Thanks to autumngold for your review: yes, Gibbs should have talked with Abby, but we know how Gibbs is. Once he makes his mind, his mind is made.


Abby switched off the Major Mass Spec and looked at her lab. She had always been happy there, even when Ari had shot at her or her psycho ex-boyfriend had spied on her, but since her return from "vacation", the place had failed to raise her spirits.

Five days had elapsed since Gibbs had pushed her out of his house and his life. Five nights she had fallen asleep very late, crying, after having spent hours after work, trying in vain to get back inside Colebrook Manor.

Why had Gibbs sent her away?

'Cause he wanted you to be happy, dummy, a voice reminded her.

But she wasn't happy.

True, she had missed the outside world while locked inside the manor, but now she missed Gibbs more.

"Why did you send me away without letting me talk?" she asked aloud in the empty lab. "I love you and we could have made it work. We could have found a solution." Abby caressed the hippo Gibbs had given her. The sculpture was very unrefined, but it was full of beauty. "It wouldn't have been easy, I know, but we could have found a compromise…"

"With whom could you have found a compromise?"

Ziva's voice made Abby whirl around. Her friend was standing by the door, her head slightly tilted as she looked at her with a worried expression, "With the man who broke your heart?"

"How do you know?" Abby asked in a small voice.

Ziva walked inside the lab and replied, "It was not too difficult. No blaring music. The Caf-Pow!s are left untouched. You did not eat the chocolate cupcake I brought you. And you keep staring at that hippo, that while being original in the design, is not a work of art, so it must have some meaning for you."

Abby pouted, "He IS beautiful!"

Ziva raised her hands in a pacifying gesture. "Okay. So, did you meet someone on vacation?"

Abby nodded.

"Someone important, yes?"

"Very important. The most important. I love him, Ziva."

"You loved others too…Mikel, Marty…" her friend added delicately, as if she tried to remind Abby her past loves had been very brief.

"Yes, I know and you're right. But this time I didn't fall in love with his looks or his job…I fell in love with him, with whom he is inside, and I feel there will be no one else for me. Not after him—and not after he said he loved me…loved me so much to let me go so I could be happy…"

Ziva's brown eyes were full of sympathy as she asked, "What didn't work out?"

"He lives…a very different life from mine and he thinks… thought…I would have to abandon my life to live with him, and that in the end I wouldn't be happy, not really happy…which would be true. I love what I do very much. But if he had just left me the chance to speak about this, we could have tried to find a solution. But he made a decision and I don't know what I can do to make him change his mind…" Abby stopped her tirade, swallowing the lump in her throat. She didn't wish to cry again.

"Listen," Ziva said, taking a step closer, "Franks said we can leave early, so why don't you come with me? I'll cook that soup you like so much and then we will watch one of the horror movies you gave me at Christmas. And then, when you feel better, we'll talk about your man and find a way to make him see reason. What do you think?"

Abby nodded, first hesitantly, then with more conviction. It was just what she needed. "May I take Jet with me?" she asked, pointing at the wooden hippo.

"Of course," Ziva smiled.

Abby removed her white garb, grabbed her purse, put Jet inside it and walked into the elevator with Ziva. Once the doors opened in the squad room, she saw Tim and Tony were busy tidying their desks, while Mike was standing and talking to another man, whose back was turned toward her. A tall, lean guy, whose expensive looking light-grey suit was a perfect match for his short, silver hair.

Mike noticed them stepping out of the elevator and smiled, "Hey, girls, come and meet one man who would have made a damn good agent if he didn't have a multi-million company to direct."

The two women approached, curious to see the guy Mike had praised, but when man turned around, Abby froze in mid-step.

His face was lined, still boyish looking, even if his features were sharper, weathered. His hair was grey and no longer brown, but the eyes…they were still the same. The eyes of the proud father pictured in the photo in the music room. The eyes of the beast…of the man beneath the beast…Abby had come to love.

