AN: I wrote this for myself, so I won't beg for reviews. I took liberties with a few things like where exactly Gibbs's house is located, and what his bedroom looks like (though I wish I knew that ;D ). I haven't really decided if this will be multi-chaptered, though I am leaning in that direction. If that's the case, I can't promise updates soon because final exams and papers are happening soon, but rest assured I won't abandon it. Also, thanks to cassy and Chirugal for betaing. :)


"A suicide bomber has—"

Gibbs pushed the mute button on the remote. Another glorious news day. He tilted his head, a puzzled look on his face. Was that a knock? "Must be hearing things," he said, going back to work on his boat. But there it was again! He put down his tools, heading for the stairs, thinking, "Who on earth would come by at this time of night?" He smiled wryly, adding, "Or at all for that matter." He reached the door, not bothering to look through the side window to see who it might be, and yanked open the door. Abby was standing there, dressed in her usual evening attire, with tears streaming down her face. "Abs?" he asked, concerned.

"I—" Abby started, then shook her head. "I can't. Help."

Gibbs moved forward and put one arm around her, guiding her into the house. "What happened Abs?" he asked softly, trying to get her to open up. "Should I call the police?"

"No!" Abby sharply replied.

"Abs," Gibbs said firmly, reaching for his cell phone, "If someone's hurt you, I will make sure they pay."

"'s not that," Abby said. "Boat?"

Gibbs looked puzzled for a moment before realizing. "Sure, we can go downstairs. Do you need anything first?"

"'m fine," Abby said, trying to dry her tears. She thought for a moment, then added, "Well, maybe some hot tea would be nice."

"I'll see what I've got," Gibbs said. "You go get yourself settled, I'll bring it to you."

"Thanks," Abby said, trying to smile.

"Just stay away from the tools, okay?" Gibbs said with a small smile as she started down the stairs. He entered his kitchen, looking around for the tea bags that he remembered Hollis leaving behind one night. "Hope she likes Earl Grey," he said, locating the two remaining bags.

He placed them in a large mug he grabbed from the dish drainer, filled it with hot water, grabbed some sugar and lemon and a spoon, and headed down into the basement. When he got down there he saw Abby sitting underneath the centre of the boat, her arms wrapped around her knees.

Abby silently accepted the mug from Gibbs, placing the lemon wedge on the spoon and wrapping the tea bags around them to drain the last bit of flavor out, tossing the bags into a nearby empty can. She then took the proffered sugar packets, dumping two of them into the mug and stirring.

Gibbs watched this all with vague amusement. When she took a sip of the surely still scalding tea, and recoiled from the heat, he took the mug from her and placed it on the ground. "Easy there," he said. "It's not going anywhere, and neither am I. You ready to tell me what happened? I won't think any less of you, whatever it is."

"You'll think I'm silly and stupid," Abby murmured.

"No I won't," Gibbs said firmly, looking her right in the eyes.

Abby started to shift away from him. "I think I'm silly and stupid."

"Hey," Gibbs said calmly, pulling her towards him in a hug and not letting go. "Relax. Start with whatever you're ready to tell me."

"It wasn't anything serious," Abby started slowly. "Nothing bad happened to me. Not like you're thinking."

"Good," said Gibbs softly, relieved.

"I—I started thinking," Abby began, before reconsidering where to begin. "Well I was out at a club."

"Okay," Gibbs said patiently. "Go on."

"I don't know how we started talking about it," Abby continued, gaining steam as the words started tumbling out of her mouth almost faster than she could think them. "I don't even know how I met the guy. I mean, I was there with some friends and we were dancing and the music was awesome and I just started talking to this guy and he was telling me something weird and—"

"Easy," Gibbs said, leaning into her to kiss her cheek. "Breathe. Take your time."

"But I have to keep talking," Abby protested, nervously. "Anyhow, I told him that there was something hinky about what he was saying, and he gave me this really weird look, like 'What the hell is wrong with you?' and started saying all these things about how I'm some crazy weird chick and a freak."

"You're not a freak Abby," Gibbs said soothingly.

"I don't really remember how, it all got to be sort of a blur, but I left and I came here," Abby finished, exhaling with relief at having said her piece.

"How did you get here?" Gibbs queried, not having seen any car or taxi outside his house when he had gone to open the door.

"I took the Metro and walked," Abby stated simply.

"Abs, the nearest Metro stop is two miles away!" Gibbs said, his concern growing. "Are you telling me that you walked two miles here, dressed like that, at this hour of the night?"

