“Shhhh, Jay, you’ll wake them up.”
Jenny was lying in bed, half awake, when she heard the giggling outside their bedroom door. Her and Jethro’s five year old twins, Jeremy and Jasper, were obviously trying to surprise their parents with something.
“Jethro,” she nudged her husband. “Pretend to be asleep.”
The man beside her sighed, and they rolled over to lie close together. They had learnt years ago it was the only way to protect their sensitive areas; Jasper, surprisingly, had excellent aim.
“What are they up to this time?” Jethro whispered into his wife’s ear.
Jenny scoffed. “I love the way you said this time.”
“Well, how many other things have they gotten into over the years?” he asked. “Remember the time they wanted pancakes and started making them themselves?”
“Or when Noemi needed a week off and they took it upon themselves to put the coffee machine on for us?”
The memories were ones that always made them laugh, and this time was no exception. They had to smother their faces with their pillows to keep from alerting the twins.
“Shhh, Jay!” Jasper hushed her brother again, and they tripped over something just to crash into a wooden wall panel. “Jay! You’re gonna wake them up!”
Jeremy shook his head as he stood up and walked directly to their parents’ bedroom door. “I’m going to go jump on dad’s gonads,” Jeremy deadpanned. “You’re welcome to join me, unless you want to keep shooshing my butt, coz if you do, you can stay out here.”
Jenny quickly closed her eyes as she heard the door fly open, slam against the wall, and felt her son jump up onto the bed and onto his father. Jasper could be heard from the hallway, protesting loudly as usual, before she too jumped onto the queen sized bed, landing heavily.
A swift kick to the groin for Jethro woke him up with an ‘oomph’ and a fair amount of pain; Jeremy always managed to hit his target square on. Jenny couldn’t help but giggle at the outburst of pain that erupted from her husband, giving away her position to their children.
“Mommy!” Jasper exclaimed, immediately latching onto her like a leech. “You’re awake!”
“Yeah, I am sweetie,” Jenny smiled. “Your dad’s awake too.”
“I know, silly,” Jasper giggled. “Jeremy kicked him in the gonads.”
“I thought I told you guys not to do that,” Jethro groaned, rolling over to place Jeremy and Jasper between their parents.
“But it’s so much fun,” Jeremy whined. “And you’re so easy to get!”
Jethro sighed and shook his head. “Just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s okay to do. What would you think if Jasper kicked you in the gonads?”
“Where did you even learn that word, anyway?” Jenny added.
The twins looked at each other and grinned. The look said it all.
The day passed with little to no dramas, a minor miracle for the Gibbs family, so when Jenny and Jethro walked into the park with the kids that afternoon for their usual post-school/work fun, it was no surprise to them that the sun was still shining. Despite it being the tail end of winter, Mother Nature was obviously being kind to DC after the horrific snowstorms the city had been plagued with for months, and that made the afternoon even better.
“Daddy, can you puh-lease push me on the swing!” Jasper pleaded, pulling out her puppy dog eyes.
Jethro looked over to his wife, smiled and shrugged his shoulders. They both knew this was going to happen, and neither of them cared one bit. Their miracle children were the centre of their lives, despite the holiday they were unintentionally impeaching on. “Sure, baby. Let’s go.”
Jenny shook her head at her husband and daughter before looking to her son. Jeremy was tearing up the playground in his usual fashion, acting like he was on a sugar high with all the energy he was burning. She was glad that, even though they lived in a townhouse in a very built-up area of Georgetown, there was a park within walking distance where they could burn off their energy.
“Jen,” Jethro walked over to where she was standing, having left Jasper to help Jeremy terrorise every other child on the playground. “What are you thinking?” he slipped his arms around her waist from behind, dropping his chin to her shoulder, so they could both supervise the children playing.
“Lots of things.”
“Like, I’m glad we didn’t hire a nanny and raised them ourselves, with Noemi’s help of course.”
Jethro chuckled. “Of course. Don’t know what we would have done without her help.”
Jenny smiled. “Do you think they’re old enough to get a dog?”
Jethro turned to look at her. “Where did that come from?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. They have so much energy, I don’t know where it comes from. I think, as long as the dog was trained properly and walked daily, it would be good for them.”
“Good for them, or good for you maternal instincts,” Jethro smirked.
“Ha ha, very funny,” she rebuffed him, and returned her attention to the children happily playing.
They stood there in silence for a little longer, basking in the slowly setting sunshine, just enjoying each other’s company while watching their children play.
“Hey Jen,” Jethro said suddenly, breaking their comfortable silence.
“You know it Valentine’s Day, right?”
She disentangled herself from his grip and turned around to face him. He was slightly concerned with the cheeky looking smirk turning up the corners of her mouth. “Oh, I’m aware. Why, did you forget?”
He scoffed and dropped his head. “No….”
“Oh, you did!” she exclaimed. It was fun having something new to tease him about.
“Ok, so maybe I did forget,” he muttered sheepishly. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t love you!”
Jenny laughed at him. “Oh, you’re so lucky I know you so well.”
“Does this mean you made plans for us tonight?”
She smirked at him again. “Doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you what they are.”
Jethro shook his head and smiled. “I knew I loved you for a reason, Jen.”
“And here I was thinking you just loved me for the perks.”
He stood there, stunned, as she walked into the playground to grab the terrors they called their children. She just laughed, leaving him in her wake.
The Israeli woman looked up from her perch on the couch, where two year old AJ was playing on the floor in front of her, as Jeremy and Jasper ran into the living room, traipsing leftover snow from the walk home all over the hardwood floor.
“Jeremy! Jasper! You had better not be stomping snow all over my nice clean floors!” Noemi scolded from the kitchen.
The five year olds abruptly stopped and performed an almost-perfect about face, their father had trained them well, and returned to the front door to remove their outer garments.
