A/N: I am so slack. No excuse. Just lazy. But here's a longer chapter. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: Just so you know. Don't own them. Wish I did.
Tony went straight to Riley's townhouse on Friday afternoon. He was worried – he knew Brad was supposed to call with results but Riley hadn't called to let him know what Brad said. He let himself in and found Riley sitting on the couch. "Hey, babe. You okay?" he asked softly.
Riley didn't look at him. "It's not cancer," she sighed, "but it is a tumor. I have to have surgery – again."
Tony sat down and pulled her into his lap. "How soon?"
"Next week. Hopefully they can use the scope – it's less invasive, shorter recovery time."
"So what are you not telling me?"
"I took this job in DC because it required less field work, but even so, I'm still qualified for field work. Brad says that he's completely pulling me out of the field. It's not just the tumor – the scar tissue has increased and my lung capacity has diminished. I'll have to leave the BAU and the Reserves because I can't meet the fitness requirements. The Corps and the Bureau have been my life – what do I do now?"
Tony wrapped his arms even tighter around her. He could feel her trembling, knew that she was on the verge of breaking down. "You could go back to the classroom – I know from experience that you're a great teacher. Or you could go to work as a pathologist or an ME. It's not like the FBI and the Marines are all you know how to do." He hesitated but only for a moment." Or you could stay at home and have my babies and let me take care of you for the rest of our lives."
Riley froze. She turned in Tony's arms to look him in the eye. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" she asked.
"Well, this isn't exactly how I had it planned. I was going to take you away for a romantic weekend and do the whole down-on-one-knee over champagne and dinner thing. But I do mean it – marry me?"
Riley couldn't answer. She was crying and the words just wouldn't come. Tony started to speak, "It's okay. You don't have to answer me now. I just need you to know that I love you."
Tony blinked. "What did you say?"
"I said yes!" Riley threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. "Yes, yes, yes!"
"Then I guess I need to give you this," Tony said, smiling as he reached into his pocket. "I've been carrying this around for a while, scared to death I was going to lose it. It was my mother's – if you don't like it, we can always go get something else."
The ring was simple but beautiful. A single marquis-cut diamond mounted in white gold. He slid it on her finger and smiled at the perfect fit. His mother had been as petite as Riley and he hoped the ring would work.
"It's beautiful," she whispered. "And it's perfect. I don't want anything else." She kissed him again, honored that he had given her his mother's ring. "I love you. "
Tony came into work on Monday morning grinning from ear to ear. Ziva and Tim noticed that he seemed to be in an even better than usual mood. "Wow!" McGee exclaimed. "Somebody must have had a good weekend!"
"Good doesn't even begin to describe it," Tony answered, still smiling.
"So what did you do?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. " Suddenly serious, Tony asked, "Uh, can I talk to you for a minute, Tim? In private? "
Tim frowned but nodded. "Where do you want to go? We could always use Gibbs' conference room."
Tony grinned. "I think it might be best if we used one of the real conference rooms." The two men left, Ziva looking after them in curiosity.
When they reached the conference room, Tony closed the door and looked at Tim. The younger agent had never seen Tony so serious. "What's up, Tony? Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, Tim, everything is fine – more than fine. I need to ask a favor, though."
Now Tim was really nervous. "I'll do whatever I can, Tony. You know that."
"I need you to clear your calendar for the last Saturday in September."
Tim's brows drew together in confusion. "What's going on? The Ohio State – Michigan game? I told you I wasn't going to watch that with you again. You get too excited."
"God, I hope it's not that Saturday. I'd hate to have to miss the game but we're going to be busy." He paused and took a deep breath. "Tim, I want you to be my best man."
It took a minute for what Tony was saying to sink in. When it did, Tim looked at Tony in amazement. "Really! You're getting married? Congratulations, man! But I figured you would ask Gibbs to be your best man, not me."
"Tim, I know you and I have had some issues, but I consider you to be the younger brother I never had. And I want my brother to be my best man."
Tim was shocked to hear Tony's words but realized that he felt the same way about Tony. "I would love to be your best man. Thank you. When are you going to tell everyone else?"
"When Riley gets here. She wants to talk to Gibbs first, so keep your mouth shut." Tim grinned and the two men left the conference room.
Gibbs entered the bullpen and wondered when the two male members of his team were. Before he could ask Ziva, the elevator dinged and Riley walked in. "Good morning, Riley," said Gibbs. "If you're looking for Tony, join the club."
