A/N: Song lyrics in Italics. Love to hear from you. Read, Review, Enjoy!!!!

He'd gotten the distress call from Ziva and took the first flight back home to help prove her innocence. He wasn't overly enthused about returning, he didn't think he was ready for any of it yet.

Ziva had chosen to save his life when she took aim and fired the fatal shot into the terrorist that threatened to take it from him, a terrorist she was very familiar with; her half-brother.

Gibbs owed Ziva, and she needed him.

He used the time on the flight to try and prepare himself for what he had to do, and what he was going to do. They were one in the same. There was no doubt that he'd be working in some capacity with the team he'd left behind, but he wasn't going to let the pull of a reunion and the feelings associated with it sway his plans to return to Mexico as soon as Ziva was safe.

He told himself that he was here to repay a debt, and nothing more, regardless of the images of her attacking his mental statue; he wouldn't allow more.


Abby knew Ziva was in trouble, so she wasn't surprised when she had called and asked her for a contact number for Gibbs in Mexico. Abby didn't hesitate to give it to her either; it was after all the reason that they stayed in distant contact.

The monthly sit-rep calls were how Gibbs stayed informed about the major occurrences of NCIS, and this was something that he definitely needed to be informed about. She'd never admit that its alternative purpose was to allow her to hear his voice, to know that he was still alive and breathing, and that he hadn't mentally checked out of her life completely. To have some form of contact.

She'd never admit to needing that, she'd been fighting like hell to not need it. She wouldn't allow it, regardless of the quiver that still shot through her body every time he said her name.

She was preparing herself for the possibility that he may be coming home to help Ziva. She was ready, she could handle seeing him, and she'd taken the steps necessary to make sure of it. She was a changed woman now. Different. Numb.


Case closed. Ziva is safe, the dirtbags are caught, the reunions avoided, and his return flight to Mexico booked and scheduled for departure in 4 hours.


He'd heard the footsteps on the floor above him, and began to second guess his decision to visit his one-time sanctuary before he left.

"Jethro, why are you sitting in the dark in an empty basement?"

"Hey Duck, I'm just killing time before I head to the airport."

"In that case, can I convince an old friend to accompany me for a drink?"

If he'd been successful in removing Abby from his thoughts at all today and more importantly the last hour he'd been sitting in the dark, he'd had definitely declined, but she was everywhere, on everything, invading even the simplest and insignificant thoughts. If his way of coping in Mexico was any indication, he definitely needed a drink, and more than one.

"Lead the way Duck."


The bar wasn't exactly her style; the music no where near her cup of tea, but the team had been coming here on most Friday nights for the last few months as the case load permitted. It was they're way of unwinding, of letting go.

Something they all felt they needed to start doing after Gibbs left.

She had a casual date later tonight, a man she'd used a few times recently for a no-strings sex escape, one of the best in what has become her "little black-book" of dependency. She needed the one who would make her forget the most tonight, the one that helped mask her desire for Gibbs.

Her plan was to have a few drinks with the team, to loosen up a bit, before her distraction showed up to take her home. He'd be gone by morning, and if her plan worked, so would the burning desire to follow Gibbs back to Mexico.


The team occupied their usual booth in the back with the exception of Ducky.

Tony, McGee & Ziva sat in one side of the booth purposely leaving Abby alone on the other side sitting directly across from Tony with her back to the entrance. She sensed something was a bit off, "where's Ducky?" It was a question directed to everyone, but her eyes bore into McGee knowing he'd be the first one to crack.

"He…um…" in an effort to save McGee and throw off her suspicions Tony responded "he said he would be a bit late, had to finish up a few things before he'd be able to meet us."

He was successful at neither. The expression on McGee's face read like a book. He did however raise her suspicion enough to know that whatever it was she wasn't going to like it.

"McGee, you are a horrible liar, and Tony, whatever it is" she stood from the booth to make her exit towards the door "I'm not interested."

Ziva reached out and grabbed her wrist "just sit Abby!" her tone was intentionally startling to everybody at the table, and intentionally softened when she said "Please."

Abby silently hesitated for a few moments, looking at each one of them before reclaiming her seat in the booth.


Ducky drove them to the bar, and made sure to park off to the side eliminating the likelihood the Gibbs would be able to recognize any of the parked vehicles and refuse to enter the bar.

As it was, Ducky knew how he was going to react once he realized that everybody was waiting for him, and quite frankly was kicking himself for letting Tony talk him into being the one who had to deceive him to get him here.

