a/n: I'm going to dedicate this to MatteaAm, because she said she'd like to see McGee really stick up for himself and give Abby what-for about her poor attitude towards him/his dating. I agree - and I think a lot of us watching are pretty fed up with Abby's "McGee is only allowed to love me lol" attitude towards all of his potential paramours.

So here's a little McGee-Abby confrontation peppered with McGee's goodness and his calm. I'd really die to see something like this on the show. It's set after the most recent episode {Once a Crook}.

Timothy McGee was not an aggressive man; he had never been particularly assertive or intimidating—at least, not when it came to traditionally defined masculinity. He was successful, and impressively intelligent, but he preferred friendliness to force, and honey to vinegar, and for that—he knew some thought him meek, malleable, and timid.

In truth, what he did was pick his battles—and pick them very carefully. On very few occasions had he deemed it necessary to be pugnacious, antipathetic, or threatening—even in the line of work, he felt the gun in his hand meant he must try peace first—but as he walked up familiar apartment steps now, his jaw set tightly, he felt his hand had been forced—and he felt he was justified in calling her out; he felt he had a right to stand his ground.

The heavy metal apartment door swung open before he could raise his hand to knock, and there in the doorway bounced the ever-smiling Abby Sciuto—sharp as a tack, sweet as sugar, and the woman who had once held his heart in her hands.

She welcomed him in, her pigtails dancing, moving on the balls of her feet—her platforms were off and she was only in cozy knee-high socks and pajama shorts with skulls all over them.

"Timmy!" She greeted warmly. "I recognized your footsteps—you always make the same footfalls," she noted smugly, shutting the door.

She hopped into the kitchen, and he followed, hands deep in the pockets of his pea coat. He said nothing, and came to a stop near the counter—where he noticed she had been eating pistachio ice cream straight from the carton.

There was a half-empty Caf-pow! sitting next to the frozen treat.

"Left over from Gibbs' generosity," she said, twirling around and grabbing up the carton. "Grab a spoon!" she offered.

"This isn't a social call," McGee said quietly, shaking is head to decline her offer.

"Didn't you have a date with De-li-lah?" Abby asked brightly. "Early night, Tim," she simpered, and then gave him a flashy short of grin. "Is Delilah a good, home-untouched-by-nine kind of girl?" she asked wryly, and raised her eyebrows. "This better not be a booty call," she teased.

It was the same friendly, Abby-ish, teasing tone she used with everyone—and he was immensely glad she said what she said, because the subtle, very cheery dig at Delilah was exactly what he needed to reinforce his belief that this conversation needed to happen—and to give him the courage to confront her.

"It's not," he said firmly, lifting his eyes to hers. He watched her suck on the spoon, and she cocked an eyebrow at him. "I'm here about Delilah, actually," he went on.

"Lady troubles?" Abby asked, and snickered.

McGee nodded curtly.

"Yeah, lady troubles," he repeated. "Only my problem isn't with 'Lilah. It's with you."

Abby's face fell. For once, a flicker of uncertainty lit up her green eyes. She slowly lowered the spoon from her mouth and held it, her other hand curled around her carton of ice cream. She dipped her head forward and narrowed her eyes, staring at him—still taken aback.

He wondered if he should wait for her to say something, or go on, and he had just decided to continue when she cut him off—

"Did she say something mean about me?" Abby demanded. Her brow furrowed and she glared at McGee. "Did she whine about having to work with me?" she snorted. Abby hardly gave McGee a chance to speak before she added: "If she's threatened by an ex-girlfriend, Tim—"

"She's not," McGee said calmly, interrupting. "She didn't say anything about you, Abby. She's not the type to criticize other women," he said earnestly, and then narrowed his eyes sharply. "You think I don't notice what's going on."

"What's going on, McGee?" demanded Abby, quoting him icily and throwing her spoon into her carton.

She pushed it away and folded her arms protectively around herself. McGee swallowed and stepped forward, clenching his hands in his pockets and meeting her eyes seriously—he didn't want her to martyr herself out of this conversation; he wanted her to realize she was in the wrong—and she had been for years.

"You mistreat the women I date," he accused simply—finally saying what had needed to be said for years now.

Her mouth popped open a little.

"Little Miss Quirky Sunshiny Department of Defense and I worked together just fine," she snapped testily. "I even gave her credit—"

"After you hid from her," McGee interrupted again. "After you treated her badly when you first met her. After you whined to Gibbs and tried to avoid it. After you were snippy to me when I talked about her. And—after every subtle insult you've thrown at her since you first heard me mention her," he detailed coolly. "I'm not even sure you were sincere in your compliments of her skills," he said frankly. He snorted skeptically. "You've demeaned her twice since I walked in."

