Title: Momentum
Pairing: McGee/Ziva
Rating: M
Genre: Het
Cat: Angst, Drama, Romance
Spoilers: Takes place during season 7, but I've taken some creative liberties with Ziva's behavior.
Warnings: Sex (non-graphic).
Summary: The past months had shut her down, emotionally and physically, and suddenly, she felt awake, refreshed, as though she had been sleepwalking through life since her return.
Author's Note: Inspired by the Vienna Teng song "Momentum." Google it & give it a listen; it really adds to the feeling of the story. :) Also, not really sure how I feel about this. It's a bit different from what I normally write, and I think I like it, but I'm not really sure. So, be gentle. ;) LOL.

She wasn't sure what it was that changed her mind about him, flipped the switch inside her mind from co-worker and friend to that elusive something more, but as McGee typed up his report on their latest case, and as he crunched on the last of his Nutter Butters, Ziva found she could not keep her eyes off him.

He was an interesting person, she thought. Everything about his personality seemed to contradict what she would expect from a law enforcement agent, how he was gentle and almost shy, where Tony was loud and boisterous, and Gibbs was gruff and in control at all times. She thought that McGee likely shared that sense of loyalty to family and country that made her join Mossad, and because of that felt a kinship with him.

She did not deny she found him attractive, especially since his recent weight loss. But physical attraction had merely been a nice bonus to working with him every day, and she had never considered something more, something . . . dangerous.

At this point, she didn't care how frowned upon it may have been by Gibbs, how she was risking more than just her position on his team if she went through with her recent thoughts. The past months had shut her down, emotionally and physically, and suddenly, she felt awake, refreshed, as though she had been sleepwalking through life since her return.

And Ziva knew the reason for her sudden change was sitting at his desk, oblivious to her feelings, to how he had saved her just by being himself, and the thought made her smile. She decided she would wait a bit, make certain of just what it is this was, and if her mind did not change, if she found this was more than mere fascination and a return to who she once was . . . she would pursue him.

Weeks passed and the weather grew colder, snow coating the DC area, and Ziva still found herself intrigued. She wished for him to look at her, just look at her and see the change, but she shook her head and smiled to herself at the thought, because as good of an investigator as he was, he sure missed the obvious when it came to women.

It was a Friday and there were only a few weeks until Christmas. And though Ziva didn't traditionally celebrate the holiday, she found herself longing for it this year, for the warmth that came from being with loved ones and the knowledge that she was not alone. She knew she needed to strike now, before she lost her chance, before he found himself with another questionable woman for the holidays.

She had been so caught up in her thoughts she almost missed McGee shutting down his computer and gathering his things to leave for the weekend. She sat up straighter, knowing this was likely her only chance, and said casually, "Say, McGee, did you have plans for the night?"

He turned to look at her, mildly surprised. "Not really, no. Why?"

"I . . . would like to have a talk with you," she said, hoping he would get the hint and agree to the conversation. "Somewhere a little more . . . private."

He raised an eyebrow at her, but nodded. "Okay, yeah. Sure. Uh, I gotta go pick Jethro up and take him out for a walk, but that shouldn't take more than half an hour. You got a place in mind?"

"There is a bar that serves food about a block from my apartment building," Ziva said. "I have been meaning to check it out, but have not had the opportunity." Which was a lie. She had not been doing anything to keep her from having dinner, or a few drinks, after work, but there was no reason for her to go out. Not until now.

He nodded at her. "Sounds good. Meet you there about 7, 7:30?"

Ziva echoed his nod and smiled, and when he smiled back, and she felt a twist of warmth in her stomach, she knew she made the right decision.

Ziva stepped into the dark bar, glancing around at the neon signs behind the bar and the small crowd of people scattered on barstools or in booths, at tables, in laughing groups or intimate pairs. Her gaze fell on a young couple across the room, the man's arm draped possessively over the woman's shoulders as he whispered in her ear and she smiled at his words. She swallowed and turned her eyes away, the hope rising into her throat almost too much for her to handle.

A touch to her shoulder shocked her and she jumped, as the person now standing next to her laughed. "Sorry if I scared you," McGee said, and Ziva let out the breath she'd sucked in and smiled at him.

"No, I was lost in thought. Not your fault at all." They stood there for a few more moments, until Ziva took the initiative, grabbing McGee's hand and directing him to a quiet booth in a far corner.

"Trying to get me alone, David?" McGee asked, his tone joking, but she slowed her pace and he turned to look at her. "Ziva?"

