This is probably the last missing scene for a while… I hope to start posting the sequel to Figuring It Out within a few weeks. This one has been requested by several readers, so I hope I've done it justice! Thanks to colorguard28 for a few ideas about subjects of conversation between Abby and McGee. This takes place between chapters 19 and 20 of FIO; in chapter 19, Gibbs and Tony talked to Abby, McGee and Ziva on the phone while those three were staying at Abby's place after the trip to New York. Ziva had been shot in the arm and McGee had a concussion. They were playing poker at the time of the phone call. The next day at work, in chapters 20 and 21, Ziva and McGee both encouraged Tony to talk to an upset Abby. Abby was unhappy with the outcome of her talk with McGee concerning revelations made in chapter 11 – McGee's resentment toward Gibbs for breaking rule 12 to be with Tony when McGee himself had given up on a relationship with Abby because he respected Gibbs' rules.
Abby had a huge grin on her face as she hung up the phone. "They are so cute together!"
Ziva smiled indulgently at her. "They are grown men, federal agents. Are you sure that 'cute' is the proper word, Abby?"
Abby wrinkled her nose and pointed at Ziva. "Cute is a subjective term that can be applied to an endless variety of situations, Agent David! They're flirty with each other, they're laughing together – and when was the last time you saw Gibbs laugh?"
Ziva shook her head and smiled, exchanging glances with McGee, who looked thoughtfully at Abby. "I don't know if I've ever seen Gibbs really let loose with an all out laugh."
Abby turned to him, nodding in agreement, then suddenly she gasped and reached out to grab McGee's arm. "You knew!"
Abby hands moved through the air enthusiastically. "You knew! Subconsciously. Your investigative instincts picked up on their souls' connection, and that's why you used the name 'Tibbs' in your book!"
McGee and Ziva stared at her. Then Ziva laughed. "Abby, I do not think McGee coming up with the name Tibbs is so farfetched as to require some sort of psychic insight!"
Abby shook her head, pigtails flying. She opened her mouth to say something, but Ziva stopped her with an upraised hand. "Abby. Consider this… Pimmy Jalmer?"
Mouth still open, Abby narrowed her eyes while McGee rolled his. Then she turned to McGee, closing her mouth, a distinctly disappointed look appearing on her face. "It would have been so cool if you'd been the Tibbs prophet."
McGee really had nothing to say to that.
The poker game continued for a few more hours, until Ziva winced slightly when leaning forward to collect her chips with her one good arm. McGee noticed. "Um, Ziva… you need another pain pill?"
Ziva shook her head. "It is minor, McGee, but thank you."
Abby's head shot up. "Ziva, if you are admitting to any pain at all, it must be bad! Are you sure you don't need anything?"
Ziva smiled and met Abby's eyes. "I am sure, Abby. I think perhaps I should go lie down, though." She rose to her feet as McGee scoffed.
"Sure, quit while you're ahead. If Tony were here, you'd never hear the end of it."
"Ah, but Tony is not here. He is with Gibbs, and I am sure that whatever they are doing, he is having much more fun than he would if he were here."
Silence fell as the three of them contemplated that. Abby smirked at Ziva, who grinned back at her. McGee rolled his eyes. "Do you really have to talk about it?"
Abby's smirk morphed into a glare and her open palm connected with his upper arm.
"What's with you, Tim? Since when are you so squeamish about sex?"
Ziva moved away from the table. "That is my cue. Good night, McGee, Abby." She disappeared into the guest bedroom, closing the door behind her.
Abby was still looking at McGee. "So? I know you, Tim, and I know you aren't such a prude."
McGee sighed. "No, I'm not. But thinking about Gibbs and Tony – you know, together – it's weird. I mean, it's Gibbs. It's like thinking about your parents or something."
Abby grimaced. "Yeah, okay, I can see that. Not that it's affecting me that way, 'cause the Silver Fox has always been super hot. Not to mention Tony is such a stud… so the two of them together – you know?"
McGee sighed. "I really think that's something for you to talk about with Ziva."
"Mmm. You have a point." Abby got up and started to gather up the cards and the poker chips. McGee followed suit and began clearing away the snack food. "But, Timmy… I think you should try to tone it down a bit. They're going to get uncomfortable around you if you keep acting like someone's maiden aunt."
