Tony held the door open to the diner and ushered Abby inside.

"Abigail!" Elaine greeted her with a warm smile and a friendly hug. "Hello Tony. Where's Jethro?"

"He had plans for lunch today, but we'll tell him you say hello."

"Please do."

They found their usual booth toward the middle and sat down. They waved away their menus with a smile and Elaine promised to have their usual orders out soon. "So…" Tony felt nervous.

"Relax Tony, you look like a nervous kid on his first date."

"Kinda what it feels like," he admitted. "Don't want to screw things up."

Abby reached across the table to take his hand. "We'll be okay, we're just… we hit a few bumpsand they hurt, but nothing we can't come back from."

"Can we date?"

"Huh?"

"I mean, like we used to. We used to go to movies more, concerts… stuff like that. I miss thatand I don't think Gibbs will mind."

"You don't think he'll want to come dancing with us?" Abby grinned.

"If you pout real pretty, he might."

Slowly over lunch they fell back into their familiar banter. It was after two in the afternoon before they were done. Tony drove them to Abby's favorite bakery so she could run in for a few treats and then they headed to Layla's house to meet Gibbs.

Gibbsy no, not like thaaaat! Abby smiled wide as she heard Amira through the door before she knocked.

"Come in," Layla greeted them warmly when she opened the door. "We-" She was interrupted as Amira pushed past to throw herself at Abby.

"Hey cutie!" Abby lifted the young girl and hugged her tight. "We heard there was a party going on over here, so we brought some dessert!"

Tony held up the bag of pastries he'd just manage to take from Abby before she caught Amira. He wasn't as close to the little girl the way Gibbs and Abby were, but he happily met the high-five she offered over Abby's shoulder.

"It'll be nice to have some more adults around, Amira has had Gibbs otherwise occupied the whole time," she laughed.

Abby carried Amira back into the house and smiled at Gibbs. He was sitting on the floor, the twister mat out in front of him. "Twister, huh?" Abby asked, a mischievous smirk on her face.

"No," Gibbs shook his head. He didn't want to know what she was thinking, but judging by the look on her face, it wasn't good.

"Oh, come on Gibbsy, one more game!"

"I think we're good," he patted Amira on the head and folded up the mat. "Can't be bending and twisting with dessert in our stomachs."

Amira contemplated his words and then turned to Abby, "did you get my favorite?"

"Amira!" Layla scolded.

"Well they were all out of veggie cakes and chicken cookies, so… I hope a cupcake with sprinkles will be okay!"

Tony opened the box to show her the cupcake and laughed when she squealed in delight. "I'm going to guess that the cupcake is fine."

"Pink frosting, my favorite!"

Soon they were all settled in the living room. Gibbs and Abby sharing the couch with Amira nestled between them, Tony and Layla each in a chair opposite. They talked for a while about Amira's school, the neighborhood. Once she was finished with her cupcake, tired of all the grown-up talk, Amira moved to the family room to watch a movie.

"She settling in okay?" Abby asked.

"She is," Layla nodded. "Was a bit rough when we moved from your house to here, but now that she's in school, she's made some friends. She still misses Mike, but I'm grateful that you spend time with her," she smiled appreciatively at Gibbs.

"Do what I can," he returned the smile. He knew Mike would want him to be a part of his girls' lives, so he tried to be there for them in whatever they needed.

"Mike made sure we would be taken care of, so I've been able to volunteer at the school rather than worry about finding a job. I think that's made the transition easier."

"She's still young, but don't hesitate to reach out for science fairs and stuff like that. I happen to be okay and science-y stuffand I'd love to help."

"I appreciate that, thank you."

Tony felt the need to add something as well. "I was never great in school, but I've got the whole sports thing down, you know… if she ever…" He wasn't sure what kids really needed, but he thought he'd offer.

"Thank you. Right now she's mostly excited about jumping rope, but every so often she talks about wanting to join a team sport. Never has specified what sport, but… something like that might be good for her."

