Hollis watched Gibbs return to his seat. "News?"
"Abby received a new letter."
"You aren't leaving?"
"No, she'll go over it in the morning. They are getting more generators for the lab tonight."
"Meaning, I'm shocked you aren't halfway to her place right now. The princess is in trouble and her prince should be riding off on his white horse to rescue her."
"Yes! God Jethro, you drop everything and rush to her if she so much as gets a hangnail. I don't see why you don't just go and check on her. You know you want to."
"I drop everything when ANY of my agents are in trouble. And since Ziva is with her, I know she is safe. I'm here now, can't you accept that?"
"You might be here physically, but mentally, you never walked in the door."
"Hollis, first you're mad when I have to cancel because I am with Abby. Now I make time to have dinner with you and all you do is push me away… I don't get it."
"I understand that she is important for you. I just wish I was as important. You said so yourself, you've got to schedule me in between your time with Abby."
She's right, Gibbs knew. He always had time for Abby and if it cut into time he had planned to Hollis he had no problem in rescheduling, agreeing to see Hollis another time. "She's got some crazy guy after her. I can't turn my back on her."
Hollis sighed. "I made apple pie for dessert."
Ziva dropped Abby off at the office early, leaving her with Tony so that she could go home, shower and change before coming back. On her way in she met Gibbs and Hollis. "Abby is testing the black substance she found on the envelope."
"It is like he dropped the envelope, or something. Tony is with her, they are in the lab."
Gibbs thanked her for staying with Abby and then headed towards the lab.
Tony clicked around on the computer, searching various entertaining videos on YouTube while Abby worked on identifying the black substance.
Just as she was about to turn to Tony and ask him to call Gibbs, the doors opened and Gibbs walked in.
"You got anything for me Abbs?"
"Oh I got a lot for you Gibbs but I'm not sure work is the place for me to give it to you." Abby answered without looking up from her computer, she was in her usual flirtatious mood.
Gibbs ignored the look on Tony's face and fought a grin as he set a Caf-Pow down beside Abby's keyboard. "Well I'll take what I can get right here, right now."
Abby gave an exaggerated sigh before taking a long sip of her new Caf-Pow. "Always so impatient you are...." Abby saw movement out of the corner of her eye. The look on Tony's face confirmed her worst fear. Hollis was in the room and had likely heard Abby's flirty response. Gibbs didn't seem to mind though, so she played it off casually. "So, it's a mix of natural and synthetic rubber. Car tires. I think it's from the park a few blocks from where I live. They use shredded car tires on the playground. It's a form of recycling and it makes the ground safer, you know, when you jump off the swings, if your balance isn't perfect, or you lock your knees. It can be a real jolt. It helps prevent injuries."
"Hey Boss, I know the park she's talking about. There is an apartment block right next to it, and the post office is directly opposite. If he lives at the apartments, the quickest route to the post office is across the park."
"Good work, guys." He kissed Abby's cheek and turned to leave, giving Tony an appreciative nod. Hollis was a few steps behind him, and he motioned for her to walk with him.
"There's more, Mr. President. If you're interested..."
Hollis stiffened and Gibbs turned back to Abby. "Yeees..?"
"When I was checking the DNA on the envelope I found a brown fleck. I tested it, and it turns out to be a speck of tobacco. It's not from a cigarette, it's from chewing tobacco."
Gibbs nodded. "Thanks."
Tony and Abby stood side by side and watch Gibbs and Mann walk back to the elevator.
Tony stood, his arms folded across his chest, a look of annoyance on his face. "Why is she even here? She works one case with NCIS and suddenly she's all but got a desk."
"I don't know, Tony. Think she liked my comments?" Abby eyed Tony out of the corner of her eye, a delicate smile toying at her lips.
The look of irritation on Tony's face faded to be replaced with a smile. "Oh yeah." He thought for moment. "So what exactly would you give him outside of the work place?"
Abby winked playfully at Tony and turned back to the lab equipment.
"That wasn't exactly work-appropriate"
"All those things she said."
"She's just being Abby. It doesn't bother me, so what does it matter."
"It bothers me."