She released his hand and slid onto one of the wooden benches, waiting for McGee to sit down across from her before speaking. "I did say I wanted to talk with you," she said softly, lifting her gaze to meet his and finding him looking surprised.

"Ziva, I just . . . I had no idea."

She smiled, feeling the shy giddiness that came with the potential of a new romance. "It was only fairly recently it had crossed my mind, to be honest." She rested her forearms on the table, toying with the salt shaker with one hand, not really meeting his eyes. "I have always found you attractive, McGee, but I was not willing to risk the wrath of Gibbs to actually pursue something."

McGee reached out a hand, touching her wrist, and she looked up, finding him giving her a warm look. His expression immediately put her at ease and her smile grew. "There. That's better. I'm not a scary guy."

Ziva rolled her eyes. "I do know that . . . Timothy." The expression in his eyes changed then, and Ziva knew that even if he said otherwise, he felt the same. They shared a silent moment, their eyes doing all the talking, until they were interrupted by a waitress.

"What can I get you two tonight? Some drinks to start off?" she asked, and Ziva slid her hand back to rest on her lap as she looked up to the waitress.

"I will have a mojito," she said, then looked to McGee, who met her gaze briefly before turning to the waitress.

"Miller Lite," he said, and the waitress scribbled it down before turning her attention to them both again.

"Are you interested in seeing a menu?"

"What are your specials?" Ziva asked, more interested in getting back to her conversation with McGee, but knowing they should eat something at the same time.

As the waitress rattled off the specials for the night, Ziva tried to concentrate on what she would say next, how she would be able to convince him of what she needed, as soon as possible.

They each ordered a wrap – chicken for Ziva, steak for McGee – and an order of steak fries to split, and the waitress left, returning them to their conversation . . . which didn't start for another moment or two, when McGee finally spoke, asking the question they were both thinking.

"What do you want, Ziva?"

She held his gaze, then said, "Honestly? I am not sure. I just want . . . you."

Silence fell again as a variety of emotions passed over McGee's face. She knew he was confused, surprised, possibly shocked or upset, hopefully happy. And she knew this would take some time to process, so she knew she should not expect. . .

"I want you, too," he said, and Ziva blinked, making sure she heard him right. She started to smile, but then he reached over, laying a hand on hers as he continued. "But I need to know, Ziva. I need to know I'm not a consolation prize, something you only want because you can't get what you really want. Because I won't settle for being second best."

Ziva just stared at him. She knew this could have happened, but to have him actually say it. . . She shook her head. "You're not," she said, her voice barely audible, especially over the din of a busy bar on a Friday night. "I know that. And I would not risk. . ." She trailed off, dipping her head as her emotions overcame her, and she felt McGee squeeze her hand.

"I know," he said, his voice quiet. She looked up and let out a breath as he gave her a crooked smile. "I'm not very good at this kind of stuff, though, so. . ." He trailed off as Ziva shook her head, her eyes earnest.

"Do not sell yourself so short, Timothy," she said, and watched his lips turn up at the use of his full first name. "I don't care about your past attempts at relationships. We all make mistakes." His eyes darkened then, and she knew she should change the subject, because this was heading into territory too raw to be exposed in public. She shook her head. "But the past is the past, and I am ready to move on."

He raised an eyebrow at her, the conversation reminiscent of when she first came back to NCIS after Somalia. "Ziva, if we're going to do this, I don't want you to hide anything from me. Unless you're just interested in. . ."

"No," Ziva said automatically, her eyes clear as she met his gaze. "I do not want something casual, or to use you for sex. You've always been. . ." She sighed and started again. "I trust you, and. . ." She smiled. "I am starting to feel like myself again."

He returned the smile. "I'm glad to hear it."

They sat in companionable silence for a few minutes, interrupted by the waitress bringing them their food. She set the plates before them and the basket of fries between them, then said, "Can I get you another drink?" and nodded to Ziva's nearly empty glass.

"Ah, yes, that would be great," Ziva responded, then looked over to McGee, who shrugged.

"Sure, I'll have another beer," he said, and Ziva smiled to herself.

The waitress nodded and headed back to the bar, and McGee rubbed his hands together as he prepared to dive into his food. Ziva laughed at his actions and he grinned, enjoying the sound. It had been too long since she'd laughed and sounded like she meant it, and if he could be the one to make her laugh like that. . .

"Your drinks." The waitress returned shortly, depositing fresh drinks before them, then left just as quickly, leaving McGee and Ziva alone again.

