“He’s given me a dozen or so files to look over,” he replied, sitting beside her. “So you’ve decided then?”
Ziva smiled and nodded. “I think I only just did so today. Just now even. I – I think it is for the best and if I wish for things to work with Steve I must. I know he would come here if I asked, but I cannot bring myself to it.”
“You’re making the right choice Ziva,” Gibbs said plainly, looking her square in the eye. “When you joined the team… You were a broken bird. Jenny knew it… That’s why she pushed to get you here. It’s taken time… And it hasn’t been easy… But you’re now ready to start the life you deserve… Your past stowed away where it belongs… I always knew that you being a part of this team would end… Same goes for Tony, and for Tim.”
She smiled and layed her head back. “Thank you Gibbs,” she said before she felt her stomach rumble again. “Oh for the love…” she mumble, covering her mouth.
“Easy,” he said, pulling her hair back. “Let it out… Come on.”
It had been only dry heaving but still sucked the energy from her. “Is the flu supposed to last six weeks?”
“No…” he shook his head. “Six weeks huh? Has it been that long?”
“Very nearly. I was ill before Steve came to visit so that has been six weeks. This is ridiculous,” Ziva huffed in frustration because as quick as the nausea came, it left her.
It wasn’t long before Ducky pulled up in his vintage Morgan, only to get out and retrieve hia bav of medical gear.
“Apologies for being late, but it’s so very rare for me to be examining living patients,” he said as he walked over to them. “I take it that the nausea has returned?”
Ziva smiled weakly as Gibbs squeezed her hand before walking away to return to work. “Thank you Ducky. I am sorry for bringing you out here like this. I feel almost as bad as I was before.”
“Still feeling sick to your stomach I see,” he replied with a sympathetic smile as he began to dig through his bag.
“I’ll go check on McGee and DiNozzo,” Gibbs said, leaving them to it. “I’ll see you back at the office.”
Once he was out of earshot, Ducky stopped and took a seat by Ziva. “I hate to be indelicate my dear, but you should have gotten over this by now if it is indeed a stomach bug so I just have to ask…” he paused, as if struggling to find the words for a moment. “How long ago was your last period?”
Ziva picked up her head and looked back at Ducky sharply with surprise. “What? I – I’m not sure but I’m on birth control if that is what you are implying…”
“Yes, I am aware… But the pill isn’t completely safe… No one form of birth control is,” he replied carefully. “Could you have missed a day? Could you have forgotten to use other forms of protection?”
She stammered to find some words. “I don’t know Ducky. Perhaps? I’m fairly certain I have not missed because the packet was up to date when I took it last night. Oh my god I can’t deal with – this!”
He placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it gently. “My dear… I’ve known you long enough to believe that you can handle just about anything that life throws at you. Sometimes you do this alone and sometimes you d it with your friends and family around you. And we’ll all be here for you, regardless of what happens. But the best thing we can do right now is find out for certain. Let me take you back to the office… I’ll make a stop at the drug store on the way.”
She shook her head. “No. Think I need to be alone for this. We can stop at the store but I would like to go home. If it – if it is true, then I will need to tell Steve right away otherwise I may run from it. I cannot. Not anymore.”
“Very well…” he patted her shoulder before escorting her to his car. Following a quiet ride with a brief stop at a nearby drug store, Ducky pulled up outside Ziva’s apartment. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like me to stay? Or I could call Abby?” he asked with a soft but comforting smile.
Ziva hesitated for a moment before shaking her head as she stepped out of the car and peered into the window at him. “I’ll be fine. Thank you Ducky. I will see you tomorrow at the office, yes?”
“Of course… But promise me you’ll call me if you need a doctor, or to talk,” he said as he saw Steve emerge from the building’s foyer.
Ziva smiled tightly and nodded before he honked the horn and drove off. “Therapy?” She asked lightly as she slowly made her way towards him.
“Not until later this afternoon,” he smiled as he waved to Ducky. “I was just going to that Deli you like so much. Thought I’d surprise you with some lunch. But from the looks of you, I’d say we should get you into bed. Is it the stomach bug again?”
“It might be,” she answered, not wishing to give too much away. “I will take some of their chicken soup if they have it fresh today. Maybe a salad too if you do not mind. I’ll just take a shower while I wait.” She smiled as she leaned up to give him a closed mouth kiss. “No rush.”
“Okay,” his smile returned. “I’ll also stop by the video store and rent you a couple of movies. Call me on my cell if you need anything else.”
Her smile was bright as she looked up at him. “No. I think that is just perfect. I’ll see you when you get back. Maybe I’ll make dinner if I feel better.” With another kiss, Ziva made her way inside.
Once in the safety of the apartment, she went straight to her bathroom and pulled the pharmacy bag from her backpack and stared at the offending pink box. “May as well get it over with,” she muttered as she began to undress after turning the shower on to heat. Following the steps, she let the stick sit while she jumped into the shower.
As she finished, Ziva dragged out the motions of turning off the water and wrapping the towel around herself. Picking up the plastic stick, she fell back and sat in utter and complete silence with it wrapped tightly in her hand in shock.
When Steve finally returned, she was still there, staring at something in her hand.
“Ziva… Are you okay?” he asked as he entered her room as she hadn’t answered as to whether or not she wanted her soup.
Seemingly frozen in place, she could feel his fingers trying to pry hers off the stick as he spoke comforting words to her until he had it free. Her eyes followed his hand slowly before shifting to his face where she didn’t know what to make of his expression, but she knew how hers was. Full of fear.
