Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS…
"I bought a few different kinds; I do not know what she will like." Ziva said as she took out four jars of baby food." Tony and McGee just nodded dumbly at the new Ziva as Jason went to sit by his sister. They were both started staring at her reading labels on tiny jars of mush until she looked up at them.
"Nothing." They both said all too quickly.
Ziva was about to say something in response, but before she could Gibbs walked into the bullpen.
"DiNozzo, David, I need to talk to you two. And Ziva - you're going to need a lot more food than that," he smirked, pointing to the four tiny jars on her desk.
A/N: I am so incredibly sorry for the wait. I really didn't mean to do that. All I can say is that I got busy and life got in the way - and when it didn't I was either too tired to write or I didn't know what to write. With that said I hope you all forgive me and enjoy this chapter! Please review! It'll give me motivation to help me update quicker this time!
Tony, Ziva, and McGee stared as Gibbs turned around and walked to the elevator, gesturing for them to follow. Confused looks crossed their faces as the two rose and followed Gibbs, leaving McGee to care for Jason and give Carolina food (or at least attempt to).
The elevator doors closed and the emergency stop button was hit, as per usual. The younger agents turned to Gibbs.
"What are you talking about?"
"What's wrong boss?"
"Director Vance has put you two on security detail. According to him social services isn't safe enough."
The two were shocked into silence for a few moments before Tony finally spoke up. "For how long?"
"Are they in serious danger?"
Gibbs held up a hand to quiet the fury of questions he knew were coming. "First of all, this wasn't my idea. Vance wants the best, and he thinks you two are it. We don't know how long, and they could be."
Tony and Ziva stared at each other and Gibbs as this new information sunk in.
"Hey, just think of it as practice for when you two have kids." Gibbs chuckled.
"But we have to work cases…"
"We can't be chasing down suspects with two children…"
"…who aren't even ours…"
"that depend on us to keep them safe…"
"from a danger we know nothing about."
Silence consumed the elevator until Tony spoke again.
"What about the father? Aren't they getting him back from overseas?"
Gibbs shook his head. "Not yet. He's on a top-secret mission and can't break his cover."
"And there's no other family?"
"We checked, remember? And even if there was they can't keep them safe. Abby will watch them while you're out of the building, but other than that they have to be your responsibility until…until we figure something out. They need you."
Tony and Ziva looked at each other. They were terrified yet determined. They would protect those kids as if they were their own.
"Where do we sign?" Tony asked, trying to lighten the mood with a joke.
It didn't work.
Other than the news the day went by slowly, so by the time five o'clock rolled around Gibbs let everyone go home early. He wanted to give Tony and Ziva some time to ease Jason and Carolina into their new reality, and he wanted to get home to Shannon and Kelly as quick as he could. This was the first time they had not come to work with him, and he wanted to make sure they were safe. He would make sure they were not hurt again, if it is the last thing he does.
McGee gathered up his things quickly, muttered quick "goodbyes", and scurried down to Abby's lab.
He walked in to find her favorite music blaring, and his girlfriend adjusting her black dress in the back of the lab. She sensed he was there and turned around, smiling as she walked over to him. She wore a simple yet elegant black dress, knee length with a corset back. She had her hair down for once; she wore silver studded earrings and black platform shoes.
"Wow," he said as he took in her appearance. "You look…."
"Fabulous? Gorgeous? Sexy?" Abby asked him flirtatiously.
He grinned. "All of the above." He took her hand and kissed the back of it. "And you look beautiful too."
"You don't look too bad yourself." She winked.
McGee smiled and held out his arm for her. "Shall we?"
McGee walked Abby up to her doorstep as a gentleman would. She turned to him and smiled. "That was fun, McGee. Thanks."
The two were silent for a minute, just enjoying each other's presence. They had had a good night. McGee and Abby went to a new fancy Italian restaurant and just spent the night talking. Talking about everything. They just enjoyed each other's company, and that, for the both of them, was the best date they could have.
"You want to come in?" Abby asked, taking his hand.
She squeezed his hand playfully and turned around, unlocking the door. She led him inside, and he kicked the door closed behind him.
Gibbs walked through his front door and called out his girls' names. "Shannon! Kelly! I'm home!"
There was no answer.
He tried to remain calm. And usually Leroy Jethro Gibbs was the epitome of calm. His agent could be disarming a bomb right next to him and he would not even break a sweat.
But not when it came to those two.
He took out his gun and walked around the first floor of the house. He opened the door to the basement. He even checked the backyard.
There was nothing there.
Growing more worried by the minute he walked up the steps. He didn't hear a sound as he went from room to room. Finally he opened the last door leading to Kelly's room and let out a breath of air he had not known he was holding. There on his daughter's bed lay Shannon and Kelly, snuggled up under her new pink comforter fast asleep. Smiling he put his gun back in his holster and backed out of the room, shutting the door closed behind them. He walked across the hallway to the master bedroom. Gibbs put down his holster and badge on the nightstand and lay down on the bed, flat on his back, shutting his eyes. He still was not used to being in this bed, in this room – or even just being upstairs. He wasn't used to having two girls to come home to. And he hoped that he would never get used to it, because he loved this feeling of freshness and newness it evoked.
McGee and Gibbs had left the squad room, bidding them silent "good lucks." Tony and Ziva looked at each other and communicated without words, as they had been accustomed to doing since they first laid eyes on each other. After a few moments Ziva subtlety nodded to Tony, who then turned his attention to Jason.
"Jason?" He asked the little boy, whose head turned to meet Tony's eyes.
