Disclaimer: Not mine, sadly.

Spoilers: None

Summary: ONESHOT Gibbs finds the perfect moment.

Author's Note: This could be read as a companion piece to 10.26 but you don't have to have read it to know what's going on.

Also, I have absolutely no clue about babies and anything to do with babies so I apologise for any mistakes on that front.

This story isn't beta'd so all mistakes are mine.

It's 0800 and she's finally asleep, sprawled out on my chest like a starfish and breathing deeply. She's been fussing and crying for the last few hours but if you look at her now, you'd never be able to tell. A little angel gently slumbering (a halo wouldn't look out of place).

A tuft of brown hair, thick dark eye lashes and rosy apple cheeks. She is the spitting image of her mommy and not without a little hint of stubbornness too. She's just beginning to sit up to play and chews on every single one of her toys, even the wooden blocks. She's got this adorable little baby laugh that makes you smile every time you hear it. She's cute, very cute, but she's also been blessed with a strong pair of lungs so that if she ever needs your attention, you'll know it.

I'll admit that it took me a little time to get used to this whole situation, it seems to alien to me since my last experience of fatherhood happened a lifetime ago. But I'm re-learning what it means to be a father, and I gotta say I love every second of it. Sure I'd forgotten how tough the sleepless nights can be and the sinking feeling when I realise that I won't make it home in time to say good night, but that makes the time I spend with her all the more precious.

The sound of soft steps on the stairs alerts me to the presence of the other sleep-deprived occupant of the house. Unlike me, Kate really needs her sleep so these past few months have been more difficult for her to deal with. But she's coping, no thriving, in her role as a mother. And I've never seen her look more beautiful, even though the last time I told her so, she said that she found it hard to believe what with the dark circles under her eyes and the remaining baby fat that lingered around her tummy, thighs and face.

I still think she looks gorgeous, regardless of what she thinks.

Her face lights up in a soft smile when she sees our baby daughter sleeping contentedly. I extend my hand, beckoning her closer to the bed.

"How's she doing?" Her voice is husky, betraying her exhaustion.

"Good. Her temperature's gone down."

Kate sighs with relief. She'd flown into a full blown panic when she realised that all the fussing and crying wasn't just our girl having a bad day, and rushed her straight to the hospital. Yeh, I know what you're thinking. A little illness is nothing compared to the things we deal with at work on a daily basis right? Well, you're wrong. Because she is our child, and the overwhelming sense of love and protection means that as parents, we can't always react as objectively as we do to the cases we work on. So that was our first big scare and not the last either if that little twinkle of mischief hiding behind her big brown eyes is anything to go by.

I hear Kate grumble tiredly into my neck as she curls her body around mine and snakes a slim arm over my body. This isn't where I'd imagined myself at 50 but I'm certainly not complaining. I thought I'd still be chasing redheads, I would have been happy with a quiet life. But then I'd be missing out on all of this. A beautiful family, home cooked dinners, nearly breaking my neck tripping over a small stuffed elephant…

So I'm lying here, just about to doze off again when suddenly, it hits me. Slam-in-the-gut, can't-ignore-it kind of hit. This is the moment, the one I've been waiting for ever since I cleared out the attic and found my grandmother's white gold wedding ring.

I turn my head and drop a soft kiss into Kate's hair while my right hand fumbles in the bedside cabinet for the little blue velvet box.


"Mmmmm…?" She peers at me with bleary eyes brimming with love and affection.

My fingers finally close around their target and I find that, contrary to what I'd expected, I'm not nervous at all. And that's what finally convinces me that this is the right time for this.

With a final grin, brush my lips across hers. "I love you."

The bewildered look on her face is soon replaced by a breath-taking smile that shows off her dimples.

And the moment is perfect.


Author's Note 2: I hope you all enjoyed the story and that I did justice to the siutation. I'd love to hear feedback about how you think this went or could be improved. Thanks for reading.