NCIS and all of its wonderful characters – no they don't belong to me. Sigh, they never will. Some of them do belong to each other, though, don't you agree?

Sawdust and Gunpowder – Abby and Gibbs draw closer and the lines begin to blur, moment by moment, day by day, crisis by crisis. Some of those moments follow:

Rating – T (Fair warning the sequel: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee is rated M)

FWandFS (Fair Winds and Following Seas): First Fanfic in this Fandom. Have written others as FeliciaMaplewood for Scarecrow and Mrs. King…Yes, I am dating myself by admitting that.


Chapter 5 –

Explosives: Handle With Care

"Well…why not Abby?" Tony suggested, floating a trial balloon.

"Because she's not an agent, DiNozzo." Gibbs shot back without looking up from the paper he was writing on.

"Well then, boss, I think we're screwed." The very special agent stated matter-of-factly, courting Gibbs' temper.

Gibbs looked up with patent annoyance. There had to be a better solution.

"Much as I hate to agree with Tony on anything," Ziva interjected, "he may have a point." She shrugged. "They've seen me, Tony and McGee. They will sniff a 'cop' on any of our female agents. This mission is not complicated; it should be sliced and dried."

"Smell a cop, Ziva, cut and dried. Really, McGee and I should chip in and buy you a book on idioms." Tony threw in.

"You are generosity, itself, Tony." She looked at him coolly, like a queen barely acknowledging a courtier before turning back to Gibbs. "Do not underestimate Abby."

"I'm not underestimating her," Gibbs shot back. "She belongs in the lab." He said with finality, unaware of Abby's arrival from the elevator.

"Of course I belong in lab!" Abby surprised them springing up behind them. "Just give me something to do there. Dog hairs, tire treads, monkey feathers…come on guys, anything!" She pleaded.

"Workin' on it, Abbs." Gibbs replied laconically.

"Cool." Abby gave him a thumbs up. "So then, why should I be out of the lab?" She stood to attention in her own perky manner.

"You shouldn't" Gibbs replied shortly, as Tony simultaneously said "We need you!"

Abby's turned her head from one to the other, following them like a ping pong ball. "Whoa. Teamwork, guys. Gotta play nice in the sandbox." Her jibe would have elicited a smile from Gibbs if Tony hadn't pissed him off so much.

Tony rushed on, heedless of Gibbs' cold stare. "The Boss needs a girlfriend."

"Ah…" Abby blanched, this was not what she expected. Could the team have figured out what she had worked so hard to hide?

"Just for a mission, Abby." Ziva placated her, standing alongside her. She pulled up a new slide on the monitor showing a gated large estate complex. "Finally, we have found ties between the victims. It seems that they have each once resided on this estate. Four of the victims are young women associated as the love interests of known criminals. It would appear that Petty Officer Curtis was looking into one of the deaths as a courtesy to a friend. His friend's sister was one of the victims. We can assume, however, that he got in the way."

Tony jumped in standing on her other side, "It's gotta be Gibbs that goes in with a honey. Can't use any of us, they've seen me and Ziva and McGee. Not that anyone would seriously think that McGeek looks like a criminal….well maybe the weaselly little counterfeiter in the basement, but…Ow!" He flinched as Abby punched him the shoulder.

Abby never held anything back when she let fly. McGee was like a cousin to her now, and only she got to pick on him. "Where is McGee?" Abby asked.

"Probably came to warn you that Tony's cheese finally slipped off his cracker." Gibbs said dryly as he stapled the documents on his desk with more force than necessary before slapping them down on the manila folder in front of him.

Abby stared up at the pictures of the victims as the next slide came up on the screen. She stood in reflective thought for only a minute.

"I'll do it." Abby said resolutely.

"No, Abbs, you won't." Gibbs stood, prepared to set them all straight. This debate was over. He met her eyes reluctantly. He didn't want to hurt her with his refusal. But he expected to see nervous hesitation, and was met only with calm purpose in her green eyes.

"You don't have anyone else."

"You're not a field agent." Gibbs countered.

"So? You'll keep me safe." Abby said with utter confidence. "You can't wait until another woman dies for more clues, Gibbs."

He had no argument for that. It was what they all did – protect and serve. Provide justice to the fallen and give them the voice to name their executioner. He couldn't stomach seeing another young woman laid out on one of Ducky's tables any more than she could.

