A/N: Well, here it is. I have been persuaded to post even though it is not finished. It's occurred to me that it would be somewhat amusing if, after my talking about this one for a while, it flops. Well, perhaps that isn't amusing-but I would laugh in an ironic sort of way. This is my way of saying I hope you enjoy it.

This is an AU fic. It, as you will see, involves a Jibblet. It involves a long distance relationship, and the cast of characters includes both Ziva and Kate, as well as Tali David, Ari Haswari, and Eli David. It's taken a lot of work to maneuver this; I've manipulated canon a bit. Tali's age is adjusted; she's currently 16 {and not dead} whereas in the show, she'd be about 14 here.

Any other adjustments to canon I've made will be made known as they come up.


The human silence in the room was deafening. There was so much going on. The atmosphere was tense, the taboo on speaking broken only by the periodic electronic alerts and harsh buzzing of the high-tech equipment.

Two women were alone, locked in, one young and one younger, both focused stiffly on the work in front of them, senses alert, adrenaline heightened.

An alarm went off behind both of their heads, but neither flinched. It sounded its short, shrill cry right on time, and the brunette, younger woman shut it off with a remote, adjusting her headset.

"Hit'kadem," the brunette ordered sharply. The alarm had signified it was clear to move forward with the next operational step.

The other woman, taller, fairer, and a different nationality than the brunette, flicked her eyes from the screen where she watched a colleague's actions and to an ominous item sitting next to her own headset.

Her fingers moved effortlessly over the keys as she rigged codes and falsified bank statements. In a flash, she reached up to sweep strands of red hair away from her eyes. She forced her eyes back on her screen.

Her heart pounded. Seconds were passing by and she couldn't take this infinite uncertainty.

"Objective accomplished," the brunette said in accented English, pushing her headset back. She smirked, lifting an eyebrow. A beep went off and she adjusted her system. She looked over at the redhead. Her American counterpart.

"Jenny?" she prompted.

The spoken to's fingers flew over the keyboard. A quiet, repetitive beeping sounded and the redhead paused, guarded eyes locking on to a small timer on her cell phone. The brunette whistled sharply.

"Awaiting confirmation," her Hebrew accent was thicker, sharp, as she drew her partner's attention to the mission at hand.

The redhead locked in the required code to track any money removed from the hacked account for the next few weeks of this mission.

"Monetary tag successful," she said shortly, her voice low.

With a smile, the brunette haphazardly removed her headpiece. Their part was done. She shoved back a mass of her tangled curls and turned in her hard-backed chair to the other woman.

The redhead, upon wiping her computer of activity, stoically turned the alarm sounding from her phone off. The room went silent beyond silent.

Jennifer Shepard, newly assigned NCIS liaison to the Mossad, rested her eyes on the white stick that was causing her so much grief.

"Time to discuss the buffalo in the room, ken?" Ziva David asked smoothly.

Unable to help it, Shepard cracked a smile.

"Elephant," she murmured, in kind correction.

"Either would provoke conversation," Ziva noted, a little petulantly.

Shepard swept the white stick into her palm and looked at it, refusing to close her eyes or count to ten or do any of that nonsense. She'd already spent about a week playing games like that with Mother Nature.

"Verdict?" Ziva asked. She sounded like she was requesting a report on the latest mission.

Shepard tossed the stick in a trash can near to the desk and looked over at the younger woman for the first time since they'd settled down for this operation six hours ago.

"Yeah," she muttered. "I am pregnant."

The silence this time was loud. Deafening. Ziva David's face was solemn.

"The director must be informed, Jenny," Ziva informed her sharply.

"Your director, or mine?" the redhead asked drily.

"Which one do you fear more?" Ziva asked wryly.

Jenny looked away, retreating into her own world. A world that started in Paris. She swallowed hard and chewed on her lip.

"The father," she said dully, choosing an option that Ziva had not even thought to offer.

A brief stint in the harshest, coldest terrain of Moscow and a whirlwind relationship had done nothing to erase the memory of Paris. He was starting to think nothing would. Not gallons of bourbon, not avoiding sleep and its dreams, not this probie kid he had gotten himself saddled with on his return from Siberia.

