Disclaimer: see chapter 1
A/N: First of all I want to thank you all who have reviewed, subscribed, and added this to your favorite story list. :) You guys are very nice. Second of all, since the title has the word 'Day' in it, I decided to finish this story here (you can't drag a story with this kind of title into 10 chapters, imo. :p)
It is not easy to keep the ending of this story far from cheesy and if it is cheesy, it's my bad. :D Of course I will offer no apology because you know what Gibbs would say about it. :D I just hope I don't disappoint you and that you'll enjoy this chapter.
This chapter is not beta'ed. I read and reread this a couple of times but I'm sure I missed a lot of things (I'm so lousy at editing my own work). All grammatical, spelling and phrasing mistakes are my own. Feel free to point my mistakes out to me, I'll be happy to fix it. :)
And last but not least, I hope my beta enjoys her trip and I hope everything goes well with the flight.
The car hadn't left the Navy Yard when Kate fell asleep. Gibbs glanced at the passenger seat. At this point he didn't know whether he should be thankful or be displeased that the conversation had to be put off once again. On the one hand he was really anxious to know what had happened to Kate, but on the other hand he still didn't know if he was ready yet for the information – he didn't know if he could take it coolly without freaking out and freaking Kate out at the same time.
When they reached his driveway, Gibbs didn't immediately turn off the engine. He slid his gaze over the sleeping figure next to him, watching her in deep slumber. The senior agent was somewhat relieved that Kate could sleep in his presence – that meant that she felt safe with him. Gibbs contemplated whether he should wake her up or just carry her inside. He blushed at the thought – he was sure as hell that the second option would be a really bad choice.
The silver-haired man didn't have to decide, though, as Kate opened her eyes when she felt no movement in the car. Her sleepy brown eyes met Gibbs' blue ones. She smiled groggily and straightened her sitting position.
"Come on, let's get you comfortable," Gibbs stammered, a little embarrassed that he was caught watching her. Kate nodded but still not saying anything. They got out of the car and Gibbs led her to the door, his arm was extended behind Kate, hovering but not really touching. He opened his door and smirked when Kate raised her eyebrows in reproach. Gibbs shrugged. "Told you front door's always open," he said.
"When other people say that, Gibbs, it is a figure of speech," the brunette stated, shaking her head as she stepped into the living room. To her surprise, Gibbs locked the door twice behind him after he closed it. She was speechless as this small but considerate gesture – she knew that Gibbs only did that to make her feel safer. And Kate did feel safe – not because the door was now locked, but because she knew that Gibbs would be there for her.
"Figure of speech enough for you, Kate?" the man teased lightly. He was glad to see the weak smile on Kate's battered face and he was pleased to hear her speak again. "Make yourself at home," he said, pointing at the couch in the middle of the room before dashing upstairs, "I won't be long."
Soon as Gibbs was out of sight, the feeling of being protected and safe seemed to leave Kate and the woman started to feel a little insecure again. She sat on the couch and sighed. She knew that Gibbs was waiting for an explanation and she feared the moment when she could no longer stall it. Kate was tired, physically and emotionally. All her muscles ached and she couldn't draw in a breath without flinching. The former secret service leaned back carefully on the couch and closed her eyes. She began to feel her muscles relaxed and before long she had drifted back to slumber.
Gibbs found Kate lying fast asleep on his couch. She looked peaceful and Gibbs decided not to disturb her – she needed the rest. He dashed back upstairs and took a large warm blanket with him. Carefully, the older agent covered the woman with the blanket. He towered over her for a second before going to the kitchen and brewed himself some coffee. He was thinking of going to the basement and working on his boat – he needed his space to think, too. But when he caught a glimpse of the small sleeping figure on the couch, he felt his heart clenched and changed his mind. Boat could wait. The blue-eyed agent took his coffee mug back to the living room and sat in a big armchair opposite the couch where Kate was sleeping. His eyes traced the visible bruise on her face and he lowered his gaze to the blanket-covered body, knowing that there were more of them under the cover. He clenched his jaw as anger began to build up in the pit of his stomach.
