Disclaimer: See chapter 1
A/N: I seriously have no idea why I wrote this. No, seriously, it wasn't supposed to be written this way. My muses are crazy sometimes. Sorry about that.
This chapter is, again, un-beta'ed since my lovely beta is really busy at the moment and asking her to beta for me will be very inconsiderate. All mistakes – from silly grammatical and spelling mistakes to major, most annoying ones – are mine. I would really appreciate it, though, if you are willing to point my mistakes for me. Thank you.
Pardon any OOC-ness (I think you'll find some); I'm really not good at this.
And yes, I will let you read now.
Kate Todd turned around and looked up. Her boss was leaning on the doorframe with his usual smug look, one of his hands holding a big mug.
"Hiding from me?" Gibbs asked lightly. He stepped out to the porch and sat next to Kate.
The woman rolled her eyes and nodded at the crowd of people in her house. "More like hiding from the crowd," she said, "my family and their friends are tiring as a group."
"Ah," Gibbs responded, "I get it. If it makes you feel better, my father is tiring even without a group."
Kate couldn't hide the surprise in her voice when she said, "I didn't know you have a father." Even before she finished the sentence, Kate had felt a blush creeping on her cheeks. She was really grateful that it was quite dark where they were sitting.
"What, Kate? You think I just popped up in this world, all grown up and irritable?" Gibbs cocked his head to Kate's direction. He couldn't see her face clearly but he would bet that Kate was blushing.
"It's not what I meant," Kate tried to explain – and failed miserably as Gibbs stared at her, clearly amused, "You never talked about your father!"
"You never talked about this place," the former marine countered, waving his free hand to the land before them to emphasize.
The former secret service agent shrugged. "It was never brought up," she made an excuse.
"And there you have your answer." Gibbs raised his mug and took a sip.
"Gibbs!" Kate stomped her feet in frustration.
Now Gibbs couldn't stop himself from laughing. Kate was acting like a sullen child and Gibbs thought it was kind of cute – although there was no chance in hell would he ever admit it out loud. As the laughter died away, the two fell into comfortable silence – busy with their own thoughts.
Kate kept stealing glances at the former marine and thought about how peaceful he looked while gazing at the stars. She didn't remember ever seeing him like this. Somehow she felt so close to him, yet in a way, she felt so distant at the same time. There were questions in her head – all began with 'why'. She wasn't sure that she had enough courage to ask Gibbs all those questions; she wasn't sure that she would like the answers, either – that was, if Gibbs ever answered. That very moment she had a flash of their conversation about him wanting to sleep with Kate. Kate shuddered.
It was Gibbs who first broke the silence. "You cold?" he asked; he noticed that the brunette was only wearing a thin black tank top and knee-length jeans.
Kate rested her head on her knee, facing Gibbs. "Are you offering your shirt?" she asked back. She was just closing her eyes when she felt a sheet of fabric around her bare shoulders. Kate's eyes snapped back open. Gibbs had taken off his shirt and was now only wearing his undershirt. She ran her fingers through the lining of the shirt, inhaling Gibbs' aroma on the shirt. "I was just kidding, Gibbs," she mumbled.
The man didn't look at her. "I know," he replied in earnest.
Kate shifted uncomfortably; she never saw this side of Gibbs before, so open, so–.. caring. She wasn't sure if she liked it, but she could positively say that she did not dislike it.
"Want my drink, too?" Gibbs offered – a hint of mirth in his tone.
"I like my coffee with sweetener and cream," Kate declined politely.
"It's not coffee."
"I prefer my tea sweet and warm."
"Good," Gibbs stated. Again, to Kate's surprise, the older man took her hand in his bigger one and placed the mug on her hand. "Cause the tea is sweet," he added casually. He nodded at the tea. "Drink up, Katie."
Kate tasted the beverage. It was perfect. She smiled gratefully at the man and felt something warm that wasn't tea filled her heart as Gibbs' blue eyes met her dark brown ones. They looked at each other for a couple of seconds before Kate broke the eye contact.