Ziva held up her glass and met McGee's eyes. "To new starts," she said, and McGee nodded, clinking the neck of his bottle against the rim of her glass.

An hour later, Ziva let out a loud laugh as McGee shared a story from a stakeout he'd been on with Tony. They'd finished their food a while ago, and now sat enjoying the warmth that's came from both the alcohol and being in each other's presence.

Ziva finished off her fifth mojito and put down her glass, leaning across the table. "I have an idea," she said, and McGee raised an eyebrow, too buzzed to do anything else. She bit her lip and continued. "I think we should go back to my place."

McGee's eyes widened then, as he was still lucid enough to know that wasn't necessarily a good idea. "Ziva, I don't know. . ."

"Please, Tim," she said, her tone serious. She rested her hands on his and waited for him to meet her gaze before she finished. "I just need to feel alive."

Whatever McGee had expected her to say, that was not it, and he found himself sucking in a deep breath. He held her gaze for a few moments, weighing his options, before nodding. "Okay. Okay. I'll pay the bill and we can get out of here."

Ziva gave him a look. "You don't have to pay for me," she said, and slid to the edge of the booth as McGee stood and held out his hands to help her up.

"I don't mind," he said, grabbing her hands and pulling her up. "Or maybe I will once I see the bill. . ."

Ziva punched him lightly on the chest, then leaned into him, barely able to stand upright from the alcohol she had drunk. "You are not allowed to take it back now that you have said it," she murmured, taking a step forward and feeling McGee's arm tighten around her waist as he held her up.

"It's a good thing you live so close," he said, grinning down at her as she frowned at her inability to walk straight. "We'd be in for a really long walk otherwise."

"I am not that drunk, McGee," Ziva said, pouting as they stopped at the bar. She nuzzled into him as he waved the bartender over and asked to bring up their tab for the night.

"Ziva, stop," he muttered as the bartender grinned at them and handed McGee back his card.

"Have a good night," she said. "Though something tells me you will."

"Yeah, thanks," he said, slipping his card into his wallet and sliding his wallet back into his jeans. Ziva stepped away from him, still holding his hand, and pulled him to the door, and as he stumbled to catch up to her, the thought crossed his mind that this was the last way he expected to end the night.

The walk to Ziva's apartment seemed to take ages, and Ziva shivered, curling into McGee's side as he pushed open the door to her apartment building. "I had forgotten how cold it can get here in the winter," she said, rubbing her hands together and enjoying the warmth inside the building.

"Yeah, well, it's nice and warm in here," McGee responded, pulling her with him as he headed for the elevator. "Come on, let's get up to your apartment."

Ziva laughed softly. "Now who's trying to get who alone?"

He echoed her laugh, though it wasn't as sure as hers. The logical part of his brain was still working overtime, wondering if this was a good idea, because the last thing he wanted to do, the absolute last thing, was to hurt Ziva. Not that he would do that intentionally, ever, but he was just . . . not so good at this kind of thing.

A soft slap to his cheek made him look down, and Ziva was smirking up at him. "You are thinking again."

He frowned. "Yeah. That's what I do."

Ziva's expression changed, and she became serious. "Sometimes it is best to not think and just listen to instinct."

He studied her for a moment before responding. "Kinda like Gibbs' gut?"

She smiled a bit and glanced down, to where their hands were still joined. "Something like that." The elevator door opened and she stepped forward, McGee following a second behind.

"This is weird," McGee admitted, and Ziva tilted her head toward him, signaling him to continue. He shrugged a shoulder. "In a matter of hours, we've gone from co-workers and friends to . . . this. I can't say I predicted any of this when I came into work this morning."

Ziva smiled softly. "I did." He turned to look at her in surprise and she continued. "I have put a lot of thought into this, Timothy. I would not have pursued you if I were not sure."

McGee nodded at her words, considering them. They put him at ease, a bit, but still, he was reserved. He cared about her so much, he was worried he would do something to damage their relationship forever.

Ziva sensed his hesitance and squeezed his hand, causing him to look down at her. "Stop worrying, Tim. Everything will be fine. I promise."

The elevator doors opened and Ziva stepped out, waiting for McGee to join her before walking to her apartment. As she was unlocking the door, the feeling of arms wrapping around her midsection made her gasp and she looked over her shoulder at McGee, who was grinning down at her.

"Just go with it, right?" he said, and the smile Ziva gave him lit up her face.

