Summary: When Ziva's neighbour asks her to babysit, Tony ends up learning some things about her.
Disclaimer: OMG! I own the kid! I own the kid! Yay! But I still don't own NCIS.
Spoilers: Reference to 7x06 "Outlaws and In-Laws".
This story is written by suggestion of, and is dedicated to, Tara Persad. I hope you like it! It's a little different from what I usually write. Lol.
Sitting on the Baby
The frantic knocking on Ziva's door halfway into the movie startled them, and she exchanged a confused look with Tony before she hurried off to open it.
"Catherine!" Tony could hear shock colouring Ziva's voice, followed by a yelp and yell, "Tony!" He went into the hallway to find a blonde woman weeping in Ziva's arms, and gripping onto her so tightly that Tony thought he could see red marks start to form on Ziva's skin. He hastened over and gently detached the woman from his partner.
"Daniel's been in an a-accident," Catherine choked out to Ziva as she tried to collect herself. "I'm s-sorry, Ziva, I just came over to ask i-if you could watch Cassidy for me again. I need to go to the h-hospital and I can't bring her."
"Of course!" Ziva reassured the woman. "I will get Tony to take you to the hospital; you should not drive in this state." Tony shot a mock glare at her over Catherine's head, and she shot back a real glare.
"No, it's okay. Just…please. She's – she's in her room now she – just needs her bath and bed. Please. I can go to the hospital alone."
"Are you sure?" Ziva bit her lip worriedly.
"Yes." Catherine swallowed. "Thank you," she said breathlessly before she turned and rushed down the stairs.
Brown eyes met hazel. Ziva shrugged and slipped past Tony to go into her next-door neighbour's apartment.
He found Ziva in the child's room two minutes later, after having first stopped the movie that they'd been watching and then locked up. She was trying to convince Cassidy to take a bath, but the curly-haired three-year-old could not be torn from her stuffed teddy bear, and would only frown stubbornly at her. "Mommy was crying," Cassidy informed her, as if that were an explanation for the behaviour.
"Yes, she was. Your Mommy was upset by some things. But she would still like you to take a bath," Ziva answered calmly.
"How do you know?" challenged Cassidy, and Tony raised his eyebrows. Both females ignored him.
"She told me," Ziva replied simply, unfazed. "She said that you were in your room, and that you needed to take a bath and then go to bed. Now, your Mommy is not here, but since she is upset, do you think you can do some things that will make her happy when she comes home?"
Cassidy thought about that and sighed. "Okay." She put down her bear and held out her hand. Ziva took it and led her into the bathroom, turning the tap on and making sure that the water temperature was right before she popped Cassidy into the bath.
"Where has Mommy gone?" Cassidy asked contemplatively as Ziva washed her.
"She is with your Daddy."
"Where is Daddy?"
Ziva halted her movements. "I think your Mommy will be able answer that better, Cassie."
"Why? Don't you know?"
"I do, but I do not know if your Mommy would like for me to tell you."
"I think she would."
Ziva smiled. "Are you a mind reader?"
"What's a mind reader?"
"Someone who knows what other people are thinking even though they have not said anything out loud."
"Oh. In that case, I'm not a mind reader, and I don't know what Mommy would like."
Ziva grabbed the soap from its container. "Unfortunately, I am not a mind reader either. So, what did you do today?"
Tony sat on the wooden floor of the girlishly decorated room, leaning against Cassidy's pink-and-white closet as he waited for them to come back. A slightly damp Ziva entered the room ten minutes later, still holding the hand of a completely dry and wrapped-in-a-towel Cassidy, who looked at Tony in puzzlement but said nothing.
"This is Tony DiNozzo; he works with me." A mischievous grin crept onto Ziva's face. "I think he would not mind if you called him Uncle Tony."
Cassidy studied Tony for a few seconds and then stuck out her hand. "I like you, Uncle Tony," she announced her verdict. "My name is Cassidy."
Tony bit back a laugh. He smiled and shook the little girl's hand. "I like you too, Cassidy."
A shy grin lit up the little girl's face. "Thank you. But now I need to change into my PJs."
"Then I'll give you some privacy." He got up and left the room, closing the door behind him.
Cassidy put on her pyjamas and crawled into bed after Ziva pulled back the covers. She curled up sideways into a ball and stared across the room, the moonlight reflecting off her large brown orbs. "I miss Mommy."
Ziva knelt down and brushed Cassidy's blonde hair from her face. "Your Mommy has to go and do some things. But it is your bedtime and you need the rest, so you still have to try and go to sleep."
"I can't sleep when I know she's upset."
"I understand. If I read you a story, would that help?"
Cassidy looked up at her. "Can you sing a song in Hebrew instead? Like the one you sang last time. It sounded so pretty."
