Blah blah excuses about not updating blah not completely happy with this chapter, but it was my favorite version of it blah blah blah enjoy the chapter!
Disclaimer: Obviously not mine.
Ariana Rose DiNozzo was born on September 22 to two extremely happy parents. She came after nearly 36 hours of labor and a week later than expected, giving Ziva an overwhelming sense of relief when she was finally holding her baby girl in her arms. She joked that this was the first of many ways she would be like her father, doing everything on her own time. Thoroughly exhausted, Tony and Ziva smiled down at their little bundle of joy, waiting for the rest of their family to arrive. It was late though, and Abby and McGee had come and gone, taking not only their own two children, three year old Kaelyn and barely two year old Simon, but Julian as well. He was thrilled to FINALLY meet his baby sister, but that excitement had quickly turned to exhaustion. With the help of Breena and Palmer, the McGees took the three sleepy children away, leaving only one family member unaccounted for.
Gibbs always had a hard time with the cycle of life. Births and deaths hit him the hardest, no matter how hard he tried to keep his feelings at bay. He wanted to be happy, and a part of him was. He was so glad to welcome another grandchild into the world, but he couldn't help but see Shannon in the faces of his exhausted surrogate daughters, and his own anticipation, nervousness and joy in his sons. He remembered the rush of love he felt for Kelly the moment he saw her, and that emotion in the face of another felt wrong in a way he couldn't describe. With the passing of each new event came new waves of memories that he couldn't push out of his mind. The sound of Kelly's cries when she was born, the smell of her hair, the feeling of her tiny fingers grasping his own. The pain overwhelmed him, knowing that he would never be able to hold Ariana, to see her take her first steps, say her first words or lose her first tooth without thinking of her. He wanted to be happy, he really did, but the past kept pulling him back under.
Tony found Gibbs at the nursery observation window quite a time later. He stood still, hands in his pockets, staring down at Ariana. He was clearly lost in his thoughts. Tony knew not to ask. He knew that this birth would be even more difficult than the last. With Julian and Simon it was different. The little boys, wrapped in their little blue blankets could do some damage, that was certain, but it was nothing compared to the little girls. He stood silently for a moment next to his boss, the faint sound of crying newborns and ringing telephones the only distraction from the blanket of emotion that plagued the air.
"You did good, DiNozzo. She's beautiful."
"Thank you, Boss."
For a moment, Tony thought that was the only thing he would say on the matter. The silence returned for several more minutes before Gibbs spoke again.
"You ever gonna marry her mother?"
"Probably not, but you have to know it's not for lack of trying."
"How many times have you proposed now?"
"Three. The last time was about...oh...nine months ago, right after we found out she was pregnant again."
"You okay with that?"
"I guess. I just want her to be happy, and to know I'm sticking around," he said as he rubbed his hand on the back of his neck.
"Five years and two kids later, I think she knows."
"I can only hope." He paused, dropping his hand to the ledge in front of him "Either way, I think we'll be okay. We've made it this far, right?"
"Yep. You two never did do anything conventionally. Why start now?"
"Ha. Yeah, well we could try, but even normal for us is kind of messed up."
Gibbs only nodded in reply.
"I should get back to Ziva. She wanted me to come check on Ariana, to see if she was awake. She'll start to worry if I don't make my way back soon."
"Still just as worried as the last time."
"Yep. Don't think that's going to change," He paused "She'd really like to see you, Boss. She was asking where you were earlier."
"I figured she would be. I'm coming with you."
"Great. I'm going to see if the nurses will let me steal the baby."
"Word choice, DiNozzo."
Tony smiled. "I'll catch up with you. She's in room 214." Tony went to find a nurse as Gibbs took a deep breath and began his short walk to Ziva's room.
When he arrived at room 214, he was pleasantly surprised that Ziva was even still awake. She looked exhausted, but incredibly happy. Her hair was in a neat braid, Abby's doing no doubt. She was no longer wearing her hospital gown, one of the many things she hated about being in the hospital, and was instead dressed in a flannel pajama top and (he was assuming) pants. She turned to him and smiled, glad he was finally here to meet his fourth grandchild.
"Hey Ziver, how are you feeling?" He said as he leaned down to kiss her forehead.
"Tired, sore, but other than that very well."
"I heard that doesn't go away for a while."
"It was worse with Julian. I am glad what Abby said turned out to be true. The second was not as difficult as the first.
"I'm glad. I'm sorry I couldn't be here earlier."
"It is okay, you are here now," she replied, easily avoiding discovering his motives for such an act.
"I went to the nursery before I came here. She's really beautiful."
"Thank you," she said, beaming.
"I talked to Tony too."
"You did, did you?"
"Will you just say yes, already?"
She laughed. "In due time. Right now we have a newborn to worry about. Plus I already have my claddagh ring, and he his. That is enough for me."
Just then, Tony entered with Ariana. Ziva's smile grew even wider when she saw her little pink bundle once again.
"Looks like someone missed you, Ana," he said as he placed the infant gently into his wife's arms and sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I did. Ima missed you, baby girl."
She leaned down to place a kiss on her forehead. She gazed adoringly at her daughter, completely absorbed in her tiny features. Gibbs watched the sight. They had created the perfect little family. Both parents stared down at their baby girl, amazed that they could bring something so beautiful into the world once again. It was almost as if they forgot he was there at all. For Gibbs it was almost like looking in a mirror. It was one of his fondest and clearest memories. He sat exactly where Tony was, his arm wrapped around Shannon as he kissed both her and Kelly on the forehead, so proud to be a part of this miracle and so happy to be a dad. He took a deep breath, which seemed to alert Ziva to his presence once again.
"Alright, Grandpa. Do you want a turn?"
"Well, if you don't mind, yeah."
Ziva smiled. He wondered if her cheeks would hurt at all after all of that smiling. He knew his did.
"Okay, tateleh, it is time for you to meet your Grandpa Gibbs."
Ariana was placed in his arms and he gazed upon her face for the first time. She had dark blue eyes, a little tuft of dark brown hair, and what had to be the cutest nose he had ever seen. He knew she had gotten it from her mother. Her eyes were shaped more like Tony's though, and he couldn't help but wonder whose eye color she would have. She was small, and warm, and she had that indescribable little pink baby smell. As he placed the first of many kissed on her forehead he knew without a doubt, as he had with every one of his grandchildren before her, that the good memories far outweighed the bad ones.