So sorry about the delay. Lots of computer issues, which I've fixed with a brand new laptop!

Abby startled awake and reached for Gibbs, he hand landing on the mattress where Gibbs' should have been. She knew it wasn't pay-back, he wouldn't deliberately worry her, but at the same time she couldn't help the fear that started to build.

"You awake?" His voice was a comfort and Abby blinked her eyes open to see him sitting at the table sipping a cup of coffee.

"What time is it?"

"Early. I was going to let you sleep another twenty minutes before waking you. You want to shower before we go to the airport?"

"Nah, I'll shower at home."

Abby was quick to change and pack up her bag. Tony knocked on the door shortly after and they all headed out to the shuttle that took them to the airport. Gibbs seemed to hang back as they made their way to a restaurant for a quick breakfast and then to the waiting area before getting on their flight.

It was mid-afternoon by the time they arrived back at NCIS. Tony, McGee and Ziva hadn't been involved enough to warrant that they wrote a report, so they were free to go enjoy the rest of the day. Abby sat at Tony's desk going over everything she could remember, typing it up neatly for her report, occasionally glancing up to see Gibbs working on his own.

Once she was finished and her report neatly printed and hand delivered to the director, she found that Gibbs was waiting for her. "I'll take you home."

She started to protest, her car was still in the NCIS parking lot, but the look on Gibbs' face told her that it was up for discussion, so she grabbed her bag and followed Gibbs to his car.

"Anything at your place you can't live without until tomorrow?" They were approaching her exit.

"No," she said after a moment's hesitation.

Gibbs gave a little nod and continued past her exit, taking her home to his house. He'd only been away two nights, but it had felt like a lifetime. He carried her stuff in, setting her bag at the base of the stairs and then headed to his coffee maker. After pouring a cup for her and for himself he headed for the basement to do a little thinking.

Abby had no idea why he had brought her home to his house, especially when he abandoned her upstairs in favor of spending time alone in the basement. She decided she would give him some time and then go after him. If he was going to ignore her all evening, she might as well go home.

She curled upon the sofa for awhile, flipping through an old woodworking catalog and sipping the coffee that Gibbs had handed her before disappearing to the basement. She lasted twenty minutes before following him down. If they had things they needed to clear up, it was going to be now. "If you've brought me here to ignore me, I might as well go home."

"You're staying here tonight," Gibbs continued sanding the small toy without so much of a glance over his shoulder at her.

"What's the point?" Abby stepped off the bottom step. The tension between them reminded her of the last time she sought him out in his basement, only this time she was more irritated than scared.

Gibbs sighed and squared his shoulders, resting the sanding block on the table. "The point?"

"Yeah Gibbs, what's the point?"

"The point is that I almost lost you," Gibbs moved closer, crowding her back against the wall. "The point is that I want you where I know you're safe."

When she hit the wall, Abby squared her shoulders and stood tall. "How can you know I'm safe if I'm up there alone and you're down here, lost in thought, working on your latest project? If I'm going to be here, I want to be near you. I don't want you to be angry."

"I'm not angry," Gibbs pulled away and stalked over to the far side of the basement, going for the bourbon, "at you."

"Yes you are," Abby hurried after. This wasn't how she had planned on talking, she figured they'd go sit upstairs and hash it out, but if he was ready to talk, she wasn't going to stop him. Instead she stopped him from grabbing the bourbon, she wasn't about to let him hide behind the bottle.

"Abbs…" Gibbs' sighed. This is why he needed to have some time in the basement before they talked. He could hardly think straight. "I'm not angry with you." He was angry with himself. She might have gone a few steps to far, but this whole situation was his fault.

"It's okay if you are, Gibbs. We're allowed to be mad at each other. I'm pretty sure I broke at least half of your rules."


"Well, I did. I didn't exactly work as a team, so there is rule 15. I obviously got personally involved in a case, rule 10. I forgot my knife yesterday, which may have saved me some trouble if I had thought to bring it along. That would be rule 9. I was unreachable; I didn't wear gloves when I played around with some of the evidence, though I did figure it better to ask for forgiveness than seek permission. I did get that one right."

