Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS or any of the charcters from it. I do however own the crazy mind that puts these concoctions (what you're about to read) together. I'm not making any money from this. It's all purely for fun. No Copyright Infringement Intended. I'm just a heathily addicted, loyal fan of the show!. =D

The Bite was worse than the Bark
by NCISFF Special Agent Starr

Looking in his rearview mirror, Tim saw his new housemate laying on the backseat with his head on his paws. He watched Jethro's lids sinking ever so slowly heavy with exhaustion. Tim didn't blame him either, if he didn't need to be awake to perform the task of driving he'd be curled up sleeping too. Especially with the medication he had gotten to help with the pain of his injuries received during the events of the day.

Suddenly, as if the canine could sense he was being stared at, the reason for McGee's wounds eyes shot open and growling sounded throughout the small space separating the two.

Immediately, Tim's eyes turned back and focused on the road. Not a second later, the noise stopped.

'Oh, this is going to be great!' he thought sarcastically.

This was all Abby's fault! If she hadn't suckered him into feeling sorry for the fate of the dog, he wouldn't have even thought twice about possibly taking him under his wing. And why should he! It was obivious the animal hated his guts… or maybe more like wanted to use them for chew toys. This was ridiculous! So what if Abby's landlord had refused admittance for the attack dog to stay with her. That wasn't his problem. If she was so insistent on keeping Jethro maybe she should consider moving. He could understand why her supervisor had said no. What right-minded business owner would allow a pet that could potentially devour their tenants?

But, of course, Abby wouldn't understand that. In fact, Tim was betting with himself on how long after he arrived home that Abs would be trudging up the sidewalk to his doorstep to make sure that her precious pooch was alright.

McGee rolled his green orbs and continued down the pavement. Maybe he could con Sarah into taking him. With her still in school though, he doubted the campus would be too fond of that. But maybe if he offered to get her a place of her own to go along with it… oh and he would to, anything to have this possessed pup off of his hands

When he pulled up to his apartment he was surprised at first but then as it sunk in not at all to see the Goth leaning against his door. He also noticed someone he'd never seen before standing beside her. That was unexpected.

Now more confused and unaware of what exactly was going on than anything, but maybe this was someone who was interested in taking the German Sheppard. He was all for that idea. He put the car in park and got out as they began to head toward him.

"Tim this is Larry. Larry… Tim." She introduced the strangers.

"They call me Larry the Trainer Guy." The man smiled and extended his hand, which McGee shook hesitantly.

The forensic specialist cupped a hand on the man's shoulder.

"Larry here is one of the best animal trainers in the state. He's been kind enough to offer to take Jethro with him for some training. Teaching him how to go from vicious attack dog to man's best friend." She explained as if she were advertising for the guy.

Tim was still just standing there trying to absorb what was going on.

"It usually takes me about a week to shake them of their old habits and install the new ones. It usually takes the humans longer." He joked, gently elbowing Abby in the side.

This guy was making sound like something as effortless as reprogramming. If it were that easy Tim could definitely do that himself. This was going to be no simple task.

"But from the looks of the little guy, this should be no problem." Larry said looking through the back window.

'Oh, you've got to be kidding me!' Tim mentally chastised. Was he the only one who looked at the dog and saw it for what it truly was… a violent beast?

"Do you mind?" Larry asked as he gestured to opening the car door.

"Knock yourself out. Just be careful." He said a bit rudely. He didn't mean to but he was fed up with everyone acting like he was silly for seeing what a threat the dog was.

He watched in disgusted amazement as the man opened the door, leaned in and began to coo over the fur in the back like they'd known each other for years. If that would've been him, he would've had his hands gnawed off.

Larry had attached his own leash to Jethro's collar and the dog obediently hopped out onto the ground. And McGee hopped at little closer to Abby shielding himself just in case sweet little Lassie decided to go full-blown Cujo on him. He hadn't even been able to load him into the back of his vehicle without being snipped at with razor sharp teeth. Good thing she had been there or they'd probably still be in the garage.

"Say goodbye to Daddy boy, you'll be back before you know it." The trainer announced.

The junior field agent peeked over Abby's shoulder. "Umm… don't you need to see how he acts around me, so you know what he needs work with?"

"No need. Ms. Sciuto informed me of Jethro's behavior. "

'Great! I'm sure that's accurate information.' He was becoming a lot more sarcastic now-a-days.

Next thing he knew he was exposed as Abs had jetted forward to the canine.

"You be a good boy, Jethro… well… don't be a good boy so you can be shown how to be a good one… and then come back a good boy. Okay?" she jumbled out, sounding close to tears as she hugged him to her chest. The dog let out a few whines of his own, knowing he was about to go somewhere foreign.

"Don't be sad, Jethro. We'll be here when you get back. And then I'll stay with you while Timmy goes through his training." She ruffled the fur around his face.

When he gave her a lick on the cheek, she smiled and stood up, blinking back tears.

"Take good care of him Larry. Remember, I can kill you without leaving any evidence."

McGee was shocked when the man actually laughed at that, he and Abby must be past acquaintances.

