AUTHOR'S NOTES: Just a little drabble that came into my mind.

SUMMARY: Gibbs and Ziva talk late one night. (Season 5-7 timeline--not sure specifically.)

NCIS: Love Lives On

Jethro Gibbs was still sitting at his desk at NCIS when Ziva David walked passed on her way out. Pausing as she reached the elevator, she stopped and quietly walked back to Gibbs' desk. "You should take tomorrow off, Gibbs. Tony, McGee, and I can take care of things."

Gibbs looked up at Ziva who gave him an understanding look. She knew what tomorrow was and wanted him to take the time to remember. But at the same time, Gibbs hated always being alone on the anniversary of his wife and daughter's deaths. As if sensing this, Gibbs watched Ziva pull a chair over and sit down, waiting.

"I'd seen Shannon around Stillwater," Gibbs said, leaning back in his chair, staring into the past. "First time I talked to her we were at the train station. I'd just joined the Corps."

"It was love at first sight," Ziva said with a smile as she studied Gibbs. Maybe it was because of their similar pasts but Ziva felt more comfortable talking to Gibbs than anyone else on the team.

Gibbs nodded and glanced at Ziva. "You'd have liked her, Ziva. She was kind, caring…" Grinning, he added, "But she had a fire that just…" His expression growing pensive again, he said, "Kelly had that fire, too."

"What was she like?" Ziva asked, curious. She'd always imagined that Kelly would be a lot like Gibbs.

Gibbs smiled at Ziva. "Oh, she was a lot like Shannon. She loved life and she never wanted to stop. Kelly was always up to something."

"What do you miss most?" Ziva asked Gibbs.

"I miss Shannon's smile," Gibbs replied, quietly. "I miss Kelly's laugh when I'd come home."

"I miss the nights when Tali and I couldn't sleep," Ziva said, sharing some information of her own. "We would stay up and talk. We'd imagine where we would be in 5 years… 20 years…"

"When Kelly was 5 she told me she wanted to be a Marine like me," Gibbs said, thinking back. With a soft laugh, he said, "When she was 4 she stole my dog tags. Few years later I asked why she did that. She said that she thought that maybe I wouldn't leave."

"Stubborn," Ziva noted with a smile.

Laughing, Gibbs gave Ziva a look. "Oh, Ziva, you have no idea. Kelly almost always got what she wanted when I was home. Shannon tried to say no, but… eventually she gave in, too."

"Does it help to remember them?" Ziva wanted to know. Sometimes she felt overwhelmed by her feelings when she thought about her sister, her mother… Ari, when he was younger…

Gibbs gave a light shrug as he stood and grabbed his jacket. As Ziva stood as well, he said, "I don't know, Ziva. Sometimes I think I'm ready to move on and then…"

"Something reminds you of them?" Ziva finished.

Gibbs nodded as he shut down his computer. "Sometimes I hear a song that makes me think of them. Or I see a woman who reminds me of Shannon."

"The new barista at my favorite coffee shop looks exactly like Tali," Ziva said, nodding in understanding. Once she and Gibbs had gathered their things and headed for the elevator, she had an idea. "What were Shannon and Kelly's favorite foods?"

If Gibbs thought the question odd, he didn't show it as he replied, "Shannon loved her mother's fried chicken. Kelly always wanted macaroni and cheese for dinner." Before they stepped into the elevator he asked, "What was Tali's favorite food?"

Ziva thought for a moment. It was so long ago she'd almost forgotten. "Grilled chicken with couscous." Shrugging lightly at Gibbs' look, she said, "Tali was a very picky eater."

They rode down to the main floor in silence and when they reached their cars, Gibbs stopped and looked at Ziva. "I'll be home, Ziva. If you want to talk."

Ziva started to nod, but then she said, "I'll make dinner tomorrow night."

Gibbs smiled as he leaned against his car. "So what does go best with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and grilled chicken with couscous?"

Ziva smiled back. "I don't know."

"Ziva?" Gibbs said, just as Ziva was getting into her car. When she stood again, Gibbs said, "Thank you, Ziva."

"You are most welcome, Gibbs," Ziva said as she got in her car and sped off into the night.

As Gibbs sat in his own car he wished he knew what to do. He loved Ziva. There was something refreshing and comforting about her. Ziva understood what it was like to be a warrior and a lover and they both had their share of tragic pasts.

But they both needed each other. Gibbs needed Ziva to remind him of Shannon and Kelly and Ziva needed him to be someone she could count on through thick and thin.

But need wasn't the same as love Gibbs reminded himself as he headed home. But when he entered the empty house he longed for someone to be with.

Maybe need was enough for now.

Until love could find its way back into his life.