Title: Watchful Hands

Author: Zabby

Rating: FR-18

Pairing: Abby/Gibbs

Category: Abby/Gibbs, Team!fic, Romance, Suspense, Drama

Spoilers: None

For: For the lovely driftingatdusk, who asked for: Het – Gibbs/Abby – Quarantine situation in Abby's lab. They both don't have to be there but there should be some shippy element. (Any season, no rating limit, no length limit)

Summary: Someone targets a member of Gibbs' team for the method of their revenge. Will Gibbs find them in time? Set after 02x04, Lt. Jane Doe. The first line of dialogue is from 02x04, but the rest of the dialogue is mine.

Chapter 1

"I'm really good," she called into the headset as Gibbs hung up on her, her fingers grabbing the microphone. Releasing it in exasperation, Abby Sciuto turned to the man in her lab. "Why does he do that, Ducky? Why does he just hang up instead of saying goodbye?"

"That remains, my dear girl, one of the great mysteries surrounding Leroy Jethro Gibbs," the medical examiner replied enigmatically, stepping away from the polarizing light microscope. "There you go, my dear. The cross polars should be centering now."

He smiled as the girl ran up to the microscope. "Excellent, Duckman! Wow, I don't think it's ever looked this good. You're better than those tech people I have to call up when something goes hinky. I should have you down here more often."

"I am simply pleased my solution worked out for you." A little lost, Ducky looked around the forensic lab, almost seeming to try to find something else to fix for her. "Well, I should probably get back to autopsy. If there's anything else you need…"

"Actually, Ducky. I'm going to need some dinner later. Care to swing back here and come with me to dinner? My treat?" After Gibbs had pointed out Ducky's melancholy mood, Abby was determined to spend as much time as she could with her friend. She hated to see him so sad.

"I would love to accompany you, my dear. But I'm going to have to insist on it being my treat. After all, I get the pleasure of your company." He smiled as the girl, who always seemed to tower over him, put her arm around him. Ducky was always amazed that Abby never seemed to trip or fall over in those leather contraptions she insisted on calling boots. In fact, she was graceful as no one else could be.

"And I get the pleasure of yours. I just need a few more hours to set up this evidence to process, then I'm all yours." Squeezing him in her one-armed hug, she added, "That is of course unless the team brings me back something major. But even then, we can figure something out, 'kay Duckman?"

"Sounds delightful, Abby. I will find you later then."

Dinner out turned into a picnic in as Abby was suddenly pressed to run DNA matches on the team's current case. Knowing Gibbs' needs and demands almost before he did, she set to work running the comparisons herself. Instead of weeks to turn around the DNA results, Abby would do it in a much shorter time frame.

Punching in the number for autopsy, she pressed the speaker button, waiting for Ducky to answer.

"Autopsy," came the clipped, Scottish tones through the amplifier.

As she lowered the volume to her stereo, she turned towards the phone. "Ducky, it's Abby."

"Ah, my dear. Are you ready for dinner?" he asked absently, putting away his notes and signing off on forms that concluded another autopsy.

"Actually, Ducky, I think this is going to be a late night for me. Would you mind if we picnicked in my lab? Or we could postpone it if you want…" Abby hated to change their plans, especially considering the emotional rollercoaster her friend was on.

"No, no, Abby. Canceling is out of the question. You know I do not mind spending time with you in your lab. You are quite in your element down there, my dear girl. And I enjoy working alongside of you. I will head out and grab some dinner for us. We will have a lovely time staying in as it were."

"Can't wait, Ducky," came the automatic reply. She really was looking forward to having a picnic with him, but the urgency of the case was pushing at her. Who was she kidding? Gibbs was pushing at her.

Having ordered a varied selection of choices from a nearby Chinese restaurant the team visited regularly, Ducky was almost to her lab when something stopped him. Standing in the shadows of the hallway, Gibbs was staring into the lab watching Abby work, presumably on the evidence she had mentioned earlier. Normally, when in the midst of a case that was pushing them all to the brink of exhaustion, Gibbs would drop off what he needed to have done, bark out some orders and head back to the bullpen. But something about this night had Gibbs changing his routine.

Perhaps it was the way she moved or the way she was dancing to her music as she processed evidence. Perhaps it was simply her joy of life and dedication to her work drew him to her, moth to flame. Perhaps his attraction was as effortless as she was Abby and he was Gibbs. Whatever it was had his piercing eyes locked on the dark-haired girl within.

Ducky stayed perfectly still, observing Gibbs watching Abby. He didn't want to interrupt the scene. There was a delicate intimacy about the moment that tugged at his heart. As Ducky tried to find a gentle way of making his presence known, Gibbs turned towards him, the blue eyes carrying a measure of sadness that only seemed to grip Gibbs in quiet, unguarded moments. It took only the smallest instant for him to recognize Ducky and to close down, his face becoming the hard mask the world was more used to seeing.

