Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize.
No Better Place
Author: Fyre Faerie (clearday)
Notes: My fic all take place in a world where male pregnancy is common place. Also, I know the regulations about office romances in Federal agencies, so I'm just ignoring that.
Reviews are always welcomed and muchly appreciated! (They also make me work faster! (hint*hint nudge*nudge)
After everyone had left for the evening following the case of the missing speed-dater, Tony sat finishing his report. As soon as the report was sent to the printer, Tony sat twirling in his chair. Just as he was about to go collect his print out, a sudden thought struck him. Turning to his computer, he keyed up the photo imaging software. Imputing his and Gibbs' photos, he looked around surreptitiously before he started the process to developing a composite of what their child could look like.
With one hand resting on his stomach, Tony nibbled on his bottom lip. He still wasn't one hundred percent certain, but something told him that his and Gibbs' one night reunion had left him with more than just an aching back. When the composite was done, Tony looked up into the image of a little girl about three years old. Her blue eyes sparkled with obvious mischief and he couldn't help but smile. Reaching up, he reprogrammed the parameters then watched as the little girl aged until she reached twenty. "Oh, baby... if you are a girl I'm keeping you under lock and key until you're 30."
Tony hummed softly as he again changed the parameters and was presented him with a male version of his possible child. A small chuckle escaped as he stared at the stubborn expression in the dark eyes of the three year old little boy. "Gibbs' son all the way... He couldn't deny you if he wanted to. Let's see what you could look like after a few years… see if you would age as well as Gibbs..." Punching the commands into the program, the picture changed into a twenty year old. As soon as he saw the young man, Tony choked on a laugh. The stern face and overall tenseness was so familiar. "Shit... I'm not sure which is worse... you as a girl, whom I won't allow to date, or you as a boy who's going to be a Marine right out of high school."
After another quick look around, Tony closed the program and shut down his computer. Getting his report together and placing it on Gibbs' desk, Tony hurried out of the office never seeing the person standing in the shadows near the back elevator. Moving to the computer, the viewer frowned as he began to try to recreate what he'd witnessed earlier.
0-0-0-0 Part 1
"We've got a floater, people." Gibbs said as he stepped up to the pool that was the crime scene they'd been called to. Just as he was about to start giving out orders, Gibbs was interrupted by the sound of a barely held heave and then quickly retreating footsteps. Turning, he watched Tony sprinting away from the crime scene, barely avoiding running over Ducky and Palmer. "Ziva, you start the photos. McGee, sketches... I'm going to go see why Tony just bailed on us." Without another word, Gibbs started after his senior investigator.
Turning, Ziva tilted her head a little as she gestured first to the corpse in the pool and then to where Ducky was following Gibbs, who was hot on Tony's heels. "I know that we have seen the dead in far worse conditions than this. What happened?"
McGee shook his head as he began making notes. "Don't know. Maybe it was something he ate."
Meanwhile, Tony was very grateful to make it outside of the taped off area before he lost what little he'd been able to get down the day before. Taking slow breaths, Tony knelt over the small decorative shrub he'd just puked in. When he heard two people approach him, he closed his eyes and hoped it wasn't who he thought it was.
"Dinozzo... you not feeling well?" Gibbs asked as he looked at his agent and sometimes lover.
"Sorry, boss. Maybe I should have called in sick today." Tony hated how weak his voice sounded, but he couldn't seem to help it.
Clucking his tongue softly, Ducky put a hand to Tony's head. "I'm afraid there has been a rather nasty infection that's been traversing the halls of NCIS. You are probably the latest of its victims."
This brought a deeper frown from Gibbs. "Is this going to aggravate his lungs?"
"Oh no, Jethro. This is a stomach affliction. Usually it is accompanied by high fever. I would suggest a day or two of rest, just so that Tony doesn't wear down so badly that he catches something that could cause an issue with his lungs." Ducky said with a smile as he helped Tony to his feet.
Shaking his head, Tony smiled weakly. "Don't worry about it, Ducky. I'm fine. I just..." Tony left off and blinked a couple of times to clear his eyes. "I just need to..."
Gibbs and Ducky both watched as Tony began to wobble on his feet, obviously having trouble putting together a full sentence. "Maybe you should-" Before Gibbs could finish a statement to the effect of Tony needing to sit down, the younger investigator's eyes rolled into the back of his head and he would have fallen if Gibbs and Ducky hadn't caught his arms and held him up.
"Oh dear... I'm afraid this isn't part of the stomach bug that's going around. Help me get him to the van... I believe I have some smelling salts there. If that doesn't wake him up, then we can take him back with us." Ducky said as he supported part of Tony's weight. This brought an unconscious frown to Ducky's face. The boy really didn't weight enough. This caused the ME to make a mental note to talk to the boy about weight gaining measures he should be looking into.
With a dark expression, Gibbs helped Ducky carry the unconscious man to the ME van.
0-0-0-0 Part 2
When Tony came around, he was staring at the smiling and relieved face of Ducky. "I'm not dead, Ducky... Don't start carving."
"Of course not, dear boy. If I know one thing, it is a live person from a dead one. Now, why don't you sit up, so that we might get some sugar into your system? When was the last time you ate something and kept it down?" Ducky asked as he went over to where he had tea steeping on his desk.
Tony sat up slowly and looked at the morgue around him with a frown. "How did I get here? Last thing I knew I was tossing my cookies into a bush outside of a crime scene." This memory made him pale. "Oh man, Gibbs must be hot. I didn't puke on anything important, right?"
With a gently smile and a wave of his hand, Ducky came back over to his young friend and handed him a cup of strong sweet tea. "He was more concerned with you... and as far as I know, you didn't 'toss your cookies' on anything vital to the case. Now, drink this. It should help."
Accepting the tea, Tony sniffed it with a slightly leery expression. "I'm not one for tea Ducky... More of a soda kind-of-guy, myself."
"Ah yes... One of the things you're going to need to be giving up... in preparation for one of these two." Ducky smiled as he laid out the pictures he'd managed to wrestle out of the computer a few weeks before hand.
This brought a sharp inhale from Tony who looked at Ducky with a wide-eyed slightly scared expression. "How..."
Ducky simply smiled. "I have my ways. Now tell me, have you seen a doctor yet?"
"No." Tony's head sagged to his chest with a sigh. "I haven't worked up the nerve to go yet."
Going to his side, Ducky patted his hands and then gently guided the cup up to Tony's mouth. "Drink some... We'll discuss the doctor issue in a little bit. Right now, I want to know when you last ate and kept it in your system."
"Five, maybe six days." Tony said taking a careful sip of the tea, waiting to see if it would make a reappearance, like everything else.
Tony's quiet words made Ducky frown and step closer. "We need to get you to a doctor. Your body can't take the lack of nutrients and continue to support the fetus."
Nodding, Tony sipped a little more tea when it seemed like the first bit would stay where it was supposed to. "It's kind of why I didn't want to go in the first place."
"What are you talking about?" Ducky asked as he went to get his coat and his address book.
"I'm afraid something is wrong with it... Or that there's something wrong with me and I can't have it." Tony said looking into the tea cup, his forlorn expression giving him the appearance of a young teen.
Ducky sighed and petted Tony's hair slightly. "My boy, I'm certain that there is nothing wrong with you worse than an extremely severe case of morning sickness. That's all. It's something that everyone in your condition goes through. Sometimes it's stronger and sometimes it's not so bad, you're just one of the rather unlucky ones. Why we need to go to the doctor sooner rather than later, is because they have a medicine that eases morning sickness. The sooner you have that, the better it'll be for you and the fetus. Now, up you go." With gentle hands, Ducky pulled him towards the door.
0-0-0-0 Part 3
Tony glanced at Ducky who pulled up to a small private house in a far suburb. "Where are we Ducky?"
"This is the home of a friend of mine. The call I made on the drive here was to her. She's been delivering babies since before you were born. A lovely lady, if I do say so. Come along, Tony. She's waiting for us." Ducky got out and waited for Tony before leading him to the house.
Walking with the older ME, Tony was nervously tugging at his shirt. "Are you sure that she's really willing to take me as a patient... Because we both know how nice of a patient I am."
"Of course, lad. Ducky has often spoken of his reticent coworkers. My name is Maria Cotton." The mild voice had him looking up into the gentle brown eyes of an older woman standing in the door way of the home.
Tony's eyes stayed on hers for a moment before he smiled back at her. Something about her made him feel very comfortable, unlike most doctors and health specialists.
Ducky immediately began to smile as he stepped forward and kissed her cheek. "Maria, you are even more beautiful than the last time I laid eyes on you." This made Tony really look at the woman and realized that in her youth she would have been a very lovely woman.
Chuckling, Maria shook her head and kissed Ducky back. "You are still an old fart, Ducky. Now, bring your boy in and we'll get started."
As soon as they were in the quaint little house, Maria took them into a back room that was decorated like a nice private clinic. "Undress. There's a gown ready for you on the exam table. I'll be back as soon as I get a notebook ready for you."
"Thanks Maria." Tony hurriedly changed into the gown before sitting on the exam table. Turning slightly, he looked at Ducky. "She seems really nice. How long have you two known each other?"
With a hum under his breath, Ducky leaned back in his chair and thought about it. "I suppose Maria and I have known one another since her brother Constantino and I began a relationship... That would have been in 1956, I believe."
"You and her brother? Ducky, have you been hiding your bent nature from us?" Tony smiled to let him know it was said in good humor.
The words made Ducky laugh before nodding. "I suppose in a way, I have. However, after Con passed away, I never felt desire for another man. My care for the male half of the species died with him."
"I was always certain you would join our family, Ducky. In a way, I believe that Con is still alive through you." Maria said as she came in with a metal folder and a pencil. "Tony, I understand that you're not able to eat."
Nodding, Tony forced himself to relax the nerves that developed when he realized this was a doctor's visit and not just a social call. "Ducky says it's just morning sickness, but it's kind of worrying me."
