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Abby had every intention of talking to Mcgee. However, having that conversation, putting herself out there for acceptance or rejection or whatever was going to come out of it was not an easy thing to do. Her head was a bit of a mess. It wasn't like she ever really stopped thinking but thinking today was wearing her out. Worry and fear were not her friends. Before she went to Mcgee's she decided she had one more thing to do. She needed validation from someone who knew her, who loved her but was not in love with her. Abby needed Papa Bear. It would probably also be beneficial to make absolutely sure he wouldn't tell her to forget it or lose her lab, or fire Tim. And if he did tell her rule 12… well there were other rules that could contradict that one. Oh yes, using the rules against him, that would go over well. She killed her engine in his driveway. Step one, seek approval. Order was important. It didn't hurt that it gave her more stalling time, like dealing with Tony; dealing with Gibbs was a good way to put off the main event.

Gibbs could tell a lot about which of the "kids" was coming to his basement before he ever laid eyes on them. With both Abby and Tony, he could pretty much gather their mood before they hit the bottom of the steps. Ziva too, although there were still times he looked up and saw her watching him before he was aware anyone had joined him. Tim never really came to the basement like the others, if he wanted something he typically stayed on the ground level. Still not wanting to intrude. Even that was rare. Tonight he could hear that Abby would be joining him. He could hear her boots clunking overhead. She paused before starting on the stairs. Well she hadn't talked to Mcgee yet. If she had she wouldn't be hesitating. She stopped halfway down the stairs, then at the bottom of the staircase. Gathering courage meant she was nervous. She didn't need to be. Always making it harder on herself then it should have been. He'd seen this one coming for quite some time.
Abby made it to the boat and ran her hand along the smooth surface. Gibbs was sanding on the opposite side. "Hey Abs." "Hi Gibbs." Silence. She watched him sand for a few more minutes.

Finally, He started "This have something to do with the floor show today?" "Yeah, going to talk to him later." "Pretty sure that's between the two of you." "Not if you fire him. Or me." She looked at Gibbs as he considered a particularly annoying bit of wood that wouldn't cooperate. "Abs, I haven't fired either one of you yet." "I know but if we break Rule 12 this time it might be different." Gibbs looked up at her in his all knowing way. "Think that went out the door before I ever hired Mcgee." They usually were pretty good at keeping the grab ass out of the office. Rule 12 wasn't meant to keep you from people you loved. He knew Abby knew that as well. As it turned out, Rule 12 was a pretty good front to hide behind when you were running from commitment.

If he had found it necessary to intervene, he would have put a stop to their dating when they actually had been, although he was sure they'd been breaking Rule 12 off and on ever since they initially ended things. The real issue for her coming to his basement had to be lurking somewhere in that head of hers. "You don't care then?" "I would care if I thought you were doing something that would end up hurting you. But I don't think that's part of Mcgee's plan." They were at the real issue. Now the guise of the rules had been dealt with. "What if something goes wrong Gibbs? What if he decides I'm not what he wants?" "Then you fix it. And I don't think you need to worry about the second part Abs. I've read his books. Know you have too. Mcgee's not exactly subtle."

Was that ever the truth? Gibbs really hadn't needed to know that much about his forensic scientist's bedroom. Abby nodded, subtly was not Tim's strongest attribute, especially in his writing, there had been a lengthy discussion about exactly how much of her life he could detail after the first book came out. Half of the country could probably navigate her apartment. Abby waited a few more minutes contemplating their conversation. Then she had walked over to his side of the boat and hugged him. "Thanks Gibbs." He ran his thumb down the side of her jaw. The sign was a gesture he reserved for when she really needed it. His girl. The first to burst her way into his life after he was sure the parent in him was dead. The one who started their odd little family. "Don't want him getting hurt either Abs." She understood the warning. Be careful. Don't break him. All or nothing. No going back. Point taken.

Mcgee had successfully managed to do almost nothing since his arrival home hours before. After dropping his things in their designated spots and taking his dog outside, a near catatonic state had been assumed. Thinking was driving him crazy. Who knew when Abby would decide to talk to him. It was really pointless to attempt to prepare in any sense of the word. She would find him and everything would slip out of his head and leave him a mumbling mess. Experience had taught him as much. It was also more than likely ridiculous to hope she could want more from him. But, there had been and still were occasional times when she would show up at his apartment. He was never quite sure what she was looking for when she came. Sometimes she was content to wrap herself around him and spend the whole night watching mindless television. But when she wasn't it was like being together again. Letting himself get lost in her was worth every repercussion. After she was gone, things would return to the status quo. Her being there was a double edged sword, he wouldn't trade their time together for anything but the apartment was always so empty when she left. Mcgee was getting tired of alone. He had tried making it work with other people. But nobody was ever quite good enough, not quite right. In reality, nobody was ever quite Abby. The knock on the door broke his train of thought.

