Tony DiNozzo groaned and turned over in the sheets, taking the pillow and shoving it up to his ears, "Aghhhh!" He groaned out, "Turn that damn thing off, Zi, it's five in the morning!"
From next to him, his wife sat up and leaned over, smacking the gray button, "I just pressed snooze, now get up." She slid gracefully out of bed, as if she was light as a feather. She moved across the floor without a sound, wrapping her robe around her.
"Take that off." Tony smiled as he turned back over, putting his hands behind his head and grinning his famous DiNozzo grin, "You look better without anything on."
She continued walking towards the bathroom, "You will never see me naked again if you do not get up and out of bed."
"I don't hafta be in work for like another four hours." He groaned as she disappeared into the bathroom, closing the door ajar so that a faint sliver of light was coming out and dancing across the hardwood.
"That is incorrect." She responded and Tony heard her turn on the water for the sink.
"What?" He demanded and then his eyes got wide and he reached over to grab his phone, checking to see if he had any new texts or any missed calls from Gibbs or McGee saying that they had to be at a crime scene somewhere. He squinted through the light and then shook his head.
"What the hell are you talking about?" He called.
"Bailey." She responded, "I have a meeting with Director Vance early this morning, therefore I will not be able to take Bailey to school today." She said, "You have to."
"And that's better?" Tony groaned.
She emerged from the bathroom, wearing the little eye make-up she normally did and her hair pulled back into a tight bun, "I did not say that you would enjoy it." She commented, walking towards the dresser and pulling open the drawers. She pulled out what she was going to wear and then untied her bathrobe, letting it drop to the floor.
Tony grinned and sat up, "Hey, come over here and do that." He smiled suggestively at her. She just looked over her shoulder and smiled, shaking her head.
"Maybe later tonight." She promised, "Go and wake Bailey up. If she is not already up. Go make her breakfast."
He rolled his eyes, "Yes ma'am." He threw the blankets off of him and grabbed his boxers off of the ground, pulling them on and then yawning, running a hand through his hair, "You wear me out, Ziva." He smiled kissing her lightly on the cheek as he walked by, "Last night was hot." He called over his shoulder, "Fiesty!" He growled at her and then continued down the hallway.
She just shook her head and smiled to herself.
She certainly knew how to work that man.
"We don't have any Fruit Loops." Tony groaned as he started at a four-year old Bailey, who was sitting at the kitchen counter, on a stool, her legs swinging.
"Want fruit loops." She repeated, "Fruit loops."
"Ugh!" Tony shouted, frustrated, "We don't have any! We have Frosted Flakes! You know, with Tony the tiger?" He cleared his throat, "They're grreat!" He said, in his best impression of the tiger.
"I don't like Tony..." She shook her head, looking down at the counter, "He scares me, Daddy."
"Well what about Lucky Charms? There's marshmallows in this! You know, yum."
"Fruit loops!" She smiled, grinning at him, her black curls bouncing on her head.
Tony groaned, "Look kid!" He started shaking the spoon at her, "We don't HAVE any fruit loops!"
"Tony, be nice." Ziva demanded, walking into the kitchen.
"She started it!" Tony defended, turning towards his wife, "I politely asked her what she wanted to eat for breakfast, and she told me fruit loops. When I told her we didn't have any, she kept insisting that she have fruit loops! We don't have any! She started it!" He repeated.
"Honey," Ziva turned to Bailey, smiling kindly at her, "Would you like a different cereal?" Bailey shook her head.
"I'm sorry, we don't have any fruit loops. We have Frosted Flakes though."
Tony scoffed, "She doesn't like those. Tony the tiger 'scares' her."
Ziva paused for a moment and then looked at him, "Tony the tiger scares me too." Tony just scoffed again and rolled his eyes.
"Cheerios?" Bailey finally asked.
"We have that." Ziva smiled, pouring her a bowl.
Tony let his mouth drop open, "I offered her Cheerios ten minutes ago!" He complained.
"You have to know how to talk to her." She responded, putting the box away in the cabinent.
"I know how to talk to her."
"You do not talk to her like you would to McGee."
"But he acts like a four year old!" Tony whined.
"Just like you are acting like one right now." She said, straightening her top, "Now I have to go, make sure you get Bailey to school, the time is on the fridge, do not forget."
