This takes place immediately after they return from babysitting Cassidy (Cassie), the daughter of Ziva's next-door neighbour, and Tony realizes that Ziva is being distracted about something. I'd originally meant this fic to be a oneshot, but Tara had another suggestion; so here it is, a continuance! I hope you enjoy it! That said, this chapter is, believe it or not, mushier than the first chapter, because it involves Tony and Ziva discussing their hypothetical kids. Consider it fair warning. :)
Dedication: To Tara, who firmly believes Ziva's eyes won't shut up.
P.S. All changes in tense are deliberate. They, uh, got a bit caught up in the moment.
"Penny for your thoughts?" Tony asked her the moment they stepped into the hallway of her apartment.
"Hmm?" She closed the door and slid the bolts into place, and then turned around to look confusedly at him.
"What are you thinking about, Ziva?"
"What makes you think I am thinking about anything?"
"Your eyes. They're all…lost and looking-into-the-distance-ish. You always wear that expression when you're thinking about something."
Ziva furrowed her brows. "And how do you know this?"
"We've worked together for a long time. I know a lot."
She let out an incomprehensible hum from the back of her throat and walked by him into the living room. Picking up the DVD movie from her coffee table, she sank down into the couch. "Are we still watching this?"
He followed her lead and sank down beside her. "I'm more interested in your thoughts, actually."
She returned the DVD to its position on the coffee table. "Curiosity killed the cat, Tony."
"I should feel alarmed that you got the proverb right."
"You taught it to me."
"Huh. Glad to know all my hard work did pay off in the end."
"Do you think I will ever have children, Tony?" she asked abruptly.
He stared at her in surprise for a few seconds. He'd never have expected this question to come from Ziva David, assassin-turned-investigator, of all people. He shifted so that he could face her better. "Do you want to have kids?"
She bit her lip. "I do not have a simple answer to that."
"Then just give me your best one."
"I suppose that would be…theoretically, I would like to have children."
"In reality, they are a lot more trouble. I am not fond of trouble, especially when it comes in the form of humans."
"So why do you want them theoretically?"
"I have no answer to that. I just do. It is like asking a woman why she loves a man; it is not explainable. She just does."
"That doesn't make a whole lot of sense."
"That does not make it any less true."
"Well, I think you'll have kids, and you'll be good with them when you do." He saw something flash through her eyes; it was gone before he could fully grasp what it meant. "Ziva."
"Stop hiding whatever you're thinking about. You know I'll always see it in your eyes."
"It is nothing, Tony."
"If it's nothing then you wouldn't have been thinking about it in the first place."
She pursed her lips and searched his face. "Why do you think I would make a good mother?"
"Because you would. Why do you doubt you would?" he countered.
She looked away, her index finger tracing small circular patterns into the couch. She took a deep breath. "We are…who our parents are, yes? We share their genes. They raise us, so we share their ideals, their beliefs, and their habits. My parents did not have the best habits. In my childhood…there was a lot shouting and alcohol. And there were people slamming doors and leaving."
"And you think you're gonna be doing that too."
"I was not brought up to be the perfect mother. I was brought up to be the perfect killer. I will never be standing at the door waiting for my children to come home, with a plate of cookies in my hand and the family dog sitting beside me. That is the picture painted in your children's books, yes?" She paused. "Instead, my children will be the ones welcoming me home at the end of the day. And they will be crying over my bruises and blood. When they ask me how my day has been I will have to lie to them and tell them that I have not shot anyone dead with the gun I have hidden at my waist. Tony, I will have to lie to them. Just like Elihad to lie to me."
Silence hung thick in the air; pushing against them, as if feeling the need to remind them about their less-than-perfect childhoods.
"Zi, look at me," he finally said. When she didn't respond, he gently lifted his hand to turn her face around. The tears glimmering in her eyes startled him. "You're not gonna be that kind of parent," he promised her solemnly, running his thumb along her wet lashes.
She lowered her eyes. "My abba and ima probably thought they would not be either," she whispered.
"Well," he struggled to find the right words to say. "You know, step one is seeing what your parents did wrong and realizing you could be different."
"But I am not."
"Step two, is trying to be different."
"And what happens after that?"
"Step three happens. It's realizing that you are different and that you've always been, simply because you realized you could be in the first place."
