A/N: A loud and massive thank you.
It takes a long 45 minutes for Carrie to come back from her previous patient, all in which is spent in tears, screams and encouragement, shared mostly between both Tony and Ziva.
It's when she's panting, asking him to let her give up, begging him to do this for her when Carrie comes bouncing into the room, all energy and light and exactly what Ziva needs right now.
"You're still here? I thought you would've popped by now!" She cries with a smile and waves Elizabeth over as another nurse comes into the room.
"Get. Her. Out. Of. Me." Ziva berates on a groan to which the rest of them can't help but quietly smile at. Behind her, with his arms knotted like roots around hers, Tony is sweating with his shirtsleeves rolled up as far as they can go, his hair sticking up in all directions.
"Okay, Ziva, start pushing whenever you're ready."
Tony maneuvers himself around in order to give Ziva the space to lift off the bed and reach down to grab either leg in both of her hands. Tony reaches for one foot while Elizabeth reaches for the other.
"Come on, Ziva, big push."
And Ziva pushed. She pushed with everything she had, beads off sweat pouring down her forehead, her face scrunched and focused.
Tony squeezes her foot continuously as she took gulps of air between each push, the noise of the room calm and centered other than the noises and words of encouragement others would make.
"You're doing so well Ziva, another push for me, she's barely crowning here."
Ziva collapses back, panting through sobs of pure exhaustion and adrenaline, looking towards Tony pleadingly.
"Come on baby, you can do it." He says and squeezes her foot again.
"Come on Ziva, one more push."
Ziva lifts herself back up, a new found sense of determination and pushes again, clutching her teeth together and tugging on the sheets with both hands, feeling her baby through every push.
"Almost there Ziva, you're doing so well, one more big push for me."
And with one great big final push, relief swells through her entire body as their daughter finally broke through and entered the world.
Ziva can barely see through her tears and the sweat matting her face but suddenly, she can feel, like it's always been there, warmth of another body against her skin, bundled in blankets.
She can't speak and as the room continues to buzz around the both of them, Tony ducks his head down on the other side of her shoulder and together they gaze through tears at their child.
"God babe, she's beautiful, she's so beautiful, you did amazing." He can barely speak, his throat so thick with emotion, joy pouring from every limb but she hears it all clear as day. She was beautiful.
Because of tearing, Ziva gets 4 stitches though neither of them hardly notice, transfixed on the little person in the room, crying loudly, the sound like heaven.
After awhile, they get left alone, given some time before the baby had to be taken away to be checked and cleaned up.
They just gaze and smile for what feels like hours. He can't remember smiling like this before, can't remember feeling like he may just melt to the floor, his heart's beating so hard and enlarged against his chest. She was perfect and so completely them, a mixture of himself and Ziva, the baby's sharp green eyes staring lazily at the two of them, her cries subsiding.
Though she's exhausted, her eyes threatening to close, Ziva keeps them open and wide on their child. Counting her eyelashes, thumbing her fingers over her tiny, delicate ones.
"We don't have a name." Tony says, eventually and kisses Ziva's shoulder, never taking his eyes off his daughter.
Ziva, getting the feel for the first time in having to hold their daughter in one hand while dealing with something else in the other, scratches the back of his head.
"I found the list a month ago, when I was doing laundry."
She looks up at him, her eyes soft and clear and he stutters over his surprise, chuckling while brushing a hand over their baby's head, memorizing to himself, the curve of her tiny little head.
"Yeah? I was wondering where I had put that."
"The first one, the one that you underlined, again and again and again. It's my favorite," She whispers and smiles at him tenderly.
He could put it down to exhaustion as he begins to cry shamelessly, his face pressed against her shoulder but really it comes down to the fact that this woman, that he loves, will always love has just given him something that he didn't think he could love more.
"It's okay," She hushes, rocking the two of them, still keeping a secure hold of each.
"Ziva," He mumbles lowly, sniffing against her hospital gown and the baby at the sound stirs, breaking into loud, angry tears again.
"I believe little Audrey would like to finally meet her daddy."
