Title: The Worth of a Picture (subtitled: A Study in Contrasts)

Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses

Rating: PG
Category: Vignette, Slash (Gibbs/Dinozzo)

Spoilers: Through "Marine Down"

Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No infringement is intended.

Author's Notes: Look, Mommy, I wrote slash! *beams proudly* Hey, if DPB didn't want me to write it, why would he have taped "High Seas"?

Kate Todd sat back in her chair. She folded her hands and watched the two men standing at the table, arguing ferociously. She raised an eyebrow at some of the language being used.

"I'm telling you, Gibbs, their offensive line just isn't strong enough! There is no way they're gonna make it to the division finals."

"Look, Dinozzo, they have the best running back in the league. They also have one of the best field goal averages..."

Kate rolled her eyes. Men. She shook her head and pulled out her sketchpad, using the lull in their work to get some drawing in. She tilted her head to the side and studied the men before her. They stood on the same side of the table, occasionally pointing to some big fact in the newspaper spread on the surface. One dark head, one light, bent over the newspaper as if it held the secrets of the universe. Her lips turned up at the corners as she set pencil to paper.

Gibbs and Dinozzo were as different as night and day, as cliché as it sounded. Patient and impulsive. Experienced and fresh. Serious and lighthearted. They both got on her nerves from time to time, but she could never really get angry with either one of them.

As different as they were, they made the perfect team. Each of their contrasts complemented one another nicely. Gibbs kept Tony from getting too distracted during cases, and Tony kept Gibbs from losing his sense of humor. Kate watched as Gibbs shifted slightly, getting into Tony's personal space. Blue eyes met green, and the two men shared a slight smile as they continued their spirited discussion. Kate marveled at the way they could get along so well, even when they disagreed.

Kate shook her head. Honestly, they reminded her of an old married couple. They loved to argue, even when it was obviously more out of habit than anything else. Her pencil stopped in mid-stroke. Her jaw almost dropped. No...

She stared at the two men openly. Yes, there it was again--that little glance that was special to lovers. Tony brushed Gibbs hand as if by accident. Gibbs cuffed Tony playfully in response to a smart remark.

Kate completed her sketch in shock, resisting the urge to laugh. How could she have missed it? Once she knew what to look for, it was pretty damn obvious. It certainly explained Tony's blatant jealousy of Agent Burley from a few months back. He hadn't just behaved like a slighted protégé--he had acted like a jilted lover. She had sensed it even then, and tried to soothe Tony's injured pride by saying something inane along the lines of 'You can't compare the relationships.' Now she felt silly for not realizing that the 'relationship' went much deeper than she knew.

She wondered if Tony called him Gibbs or Jethro when they were... oh, no. Hell, no. She was not going to consider her coworkers' sex lives. Uh-uh. Off-limits, Agent Todd. Though she wondered what it would be like to watch... No! Stop it! Bad thoughts!

Kate looked at the completed drawing. A picture was worth a thousand words, indeed.

"Hey, Kate? Whatcha drawing?" a voice interrupted her thoughts. Tony dropped into the chair beside her.

Without looking up, she said dryly, "A nude of you, Dinozzo." She succeeded in not blushing, an accomplishment which amazed her. She heard Gibbs unsuccessfully repress a snort.

"Really?" Tony asked.

"No!" Kate rolled her eyes in exasperation. "It's called sarcasm, Tony. Besides, I've never seen you naked. Well, there was that once, but I don't think that counts," she smirked.

"Can we get back to work, please?" Gibbs asked. Kate looked over. She noticed that his blue eyes were a few shades darker than usual, and he was looking at Tony with an intensity that was unusual even for him. Kate hid a smile.

"Whatever you say, Gibbs." She put her sketchpad in her bag and grabbed a file.