"Precisely," she said, turning the knob and pushing the door open, then stepping inside, McGee's arms still wrapped around her. She found herself trying to ignore the fluttering in her stomach, telling herself it was just his fingers tickling her sensitive skin, but she knew that was a lie. There was a reason she was attracted to him, had allowed him to break through the barriers she'd put up, and she couldn't help but think of how cared for she felt when she was with him.

The sound of the door closing broke her from her thoughts and she turned in McGee's arms, looking up at him. From how he was looking at her, she knew her emotions must be written all over her face, but for once, she didn't mind. She was ready to be completely honest with someone, and she knew she could tell him everything, if she wanted.

"We gonna stand here all night or what?" McGee asked, and she smiled, placing a hand on his chest.

"That depends," she said, and he raised his eyebrows. "What else did you have in mind?"

He shrugged. "You're the one who wanted me to come home with you, remember? Your call, Ziva."

"A gentleman, just as I suspected," she said, and shivered as McGee's hands stretched over her back. "I would like to take things slow."

"Inviting me home with you is taking things slow?" McGee asked before he could stop himself, and Ziva narrowed her eyes at him. "Sorry."

"Now that we are here," Ziva adjusted, "I would like to take things slow." She smiled at him. "Is that acceptable?"

"I think I can handle that."

Ziva felt his hands drawing her closer and her heartbeat escalating as she realized he was about to kiss her, and she parted her lips slightly and closed her eyes, waiting.

McGee licked his lips as he stared down at Ziva's face, how innocent and peaceful she looked, waiting for him to make his move and kiss her. It was amazing to him, how she could be both so hardened and so fragile at the same time, but it was part of what made her so intriguing to him. She was a study in contradictions, and he knew that was something they had in common, though in different ways.

He'd been staring at her so long he almost didn't even register it when Ziva's eyes flicked open and she took matters into her own hands, bringing a hand up to pull his head down and press her lips to his. When McGee came to his senses, he put his rational side away and listened to his heart, returning the kiss deeply.

They kissed for a few minutes before Ziva pulled away, and McGee's eyes widened before he looked down at her in curiosity. Ziva smirked. "Let us go somewhere more . . . comfortable. You said yourself you did not want to stand here all night." McGee found himself unable to do more than nod his agreement, and Ziva hid a smile as she pulled him with her to the couch, waiting for him to sit before settling beside him, curling into his side. "I could tell you everything, Timothy," she murmured as she ran her hand over the buttons on his shirt.

McGee frowned slightly, more out of curiosity than anything else, and said, "Like what?"

Ziva sighed and pressed her palm to his chest. "Another time."

He nodded, realizing that the alcohol had lowered the barriers she usually had raised, and he was seeing a side to her most people never saw. He curled his arm around her and she looked up at him, a soft smile on her face. Her words from earlier came rushing back to him then, the implications that tonight, and every night from here on out, was about more than sex, physical comfort; it was about intimacy, being able to reveal who she was to someone other than just a diary or herself.

Ziva let the buzz of the alcohol take over again and giggled lightly, lifting her mouth to McGee's ear. "You are a good kisser," she whispered, pressing herself against his side and lifting a leg to straddle one of his thighs, grinding herself against him as she did so.

"I thought we were taking things slow," McGee muttered, shifting himself to adjust for his quickly tightening jeans.

"Are you planning on finishing quickly?" Ziva teased, nipping at his jawline.

"That's not what I meant," he said, glancing at her and finding her giving him a goofy smile. He laughed to himself. "Ziva, you're drunk."

"That does not mean I do not know what I want, Timothy," she said, dropping light kisses all over the side of his face. "And I already told you I want you. I have waited long enough."

McGee let out a deep breath. He wanted her, too, had wanted her for a long time, and for this to happen so quickly. . . "Okay. But don't rush me, okay? I want to be able to remember every moment." Ziva froze against him then and he frowned, worried he'd done something to change her mind. "Ziva? You okay?"

She took his head in her hands and turned it so he was facing her, then smiled, pressing a kiss to his lips. "Perfect," she whispered as she pulled away, then added, "I will not rush you. I want to remember this, too."

He smiled and kissed her again, then moved to stand, causing Ziva to shuffle off his lap, but he stopped her before she could. "Let me," he said, and put his arms around her, sliding his hands down her back to her butt, and Ziva let out a small gasp as she realized what he had in mind, and wrapped her arms around his neck, resting her head on his shoulder.

