Abby paced around outside the house, working up the courage to go in, Gibbs watched her from an upstairs window. Resisting the urge to go out, he went down to the basement.

After 10 minutes of pacing Abby ran into the house. Another 10 minutes standing outside the basement door and she was as ready as she was ever going to be.

She eased open the door, and moved slowly down the stairs.

Gibbs waited until she had reached the bottom before he turned towards her.


Abby sat on the bottom step, trying to make herself as small as possible and said nothing.

Gibbs let the silence stretch "Come on Abby, normally I can't shut you up, and now I want answers you turn mute"

"I guess I'm trying to work out how to achieve Rule 18 without breaking Rule 6"

"Don't you think it's a little late to be worrying about breaking rules?"

Abby remained silent.

"You know the director is planning on firing you?"

Abby nodded.

"Give me one good reason why I should tell him not to"

"There aren't any, there aren't even any bad ones"

Gibbs took a deep breath, looking up at the ceiling.

"Come here" Abby didn't move

"Abby, come over here"

She slowly stood up and came towards him, fear flickering across her face.

As she got closer to him, he could see she was shaking.

Gibbs brow furrowed with concern "You're shaking, Abs, what do you think I'm going to do to you?" His tone became softer

Abby looked him in the eye for the first time, the tears she been holding back spilled down her face.

"Abs" was all Gibbs muttered as he pulled her into him. He held her tightly and let her sob into his chest.

Abby made no effort to move away from him after she had stopped crying so Gibbs didn't relax his hold.

"Abby, if you ever pull something like this again…"

"I won't Gibbs, I promise"

Later that weekend…

"Gibbs? What was so wrong with that course that you were so against it and Ziva was so anxious to get me out of there, do you guys really think I'm that pathetic?"

Gibbs gave her a look

"I'm not trying to start another fight!"

Gibbs walked over and kissed her lightly, "I wouldn't let any of my people go that 'course', not even Ziva"

"But why? I mean the e-mail said…"

"I don't care what the e-mail said, it's rigged"

"Rigged how?"

"If you quit interrupting me, I'll tell you"

"The course is touted as Escape and Evasion, open to all employees. In reality, they put GPS locators on everyone's clothing, you are guaranteed to get caught. The course is actually set up for the Naval Intelligence boys to practice interrogation techniques. They round up everyone on the first night, then spend the rest of the week legally torturing them"

Abby blanched "Why didn't you just say that?"

"Didn't think I had to, I must have not got the memo that told me orders needed explanations"

"I've never been very good at the whole orders thing"

"I had noticed" Gibbs laughed.

Monday Morning - the directors office

"Miss Sciuto, do you have any explanation that will excuse your behaviour last week?"

"Uh, no Director"

"Any reason why I shouldn't fire you?"

"Uh, no director"

"And I don't suppose you know anything about the three threats of resignation and one death threat by means of a paperclip that will apparently materialise if I do fire you?"

Abby looked up sharply "uh, no Director"

Vance tried to avoid looking at Gibbs who was leaning against the back wall grinning.

"have you at least learnt anything through all this?"

"oh yeah, Gibbs knows best"