Title: Delayed

Author: Billyspengrl

Rating: General

Pairing: Tiva

Summary: You'd been in Buffalo for less than four hours when the storm began.

Disclaimer:I own nothing.


You'd been in Buffalo for less than four hours when the storm began. Snow had come down in blankets, covering everything in sight, making the roads hazardous. On the drive to the airport you'd managed to convince Ziva to sit up front and let you share the back with McGee. Your weak stomach can't handle Gibbs' driving on dry roads let alone on snowy ones.

Now, three hours after arriving at the airport, the four of you are sitting at your gate waiting for the delay on your flight to expire so you can head home. It's getting late and even though the snow has started to ease up outside, the damage has been done. The last report you heard stated that over twenty-six inches of packed snow was now on the ground. Ziva, the most experienced traveler of your little entourage, is stretched out across the seats beside you, her coat balled up between her head and the pillow she created out of you knee, your coat draped over her. She's snoring softly and you've reread the same page of your new issue of GSM at least four times. Gibbs and McGee had disappeared over half an hour ago and as you look down at Ziva's sleeping form, you're secretly glad to have a few moments alone with her.

Trips like these are the ones that, recently, you don't look forward to. Lately, these out of state adventures have mostly been just you and Ziva and when you'd learned that Gibbs and McGee were also joining you on this case, you were disappointed. You hadn't realized how attached you'd become to your partner. You've both been very careful at work, keeping the glances and much-to-personal touches to a bare minimum while keeping up your usual banter and teasing. But when you're alone, at her place or yours, none of that matters. It doesn't matter that she's your partner, it doesn't matter that Gibbs has rules, all that matters is that you've both managed to let your walls down enough to let each other in. You've rarely spent a night apart since November and this trip, just one night of not being able to sleep beside her, has made you crazy.

You're in the middle of the fifth read-thru of the same GSM article when Gibbs and McGee return. McGee pays no attention to you or Ziva but when you take the coffee Gibbs offers you, he gives you a questioning look. He doesn't ask so you don't say anything as he sits down opposite you.

McGee is playing a game on his iPhone and Gibbs is reading the paper when Ziva starts muttering things in Hebrew. She's still asleep when you glance down at her and you aren't surprised, she talks in her sleep more than she likes to admit. You try to ignore her, knowing that McGee is doing the same, when she says your name. You wince slightly, knowing from the tone of her voice that the dream she's having isn't pleasant. Gibbs gives you that look again and you think briefly about waking her, but she suddenly sits up, cursing in Hebrew and looking around wildly. She was breathing hard and her hair is a mess around her. You reach out to her but she flinches away, standing up and moving away from you. You move to follow her when Gibbs stops you, wordless telling McGee to go instead. When they've disappeared into the crowded concourse, you sit back down.

Gibbs is giving you that same look and you know that its no use, you might as well get it over with and tell him everything before he finds out some other way and you and Ziva both lose your jobs.

"She keeps having the same nightmare over and over," you say quietly, "Dreaming that we're still in Somalia, that none of us survived. Three or four days a week she wakes up screaming, thrashing around. She's decked me on more than one occasion and I'm surprised I haven't gotten a black eye yet. It's not easy to watch but she won't let me help her. She won't tell me more than that. Most of the time she pretends it didn't happen, just rolls over and goes back to sleep."

"How long?" he asks.

"The nightmares? Since we came back from Africa if I had to guess. And us? Well, Thanksgiving is a good place to start," you tell him.

He is still giving you that look and you're know what he's thinking so you might as well just continue.

"Look Gibbs, I know that we're breaking the rules but I also know that the rules are there to make us better agents, better people. And honestly, I can't be a better person than I am when I with her."

Gibbs is still staring and you sigh, frustrated.

"Will you please say something? If you're going to yell at me, just do it because I can't handle this right now."

"I'm not gonna yell at you, DiNozzo," he says, "I'm just glad that you pulled your head out of your ass before she left for good."

You should've seen that coming because you've known all along that Gibbs is a romantic at heart. The man has been married three times.

McGee and Ziva choose that moment to return, the former sitting beside Gibbs and the later resuming her position at your side.

The four of you remain quiet for a long time. McGee has reattached himself to his cell phone and you've reopened your magazine (you aren't really reading it), but Ziva is sitting stiffly beside you, staring off into the distance. Gibbs has opened the newspaper again and even though you're pretty sure he isn't reading it, you take the opportunity it provides and slide your arm around Ziva's shoulders. She doesn't immediately relax into you but when you squeeze her a little, she eases back, resting against your chest and she closes her eyes.

You will be incredibly happy when this trip is over and you are back in DC. It feels as if a small weight has been lifted from your shoulders now that Gibbs knows about your relationship. The only problem is that you now have to tell Ziva that you're the one who broke the promise you made not to tell anyone until you'd both agreed it was time. But she would forgive you because you didn't have a choice, because she understood how Gibbs worked. She would forgive you because she loves you. At least, that's what you are hoping when the announcement over the PA systems tells you that your flight is now boarding.

End part 1.