Disclaimers: NCIS, the rights to the show and its characters do not belong to me.
Spoilers: none really
Pairing: Ziva David/Tim McGee romance (est. relationship)
A/N: Another installment of the Connor!verse, as I have dubbed it. I'll slowly publish all the stories I have written for that 'verse, but it will take time, and probably not be in order.
Special Agent Timothy McGee of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service was not a man of fear. He faced dirtbags, smugglers and killers on his job. He carried a gun and shot at people. He knew how to hack into the CIA and FBI (and get away with it, too). His wife was a former Mossad member specialized in interrogation and assassination (admittedly, she had come a long way since then, but still...). No, there wasn't much that he feared, and he prided himself in that.
Still, looking at the sleeping toddler in the crib, he the thought of having to wake the child up filled him with dread and he wondered if he should just let the boy sleep a little longer.
Connor was usually a content and happy toddler. He had started walking two months ago, and now he was slowly starting to talk. His laugh could brighten any day, and it didn't take much to make him laugh. With his honey-colored skin and bright green eyes, he already charmed women, and Tim was a little concerned for what would happen once he turned into a teenager. But that was another twelve years in the future, so he wouldn't worry about that now.
Since Connor's birth, Ziva had stayed home with the boy. That was, until his first birthday rolled around, and she started working part time at NCIS again, transferred to the unit handling translations and Middle Eastern relations, which provided her with regular working hours and someone could be with Connor in case the MCRT got a case in the evening or at night and Tim had to leave. Connor was used to having his mother around most of the time, and it had worked perfectly for any of them. Until two weeks ago, when a call had come from Israel that had made Ziva pale visibly.
Her aunt Nettie had had a stroke. And Ziva had been beside herself with worry. She had taken off time from work and flown to Israel, while Tim had stayed behind with Connor. No matter how well Ziva's relationship with her father currently appeared to be, things could change quickly. And while Eli David loved his grandson and adored the child, Israel was a dangerous place and people knew that Ziva was the daughter of the Mossad director. They wouldn't place Connor in any danger, so he had to stay in the US, where he was safe. And Tim had agreed to stay with him, though he longed to be with his wife and to comfort her. He knew how much Nettie meant to her, how important she had been in her life.
He and Connor had been getting along just fine and had a lot of fun the past two weeks. He had taken the boy to the Zoo and to the park and played with him. And despite brief periods of upset when Connor had cried and tried to push him away because he wanted his mother instead, he hadn't seemed to miss Ziva too much. Not that he would ever tell his wife that. It was bad enough that Connor's first word had been Dada and that, as far as Ziva knew, the boy had never once muttered Mama or Ima, never mind directed the word at her. She knew it was going to take time, but that didn't mean it didn't hurt her. Like it hurt that as soon as Tim got home in the evening, Connor wanted to be with him and pretty much ignored his mother then. One evening, after a day with a rather cranky Connor, Ziva had handed him over to Tim and the boy had started to laugh and smile. Ziva had quickly excused herself, and after Tim had placed Connor in his playpen, he had gone in search of her. He had found her in the bedroom, crying silently into a pillow. Despite knowing he didn't do it on purpose, Connor's rejection at that moment had cut too deeply, and the old doubts had been back in an instant, of not being a good enough mother, of ruining his childhood and screwing him up. It had taken a lot of hugs and a big smile from Connor to make her forget her insecurities again, at least for a few moments.
So, yeah, he and Connor got along well. Until two days ago, when the boy had caught some sort of bug and thrown up all over himself. Tim had barely managed to calm him down. Yesterday had been worse with more throwing up and a fever, though the doctor had reassured him it would probably be over by today. And really, Connor had slept through most of the night again, only throwing up once. But after the past two days with a cranky thirteen months old, Tim wanted to just let him sleep. If he did, he would be in for a really awesome night, though, so he reached into the crib with a sigh and gently stroked the boy's cheek, calling his name softly. Connor sluggishly opened his eyes and scrunched up his face before rubbing his hand over his eyes and yawning.
"Not a morning person, huh?" Tim muttered and gently picked him up, letting the boy cuddle close. The sleeping bag they used for him was getting a bit too small, he noticed when he placed Connor on the changing table. As he went to change the toddler, Connor woke up more and started babbling happily, causing Tim to lift an eyebrow at the change in mood. The doctor must have been right after all, he guessed. Once Connor was dressed for the day, he took him downstairs to feed him.