It was just a stabbing pain situated right next to the pain of losing Shannon and Kelly.

He chose to mire himself in work-even at home, if he went home. Working on the boat, even, wasn't soothing. It just meant quiet, and the reminder that his house was still empty.

The silver-haired agent sat at his desk, his hand on his chin, narrow eyes studying a propped up case in front of him, searching for what he'd missed.

"Maybe we missed something," the new kid stated hopefully. It was the most obvious statement on the planet, and Leroy Jethro Gibbs wasn't close enough to smack his brains out.

Anthony DiNozzo was an eager playboy cop from Baltimore, full of himself and determined to do something magnificent. Stan Burley, who had held down the fort while Gibbs was working first in Europe and then in Russia, had taken a post as agent afloat.

In the midst of a bloody, dark joint case with Baltimore PD, Gibbs had noticed something in the kid, and in a rare moment of sticking his neck out, offered the rambunctious yet intuitive and eager detective a place on his team. DiNozzo had potential, but he was having a hard time adjusting to the big league.

Gibbs just glared at him.

The young man quailed and shrunk down in his seat.

"Yeah, we obviously missed something, right…boss…" he muttered, turning back to the murder case. Third unsolved case they were dealing with. They had nothing.

He was tired. He hadn't gone to bed last night, and he hadn't gone home, either. He had spent the hours at Arlington, sitting in front of Shannon and Kelly's graves, his head in his hands. His phone had been off lately more than was characteristic. He wasn't handling this at all well.

His phone rang and he answered it with a growl. Maybe someone had a damn case they could solve.

"Agent Gibbs, you have a call on the switchboard, line six," a high female voice informed him in a business-like way.

"Does it have to do with Ensign Chaucer's murder?" he barked shortly.

"No—sir, it's a code from an unspecified overseas location, I'd advise you to—"

"I don't have time," he growled, annoyed that he'd even be bothered with unspecified problems.

The woman seemed completely confused by his reaction.

"You won't take the call?" she asked.

"Take a message," he snapped sardonically, hanging up without a word.

"Problems, boss?" Agent DiNozzo asked nosily.

Gibbs swept his case file off of his desk and stormed off towards the elevator. He'd pressure Ducky to find him something. He'd go make that new girl in the lab find something.

He had to do something.

She sat at her cluttered desk in her quarters at the Mossad "palace" in Tel-Aviv, her hair tangled, wrapped in only a bathrobe. Dark circles rimmed her eyes. She was cold. She felt sick, and she stared at her cell phone, watching the call ended flash on the screen.

Agent Gibbs is not available presently. What message can we give him?

She hadn't even known what to say. She had simply left her location; she knew calls out of this entire compound—any compounds associated with the Mossad—were highly encrypted.

She might have just had the worst six days of her life. She had never felt worse on any level; physical, emotional, psychological. She was stressed and angry. Director David was fuming, and he and Ziva were the only ones who knew—and Tali. Tali knew.

Her one call to Jethro's cell phone had been rebuffed. She had foolhardily called the number of his Paris burn phone. No result was yielded; she hadn't expected any. To fail at contact via NCIS switchboard scared her. It brooked cruel karma. Or maybe Jethro was dead.

Jenny closed her eyes and bowed her head, pressing her cell phone into her nose. She had missions to run. She had undercover ops to coordinate—to participate in—a job to do. Parent wasn't one of them. She didn't even like kids. She left Jethro because he was getting in too deep, too close to her heart; it was so unfair of him to affect her so completely.

This was the second time she'd called the switchboard. The first time, the day after she'd found out, she'd been informed he was in Baltimore. God knows why. The powers that be were against her, evidently.

There was a soft knock at the door.

"Bow," she allowed, granting the person entrance.

The teenage girl who looked in greatly resembled Ziva David, but with a much softer face, and a much gentler look in her different, very blue eyes.

"Father wants to speak with you," she informed the redhead gently, her eyes brimming with compassion and sympathy. Of his three, Tali David was the only child who still called Eli 'Father' no matter what.

"I have not made a decision," Jenny said sharply, glaring at Tali. Tali did not merit her anger, but she had to direct it somewhere.

