Title: Come What May: An NCIS Christmas Carol
Fandom: NCIS
Characters: Ziva David, Abby Sciuto, L.J. Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Timothy McGee
Category: Drama, Action, Romance
Genre: Slash
Word Count: (Total) 10,018
Spoilers: The end of Season 6 and all of Season 7.
Summary: Apparently the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future aren't secular. They're willing to take on anyone's troubles and show them the error of their ways. That or Ziva David needs to start eating less pizza before falling asleep.
Rating: R
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: What the hell am I doing posting Zabby NCIS fic the day after I finished posting Taking Chances? Um, well, honestly I kind of forgot about this one. It was written for dogged_by_muses advent calendar and I couldn't post it around until today. Enjoy! I'll post the second part tomorrow, because the whole fic is too long for an LJ post.

Apologies ahead of time for any glaring errors. I wasn't able to round up a beta for this one before the deadline; I did my best, but I am not my own best proofreader. Feel free to point out anything I missed in the comments and I'll edit.


Part Two

When Ziva opened her eyes, Abby was gone, but then so was Tony and the apartment that she had so briefly shared with Abby. Instead, McGee was standing in front of her.

With the back of her hand, Ziva swiped at the tears that had spilled down her cheeks, hoping that he hadn't noticed. Finally she turned back toward him with her arms crossed over her chest.

"If he was not Tony, then you are not Timothy." She said it as flatly as she could, having no wish to show Tim, or whoever this was, how she really felt.

"I am the Ghost of Christmas Present." He hesitated. "Or if you continue to insist on being non-denominational, The Ghost of Screwed Up Situations Present." He shook his head. "It just doesn't seem to have the same ring to it, does it?"

"I do not care what you call yourself," Ziva snapped. "Simply do what you have come here to do, so that I can be done with this."

"Very well then." Tim said, with a slight frown, looking displeased with her. "I'll show you." He waved his hand, and Ziva followed the motion with her eyes.

Ziva didn't recognize the place this time, or, at first, the group of people. It was a living room, not small, but it was made to seem that way with the large group of people that filled it. Ziva identified at least three generations of people in the room, ranging from an older couple who looked to be in their sixties to a group of children that ranged from an infant to middle school aged. There was something familiar about many of them, in the way they moved and looked, but she couldn't quite place it, much to her chagrin.

The familiarity that itched at her was explained a moment later when another person entered the room. Abby's hair was pulled back in her usual pigtails, but she wore less makeup than she did at work. She looked almost too cheerful in the room's cozy lighting and she was mixing easily among the people. They responded to her casual touches on a shoulder, brief pecks on the cheek or half hugs with the slight distraction of familiarity.

This was what a family was supposed to look like, Ziva mused. It was messy and loud, full of motion and not a little bit of chaos, but it was also warm and welcoming, and Abby seemed to fit into it perfectly. This, Ziva realized, was where she had come from and where she ultimately belonged. It was also nothing that she could have ever given her.

"Why did you bring me here?" Ziva demanded, turning to Tim. "She is happy. I can see that she is better off without me. What else do you want me to see?"

But Tim shook his head. "If that's all you see, then you're still missing it. Look closer - at her," he added.

Ziva shifted her attention back to the scene before her, but not before first directing a glare at him.

A young man close to Abby's age or perhaps a little bit older through an arm over Abby's shoulder and pulled her in close to his side. "Whatcha doin' little sis?"

The back of Abby's hand thudded into his stomach. "Trying to walk across the room, you big Oaf." The drawl of an accent in her voice surprised Ziva. She had only ever caught hints of it before, but surrounded by her family the depth of it had returned in full force. She thought she might actually like it. It was rich and full of character, very much like Abby herself.

The man squeezed Abby's shoulders a little bit more tightly. "Mom and Dad are worried about you. Said you haven't been yourself since you got here."

Abby shrugged, rolling her shoulders to throw his embrace off of her. "I'm just tired. They were out of Caf-Pow at the gas station earlier."

