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SEQUEL: To Into the Setting Sun.

Rising From the Ashes
By Jaina


When the sun rises, Ziva is on the stairs of Abby's apartment with two large cups of coffee in hand. She juggles the cups deftly in her hands until she has one hand free. For a moment, she hesitates, considering letting herself in, but she decides against it and knocks at the door.

She waits impatiently, barely resisting the urge to turn and pace the very small stoop. She hears the rattle of a chain and then the door slowly swings open. Abby stares at her with bleary eyes.

In her short cropped top and boxers, Abby looks a bit rumpled and nothing like her professional self. Ziva decides that she looks very cute.

"It's early."

Ziva revises that to cute and grumpy. Apparently Abby is not an early riser. As a peace offering Ziva holds out one of the cups of coffee. She asked for extra whip cream, preparing for this eventuality, and there is even a bit of fluffy cream peaking out of the small opening in the lid.

Abby doesn't look any less grumpy or more talkative, but she doesn't refuse the coffee. She even takes a greedy sip as she holds the door open and lets Ziva in.

Abby locks the door behind her and walks away without a word. Ziva follows her into the kitchen. She's never been to Abby's apartment before. She thinks she likes it. It's not too neat, but not too cluttered either.

Abby hops up onto one of the counter tops and sips her coffee. Ziva can almost see her itching to ask why she's there.

And now that she is there, she can't quite seem to figure out what to say. She's not really even sure what she wants to say. She's not used to sharing things with her co-workers, especially people she knows as little as she knows Abby. So Ziva falls back on what she knows.

She glances around the small kitchen, noting the pans hanging above the stove, well used, but obviously well cared for.

"You like to cook," she observes.

Abby nods, as if this wasn't a non sequitur at all. "I think it's a little like chemistry. You mix a little bit of this with a little bit of that and if you do it all in the right amounts you come out with something wonderful. And there's always room to create something new."

Ziva laughs. She certainly appreciates a good meal, but she doesn't have a passion for it as Abby appears to. But she does understand the passion with which Abby speaks. It's refreshing.

"Will you cook me something someday?"

Abby grins. "What's wrong with now?"

Ziva's startled. "Now?"

"I bet you haven't had breakfast," Abby states matter of factly.

"I haven't," Ziva concedes.

About an hour later Ziva finds herself sitting at a table, heavy with sausage gravy over biscuits, bacon (for Abby only), grits, scrambled eggs, French Toast, and chocolate chip pancakes. Some of the food is unfamiliar to her, but Abby convinces her to try a little bit of everything.

Mostly she ends up indulging in the chocolate chip pancakes.

When she's eaten a large stack of them by herself, she grins at Abby. "These are very good."

Abby grins proudly. "They're made from my mama's special recipe. They were always my favorite growing up."

Ziva notices the hint of another accent in her speech as Abby talks about her mother, and smiles.

"We could make this a weekly thing," Abby says casually.

Ziva is surprised at how much that offer appeals to her. "I'd like that. But come to my apartment next time. Tell me what you need, and I'll get it for you."

Abby takes it as the thanks that it is, and says only, "Cool."

When they finish breakfast, Abby disappears into the bedroom to change. By the time that she comes back out, Ziva's tidied the dishes that they used.

"Are you busy today?"

For the first time, Ziva thinks of Jenny. But now she has no plans, secret or otherwise.

"No." She smirks when she sees the look on Abby's face. "What did you have in mind?"

The End

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