Tali David looked at her, and then moved closer, squinting as she looked into Jennifer Shepard's eyes. She smiled gently, and nodded, reaching out to touch the older woman's shoulder tenderly.

"I think you have, my friend," she said softly, knowingly. She was so wise for her young age; so intuitive and mature.

Jenny swallowed. She threw her phone down.

There might not be another soul awake in DC at this late hour, but he was. There was definitely no one in their right mind still at work, but he was. He had a cold case file on his desk, but it wasn't opened.

It was sealed, and it had a photo clipped to it, the face of a dead man whom only he knew was dead. He stared blankly at the file. They had finally closed the Chaucer case, and he was okay with admitting it was due to a rather ingenious discovery of that DiNozzo kid's. He would be a good agent.

But he wasn't her.

There had been changes at NCIS since his time in Paris, and even since his month and a half in Moscow. McAlister had sent him to Moscow, and new NCIS Director Morrow had brought him stateside. The lab tech wasn't worthless anymore; she was new; she was just…somethin' else.

And his partner was this Anthony DiNozzo.

He pushed his long-empty coffee cup into the trash, where it hit the one whose place it had taken with a thunk, and he pushed around some papers on his desk. A green sticky note fluttered to the floor, its adhesive worn out.

He bent over and picked it up, narrowing his eyes. He didn't know what it was.

Date: 28 February 2000. Call for Agent Gibbs taken 12:48 a.m. US Eastern Standard Time. Message: This call is out of Tel-Aviv, Israel; caller neglected to leave further information.

The note was written in frilly, obnoxious lettering. He vaguely remembered the call now. That had been over a week ago, and he'd been bogged down in cases. Then he'd drank himself through the anniversary of Shannon and Kelly's murders.

He furrowed his brow.


What connections did he have in Israel?

Turning to his computer, he booted it up and slapped the sticky note violently against his desk, eyes narrowing as he pulled up the calls to the NCIS switchboard and searched for this one. It was highly encrypted, and didn't say its location.

He selected the audio file and turned his volume up somewhat to listen, straining to hear. The connection was bad, and both voices were female. One was distorted, hard to hear, and one was the cheerful NCIS operator. His gut wrenched anyway.

When it was a question of what female would possibly call him from Israel, there was only one plausible answer.

Immediately, he exited out of the switchboard files and opened the Active Agent status files. He found Jennifer Shepard, something he swore he would never do.

Status: Active

Location: Middle East; Undisclosed

Gibbs stared at the screen. He looked down at the note, and he took it in his hands. Why the hell was she calling him? What could she possible have to say that she hadn't already made loud and clear?

He stared at the identification picture that looked different from the way her knew her in person, and anger flared. How dare she. He wanted to face her. His motions on the keyboard were violent as he cancelled out of her file and pulled up the internet.

He booked the soonest flight to Israel; then he called in a favor to an overseas agent who could dig him up anything he needed.

He never should have let her get away with a damn Dear John letter.

Tel Aviv. The White City. It was loud and busy and cast in hot desert sun even in the early days of March. Making his way to the location he'd been directed to had been no small feat; the Mossad hid their "palace" well, and only one with inside help could have made it here.

It was the haven of the agency, so to speak. A place where their most volatile, informed agents were sheltered and housed. Those in so deep they had to keep a tight knit group or those so rogue, so untrustworthy, that eyes were on them. And…and those with no other family, no one else to care where they lived.

The flight to Israel had been a long one and an inexplicable one. He had his old marine backpack over his shoulder, a coat over his arm, and that was it. His gut hadn't stopped bothering him since he'd discovered the sticky note. His director didn't know where he was.

He walked in the gates of the fortress, cautious. It was a fenced in courtyard. It looked innocent enough. He had taken another step when he heard the click of a gun. He stopped.

"Excellent decision," a woman's voice informed him crisply. "Another step and I would have shot you."

However facetiously she delivered her line, she did not remove the barrel of her gun from the back of his neck.

"I'm a friend to Israel," he said gruffly, placating.

"Israel appreciates it," she returned, stepping closer. He felt her hands starting to pat him down. "Who the hell are you?"

