Running Scared

By Arress

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story is not betaed, all mistakes are mine and mine alone.

Summary: Gibbs is running scared. Can Abby talk some sense into him? Minor spoilers for "Hiatus". Thank you, little_janie, for your help. This story is slash, Gibbs/DiNozzo. Don't like, don't read.

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Tony DiNozzo had just experienced the best two weeks of his life. He was in bed with Gibbs, second-B-for-bastard and man of his dreams. He'd been so happy when Gibbs finally made a move a couple of weeks ago. Tony's insecurities assured that he'd never be the one to hit on Gibbs first. He was too afraid of rejection. They'd just made long, slow, passionate love, and Gibbs had fallen asleep in a post-coital haze.

Tony lovingly watched his lover sleep. He whispered, "I love you," and then followed Gibbs into slumber.

The following morning, they were drinking coffee together before heading in to work. Gibbs looked at Tony and said, "It's over. Gather whatever things you have lying around and go."

Tony could practically hear his heart breaking.

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-Two weeks later-

Abby stood at Tony's door, armed with a 12-pack of beer and not one, but two, pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese pizzas. She had noticed that Tony hadn't been himself for the last couple of weeks and she was determined to help her best friend. She could see that he was trying to behave like his normal self, but she could also see that it was all an act.

She had thought about trying to get him to talk at work, but had quickly realized that work was not the place to delve into something personal. Gibbs was just too sneaky, and he managed to overhear far more conversations than any of them wanted him to.

She had to put the 12-pack down in order to knock on the door. When Tony answered the door, he asked, "What are you doing here, Abs?"

"I thought I could have a movie night with my best friend."

"I'm not very good company tonight."

"All the more reason for pizza, beer and your best friend. Can I come in, please?"

Tony had never been able to say no to Abby, so he reluctantly stepped back to let her in. Abby picked up the beer and went through the door. As she entered the room, she wisely didn't mention the half-packed boxes she could see scattered around the room. It was worse that she thought. Tony was planning on leaving. First, she had to get some liquor into him, then she could begin her interrogation.

Once Tony was on his fifth beer, Abby decided it was time to start with the questions. What she found out made her livid. While she didn't know that Gibbs had finally started a relationship with Tony, she knew Tony had been in love with Gibbs for years, and she had encouraged Tony several times to talk to Gibbs and see if he felt the same way. Abby was sure Gibbs had feelings for Tony too, he was just gun shy after having so many of his relationships fall apart.

It seemed after two blissful weeks, Gibbs had dumped Tony without warning and Tony couldn't take it. He couldn't work with Gibbs after having a sample of what could be. Gibbs hadn't given Tony any explanation; a couple of weeks ago he'd just told Tony it was over.

Once Tony had talked himself out and was asleep on the sofa, Abby decided that Gibbs needed to hear a thing or two from Tony's best friend. She loved Gibbs, but she wasn't going to allow him to treat Tony that way. She decided her boss needed a visit from his friendly neighborhood Goth.

It was fairly late when she reached Gibbs' house, but she knew he would be awake. He stayed up all hours of the night working on his boat. Sure enough, that's exactly what he was doing.

Gibbs looked up as he heard Abby coming down the basement stairs. "You're here awfully late. What can I do for you?"

Abby made her way over to Gibbs, who had stopped sanding his boat in honor of her visit. She didn't waste any time with small talk. "You can tell me what you did to Tony."

"I didn't do anything to Tony."

Abby punched Gibbs in the arm, hard.

Gibbs dropped his sanding block and rubbed his sore arm. "What was that for?" He asked indignantly.

"What is Abby's rule number one? Never lie to Abby. Now, what did you do to Tony?"

In the interest of self preservation, Gibbs decided to amend his previous answer. "None of your business."

"Tony's my best friend. It most certainly is my business."

"Nothin' I'm gonna talk with you about. It's between me and Tony."

"I just left Tony's place. He's very unhappy, and I don't like it when my best friend isn't happy."

