Disclaimer: I don't own 'em.
Author's Note: This was written for b_cavis's first-line challenge at gibbskateff.
"Does this look infected to you?"
Jethro Gibbs had seen many disturbing things in his career. He had been a Marine, and had, of course, served his country in battle; he had then joined NCIS, and investigated countless gruesome murders over the years, ranging from men buried in anthills up to their necks to mummified corpses found after ten years.
None of that, however, had unsettled him as much as the sight now before him.
Tony DiNozzo was wearing a nipple ring.
And Abby Sciuto was inspecting it at very close range.
"Nah. I have some stuff you can put on it, though, just in case." The lab tech turned back to her experiment. Before Gibbs could say anything, the woman beside him spoke.
"Indulging in a little bling-bling, Tony?" Kate Todd asked dryly.
'Bling-bling?' Gibbs mouthed, trying to mask the bewildered expression he knew was spreading across his face.
Tony yanked his shirt down. Out of the corner of his eye, Gibbs could see a triumphant smirk spread across the petite agent's face as a blush spread over Tony's.
"Uh--I--hi, boss?" Tony tried, momentarily flustered.
"I never took you for the piercing type, Tony. Aren't you afraid of needles?" Kate teased, leaning against Abby's desk.
"You're afraid of needles?" Abby asked in amazement.
"I'm not afraid of needles!" the man exclaimed. "I just don't relish the thought of willingly submitting myself to pain, is all."
Gibbs watched as twin evil grins appeared on the women's faces, and felt a moment of pity for the other agent. But only a moment. He leaned against the wall and waited for the next volley in the verbal war of the sexes.
"Oh, I don't know, Tony," Kate remarked. Uh-oh. That was never a good beginning. "Sometimes it depends on who's holding the whip."
If Gibbs hadn't been so adept at masking his emotions, he would've been shocked. Kate, making a comment like that? Okay, so perhaps it wasn't so farfetched, but...
Gibbs swallowed as various... inappropriate... images sprang to mind.
Coworker, Gibbs. Trusted colleague. Don't go there.
"All right," he finally interrupted. "As much as I enjoy watching Tony squirm, we have work to do."
Kate's face fell as her favorite game--Tony-Baiting--was abruptly brought to an end.
Abby hopped off her lab stool. "Wondered when you were gonna cut in, Gibbs!" She punched a few keys on her keyboard and brought up a file.
The Goth quickly gave her report, and Gibbs nodded and divided their assignments. The agents turned to leave. Tony hung back a bit, and Gibbs and Kate reached the elevator at the same time.
"So, Kate... what do you know about holding the whip?" Gibbs asked before he could reconsider.
The smile Kate gave him would later make him break into a cold sweat. "That's for me to know..." she purred. The elevator doors opened.
"...and for you to find out." She stepped onto the elevator, throwing a grin over her shoulder.
He followed quickly. As the doors closed on Tony waving his arms about something Abby said, Gibbs leaned down and murmured, "Sounds like a challenge to me."