"I won't." He said, and she started away before he grabbed her arm, "Hey, come 'ere." He wrapped his arms tightly around her, "Sorry." She was shocked at first, but returned the hug, "I'll get Bailey to school, you go to that meeting with the toothpick." He pulled her back and stared into her eyes before pecking her lightly on the lips, "I'll see you at work."
She just nodded and then walked over to Bailey, wishing her a good day and kissing her on the top of the head before leaving the house.
Tony watched her leave and then walked up to the fridge, taking the schedule off of it. He squinted at it, "8 o'clock?" He checked the time. It read around 6, "Why the hell are we up so early, Bails?" he questioned, leaning on the counter and staring at his child. She just ate her cereal in silence, the milk dribbling down her chin. Tony smiled softly and grabbed a napkin before reaching over and wiping the milk off of her chin. She smiled at him and then dropped her spoon noisly in her bowl.
"Done." She clapped her hands together and he walked around the counter, picking her up and setting her down onto the ground.
"Let's get you dressed." He said, grabbing her hand as they both made it towards her bedroom.
"Traffic sucks." Tony complained, looking in the rear view mirror at Bailey, who was in her booster seat, staring out of the window.
"Daddy..." She started and Tony smiled at her as he pulled up to a stop light.
"Car's moving fast."
He smiled, "Yeah, honey, that car is moving fast. You know what else moves fast? The cars in Rush Hour 2. They move fast." He grinned and she just stared at him, blankly, "Oh. Yeah, well, that car is moving fast." He agreed, sighing and staring at the light as it turned green again.
Bailey hummed quietly to herself as Tony pulled down the road to the right, Bailey's preschool on the right side of the street. He furrowed his eyebrows together as he realized that there weren't any cars in the drop off area. Or any teachers standing outside to help escort the kids inside. He parked in front of the school and reached into his pocket to get the schedule out.
"Closed." He heard from the backseat, "No school." He looked at her through the mirror and then back down at the folded up piece of paper.
"You think so?" He questioned, "I don't think so..." He opened up the piece of paper, his smile still on his face before he let it drop. 0700h. He looked at the clock. 0800h, "You're right." He whispered.
"Closed." He heard again from the backseat.
"Shit." he muttered, throwing his head back, "You're right." He repeated again, "No school for you." His mind raced. What was he supposed to do? He had to be in work or Gibbs'd kill him. And he didn't know any nannies. Their usual was on vacation, "Shit." He muttered again.
He only had one option.
He turned around in his seat and grinned at his confused child, "Closed." She said again, "Daddy, school is closed."
"Wanna see where I work?"
It was officially 'Bring your Child to Work Day'.
Tony DiNozzo said so.
"Daddy?" Bailey called from the backseat as they pulled into a parking spot at NCIS.
"Yeah?" He asked. He got out of the car and walked around to the right side, opening the back door and began the process of taking her out of the booster seat.
"Is Mommy going to be mad?" She asked.
Tony chuckled nervously, "Of course not sweetheart. She'll understand." He said, and then quietly added, "I hope." Once he finally got her out, he took her small hand and walked up to the building with her.
Tony sighed, "Yes baby?"
"Why are you wearing that gun on your side?"
Tony quickly pulled his jacket over his gun and smiled down at her, deciding that this was one of the questions he wasn't gonna answer. At least, not right now. "Morning Agent DiNozzo."
"Who's that with you?"
Tony smiled down at Bailey as she wrapped her arms around his leg. "This is my daughter, Bailey." He squat down to her level and looked up at the security guard, "Can you say hi to Mr. John?"
Bailey stared up at him for several seconds before letting out a barley audible 'hi'. Both men chuckled and Tony picked her up before walking into the elevator. He took a deep breath and pressed the button for the third floor. "Okay Bails when we get up here, I'm gonna give you some paper and you can use your crayons to draw me and Mommy a pretty picture, okay?" She nodded and Tony grabbed her hand as the elevator dinged. He looked down at Bailey as they walked towards the squad room and smiled as she looked around in awe. Finally rounding the corner, he noticed the one thing he didn't want to notice today.
"Ah damn it!" He said loudly. Bailey looked up at her father, confused.
"Where's Mommy?" she questioned.
