Eighteen Years Later . . .
"Mini, hurry up or we'll be late!" McGee called to his daughter. "Now, Mini!"
A teenage girl with light brown hair hurried down the hallway of the flat she shared with her father. "God, do you have to call me that?" Lily McGee huffed as she came to a halt in front of her father. "I'm not a baby."
"But it's very cute," McGee teased, ruffling Lily's hair.
"Da-ad," she groaned. "You just messed up my hair. Do you know how long I spent on it?"
"Too long," McGee muttered and Lily punched him in the arm. "Hey, what was that for?"
Lily laughed and grabbed her purse from the counter. "You ready or what?"
"I've been ready for ten minutes," McGee sighed. "Could you be any slower?"
Lily stuck out her tongue. "Deal with it, old man."
"I'd watch what you said, Lily Jillian McGee," McGee muttered. "Who pays for the petrol in that car of yours?"
"You, dad." Lily rolled her eyes and clicked open the front door. "Coming?"
"Yeah, yeah," McGee sighed. "I'm coming."
"Excellent," Lily grinned. "I'm meeting Mitch beforehand. He wants to meet you," she said innocently.
McGee spluttered at the thought of having to meet his daughter's boyfriend.
When they arrived at Lily's high school, Lily hurried off to find Mitch the Boyfriend.
"You look like someone's stolen your favourite Barbie doll, Probie," Tony commented as he stepped up behind McGee.
"Mini's bring Mitch over to meet me?" McGee looked terrified.
"Now?" Ziva joined the conversation and McGee nodded. This made Ziva laugh.
"Tim, you fight crime for a living and yet meeting your daughter's boyfriend scares you more," she smirked.
McGee nodded. "Too right it does."
"Aw, McGee's just protective," Tony cooed sarcastically.
"Give it a rest, DiNozzo," Gibbs barked, slapping the back of Tony's head.
"Sorry, boss." He rubbed the back of his head.
"I'm not your boss anymore, Tony," Gibbs said, looking slightly amused. "I haven't been for ten years."
Tony shrugged. "Old habits die hard." He grinned at McGee. "Speaking of old . . . How does it feel, McOldie, to know that your daughter is graduating high school?"
"Terrifying," McGee replied immediately. "It means she's all grown up." McGee looked a little sad.
"That happens, McGee." Ziva looked amused. "It is . . ."
"Dad!" Lily called, prompting McGee, Gibbs, Tony and Ziva to turn around.
Lily was pulling a young man with sandy blonde hair, followed by the unmistakable Abby.
"Daddy," Lily started as she stopped in front of McGee, "this is Mitchell Cooper. Mitch, this is my dad, Timothy McGee."
"It's nice to meet you, Mr. McGee," Mitch said politely, offering McGee his hand.
McGee gulped. "Likewise," he replied, accepting Mitch's offered hand.
"I'm Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo," Tony cut in, breaking the handshake. "And just what is your intention with our Lily?"
Lily looked horrified. "Uncle Tony!" she screeched.
"What?" Tony shrugged. "It's a perfectly legitimate question."
Ziva burst out laughing, followed by Abby. "Tony, leave the boy alone." She rolled her eyes. "What if it were Sophia's boyfriend that you were meeting?" she questioned innocently, referring to Tony's own daughter.
"Sophie's not having a boyfriend till she's thirty," Tony replied immediately, causing Lily to cough loudly.
"That's what you think," she muttered to herself.
Mitch tugged on Lily's hand. "It's time to get ready, Lil. The ceremony will start soon."
Lily nodded. "Right. You know where you're sitting, dad."
"Yep, you've only told me a million times," McGee joked.
"Only a thousand, dad," Lily grinned back and rushed off with Mitch. "See you soon."
McGee watched sadly as Lily ran off with Mitch. While the others went to take their seats, Ziva lingered behind.
"I can't believe it's been eighteen years," McGee said softly.
"It seems just like yesterday that we were playing house," Ziva agreed.
McGee sighed. "You know I'm sorry about that. I wasn't exactly in a good place then."
Ziva shrugged. "It is fine, McGee. It was no hassle."
"I don't know what I would have done without you," McGee murmured.
"You would have gotten through somehow," Ziva replied.
"I'm not so sure that I would have." McGee looked at Ziva, who slung an arm around his shoulders.
"Let's go sit down," Ziva suggested, kissing McGee lightly on the cheek. "Mini would kill you if you missed a second of the ceremony."
McGee laughed. "Good point."
Ziva paused and said tentatively, "Jilly would have been so proud of Lily today, and of you."
"Yeah, she would have been," McGee said sadly. "I wish she was here."
"So do I." They lapsed into silence. "We really should sit down," Ziva said after a minute.
"Right, yes, after you." McGee gestured for Ziva to go first.
Pausing, McGee looked up at the sky and said softly, "I miss you." Then he turned and went to join his friends.
And somewhere high above the clouds, a young woman with brown hair looked down and murmured, "I miss you too."