"So, what do you want to do today, Connor?" Tim asked him, feeding the boy some baby cereal. Connor babbled something, and Tim laughed. "Well, we have to be home, because your Mama told me she will come back today." At the sound of the word Mama, Connor stopped babbling and stared at his father with wide eyes, kicking his legs excitedly and making the high chair shake. Tim gently grabbed one of his feet. "No, Connor." he told the boy, whose hands promptly landed in the bowl of baby cereal. Tim groaned and rubbed his face with his hand as Connor proceeded to try to fit both of his soiled hands into his mouth, shrieking excitedly.
"Shouldn't have told you that." Tim muttered when Connor hit the plastic bowl again, splattering his clothing further. His father figured that dirty was dirty and to just let the boy get over his excitement. When he was done, Tim was sure that more of the food had landed on the clothes and face of the boy than in his mouth, though when he tried to feed him a spoonful of another bowl (safely out of reach of the toddler this time, he wasn't going to make the same mistake twice in one day), Connor turned his face away and shook his head, pushing against the tabletop of the high chair, signaling he wanted out.
"Oh no, no playtime. Bath time. Look at you, Connor McCereal." Tim shook his head, lifting the boy from his chair and taking him upstairs to bathe him. Which took another hour. By the time Connor was dressed again, Tim wondered if he could push lunch forward an hour and let the boy sleep longer for his nap. He was getting worn out already and it was barely nine o'clock. Tim placed the boy down on the playrug in the living room and moved to sit down to watch him, but Connor had other plans. He stood up on shaky legs and then took off, Tim hot on his heels. He barely managed to catch the boy before he crashed into the doorframe to the hallway.
"This is going to be a long day." Tim groaned when he set Connor down again and again, his son took off.
True to his prediction, by noon, Tim was exhausted and ready to crash as he fixed Connor his lunch and fed him. To his relief, the boy was getting tired himself and rubbed his eyes, starting to get cranky when Tim took too long to fill his spoon again. He had to stay in the room for Connor to fall asleep, and then grabbed the baby monitor and quickly made his way to the bedroom to catch a few z's himself. He had barely fallen asleep when he felt something tickle his ear and reached uo to swat it away. The feeling came back and he swatted at it again, but a feminine giggle made his eyes snap open. He rolled over to his other side and found himself facing his wife.
"Hi." Ziva grinned at him, still holding the strand of her hair she had used to tickle him with. He narrowed his eyes at her before launching himself at her to tackle her to lie with her back on the mattress. Ziva smiled up at him and wrapped her arms around his neck, tugging him down for a kiss. And what a kiss that was. He forgot being angry at her instantly, just the feel of her beneath him was a good enough apology for him.
"Sorry." Ziva muttered breathlessly as she broke the kiss. "I should not have woken you up, but I missed you so much, I could not stand to wait longer." she apologized sheepishly, nuzzling his neck.
"When did you get home?" he asked her, rolling onto his side and pulling her close.
"Half an hour ago." she told him, sighing as she snuggled close. He ran his hand through her hair and kissed her forehead, just enjoying having her back again.
"Must have been out pretty good." he wondered, since he hadn't heard her at all.
"You were snoring and drooling on your pillow." Ziva laughed. "It was rather adorable." she giggled and leaned up to kiss his nose. "I checked on Connor, he is also fast asleep."
"He caught some bug and wasn't in the best of moods the last two days." Tim yawned. "He's better today, but he tired himself out in the morning already."
Ziva just make a soft sound to indicate she had heard him, her eyes drifting closed. He slipped his hand under her shirt to touch her naked back, needing the skin-to-skin contact. His wife gave a soft sigh and rubbed her nose against his shoulder.
"How's your aunt?" he whispered, so as not to break the mood.
"Better. She will have to live in a nursing home now and she does not like that, but it is a small price to pay, considering." Ziva told him, her voice husky and he gently squeezed her shoulder. "I saw my father." she softly said and he could feel her tensing slightly. "He sends his regards."
"What else did he say?" Tim asked her, knowing fully well that something else must have happened for Ziva to react like this.
"He wishes to see Connor." Ziva whispered, hiding her face in his chest, a shudder going through her. It was one thing trusting her father not to hurt her, but a whole different thing trusting him to be around their son.
"Do you want him to?" Tim asked her gently, waiting for a response. Ziva sighed and shook her head before groaning in frustration.
