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Not This Way

by: CJ aka WritinginCt (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 003 Word Count: 5192
Rating: TEEN
Warning(s): Character Death
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Ziva David
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/Ziva
Summary: Gibbs and Ziva's fledgling relationship survived the arrival of a pregnant ex of his, but will it be strong enough to survive the ultimate tragedy and its fallout? Gibbs/Ziva Season 5 Spoilers, secondary character death

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3

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Title: Not This Way
Author: CJ aka WritinginCT
Fandom: NCIS
Pairing: Gibbs/Ziva
Rating: FR13
Warnings: Season 5 Spoilers, Secondary Character Death
Categories: Drama, Angst, Romance
Disclaimer: I don’t own the recognizable characters I’m just inspired by them. Hopefully they’ve had fun playing in my sandbox.
Note: Written for the And Baby Makes Three Challenge on the NFA
Summary: Gibbs and Ziva's fledgling relationship survived the arrival of a pregnant ex of his, but will it be strong enough to survive the ultimate tragedy and its fallout?
Status: WIP

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Gibbs was making a sandwich in the kitchen, it was his kind of weekend. His team wasn't on call, the weather was pleasant, and he was just enjoying puttering around the house and the yard, doing all those little things that always seemed to need doing. And with a goofy little grin he also thought about fact that he had someone coming over later to cook him dinner and they had both been dropping enough subtle hints about it to know that dinner was going to lead to midnight snacks and breakfast.

He had just taken a bite when there was a soft knock on the door, he opened it to see a familiar red-head standing there. Stephanie. And then it hit him, it was an obviously pregnant Stephanie. He almost choked on the bite of sandwich he was still chewing.

All thoughts of a normal greeting went out the window as he swallowed quickly and the words were out of his mouth before he could stop them, “You're pregnant?”

She rolled her eyes and said with a little sarcasm, “I never could get anything past you, Jethro. May I come in?”

He stepped back and gestured for her to come inside, forgetting all about the sandwich in his hand.

When they stood for what seemed like forever there in his living room toe to toe, not saying a word, Stephanie finally broke the silence and pointed to his sandwich, “Got another one of those?”

Gibbs simply thrust the one he was holding at her only to pull it back at the last second, “Forget it, this one has mustard on it, you hate mustard. C'mon.” He turned and stalked off to the kitchen.

He found a plate for his own, then started making her a sandwich. Stephanie could see something bubbling beneath the surface as she watched him, and as he efficiently built and cut her sandwich he asked quietly, “Does he know?”

He handed her the plate and their eyes met as she said the words his gut told him were coming, “It's not Eric's baby, Jethro. It's yours.”

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It had been one night, shortly after she moved to Philadelphia, well over six months ago. He and Hollis had gone their separate ways and Stephanie called him to give him her new address and phone number. She had thrown out very casually that her parents would love to see him if he ever wanted to come for a visit. He had stewed about it in his normal brooding way but found himself in Philadelphia his next free weekend. Stephanie was the one ex-wife he felt badly about how things had ended. And he had gotten on well with her family.

They were all delighted to see him, and Stephanie's mother cooked all of his favorites, and the wine flowed at dinner. Gibbs thoroughly enjoyed himself, and he found himself walking the few blocks to Stephanie's new apartment with her arm looped around his, ostensibly to crash in her guest room. It was nice, and it was familiar. They had settled on her couch with a nightcap and some of her old photo albums and reminisced about the past. They were both so loose and so relaxed, and their teasing and laughter reminded them both of a time so long ago, when they had first fallen for each other. The time before all the hateful things were said and done. Neither would ever be able to recall who moved first, but they would remember the passion of the kiss. And it awoke all those things inside them that had drawn them together in that lifetime ago.

They made love. And it was everything they remembered. Their chemistry in the bedroom had never been the issue in their marriage. And as they lay there wrapped around each other, they knew that although it had been great and wonderful, that it was a goodbye, a gentle send off to their past.

When he left the next day she had told him to take care of himself, and he told her to call him if she needed anything. And he hadn't heard from her since.

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“Why did you wait to tell me?” he asked in that same quiet way.

She picked up a half of her sandwich and replied, “I really thought it was Eric's, and, well, you and I were only together that one night and I just didn't...” she closed her eyes and took a breath, “I just didn't think it was yours. We tried the whole time we were married, Jethro, and I never got pregnant. Anyway, I, ah, told Eric and he insisted on a paternity test. We just got the results back a couple of days ago, and he's not the father and that can only mean one thing. And I don't know whether to laugh or cry about it, Jethro. And I don't know what to do.”

