Tony and Kate froze when they heard McGee. The little traitor! Gibbs was looking at them now, expectant and obviously a little amused by their twin deer-in-the-headlights looks.
Tony recovered first. "Umm...what we wanted to ask, boss, was...uh..."
Kate was a little more coherent. "What Tony's trying to say is, um, we were wondering..." A little, but not much.
Gibbs was trying to look impatient and perturbed while inside dying with laughter. He knew what they wanted to ask and he could have answered, but he was having way too much fun watching them.
Finally Kate came up with a semi-plausible question to pretend to ask. "What's going to happen to Petty Officer Curtain?"
Gibbs suppressed a laugh but couldn't contain the faint smile of admiration for Kate's quick thinking. Clearing his throat, decided to throw them a nugget, just to see their reactions.
"She's my sister," he tossed out casually, standing as if he was leaving. He was pleased to see Tony's and Kate's quickly covered looks of surprise at his revelation but he needed to get out of sight so he could hear them talking. Acting like he was going for another cup of coffee, he ducked into a nearby cubicle and listened. His sight may be going but his hearing was as sharp as ever.
As he listened, he thought about his position. He was hiding in a cubicle spying on two subordinates who were talking about his sister. He almost laughed out loud at the humorous situation. If there was anything less Jethro Gibbs, he couldn't think of it.
Meanwhile, Tony and Kate's conversation was well worth the trouble. As soon as they thought Gibbs was out of earshot, they began whispering furiously.
"His sister? I didn't know Gibbs had a sister." Tony.
"Obviously I didn't either. I wonder if Ducky knows." Kate.
"Probably. If it's true."
"What? Why would he lie?"
"I don't know. Why does Gibbs do anything? Besides, that is not how you act with a sister."
"Hey, every family's different. Maybe he wanted us to think she was somebody else."
"Then why would he tell us?"
"Who knows? Maybe he wanted to see our reaction. Maybe he was just having a moment of openness. You said it yourself: Why does Gibbs do anything?"
"You want her to be the sister." Tony's voice seemed thoughtful, like he had just realized something. Pained, too, though it was barely noticeable. "You want him to be available. You," he paused. "You love him."
Kate was silent. Hidden in the cubicle, Gibbs stopped breathing.
Finally Kate spoke. "Tony, I –"
"Don't worry, Kate, I'm not going to tell anyone." Tony's voice was strained, comforting but at the same time very hurt.
"Tony, I'm sorry. It's just..." Kate's voice faded.
"I understand, Kate. You can't control these things. Besides, like you said, we're more brother-sister anyway." Tony's tone belied his words.
"I'm sorry," Kate repeated, her voice barely audible now.
Gibbs heard sounds of motion and footsteps heading toward the door. He wondered which one had left. Creeping out from the cubicle, he peered around the corner. Kate sat at her desk, staring straight ahead. Tony was gone. As Gibbs watched, Kate ran a hand through her hair and let out a shaky laugh.
"This is crazy," she muttered to herself. "I must be crazy."
You're not crazy, Gibbs thought. Kate looked up.
"Did I say that out loud?" he asked.
"Yeah," she nodded.
"Oh," he replied, unsure of what else to say. "Well, you can go home if you want."
She watched him, curious why he didn't ask where Tony was. He looked very distracted, very un-Gibbs. He walked to his desk as she was packing up but didn't seem to know what he was doing. He picked up his glasses and put them back down. He shuffled a couple of papers like he wasn't sure what to do with his hands. She wondered what was bothering him. She had never seen him so agitated.
She left soon after, with a lingering look back into the darkening office. He sat at his desk, staring straight ahead. She thought she heard him mutter something to himself, something familiar, but it couldn't be. Still, she was sure she heard him say it.
Gibbs sat at his desk, gazing at nothing. He heard her leaving but couldn't muster the composure to say anything. As she reached the door, he mumbled to himself. Words he forced himself to accept. Words he forced himself to live by. "This is crazy. I must be crazy. Romance between agents never works."