Abby pressed her lips into a thin line and hugged herself tighter, her face flushing. Her eyes widened angrily and she stepped forward, a muscle in her temple throbbing. She glared at McGee.

"She must have said something, for you to come attack me," she accused.

"I'm not attacking you, Abby," McGee said firmly.

Delilah had said, only in vague passing, that Abby was oddly possessive of McGee—and that had made Tim angry; he didn't want Abby's overbearing tendency to insinuate she had dibs make Delilah feel insecure or unwanted. But—he was not here to fight Delilah's battles or make her look bad; he was here because this was more than just an Abby-Delilah thing.

"It's not just Delilah," McGee went on. He lifted his chin stubbornly. "You've never been nice to the women I've been involved with. You're snide and smug, and even when you're kind, I get the feeling it's forced."

"I want the right woman for you, Timmy," Abby said harshly. "I'm very persnickety about it. I want her to be good enough—"

"You think the only woman good enough for me is you," McGee cut her off, this time more loudly, and with more assertion. He paused, letting the words sink in—watching her face turn slightly pale—and then he lowered his voice again. "But you didn't want me," he reminded her passively.

Abby sucked in her breath. Her brows knit together and she narrowed her eyes—but she was at a loss for words. She frowned, swallowed, and looked away. She unfolded her arms, and rubbed her hands on the cotton of pajama shorts, chewing on her bottom lip.

McGee swallowed tensely—because this part was hard for him.

"You know I think you're amazing, Abby," he said, his focused on her intently. "You were the first woman I was ever so," he paused thickly, "in love with that I couldn't think straight. You know that. You know I wanted a life with you," he said. He shrugged, and grit his teeth. "You turned me down. We wanted different things—I get that. It wasn't easy letting you go, Abs, but I've never wanted to hate you for doing what made you happy. It was hard to move on, and I was jealous and sullen when you dated other men for a while—but I was trying to get over you," he said. "You—the way you treat my girlfriends, when you're the one who broke it off with me, who decided I wasn't what you wanted—it makes no sense. And it's arrogant. It's wrong."

Abby's lips parted, but she closed them again, her face falling. Her brows relaxed slightly, and she looked away. McGee shifted, setting his shoulders back. He grit his teeth again—he didn't like pouring his soul out like this. The last time he'd stood so openly in front of Abby, their relationship had ended, and it had taken him so long to get over her.

"I don't resent you for out break up," he said firmly. "I'm not mad at you. I miss you sometimes—but I moved on. I got over us. I realized that I may have loved you, and I think you loved me, but it never would have worked. I want the traditional life you once called boring and lame. I want two kids and a white picket fence." McGee shrugged. "And it's okay that you don't. I wouldn't change a thing about you. But I moved on," he reiterated. "I don't love you like I used to. You are my closest friend, but you're no longer the woman I want to spend my life with. I moved on."

Abby turned away from him sharply, shaking her head—he didn't know if she was annoyed, or just emotional.

"Why do you think you have the right to decide who I date?" McGee asked, stepping forward. "Why do you think that's your privilege? It's as if—you think I'm so lost, and such a charity case, that I hit my peak in dating you, and you just pity me for even trying to love someone else. Because I can't get a woman as good as you—"

"Timmy," Abby interrupted roughly, turning to face him abrasively. "I don't think you're pathetic," she snapped. "You're smart, and you're nice, and you're a genuinely good guy, and any woman would be happy to date you. I'm not," she faltered. "You should know better than to accuse me of being that self-centered."

"That's how you act, Abby," he stated sharply. "That's how you present yourself to me—it's how you presented yourself to Delilah, like you're the only woman I should talk to if you're in the room."

"I'm not used to sharing you!"

"I'm not your property!" McGee snapped, raising his voice. He'd gotten to the root of it. "I'm your friend, I'm your colleague—and you should respect me, in all aspects of my life! That means welcoming Delilah!" He pointed to himself. "Accepting that I am allowed to love someone else, just like I accepted that you couldn't live the life I wanted to have with you!"

"I don't regret our relationship, Timmy—"

"Neither do I."

"And I don't regret breaking up," she said over him. "I'm not the marrying type, and I know you are. I want you to be happy."

He gave her a frustrated look and flung out his hand.

"Then why do you act the way you do?" he demanded harshly.

She seemed to struggle, and then she threw her hand up, mimicking him subconsciously.

