A/N: I would've posted sooner, but I was having somebody beta it for me... Thanks oodles. Funnily enough- I'm watching NCIS as I write this. Anyways- thanks a buch for putting up with me. ::grins:: And my McGee bashings- especially the McAbby fans. Please Read and review- or poor Kate's going to be an insomniac for quite awhile, and no one is going to know why. Well, except for me, Abbs, and jandyle! Mwahahaha...
Kate sat at her desk, berating herself for what she had allowed to happen last night. Tony had called…
"Kate, pick up the phone…. Come on, I know you're awake. You're sitting on your couch feeling sorry for yourself, aren't you?" he had sighed. "Look, I'm sorry Kate- I am. This is entirely my fault. I shouldn't have let you go home alone. Call me okay?"
And she had indeed been sitting on her couch feeling sorry for herself. Not only had she been sitting on her couch, but she had been staring at the phone, hoping and praying that he would call so that she could apologize.
She shook her head. So what if Tony had called? She was a big girl; she didn't need his help.
"Kate- you okay?" His voice brought her back into the real world. She ignored him, as was becoming her custom. "Come on Kate, say something… anything?"
She laughed to herself. At least Tony hadn't slept last night either. Not only did his hollow eyes, messy hair and constant yawning tell her as much, but he had also left countless messages on her machine, begging her not to be mad and to get some help. Begging her to talk to somebody… Right- like I need help?
"Kate, please talk to me."
"DiNozzo- shut the hell up!" she yelled, much louder than necessary.
"Kate, please, I-"
"I said no…" she paused and looked at him before running off muttering. "I need coffee."
She escaped to the break room, only to have him follow her there. He grabbed her arm and spun her around to face him. "Look, Kate, I don't know what's gotten into you lately. I don't know a thing about you anymore. We used to be friends Kate… now it seems like Gibbs is friendlier with me than you are. Please talk to me. Talk to me like you used to."
She yanked her arm out of his grip. "There's nothing to tell," she snarled. "And I never wanted to be your friend anyways." She picked up her coffee and stalked off.
But he was right behind her. "Funny, it didn't seem like you hated me then," he sighed. "But it sure does now."
"Good, maybe you've finally picked up on something."
He grabbed her arm again, forcing her to face him. "Look, I can take the constant bashings from Gibbs; I can take the death glares from Abby… but I can't take you doing this to me. I just can't do it Kate."
She yanked her arm away again. "Learn to then… because this is as good as it's going to get."
She walked the rest of the way to her desk with Tony still on her heels. When she set her coffee on her desk, he spun her back around.
"Do you really want to hate me? Do you like being alone? Living in your disillusioned world where nobody cares? Come out of your warped fantasy and into the real world. I care Kate."
Before she could think of a smart-ass comeback Gibbs appeared, seemingly from nowhere. "Kate, I need a word with you," he looked pointedly at Tony. "Alone."
Now see what you've gotten yourself into? You're going to lose your job. Smart Katie, really smart. Now all that's left is the landlord kicking you out and your dad'll have been right after all. He always said you'd end up a sluty street bum, trying to make ends meet.
She ignored the tears that were threatening to spill over and followed her boss. If she was going to be fired, she would at least allow herself the dignity of walking out with her head held high. Later, she would be able to cry, but she would do it at home where nobody could see her.
They stopped and she faced her boss by taking a deep breath. "Okay, go ahead, get it over with."
He looked at her, puzzled. "I'm sorry, get what over with?"
"You're going to fire me, aren't you? Well, get it over with."
Gibbs chuckled. "No Kate, I'm not going to fire you; not today. I'm giving you the rest of the day off. No excuses. You and Abby are going to go and do something together…"
"Boy, and I thought I was going mental," she muttered. "Gibbs- are you feeling okay? You never give people the day off."
"Kate, I said no excuses. Go, now."
She gave him another confused look and headed off to the elevator and down to Abby's lab.
"Hey Kate!" Abby greeted her friend as she walked into the lab. "I haven't seen you in ages and I-" Her voice trailed off as she looked up from her computer and actually saw Kate.
"Oh, Kate…" she sighed and got out of her chair. "I'm so sorry I haven't been here for you." Abby wrapped her arms around her best friend, what was left of her. "Talk to me Kate. Tell me what's wrong."
"I- There's nothing to tell Abbs."
Abby let her go and gave her a gently suspicious look. "Kate, I know Gibbs pretends to let that work on him, but it won't work on me." She pulled out a chair. "Come on, sit down."
"No, Abbs, I don't want to-"
"Nonsense," interrupted Abby as she sat Kate down in one of her chairs. She sat down across from her. "Now, start at the beginning."
Kate sighed. There was no escaping Abby when she was determined. So Kate told her about how she hadn't slept in almost a week. Abby already knew that Kate liked Tony, so Kate even told her about how conflicted she was about the way she had treated him. She also told her about him calling her all night the previous night. Why couldn't she just be normal and go and apologize?
"Kate, I think you should know that he came down here to talk to me." Abby paused. "Don't give me that look, and don't go and yell at him either. He's worried about you; and for a good reason."
"Yeah, if you're so 'smart' then what is wrong with me?" Kate was quickly growing angry. She would probably regret it later, but for now she couldn't care less.
Abby knew Kate was just blowing off steam, but she was still shocked by her outburst. She didn't like it when people yelled at her, especially not when it was one of the people she loved, like Kate.
I can't tell you what's wrong with you because everyone's different," Abby said, determined not to let Kate get to her. This wasn't the Kate she knew.
"Yeah, well, maybe you're not as smart as you'd like to think."
"Kate, please stop yelling at me," whispered Abby, no longer sure that she could handle this. What had Gibbs been thinking when he had told her to talk to Kate?
Kate suddenly realized who she was yelling at and bit her lip. "Abbs, I'm sorry. I- I didn't mean to yell at you, I just-" she sighed. "I don't know what I was thinking." She leaned over and hugged her friend. "Please help me Abby; I don't want to be an empty shell…"
Abby hugged her tightly. "I won't let you be an empty shell Kate. I promise," she told her friend.