"You have my word that not a hair on his head will be harmed. I do owe it to you. C'mon boy." He commanded and they both trotted to the man's van.

As they were driving away Larry honked a couple times, Abby waved, and Tim cringed knowing that his neighbors wouldn't be too happy about the blaring horn, until Abs lifted up his uninjured arm and forced him to wave also.

"I miss him already…" she sniffled. McGee, on the other hand, felt like doing a victory dance.

"Well, guess I'll see you at work Abs." he tried not to sound too excited, sympathetic to her emotions.

When in reality he was eager to get inside, pop his pills, and finally be able to relax, and not have to worry about the eerie feeling that loomed over him that something was out to get him. He now had a whole week of freedom and a whole week to try to find a new home for Jethro. Breathing a sigh of relief, he started to make his way to the entrance, but he was stopped.

"Not so fast mister. We still need to get thing set up for when he returns before I go home." She grabbed his wrist and dragged him to her truck.

"Abs, I don't think I can really lift anything." He raised the bandaged limb slightly.

The pain didn't really bother him that much. He just wasn't too keen on the idea of unpacking all these items for an animal he had no intension of keeping if he could pawn him off to someone else.

His excuse didn't faze her, "Then go unlock the door. I'll carry it in and you can tell me where you want it."

While she went digging through the automobile, he sluggishly made his way up the walk. If she wanted to lug all the stuff in, only to turn around and lug it back out, because it was clear she would follow the mutt wherever he ended up, she could be his guest.

Shoving the key into his lock, and twisting it, he pushed the door open wondering why she hadn't just done all this before he had showed up. She knew where the spare was. That didn't matter now though, she had probably waited so that she could try to convince him even more of what a fantastic plan this was.

And with her trailing up the walk, he made one final attempt to explain to her how fantastic it wasn't.

"Abby, I still think this is a really bad idea," she brushed past him in the doorway into the apartment, arms filled to capacity. "I mean the thing doesn't even enjoy being around me."

"Well gee McGee," she dumped the supplies on the floor and turned to retreat for more. "If you shot me with a gun I don't think I'd like being around you either."

"Is that all it would take?" he muttered under his breath.

She stopped in the doorway with him, "What was that?" she questioned looking up at him with a slight glare.

"Nothing." He said innocently as they branched in opposite directions.

Sitting down in his computer chair, he scanned the floor already cluttered with toys, dog food, dishes, a huge doggy pillow, brushes, lots of things, and let out a frustrated grumble. If she didn't want to take a hint, that was on her. He wasn't going to deal with this.

Bring in the next batch of unnecessary things she kicked the door closed behind her. Out of all the things he saw, one major thing was missing.

"Where's his kennel Abs?"

At that point she was sitting cross-legged on the floor, putting the toys in a basket. "What kennel, Jethro doesn't need a kennel."

"Oh yes he does!" Tim said certainly.

"McGee, if Jethro deserved to sleep behind bars, I would've taken him to the pound."

"Maybe it's better if he did! That way, I could go to sleep not having to worry about whether I wake up again or not."

"Maybe… if you gave him a chance and showed a little compassion to an innocent animal that was almost put to death, instead of pegging him to be a murderer, then he might like you a little better!" She started tossing the playthings in a little rougher.

Compassion... what did she know about compassion? He was the innocent animal that was almost put to death but that innocent animal! And what did he get? A "BAD MCGEE!" and threatened into giving money for the flower collection! Not an Are you okay? Or even an I'm glad you're alive. Granted, she did ask him What the hell happened? But it wasn't the same.

She had made it clear throughout the day who her main priority was. A dog she had obsessed over since the moment she laid eyes on it, over a human being, a friend, or at least he thought they were, she's known for six years and has been through a hell of a lot with.

He didn't feel like getting into anything or starting a fight. She just needed to do what she came here to do and leave, let him take care of himself.

"You know what, Abby? I guess the dog is okay. And if the training works… who knows? All I'm saying that is if I don't show up for work for a long period of time and you guys come in and find me scattered around the house in bits and pieces… I'll find a way to come back and say I told you so. Not that you would really even care…" He spoke that last part quieter than the rest.

Stopping her action instantly, she focused her attention on him. He could feel the atmosphere of the room change drastically.

"What did you say?"

Confused by the sudden switch, he wasn't sure if he should repeat his words or not. Watching her, she stood and walked toward him. As she came closer it became more evident that her eyes were glossed with water.

"Here!" she said shoving a stuffed bone toy against his chest, causing it to squeak. "I'm done!"

Letting the bone fall in his lap, she turned, and began her beeline toward the exit.

Although stunned momentarily by what had just happened, he knew that when Abby was upset like that she had something on her mind. Something she needed to get out before it got bottled up and eventually exploded from being build up… if it hadn't already.

There was no way he was going to let her out on road with something possibly jamming up her brain. So, with some quick thinking and even faster movement, he bound to the door and blocked her path.

"Let me out, McGee." she demanded.

"Not until you tell me what's wrong." he clarified.

"Nothing's wrong!" she exclaimed irritated. "I was just trying to help. Now move."

