Gasp! You mean I haven't fallen off the face of the earth? What with my dearth of updates, I wouldn't be surprised if that's what you guys were thinking. Long story short, school is homework hell. Also, I started another story (for the SyFy show Warehouse 13) that's been the teacher's pet of sorts for a while and everything else has pretty much just been neglected. After I finish all my NCIS stories I will probably be taking a [possibly permanent] break from writing to that and be shifting over to Warehouse 13. We'll see. I might actually do a sequel to this story, depending on how it works out. Also I've really gotten into Doctor Who lately, too. Love Matt Smith and David Tennant. Amy Pond and Rose Tyler are definitely my favorite companions. Anyone else a fan of the show? I'm starting to stray from crime and am getting into sci-fi if you hadn't noticed. Anyhow, I won't waste anymore of your reading time with my insignificant ramblings. Read on, folks, and please enjoy!
Note: I barely remembered the specifics of this story and I had to go back and read the last chapter to remember where I was, it's been so long, so sorry if the details get a little fuzzy in anyone's opinion, but I've done my best to stick to form. Also, you should consider yourselves lucky that I've taken this snow day off from school to update this one story. Especially since I really SHOULD be doing my schoolwork...
P.S. Definitely loving the Tiva bits from the last couple episodes.
P.P.S. This is kind of a deeper(ish), feelingy (totally a word) chapter, with some serious discussions. Nothing highly serious, and nothing bad at all, really, just that talk needed by two of our favorite characters to help them figure out where their messed-up lives will be taking them next. So yeah, now you can start reading.
They returned to Ziva's apartment twenty minutes later. Nothing had been said for the duration of the trip, the heavy, awkward silence hanging over them like a fog even as they rode the elevator up and entered the apartment. Ziva placed the ultrasound photos and information packet on the dining table and stood beside it, unblinking, unmoving.
She was brought back to the present by Tony's hand on her shoulder.
She blinked and turned her head, eyebrows raised. "Hmm?"
"Want some lunch?" He shook a package of lunch meat he'd taken from the fridge, staring at his partner expectantly.
Ziva nodded. "Sure."
After a quick lunch of turkey sandwiches and raw vegetables, the partners retreated quietly to the living room.
Hoping to finally vanquish the awkward and tension-filled silence, Tony said, "So, uh, a baby." He pressed his palms together and caught her eye. "When are we going to tell Gibbs and face his wrath?" He forced a grin, adding, "I know Abby told you he wouldn't kill us - or you, at least - but, I gotta say, I'm not feeling vey confident about that."
To his surprise and immense relief, Ziva's tense posture relaxed into something more calm and casual and she smirked. "Nor am I. Something tells me Abby sees more generosity in Gibbs than is truly the case."
"Such is the result of favoritism." Tony smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling, bringing a smile to Ziva's own features.
He stared at the blank TV for a moment, then stood abruptly and offered her his hand. "Take a walk with me, Lady David?" he asked.
Ziva chuckled, taking his hand and rising to her feet. "Of course, Sir DiNozzo."
The expecting couple then donned their coats and left the apartment.
Tony and Ziva traversed the familiar walking path that encompassed the park and surrounding woods across from Ziva's apartment complex. The day was turning out to be slightly overcast, but not too cold to be enjoyed, it seemed, because several others were out on the path, as well. The light breeze blew a few tendrils of hair into Ziva's face and she removed a hand from the toasty confines of her coat pocket to brush them away.
"A baby is a lot to think about," she said, glancing at Tony walking to her left. "I only have a one bedroom apartment. So do you."
Tony nodded. "Not to mention the fact that, even if we did have a second room, we would need furniture to fill it with."
Ziva sighed, temporarily lost in thought.
"So, what do you propose we do?" he asked.
"I think... I think first we need to tell Gibbs. We cannot do much of anything without him eventually finding out. It will be better to tell him as soon as possible, yes?"
"Sure. And maybe, I don't know, maybe he can give us some advice. After he's finished killing us and disposing of our bodies, of course. I mean, he's done the whole baby thing before, right?" Tony shrugged and blew out a breath. He kicked a rock, sending it skidding across the pavement. "So, I guess we should get in touch with a real estate agent soon, huh?" he said, only partially joking.
