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Leather and Lace

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Heather reclined in her chair, the heels of her leather boots propped leisurely up on her desk, smiling at the silver haired man sitting across from her. "Sorry you didn't find what you're looking for, Jethro, but I didn't think you would find it here."

Gibbs shrugged. "Neither did I, but we had to check out all the clubs. DiNozzo and Ziva would have stuck out like sore thumbs, and McGee would've been hopeless at a place like this."

Heather cocked her head at him. "Everyone who comes through the door here comes through me and with excellent references. Your people wouldn't have gotten past the doorman, and anyone on the floor would know that the instant they saw them." She glanced through the one-way glass down at the people mingling leisurely below. "You could be a regular...You used to be."

"It's been a long time, Heather."

"I'm sure you haven't forgotten anything." She smiled, running her fingers along the riding crop resting on her desk, her red hair falling over her shoulder.

Gibbs shrugged "Probably not."

"You're here. Stay a while. Socialize. Play if you like." She took in his burgundy silk shirt, leather pants, and boots, looking him up and down. "You're well aware you'll have no difficulty finding someone to play with. Or several someones if you like. I'm sure you remember the rules." She stood and walked around the desk, the ease of her movement surprising given the steel boned corset she wore.

He took Heather's arm as they walked toward the door. "I'm sure they haven't changed. Downstairs is for socializing only, second floor is for public play or watching, private rooms on the third floor, and of course, the usual safe, sane, and consensual."

She ran the tip of her crop under his chin. "You were always such a quick study. We could have so much fun together."

Her eyes widened as his hand closed tightly around her wrist. "But we both like to be on the same end of the crop."

She shrugged as he released her hand. "Pity. Shall we?" She guided him down the gilded hall and lush carpets to the elevator.

As they waited for the car, she slipped a ribbon off her wrist and pressed it into his hand. He looked down and found a golden key hanging from it. "In case someone strikes your fancy. My private room at the end of the hall on the third floor. I won't be needing it this evening. I believe Allison was wanting help with some homework."

"I appreciate the offer, but I'll probably just enjoy your hospitality on the first floor and make it an early evening." They stepped into the elevator car for the quick trip downstairs.

Heather took the key from his hand and slipped it deep into the front pocket of his pants. "Hang on to it anyway in case you change your mind."

He turned, pinning her between his body and the wall of the elevator, her hand still inside his pocket, his breath hot against her ear. "Don't start with me, Heather. You may find yourself chained to my bed." He sunk his teeth sharply into her earlobe.

She gasped. "Keep that up and I may let you." She shifted her hip and he found himself off balance, pressed against the other wall, her hands like iron around his wrists, whispering "and then you'll find yourself chained to mine while I purple your ass with my crop for your presumption."

"But you'd have enjoyed yourself first." Gibbs grinned.

Heather released his hands and stepped back, laughing. "Probably. So would you."


The elevator doors slid open to the ground floor of the club. It didn't have a name. It didn't need one. It was an invitation only club for individuals with sexual desires that ran to the darker side of normal, very quiet, discreet, unknown to anyone but its members and their guests, and, were it not for the dead congressman, would have remained one hundred percent under the radar. Finding no connection between this club and the congressman's death, Gibbs would ensure it remained so as a favor to Heather, a longtime friend he'd been introduced to shortly after Shannon first brought him into the lifestyle.

Heather walked him up to the bar and beckoned the bartender with a crook of her finger. "Jamie, this is Lee." She motioned to Gibbs, using the name he preferred for locations such as these. "See that he's well taken care of this evening. On the house."

The bartender nodded "Yes, Lady Heather. What'll it be, Sir?"


Heather shook her head. "Still drinking that swill, I see." Gibbs shrugged and looked around the club, taking in the people milling around. It was spacious, classically decorated, and while there were probably over a hundred people, didn't feel crowded.

"Look around, mingle, play if you wish... Everyone here has been thoroughly background checked and their discretion is assured. If you wish an introduction, simply let Jamie or myself know, and we will arrange it." Gibbs let his eyes drift from person to person, until they landed on one extraordinary form at the other end of the bar. His breath caught in his throat and Heather smiled. "Oh, I see... Always had excellent taste, didn't you. I'm not sure if you'll get far with that one, though. She's lovely. Comes to socialize almost every week, but I've never seen anyone strike her fancy."

