Author's Note: Here's the first chapter. Enjoy!!
Kate blinked her eyes but no, that wasn’t helping either. She entered the NCIS bullpen, the first time she was really taking everything in and not just preparing to duke it out for her case. It very spacious. Everything arranged in neatly spaced out cubicles. Desks done in a similar, organized manner. Orderly. Not at all what she would have expected after the deranged manner Gibbs and his team, if you could call a pair a team, had handled their previous case.
She expected, well, she really didn’t know what she expected. Chaotic came to mind. But it was still early, only a few agents scattered here and there. Soon the entire compliment of the agency would be there and then she’ll get to see the real NCIS at work.
She walked over to Gibbs’ section. A wider space with four desks facing each other and two more tucked away at each end. She didn’t spot either Gibbs or DiNozzo. Probably for the best since she wanted to have a moment to take everything in.
Unfortunately it meant taking everything in.
Like the color, orange, everywhere. Even when she turned one way or another, she couldn’t escape. It was just so prominent even with the brief splashes of beige here and there.
“Don’t these people have eyes?” She muttered as she made her way to one of the desks. She’d get used to it, eventually.
She grabbed her purse but hesitated in taking the desk. There were two empty ones. One across from Gibbs’s and the other to his left. Gibbs hadn’t mentioned where she would be sitting. Hadn’t said much of anything after offering her the job. Did that mean she had her pick or was this another one of Gibbs’ little tests? It seemed something he would do. Keeping her on her toes just because he could.
Must be a sentinel thing. She thought, though she had nothing to compare it to. She’d never worked with a sentinel before. In the Secret Service, sentinel/guide teams usually did sweeps and handled the behind the scenes parts of guarding any VIPs. The alpha pairs tended to be assigned to POTUS and VPOTUS. Most never made it to the front lines. Something to do with sensory overload or emphatic blowout.
Kate eyed both of the empty desks. Ideally, the one opposite Gibbs would be perfect. Ideally. But it was already occupied and she doubted DiNozzo would be willing to move or give it up.
There was the one across from Gibbs, but she didn’t like the idea of him keeping such tight taps on her work. Not mention being boxed into a literal corner between Gibbs and DiNozzo, just no. Though the only other choice was not exactly her favorite it was still better than the alternative. But now that she had a moment to look, it was an interesting configuration for a two person team. DiNozzo on one end and Gibbs on the other, opposite each other.
With a sigh, she dropped her purse on the desk across from DiNozzo.
She was unpacking when the elevator pinged. Automatically, Kate glanced over in time to see a tall woman step onto the floor. She didn’t look like she belonged, not with the pencil skirt she was wearing that made Kate wonder how she even walked in that thing.
There was a white blouse with puffed, short sleeves, black buttons done all the way up with which still left the collar exposed and a hint of an impressive cleavage. Long hair in a twist with a flow of curls falling to one side. Lips done in a bright red that matched her heels. Heels that no woman should be able to walk in but she did it with ease of long practice.
Curious despite herself, surely security wouldn’t let just anyone make their way up to the NCIS offices. Especially not since September 11th. The woman carried a backpack over one shoulder - and if that hadn’t required an extensive search she would be looking for a job with the FBI - and an aqua blue cross-body purse in the other. All of them expensive looking and she’d eat her shirt if it wasn’t designer.
She was also coming her way.
Kate stood, ready to ask if she needed anything. First day or not, it was a matter of security and she wasn’t some wet-behind the ears rookie that couldn’t handle one woman. Even if she did look like she’d stepped right off some Paris runway or the cover of Vogue.
The woman came right over but instead of heading for Kate’s desk, she veered off toward DiNozzo’s. She tucked away the backpack in a corner and dropped the purse to the side of the keyboard with an air of familiarity. Kate was just about to comment when the woman sat down, legs crossed on top of the desk and smirked at Kate in a way that was becoming too familiar.
“DiNozzo?” Kate said in incredulous tones.
The first time she’d met the woman, DiNozzo had been wearing ratty jeans, a simple t-shirt with some kind of logo under a black windbreaker. Hair pulled back in a simple ponytail and makeup at a minimal.
Nothing in their brief interactions had hinted that DiNozzo knew the right end of nail polish much less that she owned anything better than jeans that were coming apart at the seams and a collection of baggy t-shirts from every college team in the country.
“Hiya, Todd!” DiNozzo said cheerfully. Amusement sparkling in her green eyes. Or where they blue? Kate couldn’t really tell from that distance.