He lifts himself wearily off her shoulder and stands, wiping his face with the back of his hand before reaching down carefully and scooping the baby up into the folds of his arms.
"I'm not just saying this babe, she is really beautiful, we did seriously good." He says offhandedly, staring down into Audrey's face.
Ziva laughs for the first time in what feels like hours and it reverberates around the room, Audrey settling almost instantly at the sound.
"I think she might like the sound of our voices."
Ziva rolls, the best way she can, stiff and saw, to her side, keeping a hold of the two of them, the image storing itself into a part of her heart.
"Just a little, maybe." He says, his eyes glazing with fresh tears staring into Audrey's.
Two nurses eventually come back to fetch Audrey, needing to practically pry her from Tony's hands while Ziva had, unwillingly fallen asleep, exhaustion taking her.
"She'll be fine, we'll be back with here soon and you can always come and check up on her if you want."
He wants. It's only been 5 seconds since she's been out of his arms, Audrey still in the room, and he misses her like crazy.
"We can set up a cot for you if you would like?"
But Tony pulls his eyes away from his daughter, to Ziva and shakes his head.
"No, I think I'll manage."
"Say bye bye daddy," One of the nurses coos, bringing Audrey against Tony's chest. He bends over and kisses her forehead, letting his nose linger before lifting back up. He follows, with his eyes, as they carry her out until the door is closed behind them.
He half drags, half stumbles his way over to the other side of the bed, where they'll be more room for him and climbs into it beside her. She's so tired, she doesn't stir and he finds his eyes closing before his head had even hit the pillow.
He wakes up an hour later, Ziva still asleep with her hand bent backward somehow in order to touch his. He reaches over to kiss her forehead then slides out, stretching his arms up and over his head.
The team was still downstairs and he wanted to see Audrey and also needed to make a phone call and he knew Ziva would be out for at least a couple more hours. He scrawls a note just in case, leaving it on the pillow.
"She's perfect." Is all he finds himself beaming, when he meets everyone downstairs, looking almost as weary as he felt.
Gibbs is the first to come forward, his smile so profound it makes Tony's throat ache and Gibbs wraps himself around him, squeezing him tight, "Proud of you, Anthony." He says against his ear, patting him a few times before releasing him to Abby.
"When can we see her? When can we see her? And Ziva! I want to see Ziva!" She squeals, clapping her hands together.
"Is Ziva alright?" Ducky asks as he smiles, coming closer in order to clutch at Tony's elbow.
Tony nods, knowing he looks ridiculous, his smile still on his face, unable to get off his high, "She's great, she's sleeping right now and they took Audrey away for a little bit but she'll be back later tonight."
Jimmy is the next one to hug him, also squeezing him tight and sharing a smile.
"We'll come back later tonight then." Gibbs says and nods to Tony with a wide grin, reaching over to shake his head. He ushers the rest of them in the direction of the exit and they begin to trail off offering parting congratulations and Abby sneaks another hug which Tony gladly gives.
It's Tim who lingers behind, like Tony hoped he would.
"So man…" He starts with a grin and offers his hand but Tony wraps his arms around him, bringing him into a tight hug.
"Congratulations, brother." McGee whispers, squeezing Tony's shoulder.
Tears fill his eyes and he doesn't bother to stop them, McGee's seen plenty worse from him.
"She's so pretty, Tim. She's all Ziva, I got really lucky."
McGee smiles, throwing a hand against Tony's back, "Yeah but she's got green eyes though, right?"
Tony laughs, nodding, "Yeah, she's got green eyes."
To his bemusement, McGee sighs, "I owe Ziva ten bucks then."
Tony rolls his eyes though he grins, shaking his head, "Why am I not surprised."
McGee shrugs, "Because she's Ziva and I'm McGee."
Tony laughs, now putting a hand on McGee's shoulder, "Come back tonight, she'll be awake and we'll have the kid with us," He jokes, smiling as he lets Tim go.
"Tony, she's barely two hours old!"
And with a wide, toothy grin, Tony shrugs, feeling like the happiest guy in the world, "Two of the best hours of my life."
McGee smiles warmly, nodding his head up, "See you later tonight then."