She saw the eyes of the man that had haunted her memory every moment of the past five days since he had sent her away.

"Gibbs…" she whispered shocked, knowing it was him, but still not understanding how it was possible he was standing there, back into his human appearance—his very handsome human appearance.

"Abby," he answered, his voice a low drawl that made her knees go weak, as his eyes looked at her as if he was a desert traveller and she a fountain of fresh water.

"Gibbs!" she repeated, letting her joy spring free. He was really there, in the flesh. He wasn't a dream or a hallucination—and he was there for her! Abby squealed in delight and ran as fast as it was possible with her platform boots toward him.

Gibbs opened his arms and they embraced, holding each other as tight as possible. Abby buried her nose into his neck, smelling the scent she had become familiar with. It was less strong and mixed with his aftershave, but he still smelled as the man she had been falling in love with during their time together.

They hugged for a long time, and then they stepped back from each other. Abby was aware of the curious and surprised looks they were receiving, but in that moment only Gibbs and her existed.

"When did it happen?" Abby asked, gesturing vaguely at him.

"Five days ago."

"Five?! And why did you waited so long to come here?!"

"Because I needed time to be presentable again; time to get a haircut, shave and uhm...clothes," he said as he motioned over himself. "I had to re-learn to walk only on my feet and to eat with a fork and knife. I also wanted the manor to be beautiful again." Gibbs paused a moment then asked huskily, "Will you come to live with me? The house has been restored to its former splendour. It's airy, sunny, clean…The household and I are ready to satisfy your every wish…and I'll even build you a lab if you want…"

Abby felt tears spring in her eyes. "I don't need all that stuff," she murmured as she fingered his expensive suit. "I would have lived with you as you were, in that dusty house. I just wanted to be with you. I love you."

"As I love you."

"I would have given up all of this for you," she murmured, gesturing at the room around her.

"I know—that's why I couldn't let you do it."

"But I did want to…" Abby whispered.

"Yep…" Gibbs answered with a smile, before sobering as his eyes became very intense. "Selfless love…it broke the curse. I went to bed Sunday night as a beast and woke up a man again…and now, finally, I can do this…" he bent his head and kissed her for the first time.

Abby melted under his touch, under his lips. Boy, if he was like this now, after being out of practice for eighteen years, she had no idea of how she would survive when all of his skills returned to him…

They kept on kissing, uncaring of their audience, until someone, Abby couldn't say who, probably Mike, cleared their throat.

They separated and looked at each other. Gibbs seemed a bit embarrassed – Abby thought he wasn't probably the kind of man who enjoyed PDA's—and his cheeks were adorably flushed.

"Let's go?" he asked her. "I would like some privacy…your friends here are almost hitting the floor with their open mouths…" he tilted his head toward Tony and Tim, who weren't doing anything to conceal their shock.

"Yes, me too." Abby turned to look apologetically at Ziva.


"Go Abby, I had already understood we would not watch that horror movie this evening," the Israeli answered with a wink.

Gibbs turned to look at Mike, who barked out a laugh and went to slap the other man's back. "Go Gunny, I knew you hadn't come here after so many years just to talk with old me."

Gibbs smiled at Abby and mouthed, "Let's go?"

She nodded eagerly, looking forward to being alone with him.

He put an arm around her shoulders, she wrapped her own around his waist and they started walking toward the elevator—toward their future together.


OK, this story is ended. It was a great fun to write it, and I've been blown away by how the number of readers increased along the way. I wish to thank all the people who took the time to review; I hope you had a lot of fun with this too.

The link to my LIve Journal and the M version of this story is in my profile. I would love if you could tell me what you think of it, if you drop by and read it. I accept anonymous comments, so you don't need to have a LJ account to review. Just sign the review with your FFnet nickname, so I'll know who you are.

And speaking of reviews, I would love if this baby reached the 100 review mark...:)

Buon Natale e Felice 2010 to everyone!