"I do not know." she admitted. "He has hurt me so badly in the past, and it is my choice that I allow him to be part of my life. But Connor does not have that choice, he cannot make that decision. I do not want him to hurt my son, not Connor, I cannot allow that. But then again, he is his grandfather; Connor has a right to know where he comes from... I do not know; I am just so confused."
Tim hugged her close and pressed a kiss to her temple.
"You work out your feelings. And whatever you decide, I'm right there with you. Though I think that, if we let him see Connor, it should happen here, on American soil." he told her, and Ziva nodded.
"Definitely. Thank you, Tim."
"Anytime." he said. Just as he was about to fall back asleep, the baby monitor came to life with Connor's babble. He felt Ziva chuckle against his chest.
"He has the greatest timing, does he not?" she laughed, rolling away from him to get up. McGee followed her and gently caught her wrist. Ziva stopped and looked at her husband in confusion.
"Let me get him. Please?" he asked her, and Ziva hesitated. "Go downstairs and sit down, I'll get him to you as soon as possible. But we kinda have a surprise for you, and you walking in would kinda ruin in." Ziva sighed and nodded, letting him go ahead and then following him to the hallways and the stairs down to the living room. She busied herself by picking up a few of Connor's toys and placing them back in the box they used for them. She heard Tim come up and turned around. He was carrying Connor, the boy looking over his father's shoulder.
"Hey, Connor, look who's back." Tim told the toddler and Connor turned his head. As soon as his eyes found Ziva, he started kicking Tim in excitement and threw his arms out for her. Ziva laughed and walked over to them, taking Connor and cuddling him close.
"Hello, Connor. I missed you very, very much." she muttered, showering his face with kisses as Connor hugged her hard. Tim smiled at her, rubbing Connor's back affectionately and tugging down his shirt where it had ridden up.
"Do you want to play, Connor?" Ziva asked him after a few minutes, but Connor shook his head, so Ziva walked over to the couch and sat down with him in her lap, letting him babble away happily and kissing his mess of hair. Tim sat down next to her, placing Connor's stuffed dog down that the boy slept with and wanted whenever he grew tired.
"Hey Connor?" Tim tried to get the attention of his son, but it took him a few tries to get him to leave Ziva's necklace alone and stop poking her face to look at his father. "Who did you miss a lot?" he asked the boy, who promptly threw his arms around Ziva's neck to hug her again, tearing a laugh from the woman.
"Mama!" Connor exclaimed and Ziva stopped laughing, staring at her son in surprise.
"Did he just..." she stammered, looking at Tim for validation.
"Uh-huh." her husband grinned. "He started two days after you left. I didn't tell you because I wanted it to be a surprise; I wanted to see your face when he said it."
Ziva sniffled and gently stroked Connor's head, pressing a kiss to his temple.
"I missed you too, my little angel." she whispered, holding him close and inhaling his soft scent, the tension of the last two weeks slowly leaving her. He had missed seeing her like this, with Connor in her lap. There was no mistaking that the boy was her son. His skin was slightly lighter than Ziva's, even more so now that she had spent two weeks under the Israeli sun, but it still had that sun-kissed glow to it. He had inherited the shape of her mouth and eyes, too, though the color was slowly changing from a light brown to a dark green. His ears and nose, though, Tim had never seen before, and pegged them as a combination of the two of theirs. When Connor had been born, his hair had been black and straight, but it had also started to lighten slightly, and as it started to grow, it developed soft curls, like the ones currently in Ziva's hair. Apparently she hadn't bothered to straighten it for the flight, and he really didn't care. He loved her with curls, when her wild side came out to play, or with straight hair when she dressed more feminine and acted softer for functions.
Connor brought out her soft and cuddly side, something he had been surprised to find. Ziva loved sex, yes, but what she liked even more was to cuddle in the morning. She always ended up half on top of him somewhere during the night. Not that he was going to complain about it, he loved it. But it had been somewhat strange at first. Connor was just as clingy and cuddly as Ziva in the morning after a short night with little sleep. She had been a morning person, but somewhere during the pregnancy, that had changed. Now she skipped her morning runs most of the time in favor of cuddling with her two men. It had been what Tim had missed the most, just to have her close and kiss her and be able to touch her. He had heard her voice break over the phone when it hadn't been certain if her Aunt was going to make it and had cursed that he was so far away from her. He who was a writer and toyed with words hadn't know what to say or how to comfort her only with these tools. But she was back now, and that's what counted.
Ziva was talking to Connor in soft Hebrew, and the child seemed to listen to her. She looked up and gave Tim a soft smile as Connor started babbling away again.
Oh, he had really missed her.