Gibbs couldn't take his eyes off her. Her dark hair was piled elegantly on her head in soft curls, secured with a jeweled clip, her throat bare, her waist an hourglass silhouetted by a deep red leather corset, her flowing gauzy black skirt ended just above her knee, and her patent leather heels tied with ribbons around her ankles. Though her ensemble left her more covered than most prom dresses, to Gibbs she was sex personified. And as she turned as the bartender handed her a glass of red wine, he saw beneath her ear a spiderweb tattoo.

Heather cocked an eyebrow at him as he choked on his bourbon. "Problem?"

"I've got to get out of here."

"No. You've got to go talk to that beautiful lady who just completely short circuited your brain." She tugged at his hand. "I haven't seen that look on your face in a very, very long time."

"Heather, you don't understand. She's-"

She silenced him with her finger on his lips. "I know exactly who she is. I am wondering, though, if you have forgotten who you are. Now, are you going to slip out the back door and not be able to meet her eyes on Monday morning, or are you going to go ask the lovely one for a dance?"

He took a deep breath, his shoulders squared, and he set his drink firmly on the counter. Heather smiled and ran a hand down his arm. "Now there is the man who threatened to chain me to a bed, and made me consider it...if only for a moment." She squeezed his hand. "Have a pleasant evening, and don't stay away so long next time."

She turned and walked back to the elevator, leaving Gibbs behind to take one more gulp of liquid courage.

Finishing his drink, he stepped up behind her, catching that unique scent of sweet, spice, and gunpowder that was uniquely her. Leaning into her ear, he softly requested "May I have this dance?"

She jumped, her wine glass slipping from her hand as she turned. He caught it deftly between his fingers and placed it back in her hand without spilling a drop, closing her fingers around it as his blue eyes met Abigail Sciuto's green ones. "What are you doing here?"

"Asking you for a dance. You gonna answer me?"

Her eyes widened. "Oh! Um, yeah, okay." She set her glass back on the counter, knowing Jamie would keep it for her until she returned for it.

He took her hand to lead her over to the dance floor. "You look amazing tonight." She blushed and looked away. He softly ran a finger under her ear and along her jaw, tipping her chin up to look at him. "Don't look away from me. You deserve the compliment. Say thank you."

"Thank you." She kissed his cheek, her hand on his shoulder, feeling the silk fabric of his shirt. "I like your shirt!" She ran her hand over his shoulder and down his chest. "Feels nice." She took in the rest of what he was wearing. "Wow! Where'd you get this stuff?"

He wrapped his arm around her waist and slowly led her around the dance floor. "My closet."

"Seriously? That's awesome! So, what are you doing here, really?"

"Dancing with you." Seeing her annoyed expression, he added "We had to check out the places in the area because of the congressman case. Heather and I go way back, and since someone had to come here, I figured she'd rather it be me."

He felt the buttery soft leather of her corset under his hand as she asked "Way back?"

"About twenty years way back. It's been a while, but I still know my way around Heather's place."

"Wow." Abby ran her hand over his hip and across the leather covering his thigh. "Nice pants."

Not sure if he wanted her to know that her touch had left a streak of fire in its wake, he caught her hand and wrapped both arms around her waist. She leaned into his shoulder and she rested her head on his chest. "Mmm, Gibbs, this is nice."

He nodded as the music ended "Another dance, sit down, or would you like to tell me to scram so you can get on with your plans for the evening?"

"I would never tell you to scram!" She looked hurt. "And I didn't have any plans beyond a glass of wine and a dance or two."

"So, if you don't want me to scram, dance or sit?"

"Sit. I still want my wine."

They walked to a curtained off booth in the corner and sat down, Jamie quietly appearing with Abby's wine and another bourbon for Gibbs, letting the sheer black curtain fall behind him as he stepped away from the table. "How'd you find this place, Abs?"

"A friend, just a friend, brought me a while ago, after the whole McGee thing." Seeing Gibbs' face, she elaborated. "He's a wonderful guy and all, but just too...boring? You know what I mean? Someone can be totally into you, but try to bring in something as mild as spanking and they completely flip out."

Gibbs chuckled and shook his head. "Abs, I've got three divorces that say I know exactly what you mean. Vanilla can be nice, but-"

"Every so often you need some spice." Abby grinned.

Gibbs raised his glass in agreement, and Abby clinked it softly with her wine glass, smiling as she sipped. He couldn't help but notice how her skin almost shimmered in the light from the candle on the table. She was exquisite. McGee was a moron. He chuckled, imagining the scene. "You actually asked McGee to spank you?"