As McGee stood, Ziva's legs instinctively wrapped around his waist, and she didn't even need to give him directions to her bedroom as he walked straight to it. Ziva lifted her head to look at him, and she felt as though her heart could explode out of her chest. He was so careful, so loving, and of all the men she'd been with and every sexual encounter, this was by far the most romantic, and the most meaningful.

They stepped into the bedroom and the mood was lightened when McGee laughed, saying, "I'm guessing you weren't expecting company when you left this morning?" He nodded at the bed, where the covers were tossed to the side, as if Ziva had just woken up and left.

"On the contrary," Ziva said. "I had a feeling I would not end up alone tonight."

McGee smiled at her. "You are sure of yourself, that's for sure," he teased her, leaning in to give her another kiss. When he pulled away, he just stared at her for a few moments, before saying, "I still can't believe this is happening."

"Well, I had to make my move before I lost the chance," she responded, and McGee raised an eyebrow at her. "I did not want you taken advantage of by yet another woman who does not deserve you."

"That's sweet, Ziva, but in case you haven't noticed, women aren't exactly beating down my door to be with me." His voice dropped an octave as he continued. "And even if they were, maybe I was just waiting for someone else to give me a hint that she was interested."

As he spoke, Ziva moved one of her hands from behind his neck to his chest, sliding buttons out of their holes until she could touch his bare chest. "How is this for a hint?" she murmured, leaning in to press a kiss to his exposed skin.

He didn't say anything in response, just walked closer to the bed and bent to let Ziva fall to the mattress. She released her hold on him then, never breaking eye contact as he straightened and finished unbuttoning his shirt, removing it and watching as Ziva pushed herself up on her elbows to watch the show. As he started on his belt, he smirked and said, "Gonna join me?"

She gave him a serious look, her eyes lustful. "I thought perhaps you could do the honors," she said, and McGee just nodded, moving closer to the bed, his own clothing forgotten.

He kneeled between her legs, sliding a hand from her right foot up the length of her leg, pausing where her shirt met her pants and lifting her shirt slowly. Ziva raised her arms so he could remove the shirt, still watching him as he slipped the shirt off and tossed it on the floor next to the bed. He trailed his fingertips over her soft, smooth stomach, before landing at the waistband of her pants. He teased the button out of its hole and pulled the zipper down, spreading the fly open and letting his hands dip inside, listening as Ziva's breaths deepened, but no words were spoken.

He looked back into her eyes as he shifted his hands around to cup her ass and found her focused on his face, her emotions written clear as day on her own. Not simple lust, the look of a woman in the heat of the moment, but so much more than that – a deep trust that defied words, the kind of intimacy he'd never felt with any other woman.

He started to pull her pants down then, slowly, letting his long fingers drag along the backs of her legs until he reached her ankles and the pants dropped from her feet and to the bed. He pushed them off the mattress to join her shirt on the floor and looked back to Ziva, who had her lips slightly parted, as though she was waiting for him to kiss her again.

Not gonna pass up that opportunity, McGee thought to himself as he lowered himself, caressing the side of her face before gently capturing her lips with his. She gave a small sigh of pleasure as the kiss deepened, sliding her hand down his chest and to his pants, where his belt was halfway out of the loops. She pulled the belt the rest of the way out, then fumbled with the button and zipper on his fly, arching up as the kiss grew in intensity. Once she'd succeeded in undoing his pants, she mimicked his earlier actions with her pants, smiling into the kiss. McGee echoed the smile when he realized what she was doing, shaking his butt a little for good measure and eliciting a laugh from Ziva, causing her to break away from him and mock glare up at him.

"Behave yourself, Timothy," she warned, and he narrowed his eyes at her, grinning.

"Or what?" His gaze dropped to her chest, which was slowly rising and falling, then back to her face.

She just gave him a soft smile. "I get dressed."

He rolled his eyes and grinned. "I don't think so, Ziva," he muttered, giving her another quick kiss before sitting up and just looking down at her. "You're so beautiful," he whispered, and Ziva felt the warmth of his words wash over her. "You're beautiful and you deserve to be loved. I'll never know why you chose me, of all people, but I can promise I'll do my best to not make you regret your decision."

His words both filled her with an indescribable sense of peace and broke her heart. Here was this man, so giving and worthy of love, feeling as though he didn't deserve her . . . though she often felt the same about herself. The realization stirred something inside her, and she pulled him down so his face was mere inches from hers.

