A/N: This is the final chapter of my first NCIS fanfiction, Too Much To Lose. I greatly appreciate all the feedback this story has received thus far, and I'm astounded that so many people have read it in such a short amount of time. It makes me a little sad that the conclusion is coming so soon, when it seems only yesterday I was writing Chapter 1. But there is a sequel coming up eventually, once I work out the plot bunnies I've got going. So, thank you once again for being such a great audience of readers, and here is the final chapter. Enjoy!
Chapter 23- Already?
It has been over five months since Victoria was arrested and locked away in jail. Things at NCIS have long since calmed down and it was business as usual day by day. Cases flowed in more slowly, and the team sometimes had whole weeks with nothing to do but sit around and share stories. Kate recovered from being stabbed with no ill effects, and eagerly told them the story of Abby's immense bravery over and over again until even the Director was listening and asking for more details. McGee filled in what the others didn't know, and Tony added his own immature comments now and then. But eventually the story lost its appeal and life moved on. Summer was approaching, and the days grew longer. Everyone was starting to get lazy around the office. They hadn't had a case in almost two weeks, which was unusual, but the lack of action had been happening so often they didn't question it. Ziva and Kate were playing a quiet game of hangman on the floor. Tony had left for a coffee break for the third time that morning. McGee was hanging out at Kate's desk, changing her desktop background every five minutes out of pure boredom. Abby was down in her lab as usual. Ducky came out, looking a little wilted in the summer heat. The air conditioning was broken again.
"Morning, Ziva," he said softly. "Has anyone seen Abigail?"
"Lab," Kate replied.
"That was the word. Lucky guess," Ziva muttered, scrubbing something out with her eraser. Ducky nodded and headed back into the elevator. Tony came back with his cup of coffee.
"I heard Gibbs has a new case for us," he announced, sitting on the floor near the women. "But…the Director could be just making it up to give us busy work," He sprawled out, making sure his legs were really close to Ziva's to get a reaction out of her. She ignored him.
"What should we do now?" Kate asked in a bored voice. "I don't even know why I came in today. This is getting ridiculous. Its times like these I wish I hadn't left the Secret Service," It was quiet for a minute. Kate rarely mentioned her old job at NCIS, not even to Gibbs.
"You don't mean that," McGee argued, turning away from the computer. "We all know you love working here, Kate," Gibbs strode in, looking stressed.
"Dead Lieutenant Officer outside our building," he called out. "Get moving, Ziva, Tony," They leapt up and sped for the elevator. McGee followed them, intending to visit Abby to see how she was doing.
"Seriously, why doesn't something happen?" she demanded to Bert the hippo. "I've been waiting for weeks at a time for evidence, and nothing comes," The hippo remained silent, an unusual thing since it made a fart noise when picked up. The door opened, and Ducky came in with several plastic bags.
"Yay, evidence!" she cried out, running to hug Ducky. "Oh, look, there's mold! How'd you know I adored mold more than anything? And ooh…a syringe! How interesting! Thanks, Duck!" She hugged him again. The medical examiner left, a small smile of amusement on his face. Abby hummed happily while she worked, occasionally singing along to the songs that played on the CD. McGee came in a few minutes later.
"Hey, Abs," he said, smiling. She set down her Caf-Pow and hugged him tightly. "Just coming to see you…"
"About time! It's so lonely down here," she said to him, messing with his hair a little. "I can't believe I went two weeks with nothing to do but talk to Bert all day! But it's all good now. I have mold and chemicals to keep me company too, and also you now that you're here. Did you know there are over ten thousand types of mold? And almost a hundred of them can be found in the average household. Oh, Tim! I almost forgot! Where are we meeting up tonight? I could hardly hear you over the phone, Tony kept interrupting me about some movie star he said was in town the other day and I just couldn't listen to two people talking at once and-"
"Abs," McGee said, cutting her wild chatter off at once. She looked at him. "Calm down for a sec, I just got here," She nodded, zipping her lips tightly. He sighed in relief at the silence. Well, not total silence. The music still softly played, but was starting to fade into another track he didn't recognize. She grimaced in pain.
"What's wrong?" he asked, forgetting about their date for a moment.
