Author's Note: Well, this is it, and I wanted to thank everyone for reading, favoriting and commenting. I hope I've done my job in entertaining the lot of you, and that you've had as much fun reading as I have writing. This is my first completed large story, and because of the overwhelmingly positive response, I'm certain it won't be my last. I had no idea what I was getting into when I jumped in with both feet to this fandom in August, and I can honestly say I've enjoyed every minute of it.

All the feedback means more to me than you could possibly know, because it's ultimately my goal to be a better writer. I've learned a lot through writing this fic, both what I'm good at, and what I need to improve. Thank you, to all of you for the continued support and I hope I haven't disappointed you all.

Disclaimer: If Jerry Bruckheimer or Don Bellasario felt the need for an extra child, I would certainly take up their offer. But, unless I can claim some sort of relation to either of those two gentlemen or the lead dudes from Hasbro, neither of these franchises or their characters belongs to me. I only own the plot and the mistakes.


Diego Garcia, NEST Headquarters

"Prime, are you sure this a good idea?"

Optimus cycled his vents. "For the twenty third time Ironhide, yes I'm sure it's a good idea."

"But who's counting?" the black mech muttered under his breath.

Optimus, Ratchet and Ironhide were enjoying a rare collective night off in Prime's personal quarters. Ratchet had constructed, in true Wheeljack fashion, a machine to convert regular energon into high grade, and the senior officers were having a good time conducting a "quality control" test. Ironhide and Prime figured it would be tantamount to conduct unbecoming to let the troops use the machine before it was thoroughly checked and rechecked by the higher ups, or so the theory went.

The game of poker had the medic intrigued as well, having seen many of the soldiers, along with Sam and Mikaela, playing it on many occasions. Ironhide had become somewhat of an ESPN junkie since he discovered television. Though he preferred actual sports, American football especially, the hulking black mech spent several hours watching the World Series of Poker Main Event when it was broadcast on his favorite sports channel. Seeing the shared love, the teens presented Ratchet with a set of Autobot sized playing cards and a matching set of poker chips. The cards were actually laser cut pieces of metal with the appropriate suit and number, decorated by Sam and Mikaela. As a joke, the Autobots' young charges had painted the face cards not with the traditional king, queen and jack, but with the pictures of Optimus Prime, Elita One and Jazz in tribute to their new Cybertronian friends. The specially made chips had come from a friend of Keller's, whatever that meant.

Optimus was secretly giddy to test out the playing cards, the new energon mixer, and his poker face, obviously sans battle mask. Prime had covertly studied the game of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em in an effort to one up Ironhide. The weapons specialist might be more heavily armed and a better shot, but Prime was the better tactician of the two. The Autobot leader was determined to keep it that way.

"Honestly, would you please stop complaining for just one day? We owe Gibbs and his team a great debt for helping us recover the remaining pieces of the Allspark. Besides, I thought you liked Ziva," Optimus groused as he analyzed his own cards. Having not anted any chips at the start of the hand, Prime reached for his stack and tossed a few in the middle of the table, seeing Ratchet's big blind bet.

"I'm not complaining about the party, Prime, or seeing NCIS. You know I wouldn't do that. This base deserves it." In the small blind, Ironhide took a quick peek at his own cards. Grabbing some chips, Ironhide saw the big blind and raised 100.

"Then, what's the problem?" Ratchet asked, laying his cards down on the table. "Too rich for me. I fold."

"The lack of suitable - How do humans put it? Adult beverages?" Ironhide groused as he picked up his hall full cube and shook it in his leader's face.

Optimus cycled his vents yet again, shuffling his chips expertly with his thumb and first two fingers of his left hand. Prime pondered briefly what cards Ironhide may have and then called, his chips falling in the rapidly growing pile in the middle of the table. "You know as well as I there isn't enough time to make that much. We've been busy with other things, if you don't remember."

Ironhide crossed his arms over his chest. "Oh, really?"

"Yes, really. Jazz's repairs have not been easy, Ironhide. I can personally attest to how many hours Prime has put in on his own time helping me get everything back in the right spot. And since we're going to bring him online tomorrow, how can you think we could possibly make that high grade overnight?" Ratchet asked earnestly.

