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Ellie almost died today, again.
A shootout occurred during the chase of a suspect and a bullet almost clipped her ear. A few centimetres to the left and she would be in the hospital right now.
Now that they are back at the headquarters, sitting at her desk, Ellie is still shaking slightly. Her ears still ringing from how near the bullet went pass her.
“Ellie?” Nick calls his partner's name softly, not wanting to startle her more.
Ellie doesn’t notice Nick has been calling her a few times until he gently places his warm palm on her thigh, kneeling down beside her.
She turns to look at him blankly, eyes wide and the usual spark is not there.
Nick’s heart aches upon seeing Ellie’s pale face.
“Hey B, you okay?” Nick asks, thumb stroking Ellie’s thigh softly, hoping to ground her.
Ellie is at a loss of words, she doesn’t know why the close call she had today has shaken her up this bad. After all, this is not the first time she almost die since she started this path of career. She looks at Nick with teary eyes, unconsciously leaning forward into Nick.
Nick catches on the hint and moved his arms to wrap the girl up in a tight hug, letting her buries her head in the crock of his neck.
“Shhh it’s okay Ellie, I’ve got you” Nick rubs Ellie’s back comfortingly.
“Take her home, Torres. Make sure she has some rest” It sounds like an order, but they all know Gibbs is worried about Ellie, who he sees as a daughter, too.
Nick looks up to see Gibbs, nodding his head with a silent “thanks”.
“Come on Ellie, let’s take you home”

Ellie is quiet the ride back to her shared apartment with Nick, staring ahead of her.
Nick keeps one hand on the steering wheel, another holding Ellie's clammy one on her lap. He keeps glancing at Ellie, feeling clueless about how to help his girl.

Once they are back at their apartment, Nick guides Ellie to their bedroom, sitting her down on their bed. He removes Ellie’s coat before kneeling down in front of her to take off her boots gently.
He looks up when he’s done with Ellie’s shoes and sees tears rolling down her face.
“Oh babe, I’m here okay?” Nick rises and sits down beside Ellie before pulling her onto his lap, holding her tight.
Ellie sobs into Nick’s broad chest and clings to him like he’s a lifeline to her.
Nick just keeps rocking them back and forth and whispering sweet comforting words in Ellie’s ear.
After some time, Ellie’s sobs slowly subsides. She buries her head deeper into Nick, feeling drained.
“You want a bath?” Nick asks gently, rubbing Ellie’s back to get her attention.
Exhausted, she nods and mutters a “yes please”. A bath does sounds great now.
“Okay. Let’s go then” Nick places a kiss on top of her head before standing up with Ellie still in his arms.
Ellie yelps in surprise and circles her arms around Nick’s neck. Head resting on his shoulder, Ellie feels safe.
Nick places Ellie down on the closed toilet once they are in their ensuite bathroom. He moved to turn on the faucet, filling the bathtub with warm water. Adding a few drops of that lavender essence Ellie always loves to use after a long day at work, he beacons Ellie over.
Ellie shuffles towards the tub slowly for Nick to help her undress. She sighs contentedly once she settles in the water, relaxing for the first time after the case.
Nick sits down on the floor beside the tub, a hand on Ellie’s shoulder, drawing small circles as a comforting manner.
But Ellie catches his hand and tugs on it, signalling Nick to join her in the tub. She wants Nick to hold her, make her feel safe.
Nick looks into Ellie’s brown eyes for confirmation, which he gets a nod from her in return. Nick kisses the back of Ellie’s hand before getting up and stripping himself out of his clothes quickly.
Ellie is thankful of them agreeing on getting a bigger tub when they moved into this apartment a few months ago. It’s large enough for Nick to slip in behind Ellie and has her settled between his legs, her back resting on his chest.
Ellie sighs when Nick’s warmth wraps around her from behind, and relaxes further, melting into Nick’s embrace.
“Feeling better?” Nick asks gently against Ellie’s ear, hands toying with her fingers.
Ellie nods, swallowing before speaking again.
“I don’t know what had gotten into me this time, I mean... it’s not the first time I got a close call at work...”
“Maybe it’s exactly because it’s not the first time? Babe, we don’t really have time to work our feelings out after each case or each time we nearly died” Nick tightens his arms around Ellie, to be honest, he is also a bit shaken up about today. The thought of almost losing his girlfriend is scary.
“Maybe” Ellie mumbles quietly, closing her eyes tiredly.
“It’s okay B, you’re fine now and I’m here”
“I’m sorry I’m such a mess earlier” she ducks her head in embarrassment for showing such raw emotions.
“Be my mess however you like Ellie” Nick simply says and kisses Ellie on her bare shoulder conveying so much love that makes Ellie tears up a bit again. This time, happy tears.

Later that night when the two of them are wrapped in each other’s arms under the soft warm blanket on their bed, Ellie places a kiss right on Nick’s left chest.
And mumbles against the spot where his heart locates,
“I love you Nick”
“I love you too Ellie”