Well, this is it, folks. Be on the lookout for the sequel. Thanks for all the reviews. And the rum. *toast
I can be happy the rest of my life
with a cinnamon girl.
-Neil Young, "Cinnamon Girl."
Gibbs stood behind the courtroom table wearing the first new suit he'd purchased in twenty years. Tony helped him pick it, counseled the tailor on the cut and finish, and chose a tie to match. He looked good. Damn good if the look in the adoption paralegal's eye was any barometer.
Sara was wearing a new white dress that made her olive complexion—sun-kissed, despite the boatloads of sunscreen he slathered her with—glow in the harsh overhead light. She chinned herself on the table and stared at him, wide-eyed.
"Daddy," she stage whispered, wide-eyed. "Are you sure the judge won't taking me away?"
"Positive," he replied.
Their lawyer, Ronnie Milbar, smiled and poured her a glass of water. "Here, Sara. Take a sip and a deep breath. It's going to be fine."
The court rose for the entrance of the Judge Frank Carlton, a friendly family court veteran on the cusp of retiring. He directed the attendees to sit and looked openly at Sara.
"You like that guy?" He asked, pointing to Gibbs.
Sara nodded, startled. "Yes, sir," she said loudly, and covered her mouth when the audience tittered.
"Good. You want to stick with him?"
"Yes, sir," she said again, quieter.
"Good." He turned to Gibbs, Ronnie, and Susan McNamyre. "I reviewed the file and found the petitioner, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, to be a fit and respectable adoptive parent for minor child Sara Elise Cohen. Stipend for therapeutic care to be awarded monthly until the minor reaches age eighteen, providing the parent submits biannual reports to the proper social service officials." He signed the certificate and passed it to the bailiff, who handed it to Ronnie.
Gibbs smiled down at Sara and winked.
"Are you also petitioning for change of surname?"
"Yes, Your Honor. Sara Elise Cohen is to become Sara Elise Gibbs as of the closing of this session."
"As you wish," Judge Carlton replied, already signing the form.
Tony, seated behind Gibbs, chuckled at the Princess Bride reference, then oofed as Ziva jammed her cast into his ribs. Tim shushed them both.
The judge looked up. "Guess that's it," he announced casually, and banged down his gavel. "Adjourned. You want me to take pictures?"
Abby rushed forward with a camera and Sara jumped as the applause began.
Gibbs picked her up and held her high over his head. "That's it," he said to her, smiling, looking directly into her seawater eyes. "You're mine. I love you."
She giggled, limbs flying, and met his gaze. "I love you, too, Daddy. F'effer, ok?"
He settled her on his shoulder and nuzzled their faces together. "Yep, sweet pea. Forever."