Spoilers: Minor through Spider & the Fly
Summary: There is only one thing the boys want for Christmas
Author Note: This was written for dannicawebb as a happy birthday, merry christmas, happy new year piece. Only it sorta grew out of hand and went from a quick one-shot to 60 pages. Eeps! So, sorry about the delayed Christmas theme.
Gibbs/Abby/Tony pairing – don't like, don't read!
"Why don't you come over for dinner tonight?" Gibbs ran his thumb gently across her cheek as they stood in the doorway to her office."We need to talk."
"Sure. Can I bring anything?" Gibbs didn't seem upset or worried, so whatever he wanted to talk about couldn't be that bad.
"Nope, I was just thinking of ordering pizza. That okay?"
"Perfect. What time?"
"I'll be there!" Abby grinned as Gibbs leaned in to kiss her cheek and then walked away.
When Tony had first started at NCIS, she had told Ducky that she wasn't going to get attached - he wouldn't last a week. Gibbs had been going through agents at a rate in which she had never seen before. One week turned into two, then three, and after four weeks she and Gibbs had sat in his basement with Chinese food and she had told him Tony should stay.
He had been amused and answered with, "we'll see," and left it at that.
Four weeks had turned into almost ten years.
As she spent more time with Tony, they had grown closer, and before long she figured that something would happen between them – it wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when. When she first started at NCIS, she fell head over heels with Gibbs. No question. But he was just post-third divorce, and kept her at an arm's length. By the time she had gained his trust she realized that he wasn't ready for a relationship beyond their friendship, and his short-lived flings with various red-heads and Hollis Mann proved she was right. She was content to wait in the wings for him to realize what was in front of him, no matter how long it took. But with Tony, she would have been willing to put money down that they would end up in bed at some point. Her on-again-off-again romance with McGee, followed by Tony's undercover assignment that connected him to Jeanne had thrown a wrench into that plan. The last few years had been a roller coaster starting with the death of Director Shepard, Tony and Ziva being sent away, and then the whole Mexico drama. Now, Abby was content to have her friends around her safe and sound, though lately Gibbs had seemed a little closer, a little more open. Maybe now was the time.
Abby checked her make-up in the mirror one last time, adjusted her necklace (a beautiful velvet choker with a red gemstone centered on her throat – a birthday gift from Gibbs two years prior) before grabbing her keys and heading for her car. Any time spent with Gibbs after work was a bonus. They were close, always had been, but lately he seemed to spend an extra few seconds in her personal space, lingering touches, an extra glance in her direction… everything seemed to point in one direction and she couldn't be more thrilled.
Abby was surprised to see Tony's car pulled up beside Gibbs' in the driveway. She hadn't expected it to be a team dinner, but Christmas wasn't far off, so maybe it was a little team bonding before Christmas. Maybe Gibbs was headed up to Stillwater and wouldn't be around for Christmas. There go my Christmas plans, she thought sadly. It wasn't every year she spend Christmas with Gibbs, but over the past seven or eight years she had gone home only twice, instead spending the holiday helping Gibbs deliver his donation of hand-made wood toys to the children's hospital.
Abby locked her car and headed for his front door. It was open, as usual, and Abby headed in without knocking and followed the voices into the kitchen. Tony was pulling two bottles of beer from the fridge, and Gibbs was putting three plates beside the box of pizza on the counter.
"Hey Abby!" Tony smile at her and held up a beer bottle. "Beer with your pizza?"
"Uh, sure." She accepted the bottle. "Thanks."
Gibbs accepted a beer as well, and then handed both Tony and Abby a plate for their pizza. Tony motioned for her to go first, so Abby pulled out a slice and headed for Gibbs' small table followed by Tony and then Gibbs. She tried not to pay too much attention at how comfortable Tony was in Gibbs house, in Gibbs presence. Normally Tony would be joking around, making digs at Gibbs' décor or joking at how the boss had actually invited him in even after that one time when he had stayed in Gibbs' guest room while his heater was being fixed and things had gotten out of hand when he and one of his frat brothers had shared a cab home after a night out drinking.