“Why are you here, Ziva?” Gibbs asked, pleasantly surprised to see the mother of his godson. “Do you and Tony not have plans tonight?”
Ziva sighed. “Tony is stuck in MTAC overseeing some threat the Navy SEALs are dealing with, so when Jenny asked me to babysit the twins tonight, I agreed.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Jethro could see Jenny smirking again. “So, this is all part of your grand plan for tonight then?”
She smiled and nodded. “You and I are going out for a nice, private dinner on the town.”
Jethro waggled his eyebrows at her, making her laugh. ‘Since when did we ever do anything quietly?”
Unsurprisingly, the restaurant was full when they arrived, but they were seated almost immediately at a private table close to the kitchen. While they were left with menus, the restaurant’s head chef came to their table instead of the waitstaff when it came time to order.
“Ah, Jennifer, how are you mon cherie?” the Frenchman exclaimed.
Jenny rose to hug him, a genuine smile gracing her features. “Hello, Monsieur deNeuf! How are you?”
“Well, very well,” he smiled.
“What do you recommend for my husband and I tonight?”
The head chef smiled knowingly. “No need to order, Jennifer, I will provide you and your husband with a wonderful meal, complete with wine and dessert.”
“You are too kind,” Jenny smiled. “It was nice to see you again, Monsieur.”
The chef smiled. “It was my pleasure, Jennifer, and wonderful to see you again. Enjoy your night with your husband,” he left with a smile and re-entered the kitchen. A waitress returned moments later with entrees and wine.
Jenny smiled at her husband over the centrepiece of white and soft pink lillies. “Are you surprised?”
Jethro smiled back at her. “Pleasantly so; I didn’t know you knew such a prestigious chef.”
“I know a lot of people in a lot of places, and I still have a lot of favours owed that may come in handy one day.”
“I have connections too,” he smirked back at her. “Wine?”
Ziva sighed as ten o’clock approached. The twins were asleep in their rooms, AJ was asleep on the couch, and there was nothing to watch on TV, as she had been well and truly corrupted by her husband and his habits.
She looked at the time on her phone yet again and wondered where the parents of her charges were.
Time almost stood still, and she was contemplating calling Abby for something to occupy her mind, when she heard their familiar bickering outside the front door.
“Have a good night?” she asked them as soon as they opened it. They were unsurprised at her appearing out of nowhere, as she had been doing it for years; her Mossad training had taken care of that.
“It was wonderful,” Jenny smiled peacefully. “Dinner was magnificent, the wine perfectly matched, and the company wasn’t too shabby either.’
Jethro feigned hurt at the comment, and Jenny laughed. “Oh, give it up, Jethro; you know there’s no one else I’d rather be with.”
“My, you two are very pleasantly buzzed, aren’t you?” Ziva asked, chuckling at the normally reserved couple’s uninhibited behaviour. At their unsynchronised nods, she added, “Would you like me to stay the night, to ensure the twins are safely dispatched to the kindergarten in the morning?”
“No, that’s not necessary, Miss Ziva,” Noemi announced quietly from the kitchen. “I can make sure all four of them arrive on time to their destinations.”
“You can deal with their hangovers and the twins at the same time?” Ziva asked. The housekeeper nodded. “Well, you are more talented than I thought.”
“Anything to keep my family out of trouble,” she replied with a tip of the head. “Now, Senor Gibbs, Senora Gibbs, I believe it is time for bed.”
Ziva recognised the dismissal from the housekeeper instantly, and returned to the living room to collect her sleeping son before leaving.
“Ziva!” Jenny called from the stairs, laughing a little too much for the late hour. Ziva turned to her former bosses, now her family, and smiled slightly. “Thanks for looking after the twins! Have a good Valentine’s night!”
Ziva shook her head as she wrapped herself and AJ up in coats to shield them from the cold weather outside. “Not likely.”
As the door closed behind her, she heard a familiar shriek from Jenny, presumably as Jethro threw her over his shoulder as they were pushed upstairs. She shook her head; too much wine, and they were reduced to teenagers on their first date. She was glad the children were solid sleepers; Noemi did not deserve two sets of overtired, moody charges in the morning.
The morning came way too quickly in Jenny’s opinion. Unlike the previous day, the sky was covered in dark, ominous-looking clouds, threatening yet another snowstorm DiNozzo was likely to name Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, or something along those lines. It was not the type of weather she appreciated, hangover or no hangover.
Next to her, Jethro rolled over with a heavy groan. “What time is it?” he mumbled, throwing an arm over his eyes.
Jenny looked at her phone on the bedside table and let out a groan of her own. “It’s half past eight.”
“Where are the kids?”
“I hope Noemi took them to kindergarten, or we’ll have to deal with them and their bad moods all day. How bad is your headache?”
“I could go for one of Ducky’s remedies right now,” he groaned.
“So, that bad?”
They were disturbed by a quiet tapping of the door, moments before Noemi poked her head in. “Good morning, Senor Gibbs, Senora Gibbs. The children are waiting for you downstairs.”
Jenny sat up abruptly, making sure to hold the sheet over her naked chest. “Why are they downstairs and not at kindergarten like they should be?”
Noemi sighed. “Miss Jasper was complaining of an earache, Master Jeremy a stomach ache, and both were complaining of a headache. They gave very convincing performances, Senora,” she reported apologetically.
Jenny sighed and fell back into the pillows. “Great. Just great. So much for ‘we love school!’ Little terrors.”
Jethro sniggered quietly, trying not to aggravate his own headache too much. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Jen.”
“Jethro, that was yesterday, hence the night out and subsequent hangover.”
“Your point, Jen?”
Jenny simply groaned again. “I’m never drinking alcohol again!”