She broke into a small smile as an errant tear ran down her cheek. "Since when did you get so philosophical, huh?"
"I have my moments." He grinned and lightly brushed away the tear, keeping his hand on her cheek for slightly longer than necessary. "Tell you what. You name me godfather to one of your kids, and I'll make sure that one grows up properly. Unless of course…I'm the father. In which case I'll make sure all of them grow up properly."
"You are still on that, Tony?" she asked semi-exasperatedly, her tears forgotten.
"It intrigues me that you want to have my kids."
"I did not mean it in that way."
"I don't think you can mean 'I would want to have your children' in any other way, Ziva."
She did not bother dignifying that with an answer.
He sighed dramatically and clapped his hands to her shoulders. "Hypothetically, what would our kids be like?"
"Oh my gosh, Tony!"
"Just for fun."
"That is not my idea of fun."
"Your idea of fun is taking your gun apart and cleaning it piece by piece. It's not really something we can both participate in."
"Who says I want to participate in anything with you?"
"Well, we can't sit here for the whole night and do nothing."
"You could always go home."
"Do you want me to?"
She huffed reluctantly. "No. Fine, they would look like me."
"Dominant genes. I have darker colouring."
"Oh yeah. I forgot all about dominant genes."
"But there is still a small possibility that they might look like you."
"Yeah. I hope they keep my eyes. Can't afford to lose these DiNozzo eyes…" he drifted off.
"I hope they do not inherit your narcissism," she retorted bluntly.
"If they get to inherit your looks, why don't they get to inherit my narcissism?"
"Because there must be more appealing characteristics that they can inherit."
"Really?" He leant into her, invading her personal space. "And what are those?"
"Get back, Tony," she murmured calmly. "Or I will take out my gun, and it will not be for cleaning."
He didn't move. "My charm? My class? My ability to quote from movies? My pranks? My sexiness?"
She made a face. "I do not see you and sexiness as belonging to the same category."
He plucked his hands off her shoulders and leant back, looking put out. "That's really cold."
"I warned you to get back." She laughed. "Okay. How about your values in life? I think you have good values."
"That's all? You're only giving me values?"
"Values are important. They are what drive us to do what we do, every day, for the people we love and the people we do not even know. For our family and our country."
"Yeah." He thought about that. "Okay, I'll take values. So our kids will be non-narcissistic, dark-haired children, with possible DiNozzo eyes and definite good values. What will we name them?"
"This is getting really strange."
"Ziva, you don't say you wanna have fun and then put only half of your effort into it. You gotta go all out. What would we name them? I'm still partial towards Tiva and Zony."
"Zony would not survive high school with a name like that. But Tiva sounds better, at least."
"You'd really name our daughter Tiva?"
"I would not. I am only saying it sounds better than Zony."
"Then what would you name our son and daughter?"
"I do not know; are we looking for Hebrew names or Italian names?"
"This is more complicated than I thought."
"I am glad you see the issue here."
"We could give them both."
"Then they would have very long names."
"Well, there've been longer. They'll just be grateful we didn't name them Tiva and Zony."
"That will require us to tell them that you had intended to in the first place."
"Yeah. Imagine the expressions on their faces when we do that." He cleared his throat and put on an accent. "Boy, girl, come 'ere. Me and your momma-"
"It was your idea. I had nothing to do with it."
"Yeah, but we have to appear united in front of the kids."
"You are alone in this one."
"I sincerely question your team spirit."
"I left it at work."
He gave her an amused smile. "Your reluctance to cooperate saddens me."
"Tony, we are not really having these children."
"But if we were, it'd be nice to know we could work together."
He gazed at the woman before him, tickled and moved at the same time by her confidence that together, they would hypothetically be able to raise their children well. "You sound so sure."
She shrugged. "We are good work partners."
"And you think that would extend to parenting."
And it hit him – the picture he had seen for the first time that night. The picture of perfection. Ziva, seated beside him with a child in her lap, her head bent as she sang the child to sleep with her beautiful voice. All at once he came to the realization that she was right; love was unexplainable. He'd never wanted to have a child of his own. But suddenly, looking into the chocolate brown eyes of the woman he adored beyond anything in the world, perfection didn't seem like such a mad idea.
Her breath caught when he took up her hand in his, but she didn't pull away. "Yeah," he quietly agreed. "We'll be great together."