A/N: This is the last chapter of "Fourteen Days" (sorry for making this a 'belated' Easter Egg) and I would like to say thank you to everyone who followed this story. Thank you for leaving reviews, they meant a lot and made me extend the original draft and deepen the plot in different ways. When I started this story, it was not even half in length.
Thank you Molly for betaing the last chapters and new stories. You are great!
Chapter Twenty-Five - Rules
They look at each other, eyes wide, neither of them being able to speak and they even seem to forget how to breathe. The seconds pass as they both remember Nanny Claire´s prophecy this morning...
You don´t look very happy, you two! Gonna miss each other? Well, time of separation will be over sooner than you might guess by now, she had signed before they left the house.
... And Abby and Gibbs now realize that she might have known about their being co-workers. Claire knows where Abby got her new job and she also knows where Gibbs works. She has put him many questions to find out if he was good for Abby.
"Shall I ... shall I deplug everything?" Abby is the first to remember how to speak.
Gibbs just keeps looking at her and blinks as her words register. He tries to say something but doesn´t know how or what, so he throws a questioning look at her.
"Deplug!" Abby repeats impatiently, and then her voice llooses the happiness it usually holds, becoming flat, even sad as she continues, "Before I go home."
Gibbs eventually remembers how to speak, "Abs," he exhales, and it is barely above a whisper. "Home?" He narrows his eyes because he doesn´t understand what she is getting at.
"Yeah, home. You said yourself that you would consider firing me instantly if you had..."
Gibbs runs a hand over his face.
"Wow ... Abs ... No," he stammers. Part of him still doesn´t want to believe what he is seeing and what consequences this should have.
He is Abby´s boss now. Abby, whom he has met only a fortnight ago, whom he has fallen in love with. He never wanted to fall in love with a co-worker again. Rule No 12! Everyone knows about his rules.
Abby is worried.
"Jethro," she says, loud enough to drag him out of his train of thoughts and make him look at her with confusion. "Say someting! Please!" Her fear is all too present in her voice.
Although he never has thought Abby was a lab tech and he now asks himself what it was that has made him think that she might be a bookseller or something like that? Gibbs knows he has to say something, has to do something; but he also knows he wants her near, wants her here in this lab. Yet, he has his rules. Rule no12.
"Jethro!?" Abby desperately urges again.
Gibbs mentally slaps himself over the back of his head, pushes himself off the table he is leaning against and walks straight towards her. Reaching out a hand, he offers, "Gimme your hand."
Abby hesitantly does as asked and Gibbs helps her onto her feet. Leaning against the table he pulls her close and lets his hands rest on her hips. With pinched lips he looks at her, trying to find a way to tell Abby about his inner conflict.
"Abs, why haven´t you told me you were a lab tech?" Gibbs asks in a low voice.
"Jeth, why haven´t you told me about your job?"
"This is not about jobs, Abs," Gibbs squirms and barely audible he adds, "this is about rules."
"Rules?" Abby asks with bewilderment.
"Rule no12. Never date a co-worker," Gibbs informs her.
"Whose rule is it? NCIS´s?" Abby wants to know.
"There are more?"
"About fifty," Gibbs nods.
Abby stares at him in silence for what seems an eternity until she dares to demand, "Tell me."
Gibbs hesitates, and then starts to list. Suddenly Abby´s eyes begin to sparkle and the corners of her mouth begin to twitch and with a grin she asks, "Never say you are sorry? That one of your rules?"
"Yes," Gibbs confirms and grins as well as he cannot resist Abby´s happy mood. "What´s so funny about that?"
"You did apologize to me more than once. There is an exception to every rule, Jeth. Rules even need their exceptions!"
Gibbs looks at her for a while as he processes her suggestion.
"Yeah," he finally whispers and he slowly starts to nod his head and a smile appears on his face until he grins brightly. "Yeah, that´s a good idea!" he says and he leans in to kiss Abby, his tongue gently brushing her bottom lip.
Abby draws back and clears her throat, making Gibbs look at her in astonishment.
"Speaking of rules," she starts to explain. "Lab rule no1: No Eating, No Drinking, No Smoking, No Makeupizing, So No Kissing either!"
"Rules need their exceptions," Gibbs reminds Abby of what she has told him only one minute ago.
"Okay, I need my cafeine and they got CafPow here, so how about you provide me with that?" Abby suggests.
"I actually was refering to that kissing-thing," Gibbs teases.
"Do you want your co-workers to find out about us?" Abby giggles.
"No, not really."
"Then we should pretend to know each other, but not like we really do. Thus you might perhaps kiss me on my forehead or on the cheek every now and then, Gibbs."
"Gibbs?" Gibbs wonders.
"Can´t call you Jethro! Would make me forget nobody should know, Gibbs ... boss ... sir," Abby explains with a grin.
"Okay, Abs," Gibbs agrees. "Just one last ... peck," he says and he swiftly presses his lips onto hers, briefly nibbling her upper lip.
"Jethro, are you ... ? Good Lord!" Ducky has just entered the lab and he now stands open mouthed, staring at the couple to his left.
Shocked by the voice of someone entering the lab, Abby has jerked before she could see someone, but Jethro, knowing whom this voice belongs to, has held her in place and has slowly pulled away from the kiss. He places a finger across Abby´s lips and rolls his eyes. Glaring at Ducky he clears his throat.
"Duck," Gibbs says warningly, "You haven´t seen this, okay?"
Being a gentleman, Ducky does not ask, because being friends with Jethro for some years he knows, Gibbs will soon enough tell him what all this is about -- or not.
"Jethro, Stan told me you might be here and...," Ducky walks towards Abby and Gibbs, who have in the meantime broken their embrace. Nothing is giving away now what has just been going on between the two of them. Ducky pauses and shifts his gaze between Abby and Jethro.
"So, you two already know each other?" Ducky sure demands some answers from his friend, though he is not sure if and when he gets them, because this is not the right time and place to discuss this. Gibbs indicates this by giving Ducky a typical Gibbs-stare that everyone at NCIS knows very well.
Ducky promises to not tell anybody. He knows, Leroy Jethro Gibbs does not want his co-workers to know much about his personal life. Not more than necessary, that is. And Jethro knows he can rely on Ducky´s discretion. So noone at NCIS -- except for Ducky -- will ever know the truth about Abby's and Gibbs's relationship.
A/N 2: You may decide for yourself, whether this is an AU story or if Gibbs and Abby have been together once. For the time being I haven´t planned a sequel to "Fourteen Days". Would you actually believe me that I started to write one: Years later ... still nobody knows and Gibbs would worry, because Abby hasn´t showed up at work one day? Worried, he drives over to her apartment and...
Sounds familiar? It developed its own dynamics, though and turned out as what you know as "I Don´t Regret a Thing"...