Kate had been a member of the NCIS team for just a few days. They were already working on a case. A Marine doing a night jump had died when his chute didn't open.
Kate had a helluva time getting to the crime scene. If Tony hadn't seen her talking to the MPs, Kate wouldn't have made it at all. Gibbs would have come unglued and killed her for sure.
Tony got Kate past the MPs and she started to work. Not thinking about it, Kate went dressed like she did on Air Force One. Working at night in a field was not the smartest place to be wearing a dress and heels. She would remember to pay better attention to that next time.
Gibbs had a pair of boots for Kate to wear. He seemed to know how she was going to come dressed. How? Kate hadn't figured out yet, but give her time and she would know and maybe get a handle on what Gibbs was all about too.
Putting the boots on, Kate jumped into the game of finding out why SGT. Fuentes was dead.
~~ Sitting at her desk, Kate looked at the notice from the newspaper again. Today was Tim Kerry's funeral at Arlington. Kate was being pulled in different directions. She wanted to attend the funeral. but how could she ask for the time off? She had only had this job for a few days. Gibbs would most likely understand if she asked for a couple of hours, but they were working the Fuentes case. She couldn't just walk out on them to say goodbye to Tim.
It had taken Kate a while to figure what to do about the funeral. She would wait until this evening and then go out to Arlington and leave some flowers at the grave. Tim's family wouldn't be around by then, and Kate wouldn't have to explain why she hadn't been there earlier.
"Agent Todd," said Gibbs.
"Yes, Gibbs?" said Kate as she was pulled out of her thoughts. She looked over at Gibbs and tried to smile.
"I thought I read in the paper that Major Kerry's funeral is today at 1400," said Gibbs. "Don't you think you should be leaving?"
Kate looked startled by Gibbs' question. "I wasn't planning on going to the funeral, Gibbs," said Kate. "I'll go tonight when we have some time and leave some flowers then."
"Kate," said Tony. "You can't say goodbye that way to the guy."
"It's OK, Tony," said Kate. "Tim was really understanding. He would understand why I came late."
"NO," said Gibbs in his boss voice. "We are going now. Abby is still running tests-we can go together." Gibbs stood and moved to Kate's desk. "You need to go now, Kate."
Kate was about to call Gibbs a dirty name-but why? He was going to get his way on this one. Kate got up and slid her coat on.
"But boss," said DiNozzo. "I am not dressed to go to a funeral."
"Tony," said Gibbs. "Just go get in the car." The look that followed was a comment of 'Shut up'.
Tony got up and grabbed his coat and followed the two out to the car.
Gibbs drove and Kate sat up front with him; Tony was in the back. It was a quiet drive to the flower shop.
Kate got out and went inside. She went straight to the roses. The last bouquet he had given her was one of orange roses. They were her favorites. Kate bought a dozen orange roses.
"Boss, why are we going to this funeral?" asked Tony. He was still feeling underdressed.
"Because Kate needs us to be with her today," said Gibbs. "She lost someone important and since we are all she has at the moment, we are going to be the lifeline to keep her grounded. So just be there for her."
"Okay, boss," said Tony from the back.
Kate came out of the shop with some orange roses. Getting back into the car, she put her seatbelt on and didn't say a word.
Gibbs looked at Tony through the rearview mirror. They made the ride to Arlington National Cemetery in silence.
They found the gravesite and the three got out of the car. Kate wasn't sure what she was doing here. Why had Gibbs pushed for her to come out here and do this now? It was done, and she would have to live with it.
Kate made a wide berth around the other people who worked Air Force One. There were the Secret Service agents and the airmen, and some of the White House staff, too. Tony and Gibbs just followed Kate to where she wanted to stand. They were close enough to hear what was being said, but not close enough to be a part of any group.
The service went smoothly and quickly. After the flag was presented to Tim's mother, there was a twenty-one-gun salute. The people started to break up and Kate moved toward the coffin. Gibbs and Tony stayed where they were to let Kate have a moment.
"Hey, Tim," said Kate, placing the flowers on the ground. "I am not sure how I fit into this thing, but I'm here." Kate looked up at the sky. She was trying to keep from crying. Somehow she had kept from doing it during the service, but now she wasn't going to make it.