"Gibbs, why are you really here?" Kate mustered up the courage to ask. She wasn't looking at Gibbs. There was a moment of stillness then Kate raised her head and gazed at Gibbs. "And you know I didn't mean here as in here outside of my house."
"No reasons," answered Gibbs. And it was the truth – Gibbs didn't have any reasons why he decided to go to Indiana; or at least he couldn't find a reasonable enough ground to offer to Kate.
"I thought we were supposed to be specific when we lied," Kate reminded him sarcastically.
"Yes, but I don't lie so I don't need to be specific," Gibbs retaliated.
"You are such a bully."
"I thought we agreed that I'm a bastard."
Kate glared at her boss. "Then add 'bully' on that bastard list!"
Gibbs's eyes twinkled; he was enjoying this. "Yes, capt'n."
Before Kate could respond to that, she was interrupted by the voices of two people approaching the front porch. Kate glanced at the door. It was her mother and a distant relative Kate hardly knew of. The brunette was immediately on her feet. She reached out to grab Gibbs' hand and drag the man with her to a spot where they couldn't be seen. Kate put a finger on her lips, telling Gibbs to be quiet.
They waited until they saw the guest leaving with her car and heard the footsteps moving back into the house.
And that was when Kate realized the proximity of her and Gibbs. She was sandwiched between Gibbs and the wall behind her. They were standing so close with each other that Kate could smell his soap, as well as feel his breath on her hair; their hands was still interlaced with each other. Slowly, she raised her head – and she wished she hadn't.
Blue eyes were gazing at her with such intensity that left Kate breathless. The azure orbs left her eyes, lowering their gaze so slowly as if caressing Kate's skin. Subconsciously, the brunette licked her lips; her mouth felt like the Sahara desert. And that was where Gibbs' eyes stopped – on her lips.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs was a man of control; he rarely let his heart rule over his head. This, this was one of those rare occasions. For a reason he didn't understand, he couldn't seem to have the strength to draw himself away from Kate. She is your subordinate! He reminded himself firmly – to no avail. It was as if his body had a mind of its own. He lost control of his body as he lowered his head little by little, closing his distance with Kate. Her ragged breathing was loud in his ears.
Kate could have sworn she saw a glint of uncertainty on Gibbs' eyes for a split second before the usually bright blue orbs darkened with passion. She closed her eyes and looked away – every cell in her body screaming in protest as Gibbs' lips landed on her cheek.
He was surprised when the younger woman looked away. On the one hand, he was relieved; kissing Kate would be a stupid thing to do, it was unprofessional and uncalled for. It would over complicate their relationship at work. On the other hand, though, Gibbs felt rejected and the feeling was so strong that he had to grit his teeth so as to not growl in frustration. He was hurt.
Gibbs stepped back, distancing himself from Kate. He stared at her icily, not knowing what to say.
"Gibbs," Kate started weakly.
The one word, even though said without anger or sadness, was enough to let Kate know how much she had hurt his feelings.
"Because you'd regret it, Gibbs," Kate answered. His flinch didn't go unnoticed. "Tell me otherwise," she dared him.
"I..." Gibbs began, "I can't." He shook his head in defeat.
Kate hung her head low dejectedly. "Then I'm glad we didn't kiss," she hissed, her heart was crushed with every word said.
"You didn't mean that," he said, taking a hesitant step forward.
Kate whipped her head up, glowering at the man that was her boss. "Don't you dare tell me what I meant or didn't mean!" she growled. A tear escaped her eyes. "What on earth are you doing here, Gibbs? Why did you even come?"
Gibbs flailed his arms. "I don't know," he admitted. He ran his hand through his silvery hair in frustration, "I honestly don't know."
The brunette nodded. She didn't need to hear any more explanation because she knew that Gibbs wouldn't let out anything he didn't want to share. "Your plane's leaving at seven tomorrow? I'll make sure one of my father's men is available to take you to the airport." With that, she ended their pointless conversation and left.
