Chapter 3

McGee froze as hot feminine army breath seared the hairs on Gibbs' neck. He had never before and would probably never again, be molested by a Lt-Colonel. His brain scanned frantically for her first name. Calling her Ma'am, especially when her hand was now surreptitiously sliding between his legs, could seem a trifle aloof.

"Holli," his voice squeaked in a hoarse whisper, "McGee.."

"You've never minded before," she murmured in his ear.

McGee's eyes widened in shock: it had never occurred to him that his boss and this demonstrably adventurous woman had been groping in front of him. Now he could never be in the same room with them without his eyes being drawn to her hand, or Gibbs' groin where she was currently exploring.

He swallowed hard. "I think he knows."

Her hand slithered away and she shifted a respectable distance across the elevator. McGee took a breath for the first time since he'd felt her touch.

"We still on for ball skills tonight?" she asked with public cordiality.

McGee's mind whirred. The words, 'you've got all the balls you need…' formed an orderly line at the tip of Gibbs' tongue but he caught them before they leapt from Gibbs' mouth.

The elevator ding heralded the blessed opening of the doors and freedom. In moments, McGee was out the elevator and bolting down the corridor.

Hollis Mann caught up with him at Abby's door. "Are we still on for tonight?"

McGee's eyes flitted to Gibbs. "Are we?"

"You need permission from McGee to take me out?" she said, incredulously.

McGee snapped back to her increasingly livid face. "No! I ahhh, we might have something to do…work to do…McGee?"

"I was thinking of taking my Porsche for a spin," said Gibbs ominously. "It needs a good…" he mouthed the words very clearly, "high… speed… work… out. Unless there's a reason for me to stay…"

McGee stared at Gibbs momentarily digesting the threat then his attention flicked back to the expectant face of the irate woman now inches from his nose. "Big case just came up," he blurted. "Big: huge. I'm afraid I'll have to take a rain check."

Lt-Col Mann narrowed her eyes. "Leroy Jethro Gibbs: if I didn't know any better I'd swear you were avoiding me."

McGee's eyes sought Gibbs again.

"And stop looking at McGee!" she yelled. "I'm over here."

McGee swallowed hard, took a deep breath and faced her squarely. "It's a surprise," he said with feigned confidence.

"For whom?"

"You," McGee was faltering and he knew it. "We just need a little more time…"

"How much time?"

"We're just checking with Abby."

"Well, lead the way," she invited, stepping out of his path.

"Hey, you've got his timing thing," Abby congratulated McGee as he walked into the lab. "I was just about …"

McGee frantically signalled for her to stop with a poorly concealed wave of his hand.

Abby frowned at him but continued unperturbed. "about to …Col Mann, Sir, Ma'am…" She paused uncertainly. Focussing on McGee, she said cryptically, "I think I've found a solution to our problem."

"So can we fix it soon?" McGee asked urgently. "Like right now."

"Amen," Gibbs backed him up.

"Yeah, sure," said Abby. "We just need a little bit of time…" she looked pointedly at Hollis Mann, "alone."

The displeasure on Lt Col Mann's face was clearly obvious. "Well, I can see I'm not welcome," she grumbled.

"Sorry," McGee apologised, wondering if Gibbs would ever say the words that were about to come out of his mouth. "It won't take long." He sidled up to her. "I'll make it up to you later."

"I'll make sure you keep that promise," she murmured, placing a hand on his thigh. She gave him a long, suggestive stare before heading for the lab door.

Watching her go, McGee swallowed convulsively: Abby had better have a really fast solution.

"I'll be right in this corridor," Hollis called as the lab doors swished open

As soon as the doors had shut, Gibbs turned on McGee. "What did you promise her?"

"Nothing: I said I'd, that is you'd, make it up to her later. You know in whatever way you usually make things up with…oh God."

Gibbs eyes did not leave McGee's as he spoke, "Abby do it now before I permanently dismember one or both of these bodies."

"Ahh, sure," said Abby. "The witch said you had second order transmutation which is easier to reverse than the first order one McGee and I had."

"Then do it," said Gibbs and McGee in unison.

"Well, I don't really have that much control over it…it's just…."

"There's just one thing," said Hollis Mann, storming back into the room.

"Holli," Gibbs started.

"Shut it, McGee," she glared at Gibbs then turned on McGee. "I'm not used to being fobbed off."

McGee stared at her. "I, um, er."

Lt Col Mann grabbed Gibbs' face by the jaw and pulled his mouth onto hers. Suddenly McGee found himself kissing and tongue wrestling a woman old enough to be his mother.

Then he was standing next to Abby and gagging while Gibbs and Mann kissed in front of him – more passionately than he remembered the act only moments before.

They broke apart and Hollis Mann smiled at Gibbs. "That's better! What's your problem McGee? Never seen two adults kiss before?"

"Ah, no, yes…of course."

"Let's go," said Gibbs, taking her by the arm.

McGee collapsed onto a stool as the two lovers left the lab together. "How did that happen?" he asked Abby, wiping his mouth with his sleeve.

"Relax, McGee," Abby laughed, "it wasn't even that mouth."

"I know, it's just – yeak," he shuddered. "I'm going to be having nightmares for a week."

"Well what I was trying to say is that second order transmutation usually resolves itself spontaneously in a short period of time: all you had to do was wait."

"So it's all over now?"


He raised an eyebrow, thankfully now his own, at her. "What do you mean, 'almost'?"

"Tony just rang. He figured it out and he wants to have a turn."