you guys rock and stuff.


Meeting with the adoption agency winded up being much more troublesome than Tony had expected. They asked too many questions that made him feel uncomfortable, like what kind of parents they were hoping to find for their child. The question seemed ridiculous to him. How were they supposed to know what kind of parents they wanted their kid to have other than the fact that it, apparently, wasn't them?

What made it worse was the fact that Ziva sat there as formally as possible, her hands crossed in her lap, making the whole thing seem like it was a business deal and all she had left to do was sign the contract in black ink. It made him feel sick, and he couldn't help the sigh of relief that escaped him when they finally left.

At least Ziva was talking to him again, in a way. Things still felt tense between them, but she was talking to him about the baby now, letting him know how appointments were going and if they thought she was going to be early or not. They told her that it was only a guess, but it didn't seem like she would make it full term. He wasn't sure how doctors could be able to tell that, and he didn't really care to know. What mattered was that Ziva told him that little snippet of information without him asking, which he was beyond grateful for. It made him feel like maybe there was a chance that they could fix themselves, that maybe everything wasn't completely lost.

A week after they met with the adoption agency, they were sent a list of potential parents and their information. That night, Ziva invited Tony over to look at the list and figure out which ones they wanted to actually contact. Dragging his feet, he arrivedat about seven, feeling like he was betraying his daughter and trying his best to put on a smile as if it didn't bother him at all.

"Hey,"Ziva greeted him conversationally when she opened the door. She left it open for him and walked into the living room, where she had a slim stack of paper sitting on her living room table.

"This must be the fun part, huh?" he asked without thinking, sarcasm lacing his tone. His remark earned him a glare that he ignored as he sat down beside her, leaving a reasonable amount of distance between them.

"They sent us five to begin with," she said simply, spreading out the five sheets of paper in a row. Her nonchalant demeanor still made him feel sick to his stomach, but he tried to shake the feeling off as he looked down at the papers in front of him.

"The Harmons, Georges, Allans, Slatons, and DeWitts."He listed out the names, looking at the pictures in front of him and trying to keep himself from snatching all of them up, ripping them into an uncountable amount of pieces, and setting them on fire.

Ziva nodded slowly, reaching out to pick up the first one. "The Harmons are both teachers, which is likable, I think. They are unable to have children because of a condition that the wife has had since childhood. They're a few years younger than us." She put that page down and picked up the next one. "Mr. George is a salesman, and Mrs. George is an attorney."

"I don't like that very much. An attorney? No, next." He took that page from her, setting it to the side.

"Tony." Ziva's voice was agitated. "You cannot place judgment on someone just because of their occupation."

"I can," he retorted, feeling angry. "I did. Moving on."

She rolled her eyes, and he rubbed his neck, regretting even deciding to come at all. He should have just told her he'd meet all of them one at the time or something. It definitely would have made things a lot easier on his part. Or maybe she was getting snarkier as she got closer to her due date and it wasn't him at all. Or maybe he just really didn't want to do this, and no matter how many times he said he would be cooperative, he never really would be.

He couldn't be sure which one it actually was. Maybe it was a combination of the three.

She continued after another prompt glare his way and picked up the next sheet. "Mr. Allan is a teacher and Mrs. Allan is a pediatrician. They just want to adopt children because they feel like it is their... good deed to society."

"They sound like goody two shoes kind of people," Tony commented, shrugging. He was grateful that this comment didn't seem to be as terrible, as Ziva didn't make a remark about it. "Who else is there?"

"The Slatons are both teachers, as well. They gave us a lot of teachers, for some reason. They can't have children at all, either." Ziva continued her description of the couples, her face thoughtful. "And then Mr. DeWitt is a pharmacist and Mrs. Dewitt is a secretary at a school."

Tony nodded slowly, looking at the couple's profiles, with the exception of the attorney's, processing the information he found there. He stared at the names that meant nothing to him, but yet meant everything, the pictures of people he'd never even heard of before, but whom he would have to meet and decide if they were the people he wanted to give his daughter to after she was born.

"Tony, did you hear me?" He jumped slightly, looking over at Ziva, who looked impatient. He realized with a wince that she had been talking and he hadn't been listening. He offered her an apologetic glance as she repeated her question. "Which ones do you want to meet first?"

None of them. "I guess the Harmons. They sound... nice." He sighed, picking up their sheet and staring at the picture of two blonde haired people that wanted his baby girl.

And he suddenly wished that he hadn't made the promise of not sabotaging the entire thing.

"We absolutely love children- we both have, as long as we can remember," Mr. Harmon was saying, his smile way too wide. Tony forced himself to listen and not look like he wanted to rip his ears off. "Then, we realized that because of my wife's condition, we couldn't have children of our own."