He didn't know how long he had been staring at the sleeping Kate before he also fell asleep in the armchair. A loud ring of his phone startled him out of his sleep and he fumbled through his pocket to pick it up, while walking away from the living room after making sure that Kate wasn't disturbed. He cursed at the phone and barked into the thing as he flipped it open, "Gibbs!"
"Bad time, Boss?" Tony mumbled uncertainly, "Just checking if everything's alright. How's Kate?"
"Asleep," Gibbs replied. He rubbed the back of his neck tiredly. "What do you want, DiNozzo?"
Tony looked at McGee beside him and gestured that their boss was not pleased he called. "Nothing, Boss, just making sure you guys are fine," he answered.
"Do I sound like fine to you, DiNozzo?" snapped Gibbs. Sometimes the younger agent could be so annoying.
As usual, the Italian ignored the sarcasm in Gibbs' voice and rambled on, "Look, actually it was McGee's idea to call you and ask if you need anything." McGee's protest was cut off by Tony's glare. "So I decided to..." Gibbs cut him off.
"DiNozzo!" the man growled into the phone.
"Right, Boss. Hanging up now, Boss!" and he hung up. The Italian agent took a big notepad and threw it at McGee, hitting the back of his head.
"Ouch, what was that for?" the probationary agent protested, rubbing the back of his head where it was sore.
"That, McGargle," replied Tony, pointing his finger at the younger agent, "was for letting me steal your stupid idea!"
Gibbs shook his head. The gruff agent refilled his coffee and head back to the living room. He sighed when he saw Kate had already awoken. The tranquillity on her sleeping face had been replaced with a wary expression. Her eyes were wild and confused as she scanned the room and the pupils were dilated when she saw Gibbs advanced at her. Gibbs was certain that she didn't know where she was or who he was.
"Kate, you okay?" he asked softly. He watched the brunette blink once and let out an audible breath when Kate started to recognize him. "Hey," he called out, smiling a little at the woman. He handed the mug filled with steaming hot liquid to Kate. The woman looked up to him before reaching out for the mug.
"Thanks," she mumbled softly. She moved a bit to make space for Gibbs by her side and blushed when the man accepted the silent invitation. The brown-eyed woman took a sip of the coffee and frowned at the strong taste. "It's black," she stated.
Glancing sideway at the younger woman, Gibbs realized that it was actually his coffee that Kate was drinking – and the mug was the one he had been drinking from before. He swallowed uncomfortably as the woman took another sip of the coffee, thinking that she might have put her lips where he had been a couple of hours ago. "Black's tasty," he croaked. He cleared his throat before adding, "I have some sugar and creamer if you want."
"I'm fine," Kate replied. She knew that she had been repeating the phrase and after a while it did sound redundant, but she couldn't stop herself. She lowered her gaze, avoiding Gibbs' blue eyes.
The older man nodded. "I know, Katie, I know," he said dryly. They sat side by side in silence for some time. Gibbs' arm was rested against the headrest, enveloping Kate – again, without really touching her. Kate leaned back, holding the coffee mug idly in her two hands, taking a small sip now and then. The two were lost in their own thoughts.
After a while Gibbs felt a slight weight on his side. He glanced down and found that Kate had at some point rested her head on Gibbs' arm and fell asleep. She was still holding the now cold coffee securely in her hands and Gibbs chuckled at the sight. The older man pried the mug from her hands, hoping that he didn't wake her. Kate had been spending her time sleeping, but maybe that was what she needed and for now, Gibbs would not disturb her peace. He looked at the coffee in his hand and drained it completely – there was no way Gibbs would waste good coffee, cold or not.
Kate woke up a few hours later, breathing heavily and slightly disoriented. The scent and the feeling of a male body on her made her start. She was beginning to panic when a strong male voice calling her name brought her back to reality. Caitlin Todd blinked a couple of time and lifted her gaze to meet a pair of blue orbs staring back at her anxiously.
Gibbs was holding her wrists loosely, just in case Kate freaked out again. When he was sure that Kate knew where she was, he let go. "It's okay, Kate," he murmured.
"God, Gibbs, I'm so sorry," she let out a shaky breath. She leaned back at the couch, closing her eyes. She lifted her trembling hand to wipe the sweat on her forehead.