"Don't be mad at me," Abby said, trying to wriggle out of Gibbs's hold.

Gibbs softened, seeing the frightened look on her face. "I'm not mad," he said more quietly, letting go of her so that he could face her properly. "I worry about you Abs. I just wish you'd have called me. You know that I'll come get you wherever you are, right?"

"Really?" Abby said, looking up at Gibbs, hope starting to break through her mask of gloom.

"Of course," Gibbs said. "Now drink your tea, it's probably starting to get cold." He got out from under the boat and stood up. "And you can't think that floor is that comfortable."

"No," Abby acknowledged.

Gibbs guided her over to the old squishy couch by the stairs. "Sit here," he commanded softly. "Mind if I work a bit?"

"No," Abby said, quietly giggling. "I like watching you work."

Gibbs raised one eyebrow at that, but said nothing. As he walked over to his tools he reached for the remote and turned off the television. "Nothing good on at this hour anyways," he thought. He worked in silence for a few minutes, concentrating on his own thoughts and the movements of his hands over the wood, and what he hoped was Abby's contented silence. All to soon his musings were cut short by a clatter. He whipped his head around and saw that Abby's tea mug had fallen to the floor and she was staring blankly out into space. He quickly placed his tools on the nearby bench and walked over to her.

She looked up at him. "He's not the first person who's called me that," she said quietly. "And if so many people think it, it's got to be true, right?"

Gibbs eased himself down on to the couch next to her. "Abs," he said, "Those people don't matter. If you're holding out for universal popularity, frankly it's not worth the trouble." He tilted his head to the side and added, "Not that I would know." He pulled her into another hug and said, "What's important is what the people who matter to you think."

"What do you think?" she asked quietly.

Gibbs was momentarily stunned at the notion that he was the first person she thought of, but quickly replied, "You are amazing. Never let anyone tell you otherwise."

"Thanks bossman," she said, a hint of humor back in her voice.

"You want to go home now?" he asked.

"Can I stay here?" she asked. "I don't really feel like going back to that empty apartment."

Gibbs's mind started to wander at the notion of her spending the night at his house, but pulled himself out of that idea, and said, putting down his tools. "I'll just get the sheets for the guest bedroom, then."

As he walked towards the stairs, Abby stood up and reached out, stopping him. "Um," she said hesitantly, "Could I, maybe, um stay in your room? I don't really want to be alone right now."

"Okay," Gibbs said slowly. "I'm guessing you'll need something to wear then."

"Do I look like I've got a nightgown hidden in this bodice?" Abby asked, gesturing to her outfit with a smirk.

"No comment," Gibbs replied with a smile, gazing at her, happy to see her joking again. "Ready? I've done all I can tonight anyways."

Abby followed him up the stairs, curious to see what his room looked like. A purely professional interest of course. She murmured, somewhat surprised, "A queen-sized bed Gibbs? I figured you for more of a simple guy. Or a king I guess." She plopped down on the bed, "Ooh. Comfy."

Gibbs slightly shook his head in amusement. He opened a dresser drawer, took out a slightly faded NIS shirt and a pair of flannel pants. "These should work. Take the bathroom first, I'll change out here."

"Thanks Gibbs," Abby said, entering the bathroom and shutting the door.

Gibbs busied himself with changing and cleaning up the worst parts of the room, hoping that Abby hadn't seen much of the disorganization. Abby came out, having removed her makeup as best she could, wearing his shirt and pants. "Suits you," he said simply, passing her to go brush his teeth. When he came back out, he saw that Abby had already made herself comfortable under his sheets.

"Don't worry," she said, seeing his glance. "I'm not a cover hog."

"Not what I was worried about," Gibbs said quietly to himself. He lay down on the other side of the bed. "Night Abs."

"Night Gibbs," she replied.

He lay there for what felt like hours, unable to get comfortable and fall asleep for worrying about whether his leg would touch hers and she would be offended, or if he would turn over and accidentally brush up against her in some way. He sighed, and turned over on his side as close to the edge of the bed as he could get without falling off.

"I'll behave you know," Abby said, reading his discomfort. "Unless of course that is—" She let that comment hang in the air.

Gibbs snorted, managing to restrain the words that first came to his mind. He felt her arm reach for him and pull them closer together. "Wha—?" he started.

"Gibbs," she stated clearly, "People thrive on touch and companionship. It's perfectly normal to want to cuddle something or someone when you're sleeping. Now quit worrying and go to sleep."

Gibbs smiled and shut his eyes, drifting off to sleep.