"Hey," he nudged her with his elbow. "This is me, Mikey. Mom and Dad might buy that but you can't fool me. Tell me what's really wrong?"

For a moment Ziva could see Abby wavering. Her lip trembled and indecision warred over her features, then she straightened imperceptibly and the stubborn look that Ziva took was so familiar with slipped over her.

"Nothing." Abby said firmly. "Nothing's wrong." Despite her words, however, she pulled him into a tight hug. He hugged her back just as tightly, sensing that she needed it.

Abby's eyes were squeezed tightly shut as she melted into his embrace.

"It's okay if you can't tell me about it," Mikey said quietly into her ear. "But you know I'm here if you need me, right?"

"I know," Abby said, her voice sounding tight and strangled with emotion. She gave him one last squeeze and then let go, stepping back from him. "C''mon. Give me a hand. I brought presents. They're out in the car."

"This is now?" Ziva asked, turning back Tim. "You are showing me Abby celebrating Christmas with her family."

Tim nodded in the smug way that he had when he knew the answer that no one else had arrived at yet. "Celebrating without you - after she invited you to join them."

Abby missed her. In a way, it shouldn't have been a revelation and yet it was. After the way that she had treated Abby, first being forced to leave after Jenny's death and then a second time, leaving Abby to be with Michael, even if it hadn't been entirely voluntarily on her part, she had assumed that Abby wouldn't miss her when she was gone. She had assumed that the invitation to join her family for Christmas had been extended more out of pity than anything else. Abby was nothing if not generous and kind, but she did not wish to be anyone's charity project, not even Abby's.

"I should have said yes," Ziva whispered.

"Yes," Tim said succinctly. "You should have.


When Gibbs appeared it was almost expected. His silence was unnerving but also not unexpected. Tim - the real Timothy - had told her Tony had once called Gibbs a functional mute, and it was true. He never used two words when one would suffice, or even one when a grunt or nod of the head would do the job. At first his reticence had troubled Ziva, but she had grown used to it over the years and now appreciated the calm of his silences, the lack of the need to fill up the space between them with words. He understood her without needing a thousand justifications and explanations.

She also knew by now that like Timothy and Tony before him, this was not the real Gibbs.

"You are here to show me the future, yes?" Ziva asked him, when he said nothing.

This was Gibbs at his most inscrutable and intimidating, and instead of responding he merely held out a hand, index finger extended to point her in the right direction. There was something about him, the set of his mouth or the disapproval in his gaze that made her wish she didn't have to look. Everything in her screamed that this would not be pleasant.

She looked anyway.

Abby was lying in bed facedown, covers pulled up around her shoulders. Ziva recognized the inky black of her hair splayed out of over her pillow and caught the smallest glimpse of the spiderweb tattoo that adorned her neck. How many hours had she spent memorizing that pattern as she watched Abby sleep or tracing it with her tongue in a much more exciting moment? She would recognize it anywhere.

She was so focused on Abby and soaking in every detail of her that it took a moment for her to realize there was someone else in bed with Abby. For one heart stopping moment, she thought it might be her, but before the wonder of that possibility could explode inside her chest and send her heart racing, the figure on the bed shifted. Her moment of hope and excitement died a swift death as a hairy arm was flung over Abby's midsection and the person rolled onto their side enough for Ziva to catch a glimpse of close cropped hair and stubble.

Her heart, which a moment before had been prepared to beat out of her chest, sank like a stone. Knowing that they couldn't see her, Ziva took a step closer to the bed, unable to resist leaning over it to see if she recognized its other occupant. To her relief, she didn't. Somehow it was not better knowing who was sharing Abby's bed. It did not, however, mean that she liked seeing her with someone else any more than she had before.

When the man unexpectedly moved, rubbing at his eyes and sitting up in bed, the covers falling away from his shoulders and into his lap, Ziva jerked back instinctively, forgetting for just that moment that they couldn't see her.

