Title: So I've Heard
Author: Susan217
Disclaimers: The NCIS crew does not belong to me.
Characters: Gibbs/Kate, Tony
Summary: Romance and retirement. Gibbs/Kate romance
Acknowledgements: Thanks to samgirl for the beta. Thanks to stexgirl2000 for the spare plot bunny. :D

Happy Birthday, matilda7!

Six hours, and fifty-eight minutes.

She's hoping to make it at least another 10 before she stares at the clock again. It certainly isn't helping her situation any. She reminds herself that her mother always warned her that a watched pot never boils. She frowns at the thought and attempts to delve back into her work. She's read the same sentence about six times, but it just isn't registering with her brain.

She looks back at the clock but not even one more minute has passed. Her neck is starting to hurt from craning it around to look at the clock and she reaches up a hand to rub at it. The stomach full of butterflies that has plagued her all day is now back, swearing vengeance. She should have avoided that last cup of coffee, but he had brought it to her.

She chances a glance in Gibbs' direction and feels her heart speed up. She knows that this will be it. This is her last opportunity to tell him how she feels. At the end of the day Agent Gibbs will be retiring and she will take over the team.


Tony is smirking at her. She forces a smile onto her face and prays that he can't read minds.

"Did you hear me?" he asks, cocking his head to the side. He casts an almost imperceptible glance in Gibbs' direction and heads Kate's way.

She hears Gibbs' chair roll back, and she watches him stroll past toward the elevators. He's said very little to either of them all day. It was just a perfunctory morning greeting, and a few comments directed at her about things that would need to be finished by the end of the week.

She shakes her head and turns her attention back to Tony, who is watching her with an odd expression. His arms are crossed over his chest, head tilted to the side, and his eyes are watching her intently. He's not smiling, which is odd in itself.

"You're going to chicken out, aren't you?" he says, and leans a hip against the edge of her desk.

She feels her face flush, but puts a half-assed attempt at a scoff into her tone. "What? I don't know what you're talking about."

He smirks, and his brown eyes twinkle knowingly. "Look, Kate. This thing between me and you"—he gestures between them with his thumb—"isn't really going to go anywhere."

She opens her mouth in horror, and he covers it with a finger. "Kate, you need a steadier man in your life. I know, I know, Gibbs isn't me. But you and Gibbs is a good idea. He needs a steady man in his life, you need to get laid once in awhile-"

"DiNozzo!" she shrieks and stands up so quickly her chair slams into the cubicle wall behind her.

He jerks back and dances away from the desk with tiny little hops. He makes a shushing noise with his hands, moving back toward her slowly. "Honestly, Kate. If we're going to be working alone, you've really got to learn to lighten up."

He sits down on the edge of the desk, and picks up one of her case files, idly flipping through it. It's as if the last minute didn't happen.

"I know how you feel about him, Kate. We've all known for years."

She backs up into the chair and flops into the seat. Her face is flaming and she wishes for the floor to open up and swallow her whole. She sucks in a breath in an attempt to control her emotions, and looks up at him. But no words will come.

He drops the file back to her desk top, and his eyes scan the room before they rest on her again. "Look, I can't promise you that Gibbs is going to go for it. He's not exactly an open book."

"Tony…" she begins, but he holds up a hand. She shifts in her seat and leans back, shrugging her shoulders in defeat. The office continues to hum around them as if this conversation were the sort that happened every day.

"But I have a feeling," he says with a smirk. "You have to at least try, Kate."

Tears well up in her eyes, and she blinks them away irritably. The elevator dings and Tony's head snaps up. He quickly stands and hurries back over to his own desk.

Gibbs walks back through the bull pen and his eyes scan her. He frowns at something that he sees but heads back to his desk.

Kate wishes that the day would be over.

Three minutes. It will be six o'clock in three minutes. He's an hour overdue. She's catching up on paperwork, and watching the last of the office empty out of the building. She looks over at Gibbs, watching from the corner of her eye as he closes up something on his desk. He stands up and looks over in her direction.

The butterflies are back and have apparently brought friends. She swallows deeply and closes down her computer.

Most of the lights have been shut down, and the office is left in the pale castings of desk lamps. She grabs her coat, and thinks that the jangle of keys and rustle of cotton are louder than a sonic boom tonight. He strolls past her and heads for the elevators. She quietly follows as she has on so many nights prior. The elevator dings and they step on in unison, arms bumping at the shoulder.

She inhales sharply, but he offers no comment and pushes the button for the garage. She stares at its lighted plate as a last ditch distraction and wills her nerves to cooperate.

She scuffs at the floor with the toe of her shoe, and tries to pretend that this could be put off until another day. That lasts until the elevator dings open. Neither of them makes any move to step off. She keeps her eyes on the toe of her shoe.

The door starts to close with a hiss and Gibbs sticks out an arm to hold it open. She looks up and catches a twitch of annoyance on his features before she steps past him.

Her heels echo on the pavement and she looks around to make sure they are alone. She can feel him behind her, moving in step with her, but he's not saying a word.

His car is the first she reaches. He moves past her, unlocks the driver door, and tosses in his coat. Traffic can be heard in the distance and she wishes to be anywhere but here.

She steels her nerve and moves toward him, catches his arm. His brow furrows, and he moves toward her, his eyes latching onto hers. There is no question in his eyes. He knows what they're doing. His hand covers hers on his arm.

"I've been married three times," he says.

She chuckles and smiles. "So I've heard."

The confident Gibbs smirk appears and he uses his other hand to tug her forward. His arms encircle her waist and he grins down at her smugly before capturing her lips with his. His lips smooth over hers, as if he has all the time in the world. It deepens in pressure when a smile works its way onto her mouth, and she sighs into his mouth as his tongue brushes hers. Her mind loses track of time, and it feels as if they have faded into oblivion together.

When the kiss breaks, she finds herself pushed up against the side of the car. A smug and swollen lipped Gibbs grins lazily down at her. "I'm retired you know."

She smiles. "So I've heard."