Category: Drama, Romance, JAG/NCIS Crossover
Spoilers: "One Shot, One Kill" (NCIS), "Crash" (JAG)
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No infringement is intended.
Chapter 7: The Realization
Kate opened her eyes--and quickly shut them. "Ugh," she groaned, throwing an arm over her eyes. When she thought she could handle both the blazing sunlight and the pounding headache, she moved her arm.
She squinted and looked around the room. It was sparsely but comfortably furnished in the way of guest rooms everywhere. Her bloodshot eyes landed on the nightstand beside the bed. Some kind soul had provided a glass of water and a couple of aspirin. She eagerly snatched them up and swallowed them dry. She reached for the glass of water and gingerly took a few sips to clear away her horrible case of cottonmouth.
She realized her bladder was screaming at her and slowly stood. As she did, she realized why she had stopped getting drunk every weekend. The room spun, and Kate shut her eyes again. Her digestive tract was complaining loudly to the abuse Kate had put it through the night before.
Kate quietly opened the door to the hallway and peered out. She tiptoed her way to the bathroom and slipped inside. After easing the pressure on her bladder, she washed her hands. She looked into the mirror and winced. She certainly looked a fright. Bloodshot eyes, messy, tangled hair... she sighed as she realized she was still wearing her clothes from the night before.
She stripped out of her clothing and turned the shower on to as hot as she could stand. She stood beneath the pounding spray and moaned in relief as her aching muscles finally relaxed.
Kate reached for a bottle of shampoo--and soon realized there was none there. She smacked her forehead. "What the hell have I done?" she said aloud. The question echoed through the small room.
She stepped out of the bathtub, hair dripping wet, and searched through the medicine cabinet. When her search turned up nothing, she looked under the sink. Sure enough, there was an unopened bottle of shampoo. "Thank you," she muttered to no one in particular. She went about getting clean.
When she was finished, Kate turned the water off and stepped out of the shower. She quickly dried off with a towel--and realized that she didn't have any clothes with her. She had no desire to wear the same clothes she had the night before. She decided to make a run for it.
She wrapped the towel around herself and opened the door. She slipped out silently--and ran smack into a hard chest.
"Good morning," an amused voice rumbled. Kate winced and looked up slowly. AJ smiled down at her bemusedly. She blushed crimson.
"G'morning," she mumbled in reply. She recovered her composure--well, as much composure as a dripping wet woman in a towel could have--and asked, "Um, d'you think I could get by, please?"
AJ smirked. "Of course." He stood to the side and gestured expansively. "After you, ma'am." Kate gave him a look and moved around him. She entered the bedroom and closed the door behind her. She heaved a sigh. Shaking her head, which didn't hurt as much as it had earlier, she began to search for something to wear.
She gave up after a few minutes. Nothing in the closet was Kate's size or style--AJ's daughter must have been a model or something. She finally decided to just put on a terry-cloth robe for now and ask AJ for something to wear--even if it was miles too big on her.
She padded softly into the living room. AJ sat in the recliner, reading a file of some sort. Kate stopped and just studied him for a moment. He wore a pair of reading glasses. All of his concentration was focused on the paper before him. Kate shivered, thinking of that concentration being focused... somewhere else.
A large dog--Dammit, her memory supplied--came up to her. She reached down and patted her head. Kate walked over to the couch and sat, and the dog followed her, even jumping onto the couch beside her. Kate smiled and scratched her behind the ears.
Kate and Dammit waited quietly until AJ was finished with his work. He finally looked up and smiled. "Hello," he said.
"Hi," Kate replied. After a brief pause, she continued, "Well. This is awkward, isn't it?"
AJ laughed. "I don't know. I've had more awkward moments." He stood. "Would you like something to eat?"
Kate wrinkled her nose. "I don't think I could handle much right now. Maybe some toast?"
"Toast it is." He disappeared into the kitchen. Kate followed him.
"Oh, and do you think you could lend me something to wear?" she asked, sitting on the counter.
He raised an eyebrow, but replied, "Sure." He finished making the toast and set it on the counter beside Kate, then headed for his bedroom.
Kate tentatively nibbled on the toast. When her stomach didn't immediately reject it, she ate the rest slowly. AJ came back with a sweatshirt and a pair of sweatpants that Kate knew would be too big on her.
She slid off the counter and said, "I think I owe you an explanation."
"Will it be a long one?"
"Then perhaps we ought to go into the living room."
Once they were settled, Kate started, "First, let me just say that I don't make it a habit of getting drunk to forget my problems. Everything just... overwhelmed me last night."
AJ nodded. "Understandable."
"And I'd like to apologize for last night. My actions were completely inexcusable."
"There's nothing to apologize for, Kate. We kissed, and stopped it before it got too far."
Kate snorted. "You mean I kissed you, and you stopped it before it got too far."
"Well, yeah." Kate shook her head and laughed. AJ gave her a penetrating look. "What happened, Kate?"
She fell silent. "I told you I'm in law enforcement, right?" He nodded, and she went on, "Well, my team was working on this case where five female Naval officers were raped, tortured, and left for dead in an alley." Kate shuddered.
AJ's eyes were narrowed. "You're NCIS?"
"Yeah. So we found some evidence, but not enough to find the killer." She stopped. "Wait--you know what NCIS is?"
He nodded tightly. "AJ? What's wrong?"
He stood and paced the living room angrily. "Tell me, Agent Todd--did you know who I was that night in the bar? Is NCIS investigating one of my staff again? Or is it me this time?"
Kate stared at AJ blankly. "What are you talking about?"
He smiled unhappily. "I never did introduce myself properly, now did I? Admiral AJ Chegwidden. It's nice to meet you, Special Agent Todd."
Kate's brow furrowed. 'Admiral...? Oh, shit.' "You're the JAG, aren't you," Kate groaned.
"That's right. So what is it this time?"
"I still don't know what you're talking about," Kate said. She was becoming frustrated.
"Why's NCIS investigating me?"
Kate stared at AJ. "NCIS isn't investigating you, Admiral." He just looked at her. He obviously didn't believe her. "What do I have to do to prove it? Jeez! You're as bad as Gibbs!"
This obviously wasn't the right thing to say. "Gibbs?"
"My boss. You two are so alike..." Kate shook her head. She sighed at the look on AJ's face. "What now?"
"Agent Gibbs was the one who nearly railroaded my top lawyer into Leavenworth."
Kate huffed. "And you think I'm trying to trick you in some way? You know, AJ, you really need to calm that suspicious streak. For your information, Gibbs doesn't know anything about this. That first night I met you, I was trying to forget something--the fact that I screwed up big time and nearly got my teammates killed. Okay? It was only coincidence that I ended up in the same bar as you."
"I don't believe in coincidences."
Kate gritted her teeth. "Fine." She threw AJ's clothes back at him and stomped into the bathroom. Her clothes were no longer there. She continued into the guest bedroom. Her clothes were neatly folded on the bed. She slammed the door and yanked the robe off. She threw it on the floor and started pulling her own clothing on.
"Goddamn stupid, stubborn man!" Kate muttered. She grabbed her purse, which was on the table beside the bed, and stormed back out of the room.
"Where are you going?" AJ asked impatiently.
"I'm leaving. You obviously don't trust me," Kate replied angrily.
"You can't leave, Kate." AJ crossed his arms.
"Oh? And why not?" How dare he think he could order her around!
"Look outside." Kate glared at AJ but did so. She rested her forehead on the cold glass of the window. The ground was covered in a heavy blanket of snow--and more was still coming down.
Kate turned around and said wearily, "So now what?"