"Of course." Ziva smiled and tucked in the covers. "Let me think. What did I sing last time?"
The muted voice that drifted out into the hallway caught his attention, and he walked up to the door and pressed his ear against it, captivated. It was Ziva, singing. In that moment he realized that he'd never really heard her sing, despite having known her for years. He listened as her rich voice rose and fell, embracing the melody of a song that he'd never heard before; her tongue curled around words foreign to his ears but familiar to his heart. It was enchanting; spellbinding, even, and he could do nothing but stand there and admire the performance.
He jumped when the door swung back, revealing Ziva with a curious look on her face. She furrowed her brows at him and motioned for him to step back so that she could come out and shut the door.
"She is asleep," she whispered as they made their way into the living room.
"Oh." He cleared his throat.
"Why were you standing in front of the door?"
"I was…um…listening to you." Ziva sat down on the couch. "That was a nice song."
"Sit." She patted the spot beside her. He sat obediently. "I used to sing that song to Tali, when she had been younger. It was her favourite song."
"I've never heard you sing it."
"You have never asked me to."
"Kind of an impossible task, seeing as I didn't know it existed."
"That is true, but it is the first song I would have sung if you had asked me to sing."
"Yes. It is my favourite song too."
They sat in silence for a moment.
"Now that I think about it, I should regret not asking you to sing," Tony said vaguely.
"And why is that?"
"Because your voice is beautiful."
Ziva blinked. "It – it is?" she asked uncertainly.
He could see the corners of her mouth twitching, as if she were trying very hard not to smile. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." He pondered voicing his other thought. "You know, you'd make a good mother, too."
She laughed aloud this time. "I really doubt that, Tony."
"You weren't too bad with Cassidy. And Amira, Franks' granddaughter."
"Yes, but it is different when it is long-term."
"I bet you could do it."
"Are you so desperate for me to have a child, Tony?" she asked in amusement.
He beamed wickedly. "Just think of all the jokes I could come up with – ow!" His expression changed into one of pretend hurt as she removed her elbow from his side and smiled sweetly at him.
"You do not make fun of mothers."
"Speaking from experience?"
"No; women's intuition." She tapped her lip meditatively. "I wonder what kind of father you would make."
"A popular one. My kids would adore me. I'd teach my boys how to score chicks and my girls how not to be scored by guys."
She made a face. "I feel sorry for the future DiNozzos."
"What? It's good training!"
"Do you think we will ever have children, Tony?" Her gaze upon him was serious.
"I don't know. It's not something I've thought much about. It'd be nice to have someone to carry on the DiNozzo line."
"That is your reason for wanting to have children?"
"Well look at me, Ziva. I'm not exactly father material."
"Maybe when it came time you would be."
"Yeah. But I'd still need for someone to want to have my kids first."
"Hmm. I would want to have your children." The words were out before she could stop them. Their eyes widened at the same time; his with disbelief, hers with horror.
"Would you?" he asked with much interest.
"Because they would be very cute! I do not mean…Tony!" she snapped as he surveyed her with positive glee.
"It's too late, Ziva." He grinned at her. "We've established that A, you think my children will be good-looking, which means you think I'm good-looking, and that B, you want to-"
"I did not say I wanted to do anything. I was speaking hypothetically!"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "Your loss, really, because DiNozzo-David children would look awesome. And we could name them with a mixture of our names. A girl and a boy, Tiva and Zony. They'd rule the world."
"Tiva and Zony?"
"Okay maybe not. But my point is that you-"
"Is Mommy home yet?" a sleepy voice interrupted from the doorway.
"Cassie," Ziva said in surprise. She held out her arms as Cassidy stumbled across the rug towards them, rubbing her eyes.
"Is Mommy home yet?" the girl repeated as she climbed into Ziva's lap and buried her face in Ziva's chest.
"Not yet. But we will stay here until she comes home."
"I'm worried about her."
"Do not worry, sweetheart, she is okay."
"You can't know that." A hot tear ran down the small cheek.
Ziva kissed the top of Cassidy's head. "Sometimes, it is as important to believe in something as it is to know about it."
"Yes. My abba taught me that when I was a child. Now I am teaching it to you. Do you want to hear another song?"
"Alright." Ziva started to sing.
And the two others listened to the notes swirling around in a night air, filling the room with memories of peace and happiness. Tony watched the woman beside him, her brown hair swinging down and blocking her face from his view as she lowered her head to sing the little girl softly back to sleep. His hand itched; he longed to lift it off the couch and tuck her hair behind her ear, so that he could see her sing, rather than just hear her.
Because to him she was beautiful, really.
And to him, this was the picture of perfection.