“Remind me again exactly why we’re doing this?” Gibbs asked as he stepped onto the porch of Tony and Ziva’s house, Jenny following behind him with the twins. The four-and-a-half year olds, who had just awoken from a mid-morning nap, were dragging their feet up the wooden stairs. He knocked sharply on the door before turning to his wife who was scolding their children.
“Jasper, I swear, if you don’t hurry your little butt up here, you won’t get to play with AJ at all today!” Jenny threatened her daughter, who was in love with the DiNozzo offspring, and had been since he was born.
“But Mommy, I love AJ, and he loves me!” she tried to fight, but ran up the stairs anyway at the promise of a play date with her boyfriend.
Jenny chuckled and shook her head. “Exhibit A,” she said to her husband, motioning towards their daughter. “And, Abby threatened us with death if we weren’t here for Easter.”
Gibbs sighed. “I can’t believe she tried to pull rank on us. We’ve been retired for six months, Jen…”
“She didn’t pull rank, she pulled the guilt card. And she did it well,” on that note, she rang to doorbell, grabbing Jasper’s arm before her daughter could run around the porch.
Tony appeared at the door, 18-month old AJ in one arm, and smiled widely. “Welcome to Casa DiNozzo, everyone is in the living room.”
Gibbs stood there in shock as the twins barrelled inside, forcing Tony to put his son down to join them, and stared at the man who succeeded him in the office. “DiNozzo, do I want to know why you are wearing a skirt?”
“He lost a bet,” Ziva appeared at his side out of nowhere. “Come in, I’ll tell you all about it.”
Jenny smiled and followed the younger woman inside, leaving the men standing in the doorway. “Why do I get the feeling he deserved it this time?”
Ziva shrugged. “He bet me my recent illness was just a late-season ‘flu. I bet him I was pregnant. I won,” she answered simply, announcing her news nonchalantly.
“You’re pregnant?” Jenny asked. “That’s wonderful! How far along are you?” she grabbed the younger woman and steered her into the living room to where Abby and Palmer’s girlfriend Diana were sitting.
Gibbs stepped into the house, closing the door behind him. He glanced out a window and inwardly groaned at the menacing black clouds threatening a storm. “Still doesn’t explain why you’re in a skirt, DiNozzo.”
Tony shrugged. “We had to switch clothes; trust me, you don’t want to see what I’m wearing underneath. It’s bad enough I have to wear one of her skirts, but that,” he shuddered.
“Serves yourself right,” he said, walking towards the kitchen. “You should know better than to bet against your wife. A good husband will always follow his wife’s lead."
DiNozzo snorted. “Which ex-wife told you that?”
Gibbs glared at the younger man from the fridge. “Diane.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he sneered at the younger man, as Tim and Palmer entered the kitchen. The Autopsy Gremlin sat down at the kitchen table while McGee helped himself to a beer from the fridge.
DiNozzo shrugged and sat down, shifting uncomfortably in the skirt his wife made him wear. “I don’t know. When have you ever listened to any one of your wives before?”
“Think very carefully before you answer that, Jethro,” Jenny warned, walking into the kitchen silently. “If you value your life, and your place in my bed, I would seriously reconsider your current conversation.”
Gibbs smiled into the beer he was nursing, shooting his wife a heated stare. Jenny smiled and shrugged it off, grabbing a bottle of wine and some glasses for the ladies.
“Why are we even here, anyway?” Palmer asked, abruptly changing the subject in a way only he could.
“Wife tells you to move, you move,” Gibbs shrugged. “Trust me, it’s easier for all involved if you just listen to her and don’t question it.”
“Jenny has you well trained, Boss?” Tony commented cheekily.
“Who’s the one wearing his wife’s skirt, DiNozzo?”
“So, spill,” Abby pounced on Ziva the moment they sat down on her extremely comfortable couch. “How far along are you?”
Ziva smiled as she sat down next to Jenny on the opposite couch. “Are you sure you want to hear about good news?” she asked, referring to Jen’s breast cancer.
“Ziva, I’m good for now. Your happiness gives me something else to live for,” she replied. “My head is so damn itchy, though.”
“You can’t even tell!” Abby all but screamed, and Diana looked slightly confused. “It’s a wig,” Abby whispered loudly, and Jenny giggled.
