Warnings/Spoilers: Takes place sometime late season 4. No spoilers unless you don't know what happened to Shannon Gibbs.

Disclaimer: The NCIS characters do not belong to me. Not even Kelly (though she should!) Nor does the patent for Vick's vap-o-rub or the movie Princess Bride which I stole a line from.

A/N: This is a part of my AU Kelly!verse. The second part of dragonessasmith's birthday fic, following New Job. Thanks to arwenabigail for the awesome annotated beta'ing and chitown_gal for her DC knowledge.


Ron Sacks never spent much time in autopsy. He went down when he was called about results and listened to the ME's report- or usually stood next to Fornell when he was given the report- and then left. He knew the names of all seven of the medical examiners, but not much else. He worked for the FBI, a large organization where investigation and autopsy were two separate worlds with little in common. This wasn't like NCIS , where the eccentric ME was just like a member of the team and autopsy was as much a place to talk and drink tea as it was to find out the cause of death.

He liked things the way they were. If he was honest with himself autopsy creeped him out a little. It wasn't the dead bodies, at least not on their own. He could handle the bodies fine at the crime scene. It was when they were opened. The sound of ribs being broken, the sight of the organs and things that weren't meant to see the light of day. He had a hard time keeping his cool and composed special agent façade when he was in autopsy.

Today was even worse than usual - the victim had been burned in a car and the whole basement smelled too much like roasted beef for his comfort. And just to top it all off he ran into the new hire. Literally.

"Sorry about that. Let me." She had been carrying boxes of latex gloves, and he bent down to picked them up, stacking them neatly before turning to give them to her.

"No damage done." She smiled, and Ron wondered if her eyes really were that blue or if it had something to do with the scrubs she was wearing.

"Still, I should have been paying more attention." Her hair was mostly brown, but there was a hint of red. Sunlight, he guessed, would bring out the colors better than artificial fluorescent lighting.

"Are you coming or going?"

"Going." Ron nodded towards the elevator. "I just spoke to Dr. Guvera."

"Ah, the car crash victim. Poor guy. He wasn't very old."

"Just over thirty, if he is who we think he is." A pusher, and if it wasn't for the fact that they were trying to work their way up the chain of command in a gang he wouldn't be sorry for the man's death at all. "Though I don't know how you can tell age from what's left."

"It's not as hard as you would think. The burns were limited mostly to the epidermis. His bone and organs..." She paused and shook her head. "Sorry, you've probably heard more than you wanted to already from Doctor Guvera . You'll have to forgive me. I've been studying medicine for ages and now that I actually have a chance to use that learning I can't seem to shut up."

"You don't look old enough to have done anything for ages." He really should be getting back to the bullpen; with Fornell on vacation things were even more hectic than usual.

Oh well, one more minute wouldn't hurt.

"That's sweet. Corny, but still sweet." Her laugh was light and friendly, and he found that he didn't mind her teasing.

"I, uh... I better get back to work."

"Me too. The supply cabinet doesn't restock itself." She waved one of the boxes of gloves in the air. "Nice running into you, Special Agent…"

"Sacks," he supplied. "Ron Sacks."

"And I'm Kelly." With a smile and a wink she disappeared through the double doors of the autopsy suite. Ron was almost sorry he didn't have an excuse to follow her.

He was missing something. That annoying niggle in the back of his brain insisted that he had everything he needed, he just wasn't looking at it right. Five times through the case file and he still couldn't figure out what it was.


"What?" He paused a moment before looking up, not wanting to let who ever it was know that they had startled him. It was after eight in the evening and he was sure that he would have the commissary to himself. Even the staff was gone; the sandwich that was lying neglected on the table beside him was one he had made himself.

"Don't worry, it's from the café, not from any of the machines around here." When he looked up he felt a jolt of awareness in the pit of his stomach; in the week since he had first met Kelly he'd seen her half a dozen times, but this was the first time she'd been wearing something other than scrubs. Her eyes really were that blue.

"It's a little late in the day for coffee, isn't it?" That didn't stop him from accepting the paper cup, though.

"No such thing as too late or too early. Coffee's pretty much on par with breathing in my family."

"What are you doing here so late? I thought you guys down in autopsy worked a normal schedule." After taking a sip of the coffee - a thousand times better than the dregs from the commissary machine he'd drunk an hour earlier - he set the cup down and neatened up the report he had been reading. There were some photos that no one else needed to see.

