"You're like a piercing, Tony. It takes a while for the throbbing to stop and the skin to grow back." Abby Sciuto, Hung Out to Dry

She disliked him the moment she laid eyes on him. She knew his type: all slicked-back hair and Gucci shoes and testosterone. There were enough hotshot ex-cops drifting around NCIS that it didn't take a federal investigator to figure out the new guy. Agent Tony DiNozzo. Italian, great. No wedding ring, meaning he'd flirt with everything that has ovaries. He'll walk around like he owns the place

Abby disliked her new co-worker even more when she heard rumors that he had been a big-time jock back in college. "Ohio State," Agent Porter said reverently, "basketball and football." That was another mark against him. Abby had always hated jocks. She hadn't even been as cool as the band geeks - that was at least a legitimate designation - she was the weird girl who liked to investigate car wrecks and smelled like gun powder. In her experience, the jocks were the worst: they all either wanted to mock you or to sleep with you. In some cases, both.

The first time Abby met DiNozzo, he was so new his shoes practically squeaked. It was in his first week and he didn't even have proper identification yet: a plastic VISITOR badge dangled from the pocket of his suit jacket. It was unbuttoned - the jacket was - and when he moved, it fell away and Abby could see the leather straps of a shoulder holster underneath. Agent DiNozzo: apparently too cool to carry his gun on his hip, like Gibbs did.

Still, she had to admit, the thing was rather sexy.

The new guy was scratching his neck. Abby had noticed that was a lot of people's unconscious reaction to the spider web inked on her neck. "Morning, Abbs," Gibbs said, handing his favorite Goth a Caff-Pow. "How's my girl today?"

"Much better now, thanks to you." Abby took a long pull on the straw of her cup. "Aren't you going to introduce me?"

"Patience, Abbs," Gibbs said with his trademark indulgent half-smile. "Anthony DiNozzo, Probationary Field Agent. Abby Sciuto, lab tech extraordinaire."

"Tony." He offered his nickname and his hand.

"Nice to meet you, Tony." The new guy had a nice handshake, and nice green eyes.

"Tony's my new probie, so you'll be seeing a lot of him around," Gibbs went on.

"You're Stan Burley's replacement?" Abby asked, straining to keep the incredulous note out of her voice.

"That's what they tell me," Agent DiNozzo said genially.


"Gibbs wants to know if you analyzed the white stuff yet." Tony stood in Abby's lab: he'd been around for a few months, long enough to have his own badge but not long enough to know that his request should be accompanied by a highly caffeinated beverage.

Abby looked over her tattooed shoulder at the autosampler. "I have a blank on the column now, your white stuff is next."

He had picked up her 100-microliter pipetter and was furiously clicking the plunger like a ballpoint pen. "Hey!" she said, snatching it back. "Those things are calibrated."

"What's this dealie?" Tony asked from the corner of her lab. "It looks expensive."

"You've never seen a GC/MS before?" Abby wondered. "I thought you investigated crimes…"

"We always had lab techs to do the geeky stuff." Tony bit his lip at his blunder. "I mean… the sciency stuff."

"It's a gas chromatograph, it's for organic analysis." Tony didn't seem to register the word organic, so she added, "Anything that contains carbon."

"Cool." He pursed his lips. "How does it work?"

"Basically it shoots the molecules through a skinny tube and times when they come out. The smaller molecules move faster than the bigger ones, so… it's a bit like separating people by how fast they get off the subway, then smashing them into a brick wall so you can identify the pieces." Trust a girl with grisly death scenes on her walls to provide an image like that.

"Are molecules the big ones or the tiny ones?" Tony gestured with his hands, squinting a little. "I always get them mixed up with atoms."

"Didn't you ever take chemistry?" Abby turned back to her work.

"Oh, I know a lot about chemistry." He favored her with a flashbulb smile. "Just not that kind." Turning away, he knocked into a box of plastic pipetter tips, sending them scattering on the floor.

"If you can't keep your hands to yourself, maybe you'd better get out of my lab." As soon as they were spoken, she regretted her harsh words. Abby wasn't a mean person; she just really, really needed a Caff-Pow. The new guy looked like a little boy who dropped his ice cream on the sidewalk. But he left without another word.


He brought her donuts as a peace offering. Of course, he ate one first. She could tell because he was still licking the glaze off his fingers when he handed the bakery box over to her. Abby went to make a crack about ex-cops and donuts, but he beat her to it. "I got rid of my last partner this way," Tony joked. "Fed him donuts until he was too fat to fit into the squad car." He paused before relinquishing the goods. "You're not on Atkins, are you?"

"Do I look like a diet kind of girl to you, Tony?" She actually smiled at him, a little. "Thanks."

The donuts helped, but for the most part Abby didn't see Tony much for the next few months, until one night when she had to work late. She took the elevator up from the lab to the bullpen, expecting to find Gibbs, and seeing only Tony, illuminated by the glow of his desk lamp. "Hey, Abby," he said, although he didn't look so she wondered how he could tell it was her.

"Hey, Tony." Abby looked around. "Is Gibbs here?"

"Nah, he left already." Tony finally tore his eyes away from his computer. "Do you need something?"

"No," Abby replied promptly, then changed her mind. "Well, it's just that… Usually when I work late, he stays around so he can walk me to the Metro station." He looked quizzically at her, and she quickly added, "I'm not scared or anything, I'm a big girl. It's just that there are lots of skeevy guys hanging around there after dark

Tony actually looked concerned. "Do you think he forgot?"

"Never!" Abby defended the boss. "I told him I was leaving at 5, but I forgot I had to set up an overnight run on the GCMS, so I went down to take care of it, and then I got busy…"

"Busy doing what, Abbs?" Tony asked strictly out of curiosity.

"I was putting all my solvents in alphabetical order, and then by molecular weight, and then by how they smell… I must have forgotten to call Gibbs to tell him to wait for me."

"I can walk you to the station, Abby," Tony offered. "I'll drive you home, if you'd rather."

"The station would be fine," Abby said gratefully. "Are you sure it's not a problem?"

"No trouble at all," he said genially. "Just let me finish this up, and we'll go."

The way he was hunting and pecking it would take all night to finish his report. "Busy day today?" Abby finally said, just to break the unnatural silence.

He didn't look up. "I shot a man today." Abby knew, from listening to Gibbs, how much paperwork that created. She watched him: he looked serious, like a mini-Gibbs. She hadn't considered until then that there was another side of Agent DiNozzo besides the goofy, slightly obnoxious side. Now that she thought about it, though, Abby trusted Gibbs' judgment; well, in everything except for his marriage choices. Tony would have been hand-picked to join Gibbs' team; maybe he was okay, after all. "Ready to go, Abby?"

Tony had the tall, cigarette-smoking man pegged from a block and a half away. Skeevy, but harmless.

"Hey," the stranger nodded at Abby. "Like your tats."


"You got any more you want to show me?" Marlboro Man leered.

"Hey!" Tony's fingers twitched reflexively towards his weapon at his side. "Leave the lady alone."

"You called me a lady!" She beamed at him.


author's note. Sorry about using hyphens as breaks; FFN won't let me use the ruler for some reason.

4 years and $15,000 in student loan debt to earn that Chemistry degree, and for what? So I can write a convincing lab scene in an NCIS fanfiction. Yes, my parents are proud of me. Why do you ask?