I hate writing Hollis Man, so until things are more, well, serious, I'm trying to more mention just thoughts about her.

Gibbs was surprised when Hollis Mann showed up at his house, found him in the basement and proceeded to give a basic profile on him. "You want to know my toothbrush color too?"

Hollis rolled her eyes. "Wanted to know more about you before we become involved."

Gibbs quirked an eyebrow, "Involved?"

"The case," she clarified.

Gibbs wasn't sure what to make of this woman. She was clearly head-strong and made her intentions clear, which he liked, but she was borderline stepping on his toes in the case. And it was his case. But as the case progressed, Gibbs found himself enjoying her company. He knew his team was talking, but with Tony caught up in some sort of relationship, and Abby seeming to have moved on, Gibbs turned his attention toward Hollis, slowly allowing himself to open up to her.

But Tony remained a mystery. He knew he didn't have the right to call DiNozzo out on his fake meetings and doctors' appointments, if he was working something critical for the director he didn't want to ruin Tony's focus. He'd just have to wait him out.

Seeing Gibbs check out Hollis Mann sent waves of emotion through Abby and for the first time in months she felt truly alone. Tony had been pulling away, but she assumed with Gibbs back that they could find their way back to the status quo they had before he left them. It wasn't even about the sex. She was lonely and she missed them. Dinner with Gibbs, movies with Tony, she hadn't seen either of them outside of work since Gibbs left. But seeing Gibbs interested in someone else they were working with, sealed the deal for Abby, and when she finally arrived home she fell on her couch and finally allowed herself to cry. She wasn't sure how long she cried, but she felt sick afterward and slowly made her way to the bathroom. She had intended to take a hot shower, but she felt weak, so instead she climbed into the tub and let the hot water surround her. She soaked until the water cooled to an uncomfortable temperature and then quickly washed her hair and got out. She needed dinner, but the effort needed to pull something together was too much and she headed for bed.

She was glad when the case was seemingly closed and she didn't have to deal with watching Gibbs and Hollis interact. Tony didn't seem to like Hollis, but it wasn't jealousy that she saw in him. He was more irritated at the way she treated him. She was still puzzled with the way Tony seemed so busy after work, but it wasn't until she spotted a smudge of lipstick on his shirt after he'd left for lunch that she finally put it all together.

"I'm happy for you," she stopped by his desk and had whispered those words to him, quietly enough that McGee and Ziva couldn't hear before continuing to her lab.

Tony didn't bring it up later, but every so often she saw him watching her with a thoughtful look on his face.

She always hated when anyone from the team was on protection detail. That meant that someone was in danger and if protection detail was needed, she hated that her people were first in the line of fire. She had to admit that she never would've expected the danger to come from a man falling from a high balcony in a hotel, but she was glad that no one else was hurt.

"Gibbs, I ran the pubic hair through major Mass Spec, but it's inconclusive. I need an infrared spectrophotometer if you want the details."

"How much?"


"Do what you've got to do." He loved the way her eyes lit up at the suggestion of new equipment.

"Not in the budget," Director Shepard interrupted. "You're going to have to figure something else out."

Abby frowned and turned to her computer. "I'll see what I can do."

Stepping into the forensics trade show, Abby wasn't sure her idea would work, but she had to try. She looked down at the map she had been given with her ticket, and scanned the different vendors until she found the one she was looking for. She circled around the event center until she spotted what she was looking for.

The man running the booth seemed shocked at her questions at first, but with a smile he was willing to help. Abby smiled and as they waited for the results on her sample, she found it exciting to talk to someone that knew what she was talking about as she spoke about the other tests she had run. When the results came back, she was hesitant to leave, but Marty moved quick to give her his card with his cellphone written on the back. "Maybe we could go bowling sometime?" He asked.

"You bowl?"

"A little more difficult at my size, but yeah, I bowl."

"No, I was just surprised because I bowl, too! Every Wednesday with the nuns!"

Marty smiled. "We should really go bowling some time."

Abby ducked her head with a small smile. "I'll call you."

Things seemed to settle down for a while in the office once McGee's sister was cleared of any wrong doing. Tony seemed to relax a little and his mysterious appointments seemed to be non-existent. Hollis Mann wasn't around either, but Abby couldn't help but wonder if Gibbs was still seeing her after work. There had been no contact out of work and it drove Abby nuts not knowing where she stood. She had seen Marty a few times for bowling with dinner or coffee after, but she felt like she was holding back.

