Some of you may have already seen this if you follow me on Tumblr - just a quick ficlet based off a picture; head on over there if you'd like to see it, my tumblr link is up on my profile. But I figured I'd also post it on here.
Now that I've had my fun in the sun and won't be going on more vacations, I'm back to writing. Sorry for disappearing ;)
"Tatehleh, where are you?"
Ziva's voice rang out worriedly as she paced down another row of music sheets and books of the crowded store. Eyes that had once been primed to catalogue and assess any possible threat or situation had now adapted to spot lego-like land mines on the floor, sticky hands, and her three year old daughter in any crowd.
Eyes roaming the rows again carefully, she opened her mouth to call out for a second time before she heard her partner's amused voice.
"Zi, over here!"
Her head whipped around to the source of the voice she was sure by now she could pick out of thousands as relief flooded her. Ziva moved swiftly between the rows until she reached the back of the store, where both sources of her panic were innocently huddled together on the floor.
Tony was crouched down next to their daughter, supporting the heavy end of a guitar that looked to be the same size as her. His trademark grin was stretched wide as he watched the little girl's face and her look of concentration.
The reprimand that was poised on the tip of her tongue died in her throat as she observed the two, fondness replacing irritation. Sensing her mother's proximity, the little girl looked up excitedly, revealing a toothy grin.
"Momma! You watchin' me? Daddy showed-ed me!"
Ziva smiled warmly, her previous irritation evaporating.
"Very good, tatehleh."
Tony grinned wider as he shifted his weight to the other leg, and lifted the guitar higher. With his other hand, he gently moved hers over the chords with surprising familiarity, and her laughter bubbled up as she strummed the strings with care-free fingers.
"I think we've got a natural, Ziva." Tony chuckled over his shoulder.
"It appears so," Ziva affirmed as her hand stroked through her daughter's light locks. Her smile grew as the little girl laughed again. "I did not know you could play guitar."
Tony looked up, then winked at her from his crouched position.
"I have many hidden talents, Sweetcheeks."
Ziva snorted as her eyes drifted across the store.
"I am sure," she said dryly, looking around the store. "Why did we come in here again?"
Setting the guitar back down, he stretched and stood up while their daughter continued strumming wildly, hovering over it on the floor.
"To browse the pianos," he stated matter-of-factly, "You're going to teach her to play."
Surprise flickered briefly across her face before her lips quirked up in a hesitant smile.
"You think she would like to?" she asked him softly, looking down at their daughter.
Half of her; half of him.
"Of course," he replied immediately, looking down at their little girl with pride. She said nothing, and he looked up, regarding her closely. Scrutinizing her hesitant expression, he continued gently, "Ziva, teaching her to play piano isn't the same as forcing her to."
Ziva nodded, biting her lip and looking down at the little girl.
"I know," she murmured softly. They both understood how much she struggled with giving their daughter a life where she was free to make her own choices; the opposite of how Ziva grew up.
Tony leaned forward to press a soft kiss to her lips in reassurance and stepped back just as their daughter stood up, abandoning the guitar. Ziva reached down as she lifted her arms toward her mother, lifting the little girl onto her hip with ease, and the partners shared a smile over their daughter's head. Tony winked, then reached for Ziva's free hand to intertwine it with his own, and pulled her with him toward the pianos.
"I have no problem with introducing her to different hobbies," Tony began, "but I draw the line at building boats."
Ziva laughed deeply, causing her daughter to follow suit, and inclined her head to kiss the toddler's cheek.
"We do not have room for a boat," she chuckled, "But I think we do have room for a piano."