“Oh…” was all he said upon realizing what she was holding. Getting a closer look at the test, he saw it was positive. With that, he sat down beside her, equally numb for a moment. “Wow…”
“I don’t know how to be a mother,” Ziva whispered after about a good ten minutes of silence while they soaked up their revelation. “I don’t want to screw this up.”
“Are you kidding me?” he asked, taking her hands in his. “You’re not gonna screw this up… We’re not gonna screw this up! I love you, you love me, and together, we’re gonna love this kid. Do you hear me? You’re gonna be a great mom.”
Whatever she had been waiting for in the last five weeks she saw in his face right then. “Yes,” she breathed out her answer to his proposal that she put off. “Yes to moving, yes to the job, and especially yes to marrying you…”
“You mean it?” he asked in disbelief, his hands shaking slightly. “I… You… We…” Steve couldn’t find the words to describe the emotions he was feeling. Up until Ziva entered his life, it had been so full of sacrifice and tragedy. For the first time since he could remember, Steve was at peace.
He leaned forward and gently caressed her lips with his own for a moment. “You won’t regret this Ziva, I’m going to spend the rest of my life making sure of that.”
Ziva smiled as best as she could as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. “I think I’m going to take a sick day tomorrow. Gibbs already knows that I am transferring. I told him before he sent me home for the day.”
“Well look, I’m gonna call and cancel my physical therapy nurse and cancel my session for the day, that way I can take care of you and we can celebrate our good news at the same time,” he smiled.
She nodded before shivering as she was still in nothing but a towel. “Okay. I’m just going to change but um Steve? Can we just keep this between you and I? I don’t know if I want anyone else knowing yet. Not until after the transfer at least in case it might block it. I do however need to tell Ducky something as it was he who originally suggested the possibility to me,” she says softly, unsure of how she would break the news later even but she needed that time in the meanwhile.
“It’ll be our secret. But I will have to contact the governor about the transfer going through eventually. And Danny, Chin and Kono will need to be told too,” Steve replied before placing a kiss on her cheek.
“We can tell them when we get back but limit everyone else to the details? Gibbs we can tell if he doesn’t suspect himself already. Maybe invite him to dinner before we leave?” Ziva asked. “And there is one more thing…” She added hesitantly, almost nervous about what she wanted to ask.
“You want Danny’s office? You have pull with the task force commander, so I think you could make it happen,” he grinned.
She chuckled and shook her head. “No. I’m sure we can figure something out later. I can even set up a desk in the situation room. Our I could always share with you,” she winked.
“Now there’s an option… Not that we’d get much paperwork done,” he chuckled. “So… ?”
She eyed him for a minute before nodding. “I would like us to keep this apartment here. At least then we would have a place to stay whenever we come back to visit. As far as desk space, just ask Chin and Danny to find a place for me and I’ll be happy. No special instructions. Got me?”
“Yes Ma’am, no special instructions from me,” he nodded. “And I can understand you wanting to keep your ties here in DC. So why don’t we talk to the building manager… See how much it’ll cost to buy the apartment? It’ll be pointless to continue renting the place if we’ll only be here part of the year.”
Ziva leaned and kissed him hard before pulling away. “I do love you. Now go deal with your calls so that I can change. We can see the manager tomorrow after we sleep. Besides I am sure you are hungry otherwise you wouldn’t have left for some lunch.”
“You know me too well,” he grinned before giving her some privacy while he went to make the calls and serve up lunch.
She slowly made her way back into the bedroom to dress as she eyed her cell phone that she had set on the end table. Blowing out a breath of air, she sat on the edge of the bed and struggled to call NCIS. After getting through the operator and transferred down to autopsy, she smiled when she heard her friend’s voice.
“Hello Ducky,” she greeted tiredly.
“Ziva my dear! How are you fairing?” Ducky questioned, knowing she would understand its multiple meaning with his carefully chosen tone indicating he was not alone. Likely with Jimmy she believed.
“I am well. Your suspicions were – accurate. Steve and I were just speaking and we have a lot more to discuss but I wanted to get your right away to let you know that our agreed decision at the moment is to keep it between ourselves. I hope you do not mind…”
“No my dear. Not at all. I am just pleased that you are indeed well and resting as you should. Ahh – should I have Gibbs give you a call?”
“Um, no. We were going to have him over for dinner this week to let him know. But thank you. Right now we have a lot to do and not a great deal of time to do it…”
“So then what Tony said is true? That you are likely to leave soon?” The man asked sadly, but she could still hear the smile in his voice.
“Yes. I am going to return to Hawaii with Steve. I must still say my goodbyes to everyone. Abby would not be happy if I do not do that this time. Though, after we tell Gibbs, I think we may have one more dinner here, with everyone. Palmer included. I will let you know the details when I know more,” Ziva said as if it helped lift a weight from her shoulders.
“Of course. I look forward to coming. I’ll see you in the office…” Ducky prompted knowing she would have taken the following day off with as ill as she had been feeling.
“Wednesday. Thursday at the latest. I still need to get my paperwork finalized with Director Vance so I won’t be leaving until the end of next week at best. I will see you soon. Goodbye Ducky,” she smiled into the empty room.
“Goodbye my dear, and goodnight.”
Hanging up, Ziva looked around and ran her hand through her hair. “What am I going to do?” she asked herself before pushing herself up to head out into the common area.