DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To cirroco[at]gmail.com
By Cirroco DeSade
"Ms. Stein" the woman behind the counter said. The brunette across the store turned and approached. "I've finished it and I think your friend will be very happy."
Ziva David, currently known as Jessica Stein, took the fairy figurine from the shopkeeper's hand. The young woman had altered at Ziva's request. When the agent had first come into the shop and had seen the fairy, it looked like it was hiding something in its hands. After the alterations, now it truly was hiding something: something Ziva hoped that Abby would like. She gently caressed the silky pouch the shopkeeper had sewn onto the fairy's hand. It really was a beautiful addition.
"You know if your friend doesn't like it, you can always come back to see me." The young redhead said flirtatiously.
Ziva felt herself blush. "If she does not, then perhaps I will take you up on that offer," the brunette answered, fully knowing in her heart she would not.
The redhead grinned prettily and said "Somehow I doubt I'll be seeing you again." To which Ziva simply smiled charmingly.
"How much for that painting," Ziva asked, pointing to a framed print on the wall behind the woman. It had caught her eye while the shopkeeper was occupied with altering the fairy.
The redhead named her price and deciding to splurge, Ziva asked for the painting as well. She packed away her prized fairy into her rucksack, while the woman wrapped the painting.
After that, she pulled out her Euros to settle her bill, bidding the very friendly shopkeeper farewell.
Abby ran to the phone across her lab, picking it up she said excitedly "Hello?"
"Hey Abby," Timothy McGee cheerfully replied.
"Oh, it's you," Abby said, the sound of disappointment clearly heard.
"Wow, I'm flattered by your enthusiasm," Tim deadpanned. "Still waiting to hear from Ziva?"
"Yeah, I expected to hear from her today. Now I'm starting to worry," Abby began to ramble nervously. "You know when she does these Mossad things, she could get hurt right? Would we know if she was hurt? Like her father wouldn't send her off to a really bad mission then not tell us if something bad happened, would he? Like it's not her family even likes me though. I mean it's not like the Mossad would understand us."
"Her family knows about you?" McGee interrupted curiously.
"Well," Abby hesitated. "I don't know. It's not like we kept it a secret from my family. Do you think she would have told her family? I mean her whole family is a bunch of super spies or something. So would they tell each other things, or would they be repressed or whatever?" Abby couldn't help her nervous babble now that somebody was listening.
"I don't know Abby. I imagine Ziva would keep her relationships close to her chest. I know she wouldn't want to put you in danger," replied Tim calmly.
"Oh, I guess you're right," Abby said thoughtfully. After a long pause she changed the subject. "Anyway, what can I do for you?
"Have you the test results from the fragment of that bullet we pulled from the marine?" Tim asked, not offended by her need to change gears. "Gibbs is breathing down our necks, wanting answers now."
Ziva sat in the waiting room on the Concourse, waiting for the call to board the plane. She entered Britain as Jessica Stein, but was leaving another airport as Eva Mendes. She was looking forward to getting on the plane for home, to get to where she belonged. It was a foreign concept until recently. She truly felt she belonged at NCIS, and beyond that, she felt like she was at home with Abby.
She found herself playing with the new ring sitting on her finger and reflecting on her relationship with the forensic scientist.
The older woman accepted her with open arms, no questions asked. Thus far in her relationship the woman had loved her without reserve, never questioning her past. This is the second time in their relationship that Mossad had called her away on a mission, which she couldn't even talk to Abby about. Yet Abby let her go, trusting her implicitly. It was not like she hadn't been on many such missions, or even some in America. However Ziva was still not accustomed to coming home to someone. Somehow that made it that much harder to leave in the first place.
Once her plane was boarded and she had found her seat, she kept out her book to stave off any possible conversation from neighbors. Her book was open, but all she saw was the new ring on her hand. She wasn't used to wearing a ring and she wasn't sure she should wear this ring, but she was hopeful. She would have to take it off before seeing Abby though, or else it would ruin or her surprise, not to mention she wasn't sure how the scientist would react to her gift.
When she found out she was going to Germany, she called an old contact in Berlin. The man made some of the best jewelry Ziva had ever seen. When she had told him what she wanted, he asked if she was sure, and quoted her a large price, to which she simply asked if he could have it done in four days.