"Hol…" Gibbs looked at her once the elevator doors opened to the bullpen. "Are you really going to start again?"
"Grab your gear, we've got a lead."
"I have an idea where this guy might live. We'll be knocking on doors." Gibbs turned to Hollis. "You stay here. Just in case."
Hollis masked her hurt. Normally Gibbs would've wanted her working the field with him, but now, now that everything was all about his precious Abby, he would rather her stay behind as protection.
McGee, Ziva and Gibbs piled into the car and drove silently to the apartment complex in question. There were 32 apartments in total. They started on the first floor. The first apartment Ziva knocked at belonged to a single mother with for kids. She was busy enough with her own life and had never seen the man in question. Judging by the screaming in the background, Ziva could tell this woman had enough to focus on.
McGee worked a few doors down. He knocked at the door at an elderly woman who couldn't see the photo properly and was more concerned with inviting Tim in for a cup of tea.
Once they moved on to the second floor, Gibbs got a lead. The woman who answered the door said she thought he lived right above her. She had recognized him, saying she had seen him at the complex mailboxes a few times, and confirmed that he used chew.
The team moved up to the third floor and knocked. No one answered.
Abby sat in the lab with her feet up on her desk. Tony had stepped out briefly to speak with the director. Hollis saw her sitting at her desk and thought momentarily on how to approach her. Her comment about her clothes earlier had certainly ticked her off. She hadn't actually meant it the way it had come across, it had been a genuine question.
She knew that if she didn't approach Abby carefully, she would hear about it from Gibbs. There was this line that Gibbs had drawn with invisible ink when it came to Abby, and everyone except her seemed to have the magic glasses and knew when to stop.
Just as she was about to call out to Abby, the lab phone rang, and Abby pressed the speaker phone button. "Hello?"
"Give me some good news, Abby."
"I'm not pregnant."
"Too much information.
"Just kidding. Not that there's anything wrong with being pregnant. I love kids. Doesn't mean that I'm trying. Y'know, and even if I were trying that doesn't mean I know anybody that I'd want to try with. Am I being trying, Gibbs?"
Gibbs sighed. "I think we've found his apartment, but he isn't here. Is there anything else you've found that might give us an idea on his whereabouts?"
"Sorry, boss. I've got nothing for you. I'll go back and double check." Abby answered dejectedly.
"Abbs, we'll get him."
"I know." Abby listened a while longer and then hung up.
Hollis had changed her mind. The moment Abby had said 'I'm not pregnant' Hollis felt ready to explode. She decided on the stairs and was halfway up to the bullpen when she pushed past Tony who was on his way down.
"Hey Abby, Hollis just flew past me in the stairwell, what happened?"
"Nothing, I didn't see her."Abby looked confused as she looked up from her computer.
"Oh, I just thought she had been in here, maybe she came from the parking garage.
"Hear from the three stooges yet?"
"Yeah, they found his apartment, but he isn't around. Gibbs and McGee are staying on surveillance, and will bring him in when he gets home."
"Good, when he comes in, maybe Gibbs will let me just take him out back. It would be quicker than the whole 'charging him with harassment, restraining order… etc'."
"I'd appreciate that. I'm sure Gibbs will rough him up first, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you took a turn."
"As long as I can have a turn before Ziva, I don't want to beat on a dead body. It sort of takes the fun out of it."
"You'll have to flip a coin."
"Are you sleeping with her?"
Gibbs paused in his doorway. Hollis stood in the middle of his living room. "Excuse me?" He dropped his keys by the door, removed his jacket and stored his gun.
"I said, are you sleeping with her?"
"I heard what you said. Is this the emergency you called me for?"
"Well? I saw the empty liquor bottles and all the candles around her place when I picked you up at her place."
"So we had a drink. The power was out, so there were candles lit. I would've had candles lit in my basement while I drank by the boat if I hadn't been at her place."
"But then you would've been with me."
"I'm not sleeping with Abby."
"But you want too."
"Hollis where is all this coming from?"
"You didn't deny it."
"No, I didn't deny it."