Noticing that Tim wasn't in the bullpen either, Riley was pretty sure where the two men went. "Actually, Gibbs, I need to talk to you for a minute. In private?"
Gibbs was concerned. Was something wrong with Tony? He couldn't imagine why Riley would want to speak to him in confidence. "C'mon. We'll use my office," he said moving toward the elevator. Once inside, he hit the emergency stop and asked, "What's wrong, Riley? Everything okay with you and DiNozzo?"
She smiled but didn't say a word. Instead she held out her left hand, showing Gibbs the ring that Tony had placed on her finger. The grin that split Gibbs' face was unlike anything she had ever seen. "You know, you should smile like that more often," she said with a grin of her own. "Of course, it might ruin your reputation as a bastard."
Gibbs wrapped her in a gentle hug. "I'm happy for you both. But you could have told me out in the bullpen. Why the secrecy?"
"I wanted to ask you something. And it's okay if you don't want to. I understand." She paused and looked at Gibbs. "Would you. . . would you walk me down the aisle Gibbs? Will you give me away?" Suddenly shy, she looked away. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked." What was she thinking? This was a man who had lost his own daughter. What right did Riley have to suppose that he would want to take care of such a fatherly duty for her?
Gibbs looked at the young woman standing in front of him. He thought of Kelly, of his dreams of one day walking her down the aisle. While that dream would never come true, he knew that he would not let Riley down. He had lost his daughter, she had lost her father – but fate had put the two of them together. Gently, Gibbs placed a finger under her chin and lifted her face. She was stunned to see tears glimmering in his eyes. Placing a soft kiss on her forehead, he said softly, "I would be honored to give you away." Blinking away her own tears, Riley threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. "Will you wear your dress blues?" she asked.
Gibbs laughed. "Whatever you want, Riley. Now I think we need to let the rest of the building have the elevator back and you and DiNozzo have an announcement to make." He released the emergency stop and they returned to the bullpen.
"Where's Gibbs?" Tony asked as he and Tim returned to the bullpen.
Ziva was slightly put out that she was being left out of whatever was going on. "He is in his office with Riley."
Tony nodded. "They'll be out in a minute. I'm gonna call the others."
While he was on the phone, Riley and Gibbs came out of the elevator. Riley looked like she had been crying and, shockingly, so did Gibbs. He had his hand on the small of Riley's back and the two of them looked relaxed and comfortable. Tony looked at Riley and at her smile, he knew that Gibbs had said yes.
Tired of being the only one not in the loop, Ziva asked, "Will someone please tell me what's going on?"
Before Tony could answer, Abby, Ducky and Palmer entered the bullpen. "So what's so important that you had us come up here first thing?" asked Abby.
"I'll tell you in a minute. First, Boss, I need to go ahead and put in a request for two weeks vacation starting the last Saturday in September," Tony said, still smiling.
"You're taking vacation?" asked Palmer incredulously. "You never take vacation. Where are you going?"
"Not sure yet. We're thinking Italy – can't go wrong with an Italian honeymoon."
It took a few seconds for the words to sink in. Ducky caught on first but Abby was the first to speak, "You're getting married?"
"Well, yeah, Abs. One usually does that before the honeymoon."
The bullpen exploded with congratulations and best wishes. Abby hugged them both until they begged for release to catch their breath. Even agents from other teams came over to wish them well, having heard the commotion from across the room. Director Vance heard all the noise and came downstairs with a frown, "What's going on down here?" He almost had to shout to be heard over the conversations.
"Tony and Riley are getting married!" Abby called. She grabbed Riley's hand and pulled her over to Ziva. "Ziva , look at this ring – isn't it gorgeous?"
"It is beautiful, Riley. Did Tony pick it out himself?" Ziva asked, trying to show happiness for the couple while locking away the pain in her heart.
"It was his mother's ring," Riley answered softly. She looked at Ziva and was stunned by the pain in the other woman's eyes. Was Ziva in love with Tony? According to Tony, Ziva said that she cared for him as a friend, but that's not what Riley was seeing on Ziva's face. "Oh, Ziva," she said. "Why didn't you . . ."
"You and Tony will be very happy together, Riley. I know you will be a beautiful bride." With a smile, she gave Riley a hug and told herself that she was truly happy for them.