Optimus shuttered his optics, placing the deck of cards down on the table before dealing the flop. "I know how much you love it Ironhide, but it's simply impossible. I'm sorry," the big leader said apologetically.

The weapons specialist said nothing, but gave a little grunt as he shifted in his seat. Instead, he laid his cards face down on the table and walked over toward the Autobot sized bookcase against the far wall in the living room. Giving it a solid tug, the bookcase slid forward, revealing a recessed area behind it. Stacked neatly twenty feet high and equally as wide in the hollowed out space was Prime's personal and large stash of wonderfully pure high grade.

Optimus' jaw dropped, his battle mask sliding into place on instinct. His processor spun, trying to formulate the correct response. He settled on the least likely response Ratchet and Ironhide thought they'd ever hear from the straight-laced leader. "Uh, I have no idea how that got there," he lied unconvincingly.

"Uh, huh. And Mojo is well behaved," Ironhide said, fixing the flamed Peterbilt with a pointed stare.

"You lying glitch! For once, and Primus help me for this, Skids and Mudflap were right. You. Have. A. Secret. Stash. Of. High grade. Where the frag did you manage to get all that, Prime? Wait. Don't answer that. I don't really want to know. Sometimes, it's better to be able to claim ignorance," Ratchet said as he practically giggled in amusement at his boss' obvious discomfort. "But sharing would be a nice gesture of goodwill."

"Frag it all to the pit. All right, you win. Both of you," Prime said despondently as he ran a hand over his face, effectively conceding defeat. He at least had enough sense to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Ironhide's optics lit up with joy. He always knew Optimus had the best high grade, and now he had solid proof to win the bet of all bets on the base. If and where Prime had a stash of high grade was, up until that moment, as much of mystery as why the sky was blue.

"I knew you'd see reason," Ironhide said triumphantly.

"You're not taking it all, you two!" Prime indignantly muttered.

"No, we'll leave you with a couple of cubes," Ratchet confirmed. "We're not that sparkless, you know."

"Primus, I know I'm going to regret this. Understand that you will be the one to deal with the Minor Twins when they undoubtedly become overcharged playing that slagging game Agent DiNozzo taught them. What was it called again? Beer pong?" Optimus said, moving across the room to re-secure his high grade hidey hole. "Since you are stealing all of my stash, after all."

"Oh, I think I can handle that," Ironhide said as he cracked his finger joints in expectation.

Prime glared at him. "Without shooting them, Ironhide. Don't make me offline your cannons."

"I'll think of a Plan B. If there's high grade, there's a way."

Sitting back down to finish their game, Ironhide's processors buzzed with anticipation. He was all of sudden looking forward to the party with NCIS, scheduled two days from the officer's impromptu poker tournament. Ironhide glanced at the blue and red mech once again and was content to see a frown surreptitiously resembling a pout marring the youngish mech's face. At least Optimus had the courtesy to retract his mask once again so the game could continue.

Breaking the leader out of his suddenly sour mood, Ratchet giddly asked, "Optimus? The flop?"

"Yes. My apologies, Ratchet."

Optimus tabled one card and then dealt three face up. Nine of clubs, six of spades and jack, er Jazz of clubs. Prime tried to keep his faceplates as placid as possible as his spark thrummed away in his chest. No help to his ace of hearts and ace of diamonds, but not any great hurt either. Figuring he could bluff Ironhide out of some more chips, Prime quickly checked, but Ironhide checking right behind him. The turn card was an ace of spades. Trying valiantly to hold the grin off his faceplates, Optimus studied Ironhide as carefully as he could for any read on the Topkick. Seeing none, Prime reached for his stack and threw in 200 chips. See if Ironhide had the balls to come over top of that one!

Shifting his optics toward his stack, Ironhide plucked 200 chips from his three dwindling towers and added them to the pile. Optimus tabled one more card and flipped the river card over for all three bots to see. Eight of clubs. Determined to win and believing his set of aces was the best hand, Prime shoved the stack of chips forward, the pieces of plastic jingling and clinking as the neatly stacked towers collapsed from the sudden movement.