"Of course you would." The corner of Gibbs' mouth quirked up in a hint of a smile before he frowned again.

"Really though, if you're mad at me, tell me and we'll talk it through." Abby pushed the bottle further out of his reach. "Really, I can take it."

"I'm not mad at you-"

"You're mad at yourself? You can't control what I do, you know that. And yeah, it would've been nice to have been clued in to what happened 20 years ago, but I don't blame you for not saying anything. And I certainly understand why you did what you did, but you had no idea what Alejandro was up to when he asked me to DC for that symposium. That isn't your fault."

"Shouldn't have let you leave yesterday. I was awake. I decided to follow from a distance rather than stop you. I should have stopped you."

"You were awake?"

"When you kissed me goodbye? Yes, I was awake."

"I…" Abby scuffed her shoe on the floor. "I just… just in case something bad happened, I wanted to remember. And I… I couldn't tell you because you never would have let me meet up with Paloma and if I hadn't Bell might still be out there, after both of us and I… I'm glad it's over."

Gibbs moved closer and reached out to cup her cheeks in his hands, gently tilting her face upward. "I am too. Just wish you hadn't been involved."

"If I hadn't gotten involved, they'd have taken you to Mexico and I'd never see you again. They wouldn't have brought you to court, Alejandro would have brought you to Bell. Bell would've killed Alejandro and then you." Abby pushed his hands away so she could press her face to his chest and wrap her arms around him in a hug. "I couldn't let that happen."

When he was alone, sometimes that option didn't seem so bad. To just let whoever had it out for him get him and get it over with. But then, nights like this, with an arm full of Abby, it didn't matter if he was happy or sad, he was just thrilled to be.

"Gibbs?" Her voice was small and soft and muffled by his shirt.


"If you want to keep me safe, you have to keep me here." She moved to rest her chin on his shoulder and tightened her arms around him.

"I can do that," he said, kissing the shell of her ear gently. "But you'll have to let me. No more going off on your own."

"Same for you, Gibbs. No more just trying to deal with things quietly. I get that you don't like to talk, but let me know what's going on," she pulled back to look at him, giving her best attempt at a stern look. "Preferably before it all blows up in my face."

"I will do my best." Gibbs brushed a stray strand of hair from her face. "I always do my best for you, you know that."

"I know you do." Their lips were only inches apart when Abby pulled away. "You done down here?"

"I…" Gibbs smirked as she walked toward the steps, her hips swaying more than usual. "I guess I could clean up for the night."

"Okay, I'll be upstairs." Abby flashed a small smile and headed up the steps without a second glance.

Gibbs watched her go before putting his tools away and brushing the sawdust from his clothes. By the time he got up to the living room, he found the doors locked and the lights off and Abby waiting at the top of the stairs. "You waiting for me?" He met her at the top of the stairs with a soft kiss and a gentle shove toward the master bedroom.

Abby pulled out her PJ's and tossed them on the bed and then grabbed her bathroom kit and carried it through to the master bath to brush her teeth. When she returned, Gibbs had finished up in the bathroom down the hall and was sitting on the edge of the bed, in only his boxers, her pj's in his hands. "Don't think you'll be needing these."

"Oh?" Abby arched a brow. "And what if I get cold?"

Gibbs set the clothes aside and reached out for her, tugging her to his lap so he could wrap his arms around her. "Won't let you get cold."

Abby leaned in for a kiss and smiled against his lips.

"What're you smiling about?"

"When I left that morning, I thought that I might be ruining any possible chance with you. Thought that even if I did make it out of everything, you'd be too mad at me to want me."

"I told you already, I'm not mad at you."

"I can tell." Abby wriggled against his growing arousal, causing him to stifle a moan against her shoulder, and then pushed off his lap.

Gibbs moved to the side of the bed he normally slept on – the side by the door and pulled back the covers and slid between the sheets. He watched closely as Abby stripped down to her panties and crawled in beside him.

"Can you just hold me for a little bit?"

