Word Count: 971
Summary: She's been a little short on sleep lately.
Notes: Written for the schmoop_bingo prompt: Baby - Feeding. I couldn't find a beta, so all mistakes are unfortunately mine.
Abby wakes up and rolls over, expecting to collide with Jethro's sleeping form. She pouts when all she hits are still sleep-warmed bedsheets. Her mind isn't fully awake yet, and she scrunches her nose while she tries to remember what the hell is going on.
She's been a little short on sleep lately.
Abby glances at the crib in the corner of the room, smiling when she realizes where Jethro is. She didn't even hear Madeline crying, which means she was more sleep-deprived that she originally thought. Climbing out of bed, Abby grabs her robe off the floor and wraps it around her. She snuggles into the fabric, sighing contentedly before heading downstairs.
Abby is as stealthy as possible, stepping lightly and skipping the creaky floorboard - the one that will get fixed as soon as boat number 4 is finished - because Leroy Jethro Gibbs is ridiculously hard to sneak up on. And if she doesn't tread carefully, then he'll know she's there.
Abby's absolute favorite part of late night feedings are the rare moments when she's able to just watch. She always figured Jethro would be a good father, but she never anticipated getting a chance to see it first hand. Hell, she didn't even think they'd ever get married. Sure, dating was one thing, and she'd known they were fully committed to each other, but she never thought they'd do the whole rings and legally bound routine. The moment when she started down the aisle and spotted Jethro in his dress uniform standing in front of the alter is her third most favorite memory.
Number one is finally getting to meet Madeline after waiting for nine months and an agonizing eleven hour delivery. When the nurse handed Abby her daughter and all the ultrasounds became this tiny little person, she knew her life would never be the same. And when Gibbs reached out and ran his finger across Madeline's delicate palm, Abby had known that this was it. She was set for life.
Abby hugs the door frame, half in the kitchen and half out of it. Jethro is standing in front of the sink, one hand cradling Madeline to his chest and the other holding up her bottle for her. He's grinning down at her, studying her as if he's still in awe of the thought of having a daughter again. He's swaying slightly, and Abby bets he doesn't even realize it. Most of the time he's better at being a parent than Abby is, but she's learning. He has a knack for recognizing Madeline's tired cry versus her hungry one and an uncanny ability to make sure Abby never feels like she's lacking in the parenting department.
"She's almost as gorgeous as her mother," Jethro says after a few moments. Abby mock glares at him, because she was quiet dammit. "Can't sneak up on a sniper, Abs," he says with a laugh. Abby rolls her eyes and steps into the kitchen.
"But I can keep trying, right?" Abby asks as she crosses the room. She bends down and brushes her lips over the top of Madeline's head.
"And failing," Jethro says, smirking when Abby reaches out and smacks him lightly on the shoulder.
"One day I will catch you totally unaware," Abby warns him. "And on that day, on that day I will be able to see you being completely and utterly adorable with Madeline. And you won't know that I'm there. And it will be a glorious day."
"Today was a pretty glorious day," Jethro tells her. He looks up at her, his eyes so unrealistically blue, and Abby falls in love with him all over again. Because today sucked. It really did. They almost didn't catch the petty officer in time; almost had to tell another father that his daughter was never coming home. But whenever Jethro's looking at her like that, she realizes how fucking good her life is. Because no matter what happens with a case,
"Thank you," she says, and he just nods, not needing to ask what she's thanking him for. He sets the bottle in the sink and wipes Madeline's mouth with the towel thrown over his shoulder.
"Let's get Maddie back to bed and see if we can catch some sleep before we have to go in?" Jethro asks, looking way too hopeful at the thought of catching some shuteye. Abby nods and takes Madeline from him, rubbing her back as she carries her upstairs. Madeline's fed and her eyes are fluttering shut, so Abby figures she can handle the rest of the night in the actual nursery instead of the crib in their room. She heads there, and Jethro and her stand next to the crib until Madeline settles down.
When they're finally able to crawl back into bed, Abby is more than exhausted. But then Jethro's right there and they haven't had much time between Madeline and their caseload. So instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, she takes his hand and guides it to the tie of her robe and grins when he tugs it undone and catches her mouth in a kiss. As they tumble back onto the bed, she's reminded of her second most favorite memory. Jethro's hands smooth over her skin, and she can feel her body start to tremble just like it did the first night they were together. She sighs into Jethro's mouth, feeling tired and overworked and overwhelmed with conquering motherhood, but completely and fully in love with her life.