DON'T LET IT END THIS WAY

Chapter Two

Tim saw him first and looked wide-eyed seeing the Boss approaching with purpose. He didn't know what had happened in the lab, but it got Gibbs pumped up. He started to stand preparing to follow the command he was sure Gibbs would order, but was surprised when it was to sit back down.

"Boss, what's going on?" Tim asked noticing that Ziva and Tony had stopped what they were doing to study the older agent as well.

"I have to go somewhere" he stated as he collected his badge and weapon.

"Do you need one of us to go with you?" Tony asked ready to grab his own gear and follow.

Gibbs shook his head and took his jacket from the back of his chair. "I got this DiNozzo," he commented slipping his arms into the sleeves as he walked between the desks.

"Gibbs?" Ziva asked more softly than she had spoken to him before.

He stopped and looked at her. Seeing her silent support he winked and continued on his way. Ziva smiled certain that he was finally going to make things right.

Tony looked narrowly at Ziva's smile and questioningly at Tim. Tim could only shake his head in wonder. They all hoped that whatever Gibbs was going to do now they'd have Abby back for good.

She paced around her apartment wringing her hands. She knew Gibbs would find her note, but for the first time she doubted that he'd come through for her. She knew he didn't think he was enough for her, but he had to see himself through her eyes. Despite what she knew of his past, he was all goodness.

The sharp knock at the door nearly stopped her heart, before it began racing. She hesitated not wanting to believe he'd actually came, but hoping he was ready to tell her what she wanted to hear.

She ran her palms down her tartan pleated mini skirt, as she stood in front of the door calming her breathing with a few deep breaths. She pulled open the door letting loose her mega-smile.

"Hi Gibbs," she greeted around the lump in her throat. She'd never seen him looking so uncertain and she feared that she may have lost her chance to convince him that they were meant to be.

"Hey Abs," he gave her a small smile and looked past her waiting for her to invite him in. She finally got the message and stood aside to let him enter.

He noted that the apartment was pure Abby. Every little nuance was an extension of her personality in all its varieties. Looking around was like having a glimpse into her very being. It was almost intimate.

She closed the door and led him toward her living room with its black plush sofa and blood red carpeting. "I'm glad you came," she turned and indicated he should sit. "Would you like some coffee?" she offered

By the lack of aroma Gibbs knew she hadn't prepared a pot, so he politely declined not wanting any more delay in speaking his mind.

"It's okay. I won't be long," he wasn't sure what would happen once he told her what he had to say. Her recent behavior left him wondering how she'd react to anything.

Her face fell at his words. "Oh, well then what can I do for you?" she reverted to her role of appeasing him and mentally kicked herself, but stood expectantly regardless.

Gibbs found himself avoiding his own declaration by asking, "Why?"

Abby's eyes narrowed knowing he was avoiding the reason he came. "Why Gibbs? You want to know why?!"

"Well yeah Abs, I do. We've had something that's worked for a long time. Now suddenly you're gone," he stared at her daring her to deny it.

"It's been great Gibbs. But it's not enough anymore. I want more," she stated.

"What more could you want? I give you everything I can," he replied the truth as he saw it evident in his voice.

"Not everything," Abby spoke quietly, but he still heard.

"Then what? Tell me," he demanded.

This wasn't going how she wanted it to go. She wanted him declaring his love for her not her begging for it. Still it would be worth it if he finally admitted it, not only to her, but to himself as well.

"You Gibbs. I want you," she threw her hands up in the air.

He closed his eyes hearing the words he was hoping she wouldn't say. "I'm no good for you," he began to rationalize.

She held up her hand stopping him from continuing. "You are good Gibbs. Sure you've made mistakes in the past. But that's just it, it's the past. I know you would never hurt me."

He shook his head. "I can keep from hurting you by keeping my distance," he tried to explain.

"No Gibbs. I need you here with me," she sat down beside him and smiled when he stayed sitting in his place.

"Abby, I've always taken care of you- protected you, but what you're asking…"

"It's a big step for you, I know," she interrupted preventing him from voicing any further argument. "But I'll be here to walk you through it," she took his hand in her own.

He looked at their hands and then into her eyes. He could see the determination in them and a part of him wanted to believe it was possible.

"Give it a chance Gibbs," she squeezed his hand.

"I don't want to hurt you," he feared his pattern of relationships were predestined for failure.

"I'm a big girl. I won't break. Besides this is right," she told him.

He was at a loss for a response and accepted the kiss she placed on his lips. A simple kiss that sent a current through him. He didn't know if it was the intensity of the situation or his heart's desire, but he began to think maybe he could try.

He wasn't sure if she would change her mind about her job, but didn't want to use their relationship to get her back. If they were going to give their love a chance she had to want her work separate from him.

"I need you Abs," he confessed not only what he needed as an agent, but what he desired as a man.

She smiled at him earnestly. "Give us two weeks. After that I'll return to the lab."

"Even if it turns out to be a mistake?" he asked with raised eyebrows.

"It won't. But even then, yes," she promised.

He nodded accepting that he would have to give her his best effort. "Okay. How about we start with dinner?" he asked.

"That sounds great. I'll just grab my bag," she leapt up before he could amend the invitation for another night. What the heck after all the stress from the past few hours, he was actually quite hungry.

Somehow they managed to have a meal accompanied with conversation that wasn't awkward. They kept the topics to a general interest saving any future talks about their relationship for more private moments.

Abby was her normal, cheerful, talkative self, making up for Gibbs less verbal self. He was at ease though and she took that as a good sign he wasn't just going through the motions but genuinely letting himself try to see the possibilities ahead for them.

He drove her home and stopped at the door. As she unlocked it he turned her to face him and slowly brought his lips to hers. It was a gentle kiss, but also one that said good-night.

Abby looked up sensing he was leaving. A cloud of disappointment passed through her eyes. "You're not staying for a night cap?" she tried.

Gibbs shook his head. "Not tonight."

He squeezed her elbow as she opened the door. "I'll call you tomorrow."

Abby smiled knowing he never said what he didn't mean. He waited while she locked her door, and then turned to go home and contemplate what he was taking on.