"Well, not so much asked, as suggested in a totally abstract way that it might maybe possibly be fun to try at some point." She looked down and shook her head, recalling the conversation. "He flipped. Went on about how he could never hit a woman, how that was abuse and that nobody could possibly really like that, and that I was sick for even suggesting it."

Gibbs sighed. "He's an idiot, Abs." He ran a finger lightly down her spiderweb, from her ear down and across her shoulder, watching her shiver. "It's hardly abuse when you're asking for it, wanting it, and maybe even..." his hand traveled up to her cheek and his thumb caressed her lips "begging for it?"

Her tongue darted out and licked the tip of his thumb, gently nibbling as he closed his eyes, enjoying the sensation. He let the back of his hand trail down her cheek to caress her shoulder, arm, and settling at her waist, tugging her close. His cheek against hers, he whispered "Walk out of here right now, and on Monday, none of this ever happened, or stay and I won't be able to stop myself from kissing you."

He felt her lips against his ear as she replied "I'm not going anywhere."

In an instant, his lips were on hers in a searing, heated kiss, his hand snaking up through her hair, pulling her to him as her hands ran down his chest, caressing through the silk. He couldn't get enough of her, touching, tasting, exploring. His hand found the soft skin at the hem of her skirt and brushed it out of the way, breaking the kiss only long enough to ask "This okay?" just to have her smile and remind him that she'd tell him if it wasn't, resting her hand on top of his and guiding it another few inches up her thigh to show him just how okay it was.

He kissed her again, gently this time, softly, teasing, while his hand explored the smooth skin of her leg. He slid his palm up the outside of her thigh until he came to a startling realization. "Abs?"


"You're not wearing underwear."

"I never wear underwear."

"You mean, when you're wearing those short little skirts in the lab...?"


"Oh God." He slid his hand around to cup her ass and pull her to him so she could feel exactly what that statement had done to him. "You're going to kill me."

She squirmed against him. "You don't feel dead to me."

He smacked her ass lightly. "Naughty girl."


"I said if I ever smacked you it wouldn't be on the head." He caressed her ass lightly before settling her back into the bench, trailing his fingers over the tops of her thighs.

Her breathing quickened and her eyes flew open, meeting his gaze. "You're teasing me, Gibbs."

He rained kisses down her neck as his fingertips danced over her thighs. "No, I'm not. I'd only be teasing you if I wasn't going to give you what you wanted." and with that, his finger plunged into her heat, his lips covering hers to absorb her squeal of surprise and pleasure.

Her head fell back against the back of the booth as she adjusted to allow him access, her eyes glazing over with pleasure. "Oh God, Gibbs! More?"

"I don't know, Abs. You were pretty naughty. No underwear, torturing me with your beautiful body..." He punctuated each sentence with a thrust of his finger, making her gasp, twisting his finger inside her and watching her squirm.

He slowly withdrew from her and her eyes met his, her lip pouting in disappointment. "Gibbs..."

"A very bad girl, don't you think? Beautiful, tempting, no underwear..." He raised his hand above the table, finger glistening with her moisture. "Dripping wet and letting me finger fuck you under the table." He slipped his finger into his mouth and she watched, eyes wide, as he cleaned his hand of her. Watching her here in the candlelight, he remembered the key in his pocket. "Would you like to come upstairs to play for a little while?" He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. "Something low key that you've already told me you like?" They hadn't had time to discuss any kind of limits, and he had no idea how experienced a player she was, but this moment was so perfect that he couldn't let it slip by without offering her something.

He saw fear and desire warring on her face and he tipped her chin up with his finger. "You know I'd never do anything you weren't one hundred percent okay with, and you say the word and everything stops." His lips brushed against her ear. "I'd never hurt you, Abby... in any way you didn't want me to." His teeth nipped at the smooth skin of her shoulder, hard enough to sting.

Abby felt the fear melt away. This was Gibbs. She trusted him with her life. She could certainly trust him with her body. "Yes."

He pulled back, raising an eyebrow, waiting.

She realized what he was waiting for. "Yes, Sir?"

He smiled and stood, taking her hand. "Stoplights?" He asked, referring to the standard set of safewords.

She nodded. "Red for stop, yellow for slow down." She shrugged. "Somehow I don't think I'll need them."

He met her eyes, letting her know he was completely serious. "They're there if you need them. Use them if you need them. I know we've known each other a long time, but never quite like this. Promise me you'll let me know if something is too much for you."

She nodded. "I promise."

