Cliché: Without Shame

By: Thought

A/N: Part four of four!

Also. Posting betaless on this one.

Previous parts of this fic can be found at my profile.

XXX

He was expecting the stares and whispers from his team when he entered the squad room that morning. He was late. In all his time at NCIS, he couldn't remember a day when that had happened, and his team was not the kind of people to let such a break in habit go unnoticed or unquestioned. DiNozzo was sitting, feet up on his desk, not even making an attempt to mask his inquisitive stare. His eyebrows shot up his forehead when Abby followed Gibbs off of the elevator, pigtails swinging and eyes sparkling with mischief. She too knew that his team wouldn't leave the issue of his lateness alone, but unlike Gibbs she was eager to see the show.

"Morning, Boss," Tony called as soon as they were within a few meters of his desk. His feet slid from the surface and he sat straighter in his chair, eyes moving back and forth between the two of them and an amused smirk pulling at the corners of his lips.

"Don't you have work to do, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked, trying to convey 'shut up' in his tone and only succeeding in increasing the curious glint in his lead agent's eyes.

"Just waiting for you," the younger man tilted his head to the side. "Late night?" Gibbs' hand had delivered the expected smack before he was even really conscious of doing so. Again, it only seemed to add fuel to the fire of Tony's determination to find out what caused his tardiness. He decided then and there that he and Abby were going to have a very serious talk about early morning escapades as soon as possible.

Tony's eyes traveled passed him to where Abby was perched on the edge of Ziva's desk sporting a very evil grin. "I bet Abs would tell all."

Gibbs shook his head. "There's nothing to tell, DiNozzo."

Tony rolled to his feet, strolling over to stand in front of Abby. "If there's nothing to tell, then why is she smiling like the very demonic cat that ate the very juicy canary?"

Abby placed a finger over her lips. "I have no words, minion."

He tapped her nose. "Since when am I your minion?"

"Since McGee screwed it up, Ziva refused and Gibbs was promoted."

Gibbs wondered what, in all his years of friendship with Abby, had given him the idea that she would make any effort to hide their relationship from the team. He signed at her to stop while she could, but she cheerfully ignored him, tugging on Tony's tie to straighten it and practically shaking with restrained laughter that he was sure was directed at his own annoyance with the situation. He had been hoping to keep their newly found relationship private until it had been cemented, and he had figured a way to deal with the anger of Jen and the comments from his team.

"Is this a recent promotion?" Ziva asked, getting into the game. Abby glanced at her.

"As recent as last night."

Gibbs winced. She wasn't even making an effort to make it hard for them to guess what she was talking about.

Tony looked back at Gibbs, and he glared, hoping to intimidate him into getting to work and dropping the subject at hand. This, of course, had about as much effect as trying to restrain a quarter horse with a paper streamer. "Did he perform… well, in order to earn the promotion?"

Abby's tongue darted out over her lips and her eyes fluttered. "Oh, I'd say his performance was excellent."

Gibbs could not believe he was witnessing this conversation. Ziva leaned forward. "Was there more than one demonstration?"

Abby's head bobbed up and down. "Well, duh."

McGee, who had been looking between the three of them in confusion throughout the conversation, finally spoke up. "What are you guys talking about!"

For once proving that she had more restraint than both Tony and Ziva, Abby did not laugh. The other two agents, however, broke out in amused chuckles and snorts as soon as the question was asked. Ziva held up a hand, shaking her head. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm not laughing at you, McGee."

Tony sighed. "I am."

The young man turned to Abby, and she leaned over, whispering something into his ear which caused his entire face to turn tomato red.

Gibbs clenched his teeth and cleared his throat. "I'm going for coffee. Anyone who's not working by the time I get back is fired." He exited the squad room with the chatter of his agents following him into the elevator.

X

The line at Starbucks seemed longer than normal, and he contemplated what he was going to tell the director as he stood waiting for his turn at the counter. He wanted to head off any rumors that would inevitably start circulating before they reached her, and that meant telling her himself as soon as possible. No matter how she heard it, she was not going to be impressed.

He started as a pair of leather clad arms looped around him from behind, and turned his head to meet Abby's apologetic green gaze. Her jacket hung open and her hair was messy, giving him the impression that she had jogged from the office, obviously eager to get some time out of the office with him.

"Hey," she greeted, resting her chin on his shoulder.

"Hi."

"Sorry about that. I guess I could have been a bit more discrete."

He shrugged, covering her hands with his own. "What's done is done, Abs. Never say you're sorry."

"Yeah, yeah, I know." She rubbed her cheek against his neck in the manner of an affectionate kitten.

They didn't speak again until after he had purchased his coffee and her Caf-Pow and he was heading for the door. She grabbed his hand, tugging on it until he acquiesced and followed her to a corner table. He sat across from her and tried to catch her eyes.

"Abs…?" he asked finally, after a few minutes of silence.

Her wandering gaze returned to him and she smiled contentedly. "I'm just reveling in the knowledge that I've caught the unattainable Jethro Gibbs."

He hid his laugh behind his coffee cup. "Not that unattainable, Abby. Or are you forgetting the three ex-wives?"

She waved her hand dismissively. "Minor details. Not worth wasting brain power on."

He shrugged amusedly, because there were some quirks to his Abby that he would never understand.

"Sure, Abs." She sent a dazzling smile his way, and leaned back in her chair.

"So. How long do you think it'll take Tony to make an inappropriate comment when you get back?" He through up his hands in a gesture of surrender and frustration as she shook with silent laughter at his expense. If it were anyone else, he would have been ready with the glare of doom ™. But it was Abby. So he didn't mind.