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one of the things

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From the moment they learned about this guy, Nick could feel the anger simmering but growing in his veins. 

Dirtybird, was a real piece of work (a piece of shit really). 

All of it only escalated when he called Ellie a bitch. Nick could feel the anger burn within him but god did he try hard to mask it. When he took off running, Nick wished he could have tackled the asshole to the ground.

He just had to settle for the alternative.

Ellie didn't say a word as Nick handled him more roughly than normal, even accidentally hitting his head on the car when shoving him inside. 

It wasn't Nick's fault the guy was tall. 

Nick thought that would be it..until he and Ellie were tasked with interrogating him. They all knew Ellie was needed, a female of authority who wouldn't crumble under his shit would possibly throw the guy off, and might make him think with a woman he'd get off lightly because according to him women were weak

But while he knew Ellie could take care of herself, he hated the idea of her being in the same room as the creep. 

During it, Nick could feel that anger beneath the surface but he was fine...until the asshole decided to open his mouth.

"I wouldn't expect a bitch like you to understand, women are like toys after to play with but in reality useless."

Nick felt his anger snap.

Ellie felt it coming and she certainly wasn't against it. 

Which is why when Nick jumped up out of his chair, landing a hard punch knocking Dirtybird (she preferred thinking of him as that instead of his real name..the Dirty part was fitting) right out of his chair, she barely reacted. 

Only when Nick went in for a second hit did she leap out of her chair towards him, the same second the interrogation door burst open but it wasn't needed. Ellie put her hand on his arm with a stern but soft 'Nick', and he immediately stopped.

Ellie followed him without a glance to the others. 

Nick didn't go far, just around the hallway corner. He was leaning against the wall hunched over, rubbing his hands over his face. 

"I'd say sorry but I don't regret punching him."

"Good." Nick's head snapped up, Ellie rolled her eyes. "He deserved it in my opinion."

"Shouldn't you be mad at me for punching a suspect and possibly hurting the case?" Nick grumbled. 

Ellie sighed and leaned against the wall beside him. "Probably, but it's kind of hard to be mad when that in there and your general reaction to him, is one of the things I love about you Nick." He looked at her with surprise on his face, eyes a little wider searching hers. Ellie felt her cheeks heat at her words but continued on. "Even with all that confidence and charm with women, you still respect them and you don't tolerate it when other guys don't."

A slow grin formed on his lips, and Ellie's heart raced with what he might say.

But McGee coming around the corner stopped the conversation quickly. 

It wasn't until the case was done along with playing the video game, that it was brought back up again. 

Kasie, eager to get home had already come and gone minutes before, and so they were alone as they walked through the parking lot to their cars. 

"So uh earlier-" Ellie cringed a little. "You said 'one of the things I love about you'..what other things are there?"

"Oh no.." Ellie whined. She could literally hear his smirk. "Nick-"

"My charming personality?"

"My muscles?"

"The way I look shirtless!"

Ellie huffed, walking faster to leave him behind a little, his questions still reaching her ears. Nick only followed after her.

"My ass!"

"How good I am in be-"

"God Nick! Shut up!"

Ellie let out a small squealing noise in surprise as Nick's arms suddenly wrapped around her from behind. "Come on Ellieeeee."

"You're such a pain!"

"Huh..yet you love me."

"I said one of the things I love about you, not I love you!"

"Really? 'Cause you kind of just did-"

She couldn't help but stumble, Nick's arms being the only thing keeping her from falling. She turned her head to get a glimpse of him still attached to her from behind. 

Nick was smiling widely as if Christmas came early. 

Ellie's cheeks warmed.

"If it makes you feel any better-" Nick said in a rough whisper right by her ear, causing a shiver to run down her spine. "I love you too."

Her breath caught in her throat. 

If she was dreaming, she hoped to never wake up.