Author's Note: Written for the Gabby Forum's Creative Hiatus 2011 (week 1) with the prompt "Goodbye".


This was the worst part of working with agents. The part that was always feared, dreaded, even hated. The part where you follow your friends to the grave. When you say your goodbye for the last time and see them go to never come back again. How many funerals and memorials had they gone to over the years? She almost couldn't remember them all any longer; to be honest she didn't really want to know the exact number either.

Sitting on the porch in the almost dusk she stares out at the little area that is Gibbs' garden. After the ceremony had finished the team had all gathered up at his house. The sun had shined so they had sat on the porch, had a few beers together and talked a little. The usually so chatty little group had been rather quite though; all thinking about how life could change suddenly, without oneself having any control. The fact that everything could change in a flash, that everything they had could be lost in a second. That the ones you love and care about could be taken away from you at any moment...

Trying to brighten the mood, Ducky had told them a long and rather tragic story of his but it had all ended well with a comic twist, as it usually did, and that couldn't even keep a smile away from Gibbs' serious face. Abby had seen it and for a brief second it had felt like it was only a normal sunny afternoon.

As the sun had decended the people had began to drop off. Ziva had excused herself early and Palmer shortly after. McGee had left another hour later.

Tony, Ducky and Gibbs had moved to sit inside as the shadows had fallen over the garden but Abby lingered outside. She had moved from her chair to sit on the steps though.

It was nice to listen to the others conversation but today she couldn't escape the feeling that with each dear colleague or friend that fought their last battles out in the field, the closer to the ones she really cared about and loved the grim reaper would come.

Tony, Ziva and Gibbs had already had too many close calls. And then there were the guns, axes and threats that had been pointed at herself... She shook her head. She didn't like to think about it.

Before leaving, Tony came out and gave her a hug. Apparently the gentlemen had gone from beer to bourbon when they went inside because her friend was clearly more affected and had that subtle smell on his breath. Still holding her he began to ramble, "You are such an amazing friend Abby. And! you are so intelligent and smart and beautiful and funny and I love you Abby, you know that right? I love you sooo much!"

"Tony, the taxi is here now.", Gibbs suddenly calls out, effectively stopping Tony from talking any further.

Ducky comes to say good night and he hugs Abby too. He asks if she wants to share the cab with them, forgetting that she actually lives in the opposite direction until she declines the offer. Besides, she wouldn't want to leave yet, Gibbs' house being one of the few places where she always feels safe, but she doesn't tell them that.

He follows the two men to the door and watches them get into the car outside. Then he comes and sits down beside her on the step that she has claimed as her own.

"You've been very quiet today.", he states, looking up at the sky.

When she doesn't answer the question, that he actually didn't ask but that she knows is there, he looks at her. She doesn't face him but she can see his searching expression in the corner of her eye.

"I'm just worried about the next time. Everytime one of you guys risk your lives, it terrifies me."

"It's our job. You know that."

"I do. But the dangerous part where you run around with guns and gets shot at just never stops being scary. And if it's not a gun, it's a knife or a bomb or some crazy-ass assassins or a mixture of plague, cancer or some other freaking deceases!", she didn't mean to sound quite so upset. She takes a deep breath and lets out a deep sigh before continuing, "I'm sorry... It's just been a long day. I'm tired..."

Comforting, he puts his arm around her and pulls her closer. Enjoying the nearness of him, she moves as close as she can and lets her head rest against his shoulder.

"If you would...If anything would happen to you...", the lump in her throat appeares from nowhere, making it almost impossible to speak. When her eyes involuntary begin to water she keeps her gaze down, focusing at her own figeting hands. When she speaks again, her voice is just barely louder than a whisper, "I wouldn't know what to do. I don't think I could go on."

She feels his fingers under her chin as he forces her to look up and face him. At first she is adamant to look down, look to the side, basically look anywhere else than to meet his eyes, feeling nervous about what she would see in them. Feeling that perhaps she's said more than she should've, thinking that maybe she's said a bit more than she wanted.

Deciding that she doesn't have a choice she looks into his blue eyes.

Those sudden realisations that usually appears in books and movies when people look into each others eyes and know exactly what the other one is thinking doesn't happen. She can only tell that he is not smiling, he's not angry, he's not sad...

"Likewise"

His quiet one-word-sentence says it all and yet nothing. Does it mean that he feels exactly the same?

If she had the guts she'd kiss him right now only to see if he'd kiss her back.

But she doesn't. She just looks at him, feeling that she doesn't really understands and is actually unwilling to ask.

The seconds seems to drag on out to hours as they keep looking into each others eyes.

He is the first to break eye contact as his gaze begins to flicker over her face and focusing on her red lips instead. Closing the gap between them, he brushes his lips gently against hers.

Her breath hitches and she sits like frozen while her pulse is racing and she suddenly feels dizzy. This is almost unreal.

When she doesn't move a muscle he backs away from her, clearly thinking that he's made a serious mistake.

"Abs, I'm sorry.", he tells her while removing his arm and moving away from her.

"Rule 6.", she says quietly, a bit shocked still, looking out into the dark. She hadn't thought that she'd be the one that didn't react, but he had really taken her by surprise.
He gets up and turns to go inside and yet again she's too slow to react. Quickly she gets up and grabs his arms before he can get inside.
"And don't be."

He turns to look at her and this time she acts immediately. Reaching up to cup his face, she kisses him; attempting to conjure up everything that she feels and let him know with just one action.

When she feels his arms hug around her waist, pulling her closer, every bit of worry and sadness disappears, and however great and special this moment is she has to break the kiss. She can impossibly prevent herself from giggling like crazy and the somewhat surprised look on Gibbs' face is really not helping her to stop.

The whole day she had been focusing so much on how quickly ones life could get awful and horrible, completely ignoring the fact that ones life actually could turn into lovely and amazing in just the same amount of time.

Once the giggles are under control she looks him in the eyes again, "I feel, that for us, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, this is not the end. It is only the beginning."