"Geez, Boss, styled by pillow today?"
To Tim's surprise, Gibbs doesn't respond by giving Tony a head slap, but just grins lopsidedly and strides off towards the back elevator with, of all things, a spring in his step. Tim looks at Tony, who's looking right back, and they exchange expressions of 'What the hell just happened?'
Silence reigns until Gibbs is safely inside the elevator, then, "Did you just see that? Is he... happy?" Tony sounds aghast.
"It's not that weird, is it?"
Tony gives Tim one of those fond/exasperated looks. "'Not that weird'? If I didn't know better, I'd think you were still a probie." He shakes his head. "It's not just weird, it's... unheard of. Especially when we get called in on a Sunday morning."
Tim shrugs a shoulder. "I think it's nice."
"Nice on Gibbs is against the natural order of things." Tony looks pained, or maybe like he ate some bad sushi.
Tim has no response to that, so he settles into work mode again while Tony prowls around the bullpen like a caged animal. Fortunately, Tim's too used to Tony's strange moods to find it particularly distracting.
He's just getting back into his stride, then-
When Tim looks up, he has to forcibly stop himself from staring. Kate's beautiful, of course, but today... she's smiling fit to rival the sun, and it's a stark reminder that she really is beautiful. Not just in the everyday, 'been working with her for the best part of a decade but yes she is still gorgeous' way, but in a slightly mind-melting way he hasn't noticed in a while. It used to leave him tongue-tied, and he thought maybe he'd grown up when he realised he'd stopped getting tangled up in knots around Kate, but now he just thinks that maybe Kate hasn't been happy for a while, so he hasn't been on the receiving end of that smile.
It doesn't help at all when she giggles at him (so much for not staring). "You okay, McGee?"
Tony gives him a slap upside the head, and for once he's actually grateful. "Uh, yeah, I'm fine," he manages. "Hi, Kate."
She shoots him a sweet look that also doesn't make his life any easier, then turns the smile on Tony.
Tony doesn't appear to have been rendered quite as incapable by the smile, but he does look pretty confused. "You're looking hot today, Katie."
Using 'Katie' and a comment on her looks? Tim braces himself.
To his amazement, she just laughs again. "Thanks, Tony."
They watch, now both dumbstruck, as she settles down at her desk and starts leafing through the files, then turn to each other.
'What the hell?' Tony mouths. Tim just shrugs.
They look again. Kate is humming to herself, and seems almost as content as Gibbs did.
"Either this is invasion of the body snatchers, or..." Tony frowns. "Okay, time to test a theory."
He strides over to the other side of the bullpen and makes an off-colour joke that even makes Tim blush. Tim attempts to expunge it from his mind immediately.
Kate just rolls her eyes and goes back to her paperwork, still smiling.
Tony's eyes are enormous when he turns and heads back to Tim's desk. "Kate so got some last night," he whispers.
Tim cringes - Tony's whisper isn't nearly as subtle as he thinks - but Kate is on a different plane of existence this morning, and apparently hasn't even noticed that the pair of them are staring at her and gossiping about her. Usually she would've injured one of them by now.
Tony's frowning and tapping his fingers against his lips. "I have a bad feeling about this."
"You don't think-"
"Oh my God." It bursts out of Tony so loudly that this time even Kate looks up, though she just raises an eyebrow.
Tony opens his eyes wide in warning. "Shhh!" Then he grabs Tim by the elbow, yanks him out of his seat, and marches him over to the elevator. Tim's too surprised to protest or resist. Tony just keeps shooting him significant looks (God knows what they signify, but they're definitely significant) and glancing nervously over his shoulder as if he's expecting Kate to follow.
When the elevator arrives, Tony drags him in, and the second the doors close Tony hits the emergency break, claps his hands firmly down on Tim's shoulders and shakes him.
It doesn't get less weird or confusing when Tony actually speaks:
"Kate! And Gibbs! Kate and Gibbs, Tim!"
Tim raises one eyebrow. "What about Kate and Gibbs, Tony?"
"No no no, not Kate and Gibbs, Kate and Gibbs."
Tim idly wonders if Tony actually needs to get a head slap sometimes to reset his mouth. (It would explain a lot.) "I have no idea what you're saying."
"Kate. And. Gibbs. With bed-hair. And matching goofy grins." Tony lets go of Tim and starts pacing again. "And Gibbs didn't slap me and Kate giggled like a schoolgirl. It finally happened."
It takes another few seconds for Tim to catch up, and then- "No. No, they wouldn't... they wouldn't, would they?"
"Not only would they, McProbious, but they have. I'm telling you, it's a done deal. Kate and Gibbs have been doing the horizontal cha-cha-cha. The naked mambo. The full body contact tango."
"Oh God, just... don't." Somehow, it's so much worse when Tony is using dancing metaphors.
"Making whoopee! Gettin' jiggy wit it!"
No, scratch that, the change from dance metaphors makes exactly nothing better. "Okay, okay, I get the picture."
"A bit of the old in-out, in-out!"
"I'm begging you, please stop."
Tony looks at him, breathless, like for a second he'd forgotten he wasn't on his own. Then, once he's gathered himself together, he grabs Tim's shoulders again and gives him a serious look. "Okay. When we get back out there, be cool, all right?"
Tim resists the urge to roll his eyes, but it's a near thing. "Tony, I'm not the one using the worst selection of sex metaphors known to man. You're the one who needs to be cool. Especially since this is all just speculation."
"You saying I'm wrong, McDoubter?"
"I'm saying... let's wait and see."
"Betcha ten bucks I'm right."
"If I agree to a bet, will you quit using horrible euphemisms? Kate will kill you for that, and I don't wanna get caught in the crossfire. And can we go back upstairs so I can finish my tracking program?"
Tony frowns, makes a big show of thinking about it. "Yeah, yeah, okay." He slaps the emergency brake, and the elevator starts to move again. "No more horrible euphemisms." He grins mischievously as the doors open and continues in a lower voice, "I'll just ask straight out if she and Gibbs are shagging."
Tony's too fast and Tim's too surprised - Tony's gone before Tim has a chance to stop him. Tim groans. He just hopes Kate will make their deaths quick and merciful when the time comes.
~ fin ~