"If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that there is no such thing as normal hours in federal law enforcement. Not even for us lowly autopsy gremlins. I had reports to finish up."

"Paperwork," Ron said with a sigh. It seemed like two thirds of his job was about filling out the proper forms and writing reports. Too bad the criminal element didn't have to do paperwork- they'd have less time for crime if they did.

"It's paperwork, not money, that makes the world go 'round," Kelly quipped. She looked at the sandwich, lettuce starting to wilt, and the stack of files. "But not tonight. Come on."

"Where are we going?" Ron looked at the proffered hand. He was tempted, but "I have work to do still."

"It's late. There are no witnesses or contacts you can call, no crime scenes you can visit. All you can do is bang your head against a metaphoric wall, which it looks like you've been doing for a while already. Or you can put away the file, come with me, and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning." Before he could stop her Kelly snatched the file from the table. When he tried to grab it back it fell to the ground, papers and photos falling out.

"Damn it." He jumped up from the table, scrambling to pick everything up.

"Looks like it's my turn to apologize and help pick things up." Kelly knelt on the linoleum floor, picking up the photo closest to her.

"Don't..." It was a crime scene photo in vivid color. A woman, throat slit, blood running down her neck , eyes wide open. She was, so far as he knew, the third victim of an unknown perpetrator.

"Shit." Kelly swore under her breath as she stared at the picture. "She's the Jane Doe from Monday."

"Not a Jane Doe anymore." Her name was Clarissa, and she looked very much like her mother, who had cried when he'd interviewed her yesterday.

"You'll find out who did this." She handed him back the photo and a pile of other papers which he shoved into the manila folder. "But that's tomorrow's job."

She rose and tugged at his hand… despite being half a foot shorter than he was, she had some serious muscle.


"Come on, Ron. I know just the thing to help you relax."


"You're kidding me, right?" He had argued with her as they returned the files to his office and taken the elevator down to the parking garage, but when she had asked him to trust her he had said yes. But this was not what he had expected, not by a long shot. A restaurant maybe, or a bar. No, he couldn't picture her in a bar. But this? "I haven't been to a bowling alley since junior high school."

"Really? You've been missing out." When the bored attendant asked how many people were bowling Kelly held up two fingers. "What size shoe do you wear, Ron?"

"Nine and a half." Resigned he reached for the wallet in his back pocket.

"Don't even think about it. This one's on me." She paid in cash, handing him a pair of shoes and taking the smaller pair for herself. "You can pay next time."

"Mmmm hmmm," he muttered indistinctly. More polite than saying that he was not doing this a second time. As he followed her to an empty lane he passed a group of giggling girls, a trio of boys who he was sure were high on weed, and a man who looked suspiciously like someone he'd arrested last year. Apparently there was a good reason he had been avoiding these places.

"Oh no, you've got The Look," Kelly said lightly as she dropped one of her shoes on the floor.

"What look would that be?" Sitting on the chair next to her Ron untied one of his black dress shoes. He looked at the blue and red bowling shoes. They were going to look ridiculous with his suit.

"That never-off-duty casing-the-place-for-trouble cop look," she answered matter-of-factly.

"Hazard of the job," Ron shrugged. He had to admit that she had him pegged. Most people couldn't read him so well; he wasn't sure if that should worry him or not.

"Good thing I brought you here for a session of bowling therapy."

"Bowling therapy?"

"Bowling is very therapeutic if you play it the way my friend Abby and I do. First things first, take off the jacket. We're not in the office anymore."

"The tie too, right?" After hanging up the jacket neatly on the back of the chair, Ron took off his tie and rolled it up neatly, putting it in one of the jacket pockets.

"See, you're getting the hang of it." When she smiled at him he decided the evening might not be a waste after all.

"So what comes next, doctor Kelly?" he teased.

"First you pick out a ball, and then we name the pins."

"Excuse me," Ron held up one hand. "Did you just say name the pins?"

"It's a vital piece of bowling therapy. See, you give the pins names, and then you throw the ball, and when the pins get knocked down you feel this great sense of satisfaction. It's like beating someone up by proxy, except this way no one gets hurt."

"You're a little bit crazy, you know that?"

"Actually I'm more than a little crazy, but don't spread it around." Kelly tossed him a wink, picked up a ball, and sauntered to the top of the lane. With one fluid motion she threw the ball with a slight arc, knocking down all ten pins.

