DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.
SEQUEL: To Into the Setting Sun, Rising From the Ashes, Outside In, Falling into Place and Playing by the Rules.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

When Settling Is A Good Thing
By Jaina


Ziva walks slowly into Abby's lab.

"Got some evidence for me," Abby asks without looking up from the microscope that she's bent over.

"Evidence, no." Ziva replies. "Taking you out to lunch, yes."

"I have to finish this up," Abby protests.

"It can wait, I'm sure," Ziva counters. "I know Gibbs is not pressing you for any evidence right now."

Abby rolls her eyes. "You do know that he's not the only one in this building that I go over evidence for."

"No," Ziva says solemnly, "but he is the only one that counts."

Abby laughs, surprised by the joke. She gives a cursory glance around her lab and then focuses her attention back on Ziva.

"Okay, I'll go, but we have to be back soon!" Abby gives in easily and Ziva smirks.

She walks over to pick up Abby's jacket and holds it out to her. Abby looks surprised by the gesture, but lets Ziva help her slip it on. Catching hold of Ziva's arm, Abby surprises her in turn by quickly brushing her lips over Ziva's. She only lingers for a moment before she pulls away.

"I'm ready now."

Ziva smiles. "Good."

Together they walk to the elevator, grinning like little kids.

"So where are you taking me to lunch," Abby asks as soon as they're inside.

"Where ever you like," Ziva replies with a shrug. The elevator is taking forever today, Ziva thinks as they stand in silence. She watches Abby out of the corner of her eye, shifting slightly, swaying to the rhythm of some music that only she can hear.

Watching Abby she thinks of the warning Gibbs had given her a few days before. His warning to not play with Abby's feelings are in one way appreciated. Gibbs cares about Abby. That is a fact, but his warning does nothing to change her feelings for Abby.

"Abby," she begins slowly.

That is the moment when the elevator chose to jerk to a stop without warning. The abrupt motion throws Abby off balance and she stumbles into Ziva. They fall off balance against the wall of the elevator.

Ziva catches her arm, and steadies her, glancing up when the lights flicker in the now silent elevator.

"Are you alright?" She queries Abby, as she looks around the small enclosed space warily.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Abby answers distractedly. "What do you think happened?"

"I don't know," Ziva responds. "But I will find out." She pulls out her cell phone and takes a quick look. Thankfully she has a few bars of service left. She speed dials Tony's number and waits for it to go through. She rolls her eyes when it finally sends her to voice mail.

Hanging up, she tries Gibbs instead.

"Gibbs," he answers the phone in his usual clipped tone.

"Abby and I are stuck in the elevator," Ziva explains quickly.

"Call maintenance," Gibbs responds. Ziva resists the urge to growl in frustration. Sometimes Americans are careless. Sometimes a broken elevator is just a broken elevator, but in her experience many times it is not.

"Fine," she says with crisp, exasperation and hangs up. She tries to repress the nervous feeling at the pit of her stomach. It feels as if she's sitting with her back to a new recruit who's practicing their knife throwing.

"I'm calling maintenance," she explains in answer to Abby's questioning look. She dials the number on the small sticker below the floor buttons. By the time she gets off the phone, she's almost livid.

"Hey," Abby soothes, as she comes over from where she's been watching her and leaning against the elevator wall, "What's the matter?" She reaches out for one of Ziva's hands, and begins to stroke her thumb over the back of her hand.

"The maintenance man is busy. He won't be here for another half-hour at least. We will be stuck in here until he can fix it."

"Okay," Abby calmly accepts the news. She bends her knees slightly, until she can catch Ziva's gaze, which is furiously darting from one corner of the small elevator to another. She squeezes Ziva's hand slightly to get her attention, and when Ziva looks towards her, she tries a small smile. "Tell me what's really the matter," she repeats.

Being stuck in an elevator is annoying, but not cause for this much concern.

Ziva looks away, and her cheeks flush faintly with pink. "I do not like small spaces," She admits quietly.

Abby nods. "Oh." She's already learned that there are some things about herself that Ziva won't discuss and this is probably one of them. Abby thinks for a moment and then drops Ziva's hand. She retreats to the other side of the elevator in an attempt to give her lover some space.

The least she can do is not crowd Ziva.

Ziva looks up, as she feels Abby step away. Dismay crosses her features. "I did not mean-" She sighs. "Abby, I'm sorry. I do not like feeling helpless." She steps closer to Abby slowly. "All I wanted to do was take you out for lunch and spend some time with you." She smiles hesitantly. "I missed you this morning."

Waking up alone for the first time in a week, she'd found herself missing Abby more than she expected. She'd missed having someone else there, the way that Abby would mumble around her apartment in a non-verbal state until she'd had her first cup of coffee, being able to see her when she first woke up and steal a kiss that could lead to other enjoyable activities.

She hadn't realized how much she has been enjoying Abby's presence until it was gone.

Abby smiles, easily accepting the truce that Ziva's offering. "I missed you too." She bounces slightly in her boots, sending her pigtails swinging above her shoulders. Ziva's fingers itch to take them down and play with the silky strands of hair, but she resists the temptation, knowing that Abby would not appreciate having her hair messed up.

She can't resist touching Abby any longer though, especially when she holds out a hand. Ziva takes it, with a smile, and steps closer. Abby pulls her into a hug, lowering her head until it rests on Ziva's shoulder. Ziva slips her hands under Abby's t-shirt, and lets them rest against her hips. She breathes in the scent of leather spiced with Abby's own unique smell as she presses her face into Abby's neck and then places a light kiss on the small space of bare skin next to her lips.

Her eyes fall shut and she takes another deep breath. She can feel the beat of her heart slowing, the tensed muscles in her body relaxing. It's rare that she thinks about the days she spent locked in a cage, too small for her to stretch and not large enough for her to stand, but when she's feeling trapped, it can take her days to calm down.

Today is different, and Abby is the person making the difference. It's not something that Ziva is prepared for, but she thinks that she likes it. She's not certain - not sure - as Gibbs demands, but someday, she thinks, she might be.

Today she'll settle for getting out of an elevator in anything less than five hours.

The End

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