"It does everyone going through their first pregnancy. You're not certain what's going on with your body. Everything is so strange. You feel like an outsider in your own flesh." Maria spoke in a calming voice as she pulled on her gloves and began her exam.
This made Tony's eyes go wide and he nodded again. "Exactly! It's like everything you knew about your body suddenly isn't right anymore."
Maria continued her exam, and chatted quietly with Tony and Ducky. When she had completed the exam, she settled into her chair. "I'm happy to say that you and your baby are healthy as far as I can tell. I would like to do an ultrasound, just to make certain." Writing some things down into the notebook, she smiled at Tony. "I would say that by the last day of winter you will have your baby."
"Ah, a March baby. If I'm not mistaken, those infants usually are well mannered, easy children to care for." Ducky said with a smile and a questioning look to Maria, who nodded in agreement.
Tony snickered. "I'm not sure I believe a child of mine will be well-mannered, no matter what time of year they're born."
The mid-wife looked at him and smiled as she held out his clothes. "From all that I've heard about you, I can believe that. But it does mean something else for you... You're going to have to go on restricted duties a little earlier than if you'd been pregnant during the summer."
"What? Why?" Tony took his clothes and stepped behind the small screen set aside for changing.
"Because the chance of you falling while out on a case is higher when there is snow and ice on the ground. Also, getting extremely cold isn't good for either of you." Maria said as she wrote out two prescriptions and held them out. "One's a prenatal and the other is an anti-nausea. The prenatal can be substituted if you can't handle the large pills, so just tell Ducky if you need something else and I'll see to getting you a different prescription. Any questions?"
Tony nodded as he took the prescriptions. "Um... I was exposed to the plague. Is it going to affect the baby?"
Shaking her head, Maria leaned back in her chair. "Not the baby. However, when it comes time for the delivery, the lung damage could make things a little rough for you. But I doubt it'll be any worse than how it would affect you if you were an asthmatic."
Tony groaned as he hung up the phone. "That's it. I'm moving out of that dump."
At his desk, Tim looked up and studied his co-worker. "What happened?"
"The super of my building just called. There was a gas leak on my floor. We can't go back until the health inspect clears it, which could be a month or more." Tony sighed before reaching for the phone again. Dialing another number, Tony rubbed his eyes and waited for Ducky to answer.
"Autopsy." Ducky answered, looking longingly at his beef tongue sandwich.
Hearing the slightly put out tone, Tony chuckled. "Hey Ducky. I was just wondering what the chances of you putting me up for a month would be."
Ducky sat up a little straighter, and frowned. "What's wrong, Tony?"
"My apartment was flooded with gas. I can't for back for at least a month. So can I crash at your place for a bit?" Tony used his nicest tone and crossed his fingers mentally.
The ME frowned and then sighed. "I would love to Tony, I really would. But for a person in your condition, living with Mother's dogs would not be advisable. While I do everything I can, they still have numerous parasites that would be very detrimental to your health." Ducky said as he pushed his sandwich to the side.
Tony sighed and rubbed his eyes again. "It is okay, Ducky. I'm sure I'll find somewhere else."
"Have you been taking your vitamins and eating as you should? If you're looking for a healthy meal, I'd be happy to share my beef tongue and mustard sandwich." Ducky offered, about to go into the nutritional properties of beef tongue.
With a slightly gagged look on his face, Tony thanked Ducky before hanging up.
"Now, what do I do..." Tony muttered as he looked between his remaining co-workers.
"Ah... Jethro, just the man I wanted to speak with."
Ducky's words had Gibbs looking up from his evening coffee and reports. "Yeah, Ducky?"
Moving to stand beside the agent's desk, Ducky smiled as he adjusted his bag and coat on his arm. A quick glance around showed that the others were all out doing something. Getting their evening meal, Ducky surmised. "I have a small favor to ask of you."
Turning his desk chair, Gibbs set aside his coffee. "You aren't one to ask for favors Ducky... If I can help, I will."
"Good, good. You see, I'm worried about Tony. His apartment complex was flooded with gas today and he has nowhere to go. Medically speaking, he needs a good environment to maintain his health over the winter months. I was hoping that you could put him up for a short time... Just until a suitable alternative can be found." Ducky said, an obvious worried frown on his face.
Gibbs laced his fingers together and laid them on his chest, studying Ducky. "There's something you're not saying."
With a chuffing sound, Ducky shook his head. "Of course there is, Jethro. Many a thought that runs through my head does not make it past my lips. But that isn't the point here. Tony needs a safe place to stay for the coming months and you are really the only one among his friends able to help him in the interim."
"If Dinozzo's health were getting to a dangerous point, you'd tell me, right Ducky?" Gibbs asked wondering at the ME's body language.
"I would. This is mostly preventative measures... And the boy had been kind of down lately. I was kind of hoping that companionship would ease that." Ducky smiled a thankful smile before adjusting his things again. "Now, I need to be going. Be certain to tell Tony he's staying with you... The boy is too self-contained to ask a favor of you."
As he watched Ducky walk away, Gibbs couldn't shake the feeling he'd just been played.
0-0-0-0 Part 4
"Dinozzo... let's go." Gibbs said as he gathered his things for the night.
Tony looked up and blinked in shock. He'd just been about to call a hotel for the night when Gibbs had spoken. "Boss, do we have a case?"
Shaking his head, Gibbs finished the last of his coffee and threw away the cup. "Get your things. You're staying with me until it's safe for you to go back to your apartment or you find another one... Which I hope is what you're going to do."
"But Boss..." Tony started only to stop and smile. "Ducky?"
"Who else? Not the point though. Let's go. Safer to leave your car here, so you'll ride with me." Gibbs waited until they were in the elevator before saying any more. "You will tell me if your health gets bad, before it affects the team. Got it?"
Tony nodded quickly, shouldering his pack a little better. "Of course, Boss."
Early the next morning, even for Gibbs, he was woke by the sounds of someone getting sick. With a more than cranky expression, the older man sat up and stared into the master bathroom. No matter how he acted, he hadn't minded allowing Tony to stay with him. This was because things with the younger man in the four months since Gibbs' return from retirement had been strained.
Getting up, Gibbs went into the bathroom and stared at the man huddled over the toilet. "Dinozzo? What's wrong?" Gibbs went to the sink and wet a cloth before putting it over Tony's neck.
"Forgot my meds, Boss." Tony muttered, not able to lie for feeling so sick.
This brought a dark frown from Gibbs before he looked to the small bag Tony had brought with him. He didn't remember any medications in that bag. "Where are these pills, Dinozzo?"
Tony heaved on a dark chuckle. "In my gas-filled apartment... I didn't have more than a day's worth with me."
"Damn it, Dinozzo. Where can I get some of your meds?" Gibbs filed away his questions as he moved to hold Tony's weakening and shaking form.
A few more gasping breaths, Tony pulled the cloth from his neck to wipe his mouth. "Ducky... he is friends with my doctor. Needed to get refills any way."
Gibbs pulled Tony to lean against his chest. "Feel okay enough to lay in bed until we get these meds?"
"Think so... Just get Ducky to contact the doctor. She'll bring the meds here. You can go on to work." Tony pulled away from Gibbs to sit shakily on his own.
"I don't think so. If you're this sick, your doctor needs to check you over. How long have you been this sick? Is it the plague again?" Gibbs asked as he gently helped Tony up and back into the bed.
Unable to speak for a minute, having to fight the nausea, Tony just laid there. When he could speak his voice was soft. "It comes and goes, Gibbs. That's what the meds are for. As soon as I get those, I'll be back to my normal happy-go-lucky self."
Gibbs didn't like this, but held back any comments in favor of frowning and going to phone Ducky.
0-0-0-0 Part 5
Ducky arrived on Gibbs' doorstep with a pharmacy bag in hand. "Good morning, Jethro. Other than a stomach issue on Tony's part, how are things?"
"He's in the head again, Ducky. What's going on with him?" Gibbs was never one to fuss about a little vomit, but something was obviously very wrong with his on-again-off-again lover.
"Not now, my friend. I want to make certain Tony doesn't need to see Maria. You and I will speak more in a little while." Ducky by-passed him with ease, moving upstairs into the master bathroom without a second glance.
Moving to the door way, Gibbs watched as Ducky applied a topical from a needle-less syringe to Tony's arm and had him rub it in.
A short time later, Ducky helped Tony to bed and then led Gibbs to the kitchen. "He should be fine with a little rest." The ME sat with Gibbs at the small table and smiled reassuringly.
"Ducky, tell me what's wrong with Tony. He wasn't on these medicines when I left. I want to know what's wrong and what it'll take to fix it." Gibbs tried to keep the demand out of his voice.
Breathing deeply, Ducky ordered his thoughts before speaking. "Jethro, you know I hold the confidences of others in the highest regard. Thus I can't tell you the reason. However, I can tell you what you can do to make things easier for young Anthony."
Gibbs shifted back to study his long time friend. "I can't say I'm happy about this, but I'm listening."
"It's all pretty simple. Make certain he takes his medicines, eats a couple healthy meals every day, and that he doesn't get involved in any high stress situations on the job.... And above all else, be patient with him. He will tell you in his own time." Ducky patted Gibbs' shoulder before beginning to rise to leave.
With a deep sigh, Gibbs leaned back in his chair and watched Ducky for a moment. "It isn't life threatening?"
"No more than any other life-event. In a short number of months you won't be able to look at Tony and tell he's been through anything. Relax, Jethro. Maria is one of the finest in her field. I would trust her with me life... More importantly though, I trust her with Tony's. I will see you in the office later. Make sure that Tony eats a little something before he takes his pill." Ducky said with a smile before letting himself out of the house.