"All in."

Ironhide didn't hesitate, even though Prime had the weapons specialist covered two to one. "Call."

Optimus happily turned over his pocket rockets and grinned victoriously. "Set. Aces."

For the entire hand, Ironhide's face never belied even the slightest bit of emotion. Seeing Prime's triumphant grin and accompanying cards, Ironhide's faceplates cracked into a slow, sly smile. His cards still face down in his hand, Ironhide nudged Ratchet's arm. "What's that human saying, Ratch? 'Read 'em and weep' I think, right?" Ratchet nodded, somehow keeping his laughter at bay. "Well Prime, read 'em and weep. Straight flush!" Ironhide threw his cards down on the table. The six and seven of clubs stared back at the Autobot leader defiantly.

"Wha-- Slag it all to the pit! Ironhide, is your processor malfunctioning?" Optimus practically shrieked, disbelief plastered all over his faceplates.

"That's why it's called gambling, Prime," Ironhide said cheerfully as thick arms raked the huge pile of chips toward him. Stacking them carefully again, Ironhide mused, "Well, I think this game's a little fairer now."

"Maybe for you two," Optimus grumbled in return. Moving the dealer button over to the lucky Topkick for the next hand, Ironhide began to deal as the small blind and big blind were tossed to the center of the table.

"Oh, and Prime?" the black mech asked, his smug smile still audible in his voice.

"What is it, Ironhide?" Prime retorted with annoyance, trying to concentrate on the game once again.

"Your poker face sucks."

Abby Sciuto was not a happy Goth. When Gibbs had insisted his team take a team-building trip instead of enjoying their much-deserved weekend, she had been bummed. But when she had discovered the trip was to a remote part of the Nevada desert, she had been positively livid. Three days away from civilization, computers and most importantly, Caff-pow! was not her idea of fun. Gibbs had been unrelenting and had cut off all efforts for her to wiggle her way out of the excursion.

"Gibbs, I don't understand why you had to drag me all the way out here. The Pearson trial starts next week, and I'm on the witness list," Abby whined loudly from the aft portion of the C-130's passenger berths. "I also had kick ass plans for the weekend."

Gibbs, sitting forward near the cockpit door, let out a slight chuckle and shouted over the noise of the engines. "You'll see. I promise it'll be worth it."

Abby didn't seem to be placated by her boss' words. "But Gibbs! I had plans this weekend! Big plans! As in front row seats and meet and greet passes for Lacuna Coil big plans! You know, meet and greet? When you get to go backstage and hang out with the band after the show?"

"I know what meet and greet passes are, Abbs."

The NCIS forensics expert was on a roll and wasn't going to stop. "But it's just not fair! I had the greatest weekend planned out, but no! Instead, I'm told I have to come on this field trip, probably required by Madame Director, and instead of rocking out at the show, I'm stuck in the back of noisy C-130 surrounded by stinky, sweaty soldiers, en route to the middle of nowhere!" Abby looked over at said NEST soldiers and added as an afterthought, "No offense, guys. You do smell."

Several vivacious nods and a chorus of, "Yeah we know," answered her rant.

"Are you done, Abbs?" Gibbs asked.

"No. I need a couple more seconds to pout." Abby crossed her arms over her chest and puffed out her lower lip. Taking a deep breath, she said, "Okay. I'm done now. I just had to get it out of my system. But really, Gibbs. Why? Like, really why?"

"Would you still be mad if we told you we're dragging you out to confirm one of your craziest theories?" Tony asked, with a suggestive wiggle of his eyebrows.

Now they had her attention.

Abby narrowed her eyes at Tony. "What theory?"

McGee, seated next to Tony on the starboard side of the plane, exchanged glances with the senior field agent. "Weeeelll, do you still believe in extraterrestrial life?"

"Of course I do! I know we're not alone," she said, putting her hand over her chest mock dramatically and gazing out the window at the sky. "Ow. The sun is bright. And if you guys are yanking my chain, I swear…"

"We're not, Abby, and you will not be disappointed," McGee said.