Gibbs was staring at some random point on the counter trying to let it sink in, a baby, his baby. He was going to be a father again. A faint ghost of a smile spread across his face and a quiet little chuckle erupted that he just couldn't contain.

He met her eyes once again, and could see the tension and apprehension in them, her fear that he would reject her and the baby evident in them. His eyes softened and he pulled her into his arms and as he felt her crying in relief against him, he kissed the top of her head and promised, “We'll figure it out together, Steph. You and me.”

---------------

Ziva opened his front door, knowing she did not need to knock. She dropped the grocery bags she was carrying in the kitchen and headed downstairs, sure that she would find Gibbs working on the boat.

He was downstairs alright, but the only thing he was working on from the look of it was a good drunk. He was sitting on the concrete floor leaning up against his workbench, his knees bent in front of him. He had an almost empty bottle of bourbon next to him, a bottle she knew was full two day ago. Gibbs' eyes met hers and the red rimmed eyes she saw looking back at her let her know something significant had happened since she had spoken with him that morning. He gave her a sad little smile, and it worried her. She had never seen him like this.

Ziva went and sat cross legged next to him and without hesitation put a hand on his knee and rubbed gently, “Hi.”

“Hi.”

She glanced down and saw a photo in his hand, a photo of his first wife Shannon in a hospital gown holding a newborn Kelly. Ziva tried to quickly go through the dates in her head from Gibbs' dossier to see if today was something significant that she had missed, it wasn't. It made no sense, and the confusion showed on her face.

He had seen her look at the picture and her confusion. He handed her the bottle of bourbon, “I need to tell you something, but trust me, you need some of this first.”

She opened the bottle and took a healthy swig. The taste of the bourbon bringing back a memory of the first time she had bourbon in his basement, three weeks ago.

---------------

The undercover mission that left Hoffman dead had a dramatic effect on Ziva, and Gibbs had seen it, and tried to talk her down from the ledge of self-doubt that she was walking to no avail. And when the case was finally over and done with and she walked out of the bar after giving the man she had slept with the information about his missing girlfriend, Gibbs had been waiting for her, leaning casually against his car.

He dragged her back to his house after picking up some Chinese food and put her to work on the boat. He taught her patiently how to use the tools and do what needed doing. And when they finished off the last of his beer, he found them each a relatively clean jar that he had dumped the screws out of and poured them each a healthy dose of an eighteen year old bourbon. It was smooth going down and she soon felt its warmth spreading through her. Gibbs had been in a light and playful mood the entire evening, as if he knew that that was what she needed. She had finished her drink and looked up to see him staring at her intently, a look she couldn't translate in his eyes. He had reached over and lightly brushed off a little wood shaving that she didn't know was on her cheek. His hand had then lingered, his thumb stroking gently across her skin. And in the next heartbeat, he had leaned in and kissed her gently. The chemistry between them was something that they had never expected, although they had known its potential had been there all along. They hadn't made love that night, deciding that going slower was what they both wanted.

They had actually started dating. Secretly of course, but dating none the less. And going slower had been working well for them, and tonight was supposed to be their first night together.

Supposed to be. When he told her about Stephanie in broken, halting words, she felt her world crumbling. And she wondered if it were divine intervention somehow that they hadn't moved past the point of no return in their relationship, maybe they weren't supposed to. She envisioned him remarrying Stephanie and having everything he ever wanted, a child, a family.

She was lost in her own thoughts and it wasn't until she felt his finger on the end of her nose, something he did to make her smile, that she met his eyes and heard what he was trying to say, “I understand if this is going to be too much, if you wanna get the heck out of Dodge...”

She interrupted to ask, “Get the heck out of Dodge? I do not understand.”

“That's one for DiNozzo to explain. He's probably got it on dvd. What I mean is, I know this isn't what you bargained for and if you want to walk away I understand. But I...” he closed his eyes as his words dropped off.

“You what, Jethro?”

That sad little smile was back on his face as his eyes met hers, “I don't want to lose you.”

She clambered to her knees and took his face in her hands and kissed him gently, and whispered, “I am not going anywhere.”

He wrapped his arms around her and squeezed tightly, and when he finally let her go he asked sheepishly, “Still gonna cook me dinner?”

And after a leisurely prepared dinner and a very strong pot of coffee, he was much more himself. And he took her upstairs and proved to her that she was the one he wanted, proved it to her with his hands and his mouth and his body, and especially with his arms as he held her protectively as they drifted off to sleep.

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tbc...

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