Going upstairs, Gibbs found Tony asleep. On the bedside table he found the bottle with what were apparently Tony's pills, as well as a bag of the filled needle-less syringes. After making a mental note as to their names, he set them to one side. Just as he was about to start getting ready for his morning run, he realized something significant. Ducky had placed Tony in the master bedroom and hadn't said or done anything about it.
0-0-0-0 Part 6
Gibbs looked over to where Tony was picking through his many different take-out menus he kept stored in his desk. "Ducky said that you have to eat at least two healthy meals a day, Dinozzo."
"Ah come on, Boss! I was going to order Mexican. It's got the meats, fruits, vegetables, grains and starch groups." Tony said in a wheedling tone as he held up the menu to Gibbs' favorite Mexican place.
At this Ziva looked up and frowned. "I understand the rest of the food groups being present, but fruits?"
Tim smiled at his co-worker and nodded, though he did file away the information about Tony needing healthy meals. "Tomatoes are technically a fruit."
The former Mossad officer nodded, but she too studied Tony, wondering at the sudden changes in his diet, pallor and actions.
"Dinozzo, with me. I'm going to make sure you get something healthy for lunch." Gibbs stood up and looked at his live-in lover of two months.
Grabbing his bag and coat, Tony followed and accepted money from Ziva and Tim to bring back lunch for them.
On the way to the place they were getting food, Tony noticed that Gibbs had slowed his speeding down considerably. "Everything okay, Boss?"
"No, Dinozzo, it isn't. You're sick and you're seeing a mysterious specialist... and you aren't taking care of yourself yet you're gaining weight. But it is only in a few areas. What I want to know is what's wrong with you, and how we can fix the situation." Gibbs demanded. He had enough of waiting for answers. Either Dinozzo told him right then, or they were going straight to Bethesda. While he wouldn't admit it out loud, Tony was one of the main reasons he'd stayed after coming back from Mexico. When Tony had welcomed him back into his bed with literal and proverbial open arms, Gibbs knew that he would never find anyone as accepting of him and his eccentricities. Before he could say anything to his lover, cases had picked up and then Tony was sick. Unwilling to allow the younger agent to think his words were a reaction to the illness, Gibbs had held back telling him. Now, he was just too worried (not that anyone could tell) about Tony's health to think about anything other than dealing with whatever was wrong with him.
Ducking his head, Tony picked his at newest shirt. He'd been forced to buy a few new shirts to hide his growing waist line. "It takes time. By the twenty-first of March I'll be fine... I promise. That's just two months. But I am going to need to go on restricted duty in the next couple of weeks. When I go see my doctor tomorrow night, I'll get the paperwork showing I need the restricted duty."
With a growl, Gibbs made a mental note of Tony's doctor's appointment before nodding. "Fine, but I'm going with you tomorrow night."
This made Tony gulp inaudibly before nodding. "Sure, Boss."
0-0-0-0 Part 7
After checking the time, Tony went down the stairs and looked at the top of Gibbs' head over the boat. "I'm going. I'll be back in a couple of hours. Been thinking about doing some shopping..." When there wasn't an immediate reply, Tony started to leave quietly hoping that Gibbs was too distracted by his boat.
"Good. Your clothes aren't fitting too well anymore." Gibbs walked around his boat in clean clothes, having anticipated Tony's calculations on leaving him behind.
"Err... Thanks, Jethro... I never knew you were one to critique my clothes." Tony tugged at the loose hoody he was wearing.
With a small triumphant smile, Gibbs went up the stairs and gently guided Tony as he went. "Grab your coat and let's go, Dinozzo."
Swallowing a whimper, Tony got his things and went to the car. For a short part of the ride the only words Tony spoke were directions. "Jethro, there's something I need to tell you... Something pretty huge... Something you need to know before we get to Maria's."
"Is she a head doctor?" Gibbs asked glancing over, wondering at how nervous Tony was becoming.
Tony took a deep before to calm himself, going through the motions of calming as if he were on the shooting range. Once Gibbs was stopped at a traffic light he spoke, not wanting to startle him into wreaking the car. "The doctor I've been seeing... she's an... an obstetrician."
Looking over from where he sat in the driver's seat, Gibbs raised an eyebrow. "That sounded like you said she was an ostrich." After pulling away from the light, Gibbs waited for Tony to explain, but the words were cut off in favor of Tony's continued directions. When Gibbs pulled into a small house in a suburb of DC, he turned off the engine and looked at Tony, waiting for an explanation.
"Let's go inside... It's too cold out here." Tony got out of the car and carefully made his way over to the side door. Knocking, Tony smiled as Maria greeted him and then nodded to Gibbs. "This is him... he doesn't know yet, but he insisted on coming after I mentioned a doctor's appointment."
Maria giggled slightly, looking Gibbs over before nodding. "Go ahead and get changed. I'll be in the other room until you call for me. Don't worry too much, Tony. I'm certain he'll understand." With smile for Gibbs she went into the main part of the house and immediately called Ducky.
"So what kind of specialist works out of her home?" Gibbs demanded, wondering what kind of quack Ducky had introduced Tony too. He loved Ducky dearly, but the old man was obviously not thinking right to send Tony to this woman.
Tony held his words until he was in the gown and robe that Maria had laid out for him. "Maria is an... obstetrician." He forced himself to speak loudly and clearly.
In that moment, Gibbs' mouth dropped open, his shock over powering his Marine training. "What?"
"I'm having a baby. I'm pretty sure it was that night you showed up on my door step after you came back from Mexico." Tony gulped as he saw a dark expression come over Gibbs' face. Taking a few steps backwards away from his angry boss and lover, Tony didn't see the small chair directly behind him. As his legs hit the chair, he started to fall, his arms pin-wheeling trying to reclaim his balance.
His arms lashing out quickly, Gibbs grabbed Tony and pulled him back up-right, holding him until the pregnant man was steady on his feet. "Are you okay?"
Tony blinked at his concerned expression. "Fine... You're not mad?"
"Oh, I am that. But now isn't the time to talk about it. When we're done here and you've bought some clothes that fit better, we're going to have an in-depth discussion about NCIS procedure for pregnant personnel." Gibbs smiled darkly before gently helping him onto the exam table.
Later that night, Gibbs was down in the basement working on the boat. In his mind, thoughts and memories of Kelly and Shannon circled as he tried to deal with the thoughts of being a father again. His first gut instinct was to deny everything, the second was that he was certain that Tony never cheated on him, thus making the baby his. In his mind, he could still remember his sweet little girl being born; hearing her first cry, seeing her first steps... Those things that he could remember without hurting. Now, he almost felt like he was betraying her memory by bringing another child into the world. In direct opposition to this, he could imagine how excited she would be, to be a big sister. Swallowing his emotions, Gibbs went on working trying to decide what he should do.
0-0-0-0 Part 8
Tony stood in front of a baby boutique, trying to decide if he was intimidated by the all of the pink and yellow ducks that seemed to be on everything in the display window. Drawing a deep breath, he started to walk in when his cell phone went off, startling him. Flipping it open, he answered. "Dinozzo."
"Where are you? I came back from the market and you were gone. I thought Maria said you were too far along to be driving by yourself." Gibbs ground out as he sat in his car, waiting for his lover to tell him where he was. In the weeks since he'd found out about the baby, Gibbs knew he'd been distant because he was still trying to decide how to react. He knew he wanted Tony and the baby, but he just wasn't certain how regulations were going to deal with them. When he'd come back to find Tony and his car gone, Gibbs was man enough to admit he'd freaked out in a not very Marine-like way.
Knowing what the problem was from years of reading between the lines with his boss, Tony smiled. "I thought I should do a little shopping since it's our weekend off. The baby is coming in less than a month and I haven't bought anything."
"Nothing?" Gibbs thought back to the months leading up to Kelly's birth. The house had been over-flowing with baby things from the beginning. Diapers were bought in advance; clothes were picked up here and there... Even his family's generation's old crib was brought from his parent's attic. He almost couldn't fathom the lack of anything being bought for this baby. "Not even at your apartment?"
With a deep breath of fortification, Tony stepped into the boutique and looked around before answering Gibbs. "Nope. I didn't want to jinx it early on and then I had to move in with you... There just wasn't time for it. Now, I think maybe I waited too long. I'm not even sure where to start."
"Where are you? I'll come and help." Gibbs demanded, gently pushing his memories to the back of his mind for the present time.
Tony glanced at the phone in shock before answering with the name of the boutique and its street address.
After putting it into the GPS unit of his car, Gibbs nodded to himself and spoke to Tony. "Stay there. I can be there in about twenty minutes."
"But-" Tony's protest was cut off by Gibbs hanging up. Sighing, Tony put away his phone and looked around, trying to figure out where to start.
A short time later, unbeknownst to Tony, a set of narrowed eyes watched him through the front window. Just as he was about to pull his hair out in frustration, a set of arms wrapped around him. About to go for his gun, Tony was stopped by the sound of a familiar voice.
"I knew you were hiding something from me Anthony Dinozzo!" Abby exclaimed as she hugged him then patted his pregnancy bump. "Why didn't you tell me I was going to be an auntie...? I am going to be her auntie, right?"
Smiling, Tony accepted the attention and affection. "You're going to be his auntie... And I was hiding it from everyone, so do be sad about it."
This made Abby show her patented frown-pout. "You've got some serious explaining to do... But right now, I want to know all about him... So, a boy? You must be excited to have a little man to follow in your philandering foot-steps."
"I haven't actually found out from an ultrasound... I'm just trying to convince the baby to be a boy." Tony said as he turned and picked up a soft baby blanket. It was really the only thing outside of diapers and baby clothes that he was certain about needing. Folding it over his arm he continued to look around the boutique.
Abby tilted her head, causing one pig-tail to fall over her shoulder. "Why? I know girls aren't the easiest to raise, but you have me and Ziva to help in that way."