"You're a keeper, Timmy!" she snapped defensively. "Even if I'm too—I don't know what—to settle down, or to commit, I can recognize a keeper when I see one! You care about women. You listen, you respect, you encourage, you support—I know I won't find a better man. I am satisfied with how we ended things—but sometimes, it makes me jealous when I know some other woman is getting you, when I know how fervently that used to be focused on me," she growled. "Yeah, it's self-centered, and I can't help that I feel that way—it confuses me, too. I get nostalgic. I miss how awe-struck you used to be by me, and how I could count on you, and how flattering you were—"

"You can't help how you feel," McGee interrupted sharply. "You can help how you act. You have no right to envy my relationship with another woman. You have no right to expect me to hero-worship you—not after how long it took me to get over you," he said curtly. "I want you to stop. I want you to stop acting like a five-year-old who's had a toy taken away. I want Delilah to be able to be in a room with you without thinking I am using her as a replacement while I pine for you—because I'm not," he asserted. "I am with Delilah because," he stopped.

He did not go on, because Abby didn't need to be privy to his blossoming feelings about Delilah.

Abby chewed on her lip, staring at him.

"Timmy," she started.

"Stop," he said abruptly, annoyed. "Stop calling me Timmy. I'm not your Timmy anymore, Abs," he reiterated. "Do you understand? I'm not your property, you don't have dibs on me, and—I appreciate that you want me to be happy, but you don't have a right to judge and test the women I date! I can figure out who's good for me. I'm capable of much more than you give me credit for."

She bowed her head slightly, and then she looked up.

"I give you credit, McGee," she said—and suddenly, he realized, there was remorse in your eyes. She bit her lip. "I know you," she said heavily. "For you to call me out, it means I crossed a line," she mused, folding her arms across herself. She narrowed her eyes a little and looked up. "I was so used to you being there, wanting me," she said astutely. "I always knew you wanted me back. I didn't notice when you moved on."

"You liked having me there," McGee said. "You liked that I was in your back pocket, for you to grab if you needed one day." He gave her a stupid little smile, shaking his head. "It always reminded me of how Jenny treated Forrest, in Forrest Gump," he said. "Good man, but last resort, only to be taken if no one more exciting comes along."

Abby's breath caught in her throat, and he saw that she was apologetic—and he was sorry he'd come here and hurt her, but he didn't regret his decision to have this conversation.

"Abby," he said, shaking his head. He sighed heavily. "You're such a huggable person. It always bothered me, how you didn't want me to get over you," he added. He shrugged. "I realized I didn't want to be your last resort."

Abby smiled a little, her eyes watering.

"You weren't, Tim," she said unsteadily. She lifted her shoulders and held them, tilting her head back. "You're just the man who I knew would love me unconditionally, and I'm not mature enough to do the same in return—to compromise for you like you'd compromise for me." She cleared her throat. "It's why I broke it off."

"I know."

She laughed hoarsely.

"And then I still couldn't let you go."

He drew himself up.

"You have to, Abby," he said peacefully. "I don't belong to you," he reiterated. He smiled wearily. "You'll always be my first real love, Abs," he said, with an air of friendship. "You just won't be the last." He paused, and shrugged. "So get over it."

She dipped her head with a sigh. She looked back up, and then she flew across the room and hugged him—carefully, very platonically, and she let go before he could hug back. She had thinking to do—she had to take his words, and let them sink in, and analyze her behavior, and she had to try and fix this—because as hard as it was to criticize herself, she knew in her soul there was truth to what he accused her of, and to see McGee so hurt by her actions that he came to—to yell at her—it was eye-opening, and it meant it was bad.

Tim, he—he didn't go at people unless he had considered it extensively, and even then, only when it was truly necessary.

She was ashamed to be at the receiving end of one of those decisions to confront.

She kissed him on the cheek.

"I want you to be happy," she said, frustrated with herself. "I don't want to be your last," she admitted—even if it felt like letting someone she didn't like play with her things. She meant it, though—she knew if he never moved on, he'd never be happy, because she was not the type to give him what he wanted.

They may have had a great love, but that didn't mean it would last forever, or even that they were right for each other, ultimately.

McGee nodded, and he stepped back, jingling his keys in his pocket. He inclined his head in a friendly manner and shifted his weight, adjusting his collar.

"I have to go," he said simply—he felt like a weight was off his shoulders, like he could breathe easy, and like his friendship with Abby could remain peacefully intact. "The night is young," he joked, trying to end on a light note.

Abby raised her eyebrows, her eyes still red, her face still a little flushed and unhappy.

"Meeting Delilah again, later?" she asked. "She have to work for a while after dinner?"

McGee smiled gently and gave her a look, shaking his head.

"Abby," he said gently.

He met her eyes for a moment before he went on, and hopefully set the stage for what would be a new policy on her part:

"Delilah and I – we're none of your business."

ha, note a little of my Forrest Gump bitterness came out- I absolutely hate Jenny's character, and I hate how she comes around to Forrest finally after she finds out she's sick and she's got little time left. it's infuriating and so unfair to a man who gave her everything and blamed her for nothing.

feedback appreciated!
story #170