Opening the door revealed that Abby had followed through on her promise. Not that there was ever a question that she would. Mcgee let the door swing open and moved aside to let her in. Entering his apartment was a well rehearsed event; boots off by the door, keys on his cabinet and bag wherever it landed. Then came Jethro. Running her fingers through the dogs fur was calming. Stalling with the dog couldn't last forever. Life altering decisions were far too difficult. She was being ridiculous. Moving to stand in front of Mcgee her heart felt like it was beating out of her chest. Her mind was going at warp speed. They had reached the turning point. Now or never. But then she looked at him, and he was just Tim standing there waiting for her to say something. How many times had they been in this position? Timmy, the same constant he had been in her life since she first talked to him on the phone forever and a day ago. She stepped forward and clung onto him. Hands clasping at his shirt, head buried in his chest. There was a finality in the moment that grounded her, gave her a seriousness she tended to try and avoid. He let her rest against himself for a bit, enfolding her in his arms. Just when he was starting to think this was some kind of Abby-esque goodbye her voice brought him back out of his head.

"Tim, if it's okay with you I'd like to be done." Fear crept over his body. "Done with what, Abby?" "Pretending, looking, denying, being scared, whatever it is I've been doing all this time. I'm done. I want to be with you again if you'll let me. I know I've made a mess of things and I'm sorry that it's taken so long for me to try and fix. But I'm done. If I'm honest about it I picked you a long time ago and I've been too scared to do anything about it. I have lost so many people. If something had happened, if you say no now… I can't lose you too." She wasn't saying no. She was saying exactly what he had always wanted her to. Hope beyond hope somehow seemed to be working for him this time. "Abby, I am never going to willingly leave you. I will always do absolutely everything I can to come back." He felt her nod against his chest, trembling in a very unAbby way and pulled her tighter against him. Her fears weren't unfounded.

The job had claimed their friends over the years, her parents dead long before he knew her. Abby did not do well alone. It was why she always went into panic mode at any threat they faced. Then Kate's death had rocked Abby to her very core. It had been the final straw; Kate was one last person she couldn't stand to lose. He had sometimes wondered, when he allowed himself to think of such things, if Kate hadn't died, if things would be different for them. If Abby had been able to keep Kate, could she have been more open to keeping him as well? But the past was the past and now she was here with him, choosing him. He was good with being done. He'd wanted to be done the first time they had been together. "You'll let me love you? However I want? For as long as I want? You're serious this time? Abby, I can't keep going the way we have been. Please be serious."

There would be no backing away this time. She had made her decision and now she was accepting it. Tim was it for her, always had been, always would be. "Yes, Mcgee, I'd really like that. Loving you back too, If it's okay with you." With the smile he gave her, you would have thought she handed him the key to the world. Then he was kissing her. Relief washed over her. Everything was right. For the first time in years, the pieces seemed to fall perfectly into place, some of the chaos that was her mind calmed. Tim's relief at not losing her, at getting exactly what he'd wanted quickly turned into figuring out how to remove anything with a fang or spike from her body. Bloodshed tended to put a damper on kissing her and he didn't intend to stop for quite some time. In fact, he didn't think he'd ever be letting her go again if he got his way. And if the recent turn of events was any indication he would apparently be getting his way. That thought was still blowing his mind.

Tony raised his fist to knock on Mcgee's door the next morning. Hopefully, Mcgee wouldn't be too mad at him anymore. At least it wasn't like he'd angered Ziva. Going to her place to apologize would probably require dodging bullets, knives and her ninja skills before he could even get a word in edgewise. He'd have to remember that the next time he ended up with his foot in his mouth around her. The wrath of the Ninja was kind of fun. He didn't think Mcgee would come out shooting but that dog of his was a little scary. It had tasted human blood after all. Banging on the door, he waited until Mcgee opened it, gave him a questioning look, and moved aside to let him in. "Okay, McTim, yesterday I crossed a line. I've come offering peace. I promise to not bring up the lab rat again and to try and spread the love more evenly between you and Probette." Tim considered him for a minute. It might be worth it to see what all he could get Tony to agree to before letting him off the hook. He wasn't even mad at him. Yesterday had ended too well to worry about Tony's behavior. Tony was Tony, take it or leave it. After all he could always keep yesterday's incident for future blackmail. Once DiNozzo had finished speaking he waited, hoping Mcgee wasn't going to draw this out and make him actually pay for his comments for once.

"What's done is done Tony, but I'm telling Ziva you're calling her Probette again. I'm sure she'll be thrilled." "Fair enough…" he started but it was then that he noticed the boots and the bag and the fanged necklace scattered across Mcgee's living room."Wait a second. Abby's here?" Tim stopped to consider what he should say but decide he was past caring. She was with him. She wasn't going anywhere. There had been more talking before they finally feel asleep. When he woke up, she was still there, hadn't changed her mind and snuck off in the middle of the night. By some miracle, Abby was all in. That was all that mattered. "She's asleep." "Seriously? You should get documentation. There's a pool going at work about whether or not she actually sleeps." Mcgee couldn't help but laugh. Abby at work and Abby at home could be very different. He was sure more pools existed. If there was enough money in them maybe he'd even start joining, he was reasonably sure he would win. "Outside of work, we have a longstanding limited Caf-Pow agreement." He could see the questions forming in Tony's mind. The interrogation could come later. He corralled Tony towards the door and had it open before the first question could find its way out. Saying his goodbyes he closed the door after his friend. He still had his weekend, Two whole days with Abby. He seemed to know that this time it was different. Must have been some kind of instinct. They were going to work. If she got scared, he'd remind her. She was still there and he wasn't going anywhere. Except back to his bedroom.