Abby watched with a small smile on her face as Tony offered up his sports skills as a way to help Amira if she needed. Gibbs was fond of kids, but even if he wasn't, he'd promised Mike that he would help his girls in any way they needed. Tony on the other hand, wasn't fond of kids and not to thrilled with Mike either, so for him to try to be involved in helping Layla and Amira was a big step that Abby recognized as his attempt to be involved in something that both Gibbs and Abby cared about.


As much as having Diane around irritated all three of them, Abby wasn't worried that Gibbs would fall back into her charms.

She didn't have much charm.

She was happy to have Tobias around, both her and Tony found it funny with the way he and Gibbs seemed to be the best of friends, yet so easily rile one another up. Abby had been around for the end of his relationship with Diane. She hadn't known him well at that point, but she had seen the way she had sucked him dry of almost every emotionand she knew that being around her was taking its toll on him.

And then to see Fornell go through the same thing, it put Diane toward the top of her shit list. At least Fornell had gotten a wonderful daughter out of the whole ordeal. Everyone adored Emily, even Gibbs. Abby often wondered if she reminded him of Kelly, but she never asked.

They were all in the basement when they heard her heels clicking overhead. Gibbs was about to tell them to stay, but when the basement door opened, Tony and Abby shrunk back against the wall, under the staircase – hiding out of view.

Diane didn't seem to notice as she came down the stairs. Despite their differences, Gibbs had a bit of a soft spot for Diane. They were never meant to be together, but he harbored no ill will toward her.

"Do me a favor and tell Tobias that I never meant to hurt him. I really liked him. But never should have married him; I didn't love him, just like you never loved me."

"I like you," Gibbs offered, "I still do."

"Because the only woman you'll ever love is Shannon."

Gibbs looked up sharply.

From their spot under the stairs, Tony wrapped his arm tightly around Abby, no doubt this was another rip at her insecurity. They watched quietly as she reached up to touch his cheek and placed something in his hand. "You were my Shannon, Leroy."

Gibbs looked miserable as Diane quietly turned and headed up the stairs. No one moved until they heard the door open and then close overhead. Glancing down at the pocket watch in his hand, Gibbs' sighed. "This belonged to my grandfather. Thought I lost it."

Tony and Abby quietly stepped out of the shadows, unsure of what to say. "Tony, we should get started on dinner," Abby said quietly, urging him toward the stairs. Gibbs seemed list in thought, so she figured it was best to give him some space.

They were almost to the top of the stairs when Gibbs finally spoke. "Tony, Abby…" he looked up when he heard their footsteps stall. "I love you."

"We know," Abby smiled and then urged Tony through the door to give Gibbs some quiet time. Almost always, they would return the sentiment, but what Gibbs needed now was to know that they knew how he felt.

"You alright?" Tony asked, worried how Abby my take the exchange in the basement with Diane.

"Yeah," Abby nodded. "Do you think she really meant it? That he was her Shannon? Or do you think that she said it just to mess with him?"

Tony shrugged and moved to the fridge to pull out the ingredients needed for dinner. "I wouldn't put it past her to say something like that to mess with him, but the look on her face…"

Abby nodded again. "I kinda feel bad for her. I can't imagine being so in love with someone and then find out they just…like you." She hopped up to sit on the counter.

"You don't have to worry about that."

"I know," she smiled and then crocked her finger at him. She was quiet as Tony approached and then once he was close enough, she tugged him in close so he was standing between her knees. "I love you," she leaned in for a kiss and wrapped her arms around his neck.

Tony was grateful for the kiss, happy that Abby was the one to initiate it. "Love you too," he sighed against her lips and then returned the kiss. Reluctantly he pulled himself away. "Should get started on dinner though," as if on cue, his stomach rumbled.

"Yeah," Abby agreed. "I think we should give him space tonight, working with Fornell and Diane has been rough for him. He won't ask for space, but…"

"I know," he said over his shoulder as he started a pot of water on the stove and then started on his favorite tomato sauce. "But let's at least make sure to get dinner in him, otherwise he'll spend all night in the basement."

"Yes mom," Gibbs said from the doorway, a slight smirk tugging at his lips.

"Boss!" Tony startled. "Sorry, we uh… we just…"

"It's okay," Gibbs nodded. "Wasn't expecting her, wasn't expecting to get this back either." Gibbs set the pocket watch on the counter.