He pulled her to him and kissed her deeply, then led her past the elevator leading to Heather's office, and towards the one for the other floors. As they passed the bar, Jamie smirked. Heather had called it again. He wasn't surprised in the least.

At the end of the hall, he pulled the key out of his pocket at a door marked only with the number 42. He smirked. Heather would number her private room after the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. He took in the surroundings, noting that the room looked more like a the sitting room of some fancy house than a BDSM playground. It was a paradise of sensation. A fire burned in a fireplace on the far wall, with leather chairs and ottomans facing the fire, large, soft pillows on the floor by the fireplace, books lined wooden bookshelves around the room, and dark mahogany cupboards were below the shelves. To a trained observer, there were a few things that indicated the intention of its use, though. Candles burned on the mantle, and Gibbs had no doubt that these candles were the low melting temperature paraffin or soy candles. Knowing what he'd seen of Heather's private suite of rooms when he and Shannon had spent time with her in Las Vegas, he was certain that the cupboards held an endless array of Heather's personal collection of floggers, crops, ropes, restraints, clamps, and cuffs, and that the two other doors probably led to a bedroom and a fully equipped playroom, complete with many ways to restrain, torment, and pleasure someone.

He saw Abby taking a look around, and he could tell by her expression that this was not what she had expected. "I've never been up here before. Are all the rooms like this?"

He ran a finger down the back of her neck. "No, but do you really want to talk about that now?" She shivered and shook her head, and the next moment found herself with her back against the door, arms pinned over her head, his body hard against hers. She tried to look away, overwhelmed by the intensity of his gaze, but his hand under her chin kept her where he wanted her. "Last chance. If you want to go, say the word and we pretend this never happened." The back of his hand brushed gently against her cheek. "But stay, and for this evening," His hand trailed down around her throat, not tightening at all, just resting loosely around her neck like a collar. "you're mine."

"I already told you, Sir," Her eyes flashed, torn between annoyance and amusement. "I'm not going anywhere."

He kissed her then, his lips demanding she open for him, and she offered no resistance, melting under his touch. His hand slid down, lightly brushing over her breast to settle on her hip, his other hand still pinning her wrists.

Finally, he took a step back, lowering her wrists, but still keeping them tight in his grasp, leading her over to stand in front of the fireplace. He stood behind her, his hands pressing gently down on her shoulders. Following his unspoken direction, she sank down and gracefully knelt on the pillow in front of her. She shivered as she heard his voice in her ear. "Good girl. Wait here." His hands rested briefly on either side of her face, pointing her head firmly toward the fireplace, letting her know she wasn't to look around.

She gazed at the flames, trying not to let her curiosity get the better of her and look back. Finally, he appeared in front of her, blocking the light from the fire. "Stand up." He offered her a hand and helped her gently to her feet. "Close your eyes." She could hear him walking around her, could feel him watching her, and she tried not to fidget as she stood there waiting. Finally, she heard his voice in her ear. "You're beautiful."

Remembering the lesson from earlier, she replied "Thank you, Sir."

His hand brushed along her shoulder. "Beautiful, but you have been a very, very bad girl, haven't you?"

"Yes, Sir." She was almost shaking with anticipation and arousal as his hand trailed down her spine to the top of her corset.

"And what have you done?"

She thought hard, trying to remember the things he had listed earlier. "Not wearing underwear. Teasing you with my short skirts."


She thought hard. What else could there be? "Thinking I could ever get what I needed from McGee."

She heard him chuckle. "Thank you for reminding me of that one." Uh oh. "And?"

"Letting you..." she stumbled over the words, blushing. "Finger fuck me under the table."

"Good girls wouldn't do that, would they?"

"No, Sir." She answered softly.

"And I would be neglecting my duty if I let you get away with it, wouldn't I?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Have you ever known me to neglect my duty?"

She shivered. "No, Sir."

"Then open your eyes and come here."

She turned to face him, and he could see her trembling as she walked toward him. He was certain she had a good idea what to expect given their earlier conversation, but he still saw her sharp breath when he motioned for her to lie down across his legs. She did so slowly, kneeling next to him and lowering herself gracefully across his lap.

He rested his arm across her back, supporting her, and allowed himself a moment to look at her. He lightly trailed his hand down her neck and along her spine, relishing her shiver. Reaching slightly, he pulled the soft rope he'd secured to the heavy chair nearby and placed it in her hands. "You let go, all this stops. Understand?" She nodded. He watched her hands as she gripped it tightly, knowing it not only provided her a bit of extra stability in her position and another way to stop the scene if she wanted to, but just a little bit of something extra to focus on if she wanted to be sure it continued. He smiled as he watched her knuckles turn white holding on and gently touched her hand. "Relax. We haven't even started yet."