Tony let his head fall backwards. They would get a call on a day he really didn't need anybody to die on. "Come on, we gotta go."
"But where's Mommy?" Bailey asked again.
"She's with Uncle Gibbs."
"Uncle Gibbs!" Bailey said happily.
"Yeah. Lets go before he grows an ulcer."
Once they got to back to Tony's car, (because the government cars unfortunately did not have a booster seat. Tony made a mental note for the suggestion box,) he did the long process of getting her buckled before calling McGee. The dead Marine was in Quantico, so Tony and his new partner, Bailey, headed to the crime scene.
As soon as her feet hit the ground, Bailey Leah Raine DiNozzo ran up to Uncle Gibbs, her arms open wide.
"Bailey!" Tony called, but it was too late.
"Hey kiddo!" Gibbs said, picking her up and hugging her tightly.
It was official.
Tony DiNozzo was a dead man.
"What are you doing here?" Gibbs asked, but the question was more pointed towards Tony. Tony chuckled nervously and ran a hand through his hair, and grew more nervous as his wife approached the group.
"Anthony...why is our C-H-I-L-D at the crime scene?"
"Well...uh...you...see...funny...story, actually." He said.
Ziva crossed her arms and glared at her husband, waiting on him to form an actual sentence. Thankfully, Gibbs was listening to Bailey's latest story about the cereal incident earlier that morning. "Why is she here, Tony?" Ziva whispered, growing more inpatient.
"Her school was closed when I got there!" He said quietly.
"I told you to look at the schedule!" Ziva replied.
"I'm sorry, I tried! You know I'm no use that early in the morning!"
"Clearly!" Ziva said, "Why didn't you leave her with Abby?"
Tony let his head fall and then shook his finger at Ziva, "That would have been a great idea if I would've thought of it."
"This is all you thought of?" Ziva replied, and then looked up when McGee joined the circle.
"Boss our Marine is...hey Bailey!" He said, tickling her stomach. She giggled and then reached over for the junior agent.
"DiNozzo..."Gibbs said softly.
"I'm sorry boss I had no choice. Our usual Nanny is in Europe, and I assumed that we wouldn't have a case so I wanted her to sit quietly and draw but then..."
"You know what happens when you assume things?"
"Yeah, yeah. I know." Tony said.
"What are we going to do with her? She can't run around our crime scene."
"I know, I know." The two then turned their attention to McGee.
"I have something for you." He said, and reached into his backpack, pulling out a fresh NCIS cap. He adjusted the back so it was as small as it could go, "Here you go. Now you're an agent, just like Dad and Mom!"
Bailey jumped up and down with excitement and turned to her parents, "Look!"
Ziva squat down and kissed her daughter on the cheek, "You look beautiful, Bailey."
Meanwhile, Tony looked around the crime scene, searching for anything that could possibly keep Bailey entertained while they work. A smile stretched across his face.
"Hey Palmer!" He yelled, and jogged over to the assistant.
Ziva watched her husband until she heard Bailey's voice again. "Mommy?"
"Yes dear?" She replied.
"Why is that man laying on the ground over there?" She asked. Ziva looked at the dead body about 500 feet away.
"He is...taking a nap." Ziva stood and picked her up, taking her over to the truck and opening the passenger door.
"Why doesn't he lay on that bed right there?"
"Ducky is going to put him on there."
Bailey giggled, "I wanna watch!"
"Why don't you stay here with Mr. Jimmy and play, okay?"
Jimmy's eyes grew big and he turned to Ziva and whispered, "I don't have anything to entertain her with."
Ziva glared at him, "Think of something, Jimmy. She cannot run around the scene."
"I'm a lot better with kids when I have toys!"
Ziva studied him for several seconds, all the way down to his shoes, when a light bulb appeared over her head, "Take off your socks and make them talk." Jimmy furrowed his eyebrows together, "You know, what they do to kids. Give them a voice and..."
"You mean a puppet show?" Jimmy asked.
"Yes! A puppet show." She smiled as if she just won first prize.
"I'm not that creative..." Jimmy started, but when he saw the glare on the federal agent's face, he quickly changed the end of his statement, "...but I'll think of something."
"Thank you." She leaned in and gave Bailey a kiss on the cheek before returning to work.
