Category: Drama, Romance, JAG/NCIS Crossover
Spoilers: Through "One Shot, One Kill" (NCIS), "Crash" (JAG)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Please don't kill me. *cackles evilly*
Chapter 23: The Confrontation
Kate fidgeted as the elevator moved upward. "Come on... come on..." she muttered impatiently. Finally, the bell dinged, announcing her arrival at the correct floor. The doors opened, and she stepped into the bullpen.
Most of the lights were off, casting the open space into darkness. Kate briskly strode toward her desk. She stopped in her tracks. The sketchpad was missing.
She began to rummage through the files and papers on her desk. She opened drawers and emptied them. "Are you looking for this?" a voice interrupted her frantic search.
Kate looked up. Gibbs stood by his desk, his face shadowed. He stepped into the light shed by Kate's desk lamp. He was holding a familiar object.
She swallowed. "Yes. Yes, I was." She stood and stepped toward Gibbs. She reached for the sketchpad. He refused to relinquish it.
"How long?" he asked in a low voice. His eyes glittered icily.
Kate stared at Gibbs, mesmerized. "Two months," she replied.
"And I'm just hearing about this now?" Kate shivered at his tone of voice.
'Kate, why are you afraid of him?' her conscience screamed. 'You have a backbone, girl. Use it!'
"Obviously," she snapped. She inwardly cringed at the anger that flared in his eyes, but stood her ground.
"What were you thinking, Agent Todd? You know that any accusation of conflict of interest can be damaging to both your careers!"
"You think I haven't thought of that, Gibbs?" Kate asked heatedly. "Believe me, I've wrestled with that for the past few weeks. But you know what I decided? I don't care. I don't care, Gibbs. AJ is a good man. He's been there for me through a lot of tough shit, and he hasn't run away. I can talk to him. I love--"
She stopped in mid-rant. She paled. "I love him," she whispered.
Gibbs interrupted her self-revelation. "I forbid you to see him."
Kate's jaw dropped. "You what?" she cried incredulously.
"You heard me," Gibbs replied, his jaw set stubbornly.
Kate laughed. She leaned on her desk, clapped a hand over her mouth, and howled. "You... you forbid me...?" she choked out between bouts of laughter.
Gibbs scowled and crossed his arms over his chest. "I fail to see what is so amusing, Agent Todd."
Kate stopped laughing and straightened up. "Oh, it's quite funny, Agent Gibbs. Forbidding a grown woman, a consenting adult, to see her lover? That's hilarious. Particularly considering the fact that you are not my father, my brother, or my significant other." She stepped close to him and said in a low voice, "I'm sorry to disappoint you, Gibbs, but my personal life is not in your jurisdiction."
"No, but I am your boss."
"And this isn't the military, Gibbs. I am a civilian, and as such, can date whoever I damn well please. He's not a co-worker, so get over it. Why do you care so much, anyway?"
"NCIS has a reputation to uphold--"
"The reputation of NCIS isn't being harmed by my dating an available man, Gibbs! We aren't doing anything wrong! In fact, I think we've kept our relationship pretty damn low-key. It's taken you this long to find out, hasn't it?"
He simply stared at Kate silently. "Can I have my sketchbook back now, please?" Kate asked.
Gibbs looked at the pad in his hand. He flipped it open to a particular page. "When'd you draw this?"
Kate looked at the drawing. It was the one of Gibbs she had done all those months ago. "October. I dated it--see?" She pointed to the signature and date in the corner. "Why?"
He shook his head. "Just wondering."
Kate rolled her eyes. "You never ask a pointless question, Gibbs. Now why did you ask?" He just looked at her. His eyes were softer than she'd ever seen them. Kate blinked. "Oh," she whispered.
"Oh? Is that all you can say?" Gibbs asked, smiling humorlessly.
Kate shook her head. "What do you expect me to say, Gibbs?"
"With you? One never knows." He handed her the sketchbook and turned away.
Kate swallowed. "Gibbs, I--"
"Go home, Agent Todd."
Kate pursed her lips in frustration. "Gibbs--"
"I said go home."
Kate threw the sketchbook on the floor in frustration. "Damn you, Agent Gibbs!" she shouted. Her voice echoed through the empty bullpen. "You're not an automaton, no matter how much you try to make people think you are! I know that somewhere in that black, shriveled chest of yours is a heart! Don't you dare turn your back on me!"
Gibbs wheeled around and glared at Kate. "What do you expect me to say, Kate? I've had three wives already--and countless girlfriends! I swore to myself that I would never get involved with another co-worker! And then you come along, with your sarcasm and your hardheadedness, and I don't know what to think! God!" He threw his hands in the air. "Every assumption I make about you is completely wrong, and I have to completely rethink my opinion! I know they say women are fickle, but--"
"Fickle? Fickle? You're calling me fickle? I'm not fickle, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. You're just too goddamn stubborn to ever change your views on anything!"
Kate stopped and caught her breath. She realized that while she was yelling, Gibbs had backed her against her desk and invaded her personal space. "What are you doing?"
"Changing my view." His blue eyes bore into hers.
Kate's lips parted. "Gibbs..." she whispered.
"After all, isn't that you wanted me to do?" he continued. "From here, what I see doesn't look half bad."
Kate snorted. "You sure know how to flatter a girl," she said dryly.
"Yeah?" She couldn't tear her eyes from his face.
"Shut up." He leaned in and kissed her.