Title: Forever

Author: Lady Peach

Disclaimers: Well, I probably can't afford a lawyer if you decide to sue me, much less pay you, so, save yourself some money, eh? I'm not making a profit off this. I just love to take the characters out and make them fulfill some of my fantasies – puleeezze (imagine Gibbs doing it Yankees White?)

Notes: Well, this is my first fic after a long "vacation" during which I was too busy working and studying to write / read any fics! Hope you like this and… but please be gentle when reviewing, k?

Spoiler: No particular plots revealed, but background information for each character learned from Yankee White to Black Water should be considered a fair game...

Kate can't stop her hands from shaking; neither can she make herself look away from the test she holds. Sure, the instructions on the box are easy and simple enough: you pee on the test, then you wait for five minutes for the chemicals to work, and you'll know the result. What is neglected, however, is how agonizing the five minutes are. They are probably the longest five minutes of her entire adult life, knowing her future hinges on the result of this test: her career, her relationships, her priorities …

Her reverie is interrupted by the door bell. She looks to the right for her counter and realizes too late who is at the door. Her suspicion of being pregnant has thrown her off guard and she has totally forgotten about the dinner date they have planned for the night. Quickly, she shoves the test into the garbage can and washes her hands.

"Coming!" she yells while trying to make herself look as decent and presentable as she can. "Just a minute."

A look through the peephole confirms her guess that it is, indeed, Gibbs on the other side and she opens the door, attempting to look calm and poised. She knows the man can pick up anxiety like sharks do on blood.

"What took you so long?" her dinner companion asks with a scowl on his face.

"I was in the washroom, getting ready and all that, you know," she waves her hand in a dismissive manner and hopes he hasn't picked up on the trembling of her voice.

"Oh, in that case," his features relax a little – as do Kate's – and a tender smile takes its place. "These are for you."

Kate is left speechless in her own foyer. Gibbs has handed her the largest bouquet of orchids she's ever seen, and after the emotional turmoil she has just gone through in the washroom, she can't hold back the tears that are threatening to fall.

"Gibbs, how do you - " she takes the bouquet, with no idea how to express her surprise at the gesture. She's never told Gibbs they're her favourites. How does he know?

Gibbs grins at her reaction and leans in to kiss her chastely on the lips before cupping her face gently and uses his thumbs to wipe the tears that have escaped. "Only the best for you," he whispers softly to her ears, then straightens up and grins more widely. "Plus, what kind of a special agent would I be if I fail to figure out orchids are your favourites?"

Completely floored by his gesture, Kate remains rooted in her foyer, the bouquet in her hands, Gibbs' arms around her waist. She still remembers when they first started this relationship and he has declared himself to be inept at the "dating game."

"I don't do romance well, Katie," he said after sharing a kiss that took her breath away and made her forget about anything and everything, his hands still in her hair, her hands still hanging on around his neck. "I don't send flowers, I don't do gifts, I don't do pet names. Heck, I will probably forget your birthdays five years in a row or more and never celebrate our anniversaries. I just don't do these kinds of things well."

"That is fine," she remembers herself saying, still wrapped up in the thrilling sensation of the kiss. "As long as you promise you're try your best to make this work with me."

She has to smile at the memory. If Gibbs says he doesn't do romance well, she really hasn't known anyone who does. The Gibbs she sees outside of work is a totally different person. He is softer, with a glow around him and makes her heart melts. This, Kate realizes, is Gibbs' intensity, the same intensity that makes him so relentless and so good at what he does at NCIS, directed at her. The bouquet of orchids she now holds in her hands speaks for that fact. Finally, after she's confident that she can form a complete, logical sentence, Kate pulls back and looks into his eyes, "You go settle down, and I'll find a vase for these."

Gibbs walks into the now familiar living room and turns to survey Kate's CD selection before putting one in the stereo. Making himself at home on the couch while the soft music fills the living room, Gibbs fingers the box he has in his jacket.

There's no easy way to get around it, he decides, and has to stifle a groan that threatens to escape. He's been burned so badly before that he doubts if he's doing the right thing, but every time he sees her – at work, a relaxing evening at his house or her apartment, even when he was livid with her actions and stubbornness – all his doubts are overshadowed by the overwhelming love he feels for her.

Of course, he's never told her he loves her. That's not his style. He will show her he loves her over and over again, but he has a hard time translating the actions into words. She has told him regularly that she loves him, and has told him that she doesn't mind the fact that he's not yet ready to say the words, though he can see the little bit of disappointment that lurked around in her eyes briefly when he didn't return the sentiments verbally. Tonight, he vows. Tonight he will make those disappointments go away.

Hearing footsteps from the kitchen, Gibbs turns to see Kate returns with a crystal vase for the orchids. She places them on the coffee table in front of the couch before settling down on the couch beside him. When Gibbs puts his hand around her shoulders, she instinctively snuggles up to him.

