Occasional Bad Reaction
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: So maybe things rarely worked out as planned. That didn't mean she had to like it.
A/N: Written for the ncis flashfiction community on lj. The challenge was secrets and lies.
Many, many thanks to Shordy for the beta. Not so many to SkyQueen for the desire for gratuitous sex at the end.
"I think Gibbs is going to kill me in my sleep," Tony muttered, slamming the door of his car with unnecessary force. Kate laughed at him, walking over from the passenger side of Abby's hearse to join him. Abby exited a moment later, balancing a stack of books in her arms, hitting her door with her hip to shut it.
"I think I saw smoke coming out of his ears," Kate grinned.
"He was downstairs whining at me," Abby added. "Said Tony screwed up big-time."
Kate snickered. "It's been nice knowing you, Tony."
"That's not funny, Kate," Tony replied. "And it's not like you haven't screwed up before."
"Yes, but I didn't screw up due to an exotic dancer named… I want to say Candy, but I can't remember."
"She was so much more than an exotic dancer," Tony objected. Abby rolled her eyes.
"C'mon, guys. Kate, you may as well come hang out for a while. I have to go up to my apartment to get Tony's movies for him, then I'll drive you home."
The other woman shrugged. "I'm really sorry to put you through all of this, Abs. The man at the mechanic's said my car would be ready by last night. I definitely won't be using them again."
"Hey, no problem," Abby led the way inside the apartment building.
"This is serious, guys," Tony pouted. "Can one of you talk to him? Tell him not to be too hard on me?"
Kate snickered. "Scared, Tony?"
"Yes, Kate. Wouldn't you be?"
She shrugged. "I wouldn't know. I don't screw up like that."
"If you're not going to help me out, like any good partner should, we can drop the subject," Tony muttered.
Abby unlocked her apartment and Kate and Tony proceeded her in, leaving her to close and lock the door behind them. Tony kicked off his shoes and wandered over to her entertainment system, flipping through the stack of movies on top of the DVD player.
"You guys in a hurry?" Abby asked. "Wanna stay for a drink?"
Kate nodded. "All that's waiting for me at home is left-overs and a night in front of the TV."
Tony sighed. "That's sad, Kate. We really need to work on your social life."
"I have a social life! Just because I'm not out on a date every night doesn't mean I don't have them."
"When was your last one?" Tony challenged. Kate stuck out her tongue at him.
"Shut up, guys, lemme check my messages," Abby called from the kitchen. "And come decide what you want to drink."
Kate left Tony still inspecting Abby's DVD collection and entered the kitchen. Abby gestured to the contents of her fridge and the cupboard beside it which held various bottles. "Take your pick." She reached over to the answering machine where it was blinking furiously beside the coffee maker.
"You have two new messages," the automatic voice intoned. A beep sounded out, and then the voice of a very young child floated out of the machine. "Hi Auntie. Daddy says you probably can't do this, but my teacher said we have to bring someone who has a cool job for Career Day next month. Mommy said I should ask you. Daddy says I should say you don't have to come, but," and here the voice lowered into a whisper, "He's grumpy so don't listen to him. Kay, bye!"
A woman's voice was the next to come from the speaker. "Hey Abs! It's Kayla, um, from coffee? I mean, you know that. But maybe you didn't, because, um, I don't know how many Kayla's you know and I know we've seen each other a lot over the last couple weeks but—Um, I was wondering if you'd like to go out for dinner with me on Saturday night? Uh, and then my friends want to meet you, because I haven't really, exactly dated much in the last year and they want to know who's managed to change that… They wanna go to a club, but if that's not your sort of thing I totally understand and we can go somewhere else. I mean, if you even want to meet them. Um, yeah. Okay, call me back. I'll…um, talk to you then. Later."
Abby placed three glasses on the counter and poked Kate. "What would you like?" Kate didn't answer. Abby poked her again. "Earth to Kate…"
"Sorry, sorry. Um… I'm actually okay. I'm not thirsty anymore," Kate laughed awkwardly and moved to the other side of the kitchen. Abby stared at her.
Tony entered the kitchen, and frowned at the two of them. "Hey, Abs, do you have any of that stuff I brought over last time left?"
Abby nodded absently, pointing at the cupboard. "Bottom shelf, you mooch." Her eyes were still focused on Kate.
"You know what?" Kate said suddenly. "I think I left something in your car. I should, uh, go get that now."
Abby blinked. "All you had was your purse and coat. Kate, what's—" she froze suddenly, her eyes flicking to the answering machine. "Oh." Tony glanced back and forth from one to the other.
Abby sighed. "I got a message from Kayla."
Tony nodded. "Uh huh?..."
"And Kate heard it."