They sat down, and Tony shoved pizza in his mouth right away.
"Charming," Gibbs commented.
Tony gave a little shrug and kept his eyes focused on his plate.
"Are you okay, Tony? I don't think I've ever seen you this quiet. Except when you had the plague, but you don't look sick. You're not sick, are you?"
"No, I'm fine." Tony swallowed the pizza in his mouth, answered, and then took another large bite.
Abby chewed on her pizza, glancing at Gibbs and then Tony and then back at Gibbs again. "Then why do I get the suspicion that I'm here for something other than just dinner?"
"Guys?" Abby started getting fidgety when she was met with silence. "Why am I here?"
"We have something to tell you," Gibbs glanced at Tony who gave a little nod.
"Oh God, did somebody die? Is someone dying? Are you dying?"
"No." Gibbs tried not to smile. He always found it amusing, the rate at which emotions were displayed on her face.
"You're not leaving NCIS, are you?
"Oh my God, are you leaving NCIS?" Abby turned to Tony, her eyes wide. "Is Vance sending you away again? Is the team splitting up? Because if so, I'm going to talk to the director right now, I won't let you go, either of you, without a fight." Abby jumped up from her seat nearly knocking her chair over in the process.
"Abby!" Gibbs' hand snaked out and his fingers wrapped around her wrist. He knew that if he didn't put a stop to her worrying now, she'd be too worked up to fully comprehend what they needed to tell her, to ask her.
"What?" She snapped. If Vance was splitting them up, again, she had business to take care of. She wasn't going to stand by and be miserable like last time. She was ready to fight.
"No one is leaving. We didn't ask you over to tell you something bad." Gibbs loosened his grip on her, and swept his thumb over her knuckles before dropping her hand all together. "Sit down."
"Sorry," Abby flushed as she realized her outburst had been unnecessary, "I just…" She gave a little shrug and then sat back down.
Gibbs looked at Tony hoping he would step up. This was something they were supposed to do together, but so far Tony hadn't said much.
"Abby, we're um, we're together. Gibbs and I."
Abby raised her brow and then looked to Gibbs. When he nodded his confirmation, Abby burst into a fit of giggles. "Oh Tony, how much did that cost you to get Gibbs to…" Abby trailed off when Tony winced at her comment. "Wait, you aren't joking?"
"He's not joking, Abbs." Gibbs gave Tony a soft smile. "We're together."
And with those words, Abby felt as if her entire world had caved in around her. "You… you're together? Like, together-together?"
Gibbs gave a little nod, "Yeah."
"I… wow." Abby pushed her chair back and started pacing back and forth in front of the door. "How could I not have noticed? How long has this," she gestured at them with her hands, "been going on?"
"About seven, eight months," Gibbs answered when Tony sat silently.
"I know I'm not investigator, but… I can't believe I didn't pick up on it. I'd like to think I pay more attention than that to my friends."
"We've kept our relationship strictly professional at work; there has been nothing for you to notice." Gibbs sat still and watched as she continued to pace. This wasn't going as he expected.
"It's not like I don't ever see either of you outside of work. Why did you wait so long to tell me? Tony? All those times I tried to set you up with a friend? I'd never have done that if I knew you were… if I knew that you and Gibbs… I thought… Why didn't you tell me?"
"You're upset." Tony stated sadly.
"About you guys? No, of course not! I'm just shocked, and I dunno… you've been together for eight months and said nothing to me. I guess I just thought we were closer than that." She turned to Gibbs, a look of hurt on her face. "After everything during the Reynosa drama?" She thought she had almost gotten him to clarify exactly how he felt for her down in the basement, but now she was glad she hadn't pushed for anything. If he had confirmed that he loved her like daughter, she wasn't sure what she would have done. Suddenly her secure position of Gibbs' favorite had been pulled out from under her, and she hadn't even seen it coming. She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from crying.