His gut was unsettled. Could he keep her safe? Was he absolutely certain? It was only reconnaissance. They needed to get a foot in the door of that estate ASAP. Reluctantly, he had to agree that Ziva was right. Any of the female agents other than Ziva might as well carry a badge and harness if they walked in there with him. It was written in their stride and their bearing, they were all solid investigators but not skilled in subterfuge like his team was. Abby at least had a connection with him. Hadn't they managed to fool those idiots at the cotillion – and those were people who actually knew her. How hard could it be to fool strangers?

Tony watched and could see the Boss waver as he held Abby's steady gaze. Abby had that effect on him that nobody else did. Tony marveled to himself, it was only Abby who ever really changed Gibbs' mind about anything. He could see the scales tip as Gibbs cheek muscles tightened and his hands clenched and relaxed. When Gibbs looked away, he knew Abby had won.

"I'll talk to Leon," Gibbs said with a trace of resignation. "Don't plan anything, though, 'cause he is not going to agree." Gibbs looked up to the doors of MTAC and the Director's office and his lips tightened. Vance had better not let him down.


The Director let him down.

As he had leaned back in his chair and listened to Gibb's half-hearted proposal, Leon Vance chewed on a toothpick. "Ms. Scuito has proven her worth in the field a few times now," he said consideringly. "I don't know that we really have any other options, unless we turn it over to the FBI."

He had seen Gibbs' shoulders tighten reflexively and kept his smile to himself. Leroy Jethro Gibbs might be a pain in his ass, but some days Leon could dish it right back to him. Nothing pissed Gibbs off more than the threat of handing off a navy case, but that was just gravy. The investigation was the bottom line and she really was their best shot at entrance into the complex. He phoned down to Agent McGee to prepare their documentation and to Agent David to prepare Ms. Scuito. Given Gibbs' temper, he felt it was better to leave Special Agent DiNozzo out of the equation.

"I know you're very protective of Ms. Scuito," Leon felt the waters before going on. At Gibbs' speaking look of impatience, he continued. "Nothing should happen to her."

"Should doesn't cut it, Leon!" Gibbs shot back.

"This was your idea, Gibbs." Leon reminded him in his resonant baritone.

"No. It was DiNozzo's stupid idea." Gibbs paced the office rubbing the back of his neck.

"You have a better one?"

"No."

"Then quit complaining, Gibb. Go prepare your team." Leon sat upright and reached across his desk to make a call. The discussion was over and Gibbs was being dismissed. Frankly Leon wasn't sure if Gibbs wouldn't take a swing at him if the discussion continued. Better to end it now.

"And Gibbs…"

"Yeah?"

"Good Luck." Vance nodded at him as Gibbs turned away without acknowledging him and pulled the office door shut behind him just short of a slam.


"What time is our appointment?" Gibbs asked for confirmation.

"One o'clock boss. I've got your driver's license and credit cards here for your wallet. Your name is Gibson Domenico Capanula. In case Abby slipped and called you Gibbs, we wanted it to seem natural. And we set up a pretty deep criminal history out for you on the web. There's a BOLO out for you in Georgia and Tennessee. We pulled connections that were not close to any of the known parties who use the place now. Figured we'd keep it as clean and uncomplicated as we could. And…" McGee's voice trailed off as he saw Abby step off the elevator with Ziva.

"Yeah, McGee?" Gibbs sounded impatient.

"Yeah, uh, well…I think we've got it covered." McGee swallowed as he looked at Abby. She didn't look like herself, but she did look, well…, hot.

"Ta Da!" Abby announced as she entered their bullpen area. Raising her open palms to acknowledge silent applause, she twirled around for their review.

Gibbs swallowed hard as his eyes traveled up from her narrow black ankle boots to the sleek black catsuit she wore with a thick silver chain threaded around her waist. The top clung to her like second skin accentuating her high, round breasts just below the scoop neck. Her hair was pulled back into a relaxed bun, but loose wisps framed her face making her look available and alluring. Her eyes were smoky and her lips full and crimson. Her cool white hands now rested on her hips with shapely nails that were as red as sudden justice. Like a hot rod, she looked built for sex and speed.

A wolf whistle cut through the silence, and Gibbs snapped "Pick your jaw up off the floor, DiNozzo!" without ever taking his eyes off Abby. She smiled at the silent appreciation in his eyes.