"Contractions, I think," she answered, wincing again. "I've been timing them for the past half an hour. Isn't it too early?"
"Yes…but if you're about to go into labor…" McGee started, watching her mouth numbers silently to herself. She was quiet for several minutes before she made another pinched face of pain.
"Okay, Kelly doesn't want to wait any longer. They're seven minutes apart now," They left the lab together, heading straight for the parking lot without any stops along the way. McGee decided to take his car, since it had more room in the back. He drove as fast as he could to the nearest hospital, disregarding the speed limit sign. Of course, just his luck, he was pulled over by a police officer.
"Sir, do you know how fast you were going?" the man asked.
"Seventy-five," McGee answered. "My girlfriend is about to have a baby,"
"Hurry up, Tim!" Abby screamed from the back. "This isn't very comfortable, you know!" The officer glanced toward Abby and looked back at McGee.
"All right, you want a police escort?" he offered. "No charge necessary,"
"Thanks, but I…all right why not?"
"Step on it!" Abby shrieked. McGee glanced at the officer's name tag. Officer Gregory.
"Officer Gregory, if you'd just leave the alarms off, that would be great," he said, anxiously glancing at Abby. She was gripping the leather seats with more force than was necessary, and her lips were going white from holding back a scream for so long.
"Okay, I'll just get in my car and let you start driving," he said.
Back at NCIS…
"Where's McGee?" Gibbs shouted, startling Kate.
"He went down to see Abby and I haven't seen him since," she answered, looking a little confused. "Why, Gibbs?"
"I need him to interrogate someone…" he muttered, heading for the elevator. He went down to Abby's lab, but didn't see Abby or McGee. He cursed in frustration and took out his cell phone. He dialed McGee's number.
"Boss? I'm at the hospital right now…kind of bad time for you to call,"
"Who's hurt?" he asked.
"Then why are you at the hospital?"
"Abby went into labor in the lab today and I had to rush her here," the probie explained.
"Already? But it's too early," he protested.
"I know…but everything will be fine. You guys can come see her in a little while once she stops shrieking like a maniac," Gibbs could hear Abby in the background, asking for water.
"I'll be sure to tell them that. See you later, probie," He hung up and stuffed his phone in his pocket.
At the hospital- a few hours later
Kelly Abigail Sciuto was born on May 12, 2010 at 8:43 p.m. weighing 6 pounds and 2 ounces. She was completely healthy for someone born a whole month early. She happily went to sleep in Abby's arms some time around nine-thirty, when Ziva came in to visit. McGee wasn't in the room.
"Hey, Abby, Gibbs told us the news…he's talking to McGee right now," she said, sitting in the chair closest to the bed. "Everyone's excited to see her, you know. Kate will be in here right after me, if Tony doesn't get here first,"
"Why?" she asked. "What's Tony doing?"
"Arguing with Kate to see who gets to come in next," she responded. "Oh no…" Tony came sprinting into the room, closely followed by Kate.
"Told you…I'd get here…first," Tony wheezed.
"Only because you shoved me down half a flight of stairs," she practically shouted.
"Guys, be quiet!" Abby hissed. "Kelly's sleeping!" They stopped arguing at once, but kept exchanging looks that suggested the conversation wasn't over just yet. Eventually, everyone in the team got to take a look at Kelly, but after a while it was getting late and time for everyone to leave. Visiting hours were almost over. McGee came in to say bye to Abby.
"I hope you'll be all right being here all alone all night," he said. "I heard that sometimes the screams can be a little disturbing,"
"I'll be fine, Tim," she assured him. "As long as you and Kelly are fine, I will be. I love you, Timmy," It was the first time she had said those words to him.
"Love you too," he whispered. "Gotta go. Duty calls," He ducked out of the room and left. Abby held onto the glowing feeling that she had felt ever since she first laid eyes on Kelly. She was a mother now…which was easier to believe when the infant opened her eyes and began to wail. It was the first time she had made any noise since she was born.
"It'll be okay," she reassured Kelly, gently rocking her. "Shh…Momma's here," Abby stayed that way for a long time, with the motherly feeling starting to become more familiar and pleasant to her. By the time Kelly was asleep again, she could definitely believe the baby in her arms was her own daughter.