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The night was balmy enough for the bedroom window to be open, and the sheer curtain billowed in the breeze. The light in the bedroom was all candlelight, safely placed away from the window and the billowing curtain, and it flickered across the ceiling, creating strange shadow designs.
The sound of traffic floated in through the window, sounding eerie and far away to the two women who lay on the bed together, focusing on one another rather than the irrelevant world outside.
The sounds of feminine lovemaking filled the room: soft gasps, wet touches, high-pitched whimpers and low groans. The bed squeaked when the woman on top lowered her mouth to her lover's sticky, wet cunt, extending her tongue and sliding it through the soft folds of flesh to feast on the taste of the pleasure to be found there. "You taste so good," she whispered, raising her eyes to those of her lover momentarily. "I could eat you all night."
"Oh, God," the lover whimpered. "Please, Abby, please!"
Abby chuckled. "I will, Kate. Believe me, I will." She lowered her face to Kate's flesh again, seeking sensitive spots with tongue, teeth, lips and fingers. Kate's own hands clenched in the bedcovers, her voice rising in pitch and volume as Abby expertly teased her up into the throes of orgasm.
When she calmed down a little, she reached for her lover, rolling them over so that she was on top. She leaned down to press a soft kiss to Abby's lips, one which rapidly grew desperate and hungry as her fingers made their way down Abby's body, between her legs and into her pussy.
Abby's head fell back, exposing her throat to the tender ministrations of Kate's lips, and she gasped out her pleasure as Kate's fingers found her clit, working her expertly up into her first orgasm of the night.
Minutes later, she had pulled her lover up to kneel above her, pulling Kate's hips down to her lips.
Across the street, in a darkened window, the sound of a camera shutter clicking repeated over and over again.
Monday morning began the same as any other Monday morning, with files and reports and an email from HR about sensitivity training that had Tony praying for a quadruple homicide. Kate sorted through the mail that had been left on her desk by Ben the Mailroom Guy, dropping most of it on Gibbs's desk with a cheerful smile, and then went back to her computer and the final rewrite of her report on last week's rape case.
Gibbs went through the mail in his usual manner flipping through each envelope to see who it was from before tossing everything into his inbox except the large manila envelope with no return address. He pulled on a pair of gloves, sliced the flap of the envelope open, and peered inside.
He blinked, looked up at the plasma screen opposite him, then looked down into the envelope again. He reached in with one finger, pushing the first glossy sheet forward to look at the next, and then the next. He stopped then, unable to go any farther, stripped off the gloves and stood, envelope in hand. "Kate, come with me."
One eyebrow raised in curiosity, she followed him to the back elevator, stepping in beside him and waiting until the doors had closed to ask what was going on. He did not reply, simply pressed the button for Abby's lab and stood there as the small space descended.
Gibbs held up a hand as he exited the elevator. "Wait here," he said, "and keep the door open." He walked into the lab, already booming with Abby's music, and turned the CD player off. "Abby."
She looked up from her microscope. "What's up, Gibbs?"
"Come with me."
Bemused, she followed him out into the hallway and into the elevator Kate was holding. He pushed the button for the next floor up and stopped the lift before it had gone very far, then opened the envelope and pulled out the stack of photographs. "Would either of you care to explain this?"
The quality of the zoom lens was such that the photographer may as well have been in the room with them. The photograph on the top of the stack was Kate, on her knees and in profile, her back arched and her hands toying with her nipples, with Abby's hands wrapped around her thighs and Abby's face buried in her cunt. The next one was of Abby lying on Kate's bed, her legs spread, Kate's fingers deep inside her. In the one under that, Abby was riding Kate, the straps of a harness clearly visible around Kate's hips.
The photographs fell from Kate's nerveless fingers and fluttered to the floor, shot after shot of Kate and Abby bringing one another pleasure over and over again. The photos were so crisp and clear that Gibbs, looking down at the ecstatic face of his agent, imagined he could almost hear her cries.
