in the dark
"Mmmm. We really need to stop doing this."
Given it's mumbled sleepily into her hair as he pulls her closer, Kate isn't certain exactly how much to heart she should take it.
Even if he's probably right.
"I know. But you stole the nicest bedroom. What's a girl to do?"
Gibbs humphs. Or at least he tries to humph. It isn't so convincing in the middle of the night. "That the only reason?"
She smiles but doesn't answer. Really, what's the point? He keeps telling her this is never gonna work out. And then he keeps turning up at her apartment and kissing her senseless and rolling them both into her bed.
It's pretty hard to take it seriously when he tells her 'you should never date a coworker', or 'romance between agents is a really bad idea, Katie', between kisses on her shoulder or down her back or over her stomach.
When he tells her in the middle of the day, then gives her a look which says 'Gonna come over later and eat you out till you scream, all right?'
"I want to take a bath."
There's a pause as he digests the subject change. "Sounds fun. Maybe not right now, though?" His voice is soft and amused and still somewhat sleepy.
"Did I say you were invited?"
He chuckles. "My bedroom. My bathroom. Kinda seems like I can invite myself if I wanna."
Smug bastard. Well, maybe a different tactic will work better. She slithers out of his grasp, ignoring the quiet noise of protest he makes at the sudden lack of her in his arms.
She looks back at him for a moment, to where his eyes are just a dark glittering in the dim light, and stands up, stretching her back out then casually peeling her basketball jersey off over her head and dropping it to the floor. His breath grows suddenly louder and faster, and she grins to herself, shimmying out of her shorts over the next few steps then dropping them, too. He groans. Then she strolls across the room, just enough swing in her hips to make him look intently at her ass, but not enough to make it obvious she's deliberately baiting him, and even as she's opening the door she hears him swear and the rustle of sheets as he disentangles himself to come after her.
"Minx," he mutters as he joins her in the still-dark bathroom, where she's merrily dumping all the complimentary toiletries she can find under the hot running water.
"Changed your mind?" she asks, without turning around.
He comes up behind her, his hands on her waist, and nuzzles into her hair again. "You're a troublemaker," he complains.
She laughs. "It sure doesn't seem like you mind very much." She slaps his hands away when they scoot up her body to cup her breasts. "Hey, I'm trying to run a nice bath, here."
He grumbles. "Thought women could multitask?"
She bends down to test the temperature of the water. "And I thought Marines could deal with a little delayed gratification."
His humph this time is considerably more convincing. Insult him, he'll brush it off without a second thought. Insult his beloved Corps and she's pretty much guaranteed a reaction. "Relentless devotion to excellence. No one said anythin' about bein' patient." He sounds very nearly disgusted by the notion.
She has to resist the temptation to laugh at him again. Grumpy Gibbs is a lot more bearable when she has the ability to shut him up by getting naked, and she knows once he's in the water, he'll give in and let himself enjoy, but she'd still rather not give him any more reason to be grumpy in the meantime. At least the bath is filling quickly, and she slips in and lets out a sigh of pleasure before she's even turned off the faucets.
"You joining me, sailor?"
Still grumbling, he shuffles over to the bath, stripping off his t-shirt, swears when he stubs his toe on the toilet, and kvetches his way out of his boxers before climbing in behind her. "Pain in the ass," he murmurs in her ear as she settles back against his chest and he folds his arms around her.
"You always say the sweetest things."
He chuckles slightly, shaking his head and nipping warningly at the side of her neck. She smiles.
"Want me to kiss it better?"
She laughs quietly and snuggles in.
For all Gibbs' protestations this thing between them is doomed to failure, somehow they've fallen into a comfortable domesticity. It feels strangely and almost worryingly normal, except it's hard to worry with his arms wrapped around her waist and his mouth on her skin. It's decidedly difficult to do anything but enjoy it.
"Mmmm." Oh yeah. This is... really very pleasant indeed, and she's so glad she tempted him into it - even if it is stupid o'clock in the morning. "God, this is nice."
"Yeah, it's nice." She feels more than hears his rumbly laugh "'Specially when you call me 'God'."
It seems altogether too much effort to glare at him again, so she just shakes her head, then lets her eyes slip closed as he tucks her hair out of the way and continues his lips' lazy exploration of her shoulder.
She's very nearly asleep, lulled by the darkness and the warm water (and by him), when he leans forward over her to scoop up a handful of bubbles.
She tenses, confidently expecting them to land in her mouth or on her hair or somewhere else equally mischievous, something that'll end in a wet and playful wrestling match in retribution for her almost falling asleep on him, but instead he runs his other hand down her arm and lifts it out of the water by her wrist, then carefully starts to massage the lather into her skin.