"Our Marine is a 25-year-old Gunnery Sergeant Ethan Knight. Married, no kids. His wife is on her way from work, said the last time she saw him was when she left this morning. No witnesses."
"TOD?" Gibbs asked.
"I'd say 0630h to 0700h this morning, Jethro."
"When Bailey was supposed to be at school." Ziva muttered. Tony looked up from his sketch and gave her another 'I'm sorry' look. "It appears he may have been jogging when he was shot." Ziva commented.
"Which could be any of these houses." McGee added.
"Nobody heard or saw anything?" Tony asked.
"Only witness was another Marine, Sergeant Trey Jones. Found him on his way to work." McGee said.
"I want to know how people get shot on a Marine base without being seen." Tony said, his arms wide.
"That's what we're here to figure out, DiNozzo. Get to work."
Tony looked up at the bossman to find him glaring back at him. He knew there was going to be a bunch of those kinds of looks today.
Once they finally finished the scene and the body was packed up, Tony and Ziva walked over to the truck to relieve Palmer of his babysitting duties.
"Thanks Palmer. I appreciate it."
"But I wasn't done! Mr. Sockpuppet hasn't defeated the evil Shoester yet."
Ziva shook her head in disbelief. "I thought you said you had no creative side."
Palmer shrugged, "I guess once you start you can't stop."
Tony studied the socks on the assistant's hands, "I'm not sure Bailey should be subjected to these socks."
"That's Mr. Sockpuppet, Daddy!" Bailey said, a smile stretched across her face.
"Okay, well, Mr. Sockpuppet has to go now. Thank you again Jimmy."
"No problem. I love kids."
"Bailey can you say bye to Mr. Jimmy?" Ziva asked.
"Bye Mr. Jimmy!" Bailey said, and then turned to Gibbs who was getting in the driver's seat. "Can I ride with Uncle Gibbs?"
"No baby. You need to ride with Daddy in your seat." Ziva said. She walked over to Tony's car and buckled her in. Tony walked over to her as she shut the door.
"Are you okay?"
She looked up at him, "I am fine."
"You don't seem fine, Zi."
"I will see you."
Tony sighed as she walked back to the truck and hopped in the passenger seat. Gibbs drove off. Tony got into his own car and followed the truck.
Something wasn't right with Ziva.
She couldn't have been that upset about Bailey missing school.
Tony marched into the squad room with his daughter's hand in his. "Alright Bailey, sit here and draw me and Mommy a picture. Here's your crayons." He handed her the 16 pack and gave her a clipboard to bare down on, "Make it real pretty, okay? We're gonna hang it on the fridge."
"Okay Daddy!" She said, and began coloring on the printer paper he gave her. Tony smiled at her and took a breath, looking around the squad room. Ziva was on the phone with someone, probably one of the witness'. McGee was doing his McGee thing, typing on his computer, and Gibbs wasn't at his desk.
Tony walked over to his wife's desk and sat on the edge, patiently waiting for her to get off the phone. He watched as Bailey stood from her spot and walked over to McGee's desk.
"Bailey, honey." Tony said, walking over to her and squatting down to her level, "You can't talk to Timmy or Uncle Gibbs right now, okay? They're working."
"But Daddy, I wanted to show Timmy what I drew!"
"I know you do, but he can see it when you're done, okay?"
"It's okay, Tony." McGee said, rubbed his finger under her chin, smiling down at her. "Maybe when you're done with Daddy and Mommy's picture, you can draw me one."
Bailey smiled and nodded, "Alright, come on Bails. Timmy has work to do." Tony said, picking her up and setting her back down in the spot she was in before. She resumed coloring, and Tony walked over to Ziva's desk again, just as she hung up the phone.
"Hey." He said. Ziva only looked up at him and then leaned over to look at their daughter.
"Does she have something to keep her busy?"
"Yeah, yeah. She had her crayons and I gave her some paper to color on. At lunch I'll run home and get some dolls for her." Ziva only nodded and looked back down at her work. "Hey, you okay?" He asked. She nodded again without looking at him. "Babe, I'm sorry about this morning, I didn't know the schedule."
"They had a field trip to the aquarium." She said.
Tony shook his head, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to happen, but there were cars...and traffic..."
"Tony, it's fine. I need to work." She said, and stood from her desk as Gibbs walked in, plopping down in his own chair.