"He'll get over it. He always does. Now, it's time for you to leave. I've got work to do."

"Gibbs, if you want me to leave, you're going to have to bodily pick me up, drag me up the stairs and toss me out the front door. Are you willing to do that?"

Gibbs knew how stubborn Abby could be, and he wasn't willing to get physical with her. He resigned himself to an Abby-talk, and damn could that woman talk. "You know I'm not. I'd never hurt you, Abs."

"I know that, Gibbs. Now, why did you hurt Tony?"

"What makes you so sure it was me who hurt him? Maybe he's the one who hurt me."

Abby glared at him like he was the dumbest person on Earth and informed him, "Tony told me what happened. How could you do that to him?"

Gibbs knew Tony liked to talk about his feelings about as much as Gibbs did, so he asked, "How'd you get him to talk to you?"

"I plied him with liquor, like I always do when I want him to talk," She answered, like Gibbs should have already known that. "Now, don't change the subject and answer my question."

Gibbs was kind of surprised that Abby was okay with him and Tony being in a relationship, but then again he shouldn't have been. It was Abby after all. "I didn't do anything to him that he hasn't done to dozens of women."

"How can you call yourself an investigator, Gibbs? You're such an idiot."

"No, I'm not. Tony's had a new woman practically every week since I've known him. He goes through relationships faster than anyone I've ever met."

"You are too an idiot if you really believe that."

"I've seen it with my own eyes, Abby."

"You saw what he wanted you to see and heard what he wanted you to hear. What've you been teaching your agents all these years?" When Gibbs didn't say anything, Abby answered her own question. "Never assume, always double check. Have you actually ever seen him with a woman?"

Gibbs had to think about that for a minute, and now that he did think about it, he realized he had never seen Tony with a woman, aside from the few women involved with an undercover operation. He reluctantly answered Abby's question, "No, I've never seen him with a woman."

"That's because Tony's in love with you, Gibbs."

"No," Gibbs said, shaking his head.

"You wanna know what I think?"

"No, not really."

Abby told him anyway. "I think you're running scared. You're afraid of being hurt again, so you dumped Tony before he could dump you."

"No, that's not it."

Abby punched Gibbs in the arm again.

"What was that for?"

"I think we've already established that it's against the rules to lie to Abby."

"Abby!" Gibbs exclaimed, rubbing his arm again.

"What, Gibbs? Why won't you admit it?"

"There's nothing to admit."

Abby punched him again.

"Dammit, Abs! That's gonna bruise."

"I've got all night. How about you?"

"All right, I admit it. I broke it off with him before he could break it off with me." Gibbs figured Abby had missed her calling; she should be an interrogator instead of a forensic scientist. No one else could have gotten him to admit that.

"The thing is, Gibbs, Tony wouldn't have ever broken up with you."

"How can you be so sure of that?"

"Because I know Tony, and if you were thinking straight, you'd know that about him too. He's in love with you and has been for years. If you think he's not capable of sustaining a long term relationship, look at that as proof you're wrong. He's worked for you for more than eight years."

"That doesn't mean anything. We weren't in a relationship for those eight years."

"Whether you realize it or not, you were in a relationship. And he never left you. It didn't matter that you left him. It didn't matter that you treated him like crap. It didn't matter when he was offered a better job. He stayed, for you."

"How do you even know all this?"

"Because he's my best friend, and best friends talk to each other. I shouldn't even be telling you these things, but I want so much for Tony to be happy, and right now he's as unhappy as I've ever seen him."

"He'll get over it, Abs."

"No, he won't."

"He always has before. He always bounces back."

"He won't bounce back from this, Gibbs. You broke his heart."

"Well, he'll have to get over it. He doesn't have a choice."

"Oh, but he does have a choice."

"What do you mean by that?"

Abby decided it was time to bring out the big guns. Gibbs was being too stubborn. "He's leaving."

