Chapter 10

Gibbs held her firmly as he looked her over, but he couldn't allow himself to say the words which were on the tip of his tongue.

She looked at him with such trust, such relief, he could almost be completely certain that this was what she wanted him to say. But he shouldn't say it, he shouldn't tell her that he loved her, he shouldn't ask her to spend the rest of her waking and sleeping hours in his arms. He shouldn't subject her to his lifestyle, to the dangers surrounding his job, to his past, to a man of his age who wouldn't be around nearly as long as she would.

But he also couldn't bring himself to withhold these words. Not with the threat of losing her forever, not when he could have her all to himself for the rest of his life. What kind of fool would he be to let her slip through his fingers at this point, when they were so close, when this was such a perfect time to let it out into the open.

But he'd be better off not saying anything of the sort, letting her spend her lifetime with a much younger man, with a freer man, with a more flexible man. Not letting her get caught up in his twisted state of affairs. Maybe he wasn't good enough for her after all, not her type anyway.

Abby watched his mind tick of in the few seconds of gazing deep into each others eyes, he seemed to be having some internal debate. Unusual for a man who was always sure and always decisive. What was so important that he had to think for so long on it, what was he about to say to her that could change something important.

She longed for him to love her like she loved him. But she could see the fire dying in his eyes as she willed him to speak the words. He was thinking that this would be somehow bad for her to get involved in, that their relationship shouldn't change.

She felt suddenly desperate to fan the flames, and to stall his decision until she could change his mind.

She gripped his shoulders tightly and winced. Deciding to delay this conversation, maybe she could convince him to make the right decision.

"Gibbs," She breathed out sharply, "I'm in a bit of pain."

He seemed to snap out of his daze and his face lost the dreamy look. He lifted her gently and carried her to the lounge room where he lay her on the sofa. He flipped open his cell and called NCIS to pick up Ari's body, after calling Dr. Carmen to come out to attend to Abby.

She watched him direct NCIS traffic through his house as they took pictures and wrote notes. She was distracted as the doctor looked her over and tried to make small talk.

"Goodness me Abigail," Announced Dr. Carmen.

"You only just left me and you're already injured again. You must have one dangerous occupation." He joked, "Or maybe you just wanted to see me again."

Abby smiled at him and made a remark, but her eyes remained on Gibbs as he stood in the hall at the base of the stairs. Her mind remained on the look in his eye as he'd held her in his arms.

Dr. Carmen followed her gaze to the back of Jethro's head. And he felt his heart sink a little, it was obvious who her heart was taken by.

He redressed her wounds in silence, replacing some stitches. He took her blood pressure and watched as they zipped up the intruder in a black body bag and wheeled him out of the house. Ducky accompanied the body back to NCIS.

"Take it easy Abigail," he said kindly, but there was something in his voice that said that this was good bye.

"Thank you for everything Dr. Carmen, I will." And she knew they wouldn't be seeing each other again.

He nodded and went out in the hall to address Gibbs.

Gibbs glanced into the lounge room to see Abby staring at him and he immediately averted his gaze to the doctor and tried to concentrate very hard on his words.

"She tore a few stitches, but I've patched her up. She's gained a bruise here and there, sprained her wrist. She'll have to have her broken leg checked to ensure that it's still setting correctly." He looked down at his bag and then back at Gibbs.

"Take good care of her," He held Gibbs stare for a moment before heading out the door.

Gibbs stopped him before he could leave. "I will." he said, taking the doctors hand and shaking it before seeing him out.

Eventually all the agents were gone, the blood on the stairs and the injuries on the pair seemed to be the only thing that remained of the afternoons events.

Tony and McGee sat in the lounge joking with Abby.

Gibbs watched thoughtfully as the Doctor drove away, he listened to their banter silently from the doorway.

Tony looked over his shoulder to see if he could catch a glimpse of Gibbs, sure enough he was right there behind them. He caught his eye and saw the intense mental struggle that was hidden behind his stern veneer. However, Gibbs didn't look very stern at all, he looked like he appreciated them keeping Abby company. But he felt that it may be time for Tim and himself to leave the two alone.

He nudged McGee who looked up and saw Gibbs straighten in the doorway.

"Time to go McGee, I've got a nineteen-forties movie with your name on it!" He punched McGee on the arm and grinned, snapping his teeth shut and winking at Abby.

"We'll come visit you tomorrow, it's not the same at work without you."He kissed her lightly on the cheek and she smiled up at him.

McGee stood up and leant over her, Tony took a few steps back to give them some space, turning towards Gibbs.

Tim looked into her eyes and sensed anticipation, he couldn't quite put his finger on the expression on her face. She was waiting for him to speak, but she was waiting for something else as well. He thought of Gibbs overseeing them from her current perch, his watchful eye never ceasing to... well, watch.

She broke his thoughts, "Don't worry about me McGee," she lifted her hand to touch his arm as he leaned over her, his eyebrows were knitting together. "I'll be fine!"

She was so cheerful despite everything, that was what he loved about her.

"Okay Abby, I'll come by tomorrow with Tony so that you won't have to be alone with him." She giggled and then said seriously,

"I don't know what you're talking about, Tony is perfectly delightful to be around."

"Hey!" Tony declared, "I heard that McGee."

McGee and Abby shared a smile and he squeezed her hand before following Tony out into the foyer to say goodbye to Gibbs.

She watched silently from her resting place.

Gibbs closed the door on them as they departed and turned to face Abby, not moving any closer. They regarded each other at a distance, both unspeaking.

The doctors subtle message hadn't escaped Gibbs.

And Gibbs' avoidance hadn't escaped Abby.

The words hung in the air between them, just waiting for someone to speak them.

Abby reached out for the remote of the stereo without breaking his gaze, she turned it on.

Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight played softly through the speakers.

Gibbs' head dropped down and a smile crossed his lips, "Abby," he said quietly amused.

She smiled widely, breaking the tension easily.

He looked back up at her, his head still lowered, his eyes smiling.

She waited, and her smile turned to a patient, calm stare, lowering her eyes to the carpet.

He moved forward, and she lifted herself up into sitting position the best she could. He sat next to her small frame in the middle of the couch so that they were at the same level.

The silence grew as they looked into each others eyes, the light fading quickly outside as night took hold.

He took her hand, and her eyes softened, staring at her hand in his. She tightened her grip on his firm hand and looked back at his face, the curve of his mouth, his blue eyes.



They both spoke at once.

They laughed.

"Gibbs, you totally saved my life today," He smiled because it sounded like his Abby was back and he could almost ignore the centimetre long hair that had replaced her pigtails.

"Just doing my job Abbs,"

"No, it's more than that Gibbs. You're always there for me when I need you. You know me better than anyone else. And I'd do anything for you, I'd follow you to the ends of the earth." She looked at him seriously.

He reached out and stroked her cheek with the back of his fingers, his hand moving almost without his consent to the back of her neck, sliding upwards to support her head as he moved forward. She let her hand find his shoulder as their eyes shut, knowing his body so well. They slid together like two neighbouring puzzle pieces, their lips touching each others lightly at first, tentatively and then feeling the warm blood rushing beneath the soft flesh the kiss became more passionate until they both forgot themselves as two separate people and became one being, entwined together for an immeasurable amount of time.

They finally broke to catch their breath, their eyes opening at the same moment. Wonder and love in their eyes as they shared the moment, it was as if they'd been inside each others mind where they understood each other perfectly.

And nothing else mattered.

"Stay with me," Gibbs said softly.

"Forever." She replied before they came together once more, losing themselves in one another, taking in the warmth of their bodies, every touch making them want each other more.


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