I spent the better part of the evening of May 31st in an Oklahoma Tornado Shelter with TaylorGibbs, bluefirebird, Cackymn and a few other NCIS fanfic authors as we hid from a Tornado instead of hanging out with Mark Harmon (we did that too, but it was pushed back to Saturday instead of Friday). While waiting out the storm we challenged each other to write 'storm fic'. TG did a Tibbs fic and I went with Gibbs/Abby.
Was also used as our Gabby Hiatus prompts on the gabby forum for week 5.
Gibbs hardly missed a beat while sanding as the thunder rolled overhead and the lightning lit the basement in quick flashes. He'd done what he could to minimize possible damage to his house – closed the shutters and made sure the lawn mower was stored safely in the garden shed out back. It wasn't the first time he'd had to batten down the hatches for strong weather, but the storm system was unlike any they'd ever seen in the area, so he'd heeded Abby's advice to make sure he had enough stuff to be comfortable in the basement for a while – fresh coffee, bourbon and a box of crackers. The rest of the team had gathered at Ducky's – his place was out of the path of the storm and was likely to just get a bit of rain and a few heavy gusts, but nothing more. Gibbs refused to leave his home. He'd ridden out more than a few storms down in the basement. There was something about listening to the power overhead as he worked on a boat or whatever project he had at the time. This time it was a set of chairs he was building for his cabin. He'd finished the table a few weeks ago and driven it out for a quick overnight.
He glanced up when he thought he heard something hit the side of his house and frowned. The storm was moving slowly and while things had slowly gotten worse, he was nowhere near the worst part of it yet. It wasn't a good sign if debris was already flying around the neighborhood. Suddenly the basement door opened and he realized he'd heard his front door opening and slamming shut, not something hitting his house.
"Abbs…" He set his tool belt aside and brushed the dust from his arms. "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be at Duck's." He moved closer and peeled a section of wet hair from her face. "You're soaked."
"I know, it's a mess out there." She shrugged out of her coat and draped it over the hand railing, a small puddle of water pooling below it on the floor. "They said the conditions are ripe for a tornado."
The corner of his mouth quirked up in the hint of a soft smile. He couldn't help but notice that she didn't directly answer his question of why she had come over, but the slight tremble in her voice as she mentioned tornado gave her away. "You come to ride out the storm at my place?"
"Is that okay?"
"Course." He picked up her wet coat and headed up the stairs as the lights flickered. "I'll grab you a sweatshirt. You bring your go bag?"
"It's just inside the door."
Gibbs nodded and continued up. He was wearing his red hoodie, the one she usually wore when she was over and needed an extra layer, so he grabbed his black one – one he'd seen her wear a time or two. He shuffled around a few things in the hall closet and grabbed a stack of blankets. He didn't need much to be comfortable on his own, but he didn't think Abby would take comfort from his work on the chairs. He went to refill his coffee thermos, and just as he reached for the coffee pot the lights flickered and went out as thunder cracked overhead. He heard a muffled yelp come from the basement so he set the coffee down, and used the flashes of lightning to find his way to the basement door. "It's alright, Abbs. I got flashlights already down there. Just stay where you are, okay?"
He used the light of his cellphone to pour the last of the coffee in a thermos for them and then picked up the blankets, sweatshirt and her bag before carrying them carefully down the stairs. "You alright?"
Abby stood stock still just beside the bottom step, waiting quietly as Gibbs clicked on a camping lantern and hung it from a hook on the wall. "I know I'm from Louisiana and we've had our fair share of hurricanes and tropical storms, but ever since I was little…" she shivered. "I'm okay with thunder and lightning. I mean, it's beautiful, really. But the skies just look so angry tonight, you know? This isn't some regular storm."
Gibbs held out the sweatshirt and watched as she slipped it over her head, snuggling into it.
"It's… it's safe down here, right?"
"Basement is the safest place to be in a storm." He glanced up as the wind howled a bit louder. "Why aren't you at Duck's? His place wasn't supposed to get hit too hard."
"I couldn't leave you here alone and I knew you'd never leave your house, so…" Abby shrugged and turned to her bag, pulling a pair of pajama pants out.
Gibbs smiled and turned to give her a bit of privacy so she could change. He listened intently to the sounds of her changing and when she spoke again, he glanced over his shoulder at her. "Not sure there will be much for you to do. Not sure how long the power will be out."
"It's okay, I've got a book." But rather than dig out her book she moved around the table he was working on and gazed at the simple chairs he was building. "What are these for?"
"I know what they are. Building yourself a new dining set?"
"For my cabin."
"Oh, cool…. Wait, your cabin?" Abby's head snapped up and she gazed at him, a curious expression on her face. "You never…"
Gibbs smiled. He'd never told anyone about the cabin except for Mike. They'd used it as a safe house once long ago.
"Oh my God, Gibbs… why didn't you tell me you had a cabin. Did you just buy it? That's so exciting!"
Gibbs was glad to see her distracted from the storm. "Nah, I've had it for a long time. Just haven't spent much time up there until recently. Haven't had the time." It had been the one thing that kept him from killing himself - slowly piecing together the cabin and the basic furniture inside.
Abby opened her mouth to comment when something hit the side of his house overhead making them both jump.
"Here," Gibbs grabbed a few lawn chair cushions and tossed them on the floor under the staircase, ushering Abby to sit down. "I don't want you near the windows. If something hits them, they're old and they'll shatter."
Abby's eyes went wide and she did as she was told, sitting with her back to the wall, the staircase overhead.
Gibbs grabbed her bag and the stack of blankets, bringing them to her, helping to make her comfortable.
"Aren't you going to sit with me?"