Then he realized he could he looked up at her in shock to see that she was actually crying. Tears were rolling down her face and soft sounds of pain slipping from between her parted lips as Abby pulled her close and held her tight. Kate's hands fisted in the material of Abby's lab coat as she buried her face in Abby's shoulder, and Abby looked up at Gibbs with the first expression of true, cold fury he had ever seen on her face.
"His name is Jacob Waller," Abby said. "He's been stalking Kate for four years and Metro won't do anything about it."
He stared at them, feeling the red haze of anger slowly begin to descend. "What?"
"They told her it was a domestic issue and there wasn't anything they could do unless he actually physically hurts her," Abby clarified. "Apparently a restraining order means nothing. They didn't come right out and say it, but the message was pretty clear that they're not interested in helping a couple of dykes lose an ex-boyfriend."
"They told me I should have stayed with him and let him put me in the hospital," Kate added from the safety of Abby's arms. She hiccupped softly. "Then they could have charged him with assault." She straightened, wiping at her eyes with her fingertips, then knelt down and began methodically gathering up the photographs. "I'm sorry you got involved in this, Gibbs," she said, her voice trembling despite her obvious efforts to keep it steady. "I'll just go get my things, I guess, and get out of here."
He blinked. "Where the hell do you think you're going?"
She stood, stuffing the glossies back into their envelope, and waved it at him eloquently. "'Pull that crap at NCIS and I won't give you a chance to quit', remember? I know I'm fired. I'm not stupid." She took a deep, shuddering breath and reached for the elevator control.
Gibbs's hand stopped her halfway there. "How long have the two of you been together?" he asked.
"Eight months," Abby replied when Kate would not speak.
"How many fights have you had?"
The two women looked at one another and shrugged. "I don't know," Abby said. "A few. We don't really keep track."
"In eight months and 'a few' fights, it took somebody giving me photographic documentation to figure out you were seeing each other; I'd say you're doing a pretty good job of keeping it out of the office." He smiled slightly. "You're not fired, Kate." He reached for the switch himself. "We do, however, have an investigation to open. I want to know everything about this son of a bitch. Everything."
"We've got a case," Gibbs said flatly as he walked back behind his desk, stopping Tony and Tim, who had been preparing to go to the sensitivity training.
"Thank God," Tony groaned, dropping into his chair. "What is it, Boss? Homicide?"
"Stalking," Gibbs replied, turning to his computer. "McGee, do a database search on Jacob Waller. Cross-reference him to the address Kate's gonna give you. I want to know where he lives, where he works, where his dog goes to school everything."
Kate went to her desk, scribbled the last address she had for Jacob on a sticky note, and brought it to McGee. She returned to her desk then, stuffing the envelope of pictures into a drawer, and picked up a pen, giving every outward impression of someone who is extremely busy working. Except for the part where her hand never moved, and no words were written on her papers.
Tony studied her carefully, then switched his gaze over to Gibbs, who nodded shortly. Tony winced slightly and turned to his computer, beginning his own search.
Twenty minutes later, McGee's computer beeped and Kate's head jerked up reflexively when he and Tony both spoke at the same time. "Got him, Boss."
Gibbs looked up. "What do you got?"
McGee rattled off an address in Alexandria. "He's living there; has been for a year and a half."
Kate paled. "That's right across the street from me," she whispered.
"He's doing freelance work," Tony reported. "Handyman stuff."
"Let's go," Gibbs said, standing up and collecting his weapon. He pointed at Kate. "Stay here."
She nodded, her expression sick and her eyes hopeless. Her gaze dropped to her computer screen, seeming to look through it. Gibbs waited until Tony and Tim had gone for the car and leaned over her desk, taking her chin in his hand and forcing her to look up at him. "I will handle this," he said softly. "This will be over when I come back."
"It'll never be over," Kate whispered. "He always keeps his promises."
"So do I," Gibbs replied. Letting her go, he stood and headed for the elevator.