"God, I don't know why I was so stupid to get into this. I know your record with women, Jethro. I've invested time into this. I wasn't asking for a promise, just a little commitment."
"What's the difference?"
"If you knew this wouldn't last, you could've been a gentleman and filled me in. I could've put my energy elsewhere."
"The second 'b' is for bastard, remember?"
"Jethro, I can't do this anymore."
"Go rescue your princess." She looked at him a moment longer and then walked to the door. She picked up his keys and removed the key for her front door from his key ring. She had never gotten one for his front door, not that he locked it often, but still. She should've taken it for the sign it was.
"Goodbye." They said in unison.
Tony had been thrilled to take Abby home again. They had their entire evening planned out. Monopoly, movies, junk food… They were all set. In the middle of an intense discussion over Park Place and Boardwalk, they were unprepared for the sudden pounding on Abby's door.
"Get in the kitchen." Tony whispered, directing her out of sight from the door, and taking his gun from the table. When Abby was out of sight, he counted to three and swung the door open, pointing his gun. "God Boss, a little warning first. I could've blown your head off."
"Good, it means you're doing your job." Gibbs pushed past Tony. "Abby." He barked her name. "Throw what you need in a bag, and let's get going. We're going to my place. Tony, you go take over for McGee. Ziva just arrived to take over for Fornell." Gibbs handed him a piece of paper with an address scribbled on it.
"Sure boss." Tony grabbed his jacket and shrugged at Abby who had stepped out of the kitchen.
"Gibbs? Is everything ok?"
"It's fine Abby. Get you what you need." The tone in his voice suggested that this wasn't the time to play twenty-questions or to goof around. She packed up her pajamas, her tooth brush and a clean set of clothes for the morning. Silently she followed him out to his car. He opened the door for her to get in, and then moved around to the driver side. He pulled out of the parking garage and glanced over at Abby. She was staring straight ahead, avoiding eye contact and he knew she was waiting for him to say something. Halfway to his house he finally spoke. "I didn't mean to yell. I don't want you to think I'm mad at you."
"Did you find out something new about this guy? He hasn't come home yet?"
"Nope, nothing new. Tony and Ziva will grab him the minute he gets in."
Abby decided against asking anymore questions until they were at his house. Safely inside, Gibbs locked the door and motioned for her to head to the basement. Downstairs Abby found a clear spot on his workbench and sat down. Gibbs poured two small glasses of bourbon and handed her one. He took a small sip and then turned his attention to the boat frame.
"Why was Fornell at the stakeout?"
"You said Ziva took over for Fornell. Weren't you with Ziva?"
"I was. I got called away and Fornell covered for me."
"Gibbs, I know you don't like to talk about what's bothering you, but I'm here if you want to talk. I'm always here for you. I might not be going after a crazy person for you, well because I'm the one who seems to have the following of fanatical people, but if you did… I'd keep you safe. I might not be an agent, but I know my way around a gun. I've actually never fired one outside of the lab. But I have fired a paintball gun and a water gun I guess those are similar. But anyways … wait, what was I going to say? Right, I'll keep you safe, Gibbs."
"What if I do have someone bothering me?"
"Oh God, are we both in danger? Do you have a crazy person after you?" Panic washed over Abby's face.
Gibbs couldn't help but laugh; the look on her face was priceless. "No, I dealt with my crazy person."
Realizing that he was laughing, she relaxed and his laughter spread to her. "Who is your crazy person? Fornell? Should I call Franks in? I've still got his number, he's on speed dial."
"Fornell is crazy, but sadly I haven't dealt with him yet."
"Gibbs, don't hold out on me. Who has been bothering you? The only other people you've been around is me… oh God, is it me?"
"Relax Abbs… you aren't my crazy person. Crazy, maybe… but you aren't bothering me. And I'm not sure what to think about Franks being on your speed dial." He took a sip of his drink.
"Ok, well besides me, you've been around Tony, but he was mostly with me today, so it wouldn't be him. You spent the day with McGee, and Ziva. Hollis was around earlier…" Her voice trailed off when he flinched at her name. "Hollis?"
"It's over. It has been for a while, we just never dealt with it, and tonight we did. It's finished."
