Author´s Note: This story initially was about what ended up as the last chapters of this story and was meant to be a one-chapter story. As it turned out to be a bit dark and melancholic, I decided to begin with – hopefully, though not all the time – some lighter stuff.
Hope you enjoy it nevertheless. Please let me know.

Spoilers: Not really – I think

Disclaimer: I don´t own any of the serie´s characters, just borrowed them and pretend to return them after this vacation. They might however encounter one or two unpleasant situations. Lisa, who you will briefly get to know in the first chapter, exists because of my imagination.

Rating: K+

Chapter 1 – Black Roses

It was her birthday. Or, actually, it had been her birthday yesterday. The aftereffects, however, could still be seen everywhere. And felt! Her apartment was in a mess and so was she.

As it had been her 30th birthday, she had seen no possibility to escape and behave as if it had simply been another ordinary day or, at best, a birthday like all her others. She had considered going out to dinner with Gibbs, something they had been doing for many years now, something they enjoyed so much.

But, as mentioned before, it had been Abby´s 30th birthday and she had felt obliged to throw a party for all her friends and colleagues. It had happened to be a saturday as well, so there is no need to tell that it had been a big celebration, making her small apartment crammed with people as if she had been holding a flea market. If now someone would ask her how many guests there had been, which so far was a mystery to her as well, she would just have to answer: "Gimme a minute to count the roses... ."

The roses -- each time a new guest had arrived, Abby had been beaming with joy to find another black rose being given to her. Yeah, indeed, every single guest had brought – aside from lots of other presents - one single black rose. Yes, everyone!

Even Gibbs.

"Wow, Gibbs!" Abby had greeted him.

"I usually don´t give away dead flowers," he had said as he had presented her the black rose. "Consider it an exception to the rule."

Abby had tilted her head to the left and had asked: "Which one?"

He had grinned mischievously and had kissed her on the forehead. "Happy birthday, Abs."

There had been a card tugged to the rose and when Abby had read it, she had thrown her arms around his neck and had hugged him wildly. Sure, what else would one expect her to do, when being invited to a private dinner at her silver-haired fox´s home. "Invitation to dinner – tomorrow at 7.30p.m. – my place," the card had read. She had already worried about having disappointed Gibbs when she had told him, they would have to postpone their annual birthday-dinner. Well, she obviously had been wrong here. So much for Gibbs being grumpy, aloof, inapproachable and god knows what else people thought him to be. They just didn´t know him as well as Abby did.

To be honest, Abby had not really expected Gibbs to show up. He hated crowds, first of all, crowded rooms. She nevertheless had politely invited him in, but she hadn´t in the least been astonished about his rejection. He had cautiously peeked over her shoulder and had shaken his head.

"Uh, thanks, Abs. You know, I got work to do."

"Like what?" she had challenged him.

"See, I happen to have a guest for dinner tomorrow... ." Gibbs squirmingly had answered.

"Oh! Wait, I´ll get you a coffee at least, and some chicken." That said, Abby had left him in the doorway, heading for the kitchen.

Gibbs had glanced inside Abby´s apartment and he hadn´t been able to suppress a smile when he had seen McGee forcing his way through the crowd, drops of sweat glistening on his forehead. Poor Tim. Most likely, Ziva and Tony are having fun talking and dancing, and McGee has to fetch drinks and food for them,´ Gibbs had thought. Then he had seen Abby again, not only having a mug of steaming coffee in her hand but also a pretty young woman in tow. He had recognized her immediately.

"Look, who´s here" Abby had announced, beaming with delight.

"Hi Jethro," the woman had greeted, handing him a plate with cold chicken on it. Then, both hands being available now, she had started to sign. Still perfect at signing, Jethro?

Gibbs had passed the plate on to Abby. Hi Lisa, Sweden still making you happy? Tell me, how´s your family?

"Okay, guys. I guess you don´t need me here anymore." Abby had put down the plate and the mug on the staircase and had turned to take care of her other guests.

She wasn´t quite sure when she had seen Lisa the next time, only that it had been way after midnight.

"Ab-by-y," Lisa had grinned, "I think you´ll have to buy new coffee."


It had been late last night, or one would better say early this morning when Abby had finally said good-bye to her last guest. Her eyes already closed, she had shuffeld across to her bedroom, had unlocked the door and had fallen asleep the instant her head had touched the pillow.

About an hour later, or two at most – Abby had just turned around in her bed´ and now was just about to wrap the blanket round herself – her phone started ringing. She tried to ignore it first, but it wouldn´t stop. Instead, her cell phone went off as well. Reluctantly she grabbed her cell and answered it.

"Abby, I need you at the lab!" Gibbs was sorry about calling Abby in so early, but the only sign indicating that was that he was not barking his order.

"Oh, Gibbs! It´s sunday and I just went to bed" Abby mumbled, still half asleep.

"Bed? Well, get out of that thing you call bed´ instantly!" Gibbs resolutely ordered.

"Uuuuuh! What...?" She didn´t have any chance to get on. The next thing Abby was doing was staring at her cell and sigh. Gibbs had ended the call.

"Good-bye sleep, good-bye sunday!" Abby groaned as she climbed out of the coffin.

Abby was used to not sleeping very much and it would not have been that bad, if she had still been awake. But now, as she had just experienced the comfort of her warm and soft blanket and the soft pillow beneath her head, it was horrible. It wasn´t easy for her to get up. Her worst nightmare was becomming true:

"Oh my God!" she exclaimed as she was absolutely convinced: "I´m old now!"

Abby shuffeled over to her bathroom, took a shower, got dressed and, feeling slightly better now, she slowly became aware of the condition her apartment was in.

Her apartment was full of black roses. That was definitely the most enchanting effect of her party. Unfortunately, it was the only effect deserving a description near nice´. Everything else was a disaster. Piles of dirty dishes were waiting to be cleaned and leftovers could be found practically everywhere.

"It will take years to tidy that up," Abby thought aloud. Yet, she sighed with relief. With great foresight she had locked the door to her sleeping-room yesterday. God knows where she would otherwise have found what kind of leftover this morning... .

A slight hangover made itself felt and Abby decided to take a taxi to get to work. That at least gave her the chance to catch a few additional minutes of sleep.