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when the past comes back

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They shouldn't have been hiding out. Especially when it was all hands on deck upstairs in the squad room.

But when they found out who exactly was targeting Gibbs, but also all of them, there was a flurry of talking at once which turned into an argument on how to handle it..and Nick used the chance to grab Ellie and escape for a moment. He brought her to the first place he could think of that none of them would check, the evidence locker.

Ellie didn't say a word all the way down, not until he led her deep inside the locker to a table in the back. Nick jumped up onto the table, his legs dangling while she started to pace.

When they got the name, and proof that they weren't wrong, Ellie immediately turned pale and every eye turned to her. Nick had noticed her hands shake as her fingers started tapping against her leg in anxiety. He knew he had to get her away from them, give her a moment to process it in that big brain of hers and let her anxiety settle a bit, something that had developed after the shooting at Christmas (he wasn't even sure Gibbs and McGee had noticed it).

"Are we sure?" She said, chewing at her bottom lip. Nick reached for a stray pencil that someone had left on the table next to one of the boxes stacked on it. He held it out without saying anything but Ellie snatched it and immediately started tapping it against the palm of her hand. She always needed to do something with her hands when her anxiety started rising. He remembered the first time he noticed it, reminding him of the way he would fidget his fingers when anxious.


She sighed, rubbing at her eyes. "I just- Jake may not be the same person I knew when we got married years ago but- this?"

"Ellie-" Nick said softly. "What even happened?"

"He cheated." Ellie said, so low he barely heard it. "When I started at NCIS I tried hard to keep things good between us but there was a lot we couldn't share with each other anymore- it put a strain on our marriage and honestly..I changed from who I was when at the NSA, we no longer fit."

"Doesn't give him an excuse to cheat." Nick grumbled.

She nodded in agreement. "I know- at first I blamed it on myself but I stopped thinking that way a long time ago. You know he really tried apologizing?" Ellie scoffed. "Used those stupid lines like he didn't mean for it to happen."

Nick clenched his hands on his knees. "Can I punch him before we arrest him?"

A laugh tumbled out from her lips. "Only if I can kick him too."

"Deal." He said with a grin. "Why do you think he's doing this? First his target is Gibbs..and now he's going after all of us, even me who he's never even met."

Ellie's jaw clenched at his 'even me'. How dare he go after Nick of all people, Nick who had been there for her from day one even if it was just sneakily grabbing a snack from the vending machine and placing it on her desk when he thought she wasn't looking when she was stressed.

"When we got divorced..a friend from the NSA told me he got downgraded, then our mutual friends at the NSA found out and they cut him off-"

"So he lost you, friends, his paycheck-"

"His family was angry too, I got plenty of calls from his mom and fruit baskets from his other family members to let me know they didn't blame me."

"-and the respect of his family, but why go after all of us and Gibbs first? Why not just you?"

Ellie spun around to face him. "Because Gibbs is the one who started it all. He got me the job as the NCIS/NSA liaison, and then asked me if I wanted to officially join NCIS and be part of the team. It was what started it all-"

"So he's putting all the blame on Gibbs, and us?"

"He may only know Gibbs and McGee, but he must have been watching for who knows how long, not to mention he knows no matter who joined the team..I'd be close to them, Tony became my why not whoever else joined?"

"..And if he's been watching-" Nick sighed.

"Then you'd be one of his top targets." Ellie breathed the words out, fear and anxiety spiking in her eyes along with other emotions he didn't like seeing. Neither of them said out loud why Nick would be one of his top targets.

Nick reached into his jacket and took out his candy bar, handing it to her. Ellie took it with shaking hands and opened it, hopping onto the table beside him as she chewed.

"He's hired people." Ellie whispered after swallowing a bite. "If it was just him I wouldn't worry because I know you can handle him but-"

Nick grabbed her free hand, threading his fingers between hers. Ellie relaxed slightly at the touch. "Gibbs won't be letting any of us go anywhere alone."

"Thanks." Ellie mumbled, leaning against him. "For bringing me down here and away from the chaos.."

"Anytime Ellie."

"I'm holding you to that."

Nick's lips lifted. "When have I ever let you down?"

" painting party?"

He scoffed. "I stand by that being a ploy just to see me shirtless."

"You're an idiot."

She didn't deny it he thought with a grin.

Nick wanted to do more than punch the bastard a few days later.

They were all running on no sleep unless you counted the very short naps each of them had in Jack's office at some point, and now he had to deal with this, he so wasn't in the damn mood for this crap.

He let out a mumbled 'fuck' as he ran.

They had found two locations and had split up to check them out, but just their luck, his and Ellie's had quickly turned into an ambush. It didn't take long for them to get separated especially when their supposed escape route led them to some secret underground tunnels. Which meant their phones wouldn't work, so not only did they not have contact with each other but to call for help.