"Not bad. Who did you just pretend to hit?"

"No one. Today was a good day. First time Abby took me bowling, back in high school, they were named after each one of the cheerleaders. Bitchy little girls who liked to spread rumors."

"You couldn't pay me enough money to go back to high school," Ron sympathized. Skinny, gawky, second string in football and a little too smart in math class. It hadn't been until halfway through his junior year, when the acne faded and he hit a growth spurt, that things had started to look up.

"Good thing I'm only paying for bowling then. Speaking of..." she nodded suggestively at the lane. Taking the hint Ron picked up a ball and aimed for the pins. He hit two. A second ball gave him three more. Kelly picked up a spare for the next frame.

"Seriously, name them Ron. It helps."

"I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered as he approached the lane. He looked at the pins. The one in the front, that had to be the unsub he was looking for. Behind that were the two men he had interrogated today. Mentally he named them all - making sure not to speak out loud- before taking aim. The ball rolled, striking down the first pin and causing eight of the other ones to fall. The only one remaining was the one in the back he had dubbed DiNozzo.

"Told you so," Kelly called out, sounding pleased with herself.

After four strikes, half a dozen spares and some really decent nachos Ron had to admit that there might be a second night of bowling in his future. He certainly hoped there were more off hours spent with Kelly to look forward to.


"You're going to need this." Kelly waited for him outside the door to autopsy, a bottle of Vicks vap-o-rub in her hand.

"That can't be a good sign." Ron looked warily at the blue bottle. His mother used to spread the smelly substance on his chest when he was younger and had a cold. He wasn't sick, but he knew that down in autopsy menthol had another purpose. "How bad is it?"

"The body was submerged in water for at least two days. It's bloated, decomposed, and a little smelly." Kelly's own upper lip gleamed from a coating of Vicks.

"Great. Just great." He squeezed the cream onto a finger and spread it on his upper lip. The smell was sharp and powerful. "I love this part of my job."

"Could be worse, you know," Kelly said with a wicked gleam in her eye.

"Yeah? How?"

"You could be the one on the table." With a laugh she turned to enter autopsy. Taking a deep breath, Ron followed. Even with the menthol the smell was overwhelming.

"Ah, Agent Sacks, come to visit our alleged Mr. Cutter have you?" Gwen Anderson was the head ME and the one Sacks knew the best. With jet black hair, piercing blue eyes and a trim body she looked more like a model than a doctor. He had dared to tell her that once, when he was high on an adrenaline rush after making an arrest, and she had laughed.

"Anything you can tell me to prove that he is Cutter?" Ron asked.

"Nothing conclusive, at least not yet. I can tell you that he was shot twice, though. One bullet passed through, the other is lodged in his spine." Gwen pointed out the location of the bullet holes and Ron forced himself to look.

"Shot and left in a bathtub for two days? Not how I'd choose to go." It made more sense than a drowning, however. There were enough people who wanted Cutter dead that it seemed rare a bathroom accident would catch the honors.

"We've found a tattoo on his upper arm, but we haven't identified the design yet." Kelly used her pointer finger, encased in gloves, to touch the upper right arm of the corpse.

"Cutter had a leopard tattoo on his arm. That could be it. Would a photo help?"

"Yeah, send it down when you can. Or better yet, Kelly, why don't you go up after you drop the bullet off at Trace." Gwen gestured at the metal fragments in an evidence jar.

"Works for me if it's fine with Ron." Kelly peeled of her gloves and tossed them in the hazardous waste container.

"Sure thing. Anything else I need to know Doctor Anderson?"

"Not at the moment. I'm going to take a break for lunch. I'll call you when I know more."

"Thanks." He tried not to look like he was hurrying out of autopsy. "Is she serious about going to eat lunch right after that?" he asked when he and Kelly waited for the elevator.

"So I'm guessing that I shouldn't ask you to join me for lunch now?" Kelly asked. She used the sleeve of her scrubs to wipe the gel from her upper lip.

"I don't have much of an appetite." Ron thought of the blotted body on the table. He'd be lucky if he could eat by dinner time

"How about a rain check for lunch tomorrow instead," Kelly offered.

"Tomorrow's a Saturday."

"Are you on this weekend?" The elevator doors opened and they both stepped inside. Kelly pushed the button for the second floor and Ron pressed the one for the fourth.

"No. I just wasn't sure if you remembered that we wouldn't be at work."

