Summary: '"Do you ever wonder...about what could have been?" She asked softly.'
Author's Note: Still not the exact fic I had promised, but it is (fairly) fluffy and Kate is alive! Hope ya'll like it!
Disclaimer: Still not mine, still never will be.
Kate had always enjoyed stakeouts. Not because she thought they were fun, and definitely not because she actually enjoyed sitting in a car without the air or heat running, for hours on end. But because whenever they had a stakeout, she almost always was on the same shift as Gibbs. And any time that she could get with Gibbs, was good time.
They had driven out to a suspect's apartment that night, and kept up small talk as they watched the residence. They had information that their man probably wouldn't be home tonight, but decided that it'd be best to have some surveillance anyway. They made small talk for the first hour or so, mostly about work. Not really interesting, but it was safe territory. Their relationship was all about staying in the lines.
Eventually though, the shop talk ran out, and anything else that lurked in the silence was way too personal to get into this late at night when their personal shields were halfway down. So they sat in the car, and watched the suspect's apartment, sometimes stealing glances at the other when they weren't watching.
Kate's phone rang suddenly and interrupted the silence that had fallen over the car. She glanced at Gibbs, asking silent permission to answer it. He nodded and looked out the window, an attempt on giving her privacy in the small vehicle.
"Todd." Kate answered, the consummate professional. But when whoever was on the other line started to talk, the professional melted away, and Kate came out. "Oh Shannon, that's wonderful! Boy or girl?" She paused as the other person answered. "Aww, Shan, I can't wait to see all of you again! I hate to cut this conversation short, but I'm on a stakeout right now…" Shannon must have cut her off, because Kate paused and laughed. "No it's okay. But I'll call you back when I get home okay? Give my love to Bill and the kids! Love you bunches little sister!" She smiled as she snapped her phone shut.
She looked over at Gibbs and smiled as she saw him looking out the window. She knew that he wanted to know what it was about, but wouldn't pry into her private life. So she'd volunteer the information. "My little sister just had her baby."
Gibbs turned and smiled. "Boy or girl?"
Kate beamed. "Girl. They're going to name her Anna Caitlin, after her mother-in-law, and me. It's their first girl, they have two little boys." He smiled again at the ecstatic expression on her face. "I'm hoping on going down there this weekend, as long as we catch this guy first." She said, looking out the window at their suspect's apartment.
Gibbs nodded and looked out the window towards the apartment. Kate took a sip of her water bottle and snuck a glance at Gibbs. He smirked as he could see her looking at him out of the corner of his eye. "Something that you want to talk about Agent Todd?" He asked, keeping his gaze straight ahead.
Kate flushed, and looked down at her water bottle. She played with the wrapper a bit and then looked up at him again. "Do you ever wonder…about what could have been?" She asked softly.
Gibbs looked over at her and cocked his head to the side. He raised his eyebrow in question, and she smiled softly. "I mean…don't you ever wonder what would have happened if you had done something differently in your life? Talking to my sister always makes me start thinking about this…what my life would have been like if I'd done something differently."
She looked up at him again, expecting to see annoyance or nothing at all, but instead found interest in his eyes. He made a little 'go-on' gesture with his hands and she played idly with the cap to her water bottle once more. "When I was little…I always wanted to be a teacher. Always. But when I got into high school, there was this guy that came to speak to us, from the F.B.I. And all of the sudden, that's what I wanted to do." She bit her lip and looked out the window once more. "I just….wonder what I'd be doing if I had become a teacher. What my life would be like." She turned back to Gibbs and smiled nervously.
"But I'm sure that you don't care…" Gibbs shook his head, and Kate quieted.
"Of course I care Katie." He said softly. "It's obvious that this is bothering you, so if you need to talk, talk." Trying to keep up his 'tough-guy' persona, he quickly added on, "Besides, we don't have anything else to do."
Kate smiled softly and nodded. "Yeah……thanks Gibbs." He grunted, as if in answer and she grinned again. "I just can't help but imagine what my life would be like. If I'd be like Shannon, driving the kids to school, teaching little kids….having a husband to come home to…" She looked out the window, avoiding Gibbs' eyes. "I just…wonder." She finally turned to face him, and studied him quietly. "What do you wonder about Gibbs?"