In the end his creation surpassed her imagination. The ring on her finger and the twin the fairy held were custom cast in titanium. Around their circumference was a row of small tanzanite. She had gotten creative and had asked to have one of the jewels facetted in the shape of a heart.
Ziva knew she was not always the most communicative person, nor was she the most demonstrative of lovers. In fact she often wondered what Abby saw in her. She intended to show Abby how serious she was. They had been together a little less than nine months now, and though Ziva couldn't give Abby her past, she would give her commitment. That is if the other one wanted it.
Abby flung open the door to her apartment dropping her keys carelessly, looking for signs of her lover. Hearing noise in the kitchen she headed immediately that way, stopping right in the doorway. She put her hands on her hips, taking in the sight of her lover cooking, and complained "Why didn't you call me?"
"I managed to catch an early flight in and I wanted to surprise you," Ziva said indulgently smiling at the Goth woman. She looked adorable standing there in her platform boots, mini skirt and pigtails. Ziva saw she was wearing her favorite dog collar.
"Aren't you happy to see me?" Ziva said teasingly. She immediately moved what she had been tending on the stove to the side, off its burner and went over to the taller woman. Reaching up she pulled the Goth down into a sweet and gentle kiss, only letting up when they were out of breath.
"Of course I am happy to see you," Abby answered then stole another kiss quickly, "and you're forgiven for not calling me. You did say you'd call me, two days ago."
"I said I would try," Ziva said apologetically, "but circumstances prevented me. I am sorry, ahuvati." She stared back with her own version of puppy dog eyes, knowing they usually worked quite well on Abby. "I come bearing gifts," she announced hopefully.
"Ooh," Abby bounced "how many, and when can I open them?" She grinned madly flexing her hands open and closed suggestively between their two bodies. "Give them to me."
"Three. Soon. I'll give you one now, the rest after dinner," teased the Mossad officer, answering in the same rapid fire pace that Abby had questioned with. Abby's childlike enthusiasm was one of the things Ziva loved most about her.
Running her hands down the taller woman's arms, she took her by the hands and led her into the living room where she had the painting she brought back from Germany. She indicated the wrapped package with a nod of her head. Abby grinned and bounced before ripping into the plain brown wrapping. Underneath was a painting of a dragon and fairy. The midnight blue dragon perched atop a rock escarpment with the tip of one wing partially wrapped around a sleeping fairy, obviously keeping guard. The pale white skin of the fairy seemed to glow on the canvas, standing out against the nightscape against which the pair was painted upon.
"It's beautiful," Abby whispered.
"It reminded me of us," Ziva said quietly. "I am the grumpy dragon, of course."
Abby bounced up and threw her arms around her girlfriend and grinned. "You're not grumpy." She leaned in and kissed her briefly. "Thank you, beautiful. I love it."
Ziva almost blushed but was pleased that Abby liked her first gift. "Would you like dinner now?"
Abby grinned wickedly. "Actually, can you put it on the backburner? I think we have some catching up to do."
A good deal of time passed before the women were back in the kitchen. Abby sat on one counter watching Ziva work her magic with the meal she had planned. The Goth had a wicked grin on her face as she gazed at her lasciviously. The Israeli wore a thin white tank top that Abby had personally shortened and a pair of workout pants that she kept around Abby's place to perform katas comfortably. The way the pants fit, tight through the hips and rear but loose over her legs, always made Abby happy to see them. Add to that the fact that Ziva's hair was still wet and pulled back in all its curly glory, and the older woman was amazed she was still managing to behave. She thought that if she could just keep holding onto the counter with a death grip, as she had been since Ziva began puttering around the kitchen, she might manage to make it through until dinner.
There was a comfortable silence between them. Abby has long since caught Ziva up on the case the team had been working the whole time she was gone and even what little office gossip she knew. The scientist knew better than to ask about Ziva's mission having long ago learned that Ziva would tell her only what she thought would not endanger her and, apparently, there was very little about her life within Mossad that fit that bill. However, Ziva would occasionally look back at her with looks of adoration or, at times, blazing desire so Abby happily stuck around.
