You're writing for: Annette aka nomadicdragon

Three things she would like: romance, angst

Three things she wouldn't like: death, blood, humiliation

Jethro Gibbs took a deep breath and laid one black rose in a small vase at the table. The clatter of his watch against a wine glass echoed in the room and he ran a hand through his hair, feeling foolish. Tonight was what he made of it, he had to keep reminding himself of that.

There was no reason for him to be nervous. He'd been married four times. Yeah, he'd been divorced three times, but that was different. He was a different man now. He knew how to romance a woman, even a woman as complex and unique as Abby. Gibbs had invited her over for dinner, wanted to see if there was any interest on her part. He was contemplating breaking Rule 12 for her, and he didn't even know how he got here.

Abbs had started spending a lot of time at his place when the team had been split up. She'd even made him watch that Titanic movie with her. Somehow along the way his feelings had changed from colleague and slightly exasperated boss to more. His hugs had become more heartfelt and longer, he'd found himself making excuses to spend time with her on weekends. He called her whenever he felt lonely or sad and would normally drink the pain away.

He pulled in a deep sigh, looking around. The dining room table was set, the salad was chilling, the steaks marinating, the potatoes almost done baking, wine snuggled in a silver bucket. He never would have taken Abby for a wine drinker but one day she'd looked though his meager collection, making informed comments on this chardonnay and that merlot. It hadn't surprised her that he'd had a taste for the good stuff, even if his bank account didn't support it.

Wine had become one of their "things". The other being food. Abby'd bring over something to eat once a week, usually a gumbo or chicken and dumplings after an exhausting case, or beignets on Sunday morning. And as a direct result of her home cooking, he'd started cooking again himself. The Takeout Taxi menus had been relegated to a drawer instead of on the fridge. When the cases were hot, he didn't always like to make his own dinner, but he'd gotten back into the habit of having a few burgers ready to be broiled, or chicken breasts he could throw on the grill.

Gibbs shook his head, trying to wrench himself out of his thoughts and back into the present. His girl would be here soon and he had to be ready. His girl. It was so easy to think of her that way, even if the intent had changed.

"Gibbs!" Like the whirlwind she was, Abby ran into his arms and he pulled her close, breathing in the scent of her new gunpowder perfume mixed with something elementally Abby. Before meeting her, he'd assumed that Goths had heavy oppressive perfume, patchouli, incense, things that didn't sit well with his sense of smell, but Abby's scents were light and airy, much like her. Woodsmoke, gunpowder, sometimes around her birthday, a light hint of flowers.

"Hey, Abbs." He tried to keep his voice casual even though it was an effort.

"Wow, look at this." She walked into the dining room and nodded in satisfaction at the set table. They usually ate in the kitchen, at the small table tucked in a corner of the room. "What's the occasion?" she asked, her voice a little uncertain and wary.

He shrugged, a little unsettled now himself. "Just wanted to do something special for my girl." He could feel the intensity in his words. She couldn't possibly ignore it.

"Your…girl?" That hesitation in her voice was growing and he sighed inwardly. This was going all wrong and he didn't know how to rescue it.

"Yeah." He turned away. Gibbs hated this part of a relationship, where everything started collapsing and he could only watch it go down.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Abby walk over to the table, fingering the one black rose. "Gibbs?" she asked, suddenly sounding very little girl.


"What do you mean, your girl? I mean, I'm always your girl. Like, we have a bond you know. I have something for you and poof you're here like the wonderful wizard that you are, or because you're psychic and you know what I'm gonna say before I say it and all, and I've been your girl since like the day we met, well practically. But anyway, what do you mean 'your girl'. Like that or…"

She finally trailed off. He couldn't have gotten in a word edgewise so it was best to let her sputter to a stop on her own. He arched a brow, waiting to see if there would be a round two and he wasn't disappointed.

"Or like, what Gibbs. Cause you know. Maybe I'm crazy and I so shouldn't be saying this because it could screw everything up. You know? But whatever, I'm sick of pretending that I'm dating other people and that I don't want you so I'm just gonna say it. Okay? You're sexy, you're smart and you're strong and I like you and I…" She trailed off again, this time flushing.

"God, I'm such an idiot. You're not interested."

"Did I say that?" he asked, interrupting her tirade. "Cause I don't remember getting a word in edgewise."

"Well, duh, I mean, you called me your girl and you do that, you know and it was silly and stupid of me to think that it meant anything more than it already does. Not that I mind being your girl but…"

There was a limit to his patience. He pressed one finger firmly against her mouth, choking off a gasp as her tongue darted out and licked the tip slowly.

"Abbs, you're playing with fire," he managed, trying to keep his cool.

She smirked suddenly. "Good. So tell me how I'm your girl, exactly."

He shrugged, uncomfortable with his feelings even though he knew she needed to hear the words. "You've become one of the most important people in my world," he said, speaking slowly. "You don't know all the times you saved me from myself." He shrugged, arching his eyebrows and angling his head, hoping she understood. She'd known him long enough to know he wasn't a words guy.

"Awwww. You're sweet."

Taking his hand in hers, she began teasing the tip of his finger again, her tongue tracing over the calluses, around the neatly clipped fingernail, lips closing around the first knuckle as she drew him in deeper. They both knew what she was simulating and what it would do to him. But he wasn't some horny teenager, he had self control to spare.

"Keep that up and you'll see real soon," he growled out. In response, she sucked more deeply, making a happy sound around his finger.

"Enough for now, Abbs. First, we eat." He worked his finger out of her mouth with an audible pop. She pouted briefly before watching him, her gaze hooded.

"And then what?"

"Then we figure it out. Together."

And they did. Over many hours and in many ways. Together.