Six months later ...

Tony tugged at his cravat as he looked out over the sea of people in the back garden.

"There's still time to back out" he whispered.

"Di Nozzo .." Gibbs said threateningly.

"Just sayin' Boss."


He was about to add something else when the music struck up and all eyes shifted to the sight of Abby walking up the aisle, Nero dutifully at her side.

"Have you got the rings?" Ducky asked him when they reached the top.

Nero held out a basket for inspection.

"Good boy" the medical examiner, patting his head. "Give them to Tony."

"No licking" Tony hissed as he reached out and prised the handle from the dog's mouth.

Nero all but rolled his eyes at him before he settled between Gibbs and Ducky and watched the bride tread the red carpet.

"She's very beautiful" Ducky whispered to Gibbs.

"That she is" he replied as he stepped forward to bring her the last part of the way. As he did his eyes caught Jen's, and the luminosity in them made a smile break out over his face.

He heard Ducky draw a deep breath of pride as he passed his bride over to him, and smiled again at Jen as she took the veil that Ducky raised and settled it on the back of Jordan's dress. When she was satisfied that she had done all she could, she stepped into the space next to Gibbs, and slipped her hand into his.

Together they let McGee's voice wash over them.

"Hope is the thing with feathers" he began, "that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all."

From her place a few feet away Abby felt a bubble of contentment rise within her as she watched Gibbs raise Jen's fingertips discreetly to his lips and press a kiss to them.

She looked over at Nero and winked. Everything was as it should be.


Author's note:

McGee is reading an excerpt from a poem by Emily Dickinson.

I feel obliged to point out that Nero will be featuring in a oneshot very very soon. And as always, thanks to Morgan for putting up with me throughout the writing of this. She is also credited with choosing the puppy's name.