He leaned over Abby, dropping a kiss onto the bare skin of her shoulder visible now that the covers had fallen away, and then tucked her hair behind her ear, brushing it out of the way so that he could see her face. The first thing Ziva noticed was the lack of the small smile that usually curved over Abby's lips even in her sleep. It was a minor detail, but one that felt important to her. If Abby was going to be with this man, with anyone other than her, then as much as Ziva might hate it, she wished to see Abby happy with him, not miserable. Of course, the absence of one small smile didn't mean that she was miserable…

"Happy Birthday, Baby." The man whispered as he snuggled closer to Abby, drawing her further into his embrace as he covered her face with kisses, urging her toward wakefulness.

Ziva's stomach rolled uncomfortably at the scene in front of her but she couldn't seem to turn away from it.

"Are you going to sleep the day away?" He asked, nuzzling into her hair.

Abby gave a grunt that sounded vaguely affirmative and Ziva couldn't help but smile at that. On weekends, deprived of caffeine and free of work, Abby could be remarkably hard to wake, clinging greedily to all of the sleep that she didn't get during the week due to the combination of working long hours and caffeine-induced insomnia.

He laughed too. "C'mon," he cajoled. "That's no way to spend your first birthday as a married woman. In bed, maybe," he said with a teasing grin, "But definitely not asleep."

That prompted a soft snort of laughter and Abby rolled over just enough to face him, reaching out for him without opening her eyes.

"She is married?" Ziva demanded indignantly. It was bad enough to see Abby with someone else, but knowing that she had loved them enough to marry them was worse.

But Gibbs did not answer her question, only stared back at her with a gaze that saw too much. Her hands clenched into fists at her side and only his resemblance to her Gibbs kept her from lashing out at him. The real Gibbs or no, she couldn't bring herself to betray his trust and strike him.

"I have seen enough!" Ziva declared, turning her back on the happy couple in bed, wondering against her will if Abby even thought of her still.

And how had she gotten so involved with a man that she had been willing to marry him all while Ziva remained so close to her at NCIS? Had she been so distant from Abby that she had been unaware of what was going on or had she no longer cared? Ziva couldn't imagine ever not caring about Abby. So much had happened between them, betrayals and failures and yet she still cared. She didn't see how that could change.

"Well, find it, McGoogle! I don't care what it takes."

Tony's voice startled her out of her thoughts and brought her attention back to the scene at hand. It was different than the previous scene and once again it was something she had never seen before, although the people and the place were familiar.

"It's not that easy, Tony. This isn't like last time!" Tim growled, rising out of his seat and actually taking an angery step toward Tony.

Tony responded by instantly rising out of his seat and meeting McGee in the middle, clearly just as irritated as Timothy.

"We shouldn't even be doing this. She isn't part of our team anymore. Vance will have a fit if he finds out and so will McKeon. He was her new team leader."

"You think I care about what McKeon thinks?" Tony countered. "She's my wife. I'm not going to just let her rot out there; I'm going to find out what happened to her and bring her back."

"Ex, Tony. Ex-wife," McGee corrected him flatly. "She made that pretty clear when she transferred to McKeon's team and then resigned."

"Tony is married, also?" Ziva asked, her brow furrowing. "Or rather, divorced, yes?"

But still Gibbs would not respond. He was taking it farther than his usual silences and it was beginning to be unnerving, especially in this familiar place that suddenly seem so very unfamiliar.

"But what does this have to do with me? Abby is married. I understand how that is relevant, although I am not sure why I would not have tried to stop it. But, this? Tony. I do not see how that is relevant." Gibbs only shook his head and gestured back toward McGee and Tony.

"Well, it wasn't exactly her idea to transfer to McKeon's team, was it?" Tony said, sounding bitter and sarcastic.

Tim's expression softened unexpectedly at Tony's words. "Tony," he said, with more gentleness than the Senior Field Agent deserved, "It's not your fault."