"Guess that means you'll have to pick me up at my place, huh?" She smiled at him as the doors opened to the second floor.

"Guess it does."


The house he pulled up in front of on Saturday a little before noon was a two story colonial with big trees in the yard. There was two adirondack chairs on the front porch painted the same red as the front door. The place looked lived in, and more like a home than anyplace he had lived in years. He rang the doorbell.

"Hey!" Kelly answered the door in jeans, a t-shirt and bare feet. She looked years younger than the twenty-three he knew her to be.

"Nice place you have," he commented as she motioned for him to enter. The front room was furnished in overstuffed couches and simple wood furniture. Paintings and pictures hung on the walls and an interesting collection of bric-a-brac decorated the side table and bookcase.

"Thanks, but I can't take much credit. It's my dad's place, though most of the decorating was done by either my aunt, Abby, or Stephanie."

"You've mentioned Abby before but who is Stephanie?" He caught one last glimpse of painted toe nails as she slipped her feet into a pair of clogs.

"One of my step moms. The most recent, if you consider six years ago recent." She grabbed a purse from the table. "Ready to go?"

"Right this way." He walked in front of her, opening the passenger door of his car as he had been taught before walking around to the driver's side of the car.

"So do I get to know where we are going?" Kelly asked as he stared the car.

"Nope." He had spent most of the previous evening trying to figure out where to take her. The ever popular movie option had been rejected first- not enough time to talk and he wanted to get to know her better. The Senators were in town this weekend but he didn't know if she was a fan or not. He was glad he hadn't made reservations at Café Atlantico for lunch- in her jeans she was obviously looking forward to a casual afternoon. Oddly, it had been the evening new that had given him the idea for their current destination.

"We're going to the Festival," Kelly remarked a block away from the parking garage. The sidewalks were flooded with tourists wearing pink shirts and stopping every few feet to take pictures of trees. "Awesome."

"I've never been before, thought we could see what it was all about." There had been a story on the news last night- one of those fluff pieces they liked to do after they ran out of shootings and tax fraud stories. The second weekend in April was when DC residents celebrated the Cherry Blossom Festival, whether or not the trees were in bloom. There would be vendors, music, exhibits, food, and the Smithsonian was featuring Japanese silk screen art. It seemed like there was a little something for everyone, and it was just what he had been racking his brain to find. Fun, low key, and completely unrelated to their jobs.

"I haven't been in years. The last time was when Annie took Maddie and me, so I was probably about eleven."

"Annie's your aunt?" He looked away for a moment to take a parking ticket from the machine before driving into the garage.

"My aunt's name is Claire. Annie was step mom number one. Diane was number two, Stephanie was number three." Kelly held up one hand, ticking off her fingers as she spoke.

"Three step moms. Any step dads?" Ron asked curiously. They were in luck- a car straight ahead was pulling out. Intent on fitting into the tight spot he missed the look in Kelly's eyes at the question.

"No," she answered simply.

"Me neither. My family is text book suburbia. My parents met in college, married, had two kids and live in a house with a picket fence. My sister's about to make them grandparents for the first time." He smiled when he thought of the pictures his mother had e-mailed him the other day- Trisha looked like she had a beach ball under her shirt.

"What do they think about having a son in the FBI?"

"Mom worries some, but she's used to it. My dad was a cop for the Detroit PD until he retired." When he was five years old he'd told his dad that he was going to be a cop when he grew up. He'd never changed his mind.

"So it's in the blood." They took the stairs down to the ground floor and joined the crowd. The street one block over had been blocked off to traffic and booths lined either side of the street. They slowed their walk to peruse what each booth had to offer.

"I guess it is. My grandfather was a cop too." Ron noticed that Kelly paid more attention to the silver jewelry than the gold, but spent more time looking at the art than the jewelry. He stored the information away for future reference. "What about you? Any doctors in the family?"

"My favorite uncle," Kelly nodded. "When I was little I would look at the pictures in his medical books and he would explain them to me."

"That's what you meant when you said you had been studying forever." Her remark the day they meant made more sense now.

"That's what I meant. I stared treating my dolls for mysterious diseases when I was ten. My uncle bought me an anatomy book when I was eleven. By the time I started high school I knew I wanted to be a doctor. In college I narrowed the field to oncology."

"That's a tough job." It was bad enough, those times when he had to tell the family of a victim that their loved one was dead. He couldn't imagine having to tell a person that they were dying. It was one of the many reasons he'd be crap as a doctor.