Ziva stared down at her feet as they continued walking. "Tony, you know you don't have to do this if... I can-"
He cut her off. "Stop right there, Zee. I'm pretty sure there's nothing you can say that will make me abandon you with our baby, okay? We're going to raise this kid. Together. You've said before that you wanted a family, right? The American Dream - or something like it. Well, here's your chance, Ziva. We might not be completely ready, but who ever is? Things rarely happen as planned for people like us, but I'm rolling with it, just like you. I'm with you, Zee."
Ziva was quiet for a moment, thoughtful. Then, slowly, finally, she nodded. "Okay," she whispered. Ziva sniffled and raked at the hair blowing in her face, angry that the pregnancy hormones were already taking their toll on her normally well-controlled emotions. "Thank you."
He reached for her hand, threading his fingers through hers. "Hormones already getting the best of you, huh?"
Ziva gave a small chuckle and punched her partner's shoulder - a little harder than strictly necessary, in his opinion. But she swiftly made up for it by rising to her tiptoes and pressing her lips to his in a soft, sensual kiss.
This ended abruptly as they had to jump out of the way of two young boys running down the path. The older of the two had a football tucked under his arm, which the younger kept grasping at in vain.
"Ian! Jamie! Watch where you're going! And come back here, please! Now!" A woman, presumably the boys' mother, called out and waved a hand in the air. The other held the smaller hand of a third child, a little girl in a pink and purple rain coat and boots. The pair stopped on the path beside Tony and Ziva as the boys, Ian and Jamie, reluctantly made their way back to their mom.
The woman turned to Tony and Ziva, who had yet to continue walking, mostly out of amusement at the scene.
"I am so sorry," she apologized. "They're only six and eight. Boundless energy and limited attention."
Ziva smiled. "It is fine, really." As she looked over the woman and her children, she felt a strange tugging sensation in her gut. She kept her face unreadable and the gently pressed the hand in her pocket against her abdomen, trying to imagine herself in a similar position. Then she blinked, removing her hand. The hormones were making quick work of her emotions, she noted somewhat irritatedly.
"Yeah," Tony said, grinning. "Boys will be boys."
The woman nodded. She had ash blonde hair that fell in gentle waves down her shoulders and pale blue eyes that she shared with all three of the children. She stared at Ziva for a moment and then stuck out her free hand.
"I'm Aurora Graceman. I think we live in the same apartment building; you look familiar. Silverlake Commons? I'm in one of the larger complexes on the first floor. Just my kids and I. My husband, their father, is in the Navy. Away on duty." She closed her eyes and shook her head, smiling. "Sorry. That's probably more than you care to know."
Ziva laughed. "Not a problem. And yes, I live on the third floor. Ziva David." She gestured to Tony. "This is Tony DiNozzo, my work partner and, ah, boyfriend."
Tony shook Aurora's hand. "Your husband's Navy, huh? What a coinkidink! Ziva and I are NCIS agents."
"Really?" said Aurora. Her youngest son stopped her from saying anything further.
"You guys are AGENTS?" the boy asked excitedly. "Wow, do you have guns? And handcuffs? Can you arrest me?"
Tony, Ziva, and Aurora laughed. "Jamie, I don't think they're going to arrest you," his mother said. "You haven't done anything wrong."
Jamie frowned, his shoulders slumping. "Fine... But you could arrest Ian and Kara! Sometimes they play pranks on me." He crossed his arms over his chest and glared over his shoulder at his older brother.
Ian stuck his tongue out. "Don't be stupid. They can't arrest us for that. Plus, Kara's only five."
The little girl frowned. "I'm five and a half," she declared indignantly.
Aurora rolled her eyes. "Children, behave please." She turned back to Tony and Ziva. "It was nice to meet you Ziva, Tony. Now I have to get these mongrels back home for lunch. Hopefully I'll see you around. I must say, with my husband gone, it's nice to know there are federal agents living in the building."
With waves from the children, the young family departed down the path, back towards the apartment building.
Tony and Ziva waved back and continued walking, beginning a tentative discussion on future housing.
Ick. That ended up being way sappier (and possibly OOC) than I'd planned, but oh well. Still, not my best chapter, but whatever. I'm burned out on writing and this was an okay place to stop. I don't really care enough to fix it. Thanks for reading and reviews are much appreciated! Also, I pretty much pulled the name for the apartment complex out of nowhere. So, yeah... Hope it doesn't bother anyone that I refused to spend time researching something like that.