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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18400
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
A Rosefernverse story
A familiar face surprises Kate as she hikes a familiar trail near her home in Hawaii
Written for the anthroponomastics challenge, also intended for the happy/normal lives challenge but just didn't get finished in time.

Discussion thread here

**

Unexpected

**

1. KATE

The Aiea loop wasn't an especially long trail, but Kate just enjoyed getting away from the built up areas along the coast of central Oahu. It seemed strange that she only had to cycle for ten or fifteen minutes and suddenly she was in a different world, one that was green and brown and alive with birdsong. Even on the road there were places where the trees rose tall above her.

Once she got to the trailhead, there were moments when she felt completely surrounded by the trees, warmly enveloped by nature. She'd never considered herself a country girl, but after living in rural Serbia, DC and LA were overwhelming, and even here in Hawaii the highly developed areas around Honolulu and Pearl made her feel positively claustrophobic after a while.

It was refreshing to escape. Sometimes she treated it as a workout, but on days like today, when the trail itself was blessedly quiet and the weather was not too hot, she was more than happy to stroll and take it slowly, savouring the sense of freedom and the clean, eucalyptus scented mountain air. After an intense early morning session with her therapist, the serenity was welcome.

The park was named Kea'iwa Heiau for the ruins at its entrance, and Kate liked to stop sometimes and look out over the remains of the healing temple. The catechism teachers from her youth would have been horrified, she was sure, but she liked to think the spirits of the ancient kahunas might look favourably on her as she tried to make a positive difference on their island, and that maybe they would help her regain her equilibrium. Something about the place restored a sense of peace in her heart, and she always murmured a prayer of thanks as she came past it.

Today, though, she started straight in on the trail. Even at a leisurely pace it didn't take Kate long to reach one of her favourite spots, where the view was a sea of green over the mountains. There was a bench, but the trail was wide here and she liked to perch cross legged on a protruding root. It made her feel like a kid again, and that was oddly comforting. For a while she could simply be, letting herself soak in the beauty around her and allowing the stresses of the week to melt away.

She was so engrossed by the view and her thoughts that she didn't consciously register the footsteps until his hand landed on her shoulder. Then training and instinct kicked in, and she twisted round awkwardly, gun in hand even as she fought to keep her balance.

Her attacker just laughed, and shock and relief warred when she saw who had crept up on her.

"Gibbs!" Her heart was pounding and she could hardly catch her breath. She'd been so preoccupied, so far away... thank God she wasn't trigger happy. "What are you- damn it, Gibbs, you nearly gave me a heart attack."

He gave her a lopsided grin, not looking repentant in the least. "Glad to see you still have good reflexes there, Kate."

Her muscles unknotted and she lowered and then holstered her gun, forcing herself to breathe slowly and evenly to get her still racing pulse to calm down. "Well creeping up on me like that's a good way to get yourself killed," she grumbled. "I didn't know you were in Hawaii."

He shrugged in agreement. "Got here today."

"You didn't tell me you were coming." It came out downright accusatory. It was somehow easier than saying it's really good to see you, I'm glad you're here.

He shrugged again, and the corner of his mouth twitched. He looked amused. "Nope."

Typical Gibbs. Laconic, laughing at her - and good God had she missed the irritating old bastard.

"Well maybe next time you could warn me? So I don't shoot you, I mean," she added hurriedly. She didn't feel altogether comfortable assuming there would be a next time - or that she had any right to demand notice. "That paperwork would be a bitch."

His smile widened, and Kate tried not to feel riled. Gibbs always could get under her skin, and she would've liked some preparation for this meeting.

"Well, you did once say you were destined to shoot me, Agent Todd." The laughter had seeped from his eyes into his tone.

Kate opened her mouth to deliver a snappy comeback, then shut it again when she realised she had no response. Reluctantly she allowed herself to smile back and shook her head. She really was glad to see him, after all, even if wild horses wouldn't drag that admission out of her. "Still, can you imagine? It wouldn't exactly look good, shooting my boss just a few months after they cleared me to come back to work."

He tilted his head a little to one side. "Not your boss any more, Kate."

Her breath caught in her throat for a moment, then she shook it off. "Well, you know what I mean."

There was another moment of silence and then Gibbs nodded with a slight smile before gesturing to the view. "I can see why you come up here," he said, as he lowered himself to the ground beside her. He sounded conciliatory, and she was grateful for the diversion.

It wasn't lost on Kate that he was humouring her, but in the circumstances she was prepared to be relieved rather than annoyed. "Yeah, it really is beautiful. The park's called Keaiwa Heiau in Hawaiian. One of my team told me Keaiwa means 'the mystery'."

"That 'cause of the temple down by the entrance?"

She shot another glance at him, surprised. "How'd you know?"

He half closed his eyes and shrugged. "Not my first time on Oahu, Kate." He looked sidelong at her. "So, how is island life treating Special Agent Caitlin Todd?"

Kate couldn't hide the wince at her full name. She'd never told her team mates, old or new, how it made her feel. Most people called her Kate anyway, so it hadn't been a big deal. As for Gibbs, he had rarely been quite that formal even when he was her boss. Now she wished she'd said something before, tried to explain.

"What's wrong?"

Drat. He was too perceptive by half. Kate twitched a shoulder, tried to shake off the feeling. "I guess I kind of got used to being Suzana when I was in Serbia. It's pretty." She smiled a little. Was he buying this? Probably not. "It means lily or rose. I like that. My middle name is Rose, so..."

Gibbs chuckled, gave her a sideways look, raised an eyebrow. "A rose by any other name..."

Kate blinked. Did he- did he just quote Romeo and Juliet to me? She mimicked his expression, cocking her eyebrow, and hoped desperately that she looked arch rather than borderline stunned. "Was that, uh... a compliment, Gibbs?"

He grinned a little wider and laughed again, but didn't reply.

"Well anyway-" she ploughed on, hoping he'd let this slide "-the kids in my neighbourhood here call me Keke. It's catching on."

He pulled a face that seemed to indicate slight distaste. "Cute."

Kate shot him a glare for the adjective, but didn't push it. His bone dry snark had clearly not deserted him. "I like it." She tried not to sound too defensive. "Makes me feel like I belong, you know?"

He smiled, his face softening, nodded. "Makes sense."