Tony heads quickly back up to the nursery after that, almost panicking when he can't see Audrey but then he finds her face, calm and content, her green eyes blinking all around the room.
"There's my girl." He whispers against the pane of glass.
He stands and watches her for a while, drinking in her every move, her every blink, feeling the distance that separated them like they were miles apart. She had completely possessed his heart and he gladly gave it over, would give anything over. When her eyes were settling closed, he decided that it was then the time to finally call his father.
Ziva wakes up to a darkened, quiet room. The music still playing softly on a loop in the background. She panicked for just a moment until finding the note beside her head and wriggled to sit up, blinking awake. She felt the absence of Audrey like a constant pang in her heart. It was a need and a want all wrapped so powerfully into one feeling. She hadn't studied her enough, hadn't watched her enough, hadn't smelled her enough, hadn't stared at her enough.
But as she breathes in the familiar scent, still against her skin of her daughter, she realizes, that she had a lifetime to do all those things. That waking up, smiling subconsciously, was going to be a continuous occurrence.
She's snuggling into the blankets again when the phone on the table beside her starts to ring.
"Mrs DiNozzo, you have an out coming call for you, would you like to connect?"
The hospital had mixed up her name and had labeled her as a DiNozzo. They hadn't really bothered to change it and as the sound of Mrs DiNozzo rings around her head, she knows why.
"Yes, I will connect."
It's a few moments of nothing but static before the line clinks.
"My Zeevah, is she healthy?"
She has no idea who called him but guesses it was probably Gibbs and at the sound of his voice, tears fill her eyes and she cradles the phone closer to her face.
"She is perfect."
Her father doesn't say anything for a moment but when he speaks again, she can tell that's he's trying hard to keep from crying.
"I sent things for you, for the both of you, I am not sure what good it will do now but…"
She nods, feeling breathless and weightless because this, between them was still all so new but she knew that stumbling as he was around her, he was just as nervous as she was.
When she tells her father the name they have chosen, he cries, no longer hiding it and they speak only a little longer after that with the promise of a sooner call. He tells her goodbye and that he loves her, loves them and though she cannot say it yet, her voice is laced with it as she whispers, bye papa.
Tony comes back to their room half an hour later, feeling a little defeated, a little overwhelmed but still on that buzz. That feeling like his feet may just lift off the ground at any moment running through him.
He walks in to meet the sight of her, curled against a pillow; her eyes closed and tiptoes in, gently easing himself onto a chair.
"Audrey?" She whispers croakily, opening one eye, almost before he's sat down.
He nods, gazing at her, reaching a hand out to brush her face, "She's sleeping in the nursery like a champ."
She relaxes at this information, noticeably more comfortable against the bed but doesn't shut her eyes again.
She doesn't need to ask him.
"I called my dad, he's on the next plane down here."
Ziva smiles softly and rubs with her thumb just behind his ear as he now rests his head against the bed, "That is wonderful, love."
He nods, a quiet smile on his face, her fingers now rubbing calming circles against his neck.
"I told the others to come back tonight, Abby's practically jumping out of her skin to see you and Audrey."
Ziva grins then readjusts herself against the bed so that he can easily slide into it beside her.
He wraps himself around her, the best way he can in the small space, not realizing that he had missed being so close to her, the baby bump preventing them.
"Talk to your dad?" He asks softly and she nods, looking away from him for a moment.
"He cried." She whispers distantly and feels his lips against her forehead.
"Mine did too."
She looks back at him and they stare at one moment, saying things that only the two could understand, things that were too big, too much to be said out loud.
"I love you, Ziva," He whispers, "And I'm sorry that it took five years for us to figure that out, for me to figure it out but you and me, Audrey, this is it. You're my family and I…"
She nods, putting a finger gently to his lips because he didn't have to say anymore, couldn't through his tears.
"Thank you." She whispers, for so many things.
He swallows a few times before he can speak again, "I think…Audrey's gonna have herself a good long life."
"The best," She whispers and kisses him.
A/N: So a little cheesy but I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you again for the comments, for the offerings of advice, for the advice and for reading. It's all deeply appreciated.