Hello, again. I feel like the beginnings of these chapters are just excuses of how busy I've been with life and work and whatnot. A friend and I are trying to start an Etsy business on the side, so between that and regular work, things are hectic as always. But, hopefully things will pick up with my muses. :) Reviews also encourage my muses, FYI.

Abby heard the shower stop above her just as she finished placing the order for the food delivery. His shower had been much longer than usual, but she supposed that was to be expected. She remained seated at the kitchen table where she had been studying the menu. Abby kept willing herself to stand and move to the couch to wait for the Chinese food, but found herself staring off into space, her mind blank to keep from thinking back to everything that had happened that week.

It wasn't until Gibbs was directly behind her that she woke herself out of the trance. "Hey. Good shower?"

He nodded. "Did you order?" Gibbs motioned towards the menu.

She returned his nod. "Bout thirty minutes now."

The two fell back into silence before Abby finally stood and headed towards the living room, hoping to find something else that would distract her.

Gibbs followed after a moment, two glasses of water in his hands. He handed one to Abby. "Suppose this is all I have in the kitchen." He sat next to her on the couch and took a sip of his water. "You gonna tell me about it?"

She scoffed. "You gonna tell me about Afghanistan?" The words came out angry and sharp before she realized it and she turned suddenly to him, apologizing. "I'm sorry, Gibbs. I haven't gotten a lot of sleep and…" She sighed deeply. "I didn't mean to sound angry."

Gibbs shrugged and waited.

"It's just been night after night of these terrible nightmares and I wake up all alone and I haven't known where you've been. I haven't told any of the others what happened." Abby looked down at her lap. "They already had too much to worry about."

Gibbs reached over and laid his hand over where Abby's was playing with a thread from her skirt. Her hand stilled at his touch and she allowed him to stroke her palm with his thumb.

She hated crying in front of Gibbs. Crying in front of anyone was bad enough, but Gibbs was special. He was such the perfect Marine – everyone knew he still grieved over Shannon and Kelly, but it was just part of him – nothing that seemed to infiltrate into any other day. There were few occasions that Abby could think of where his continued pain had shown through his everyday demeanor. And now she was just another crying woman.

Despite how much she hated being just another crying woman, Abby couldn't help the tears that began to stream rapidly down her cheeks.

Without responding, Gibbs slid closer to her and gathered her into his arms, pressing her face into his sweatshirt.

~*~*NCIS~*~*NCIS~*~*~

It was dark out when Gibbs awoke. Abby was still asleep in his arms, where they'd both dozed off on the couch after finishing their Chinese food. He glanced at his watch, which now read 11:15. Abby was definitely going to have a crick in her neck if they continued to sleep like that.

"Abbs." Gibbs whispered to the sleeping woman, nudging her gently.

"Mmm…"

"Abbs, it's late. We should go upstairs."

She mumbled sleepily in return, "Hm? Okay. Upstairs. Hmm…" Abby yawned as Gibbs helped her up off the couch, climbing up after her.

He steered her up the stairs and into his room, not thinking about the fact that this was an obvious first.

As Abby climbed into bed and curled up under the covers, the situation finally hit him. Abby was in his bed. Granted, she was fully clothed and asleep, but she was in his bed. She'd slept over before, but always in the guest bed. He considered going back downstairs to the couch, but remembered the nightmares she'd discussed, and instead, climbed under the blanket on the opposite side, and tried to shut out the echoes of the last week.

~*~*~NCIS~*~*~NCIS~*~*~

Abby couldn't understand why Gibbs had suddenly started hating her. Carter was standing behind him laughing, while Gibbs shook his head at her proclamations of love.

"But, Gibbs, I've always been your favorite! Doesn't that mean anything?" Abby cried from where she was bound to the chair.

Gibbs smirked at her, "Of course you were my favorite – short skirts and those shoes? Why wouldn't you be my favorite?" He leered over her. "Bout time those things came off, ya think?" He reached down and undid the zipper on the side of her studded skirt. "Let's see what you've been teasing me with all these years."

"Gibbs, please…" Abby cried, squirming in the ropes to get loose. "Please, don't."

"Abbs…Abbs, wake up."

Gibbs was still sneering but was now shaking her. "Abby, you're dreaming."

Her eyes snapped open to reveal a worried Gibbs. Abby's heart was racing as she tried to focus on where she was. There was a warm blanket over her, and there was a soft light coming from the window, as if it was early morning. Gibbs was lying in bed next to her, comfortably wrapped in the same blanket.

As the realization of the dream washed over her, Abby launched herself into Gibbs, allowing herself to be taken in to a deep hug.

"It's okay, Abbs." Gibbs' voice was low and soothing, completely unlike the condescending and terrifying tone that had overwhelmed her in the dream.

"It was just…" Abby gasped in between the sobs that had overtaken her. "Just…so real. But unreal… all at the same time."

"Tell me about it." He encouraged, reaching up so that he could stroke her hair while still holding her.

"We were back at that house and you-" She cut herself off, thinking about what Gibbs had been doing in the dream. "You…were still unconscious. But Carter was there….It was basically everything that happened in real life."

Gibbs was silent for a minute. "Wanna talk about it?"

Abby sniffled, finally catching her breath. "No. Yes. I don't know."

"It's no hurry, Abbs. And you don't have to talk to me. You could talk to Ziva, or Ducky, or one of the psychiatrists at NCIS."

She shook her head, "I don't want to talk to one of the psychs, and…it would be too awkward with Ducky. Maybe Ziva. But I don't want to bring up any bad memories for her, either."

"Tony?"

Abby hesitated. "Tony would get too overprotective. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Tony. I mean, not love love Tony, but love Tony. Ya know? But I can't handle that right now. All of the team would just be right there, breathing down my neck like I am about to burst into flame or disappear or something. It would just be too much."

Both were silent before Abby spoke again. "Tomorrow. I will tell you about it tomorrow."

"Abbs, it is tomorrow." Gibbs nodded toward the window.

"I mean…later tomorrow. Er, today. Tonight, okay? Just…for now, will you hold me?"

"Not plannin' on lettin' you go, Abby."

Abby closed her eyes, shoving away the uneasy feeling the dream had caused, and instead tried to focus on how long she'd wanted to be wrapped in Gibbs' arms.