It always amazed her when she watched the younger woman cooking. You would not assume a trained assassin would be a gourmet class chef at home, but cooking was one of Ziva's hobbies. It gave Ziva a lot of pleasure to be able to cook for Abby, so in turn the older woman had learned what items the Israeli needed stocked in the kitchen. Abby tried to tell herself that it was only a happy coincidence that she got great meals, but even she was not buying that. Another great side effect was watching Ziva relax. The air of tension the agent seemed to carry everywhere with her melted away when they were like this and Abby knew she could stare at her or cuddle her and neither would bother Ziva at all.
Ziva eventually began piling food onto nearby plates, the steam rising invitingly. She looked over her shoulder pointedly at Abby and the Goth realized she was supposed to have cleared some space somewhere for them to eat by then. Abby never bothered to get a dining table, since she never cooked for people or entertained guests for dinner, so they mostly ate on Abby's ancient coffee table sometimes sitting on her couch, and sometimes on her floor cuddling up next to each other. Tonight, Abby decided, they would cuddle on the floor.
By the time Abby had put away everything on the table and had brought out two glasses of wine, Ziva entered with their food. She leaned over and kissed the Goth's cheek as she folded herself down to the floor beside her. Abby shook her head, still amazed at how Ziva could gracefully fold herself down from a standing position to a cross legged position on the floor without ever using her hands; every time she tried that she fell part of the way.
"Toda, Motek," Abby said to her lover, using one of her few comfortable Hebrew phrases. Ziva was slowly teaching her, but languages came so easily to the agent that she didn't always grasp the best way to teach them.
After dinner as they were cuddling, Abby was reflecting on little things like that when her earlier conversation with Tim popped into her head. "Ziva," she hesitantly began, "does your family know about me?"
"I was just wondering because," Abby babbled on nervously, "well, while you were away I wondered what would happen if something had happened to you. Would somebody let me know? Or even let anybody on the team know if not me?"
Ziva looked stricken and pulled Abby to her, causing the scientist to have to abandon her own efforts at eating. "I am sorry you worried, love," she whispered into Abby's hair and kissed it gently. "Do you remember the woman I introduced to you several months back at that café at lunch? She was just leaving when you managed to finally break free from the lab?"
"Yeah?" Abby both answered and prompted.
"That was my 'handler,' Shobi," Ziva continued. "She is also my little sister. An arrangement I managed to secure with my father almost a year ago now."
"You introduced me to your sister and never told me?" Abby said more than a little exasperated.
Chagrinned, Ziva said apologetically, "Oops?" Abby answered by crossing her arms over her chest and raising her eyebrow. "I couldn't say she was my sister then as that is not her cover here and you never know when others are watching. Nor could I say she was my handler either. So, she was simply an old acquaintance."
"You could have told me later," Abby grumbled, then picked up her fork again and began poking at her food.
"Well, you will remember that there was a killing spree by that marine that we had to solve," Ziva said hopefully. Abby smirked at her, and the younger woman knew her excuse was weak. "Okay, I admit, I am horrible at remembering to share some things. But, ahuvati, you know more about me and my feelings than any other human ever has. I honestly try."
Abby leaned her head over on her girlfriend's shoulder, wanting to cuddle. "That's positively sweet, Ziva." She broke out into a broad smile when she saw her tough lover blush before Ziva hid her face into Abby's hair. Abby felt the other woman wrap her arms around her lovingly, so she settled in happily.
"Shobi knows how important you are to me, Abby. She has been given clear instructions for any unfortunate events," Ziva said seriously while holding her.
The Goth wasn't sure was up to talking about 'unfortunate events' as Ziva so kindly phrased it. It was bad enough to actually know what kind of danger Ziva managed to get herself into with the NCIS team. To have to guess about what she did while on her other 'missions' was beyond Abby's abilities to cope. She simply nodded against her lover's shoulder and whispered, "Thanks. That's good to know."
Some time passed as they simply sat there like that, happy to be in other's arms again before Ziva spoke again. "I have no doubt my father probably knows somehow."
Abby turned in her arms and simply gave Ziva her attention.
"Even though I told him to stay out of my life and backed it up with very real threats, he still would find a way to keep tabs on me. He just knows better than to threaten me, now," Ziva said dispassionately. "But I crossed the last line of no return with him that day."
"I didn't know it was that bad between you two," Abby whispered.
"He is," Ziva said haltingly, choosing her words, "not a good man."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Abby asked gently, only to feel the quick shake of the other woman's head. So, instead, Abby leaned up and kissed Ziva tenderly.
