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?

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (sequel to Sawdust and Gunpowder) – Boundaries get crossed and bridges get burned. Will Abby and Gibbs ever get on the same page?

Rating – M. Not for kiddos. Really.

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

Thank you to the kind reviewers and patient readers. My regrets for the long delay in updating. Real life – sick kids, work school and (most frustrating of all) writer's block – all got in the way.

Mikhail Ostenpenchevko spat at Abby's feet in disgust. This chick was a waste of space. She had told them nothing. Just useless ramblings with scientific mumbo jumbo.

"Dose her." He barked at Nick, his trained interrogator.

"I told you, I can't give her anymore sodium pentothal. Not for a few hours…" Nick argued.

"The Rohypnol, you idiot. She's useless. We drug her and ditch her."

Nick was perversely relieved. He felt oddly protective of the tattooed girl. He wanted her far gone from them all. He poured the Rohypnol into some apple juice and brought it to Abby's lips.

"Abby," he murmured. "You need to drink this."

Even disoriented as she was, Abby rebelled, pursing her lips and turning her head away. "No! Can't make me drink that. Think I'm gonna make it easy for him?"

"It's OK Abby." Nick cajoled. "Just drink this and all of this will go away, OK?" He tilted her head back and pinched her nose as he poured the apple juice in her mouth as she opened to breathe in. Abby coughed and sputtered as she swallowed.

She glared at him. "You think I'll just forget? Bull!" She tilted her head at Paulie lurking in the darkened corner. "They kill them. Sodium Pentothal, Rohypnol and then pfft…they strangle them. All four of them!" She turned her wrath on Mikhail. "But you kill me, asshole, and you won't be able to run far enough before Gibbs gets you." Her voice dropped to a vicious whisper, "And God help you when he does."

"You strangled them?" Nick whirled on Mikhail furiously. That hadn't been part of the plan. Nick had done many things he wasn't proud of, but he drew the line at murder.

"She doesn't know what she's talking about." Mikhail shrugged not meeting Nick's eyes. "She's drugged out and confused."

"She had truth serum, she can't lie!" Nick shot back furiously, realizing that Abby had spoken the truth. "She knew about all of them. How could she know about all of them and lie?"

Mikhail's cold eyes met his interrogator's. "You didn't need to know, but now you do. Feel better?" His tone was sarcastic. He pulled out his pistol to finish this quickly, if they knew that the others were strangled, he might as well shoot this one.

Nick stood between them holding Paulie's spare pistol that he grabbed off the desk behind him shakily. He swallowed hard. "If you're going to shoot her, you'll have to shoot me first."

The mob boss suddenly decided that Nick had outlived his usefulness. Mikhail lifted one shoulder in a shrug. "Ok, then." He lifted his gun and one shot rang out, and then another.

"This is an FBI operation, Jethro. You go in behind us." Tobias Fornell adopted a customary bulldog stance.

"Won't be a problem," Gibbs rejoined.


"As long as none of your men comes between me and Ostenpenchevko." Gibbs finished. "Wouldn't want any of your agents to get hurt."

"Gibbs…," Fornell warned.

Gibbs stepped in nose to nose with Fornell in the alley as the metro train rumbled overhead into Silver Springs Station. "I don't have time for a pissing match, Tobias. Get your men ready. My people already are." He turned his back on the FBI agent and sprinted back to rejoin Ziva, Tony and McGee at the fire exit of the empty office building. McGee had traced their suspects to this seemingly innocuous location in the middle of the quiet Maryland city.

He could the feel the tension coiled within him. Abby was behind those doors, hurt but God willing she was alive. Fornell had exactly one minute to get his act together or he was going in without them. Screw the damn FBI.

One shot rang out, then another. Terror clawed his gut before military training took over. "Go!" he shouted but Tony was already kicking in the door. They fanned out, clearing room by room as Gibbs sprinted up the staircase Ziva at his side. The shots had been fired above them. McGee and DiNozzo were only steps behind them.

As they turned the corner into a wide Spartan office, they saw Mikhail clutching his right thigh with blood blossoming from the wound. Nick's lanky form lay sprawled on the ground a wound high in the chest spilling blood in a widening circle beneath him. Miraculously Abby wasn't wounded by the gunfire, but was clearly injured and disoriented, sagging against her bonds in the chair. Gibbs heart stuttered and kick started back into life. He hadn't lost her. Come hell or high water, he would never lose her again.

