Disclaimer: If I owned the show many things would be different. Most importantly Tony wouldn't be the only character having sex. Sigh

A/N: For Valentine's Day. And for Chrissy, because she beta'd it, but mostly because the whole idea was her fault. This was written prior to last night's ep, so any similarities are coincidence and any differences are too.

II

"Wow, Abbs, you look... wow." Tony stopped short in the doorway of the lab and grinned appreciatively at the lab tech. Gone was the customary black Goth clothing, replaced, temporarily he was sure, by a red silk dress that clung to all the right curves.

"Very eloquent, Tony," Abby teased.

"What can I say? I'm rendered speechless by your breathtaking beauty."

"Now that sounds much more like the Tony I know and love."

"So what's with the threads?"

"Do you really have to ask? I would think that you of all people would know the significance of today."

"Got a date for Valentine's Day, huh?"

"I always have a date on Valentine's Day."

"So who's the lucky guy? Do I know him?"

"Yes, you do," she half answered.

"Are you going to tell me?"

"I don't know. It's not like you've been forthcoming with details about your own mystery girl."

"My what? I don't have a girl, mysterious or otherwise."

"You might not want to let Jeanne hear you say that." When Tony's mouth dropped open in shock Abby silently rejoiced in the fact that her lab had security cameras; she was going to have to go back through the recordings later and make herself a couple of photos of his expression.

"I... I... how... what..."

"Don't worry, no one else knows. At least I don't think anyone knows who she is. The fact that you have a girlfriend is a pretty well accepted rumor."

"I thought I was doing a pretty good job keeping her a secret."

"Oh, please. The second phone, the disappearances, and most telling of all the fact that you haven't shared any date stories for months. Why is it that men all think that they can keep their affairs secret when they are really so very obvious? You're as bad as Jimmy."

"Jimmy?"

"Jimmy Palmer. He's been sneaking around with Michelle Lee for months, trying to keep it from Ducky and the rest of us. It's so very obvious."

"Palmer and Special Agent Hall Monitor are together?"

"Like I said, you men are clueless."

"Why don't you clue me in then?"

"Where's the fun in that?"

"Okay, so we're playing a guessing game. You're dressed up, so I'm going to guess that tonight's going to be dinner at an expensive restaurant. McGeek?"

"McGee is driving down to Evansville for the night," Abby informed as she took out her pigtails and ran her fingers through her hair.

"What's in... No, don't tell me. Probie and the redheaded scientist, right?"

"Ruby," Abby confirmed.

"Okay, so not McGee, and obviously Palmer's out of the question. I know," Tony grinned teasingly, "Gibbs."

"Gibbs doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day." Abby laughed, but there was a flicker of something in her eyes that looked too much like pain.

"Ducky?" He spoke the first name he could think of, trying to erase the expression.

"Now Ducky definitely celebrates Valentine's Day, and if he ever asked I'd say yes in a minute. He already has a date, though."

"Ducky has a date? Hope she's not another wacko doctor, because you know how that usually turns out."

"Tony!" She moved as if to punch his arm, and when he flinched she couldn't help laughing.

"Help me out here, Abbs. I'm running out of names."

"I said it was someone you knew, Tony, not someone who works here."

"So it's not someone we work with?"

"Oh, you've worked with him before. He's just not an NCIS agent."

"Please tell me you're not going out with a suspect or a witness, Abbs. That's a little too hinky, even for you."

"I think you're going to have to give up, Tony. You're never going to guess."

"So give me another clue. Or better yet just tell me. You know I'm just going to hassle you until you do."

"And you call yourself an investigator. I'll give you a clue and if you can't figure it out I'll be very disappointed in you, Special Agent DiNozzo. My date for the evening is in law enforcement."

"Well that narrows it down," he muttered. Furrowing his brows he thought of all the law enforcement officials they had worked with in the last year. Since Abby rarely left her lab, and almost never left the building for a case, he eliminated the men that they only spoke with in the field. There were still a handful of choices. Then one horrible possibility occurred to him. No. No way. "Abby please tell me you're not going on a date with..."

"Are you ready Abby?"

The voice coming from the doorway was like nails on a chalkboard, and Tony knew even before he turned around who was waiting in the lab doorway.

"What are you doing here, Sacks?" he asked, even though the answer was obvious. The FBI agent was wearing a suit, which wasn't unusual except that the shirt was red and there was a flower in his buttonhole. He was also carrying a bouquet: not of flowers but of cookies.

"Play nice Tony," Abby cautioned softly before turning her attention to the other man. "I'll be ready in just a second, Ron. I have to get my coat."

"Take your time. Our reservations aren't for another forty-five minutes," Ron Sacks reassured his date. Abby smiled at him before stepping through the sliding doors into her inner lab.

"I know I'm repeating myself, but what exactly are you doing here, Slacks?"

"I'm picking up my date, DiNutso. And in case you need clarification it's not you."

"Damn right it's not me. Only in your wildest dreams would I be seen anywhere with you if work didn't require it."

"More like my nightmares," Sacks shot back.

"Nightmare is right. And speaking of nightmares I will turn your life into one long one if anything happens to Abby while she's with you, or if you do anything to hurt her, or in any way cause her a moment's unhappiness. Capiche?" Tony kept his voice low so that it wouldn't carry.

"I'm sure Abby is more then capable of taking care of herself," Sacks said, his voice just as low.

"Yeah, she can, but she shouldn't have to. Just keep in mind that if anything bad happens to Abby not even Fornell will be able to figure out what happened to your body."

"And you call yourself a government official?"

"I call myself a friend."

"Okay now that I can respect. And because of that I'm going to say this once and only once; I treat my dates the way anyone who dates my sister sure as hell better be treating her. Okay?"

"Okay." They nodded at the same time, and in that moment of understanding the antagonism of the last year and a half dissipated slightly.

Tony, however, never could leave well enough alone.

"So you've got a sister, huh?"

"Don't even think about it, DiNozzo."

"Don't even think about what?" Abby stepped back into the lab, a black coat covering her dresses in preparedness for the near freezing February temperature outside.

"Tony was thinking of going to the new Ben Affleck movie, and I was suggesting he rethink the idea," Sacks lied smoothly.

"It's a better choice then the Mandy Moore movie you were talking about," Tony fired back. Abby shook her head.

"That statement I made earlier about men being clueless? I totally stand by it. Ready to go, Ron."

"At your service, my lady." He gestured towards the door and rested his hand at the small of her back. A dozen teasing comments flitted through Tony's mind, but he refrained from using any of them.

"Have a nice night," he said.

"You too." And with a smile and a wink they were gone. After a glance at the clock Tony left the lab too. If he didn't hurry he would be late for his date.