Title: No Horsing Around

Character(s): Ziva David, Eli David, Tali David, Sarah David, Uri David.

Pairing(s): None

Genre(s): General

Episode(s): Inspired by a trivial bit of inspiration that we learned of in 'Identity Crisis'. Ziva reveals to Courtney that her uncle bread Arabians. Also, taking another bit of information that we learned in 'Tribes'. Ziva spent her summers in Haifa.

Crossover(s): None

Word Count: 1,229

She automatically woke up at the crack of dawn, but instead of jumping right out of bed, she lay there and watched as eventually, more and more light filtered through her window.

It was summer in Haifa, Israel, and the temperature was in the eighties. Normally, she'd love it. She loved to run around outside with Tali, lay down in the grass and watch the clouds, go swimming in the lake that was not too far from her uncle's house.

But none of this would happen. Not this year. This year, she was 13, and according to her farther and uncle, 'play time was over'. This year, she would be helping out with her Uncle Uri's Arabian horses. Just like she had done the previous day, and the day before that, and the day before that.

She sighed, realizing that she had wasted enough time laying there, and rolled out of bed. She went to her dresser and pulled out a simple white t-shirt and a pair of cargo pants, dressing quickly and silently in the early morning light. Then, she braided her hair into a single braid and pulled on her work boots.

"Ziva?" A small voice from the other bed, whispered.

"Go back to sleep, Tali." Ziva ordered.

"Are you going out already?" Tali asked, ignoring her older sister's order.

Ziva nodded and crept to stand above her little sister's bed. "Yes, little one. Papa wants me out bright and early." She ran her hand over Tali's messy, dark brown hair. "Now sleep. Mama and Aunt Rebecca will have breakfast ready soon."

Tali nodded and rolled over to face the wall.

Ziva continued to watch her for a moment. Admiration and a hint of jealousy in her eyes. As much as she loved Tali, she couldn't help but be jealous that her baby sister was her papa's favorite. He would never allow his little Thalia to do the hard labor that he was making Ziva do. She let out a huff and quickly made her way downstairs.

Uri was waiting for her in the stables. He looked at her, then to his watch, then back at her.

"Right on time." Faint traces of a smile was on his lips.

She smiled up at him, waiting expectantly for the list of chores for the day.

"Same as yesterday. Food, water, clean the horses and the stalls." He counted off on his fingers. "But there is something new on the list. Today you will be helping me change the horseshoes. Ready?"

"Yes, Uncle Uri."

She began her work by refilling the feed in the trough. The bag of food was heavy, but she didn't let her straining show. She needed to do this. Needed to prove herself to her father. If her father was impressed, Mossad would be too.

Next was the water. The hose was outside the stables, so she had a ways to walk between each stall. She'd take a bucket full of water to one stall, dump it in the tray, go back outside, refill the bucket and bring it back to the same stall to completely fill the horses water tray. It was hard and boring work, but it needed to be done.

She would clean the stalls out after she had given them new food. The big creatures would be distracted by eating, and that made it easier to sweep the stall out and lay down new hay. This was probably her least favorite part. She hated dealing with the old, dirty hay and their waste. It was gross, it was stinky, but it needed to be done.

Her favorite part came after she cleaned out the stalls. Brushing the horses. She loved to gently drag the brush over their coats. She loved to work her fingers gently through their manes. Sometimes, she'd braid their tails when Uri wasn't looking. She'd been caught a few times, but fortunately for her, Uri had a sense of humor. That was something her father lacked.

After she had finished her chores, she went to find her uncle. Uri was in the house, sitting on the floor coloring with Tali.

"Everything is done. The only thing left is the shoes."

"I will be right there." Uri said to her before turning to Tali. "Thalia, little one, I need to go out to help Ziva. I will be back in in a little bit. Okay?"

Tali nodded. "Okay, Uncle Uri."

Uri chuckled and stood up. "Come on."

Ziva followed her uncle out into the stable and watched as he gathered some tools. "Bring Zipora out."

Ziva nodded and went into the first stall. She lead the horse out to Uri and watched as he tied her up.

"Is this going to hurt them?" She asked, trying to keep the fear out of her voice.

Uri shook his head. "No. They will be fine." He grabbed a large hook and began cleaning out the hoof.

Ziva watched, fascinated. She had never witnessed anything like this before.

She watched as he scraped the bottom of the hoof with an odd shaped knife and brushed the hoof off with a brush. Then, he trimmed the hoof and filed the hoof. He picked up a nail and set it in it's place, then reached for the hammer which was between his teeth.

"Wait!" Ziva cried and Uri looked up, startled.

"What is it, Ziva?"

With wide eyes, Ziva spoke. "You are sure that this will not hurt her?"

Uri's eyes softened. "Yes, little one, I am sure." He watched as relief came over her delicate features. He felt bad lying to her, but she was too young to know the truth. Eli would disagree, but this was his home, his farm, his stables. He would tell Ziva whatever he felt was necessary.

He nailed the first nail into the shoe. Then another. Then another. He did it again and again until the shoe was attached the proper way.

"There." He bent the nails down and clipped them off with the same clippers he had used earlier.

"You try." He said and handed Ziva the hook.

Timidly, she began following the steps that she had seen her uncle do just moments before. Finally, after a few minutes, she was done.

"I did it!" She cried, happily and Uri smiled.

"Yes, yes you did. Good job."

Uncle and niece finished up shoeing the all the horses in the stable just before lunch time. After scarfing down her sandwich, Ziva rand upstairs to take a quick shower. The warm water felt good on her aching body, and she was reluctant to get out. But she did.

She came downstairs to a bouncing Tali, but pushed her way passed her little sister and fell onto the couch.

"Come on, Ziva! Play with me!" Tali pouted, her dark eyes sad.

"I am too tired, Tali." Ziva moaned. "Go asked Uncle Uri. I am sure that he will play."

Tali frowned, but nodded and went off to find her uncle.

"I hope that he is not working you too hard." Rebecca said from the kitchen, obviously having heard her nieces exchange.

"Nothing that I can't handle." Ziva replied. Rebecca nodded sadly and exchanged a glance with her sister-in-law.

After dinner, Ziva trudged upstairs and got ready for bed. Almost as soon as her head hit the pillow, sleep consumed her.