Gibbs started towards her, unaware of Paulie lurking in the shadows until the crack of a bullet split the silence.

"Drop it, asshole. You're outnumbered." DiNozzo warned, training a gun on him. The hulking guard cried out as Ziva's knife whizzed through the air, pinning his shooting arm to the wall immediately behind him.

"The Ninja strikes again!" Tony admired, even as McGee disarmed Ostenpenchevko and seated him, calling through an intercom link for medical assistance. Mikhail had a flesh wound, but Nick's wound was more serious.

Ziva darted forward to apply pressure to Nick's wound, as the man became steadily paler. She looked up to report on his condition to Gibbs but was rendered speechless, as were Tony and McGee.

"Gibbs!" Abby murmured as a beatific smile washed over her.

He kneeled and captured her face in hands that were shaking in relief as he leaned in to kiss her thoroughly. "Abby…My Abbs." His fingers lightly traced the bruising across her cheeks and cuts near her eyes and lip. Later, he would make them pay for those. But for now, he was just so grateful for her steady pulse and the warm pull of her lips as he pressed one and another kiss on her.

"I knew you'd come." She sighed, as Gibbs moved behind her to release her from her bonds. "Didn't tell them anything, knew the rules."

His throat tightened at her faith in him and her quiet courage. He had almost been too late. Gibbs squatted and wrapped her arms around his neck before rising to lift her easily in his arms. "Easy, Abbs." He whispered reassuringly as she rested confidingly against him.

The room began to dim and blacken around her, but she was safe now. Gibbs had her. Abby let the darkness overtake her.

"You got this?" Gibbs met Tony's wide questioning eyes, nodding towards Mikhail.

"Yeah, Boss."

"OK, You're in charge. Don't let Fornell tell you any different." Gibbs carried Abby tightly against him with her head tucked under his chin, as he took her to a waiting ambulance.

Ziva saw Tony open his mouth as their boss left, and shook her head, giving him a speaking look and tilting her head towards McGee. Tony closed it suddenly, looking a bit like a fish in a tank. They would have plenty of time to talk about it later. And he would.

Even as FBI agents finally spilled into the room, Tony began reading Ostenpenchevko his rights, DiNozzo style.

"You have the right to remain silent." He barked before whispering in Mikhail's ear "'Cause I think my boss is gonna cut out your tongue." The mob boss blanched.

For Fornell's benefit, he said loudly "Anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney" He postulated before muttering "which you may want to exercise to write your last will and testament."

As Fornell approached them, Tony continued to Mirandize the man without further ad libs, but his point had been made. Ostenpenchevko was pale, but not from a lack of blood. Tony would be damned if he'd let the guy have the comfort of a gurney or a wheelchair. Before he escorted the man from the room, he turned to respond to Ziva's drawled inquiry behind him.

"Tony, would you be kind enough to lend me your knife?"

"Aw Ziva, not again!" Tony complained before slipping his knife from its concealed sheath in his belt.

He enjoyed seeing the thug's eyes widen as Ziva sauntered toward his form still pinned against the wall as she appraisingly ran her thumb against the blade to test its sharpness.

The FBI agents had left to get their equipment to process the room, as the medics wheeled Nick out on a gurney.

McGee turned to face the former Mossad agent. "Aah…Ziva, I don't think we should…" He returned to silence on meeting Ziva's cool stare. He nodded once, trusting that Ziva would only scare the man and not injure him. At least that is what he hoped. With Ziva, you never really knew. He exited the room quickly, what he didn't see, he couldn't report.

"If you make him soil himself, you're the one who has to clean the car." Tony warned before pushing the limping Mikhail to the door.

If only briefly, that left Paulie alone to Ziva's tender mercies. He swallowed hard when he faced the cold fury in her dark eyes.

"I recognize you from our surveillance tapes. So…you like to hurt women?" She asked running a caressing thumb on the hilt of Tony's knife. "And you decided to hurt my friend." She tilted her head consideringly. Paulie understood regret thoroughly for the first time in his life.


Thank you for the many kind reviews (and your patience!)