She smiled as they walked, companionably silent, across the desolate street to the empty sidewalk on the other side. It was as if she could physically feel the night growing darker, and her pulse quickened in excitement. This was her favorite time of day. Many things transpired under the cover of total darkness – things that most people didn't like to think about. But Abby wasn't like most girls; she enjoyed allowing her inquisitive mind to wander down unfamiliar paths.

Her smile changed to a smirk as she felt him begin to walk just a little closer to her side. It was his protective nature, she knew, and nothing else. But as certain as she was that he was thinking only of her personal safety, she knew she could change his mind if she wanted. It was another of the ways in which Abby differed from the average person. Most would balk at the idea of trying to convince Leroy Jethro Gibbs of any way other than his own; but not Abby. She could press his buttons and she knew it. He knew it. Neither minded.

"You didn't have to walk me home, Gibbs," she said, breaking the silence with unnecessary words.

"I know," was his short reply.

She breathed a sigh and stepped closer to him. "I'm okay to drive, you know. I only had two beers."

Gibbs raised an eyebrow in response.

"Okay, maybe four," she giggled.

"More like six," he quipped.

She laced her arm through his and leaned her head on his shoulder. She was suddenly glad she had worn her hair down: pigtails always got in the way of a comfortable shoulder. Their pace slowed a bit, as they continued on. Why he hadn't offered to drive her, she wasn't certain. There was the fact he himself had been drinking. That must be it; because, while Abby considered this a perfect time for a pleasant walk, she knew the same was not true of the silver-haired man who walked beside her. And Gibbs would never pursue her outside of work. Lord knows, she had given him ample opportunity.

Abby squealed in delight as the night sky was suddenly lit up with a bright streak of lightning and the heavens opened, showering them with a cold, hard, unexpected rain. Releasing his arm, she began to spin in circles, her face raised into the downpour. She opened her mouth and captured the fat water droplets on her tongue.

Gibbs watched as Abby danced and played in the rain like a child, and smiled. This girl who meant more to him than he could describe, who was more like a daughter to him than any since Kelly, who he would give his life to protect or even make happy, was the same girl who could bring him to a halt with a single look. He had tried for so long to fight the pull he felt toward her, to hold off the intense feelings that only she could bring, often elicited by a simple touch, glance or word. At one time he felt guilty for thinking of her in that way, somewhat like a pedophile. But Abby was no child, and certainly not his. She was a grown, somewhat mature woman who knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to fight whatever life threw at her to take it. Knowing what she ultimately wanted from him, he wondered how long he had before she set the full force of her will on taking him. He felt himself beginning to respond to his own musings, and tried to tamp down the feelings. He was walking Abby home for her protection, not to ravish her in an alleyway like a randy mutt.

As if sensing his thoughts, Abby turned to face him, the former smile replaced with an intense look as her eyes met his. Gibbs swallowed hard.

"Come on, Abs, let's get you home."

Abby smirked. Her apartment with Gibbs, soaking wet, sounded very good to her. Knowing how her mind worked, Gibbs smirked and shook his head.

"Well, you can't blame a girl for trying," she said, her eyes sparkling with mischief.

"Almost there."

Not wanting to miss the opportunity, Abby turned quickly and launched herself into his arms, pressing her soft lips to his. "Thank you," she whispered against his mouth.

Feeling her supple body pressed against him, her mouth so sweet against his, he tried valiantly to release her, to say 'you're welcome' and lead her to the door. Instead he laced his fingers through her hair, pulling a handful as he closed his fist, the resulting wrung water rushing down her neck and back. He jerked her toward him, deepening the kiss. His other hand grasped her butt, pulling her against him. Her subsequent gasp was followed by a giggle and then a moan as he pressed her against the brick wall of the building. Releasing her head and using his body to hold her, he freed his hands to better explore her body. She was wet from the rain, tingling from excitement and anticipation, and so soft to the touch. He could spend hours running his hands over her, but that would have to wait for another time.

Desperate for more, Abby's whimpers were becoming more insistent as she tore his shirt open, sending buttons flying unnoticed, and began working on his pants.

Realizing he was about to do the very thing he didn't wish, Gibbs pulled away. Abby slid down the wall and grasped her knees.

"Please?" she asked softly.

He paused a moment, again waging an internal battle between his will and his want. He looked into her eyes and knew he could never deny her.

"Inside," he said gruffly.

Abby hopped to her feet, her full energy restored with the promise of the night to come. She smirked, took his hand and led him to the door.

THE END