Ducky held the door for Gibbs to enter, and barely made it through the door himself before Gibbs had turned and was face to face with him looking to hurriedly intimidate his was back outside before he was spotted.

"Why Duck?"

"Jethro, just stay, have a drink or two, and then I'll personally drive you to the airport."

He'd only seen Ziva standing in a booth before he had spun around to leave, but he didn't have to turn around to know that they knew he was here now, and he felt his resolve weaken slightly before it dawned on him that Abby was probably over there too. "I don't think so. It's not a good idea."

Ducky expected him to be pissed that he was mislead, and expected to take the brunt of it, and was honestly surprised when he realized that it wasn't anger he was seeing now, it was something completely different, something he'd never seen in Gibb's eyes before; fear.

Ducky stepped closer to Gibbs grabbing both forearms in his light grip "Jethro, dear friend what may I ask are you so afraid of?"

The honest answer would have been to describe every image, dream, and fantasy he'd ever had of Abbs, and how it would internally destroy him to see her, to be near her and not be able to claim her as his own. He's a different man now, a man he won't apologize for, but a man she wouldn't recognize either. "I'm not afraid of anything Duck."

"If you believe that, you're not only lying to me, you're lying to yourself."

He turned his head to see the glare Tony was firing at him and knew he was defeated. It wasn't until he was a few feet from the table that he realized that it was Abby with her back to him. A small grace he was thankful for.

Tony stood from the booth as their approach neared flagging the waitress before he put his hand out to shake Gibbs' "glad you could join us".

Gibbs tightened his grip "cards were kinda stacked in your favor weren't they."

He could feel the heat coming from Abby's direction and had all he could do not to turn to face her when Ziva stood to allow him to take her place in the booth leaving Abby flanked by both Ducky and Tony on opposite sides.


As a group they progressed with the subtleties, even managed to laugh and carry on like nothing had changed with the exception of the elephant in the room of course. They were both outwardly nervous and under the table fidgety. They took turns staring at each other unnoticed by only them.

Some time had passed before Gibbs excused himself to the bathroom, Tony & Ziva were wrapped into each other on the dance floor, McGee was tap dancing around the bartender, and Ducky had just up and left, said he was going to escape while he still could.

Abby sat alone. She was willing her distraction to show up early, but feeling somewhat at ease about her ability to sustain her emotions while they conversed as a group. She told herself that a glance here and there could easily be explained as an involuntary movement; an uncontrollable reflex. Her preparations had been successful; she was in control.

Gibbs took some time to reflect in the bathroom mirror about how it seems as though he was going to make it through this unscathed. He'd been distracted enough to be able to keep the erotic thoughts of Abby to a low roar. Sure he'd taken a peek here and there, but it was a necessary evil. He was a man after all; a man in control.

Gibbs paid no attention to the table as he made his way back to it, and before he realized it was only Abby sitting there it was too late to turn back.

Their eyes simultaneously rose to find each other like they were on auto pilot, and once they did, it was complete and total tunnel vision. Everyone and everything around them disappeared for what seemed like hours.

Gibbs sat down opposite Abby desperately searching for that control he was so confident of seconds ago.

Abby's eyes followed his in what seemed like some kind of out of body experience that she had no control over. She was numb all right, she couldn't move a muscle.

Gibbs breaks eye contact first looking for any of his friends to relieve him, to pinch hit so he can compose himself. They were gone. He was in trouble.

Abby checks the time on her phone disgusted when she realizes that only ten minutes has passed and her date was still an hour or so out. She scanned the room for her friends. They were gone. She was in trouble.

Neither of them saw Tony, Ziva, or McGee slither through the exit after Gibbs had rejoined Abby.

They sat in silence reading each other eyes, while trying to hide what was in their own.

In desperate attempts to regain composer they turned away from each other and towards the band that had just started playing another song.

"Come on, baby, dry your eyes
Wipe your tears
Never like to see you cry
Won't you please forgive me?

I wouldn't ever try to hurt you
I just needed someone to hold me
To fill the void while you were gone
To fill this space of emptiness

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made
Born to make mistakes

So many nights I longed to hold you
So many times I looked and saw your face
Nothing could change the way I feel
No-one else could ever take your place

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made

Born to make mistakes

I am just a man

Please forgive me
The tears I cry aren't tears of pain
They're only to hide my guilt and shame
I forgive you now I ask the same of you
While we were apart I was human too

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made

I am just a man


Born to make mistakes"