Caught staring, Kate leaned primly onto her desk. DiNozzo was giving her pantsuit a once over and Kate, despite herself, resisted the urge to run hands over her pants to relieve any wrinkling, straighten her jacket, maybe put on a little gloss. It was hard not to feel underdressed with DiNozzo looking like that. And from the sharp grin DiNozzo sent her way, she knew it too.
“Nice duds.” DiNozzo said, grin stretching over perfect white teeth.
Kate grid her teeth and crossed her arms defensively over her chest. Bad move, she thought after the fact. DiNozzo would take it for what it was, and while her pantsuit wasn’t exactly designer, it certainly wasn’t anything picked up from a Walmart.
“It’s called a suit, DiNozzo. You know, professional attire.” DiNozzo’s smirk turned indolent. It reminded Kate of the look her sister’s cat had given her after she’d ripped apart Kate’s favorite blouse all those years ago.
“Well, Katie, it depends on what kind of profession you want to emulate.” DiNozzo’s eyes went half-mast. She lifted her arms and crossed them under her head. It made her shirt tightened around generously sized breasts and Kate consider investing in a push-up bra.
Kate tightened her lips against a retort that would make her sound all of three years old. Which was just as well since Gibbs chose that moment to emerge from the elevator. A supremely large cup of what she assumed was coffee in his hand.
He rounded on them and Kate dropped her hands, making it look like a casual gesture even though she caught DiNozzo’s smirky smirk thrown in her direction. He took one look at Kate’s face, raised his eyebrows at DiNozzo which made DiNozzo wipe the smirk off her face.
Kate couldn’t help a mean smile in return. Which she wiped off her face when Gibbs turned to her. She had to hand it to Gibbs, he certainly had a look that could freeze helium.
“Getting settled in, Agent Todd?” Gibbs took a sip of his coffee and made his way to his desk while Kate shot a triumphant look at DiNozzo before taking her seat. Petty, maybe, childish, definitely but she wasn’t about to go belly up for anyone, least of all someone who felt the need to dress up just so she could intimate the newest member of the team. And if Kate went to the ladies room and added a bit more blush and eyeshadow, well, it was certainly no one else’s business by hers.
DiNozzo got to work, or did something that required her to stare at her computer screen for hours at a time. Gibbs squinted at the mounts of paperwork on his desk.
Since he hadn’t said anything about her choice of desk, Kate unpacked. She set up her voicemail and read through some of the handouts the woman at HR gave her. Ignored the various pieces of paper DiNozzo threw at her or the way she flirted with anything that passed their section of the bullpen. Or the glances Gibbs threw DiNozzo’s way when she wasn’t paying attention.
She just worked on getting her paperwork in order. There wasn’t a lot of it. Most had already been taken care of. By Gibbs, she assumed. But it was tedious work since everything had to be filled out by hand.
She considered who was going to be her next of kin. At the SS she had her sister, since she was better at dealing with bad news than her parents. She went with that. The same with emergency numbers and so on.
So focused she was that she didn’t hear or see anyone come and go. The elevator rang a lot but that too she was able to tune out. Eventually her stomach let her know that while she’d had a decent breakfast, it wasn’t nearly enough to keep her going all day.
She raised her head, about to ask DiNozzo if she wanted to join her for lunch. She may not be a fan, but she figured if she was going to be working with her, might as well try to get along. Or an approximation of it. Except that when she looked over, DiNozzo was no longer at her desk and her purse was missing. She glanced over at Gibbs’s and he was also gone.
Great way to start a new job, Todd. Gibbs would no doubt have something to say about not paying attention to her surroundings. DiNozzo was going to have a field day.
She checked her cel, no messages. Her desk, but there wasn’t anything either, not even a post it mocking her about not noticing two people leaving their desks right under her nose. Which if she missed Gibbs placing something on her desk, then she really was in trouble.
She checked her watch and started to discover that it was past noon already. So no company, wouldn’t be the first time she’d eaten alone. For a moment she considered calling Abby, but then decided against it. She was a big girl. She could eat lunch by herself.
She checked her cel one last time. Nothing. Whatever. She grabbed her purse and made her way out of the building. A lot of foot traffic, uniforms and suits and people. The lunch rush. Great. She needed to find somewhere that made a decent salad. After watching DiNozzo’s slim but curvy figure, she didn’t feel much like anything greasy.