With an almost menacing threat to his walk, Gibbs moved closer to the other man, growling. "Did you need something, Doctor?" He only used Ducky's title when he was pissed off. Though he wasn't really pissed this time, just embarrassed at being caught watching Abby. He'd been about to walk into her lab, demanding evidence or at least some progress, when he had seen her working. There was something so beautiful as her hands wandered over the equipment that he would find himself standing in the shadows, watching her movements, the serenity of her face. He needed that peace to settle him when a case was particularly rough, and he would find himself hovering outside her lab more often than not, far more often than he would ever admit. Centering himself with her presence would let his mind find the answers, the connections he needed.

"Not at all, Jethro. I was just bringing Abigail some dinner for a picnic we were planning together in her lab. Would you care to join us?" Ducky offered, though he already knew the other man's response.

"No…Duck," Gibbs responded, a little too quickly, the slight hesitation in his voice telling the doctor that the truth was anything but. "Thanks anyhow. Have to run. You get anything more from the newest body?" Seeing the medical examiner shake his head negative, Gibbs moved away towards the elevator. "Let me know if that changes, Ducky."

"Of course, Jethro. Of course." Ducky replied, a knowing smile coloring his lips. "Perhaps next time."

Leaving Jethro to his thoughts, Ducky turned around and made his way into the forensics lab. "My dear, I bring sustenance," he called out, seeing for himself what had Gibbs so enthralled.

The music blaring from the speakers was jazz, letting him know that her concentration was high. She probably would have never known of Gibbs' silent presence outside of her lab. Her hips, encased in a black leather skirt, a change from earlier, swayed to the sultry, pulsing music. Bent over at the waist, her hands worked over the evidence, picking out what she needed, pulling to her items that drew her. Her philosophy of discovery: let the evidence speak to you.

Picking up an empty plastic vial, she swung around, laughing as she jerked to a stop. "Ducky! You surprised me." She grabbed her remote control, turning the music down. "Mmm…Chinese. Smells delicious. Come on! I set up a table in front of the plasma. We can have mood lighting from the search as we eat."

She took one of the bags from him, putting her nose inside. "Wow, I'm hungrier than I realized. You have excellent timing, as always." Linking her arm through his now free one, she led him to the table.

Moving together, they set up the dinner, pulling out food, plates, silverware. Grabbing a Caf-Pow from the refrigerator, Abby settled next to him. "We haven't done this in awhile, Ducky. I've missed our little picnics."

"As have I, Abby. But alas, more times than not, work takes precedence over anything else." Pulling apart his chopsticks, he asked, "So, my dear. What have you been working on this evening?"

In between bites, she answered him. "Running DNA and the other evidence the team brought down to me. After the DNA processes, I'm hoping we find a match among the samples I've got working: the semen from both rapes, the DNA from the hair on the brush McGee brought me, or from the note. I haven't found DNA on the second note, but I'm also comparing paperweight, the cotton percentage in the paper, ink composition, and I've sent out copies of the note to this guy that I met to see if my initial impression of the handwriting was correct."

Taking a breath, she smiled sheepishly. "Sorry. Just kinda have a lot processing right now."

"It's okay, my dear." He sought to reassure her. "I enjoy hearing about your work."

"Well in that case," she said, winking at him. "I have all the DNA processing now. Normally, it can take days or weeks for a traditional lab to get results. But if I run the tests, I can get the matches, or lack thereof, back a lot sooner. A couple of days, max. Personally, I'm hoping for a day or just a little over."

"I must say, I'm impressed. And grateful. I know you don't do this kind of work on all your cases."

"No, not really. But this case is different. We need answers as soon as possible. Otherwise, the guy could disappear for another ten years. And maybe…" She hesitated, not knowing how sensitive Ducky would be about the subject. "Maybe we can find the answers for you. You know, who Jane Doe is. Was. Find some closure for you and her family."

The doctor's eyes grew misty at Abby's thoughtfulness. "Thank you, Abby."

They progressed through dinner, each comfortable in the company of the other. Ducky told amusing tales of his youth, causing fits of laughter from his dinner companion. Abby, in turn, told a few of the tamer, albeit still wild, stories of her nights out. Occasionally, one of the members of Gibbs' team would stop by to check on Abby's progress and to steal a few bites of food, though Gibbs himself never made an appearance.

Before they realized how much time had passed, the evidence called for Abby's attention, and Ducky took that moment to clean up the remainders of the picnic. With a promise to return in the morning, he took his leave from her, escaping to give himself some time to think.

The case wrapped up smoothly, if not strangely, after that. The DNA Abby was pressured to run provided a bizarre twist on the investigation. And while Ducky's original Jane Doe would remain unrevealed, he at least had the closure of having her murderer identified.

With a slight smile on her lips, Abby moved around the lab, cleaning and prepping for the next case to come in. Her hyper-vigilance ensured that her findings would never be questioned in court because of sloppy forensics. She picked up her Caf-Pow! as she walked by, looking around the lab and checking to make sure everything was in order. Hips swaying to the latest Airbourne Toxic Event album, she turned around, intent on getting ready to leave and froze.

Abby's heart was suddenly in her throat at the sight of a gun trained on her chest held by a shaking hand. In shock, she dropped her Caf-Pow!, the red liquid, spilling over her shoes and across the floor.