Abby was practically humming with joy, her brain running at the speed of an NHRA funny car as she tried to figure out where they were headed. "Oh! We get to see Area 51! I knew it existed! I wonder if it's gonna be all like Independence Day. Is it Area 51, Gibbs?"

"Nope. It's better."

"What is it, then?" Abby asked, her dark pigtails bouncing in time with her energy.

"You still have about 20 minutes before we land, Abbs. I'm not telling."

"But Giiiibbbss!" Abby was certainly not above whining, especially concerning things of the occult. "That's not fair! You tell me just enough, and now you're going to hold out on me? So not cool, bossman!"

"Abigail, just be patient, my dear. I'm sure Jethro has a good reason for all the secrecy," Ducky said. Shooting Gibbs a glance, the medical examiner amended, "Well, at least he'd better. Mother's going to have my hide when I get home for leaving her like this."

Twenty minutes later, the NCIS team found themselves on the Diego Garcia tarmac of NEST headquarters. Lead by their contingent of 'stinky, sweaty soldiers', Gibbs and company was ushered into the main hanger where they were greeted by Epps and Lennox.

"Agent Gibbs. Glad you could come back out. They've been asking about you and your team," Lennox said. Gibbs looked around the hanger.

"Ah. I appreciate you having us. Congratulation on your promotions, both of you," Gibbs said, noticing the extra stripes on Epps' uniform and the new silver oak leaves for Lennox.

"Thank you, Gibbs. It was one of Keller's last official acts in office," Epps said. "Is this the whole team?"

"Yep, but I think we should save the introductions for when everyone is present." Lennox gave a curt nod and led the group down a few hallways into another large hanger, one that was completely closed off save for one small section towards the front. Gibbs watched, secretly amused as Abby's mood continued to sour.

Inside the small interior room, four vehicles were parked toward the wall and a squadron of mixed Army and Air Force enlisted personnel were milling about. Also present were four civilians, all sitting in the back of the parked GMC Topkick. Seeing the group enter, all present stood and made their way over to Lennox and Epps. Gibbs took this as his cue for introductions.

"Okay, now that everyone's here, Agent Gibbs, I'll have you introduce." Lennox said. Gibbs stepped forward.

"You all know McGee, DiNozzo and David." Epps, Lennox and the four unknown men nodded. "This is Dr. Mallard, our medical examiner and his assistant, Jimmy Palmer."

"Pleased, gentlemen," Ducky said with a nod of his head. Palmer gave a big smile and waved a friendly hello.

"And this," Gibbs said as he gestured towards Abby, "is Abby Sciuto, our forensics expert."

"Hi," Abby said flatly as she absentmindedly chewed on a nail. One of the four unknown men stepped forward. A tall man in his early thirties and at least six and a half feet tall, he had a strong impressive build, unnaturally bright blue eyes and dark brown hair.

"Miss Scuito. I've heard much about you, and we are pleased to finally have the opportunity to meet. Special Agent Gibbs has spoken very highly of you," he said in a deep baritone voice as he greeted the NCIS forensic tech, her hand all but disappearing into his massive grip. "My name is Optimus Prime."

"Um, great?" she said, sarcasm lacing her words. Remembering the manners she was taught and the kick she'd get from her grandmother if she ever saw her granddaughter's rudeness, Abby firmed her grip and said, "Nice to meet you."

Unperturbed by the Goth's behavior, Prime continued. "For the rest of you, this is my team: Ratchet, our medic; Ironhide, weapons specialist, and Bumblebee, our scout." As he spoke, Optimus gestured toward each man standing near him. Both Ratchet and Ironhide appeared to be in their mid forties, Ratchet with glasses and a curious but cynical look about him. Bumblebee, with his sandy blonde hair and youthful looks, appeared more like a snowboarder than a soldier.

Upon seeing the holoform Ironhide had chosen, Gibbs had to bite back a full-blown laugh. The damn Autobot had a sense of humor after all, modeling his human look after Gibbs' drill instructor from Parris Island. Admittedly, Ironhide already had the demeanor to match, but his choice was too funny.

