Title: Vows

Author: Shannon/Freelance

Summary: Kate had always dreamed of being married...

Spoilers: Up to 2.23.

Disclaimer: Not my show. Not my characters.

A/N: Whee! I wrote something! A great big thank you to Margaret for beta-ing and, in particular, for pointing out where I speak the wrong (for the fic :P) brand of English.

This was written in response to the Marriage challenge at the NCIS Flashfic LJ community.

I take thee to be my lawfully wedded husband…

As a child, Kate had always dreamed of being married. She could see it in her mind. Her dad would walk her down the aisle, her long white trail gliding behind matching shoes. She would carry a bouquet of flowers and her nail polish would be pink.

She'd be a princess, marrying her prince, and they'd ride into the sunset on the back of a white stallion. Or a Harley. She hadn't quite decided. Either way, it would be romantic and pretty and she'd be twenty-three years old.

…to have and to hold…

But little Kate grew up, and her dreams changed. She imagined helping people, or protecting people. She pictured walking down the street and knowing there was someone, somewhere, better off because of her.

She tried law but alas, too boring. All lawyers ever did was sit and talk, talk, talk. They never did anything. So Kate quit that.

She wandered for a while. Trying this and trying that, but none of it ever worked out.

Then, one day, she was accepted into the Secret Service. And she realised that this was what she wanted. This was what she could do. This was what she would do.

from this day forward

She relished her job. The little shot of adrenaline she felt from being out in public. The thrill she experienced from strapping the gun onto her hip. The knowledge that she was performing her duty to her country, protecting their leader.

Kate was pleased with her life. She had her job; she dated here and there. Nothing particularly serious, but she didn't mind. She wasn't really looking for serious.

Occasionally, it felt like something was missing. But she pushed it aside and focused on her work.

Then Jethro Gibbs and his bunch of merry men (and Goth) jumped onto her plane, and she realised just what she had overlooked.

For better, for worse…

It was helping people that she'd neglected to do. While protecting one man was all good and nice, he had other people to do the exact same job. In NCIS, she was actually doing something that would make a difference to people who needed it.

She threw herself into the work. She made mistakes, rookie mistakes, but she learned. She discovered new skills, details about herself, and abilities long thought forgotten. She found out her strengths and her weaknesses and used that to change. She learned.

One morning, she woke up and learned something else. Or more, she realised it. She had the feeling she already knew this.

She was married to her job.

for richer, for poorer…

The oddest thing was that she didn't particularly care. She was married to her job.

She still dated but, these days, it almost felt like she was cheating. They'd be chatting away over Indian or Italian or Mexican or Thai, when she'd get an idea about a case and have to note it in her PDA. They would ask about it. She'd tell them.

There was never another date after that.

But she didn't care. If they couldn't respect her love for her job, they weren't worth having around.

Besides, she had her friends and didn't really need anything else at the moment. There were the friends she'd had for years, but there were also her colleagues. And, strangely, she felt closer to her workmates than she had to anyone else in years.

in sickness and in health…

But perhaps what was even stranger was that it had taken so long for her to realise. She knew early on that she liked them – even Tony, with his incredible ability to annoy – but she hadn't realised that she cared so much.

Not that she'd tell them.

Truth was, they were like family to her. Gibbs, Abby, McGee, Ducky, Tony and even Palmer. It took Tony nearly dying from plague for her to learn just how devastated she would be if any of them died. Seemed it wasn't only her job that she was married to.

till death do us part.

And now, someone else was trying to break them up. An asshole – the same asshole who'd tried to split them apart over a year ago – was after Gibbs. And she'd be damned if she was going to let him do it. She was back where she started - protecting someone – but this time, it was personal.

She would protect Gibbs, and her family, if it was the last thing she'd do.


Caitlin Todd stared at her gun and checked it, before holstering it on her hip. She strode out of the bull pen and didn't look back.

Till death do us part.