"Look who's talking, Mr. FBI," she said with a teasing grin.

"I'll take bad guys and detective work any day, even with the paperwork."

"How about you use that famous detective work to find us some coffee? I'm seriously lacking in the caffeine department." She reached for his hand and threaded her fingers through his. Her hand was small, but seemed to fit just right.

"As you wish." .....

The evening ended with fireworks over the Washington Monument. They watched from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, drinking the coffees that they had bought after dinner. There was a chill in the air but he wore a windbreaker and Kelly wore the cherry blossom sweatshirt she had allowed him to buy her a few hours ago. Still, a little extra warmth couldn't be a bad thing, right? She didn't protest when he put his arm around her.

"I love fireworks" Kelly said sleepily. She leaned against his shoulder and stifled a yawn. The hours of walking- and the paddle-boat race they'd had earlier- seemed to be catching up with her. Despite the noise of the crowd and the constant booms of the fireworks she looked like she could be asleep soon. "These are almost as big as New Year's Eve in Paris last year."

"I'm surprised you can tell." Her eyes were almost closed now. He pulled her a little tighter to him, making sure she didn't fall. Her hair smelled like flowers.

"I'm v'ry perceptive," she muttered.

"Sure you are," Ron agreed smugly. "Do you want to stay and perceive the rest of the fireworks or should we go to the car before we end up spending the night at old Abe's feet?"

"Car please," she said with a sleepy smile. She drank the last of her coffee on the way back to the parking garage and stayed awake for the drive home.

"Would you like to come in?" Kelly offered when he walked her to the front door.

Ron took note of the car in the driveway that had not been there earlier and the lights in the house. Ten thirty at night, at the end of a date, was probably not the best time to meet Kelly's dad. "I should get going."

"I'll see you on Monday then." her hand was on the door knob but she didn't turn it. She lifted her head, just slightly, but it was all he needed. He cupped one hand to her cheek and gave her a gentle kiss.

"Monday," he promised. Inwardly he wondered if tomorrow was too soon to call her. .....

He wasn't surprised to find Fornell already at his desk at 0600 Monday morning. If anything he was surprised that the man had actually stayed away from work for the entire two weeks of his vacation. In the four years he had worked for Fornell it was the longest he had stayed away.

"Welcome back, boss."

"Thanks, Sacks. Good to see you didn't burn the place down while I was gone."

"I tried." It was, in Fornell speak, a friendly greeting.

"Anything major I should know about before I start reading the mile high stack of reports on my desk?"

"Nothing that can't wait until after a first cup of coffee." Leaving Fornell's office he went to get two mugs, filling them for what passed for coffee in the office and wishing he had time to go to the cafe for something better. No chance of that. He spent the next three hours catching his boss up on the possible serial killer and the dead drug dealer, among the other active cases they were working.

"Time for a break," Fornell said as he took off his glasses and set them on the desk. "I need to go down to autopsy."

"Autopsy? I didn't know we had any new bodies."

"We don't. Kelly should be in by now and I want to see how she's settling in." Fornell finished off his coffee before rising from his desk.

"Kelly?" There was a sinking feeling in his gut.

"One of the new autopsy assistants. She didn't start until after I left for California."

"I've met her. Why do you..."

"I promised Gibbs I would keep an eye on here."

"Special agent Gibbs, from NCIS?" Gibbs, whose name and reputation he had heard long before he met the man. Gibbs, who had a weird kind of friendship with his boss, probably owing to the fact that they were both members of Bastards R Us. Shit, this couldn't be good.

"You know any other Gibbs?" Fornell raised an eyebrow.

"Since when does Gibbs take an interest in employees at the FBI?" Fornell was heading for the elevator, and like a spectator who can't look away from a train crash, Ron followed him.

"Since this particular one is his daughter."

"Gibbs has a daughter?" He had trouble reconciling the former Marine hard-as-nails NCIS agent as being the father of the woman who named bowling pins and made him laugh. "I thought he only had a couple of ex-wives?"

"His first wife was murdered when Kelly was a little girl. The ex-wives came later." Fornell crossed his arms. "Why the sudden interest in the Gibbs family tree?"

But Ron was stuck on one word. "Murdered?"

"Shannon Gibbs testified against a drug dealer. She was shot and killed a few weeks later." The elevator arrived in the basement and once again Ron followed Fornell.

