The news hit her like a punch to the gut. Gibbs and Tim had been captured in Paraguay and Nick had only just made it out. Ellie knew she was attracted to him, she had been for a while, but hearing this news sent her into a tailspin. She had enough to do to help keep her sane during the day, paperwork, search efforts and Delilah. But the night was a different story. That first night, she didn’t leave the office until 10pm but she didn’t go straight home. Instead, she stopped by Nick’s place, picked the lock and let herself in. Stepping inside, Ellie was surrounded by his scent and, as she dropped to her knees, she finally allowed herself to cry.
Once she was all cried out, for now at least, she got up and made her way into the kitchen. She did the few dishes that were in the sink, emptied his fridge of anything that could go bad and took his trash out. She then made her way into his bedroom where she noticed that his laundry hamper was overflowing. Knowing that she probably wouldn't be getting any sleep, Ellie collected up all his laundry and put the first load into the washer. If she wasn’t going to sleep, she could at least help out her friend. As she was cleaning up, she found some of his clothes that, at a sneaky sniff, didn’t smell like they had been worn much but they still smelled like him and on impulse, she put them in her bag.
Two hours later, his place was clean and all his laundry was washed, folded and stacked on top of his dresser. Feeling somewhat better, Ellie left.
The next time she felt like she could take a breath, it was a week later and both Nick and Ellie were beyond exhausted. As acting agent in charge, Ellie had sent everyone home with orders not to be back before 9am and, as they had been doing a lot lately, Nick came back to her place for dinner. Neither one of them wanted to be alone so they stuck together. Nick jumped in the shower while Ellie ordered dinner then she showered before the food arrived. Not thinking, Ellie threw on the first clean clothes she found but it wasn't until she walked out that she realised, too late, that she was wearing Nick’s clothes that she had claimed that night. But, strangely, Nick didn’t say anything about it. He just smiled at her and took their food into the lounge.
This was what they both needed. A hot shower, good food and a couple of beers. Downtime was a rare thing at the moment so it was nice to take advantage of the silence because they didn't know when they’d get it again. Finally, after they had both eaten their fill, Nick turned to face Ellie, “So, are we going to talk about the obvious?” This made Ellie nervous. Neither of them had spoken of her being in his apartment that night and now it was obvious because she was wearing his clothes, “What do you want me to say?” He could see it in her eyes, she was preparing herself for rejection or reprimand so he did what he knew, he took the lead “I know those are my clothes and I know you took them from my place the night of Paraguay. The same night that you picked the lock at my place, cleaned up and did a week’s worth of laundry. I know that, for some reason, you never mentioned it and I know that, for whatever reason, you think I’d be upset about all of that.” He smiled as she frowned “How did you know? When did you work it out?” Nick moved closer until they were touching and took her hands in his “Baby, I knew the second I stepped foot inside my door. I knew the same way I know when you’re around. I just knew. And Ellie, for the record, I will never be upset about you being at my place or about you wearing my clothes. You definitely look better in them than I do” She knew what he meant, with the first part at least. She always knew when he had been in a room or when he was close. It was a subconscious thing, one that she had never had with Jake or Qasim. She smiled as she pulled herself closer to him, wrapping her arms around his middle “I just needed to be close to you. I was so relieved that you were ok but it wasn’t enough and I knew you wouldn’t be home for a while so I did the next best thing I could think of but once I got there, I couldn’t leave. At least not for a while”
They sat there for some time, both lost in their own heads when Nick turned his head, kissed her at her hairline Before softly saying, “I know something else too” The way he said it made her heart race and Ellie had to swallow a couple of times before she could respond, “What's that?” Her voice was almost as soft as his “I know I have more feelings for you than any other woman in my life. I know that I can’t think of a single thing I wouldn’t do for you but most of all, I can’t imagine my life without you in it and I don’t even want to try.” Nick confession made Ellie tear up, she had been hoping he felt something for her but before she could reply, Nick continued, “But I know I’m not the kind of man you need in your life and I accept that.” She tried to cut him off but he kept talking so she did the only thing she could think of, she turned slightly, put a hand on his cheek and, guiding his face to hers, joined their lips in a soft, chaste kiss. Now that she had his attention, she pulled back slightly “You, Nicholas Torres, are exactly the man I need in my life” She wanted to say more but couldn’t and he pulled her back to him in another kiss which he quickly escalated into a fully passionate, teeth and tongue, make out. Ellie had once thought that she would be satisfied with just one kiss but she now knew that once with this man would never be enough. Eventually, the kiss slowed down and they pulled back from each other and Ellie shyly smiled up at him “Once Gibbs and Tim are home and things are back to normal, we’ll talk to Gibbs about rule 12” Nick couldn’t help himself, he dropped another kiss on her lips “Oh you can count on that baby”
Ellie was finally happy again but it was more than that, for the first time in her life, she felt complete. Like her life was falling into place like it was supposed to. She had no idea she could feel like this or what the future held. Their top priority was to find and bring home their missing family members and help to put the family back together but after that, the sky was the limit, and she’d be reaching for it with the man currently falling asleep next to her.