Chapter 1

“I swear! You’re going to love it on Atlantis!” Rodney McKay repeated for like the millionth time since the group boarded the Daedalus. “There is so much to see and if you mess with anything or break anything I will kill you myself!”

“Rodney, shut up,” John said as he threw his dinner roll at his head.

Ziva couldn’t help but laugh. The interaction between these people reminded her of Tony and McGee so much that she was already missing them. She was grateful that John’s friends appeared to have accepted her so readily. Well, at least Teyla did. Ronon seemed indifferent towards her and she couldn’t understand why.

John tried to support her and brush Ronon’s attitude off as normal for the man, explaining his history as a Runner for the Wraith. She understood and let it be, but the fighter in her still fought and the woman in her was hurt. The conflicting emotions never left and it always led to the increase of curiosity about the tall man. She knew she would one day have to find some sort of common ground so that they could get over whatever it was that was setting them apart.

It was easy to help Ziva settle on the Daedalus, and John tried to prepare her as much as she could for Atlantis by trying to easeher in to it. Rodney, of course, grabbed every opportunity he saw Ziva to give her a crash course into the Stargate program and the Pegasus Galaxy, and John just knew that there would be a moment that either he had to shut him up, or Ziva would give him a gentle push into the air lock.

Still, she entertained McKay’s enthusiasm. This whole new part of her job was an adventure and she was now the outsider in completely unfamiliar territory, as much as she hated the concept of that. She surprisingly found herself taking things much more in stride than she had in the past, especially after returning to Gibbs’ team and NCIS the first time she had left them.

As Rodney went on with another one of his stories, she looked over at John and nudged him with her elbow. “Are you busy later?” she whispered.

“Not really,” he replied, “Paperwork, which can wait.”

She licked her lips and smiled up at him. “Then would you care to meet me in my bunk? I think we have some things that we should talk about.”

“Yeah, sure,” he nodded and took a sip of his coffee. “Alright Rodney, give her a break, will you.”

McKay pouted and returned his energies to stuffing his face with food earning an amused look of disgust at the sight. “I will be sure to find you for more – discussions later Dr. McKay. They are truly – entertaining,” she smiled. It didn’t hurt to rub the man’s ego a little if it meant a little break now and then.

“Ah, don’t flatter him too much,” John suggested. “It’ll go to his head, and he’ll think he can save the world.”

“I DID save the world!” Rodney spluttered.

“We know!” answered Teyla, Ronon, and John simultaneously which got Ziva to laugh.

After dinner, John went to his bunk to at least do a little paper work before he’d go to Ziva. He always hated the two weeks aboard theDaedalus, but with her and his team on board he didn’t get bored, much. They had been on board for a couple of days now, and he and Ziva hadn’t really sat down to talk after Director Vance told her she’d be working from Atlantis for a while.

While she waited for John to come, Ziva herself got caught up on some of the mountains of papers on Atlantis and the SGC to get herself more familiar without the aid of McKay in the background. Some of the reports she read were like straight out of a comic book or science fiction movie that she couldn’t believe it.

John finished his paperwork or at least did enough until he was sick of them before leaving to meet Ziva. When he got to her temporary quarters, he knocked on the door and waited for her to answer.

She was beginning to go cross-eyed from everything she’d been trying to understand. “Come in,” she called pulling over a new file to open.

He opened the door and entered. “Hey,” he smiled. “How are the files treating you?”

Ziva looked at him as if saying Are you kidding me? “Umm…”

“Ah, that bad, huh?”

“Some of these reports…I just can’t imagine. Did you really turn into a bug?” she asked as she sat up on the bed to make room for him to sit.

He nodded and sat down on the bed with her. “And I got fed upon by a Wraith because he needed to be strong enough to bust us both out of a Genii prison,” he said. “And he returned what he took from me when we were at the gate, both weren’t really great experiences.”

She shook her head and crawled over closer to lean against him. Ziva was going to enjoy as much as she could from this alone time just short of getting intimate. That would be a no no. “I don’t know if I am the right person for this job,” she admitted. “Not that I am not happy that we can be together more, get to know each other better…I am really. It’s just so overwhelming.”

“I know,” John said. “First time we came to Atlantis, it took us weeks to really acclimatise to the fact that we were there, despite our problems at first.” He took a strand of her hair and toyed with it as he continued. “To be honest, I think you’ll do great. Between me and my second in command, we’re going nuts with trying to keep up with some of the unruly marines and are usually too late to actually do something about it.”

“I still don’t understand what my place would be,” she explained. “NCIS and JAG offices are all the way back on Earth. What sort of influence would I really have? I’m an investigator, a fighter, not some police dog.”