"Abbs," Gibbs sighed, "I was a mess then. We didn't keep this from you because we thought you would pass judgment, or because we didn't want you to know. We wanted to be sure that this is what we wanted. If things didn't work out between us, we didn't want you to feel like you needed to choose sides. I couldn't do that to you."
Abby gave an understanding nod. "So things… things are working for you guys? You're happy?"
"I'm happy," Gibbs looked to Tony.
He didn't exactly look happy in the moment, but after a second he nodded. "I'm happy too."
"Good. Good." She could be happy for them. She forced a smile, promising herself she would let the tears fall once she was alone. "If you're happy, then I am happy for you."
"Thank you." Gibbs stood and edged closer to her, trying to judge if she would be open for a hug. When she looked at him, she smiled, but her eyes were shiny as if she was about to cry. Gibbs pulled her against his chest and pressed a kiss to the top of her head and then motioned for Tony to get up and join in the hug. "It wasn't the only reason we asked you over to talk."
"I can't… let me just process this, okay?"
"No, please, I don't think I can handle anything else tonight. I should get going anyway, it's getting late."
Tony opened his mouth to protest that she had only been there for 30 minutes, but Gibbs shook his head and Tony kept quiet. "See you at work tomorrow."
"Yeah. Have a good night, guys. See you tomorrow." Abby grabbed her coat and headed for the door, keeping a small smile plastered to her face the entire time. She refused to let herself cry on the drive home. She was genuinely happy that both of her guys had found love. She hadn't expected it to be with each other, but at least this way she didn't have to worry about either of them getting hurt. She trusted them both with her life, and although she suddenly found herself out of the equation, she was glad that neither of them would spend another holiday alone. They were happy, and because of that she would be happy. Starting tomorrow.
Once she locked up her apartment, she changed to her favorite pj's - the blue ones with the penguins and polar bears – grabbed a bottle of wine and collapsed on the couch. The wine was cheap, a left over bottle from a party a few months back, and she couldn't be bothered with a glass. Finally, as she sat in the dark, half the bottle of wine already consumed, she hugged her knees tightly to her chest and cried.
"We hurt her. Did you see the look on her face?" Tony dropped onto Gibbs' couch and covered his face with his hands.
"She's just shocked, Tony. Give her some time." Gibbs took a seat beside him. "How would you have felt if you found out that Abby and I were in a relationship?"
"I… that's not the point." He couldn't believe he'd done it again. He'd pushed someone he loved away. He'd hurt her, the first person to truly open up to him, to welcome him to the NCIS family, the first person to make him feel like he had a home in D.C. He'd dropped a bomb on her, and judging by her reaction, he wasn't so sure their friendship would survive. "You don't get it, she knows you're secretive. But Abby and I shared everything. When she and McGee were together and their relationship was falling apart, she came to me. When everything happened with Jeanne? I told Abby everything. Not telling her about us was a huge slap to the face, courtesy of yours truly. God, why didn't I tell her? I fucked up, Jethro, big time."
Gibbs winced. Tony rarely called him Jethro, and when he did, it was when he was deadly serious. "Hey, it was both of our decision. If she's mad at you, she can be mad at me too. But its Abby, she doesn't stay mad for long."
"Yeah, at other people. We've never given her a reason to be mad at us."
"Mexico." Gibbs shrugged.
"That was different, she understood. She didn't like it, but she understood."
"She'll understand this too, I promise."
"Maybe, but she'll never trust us enough to want to… to be with us. You don't get it. I know how she feels about you."
Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "You know?" When they had discussed the idea of letting Abby know exactly how they felt about her, Tony had always implied that he knew how much Abby flirted with Gibbs, but beyond that, his guess was just as good as Gibbs as to how exactly she felt.
"It was awhile ago, after Kate died. She was an emotional mess, and was worried you'd never know how much she loves you. At first I thought it was typical Abby, oh my God I love everyone, blabbering, but then she was talking about how she fell for you the minute she met you. But you were so emotionally involved with the case. She mentioned it again when you left for Mexico, but swore me to secrecy when you came back and I mentioned that maybe she ought to finally do something. I figured you'd never go for a guy, let alone me, so I didn't even consider it an option."
