Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 416: Knowing

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 416: Knowing

Ziva is not, in fact, at Andrews.
She's home, on her sofa, cup of tea next to her, laptop open, "reading" the reports that are flooding in from Okinawa now. She's "putting together questions," "getting background," and, sporadically, texting with Bishop to see what she's putting together on the flight home.
What she's really doing is staring at her computer, wondering if today's the day her whole world changes.
She's late. Sort of. Okay, not really, not yet. Her period should have showed up today. It should have, like it has every twenty-nine days since she stopped taking her pills, decided to grace her with its presence at some point last night.
She's usually so regular that the night she expects her period to show up, she sleeps with a tampon, and as of this point she's never woken up with a clean one in the morning.
But she did today.
So, she's late, ish, maybe. Lot of long nights this last week, and that can mess a cycle up (though it hasn't before.)
She has the test, in the bathroom, where it's been since they started 'trying.'
Part of her wants to leap up right this second, take the test and find out. Cheering along is the part that's afraid Tony will flip out when this goes from a somewhat nebulous concept to something that's 'real.' That part knows he'll come around, but it also wants some alone time to savor this without having to deal with a terrified man.
Part of her wants to take the test with him. He's been there for every other bit of this baby-making thing, he should get to know the same time she does. Cheering that part on is the fantasy of the little gray screen flipping to pregnant and him leaping up, jumping for joy.
Part of her is afraid that they'll take the test together, it'll come up negative, and she'll have to look at him and see relief in his eyes. It's not too much to ask him to be enthusiastic about their child. She's comfortable with that. She's also sure that asking him to be disappointed by a negative result is too much. He won't, can't feel that, because for him, negative means at least another month in his comfort zone. For him, negative is another month of getting to swim along with a life vest before getting dumped naked into the deep.
Part of her, the part that's noticed another text from Bishop and quickly replies to it, knows she's going to have a hell of a time interrogating anyone with this on her mind. That part is also aware of the fact that Tony will notice she's off while she's interrogating, ask about it, and in the observation bay is not how she envisioned telling Tony about their baby to be.
Of course, as she finishes texting, it's not like not knowing is doing much for her concentration, either. She's re-read the same update three times now.

Eventually, the tea she's been drinking works its way through her system. (As tea and all liquids are wont to do.) Which means a trip to the bathroom, where the test is, with her very unmade-up mind whirling around with images of little baby David-DiNozzo.
Brown hair and eyes. That's a given. Well, okay, it's not absolutely impossible that she might have a different combination. Ziva's grandmother's family was from Poland originally. Her grandmother had blond hair and blue eyes, and because she looked Aryan, she was able to be smuggled out of Poland as a child. Her grandfather was also from Poland, dark hair, dark eyes, didn't look Aryan. He made it out of Warsaw, made it to the Polish Resistance, but they turned him in to the Nazis. He escaped again and began the trek to Palestine, done with Poland, done with Europe, and sure that no Jew would ever be safe until they had their own country. Her father's family was Iraqi, dark hair, dark eyes. They fled to Israel when Iraq forced them out. Her father was young enough at the time that he doesn't remember it, but her grandparents did. They changed their name when they got to Israel, a sign of burning the reminders of a land that tossed them out.
She shakes her head, not the time to be thinking about that.
Easy smile.
Brown hair, brown eyes, easy smile. She'd had an easy smile as a child. Tony still does. And this baby… This baby is going to grow up fat and lazy… That's not quite what she's looking for. Safe. That is. She won't worry about being killed on a bus. Her school won't have armed guards. She won't get her first gas mask as a baby. She won't have rocket drills at school.
She'll join the military only if she wants to.
Knowing this family, she'll know how to use a gun and fight by the time she's in middle school, but she'll never have to worry about defending her home with it. She won't watch the people on the street and wonder if they have bombs under their clothing.
Ziva's fingers touch her belly. Whatever she looks like, this child will be fearless.
And right now, she will be, too.

There are situations where Ziva finds patience easy. Give her a sniper's rifle and set her on top of a building, she can stay calm and focused all day.
Staring at a little gray screen watching the tiny grains of sand drop from one side to the other of the hourglass to the other is, however, not a situation where Ziva's patience kicks in.
No, right now, speaking of kicking, she wants to be kicking things, speeding up time by distracting herself. But she can't look away from the screen, because if she looks away, she won't see it turn, and she can't miss it.
So she doesn't. The hourglass vanishes, the screen goes black, and then PREGNANT pops up, and she's jumping for joy, awash in the happiness of this moment.

Knowing is way better than not knowing. How that could have ever been in doubt is something she's finding immensely silly.
Knowing is… perfect.
Because right now, this is perfect. Right now, there's one more person in the world. Right now things are clear and sharp and bright and beautiful.
Right now is a future she'd given up on for a long time, a future she'd occasionally dream about, but banish when she woke, because those were the dreams of someone with a future, someone attached to life, living in its service, not a dealer of death. Not someone with a shelf-life of maybe 30 years.
She texts Draga, Tony, and Bishop. Change of plans. Get him home and let him sit. At least twenty-four hours, forty-eight will be better. No contact, no one speaks to him. All alone except for the two minutes when someone brings food. Then we're going to break him.
She gets back from Tony. Why are we changing?
Got some intel that makes waiting work better. Fill you in when you get home.
Won't mind a good long sleep and some decompressing time before going after this asshole. Sounds good to me. Still going to pick us up?