The senior agent didn't stop her, nor did he chase her. It was useless to try to talk to Kate now when she was really angry. He stared helplessly at the house, feeling so stupid. What was I thinking, he thought, mentally smacking his head. It wasn't the first time he regretted his spur-of-the-moment decision of coming to Indiana, yet this time was the worst.
Kate tossed and turned in her bed that night. Most of her anger had dissipated the moment she entered her room and screamed through her pillow. Kate didn't cry a bit, except for the lone tear that had betrayed her earlier.
The gears in her brain wouldn't stop working that they kept her awake. So she lay there in the darkness of her room, waiting for sleep to greet her – although it seemed that sleep didn't want to befriend her that night.
She glanced at the clock on her wall; it was past midnight. No sign of Gibbs entering his room yet – Kate's mother had arranged for Gibbs to stay in the guest room next to Kate's – and she was beginning to worry.
She wondered where the man was, and if she had been too harsh to him earlier. Still, she refused to admit that it was entirely her fault. It was Gibbs who had come all the way here to Indiana and turned her vacation upside down. It was Gibbs who had treated her like he actually cared – like she was something special. If anyone was to blame, it was Gibbs.
The brunette contemplated whether she should look for Gibbs for a couple of seconds before making a decision. Getting up from bed, Kate realized that she was still wearing Gibbs' shirt. She took the shirt off and put on a warmer coat. She didn't leave the shirt behind, though, just in case Gibbs needed it – the man was out only in his undershirt.
As she slowly made her way downstairs, she noticed that there was still light in the kitchen. Kate was hoping that it was Gibbs; she was disappointed when she saw her father at the counter, drinking tea.
"Going somewhere?" he asked, smiling at his daughter.
"I was just... I thought you were Gibbs," Kate replied.
Brandon motioned her to come closer. He knew something was bothering Kate. "You know you can tell me anything, don't you, Caitlin?"
"I know." It was true. She was closer with her father than she was with her mother. "I have nothing to tell."
He nodded. "He's in the stable," he told her. Brandon didn't even have to mention a name. "He looked like something the dog chewed when I saw him couple of hours ago. What did you do?"
"More like what he did," Kate grumbled. He looked at Brandon's eyes – the dark eyes were looking back at her without any judgements. "I don't understand him," she admitted, "He isn't like you."
Brandon Todd chuckled at this comment. "Of course he isn't, honey. He is not me," he stated the obvious.
"You're from the same generation," Kate insisted, "Well – sort of."
"If you're insinuating that your boyfriend is old enough to be your father, Kate..." his words were cut off by Kate's protest.
"Gibbs is not my boyfriend!" She glared at him, "He is my boss. I thought I have made it clear."
He gave her his you-must-be-blind pat on the shoulder and ushered her to the door. Brandon kissed his daughter's cheek. "Whatever you are, it's already late. Go talk to him and sort your problem before I drag you both to the living room for a family hearing," he said, half pushing Kate out of the kitchen.
Gibbs was sitting on a bale of hay, looking gruff and miserable, when Kate opened the stable door. He took a quick glance and his frown deepened when he saw who it was.
"What now?" he asked grumpily. He wasn't looking forward to this conversation. In fact, Gibbs rather expected Kate to not talk about this at all.
"I'm worried," Kate blurted out before she could come up with another less-needy explanation.
The older man scoffed, "There's nothing to worry about. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."
"Doesn't change the fact that I'm worried," she said, not backing off.
"I've been in worse condition."
"Not in my watch," Kate countered. The anger that had dispersed before began to resurface.
"Your watch?" Gibbs raised his eyebrows. "Your watch?" he repeated. "Who do you think you are, Kate?"
