Title: Now or Never
Author: Jo. R (driftingatdusk)
Category: Romance, fluff
Spoilers: Slight for 'Borderland', 'Rule 51'
Summary: Written for the Gabby Shippers Forum Creative Hiatus prompt 4: Now or Never, hence the oh-so-original title. Unashamed Gibbs/Abby fluff.
"He looks... predatory."
"Definitely not paternal."
"I don't know, guys. Maybe he's just being protective..."
"Yeah, right, McGee. He looks like he wants to devour her whole, yes?"
"It's Abby, and it's Gibbs..."
"Shh! He's makin' his move!"
Margaret Allison Hart did her best to distract him from the black haired woman across the room but in the end, even she had to admit defeat. She'd had hopes, high ones, that Leroy Jethro Gibbs inviting her to the annual Marine Birthday Ball had meant something and wasn't just a 'thank you' gesture for her help in protecting him from his past.
Now she knew she was wrong to expect it to be anything more than that.
Oh, when he'd issued the invitation, she was sure he'd do so with the intention of beginning something with her – a fling or a relationship, she was sure either would have been satisfying for a time – but all hopes, all thoughts of that had died the moment he'd heard a familiar laugh from across the crowded room, a warm sound like bourbon and honey combined.
Ever since then, he'd been on the prowl, hunting his prey, waiting for the right moment to strike.
Forgetting, almost entirely, about the woman he'd brought as his date, who she was sure would be going home alone.
He couldn't take his eyes off her, couldn't – didn't want to – shake the heady sensation that had descended over him the moment he'd looked up, startled, and green eyes had met blue in a message that had seemed obvious to him.
'You could've had me. Your loss that you don't.'
Gibbs didn't like losing. Especially not when it came to her.
Abby laughed again, leaning in to murmur a reply to the man she was dancing with. A fellow agent, Gibbs recalled distantly, newly transferred from the LA office if he remembered right.
His hands clenched at his sides as the man's hand moved to rest over the small of Abby's back in what Gibbs saw as a possessive gesture; he'd be transferring back ASAP if Gibbs had anything to do with it.
Abby chose that moment to look at him again, a small smile curving her painted lips, one delicate eyebrow arched as if in question or in challenge.
She was still living under the misguided belief he saw her as a child, loved her like a daughter.
It was time, Gibbs realised, to set her straight.
Now, or never.
Her date was a nice guy but a poor substitute for the man across the room. She could feel Gibbs' gaze on her back, hot and heavy, burning the skin on show thanks to the dip of her dress and the feel of it confused her.
He wasn't interested in her in that way, not even remotely, so why did he insist on glaring at her date?
He'd brought his own company for the evening, the lawyer who seemed to be the exception to rule thirteen. The woman was attractive, of that Abby had no doubt, but she couldn't stop herself from wishing he could have made *her* an exception to the infamous rule twelve instead.
The reduced pallor in her date's face – Neil? Nigel – should have been warning enough but she still jumped at the feel of a warm hand curling around her left hip.
He asked if he could cut in, doing so swiftly before either Abby or Neil/Nigel could object.
Already distracted by the warmth of him so close, the scent of sawdust and Old Spice and *Gibbs*, Abby could only give her date a weak smile of apology, both of them knowing their evening together was over. She found herself a prisoner within minutes, secured against him by his arms, pressed against his chest, his lips just a hairsbreadth from hers and all thoughts at protesting disappeared from her mind.
"What are you doing here, Abby?"
"The Director ordered me. Just like he ordered you." She strove for casual but her voice was deeper, huskier than normal even to her own ears.
Gibbs' eyes were hard and flat, almost cold, which was something she wasn't used to seeing when he looked at her. "What are you doing here *with him*, Abby?"
There was something in his tone that sent a shiver skittering along her spine, nerve endings all over her body on high alert, but still Abby forced herself to hold his gaze. "He asked me."
'You didn't.' The unspoken add-on lingered between them.
After a long, tense moment of nothing but the music playing and snippets of other people's conversations drifting between them, Abby sighed and looked away.
"You're not my father, Gibbs. You can't dictate who I can and can't see."
"I know I'm not your father, Abby. I'd never want to be." His expression didn't alter much but his eyes grew a touch darker, ice melting into something decidedly warmer. "The way I see you, the things I think about you, should never be thought of by a father."
Surprise had her meeting his gaze again, a shimmer of hope warring with sensible restraint in the depths of her green eyes. "What thoughts would those be?"
"It'd be better to show you," Gibbs murmured, a slow grin curving his mouth at the corners. One song ended and another started but both were oblivious. "I'd be happy to demonstrate, Abs, but on the condition you realise you won't be going home with your date. Not tonight or any other night. With any other guy."
Abby's gaze strayed from his momentarily, resting meaningfully on the lawyer surreptitiously watching them as she conversed with a group of people Abby didn't recognise. "It would have to work both ways, Gibbs. I don't share."
"Wouldn't expect you to. Or want you to." His hand tightened over her material covered hop momentarily, his grip loosening so he could trail his fingers around to the small of her back, palm pressing against her warm, bare skin, pushing her closer.
They weren't dancing anymore, merely swaying together not quite in time with the music.
She let herself relax, melting against him, enjoying his warmth while at the same time trying to convince herself it was real and not just another dream.
When his lips brushed hers, lightly, sweetly, to seal their negotiations, Abby finally believed it was true.
"Oh to be a fly on the wall between those two..."
"There is no wall between them, DiNozzo."
"I know that, Ziva, it's a saying... And you knew that already..."
"We should stop staring, you guys. Gibbs'll notice..."
"I don't think he's gonna be noticing anything else for the rest of the night, Probie. Look at 'em."
"I'm trying not to."
"Aww, poor McGee. We'll find you a girl of your own, I promise."
"Ms. Hart will be in need of a lift home. I am sure she would be appreciative..."