"It's not that... do you remember the photo imaging software from some months ago? I used it to determine what my kid is going to look like at three and twenty years... I decided that I would rather deal with a boy and his likelihood of being a Marine, then a girl who's going to be a freaking supermodel." Tony held up one tiny pair of knitted booties and frowned, unsure of why a baby would need house-shoes it wasn't like they walked.
Before Abby could ask about the whole 'Marine' comment she had the feeling of a familiar person standing behind her. Whirling, she grinned at Gibbs, but that faded into a questioning frown. "What are you doing here, Gibbs?"
But Gibbs ignored her for a moment to stare at Tony. "Photo editing? Super-model?"
"I'll show you next time we're in the office and have a free moment. We would be killing every male who stepped onto our doorsteps, Jethro. I'm serious. And the little boy... He looked like he would join the Corp right out of high school... which I could deal with, but she looked like a girl who'd stepped off of the run-way in Milan. I know girls like that are never taken seriously and I don't want to go to jail for murder." Tony laughed softly as he put a hand low on his stomach. "He's being a little monkey today."
Abby watched with interest as Gibbs put his hand over Tony's and smiled a little, his glacial blue eye warming slightly. That was when the light bulb went on for her. "You and Gibbs are having a baby!"
"I thought we had that established, Abby." Gibbs said as he nodded a greeting to her and looked at the two things Tony had picked up in the time since he'd called. "This is it? Where are the clothes, the bottles, the pacifiers, the bags...?" Sighing, Gibbs turned a short circle, cataloging where everything was before leading Tony towards the diaper bags. With a happy smile, Abby followed, knowing she was going to get to see yet another side of her boss and best friend.
"Gibbs, I was just planning on carrying a backpack with the baby's things in it." Tony said as he tried to stop a couple of times.
Here, Abby spoke up. "Tony, they have backpacks specifically for things like this." Going to the rows of bags, which she picked through until she came up with a plain dark blue bag. "Such as this."
Taking it from her, Tony looked it over and nodded. "Okay. Looks like I'm going to have to rely on both of your input, because I've never been around an infant for more than a few minutes at a time."
"Come on, you two. We have a lot more things to get, because someone decided until the last four weeks of his pregnancy to buy anything." Gibbs said as he turned towards the wooden furniture he'd seen in another portion of the boutique.
"You haven't bought anything, Tony? How come?" Abby demanded as she followed them.
Tony shrugged. "I just didn't want to jinx it."
Wrapping an arm around him, Abby nodded in understanding before looking towards where Gibbs was running his hands over a crib made of pale wood. "So, when were you going to tell me you and Gibbs were getting it on?" She whispered to him with a smirk.
"Later, Abby." Tony muttered as he saw the look his lover shot him.
With a pout, Abby let it go for the time being. She, however, wasn't going to just let this information go completely.
0-0-0-0 Part 9
Tony shifted on his seat, waiting for the last of his paperwork on his pregnancy leave to be signed. "Two more weeks... then you won't have my innards as a tap-dance studio."
Shifting again, Tony tried to rub one of the spots on his back that ached. However, he wasn't entirely certain which hurt the most.
"Here we go, Agent Dinozzo. We will see you eight weeks after the birth." The secretary smiled as she handed him the last of his paperwork. It had been a chore, but she'd been able to keep Director Sheppard from finding out. Cynthia knew from previous experience that the Director hated when anything about Dinozzo came up. In fact, Cynthia was sure that the Director would try to either deny him leave or fire him, both of which were illegal. Smiling at the now heavily pregnancy man, she tilted her head to study him. "Congratulations, by the way. I hope you'll bring him or her to see me after they're born."
With a smile, Tony nodded as he took the paper and levered himself out of the chair. "I plan too. I'll see you in a couple of months, Sweet Cynthia."
Cynthia giggled and shook her head. "Go on... get home before you have that baby here."
"Bite your tongue, Sweet Cynthia!" Tony blew her a quick kiss before waddling away.
Going to the group's desks, he smiled at Tim and Ziva, both of whom had heard of his pregnancy but hadn't had the chance to see him after he'd stopped hiding it.
Both of his co-workers stared before they remembered themselves and looked away.
"Hey Probie, Ziva. How are we this blustery day?" Tony settled into his desk as if nothing were out of the ordinary.
Tim got up and walked over. "Fine. Shouldn't you be home, resting?"
With a breathless laugh, Tony looked up at the 'elf lord'. "What do you mean?"
The younger man got a slightly put out expression. "You're about to have a baby... you shouldn't be in a high stress area, like this one."
"I'll be fine, Probie. I'm just waiting for Gibbs. He's driving me home on his lunch break." Tony couldn't continue to tease his friend.
"He's up with the Director-" Before Tim could go on, their boss came all-but jogging down the stairs from MTAC. Right behind him, Director Sheppard followed with an angry expression on her face.
"Stop right there, Agent Gibbs. We are not through!" Jen's voice was very cold as she continued to follow Jethro.
Once Gibbs was at his desk, he began to gather his things, ignoring her.
Seeing she wasn't going to get his attention any other way, Jen grabbed him by the arm.
"Director... I would suggest that you let go of me before I am forced to turn you in for sexual harassment." Jethro ground out, his fingers itching for his gun.
Jen did pull her hand back, but didn't back away. "I do not agree with you taking time off just to nurse Dinozzo through whatever STD he's got this time."
When Gibbs froze, everyone knew she'd said something that had pissed him off. Turning slowly, his eyes locked on her's and she back away. "STD? My child is not an STD. I will be reporting this little incident to the SecNav... probably tonight at the baby shower his wife is giving Tony and I."
With her mouth gapped open, she watched Gibbs gather his things and begin to lead Tony out of their desk area.
When she snapped out of her shock, Jen started after them. As she reached out to grab Tony's shoulder, she was interrupted by Ziva stepping into her path. "Officer David?"
"Director. It would be wise to not continue to follow them. Gibbs looks like he could shoot you. Just leave them alone right now." Ziva frowned at the odd light that she saw momentarily in the Director's eyes.
By the time Jen could work up any kind of response, Jethro and Tony were gone in the elevator. "Officer David, in my office now." With that she stomped back up to her office.
0-0-0-0 Part 10
"Before we go, I want to drop in and say my fare-thee-wells to Ducky and Abby. Get my fill of the office before I'm off." Tony said as he hit the button for the autopsy floor.
Gibbs sighed, but didn't say anything about it. Reaching out, Jethro ran a hand over the lower part of Tony's stomach and smiled when the baby seemed to stretch into his palm. "He's really active today isn't he?"
With a glare, Tony looked over at his lover. "I think he's going to be a tap dancer. I just wish he would stop doing whatever it is he's doing to my kidneys."
Turning his head, Gibbs focused on Tony but before he could ask what the younger man meant, the elevator stopped at the basement. "We need to hurry so I can get you home and back to resting."
"Don't worry. Quick in, quick out..." Tony left off with a hiss as he grabbed his side. "Fucking hell, kid... lay off of the fucking steroids, please."
"Is there something wrong, Anthony?" Ducky asked as he stepped out of the morgue. He'd heard the explicative come from Tony and came to investigate.
"Just a kid who's going to be a tap-dancer and has discovered how to-" Gasping, Tony gripped his side and bent as much as his pregnancy bump would allow him to.
Gibbs immediately stepped to his side and supported him. "Tony, what's wrong?"
However, Tony couldn't answer as he panted with the pain. "Shit... I think that this is it. Maria said that when it was time I would know it... Damn, I didn't think it would be this bad."
"All will be well, Anthony. Let's just make certain this isn't Braxton-Hicks before we summon Maria." Ducky said as he went Tony's other side and with Gibbs, helped him into Autopsy. Sitting Tony down onto a chair, Ducky pulled out his stethoscope and began a quick exam.
Meanwhile, standing a short distance away, Jethro watched fighting the need to pace or do something. He wasn't ready. The crib wasn't together. He hadn't got the supplies to make up the master bedroom for the delivery. He hadn't even had the chance to tell Tony about Kelly.
Tony held back his whimpers. "Ducky, I don't think this is fake contraction. Fuck, I've had bullet wounds that hurt less. Jethro go ahead and call Maria. Get her on the way to the house! I want this kid out if this is how I'm going to be treated."
Jumping as if he was back in the Corp and had been given an order by his CO, Gibbs pulled out his cell phone. After dialing the number he stopped and looked to Ducky for conformation.
"I do believe he's right to want her summoned. This appears to be the real thing. Let's get you upstairs and to the car." Ducky put away his stethoscope and smiled at Gibbs.
With a nod, Gibbs put the call through to the mid-wife before helping Tony to his feet and to the elevator.
Ducky hurriedly put his things together and followed. "I've already spoke with the Director and she's agreed to allow me the day of delivery off... though I don't believe she knew whom I was going to be with."
Tony began panting, obviously having trouble holding his air while going through a contraction. "Want... the kid... out now."
"Soon enough, Tony." Ducky said patting him gently. Glancing at Gibbs, the Englishman had to swallow a chuckle at the military-blank expression on his face.
Abby was bouncing, sucking down her tenth Caf-Pow of the evening. "This is going to be so great. It's too bad that we had to cancel the baby shower... Maybe we should go through the gifts the SecNav droppped off... Oh... why can't he just have the baby! I can't wait because I know my nephew is going to be so cute!"
Reaching, Tim snagged the slushy from her and set it to one side. "You need to calm down, Abby... Otherwise I think Ziva's going to shoot you." The computer-wiz looked over at where the former Mossad was folded up in one of Gibbs' over-stuffed recliners.
"I've never seen her so nervous." Abby whispered as she watched Ziva chew on her thumb nail.
The Israeli woman looked at her co-workers with a slight glare. "I am woman enough to admit to my nerves. I lost my mother and two aunts to child-birth. These are happy yet... nerve-smacking events for my family."
Tim tilted his head and frowned a little. "You mean nerve-wracking."