"Whatcha doin'?" She is, she realises, so relaxed she can no longer actually enunciate. It's just as well she's sharing the bath with him, since falling asleep in here alone would probably be unwise.
(It's possibly almost as unwise this way, but at least it's the kind of unwise to potentially lead to issues at work, rather than to death by drowning.)
"What's it seem like I'm doing, Katie?"
She frowns at being made to think. "Cleanin' me?"
"Somethin' like that."
"Are you sayin' I'm... dirty, Gibbs?" She peers round at him, suspicious.
His chuckle is wicked. "Definitely."
She elbows him in the ribs. "Gibbs!" God, the man has the filthiest mind on the entire planet, she's sure. She rouses herself enough to give him a proper glare this time. How effective it is in the near darkness is uncertain, but it's the principle of the thing. "Tha'- that wasn't at all... what I meant."
"Yeah, I know." He sounds highly amused and not remotely repentant.
"I don't actually need- need washing, you know," she says, pouting.
"Know that, too." There's a long pause. "Let me anyway?"
"Let you what?" She peers at him again.
He shrugs. "Lemme... look after ya." His voice is suddenly low and gently caressing. "Just... relax."
His hand slides slow and sure up and down her belly, and she has to admit, it feels... nice. Nice to just lie back and let him touch her, stroke her, wash her. Even if she doesn't, strictly speaking, need him to.
"Okay," she murmurs finally, and lets herself sink back into his embrace.
He nods and makes a sound of approval in her ear, then carefully and thoroughly, and oh, so tenderly, he starts to bathe her.
She'd thought she was relaxed before, relaxed and sleepy and absurdly content. Then his hands are working soapy water into her body, pressing harder here and there to work out tension from her muscles, but mostly soft and delicious and shiveringly sensual. It sets up a pleasant buzz in her limbs, a warmth in the pit of her stomach, though she could, she thinks, still quite easily fall asleep.
She's floppy as a rag doll, and laughs aloud when Gibbs murmurs startled comments about just how bendy she is while he's washing her legs. They haven't really explored the full potential of her flexibility yet. A lack they should remedy as soon as possible, though probably when she's more awake than she is right now.
"Saved the best f'last," he rumbles when he rests himself back against the side of the bath, pulling her to his chest and making a happy noise into her skin at the feel of her breasts in his hands.
She laughs again. "So easy to please."
He shrugs. "Simple pleasures. I like 'em."
"They're... very nice."
"'Nice'?" She wrinkles her nose up at him, even though she knows he probably can't see her expression very well anyway
"Very nice. More than nice." He sighs, as if actually having to explain himself out loud is downright painful. "Kinda spectacular, actually."
That's much more like it. "You need to work on your compliments, Gibbs."
"Pro-tip: next time, start with spectacular."
There's a pause. "Where'd I go from there, then?"
She shrugs. "Spectacular covers all your bases, really. I mean, as long as you aim a little higher than 'nice' or 'fine', you'll probably be okay, but if you're gonna go for one word, spectacular will do nicely."
"Huh. Okay. Well then. You're spectacular, Katie. Not just your-" he squeezes her breasts in illustration "-but, you know... gen'rally."
She giggles. She sort of loves it when the usually unflappable Gibbs manages to get himself tied in knots paying her a compliment. "Thank you."
He nuzzles in up under her jaw. "Welcome." He's still playing with her breasts, tweaking her nipples, and she's relaxed to the point of falling asleep and simultaneously painfully turned on. "Kinda delicious, too." His tongue flicks out to taste her skin and she whimpers. "Oh, Katie."
She isn't sure how long they stay in the bath, loses track of time with him nibbling her neck and shoulders and ears, his hands caressing her, his voice low and sweet as he murmurs his appreciation. Finally the water starts to get cooler than is really comfortable. She still protests inarticulately when he eases himself out from behind her, his arm remaining wrapped firmly around her back to keep her upright.
He reaches down into the water to loop his other arm under her knees, and then he's lifting her, letting the water pour off her, before cradling her against his chest and carrying her back to bed. Instinctively, she links her arms around his neck, and doesn't let go when they crawl under the sheets.
It occurs to her, not for the first time, that in spite of all his much vaunted bastardly qualities, it would be terribly easy to fall in love with this man. At moments like these, it's not difficult to see how he somehow managed to convince three women to marry him. If he asked her right now, she might be tempted to say yes, even after such a short time and very much despite her better judgement.