They were quiet for a minute, and Kate let her attention drift back to the view. It was a tonic for all her negative thoughts, and if she was honest with herself, there was something about sharing it that made it even more special. Being here with a... a friend?

What was Gibbs to her? He'd been a colleague for two years, she trusted him absolutely, but he'd never been easy to get to know. He was an ally; someone she knew would be there for her when she needed him.

In some ways she was already more familiar with her team here in Hawaii - she hadn't known them long, but the nature of their work meant she had learned to rely on them quickly, and had rapidly settled into a comfortable relationship, bantering with them, getting to know their foibles, their strengths and weaknesses, spending time socialising with them outside of work. The case load here was somewhat lighter and tended to be less violent, and Kate was grateful she hadn't been thrust back into the intensity of the DC office.

She'd quickly grown to like them all, to enjoy working with them, but it took time to forge those deep bonds of trust and support. She couldn't deny to herself that she missed the closeness she'd shared with the MRCT. She cared about them and she knew they cared about her.

In some ways, Gibbs might care the most of all. His team was his family. He took threats to any of them seriously, and losses affected him deeply. She hadn't been an official part of that for years now, but she had no doubt that if a madman were to appear on this trail, he would put his life on the line to save hers without a second's hesitation.

Maybe he wasn't a friend in the traditional sense, she decided, but if there was a better word for what he meant to her, she didn't know it.

When she glanced at him again, she was surprised to realise that he wasn't looking at the view, but at her.

"What?" He hadn't lost the knack of unnerving her, that was for sure.

He studied her for a few more moments. "What are you not telling me, Katie?" His voice was gentle, almost a whisper, but the look in his eyes was determined.

She swallowed hard, looked away. "What do you mean?"

She knew from experience that she was putting off the inevitable, that Gibbs wouldn't let go of this particular bone. She would still use any fair means to give herself a little longer to get her thoughts in order.

She could feel him still staring at her, and forced herself to keep breathing steadily, not to let panic overwhelm her.

"Why did you flinch at your own name?"

Kate ducked her head, turned even further away from him, and blinked rapidly. I will not cry. I will not cry. Sure, she had known that Gibbs wouldn't give up so easily, or be satisfied by her feeble explanation, but that didn't make this easier to talk about.

She hadn't even told Abby or her sister that her name had become a trigger... that she'd done her best, this last few months, to make sure that it was the last thing anyone would ever think to call her.

Besides the shrinks, the only person she had told was Ducky, and even that had been of necessity. The old man had always called her Caitlin, affectionately, and once upon a time it had made her feel like a favourite granddaughter. She had had to tell him that it wasn't his fault it now made her cringe, and she had been grateful for his empathy and compassion.

"Katie?" Gibbs gently brushed her hair back from her face and then grasped her shoulder reassuringly for a moment.

It wasn't like Gibbs to be so demonstrative, but in the unfamiliarity there was an intimacy and tenderness which helped her feel safe, and loosened her tongue.

"It's just... I don't really ever use Caitlin any more. Because, ah. I mean..." She wrinkled up her nose as she tried to figure out how to put her aversion into words. It's Gibbs, she finally decided. Just be straightforward.

Taking a deep breath and blinking a few more times, she turned back towards him, though she still kept her eyes trained on the distant horizon and the suggestion of sea. Something to think about so the memories wouldn't ambush her. "Ari called me Caitlin, and I hated it, I really..." The words tumbled out in a rush - she was surprised how easily they came, once she had started. "And then afterward his crew did, too. He made it sound so- I hated it. Hated them." She brushed a stray tear away from her cheek. "By the time I got away from them..." Thinking about Ari made her want to jump in a shower, to wash away the onslaught of feelings and scrub herself clean of the taint. "I guess I... It has too many bad memories attached."

There was a long, long moment of silence. Kate was glad Gibbs was sitting beside her, not opposite her. She wasn't sure she could deal with looking in his eyes.

He gently reached over and took her hand, squeezed it; gentle, unspoken reassurance. "Sorry, Katie," he murmured.

She bumped his shoulder with hers, then gave in to a sudden impulse and let herself lean into him, her head tucked into the crook of his neck - momentarily lost for words and hoping he'd understand that this was an expression of gratitude.

With the hindsight of seven years, she felt she had taken for granted how comforting it was to have someone like Gibbs watching her back, someone she could always call on for help. She knew in her gut his concern for her well-being was as deep now as it had been when they'd worked together.

"I'm so glad you're here," she breathed, and it almost didn't matter whether he heard her or not. She had a feeling he knew.

Eventually she made herself straighten up. She fully intended to slip quietly back into professional mode. Gibbs was being more than usually kind, but only Abby really got away with this stuff on a regular basis. When he let go of her hand, she assumed he was thinking the same thing, but she had barely opened her mouth in an attempt to say something that would move them onto safer topics when he gently but firmly put his arm round her waist and pulled her back against him.

For a moment she was so surprised it seemed like every muscle in her body tensed up at the same time, but then she gave in. She needed this, had needed it for so long. It was somewhat unexpected that it was Gibbs who was offering this practical, physical comfort, sure, but she realised that he was pretty good at it. No talking required, she thought with a grin. Maybe it shouldn't be so surprising after all. As her mind and body began to accept the strange but welcome situation, she could feel herself relaxing more than she had in- well, longer than she cared to remember.

She felt him rest his head gently against the top of hers. He ran a hand lightly over her hair, wiped away the tears she hadn't even realised she was crying, and then as if by mutual agreement, they sat and looked at the stunning view without talking, the only sounds their breathing and the calls of birds in the trees around them. Kate let her eyes slip closed for a moment - just for a moment - and it was only a few moments more before she fell asleep.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:56 pm 
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Team Leader

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18400
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
2. KATE

"Where- where am I?"

Kate woke disoriented, and it took Gibbs' rumbling laughter shaking through her to remind her where she was and with whom. She found herself laughing along with him.

"I can't believe I just said that." She pressed her face into his shoulder, shaking her head. "What a cliché."

Gibbs chuckled again and rubbed her back. "I won't tell."

Kate glanced up at his smiling face and rolled her eyes, amused. "Thanks, I think." She sat up reluctantly, stretching out her back but not moving away from his side. "I always feel like it's easier to breathe up here." She could almost believe they were the only people for a hundred miles.

Gibbs nodded. "Sometimes you need space to be." He looked down at her as he said it, and his expression made Kate wonder if he was referring to the way she'd travelled so far from her old life, and if he understood her better than she'd imagined.