"Not my fault? Then who is to blame, McGee? It sure seemed like being married to me was the worst thing that ever happened to her. It was so bad she divorced me and after that she couldn't stand me at all. It got so bad that Gibbs – Gibbs, the one person always on her side - ¬ actually made us choose which one of us got to stay on the team, and she chose to leave. Then she hated it so much with McKeon that she bailed and tried to go back home. How is any of that not my fault?"

"Tony…" McGee tried again.

"What?" Tony taunted. "Can't think of anything to follow that up with, McGee? That's because I'm right!" He paused for a second, and then straightened his shoulders. "Now, since I'm right – as always – let's get back to it. We are going to find her."

"That won't be necessary, DiNozzo." Gibbs voice cut through the air from behind them.

Ziva whirled surprised that he had spoken and even more startled that they could hear him. It took her a moment to realize that it was a second Gibbs stalking past them.

"Uh, Boss," Tony immediately began to try and rectify whatever damage had been done by Gibbs overhearing them. "We were just trying-"

"I know what you were trying to do," Gibbs cut him off. "But I'm telling you it's not necessary." He stopped in front of Tony's desk, and for the first time Ziva noticed how weary he looked. "I know where she is. Got these from Mossad today. Their Director thought we should know." He looked down and away. "Or more likely he wanted to throw it in our face." He set a manila envelope down on Tony's desk, and waited for him to open it.

Slowly Tony picked it up and turned it over. His gaze never left Gibbs as he opened it and pulled out its contents.

"Damn it!" The photos dropped out of Tony's hand and spilled onto his desk. He refocused on Gibbs. "Are you sure this is real?"

Gibbs nodded, once, curtly. "I'm sure."

Tony shook his head and sank limply back into his chair. McGee rose and walked slowly over to Tony's desk. He blanched when he saw the photos.

Ziva stepped closer and realized they were staring at a photo of her. In it, she was sprawled out on a floor, unadorned concrete, it looked like, and lying completely still. Her body – what was visible of it – was covered in contusions, lacerations and bruises. What dominated the photo and drew her eye immediately was the bullet hole squarely in the center of her forehead. There was no way she could have survived it.

"So," Ziva said slowly, turning back to the Ghost behind her. "That is it, yes? That is how I die. It does not seem to be worth much or as if I accomplished anything. Did I even succeed on my mission?" She swallowed and shook her head. "It does not matter." She tilted her head toward the photos. "I will be dead." Ziva directly into Gibbs' eyes. They lacked his usual gentle amusement or knowing certainty, and were instead cold and empty. Ziva faced them without flinching. "I will change this," she declared. "I will."

His features did not shift in the least, and once again, he remained silent.

"It can be changed, can it not?" It wasn't a possibility that Ziva wanted to consider. Surely they would not be so cruel as to show her, her fate without giving her the chance to change it all once she seen it. "Tell me," Ziva said forcefully. "Answer me!"

She reached for him, lunging to catch his arm and force him to answer, whatever that would require, but there was nothing there when her fingers closed around where his arm should be and she lost her balance, falling forward into nothingness.


Ziva jerked up sharply when she hit something solid. It took her a moment to recognize the tightly woven strands under her fingers as carpeting and a moment longer to realize that she was in Tony's apartment lying face down on the floor in the space between Tony's couch and his coffee table.

She pushed herself up onto her knees and tucked her hair behind her ear, getting it out of her face. Wiping the sleep out of her eyes, she glanced blearily around the room. In front of her, the TV still let out its barely audible electronic hiss and the DVD logo bounced lazily across the screen. Turning her head as her memories began to return, Ziva caught sight of Tony sprawled out in the recliner next to the couch. His head lulled back against the seat cushion and his jaw hung open, emitting snores at intermittent intervals.

"Tony," Ziva called out sharply. "Wake up."

"Whazit?" Tony slurred the words together as he lurched into a sitting position and looked around groggily before he located her. "What are you doing on the floor?"