She grabbed one of his arms and pulled it behind his back, turning him slightly to look at him.

She had dark curly hair. Dark eyes, a round face, a widow's peak that all of her hair seemed to stem from. She was lithe and fit and her mouth was dangerous. Her gun rested against his shoulder threateningly.

He narrowed his eyes at the woman, studying her.

"I'm here for Agent Jennifer Shepard," he said pointedly, lowering his voice.

The woman's pupils contracted. She pursed her lips and her hold loosened somewhat. Deftly, she reached into his pocket and drew out his wallet and ID, her eyes flying over it, examining the authenticity of the NCIS badge.

She released him and stepped away.

"You are 'Jethro'?" She asked calculatingly, eyeing him critically. The way she stated his name made it sound like she was quoting someone; imitating someone. Her English was extremely articulate, yet thick with an Israeli accent.

"Gibbs," he added. "Her former partner," he bit the words out sharply.

She looked at him carefully, and the corner of her mouth twitched.

"You and I have a partner in common, Gibbs," she said shortly, imitating his introduction. She turned on her heel and jerked her head, indicating he should follow.

He did, keeping close to her. He didn't want any other Israelis jumping out of bushes and pointing guns at him.

She led him around to a less obvious entrance, still jumping through quite a few security hoops.

She stepped back and indicated he should enter first. He shrugged and did so, and she shut and locked the door behind them, effortlessly overtaking him in the hallway.

"That door is equipped with detonators," she explained. "Had you been wearing a bomb, the door would have fallen shut and the device on you would have detonated."

He raised his eyebrows. They weren't kidding when they said Israelis didn't mess around.

She led him towards stairs at the end of the hallway and turned to him as she rested her arm on the banister.

"I am Ziva David, Agent Gibbs. I am the only reason you learned of Shepard's location, and in that regard, I hope you prove yourself worthy of having the information," she informed him sharply, and somewhat warningly.

"She contacted me," he growled.

"You did not answer her," Ziva David responded pointedly, and started up the stairs. She didn't say another word to him, except to glance back at the coat over his arm as they reached a third floor and she led him down a corridor.

Several doors were open at the end of the hall, and there was much more light here. One of the half-closed doors swung open and a man came out, dark like Ziva, tall, with a starved, wolfish look about him.

"Ari," Ziva greeted warmly; familiarly. She spoke in rapid Hebrew, gesturing to the room he'd left. The man nodded curtly and scowled; his body language was frustrated, like something had not been accomplished.

The man continued past, and he looked at Gibbs coldly, like the NCIS agent was an intruder, a threat to him. Gibbs held his gaze, his eyes narrow. He disliked him. It ran deep. It was just there. He let it go, when Ziva cleared her throat and titled her head towards the open door, sweeping her arm out.

"She is available to see you," Ziva informed him.

He could see her. He could see her bent forward; all attention focused on an advanced laptop, as he approached silently, his jaw tightening. Her hair was swept back low over one shoulder, she was paler than usual. She wore a t-shirt, and jeans. She was tense. She was frustrated, too, that he could tell.

He stopped in the doorway, aware that Ziva David was watching stoically from the hall.

He just stared at her, the woman who had walked out of his life maybe four months ago, maybe three and a half, studying her profile, at a loss for words. Her coat, the one she'd left next to him on the plane, was heavy.

He didn't know what to say, so he said her name.


She looked up, startled from her focus, lips parted in anger, an anger he knew was caused from hearing the nickname. Her head whipped toward him. She saw him, and it was like everything stopped. The colour drained from her face.

"What are you doing here?" the words, shocked, tumbled out of her mouth, and they didn't even tremble; they were simply controlled and hard and forced through a dry, dry throat.

He met her green eyes, refusing to answer for a moment, before he lifted his arm, drawing her shaken gaze to the leather coat he had draped over it.

"Forgot your coat," he informed her gruffly.

The chapters are numbered in Hebrew

-Thank you to both Mrs. Elizabeth Gibbs and GeekLoveFan, who both contributed Beta-ing talents to this project. An additional thanks to GeekLoveFan, who provided invaluable insight on motherhood psyche and child development. Also wikipedia and my mom. :D