But now her interest was in a robot car named Otto. Gibbs had just returned with it and she and McGee were supposed to figure out what happened. She was just heading leaving the squad room when she heard Gibbs' phone ring. The look on her face told her all she needed to know. Hollis Mann.

She tried to push the thoughts from her mind as she moved around the car, but it was hard. She didn't want to think of the red light situations that Gibbs found himself in with Hollis around. She rolled her eyes at the thought of the sexual harassment seminar they had been at before the case had come in. The rest of the team was lucky to leave, but she hadn't been able to skip out until the evidence was back. She didn't realize McGee wasn't listening as she got in and shut the door. She tried to think of what Navy Lt. Roni Seabrook would have done in her place. As she went to click the seatbelt off, she was startled when the seatbelt tightened and pulled her back. She screamed for McGee, but he was mumbling to himself as he listened to the recordings. The windows rolled up and suddenly exhausted was being pumped into the enclosed car.

As things started to get fuzzy in her mind, the panic started creep in setting her body on fire as she stretched beyond limits to try and hit the kill switch.

Looking up, she saw the elevators open and Gibbs step out. Their eyes locked for a brief moment before his coffee hit the floor and he was running toward her. He couldn't get the car to open, so he went around to told her to cover her face. He easily broke the glass and reached for the kill switch. He was able to get her free from the seatbelt and started to pull her from the car.

"Permission to hug?"

"You never need to ask, Abbs…" He helped her to sit down on one of the tables.

"Boss, I only looked away for a minute…"

"Another minute and I'd have bought the farm, McGee."

Tony and Ziva rushed forward with their guns drawn until Gibbs stopped them and filled them in. "Tear this thing apart until you have what we need," he said gruffly to McGee. "Come on, Abbs. Ducky is taking a look at you." He helped her to her feet.

"I'm okay, just a few minutes and I'll be fine."

"It wasn't a suggestion." He let Tony and Ziva take her to Ducky while he detoured to interrogation, determined to find out why the car would do something like that. But it wasn't long before he was hurrying down to autopsy to see how Abby was. "She gonna be alright, Duck?"

"Oh, she'll be fine. As long as she didn't lose consciousness, then she should be fine." Ducky glanced at Abby with a smile as she sat with an oxygen mask on. "I've just recommended a few more minutes like this and then she can go back to work. I've told her to call me if she feels sick or gets a headache."

"How do you feel." Gibbs stepped up to Abby and leaned in close, resting a hand on either side of her on the autopsy table where she was sitting.

"I'm okay." For a brief moment she thought he was going to kiss her, but suddenly he turned away. "I want whoever is behind this caught. Now." And with that, he was gone.

As Gibbs headed down the basement steps, he felt tired – more so than usual – and like he had aged 20 years. Seeing Abby screaming for help was ingrained in his mind. It had taken every ounce of strength not to take her home and wrap himself around her and never let go. But things had been strained since he left. He knew it was his fault, but he didn't know how to fix it. And now she seemed interested in some guy named Marty – he'd over heard her mention him to Ziva and with Hollis hanging around every so often… he wanted the best for Abby and with how broken he knew he was, spending her life with him probably wasn't in her best interest. He'd figured that she and Tony would have made things official, but the more and more he watched his senior field agent, the more he was convinced that it wasn't just some side job he was doing for the director. There seemed to be real feelings involved. He wasn't going to get in the way of that.

He knew he hurt them both. The fact that they were able to work together was a testament to their love for their jobs. He knew that Tony had been offered the job in Spain. He wasn't sure why Tony didn't take it – his own team, living the life in Europe. Jen was vague when he asked what Tony's reasoning was, but it still kept him up at night.

And Abby… she was too forgiving. He knew he had broken her heart. He hadn't understood at first when he left – things were too fuzzy and he was buried in his grief for Shannon and Kelly, but had his mind been clearer, one look from her would have had him agreeing to stay – no question.

Yes, he decided, maybe it was best to let them move on.


Not sure if I'll update before, but if not… happy thanksgiving everyone!

Also, I am thankful for lovely readers like YOU!

And if you could do me and some friends a quick favor - go here 2012/11/02/vote-for-your-favorite-2012-canstructure/ and vote for Seattle (lodge 29). The money won would go to the local food bank which could really use some help for the upcoming holidays. No signing up for anything or entering your email. Please and thank you!