They were having breakfast when the call came. Willow was watching Tali make faces at Dawn, while Kate alternated between amusement at the pair of them and annoyance that the two year old wasn’t eating much with such an encouraging audience. Ari was sneaking the occasional peek at them across the report he was reading from the Jakarta Slayer house. He wasn’t going on any more assignments unless it was absolutely necessary until after Kate had the baby. Tali had been born in England, but Kate had put her foot down with their second- she wanted at least one of her children born in her own country.
Willow didn’t recognize the number, but it was a northern Virginia area code- probably Ziva, although not her usual number. Willow felt terrible that in just over six years since Ari and Kate’s ‘deaths’ she still hadn’t found a way to let Ziva know what had really happened. Ari was supposed to work on a plan for that when he had time, because he wanted Ziva to meet her nieces.
Yep, definitely Ziva. Although… Willow frowned, and snapped her fingers at Dawn, pointing to the phone. There's someone else on the line
, she mouthed. They were very quiet, but she could still tell.
Dawn spun her chair around to grab her laptop from the counter, and pulled up the phone trace software. It only took her a second while Willow responded to her cousin’s greeting. She had all the adults’ complete attention by the time she had what Willow wanted.Number is under the name of a Jethro Gibbs
, she mouthed back.
Kate’s jaw dropped when Dawn mentioned Gibbs. There was no doubt in her mind that if Ziva was calling from Gibbs’ phone, it meant they’d been found. At least they’d gotten a phone call first- she half expected to hear the front door being kicked in by Gibbs and DiNozzo demanding answers. She gestured preemptively for one of the trainee Slayers to take Tali away from the table. The toddler could finish breakfast with her coterie of teenage admirers in front of the rec room TV, which was almost definitely showing cartoons.
With Talia’s departure- and the gaggle of young Slayers trailing after her and her designated distracter- only Dawn, Willow, Kate, and Ari were left in the kitchen. Willow hit the button to put Ziva’s call on speaker.
“Willow, would it be possible for you to come to DC? There was something I wanted to talk to you about. I think it is what you call a face to face kind of conversation.”
Willow bit her lip. She could go. The travel wasn’t a problem. And Ziva was definitely owed some answers. But she was sure wherever Ziva would want to meet would be on Ziva’s turf- meaning Gibbs’ turf. And that made her nervous. She hadn’t forgotten how this had all started. Or how well-armed that crowd was. Buffy and Xander had both made it pretty clear that getting shot was not fun. And they’d survived…
“I think I know what conversation you want to have,” Willow replied. “And it would probably be better if you come to me.”
“That is… acceptable,” Ziva replied. “Are you at the same address in Cleveland?”
“Yep,” Willow said.
“We will be there this afternoon.”
Ziva’s tone brooked no argument.
“We’ll be waiting,” Willow replied, and hit the button to break the connection.
When she looked up, Kate looked ready to explode.
“You’re inviting them here? You do realize Ziva won’t be coming alone, right? Gibbs thinks Ari killed me! And he is not
the forgiving type.”
“Easy, my darling-“ Ari said soothingly. “Willow is no fool.”
“I fully expect she’ll bring Gibbs,” Willow replied. “And probably DiNozzo and McGee, too. Heck, from your stories, I bet Abby will want in and I wouldn’t be surprised if Dr. Mallard cadges his way onto this field trip, too! But the important thing is they’re coming to our house.”
Kate visibly worked to get her temper back under control as she absorbed Willow’s full meaning.
“See, Caitlin?” Ari said. “My little cousin is perfectly well aware of what she is doing. If they come to us, we control the terms of the encounter. We will have more backup- and I believe most importantly, Willow will be able to insist that no weapons are brought to this party.”
Dawn tried not to snicker. It still amused her no end whenever a Scooby-ism crept into Ari’s posh British English. It had taken Kate time and effort to sound anything but all-American. Ari had already sounded the part of a Watcher born to the Council the day she met him.
“Do we want Princess Tali here for the meet?” she asked. “Or should I go call Buffy and see if Slayer Central minds babysitting for the day?”
Ari and Kate had one of their silent conversations with their eyes. Whatever the content, it looked like Kate won.
“Babysitting would perhaps be best,” Ari said, sounding slightly disappointed. “Let us see how the reunion goes before exposing our daughter.”