"I have so much to tell ya. I told them about us, Tim. I resigned. About five minutes later, if that much, I had a new job. For NCIS; the people who figured out who killed you, Tim."
Kate tried to catch her breath. She felt a touch on her arm. She turned to find Gibbs holding out handkerchief to her. "Thanks, Gibbs," said Kate.
"No problem, Kate," said Gibbs as he moved back to where Tony was still standing.
"That is my boss, Tim, Jethro Gibbs," said Kate. "The guy next to him is our other partner, Anthony DiNozzo. You would hate them, too." That made Kate laugh.
"Excuse me," said a woman's voice.
Kate wiped her eyes and turned toward the woman. "Yes?" said Kate.
"Are you Caitlin Todd?" asked the woman.
"Yes, I am," said Kate. It was Tim's mom
"George," called the woman. "I found Caitlin." She turned back to Kate. "Oh, we have been trying to find you for the last couple of days."
"I'm sorry," said Kate. "But my job has me working on weird hours."
"How weird can they be when you are working on Air Force One?" said Tim's mom.
"Connie," said George. "I went and got it for Caitlin. Hello; I am George Kerry, and this my wife, Connie." The older man stuck out his hand, and Kate took it. His hand felt the same way Tim's did in her hand.
"I am very glad to meet you at long last," said Kate. "We had planned on coming to your house this Thanksgiving, but it looks like that isn't going to happen."
Connie started to cry and Kate reached out and wrapped her arms around the woman and held her tightly. The two women stood there crying together.
"Boss," said Tony uncomfortably. The younger man couldn't handle it when females started to cry. He would have torn off his arm to get away from it. His mother never cried in front of Tony or his father. The old man wouldn't have let her do it.
"She needs this, DiNozzo," said Gibbs. "So hang tight."
"All right, but they come this way," said Tony. "I will be in the car."
"Shut up, Tony," said Gibbs.
The two women stood there for a while, holding each other and crying. Everything that Kate had been holding back broke through. All the anger that she felt over Tim's death. The anger at the people who killed Tim. She wanted to take her gun and start shooting someone or anyone. She wanted hurt someone.
Kate also wanted to kick Tim's butt for dying.
Mrs. Kerry lot go of Kate. Stepping back from Kate, she said, "You look just like Timmy described you," said Connie.
"Oh, dear," said Kate. "I wasn't nervous before, but I am now." Kate laughed nervously. "To answer your question from earlier, I no longer work for the Secret Service. I am now working with NCIS."
"What does NCIS stand for?" asked George.
"Naval Criminal Investigative Service," said Kate. "We investigate crimes against the Navy and the Marines. They are the ones who figured out who killed Tim."
"Are there any NCIS people here?" asked George.
"Yes," said Kate. She turned toward Gibbs and Tony and pointed them out. "They are the ones that figured it out with the help of two other people."
George crossed over to Gibbs and Tony, grabbing the hands of each man and shaking them. "Thank you," said George.
"Kate," said Connie. "We have packed up Timmy's apartment."
Kate looked like she was about to start crying again. "I have some clothes over there," said the younger woman.
"We know," said Connie. "We also found something else and we've talked it over. George and I want you have it." Kate was confused by what the woman was trying to say. "George," called Connie.
George moved back over to the women. Reaching into his coat, the older man pulled out a box and handed it to Connie.
"We found this in Timmy's desk with a list of things to do," said Connie. She handed the box to Kate.
The younger woman just looked at the box like it was going to eat her hand. "What is it?" ask Kate.
"Open it up," said George.
Kate lifted the lid and found a smaller box. She dumped it into the palm of her hand. George took the outer box from Kate. Turning the box right side up, Kate opened it up. Inside the smaller box was a ring: a gold band with a ruby in the center. Kate slammed the box shut and ran away from the grieving parents.
Kate ran past Gibbs and Tony. They were too confused by Kate's actions to follow her immediately.
Gibbs came to life first. "Tony, go to the car and see if Kate is there," said Gibbs. "If she isn't, there stay there and wait for her. I am going to try over by the Arlington house and work my way back over here."