Tony still looked confused. "Yeah?" And then it struck him, as well. "Oh. Suddenly, I think I should be—"Abby sent a fierce glare in his direction. "…staying right here. Right. You sure you're not related to Gibbs?"
"Kate… I was going to tell you that I'm bi eventually, it just never came up," Abby said carefully. "Does it bother you?"
Kate shifted from one foot to the other. "Um… I just never thought—Well, I mean, no, it doesn't bother me."
"And I'm the king of Morocco," Tony muttered, pulling out a kitchen chair and sitting down.
"I don't want this to make things awkward between us, Kate," Abby said. "It's not like I'm crushing on you or something." Kate didn't notice as Tony gave Abby a look that very clearly said 'yeah, right'. She flipped him off discretely. The last thing Kate needed to know about was the long conversations and complex plots that she and Tony had drawn up the first few weeks Kate had been working for NCIS, all involving her seduction by one or both of them. Abby could honestly say that she no longer had an interest in Kate that way, though there was no way she could say the same for Tony. His interest in the ex-secret service woman was as obvious as Gibbs' coffee addiction for anyone who was looking for it.
"Abby, I'm not—Well, I've just never really known anyone like… that. And the Bible says that it's wrong, and… well, its fine. I just need some time to adjust, is all. It's fine. I promise."
Abby nodded. "I'm sorry, Kate. This wasn't exactly the way I wanted this to happen."
"Hey, it's fine," Kate nodded. "But I'd better go, I just remembered I have to meet a friend for coffee tonight and I'd better get ready. Tony, you mind driving me? I think you blocked Abby's car in, so it'd be pretty pointless for you to move your car and then her to drive me home when I know my apartment is on the way to yours."
Abby winced, but didn't say a word. Tony frowned at Kate, but nodded. "Sure." He made a visible effort to lighten the tension. "So, Kate, how do you know where I live?"
She snorted. "The day you were late last week Gibbs gave me your address so I could go get you. But then you got there, so I didn't have to. Sorry to burst your bubble."
They exited the apartment still bickering, and Abby threw herself down on her sofa. Tony hadn't taken his movies, so she knew he'd be back after dropping Kate off. She called and ordered pizza and tried to decide on a movie to watch.
Tony arrived five minutes after the pizza got there, and took great delight in strolling into her apartment with a cheery shout of "Honey, I'm home!"
She rolled her eyes at his antics. "Pizza's on the table. We're watching Braveheart."
"Family fun," he snorted. She didn't reply. He came to sit beside her on the couch, handing her a beer from the fridge. "You wanna talk about it?"
She sighed. "Not particularly. I was careless. Kate found out I was bi. Kate freaked out. Whatever. You'd think after seventeen years of this I'd get used to the occasional bad reaction."
He bit into his pizza. "She'll get over it, Abs. And if she doesn't, well, she wasn't worth your time, anyway."
She rolled her eyes. "Did you by any chance work as a summer camp councilor as a teenager?"
He snorted. "Fine, fine. I'll just sit here and withhold all of my comforting words." He sniffed melodramatically. "I try to be a good friend, and you see where it gets me?!"
"Don't make me smother you with a pillow."
He waggled his eyebrows. "Kinky."
"You're fucked up, man."
He blinked. "Me? You have no right to talk. I don't tie people to my bed. And I'm not lusting after Gibbs."
She kicked him. "Shut up and watch the movie."
"So, did I hear your niece on the phone earlier?" he asked. She sighed, and turned down the volume.
"Yep. She wants me to do a project or something for her school."
"You gonna do it?"
She shook her head. "No."
"I thought you liked kids?"
She took a drink from her beer. "I had to baby-sit for my neighbour."
"I take it you didn't like the kid?"
She shook her head. "He broke my DVD player and possibly my soul."
"Exactly. If you're going to make me talk about the whole Kate thing, can you tell me now so I can pause the movie?"
"You've seen it before."
"Not for over a year. It's a good movie and to ignore it would be disrespectful."
He rolled his eyes. "You want to see William Wallace get disemboweled."
"And you say that I'm the sick one."
"Seriously. Are you gonna play psychologist or can we watch the movie?"
Tony sighed. "Is playing psychologist going to do any good?"
She shook her head. "No. I'm better at it than you are, anyway."
"A degree tends to help."
"How about a hug?"
She grinned. "I assumed you'd get to that eventually. It took you long enough, though." She wrapped her arms around him, curling against him on the sofa and pressing her face into his shoulder. Behind them on the screen, an unfortunate man was thrown from a window. Abby laughed into the fabric of his shirt.
"Has it ever occurred to you that we're very strange people?"
His answer was immediate. "No."
She nodded. "Okay. Me neither, I was just checking."
After a few minutes, Tony spoke. "So! Now will you help me fend off Gibbs?" She smacked him with a pillow.