It’s been two weeks since Nick had been dangerously close to being charged for murder and Ellie had asked him if he had done it. Two weeks and he still refused talking to her about it.
Two days ago
“Nick! Did you take pictures of the living room yet? Looks like there’s been a fight. If you didn’t have time to do it, I can do it for you. I think Gibbs wanted to talk to you anyway.” She’d really just tried to be helpful and friendly. Ever since that night he had been a little off balance – understandably. It killed her to see him hurting and not being able to help him, so she did what she could do – being friendly. God, she hated it. That’s what they were now – friendly. Damn, if she could just turn back time…
“Nah, I’m good. Did that already ‘cause it’s my job, you know. No need to shadow my work.” He had replied, not quite impolite but firmly. He took everything she said in the wrong way. Well, that was her fault, too. But it stung every time.
That had just been one of these times when he stayed strictly professional with her at her work and refused talking to her in private. Every crime scene they’d been called to he’d done his work and stick to McGee, completely avoiding Ellie and only talking to her if absolutely necessary. Nick couldn’t even look her in the eye. Sadly, she couldn’t even blame him. Every time she looked at him a cross the bullpen, she wanted to kick her own ass for the evident pain on his face. She was responsible for his suffering and she didn’t know what to do about it.
Two weeks ago
“What do you want from me, Nick?”
“Have some faith in me.”
This was all so messed up. Two weeks had gone by and Ellie missed her best friend so much, her Nick. But what was she supposed to do? They weren’t even continuously arguing or something like that. There was just this awkward silence between them and nobody dared to address it – until Gibbs had have enough of the silent treatment and Ellie’s desperate glances at Nick. The one person who hated talking about feelings the most actually told them he was sick of watching them and they should work things out if they wanted to stay in his team. That had been a really bad sign. Things between them must’ve gotten worse if Gibbs wanted them to talk. Except even after that, they didn’t talk with each other. At least Nick had stopped ignoring her in the field and concerning work related stuff. It wasn’t that she hadn’t tried talking to him though.
One week ago
“Nick, come on, please. I’m sorry. Just let me explain, please?” Ellie hated begging anyone for anything but she’d to whatever it takes to make it up to him. If she only knew how to get him to listen. Whenever she tried, he wouldn’t listen to her. It made her sick to the stomach but she still couldn’t blame him. She’d just have to try harder.
“Look, Ellie. We’re in the elevator at work and right now I just don’t want to talk about it, alright? We’re pretty busy with the case, as you should know, and Jack just texted me to meet her upstairs. Besides, I think you’ve made your opinion about me pretty clear.” Ouch. With these last words, he stepped out of the elevator, leaving her behind. It felt like a punch to the gut. The look on his face was almost unbearable. She could see clearly how deeply she’d hurt him. Now she’d have to find another way to fix them – Nick and herself. Before it was too late.
There had to be a way to convince Nick to listen to what she had to say. She needed him to talk to her again, to look at her again. Ellie knew after doubting his innocence for even one second, she probably didn’t deserve even one moment of his attention. But she wouldn’t give up, not just yet. She owed both of them that much. Therefore she was headed towards Sloane’s office, hoping the profiler could help her figure some things out.
“Ellie, you’re still here! I thought you wanted to leave earlier today?” The blonde woman sat behind her desk, still working on some profiles for their current case.
“Hi, Jack. No… I mean… I intended to head home earlier but well…” Ellie didn’t feel comfortable, running the fingers through her hair, looking for a way to approach her next step.
Jack leaned back in her chair, suddenly aware of the usually confident agent’s weird behaviour and her nervous mumbling. What had brought Ellie upstairs, to Jack’s office? “What can I help you with, Ellie? Do you want to talk about Nick?” It may have been a long shot because Ellie seemed pretty closed off ever since that case which was related to the former NCIS agent Ziva David and lately she wasn’t much of a talker. About anything. The exception had been Nick whom she’d talked to a lot. Until recently.
Ellie was about to make a hole in the floor with her pacing, when out of a sudden, she came to a halt. “You know what?! Actually, yes. It’s about Nick. I know you’ve been talking to each other since he was framed for murder of that gym girl. And of course, I know you can’t and shouldn’t tell me anything about these meetings. I’m not here for that. To be honest, I don’t even remember what I came here for.”
Ellie knew she was rambling on and on but her thoughts were running wild. “This is all just so screwed up, Jack. I screwed up. For all I know, Nick is never going to talk to me again.”
Jack stood up and closed the door so none of the passers-by would hear what they were saying. She went over to the seating area, sitting down on the arm chair and motioning for Ellie to sit down on the couch. “You asked him if it was possible that he could’ve killed Jessica Ho and now he’s giving you the cold shoulder. Yeah, we might’ve talked about it. But I don’t think it should be me you’re talking to.”