Ziva shook her head. "It does not matter. I have to leave."

He wrinkled his brow and ran his hand through disheveled hair. "I thought you were going to spend the night." He realized how that had sounded and quickly added, "In the guest room. Spend the night in the guest room. Christmas Eve, too late to drive home with lots of drunk drivers on the road and all that."

"No." Ziva said firmly. "I must leave now. I have to catch the next flight to New Orleans."

"What? Why? Did we catch a case? No," Tony dismissed that possibility immediately. "Gibbs would have called. There would have been more growling and me or Timmy would be going with you." His eyes narrowed. "Have you heard from your father recently, Ziva?"

"No," she denied it almost before the question was out of his mouth. When he still looked skeptical, she repeated it. "No. I have not spoken to him in some time – since I left Israel – other than an email to tell him about my resignation. This has nothing to do with my father or Mossad."

"Then what?" Tony asked. "You don't just wake up from a viewing a classic version of A Christmas Carol and demand to go to a city where you don't even know anyone on Christmas Eve. Getting a flight anywhere is practically impossible right now."

"I do not think that is any of your concern." Ziva said stiffly.

"You're my partner. That makes it my concern when you started acting strange. So tell me what's going on and maybe I can help."

Ziva remained stubbornly silent.

"Tell me or I'll tell Gibbs you're acting strange again."

Ziva's eyes narrowed, her expression shifting from stubborn to pissed off. Tony winced, but didn't take back his previous comment. He could be just as stubborn as she could.

"You would not believe me if I told you."

"Try me," Tony prompted her. "You might be surprised."

"What was that movie?" Ziva asked, tilting her head toward the television where the DVD logo still danced languidly across the screen.

Tony mock-gasped, holding a hand to his heart as if shocked. "The 1951 classic remake of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge starring Alastair Reynolds. Just the first part of your Christmas movie education," he waxed on fondly. "There are still so many more classics that we have to catch up on. I was thinking," he continued quickly, "Since you don't have anywhere to be for Christmas and I'm not going home for the holidays, we could make a movie marathon of it tomorrow and order Chinese. What do you say?"

It was obvious that he expected her to say yes, but Ziva had stopped paying attention to him after the first part of his explanation.

"Ziva?" Tony finally realized he had lost her, and snapped his fingers in front of her face to get her attention.

"What?" She demanded with a glare.

"Where did you go?"

"Not here," she said shortly. "Tony, I need to go to New Orleans. Will you help me find a flight? I must go as soon as possible."

"Ziva…"

"Very well then, I will do it myself," Ziva declared, not waiting for him to say anything else, and headed toward the door to let herself out.

"Wait, Ziva, why are you going to New-" Tony bit his own question off mid-sentence as the connection was made in his mind. "Abby," he breathed her name with sudden understanding. Then confusion returned. "But, wait, Ziva! Why?" He caught up with her two quick strides later and grabbed the door before she could shut it behind her. "Did you two have another fight?"

Ziva sighed, and he could see her weighing her desire for his help with her need to get to the task at hand. "Something like that, yes. Will you help me?"

He shook his head. Holiday travel was hell, and Christmas travel was even worse, but this was Ziva, his partner, and she was actually asking for help for a change. Hell or no hell, there was no way he could turn down a request like this, even if he did have no idea what was going on.

"Okay," he said firmly. "You go pack; I'll find you a flight and get you to the airport. Fair enough?"

There was a moment that he thought Ziva was going to plow on without him, but then she nodded her head. "Yes." She hesitated and then added, "Thank you, Tony."

He nodded back. "Yeah, just get going. I'll call you when I have something. Oh," he added as something occurred to him, "And you'd better clear it with Gibbs before you leave. There's no way I'm taking the heat if you leave without clearing it with him!"


Abby jerked straight up in bed at the sound of the loud ringtone in the silence of the house. She fumbled for her cell phone quickly, knowing as she did that she and her brother were the only ones still in the house who would could hear it. It wouldn't bother her parents in the least, but still Abby moved to silence it quickly. She held the now silent, but still ringing phone in her hand as she considered whether or not to answer it.

