Chapter 1

A/N - No ownage here. Maybe some Pwnage, though…

Tim McGee strode into the bullpen, a smile on his face and a swagger in his step. This was not the baby-faced, green (sometimes literally as well as figuratively on the more graphic crime scenes) agent with the stutter and the double chin of five years ago. He was confident. Successful. Happy. He was good at his job, both behind the computer screen and out in the field. On their last case, he had found the intel to solve the case and made the collar. Solo. And he had finally, finally gotten the girl.

Abby Sciuto. Forensic whiz and his everything. They had been together for a short while after they first met. Then they weren't. At the time, they wanted different things; he was ready to jump in with both feet, she was still into taking things as they came, one day at a time. The sleeping together part of the relationship fizzled out but they remained close. And then closer. And then they were best of friends.

When Abby fell hard for Marty, he stored that information in the back of his head, wondering if maybe she was gearing up to settle down. And maybe, just maybe, she would choose to settle down with him. He knew she prickled when he mentioned a new girl he was seeing. And if she happened to be around when he flirted (or hell, was even flirted with)? Watch out. Erin, Jules, even Susan Grady had felt the wrath of Abby.

A few days after their trip to Mexico, he suggested they get together after work for a drink. Abby had seemed really, really upset since they had gotten home. He hoped like hell it was nothing he did (like the fat joke? Smooth move, McGee). One drink turned into two, which turned into several more…

They stumbled out of the bar at closing time, giggling and holding each other up. They hopped into a waiting cab, neither being in any shape to drive.

"Where to?"

Abby and Tim each gave their own address at the same time and then fell into another fit of giggles. Clearing his throat, McGee insisted that they just go to his place to save on cab fare. He could bunk out on the couch. After all, they lived in opposite directions…

He managed to get the key into the lock on the third or fourth try. Abby leaned against the door just as Tim turned the knob. She grabbed him as she started to fall and they landed in a tangle of arms and legs just over the threshold. The giggles started up again.

"You OK, Abbs?"

She looked up and their eyes locked. The giggles stopped like they had been cut off. She leaned forward with a questioning look in her eyes and brushed her lips against his. His heart felt like it was pounding out of his chest. His mind was completely clear. He stood up and closed the door, locking the deadbolt. He scooped her into his arms (much more gracefully than he ever could have when they were dating) and carried her into his bedroom. Laying her gently on his bed, he kissed her eyes, her nose, her forehead. His lips grazed her spider web tattoo before he looked into her eyes again.

"You sure about this, Abbs?"

She bit her lip and looked down for a moment. Then she caught his eyes again, green on green.

"More than anything."

Later that night, after their breathing had slowed and their bodies cooled, he gathered her to him, bare back against bare chest. He sighed happily. He was ecstatic. He was confused. He was scared as hell. His body tensed. She reached back and rubbed his hip with her hand.

"Shhh, Timmy."

Suddenly, she turned around and looked into his eyes again. This time, he couldn't meet them. She turned his chin toward her with one finger. "Look at me, Tim. I know that you know that I'm probably not quite on the same page as you on this. I have never been about white picket fences and little Suzy and Tim Jr and a dog named Spot." He tried to look away again, but that was a very determined finger. "But I love you, McGee. Not just like puppies. And maybe we can be about you and me and a dog named Jethro now, and worry about the rest down the road."

They had been practically inseparable ever since. She slowly moved her things from her apartment to his and she had recently hung up a sublet available ad in the neighbourhood.

Practically inseparable, that is, until this week. She was attending a forensics conference in Las Vegas. He would be joining her there on Thursday night, and they would have to whole weekend to themselves, far away from any on-call weekend duty. And, while being away from each other sucked, the somewhat naughty video conference they had last night after she'd gotten settled in to her hotel room had certainly eased the pain, not to mention the pressure, of separation.

He checked his email and saw a new one from Abby, sent couple of hours after their digital tryst. His smile grew even wider when he saw that there was a video attached.

He clicked the video file icon and leaned back with a grin, knowing that it would be rated PG if it was sent to the account he regularly accessed from his work computer.

At first he couldn't make out what he was seeing. Then a light, presumably from the reading lamp on the hotel bedside table, came on. Abby was asleep on the bed, the same bed she had she had teased and taunted him on last night, scrunching up her eyes at the new light in the dark room. A man wearing a leather bondage mask and worn jeans came onscreen. He grabbed her hair and pulled, waking her the rest of the way. She started to scream and he punched her in the face, in the chest, in the gut. He grabbed a roll of duct tape from off-screen, tore off a piece and slapped it over her mouth. Wound another around her wrists. She fought and kicked, thrashing her head back and forth, while he ripped off her pajamas.

"Abby. No…" Tim leaned forward in his chair. "No. No. No."

The man pulled a knife from a sheath on his belt and hit her on the the jaw with its shaft. Holding the blade against her throat, he undid his belt and pushed down his jeans one-handed. Abby stopped struggling, her head lolling to the side, facing the camera as the man entered her. Tim looked into Abby's eyes as a tear rolled down both of their cheeks.