"Damn." No wonder Kelly hadn't talked about her mother at all.

"There's an understatement." They passed through the swinging doors into autopsy and found Kelly at the sink washing her hands. "Hey kid. Glad to see your dad didn't lock you in the basement to keep you from coming here."

"Very funny Fornell." After she dried her hands she leaned in and brushed her lips against Fornell's cheek. "You know he wouldn't do that. He'd be too afraid I would do something to his boat."

"How are you settling in?"

"Wonderfully." Kelly brushed the question aside. "How was Disneyland? How many stuffed animals did Em talk you into buying her?"

"Only one, but it's almost as big as she is. Why don't I take you to lunch and we can swap war stories; I'll tell you about fighting the insane women to get the last Tinkerbell magic wand and you can tell me about your first week in autopsy."

"Sorry, I already have plans for lunch."

"You do?" Fornell seemed surprised.

"Yeah. Barring any emergencies Ron is taking me out to eat." Kelly tiled her head to one side. "Are we still on?"

"Of course." He smiled, making sure to avoid all eye contact with Fornell.

"Good. Now the both of you go away so I can finish my work." Kelly pointed to the door.

"Yes ma'am," Fornell said lightly.

"I'll meet you in the lobby at eleven thirty," Ron said.

"Ta." Kelly blew a kiss in their direction.

When they were both in the elevator again Fornell took one look at him and burst into laughter. "You do like to live dangerously, don't you?"

"I like her." It was an understatement, but Ron couldn't think of anything else to say.

"Just be careful, Sacks. Not only is she Gibbs' daughter but she has Ducky Mallard as a godfather and all of Gibbs' team keeping an eye out for her." Fornell went from laughing to serious.

"Yeah." Sacks thought of the picture of the smiling blond on Fornell's desk and what his boss had been like last fall when the girl was threatened. He had a pretty good idea that Gibbs would be just as bad if anything happened to Kelly. "Duly warned."

"This is going to be interesting to watch," Fornell said with a grin.

"You're enjoying this too much, Fornell."


"How come you never mentioned that you are Gibbs' daughter?" No emergency happened in the intervening hours, and Ron was waiting in the lobby promptly at eleven thirty.

"Because that's not how I want to be known," Kelly sighed and thrust her hands into her pockets. "I'm not just Gibbs' daughter, I'm me."

"When you mentioned your uncle the other day, the one that got you into medicine, you were talking about Dr. Mallard right?" She had mentioned a friend named Abby who worked in a lab, experience with federal law enforcement, and once on Saturday she had even mentioned that her father was a former Marine. He had never put the clues together. Some detective he was.

"He's really my godfather and sometimes legal guardian, but I've called him uncle since I was eleven." When he held out his hand she withdrew one hand from her jacket and placed it in his. There was a small Italian restaurant just around the corner of the J. Edgar Hoover building. He headed in that direction.

"Your dad hates me, you know."

"Lots of people think that. It's not always true. Dad doesn't really hate that many people."

"I'm pretty sure he hates me. I tried to have his senior field agent convicted of murder last year."

"What?" Kelly paused and looked up at him. For the second time that day someone burst into laughter regarding him. "You're the spawn of the FBI?"

"Let me guess- DiNozzo said that, right?" The man was a thorn in his side, but he also had to admit he admired the NCIS agent. If they had meet under different circumstances they might have been friends.

"He says that about a guy he calls Slacks. I didn't know he meant you." She reached up and touched a finger to his chin, gently pushing him to see his profile. "Nope, you don't look spawny to me."

"Thanks." He managed to avoid rolling his eyes.

"Dad knows you were just doing your job. Tony does too, though he'll probably never admit it."

"Yeah right." There was no wait at the Italian cafe, part of the reason he liked it. He let his hand rest at the small of her back as he guided her towards and empty table. "There's much more interesting things to talk about over lunch then DiNozzo."

"Are there?" Kelly asked acerbically. "Like what?"

"Like whether you would rather go see Daniel Craig's new movie on Friday or the Senator's game on Saturday."

"The answer seems pretty obvious to me."

"It does?" Ron was distracted when Kelly reached for one of his hands and ran her fingers lightly over his palm, resting two fingers over the pulse point of his wrist.

"Sure. So long as I keep Sunday free for studying I say we do both."

"Both?" It was more then he had expected. "Sounds like a plan."