“Oh!” the realisation dawned on the younger woman, who was new to the family. “I totally can’t even tell.”
Jenny smiled her thanks. “Can we talk about something else? Today is a good day, and I want to enjoy it.”
Abby bounced in her seat. “Yeah, tell me about the baby! Are you excited?”
“Abby, I am approximately eight weeks pregnant; I am yet to even have a scan.”
“So how did you find out?” Diana asked.
“You peed on a stick!” Abby did scream this time. “Have you even had a blood test yet to confirm? You know those things can give false positives!”
“Can ten sticks give false positives, Abby?”
Jenny chuckled as she stood up from the couch. “Apparently I’m allowed a glass of wine a week. Anyone else want some?”
At the nods, Jenny walked into the kitchen, and Abby moved to claim her now-empty seat.
“Want me to run your blood?”
Ziva sighed. “Abby, I have an appointment with my obstetrician tomorrow at ten, I do not think your help will be needed,” she patted the Goth’s hand, trying to placate her. “However, I can have a picture printed for you.”
The smile on her face ensured Ziva she had made the right decision, and she was promptly hugged in thanks.
“What did I miss?” Jenny asked, slinking back into the living room with a bottle of merlot, three glasses and a bottle of soda. “Guava ok?” she asked Ziva, who nodded.
“Abby is freaking out that I left her out of my pregnancy, even though I only found out yesterday,” Ziva answered succinctly. “But, enough about me. How are the twins going?”
Jenny smiled at the mention of her children. “Well, Jasper is convinced Jeremy and AJ are out to get her, and wants a dog to protect her. Only problem is, she wants a poodle.”
“They are hypoallergenic, don’t shed hair, and are very smart dogs,” Diana smiled over the rim of her wine glass. “It’s probably one of the best breeds of dog to go for.”
“You’re not helping my case, Diana,” Jen chuckled, “I’m trying to talk my daughter out of getting a dog, not give her even more reasons to beg for one.”
“Why do you not get her a cat?” Ziva asked. “If you do not like dogs, cats are the next logical option.”
“I hate cats, and Jethro is allergic to them.”
“All the more reason to get a poodle,” Diana reiterated.
“Still not helping my case, Diana.”
The women sat in silence, all taking sips from their drinks, when the black clouds outside broke, sending rain pouring down and lightning rippling across the sky. Three sets of feet began thundering their own way through the ground floor of the house, and all of a sudden AJ, Jasper and Jeremy ran in searching for their mothers.
“Mommy, Mommy!” AJ jumped on her.
“See, if I had a puppy, she would be able to protect me,” Jasper commented from Jenny’s arms.
Jenny sighed and glared at Diana, who just chuckled in return.
Lightning flashed through the sky again, shortly followed by another loud clap of thunder, which made all three children scream hysterically. Tony ran into the room, followed closely by Jethro, Tim and Jimmy Palmer.
“What happened? Is AJ okay?” Tony asked quickly, immediately bending down in front of his wife and son.
“Tony, relax, he was just scared by the thunder, and his scream set off the twins.”
“Daddy!” Jasper jumped into his arms. “You can protect me from the storm, just like my puppy would!”
Jethro stared at Jen, his eyes asking her why their daughter still had her heart set on a puppy.
“She’s not going to give up anytime soon, Jethro,” Jen shrugged, running her hand up and down Jeremy’s back soothingly. “She’s very determined and stubborn.”
“She got that from you,” he deadpanned.
“Serves yourself right for taking her to the pet store.”
Gibbs sighed and turned his daughter’s small face to look directly at his. “Are you sure a puppy will protect you?” he asked.
“Uh huh,” she nodded in the way only a four year old could. “Her name will be Pepper, and she’ll be black, and cuddly, and sleep on my bed with me!”
“Jasper,” Jenny warned.
“On the floor of my room?” she asked hopefully.
Jen sighed. “If she must.”
“Does that mean I can get a puppy?” she looked hopefully at her father again.
A silent conversation happened between Gibbs and Jenny, which had both of them nodding, and Diana staring at them in shock.
“What just happened?” she whispered to Tim.
“Jasper’s getting the puppy she wants,” he replied.
“Uncle Tony,” Jeremy broke the silence. “Why are you wearing a skirt?”