DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Spoilers for 5.04 Identity Crisis. And many thanks to ariestess for the beta. :D
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Rough Week.

Hard Lessons
By Jaina


Courtney slams her elbow back sharply. Ziva barely ducks back in time for it to miss her jaw.

"Much better."

Even only knowing her for a short time, Courtney can already hear the smirk in Ziva's voice. She almost jumps when she feels Ziva's hand run up her arm. The Israeli woman tilts her arm gently, positioning at a different angle.

"But you will make more of an impact if you do it like that."

"I thought I made a pretty good impact, already," Courtney responds, looking back over her shoulder at Ziva.

Ziva looks at her through half-lidded eyes. "There's always room for improvement."

Courtney laughs and turns to face Ziva. "You know there are some things I'm pretty good at."


"Well, I did save your ass."

Ziva wrinkles her nose and gives her head a half shake. "Perhaps, but I was well on my way to saving my own ass."

"So maybe I'm not just talking about my job skills."

"Really?" Ziva raises an eyebrow. "Show me."

Courtney's reaches up, and brushes a lock of Ziva's hair behind her shoulder. She lets it rest there and reaches up with her other hand to stroke her thumb down Ziva's cheek. She leans forward and kisses Ziva without hesitation. Ziva's lips part as she responds to the kiss, her hands slip to Courtney's waist and Ziva pulls her closer.

Her hands are tugging at Courtney's jacket; Courtney drops her arms to let Ziva shove it off, and then holds up her arms to let Ziva slip off the t-shirt beneath it.

Ziva stops for a moment to take in her figure. "You may be right," Ziva concedes, picking up the thread of their conversation. "But I think more investigation is required."

Courtney laughs. "I can go with that. Only one problem." She puts her hands around Ziva's neck. "I think you're wearing too many clothes."

Ziva closes the distance between them for another kiss. She draws back slightly to murmur, "We should take care of that."

"Yeah," Courtney mumbles her agreement as she fumbles with Ziva's belt, finally undoing its clasp before tugging it off and tossing it to the floor. She's tugging at the button of Ziva's jeans.

A sharp knock startles them both enough to make them jump.

Courtney stops fumbling and looks up at Ziva. "You didn't say you were expecting visitors."

Ziva shakes her head. "I was not." She wrinkles her nose and sighs. "I should go see who that is." Her hand trails down Courtney's bare side as she pulls back. "We will finish this."

Ziva walks quickly over to the door, undoes the chain and the lock, and opens it without looking through the peep hole. She steps up short as she sees the person standing outside.

"Abby." Her voice is full of surprise. "I didn't-" She fumbles for words, feeling suddenly guilty. "What are you doing here?"

Abby seems surprised by her reaction, but smiles brightly. "I was hoping you'd be home. I kinda wanted to talk to you." She fidgets a little with the thick leather bracelet around her wrist. "About what happened a few weeks ago? Do you mind if I-"

Ziva realizes the exact moment that Abby looks up, and sees past her into the apartment. Her face falls and she stops speaking mid-sentence.

"I didn't realize that you had company."

Ziva glances back and sees Courtney's FBI jacket plainly visible on the floor.

"Abby," her voice is already low and pleading.

Abby is already stepping back and pulling away from the conversation. Ziva can see the hurt clearly in her eyes and she knows that quickly behind it will come anger.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come."

"Abby," Ziva repeats, reaching out quickly to grab her hand before she can slip away. "Abby, please wait."

Abby snatches her hand back in irritation, but she doesn't turn and leave. She crosses her arms over her chest and glares.

"Why should I wait? You seem to be plenty busy in there." She jerks her head towards the apartment.

"I didn't mean for this to happen." Ziva sighs, scrambling for the words to explain how she ended up in this situation. "Tony was irritating me and Courtney wanted to learn how to fight better." She wishes she could make Abby meet her eyes. "I did not mean for this to happen," she repeats, willing Abby to hear the sincerity in her voice.

She knows that she's lost the moment she hears Abby's voice.

"But it did," Abby sounds resigned, with none of her usual enthusiasm. "I have to go."

Ziva feels as if the ground is falling out from underneath her. This can't be happening. She can't be screwing this up so badly, not when Abby's finally willing to talk about them again.

"We need to talk." She shuts the door behind her and follows Abby down the hallway.

Abby shakes her head. "But not tonight." There's a sad smile on her face that Ziva would give anything not to be the cause of. "You should get back inside. I'm sure Special Agent Krieger is wondering where you went."

"I do not care."

Abby stops just before the stairwell, leading down to the lobby. "It doesn't matter. We broke up. You don't owe me anything."

"I do not wish to be broken up with you," Ziva confesses.

"But we are."

Ziva drops her head and closes her eyes. "I made a mistake." She raises her head, hoping to catch a glimpse of anything in Abby's eyes that might give her hope.

Abby looks torn. She still looks fierce and upset, but Ziva can see the glimmer of tears beginning to form in her eyes.

"I can't talk about this tonight," Abby mutters and quickly heads down the stairs.

Ziva lets her go and slowly makes her way back to her apartment. She rests her head against the door for a moment and closes her eyes. She takes a deep breath before she opens it and goes inside.

Courtney's waiting for her. She's pulled her t-shirt back on, and is sitting on the couch. Her arms are tucked protectively around her waist and she seems to have slumped inwards on herself.

"I'm sorry." Apologizing seems to be the only thing that Ziva can do tonight. She sits down carefully on the couch beside her.

"Your ex?" Courtney asks quietly.


"I didn't mean to-"

"It's not your fault." Ziva cuts her off quickly. Suddenly she just wants this night to be over. She should have listened to her own advice to Tony.

"I should go." Courtney gets up to match her words and slowly goes to pick up her shoes and jacket. "Thanks, for showing me those moves, I mean." She shrugs. "I appreciate it. Maybe we could do it again sometime."

Ziva nods, only half-hearing what Courtney is saying. She can't get the crushed look on Abby's face out of her mind.

Carefully she closes the door behind Courtney and locks it. She stands there for a moment before she slides down on the floor and leans back against the door. Ziva draws her knees up against her chest and rest her head against them.

"I'm sorry," she whispers one more time, but there's no one there to hear her.

The End

Return to NCIS Fiction

Return to Main Page