Lennox added as he gestured toward each person, "And we can't forget the rest of us. This is Sam Witwicky and Mikaela Banes. I'm Will Lennox, and this meathead over here is my sergeant, Bobby Epps."

All the NCIS agents exchanged friendly handshakes and greetings with the NEST team, all except for Abby. Noticing her discomfort, Ironhide asked, "Is there something wrong, Ms. Sciuto?"

"Don't get me wrong, I'm sure you're great guys and all, but I was told there'd be cool, out of this world stuff here. I'm just a little bummed right now. They lied to me. Again." Abby muttered something dark about castration and her teammates under her breath.

Mikaela quirked an eyebrow. "Who said there isn't?"

At that moment, four of the men Abby had been talking to blinked out of existence, and a cacophony of sounds assaulted her ears. As she looked toward the back of the hanger, she saw all four parked vehicles change their shape and literally stand up.

"Holyshit!" Abby squealed, her hands flying to her mouth.

Ducky gaped, unable to even formulate one word for his reaction. Much like McGee's initial reaction, the medical examiner's mouth opened and closed repeatedly like a fish out of water, no sound coming forth.

"Ducky is silent. I think we need to mark this date down, yes?" Ziva said with a twinkle in her eyes. McGee and DiNozzo chorused a 'yes' in response.

Finally finding his voice, Ducky said, "Well, I must admit, of all the things it could have been, this is not what I was expecting. This reminds me of the time when--," Ducky stopped himself, placing his hand on his chin. "Well, actually, I haven't the foggiest of what this could possibly remind me of. What do you think, Mr. Palmer?"

Jimmy gesticulated wildly with his hands through the air. When he tried to speak, sounds that could only be described as unmanly squeaks made their way out of his mouth.

Bumblebee couldn't resist an audio clip or two, choosing Will Smith from, appropriately, Independence Day. 'You know, this was supposed to be my weekend off. But, noooo. You got me out here…through the middle of the burning desert…I coulda been at a barbeque! But that's all right. I ain't mad. That is all right.'

Gibbs leaned over toward Abby. "Still want to be at a concert right now?"

"Concert? What concert? Gibbs! They're--THEY'RE GIANT ALIENS!" Abby shouted, pigtails waving in every direction.

"Yep, Abbs. I kinda noticed that when I first met them," Gibbs said sarcastically.

"But Bossman! Do you know what this means?" Gibbs shook his head. "It means that I can finally say, with certainty that life exists outside Earth! That is soooo cool!" Abby said, doing a little spin in a circle. "Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod!"

The Autobots, in their true forms, took a brief moment for reintroductions and to laugh at Abby's outrageous reaction.

"All right. Now that you are all done having heart attacks, lets get this party started!" Mikaela yelled at the top of her lungs. Bumblebee moved to the door that partitioned the hanger and pushed it open. On the other side, a huge spread of food, drinks and grills were set up near the back of the cavernous space, alongside both human and Autobot sized tables. Ironhide made a beeline for the stacked cubes of high grade, being watched closely by a scowling Optimus Prime.

Spying the Chevy twins out of the corner of his optics, Prime said, "Skids, Mudflap, it's either hall ball or beer pong, not both, and certainly not at the same time." The twins huddled up to make a decision.

"But Boss Bot, we want to do both!" Skids whined as both he and his brother stopped short of the table of energon cubes.

Optimus rolled his optics again and cycled his vents. "Fine. If you must, you may play hall ball, but before you consume any high grade. You will stop when I tell you. The second those facial plates of yours touches any high grade, hall ball is no more. If you disobey me, I'll turn you over to Ratchet for whatever punishment he deems appropriate. Are we clear?"

The Chevy twins, excited beyond words, zipped out of the hanger to find their ball. Soon, sounds of grunts, swearing and crashing could be heard from the residence section of the Autobot hanger.

"And if they want to keep their exhausts intact, they'll forget about that infernal hall ball game. Brutal, barbaric and completely pointless," Ratchet muttered as he stepped up to join the group. "You're getting soft in your old age, Prime."

