Well, I guess we're not at NCIS any more, Katie
"All right, love?"
Kate glances up from the sheaf of papers on her knees, and smiles. She can't really help it. When Cal's in work mode, focused and intent, he can be a bit intimidating, but when he's like this, all bright eyes and goofy munchkin grin, she almost can't believe he's the same guy.
She stretches. "I'm good. Just-" She gestures at the paperwork and pulls a face. "I know it's necessary, I know there could be some really important information in here, but it's-" She pauses.
"Really bloody boring?"
She laughs. "Pretty much."
"Don't know why you don't just flutter your eyelashes at Gibbs a bit and tell him to make someone else do it."
"Yeah, things don't really work that way on his team."
Cal's grin gets wider and more mischievous. "How hard have you tried?"
She can feel herself going pink. Neither Cal nor Gill has actually said anything out loud just yet, but it's obvious neither of them has missed her not particularly subtle crush on Gibbs. She had, so she thought, got pretty good at not doing googly eyes at him on a regular basis, but avoiding the suspicions of McGee or DiNozzo is one thing.
"I- he's not-" She shakes her head. She's so not used to this.
Even Gibbs is foolable. Possibly not because she's so very good at hiding how she feels - probably more because it simply wouldn't occur to him a woman well over a decade his junior might be seriously attracted to him. Or, she thinks sourly, because he just doesn't notice unimportant things.
At any rate, she's become used to no one being any the wiser. Being around people who are as close to mind-readers as she's ever known in real life - well, besides Gibbs - is a little unnerving.
Cal is grinning at her like the cat who ate the canary, and her cheeks are now actually burning.
"I think you might be surprised." He raises an eyebrow. "I reckon your Gibbs might be persuadable to a lot more than you think. Katie."
She hadn't thought she could blush any harder, but apparently she can. Most people don't even notice when Gibbs occasionally slips up and calls her that, and she tries not to draw attention to it. She likes it, but reading too much into it feels like a fool's errand.
She really doesn't know what to say. Cal perches his backside on the arm of the chair she's sitting in and crosses his arms, and his smile could probably power China for a week. "Aye aye. You like that idea, don't you darling? Not surprised. 'Spect he would, an' all."
She closes her eyes and shakes her head. "You are such a shit stirrer. I'm starting to understand why Gill says she doesn't know how no one's shot you yet."
He laughs. "What's life without risk, eh?" She feels his hand land on her shoulder and squeeze. "Which might be somethin' to think about, sweetheart. 'Cause sooner or later the truth will out, trust me. Might as well jump before you get pushed."
"Do you ever follow your own advice?" She looks up at him, and can't help grinning when he looks a little abashed. "Huh. Interesting." She's not about to get in a pissing contest here. After all, he's not just an expert in this stuff; he literally wrote the book. Doesn't mean she can't remind him she was, after all, a presidential bodyguard once upon a time, trained to hyper-vigilance, powers of observation honed to a knife edge.
"Touché." He grins. "To the victor the spoils. Don't go thinking this is over, though, Secret Service."
It's another nickname Gibbs still occasionally uses, and Kate smiles despite herself. "No?"
"Nope." He pulls a face. "Too much bloody work to do today, not enough time to 'ave fun. Another time, though... 'I'll get you, my pretty!'"
Cal's Wicked Witch of the West impression is pitch perfect, and she laughs out loud.
"That's better." Cal chucks her affectionately under her chin. "Don't like to see you looking all bored and miserable."
She grins. The atmosphere of mutual support here, the feeling of family, is tangible. It's a lot like NCIS, and she'd felt incredibly lucky to find a work environment like this once in a lifetime. "Thanks."
"S'pose that means I'd better do some work of my own," he says, with a sigh and a dejected looking shrug. He can do kicked puppy almost as well as Tony. "Otherwise Gill'll tan my hide."
He waggles his eyebrows as he heads for the door. "If I'm a very, very lucky boy..."
She laughs aloud again, and he gives her a little wave and disappears. "Idiot." But the smile stays on her face as she goes back to her work.
~ fin ~