Tony scrunched his eyebrows together and returned to his desk.
Something was going on with Ziva.
And it was deeper than just a missed field trip.
"Agent DiNozzo?" Both DiNozzo's looked up and Bailey peeked around the corner. The agent escorting a man looked a little confused, "Oh, uh, I meant her." He pointed to Ziva.
"Yes?" She asked.
"This gentlemen says you were expecting him? Jeff Thomas?"
"Yes, I was. Thank you, Agent Hall." He nodded and walked away, leaving Jeff standing there. Ziva stood up and walked over to him, leading him to Gibbs' desk, "Gibbs, this is Jeff Thomas, he says he saw Ethan get shot this morning."
Gibbs looked up at the tall man, a look of hurt on his face. Gibbs stood up, "Gibbs. Nice to meet you." He said, shaking his hand, "Take him to room one, please." He waited until Ziva and Jeff were out of earshot and then turned to his remaining two agents, "DiNozzo, McGee. Need you in observation in five."
Both men nodded and Tony looked down at his daughter, who now was curled up and sleeping peacefully on the floor. Tony chuckled lightly, and then turned to his junior partner, "I'm gonna take her down to Abby's lab. She has a pallet Bailey can sleep on." McGee nodded and Tony very carefully lifted her.
Bailey shifted a little, so that she was more comfortable on Tony's shoulder, but otherwise didn't wake.
Once the elevator got down to Abby's floor, Tony immediately put his hand over her small ear, so that the music didn't wake her, and was slightly relieved when Abby turned it off as soon as she saw them.
"Aw, Tony! She's getting so big and more and more beautiful!" She said quietly.
Tony nodded, "Yes, like her mother." Abby smiled at him, "Hey, uh, can she sleep on your pallet until we get done with interrogation?"
"Of course!" Abby said and then walked into her room to set it up.
"Thanks, and if she wakes up, bring her to observation. McGee and I will be in there."
"Okay, got it."
Tony lay her down gently and kissed the side of Bailey's head. "Thanks Abs." He squeezed Abby's arm as he passed her and started out of the lab when she called his name.
"Are you okay?" She asked him, her famous look of worry in her eyes.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just have some things on my mind."
"Don't let it get to you, Tony." Abby patted his arm and he chuckled.
"I wish it didn't."
Abby watched him as he returned to the elevator. Something wasn't right in DiNozzo-land.
She had to know.
Tony walked into observation and closed the door behind him, "Did I miss anything McObserve?"
McGee rolled his eyes, "Nope. Gibbs has been letting him sweat."
"Where's Ziva?" Tony asked.
"I don't know, Gibbs said they would both be interrogating him."
Tony looked at him and turned his head, "Then where is she?"
McGee shrugged his shoulders, "I don't know."
Tony knew that his wife was a ninja, a fact that could never be lost on him. But that interrogation room was small, and there weren't very many places one could hide.
"There she is." McGee said, and Tony was snapped out of her thoughts. His mind eased just slightly when he saw the folder she was holding in her hands. Maybe she was getting paperwork to aide in the interrogation.
"So, Mr. Jeffery Thomas." Gibbs started. He opened up the folder and pulled a picture of the victim out of the folder. "You knew him?"
"Sir, can I ask a question?" Gibbs only stared at him and waited for him to speak, "I don't understand why I'm being interrogated. I only saw him get shot."
"Why are you nervous, Jeff?"
"I'm not nervous!" Jeff replied.
"There is sweat rolling down your face." Ziva chirped in.
"It's hot in here!"
"I'm comfortable. Ziver, you comfortable?" Ziva nodded, "We're comfortable, Jeff."
"Look, I don't know what is going on." Jeff said.
"A man died this morning."
"And you told the police you didn't see anything." Gibbs added. "Why did you lie to them, and then come to us with this information?"
"I didn't want to get involved at first, Agent Gibbs. But then I thought it was my duty to let somebody know about what I saw."
"Were you and Ethan friends?"
"No, not really. I mean we passed each other and threw up our hands going to work everyday. But just neighborly."
"What'd you see this morning?"
"I had a cup of coffee, and I walked over to the window to look out of it, just as I do every morning. I saw Ethan running and I watched him, and then boom. He fell."