"Right, Gibbs," said Tony. "If anything happens, I will give you a call."
"Good," said Gibbs as he ran off toward the house that Robert E. Lee had lived in. Gibbs moved across the cemetery as quickly as he could. He did feel a little strange not to have his gun pulled as he ran.
It didn't take long to get to the big house. Walking around the building, Gibbs took his time and hoped that Kate would have been drawn to the house.
Gibbs' cell phone started to ring. "Gibbs," said the man into the phone.
"Anything, boss?" asked Tony.
"Well, I am at the house and walking around it," said Gibbs. "I haven't seen hide or hair of her, yet." Gibbs turned around the corner of the house when he saw Kate standing by grave. "I've got her, Tony. Let Mr and Mrs Kerry know that and bring the car over here. I don't think she can handle being with them yet."
"All right, Gibbs," said Tony.
Gibbs hung up the phone and slipped it back into his pocket. "Kate," said Gibbs.
Kate looked up at her boss. "Oh," was all Kate said.
"Are you okay?" asked Gibbs as he stood beside her.
"Tim was going to ask me to marry him," said Kate. "How the hell do I respond to that?" Kate still had the ring box in her hand.
"Can I see it?" asked Gibbs. Without even looking at Gibbs, Kate handed the box over to him.
Opening it up, Gibbs saw the ruby. "My. when a guy falls for you, they go all out, Kate," said Gibbs with a smile. Kate didn't respond. "Did you know way back in time that a ruby meant true love?" said Gibbs. Kate shook her head no. "Well it did," continued Gibbs. "Ruby being the second most expensive gem, the emerald being the most expensive, I believe it would be quite true."
Kate was laughing by now. "How long have you known Ducky?" asked Kate through the tears and the laughter.
"Well, let's see. I have been an NCIS agent for nineteen years and Ducky was there before I was," said Gibbs. "I would say nineteen years, then." Now he was smiling at Kate.
"You are such an ass, Gibbs," said Kate.
"Yeah, but it made you feel better, didn't it?" asked Gibbs.
"But, Gibbs what the hell am I going to do?" asked Kate. "They gave me the engagement ring." Kate looked scared and very tired.
"What does your heart tell you, Kate?" asked Gibbs.
Kate snickered a little, "Quit my job and run away to Paris or Mars," said the woman. "Whichever is easier to get to."
"Okay," said Gibbs. "Let's work on part of that answer." Gibbs moved to the other side of Kate. "Which is easier to get to...Paris or Mars?" Gibbs offered his hand to Kate. Kate took the hand and followed her boss out toward one of the roads.
"Well, there is a plane leaving for Paris every couple of hours," said Gibbs. "Problem with that is you have to leave the USA and eat frogs and snails and that kind of crap."
Kate started to laugh again.
"The Parisian hate Americans," said Gibbs. "So going to Paris may not be a good choice. Now as for going to Mars. I haven't heard of any shuttle trips planned for there yet. Plus, you wouldn't have anyplace to stay at on Mars. You'd be alone."
Kate was barely keeping from falling to the ground with the laughter.
"As for you quitting your job," said Gibbs. "The answer is no. Caitlin, given enough time with us, you are going to be a great agent."
The car pulled up not far from Kate and Gibbs. Tony got out and started to walk toward them. "Are you okay, Kate?" asked Tony.
"Yeah, Tony," said Kate.
"Good," said Tony. He looked at Gibbs to make sure that Kate was telling him the truth. Gibbs nodded at the younger man. "So are we to going back to work?"
Gibbs looked surprised at Tony's comment. "Where did Tony go?" said Gibbs. "I think someone replaced him with a pod person."
"What?" said Tony. "Can't I just want to get to the bottom of the case we are working on?"
"Does he want to jump?" asked Kate.
"Oh, that is what this is all about," said Gibbs. "He doesn't want to spend the one hundred eighty dollars on a jump school."
"I keep telling you boss," said Tony. "When am I going to find a weekend off to do that?"
"DiNozzo," said Gibbs. "Shut up and get in the car."
"Yes, boss," said Tony. He winked at Kate and slid in behind the wheel.