“Well, the command structure on Atlantis is pretty lenient. I’m sure that Colonel Carter and Dr. Woolsey will get you assigned to a team.”

Her eyes lit up at that idea. “I think I would like that a lot,” she grinned. “I don’t think it would be so far off from what I’m used to at NCIS. Do you think I would be joining your team on occasion?”

“Oh I don’t know,” he sighed. “It’s not up to me, and you’ll find it’ll be a lot different from NCIS. Here you don’t investigate much, but you explore and try not to get your ass handed to you when you piss off the wrong people.”

Ziva quirked an eyebrow at that. “Sounds like Mossad.”

“Aha!” he exclaimed. “I knew that there was more to you than a mere NCIS agent.”

“What makes you say that?” she questioned looking at him. “I am pretty sure I told you about how I came to NCIS.”

“No, you didn’t,” he shook his head. “Just the way you move in general tipped me off… and the way you were tracking the Wraith…”

She shrugged not seeing what was so different. “Well, I was with Mossad before NCIS. I started originally as a liaison with the former director and only became a full agent last year,” she explained. “The rest shall we say is history?”

John nodded, it wasn’t as if he told her how he ended up with this fantastic job. He was still toying with a strand of her hair and then smiled. “The way you tried to fight that well-fed Wraith was awesome.”

“I’ve fought against opponents about as strong as that thing…well maybe not quite thatstrong. Either way, I could hold my own,” she said puffing her chest out proudly.

“I’ll remember that and let you just dangle from his hands next time,” he joked.

She narrowed her eyes and jabbed him in the side. “You’re not that funny,” she said before shifting down on the bed so that she could rest her head on his lap and grin up at him.

“I’m not, huh?” he smiled. “Well, too bad,” he shrugged, “I’m usually on the wrong end of the jokes on Atlantis, so maybe that’s the reason.”

“I do think that you are very handsome and endearing though,” Ziva smiled.

“Hmm,” John chuckled and planted a kiss on her forehead. “You’re too cute.”

Sighing, she closed her eyes and enjoyed the relative privacy and quiet they had for the moment knowing that once they got to Atlantis there would be a lot to do. As it was, she was both excited and nervous about the future and it would only be just a few short days before the next leg of her life would begin.

“You’ll be fine,” he said after a while. “You’re going to fit right in with the rest of us crazy people, fight alien humans, shoot a lot and pretend to eat Teyla’s tuttle root soup.”

“As long as I get a chance to kick butt, I’ll be happy,” Ziva laughed.

“You’ll have plenty of butts to kick,” John nodded, “You’re going to hate it should you ever have to leave.”

She laughed at the thought about wanting to leave. “We shall see. I still don’t know if Atlantis will be the right fit for me, if I’ll fit in.”

“You’ll see,” he smiled and softly kissed her on the lips.

Sighing Ziva glanced at the door. “Your people won’t let us be for awhile will they? They are just going to rap on us about being together…”

“Oh, it gets worse on Atlantis,” he nodded. “Tight knit community and all that,” he shrugged. “However, I will teach you the way to mute your door and lock it from the inside so nobody can come in and surprise you.” He knew she made a small mistake there with her idioms, but it didn’t matter. It made Ziva the way she was, simply amazing.

She looked up at him oddly. “Who would come in and surprise me?” she asked with a twinkle in her eye.

“Well, me.” he grinned, “But you’ve got pranksters too you know… Stackhouse really likes pulling pranks on the new recruits and I’m sure he won’t spare you even if I told him not to.”

“Just tell him that I could kill him ten different ways with a paperclip,” she shrugged seriously.

John chuckled. “He’d find that a challenge.”

Ziva turned to grin at John. “I once killed a man using a credit card.”

“That’s impressive,” John said. “Just don’t hurt him… well much… when he tries something will you? He’s one of the few with the gene on Atlantis.”

“Maybe I have that gene?” she asked, wondering.

“Oh, no doubt that Carson will check you over and turn you inside out to find that out,” he said.

She moaned and made a face about having to deal with doctors and exams. Especially after Somalia. “Do I have to? I really have issues with physical exams…” she said softly and looked away.

“Apart from taking your blood, Carson doesn’t even have to touch you,” he softly caressed her cheek, whatever was freaking her out about physical exams, he knew that there would come a day that she’d feel safe enough to tell him. “We have alien technology that’s even better than MRI scans, more detailed.”

Sighing Ziva closed her eyes and turned towards his touch. Maybe this was where she belonged all the time. That this was where she was fighting her way to, through Mossad, against her father, NCIS…This was where she was most content after such a long time.

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