She turned back to the view, though she wasn't really taking it in. She knew the DC team hadn't been fond of the idea of her moving to Pearl, that Gibbs in particular had expressed himself quite colourfully on the subject, according to Henrietta Lange.

Hetty had phoned Kate personally to offer any assistance that might make settling into her new life easier, and between anecdotes and restaurant recommendations she'd tactfully requested that Kate keep Vance reasonably up to date on how she was doing so that neither he nor Gibbs would have reason to hunt Hetty down.

Kate had laughed at the time, but now Gibbs' unannounced arrival in Hawaii made her think that Hetty had only been half joking.

She'd sent her contact information to them all, of course. Abby sent sporadic postcards illuminated by regular phone calls, and Tim emailed her once a fortnight like clockwork. Even Tony forwarded her the occasional slightly unsavoury joke, but she'd assumed Gibbs had been satisfied with Abby's gossip and whatever the Director passed on of her regular check ins. She hadn't really expected him to call or write. But then, she hadn't expected him to turn up in Hawaii, either.

She could see out of the corner of her eye that his gaze was still on her, and felt suddenly exposed by his frank perusal. He was studying her, not unkindly but intently. She remembered him looking at her this way sometimes when they'd worked together, but she didn't remember it being quite so unnerving back then.

"What?" It came out more snappish than she'd intended, and she half expected him to brush it aside - or since this seemed to be some new and improved, happier version of the man she remembered, maybe even make a joke of it.

Instead he tightened up his arm around her for a moment, murmured something that sounded like "It's really good to see you, Katie," and then he was on his feet, casually holding out a hand to help her up as if meeting up on the trail (not to mention her falling asleep on his shoulder) was a regular occurrence.

They stood for a few moments longer, Gibbs apparently as happy as she was to spend a little longer admiring the view. He kept her hand in his and Kate found herself leaning against him companionably. This whole Gibbs-as-friend thing was turning out to feel a lot more natural than she would've imagined.

He sighed. "It is beautiful." He gave her hand a squeeze, rubbed his thumb lightly over her knuckles. "Definitely gonna do you good."

Kate swallowed against the sudden tightness in her throat. He sounded- regretful? There was no way he'd begrudge her anything that would help, she was sure. Had he been hoping she'd want to go back to DC?

"Yes I- I mean." She took a breath. Gibbs had not got any less confusing in her time away, and his ability to leave her grasping for words hadn't changed one iota. "I think... I think I needed this. A new start, a change. I know that I'm helping people, but I- well, it's not so stressful." She laughed lightly, shrugged. "I think I've had enough stress to last me a lifetime, you know?"

"Guess we'll just have to do without you then."

Something about the tone of his voice made her glance up at him, and then she quickly turned away again. She looked down at her feet, disarmed by the affection on his face, blinked rapidly, and leaned into him a little harder.

Apparently the non verbal communication thing is catching, she thought with a little grin. The guys back down in the office, used to her giving as good as she got, would have a field day...

The guys. Her team. She'd only had a few hours respite this morning...

"Oh, oh God, what's the time?" She scrabbled for her watch, tugging at the light shirt she'd worn to protect her shoulders from the sun.

Gibbs still didn't relinquish her hand, even though her watch was on that wrist, and he looked rather amused. "Don't worry about it."

"Don't worry about it? I have a job, Gibbs, I only had a few hours off after my appointment, I just needed to-"

"Shhh." He stopped her lips with a finger, and Kate was so startled by the intimate gesture that she shut up immediately.

It had been a while since she'd seen a Gibbs smirk, but he was making up for it with a classic. He looked inordinately pleased with himself. "You have a hall pass today."

Kate frowned up at him. "What?"

Gibbs just grinned, looking deeply satisfied. "Work can wait. They're not expecting you at all today. You're welcome."

"Oh." She narrowed her eyes, tempted to have a go at him for arranging things behind her back. "Oh."

She could almost see him reading her expression, watching her vacillate between pleased and pissed. His mouth twitched into another smirk and he nudged his shoulder into hers, winked, waggled his eyebrows comically. "C'mon, Katie, you're allowed to take time off now and then."

She stared, momentarily speechless. "Who are you and what did you do with the workaholic known as Gibbs?" she finally managed, shaking her head.

"He's on holiday," he shot back.

"Special Agent Gibbs took time off? Now I know the world is ending. Either that or this is the invasion of the body snatchers."

He just laughed again, then set off back down the trail, a bewildered Kate swept along in his wake. Her confused protests that they were heading in the wrong direction, that the trail continued the other way, never quite reached her lips.

Gibbs seemed content to stroll along, stopping occasionally and glancing around. This part of the trail was largely overshadowed by trees and Kate had no idea what was piquing his interest, since there was no view to speak of.

Walking along in silence, hand in hand, was- well, not at all unpleasant, if a little peculiar. She imagined it could be nice to do some proper exploring with a - a friend. Well, with Gibbs, whatever he was to her. Back when she had first arrived here, Will had given her the whistle stop tour of the island, but she wouldn't mind taking a second look at a more leisurely pace.

Unexpectedly, Gibbs stopped, bent down to touch the ground, then stood up again. "Rain in the last few days?"

What on earth? "Yes, a little."

He seemed pretty happy about that. "And you're wearing hiking boots. Good girl."

Apparently that was all the explanation she should expect. "Gibbs, y'know, this trail is - well, it isn't the most exciting one I know. I mean, we could drive to somewhere with more views if you want, I could show you some of Hawaii's beauty spots." The offer slipped out without a thought before she could talk herself out of it. "Unless... well, you probably know the island better than I do, if you served here..."

He chuckled. "I don't know it all that well. Wasn't here long, barely left the base. I was a Marine, not a tourist." He smiled, then shook his head. "Not sure we really got time to do Oahu justice, though, in one afternoon. Maybe next time."

One afternoon... "How long are you here?"

He shrugged a shoulder. "Just till tomorrow."

"Oh." Kate's stomach fell.

"It's okay, Katie. Another time maybe."

Next time. Another time. You're coming back?

She didn't want to voice the thought, to sound too eager, but she couldn't stop her relieved smile at the idea that he might visit again. He grinned down at her, and she hoped her expression wasn't entirely transparent.