"Were there any cars around?"
Jeff shook his head, "No sir. Ethan was the only moving thing I saw."
"Did you call the police?" Ziva asked.
Ziva raised her eyebrows, "You did? Or you wife?"
"I'm not married." Jeff said.
"That is very strange, because the person that reported it to the police was a woman." Ziva said, reading from the folder and then looking back up at him.
"Well, I uh, tried to call. It was busy."
Gibbs couldn't help but laugh, "The police department line was busy?"
He ran a hand through his hair, "Yeah, like um, they had already received the report about it. So I uh, hung up."
"So you did talk to somebody."
Tony shook his head and looked at McGee, "This guy didn't do it."
"How do you know?" McGee asked.
"He's making it up."
Gibbs nodded slowly, "Did he have any problems around the neighborhood that you know of?"
Jeff shook his head, "No, I don't think so. He seemed to be liked."
"Okay, Mr. Thomas. Thank you for coming in." Gibbs stood from the table and walked out of the room, leaving Ziva inside with the man.
"Where's he going?" Jeff asked.
Ziva shrugged a shoulder, "To work."
"Oh, so I can go?'
"Not yet, Mr. Thomas. I have a few questions for you."
Tony furrowed his eyebrows together. If Gibbs had already left the room, that meant that he thought the guy was innocent. Why was Ziva still in there? And what questions did she have? McGee looked over at Tony, who was obviously just as confused as himself, "What is she doing?"
Tony only stared as Ziva continued.
"Why are you acting this way?" Ziva said.
"Acting what way?" Jeff asked her.
"It seems to me like you are making all of this up because you know who killed Ethan."
"No, I don't, I swear!"
She leaned down to him, "What direction did the bullet come from?"
Jeff shook his head, "I don't know."
"If you were watching him, then you would know." Ziva said, and stood to her full form before walking around the table and to the other chair.
"I couldn't see that far."
"According to you, he was right in front of your house."
"He was, but I couldn't tell."
"Would you like to know what I think, Mr. Thomas?"
He ran another hand through his hair, "Sure."
"I think that you were not drinking a cup of coffee in your kitchen."
"I was, I swear! I held the cup..."
"I think you were at your door, standing there with a gun, ready to shoot. Because you knew what time Ethan ran every morning."
"I didn't kill him!"
Tony had seen enough. If Ziva would've kept going, she was going to kill this guy. He quickly walked out of the room and opened the door into interrogation, "Uh, Agent DiNozzo, can I talk to you a second?" Ziva looked at him with eyes Tony swear could kill if they stared long enough, "Please?" She sighed and walked out of the room, shutting the door behind her.
"Yes Tony?" She asked calmly.
"Why are you still interrogating him?" Tony asked softly.
"Because I want to know more information." Ziva replied.
"Ziva, he's innocent."
"You do not know that."
"I do, and Gibbs does too. He didn't do it."
Ziva sighed loudly, "Fine, Tony." She started to walk away when he grabbed her hand.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
"Nothing." She said, and wanted to walk away again.
"Ziva, please tell me what's bothering you."
She looked at him, "Not now, Tony." She said, and dropped his hand, heading for the elevator. Tony gulped and stared at her as she walked around the corner.
"So, can I take him back downstairs?" McGee asked, snapping Tony out of his thoughts again.
"What?" He said and McGee raised an eyebrow, "Yeah, yeah. Sure, whatever. I'm going to check on Bailey."
Tony's mind raced.
What in the hell was bothering his wife?
Tony DiNozzo threw a file down onto his desk and groaned, staring at McGee who was typing at his computer.
"What. A. Day." he ran a hand through his hair and then sat down, throwing his feet up onto his desk and leaning back in his chair.
McGee stayed silent for a little and then spoke, "The case isn't over, Tony."
"I know, but still. It's been tough."
"Where's Bailey?" He perked up, as if he had forgot about his only child, and, almost on cue, Abby came walking into the bullpen, his tiny daughter behind her, their hands together.
"Tah-dah!" She proclaimed, twisting Bailey in a circle and then producing her to her father.
"Daddy!" She smiled as Tony put his feet down and gathered his daughter in a hug. He pulled her onto his lap and kissed the side of her head.
"Hey pumpkin, did you have fun with Abby?"
