DISCLAIMER: NCIS and its characters are the property of CBS, no infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: One scene lifted directly from the end of the episode Sub Rosa. Kate's looks at McGee in that scene? Pure, unadulterated jealousy. I swear to you. :D
SERIES/SEQUEL: First in the "Broken" series, following God in the Machine.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Sub Rosa, kind of for Eye Spy.
Along Came Tim
Kate stepped out of the bathroom, relieved in more ways than one. An honest-to-goodness, dry-land toilet. She and Gibbs had decided to spend the night in a roadside motel before heading back in the morning. She sat on the edge of the bed, checking her cell phone for messages. She found four from Abby and smiled, touched at the thought of her girlfriend missing her.
She put aside her laptop and dialed Abby's number.
"Hey, there," Kate said, leaning back against the headboard.
"Kate! Returned from Davy Jones's locker, I take it? How was the sub?"
"Cramped, cold, claustrophobic, dirty, rusty... and extremely cool."
Abby laughed. "Very cool. Listen, I wanted to talk to you about something. It's kinda... serious..."
"What is it?" Kate asked, suddenly concerned.
"I know you and I are... going... somewhere. I'm not sure it's, you know, love yet, and... I mean, I'm not asking for anything..."
Kate was now really concerned. "Abby, what's going on?"
Abby took a breath and started from the beginning. "I got asked out."
"Oh," Kate said. She replayed Abby's rambling explanation in her head and deduced the rest. "You... want to say yes?"
Kate was crushed, but tried to keep the emotion from her voice. She swallowed and looked down at her bare toes. "Abby, we, uh... we never really had a... formal... arrangement or anything like that. If you want to end it, we can..."
"No!" Abby interrupted. "No, no, no, nothing like that. The person who asked me out is a guy."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Well... his gender, for one thing. I don't have boyfriends, Kate. I have boy toys and I have girlfriends, and never the twain shall meet. I just use men for sex."
Kate was finding this far from reassuring. "So... you don't want to date other people, just screw them on the side."
"What if I say no?"
"Then I say no to him. I don't want to jeopardize what you and I have, Kate. Not for anything."
Kate chewed her bottom lip and said, "Can I call you back?"
"Sure," Abby said, sounding defeated.
They said their good-byes and Kate hung up, feeling tears stinging her eyes. She pulled her laptop back in front of her and began typing up her report. Halfway through, she stopped in mid-sentence and grabbed her cell phone, speed-dialing Abby's number. Abby picked up on the third ring. Kate started speaking before Abby could.
"It's a man and he can offer you something... physically... that I cannot. And as long as he knows it's just physical, nothing... overtly emotional..."
"He knows, trust me."
Kate sighed and pressed the heel of her hand against her forehead. "I feel like I'm giving you permission to cheat on me."
"I wouldn't, Kate. I love you."
Kate's breath caught in her throat. "You just said..."
"I had a lot of time to think while I was waiting for you to call back. I mean it, Kate."
Kate picked at the hem of her sweater. "I love you, too, Abby. You should go."
"I'll meet up with you after?"
"No," Kate said. "Not... not on the same day."
Kate swallowed and said, "All right, then. I'll see you... when I get back?"
Kate put her cell phone down, resting her head in her hands and staring blankly at the computer screen. She fiddled with the controls, trying to sharpen the display for a full minute before she realized why the letters were blurry.
She saved the document and put the laptop aside for later. Stretching out on top of the covers, she closed her eyes and tried to put the conversation with Abby out of her mind.
She made a point of putting on her cap before entering the squad room, showing off the souvenir without looking too dorky. As they walked in, Tony looked up and welcomed them back. "Nice hat," he said. "They make you the boat mascot?"
Kate laughed politely, putting her things down on her desk. "This is your way of telling me how much you missed me, isn't it?"
Tony looked up at her for a beat, then shook his head slightly and said, "No..."
"What are you doing here, McGee?"
Kate watched the very green rookie pass in front of her desk, walking over to Gibbs. She took off his hat, wondering herself what had drawn him so far from the safety of his computer screen. "I brought my final report, sir."
As expected, Gibbs accepted the yellow folder with a terse, "You do not have to 'sir' me, McGee."
Tony, also handing in his report, asked, "Didn't they teach you how to send email at MIT?"
Kate was impressed. "You graduated from MIT?"
Before McGee could reply, Gibbs muttered, "And Johns Hopkins."
McGee looked questioningly at Tony, who shook his head. "I didn't tell him."
Gibbs waited a moment and then asked again. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, I have a lunch date with Abby."
Kate barely stopped herself from asking "My Abby?" out loud. This guy? This was the guy Abby was going out with? This was the guy Abby was going to use solely for sex? This dork who could barely look at the decomposed body without gagging? This guy? And if it was just for sex, why the hell were they going on a lunch date? She watched as Tony led him to the elevators, hearing Tony say, "I already warned you... Abby's not your type..."
She hated the fact she was rooting for Tony, but the man had a point. She felt a subtle brush of air on her back and turned to find Gibbs standing behind her. The man could sneak up on a cat. They watched Tony and McGee at the elevators for a long moment until the rookie agent stepped into the elevators. Tony was left speechless at the elevator doors.
"I wonder what he said to make Tony speechless?" she asked.
"He told him he got a tat on his ass," Gibbs said, walking away.
Kate looked back at the elevators, a slightly evil smile on her face. A tat on the ass, huh? she thought. Wonder if that's Abby's calling card...
Deciding there was nothing she could do about it at the moment, she took a seat and turned on her computer. Later, though... later, she'd have a definite talk with Abby about her choice in men.
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