I literally can't believe this is it! A special thanks to Zay (girlwiththefeels) for proofreading an early chapter and giving me advice that helped with the rest of the story. Also, thanks Carrie (israelifemmefatale) and Megan (probalicious) for proofreading a chapter when I was a little iffy about some stuff. Also, a big thank you to Anne (fivefeetofme) for becoming my proofreader up until about four chapters ago.
Finally, thank you to every single person who read, reviewed, favorited, liked, reblogged, or whatever-ed this story. The support and positive feedback meant the world to me. You guys are the absolute best. I also have another story idea that I'm currently writing (it will be called Journey- post Somalia fic) and I'm super excited to start posting chapters of it and see what you guys think. Now, without further ado, here is about 1000 words of fluffy epilogue. Stay golden. I love you all more than words can say.
Eight Months Later
"Tony!" Ziva called down the hall, searching for Annabelle's headband. She'd just had it in her hand, and suddenly she couldn't find it anywhere. Where had she put it? "We're running late. Have you seen the headband I picked out for Annabelle to wear?"
Tony appeared from the hallway, Annabelle on his hip. "It's on her head, sweetheart."
Ziva stopped, looking at her daughter and pursing her lips, confused. "Did I put it on her?"
"No." He chuckled a little. "I got it and put it on. I'm not completely incompetent, you know."
She stared at him for a moment, registering this information a little slowly. Then, she laughed a little, nodding. "Yes, I know you're not. Are we ready to go?"
"Are we ready, Annabelle?" Tony asked his daughter, and she stared at him briefly before pointing toward the door. He turned to look at Ziva. "The person who is really in charge here has spoken. Well, kind of."
Ziva rolled her eyes at him, smiling. "Okay, let's go."
"No, I swear, she gets cuter every time I see her," Abby said enthusiastically when Tony and Ziva walked in with Annabelle. "How's the birthday girl?"
Abby held her hands out to the one year old, smiling when Annabelle allowed her to take her. It was a privilege known to only a handful of people. "She slept a little late, so she's wired," Tony told Abby. "But have fun chasing her around."
"I like how you assume I'm going to," Abby said, tilting her head and raising her eyebrows almost like a child in defiance.
"Assume?" he questioned, mirroring her expression.
Abby shrugged. "Fair enough. Come on, Annabelle Kelly DiNozzo, we're going to go play."
As Abby disappeared down the hall, Breena walked up to Ziva, putting her arms around her in a hug. "I have a question for you," she said, and as they walked off, Tony laughed to himself. Jimmy and Breena had adopted a newborn about six months after Annabelle was born, and if they ever needed help with anything, they turned to their coworkers. Sometimes, it was a little repetitive, but when it came down to it, neither of them minded.
"Jimbo, how's that little man of yours?" Tony asked as he approached Jimmy, slapping a hand on his shoulder.
"Okay, ow." Jimmy smiled at him regardless, and started proudly talking of how well Roger was doing.
Ziva reappeared with Breena at about the same time Annabelle came running, as best she could, into the room, laughing. She made it to her father's leg and latched on to his pants, giggling the whole way.
"Did you lose your friend?" he asked as Abby walked in, her lips pursed.
"I don't know how you do it," she said after a moment, looking at both Tony and Ziva before shrugging and going to sit down on the couch.
"Giving up already, Abby?" Ziva took a quick glance at the clock on the wall. "It's barely been five minutes."
"I'm not giving up, per say. I'm just... taking a break? She's Tony's child. You need a break every few minutes." Abby shrugged a little, grinning in Tony's direction. Annabelle moved from where she was behind Tony's leg and went to climb upon the couch beside Abby with some assisstance, tilting her head back to look up at her.
"Hey, that's also where she gets her charming personality." Tony threw a wink at Ziva, who laughed, but said nothing.
"Charming's not the word I'd use, DiNozzo," Gibbs said as he walked in, carrying a plate of freshly grilled hamburgers.
Tony put his hands up in defeat as the rest of the team seemed to show up out of thin air with the smell of the food, and they all started fixing plates. Soon, the room was filled with laughing and talking around the room as they ate, Annabelle sitting on her father's knee, thrilled that she was getting little pieces of her father's hamburger.
It was later, while Abby was once again chasing Annabelle around the yard while everyone else watched on, that Tony walked up and wrapped his arms around Ziva from behind, his hands linking over her stomach. He put his head on her shoulder, pressing a quick kiss to her jaw. "You're awfully quiet," he mumbled into her skin, and she flinched a little, a smile pulling up her lips.
"I am just... watching," she said, leaning into him. "Annabelle loves Abby. If she starts calling her "mama", we will have a problem."
"Well, that would mean the original is replaceable, and she isn't," he told her, pulling her in a little tighter. He let his finger lightly trace over the ring on the fourth finger of her left hand and then linked his fingers with hers.
"I appreciate that," she teased lightly, laughing as Abby caught up to Annabelle and swung her up in her arms. Ziva laughed a little to herself, shaking her head.
"What is it?" he asked, loosening his arms and letting her turn in his embrace so that she was facing him.
"I am... happy." She smiled up at him, shrugging a little. "Things changed so quickly and all this was so unpredictable. I never thought... I could be this happy, but... I am."
Tony, briefly overwhelmed with emotion, lifted one hand to thread his fingers through her hair and kiss her softly. "Love you," he whispered when they parted.
"Love you, too," she replied, going to kiss him again, only to be cut short when Annabelle pushed herself between their legs, giggling. Tony let Ziva go and picked Annabelle up, kissing her on the cheek noisily. Annabelle giggled, which caused her parents to smile at her.
"Well," Tony began, supporting Annabelle on his side with one arm and wrapping the other around Ziva's waist. Annabelle reached for her father's hair, trying to grip it in her hand. "I think that as far as things being unpredictable goes, we are just getting started."