Tony gestured for him to come over to his desk. He did, and waited patiently for him to start speaking. Ziva looked on as Tony took in a deep breath and put on a fake smile. "Listen. Your Dad is on a really important assignment right now. He's trying to stop a bunch of bad guys. He…" Tony couldn't do it. He couldn't explain to the boy that his father abandoned him, albeit for a very good and legitimate reason. Because it didn't matter to Jason that his father did not have a choice, or that he was in too deep. All he would get from that is that his father abandoned him and his sister with a bunch of strangers right after they lost their mom. He did not know how to explain it to him without breaking his heart.
And he knew just how horrible that feeling of abandonment felt.
Tony tried to gather his thoughts and speak, but he could not form the words that would make it okay for him.
Ziva saw him struggling and quickly intervened.
"Jason?" She said, drawing his attention away from Tony. He walked over to her and went around her desk, standing right in front of her.
"Can we leave now?"
She looked at him and stroked his hair. She was so engrossed that she failed to notice Tony watching her.
"Listen to me. Your father had a very important job to do, and…and now that your mom…now that she…went to heaven, he needs to finish it so you and Carolina can be safe. That means he cannot come home yet. He still loves you very much and he is trying to keep you safe. Do you understand?"
He nodded, the reality of his new situation beginning to finally dawn on him. He looked up at Ziva with wet eyes. "So…Mommy's not coming back then, right?"
Ziva's heart broke for the poor boy. Without even thinking about it she reached for him, pulling him onto her lap and snuggling him against her chest. He started to cry softly into her shoulder; she rubbed his back and whispered soothing words to him. When he quieted he leaned away from her and she brushed the hair away from his tear-stained face. Both she and Tony knew all too well that this would not be the last time they comforted him.
"No, sweetheart, she isn't. But your Dad is fighting to work as fast as he can to come home to you and your sister. But until his job is done, you and your sister would be safe if you stayed with Tony and I at our apartment. Do you think that would be okay?"
Jason looked at his sister, then at Tony. He thought about it for a moment (as if he had a choice) and then turned back to look at Ziva.
"Yeah, I think so."
Ziva hugged him. She glanced at Tony, who smiled softly at her in thanks.
"Then let us go home."
Tony got up to grab Carolina and gather their things. NCIS had provided them with some basic furniture and items they would need to take care of the children and had already put them in their apartment. They all gathered their things. Ziva took Jason's hand and Tony carried Carolina to the elevator. Stepping in, the couple looked at each other.
Here goes nothing.
They did not get home until seven. The four decided to stop at a diner to grab some dinner. Neither Tony nor Ziva felt like cooking, and they wanted the transition to be as 'okay' as possible. Both knew the hard hours would be at bedtime though.
They walked through the door and set down their things. Ziva immediately went to set Carolina down on the rug, while Jason stood awkwardly in the doorway. Tony, after putting the backpacks down, chuckled. "Jason, this is your home now for the time being. Relax, okay? Why don't you take off your shoes?"
The boy nodded and kicked his shoes off. He sat down on the couch.
"You two must be tired. It has been a long day for everyone. Why don't you skip your baths tonight and sleep, you can take them tomorrow." Ziva suggested. She wanted to get them to bed as quickly as possible. She needed to talk to Tony.
Tony and Ziva threw on their own pajamas, and then they slowly but surely got them ready for bed. They managed to get them into their pajamas and to brush their teeth and hair. NCIS had provided a crib for Carolina, and the spare bedroom in the apartment would suit Jason's needs just fine.
The one year old was not hard to put to sleep. It was Jason that was the problem.
Ziva and Tony both sat by his bed with a nightlight on. Tony read him a story; Ziva even sung him a song. What he really wanted no one could give him. What he really wanted was his Mom.
Jason lay in bed, twisting and turning, trying to find a comfortable position. Ziva stroked his hair and tried to settle him.
Eventually he stopped moving. "She won't be mad, right? That I'm living with you guys now?"
Tony answered him. "No she won't be. She'll be happy you're safe. And remember, she is always looking down on you and watching over you. She might have gone to heaven, but she will always be with you."
Jason nodded sleepily, the activity of the day finally getting to him. When they were absolutely sure he was sleeping they stood ad left the room, closing the door behind them.
Ziva took Tony's hand and led him to their bedroom. She sat down on the bed in silence, pulling him down next to her. He stroked her outer thigh as she looked up at him.
"Ziva…thank you. I didn't know what to say to him. Whenever I opened my mouth to explain to him why his father was basically abandoning him all I could think about was…"
He nodded and put his right hand on her cheek, kissing her forehead.
"Tony…I know. And I am sorry you had to deal with that as a child, especially so soon after your mother died. Whenever you want to talk about it, I am here. Look at me."
He refocused his eyes on her. Ziva took his face in both of her hands as she spoke her next words. "I will never leave you, Tony. I love you."
Tony nodded again, unable to speak as emotions overwhelmed him. He brought his lips closer to hers, almost touching as he whispered to her. "Thank you, Ziva. I love you so much."
Their lips met in a slow, passionate kiss. Tony had been vulnerable with Ziva, and she had eased his most-hidden fears. The walls between them were coming down, stone by stone. The kiss escalated slowly. Tony turned slightly and wrapped his arms around Ziva's small waist. She put her hands behind him and played with the hairs at the nape of his neck. Tony gently pushed Ziva down to lie flat on her back, their lips never parting as they slowly ravished each other, savoring every part inch, desperately trying to stay quiet. They were not used to having kids in the house when they had regular sex – let alone when they made love.
They broke away when they needed oxygen too badly. Tony and Ziva gazed into each other's eyes in silence for a moment before Tony leaned down to whisper with hot breath in her ear, sending shivers already down her spine. "And I'm going to show you just how much I do."