"I have something I wanna show you, and it's just-" He pointed up to a faded ribbon on a tree by the side of the trail that had never caught her attention before "-here."

Kate looked around, confused, and was just about to ask what the hell he was talking about when he started off down the hillside, away from the trail. He reached up to grab at a sturdy branch for support as he stepped downwards, then tugged at her hand when she didn't immediately follow. "You comin', Katie?"

"Where are you going?" she demanded even as she gingerly stepped down after him, grateful for his strong grasp steadying her. The hillside wasn't as sheer as it was at other points along the trail, but it was plenty steep enough and she was very glad she hadn't worn flip flops this morning.

"You'll see."

Kate rolled her eyes at the back of his head, but she couldn't help a little grin.

Following Gibbs even though she had no idea where he was leading, setting off down a possibly dangerous path and trusting he was looking out for her? This was familiar territory. It might even be kind of fun.

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Lie to NCIS (banner returning asap!)

"Sarah, I think your autocorrect is weirder than you are." (Xiexie, Xiexie! :lol2:)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:23 am 
Offline
Team Leader

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18400
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
3. KATE

"I hope you remember the way back along this trail, Gibbs, I'm not sure I could retrace my steps without a guide."

He chuckled. "Don't underestimate yourself, Katie. But yeah, I know where I'm goin'."

"Good!" They'd waded through the stream more than once on their trek down into the valley, and the occasional ribbon markers on the trees weren't nearly frequent enough for Kate to be confident she'd get back on her own. "It is beautiful down here, I'll give you that." With the stream bubbling along beside them and the heavy green light that filtered through the trees, Kate felt like they had found themselves in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. "What is this place?"

"Well that-" he indicated the water "-is the Kalauao Stream, and up ahead... you can probably hear it."

She frowned at him, but obediently stood still and listened. For a few moments all she could hear was the stream, the birds, the wind in the treetops, but then she became aware of a kind of white noise behind it. "Is that-?" It was a muted roar, but the sound was familiar. "Gibbs, is there a waterfall down here?" she asked, almost reverently.

"Yup." He looked pleased by her reaction. "Couple more corners and I'll introduce you to Kalauao Falls."

A few more minutes walking brought them out into a clearing where a pebbly beach lined a glittering plunge pool, and just enough sunlight peeped down through the trees to make the small but beautiful waterfall sparkle.

Kate gaped.

"Worth the hike?"

For a few moments she couldn't find words to answer. "It's... it's beautiful, Gibbs. Thank you."

"You're welcome, Katie." He took her hand and wordlessly led her over to perch on a large rock that overlooked the stream and gave them an unhindered view of the waterfall.

"I can't believe I've hiked the Aiea trail so many times and never knew this was down here." Kate found herself speaking softly. It was fanciful of her, but she felt like it would almost be a desecration to speak any louder, as if she might spoil the peace of this place.

Gibbs merely nodded and smiled, apparently perfectly happy to sit and let the falls do the talking. Kate grinned at the thought; of course Gibbs would enjoy a place where sitting still and quiet was the natural reaction. She let herself relax against him, and was gratified when he shifted to let her rest more comfortably.

The rush of the water as it came over the fall, the gentler ripples around the rocks where the pool emptied into the stream... she was glad Gibbs had shared this with her. Almost glad she hadn't been down here before, that whenever she came back in the future she would be reminded of this moment. She had a feeling this place would be one she would return to often. It reminded her of some of the better moments of her life away from the States.

They sat in peaceful silence for a long time, and Kate was so relaxed she felt like she could almost fall asleep again, except that it would seem a waste of what was becoming a near perfect afternoon.

She sighed deeply and attempted to shake herself awake again.

"You okay, Katie?"

She laughed softly, touched and amused by his concern. "I love waterfalls." It didn't really explain her sigh, but then Gibbs was no stranger to incomprehensible communication, so she couldn't feel too badly about it.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. This reminds me of the waterfall near a village in Serbia where I lived for a while. It wasn't big or spectacular. It was just... Pretty. And peaceful." She smiled at the memory. "Calming. I used to go up there to get away from people, clear my head."

"Uh huh?"

"It was like this. Hardly anyone went there. Locals took it for granted, tourists mostly didn't know about it or couldn't find it, it was... it was my place." She gestured at the natural beauty around them. "Places like this... It's lovely. It must have been here for decades, centuries, but it's still so fresh and pure and so- so unspoiled..." She wondered if she sounded as wistful as she felt.

Gibbs chuckled softly and laid his hand over hers.

"What?"

He gently smoothed his thumb over her hand, his rough skin against hers oddly comforting. "D'you know what your name means, Katie?"

Kate frowned and looked up at him. "Uh... according to my mom it means virginal. But I was seventeen and I think she was trying to tell me something."

He grinned, eyes dancing, his expression suddenly positively wicked, and Kate felt herself going pink. Shit. Change the subject. Now.

"So, um, what does it really mean?" It wasn't a huge change of subject, but it was the best she could think of under pressure. She tried to make her expression a combination of 'please, let me have this one' and 'if you pursue this subject I will bury you somewhere they will never find you'.

The twinkle in his eyes didn't entirely dissipate (I'm so gonna pay for that...) but his expression turned more intent, as if he was figuring out what to say, or maybe how to say it. She swallowed.

"Caitlin-" he murmured it and gave her hand a squeeze as if he really did understand how hard it was to hear that name out loud "-it means pure, unsullied." There was a moment of silence so full Kate hardly dared breathe. "Clean. Unspoiled."

His voice, his face... Kate saw acceptance there. No drawing back. He had read the reports, he knew what she'd been through, what had been done to her and what she'd done, the good and the bad and the ugly. And he could still sit there and look at her like this and tell her that her name meant clean and pure and unspoiled.

She swallowed hard. "I... it's just a name." The idea of accepting what he was offering, of claiming the idea that what had happened to her hadn't permanently marked her... it was terrifying. What if he changed his mind? What if he was just wrong, and she was forever tainted? "I don't- I..."

"You are more than what happened to you, Katie. You're more than what was done to you."

She swallowed again, blinked back tears, looked down at her hands. "Some days it's hard to believe that," she whispered.

"Don't mean it's not true."

Kate bit her lip, nodded uncertainly. She could see his logic: she could see it when her therapist told her the same kinds of things, albeit in more clinical terms. If only it was so easy to accept the truth deep down in her soul where it was most needed.