The only reason she can pull this off is because Tony and Bishop are tired. They're asleep on their feet. Otherwise, they would notice a certain bubbliness that's been hitherto uncharacteristic of their Ninja.
Tony's crashed out in the passenger seat. Bishop's laying across the backseat as Ziva drives.
"So," Tony says, slow, tired, "What'd you find?"
"Do not worry about it, Tony. It's complicated, and you'll do better with it when you've got some sleep."
He sighs, looks at her, lots of gratitude in his eyes, and kisses her hand. "Sleep sounds awesome."
"Mmmm…" Bishop says, eyes closed, holding up one thumb in an I agree gesture.

Tony DiNozzo is a crack investigator of the highest caliber. He is also practically unconscious. This is a good thing because his wife, who is also a crack investigator of the highest caliber was a bit distracted after taking said pregnancy test and didn't do a good job of cleaning up the evidence.
Which is sitting in the bathroom trash bin, right on top, just waiting to be seen.
Which is not one of the seventeen ways she envisioned telling Tony. Fortunately, he gets in there, does his business, brushes his teeth and crashes right into bed (still wearing his jacket and shoes.)

Thirteen hours later, he's out of bed, looking rumpled, but a lot happier, wearing his usual laying around the house Ohio State T and shorts.
He wanders around their apartment for a second, wondering where Ziva is, and if she got called in or something, and the notices her sitting on their tiny balcony, watching the sun set between the high rises.
He opens the door, stepping out, joining her. "Hey, beautiful."
She stands up, eyes sparkling, and kisses him. "Missed you," comes out several seconds later, along with a huge grin.
He sits down in the chair she just vacated, pulling her into his lap. He's about to break into what happened while he was away, what new evidence they had, but… he's not feeling it. Right now he wants to sit with his wife and enjoy the sunset.

Sunset in DC
In the Jewish calendar, days begin and end at sundown.
Ziva approves of that. She knows it's less precise and more complicated than days beginning and ending at exactly the same time every single day. But, even knowing that, she still prefers a concrete mark of one day passing to the next. She likes the poetry of one day bleeding away, finally extinguished, and a new one born.
There's not much light left. The sun's almost all the way past the horizon, and the lights of DC are starting to dim what's left of sunset.
It's a good time.
Her voice doesn't catch, there's no nerves, and for all the worrying she was doing earlier about it, right now she's sure it'll be good.
"I am pregnant." She's looking at that sky as she says that, trails of red and orange still bleeding into black, and feels him jolt at it, then she looks to him, smile vibrant on her lips, peace deep in her eyes.
He's smiling back, mega-watt smile, she's seen the fake version of it a million times, but this one is real, holding her close, petting her hair and kissing her. When he pulls back, he says, "Wow! I…" he swallows hard, looking just so in love and so blissed out and so ecstatic right now. "I didn't think I could feel like this."
She's grinning from ear to ear, kissing him again, because right now there aren't words for this, but there are actions, so she'll take them.

It's late. Really late. Ziva's sleeping, and Tony should be, too. He would be, but his internal clock is skewed from travel, and right now he's just too excited to drift off.
He kisses Ziva's hair, and decides he better get used to her sleeping a lot. If Abby and Breena are anything to go by, any day now she'll be sleeping 24/7, or at least want to.
Maybe it'll be different for them. He snorts a little laugh at that, somewhat amused at what Sleepy Ziva might be like.
He gets out of bed and heads over to his dresser. There's a cigar box in there, with five cigars in it. (Three of them are real tobacco,good tobacco. The other two are sugar-free chewing gum. He knows there's no way McGee or Palmer will smoke a cigar.) It's something he brought himself when they started trying for real, a promise of sorts that he wasn't going to disappoint her on this. He is going to be a father, and he's going to do it right, and doing it right means celebrating this child for every day of his life.
He takes two of them out, tosses on some going out clothing, and heads to his car.

He'd forgotten that Gibbs sleeps now. Somehow that doesn't work in his mind. He's very firmly got the idea of Gibbs=awake in his head.
He's also forgotten that Gibbs has a friend now who will bound to his front door and bark bloody murder if you try to just walk on in in the middle of the night.
And he'd forgotten that Gibbs locks his door, too.
He's a bit distracted right now.
But, after a minute, as he stands on the porch thinking this might not be the best idea he's ever had, and that possibly Gibbs does not want to be rousted out of bed at 4:36 in the morning, no matter how good the news is, when a very sleepy, rumpled, wearing only a pair of sweat pants Gibbs opens the door.
For a second he looks surprised, and then that smile breaks out all over his face.
Tony grins back at him.
This… ability to just know… no words spoken, no need for filling up the space around them with sounds, this is something Tony has always appreciated about Gibbs. He's one of the few people Tony can be silent with.
Tony pulls out the cigars. "Smoke 'em with me?"
Gibbs nods, solemn and joyful, and then pulls Tony into a long hug.
By 04:40, Tony and Gibbs are sitting on his back porch, smoking away, not saying much, just being with each other. Between puffs Gibbs puts down the cigar, and says, "You're gonna be good at it."
Tony nods. "I know. I didn't. But… I do now."
Gibbs pets the back of Tony's head. "Atta boy!"


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