Here we go- a new arc! Thank you all so much for the response I got for the end of Bound. I'm eternally grateful to you all! Enjoy and review! XOXO

Chapter 1

"I wrestled long with my youth

I tried so hard to live in the truth

But do not tell me all is fine

When I lose my head, I lose my spine."

Mumford and Sons, Hopeless Wanderer

Ziva giggled as she turned the key in the lock, and Tony wrapped his arms around her waist.

"What are you doing?" She shrieked.

"Carrying you inside." He replied, kissing her neck as he scooped her up.

She kissed him back, and when he finally dropped her on the couch, he smiled genuinely at her.

"Welcome home, Zi. I'm so glad you're my wife."

She smiled back at him, feeling relaxed and blissful. "I love you. Now go bring the suitcases in."

He groaned. "Right now? We have nice neighbors, Zi. I'm sure they don't steal."

She smirked and kissed his mouth, hard. "Work now, fun later."

Tony immediately perked up. "Aye aye, captain."

Ziva stood and wandered into the kitchen, and flicked on the answering machine.

"You have 5 unheard messages." The automated voice declared. She pressed the play button and leaned back against the counter.

"First unheard message." The automated continued.

"How dare you." Eli David snarled across the line. "How dare you insult me so? You have humiliated me! How dare you marry Agent DiNozzo, a goy, your colleague, without consulting me first? I had to find out from Director Vance, who thought I'd known! You disgust me! You slut! You are a disgrace! Stop playing housewife and get back to what is important, Ziva. Be careful of getting too close to people- there is always an ulterior motive. You know this, you idiot! I am ashamed to have you as a daughter-"

The message cut off, and Ziva stood very still, breathing harsh, as if she had had the wind knocked out of her. She suddenly felt very young and very very small. Tony appeared from of nowhere and pulled her in for a tight hug.

"I'm sorry, babe." He whispered into her hair.

She sniffled and pulled back. "We should change our number. He will keep calling until I do what he wants."

Tony nodded, and rubbed her arm.

"What he said about you isn't true, Ziva."

She looked hard at the tile floor. "I know. But just because it isn't true doesn't mean he doesn't believe it."

"He doesn't deserve you." Tony murmured into her hair. "He never did."

Ziva blinked long and hard to keep the tears at bay. "I should call Sarah. Tell her we're home."

Tony nodded slowly. "Okay. Tell her I say hi."

Talking to Sarah made Ziva feel much better. Her quiet, joyful voice gave her a sense of calm and purpose, and she hung up and sighed deeply, pensive. Her father was not a good man- she knew this, had learned it from an early age, but had still always craved his approval. Perhaps that was why she'd run fifteen miles instead of his mandated ten, or why she stayed extra hours at the shooting range, hands cramping and sweaty. But it was never enough, and never would be. Tali had been his favorite daughter, she knew this. She would never live up to her sister, forever sixteen and innocent. She wondered dully why he still criticized and shamed her so. Was she really so terrible? So incompetent and embarrassing? She shook her head and mentally scolded herself for going to those dark places in her mind. She didn't like to think about her youth, the shame and the confusion and the self-loathing. She threw herself at Mossad to please her father and serve her country, yes, but also to hide her vulnerability behind a gun- it was easier that way.


A week later, Ziva awoke with a hard sniff to her clogged nose and groaned. Her stomach churned and she sat up, dizzy.

"Wha's wrong?" Tony mumbled, pulling the covers higher, patting her leg in the semi darkness.

Ziva didn't answer, she couldn't. She put a hand over her mouth and ran to the en suite bathroom and lifted the toilet seat and vomited harshly.

Tony was by her side in an instant, pulling her hair into a loose ponytail and rubbing her back.

She convulsed, heaving and coughing, miserable. When she finally finished, she fell spent and boneless into Tony's waiting arms. He kissed her head.

"You okay?"

She grunted in reply.

"You ready to get back in bed? I'll get you some ginger ale and take your temp. You feel a little warm."

She nodded and let him help her to her feet and rinse her mouth out.

She slid beneath the covers and breathed deeply, trying to settle her stomach. Ziva fell back into an uneasy sleep.

It went on like this for days on end. Ziva was tired, sick, irritable and nervous. She hasn't felt this way in years, and she had to keep stopping herself from feeling a mixture of guilt, hope and dread.

"I can't miss another day of work." She groaned as Tony stroked her sweaty hair, feet hanging over the edge of the bed.

"Well you can't go in like this either. I'll cover for you with Vance and the Boss Man."

She nodded and he kissed her cheek before slipping out the door, keys jingling. She waited until she heard his car rumble to life and peel down the block before she slowly got up and made her way to the bathroom once more. She opened the package with shaking hands and held the stick, watching the clock.

Two minutes passed. Ziva took a deep breath and held it up to the light. She gasped. A tiny pink plus stared back up at her, and her heart stopped. She began to cry tears of joy and sorrow and dropped the stick to the floor, heaving with the weight of her sobs.

A baby. She was going to have a baby- one that would be hers, and only hers. Her happiness was bittersweet, and she had to take a deep breath to calm herself. This baby would not be Sarah- could not be Sarah. It couldn't replace all she'd lost, but could create something new and loving and whole.


Tony walked through the door at 6:14 pm, whistling and carrying a paper bag under his arm.

"How ya feelin, sweet cheeks?" He asked tenderly as he kissed her forehead.

"Fine." She lied, motioning for him to sit down. "I uh, have to tell you something."

He frowned, sitting down next to her. "Is everything ok?"

Ziva took a deep breath. "Yes. I think so. I uh, think I know why I've been so sick this past week. I- I'm pregnant, Tony."

His jaw dropped, and they sat in stunned silence for a moment. Her heart was beating so hard she thought her chest would burst.

"Pregnant?" He squeaked.

"Yes. I haven't been to the doctor yet, but the two tests I took were positive-" he interrupted her with a kiss, and hugged her tightly, laughing.

"We're having a baby!" He cried, a wide smile breaking out across his handsome features.

"You are ok with this?"

He hooted, pulling her up and swinging her around. "Okay? Zi, I'm thrilled!"

She laughed in relief and kissed him back.

"I love you. We can do this." He whispered.

"I love you too."