Kate felt as if Gibbs slapped her. She inhaled sharply, counting to ten before answering, "This is my family's ranch and if anything goes wrong – if you're found dead somewhere around here, if we want to be blunt – then I will be held responsible. So, no, Gibbs, this has nothing to do with who I think I am to you. This is about my family."
Even from a couple of feet away, Gibbs could see that Kate was trembling – either because of the cold air or out of anger. He secretly praised her for not breaking down and crying in front of him, but right now he was too angry to care.
"Fine," Gibbs spat out, "I'll go back to the house."
"Fine!" Kate turned around and stomped out of the stable.
She was only a step away from the door when Gibbs grabbed her arm and pushed her against the wall. She let out a small gasp of pain, but he didn't loosen his grip.
They were staring at each other wordlessly until Kate couldn't take it anymore. Tears began to fill her dark brown eyes.
"You're hurting me!" she choked on her tears.
His clasp loosened a little but there was still no word of apology coming.
"You frustrate me," Gibbs growled in deep voice, "You and your stupid games with Ziva and Abby."
"It-.. It wasn't my idea," whispered Kate as a drop of hot liquid fell from her eye.
Gibbs raised his free hand to wipe Kate's tear but he drew back his hand when he felt Kate flinch under his touch. He let out a sigh. "What do you want from me, Caitlin Todd?"
Kate shook her head. "I don't understand," she trailed off.
He gazed at her and she could see no anger in his icy blue eyes – only profound sadness. Thoughts rushed into his mind and yet, he couldn't find a word to say to this woman. His heart was broken to see how much he had hurt her; how much he had made her confused.
"I just want to know why you're here." Kate's voice was thick with emotions. "Why? Don't you know that I left because I couldn't stand it anymore? I was so tired of you ignoring me at work for something that was not even my fault. Why are you here? What are you trying to prove, Gibbs? You want to see how messed up you've made me?"
All those words pouring from Kate's mouth was like a bomb dropped onto Gibbs' head. "I'm here because I missed you," he finally owned up, cringing as the words slid between his lips.
Kate was speechless. Gibbs? Missed her? Her as in Kate – her? But why? She didn't realize asking the last question out loud.
"Just because," Gibbs replied. He let go of his hold on the woman and distanced himself; he looked straight into her eyes. "Agent Todd, you are something else," he stated.
"If that was supposed to be a compliment, Gibbs, I don't get it," Kate spoke; she was still whispering but her tone was lighter than before.
Gibbs smirked. "Go back to the house, Kate. I'm fine," he told her. Kate didn't budge. "I'll be right after you," he assured.
"I'm not convinced."
"What? Would you rather I go back with you?"
Kate blushed at the suggestive tone Gibbs was using. She couldn't believe how that evening went – from light conversation to unresolved sexual tension to stupid argument and now back to sexual innuendos.
"You said you wanted to sleep with me." Kate's eyes widened – she couldn't believe her words. "I didn't just say that," she quickly added.
If Gibbs was surprised, he didn't show it. He chuckled. "What will your family say – you sleeping with a man old enough to be your father?"
"Somehow I have this feeling that they have had this idea that we're seeing each other."
"Is that an assumption?"
Kate shrugged. "My dad thought so," she informed him.
"And he has no objections?" Gibbs queried. He was really curious about Brandon Todd's reaction – because Gibbs was sure as hell would feel uncomfortable if his daughter dated an older man.
"Told him you are my boss."
Gibbs' mouth formed an 'O' as a reaction – he was both relieved and disappointed at the same time.
"Come to bed, Gibbs. I'm exhausted," Kate openly invited him now, changing the subject.
The silver-haired man smiled. He took her hand in his and they walked side by side to the house.
"Oh, and by 'come to bed' – I mean you go to your bed and I go to my bed," Kate explained with a smile on her face.
"Don't I know that," he replied softly. Gibbs knew it was going to be awkward when Kate and he were back at work, but right now he didn't give a damn.
A/N: So, I hope you enjoy the crazy ride. Any comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading.
Have a nice day.