He looked at her curiously and smirked, an expression that she was used to. "I don't wonder Kate. I'm happy with my life right now." At her skeptical glance, he shook his head and chuckled. "I'm telling the truth Agent Todd."
She held up her hands innocently and grinned. "Did I say anything Agent Gibbs?" They both chuckled and fell into a comfortable silence once more.
Another hour passed, and still nothing had happened in their suspect's residence. Kate brought a hand up to cover her mouth as she yawned, and shook her head in an attempt to stay awake. Gibbs saw the gestures and grinned. "Why don't you get some sleep? McGee and Tony are coming to relieve us in an hour, and I don't think anything is going to happen." He looked over at her again, as she fought to keep her eyes open. "Kate. Sleep, now." He said, in a commanding, but soft voice.
She smiled and rolled her eyes at Gibbs, but relaxed in her seat at the same time. She closed her eyes and soon, her breathing had evened out, and Gibbs was pretty sure she was asleep. He smiled and fought the urge to put a piece of hair that had fallen in her face behind her ear.
He really needed to stop lying to her. She would open up to him, and he wouldn't shut her down, but whenever she asked him to do the same he'd run in the farthest possible direction of the truth. He sighed and looked out the window, desperately hoping something would happen. Something to take his mind off of her.
He did wonder. He wondered a lot. He wondered about what would be different if he wasn't so infatuated with her when they first met. He wondered about what would happen if he hadn't offered her a job at NCIS. Would he have called her up for dinner one night? Would she have accepted?
He sighed, realizing this was going to be one of those self-reflection nights. He cursed under his breath. She always seemed to bring this out in him.
He realized that he couldn't blame this all on NCIS. He knew that if he himself, didn't have so many rules of his own, he would ask Kate to dinner, work be damned. He knew that he could get away with it. He wasn't NCIS Agent of the Year six times in a row without reason, and he was pretty sure that if he decided to start a relationship with another agent, the Director would turn a blind eye. But he was the one keeping himself from her. Keeping himself from happiness.
She made a little sound in her sleep, and he couldn't help but smile at her. He wasn't doing this just for himself either. She was so young, so beautiful, so talented. She had enormous potential, and the last thing she needed was for him to screw her up. So keeping his distance was for her benefit too.
He sighed and looked out the window yet again, tearing his eyes away from her. He hated it when he tried to justify things to himself. Because the more he did it, the more stupid the arguments sounded.
He glanced at the clock and noticed that it was about time for McGee and Tony to show up. He put his hand lightly on her shoulder and shook her gently. She opened her eyes quickly, and blinked away the remnants of her little cat-nap. She stretched briefly, and then looked over to Gibbs and smiled.
As if on cue, Gibbs' cell phone rang, ruining the moment between them. They both inwardly sighed, as Gibbs went to answer the call.
"Hey boss, just wanted to let you know we're here. We're about three spaces down from you, we'll take yours when you leave."
"Alright Tony." Gibbs said. "See you tomorrow morning." With that, he disconnected the call, and started up the car. He turned to Kate, "I'll take you home." She smiled and nodded.
"Thanks." They rode in silence to her apartment. He parked in front, and she smiled at him as she unbuckled her seat belt. "Well, I guess I'll call it a night. Bye Gibbs." She was about to open her door when he stopped her when he spoke quietly.
"I do wonder Kate." Understanding dawned in her eyes after a brief second of confusion.
"About what Gibbs?" She asked softly.
"A lot of things." He replied, just as softly. She nodded, knowing that she wouldn't get anything more out of him tonight. She paused as she studied him carefully. He returned her gaze, trying to determine if she could tell what he wondered about.
"G'night Gibbs." She whispered. She leaned in quickly, and brushed her lips lightly, briefly with his. Before he had time to react, she was gone, and had gotten out of the car. He watched as she walked up to her building and smiled as she gave him a little wave when she got to the doorway.
He pulled out once she was inside, and pulled over to the other side of the street to make sure that she got in okay. The knot in his gut, that he knew was irrational, but was there none the less, subsided when he saw a light in her apartment go on. He started the car once more and headed for home.
Maybe one day he wouldn't have to wonder about her. Maybe one day he'd know.