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by: Vivian Bloodmark (Send Feedback)

Series: Hero Worship #2
Chapters: 007 Word Count: 8545
Rating: MATURE
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ducky Mallard, Abby Sciuto
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Character Study, Friendship, Romance, Unresolved Sexual Tension
Pairing(s): Gibbs/Abby
Summary: Sequel to "Sweet Dreams and Flying Machines." Gibbs has four days to convince Abby to reconsider her feelings, before she rekindles an old flame. Charming Doctor Donald Mallard steps in to help his friend win Abby's puzzled heart.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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Off Guard

Chapter One – Off Guard

Abby was fixated on her computer screen when she heard the sound of footsteps coming through the door into the lab. It couldn’t be Gibbs, she knew, because for one thing, she wasn’t ready for him. For another, those were hesitant steps, careful steps, the kind that Gibbs wouldn’t have bothered with. There were only a couple of other people who regularly came to visit her down here, and only one of them seemed to have yet to figure out that she could hear him come in. “What’s up, McGee?” She asked, not turning around.

McGee jumped. That is, Abby didn’t see him jump, focused as she was on her work, but she knew that he probably hadn’t expected her to know that he was there, and so he had probably jumped. “Hey, Abs,” he muttered, sounding exactly like a man who had just jumped, “am I, uh…interrupting anything?”

“Yes, McGee.” Abby allowed herself a few more keystrokes before she turned around in her chair to face him. “You are interrupting the magic of the deductive process, by which I am going to solve Gibbs’ case and thus convince him to buy me another Caf-Pow.” She gestured to the one that was already on her desk, and added significantly, “it’s empty.”

McGee grinned. “Ah, but you see,” he said, coming forward from the doorway and holding something out towards her, “Like the good, planning-oriented agent I am, I anticipated that.” He plunked the brand new, full Caf-Pow he’d brought with him on to Abby’s desk. “All the better to get you through the difficult but magical deductive process.”

“Aw, McGee…” Abby was touched. She was touched every time McGee brought her a Caf-Pow, even though she had, for several years now, made her preference for that particular caffeinated drink very, very clear. Jumping out of her chair, she came around to give him a quick, two-armed squeeze. “Okay,” she said, after letting go, “you’ve got my attention. What can I do for ya?”

“Well…” McGee seemed to lose a little bit of the confidence that the gift of the drink had helped him gain. Eyeing Abby with some trepidation, he said, “it’s not about the case. I mean…it’s a personal thing.”

Abby shrugged. “Fire away!” she insisted. “Abby would be glad to help you with your…personal problem. But make it quick, Gibbs could be down here any minute. I’ve been sending him the ‘I’ve got something’ vibes for twenty minutes. He should have been here already…”

“Only if you promise not to talk about yourself in the third person like that.” McGee, if anything, looked even more worried. “I need you to take this seriously. Man to man. Uh, I mean, man to woman. Me to you.”

Abby’s eyes twinkled at him as she nodded vigorously, and said “Okay, okay. Abby promises. Now…what’s up?”


Gibbs walked into the office that morning to find Tony and Ziva hunched over Ziva’s desk, Tony talking animatedly, Ziva listening with unexpectedly rapt attention. Stopping just short of their workspace, Gibbs heard Tony say “…believe he finally grew a pair.”

Ziva shrugged. “I, for one, am relieved. IF someone did not do something about it soon, it would have become so tense in here that the whole team would have suffered from the…” she fumbled for a word, and then, frustrated, said “well, the whole team would have suffered, anyway. It is good for them to get it out of their pistons.”

“Systems,” said Tony. “It’s good to get it out of their systems. I think someone should publish a Ziva David dictionary, for reference purposes. Mandatory reading for any new NCIS agents.” After a moment’s consideration, he added, “get it out of their pistons…that just sounds dirty.”

Ziva, prudently, didn’t say anything about Tony’s new publication idea. Instead, she looked thoughtful for a moment, before asking “how are you going to manage not to tease him about it until Friday?”

“Simple.” Tony grinned. “I’m not. I have until Friday to tease him all I want to about the date, and then after I find out what happened on the date, I’ll get to tease him even more about that. It’s like Christmas came early.”

Ziva was disapproving. “Now Tony,” she admonished him, “You should be eager for this to go well. McGee deserves to have a little bit of fun, and so does Abby. They have been playing with each other back and forth for a very long time now, and I think it would be best for everyone if you left McGee alone in order to give him time to sort out how he’s going to handle it.”

“Yeah…” Tony frowned, nodding at her. “you’ve got a point, there. That Abby of ours is definitely one hard woman to handle.” Noting Ziva’s suddenly curious look, he added quickly, “not that I’d know from personal experience. I mean, I just assume…she’s gotta be difficult. Just look at her.” Perhaps for the sake of changing the subject, Tony asked, “how do you think the boss is gonna take the idea of McGee and Abby hooking up again? You don’t think he’ll see that as damaging to the overall flow of the team? You know, a problem with their working relationship? They do say that co-workers…”

Gibbs walked away from the conversation. He wasn’t particularly interested in hearing Tony’s ideas about whether or not workplace relationships were a good idea. Gibbs himself knew that they were not at all good ideas, but that had alarmingly little to do with his objection to McGee having asked Abby out. As the father figure that she had claimed to see him as, Gibbs was protective of his little girl. As the man that Gibbs wanted Abby to see him as, he was possessive of her as a woman. In different ways, neither of those feelings seemed appropriate under the circumstances, but lately, Gibbs had been having a little more trouble than usual with subduing his feelings…particularly about her.

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Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

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