"It's that whole 'yet' part that's got me worried." She muttered. He lightly smacked her ass for her sass. "Sorry."

He chuckled. "You'll be sorry, all right." He ran his hand up her leg and over her ass, pausing there a moment before he flipped her skirt above her waist, and found himself unable to stop himself from laughing out loud at what he found there. A tattoo of a lipstick print kiss was right in the middle of her left cheek.

She glanced up at him. "Like what you see?"

That comment earned a much harder smack, and she yelped in surprise as his hand connected. Admiring the red handprint left behind, he whispered "Your ass turns a lovely shade of red, beautiful." His fingers brushed against her thighs and he watched her squirm, searching for more contact. "You haven't earned that yet." His hand returned to her ass, alternating caresses with light swats, increasing in strength as he felt she could handle them. As he watched her squirm against him, watched her breathing to gauge the strength of the smacks, he could hardly believe this was happening, that she would allow this, allow him to do this.

She gasped as he gave her several harder smacks in a row, relaxing when she felt his hand gently soothing away the pain and heard his voice in her ear. "Good girl. Okay?" She nodded, and he swatted her again lightly. "Words, Abs."

"Yes, Sir." He rubbed her back gently while his other hand continued to caress her, gently massaging away some of the redness.

As his hand crept closer and closer to where she wanted it most, she started squirming in his lap, wanting more contact. "Abs." He warned.

"Sorry, Sir." She took a deep breath, her hands tightening around the rope, her struggle to hold still obviously difficult.

"What do you want, beautiful?" He asked, knowing full well what she wanted, but wanting the satisfaction of hearing her say it.

"Touch me?" She whispered.

He smirked, sliding his fingers over her ass. "I am touching you."

She bit her lip, a frustrated gasp escaping. "Please, I want your fingers inside me again. Please, Sir?"

He leaned over and whispered in her ear. "I like hearing you beg, beautiful." With that, he gave her what she wanted.

She was so on edge that it only took a few strokes of his fingers and some well placed thumb action on her clit before she exploded around his fingers, gasping and biting her lip to keep from screaming. He gave her a moment to catch her breath, touching her lips gently with his index finger, all the while caressing her back and thighs with his other hand. "Don't hold back, beautiful. I like watching you if I give you pleasure. I get to hear you too. Understood?" She nodded. "Did you forget already?" Seeing her blank look, he added "Words, Abs."

She looked down. "Sorry, Sir."

He smacked her ass, harder than when he'd started, knowing that she could tolerate more. She started pressing back to meet his hand. He chuckled. "Like that?"

"Yes, Sir." She replied breathlessly, turning her head to look at him, quite determined to not forget that lesson again.

"Good." He increased the speed and tempo of his smacks, enjoying her strangled sound of pain and pleasure, watching her continue to move towards him.

After a moment, he settled back to his pattern of light slaps and caresses. He took the time to watch her, to listen not just to her voice but to what her body was telling him, and noticed again just how stunning she was, her cross tattoo peeking over the top of her corset, her dark hair, and pale skin. His eyes skimmed over her ass, now a delightful shade of red that just about matched the lipstick kiss tattoo there, and down her legs to her ankles, her shoes still tied with those satin ribbons. He would love to take her foot in his lap and untie that shoe, watch as the ribbons fell away and he slipped the shoe off, gently massaging her foot. It wasn't that he had a foot fetish, more like he had an Abby fetish, and after all evening in those heels, her feet had to hurt. He just wanted to take care of it, that was all, but somehow going there seemed far more intimate than having her on his lap, skirt around her waist, slapping her ass until it was cherry red. He started to taper down the intensity of the spanking. "How you doing, Abs?"

"Mmm." She sighed.


"Doing good, Gibbs." She sounded a little sleepy.

He was just lightly touching her now. "You sure?"

She chuckled. "Not spacing out on you...much. Just relaxing. Feels good."

He reached for her hands, still grasping the rope. "Let go."

She did, flexing her fingers. "I'd forgotten about that. Can I sit up?"

"Slowly." He helped her kneel back on the floor, gently rubbing her hands. He brought both her hands to his lips, kissing them lightly. "Thank you."

"You're kidding, right? Thank you!" She rested her head on his knee, running her hand up his leg in a soft caress, looking up at his sharp gasp. "Huh?" Comprehension dawned, and she ran his hand over his zipper.

