A/N: This story has been so much fun to write and I'm almost disappointed that it has come to an end. And to think it all started on my vacation with a gruff Irish mechanic who reminded me of our favorite NCIS agent and the cute Setter puppy that followed him everywhere.
Hope you all have enjoyed as much as I have.
Kate was woken by the combination of Gibbs' absence and the loud thunderclap which meant that the storm had yet to abate. She sat still for several minutes just listening to the rain pounding against the windows.
The couch was comfortable and she felt extremely content surrounded by the warmth of his home and the unique, purely Gibbs smell which seemed to infuse everything. The end credits of the movie were still rolling, meaning she hadn't been asleep for very long. For a brief moment she wondered where he had wandered off to until she heard distinctive dish washing noises from the kitchen.
Standing, she stretched and then bent to gather the last couple of dishes which still sat on the coffee table.
At the entrance to the kitchen she paused for a moment to enjoy the sight before her. Marine was curled up, asleep, in his bed in the corner, looking for all the world as if he hadn't just shown up that morning. His new collar stood out against his brown fur and Kate couldn't help the grin that broke out on her features and which only widened as her gaze drifted to the other figure in the room.
She allowed herself the privilege of just standing and watching him as he did the dishes; his jeans and t-shirt showing off his lean form. This felt so natural to her: watching a game, eating dinner, cleaning up. This must be what it would be like to be married to him. The thought flitted through her mind before she could put a stop to that line of thinking.
She enjoyed being able to see this side of him. She very much respected and cared for the passionate, determined agent that he was at work, but this was something entirely different. This was the caring, compassionate man who cracked jokes, smiled more, and rescued puppies from the rain. This was the man she was hopelessly in love with.
His voice brought her out of her daze. "Are you just going to stand there or are you going to bring those dishes over." He shot a smirk at her over his shoulder before turning back to the washing. Moving to the sink, she reached around him to set the plate and glass into the soapy water.
She had meant for the dishes to slide gently into the water, but they impacted the surface a little bit harder than intended, splashing water out of the confines of the basin. Covering her mouth with both hands, she tried desperately to keep from laughing, as Gibbs stood stock still blinking water from his eyes. She succeeded in keeping the giggles down until he turned to face her, soap suds dripping down his chin. Laughing out loud at his stunned expression, she noticed Marine rouse in the corner only long enough to give them a weak bark before going back to sleep.
Still laughing, Kate didn't notice Gibbs put a hand into the sink next to him until it was too late. His voice warned her only moments before he acted. "You think that's funny, huh?" Feeling that it was her turn to get wet, he flicked his hand out, spraying her with soapy water.
"Gibbs!" Her voice held a distinctly disbelieving quality as she looked up at his smug grin. Wiping a wet lock of hair out of her eyes, her shocked expression turned to a glare of revenge as she stalked towards him and the sink. "You are so going to pay for that."
It was several minutes later before their impromptu water fight came to an end. Kate had made a last desperate move back to the sink for more ammo when Gibbs had pinned her to the counter from behind, bringing a palm full of suds right into her face.
Sputtering slightly from the unexpected soap, she finally gave in. "Fine! Fine! I give up. You win."
Keeping one hand against the counter behind her, he moved the other to grab a dish towel that had been lying nearby as she turned to face him. The fact that they were almost chest to chest only startled her for a second before his gentle, almost apologetic smile calmed her slight nerves. Moving the towel up to her cheek, he tenderly wiped away the suds and water he had splashed onto her before dropping the cloth back onto the counter.
As he looked down into her smiling face, Gibbs realized just how much the day had meant to him. It was more than her willingness to help him on her day off. More than the company after too much time spent alone. He was suddenly aware of just how close they were standing and that she wasn't making any effort to move away.
Smirking, he didn't move away from her either. Running a hand over his face to wipe some water from it, he gave a short chuckle, shaking his head as he spoke. "It's been years since I did anything as childish as a water fight."
"It's not always bad to be playful or have fun every once in a while, you know." She gave him an indulgent smile, before glancing briefly over at Marine. "He'll be good for you. Follows your orders so he won't annoy you too much." His gentle smile widened to a smirk at her astute observation and didn't fade as she continued. "But he has enough energy to keep you on your toes; get you to smile more often."
She raised her hand slowly to his face, pausing for a moment's brief hesitation before tracing her fingers lightly down his cheek. Her voice was soft and almost wistful as she continued her thought. "It's always good to see you smile." Her hand dropped slowly to rest on his chest.
Gibbs couldn't remember the last time that a look of such obvious affection had been directed at him and he couldn't help the full blown grin that surfaced as Kate continued to hold his gaze. Letting his self-imposed boundaries drift away, he allowed all the adoration and affection he felt for her to be reflected in his eyes. When her smile widened at his silent emotional admonition, he brought his hand up to cup her cheek, thumb rubbing lightly across the soft skin it encountered there.
Without breaking their eye contact she leaned into his touch, relishing in the softer, happier version of himself that he'd felt comfortable in sharing with her. His eyes flicked down to her lips for a second before reconnecting with her own. She nodded slightly at his unasked question, a little surprised that she wasn't more nervous about the idea of finally kissing the man in front of her.
He continued to cup her cheek gently as he leaned slowly towards her, his other hand braced on the counter behind her. Keeping his eyes open and their gazes locked, he brushed his lips gently over hers. Pulling back slightly, his grin stretched as her eyes left his to focus on his mouth. Acknowledging her unspoken request, he kissed her again, their lips melting together in a soft and loving connection. Every feeling of love and devotion that either had felt was poured into their kiss as his hands wrapped around her waist and hers drifted up and around his neck.
In the corner of the kitchen, Marine raised his head off his crossed front paws to watch them. Seemingly content with their actions, he let out a large yawn before curling back up to sleep, happy that he had a good human and that all three of them were finally in out of the cold. Outside the rain and lightening continued unnoticed by those indoors.
A/N: Say it with me now: AWWW! Yeah, it's fluffy in the extreme, but hey, why not. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed so far and please let me know what you thought of this last chapter.
I'm taking the Memorial Day weekend to do something I haven't had the opportunity to do in years: nothing. Nothing work or school related. No obligations to family or friends. Just a lot of movies and books and writing. So, cutting to the chase, I should have the next chapter(s) of Complexity Kills up in a day or two.