"Hey," Gibbs wrapped his hand around the back of Tony's neck and pulled him in to kiss his temple. "We've already established that I want you."
"I know, but that's the point. I knew how much she loved, hell still loves you and I went ahead with a relationship with you and said nothing to her. Nothing."
Gibbs remained silent. If he had known that Abby had confided in Tony, had told Tony her feelings for him; he wouldn't have waited to tell her about his relationship with the senior agent. He hadn't realized that her feelings for him had run so deep and for so long.
"See? This wasn't a good idea."
"You've changed your mind about bringing her into our family?"
Tony warmed slightly at the idea of both Gibbs and Abby as his family. "No. I just… I just wish I had handled the whole thing better from the start. Keeping her out of the loop was a bad idea. I just hope I haven't ruined everything."
"Nothing has been ruined yet."
Abby hadn't even put on her lab coat when Ducky called to let her know that he had been called out to pick up a body and that Gibbs would likely have evidence for her within the hour. Minutes after her phone call from Ducky, three other teams arrived with DNA samples to run and finger prints to match. Ziva arrived forty minutes later with several sets of prints, and a small blood sample to test for drugs.
It didn't take her long to discover that their victim had been poisoned with rat poison and that his roommate, Petty Officer Kyle, had left his finger prints and DNA all over the container.
Gibbs, Tony, Ziva and McGee showed up just as she reached for the phone to call Gibbs down.
"Gibbs! Gibbs! Gibbs!" Abby spun around to face the team as they all filed into her lab. "I've never seen so many prints all over the murder weapon." She held up the bottle of poison in an evidence bag. "I mean, if you're going to poison someone, wouldn't you wear gloves to at least protect yourself? This stuff is serious business."
Gibbs opened his mouth to speak when Tony's phone went off. He gave an apologetic smile and stepped out of the lab. "Ziva, McGee, go find Kyle and bring him in."
"On it." Ziva and McGee turned and left.
"Hmm?" Abby turned to pull a piece of paper from the printer as she looked over the results of another teams DNA match.
She was glad she wasn't looking at him as he brought it up. She quickly covered the look of jealousy with a small smile. "Yeah about that, sorry I just left like that, it was just such a… I dunno, a shock, that I needed some time to process. I promise I'm happy for you," Abby held up her pinky, "pinky swear."
"We never got to finish our conversation."
"Oh, right. The 'more' part."
"Come back over tonight?" Gibbs wasn't one to say please, but this was one of the rare occasions where he found it necessary. "Please?"
"I can't tonight; I've already gone plans with a friend." She tried not to notice the small flash of hurt on his face.
"We need to talk, the three of us."
"I know, and we will, but I can't tonight. Honestly, my friend Carol invited me to a party downtown a while back; I can't back out this late. She'll have no one else to go with."
Gibbs wasn't so sure he believed her story, but he remembered her friend Carol, and decided not to press the issue. "Tony's worried he's ruined your friendship. If you're mad at him, you need to be mad at me-"
"Mad? I'm not mad." The idea of anger had never even crossed her mind. She leaned back against her desk. "He said that?"
Gibbs gave a little shrug.
"Oh my God! I'm not mad at him, why would he think that? I told you guys last night, I'm happy for you. If I was mad, you'd have known. Everyone knows when I'm angry."
Gibbs didn't fight the small smile that played over his lips. Abby generally wore her emotions on her sleeve, and it was around NCIS within 20 minutes if she wasn't happy. "Okay." He pulled her into a hug and pressed his lips to her temple, letting his lips linger a little longer than he should have. "Have fun tonight."
Tony was waiting by the elevator when Gibbs left Abby's lab. He had finished his phone call in time to see that Abby hadn't reacted negatively to Gibbs' hug or kiss to her cheek. "So obviously she's not mad at you, just me then?" He knew Abby would never hold a grudge against Gibbs.