"That's what I meant." Ziva looked up the stairs at a rather loudly screamed curse from Tony. "I'm going to rip your fucking dick off, Jethro!" The other two looked up as well, obviously worried. However, they weren't certain who to be worried for; Tony, when Gibbs retailated for the comments, or Gibbs in case Tony actually got a hold of him.
Hours later, Abby had her head on Tim's shoulder sleeping soundly, while he flipped through a report he'd brought with him. Ziva was up and pacing, looking towards the stairs. "It's very quiet up there." She said looking towards Tim.
Nodding, Tim didn't speak because he was afraid of waking Abby up.
A short time later, Ducky came down the stairs looking tired but happy. Seeing him, Ziva looked to Tim who nodded and woke Abby up.
"Ah, I have great news everyone. Our little family has grown by one." Ducky said as he sat down beside Abby who grinned and started bouncing.
Ziva moved closer and stared at the ME. "Well? Are they both healthy?"
"Both are very healthy, I'm happy to report." Ducky said ignoring the expression of demand on Abby's and Tim's faces.
A moment of thankful prayer passed between those in the living room before the sound of someone on the stairs had them turning. Maria came down carrying her bag and a trashcan. "If someone would show me to the backyard, I would be grateful."
Tim came to his feet and smiled at the woman who reminded him so much of his grandmother. "Sure, it is this way." He took her to the back yard and watched her bury something he didn't really want to think about in a hole that was already there, apparently prepared for this strange interment. "Can we go see the baby?" He asked as he followed her back into the house.
Having heard the question, Abby nodded in excited agreement. "Please? Can we?"
"I've told Jethro to come down when he's done bathing the baby and Tony has cleaned up." Maria told them as she settled at the kitchen table with her official papers for the government to account for the birth. Shortly, Ducky joined her in the kitchen and began a pot of tea, using the small stash he put there for just this event.
Abby, Ziva and Tim were all waiting at the bottom of the stairs for Gibbs, looking rather like kids waiting for Santa on Christmas.
0-0-0-0 Part 11
Upstairs, Tony was just coming out of the shower. He moved slowly, happy to have the pain killers Maria had given him. Looking over to the sink, he smiled as Gibbs gently washed the crying baby. "Is she okay? She's been crying the entire time."
"This is normal." Gibbs said softly as he continued to gently scrub at the film that covered the baby. "She's just got shunted into a world that's bright and scary... Look at all of this dark hair."
"My grandmother's hair. She was as Italian as my name sounds." Tony laughed as he wrapped himself in his robe as he moved to stand beside Jethro. "You're really good at this."
The older man didn't answer as he finished the little girl's first bath by taking a little bit of baby shampoo. When the baby's surprisingly long dark hair was clean he wrapped her in a large soft towel as he moved to the bedroom. "Go sit in the rocking chair." He instructed as he held the baby close, transmitting as much warmth to her as he could.
Tony did as he was told and sighed at the extra soft cushions on the wooden rocker Gibbs had bought for him. By the time he had gotten settled, Jethro had diapered and wrapped her into a receiving blanket. With a little smile, he handed the baby to Tony. "Hold her while I get the bed re-made."
"Not a problem." Tony said smiling down at the baby. "Hello, my little Katelyn. You're going to be a beauty, aren't you? But no super-model run-ways in your future."
Looking up from where he was trash-bagging the plastic sheet and ruined bed clothes, Jethro smiled a little. "Katelyn?"
"Named for one of the only women I ever truely loved... You don't mind, do you?" Tony said looking up a little worried frown on his face. They'd never discussed names.
Jethro shook his head. "I don't mind at all. It's a great way to remember her. It'll also give our little Katelyn someone to look up to as she grows. Beauty and brains all in a single fighting package."
Tony smiled and blinked away tears as he looked down at his baby girl. "Maybe I should still worry about you becoming a Marine, Katie."
At the nickname, Jethro froze momentary before continuing to clean up. Once the bed was made, Jethro helped Tony into the bed while he continued to hold Katie. "You two rest, while I get the others. I'm certain they're about to come charging up the stairs without waiting for the all clear."
"I don't plan on moving from this bed until I absolutely have to go to the bathroom." Tony said with a wiggle of his eyebrows before he went back to petting Katie's hair. In the time since being wrapped and handed to Tony, the newborn had drifted off to sleep.
Gathering up the remains of the birthing mess, Jethro went down stairs and smiled at the trio on the stairs. "As soon as I throw this in the medical waste can Maria brought, I'll take you back up to see the baby and Tony."
Abby pouted and bounced anxiously. "Come on, Gibbs! I really want to see them." Before she could pout any more, Tim grabbed the bag from his boss' hand and threw it in the can with the bio-hazard sign on it. "There, let's go."
With a little chuckle, Gibbs took them upstairs. Abby was the first into the room and held in her loud squeals of happiness. "Tony!"
"Everyone... I want you to meet Katelyn Renee Dinozzo." Tony smiled at them as they all moved closer and he pushed the blankets down enough they could see her shoulder length black hair.
Abby blinked back happy tears as she settled beside him gently on the bed. "Kate would be happy."
Tim nodded as he reached over and ran a finger over one soft little cheek. "She's very pretty... but very little. I hope you won't be offended if I don't hold her until she's bigger than a medium sack of sugar."
"Not offended in the least, Probie." Tony smiled and looked at Ziva who stood back obviously not sure of her place among them. "Come and look at the only girl in my life, Ziva."
The former Mossad came closer and smiled a little nervously. "May she stay as healthy as she appears now."
Tony and Gibbs exchanged looks over the baby but didn't say anything about the Mossad officer's apparent nerves.
"Enough! Give me the kid." Abby demanded as she held out her arms. With a chuckle, Tony eased the baby into her arms and tucked the blanket around Katie.
Jethro sat on Tony's other side and watched Abby holding the baby for a few minutes before he noticed Tony sagging with exhaustion. "Okay, Abby. Give me the baby and then we need to let Tony and Katelyn sleep."
With a sad sigh, Abby handed the baby to Gibbs and then rose with an excited expression. "I can't wait until I can get my hands on her again. I will be back tomorrow evening after work!" Kissing them all on the cheek she led a waving Tim out, with a quiet Ziva on their heels.
A few minutes later Ducky and Maria made their goodbyes. She left them with their paperwork and the promise of being there the next morning to check on the baby and Tony's recovery.
After closing and locking the door behind Ducky and Maria, Gibbs went back upstairs to their bedroom. Going to the crib beside the bed, Jethro almost had a heart attack when he didn't see Katie in it. He'd placed her there after Tony had started nodding off while holding her. He immediately looked to the bed and saw Tony lying on his side with her lying in front of him. "What are you doing? You should be resting."
"I'm just looking at her. She's so pretty. I don't know how we produced such a pretty child. Now, I'm not saying I was expecting our kid to be ugly or anything, but I wasn't expecting her to be so pretty. You know what I'm trying to say?" Tony said looking over his shoulder as Gibbs stripped down to his boxers and crawled into the bed.
Moving to look over his shoulder, Jethro nodded. "She is... You do know she shouldn't sleep with us in the bed?"
Tony rolled his eyes and nodded. "Yeah, but just for these first few nights I'd feel better to have her within arm's reach."
"Yeah, I understand that. But she just can't get accustomed to it." Gibbs kissed Tony's shoulder before reaching around to run a finger over Katie's cheek, causing the sleeping girl to turn her head towards the finger and instinctively try to nurse. "Looks like someone is hungry."
Before Gibbs could get out of the bed, Tony reached out and picked up a bottle sitting on the bedside table. "Maria gave it to me while you and Ducky were talking. She said Katie would be hungry soon. You want to feed her?"
Reaching out, Jethro took her into his arms and accepted the bottle. With easy movements, he nudged her little mouth until she accepted the bottle and began nursing. As she ate her first meal, she blinked huge newborn blue eyes up at him. After he was certain she'd had enough, he burped her and returned her to lying on the bed beside Tony's chest. Gently, well aware of how sore Tony was post-birthing, Jethro wrapped around him and together they simply watched their baby girl.
0-0-0-0 Part 12
Tony opened the door and smiled in pleased shock. "Ernie... What are you doing here? Come in."
The elderly man came in with the Japanese man who Tony knew was a former Imperial Japanese army lieutenant as well as Jethro's favorite sushi chef, as well a middle age woman. "I went to visit you and Gibbs at NCIS headquarters only to find out that you have time off because you gave birth. Where is this little wonder girl the nerdy agent was telling me about?"
Still smiling, Tony led the three people into the living room, where Gibbs was just finished changing one of Katie's dirty diapers. "Hey, Jethro look who's here to visit Katie."
"Corporal Yost. It's a pleasure to see you again, sir. I'd shake your hand, but my daughter has gifted me with a mess." Gibbs nodded to them as they sat on the couch.
"I've told you, Gunny. Call me Ernie. You know Tashi, but the pretty little thing with us is Keiko, his daughter. She drove us here today." Ernie said introducing his company as he waited for Gibbs to finish disposing of the dirty diaper.
Tony picked up Katie and held her out to Ernie. "Do you want to hold her?"
With completely steady arms, Ernie took the child of one of his favorite people. "Hello, baby girl... You called her Katie... Named her after Kate?" Smiling down at the baby the former Marine shifted to allow Tashi and Keiko to see the little girl as well.
"Beautiful child." Tashi said nodding to his daughter, who smiled and took one of the baby's hands in her's.
Once he'd washed his hands, Jethro walked back into the living room and smiled at Ernie. "Not that you aren't welcome, but are you here for a reason?"
"Naw... not really a reason. Just wanted to tell Tony that I'd moved. He visits and calls; I didn't want him to worry when I wasn't at my old place." Sighing, Ernie handed the baby to Tashi before speaking to Tony and Jethro again. "The doctor wasn't comfortable with me living on my own... After telling Tashi here, he offered me a place with him and his daughter. It's kind of nice having my drinking buddy right there in the same house."
