Title: Four Times Gibbs saved Abby, and the One Time He Didn't
Author: Zabby
Pairing: Gibbs/Abby
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: 9x04
Author's Note: For Bluefirebird on the Gabby Forum! Sorry if this fic took a side street from the original prompt. Whumping and Gibbs led to other avenues. ;)

This first time Gibbs saved her, Abby wasn't really in any danger. Well, any physical danger. She was, however, in danger of losing the chance to work at NCIS without even realizing it.

Abby wanted the job at NCIS. Not just wanted it; needed it. Sure, there were plenty of forensics labs around the country that would kill to have someone like her working for them. But Abby wanted her first choice. And her first choice was NCIS. She wanted the chance to work near the country's capital, Washington, D.C, home of the President and all kinds of exotic adventures. She wanted to work with an organization with the reputation NCIS had. She wanted the best.

Dropping her travel size Caf-Pow! into the trash receptacle, Abby Sciuto took a deep breath as she examined the elevator in front of her. She had a 9am appointment with the director of NCIS, and looking down at her chunky, black watch with a rhinestone skull gleaming out at her, she figured she was about fifteen minutes early. Early is on time, and on time is late, her mother would often tell her. And it was a lesson Abby learned young. So, here she was, early for her interview. Only problem? She had to actually get on the elevator.

Abby didn't know when her nerves had overtaken her, when her usual outgoing personality had been slammed by fear. But she was frozen where she stood, doubting her ability of succeeding at the interview, fearing her qualifications wouldn't be enough. The same qualifications that had made her one of the most sought after forensics scientists in the country, even fresh out of graduate school.

Despite glowing reviews and recommendations from both her professors and colleagues, multiple publications in peer-reviewed publications, and being wined and dined by the best research and crime labs, she just couldn't seem to get her feet to move. Abby was at the top of her field – leading the field, in fact – and she couldn't get her platform-booted feet to get close enough for her to push the unlit elevator button. It just sat there, taunting her. Abby glared it at like the button had personally offended it, willing her hand to reach out and push. But nothing. She was frozen.

She was considering an escape route back to her hearse when a salt-and-pepper haired man stopped alongside of her. From her peripheral, Abby could see him glance briefly from her stacked, black boots, to her pleated skirt, to her briefcase, and to finally resting on her face after taking a brief moment to examine the visitor's pass pinned to the lapel of her buttoned vest. Before she could mumble through an awkward greeting to the attractive older man, the elevator door dinged open, and he stepped forward, holding it for her.

Her feet refused once more to move until a raise of an eyebrow and a smirk of his way too sexy lips propelled her forward. She finally made it in and took a deep breath when the stranger stood next to her after pressing a button for an upper floor. As the door slid closed and the car pushed them up, the man turned to her, holding out a hand. "Name's Gibbs, Special Agent Gibbs."

His blue eyes held her captive, nerves for the upcoming interview melting away to be replaced by butterflies in the pit of her stomach when his large hand enveloped her smaller one. "Abby Sciuto. I'm here to interview with Director Morrow for the forensics specialist position."

The eyebrow lift and sexy smirk were back as he processed the information, looking towards the doors again. He leaned forward and pushed a second button; the floor that would lead to her interview. "That so?" he asked almost to himself, the gleam in his eyes making her pull at her skirt, second-guessing her wardrobe choice.

But no, she was Abby. She wasn't going to be changing herself for any job, no matter how much she wanted the position. If she was meant to work at NCIS, her resume and abilities would have to speak for themselves, black nails or not. But still, the nagging worries and self-doubt were coming back, forcing her to chew on her lower lip.

"Any suggestions?" she asked, hoping she didn't sound too desperate.

Feeling the elevator car sliding to a stop, she tried to hide the pleading in her eyes, keeping her own gaze locked on the closed elevator doors. The last thing she wanted to do was feel desperate, and her face was trying to give her away. He turned to her one last time as he left with the simple phrase, "Just be…you."

Abby kept her eyes on him as elevator closed again, propelling her to the floor above where her interview awaited. Just be you. She heard the deep rumble of his voice in her head as she walked out of the car, following the directions she'd obtained to the Director's office. Glancing to the side, she could see the special agent watching her from the floor below, surrounded by computers and cubicles. Abby nodded once to him in thanks, giving him a small smile before turning back to the door leading to her interview.

Taking a deep breath, she turned the doorknob and shifted inside, quietly surprised at the strength the stranger's words had given her.

An hour later, Abby slipped from the Director's office, drained but satisfied with her performance during the interview. She'd managed to make a good impression, at least she hoped so. Director Morrow seemed impressed with her background, and every question he gave her, Abby fielded with detailed, intelligent answers. Now, she could only hope.

Desperate to escape for a little peace and Caf-Pow!, Abby stopped herself from running to the elevator, instead, taking careful, measured steps. The last thing she'd want to do is trip and fall in front of the security cameras she was sure were installed all over the building. The elevator opened quickly, and she stepped inside. As the doors began to slide closed, Abby caught a glimpse of the silver-haired fox that she'd met earlier. Slightly disappointed that they would not meet up again – at least not unless she got the job, she gave him another smile as the doors came to their final position.

With a final shake of her body, Abby released the nervous energy that had taken residence inside of her. Wouldn't do her any good to worry and fret until the final call came. Until then, she would treat herself to her regular, over-caffeinated beverage and maybe that new collar she'd seen in a specialty store. The white leather collar and star called to her. And it was just the thing she could use to distract herself.

Gibbs knew without looking that Morrow had walked up behind him, and he asked without turning. "How'd it go?"

No longer insulted by the lead agent's more…abrupt manner, Morrow answered after some consideration. "She's good, damn good. We'd be lucky to have her here. Even though our lab isn't as 'high-tech' as others out there, Ms. Sciuto made it quite clear she wants to work with us. There's just the one problem…" He trailed off, not wanting to ready to voice his concerns.

"What's that, Sir?" Gibbs perhaps didn't have the manners some of the other agents did. Really, he didn't need them; long as he got the job done. So, when his questions were short, even towards the powerful director beside him, Gibbs wasn't worried. Morrow knew his methods, knew to rely on the results. And if sometimes the agent came across as gruff or rude, he knew the director would just ignore him in the end.

"Don't know that she'd fit in here. Look at her style of dress, her hair, those boots. That's not the kind of impression we need our forensics specialist to make on the witness stand. Her credibility would be questioned simply by the cobweb on her neck. I don't see how…" Uncharacteristically, the director's words faded away, leaving dead air in the conversation, his frustration evident.

"What about the other applicants?"

Director Morrow snorted as if Gibbs had told a joke. "The other applicants had nothing compared to what that girl completed with her first Bachelor's degree, let alone the rest of her education and experience."

The two men were silent, each left to their thoughts. Finally, Gibbs cleared his throat and without looking at the man beside him, said, "You can always get a person to dress different, to cover a tattoo and wear different shoes. But if she's everything you say, I don't think we could get someone more qualified. Give her a shot, Director. She'll be on a probationary period anyhow. If she doesn't work out, you can always look again."

And with that, the senior agent walked away, in his hand a perpetual coffee cup, the fate of a certain black-haired scientist saved by his insight.