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It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Now completely surrounded by hostile characters and a room that looked like a potential crime scene, Ziva wasn't so sure. Overwhelmed, Ziva did what any sensible woman would do under the circumstances: She sat down—hard—on the floor. And called Gibbs.

Gibbs glared the general direction of the jar holding his cell phone as if it was its fault it decided to ring. With an exasperated sigh, he set down his hand saw and crossed the room.

"Gibbs."

"Gibbs!" The sense of relief in Ziva's voice instantly put him on alert.

"Ziva, what's wrong?"

"I'm am sorry to bother you, Gibbs, but—Breanna! No, don't--" Ziva's sentence ended in a Hebrew exclamation.

"Ziva, where are you?"

Another Hebrew exclamation, then... "My apartment! Please come as quick as you can!"

She hung up.

Gibbs was in his car in sixty seconds. Ziva's cryptic call had him more than a little worried. It was impossible to tell what was happening from the call. Furthermore, Ziva was more than capable to handle any emergency. The fact that she sounded so flustered was a little bit disconcerting. He skidded to a stop in front of Ziva's place and jumped out of the car. En route to the door, he pulled out his gun, stopping to listen outside the door. Screaming...

He kicked open the door. "Federal agents!"

He froze. His upper lip twitched. He put away his gun.

"Ziver?"

His fearless Mossad assassin was sitting on the couch, head in her hands. Her apartment looked like it had been ransacked. But not by the criminal variety. Two little girls were running around the room, shrieking. They were quite obviously twins, judging by their similar features and approximated age. Six-years-old and red-headed. No wonder Ziva needed help.

He crossed the room, stepping over a feather pink boa and a size six woman's heel.

"Status."

Ziva lifted her head off her hands and gave him a tired look.

"Breanna--" She pointed towards the girl in the lead, "And Britney." She pointed toward the girl chasing Breanna.

"They have been here for thirty minutes, Gibbs. Thirty minutes! And look what they have done to my place!"

His keen eye swept her apartment. A glance into her bed room showed that the girls had already been at Ziva's wardrobe. A look into the kitchen revealed evidence that they had eaten every sweet food item Ziva had, probably within five minutes of their arrival. The living room looked a battlefield, with a floor covered in wrappers clothes, and toys. Gibbs hid his smile and took charge of the situation.

"Breanna! Britney!"

Both girls glanced up at the newcomer in surprise.

"Who're you?" Breanna chirped breathlessly.

"This is Agent Gibbs." Ziva said, getting to her feet. "He's my boss."

Both girls looked at each other and giggled.

"Agent Gibbs? That's a funny name!" giggled Britney.

"He's your boss?" Breanna chimed in, "Is he a—" She wrinkled up her face in concentration, as she pronounced the word, "Ig-nor-a-mooose? Mom's boss is!"

"No, no," Ziva waved her hand, her face tinging ever so slightly pink, "He's very smart."

The girls both went into peels of giggles again.

"I think she likes him, Brit."

"Ziva and Agent Gibbs sitting in a tree..." Britney began.

"K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" Breanna finished.

"Enough!" Ziva erupted. She threw her hands up in the air and looked at her boss. "They are impossible!"

"They're just kids, Ziva. I have an idea; let's go to the park. Would you girls like to do that?"

Both girls cheered. On the way to the park, the twins ran ahead. Ziva sighed.

"Thank you for coming, Gibbs. I did not know two girls could be so much trouble!"

Gibbs raised his eyebrow. "You don't know very many kids, do you, Officer David?"

Ziva just sighed. "Their mother's usual babysitter came down down with the flu and she sounded so distraught about it! My aunt was just telling me that I should try and make more female friends outside of work and I thought—apparently, it was a bad idea."

"It was a good idea, Ziva. You just need a little help. Rule twenty-six, outside exercise is a great way to tire out over-active trouble-makers. Makes nap time less of a struggle, too."

Ziva looked up at her boss. "Rule twenty-six? I had not heard that one before."