"She sure knows how to make a lasting impact."

Gibbs frowned. "Her specialty. I'm going to go get cleaned up. How long until dinner?"

"Twenty minutes or so," Tony said.


Gibbs didn't really want to be alone, but when he asked if they were spending the night together, Tony's hesitation until Abby said they were, told Gibbs that it was for the best that Tony have a night with Abby. He knew the younger man was still walking on egg shells around her, so a night to themselves would be good.

Not wanting to spend a night alone in his bed, Gibbs carried his pillow and a blanket to the sofa. He hated the space in bed when he didn't have either of his lovers to hold, so on the rare occasion he was alone, he preferred to spend the night on the sofa.

The night passed quickly and soon Gibbs woke to the sun shining through the curtains and the birds chirping. He was surprised to find himself wrapped around a warm bodyand he snuggled in closer, pressing a warm kiss to soft skin and inhaling a familiar scent.

"Good morning," Shannon said, leaning in for a kiss.

Gibbs grinned. "Morning."

"What are your plans for the day?"

"Was thinking about the hardware store…"

"Oh? And what will your next project be?"

Gibbs shrugged and pulled her in tighter. "Depends on what the wood says?"

"I hope it says roll-top desk," she sighed happily.

"Mmm… or maybe I'll just spend the day in bed, with you."

Suddenly Shannon pulled away, pushing herself up into a seated position. "How are you going to get what you need if you don't let me go? You already have what you need, but you let them distance themselves, pull away, because of me."

Gibbs groaned at the sound of a phone ringing. He wanted to continue his conversation with Shannon, but she only shook her head and nodded toward the phone on his bedside table.

Gibbs started awake and after a brief moment of confusion, realized that his phone was ringing. Suddenly realizing he was no longer in bed, but on the couch instead, he scrubbed a hand over his face and reached for the phone. "Yeah, Gibbs…"


Tony was grateful that Abby had stepped up to say they were spending the night together. When Abby had suggested they give Gibbs some space, he wasn't sure if that meant that they would spend the evening together or if he would be heading home alone. Things were much better between them, though he was still walking on egg shells, worried he would say the wrong thing.

"I think I have some popcorn if you want to watch a movie? I don't want to stay up too late, but it's still early for bed." Abby tossed her purse and keys on the side table just inside the door.

"Yeah, sounds good."

"I'll make the popcorn, you pick a movie. You want coffee?"

"No coffee for me, thanks." Tony dropped down in front of her DVD player with a movie he remembered Abby mentioning. He hadn't seen itand it looked like it was a standard Romance/comedy. He was just past the menu when Abby appeared with a large bowl of popcorn for them to share.

He was happy that she immediately curled into his side and pulled a blanket around them. Tony couldn't focus on the movie, he was too distracted by Abby. It had been a while since he had spent some time curled up with her. He was fine with watching her until he glanced at the TV to see the two main characters in a tight embrace, their actions making it clear what was going to happen next. Tony tried to shift away from Abby as his body started to respond. It normally wasn't a big deal when watching a movie, but he hadn't been with Gibbs or Abby in weeks and having her warm body against his made him crave her even more.

Sensing his discomfort, Abby glanced up. "Tony?"

"I uh,… can I kiss you?" He brushed her hair back and traced his fingers over her cheek and jaw.

"Of course." Abby leaned in to kiss him and eventually let him shift her so that she was below him as they made out.

Tony was good about keeping things simple – he'd only asked if he could kiss her, so he wasn't going to push for more. But as the action on the screen increased, Tony couldn't help himself as she pushed his hand under her shirt to cup her breast in his hand.

"Tony… Tony, wait."

"Sorry, I'm so sorry, I don't know what I was-" he didn't know when Abby would be ready to take things further, but he wasn't interested in pushing her for more before she was ready.

"No, Tony… don't think…" she took a deep breath, her body screaming for more. "I want you, want more, but Gibbs should be with us when we take things all the way again. I…" she pressed her forehead against his, "miss you, miss being with you, but… we need to wait for Gibbs."


TBC…