She approached him with a sultry step before running a fingernail down the length of his rust colored leather jacket. She brought her gaze up to his and murmured, "So sugar, when do we go lookin' at some real estate?" Her soft New Orleans drawl came as naturally as café au lait and beignets to a girl brought up in Louisiana.

If any of the Team had wondered if Abby and Gibbs could look like a couple for this assignment, they needn't have. The heat that shot between their eyes left no doubt why this 'couple' wanted private real estate. Hell, the moment looked so intimate that a few of them looked away in embarrassment, though certainly not Tony.

"Yeow! Abby you look hot! Man if I was looking for a place to keep a little nookie on the side I would so do yo…"

"Do what, DiNozzo?" Gibbs snapped, his hand reaching protectively for the small of Abby's back. He glared at the younger agent. Had he been any closer, he would have slapped the back of Tony's head so hard he would have had whiplash.

"Uh, do nothing, Boss…" Tony suddenly became very busy at his desk, but looked up surreptitiously at the unlikely couple.

"Your car and driver are waiting downstairs. Abby, do not forget that you need to…" Ziva was interrupted.

"S'okay, Ziva, I know." Abby replied throatily, but she did not look away from Gibbs.

"You ready?" he asked gently, concern for her evident in his deep blue eyes.

She nodded, and for once she was without words. It was one of his superpowers, she swore it. Abby never knew how he managed to use those eyes for good and evil within one minute or even one sentence. One moment he was shredding Tony's ego to ribbons, the next providing warm refuge when she was frightened.

"Ready as I'll ever be." She tilted her head and smiled gamely. Only Gibbs would know how frightened she truly was.

He placed his hand gently but firmly to the small of her back and guided her to the elevator. "Back to work, people!" He called out over his shoulder. He swore one of these days he was going to buy a bullwhip to get their attention.

As he got on the elevator, though, he forgot the Team and focused on her alone. "We don't have to do this, Abbs," he murmured as the doors shut.

"What? We totally have to do this. We got the ID's, the background check, the driver, the appointment. It would look so hinky if we backed out now." Abby spewed out all her reasons in a rapid fire clip.

Gibbs punched the elevator stop button. "Yeah. But we don't have to do this if you don't want to, Abs. We'll find another way." He was calm itself. There was nothing that he would put before her welfare. If she wasn't ready for this, there was no way he would push her.

Abby blew a sharp breath towards her bangs in frustration. He wasn't making this any easier.

"Kiss me, Gibbs." She demanded.

"What?" he looked stunned.

Well that was a first, anyway. She had actually caught him by surprise. "Seriously, Gibbs. How can I act like I'm your super-hot sex toy when we've never even kissed. I mean, I know we've kissed each other lots of times, like when I do a good job or under mistletoe, or…" Abby paused in her nervous rambling as he turned her towards him, gently holding her by the hips and moving in close.

He looked at her intently, communicating without words as only Gibbs could. It was her move to make.

She laid her arms nervously on his shoulders. It shouldn't feel this awkward, something that she had wanted so much for so long. She breathed in the comforting and appealing scent that was uniquely Gibbs, heady and spicy with a touch of something else. "You smell like sawdust," she laughed quietly taking her time and enjoying the closeness of him. He didn't hurry her and she liked that. She didn't want this over too soon.

"Yeah?" His smile pulled to one side as he gazed down at her intently. He bent and kissed her ear as she shivered. He loved her uncontrolled reaction to him. "You smell like gunpowder, you know."

A sensuous smile spread across her face as her eyes became heavy-lidded. She twined her hands behind his neck, sinking her graceful fingers into his finely cropped silver hair. "You know what they make with sawdust and gunpowder, gunny?" Her eyes shut gently as she closed the distance and whispered across his lips, "Fireworks!"

Amen to that, he thought before all thoughts fled entirely. Oh Yeah…Fireworks!

Finis—


(Sort of – Story will have a sequel for mature audiences only as Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (rated M). First chapter should be up in a few days).

THANK YOU! to Superbeau, Miss Madonna24, bbfan, tanya2byour21, mibel, periodically chlorinated, and STLFAN, Ziver69, cheether, CALLEN37, ncislove, punkcatwitissues, timundvin and gosgirl for taking the time to review! Those reviews made me so happy (sometimes made me rethink) and always made me grateful. Reviews are better than gold!