Optimus playfully shoved his medic and longtime friend, Ratchet losing his balance momentarily and stumbling into the side of the hanger. "I am not soft, as you so eloquently put it, and I am certainly not old. At least, compared to you. I'm just allowing Skids and Mudflap to enjoy a bit of their youth. You're just crabby in your advanced life cycle. Forget how to have fun, 'Ratch?"

"Insufferable 'bot. The next time you play catch with a missile and have your wires fused to your protoform, I'm just going to let you fix it yourself. Without painkillers. Keep it up. One day, I will."

"How many credits do you want on that bet, medic?"

Sam and Mikaela laughed lightly as the banter between medic and leader continued. According to Ironhide, it had been a long time since Optimus had been this relaxed. And though he was trying desperately to maintain the cynical front he showed to the world, Mikaela could see Ratchet was clearly having a good time. The sparkle in his optics gave away his amusement. Both teens smiled happily, glad their species was able to lift the burden of leadership from the Autobots, even if was just for one day.

"Now, what's this party missing? Oh, I know. Music!" Sam said gleefully as he clapped his hands together and looked around. "Where's our DJ?"

As soon as Sam had said the words, another set of doors opened and a silver Pontiac Solstice strolled through in robot form.

"What's crackin', little bitches?" came the smooth greeting. "Did someone say they wanted to kick it to some tunes?"

Prime stepped in, a smile of satisfaction making its way across his face. "I would like to introduce my first lieutenant to those who don't know him. This is Jazz."

Ziva looked confused, recalling the memory she had of being in med bay with Ironhide next to a large Cybertronian body that was most definitely not alive. "I don't mean to be rude, but weren't you," she paused, looking for the right word. "offline the last time we saw you?"

"Yeah, I was. But I need to thank you guys, which is why Prime organized this little get together." Optimus glared half-heartedly at Jazz, his lieutenant ignoring him. The Solstice continued. "Without you, I'd still be in pieces with The Hatchet from Megatron ripping me apart. Though I'm not sure what's worse: Megatron or a service with our dear medic."

Ratchet threw a wrench across the room. Jazz caught it smoothly and threw it back, the wrench impacting squarely on the Hummer's push bar. "Ungrateful slagger. I put you back together, and I can take you apart, you know."

Jazz just rolled his optics. "Try it, old man. You'd have to catch me first!" the Solstice responded jovially. Ratchet threw down his medical tools and transformed. Jazz followed suit, and NCIS, NEST and the Autobots were treated to the complete spectacle of a Solstice being chased across the NEST tarmac by a large search and rescue Hummer.

"It was only because you helped us find enough fragments of the Allspark that Jazz has been repaired. Ratchet could and did repair all his physical damage, but he had no way to re-ignite his spark. Those tiny shards you were able to collect had just enough power to reanimate him, which we were able to do yesterday," Optimus said from behind the table, his blue optics showing his amusement at his officer's antics. Both 'bots came roaring back into the hanger, transforming on the move and sliding to a neat halt in front of their leader.

"So, we needed a way to say 'thank you' and Prime told us about how you were forced to spend a couple of days a year building team chemistry. We thought, what better way to do it than to spend it with us?" Ratchet said.

"Besides, I hear those trust exercises are a real downer, man," Jazz added from beside the medic.

DiNozzo barked a laugh. "They sure are! Hey boss, I like this guy."

"It's the least I can do. Thank you." Jazz said seriously.

Craning their necks, all the NCIS agents said, "You're welcome."

"Now, LET'S PAAAARRRRTTTYYYY!!!" Epps shouted from the middle of the hanger. "DJ, spin that shit!" Jazz gladly took his place behind the sound and light equipment and began to blast music at unsafe decibel levels.

"This is our team building exercise? A barbeque with giant alien robots?!" Abby shrieked as she realized she'd been had. Gibbs just smiled.

"Just don't tell the director, Abbs. If she knows it wasn't painful, she may insist on a real trip." Abby bounded over to Gibbs and practically tackled him in a bear hug.

