Gibbs has no idea how you're supposed to tackle accidentally sleeping with your best friends. He's not sure it's even possible to do it in a tactful way, and tact isn't his strong suit anyhow. Making them both a good cup of coffee (and reluctantly adding the sweetener and milk Kate still insists on using except when she's desperate) is his one concession, then he gets straight down to brass tacks.
"So, you really enjoyed being with Gillian again."
Kate goes bright red and her eyes go wide.
He strokes her cheek and smiles. "Hey, it's okay."
She blinks a couple of times, shoots him a sceptical look. "Really?
That gets him an expression of disbelief.
He shrugs. This is new ground for him to cover, too, but he's surprised to find he's genuinely okay with it - more than okay. "I, uh-" He ducks his head, embarrassed. "Whole thing was kind of... kind of amazing, actually."
Kate stares at him for a long moment, then lets out a shaky laugh. "It was," she admits. "I thought you might... freak out or something."
He grins. "Yeah, I thought I might." He cocks an eyebrow. "Maybe I will later. But right now, I'm... kinda happy about it."
"Wow." Kate relaxes back into the couch cushions, and shakes her head even as she grins. "I mean, I never thought it was something I'd want until now, but I really never would've imagined you..."
He chuckles. "Honestly sorta surprised m'self."
"Watch your mouth or I'll hafta tie you to my bed."
"Not if I tie you to mine first."
They grin at each other with understanding and relief.
"So... not freaking out?"
Kate shakes her head. "Wow. You know what's weird?"
He shrugs. "All of it?"
She laughs outright. "Well yes, but..." She pauses, looking thoughtful. "It... doesn't seem all that weird. I mean sure, a bit odd, a little unconventional, but it felt... right."
"Maybe 'cause it is."
They sit for a few minutes, drinking their coffee in comfortable silence, and Gibbs only breaks it when Kate grins to herself and goes pink.
"What ya thinking 'bout?"
She squirms. "Um. Just that... when you and Cal-" She blushes more. "It was... really hot watching you go down on him."
She averts her eyes. Embarrassed, but not letting it stop her being honest. "Yeah. I guess it's like me and Gillian. You clearly knew exactly what he'd enjoy." She shrugs. "That was... sexy. Watching him fall apart like that. And, um... knowing it was you who'd done it." A mischievous look up through her eyelashes. "Sort of resurrects the hot little fantasy you killed when you told me you and Fornell had a thing."
He laughs. "Poor Tobias. Not as sexy as Cal, then?"
"If you'd told me when we first met him that I'd be saying this one day, I would've laughed in your face, but yeah, basically. Cal's..." She shrugs. "I guess it turns out I do like him, um... that way. As well as just liking him." She rolls her eyes. "Even when he's working my last nerve."
Gibbs laughs. He understands completely. "Which he does a lot."
"True." She grins. "And so do you."
"Work your last nerve?"
"Well, that too. But you do like him."
He shrugs. "Well, y'know... Lightman, he's..."
"Nosy and talkative and a pain in the ass?"
"Which would usually drive you nuts."
"Which does drive me nuts," he corrects.
"But you like him anyway."
He nods. "Hard not to. He's a likeable guy. Annoying, but likeable."
She gives him a sideways look. "There's liking a guy, then there's sucking on his cock until he falls apart."
He smirks and shrugs a shoulder. "Well... yeah."
"I'm pretty sure kissing him doesn't fall under the regular category of just 'liking' someone, either."
He shrugs again. He mostly kissed Cal because... well 'cause he wanted to, sure, but also because he wanted to see how Cal would react, whether Cal would kiss him back, whether it'd totally freak him out.
Or at least, that's what he told himself at the time. But mostly... yeah, okay, mostly it was because he wanted to. No matter how he slices it, he wanted to, and he wanted Cal to like it, and he was quietly but enormously pleased by the look on Cal's face after. Cal was shocked and at a loss for words and a little confused, but he was also flushed and dark-eyed and turned on. As reactions to a kiss go, it was... satisfying.
Apparently Lightman has gotten under Gibbs' skin way more than Gibbs realised.
Kate studies his face for a long moment, then laughs again. "You really like him," she exclaims in glee. "How did I miss this before?"
He can't actually suppress the grin, and he can tell Kate's watching and enjoying his reaction.
"I knew Cal had a bit of a crush going, I didn't realise you did. It was obvious you had it figured out, and I thought you were being exceptionally sweet about the whole thing-" She pauses for a second. "Look, 'sweet' is not a bad word, Gibbs."
He didn't even realise he was pulling a face. "I don't do sweet."
"Oh, but you do, Jethro," she purrs, then cackles at his reaction. "Sorry, Gibbs, it's too late. I know from experience that there's a very sweet man lurking under all the growling and the head slapping and the 'I'm a Marine, don't screw with my coffee.' You are very sweet."
This time he knows he's expressing his intense distaste for the word. He glares at her, which only makes her laugh even more.
"Should spank you."
She flutters her eyelashes at him. "Promises, promises..."
The low, sultry voice she says it in is well-calculated to burn a hole right through his brain, and he gapes at her.
She looks exceedingly pleased with herself, grinning, her tongue caught in her teeth like she's just barely resisting the temptation to comment on his stunned reaction.
Her grin gets even wider. "You love it."
He can't help laughing. "Yeah."
She reaches up to touch his cheek, and her expression is amusement and delight. "So, obviously I knew you liked me, and now I know you weren't just being sweet about Cal all this time-" she giggles again at the face he pulls "-which leaves Gillian."
"Gillian's..." He wants to say 'nice', and it's true, but it seems like a wholly lacklustre word. Gillian is funny and kind and sweet and wise and a bunch of other good things, and he already counted himself lucky to have her for a friend. 'Nice' is an accurate summary, in that Gillian is undeniably one of the nicest people he's met in his entire life, but at the same time it's just not... enough.
"She is, isn't she?"
He looks up, and Kate's smiling. "I didn't say anything."
She shrugs. "You didn't have to. She's amazing. It's not news to me." She grins wider and with mischief. "Remember, I slept with her before I'd even slept with you. And we talked and we laughed and she was - she is - one of my best friends. I don't need telling she's wonderful. Or that she's unbelievably hot and really great in bed."
Gibbs closes his eyes for a second. The idea of Gillian and Kate has always been... well, guiltily delicious, he can't help it. Seeing them together, having memories of it? He swallows hard. Even if the four of them decide maybe this doesn't work, maybe they don't want it, he doesn't think he's ever gonna get over seeing that. Guh. He's only human, okay?
The thing that really does a number on him, though, is how it wasn't just hot. It was sweet and tender and romantic, and that is a mindfuck. "Uh, yeah," he manages.
She lays her hand on his thigh, and he swallows. This whole thing might kill him, but what a way to go. "Gibbs?"
When he looks at her, she's studying his face, her expression a mixture of concern and hope and uncertainty.
"I think this might... work."
He lets himself just take her in for a few moments, lets himself see and remember and wonder at how beautiful she is, how funny and smart and sexy, how incredible it is to him that she wants to be with him at all. The idea there are two other people who are ready to become an intimate part of his life is ludicrously wonderful.
He smiles slowly, reaches out to wrap his arms around her and pull her in against his chest. She giggles and snuggles in.
"Know what, Katie?" He presses his face into her hair and breathes in deeply. "I think you might be right."
~ fin ~