This made Tony chuckle and shake his head. "I'm sure it is... Just don't drink too much there, Ernie. I want my daughter to have someone to call Grandpa... and you fit it far better than any relative I have that she could call that... If you don't mind that is..."
Blinking slowly, Ernie puffed his chest a little before nodding. "Of course I don't mind."
"Good. Now that this is settled we can move on to other things... like how would you three like to stay for lunch? I've got lasagna baking." Tony offered with a smile.
After a shared look between the three, Ernie nodded. "That'd be nice. It'll also give me more time with my granddaughter."
It was a dark night. There was a new moon, so there was no moonlight to help break up the darkness. This however, served the purposes of the one lone figure out in the pre-dawn darkness.
Moving to the antique Mustang, the woman dressed in black sneered at the child seat in the back of the car. While the woman moved around the car, she muttered in low angry but mostly insane way. After finding an area that looked good, she dug down into the packed snow near the driver's door. There she buried a small device.
Once she had covered the devise in a little snow, she stepped back and looked longingly at the bedroom window. "Soon, Jethro." she murmured then left with a blown kiss.
0-0-0-0 Part 13
"Come on, Dinozzo. We're going to be late for your first day back." While Jethro would never say it, he was happy that his lover would be returning to duty. The office just wasn't the same without Tony's unique brand of humor. On the other hand, he was a little worried about leaving Katie with the NCIS day care center. Before Abby had brought it up, he'd never known their organization had a day care center.
Rushing down the stairs, Tony smiled as he adjusted his tie. "Sorry, Boss. I just wanted to look my best for the first day back."
This made Jethro roll his eyes and smile at Katie, who was sleeping soundly in her car seat. "We should go."
"Let me grab her bag, and then we're good to go." Tony quickly gathered the rest of his things and smiled when Gibbs grabbed the car seat.
As they walked outside, Jethro smiled and nodded at the paper boy as he pitched the newspaper.
Seconds later an explosion had Jethro wrapping himself around the car seat and Tony pulling his gun.
"What was a landmine doing in the snow beside my drive way?" Gibbs was demanding a little while later as McGee and Ziva were pulling pieces of device out of various places and cataloging the scene. Meanwhile, inside, Ducky was looking Katie over. She hadn't stopped crying since the landmine had been triggered by the newspaper.
Putting away his instruments, Ducky smiled as Tony continued to try and sooth the distressed infant. "I don't believe she's injured. It was probably a scary enough event the wee thing just couldn't handle it... and then all the added lights and sounds from the response team just made things worse. Let her calm down and then rest a while... She should be fine. However, a trip to her pediatrician in the next few days would also be wise."
"Thanks, Ducky... I just can't believe someone would do this." Tony said as he walked, trying to calm his daughter who was held to his chest, where she had mostly been held since the incident.
Ducky shook his head. "I'm afraid this profession is not the safest... And Jethro in particular has made some notable enemies."
This made Tony nod with a wry expression. "I know... I just wasn't prepared for someone to try and blow us up at home... At work, sure... But this place was always supposed to be safe."
"That is an illusion most people cling too, even after it is not wise. In this instance, I believe it would be unwise to condemn the entire house. It is entirely possible that this is a person easily caught with obvious motives." Ducky patted Tony's shoulder before moving to the door and informing Gibbs of Katie's health.
Tim McGee wasn't known for his bravery when it came to facing Gibbs, but in this case he was even more inclined to stuttered and wet himself. "Hey, Boss."
"What is it, McGee?" Gibbs looked up from his computer and stared at the younger agent.
Clearing his throat, Tim held out his findings on the land mine parts they'd recovered. "It seems that the devise planted in front of your house... came from NCIS lock up."
This news stopped Gibbs mid-reach for the papers. "What do you mean, Agent McGee?"
"Checking the remaining serial code, I found that the land mine was part of a crate stolen from a Marine shipment coming out of Norfolk headed for Iraq... One was used to kill a Marine a couple of months back. When the suspect in the case was caught with the rest of the shipment, they were confiscated and locked up here, pending the trial." Tim drew a breath after he was done, having forgotten to do so during his report.
Gibbs stared at Tim waiting, and when the young man didn't go on, he verbally prodded him. "And? Who was the last one to check out the evidence?"
Jumping, Tim was already moving towards the elevator. "I'm going to check that out now, Boss. I'll call the moment I know anything."
"Do that, McGee." After the 'elf lord' was gone down to evidence lock-up, Gibbs looked over to where Tony was talking to someone on the phone. Gibbs was impressed with his lover. As soon as Katie had calmed down, Tony had entrusted her to the child care center and set to work trying to track down who was trying to kill them.
When Tony hung up the phone, Gibbs caught his gaze and raised an eyebrow.
"Nothing is being said among the contacts. As far as anyone is concerned, this is just a random un-motivated attack. One guy even suggested it could just be a hate crime." Tony said, answering Gibbs' unasked question.
Cursing mentally and then out loud, Gibbs held back the urge to kick or shoot something. This made Tony get up and move over to his desk. "Don't worry, Boss. We'll find who's done this and I'll make sure you get third shot at them."
"Third?" Gibbs asked a little smile forming.
Tony nodded leaning a hip on Gibbs' desk. "Right behind myself and Ducky."
With a chuckle Jethro leaned back in his chair. "Why behind Ducky?"
"That man is scary. While he was checking Katie over he was smiling his normal Ducky-smile all the while talking about how many forms of torture can be visited upon the human body before it succumbs to death." Tony said it in a half joking manner, but in truth what he'd heard out of Ducky had made him re-evaluate his mental summary of their friend the ME.
Still chuckling quietly, Gibbs nodded, knowing what Tony had seen from their normally mild-mannered Ducky.
0-0-0-0 Part 14
When the trail on the land mine shipment went cold, Jethro and Tony were forced to put the case on the back burner. However the former gunnery sergeant remained on edge, as his Marine training dictated. This kept Tony on edge as well. It wasn't until two weeks after the land mine incident that Tony was extremely grateful for his lover's paranoia.
"I think that we got everything, baby girl. We can just hope you daddy is grateful for me picking up the stuff to cook." Tony chatted at Katie who was in her car seat in the back of the Mustang.
Just as he was about to go on, his investigator training kicked in and he focused on the dark green SUV that was couple cars behind them.
"Katie, my dear, I do believe that someone is following us. Let's just check to make sure. We wouldn't want your daddy coming in with guns blazing if it's just someone going the same way." With a quick flick of his hand, Tony turned down a side street he knew he could get off of easily if need be.
When the green SUV followed, Tony started to reach for his phone when the sudden report of a high caliber gun could be heard coming from behind him. In response to this and subsequent sound of the bullet hitting his car, Tony assumed the defensive driving stance and began to try and out maneuver the larger vehicle.
At the second bullet, Tony knew he was in trouble because of the way the Mustang jumped. Feeling the tire blow made Tony grit his teeth and hold onto the wheel as the car began skidding.
"Fucking hell." Tony cursed as he did his best to keep the car on the road. Seeing that it wasn't going to happen, he shifted his goal to trying to keep the car from flipping as they hit the ditch.
A few minutes later, Tony out of the car with his gun drawn, looking for the SUV. Inside the car, Katie was crying loudly, reassuring Tony that she was alive and okay enough to cry. When he didn't see the vehicle with the shooter, he holstered his gun and hurriedly climbed in the back of the car as he pulled his phone.
As he was dialing his lover, Tony was doing his best to reign in his fear-based rage.
The moment Jethro saw Tony's number on his caller ID he knew something was wrong. "Tony?"
"Get the truck and bring it to three blocks past East 143rd and Palmyra. Someone in a green SUV shot out a tire out of the rear of my car, making me ditch it." Tony said balancing the phone between his ear and shoulder as he got the still crying Katie out of her seat.
Getting quickly to his feet, Jethro got Tim's attention by snapping his fingers. "Are you okay? Should I send EMTs?"
Tony held Katie close, bouncing her gently as he got out of the car. "No... But if Ducky is free bring him."
Quickly, Jethro made a note to Tim who'd come over after he'd been snapped at. //Get the truck ready and get Ducky. ASAP.// The young agent ran to do just that.
"Why's she crying? Is she just scared?" Jethro asked trying to talk Tony into a calmer state by making him focus on Katie.
Tony studied the baby carefully. "I don't see any cuts or anything. I think she's just freaked out by us hitting the ditch... Jethro, it was a green Durango... Virginia plates. Echo. Charlie. Four. Four. I couldn't get the rest of it. Get a BOLO on that bastard. I would bet money that it's the same one who planted the land mine."
"Echo. Charlie. Four. Four. I got it. I'll have Ziva run the plates. You just stay there. As soon as I get to the truck, I'll call you back on my cell... Get to a safe distance from the car and wait." Jethro ordered before handing up and grabbing his things. Looking to Ziva he said, "Green Durango. Virginia. Echo. Charlie. Four. Four. I want a BOLO... Have it read 'for attempted murder of a federal officer'. Suspect is armed and dangerous."
Nodding, Ziva started on getting the BOLO in the works.
0-0-0-0 Part 15
Jethro was the first one out of the truck. He pointedly ignored the bullet hole in the car and the fact it was in the ditch. Hurrying to where Tony sat with Katie on his lap, Jethro put a hand to his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
Going into his lover's arms, Tony relaxed for the first time since the incident. "We're okay... I got her to stop crying a bit ago. Did you get the BOLO going?"
"I put Ziva on it before we left." Jethro pulled Katie from his arms then held Tony on the other side.
Just then, Ducky hurried up and took Katie. "Let's have a look, darling."
As soon as he was sure Ducky had Katie well in-hand, Gibbs led Tony off. "Did you see anything other than the car? Could you see the driver?"
Tony shook his head. "Tinted windows... looked like a 'Company' vehicle. Jethro, you would tell me if you had any enemies in the government, wouldn't you?"