Even having not heard that particular ringtone in quite some time, Abby had still known immediately who it belonged to – Ziva. Why she would be calling at 1:42 AM in the very early morning hours of the day after Christmas, Abby had no idea. That was what made the decision for her. There was always the possibility that Ziva was calling about something important and case related and there was no way that Abby was going to miss that. Gibbs would be furious.

Just when she had finally decided to answer her phone, however, it stopped ringing and the flashing display announcing Ziva's named dimmed for a final time, returning to its previous dormant state.

Abby bit her lip and considered what to do next. She could call Ziva back. It was the right thing to do, especially if it was case related, and if it wasn't, well Abby wasn't sure how she felt about that since Ziva had turned down her invitation to spend the holidays with her family only a few days before. She wasn't sure exactly what she had been hoping for when she had asked Ziva, but it was something – anything – more than being flatly turned down.

She was just about to hit Ziva's number on speed dial when her phone vibrated in her hand, announcing a text. Quickly, Abby slid it open.

Come to the door.

Abby frowned, puzzled at the text. It was from Ziva, but she already knew that Abby wasn't in D.C. at the moment. And why was she outside Abby's apartment anyway? It just didn't make sense.

Not in DC. With my family in New Orleans, Abby texted back to her.

I know. Was Ziva's succinct reply a moment later.

It left Abby feeling even more confused than Ziva's original text. She started to say something, text her back for clarification when another incoming text shook her phone.

Come outside. Please.

It was the last word that caught Abby's attention and she quickly dropped her phone onto her bed and pulled on the fuzzy robe adorned with the cartoon likeness of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer that her parents had given her hat morning, before snatching up her cell phone and sneaking on tip toe toward the front door.

Making sure it wouldn't lock behind her, Abby slipped outside and immediately winced when her bare feet came into contact with the ice-cold concrete of her parent's porch.

"Ziva?" She blurted her name out incredulously as she saw the figure standing halfway down the driveway. Ignoring her now-frozen feet, Abby fumbled her way down the steps and out into the yard, awkwardly stopping in front of her. She had to reach out and touch her just to prove to herself that this wasn't some figment of her imagination. "What are you doing here? Is everything okay?" The worst possibility occurred to her and Abby blanched. "Is it Tony? Or Timmy? Oh, God! Gibbs?"

"No," Ziva answered quickly. "It is no one. Everyone is fine, Abigail. I promise."

Abby sagged with relief, ignoring the use of her full name, too filled with relief at the moment to question it. "Oh, good." She whispered gratefully. The panic of that momentary thought was quickly replaced by her original uncertainty. "Then what are you doing here?"

It was hard to tell, given that the yard was only illuminated by a faint sliver of the moon and the streetlight out by the road, but Abby thought Ziva blushed faintly.

"You invited me to join your family for Christmas, yes?"

"You said no!" Abby countered.

"I changed my mind." Ziva said simply, and then reached for to take Abby's hand in both of her own. "I am sorry, Abigail. I should have said yes when you first asked me."

Abby tried to focus on what Ziva was saying around the feeling of warmth where both of Ziva's hands were wrapped around her own. "So what changed your mind?" She asked, tucking her free hand under her opposite arm to keep from shivering.

Ziva hesitated and Abby's heart sank. This was the reason their relationship had never developed further, not any lack of feelings between them. Abby knew she loved Ziva and she was fairly certain that Ziva loved her, but Ziva had always been willing to go only so far and no further. It had kept their relationship locked into place and unable to grow for years. Abby had understood the reasons for it before, but now that those reasons were gone, it was hard to understand Ziva's reticence unless she simply wasn't looking for the same thing that Abby was. Which was okay, Abby added to herself, but if that was the case, then she needed to distance herself before her heart got broken into any more little pieces over a certain former Mossad Officer.

