Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1522
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Abby Sciuto
Episode(s): 4-12 Suspicion
Summary: How do you live with the Mother of All Secrets? You don't.
Author Notes: Set just after Suspicion, season 4... not really spoilery for anything, though.
How do you live with the mother of all secrets? You don’t. It consumes you, eats you like a cancer from the inside. First there’s the guilt, then there’s the excruciating urge to blab your secret, although you know it’s gonna spell your doom. And then, you know, eventually you can’t take it any more, it drives you insane... then you blab your secret to your best friend or your mother or your lover, and it sets you free. Course, you lose all your friends and family and maybe even your job, depending on what the secret is, but yeah.
I sigh, recalling my words to Tony earlier this week. My MOAS – mother of all secrets – has been slowly burning a hole in my insides for the past seven years. I’m past the guilt stage, way, way past.
This is how it happened.
I first met Gibbs in 2000, fresh out of college and trying to get my foot on the career ladder. When we were introduced, I felt a few faint stirrings of attraction, but nothing I couldn’t handle. At that time, I had more than enough guys to keep me busy. Gibbs was just office eye-candy; at least, that’s how it started.
It took him a while to get used to the whole Goth thing, but gradually we became friends. I’d sit with Ducky, Gibbs and his team of agents on staff nights out, linger at his desk during quiet periods, stuff like that. About a year and a half after I joined NCIS, he took me out for my birthday, and every year after that it became tradition.
In 2002, they invented Caf-Pow!s, and I got hooked. Gibbs started bringing them to the lab as bribes, and I fell a little further for him every time he showed he cared.
By the first time he kissed my cheek, I was well and truly in love.
It came completely out of the blue. We’d been pulling all-nighters for two weeks on a case involving a couple of dead sailors. All our leads just petered out, and it looked like we’d have to relegate it to a cold case folder, which always puts Gibbs in a crappy mood.
Somehow, I managed to pull foreign DNA off one of the bodies and match it to a suspect. It was a long shot, but it paid off, and led to the conviction of the murderer. Very cool. When I told Gibbs, he told me “That’s a good job, Abbs” like he usually does, and it’s always been enough to keep me happy for days. But when he leaned in and brushed his lips over my cheekbone, I nearly died. I’m just glad he was heading toward the door before it sunk in. If he’d seen my expression, he’d have known for sure how I felt about him.
For a while after that, I wondered if he maybe felt the same, but he never acted as if anything was different between us. His friendly kisses kept coming, but nothing else changed.
I learned to take it in my stride, but I’ve always felt vaguely guilty that I can’t just accept our friendship the way it is. Every time I see him with a woman, I just want to die. I hide it well, though. One big reason I drink so much caffeine is so I can fake hyperactivity at depressing moments. Gibbs seems to buy it.
Things were at a bearable level – I wasn’t in any danger of blabbing my MOAS –until last year. Then Gibbs found out about Mikel Mawher.
I’ve never seen him so furious in all my life. After I let Mikel into McGee’s apartment, Gibbs went nuts, telling McGee that he didn’t deserve to sit on a chair, taking me home with him so I’d be safe.
And wow, that was a minefield. Wandering around Gibbs’ house in one of his shirts, getting almost falling-down drunk from the bottle in his basement… When he made me realise that Mikel’s insanity wasn’t my fault, I almost told him everything.
Instead, I broke his boat, and my MOAS lived on – and so did I, shockingly enough. But since then, things have been a lot harder to bear. When he left for Mexico… I nearly told him not to go, because I loved him, right there in the squad room in front of everyone. If he hadn’t stopped me, I would have.
Why did he stop me?
Did he know?
“Not going home?” a voice asks behind me, and I shake my head to dislodge the thoughts. When I turn, Gibbs is standing in the doorway to the lab.
“Just setting some DNA up to run before I leave,” I say, looking around for the sample I’d meant to process before I got sidetracked.
His footsteps draw closer, and when I look up, he’s fixing me with an intense gaze. “Looked like you were thinking too hard, to me,” he observes quietly. “Everything okay?”
I could lie, but I haven’t had a Caf-Pow! in four hours, and without hyperactivity on my side, I can’t fool him. “Gibbs, do you have a MOAS?” He blinks, and I quickly clarify. “Mother of all secrets.”
He leans against my desk with a sigh. “I got about ten. Yours giving you trouble?”
Ruefully, I smile. If only he knew… “Big time.”
“If you want to talk, it won’t leave this room.”
The offer is way too tempting. I glance over at him and take a breath before snapping my mouth shut again, visions of awkward silences and ruined friendship pouring into my mind. “Thanks for the offer, Gibbs, really,” I say, entering a few quick commands into the computer to distract myself before I can really screw up, “but it’s nothing I can share.”
Behind me, he’s silent. I finish typing and look around, wondering if I’ve hurt him by refusing to talk about it. Before I can even focus on him, he’s closing the final few steps between us, tilting my chin upward with a finger and… oh, god. Kissing me full on the lips, and definitely not in a platonic way.
Instinct taking over before my brain can catch up, I kiss him back, standing on tiptoes to press myself closer. His tongue teases mine, a promise of things to come, and I almost collapse with ecstatic relief. As he draws back, arms steadying me, I whisper, “How long have you known?”
He brushes hair out of my eyes, smiling slightly. “Three, four years?”
Though my entire body is on fire, I still manage to punch him in the arm. Hard. “Three or four years?! Why didn’t you say anything?”
“I wanted you to be the one to start things,” Gibbs tells me, his eyes serious now. “I’m your boss; I didn’t want to make it awkward for you.” As I process this, he smiles again. “Today was the first day I saw you with your defences properly down. I knew no one could be that hyper all the time.”
I open my mouth, then close it, my mind still struggling to process the new information. With a confused laugh, I shake my head. “I don’t know what to say. I thought I was hiding things pretty well.”
Gibbs chuckles. “You’ve been hinting at it for years, Abbs. You just didn’t realise you were doing it.”
I think of the sexual innuendo that’s been a staple of our banter for as long as I can remember, and wince. “Oops.”
He takes my hand, pulling me into a hug. “Come on,” he murmurs into my hair. “You took the bus to work today, right? I’ll drive you home.”
Breathing in his scent, I snuggle against him, setting aside my shock at the evening’s events for later. “Wanna come in for coffee?”
He waits until I’ve shrugged out of my lab coat and begun shutting down computers to answer. “D’you mean coffee, or coffee?” he teases lightly.
I grin mischievously at him. “What’s a little coffee without coffee?”
I can see the idea intrigues him, but he shakes his head. “On the first date?”
We head for the elevator, and I push the up button. “Hello, Gibbs? Seven years of knowing each other, six birthday dinners, one overnight stay hiding out from a homicidal maniac, and a partridge in a pear tree? I’d say we’re on date fifty by now.”
The elevator arrives, its loud ping sounding loud in the silence my words have created. We step in, and I look up at him, wondering if I’ve pissed him off.
“We’ll see,” he tells me, pulling me close and bringing his lips down to mine again. As I melt against him, my heart leaping, the elevator doors slide closed behind us, leaving the corridor in darkness.