"None that I know of. We'll figure out who's doing this." Gibbs growled as he noticed Tim pulling the bullet out of the car.
This made Tony smile. Something about the over-protective side of Gibbs made him feel safe and happy. "I know we will."
"Boss, we've got the shooter." Tim's words made Gibbs and Tony look up from their respective desks. Getting Katie from where she was sleeping in her car seat beside his chair, Tony walked over to stare at his co-worker.
Gibbs nodded for him to go on. "Yeah?"
Rising, Tim gestured to the elevator. "He's down in the interview room right now."
With a darkly pleased expression, Gibbs started for the elevator. When Tony started to join him, Gibbs shook his head. "Keep Katie here. I'll let you know anything important."
"I don't like this." Tony told Katie as Ziva and Tim joined Gibbs in the elevator. After a couple of minutes, Tony went to the elevator with Katie on one arm and the diaper bag in the other. "Let's go visit Auntie Abby."
Once down in the lab, Tony stood beside Abby as the Goth snuggled Katie. "I can't believe Gibbs wouldn't let me be with the others watching the interrogation."
"I think he was going to have enough trouble holding himself back, as is. Knowing you and Katie were behind the glass would just make it harder." Abby said seriously as she twirled with Katie in her arms. As she finished twirling she saw some one behind Tony, but before she could say anything a shot was fired and Tony went down with a spray of blood.
Turning, Abby started to run only to be stopped by a burning feeling in her back as the world went black.
0-0-0-0 Part 16
When Ducky opened the door to the interview room, Gibbs knew something had happened.
"Jethro... please step out." Ducky gestured him out of the room.
With a final glare at the young man who'd been hired to shoot Tony off of the road, Jethro stepped out and closed the door behind him. "What?"
Drawing Jethro down the hallway towards the elevator, Ducky spoke in a low tone. "Tony and Abby are being taken to the hospital."
"What? What happened?" Gibbs asked as he allowed Ducky to guide him.
"We don't know yet. Mr. Palmer was dropping off a sample to Abby when he found Tony and her bleeding in the lab. After summoning me and calling for an ambulance, he began emergency medical care. I arrived and found Tony to have a bullet burn on his head and Abby two bullets in the upper back. Jethro, what the problem is, above all, is that Katie is missing." Ducky said in a low tone.
Rage filled his face as he punched the button on the elevator over and over in the hope it would make the trip go faster. "How in the hell did this bastard get into NCIS headquarters?"
Once on the ground floor he went straight to where the noises of the EMTs loading up his two people. Stepping beside Tony, as Abby was already being loaded, Gibbs put a hand to his shoulder. "Tony?"
The EMT shook her head. "He's out cold, sir. But his vitals are good."
Before Gibbs could demand a status report, his cell phone went off, making him growl and answer it. "What?"
"Agent Gibbs?" the female voice made his eyes narrow.
"Look, you can tell the Director whatever she wants-" he started only to have the Director's secretary interrupt him.
Cynthia glanced to the door she sat outside of. "It's not that." she whispered while turning to stare at the door, wondering what was happening inside. "The Director just went by me with Katie... there was blood on Katie's jumper."
"What?" Glancing around, he got a couple of MPs attention as he headed towards MTAC.
The secretary noticed the door to the Director's office opening and hung up quickly.
Jen smiled at Cynthia as she shifted the newly re-dressed Katie riding on her hip. "Cynthia, I'm going out. Katelyn and I won't be back until tomorrow. If Jethro calls tell him we're expecting him for dinner."
Seeing the half-crazed expression in the Director's face, Cynthia thought fast. She knew she couldn't let the Director out of the building with Katie. "Director, I have some things that will have to be signed before you go. I wouldn't bother you on the way out, except that they need to be in the afternoon post."
"Of course." Stepping closer to the desk, Jen picked up a pen and waited for the papers.
Cynthia slid her some files. "Here, let me hold her while you do that." She held out her arms while holding her breath.
With a put out expression, Jen sighed before handing the little girl over to her trusted secretary.
As she was starting to open the first file, a voice from the stairs had her stopping and turning.
"Jen... let me see your hands." Jethro's cold voice washed over the crazy woman's mind and she turned with a smile.
"Jethro, I didn't expect you this early. I was going to take Katelyn for a mommy-daughter day. Did you want to go to lunch with us?" Jen stepped towards him, a sweet smile on her face.
Cynthia, seeing her chance, slipped by the Director. In her arms Katie looked ready to cry. "Agent Gibbs, I'm taking Katie to Dr. Mallard."
"Good girl." Jethro said never taking his eyes off of Jen, who seemed to be realizing something was not right.
Jen started to step forward, only to have Jethro train his gun on her head.
He stared at her with cold uncompassionate eyes. "Stop there, Jen. I don't want to have to shoot you."
"What are you saying, Jethro? You'd never shoot me." Jen started forward again only to stop when four MPs came up behind Gibbs. "What is the meaning of this?"
Jethro never took his sight off of her. "Arrest her... and make sure she doesn't have the gun on her."
Before she could issue any orders, the MPs were on her and cuffing her. "Stop this joke, Jethro. It's not funny anymore."
"This stopped being funny when you shot Tony and Abby." Jethro finally holstered his weapon and went to get his daughter.
Downstairs, Ducky held Katie while Cynthia hovered nearby. "I don't know what's gotten into the Director... she's never done anything like this."
Gibbs answered this as he came downstairs and took Katie, who seemed very happy to be in her daddy's arms. "She's crazed."
As he was about to go on with a few more derogatory comments, Tim came up. "Boss, I've got the car and her car seat if you're ready to follow the ambulance."
"Good, McGee." Gibbs followed, holding Katie close and glaring at anyone who got too close.
0-0-0-0 Part 17
Tony was sitting with the others, waiting on news about Abby. After waking up from being knocked out by the bullet burn, he insisted on being there with the others. Holding Katie, Tony shared a couch with Gibbs who had an arm around them both.
When Ducky came out with a relieved expression they all breathed out in relief even before he spoke. "Abigail is going to be fine. Both bullets penetrated the right lung, but the doctors were able to remove them. Soon she'll be back to her normal peppy self."
"Thank God." Tony breathed a sigh of relief that was also echoed by the others.
Just as Ducky was going to tell them to go home and rest, Ziva came walking up an upset expression on her face.
"What's wrong?" Gibbs asked slightly glaring at the woman Jen had put into his group.
Clearing her throat, Ziva looked him in the eyes. "Director Sheppard shot and killed three MPs while she was escaping... But she left Tony a message." The nervous Mossad agent held out the evidence bag to her boss.
Jethro took it and tilted it so both he and Tony could read it.
//Tony, that is my husband and daughter. You can't have them. I'll see you and them dead before I let you keep them.//
Looking up, Tony blinked at his lover. "She's nuts."
"Obviously... and with her Special OPs training it'll be hard to catch her. We're going to need security." Gibbs glanced at Tim who nodded.
Tony held Katie closer and looked around as if the crazy woman could jump out from around a random corner.
Seeing this, Gibbs put a hand on Tony's back, trying to steady him. "Don't worry; we're going to get her."
"Damn right we will..." Tony said looking down at Katie before turning to Ducky. "Hey Duck-man. I need to borrow you car... can I?"
This made Ducky blinked before nodding and holding out his keys. "I don't mind but you shouldn't be driving with that head wound."
"I got cleared by the doctors. Thanks." Tony took the keys with a couple whispered words to Gibbs left quickly.
0-0-0-0 Part 18
Silently, Tony slipped up to the door, holding Katie close to his chest. Knocking, Tony continuously looked around while bouncing on his feet, mentally praying that she didn't wake up.
When the door opened, Tony smiled at Keiko. "Gomen, Keiko... I need a favor of you, Tashi and Ernie."
"Come in. Get the baby out of the cool air." the half-American woman said as she stepped to one side.
Smiling with a grateful edge to it, Tony hurried inside. "Thank you so much."
Inside, she directed him into the living room where Ernie and Tashi were talking over drinks. Both of the WWII veterans looked up with happy, then concerned expression. Half rising, Ernie frowned. "Tony, what's wrong? Why do you have my granddaughter out in this chilly spring weather?"
"I was hoping that you three wouldn't mind watching Katie for a couple of days... There's a crazy person trying to hurt her. She's almost got Katie a couple of times. I can't catch that crazy bitch if I'm worrying about Katie and her safety." Tony said as he allowed Tashi to take Katie from him.
Keiko brought tea in and petted Katie's hair. "How could a person hurt someone so small and innocent?"
Rubbing the back of his neck, Tony shook his head. "I wish I knew how Sheppard's mind worked... It'd make it easier to catch her."
Ernie shared a look with his housemate and Keiko. After a nod from both, the former Corporal patted Tony's knee. "Don't worry about Katie. She'll be safe here. Keiko's here and Tashi and I are still spry enough to shoot an intruder. Go catch the crazy while we play grandpa."
"Ooji-san." Tashi corrected as he lifted Katie up to smile at her blinking awake eyes.
Relieved, Tony slumped a little before rising and handing Keiko the diaper bag-cum-back-pack. "There's enough stuff in here for three days... Even if we haven't caught Sheppard by there, I'll be back for Katie." Leaning down, Tony kissed Katie's hair before going to the door. "I can't stay too long... just in case someone is watching. Please take care of her."
Knowing if he looked back he wouldn't be able to leave, Tony hurried out of the house, leaving his daughter with the only people he felt he could trust outside of NCIS.
0-0-0-0 Part 19
"Dinozzo... where have you been?" Gibbs grabbed Tony the moment the other man walked into the house. Noticing that he wasn't carrying the carrier with Katie, Gibbs froze. "Where's Katie?"
Unable to hold back the tears any longer, Tony burrowed into his lover's chest and began to cry. "I took her to the only person I could trust. She's safe, I promise."
