A/N - Thanks for reading


It was gray and cold, very different from a day they'd spent in the park – months ago now. She stepped away from the crowd, nodding to familiar faces as she returned to the grave, to the man who still stood before it, his head bowed.

Pete Miller had got to hold his granddaughter, got to see the first few weeks of her life before finally succumbing to cancer. She'd liked the man – been moved by his dignity, his strength and she was fully aware how hard his death had hit one Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

He'd been quiet for the last few days, since returning from the hospital with the news that Pete had died. But it was Gibbs and often he spoke without using words – some of the time she even understood him. He'd been keeping his distance during the day, working on his boat during the evening and though she'd expected him to insist on sleeping in the basement, every night she'd woken to find him slipping into bed and wrapping himself around her. Last night ... well, it was a good thing she was used to running the agency on next to no sleep - because last night he had needed to celebrate life. She didn't think they'd slept at all.

She watched him – knowing that he was paying his last respects to a man who had shaped the person he had become. Quietly she stepped towards him, sliding her hand into his as she reached his side. He squeezed her fingers and then said, "Is Kathleen all right?"

"She's asking for you."

"I'll be there in a moment."

It was a little longer than that before he joined her, but not as long as she'd feared.

He kissed Kathleen on the cheek, spoke quietly to her - promising to be there if she needed him, for anything. She didn't catch Kathleen's response, but gathered it had something to do with her from the way he turned to look at her. "What did she say to you?" she asked when they were walking back towards the cars.

"That it was good to see you were still watching out for me." He put his hand on her back; not so much to guide her, more because they both needed the contact right now.

"It's what partners do." She reminded him, not sure about applying the word in all its contexts to their new relationship, though it semed to fit them somehow.

"I know."

The End