Abby wanted to say she was sorry, but she knew he wouldn't believe it. She wanted to ask, permission to hug, but she didn't want him to think she pitied him either. Instead she patted his arm and stepped up to the boat. "So tell me again, which way do I sand?"
Thankful that she didn't ask questions, Gibbs set down his glass and stepped behind her. "Here, let me show you."
At midnight, Gibbs brought Abby upstairs. He waited outside the bathroom for her to change and then moved her towards his bedroom. "I'll be downstairs."
"Gibbs you need to sleep, I'll keep my hands to myself." Abby mumbled, half asleep.
Abby climbed under the covers and faced the center of the bed. Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. She was exhausted, but it still didn't take away from the fact that she was actually in his bed. Gibbs went to the bathroom and changed into a t-shirt and shorts. She could smell the faint scent of his shampoo on the pillow case, and like his entire house, she could smell the saw dust from his boat. It warmed her and sent shivers down her spine at the same time. She watched him through heavy lids as he sat on the edge of the bed to remove his socks and then slide under the covers next to her. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. "Goodnight, Abbs."
Abby wanted to say good night in return, but was afraid of what she would sound like so she rolled over to face away from Gibbs. As happy as she was to be in his bed, the reason behind it wasn't exactly ideal.
"Abby, are you ok?"
Turning to face him, Abby sighed. "Maybe I shouldn't sleep here."
"Abby, I'll move. It's no problem. Like I suggested earlier, I'll…" Gibbs started to get up but Abby stopped him.
"No. It's not just you. It's being in your bed. I can't be here. I don't want to be in your bed because… because people are scared for me. If I'm sleeping in your bed, I want it to be because you want me here…. because you want me." Abby sat up.
"No, it's ok. Honestly Gibbs. We flirt in the lab, and it's all cool, but being here is a whole different level. I know you had all that drama with Hollis, and I'm not asking for anything, I'm just… I'm just looking out for myself. I need rest and I know I won't sleep here, I'll just lay awake thinking of all the 'what ifs' and 'could-be's'."
"I just… I can't right now, Abby."
"I know, and that's why I can't sleep here. It's not a big deal."
"I don't think you understand. I do want you here, in my bed. I wouldn't have offered my bed to you if I didn't want you here. I want you Abby, I do. But I need to focus on getting this guy. I need to make sure you are safe first. Keeping you safe is my priority, it always has been and it always will be." He reached out and touched her cheek. "Lie down and sleep, Abby. Let me focus on getting this guy, so then I can focus on you."
Abby sank back into the bed. "Will you kiss me?"Her voice was small.
"Just one kiss?"
"No. Not until I get this guy. If I kiss you now, I won't be able to think straight tomorrow. After I get this guy, then I'm all yours."
"What if you get another freak to go after?"
"As long as this freak isn't after you, I'll have time for you. I always have time for you."
Abby nodded and closed her eyes. Gibbs watched a few moments longer, before closing his eyes as well. Just before he drifted away, Abby's voice carried to his ears. "Will you hold me?"
Gibbs shifted closer and wrapped his arms around Abby. He kissed the back of her head and smiled when she scooted back against him. Moments later they slept soundly.
The next day Abby paced the bullpen
"Did you get him?" Abby asked excitedly into the phone.
"No Abbs, I called to flirt."
"You did get him, didn't you?"
"We're bringing him in now. McGee is sending a photo to your phone, I want you to confirm, and then Ducky will take you back to my place and wait with you."
"Ok." Abby's phone beeped, letting her know that she had received a message.
"Check the photo, confirm, and then leave. I don't want you there when we arrive."
"Can't I just identify him when you arrive? I'll leave right after."
"I just want to…"
"I'd hate to start smacking you like I do DiNozzo."
"You wouldn't!" She waited for him to say something, but he didn't "You would?"
"It won't be on the head."
Abby couldn't contain a laugh. "You aren't standing around anyone are you?"
