Tag to Toxic

Gibbs walked into Abby's lab, once again clean from McGee and DiNozzo's disastrous attempt at playing lab rats. He smiled as he saw the buckets with their names written on them. Abby was vindictive when she was pissed, and the two agents were handy targets for her anger.

But they weren't the cause.

He walked into her office. The music was so loud he could barely hear himself think, but the music tended to get louder as she got more upset. He figured she was on the verge of a breakdown, and he needed to be there when it happened. The last thing he wanted was another agent finding his lab rat in a state. Gibbs was protective of Abby. He had been called a possessive bastard once, but that hadn't been by anyone who mattered.

Besides, it was true.

Abby was sitting at her desk, staring blankly at the computer screen. Her entire body was trembling slightly from the aftershock of fury and hurt. Gibbs knew. He had been there. He set the Caff-Pow and a box of dark chocolate on her desk next to the keyboard and wrapped his arms around her. Abby reached over to turn down the music enough for them to talk.

"I should have seen it, Gibbs." she whispered. "I should have."

"You weren't the only one being played, Abs." he said softly, trying so darn hard to hold back his own fear. He would have lost Abby if that dirtbag had thought she was an obstacle. He had come so close.

"But I was the closest. I should have seen it!" She was crying now, and Gibbs tightened his hold. "I feel like an idiot."

"Don't." he whispered in her ear. "But don't ever scare me like that again, either."

Abby looked up at him, tears clouding her eyes, and he knew she could read the fear in his. She twisted in her chair so she could hug him too. For a while, Gibbs didn't know how long, they simply held on to each other, reassuring each other with their presence.

There wasn't much else they could do.

Betrayal was such a toxic thing.

"I won't, Gibbs. I promise."