"I sometimes wonder-" she paused for a second as her voice cracked "-I wonder if I'll ever feel whole again. If it's even possible for me to get back to the person I was before- before it all..." She trailed off. It was hard to put into words exactly how vivid and frightening it was to imagine she might never fully recover. "What if I'm damaged forever, Gibbs? Beyond repair? What if I never get past feeling violated- ugly. Dirty."

"Oh, Katie."

He slipped an arm around her back and pulled her close, pressing a kiss to her temple. For several minutes they sat in silence, and Kate didn't know quite what to think. She wanted him to reassure her that she'd be okay, but Gibbs wasn't really one for empty platitudes, after all. Maybe I'm right. Maybe I am irreparably damaged after all and he just doesn't know how to tell me.

She could feel the familiar tug of negative thoughts ready to pull her into a whirlpool of anxiety and depression. She took a few deep breaths as she'd been taught. She needed a life raft.

"Gibbs?" Her voice sounded strained and high even to her own ears, and she could feel her heart beginning to pound.

"What's wrong?"

"I just... I need you to tell me I'm going to be okay. Please?"

"Oh, Katie," he said again, his voice full of compassion. "You're going to be so much more than okay." He gave her shoulders a squeeze. "I promise."

His warmth and confidence gave her something to hold on to. She leaned into him and let out a sob that had been building up for weeks, hot tears running down her face as Gibbs rubbed her back.

Eventually her pulse slowed and she stopped shaking. A couple more breaths helped her get her voice back. "I'm sorry, I sometimes- I get overwhelmed."

"No need to apologise," he reassured her.

"I just... I'm scared, Gibbs." She hadn't admitted that to anyone before, even her shrink. "Scared I'll always be scarred and ruined, and-"

"You won't be. You're not." His voice was low and deliberate, and she hung on to the words. She so wanted them to be true.

After a couple more minutes of thoughtful silence, she heard him chuckle. It was incongruous. "What?"

He shook his head. "I just thought of-" he shrugged, shook his head again, as if it might shake out whatever he was trying to say. "You ever heard of kintsugi?"

Kate frowned, confused. "No?"

"Japanese philosophy and art form. Saw some stuff at the Freer Gallery in DC."

She shot him a sceptical look and he smirked.

"Long time ago. Second wife dragged me there." He laughed a little. "Guess it made an impression." He paused for a moment, then his face grew more serious. "They mend broken pottery with lacquer and powdered metal. They don't throw it out, they fill the cracks with gold and silver, make somethin' beautiful. More beautiful even than before the damage."

Kate gulped nervously at his implication.

"You don't have to be ashamed, Katie. You got nothin' to be ashamed of." He caught her chin in his hand and tilted her head up to face him, as if to make extra certain she really heard him. "Being mended, it- it doesn't make you ugly."

He held her gaze until Kate looked away, feeling overwhelmed again, but in a much better way. It had never occurred to her to think that needing to be put back together again could have any affect other than to leave her more fragile, more breakable. "I just wish... I wish it had never happened."

Out of the corner of her eye she saw him nod. "Me too." His hand closed around hers again, warm and reassuring. "But it did. Don't have to let it define you. You're stronger than you know, Katie: stronger than that- bastard ever imagined." She was glad that he didn't say the name aloud - and that his anger was still there, just as fierce as it had been when Ari had first threatened them. Just as fiery as hers. "I know you. You'll come through this."

He sounded so certain. "Strong at the broken places," she murmured.

"Uh-huh."

It was gratifying, humbling even, to hear him express such faith in her. She wasn't sure she'd ever heard him say so much in one go, and he had done it to comfort and reassure her. She was deeply touched.

"Thank you."

"Welcome." He hugged her again, then let her go, not moving away but, it seemed, giving her space to think.

Kate closed her eyes and let the sounds of the water soothe her. She would be coming back here, as often as possible. She'd learned in Serbia how healing it could be to just sit and listen to nature, to imagine the water washing away all her negative feelings. Part of her had secretly been longing to find a place like this since she'd arrived in Hawaii, but she had never been able to put into words what she needed, or why. Gibbs bringing her here felt like a gift, and she offered up a silent prayer of thanks to whoever might be listening.

She felt Gibbs lean forward, and opened her eyes to watch him searching among the pebbles, picking one up but then rejecting it, finally coming across one that apparently met with his approval.

"What're you doing?"

His only answer was a grin, and then he got up from the rock and, with an expert flick of his arm and wrist, the flat pebble was skimming across the water, skipping once, twice before it sank.

Kate laughed at his look of triumph, and then offered a small cheer when his second attempt managed three skips before sinking. As she watched, she figured out what he was looking for in the pebbles, and felt a small sense of accomplishment when she passed him one that he deemed acceptable and skimmed successfully across the pool, right into the curtain of water falling down from the rocks.

It was strange, but a nice kind of strange, to see Gibbs doing something for the simple pleasure of it. A glimpse into what he might have been like as a younger man, when he didn't carry so much weight and responsibility and loss on his broad shoulders. She folded her legs up and planted her feet on the rock so she could rest her head on her knees as she watched him.

She'd always accepted Gibbs as is, never much thinking about what might have made him that way, but suddenly she was struck with a brand new curiosity to know the man, not just the special agent.

"What's your name mean, then?"

He turned and raised an eyebrow at her. Admittedly it was kind of an odd question, but then, he'd started it. His look said that he had no idea what this had to do with anything, but she held his gaze, unrepentant. It was as good a place as any to start finding out more of what made him tick.

Finally he shrugged and gave in. "Which one? Got three."

She giggled. "Well I already know what Gibbs means."

A questioning look.

"Guy in back? With an extra B for bastard."

He let out a bark of laughter, and Kate found herself laughing along.

"Cheeky." He had a smile on his face that could light a room, and she was hugely pleased with herself for surprising him. "So, if you're such a smartass, Katie, how 'bout the rest?"

She sat up a little straighter, as if she were sitting an exam, and thought for a second.

"Well, Leroy, that's easy. The King."

He nodded. "Okay, now I'm impressed."

Top marks. "If I couldn't figure that one out, my high school Latin teacher would come after me with a belt. Clearly your parents knew what a control freak you were going to turn out."

He narrowed his eyes at her, but couldn't hide the twitch of amusement at the corner of his mouth.