"Bossman! You're the greatest! And my lips are so sealed, it's like, amazing."

"Always have been, Abbs." Gibbs pressed a kiss to the Goth's cheek right before she scurried off to join the gathered Autobots and NEST members, the latter attacking the food and drinks like a pack of starving wolves. As she made her way over to the tall yellowish green medibot, she started thinking. There was something about Prime and the way he and Gibbs were amicably talking as if they were old war buddies that rubbed her the wrong way.

"Wait. Gibbs said that some super secret special operations team saved him the first time out in Desert Storm, and I remember him saying the team's leader was named…Oh, I'm going to kill him!"

Getting a half a dozen steps away, Abby turned back and started towards Gibbs, who had begun a conversation with Prime. Falling in behind her boss, Abby reached up with her right hand, and gave the back of Gibbs' head the hardest head slap NCIS had ever witnessed. Jazz abruptly cut the music. The sound of the contact, along with the sound of several jaws dropping, reverberated through the suddenly silent hanger.

"OW! Abby! What the hell was that for?!" Gibbs bellowed, rubbing the back of his head.

"That, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, was for lying to me every single time I asked you if you believed in aliens, and whether they existed. You knew all this time and you wouldn't tell me!" Abby practically yelled, jabbing an accusatory finger in her boss' chest with every word.

"Well, you wouldn't have believed me unless I brought proof, and how was I supposed to prove them?" Gibbs asked, gesturing wildly in the general direction of Prime and Ratchet.

Abby paused in mid thought, her face softening instantly. "Good point, bossman." Turning her head in McGee's direction, Abby said, "What are you smirking at, McGee?"

"Oh, I'm just thinking about what a great next book this is going to make. Even Thom E. Gemcity couldn't make this stuff up!"

Several hissing vents and squeaking gears gave away the movement of one of the Autobots. A large, silver finger came quietly up from behind McGee and gave a gentle tap to the back of the NCIS agent's head.

"Hey! FICTION! Now, Ziva was that really nece--?" McGee hollered, whirling around to come face to battle mask with Optimus Prime. Startled, McGee shifted his blue eyes nervously back and forth, trying to formulate the correct response. "Uh, I mean, ow?"

"That would be unwise, Agent McGee. While we appreciate your help in recovering the remaining fragments of the Allspark, we wish to remain on Earth as anonymously as possible." Prime admonished, doing his best to keep his voice smooth and even.

"Ha! Probie got headslapped by the giant robot version of Gibbs. Nice one, McGoPissOffTheBigBoss." DiNozzo laughed and he turned to Prime. "So, picking up on human customs? Because if you need more, I'm, you know, the master!"

Ratchet and Ironhide groaned. "No, for the love of Primus! You do not need to teach Skids and Mudflap any more 'Earth customs'. We're still recovering from the first batch!"

"The master? The master of what, Tony? Bullshitting? Quoting movies? You couldn't teach them anything they couldn't learn from the internet," Ziva said smugly. "Direct connection, remember?"

"Oh, but come on! The head slap! Only the boss does that!" DiNozzo continued with a gesture of a fake head slap to the back of his own head to add to his explanation.

Optimus raised an optic ridge, and in his most regal and diplomatic voice, looked DiNozzo directly in the eye and asked, "Where do you think your leader learned it?"

DiNozzo was stunned into speechlessness. He looked at McGee, who was equally flabbergasted. Gibbs cracked a small smile and exchanged glances with Optimus. Prime's battle mask might conceal his smile from McGee and Tony, but Gibbs could see the amusement in the Autobot leader's optics. Walking toward the refreshment table, Gibbs said, "Leave it alone, you two. There are some things I just won't share."

As DiNozzo and McGee dragged themselves reluctantly across the hanger and away from the spectacle, they couldn't help but stare.

"Did Gibbs really-- I mean, could he have possibly--" Tony stuttered. He and McGee exchanged disbelieving glances, shook their heads, and simultaneously decided,



And that's it! For those of you that requested it, I am in the process of writing Abby's sequel story, All Expenses Paid. Look for it around mid December. Again, thanks ever so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the ride.