She just nodded her head, "Can we go home now?" She whined, looking up at him with puppy dog eyes.
He laughed, "Of course, as soon as the mean mister Gibbs lets me go." he grinned, ruffling her hair.
"What was that, DiNozzo?" Gibbs questioned, walking into the bullpen. Tony winced, he should have known.
"I mean, of course, as soon as the...great all-powerful mighty mister Gibbs lets me go." He tried to cover up, but Gibbs just glanced at him.
"Where's mommy?" Bailey perked up and Tony crossed his eyes over to the empty desk directly in front of his.
He furrowed his eyebrows, "I don't know, honey." he said, honestly.
Ziva DiNozzo opened the door to Director Vance's office, stepping inside the room.
"Agent DiNozzo, what can I do for you?" he questioned, setting down his pen and sitting up straight, looking at the woman.
She stepped closer towards the desk, "I...need to request leave from my duties at NCIS."
"That is quite a big proposition...how long?" He questioned, looking down at his desk and his paperwork on top of it and then back up at his agent.
"I do not know, at least three weeks, maybe more."
"Why are you requesting this absence?"
"My father is in the hospital and is extremely ill. The doctors are unsure if he will last for much longer, but I want to make sure that he is alright. It is only the noble thing to do." She took in a deep breath, "He is, in fact, family."
"Have you informed Agent Gibbs of your decision?"
"Not yet, but I am planning to. I wanted your approval before telling the team."
"Well, family is family. Send Eli my condolences. And yours too. Is your daughter coming with you?"
"No, I am leaving her with Tony." She shook her head and Vance let out a small smile.
"I will make sure to keep a close eye on him then." He joked and she smiled, nodding once.
"Thank you for your understanding, Director." And with that, she started towards the large silver doors and then left the office. She walked down the stairs to the bullpen and smiled at her husband as she grabbed her bag from behind her desk.
"There you are!" Tony smiled, "Ready to go? Bails here is getting tired."
"Ready." She gave him a small smile back and outstretched her hand to his. He stood up and swung his backpack over one shoulder and grabbed Ziva's hand, interlocking their fingers. Bailey held on tight to Tony's other hand as the three approached the elevator.
"Did you have a good day, Bailey?" Ziva questioned and she watched her daughter nod. They entered the elevator and Tony pressed the button for the garage.
"Best part was that I didn't have school!" she grinned and Ziva smiled back as it grew quiet between the three. They got to the car and Ziva buckled Bailey in, kissing her on the head as she let out a yawn. She got into the passenger seat next to her husband and enjoyed the ride out of the navy yard, her request for leave still fresh in her mind.
"Tony." She started, being calm but firm at the same time.
"Mhmmm?" he questioned.
"I need to talk to you." He literally felt his heart drop.
"You know," he gave a shaky laugh, "I hate when women do that. Can't we just talk about this like...later? You know, like can't we just-"
"Tony." She cut him off and she watched his smile drop, "No jokes, I just want to talk."
He glanced into the rear view mirror back at Bailey, who was sound asleep, "Shoot." he tried to keep his cool. Couldn't be that bad, could it? She couldn't possibly want something as terrible as a divorce, I mean, that was the worst outcome.
"I will not..." She started and then shook her head, trying to find the right words, "My father is very ill." She finally started, "I requested leave from Director Vance for three weeks-"
"Three weeks?" Tony nearly shouted, but Ziva shushed him, motioning back at Bailey. He lowered his tone, "Ziva. Three weeks?" he questioned.
"Yes, I leave in a day. I need at least three weeks to make sure he is okay. He..is family, Tony." She reminded him, "Just like you." She placed a hand on his thigh, gently.
"I know." He sighed, "Alright. But what about Bailey?"
"You are perfectly capable of taking care of her for three weeks. It will not be that long, Tony." She smiled, "Trust me."
"Well...you know.." He ran a hand through his hair as he pulled up at their house and parked the car. He looked at her, dead in the eyes and sincerely spoke, "I'll miss you."
She smiled slightly, placing one hand on the side of his cheek, "I'll miss you too."
He leaned over and pressed his lips against hers and then pulled back, "Can I at least say goodbye to you the proper way?" He winked and she laughed.
"Same old DiNozzo." She smiled, "Of course you can."