The older agent opened his mouth to give the young agent a lecture about apologizing but he stopped himself before any words came out. Instead he asked, "You want to see my boat?" and was actually surprised when he heard the words came out of his own mouth. He didn't just offer if someone wanted to see his boat. Well, he thought, it wasn't just anyone.
Kate was surprised – but as a trained profiler she could also see the look of surprise in Gibb's face – when he said it. She knew that he probably didn't mean it, and she wasn't one to pry. "I'm fine, Gibbs. Thank you," she declined. She took a quick glance at Gibbs, expecting a relief expression from him for the decline but all she saw was a deeper frown; it was as if Gibbs was displeased by her refusal.
Gibbs was taken aback by Kate's words. People in general would jump to the rare opportunity of seeing his famous boat. Oh, yes, Gibbs knew a lot of agents were gossiping about whether the boat rumor was true. But then again, Kate wasn't people in general. He shrugged indifferently and began to walk away.
Kate thought that she saw a hint of disappointment in Gibbs' eyes, but it was gone in a blink. She felt guilty for turning down the sincere offer so she made an excuse. "Gibbs," she called. The man stopped and turned to face her. "It hurts when I move," she admitted.
Gibb's expression softened at those words. He walked back to the couch and resumed his seat beside her. "What happened, Kate?" he asked slowly, thinking that it might be the right time to talk about it. He had waited patiently enough and he was dying to know.
The brunette avoided Gibbs' stare. She fixed her gaze at the wooden coffee table in front of her. She swallowed hard before replying meekly, "Nothing happened."
"Those bruises formed themselves?" he remarked sarcastically; although he regretted saying it when he saw her cringe at the comment.
"That was harsh," she reproached. She watched him stood up and walked away to the basement without saying another word. She shook her head sadly as the man disappeared behind the basement door; she knew that Gibbs wasn't going to apologize. She knew that he always walked away whenever he felt guilty of something rather than say his apology.
Gibbs spent the next hour in his basement, sanding the grain and cursing himself for being so tactless. But he wasn't a touchy-feely person and it was difficult for him to be one; even if it meant saving his own ass. He knew he shouldn't have said so to Kate and he was sorry for it. He was actually thankful that Kate didn't break down and cry; although he was hoping that she'd slap him across the face and call him a bastard. The collected comment about him being harsh surprised the hell out of him – and that was why he walked away. Caitlin Todd always managed to surprise him and he didn't know if he liked it or not.
"Gibbs," Kate called out from the top of the stairs, not wanting to disturb her boss. No answer. She could hear the sound of a tool against some wood so she knew that Gibbs was awake. "Gibbs," she tried again, louder this time. Still no answer. Kate sighed. "I... I think I'm going home now," she stuttered. She waited for a response but when she got none, the profiler turned her back and walked to the living room, collecting her stuff.
"You're not going anywhere," Gibbs' voice called out from behind her. He walked up to where she stood. "I don't want you to be alone tonight," he said.
"I can go to Abby's place," she replied. Kate was tired. She didn't want to talk about what happened to her and she knew that Abby would understand.
Gibbs extended his arm, offering Kate his hand just like what he did earlier in autopsy. "Or you can stay with me and take a look at the boat," he offered. He saw a defeated look in Kate's eyes and he stepped closer. "Kate, if you don't want to talk about it, I understand. I will not ask you again." It was a difficult for him to say it, but it was all he could do to make her stay.
The former gunnery sergeant didn't know what made him promise not to ask questions, but he knew that he didn't want Kate to leave. He wanted to be there for his friend – and if it meant he had to make a promise he didn't want to, so be it.
The brunette hesitated. "Gibbs... I..." her words faltered at Gibbs' intense stare. She couldn't resist those baby-blue eyes; and on top of all, she didn't want to leave the warm feelings she had when Gibbs was around. She exhaled audibly and nodded. The profiler took Gibbs' hand and let him lead her to the basement – ignoring the screaming protest of her injured muscles every time she moved.
Kate watched in awes as Gibbs worked on his boat. The boat was beautiful – it brought tears to Kate's eyes when she first laid her eyes on it. She complimented her colleague with every word that came across her tired mind and kept on saying how beautiful it was. Gibbs smiled proudly every time she said so.