“I know. I know. And believe me, Jack, I do want to talk to Nick, but how? If he’s still ignoring me and each of my messages and calls. I’m afraid if I go talk to him now it will only make things worse. And Jack, I can’t force him to listen if he can’t even stand my presence.” Ellie had sat down on the cosy sofa, elbows resting on her knees. But she was close to tears then and put her face in her hands.
“Oh, Ellie. I’m sure he wouldn’t send you away, dear. Look, I can’t tell you any details but I’m sure by now if you want to explain it to him, he’ll listen to you. He just needed some more time. To process the investigation, being drugged and framed for murder. He is hurting, Ellie, and his trust is shaken. You’re his best friend – and I know you realised that already by coming here, but I’m going to say it anyway – the fact that his best friend thinks he’s capable of murder – for whatever reasons you might’ve – hit him hard.” The profiler got up, handing Ellie a tissue from the box which was placed on the table in front of her. “If you really want to make it up to him, Ellie, you have to talk to him. Better now than never. I know you’re afraid it might wreck your friendship entirely, but I can promise you sitting around and waiting will do more damage than actually trying to make amends. Believe me when I say talking to Nick now will make it better for the both of you. I have the highest belief in you two and I’m sure you can fix this. So go.” With a last reassuring smile and Jack’s words in her mind, Ellie left the office in a hurry and soon after the building, too. She had somewhere to be.
Ellie knocked on the door, stepping back and nervously playing with the zipper of her jacket. Taking a deep breath she waited until she heard footsteps on the other side of the door, indicating that someone came closer. When Nick finally opened the door, Ellie’s heart skipped a beat. This was it – the moment of truth.
“Hi…” Ellie said quietly. God, she hated seeing him like this. He looked so broken and defeated – only because of her. She would hate herself forever for causing this. “I’m sorry to just come by like that – uninvited. I know you’d probably never want to see me again if possible but I need to tell you something. God knows I don’t deserve you listening to me and you probably hate me – “
“I don’t hate you, Ellie,” Nick replied, finally looking her in the eye for the first time in what seemed like forever. His eyes so full of hurt and resignation.
“Please, can I come in? I won’t be long and when I’m done and you still want me to leave you alone – I’ll go. Please, Nick.” She put all her hopes in these words and all her untold feelings in her eyes and then, with a deep sigh, he let her in. He closed the door behind her and looked at her expectantly, waiting for her to spill her guts.
“Ok. So…I’m sorry, Nick. I’m so-so sorry for doubting you. And I know an apology is not nearly enough to fix anything but I’m here to explain.” Ellie didn’t know what to do with herself, feeling his glances on her, so she unconsciously played with one of her locks while shifting from one foot to the other. “Words will probably never make amends for this but I have to try and this is the only way I know. I believe in you and I do have faith in you, Nick. From the bottom of my heart, Nick, I trust you. You’re my best friend.” Ellie looked up at him shyly, waiting for a response before she could go on.
She didn’t think he would reply and was just about to go on anyways when he asked, “Why did you do it then, Ellie? If we’re best friends, then why did you doubt me? How could you believe I was capable of murdering someone?” Nick’s voice was hoarse and he sounded desperate.
“The truth? I didn’t. Not really. I’m an analyst, Nick. I analyse every given information and come to the nearest possible solution. And based on the evidence we had, you looked guilty as hell. I know that’s not an excuse. But it is who I am and I can’t change that. Or me. When I asked you this, the logical, analysing part of my brain was talking. And I’m sorry for that. I realise now that it was highly inappropriate. I should’ve thought twice before opening my damn mouth.” At that, Ellie thought having seen a small smile flashing over Nick’s face. But maybe it was just her wild imagination. Either way, he didn’t say anything so she went on. “I’m a bad friend because it should have been the best-friend-Ellie talking, the sometimes-slightly-irrational-Ellie who listens to her gut and not her brain, and for that I am – and you’re probably sick of hearing it – deeply sorry, Nick.” She took a deep breath, looking up at him and anxiously awaiting his response.
Nick looked at her, a teeny, tiny smile on his face. “Alright, I get it. I’m not saying I can fully forgive and forget just yet but I guess your reasons make sense – even to me.” There it was! A shy grin spread across his face. “I have to apologise, too, for the silent treatment. A little at least. Because you really deserved it.” They both laughed a little sheepishly. Then he turned serious again. “For the record though, I wouldn’t want to change a thing about you. To be honest, Ellie, it truly hurt me to the core – and it still does – and I’ll need more time to process everything and think some things over. Maybe I’ll never be able to fully get over it – but I forgive you. Because you were right. You are my best friend and I’ve missed you a lot.” His lips formed a small smile which finally reached his eyes as well when he took one of her hands in his, pulling her towards him.
“Nick, I promise you – if you’ll let me – I’ll do whatever it takes to fix us and to help you with everything. I’ll be there for you. And whatever you need and whenever you’ll allow me – I’m here for you.” Taking the last steps forward, Ellie closed the distance between them, throwing her arms around his neck. She hugged him as if her life was on the line when she suddenly whispered into his ear, “I have faith in you.”