As much as he would love to stand around and flirt over the phone, Gibbs had a job to do. He looked over to where Ziva was forcefully pushed Brian into the back of the car. He didn't look threatening, now that he had a better look at him compared to the video they had seen. He was a skinny little guy, he looked scare, and as far as Gibbs was concerned, he had every right to be.
"Don't be there when we arrive." He flipped his phone shut. He closed his eyes. He hated being so abrupt with Abby, but it was the only way to get his point across. He did it for her own good; he didn't want her around this creep. He sighed and went back to the car.
The quicker they were able to wrap this up, the quicker he could get home.
Gibbs unlocked his front door and walked in. Ducky sat reading the day's newspaper at the dining room table. "Ah, Jethro. How did it go?"
Gibbs sighed and sat across from Ducky. "Sorry it took so long. This guy was a mess. We contacted his mother, in Dallas. He needs psychiatric care. He ran away from an open treatment center. He's never been violent, Abby likely wasn't in danger, and it looks like he just got a little obsessive and didn't know how to react. It seems to merely be a case of wrong place, wrong time for Abby. He's being held at the county jail until his mom and his old doctor can pick him up. There will be a restraining order against him, but he'll go back to Texas, and go to a locked unit. It's all over."
"I tucked her into your guest bed. She could hardly stay awake. Since we didn't know when you'd be back, I was able to talk her into getting some sleep. Poor girl was exhausted."
"Thanks, Duck. I owe you."
"Oh no, I'm glad I could help. Abigail as been through enough lately."
"Yes she has."
"Well, I better be on my way, you look like you could use some sleep yourself. I'll see you on Monday, enjoy your weekend Jethro."
"See you on Monday, doctor."
Gibbs helped Ducky into his jacket and watched him walk to his car. When Ducky's car disappeared down the street, Gibbs shut the door and locked it. He went upstairs and first peeked in on Abby. Ducky had tucked her in tightly and she slept soundly.
Satisfied that she was ok, Gibbs went to his own room and shed his clothes from the day. He pulled on a pair of shorts and a plain white shirt. Running his fingers through his hair, he stepped into the bathroom and looked at himself through the mirror. The events of the past few days had indeed taken its toll on him. He had slept briefly the night before, his arms wrapped around Abby, but he had been acutely aware of every little sound or creak his house had made over the course of the night. With Brian still on the loose he listened to every little noise and assessed its threat. The nights she had been with Tony and Ziva he had laid awake, mentally going over everything he knew regarding the case, hoping some missed some connection would pop into his mind. The night he had spent against her front door, he had thought of her. She had offered a spot on her bed, and as much as he had wanted to accept her offer, he knew he couldn't. He might not have been in love with Hollis, but he wasn't a cheater.
After he brushed his teeth and took one last look in the mirror he went back to his room and lay down. The sheets were cold against his arms and legs. Gibbs tossed and turned for half an hour. His first instinct was to pay a visit to his boat. He paused in his doorway, directly across from his door was the door to the guest room where Abby slept.
Abandoning the thoughts of his boat, Gibbs twisted the door knob to the guest room and stepped inside. He padded, quietly on bare feet, across the room and stood looking down at Abby as she slept. Her arms were wrapped tightly around Bert, her cheek pressed against his puffy face.
He bent down and lifted her easily, picking up Bert and one of the sheets that were wrapped around her as well.
Abby sighed, but didn't wake up. Carrying her back to his room, Gibbs placed her on his bed, on the far side of the room. He knew Brian was in custody, but he still felt that if he was between her and the door, he would have a better chance at keeping her safe. He pulled the covers up over Abby, and fought a laugh when Abby squeezed Bert in her sleep, the sound of a fart breaking the silence.
He shook his head and walked back to the other side of the bed, crawling beneath the blankets next to her. She stirred as he scooted his body closer to hers. His arm wrapped around her waist, holding her firmly as he cuddled up against her. He touched his lips to the back of her neck before closing his eyes. Her scent was comforting, and the heat of her body was soothing. His last thoughts before dipping into a peaceful sleep were, now I can focus on you.
I decided to keep it rated for all ages, but if you want to imagine her waking up when he carries her to his room and they have wild, crazy monkey sex… well, feel free. I did.