"I don't know what Jethro means, though."

Another burst of laughter. "Oh, yeah. It's from the bible, they tell me. Means overflow. I do my own plumbing. Go figure."

Kate thought for a second. "Isn't that- don't you mean overflowing? You know, of the 'flowing with milk and honey' variety?"

He looked at her questioningly.

"I mean, it's not a water leak Gibbs, it's a blessing."

His expression was still sceptical. "Yeah?"

"I think so." She took a deep breath. "Sounds right to me."

She could see his expression change as he figured out what she meant, and then he glanced away from her, then back, then down, his expression ... oh my God, did I just manage to embarrass Gibbs the unflappable? She grinned to herself. Never thought I'd see the day...

"Thanks," he mumbled, his voice gruff.

"Welcome." How Gibbsian of me.

He turned away again to skim the stone he'd been turning over and over in his hands, but when he bent over to find another pebble, Kate could see the smile on his face. It gave her a warm feeling that she had been the one to put it there, and she hugged her knees and grinned a little wider.

Eventually Gibbs gave up on skimming stones and came back to sit next to her. They sat in companionable silence for a while; it was relaxing not to feel a need to fill the empty space, to just share the peace and quiet. Gibbs pointed out a colourful bird in one of the mango trees, and in her turn Kate spotted the fish clinging to the rocks in the fast flowing water at their feet, without either of them speaking a word

Some time later, as she finally opened her mouth to say something - she wasn't even quite sure what - her stomach let out a noisy gurgle.

She glanced down at her watch. It was much later than she'd realised. "I think that's my body reminding me that I already missed lunch and it doesn't want to miss dinner."

Gibbs chuckled, and then his belly gave an answering growl. "Apparently mine agrees." He held out a hand to help her up and they stood there for a few moments, taking one last look at the waterfall.

"Thanks, Gibbs. For bringing me here, sharing this with me."

He shrugged a shoulder. "You're welcome." He was trying to brush it off, but Kate held her tongue, trusting that he really did understand how much this had meant to her.

As they started back along the trail, Gibbs' stomach rumbled again. "Hope you have an idea where we can go eat, Katie."

"I know just the place. They serve the best shrimp, amazing poke and the malasadas are fantastic."

He glanced down at her. "I only understood a third of what you just said," he admitted with a wry grin, "but as long as it's all food, I'm good."

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18400
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
4. KATE

The phone was ringing as she opened the door of her apartment, but Kate figured that if it was anything that important, they'd ring back.

After growing increasingly comfortable just hanging out with Gibbs all afternoon, she now suddenly felt self conscious, nervous. It was absurd. This was Gibbs for heaven's sake, not her prom date.

The place showed signs of not having been lived in long, she knew. There were a few keepsakes that her family had rescued from her flat in DC after she'd officially been designated MIA, but besides that she had arrived from Serbia with the clothes she had on her back and very little else.

Despite the best efforts of her sister and a couple of other friends, she had never regained the urge to shop for fun or really to spend a lot of money on anything she didn't actually need. The habits she'd learned for survival had become second nature, and she'd come to enjoy simplicity. She had a small bookshelf she was slowly filling up, a decent couch, a few pieces of local art, and the living room felt comfortable and homely to her. Imagining someone else's reaction, though... it suddenly felt spartan, almost cold.

Gibbs looked around, inspected the banana leaf bowl where she kept her keys, made an appreciative noise as he ran his hand over the smooth wood of the sea turtle that lived next to her books, and gazed for a couple of minutes at the stylised print of a Hawaiian sunset that was unashamedly the focal point of the room.

Eventually he turned back to her with a nod and a smile, and she smiled back. She would have denied it under torture, but nonetheless she felt ridiculously grateful that he approved of her new home.

"Seems like you're settlin' in okay."

Kate nodded. "I'm getting there. Thank God my mom's a packrat, she had most of my personal treasures in a box at home." The thought still gave her a little lump in her throat. "She didn't think I was ever coming back, but she still kept that box just in case." She shrugged. "I had to start again with most things, but I'm so grateful for the photos and knickknacks that she saved. I know it sounds silly, but-"

For the second time that day Gibbs put a finger on her lips to shush her. "Not silly. Human." His eyes were clouded with some emotion, but she couldn't fathom what. "Memory's part of what makes you you. Sometimes you need to see it, hear it, hold it in your hand." His expression was faraway. And- sad? His hand moved to her shoulder and then he seemed to remember himself. "Reminds me. Rachel thought you might want this."

He dug around in his pocket, and Kate was so caught up trying to read his suddenly cryptic facial expression that she didn't have time to protest as he caught her hand and placed something into it, still looking at her intently. She glanced down.

"Oh!"

Gibbs laughed softly. Kate closed her hands around the puka shell necklace, shaking her head. She was amazed her sister had kept hold of it all these years; Rachel had teased her about her sentimentality when she'd insisted on keeping it. Funny how it had come back to her now she lived here on the islands.

"My grandma gave me this."

"Uh-huh."

"I kept it in my purse."

"I remember."

She didn't know how to respond to that, given that she hadn't really thought he'd know, never mind recall, such a minor detail.

"Thank you."

There was a pause and then she looked up at him. A slow smile broke across his face. "You're welcome, Katie."

Kate wrapped both her hands around the necklace. While she'd been away, she'd thought about the team often, recalled their faces in her mind, kept them all in her thoughts and prayers, but her memory hadn't done justice to the warmth of Gibbs' smile, nor the way it lit up his face. Had he smiled less back then, or had she just failed to notice? It was like stepping out into sunshine... and now she was staring and she coughed and looked away, embarrassed to realise she was blushing slightly.

The phone rang again and this time Kate was almost - almost - grateful for a distraction from the sudden awkwardness. She scurried into the kitchen to grab the handset. "Hello?"

"Special Agent Caitlin Todd?"

"Um. Yes?" The voice on the other end of the line was unfamiliar and decidedly officious, and she couldn't imagine anyone who had her number here who would address her by her full name. She could almost feel her guard snapping into place against the perceived hostility.

"I'd like to speak with Special Agent Gibbs, I understand that he is there with you."