It was a comfort to know that she would always be informed, and even interesting to finally realize she had actually met more than just Ziva's psycho brother, but she hated that she had brought up such a sad subject for Ziva. She couldn't comprehend the experiences Ziva had with her family. Her childhood was happy, if a bit unusual, and she loved her parents. They had liked Ziva when she brought her down south over Thanksgiving. Her mother had declared to Abby that she had a 'real winner' shortly before they left. Ziva had tried gamely to use what little ASL she had picked up while down there. That and she had helped in the cooking, taking direction easily. As far as Abby's father was concerned, having a trained soldier and agent there protect her in the big city was a plus. Neither of them knew she was also Mossad, but Abby agreed that was best kept away from them.
"The life I left behind me doesn't mean anything to me," Ziva said after a moment. "It's nothing but coldness and darkness."
Abby felt Ziva shift and sat up a little so the other woman could grab her rucksack by its shoulder strap and drag it towards them. She pulled it up next to them. Opening it with one hand, she pulled out a wrapped box and sat up straight, pulling away from Abby slightly and turning to look at her.
"I was thinking of you every spare moment while away. I wanted to find the right way to say how I feel to you, but I fear I still do not know nearly enough English to get it right," Ziva said and was appalled to realize her hands were shaking slightly. Abby must have noticed because she put her hands over Ziva's and smiled reassuringly.
Abby was smart enough to know to stay silent and let Ziva talk at her own pace. She could sense that whatever it was that Ziva was battling to say was deeply heartfelt and she knew that the agent sometimes felt overwhelmed by strong emotions like love.
"You always take me for what I am, accept me without reserve," Ziva whispered. "I feel like you strip away the ugliness that surrounds me, and leave nothing but beauty and love. I have never felt this way before."
It was all that Abby could do to stay silent, but she couldn't stop herself from leaning forward and stealing a quick kiss. "I haven't either, you know?"
"I did not," Ziva answered. She inhaled deeply and handed the box across to her lover. She watched as Abby slowly untied the thick ribbon she had found and wrapped around the black box she had bought for the fairy.
Abby gasped lightly as she pulled out the delicate fairy, intrigued by its design. She knew Ziva saw her as a delicate woman, despite her size and the way she dressed. But she had a feeling this had something more to do with her love of all things fantasy. It took a moment before the little bag's bulge caught her attention and she fingered it. The content's shape was tell-tale and she looked up at Ziva a little surprised.
The nervous Israeli reached across and untied the little lace that held the bag closed. She pulled the ring out and with her other hand took the fairy from a stunned Abby and set it to the side. "I have very little to give you, my love, except for my heart, my love, my fidelity. I am not rich, nor do I have a good past. But whatever I have is yours. I surrender it all to you willingly, and hope that I will never disappoint you."
Gently Ziva placed the ring upon Abby's finger, taking in the older woman's state of shock and the tears in her eyes. "This ring is unique, just like you and my love for you. I had it made just for you and had the artist promise to throw away the design I gave him," Ziva added. She reached behind herself blindly and pulled the last box out of her bag. To her shock Abby looked down to see a ring box. Ziva simply opened this box to show the other woman what was in it. "But I had him make one more in my size. I thought," Ziva hesitated now. "I thought, if you would let me, I would wear it, to show how committed I am to you."
Abby slowly reached down and fingered the ring in its box. The younger woman was so nervous she thought her heart was going to beat out of her chest as she waited for Abby to finish her examination. Thus far her girlfriend had not said anything and that was the most nerve wracking of all. Then the older woman slowly reached out and removed the ring from it resting place and followed Ziva's example, sliding it onto her lover's finger.
Then the next thing Ziva knew, she was tackled onto her back with a very amorous woman proceeding to kiss her quite senseless. She tasted the salt from Abby's tears and hoped they were what Abby termed 'happy tears,' and could only assume this meant she had succeeded in expressing her love.
"I love you, my big, grumpy, dragon," Abby joked in between kisses.
Ziva smiled up at her as she pulled a stray strand of hair back behind Abby's ear. "And I love you, my fairy," Ziva answered.
"Well," Abby smiled, "I'm your fairy now. You're officially stuck with me."
"I cannot imagine a happier ending than that," Ziva answered.
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