Wrapping around Tony, Gibbs looked back at McGee and Ziva, who'd been there trying to help him find Tony. The two other field agents turned their back on the private moment.
When his tears were under control, Tony looked Jethro in the eyes. "When we find the Director... we take her out. I don't care if it's with a bullet or a padded cell. But if one of those two things doesn't happen in the next three days, Katie and I are dusting."
The soft pronouncement scared Gibbs more than he cared to admit. "You can't just run away, Tony."
"Want to lay a wager on that, Jethro? I've already got a new life for Katie and me. I didn't make one for you, because I knew you would never run and hide." Tony told him in a perfectly calm tone.
"Hopefully it won't come to that." Tim said speaking up for the first time.
With a sad half-smile, Tony nodded. "I hope so too, Probie. But I'm not taking any chances. Not when a former Director of NCIS is trying to kill me and my daughter."
"Enough. Ziva, McGee have we got anything else on Jen's location?" Jethro pulled Tony over to sit while he stood nearby, completely putting what Tony said about running away without him, out of his mind.
To this Ziva nodded. "I have a contact who believes the former Director is trying to secure funds... without much success."
Here, McGee added his own info. "I've alerted all surrounding military installations about her mental state. I've also put a BOLO on her and her car to the local LEOs."
"Good. Keep checking our contacts... Make sure no one is helping her." Gibbs said putting a hand on Tony's shoulder.
0-0-0-0 part 20
With the skills learned from years as first a Marine sniper and then a NCIS field agent, Jethro followed Tony to where he had taken Katie for safe-keeping. Since he had never thought of Ernie as a reliable person to leave their daughter, Jethro knew no one else would have either.
Once Tony was inside of the house, Gibbs got out and leaned on the Mustang. Since the three days had passed, Jethro knew if he let Tony out of sight he'd never find them.
When Tony came out with Katie in his arms, Jethro smiled at his shocked expression. "You're not going anywhere without me."
"I thought Marines didn't run away." Tony said moving to place Katie into her car seat.
Jethro got his bags out of the car he'd been driving and put it into the floor boards beside Tony and Katie's. "I lost my family once... then I got a second chance. I'm not losing this one." Before Tony could ask the questions in his eyes, Gibbs went on. "We need to hurry; I've got a plane waiting for us."
Tony could only blink before his face bled into a smile. "Where are we going?"
"Don't want to say just yet. When we get in there air. Follow me so I can drop the car off with McGee." Jethro told him as he started back to his car.
Smiling, Tony got into the Mustang and followed his lover. He wouldn't ever admit it, but he was very happy that Jethro was going with them.
"Do you think she'd ever going to be found?" Tony asked as he played with Katie in the sand on the beach near their home.
Jethro turned his head from his fishing off of the dock he was on. "I know she will. I trust NCIS to clean up their mess, if nothing else."
This made Tony smile and look about their home of eight months. When Jethro had put them on a plane, Tony had been certain there were going to Mexico. He'd been shocked to see their destination. Once in Florida, they'd traveled south into the Keys. There, they'd settled into a small house, already set up for them. He'd never expected Gibbs to be able to set up a new life for them so quickly. While they were in their exile, Jethro had told him about Kelly and Shannon, after Tony had asked. It had made so much about his lover make sense. Knowing it was a touchy subject, Tony had chose to leave it alone until Jethro brought it up. He also wisely didn't mention the changes their exile had brought to Jethro.
Their exile had been an interesting time for the family. Tony and Jethro had spent most of it watching their little girl grow and change. They also spent time with each other, making their relationship more stable.
"Yeah, they don't want the law suits leaving a crazy woman on the streets would bring." Tony shook his head as he watched Katie pull herself to her feet and waddle over to the dock. There she babbled, demanding Gibb's attention.
Jethro walked over and picked her up. "You're just like your daddy... showing off every new skill." Looking to Tony, he shifted her onto his hip. "Every day she's getting steadier on her feet. She'd going to be running soon."
"Yeah... she'd either going to keep us young or make us old." Tony moved over to stand by them, watching his lover and daughter.
Playing with Katie's dark mink colored hair, Jethro smiled as she grinned at him. "I wonder if they got the pictures from her birthday."
This made Tony smile and nod. "I'm surprised that Abby and Ducky didn't track us down for her party."
"I'm sure they tried. But this place and all of our new identities were done by people far better than those two." Jethro handed Katie to Tony to gather his fishing gear. "It's getting too hot out here for her. Let's go take a siesta."
0-0-0-0 Part 21
When Jethro answer the phone he was shocked to hear his former boss and partner. "Mike? How did you get this number?"
"Easy there, Probie. If I were you and wanted to disappear, I'd go to a retired spook that owed me a huge favor. The reason I'm calling is to tell you that you can go home." Mike settled into back into his beach chair and winked at the woman who'd brought him the phone.
Jethro stood a little straighten and gestured Tony closer. "What do you mean?"
Mike puffed his cigarette and smirked on getting one up on Jethro. "That former Director is dead."
"How did you find out?" Gibbs demanded.
Coughing a little, the retired investigator cleared his throat. "Because I shot the crazy bitch. Seems she found a picture with you three on the beach... assumed you were down here and came in ready to kill. Only she found one pissed-off retiree with a sawed-off shot gun not legal by US standards. When she waved her little pistol in my face I blew her ass back out the door she'd come in."
For a moment Gibbs didn't say anything before he smiled at Tony. "I guess this means we owe you."
"Well, next vacation you can bring Katie to see me." Mike said smiling at the happiness in his friend's voice.
"Planned on it anyway, Mike. I'll have to get back with you on the time for that." Jethro make his good-byes and turned to Tony.
Tony, meanwhile, watched all of the emotions run through his lover's eyes. When Jethro hung up, he immediately pounced. "What did Mike say?"
"Jen Sheppard apparently got one of Katie's birthday pictures. She thought we were in Mexico with Mike. When she burst in demanding information, Mike met her with a sawed-off. I'm going to get in touch with Ducky and see if they have heard anything." Going to the desk, Gibbs got one of his emergency disposable cell phones. Silently hoping, he put in a call to Ducky.
The ME was all smiles when he realized who was on the phone. "Jethro... I thought I would hear from you after the former Director was returned and we verified her identity."
"So it was her? For certain?" Gibbs breathed out slowly, knowing Ducky wasn't required to tell him anything.
With a reassuring tone, Ducky replied. "I did the autopsy myself and Abby did the DNA. Physical, teeth and DNA were all matches to Jen Sheppard. She's very much gone, Jethro. You're safe to come home if you like."
Looking to Tony, who was already packing, Jethro smiled before answering. "We'll be there soon."
"Good. I've very much missed you three and poor Abigail just hasn't been the same without you. Not to mention Timothy and Ziva. They've been added to one of the other teams and are suffering for it. No one uses them to their full potential as you do." Ducky said smiling at Jimmy who was beginning to smile, apparently having figured out who he was on the phone with.
This made Gibbs sigh. Looking to where Tony had disappeared into the master bedroom, Jethro spoke softly. "To be honest, Ducky... I don't think I'll be coming back to work. Maybe full retirement is the best option."
Ducky frowned, but didn't comment too much on it. "We can talk more on that when you get here. I'll be expecting a phone call from you when you know your travel schedule."
"Of course, Ducky." With that Gibbs hung up to go help Tony get everything they would need to take with them.
0-0-0-0 Part 22
"Ah... DC air... I'd forgotten how much it smells." Tony said with a slight roll of his nose as he shifted Katie higher in her harness and looked around the busy airport they'd flown into.
Jethro nodded before gesturing to where Tim was waiting near the luggage claim. "We should go before the puppy wets himself in excitement."
This brought a chuckle from Tony who started over to the young agent. "Probie! Long time no see."
Tim smiled at them before leaning down to Katie. "Hello, Katie. It's been a while since you've seen Uncle Tim, huh?"
Blinking slowly, Katie simply stared at him before looking up at Tony.
"Sorry, Probie. She doesn't remember you." Tony smiled sheepishly, before pulling her out of her harness and handing her over. "Go to Uncle Timmy while Daddy and Papa get the bags."
Katie allowed Tim to hold her for a moment as she studied him. Apparently she saw something she liked and snuggled to him with a happy smile.
On the drive to Gibbs' house, Tim kept up a constant chatter about everything and anything he could think of.
"Abby and I cleaned your place after Ducky told us you were coming home. We also swept it for any surprises the former Director might have left." Tim said as he pulled into the drive way. There, on the front step, was Abby, obviously too excited to wait inside.
As soon as the car stopped Abby ran up and wrapped around Gibbs. "I've missed you so much." After letting him go, she went to Tony and hugged him before taking Katie from him. "Come to Auntie Abby, Katie-girl."
With a chuckle, Tony allowed the Goth to take off with his daughter. On the porch Ducky and Ziva had stepped out to smile in welcome.
Turning, Tony smiled at Gibbs, who'd put a hand to his back. "We're home."
"Almost doesn't seem possible... but it will be nice to get back to work." Jethro said honestly as he handed Tony his bag before he grabbed Katie's and his own.
This made Tony laugh. "Retirement too boring?"
Gibbs nodded, willing to admit it. "I love spending time with you and Katie, but..."
"You need to fulfill your Superman quota?" Tony supplied and then ducked as Gibbs slapped at his head.
"Can it, Dinozzo. We're not even back at NCIS and you're taking up you old bad habits. You'd better hope our daughter doesn't pick any of those bad habits up." Jethro was smiling as he said this, leading Tony to the door where everyone was waiting.
Smirking over his shoulder, Tony winked playfully. "But you love me anyway."
This brought a sigh and a head shake from Gibbs before he answered. "I do, but I wonder at the sanity of it."
Upon moving into the house, both men smiled at their associates. In the middle was Katie. Moving towards them, Tony and Jethro happily rejoined their family, knowing that there could be no better place for them or their little girl.