"Kate..." Tony didn't expect to find the other agent here so late, or early. He was use to an empty office these mornings, when he snuck in early.
"What?" Kate didn't look up, but even in the dim night lighting Tony could see the tear tracks on her face. She was still in yesterdays clothes, so she hadn't been home, although she'd left just before he had the previous evening.
"Is everything okay?" Tony asked, coming to sit on the edge of her desk. Tony knew he baited Kate, but in spite of, or maybe because of that, he loved her like a sister. A really kinda attractive sister, but he had no designs on her like *that*.
"Fine. Why are you here so early?" Kate asked.
"Paperwork. You know Gibbs hates it," Tony shrugged.
"Why do you always do his paperwork?" Kate asked.
Tony shrugged again. "Someone's got to."
"I'm a good profiler you know..." Kate said. "You're a good actor too... but I'm trained to observe and you can't hide how you look at him."
"I'm in love with Abby," Kate said, startling them both.
"I really didn't see that coming," Tony said. Because really, he'd never pegged Kate for being anything less than 100% heterosexual.
Kate laughed, self-depreciating. "Me either."
"Does she know?" Tony asked.
"Does he?" Kate returned.
No on both counts then. Tony chuckled. At least Abby probably wouldn't beat Kate into next year for even suggesting a romantic relationship. Tony frowns at that, he doesn't really think Gibbs would either, but if he tells himself that, it's easier than admitting that the disappointment Gibbs would feel, would send him running for the hills.
"I had dinner with my mom last night, she wants me to meet some nice young man, settle down and have a family. They'd never forgive me if I..." Kate doesn't say it, but Tony knows. If Kate brought home a woman, especially a woman like Abby, her family would never approve.
"Mine never did anyway," Tony shrugged. He'd stopped looking for his family's approval a long time ago. As soon as he'd put his cadets uniform on, he'd been a disappointment, being in love with a man, would just be one more nail in an airtight coffin.
"How do you do it Tony? How do you hide it?" Kate asked.
"You learn," Tony shrugged. "I'm still learning."
"Does it get easier?" Kate asked.
He could lie. Tell her it did, tell her that some days, he could even convince himself he wasn't in love with Gibbs, but he didn't. "No."
Kate snorted. "Brutal honesty."
"You could tell her," Tony suggested. He's not sure, but he's fairly sure Abby is at least, bisexual. And even if she has no interest, she'd never hold it against Kate.
"You could tell him," Kate countered. Tony shakes his head, smiling sadly, not in this life time.
He leans down to kiss the top of Kate's head in a way he's never done before. He won't tell Gibbs and she won't tell Abby. But maybe now, it will be easier for both of them. A burden shared, is a burden halved and knowing that, makes them both feel a little lighter.
When the sun came up and Gibbs arrived with a scowl and a cup of coffee, Tony smiled at Kate over the stack of files split between them. Maybe today they'd both find it a little easier to hide.