Gibbs' eyes twinkled. "Well, as I said, it is my job to teach you the rules. We haven't needed that one before now."

"Zee-vah! AgentGibbssss! Come push us on the swings." Breanna shouted.

Several nearby moms looked up suspiciously at the man and woman walking across the playground.

The twins squealed with pleasure as they flew high up in the air, pumping their legs for all they were worth. Ziva relaxed a little. Gibbs was right. This was a good idea. What trouble could the girls possibly get into—

"Wheee!" Breanna let go off the swing and jumped forward.

Gibbs and Ziva lunged forward simultaneously. Gravity followed its natural course; Down went Breanna. Her green eyes welled up with tears and her mouth puckered up into an 'O' as she let out a wail. Seeing her sister's distress, Britney joined in with a wail of her own.

"Ziva!" Gibbs waved his hand towards Britney, whom Ziva reached just in time to keep her from doing a face-plant onto the ground below. Having safely secured Britney, Ziva turned to see how Gibbs and Breanna were fairing. Gibbs had picked up the girl and carried her over to a picnic bench. He was speaking quietly to her and the girl seemed comforted. She had at least stopped crying. The sight caught Ziva momentarily offguard. She knew—had known before she even met—that Gibbs had once been a father. She rarely thought about it, though. She had seen him occasionally with children when they were working on cases, but, other than that, it was easy to forget his paternal side. Watching him now, with Breanna... It was clear that he had been an excellent father. He was tender with Breanna in a way Ziva had never seen him be with anyone else. Perhaps, if only for few brief seconds, he was remembering a moment years before, with Kelly. Britney ran over to her sister and Ziva's train of thought was broken.

The park outing ended a few moments later and the four walked together back to Ziva's apartment. The girls had evidently decided Gibbs was their hero. They were holding onto his hands and skipping merrily as they chattered on about—well, everything, really. Ziva felt a bit tired just watching them.

"Oh, what a darling family!" An elderly woman clapped her hands together and smiled at them as they passed.

"Oh, they're not--" Ziva started to explain.

"Thank you, ma'am." Gibbs nodded politely and kept walking.

Ziva ran to catch up to him. "Why did you not let me explain?"

"It'd take too long to explain." Gibbs shrugged.

"It does not seem too hard to me. They do not look like either of us!"

Gibbs merely laughed.

Once inside Ziva's apartment, Gibbs took charge once more. Within five minutes, the twins were cleaning up their mess, Ziva was putting a pot on the stove to boil, and Gibbs was setting the table. Per Gibbs' suggestion, Ziva made macaroni and cheese in the kitchen while Gibbs read stories to the girls in the living room. During dinner, the girls chattered on, excitedly, telling Gibbs and Ziva every detail of their life, from school to vacations to their mom's job. No one, especially not the assassin, or the little girls, or the childless father, stopped to think what a pretty domestic scene it made.


Ziva let herself back into her apartment with a sigh of relief. After dinner, she had gone back to the girls apartment to get them ready for bed. She had just finished tucking them into bed when their mother had come home, tired and apologetic. Ziva had assured her that it was no problem, then fled back to her apartment. Now, she leaned back against her door and wiped a weary hand across her forehead. Thank goodness that was over...

Suddenly Ziva stiffened. There was someone in her apartment. She reached quickly for the knife strapped to her leg and advanced on her kitchen. She rounded the corner...

"Gibbs?! I thought you'd gone home," she covered quickly, returning her knife to its holster, with all due haste.

Gibbs just smiled. "You survived." He waved a hand towards the table. He had helped himself to Ziva's wine collection and poured a glass of red wine for both of them. Ziva slid into a chair across from him and reached for her glass.

"I do not think I will ever have kids. Ever."

Gibbs laughed, then turned serious. "You may change your mind some day."

"I doubt it."

Gibbs decided against wasting breath trying to dissuade a woman who carried a knife on her person.

End.