For a while they simply hold each other, warm damp skin becoming cool then even chilly, a blissful relief on this hot Cuban night. Kate shivers, and when Gibbs pulls her closer and kisses the side of her neck, when his hand strokes slow and deliberate down her ribcage to her waist and then even slower over the curve of her backside, she shivers again for an entirely different reason. She's obscenely relaxed, half asleep despite her arousal, and when she attempts to rouse herself, to reciprocate, he gently but firmly pushes her back down into the mattress, his hands now on her hips and his mouth meandering over her collarbone, her breast, her stomach.
She reaches a hand down sleepily to brush his hair back from his face. "But I..." She can't quite hold back the yawn, too mellow to properly protest.
He shakes his head, smiles, lays another kiss lower down on her torso, and she can't actually hold back her little moan of pleasure.
"Lemme take care of ya, Katie." The whisper is as soft and gentle as it was when he made his very similar request in the bathtub, but the undercurrent of raw desire she still isn't really used to makes this request smoulder in his eyes and sets off an ache she can't ignore.
She swallows a few times, since suddenly all the moisture seems to have vanished from her mouth. "Okay."
He smiles slowly, and bends his head to kiss her thigh, then down and in. He loves her and pleasures her until she cries out, until she slips happily toward utterly satiated sleep, and the last thing she remembers before the rude awakening the next morning is Gibbs' arms wrapping around her and his lips dropping a kiss on her temple.
She's not one to protect or defend Tony, not usually, but she does love the big lunk, in the same way she loves her annoying older brothers. Tony's hurting. She kind of hates Gibbs for it - even though, at the same time, she's aware she's perilously close to falling in love with him.
Tony doesn't look pissed so much as he looks upset, an emotion she's not used to seeing on him and one she doesn't much like.
She tries to bite down on her anger as Gibbs passes her Sa'id's laptop, but it won't be silenced.
"You know, Gibbs, sometimes you can be a real-"
"Bastard," he finishes, before she can say it, without even looking up.
His shoulders droop a little, as if he hates to hear her agree. Though maybe it's assuming too much to imagine he actually cares what she thinks. "Yeah, well my gut is telling me Agent Cassidy is telling the truth." He doesn't sound happy about it.
"So then what's the problem?"
He gets a strange look on his face, starts, stops, and when he starts again his expression and the tone of his voice make her really wish she'd kept her mouth shut.
"Romance between agents, Kate?" He looks up at her as he says her name. "It never works."
His face is more solemn, more sad and wearied than usual, his voice low and rough, and she wishes she had the words to take both the unhappy certainty and the pain away. She wishes she had an equal certitude, some kind of proof he's wrong to offer in the face of this declaration.
"Are you speaking from experience?"
His eyes narrow slightly, and she backs down, unwilling to push. Unwilling to risk this fragile thing they have, even if it's not really anything, at least to him. Unwilling to find out if that's the case.
She can feel his eyes on her back as she leaves the room.
She isn't sure whether she's welcome in his bed any more, and she's still pondering whether to go find out when her bedroom door clicks open and he's standing there in his underwear, looking at her with big sad eyes.
She turns down the corner of her bedspread in invitation. It's all he needs to flick the light off and come sneak in beside her, pushing her onto her side and pulling her in to be his little spoon. He's bossy, but not in a way that bothers her, especially when it involves her ending up in his arms. He seems to find it reassuring to be physically wrapped around her, and she's still summoning up the balls to try and find out exactly why.
He lets out a satisfied little noise, almost a sound of relief, and she can't help it. She laughs. He's so... hopeless. It's kind of sweet.
For several minutes they lie in sleepy silence, their breathing slowing and calming. It's been a long day, but Kate feels better for having him here. She probably shouldn't, or should at least be concerned about feeling it, but she just feels comfortable and comforted and - if she dares even think it - loved.
"Gibbs?" she says eventually.
"Never is a really long time."
"Maybe you should consider the possibility you're wrong about this."
"You can't fix me, Kate." He sounds resigned.
She shrugs. "Maybe I don't think you're broken."
He heaves a sigh. For a moment she wonders if he's annoyed or angry or just doesn't want to think about it, but then he nuzzles her hair out of the way and kisses her tenderly behind her ear, close enough she can hear another sigh, this one decidedly contented.
"Katie?" His voice is warm and confiding.
"I really hope I'm wrong." He sounds sad - wistful rather than hopeful - but all things considered, it's a more positive spin than she'd expected.
She smiles a little and snuggles back into his chest, tugging his hand firmer around her waist. They'll worry about it later. For the moment, this is enough.
~ fin ~