"I missed you when you were gone, Abigail," Ziva began. "Very much, and when I thought of how much I missed you now, I realized I would miss you even more in the future. Eventually things would change. You would get married or perhaps I would. People change and move on, grow apart from one another. It is inevitable. But when I thought of that happening to us, I did not like it." Ziva admitted, and reached out to cup Abby's cheek with one hand. "I know that since I have returned to NCIS, I have treated you poorly, and I am sorry for that, but I would like a chance to make it up to you."

"That's why you came down here?" Something occurred to Abby and she bit her lip. "How did you even get down here, over Christmas?"

"Tony helped me to get a flight. I have been trying since last night, but this was the first one I could get a seat on," Ziva admitted.

Abby shook her head. "I still can't believe you just jumped on a plane and came down here."

"I am sorry," Ziva repeated, and then stopped. "No, actually I am not sorry. I wanted to tell you and show you how I felt without waiting for you to come home."

"How-" Abby cleared her throat. Her head was spinning and she was in no way ready for this conversation, still reeling from Ziva's sudden and entirely unexpected appearance. "How do you feel?"

Ziva stepped closer, the leather of her jacket creaking in the silent stillness of the cold night air.

"I know I have never told you directly before, and for that I am sorry, but I thought – I hoped that you knew regardless how I felt. I am sorry if you did not, but that is another thing I wished to change. Abigail, I love you."

"Huh." The snort of laughter that followed it was completely involuntary. Abby couldn't quite believe what she was hearing. It was the worried, almost terrified, look on Ziva's face that brought Abby back down to the moment at hand. "Are you sure?" Risking her heart again, after she had already been disappointed so many times, well it would be worth it if Ziva was certain, but she couldn't take getting her hopes raised one more time for nothing.

Ziva didn't seem to be offended at her question. "I know I have given you many reasons to doubt me in the past, Abigail, but I am very serious. It is the other reason that I came here – to show you that."

Abby shook her head and Ziva's heart sank. Then she laughed again and Ziva felt more confused than before. "Come inside with me?"

"Of course." She hefted her backpack a little bit higher on her shoulder and Abby noticed it for the first time.

"Is that everything?"

"I did not bring much; I was not certain you would want me to stay."

"I do…want you to stay, that is." Abby laced her fingers through Ziva's and tugged her toward the porch. "You can meet my parents in the morning and my brothers." Part of her waited for Ziva to balk, to stop walking and say no. That part was disappointed.

"I would like that very much. Will they be upset that I arrived unannounced?"

"No," Abby said quickly, although they would definitely be surprised. She would just have to explain it to them and make them understand if they had any problems with it. Ziva was worth it and she would make them see that.

She led Ziva through the darkened house, giggling when Ziva stubbed her toe as she went around the corner and let out a harshly whispered curse. Ziva shot her a baleful glance but remained silent until they had shut the door to Abby's room behind them.

There was an awkward moment when Ziva realized there was only one bed in the room and did not want to presume more than Abby was willing to grant, but it passed quickly when Abby grabbed her hand the moment she had dispense of the robe she was wearing and pulled Ziva toward the bed.

Abby sat down blindly and tugged Ziva forward until she was standing between her legs. Standing so close, Ziva couldn't resist sinking a hand into her hair and then leaning down to kiss her slowly. Abby's hands pushed her jacket off her shoulders and Ziva didn't resist, letting it fall to the floor behind them. Then Abby's hands were slipping underneath her t-shirt, cold fingers pressing against warm skin and raising the shirt over her head. Her wrists caught briefly in the sleeves and then slipped free.

Ziva moved forward, straddling Abby's hips and pushed her down onto the bed. With her arms around Ziva's shoulders, Abby pulled Ziva down with her. Ziva couldn't help the smile that tugged over her lips as she moved to kiss Abby again. This – here, in bed with Abby – was where she belonged and she had no intention of letting this slip away from her again, come what may.

(2/2)