A sad shake of the head was thrown in here by the wife in question, and he noticed that Ziva was wringing her hands together under the table.

"What grades do you teach?" Ziva asked, her voice overly polite.

"Third and fifth," Mrs. Harmon replied, smiling just as widely as her husband had previously. Tony could see why they had wound up together. Two peas in a pod described them quite well.

"Are you willing to have an open adoption?" Tony asked out of the blue, leveling his eyes at Mr. Harmon, ignoring Ziva kicking him under the table. It was an important question to him, the only one that truly mattered.

"What do you mean?" Mr. Harmon asked, his voice losing a bit of its luster.

"I mean, if I want to see her at any time, or get pictures, or whatever, can I?" Tony said, keeping his sweet smile almost as wide as theirs no longer was.

The couple looked at each other for a moment, communicating only with their eyes. Tony felt jealousy spring up in him, because he and Ziva used to be able to do the exact same thing with ease that others couldn't possibly begin to understand. He looked over at her, sitting next to him, and she was sending him a glare that would have made Satan run for the hills. He looked away just as the couple turned back to them.

"We would rather you not actually see the child once she's born. Pictures we can do, but no actual contact would be made." Mr. Harmon twined his fingers together in a professional manner on the table, and Tony mentally put an "x" over their page in his mind.

"Well, thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon. We will be in contact at some point." Tony smiled, and he could feel Ziva's glare strengthen.

"Oh, are we finished?" Mrs. Harmon asked, looking surprised. She put a hand over her heart in shock and Tony had to dig his nail into his palm to keep from sending them a look that let on to what he was thinking.

Tony went to speak, but Ziva kicked him under the table again. He fought back a wince this time, grimacing slightly regardless. Thankfully, neither of the two sitting in front of him noticed, as they were focusing on Ziva. "Yes, that is all we wanted to know. We will be in touch. Thank you for coming by."

It took a moment to usher the two out of Ziva's apartment, but once they were gone, Ziva turned to him, her glare icy. "What the hell was that?" she spat angrily, crossing her arms over her chest.

"They weren't going to let me see her, Ziva. At all. I didn't like it, and I'm not letting them adopt my daughter. We'll go to the next couple." Tony explained himself, shrugging.

"You said you weren't going to sabotage this!" she reminded him in a matter-of-fact tone.

"I didn't!" he yelled in return, throwing his arms out in a defensive gesture. "I just asked a question and they didn't give me the answer that I wanted!"

Ziva leaned back against the door, rubbing a hand across her forehead. "What is it you want, Tony?"

He put his hands in his pockets, swallowing and looking down at his feet. "I..." He thought about not telling her anything, because they were both pissed, and knowing his luck, the outcome wouldn't be too admirable. "I just want to... to know she's okay, and that maybe... maybe this really is what she needs." He felt his feelings for Ziva running deeper than anything else, pushing away the anger he felt, and he lifted his eyes slowly back to her. "I'm sorry I asked the question so blatantly and that I was rude afterwards, but that's all I want, Ziva. I want to be able to see her every once in a while, and be able to talk to her. I know that isn't what you want, but it's what I want."

She looked as if she were going to argue with him about something, but she stopped, nodding slowly. "Okay. I guess we will just get that... issue out of the way before we invite another couple over, yes?"

"Or..." He hesitated, wondering if it was the best time to do this. "We don't have to do this."

"Tony..." Her voice was tired, and he nodded in understanding. Not tonight.

"Right." He let out a heavy sigh, shrugging. "So, I vote no on them, obviously."

She shrugged slightly as well, biting her lip to avoid smiling, and he knew she agreed with him before she even spoke. "I did not really like them either."

He smiled at the comment that seemed a little bit more like the pre-pregnancy Ziva, getting his coat and putting it on to leave. Her smile fell then, and the new Ziva was back, eyes and face void of emotion. He looked at her for the longest moment once he'd put his coat on, not only because she was still leaning against the door, but because he couldn't pull his eyes away from her. Just over seven months ago, she had been his best friend, a person he could go to for anything. Then, suddenly, everything around them had been turned to ashes.

Now, she was giving away their baby because it was a mistake and they weren't good enough. Now, she was only talking to him because she had to in order to avoid legal trouble with what she wanted to do. Now, looking at her broke his heart, because he had to look really hard to even recognize her.

He missed his Ziva more than anything in the world, but staring into her eyes that night, it felt like no matter how hard he tried, or how many times he thought he saw glimpses of her again, he would never get her back.