Author's Note-*watches guiltily as tumbleweed rolls by* Umm, hey? I know, I know it's been like six months and you have all probably lost interest in this by now, but I think I've found my mojo again and hope to get this out quickly so I can finish it and put it to bed. I think I could finish it in about four more chapters without overly rushing it, but we'll see. It'll be finished soon though. If you're still reading, I commend you, I really do, I wish I had your patience. Thank you all so much. NYLF xx

The next few months flew by without incident. Ava, Kayla and Oscar were all enjoying and excelling in school while the twins and Alaigha all got along swimmingly with preschool and daycare.

Ziva was still exceptionally worried about their boss and everyone else was starting to see her point. Gibbs had become even more withdrawn than usual, refusing to come to after case drinks but jumping at the chance to baby sit his grandchildren. He spent most of his free time in his basement, helping each child work on the boat as if his life depended on it.

It was Abby who first noticed that he was losing weight. While it wasn't unusual for him to not eat as well as he should during a case, it was unheard of that he lost enough weight for Abby to notice. They were all worried but when they asked Ducky for answers, he told them he honestly had no idea and if there was something wrong with their boss, he was sure he would tell them all in time.

Meanwhile, the team still had cases to solve. They currently had a heartbreaking case on their desks. A father had been shot and killed on his first day back stateside. He was coming home to meet his thirteen month old daughter for the first time and had never made it. McGee and Ziva both had tears in their eyes after they had interviewed his fiancé, after listening to her sob about how not only will her daughter never know her daddy but she will never get to marry the love of her life.

"Ziva?" McGee started unsurely as they drove back to the office. She flashed him a look before going back to the road.

"What's up McGee?" She asked patiently. She had been expecting this story to resonate with him seeing as she knew he still worried sometimes that he and Abby weren't married.

"Do you think, I mean, you're Abby's best friend." He hedged. Ziva smiled.

"I like to think so, yes."

"So, you'd know if, she was, I don't know, unhappy with our arrangement." Ziva looked at him for a moment.

"What do you mean 'unhappy with your arrangement'? What arrangement?" She asked slowly. McGee shrugged.

"About how we live together, and have a family together but there isn't a ring on her finger." Ziva sighed as she pulled the car into the garage before turning to face him.

"Tim, you know that your situation is nothing like our case, right? You were at all three of your children's births, were the first person to hold Ethan." McGee nodded.

"I know."

"Your not being married to Abby, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if you are unhappy with your arrangement, then you should talk to her. You both need to be happy for it to work." Ziva reminded him softly. McGee chuckled.

"When did you become such a relationship expert?" Ziva laughed self-awarely.

"Being married to Tony has helped." They both chuckled before Ziva took his hand. "McGee, if you want to marry Abby, which is the impression I am getting, then ask. So long as you are prepared for her to say no, you have nothing to lose." McGee leaned over and kissed her cheek.

"Thanks Zi." Ziva smiled softly.

"Anytime." With that settled, at least for now, they exited the vehicle and made their way to the squad room, hoping beyond hope, that they could bring some closure to their victim's poor family.