Gibbs welcomed her into his arms with a lingering kiss to her forehead. "Of course." Her bare skin was warm and comforting against his. This time he was in no hurry and was content to hold her. He stayed quiet as her hands slowly roamed over his chest, her fingers cataloging every dip, ridge and scar she came across. Suddenly she stilled and pressed further into his arms. "Everything okay?"

"I just think of all the times I came close to losing you, and I can't even imagine…"

Gibbs pushed her onto her back and covered her body with his. He didn't have any words to ease her worries, he didn't need words to ease her worries. Instead he kissed her softly, following an invisible trail from her lips, out along her neck and back again.

She responded instantly, wrapping her arms and legs around him, encouraging him with a soft moan.

Gibbs set a slow pace as he set out to explore Abby, cataloging every little response he pulled from her. Unlike their first time, this time he wasn't worried that something would happen to either one of them. He had all night, all weekend if they wanted to learn what made her gasp and beg for more.

He was happy that she seemed content to let him touch and taste every inch of her. Gibbs worked his way down her front, settling between her legs and sitting up. He loved her slender legs, and delicate ankles. He smiled and pressed a kiss to the side of her knee as she used her legs to try and pull him forward again. He loved that a few soft kisses had her breathing hard, her chest rising and falling, her pert nipples just begging to be pinched and kissed.

"Please..?" Abby lifted her head and shot Gibbs a pleading gaze. "Do something?"

"Hmm, like what?" Gibbs ran his knuckles up the inside of her thigh and smirked as her muscles trembled under his touch.

Abby wriggled free from her panties and threw them at Gibbs. "If you need a written guidebook, we might need to have a little conver-"

Gibbs cut her off by pushing a finger between her legs, swirling it around her wet heat.

Abby gasped and arched off the bed at the introduction of a second finger, pressing as closely as possible to his hand, groaning as he pressed the heel of his hand against her clit. "Want to take a moment to chat?" Gibbs leaned forward to press a kiss against her lips.

"I hate you," Abby laughed and pulled him in for another searing kiss, tilting her hips and pushing up against his hand.

His control was solid until he felt Abby's warm fingers slip inside his briefs. The moment he felt her fingers wrap around him, he dropped his forehead to her shoulder and let out a shaky breath. "God Abbs."

Abby nuzzled against his cheek and hummed happily as she stoked him, smiling to herself when it caused his fingers to stall. "You wanted to talk?"

"Mm hmm," Gibbs removed his fingers, wiping the wetness against her inner thigh before moving just far enough away to push his underwear off. He crawled back between her legs, dropping a kiss to her stomach before moving his lips to the spider web tattoo. When her fingers wrapped around him again, he lifted his head. He kept his gaze on her face as she guided him toward her warm entrance. He opened his mouth to speak, but when the words wouldn't form, he settled for pushing further into her and running his fingers along her cheek.

Abby gasped and dropped her head back against the pillow. "More, Gibbs. Faster."

Gibbs did as she asked, snapping his hips faster against hers, gritting his teeth to keep from coming before she did. "So close – nngh – come on Abbs..." He pressed a rough kiss to her lips and then pulled back. He watched as she shuddered beneath him, her breath coming in short gasps.

Gibbs knew the exact moment she reached her climax, he waited a moment to be sure before dropping his face to her neck and letting go, groaning as pleasure surged through his body.

It took what felt like forever before Gibbs had the energy to lift his head. Abby smiled warmly at him, told him she loved him and then pressed a gentle kiss to his lips before he had the chance to respond. He sat up and grabbed the blankets that had been pushed to the end of the bed and pulled them up over their cooling bodies. He lay on his back and pulled Abby into his arms, deciding that fighting sleep was useless. He didn't think they needed to talk, but if they did, there was always tomorrow.

"Gibbs?" Abby snuggled closer and pressed her face to his chest.

"Hmm?" He struggled to stay awake to hear her out.

"No more bad omens, okay? I like where we're at."

"Uh huh."

"Gibbs!" Abby shook him and patted his cheek to make sure he had heard.

"Yeah," Gibbs rolled over her, half covering her body with his. "No more bad omens. Promise."

Abby smiled and closed her eyes. She could live with that.