"What do you mean, he's leaving?" Tony couldn't leave. Gibbs had never imagined that Tony would ever leave.

"As in packing all his belongings and, you know, leaving."

"You're just saying that to get me to change my mind."

"I just left his place, Gibbs. He's packing. He probably won't even give his two weeks' notice. He'll just not show up for work on Monday."

"He can't just leave."

"Why not? You did."

"That was different." Gibbs hated being reminded of when he'd gone to Mexico.

"How is it different? You were broken then. He's broken now."

"I wasn't broken!" Gibbs shouted.

"What would you call it then?"

Gibbs thought for a minute, then said, "Disillusioned."

"Same thing."

"Abby!"

"You think you can have your cake and eat it too? You think you can break Tony's heart and then he can work with you like nothing ever happened?"

"I don't see why not. I can."

"He's not you, Gibbs!" Abby shouted. "For somebody who's supposed to be so smart, you really can be an idiot sometimes."

"I'm not an idiot."

"You're sure acting like one. Just answer two questions, honestly. Can you do that?"

"Yeah, I can do that," Gibbs replied.

"Do you want Tony to be happy?"

Gibbs answered reluctantly, "Yeah, I do."

"Do you want to be happy?"

"I'd like to be."

"Then fix this, Gibbs. If you don't, you'll be an even bigger bastard than you normally are and Tony will leave and you'll never see him again. Will that make either of you happy?"

With that, Abby left. She'd done her best, now it was up to Gibbs. She went out to her car and moved it up about half a block away and waited, watching Gibbs' house in her rearview mirror.

She wasn't disappointed. A few minutes later, she saw Gibbs leave his house, get in his car and drive away. Abby followed him at a distance. She was very relieved when Gibbs drove straight to Tony's place.

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Gibbs knocked on Tony's door. Tony answered, with sleep mussed hair and red rimmed eyes. Tony just stood there, looking at Gibbs. He really didn't know what to think about Gibbs being at his door. Gibbs had told him it was over, and he had sounded so sure of himself; made it seem so final. Tony had never expected to see Gibbs at his door again. That's why he was planning to leave and never come back. It hurt too much to see him every day.

Gibbs stood there, looking at the ground, not knowing how to start. The moments dragged.

Tony finally said, "If you're not going to say anything, then leave. I've got things to do. "Like packing," He added to himself.

Gibbs didn't like talking about his feelings, but he could see Abby was right about Tony leaving. He could see several half-packed boxes scattered around the living room. He knew if he didn't talk this time, he would lose Tony forever.

He finally looked up into Tony's eyes and said, "I'm an idiot."

Tony just looked at him and didn't say a word. He wanted to see what else Gibbs had to say.

Gibbs hurriedly continued, afraid to lose his momentum. "I was scared. Everyone who ever said they loved me has left me, one way or another. I was afraid you'd leave me too."

Tony was being uncharacteristically silent, but he didn't shut the door in his face, which Gibbs took as a good sign. "I heard you a couple of weeks ago when you said you loved me, and that scared the shit out of me."

Tony still didn't say anything, so Gibbs continued, "So I decided that I would be the one to end it. I thought it would hurt less that way."

Tony just stood there silently. Gibbs was starting to get worried. He said, "But it doesn't. Tony, I love you, and I'm through running scared. Please, give me another chance?"

The younger man remained quiet. He was standing there looking dumbfounded. Gibbs finally asked, "Aren't you going to say anything?"

Tony finally broke his silence and said, "You had me at 'I'm an idiot'." He smiled and pulled Gibbs into the room and wrapped his arms around him, and held on like he would never let go.

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Abby stood outside Tony's apartment building watching the light in his bedroom window. After several minutes the light went out. She waited to make sure Gibbs wasn't going to leave. When she was sure Gibbs was staying, she turned and left, saying to herself in satisfaction, "My work here is done."

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Later, as Gibbs and Tony were lying in each other's arms, Tony asked, "Gibbs, how'd you get that big bruise on your arm?"