's not nearly as good as Abby.

The day proves to be uneventful, and when he sends everyone home early he decided that there is no reason for him to stick around. He drives halfway to his home before giving into the nagging voice at the back of his head. At a green light he makes a U-turn, and follows the maze of streets that will lead him to Abby's. Twenty minutes later he's standing at her front door. He's not sure exactly why he felt the need to check on her, but now that he's here he doesn't hesitate to knock on the door. Not too loud, because if she's asleep the last thing he wants to do is wake her up.

"Gibbs!" The door opens almost immediately, and it's hard to tell which one of them is more surprised. Abby, because Gibbs is the last person she expected to show up on her doorstep, and Gibbs because he's never seen Abby look like this. There are dark circles under her eyes, her skin is, if possible, whiter then usual, and she is dressed in a ratty blue plaid robe two sizes to big for her.

"Come in, come in," Abby insists. "Would you like something to drink? I have water, soda, milk, juice, or I could make a pot of coffee. Not what you are used to, but I make a pretty good cup of joe." She's halfway across the room before he closes the door, and words come gushing out of her so fast he can't interrupt. She's the polar opposite from the Abby who left a message for him this morning, and as he watches her carefully he notices that her hands are trembling.

"Abby..." he begins to question.

"I'm sorry about leaving you in the lurch by not coming into work today, Gibbs. I hope I didn't set you back on any of your cases. I can come in early tomorrow if you need me too." She's bouncing on the balls of her feet, as if she's unable to stay still. He might blame it on an excess of caffeine, or something more serious, but he has a good idea of what's wrong.

"When's the last time you slept, Abbs?" She pauses for a moment to look at him, and he knows that it's been too long.

"I don't know. I lost track of the hours about the time I threw the clock at the wall."

"Did you get any sleep last night?' he asks. Abby shakes her head, but the motion makes her dizzy and she has to grab onto the counter to steady herself.

"Have you slept at all since the night you stayed at my house?" She doesn't have to answer for him to know that he's right. "Oh Abbs," he sighs.

"I tried, Gibbs. I've been trying for two days, but every time I close my eyes..."

"What happens, Abby?"

"I can feel him watching me." He doesn't know what to say, so he goes with his instincts and says nothing. Instead he picks her up and carries her into the bedroom. It's obvious that she really is exhausted, because she doesn't complain or make a smart assed comment about his action.

All the blankets are heaped at the foot of the bed, and he imagines that she threw them there in her frustration. He lays her down on the bed and pulls them up to carry her.

"Gibbs..."

"I'm not going anywhere." The curtains are open, and he crosses the room to close them. He grins when he sees the broken clock on the floor. Abby's watching him when he turns back to face the bed, and he tries to hide his amusement.

"You need to sleep," he remarks as he leans down and removes his shoes.

"Well, duh."

"Alright then, Abby, how about this. I order you to go to sleep." After pulling the comforter up so that it covers all of Abby, Gibbs stretches out on top of the bed next to her.

"You can't order someone to sleep, Gibbs. It doesn't work like that." Her yawn, and the fact that her eyes are fluttering closed, seem to argue in his favor.

"It works exactly like that," he whispers. "Sleep, Abby. No one's watching you, and no one can hurt you."

He wraps his arm around her until his hand is covering one of hers. Safe in his embrace, Abby is finally able to give herself over to sleep.