Disclaimers and other info in part 1.
Kate lay sprawled on the floor, the newspaper open to the crossword puzzle. AJ was on the couch, reading the national news. The dog, Dammit, paced back and forth between the two, begging for attention.
"'It killed the cat,'" Kate read aloud.
AJ looked at her over his reading glasses. "Curiosity, of course."
Kate grinned and filled in the boxes. She placed her pen on the floor and stood. She walked over to AJ and pulled the paper out of his hands. Sitting on his lap, she removed his reading glasses and purred, "Ah, but satisfaction brought her back."
AJ gave her a quirky little half-smile. "Really?" His hands began to wander beneath her robe.
"You know it," she breathed, stealing a kiss.
AJ and Kate's relationship had hit a bump a while back, but they had ridden it out. Kate still thanked her lucky stars every day that AJ had overcome his jealous streak and forgiven her for her momentary stupidity.
Kate's relationship with Gibbs hadn't changed much. He was a master at hiding his emotions. They still worked well together, with Tony there to intervene whenever things got too heated.
Kate had heard that one of AJ's officers had objected to their relationship. Sarah MacKenzie had intervened there. The last Kate knew, Commander Rabb was one of the biggest supporters of her relationship with AJ--mainly because it would piss Gibbs off.
The colonel and Clay were still together. Talk about bumpy relationships--Kate wondered why they still hadn't killed each other. But on their good days, they were one of the happiest couples Kate knew of.
Kate rested her head on AJ's shoulder. It was snowing heavily outside, but Kate felt warm, cozy--perfectly content. She smiled and debated asking the question she had been considering for the past month.
She had finally told AJ her feelings for him in July. She remembered that day perfectly. They had been picnicking in the woods. There had been no sign of another person for miles. The air was warm and damp--and so were they. She had looked him straight in the eye and said, "I love you, AJ." His brilliant smile had been worth all the worry.
Eventually, she came to a decision. She tilted her head up and placed a kiss on AJ's jaw. He smiled down at her. Kate was amazed by the thrill she still got when looking into his warm brown eyes. "AJ?" she began hesitantly.
"Yeah, darlin'?" he murmured.
AJ blinked in shock. A slow grin spread over his face. "You had to beat me to it, didn't you?" he asked, chuckling in amusement.
Kate's brow furrowed. "What?"
AJ lifted Kate off his lap and stood. He disappeared into the bedroom. When he returned, he held a small box in his hand. Kate swallowed.
"Perhaps I should wear this," AJ whispered huskily as he handed her the box. She opened it. A beautiful engagement ring sparkled up at her.
"N-no, that's perfectly all right," she stammered. AJ laughed, and she wrinkled her nose at him. She removed the ring from the box. "Do you want to--?"
He took the ring from her and slowly placed it on the fourth finger of her left hand. Kate could feel tears spring to her eyes. "Damn you," she sniffled. "You know I hate crying."
"Hey, it's not my fault!" AJ exclaimed. "You're the one who proposed!" He was grinning, however.
"Yeah, yeah," she replied, swiping at her eyes. She looked at AJ. "I love you," she whispered.
He smiled and kissed her softly. "Love you, too." He grinned mischievously. "Katie-cat."
"I told you not to call me that!" she said, smacking him lightly.
He frowned. "You dare to hit me?"
She giggled. "You don't scare me, you big bully," she teased.
"Bully? I'll show you bully," he threatened. He picked her up and slung her over his shoulder.
"AJ!" she shrieked. "You put me down this instant!" She was laughing so hard, she almost couldn't get the words out.
He carried her into the bedroom and tossed her onto the bed. "Now what?"
"Well... I'm curious as to what my bully would do to poor little helpless me." She smirked.
AJ snorted. "Sweetheart, you're a lot of things, but helpless isn't one of them."
"Good answer," she grinned.
"However," he continued, a gleam in his eyes, "I think I can... satisfy your curiosity."
"Oh?" She raised an eyebrow. "I'd like to see you try."
And he did.
I'd just like to thank all of my reviewers! You all absolutely rock, and thanks for taking the time to let me know how much you enjoyed "Curiosity". I had a lot of fun writing this.
--Shannon/Raindrops on Roses