Gibbs hand collided with the back of Tony's head as the elevator doors opened. "If I didn't know better, I'd think you want her to be angry at you."
"I…" Tony rubbed the back of his head. That hadn't been one of the softer love-taps that he'd been receiving lately. "I just know how upset I would feel if I were in her place."
"She wants us to be happy." Gibbs waited until the elevator doors closed in front of them and flicked the emergency switch. "And I am happy, with you. If Abby doesn't… if she doesn't want to be a part of this, then nothing changes between us." Gibbs pressed Tony back against the elevator door and kissed him. It wasn't the raw, powerful kisses that Tony had come to expect, just a gentle reassurance. Just as Tony started to react to the kiss, Gibbs pulled away. He ruffled Tony's hair and set the elevator in motion, a stony expression firmly in place. They had a criminal to catch.
The story about having plans with Carol wasn't a complete lie. She had called her friend that morning on her way to work and asked if she would come over in the evening. Normally, when Abby needed to vent about work, and more specifically Gibbs, she would call Tony. She couldn't do that anymore.
Carol pulled up right behind her when Abby arrived back at her apartment.
"You didn't give me many details over the phone, but I have the sneaking suspicion that ice cream might be in order."
"I knew there was a reason I called you." Abby knelt down to hug her friend and then headed for main apartment door, let them in and then let the elevator take them to the second floor. The minute they were safely inside Abby's apartment, Carol set the ice cream on the coffee table and turned to her friend.
"Grab two spoons. I also get the feeling we'll be eating directly from the carton."
Abby gave her friend a genuine smile and then went for the spoons. Once they were on the couch, the ice cream open, Carol was the first to speak. "Spit it out, what's going on."
Abby passed the ice cream carton back to her friend. "So you know my boss…" Abby did her best to tell her friend everything that had happened the night before – down to every last detail.
"Wait, so… what?"
"I know! And now, they want me to come back over because there is more to tell me. I can't handle more, and knowing how Gibbs is with his rules… I'm certain that the more is that one of them is leaving. Gibbs has this rule of never date a co-worker. I will get over my jealousy, I honestly just want them both happy, but I can't lose one of them at work. I've been there, done that and it's not fun. I can't go through that again!"
"What will you do? Leave NCIS?"
Abby shrugged. "I don't know if I could. I guess it depends. I couldn't do that to Timmy and Ziva and Tony or Gibbs, which ever of them stays. But at the same time… I don't know."
"Do you know for a fact one of them is leaving? Maybe Tony will transfer to a different team, but stay at NCIS. That would work, right?"
"Tony would never work for anyone else, he'd rather quit. He was offered a job in Spain a few years back, his very own team, but he turned it down. He and Gibbs weren't even together at that point."
"Maybe they have something else to tell you, and neither of them will be going anywhere?"
"Yeah, like what? Tony's pregnant?"
Carol laughed. "No, no… I don't know. I'm trying to be supportive!"
"I know," Abby sighed. "I just… how did they end up together and I end up with no one!"
"You've always got Tim…"
Abby grabbed the couch pillow and threw it at Carol.
"What? He'd take you back in a heart-beat and you know it!"
"I know," Abby groaned. "I'd rather get hot and heavy with Ziva than try that again with McGee. He's sweet, but we're so… not compatible as anything more than friends."
"That was when you were holding out hope for your boss, or Tony. Now you can't have either…"
"I'm not settling for Tim. He deserves better than that." Abby took the pillow back and clutched it to her chest and rested her chin on top. "I just… I don't know how I feel anymore. I love them both, they are my NCIS family and I want them to be happy, so if they're happy together than… good."
"But if feels like one hell of a slap to the face, you feel lonely and left out."
"Here, this'll help." Carol handed her the ice cream.
The next morning at work, Abby was determined to be her usual cheerful self. She figured if Tony and Gibbs saw her acting normal, then they wouldn't worry about her. She needed to work up to her usual dinners with Gibbs – if they would even happen anymore. Would he insist on Tony coming too? And what about clubbing with Tony? Gibbs wasn't the type to be insecure, but would he want Tony out clubbing with her anymore? Come to think of it, Tony had turned her down the last time she had asked.