Gibbs shrugged as he moved back to the table in the center of the room. I've got my back to the…" he looked over at her, the concern in her eyes evident. "Alright, we gonna tell ghost stories?" He watched as she let out a quiet sigh of relief and then situated a cushion right beside her. It took him a minute to lower himself to the ground beside her, but once he was seated she leaned into him and tossed a blanket over their legs.
"For what," he asked.
Abby turned to look at him, a grin on her lips. "You said we were gonna tell ghost stories."
"Don't know any."
"You're such a liar," Abby laughed, leaning against him again.
Gibbs wrapped an arm around her shoulder and chuckled. "I ever lie to you?"
Abby thought for a minute and shook her head. "No, but there is a first time for everything. Come on, you must've told stories with your friends?"
"Nah, not that I remember. We talked cars."
"Fair enough." They sat quietly for a moment. "Tell me more about your cabin. What's it look like? Is it far? Did you build it?"
Gibbs settled back against the concrete support wall and waited until Abby was comfortable against his side. "About two hours from here. I built the cabin awhile back," it was enough that she would understand that he meant shortly after his girls died. "It's not much, yet. Has enough for a long weekend, still need a few things. More chairs," he nodded to the ones he was working on. Franks used it as a safe house a few times."
"That's so cool. Will you take me there sometime?"
"I'd like that. I'll take you when the chairs are ready, you can help me unload the truck." He didn't have to see her face to know she was smiling.
"I bet it's nice and quiet out there, it's in the forest, right?"
"Can we go for a long weekend?"
Gibbs toyed with one of her braids and thought about the sleeping situation at the cabin. "We could do that," he found himself agreeing. "There is a good fishing spot not too far from it; we can catch dinner while we're there."
Abby twisted away from him so she could face him, her eyes wide, a grin across her face. "I love to fish! This will be so cool! It'll be like living back in the 1800's. Is there a place to get water? Or do you bring it in? I can boil our laundry and… and I can use great-great aunt Martha's instructions on candle making!"
"It'll be for a night or two, don't think we'll need to do laundry."
"We've got the vacation time, we should put it to use. And after all that's happened the past…" she let her shoulders drop. "It'd be nice to get away for a bit."
"Would've thought you'd prefer a trip to the city with friends."
"Are you saying you're not my friend? As much as I love modern technology, much like yourself, the idea of leaving it all behind for a bit sounds wonderful. And I like spending time with you," she felt her cheeks flush at her admission.
"Course I'm your friend," he wasn't good at these kinds of conversations. He didn't have many friends, but those that he had meant the world.
"You always say that you're miserable to be around, but I like spending time with you. That's why I came here tonight. I, um…" she cleared her throat. "I didn't want you to be alone. And I didn't want to be at Ducky's, well, without you." She looked up at him, her gaze explaining so much more than her words.
Gibbs looked down at her and felt his resolve start to crumble. She was giving him a clear invitation to take their friendship to the next level and he was struggling to come up with reasons as to why it would be a bad idea to kiss her. Deciding that she was worth it, he leaned forward. Just as he pressed his lips to hers, the sound of shattering glass startled them. Gibbs pushed her back against the wall and used his body to cover hers the best he could from his seated position.
"Oh my God!"
"You alright?" Gibbs pulled back enough to see that she wasn't hurt before turning to see what had happened. A piece of the neighbor's fence post had come through the window, landing where he'd been standing earlier.
"Yeah… yeah, I'm fine. Gibbs! If you'd stayed there, that could've killed you! Oh my God, Gibbs!"
"Shhh… we're alright. Stay here." Gibbs pulled the blanket off his legs and doubled it back over hers as he got up. He moved around the table and found a few scraps of wood and nails and managed to nail them across the window. "It's not perfect, but it should keep some of the smaller stuff from blowing in."
"We should've gone to Ducky's. You could've died!"
Gibbs picked up the blanket and urged her a little further back under the staircase. It sounded like the worst was upon them now, he figured within an hour or so the storm should die down or at least move on. "But I didn't, here…" he sat beside her again and lifted up his arm, encouraging her to snuggle in close. Despite the brevity of their kiss, Gibbs could still feel her lips on his. But she was shaking as she leaned against him and he didn't want to pressure her into something that maybe only happened because of the circumstances. So he held her tight and leaned back against the concrete foundation behind him. "Storm will be over soon."
"Still, you could've died… right after you kissed me. I'd have felt guilty for the rest of my life."
Gibbs thought for a moment. "I would've had to have been standing over there," he nodded to where the fencing still was on the ground. "Wouldn't have kissed you if I was still over there. You'd be fine."
"Gibbs!" She pulled away and punched him lightly in the chest. "Stop trying to make light of the situation! It's not funny."
"I'm not laughing." He kept a straight face, but his eyes twinkled. "Think of it this way, you asked me to sit with you. You saved my life." He watched as her eyes lit up and a mischievous smile tugged at her lips.
"Well in that case… you probably owe me big-time. Like, really big."
"First, you have to kiss me again."
"That I can do," Gibbs tilted her face to his and leaned in for a kiss, only to make contact with the palm of her hand.
"Hold on, I'm not done yet."
"Excuse me, carry on."
Abby laughed. "Second, you need to be sure there is a bed big enough for the both of us at your cabin, we won't both fit on that camping cot you've likely got out there. And my back doesn't do well on the floor, as I suspect yours doesn't either."
Gibbs nodded. "Might take an extra week or two, but a bigger bed frame wouldn't be too hard. Especially if I had help."
Abby smiled wide. "I could probably help with that. But not too big of a bed, I don't want to have to reach far."
Gibbs leaned in so that his lips were millimeters from hers. "You won't have to reach at-"
Abby cut him off with a kiss, moving with him as he maneuvered her down onto the cushions. Her back might not do all night on the floor, but an hour or two with few cushions wouldn't be a problem.