And Nick had run out of ammo.

Which was why he was running, he may be reckless at times but even he wasn't stupid enough to think he'd make it against four guys who had their own guns. Sure he had a knife, but everyone knew you didn't bring a knife to a gunfight.

He needed to find Ellie. Find Ellie and somehow get the hell out.

Nick turned another corner and stopped dead.

Jake stood not far from him smiling.

"Don't worry..I called them off."

"I'd say it was nice meeting you but my new year's resolution was to be honest."

Jake chuckled. "Must be hard when you've been lying all your life."

"What the hell do you know about my life you bastard?" Nick spat, anger curling around his words.

"I've always been good with research..something Ellie and I have in common."

"You can take your research and shove it up your ass, you don't know anything."

Jake smirked, Nick thought it looked completely wrong on his face. "I know plenty. Your dad leaving, all the trouble you got into at school, stealing with your troublemaker friends, sneaking out to parties, many lies that built up over the years, it's no surprise you got into a job where lying is what kept you alive."

"You know being a stalker isn't an attractive quality." Nick snapped, tempted to take his knife and throw it at Jake, preferably landing it right into his throat to make him shut the hell up.

"I wonder..does Ellie know everything about your past?"

"Go fuck yourself." Nick said through clenched teeth.

"And that temper." Jake made a 'tsk' noise. "Who's to say you won't hurt her one day?"

Nick gripped his knife, seconds from throwing it, Jake's hand went for his gun, right as suddenly Jake jerked and shouted in pain, falling against the wall.

Ellie stood there, having come up behind him in the dark. Anger clear on her face. Nick realized she must have kicked his leg from behind..and really hard if the pain on Jake's face was any indication. Nick grinned. That was his girl.

"You're the one that hurt me Jake, Nick is a better person than you ever were." Ellie grabbed Jake's shirt and forcefully lifted him up off the ground, shoving him back against the wall.

Nick rushed over and yanked the gun from him. Ellie roughly cuffed him but turned to Nick with a grin. "Didn't you want to do something?"

"Yeah..yeah I did." Nick smirked and seconds later Jake's pained shout rang through the tunnel.

Nick sighed in satisfaction and shook his hand. "Damn that felt good."

Ellie scoffed out a laugh smiling. Jake tried talking but groaned in pain instead, blood pouring from his nose.

"What about his guys?"

"Taken care of, I was able to change the frequency on one of their stat phones to contact McGee. In fact he and Gibbs should be down here in a few seconds."

Nick grinned at her. "Have I told you lately how much I love that brain of yours?"

Ellie laughed. "Last week, when I figured out how to work your new coffee maker."

"Well I'm reminding you again then."

"Disgusting." Jake said with a sneer..or the best he could at that moment.

"I hope you choke on your own blood." Nick snapped back.

Ellie made a face at the thought.

Darkness had fallen on the quiet empty squad room, Nick and Ellie being the last one's there as they had more paperwork to fill out.

"Hey Ellie-"

"Don't." They stood facing each the same spot they were in only a short while ago.

You would have asked the same questions!

No...I wouldn't.

"There's no need Nick." She said with a smile.

"But the things I know you heard Jake say-"

"I don't care what he said."

Nick breathed out deeply. "Why? There's a lot you don't know-"

Ellie stepped closer, her hands coming to rest on his chest. "So I'll find out when you're ready to tell me, but I know enough to know you'll still be the same Nick."

"And how do you know that?" He asked, positive she could feel his heart racing.

"I have faith in you."

He swallowed roughly. They had vaguely talked about their sort of fight, Nick believing she didn't have faith in him, so to hear her say those words..

Ellie slowly leaned forward, Nick followed.

Their lips brushed and Nick felt the surge of want go through him. He had wanted this for so long. He grabbed her waist and took charge of the kiss, Ellie wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing herself completely against him. A simple kiss, and now they were full on making out in the middle of the squad room.

Ellie moaned into his mouth as his hands traveled down to grip her ass.

"Nick-" She said breathlessly as she pulled away. "We have to stop."

He groaned but knew she was right, no matter how much he wanted to shove things off her desk and place her on it for a much better purpose than work.

"Come back to mine?" Ellie asked, fingers playing with the top of his jacket.

Nick grinned. "Do you really need an answer?"

Ellie laughed, sounding so close to a giggle that it made him want to kiss her again.

"Come on lover boy." She teased, holding his hand as they started walking to the elevator.

Neither of them cared that Fred who worked as security at the entrance saw them walking out, Nick's arm around her as he placed kisses along her neck and Ellie giggling like a teenage girl.

Fred only smiled. It was about time.