McGee rolled his eyes. "I don't think they'll mistake me for anyone's aunt, Abby. Besides, it's fun to give Tony a hard time."
Abby grinned at that. "Yeah, I've never seen him blush as much as he does now."
McGee paused at that. "Hey, why do you think that is?"
Abby shrugged and moved toward the coffee table, placing the cards and the chip container in a drawer. "Maybe because this one really matters to him."
She got back to McGee's side and picked up the remaining bowl of snacks, then headed into the kitchen. McGee followed, his hands full with the other bowls. They worked in companionable silence for a few minutes, putting snacks into storage baggies. McGee finished up and leaned back against the counter, watching Abby clean.
"Why didn't you tell me what Gibbs said, Abby?" His voice was quiet, but she froze as if he'd startled her. She glanced over at him, then asked in an excessively cheery voice, "What Gibbs said about what, when?"
McGee's head dropped a little bit, and he gave her a little humorless smile as he sat at the small kitchen table. "When Gibbs said rule 12 didn't apply to us, Abby. Why didn't you tell me?"
Abby sighed quietly, then put down the bags in her hand and sat opposite him. She didn't meet his eyes, watching her own fingers as they traced patterns on the table. After a few moments, McGee spoke again.
"When we were at dinner at Gibbs' place, you did say we'd talk soon. Guess we should have done it right away, huh?" He reached over and gently took her hand.
She looked up at him, eyes wide. "I'm sorry, Tim. I never meant to hurt you, and I wasn't trying to intentionally lie to you about it." She glanced away from him, then back when he squeezed her hand. "It's like I said then… you were getting more serious about us than I was ready for, and then we broke up before I made up my mind about sharing what Gibbs said about rule 12, so it didn't seem like there was much point."
McGee nodded and watched her for a moment, still holding her hand. Her eyes were shifting around a lot, and she was biting her lip. He thought he should just shrug it off and get some sleep, but he suspected that if he did, things would be awkward between them for a while.
"Abby… do you think that maybe we could try again, sometime?"
He guessed, given the shocked look on her face, that she hadn't been expecting that. She blinked rapidly, then gave him a tremulous smile. "I don't know, Timmy… maybe? I'm still not ready to get serious, probably not with anyone."
He nodded and squeezed her hand again. "Yeah, I know."
"You know? How can you know? I'm not even sure if I know!"
McGee grinned at her indignation, holding onto her hand even as she tried to pull away. "You forget that you're one of my best friends, Abby! I think we know each other pretty well. And wasn't it you who told me that you know me better than I know myself because you have a clearer view from outside my head? Seems to me that should work both ways."
Abby's eyes narrowed, then suddenly she relaxed and smiled at him. "I did say that, didn't I? It was after you got stuck in that women's prison, and I told you I wasn't surprised that you handled the situation so well." She sighed, bringing her other hand up to cover McGee's. "Tim… I love you, but I don't think I'm in love with you. I'm not even sure what I want from my life outside of my job; I love my job, and I love the team, and I love that I'm free to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Which isn't to say that I couldn't fall in love with you… I so could! But the last thing I want to do is to hurt you."
McGee nodded. "I get it, Abby, I do. I love you, and I could easily fall back in love with you… but I don't even want to go there unless you were to think that it really could work, that you could want us for the long haul." He squeezed her hand again and then let go. "Just do me a favor, Abs… don't keep something as important as what Gibbs had told you about rule 12 from me again, okay?" He held up a hand when Abby started to speak again. "Seriously… you know how angry you would have been with me if our positions had been reversed. So, just remember this if there's ever a next time."
He stood up from the table, meeting her eyes to make sure she got the message. She nodded, and he could see the tears in her eyes. He immediately felt bad, but he also knew he needed to be strong on this point, or their friendship could suffer for it in the future. "Wanna hug?"
Abby nodded again, then stood up and practically flew into his arms. They stood there for a few minutes, then McGee gently pulled back and smiled at her. "Now, you need to get some sleep."
Abby gave him a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes, then set off for her bedroom. McGee watched her walk away and could tell by the way she moved that she was upset. He switched off the light in the kitchen and headed for the couch and the piled blankets and pillows there, thinking he'd get Tony to talk to her in the morning.