Finally Free

Author's Notes: Betcha thought I forgot about this story huh:P It may not be my best work, but I was in a really shippery mood one day, and wanted to give them their happy ending. Please review and tell me what you thought!

Linda was sitting on Gibbs' couch when he came through the door in the morning, after a night that he had spent with Kate. At first he was startled, but quickly covered it. He wasn't sure how she would react if she found out about Kate and him, and wasn't sure how he would react to the confrontation. After last night, he knew he had to break up with Linda. Kate had told him that she loved him, and it killed him that he couldn't say it back, because it would then officially cross the one line they hadn't yet.

Linda got up and hugged him tightly, and for a split second Gibbs froze. He knows that the road goes both ways, that if Kate can smell Linda on him, that Linda can smell Kate on him. He never thought this moment would actually happen. Where he couldn't hide his…affair any longer.

Linda stepped back slowly, and regarded him carefully. He braced himself for whatever was going to come next, but Linda just shook her head, and stepped back, sitting back down on the couch. She gestured for him to sit next to her, but he declined carefully. "I've been in the same clothes for the past 24 hours, I need to go change." She nodded, and he walked back into his room.

The minute that his door was shut, his true feelings came to the surface. It wasn't quite panic, but it was getting there. He didn't want to hurt Linda, but he knew that it had to end, that he couldn't pretend to be a doting boyfriend while he was in love with another woman. He quickly changed, and went back outside, gathering up all his strength.

Linda was back on the couch, fingering her cell phone. Without looking up, she phrased a simple question, "How long?"

Gibbs didn't even pretend to not know what she was talking about. "Almost six months."

She finally turned to him, her eyes strangely blank. "Why didn't you just break up with me Jethro? If you've been with her this long she must mean something big to you."

Gibbs looked down, and sat down on the couch, on the opposite end from Linda. "I didn't mean for it to go this far. But it has, and I don't regret it. I just regret not telling you before this." He said quietly. "I don't know why I didn't tell you. I thought that maybe you would get tired of me before this went any further, and would break up with me before I had the chance to tell you."

Linda nodded. "So who is she? I think if you're cheating on me I should at least know what she has that I don't." She said, her bitter tone revealing what she was really going through. And Gibbs hated himself for causing her pain, but knew that he only had himself to blame.

"Her name is Kate. You know her." He said, watching as the hurt and recognition flitted across her face. "It was supposed to be a one time thing, but it's gone on to be a lot more than that. It's not that she has something that you don't she's just…different." He didn't know how else to explain it.

Linda nodded, and put her cell phone back in her purse. "Well I hope that the two of you are happy." She said curtly, getting up from the couch. She walked quickly towards the door, but turned back around to him. "I suspected but I just didn't want to believe. She was always mixed in with the coffee and sawdust." She said quietly. "I just didn't want to believe that you had really done this." And with that, Linda opened the door, and walked out of Jethro Gibbs' life.

He knew that he had hurt Linda, and did feel badly about it. But it would have come to this anyway, and it was better than Linda coming home early one night and finding him and Kate together. He shook his head, hoping that his conscious would just accept the fact that he had hurt yet another woman, and went into the kitchen to fix himself some coffee.

Kate sat on her couch, fiddling with the afghan that her sister had knit for her awhile ago. Gibbs had left a few hours ago, and now Kate didn't know what to do. She knew that Linda was getting back in town soon, and imagined that she wouldn't be seeing him for awhile. Whenever he would come to her when Linda was in town, there was always desperation in his touch, and it made her even more aware of what they were doing, and how it was wrong.

She heard a knock on her door, and out of habit checked the clock. She wasn't expecting anyone today, so she was leery of opening the door. But after a quick glance, she opened the door, a soft smile on her face. "Gibbs, what are you doing here?"

He stepped inside the apartment without a word, and shut the door behind him. Kate, concerned now, stepped up next to him. "Are you okay?" She was surprised as he turned around, and had a small almost melancholy smile on his face.

"I love you Katie." He murmured, taking her into his arms smoothly. She was surprised by his admission, but was quickly swept away in the feeling of his lips on hers. She leaned into him, loving the way that he could make her melt like this.

When he pulled back, she looked up, a happy smile on her face. "I love you too Jethro." Her smile increased as a small grin spread across his face. "What happened to bring about this revelation?" She asked laughingly.

At this, Gibbs grew somber. "Linda found out about us." Kate's smile wore thin, and her face took on an expression of worry.

"What did she say?"

"She wanted to know who it was. Why I kept her around for so long….told me that you were mixed in with the coffee and sawdust, she just never wanted to admit it." He said, avoiding her eyes. "And then she was gone." He shrugged, tightening his grip on her waist, as if wanting to keep her from going away, just as every other woman in his life had.

"I'm sorry Gibbs…I know that you didn't want to hurt Linda." Kate said softly.

He shrugged, and the small grin came back. "Now we're free to do what we want though. I can stay here for as long as I want, or you can stay at my place for as long as you want…" He said suggestively, a playful gleam in his eye. Kate laughed and leaned her head against his chest.

"It feels good to be free." Kate said, sighing happily. Gibbs nodded, and slipped his hand underneath her shirt, stroking the soft skin at the small of her back.

"Yeah, it does Katie." He whispered against her hair. She looked up and smiled softly, the love for him obvious in her eyes. "Yeah it does."

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