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Sighing for what felt like the hundredth time, Nick looked at his watch and then across the bullpen at the empty desk. He was supposed to meet Ellie at the restaurant tonight but of course Gibbs tasked him with finishing up the last of the paperwork, making him be late for their date. 

He and Ellie had been secretly seeing each other for almost a month now and, until now, had gotten lucky with getting off at the same time. Pulling out his phone, he sent her a text letting her know he would be leaving soon, getting a smiley face emoji and a ‘can’t wait’ in return. Smiling, he sat his phone down, putting all of his focus on the last on report. 

Signing off, he threw the completed reports on Gibbs desk and grabbed his backpack, rushing toward the elevator. As soon as he was on the road he pressed her number, the dialing tone ringing out loud and clear. When the call went to voicemail he frowned. Ellie always answered her phone. Alarm bells started going off and he stepped on the gas harder. He really needed to get to that bar. 

Pulling into the parking lot he barely put the Jeep in park before jumping out and running inside. Glancing around the room he finally spotted Ellie at the bar but what he saw made his stomach churn and his anger flare up. Clenching his fists he took a deep breath and walked straight to his girlfriend. He missed her shocked look as he grabbed the guy that was holding her arm and pushed him away, pinning the offender against the bar and holding his hands behind his back. Ignoring the shocked gasps coming from the crowd, he leaned over and whispered in his ear threateningly. 

“She said, leave. Her. Alone.” Each word was punctuated clearly, driving his point home. “You better leave now. Otherwise you’ll be charged with assaulting a federal agent.” Nick could hear the sharp gasp from the man and leaned up, pulling him up with him by the collar. “And don’t come back here again.” With one last glare he pushed the man toward the door, watching as he scurried out. Refocusing, he turned to Ellie, putting both hands on her shoulder and looking her over. “You okay babe?”

“Y-yeah. All good.” Ellie’s breath was coming out shakily and he pulled her into his arms, cupping the back of her head as he held her. 

“I’m sorry I was late. If I wasn’t that wouldn’t have happened and-” 

“Hey, it’s okay. This wasn’t your fault Nick.” She had pulled back, looking into his eyes to reassure him. Nodding, Nick thought for a second before making a decision. 

“How about we get our food to go hmm? Eat at your place and watch a movie?” Ellie looked like she was thinking it over so he added what he knew would sway her. “We can get some ice cream…” A smile crossed her face and she pressed a kiss to his cheek. 

“Sounds amazing.” Wrapping an arm around her waist, he grabbed her purse and led them out of the restaurant, both missing the shocked looks on the faces of the four customers across the restaurant.