He caught her around the wrist. "That wasn't part of the plan."

"Please?" He shook his head and she looked at him sternly. "Gibbs! You spent all evening taking care of me." She brushed his leg with her free hand. "Allow me to spend a few moments taking care of you? Please?" She lowered her head, but looked up to meet his eyes and Gibbs knew he was done for the moment they locked eyes and she smiled, the tip of her tongue darting out to delicately moisten her lips, leaving no doubt exactly what she had in mind.

Seeing the desire in her eyes, desire for him, and sincere desire to touch him just because she wanted to please him without asking anything in return was a rare experience for him. He had a beautiful woman kneeling between his legs, calling him 'Sir' and begging to take care of him. And that it was this beautiful woman, the one he tried very hard not to imagine in this exact situation...Yeah, he was so done for. He released her hand and motioned her to do what she willed.

And in what felt like half a second, her mouth was on him, and he had one moment of coherent thought to wonder where the heck she had learned to make a man feel like that, and another to decide he didn't care he was just damn glad she knew, and his hands tangled in her hair as the world shrank to nothing but her lips on his cock, and then exploded.

When he was able to see clearly again, Abby was still kneeling before him, resting her head on his thigh, looking very much like the cat that had just swallowed the...canary. "C'mere." He tugged her to him, pulling her into his lap. "Should've asked you before. How you feeling?"

She snuggled up against him, enjoying the feeling of his hand caressing her back. "Good. A little sore, nothing bad. Probably gone by tomorrow."

He held her close, enjoying the scent of her hair. She could stay here as long as she liked. He tightened his arms around her, not knowing when, or if, he would get to hold her again.

She uncurled from his arms, stretching upwards and standing slowly. "It's getting late.

"Did you drive?" He moved to stand beside her.

"No. I was going to take a cab."

"I can take you." He wanted to see her safely to her door.

She nodded, and they walked toward the door together. He stopped her as they reached the exit, his hand on her shoulder, turning her to face him. His finger touched her under her chin and her eyes met his. He brushed his lips across hers. "Thank you, beautiful."

She smiled and kissed his cheek. "No, thank you, Sir."

He locked the door behind them.

He left the room key with Jamie, and she collected her purse and cloak from coat check, along with his keys. He opened the car door for her, and she was asleep in the front seat a few moments later.

He watched her. She was so damn beautiful. The woman he tried not to think about that way but failed miserably. When he saw her at Heather's, he was so surprised, and she so surprised him that all his self control had gone completely out the window and he was totally unable to resist touching her. He was amazed she had allowed it. She wasn't quite young enough to be his daughter, but too young still. He was all wrong for her. She needed someone who could understand what a "major mass spec" did, what an "mmorpg" was, and how the stuff on her stereo in the lab was possibly music. All he could do was protect her, and, as much as he didn't want to admit it to himself, love her, but he'd been doing both from a distance for a long time now, and that shouldn't, couldn't change.

He had to tell her that. She might be a little mad, but she'd get over it, and things would go back to how they were. Right? They had to. He couldn't screw everything up by getting involved with her. Then she'd leave like everyone else, one way or another. And that was unthinkable.

He pulled into her driveway, realizing she had woken up as the car stopped, and bracing himself for the unpleasant conversation ahead.

She noticed the change in his demeanor. "Gibbs? What's wrong?"

"Abby, this can't happen again."

Her eyes widened in shock. "Gibbs, what? We had a wonderful night! What are you talking about?"

"And it never should have happened." He stared out the window.

"But why?" He could hear the hurt and confusion in her voice. "What did I do?"

"It's not what you did, Abby. You did everything right. Just... go on. I'll see you on Monday."


"Go!" He snapped, not daring to turn to look for fear that the hurt in her eyes would make him change his mind.

With a wounded gasp, she fled into her apartment, the slam of the door shaking the windows.

When he got home, he headed down to the basement, sloshed some bourbon into his coffee cup, and downed it in one swallow. Refilling the cup, he picked up his sander and got to work, trying to lose the memory of the pain in her voice in the meditative monotony of his woodworking. Unable to deal with the silence of his own thoughts, he switched the radio on, hoping it and the bourbon could somehow drown the guilt in his mind. He knew it wasn't working when he heard:

"Is love so fragile

And the heart so hollow

Shatter with words..."

Even the radio was out to get him. He slammed his hand on the radio, silencing it, and downed the rest of the bourbon. It was going to be a long night.