Jacob Waller's apartment was empty when they arrived, and they went through looking for everything they could find. His camera equipment was still up, aimed directly at Kate's bedroom window. Copies of the photos he'd sent Gibbs hung on the walls, as well as enough other pictures to cover every inch of the living room from floor to ceiling. Tony let out a low whistle at the sight. "Obsessive much?"
"Take pictures," Gibbs ordered flatly. "Bag everything."
In the bedroom, Gibbs and McGee found weapons: knives and guns enough to stock a hunting store. They also found a very damning timeline on a calendar that hung on the wall. It was a custom-made job each month's picture was of Kate, doubtless taken without her knowledge. The dates were marked 'send photos', 'visit in person', and so on, right up through the end of the month, which was decorated with a sticker of a cartoon gravestone. Kate's name had been written on it in black Sharpie.
"That's enough evidence for me," Gibbs said flatly, collecting the calendar and slipping it into an evidence bag. "Tony, you finished in there?"
"Just about. Check out what I found in the kitchen." Gibbs and McGee came out to find Tony looking at a taser, several rolls of duct tape, a roll of wire, three cubes of C-4, and a shiny new key with a tag on it that bore the initials K. T.
"Jesus," McGee breathed.
"We're putting this guy away for life," Gibbs said, his voice a low growl. "There's enough evidence in here to let him rot behind bars."
The lock on the door rattled.
The three men jumped away from one another, Tony backward into the kitchen and McGee and Gibbs behind the door, three hands on three service weapons. The door swung open and Jacob Waller walked in, carrying an armload of clothing that Gibbs recognized as Kate's and whistling "Clementine" through his front teeth. He stopped in shock when he saw the blank walls of his apartment, and the evidence bags on his table.
Gibbs swung his weapon up and unlocked the safety. "Put your hands up," he demanded.
Waller spun around in shock. "Who are you? What are you doing in here? Get out!"
"NCIS," Gibbs responded. "I said get your hands up, dirtbag."
Waller laughed. "NCIS! So you got the little gift I sent you! Isn't she delectable?" He tossed the clothes to the side, putting his hands out to his sides. "I'm unarmed. You won't be needing your weapon."
"I'll decide that. You're under arrest for harassment, stalking, and anything else I can think of by the time I get you back."
Waller smiled broadly and dove to the side, making it through the door of his room before Gibbs fired. The bullet buried itself in the drywall, and Gibbs and McGee split up, staying close to the ground. Tony dropped to the floor behind the kitchen half-wall and aimed his gun at the bedroom door. Moments later, gunfire rattled out through the doorway, the shots going wide of the mark.
"Give it up, Waller!" Gibbs shouted. "You'll never get all of us before we get you."
There was a long silence, then a short laugh, the sound of a clip slamming home, and one single gunshot that ended in a sound like a melon being slammed against a wall.
Lying in bed that night, Abby wrapped warmly around her, Kate pondered the expression on Gibbs's face when he'd come to tell her that her stalker was dead. There had been sadness there, and pride, and something else something she couldn't quite identify. But he had clasped her shoulder warmly and told her in a low, firm voice that if she ever tried to keep something like this from him again, he'd kill her himself, and then hugged her and told her that he would always keep her safe, to the best of his ability. Then he had squeezed her shoulder again and told her to go home and take Abby with her.
It was the strangest thing, to know that Gibbs knew about them and approved. It was a warm feeling deep inside her, glowing slightly with the knowledge that the one man she respected more than any other still cared about her despite everything that might make him turn from her.
She snuggled into her lover's embrace, content. She was safe, Abby was safe, Gibbs still loved them, and all was right with the world.
Her cell phone rang just as she was about to fall asleep.
She fumbled for it, hearing Abby groan softly. "Todd," she murmured into the mouthpiece.
"Tell Abby to save it for later," Gibbs's voice assaulted her ears. "We've got a double homicide in Rock Creek Park." He hung up.
Kate blinked. Well, she supposed it beat having to pretend.
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