Gibbs looks down at the woman in his life and can't hold back a smile. Who would have thought that the kick-ass-secret-service-turned-NCIS-special-agent is so fond of cuddling?

"Thank you," her soft whisper breaks the silence between them. "They're absolutely beautiful."

"Not as beautiful as you are," he replies and kisses the top of her head.

"You're sweet-talking again," she murmurs against his chest, her hands drawing lazy circles that are driving him to the brink of insanity. He bites back a groan when she brushes pass his nipple and quickly takes hold of her hand in hope to not embarrass himself.

"I'm only telling the truth, and nothing but the truth," he swears brushing his thumb over her knuckles.

"You know, you're really a big soft teddy bear under the gruff surface," she teases as she turns around to look at him.

He merely raises an eyebrow to her statement.

"I mean, nobody will believe me when I tell them that you're the most tender man I've ever met, and every day you will do some romantic gesture that will make me fall in love with you all over again. You are so serious and such a bastard at work that it's so hard to imagine you can be this affectionate. I should have known, though. All your focus and concentration and your meticulous mind and big heart. You let them slip sometimes at work, but I should have known you are such a gentle man under all that tough-marine look."

"I only act this way to the one I value most in my life," he answers softly, but honestly.

"You know I won't hurt you, right?" Kate can't help but asks. She cannot stop herself from analyzing Gibbs' thoughts and behaviour – she is, after all, a trained profiler, and Gibbs' reluctance to open up to her is a classic case.

"I know," he answers. "And I will die before I hurt you, or let anyone else hurt you."

Tears spring into Kate's eyes. Just when she thinks she has Gibbs all figured out, he will say or do something that will have her re-evaluate her analysis.

They let the conversation die, each comfortable enough with the other to enjoy the silence between them. Gibbs still has her hands in his, and he occasionally brings them up to her lips for a soft kiss.

"I'll go get dinner ready," she leans in for another kiss before getting up and walks toward the kitchen. She tells him she has already started, but Gibbs still stands up and follows her. Even though he knows she probably won't need his help, he wants to be close to her.

They move together well in the kitchen. He hands her the tools she needs, sometimes even before she asks for it. The comfort he feels while being in such domestic settings with Kate affirms that giving her the ring is, indeed, the right thing to do. Somehow, this feels more intimate than all the loving they can do in the bedroom under the sheets.

The food is excellent; the atmosphere is perfect. He sees this as the opportunity to ask for Kate's hand when he brings the glass of red wine to his lips. The excitement he feels in the pit of his stomach makes him careless, and the wine spills from the glass onto the front of his shirt.

"Oh, Jesus," he murmurs, standing up quickly to assess the damage.

"Go clean up in the washroom," Kate orders laughingly. She has never seen Gibbs embarrass himself like that, and she finds it extra amusing to see the usually composed Gibbs frazzled.

Frustrated that the mood is lost, and urged by the need to get the red wine stain off his shirt, Gibbs makes his way purposefully to the washroom. Many balls of toilet papers later, he finds trying to soak up the red wine is a lost cause, and decides to take off the shirt to run hot water through it. Gathering all the spoiled tissues he's used, he takes off the lid to the garbage can – and everything drops onto the floor.

With shaking hands, he takes out the test that lies in the garbage can. He sucks in a breath when he sees the sign that indicates a life is growing inside Kate. His mind automatically revisits a similar situation about a decade ago when he, too, found a positive pregnancy test in the trash can. Normally, finding that test shouldn't be a surprise, but it became one when the couple hadn't been sleeping together for the last year of their marriage. That had led to the first failed marriage of his life.

Taking a deep breath, he calmed himself. Kate wouldn't do that to him. She won't do that to me, his heart states adamantly. Prove it, his mind plays the devil advocate.

Being the trained investigator that he is, Gibbs has long since detached himself from emotional assessment of any situation – including personal ones. He needs empirical facts.

She didn't have the time to, his mind willingly provides such evidence. Since Kate works with him, he's with her for most of their waking hours, and he sees her almost every night when they are not on a hot case. Satisfied with the result of the internal debate, he shifts his attention to the other thoughts he has to sort through.

Kate is pregnant. Is he ready to handle having a family, more importantly, a baby? They haven't had the chance to discuss the prospect of starting a family. He's not young anymore. He isn't sure if it's a wise choice to have kids. But then, that choice is now out of his hands now, isn't it?

"Gibbs, are you alright?" Kate knocks at the bathroom door, concerned. "You didn't fall into the toilet, did you?"

"I'm fine," he answers back. "I'll be out in a few minutes. The stain's more stubborn than I thought."

"Well, hurry up," she demands. "Dessert's melting."

With that, she moves away from the doorway. Gibbs surveys around the washroom, making sure every ball of paper is put into the trash can, as is the pregnancy test. Satisfied, he washes his hands and opens the bathroom door.

Later that night, he opens the living room door and breaks his vow, the velvet box laid untouched in his pants' pockets.