Tony, Ziva and McGee were all at their desks, and before she could even ask where Gibbs was, McGee gave a little nod up toward the director's office.
"Apparently we've got sensitivity training." Ziva rolled her eyes. "Did we not just go through this?"
Abby was expecting a smart-ass remark from Tony – the training seminars were widely hated, and Tony had an endless supply of jokes. But he said nothing, instead keeping busy with the file in his hand. She paused and took a better look at him. He looked as though he hadn't sleep, and he had deep, dark circles under his eyes.
Ziva's phone rang, so once she answered it, Abby stepped up to the side of Tony's desk, using her body to shield them from McGee's prying eyes. "You look like shit, Tony. You okay?"
He looked up at her, his eyes searching hers for any sign of anger or animosity. "I'm okay."
"Okay." She watched him a moment longer, and was then interrupted by a very irritated looking Gibbs, followed by a very smug looking director coming down the stairs.
"Sensitivity training in ten," Gibbs moved to his desk and locked his gun in his desk drawer.
There was a chorus of groans from the team, and before Abby could add her own protest, Director Vance handed her a file of crime scene photographs. "Agent Hansen has some things for you to look over. You've been excused."
Abby smiled widely as Ziva and McGee protested her being excused. She turned and kicked up her heels as she headed for the lab. Sometimes it was nice being so needed at work.
Twenty minutes in, Abby decided she would rather be at training with the team. Hansen and his team were impatient and rude, and had no manners. He barked at her every time he stepped into the lab, and when she told him it would take a while to get all the DNA sorted, he'd muttered something under his breath and while she hadn't heard exactly, she was sure it wasn't pleasant.
"I hope that's not me you're referring too?"
Abby spun around to see McGee peeking hesitantly into the lab.
"No, course not. Hansen was being an ass per usual. Are you guys all sensitive now?"
McGee rolled his eyes. "Apparently Hansen forgot the original file down here. He asked if I would get it for him since I was on my way down.
Abby laughed and handed McGee the file he was after. "He's just lazy. And rude."
"He get out of hand?"
"Nah, just rude. So how was training? Learn anything new?"
"No, a complete waste of time. And I don't know what's with Tony; he didn't make a crack at anything the teacher said. He sat in the very back and said nothing the entire time. You know what's up with him?"
Abby shook her head.
"He hasn't said anything about dating in a while, and I thought maybe he had met someone and was a little more serious about it. Maybe they broke up."
"Don't start rumors, McGee. You'd hate it if he did that to you," she snapped a little more than she had meant to.
"Tony does do it to me!"
"Doesn't mean you can do it back! Take the file up; I need to finish picking up my lab." Once McGee was gone, she knew she had to talk to Gibbs and Tony. She hated to think that she was part of the reason why he was acting weird. She owed it to them to hear out what they had to say – no matter how much she knew it would hurt. Once her lab was cleaned up, she glanced at her watch, gathered her things and headed up to the squad room. Ziva was just stepping into the elevator when Abby rounded the corner, and Gibbs, Tony and McGee were hurriedly finishing up some paperwork.
She was unsure if she should go to Gibbs or to Tony. With McGee still in the squad room, she could hardly approach the two of them together. Hitching her bag a little higher on her shoulder she walked up to Gibbs desk and stopped. She cleared her throat and waited for him to look up at her. "Um, I was thinking, well," her fingers twisted nervously together, "I was thinking I could come over. Tonight." She glanced back at Tony and then returned her attention to Gibbs, "If that's okay."
McGee was still busy wrapping up his paperwork and hadn't looked up, but Tony had heard everything and Gibbs fought a small smile at the way Tony looked as though he was about to break his neck from vigorously nodding yes. "Sure. Seven?"
"I'll bring some dinner. Chinese?" She glanced back at Tony who was still nodding.
"Chinese is fine."
"Okay. See you later then. Bye Tony. Bye Timmy."