She tried to maneuver around him but he wouldn't budge. "Help who?"

"You and Jethro… you with your wanting a dog and Jethro with needing to find a good owner. I know you guys got off on the wrong foot but I figured the training would help. And if it didn't we'd go from there but if you aren't even willing to try , then I guess I'd better start finding people for when he gets done. Now can I go?"

That seemed like a logical explanation. When he looked into her eyes however, it wasn't what was bothering her now. He studied her and did his best to read what he could from her.

"This isn't just about Jethro is it?" he concluded, hoping he was at least somewhere in the ballpark. When her gaze drifted away from his that was the sign that he had guessed correctly. Now he just needed some elaboration.


"No, it's not just about him, okay? Now, can you get out of my way so I can go home? You can't hold me hostage like this you know…" she reached for the handle but he batted her hand away.

"Not until you tell me what's wrong," he echoed his earlier statement and they stared each other down. He could tell he was frustrating her enough that she could crack at any second. All he needed were a few final pushes to get her to the edge. "Abby, I'm not letting you out of my sight until you get whatever emotions you have bouncing around inside of you out. So you might as well start talking."

"I think I have every right to be emotional, McGee! Do you have any idea what I've been through today?! First, you almost get killed. Then, Jethro almost bought that big, white doghouse in the sky-"

"So you do acknowledge that I almost died?" He hadn't meant to say that, it just sort of spilled out of his mouth. She looked at him square in the eye then, her voice reaching a higher volume.

"Of course I acknowledged it, you idiot! But you couldn't see that because you were too busy wrapping your head around the thought that I didn't care about it-"

"Well, you certainly have a funny way of showing it." He fought back, not liking that she had downgraded his intelligence.

"That's because I CAN'T… show…it" She bit her lip because she had said too much.

Tim could tell that by the way she had slowed down her words she had revealed more than she meant to. But he was still confused about what exactly they analyzed to.

"You have no problem of showing it when it involves Gibbs, Tony, and Ziva." He said gently yet continued to dig.

Timidly she looked at him, contemplating whether she should just get it all out or keep it locked up. His forthcoming eyes encouraged her to go on. Taking in a breath and releasing it, she began revealing what she had hidden during the day.

"It's different with them… I'm used to Tony almost getting blown up or framed and God only knows what all Ziva has experienced with Mossad, she knows how to handle a lot and Gibbs… well, just being Gibbs. As long as it stays almost dying and not actually doing it… I'm fine. But when you came back after your attack and I saw you actually bleeding… I freaked out. The worst I've seen you return with is a few bumps and bruises and a dislocated shoulder. I've never seen you actually bleeding. Nothing like that's supposed to happen to you..."

That had never even crossed his mind.

"No one called to warn me about what happened either. Usually someone calls me when someone gets hurt... talk about people caring... But you just showed up. And I panicked. I mean I love everyone on Team Gibbs equally with all my heart, but with you there's that extra… I don't know… and I was scared. Butch provided me with an escape from that. Because I am an animal lover and I really was concerned with clearing his name and what happened to him, I knew he wasn't guilty and couldn't just condemn him. So, I focused my attention on him to keep my mind off what happened to you. Believe me, McGee, all I've wanted to do all day was give you a big hug but I didn't want to accidently hurt your arm or neck either…" She fell quiet as if not sure where to go from there.

He stood there astonished, having no idea she felt like this. Then he felt ashamed. He should've known that with a heart as big as Abby's, he had to be in there somewhere. Feeling as though he should be apologizing to her in some way, he opened his arms.

"Come here." He called out to her sweetly.

Closing the distance between them before he could even blink, she gingerly latched herself to him. Squeezing her to demonstrate that he wasn't as damaged as he may have let on, he couldn't help but smile.

"You shouldn't have gone back there alone Timmy. What if your gun would've been knocked away or you wouldn't have been able to get your arm up in defense… Jethro could have torn you apart." He could feel her tears sliding down his own skin.

"Hey… hey… It's alright." he whispered, pulling her to face him. "It was still just an almost… I'm not invincible Abs, but it's going to take a lot more than some blood thirsty pup to get rid of me."

He began wiping the wetness from her skin when her lips found his. Her hands swept over his flesh, cautious of the wound, and finger tangled into his hair. When they broke apart, both were breathless.

"What was that for?" he wondered.

She smirked at him still leaning against his frame. "I think that was an I love you, Tim."

"Oh. I thought it would be a thank you for agreeing to take care of a dog that wants to rip you limb from limb." He teased keeping the mood where she'd set it.

"Hey, don't blame him. He didn't know any better. He was an attack dog but once Larry teaches him not to be, then you'll see his really just a big sweetheart. Besides, I haven't even begun to thank you for taking him…" her eyes sparkled mischievously.

"Why do I get the feeling I'm not done being bitten?" he asked.

Tilting her head to his neck again, she grazed the side without bandages with her teeth. When he jumped a bit, she tried not to laugh at him. He had experienced a traumatic event, but a couple chuckles had managed to escape before she could stop them.

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{There it is! Hope you all or at least someone enjoyed it. }