"It was not much of a decision, Timothy," she murmured. "It was something I knew was right. It was you who brought me back to who I am, to make me feel as though life was worth living. And I have never, even before all . . . the past year, felt as cherished as I do when I am with you. There is something about you," she ran a hand along his face, "how you give your whole heart to every person, so much that there is nothing left for yourself. You are worthy, Tim, of the kind of love you give away to others. I want you to see that."

He closed the space between them, resting his forehead against hers, and closed his eyes, saying, "I will at least try, if you promise me to do the same." When he opened his eyes, he caught the flicker of surprise in her eyes, how he knew her well enough to see the reasons behind her pushing people away. "You might feel like everyone you come in contact with is doomed, but that's no way to look at life. You should be happy, should be able to open up and express yourself, tell someone everything and have someone do the same with you. I know you were raised to not expect you'd be able to fall in love and have a family, but that's changed, and you have chance at a future now. All I know is that I want to be part of it, if you'll have me."

Ziva smiled at his words, the tingles returning to her stomach. "Make love to me," she whispered. "The rest can wait."

He returned her smile and sat up, running his hands up the sides of her abdomen, his fingers crawling to the clasp on the front of her bra and unhooking it. He slid his palms under the soft fabric of the bra, covering her breasts, and nudged the bra aside, letting it fall down Ziva's arms. Only then did he move his hands, revealing her small, firm breasts. He stared for a few moments, then lowered his head to her chest, dropping a gentle kiss between her breasts, causing Ziva to suck in a breath of expectation.

"Perfect," he whispered, as Ziva reached for his boxers, eager to uncover her own prize. McGee pulled away from her chest then, wanting to see the look on her face when he was revealed to her. They made eye contact for a few moments, then Ziva shifted her gaze to his boxers, slipping her fingers inside the waistband and tugging down, letting out a low moan when his member came into view.

He moved to shed the underwear, then crawled closer to her, straddling her stomach. Ziva lifted her gaze to his eyes as one of her hands reached for him, feeling the pulsing heat of his arousal. As she held him, he reached down to tug at her panties, and she raised her hips, making his goal easier to accomplish.

His hands slid along the smooth muscle of her thighs and calves as he removed the delicate undergarment, and he only looked down once he'd tossed the panties aside and ran his hands back up her legs. She felt warm, and seemed more relaxed than he'd seen her in a long time. When McGee looked down into her eyes, he felt entranced. Here was this amazing woman, with so many layers and such depth, and she was baring everything to him – literally and figuratively – in one look.

He felt like he could stay here forever, just soaking in the essence that was Ziva David, learning every inch of her body, every emotion she'd hidden so long.

"Tim." Ziva's voice forced him to focus and he blinked. Ziva's eyes had darkened, and he felt his heart start beating a bit faster at the look on her face. "I am ready."

He leaned down to kiss her, before pushing her legs apart to enter her, and as he sank fully into her, he couldn't help but think how perfect it felt, like their bodies were made to fit together, and he knew – they'd made the right decision.

Hours later, long after they'd exhausted themselves of any sexual activity, Ziva and McGee lay together, McGee's arms wrapped around Ziva's middle as she pressed her back against him. Her breathing had calmed, but he knew she was still awake.


"Yes, Tim," she murmured, her voice sleepy.

"Never mind," he said after hearing her response. "You're tired. It can wait until the morning." He kissed her hair, but didn't make any other motions to release her.

She shifted and turned in his arms so she was facing him. "No, tell me. I can stay awake long enough." She smiled at him and he couldn't help but return the grin.

"You said a bit earlier, and I have no doubt that this is . . . right, but what made you change your mind about me?"

She gave him a sleepy smile. "Who said I changed my mind about you? Perhaps I just realized what should have been obvious all along." She rested a hand against his chest. "Life is too short to not be happy. I am happy with you, and you make me feel at ease. I have had enough drama; I need something easy."

McGee shook his head, letting out a sigh. "But this won't be easy, Ziva. There's Gibbs and his rules and everyone else and. . ."

"We can worry about that later," Ziva murmured, her voice growing sleepy again. "This was what I needed now. I am willing to do whatever it takes to make it last." She snuggled into him. "Stop thinking and go to sleep."

He chuckled at her words, knowing she was right. "Okay, Ziva." He gathered her to him and gave her a possessive squeeze. "I'm so glad you're okay."

Ziva knew from the sudden huskiness of his voice that those were the words he'd been meaning to say to her since they returned from Somalia, and she felt her heartbeat increase and her response to him dry up in her throat. It was impossible to speak in that moment.

Finally, she found her words again and though she didn't say much, it was enough.

"Me too."

And they slept.