A/N: Hey all! This is a sweet little fluff piece that I started working on MONTHS ago and finally my muse returned last night and I finished it. I promise you it's not weird or strange or gross, just… cute :). I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: Nope. My birthday came and went this week and all I got were a bunch of cookies that that singing fish from the McDonalds commercials. Yeah, they make those and sell those to the public. Whodathunk?
If you asked me what my favorite, physical feature of my wife is, I would have to say her stomach.
Now before you get all crazy on me and start calling me pig-headed, just listen to what I have to say. It's true, before I was with my wife, I had been with many girls, and all of those girls were beautiful, young, and skinny. But my wife… sure she was skinny, but she was athletic. She was toned. Muscular. She didn't take size zero or two or negative twenty like all the other girls.
The first time I saw her bare stomach was when we went under cover together. Here, my beautiful, exotic, and frankly, terrifying new partner is lying on top of me, naked, and all I could think about was how her stomach looked.
A few years went by, and everything about her remained the same. She still scared me, but we had become close friends. I trusted her, she learned to trust me, and soon enough, we had the greatest partnership the agency had ever seen.
Things went extraordinarily down hill a few years later. Things were my fault. Things were her fault. Things were ex-boyfriend/ex-partner/then lover's fault. Things were her father's fault. Things were nobody's fault, but they still happened. But we'll skip over the details.
When she finally returned home, she was much too skinny for my liking. I took a peek at her when some medics were checking her over on the plane home from Somalia, and aside from the bruises and cuts that graced her stomach, the outline of her ribs were showing through her skin. Her once muscular stomach had sunken in, making her hip bones poke out in almost an inhuman manner. She looked too fragile, too delicate.
I was surprised how quickly we had fallen back into our routine again. Psychologically, she was still damaged, but we all helped her. I'd like to think that I was the one who threw her back into normalcy. Around four times a week, I'd start showing up to her house with her favorite foods from a variety of take-out restaurants. She refused at first, but she slowly starting accepting my gestures, and slowly started eating more and more. She started looking healthier.
Soon after, she started running again. With the combination of a diet that consisted more than crumbs and a bit of water and her exercise routine, her stomach started taking the shape I loved. I don't think she ever got as muscular as she had once been, but she became lean and healthy and radiant… and as beautiful as ever.
Eventually I got past my ego and she got over her stubbornness and we began dating. At night after our… err, nightly activities, I would run my fingers gently over her body, specifically tracing the faint lines of scars on her stomach. At first, she pushed my hands away, angered and embarrassed of the reminders her past life left on her. She finally realized that I never judged her, that I thought it had become a part of her beauty. She would watch me intently as my fingers moved. The night would always end with my arm wrapped securely around her middle.
Years later, after we married, I watched in fascination as her stomach grew with our first child. She would laugh as I leaned down, talking to our unborn son, feeling his kicks, planting kisses on her belly, letting both her and him know how much I loved them. It amazed me how little time it took for her to get her stomach back down to lean, trim form. It was the same with our second child, a little girl. It seemed like just weeks later, you could not tell she was ever pregnant.
I loved it even more, when after she gave birth to our third child, her stomach never quite returned to its muscular form, and she continued to carry a bit of that baby fat with her.
I eventually became Team Leader with Probie as my right hand man, and she quit NCIS to stay home with the kids. I never imagined my ninja being content with staying home taking care of rug rats, but she told me she could not be happier giving life to her children. With three little terrors, she had to spend less time running and more time chasing the kids. She grew a bit curvier, but seeing her with our children, I couldn't find her sexier.
And here we sit now. Over thirty years of marriage, three children, our first grandchild on the way, and my life is complete. The woman that sits next to me hardly looks like the woman I met forty years ago, but that doesn't make her look any less beautiful to me. I still trace the scars that have remained all these years. I still kiss her and let her know how much I love her. I still am so grateful for the family she has given me, a family that neither of us thought we could ever have. In a strange way, her stomach represents how our relationship, family, and lives have grown together. And that's why, no matter what shape it will be, it will always be my favorite physical part of her.