For a moment she was entirely silent, opened mouthed in surprise. She glanced at Gibbs, who'd followed her into the kitchen. Her brain was full of questions, whats, hows, whos, but she didn't manage to ask any of them. "Uh. Yes. Um, okay. I mean..." Gibbs raised a questioning eyebrow and she shrugged and pulled a face, then held the phone out to him, covering the mouthpiece so whoever it was couldn't eavesdrop. "It's for you, Gibbs," she whispered. "I'm sorry, I should have checked before I told them you were-"

Gibbs shushed her with a smile. "It's okay. Shoulda known someone would try to butt in on my holiday. I'll get rid of 'em."

He took the phone from her and settled back against the kitchen counter, entirely at home. Okay, so maybe it was kind of nice that he felt at ease here, even if Kate herself was still feeling absurdly shy.

She busied herself getting a glass of juice from the refrigerator and then heated some water. For most people it was much too warm a day for coffee, but Kate knew that Gibbs was definitely not 'most people' when it came to caffeine. At least he was easy to please - as long as it was strong enough to melt a spoon, he would be happy.

She dithered about whether she should go to the other room, leave Gibbs to his conversation - it felt a little like she was prying, but at the same time it seemed somehow off to just leave a guest standing (or more accurately lounging) alone in her kitchen. She wondered if her mom's insistence that all the Todd children learned how to be properly hospitable had included a lesson on dealing with this situation, if she could only remember it. In the end she decided that since Gibbs was showing no sign of being bothered by her presence, she'd go with her own preference for not wasting the unexpected pleasure of his company.

The menial task of getting him a drink helped distract her so that she could avoid listening too intently to his call, but it was still obvious that he was having more trouble getting rid of whoever was at the other end of the line than he'd expected. It was clearly an official call of some kind, and just as clear that he was not happy about it.

"I'm here in Hawaii visiting a- friend-" His eyes flicked over to hers momentarily, as if he was as uncertain as her about exactly what their relationship was.

Kate gave him what she hoped was a warm, reassuring smile, but as the conversation progressed it was evident that whatever he was being asked to do, it was not going to be easy to tell them no.

"Due respect, sir-"

Hah. If she was any judge, Gibbs didn't think the person at the other end of the line deserved any respect whatsoever, though the fact he hadn't slammed the phone down already suggested whoever it was must be pretty important. She passed him the mug of coffee and he nodded his appreciation, taking a large slurp while he listened impatiently.

"Well and here I thought I was entitled to some leave-"

His face grew darker as he listened, his responses laced with venom.

"You can wait or you can use someone else."

Kate couldn't figure out who could make him so angry without getting their ear chewed off for their trouble, or at least having a few more sarcastic barbs thrown their way. She had it on good authority that even SecNav had suffered the sharp side of Gibbs' tongue on occasion, so his restraint was remarkable.

"I'm not changin' my mind."

She was fairly sure he was gritting his teeth on what he really wanted to say, his replies becoming more and more terse, though still civil. Kate upgraded her estimation of the caller from 'pretty important' to 'very important' for Gibbs to have more or less kept his cool this long,

Finally, after a few more yessir, nosir exchanges, he cut off the call with an angry jab of his thumb, swore inventively, and then shook his head. "Can't take twenty four hours off the damn job without some idiot- well, long story." He huffed irritably. "Left my cellphone behind for a reason. Shoulda known it wouldn't work. Number of military personnel stationed on this rock, you'd think they could manage without me."

Ten minutes ago Kate had been feeling rather apprehensive about spending an evening with him: she hadn't realised till it was threatened how much she'd been looking forward to it as well. Should've let that phone keep ringing. "It's all right, Gibbs." It wasn't, but it also wasn't his fault.

"No it ain't all right. If I find out DiNozzo let it slip I was gonna be in Hawaii, I'll wring his damn neck..."

Kate couldn't help a small laugh at the threat, and that dispersed the constriction in her throat a little. "I guess I'll have to introduce you to malasadas another time."

He'd been glaring at the phone as if it had personally betrayed him, but now he set it down on the counter and looked at her, brow creasing. "What?"

She shrugged and plastered on a smile. "Official duties come first, right? It's okay, I understand."

To her surprise, he grinned. "Naw, I told 'em if they wanted me, I was havin' dinner with my- with you first." He held her gaze for a moment, and Kate tried to wipe the look of shock off her face. "Just gotta use the head before we go."

She wordlessly gestured down the hall, and once he was out of sight, shook her head. That was... unexpected. Out of character. Her smile now was entirely natural and not a little delighted. Well.

Still grinning, she collected her purse and made her way towards the door as Gibbs emerged from the bathroom. He opened the front door for her, and Kate found herself blushing at the chivalrous gesture. Really need to get over that.

"Okay," he said, as they started down the stairs, "I gotta ask, what exactly is 'poh-keh'?"

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:34 am 
Offline
Team Leader

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 18400
Location: UK
Title: Kibbs Addict
Name: Sarah
Aliases: sarahflute, sarah-flute, Floot, tiggrie, kassipoeg
Gender: Female
link: fanfiction.net
link: AO3
link: NFA storyboard
5. KATE

After grabbing a quick breakfast by the beach the next morning (a treat Kate had insisted on paying for despite Gibbs' protests and grumbling), now they were back at NCIS Pearl Harbor and she was painfully aware that the time was ticking down fast till he had to jump on the transport back to the mainland. She was torn between immense gratitude that she had seen him and wishing she could beg him to stay longer. DC suddenly seemed impossibly, unbearably distant. It was tempting to throw her arms around his neck and hold on tight, but even after falling asleep on him yesterday, she still didn't quite feel brave enough to hug him uninvited.

"Thanks for coming." It had been a little surreal - part of her was still half expecting to wake up and find she had dreamt the whole thing - but there was no denying it had been good, very good, to see someone from her old life. To see Gibbs.

He smiled, the warm, wide smile which was sure she'd seen more in the last twenty odd hours than she could recall seeing the entire time she'd worked on his team. "Was my pleasure, Katie."

"Stay in touch?" She felt like she was pushing her luck to ask - it wasn't as if Gibbs was big on communication even with people who lived in the same zip code - but she couldn't stop herself.

He didn't reply, but pulled a resigned face she took to mean something like 'I'll try,' then leaned down and dropped a gentle kiss on her cheek. While she was still gaping in surprise, he chucked her affectionately under the chin, turned on his heel, and strode away towards the waiting taxi.