The woman was lying on a small couch at the far side of the basement, covered in a blanket. She was quiet for some time that Gibbs thought she was asleep. When he turned to see her, he noticed that she was still watching him – tears streaming down her cheek. The older man put his tools away and walked up to the couch, crouching next to the sofa. He reached out and wiped the tears off of her face.
"It's okay, Katie, it's gonna be okay," he whispered in her hair as he pulled her close. The muscular man held her tight as she cried, rocking her back and forth and whispering soothing words in her ear. He waited until the sob had subsided; waited until the heave on her chest steadied before letting go. He put her head on the couch, smoothing her hair and planted a small kiss on her forehead. He tiptoed away from the couch, thinking that she was asleep, when he heard her speak.
"I was running," she began. Gibbs froze in place as he realized what she was talking about. He didn't say anything – his back facing her – giving her control. "It wasn't my usual route, I took a detour." She stopped for a moment. "There were three of them and they were... strong," her voice was barely a whisper now. Gibbs tensed up when Kate continued, "They grabbed me from behind, knocked me down. They pinned me down and one of them sat on me, choking me." Kate closed her eyes as she felt a wave of nausea hit her. She took a deep breath and steadied herself. "I was so scared. They were very strong," she trembled. "I thought I was... I thought they were going to..."
"Kate, you don't have to do this," Gibbs cut her off. Truth was, he didn't think he could listen to it any longer.
"No, Gibbs, I have to," she insisted. Gibbs turned to face her to argue but her stonewall expression stopped him. "I have to make you understand," she explained. Gibbs nodded. He was still standing at the same spot, not wanting to invade her personal space. She thanked him with a smile. "They thought they had taken full control of me; one of them loosened his grip on my right wrist, loose enough for me to release myself from it and throw a punch to the stupid bastard who sat on me. No way in hell I would give up so easily!"
The former marine couldn't suppress a smirk. He was proud of his Katie. This time Gibbs didn't even realize he thought of Kate as his Katie.
"When he lost his balance I pulled the knife I put in my waistband and stabbed his hand. I kicked the one holding my ankles. I don't know how many punches and kicks and stabs I gave them before they ran away, calling me a psycho bitch," she said triumphantly. Gibbs saw a smile on her face and before he realized it, he had moved to her side and pulled her into a hug.
"You did great, Kate," he whispered, "You did great." The older man planted a kiss on her cheek and another one on her forehead.
If Kate didn't know better, she could have sworn that she saw a gleam of tears in Gibbs' blue eyes. She sighed. "Doing that... it doesn't make me feel less dirty," she added. She chocked as she tried to draw in some air into her lungs. "God, I was so scared!" Kate hissed, fighting back tears that began to form in her eyes.
Gibbs squeezed her hand. "Listen to me, Kate," he said in a serious expression. "It wasn't your fault. And it is okay to feel scared; you were scared but you were not petrified by your fear – that was what mattered. And never," he emphasized, "never think that you're dirty, 'cause you're not! If you dare thinking it, I'll head slap you into next week!" He was looking straight at Kate when he said that. "Understood?"
Kate smiled and nodded. It might be silly, but she actually felt better with the odd reassurance Gibbs gave her. Gibbs didn't let her pity herself – he pulled her out of it. The brunette leaned in and returned the peck he planted on her cheek.
Gibbs' heart grew warm at the simple gesture. He blushed – he hoped that Kate wouldn't notice it. He couldn't express how relieved, how thankful he was that Kate was safe. He shook his head to hold back a laugh. "You put a knife under your waistband?"
"I'm a firm believer of rule number nine, in case you didn't notice," the woman replied lightly. "I'd strap my Sig around my ankle, but it disturbed my rhythm."
The former marine pat his subordinate shoulder proudly. "One day, Katie Todd, you're gonna make one hell of an agent."
"Believe me Gibbs, I already am." Gibbs chuckled. In some ways, he believed that she was already one hell of an agent.
A/N: What do you think? I hope the story is good enough to your liking. Feedbacks are always appreciated.
Thank you for reading. It's been an amazing ride with you.