Kate stared after him, watched him get in, just about managed to clap her mouth closed and smile when he glanced over his shoulder with a grin and lifted a hand in goodbye as the car drove away, all without being able to process what had just happened. Once he was out of sight her fingers wandered to her cheekbone where his lips had been, and then as soon as she realised what she was doing she snatched her hand back. What am I, fifteen? She could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks, and she looked round furtively, hoping no one else had witnessed the strange exchange or her uncomfortably girlish reaction to it.

Just when she was about to breathe a sigh of relief, she heard the door swing open behind her, and she turned her head in time to see Will come out. He raised his eyebrows questioningly, and it was obvious that he'd seen something she would rather he hadn't. He was way too observant, usually of things she wished he hadn't noticed. It made him a good friend in many ways, but also kind of an annoying one.

She attempted to school her face into a neutral expression, the one she'd used when she actually was fifteen and had been caught doing things Catholic schoolgirls definitely weren't supposed to do.

His slow smile made it obvious she had not been completely successful, and she could only imagine the colour her face was turning as she burned with embarrassment. Maybe if she concentrated really, really hard she could make the blush subside by sheer willpower...

"You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate."

"... What?" The strange comment caught her entirely off guard.

Will laughed, which was distinctly unhelpful.

"Shakespeare, Henry V. And the best reason I can think of for why a man would jump on an aeroplane for five hours to spend less than twenty four in Hawaii..."

She closed her eyes for a few moments. You had to ask, Kate. Taking a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and looked Will right in the eye, trying to ignore what had just happened with Gibbs and her own over-the-top response.

"No, it's not-"

She paused, suddenly not sure any more. It wasn't like that, was it? Gibbs hadn't come here just to see her, that was ridiculous, absurd. He had been in LA anyway, hadn't he? And then he had obviously had some kind of urgent business here on Oahu with... somebody.

Though he had clearly been pissed with whoever had wanted to see him last night. And he hadn't exactly had a lot of spare time this morning, what with meeting her to say goodbye...

"It's not like that," she eventually finished - sounding utterly unconvincing even to herself.

Will's eyebrows were making a valiant effort to migrate into his hairline. "Are you sure?"

Kate chewed on her lip, looked down at the floor. "Yes?" It came out much smaller and less definite than she'd intended.

Will chuckled knowingly, then offered her an arm, with a nod towards the door from which he'd just emerged. Kate sighed deeply and accepted it.

"I'm sure it isn't gentlemanly to tease a lady," she pointed out primly as they started back indoors.

He grinned. The in-joke that Will, as the resident Brit, had to set an example of good manners to them all had been around since long before Kate had arrived, but she was not above invoking it when it was convenient.

"All right, I yield. I actually came to find you because we've landed a case and Rich said your day off ended as soon as your boyfriend-" Kate thumped him hard in the shoulder "-okay, sorry, I mean your friend, left."

"One of these days your big mouth will get you in trouble, Brittunculus."

"Oh, it does, it does. But you wouldn't have me any other way."

Kate laughed. "True."

"And shouldn't that be Brittuncule?"

She rolled her eyes, though having something silly and meaningless to argue about was sort of a relief. "Four years of Catholic school Latin says you're mistaken, brat. Hah."

"British grammar school: seven years of Latin. Ha-hah!"

They bickered amicably till they were back at the team's lair, where Rich and Hana were arguing loudly and colourfully - as usual.

Kate shrugged, Will laughed, and then they started to gather their things. It was always safest just to stay out of shrapnel range and be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

The pleasant mindlessness of getting ready to go out in the field was normally a good time to clear her mind and get focused on work, but today that was proving more difficult than she was used to. She wondered if Gibbs realised just how perplexed he'd left her, and whether or not it had been intentional. She glanced at her watch and frowned. Stupid time difference. There was a good chance that by the time they'd wrapped up for the day, the people she'd usually call on for wisdom would already be asleep. Neither Abby nor Rachel would mind her waking them up, but Kate would mind doing so, especially when she had no idea whatsoever what she'd actually say if she got hold of them.

She was muttering to herself when there was a cough, and she glanced up to see that Will had walked over to her side of the bullpen. There was a concerned expression on his face as he looked down at her. "Kate?"

"Yeah?"

"About your, you know, your friend." His expression was earnest, if a little embarrassed. "If you... um, that is, if you ever need to talk or... you know, anything. I- I'm a good listener."

For a moment Kate was taken aback - and then she smiled. It was sweet of him. "There's not really anything to talk about right now, but... thanks. I really appreciate that." Even if she still didn't have a clue where she'd start trying to talk about it all, the timely reminder that she had someone here willing to listen made her feel much better.

He gave her shoulder a quick squeeze. "Nothing to talk about yet," he amended with a sly grin, the tease in his voice returning, and earned himself another hearty thump in the arm for his trouble.

"Okay, if you two are done fooling around, it's time to hustle." Rich had that look on his face that said if they pointed out his argument with Hana had only just finished, they'd be sorry.

"Duty calls, eventually," said Will under his breath, and Kate bit the inside of her lip to avoid giggling.

"What's the case?"

"Drug trafficking. Five-0 think they found a Navy connection. With McGarrett out of the country, they requested our help investigating the Navy side of things - and probably smoothing a few ruffled feathers." Rich's expressive eye roll told them exactly what he felt about that part of the assignment, and Will snickered audibly.

"They want you to do PR?" he asked incredulously.

"I'm delegating that part to you," Rich shot back.

"Guys. Hele on. We go already." Hana didn't wait for a response, but just started out for the door, grabbing Kate by the arm as she passed. "We wait for those two, we'll wait forever," she added, and Kate laughed. She could hear the boys grumbling as they followed.

"Uh huh."

She had never been that fond of PR duties herself, but it sounded like a case that probably wouldn't involve dead bodies while being complex enough to keep her mind occupied. She could concentrate, do her job, and quit wondering what the unexpected visit from Gibbs meant.

She sighed. Well. Two out of three isn't bad.

~fin~

A/N in case anyone was wondering, poke is a raw Hawaiian salad usually including fish, malasadas are a bit like doughnuts, and both hele on and we go already are Hawaiian expressions both meaning more or less "Hurry up!" Brittunculus is an ancient Roman epithet for Britons - it means something like 'nasty little Briton' LOL. I'm not sure, but I think Will is right that it should be used in the vocative in this case (Latin scholars, feel free to let me know if I'm wrong!). I think everything else is explained in the text ;)

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