When sunrise came and his impeccable internal clock woke Gibbs up, he opted to bypass the spare room door where either Bishop or Torres would be sleeping and instead padded softly down the stairs. He kept his footsteps as light as possible, listening hard the whole time - there was no noise, no sounds of a baby fussing, or even moving, and though it had been heard since a newborn had lain in that particular wooden cradle, some memories were never forgotten. Like the time he’d trampled downstairs like an elephant, as Shannon had so loudly and angrily informed him, waking Kelly when she’d only just got her to go to sleep.
He had no interest in any sort of re-enactment, particularly as Torres and Bishop were armed, with Bishop especially a crack shot who could rival even Gibbs himself.
But when he walked into the living room, the crib was empty.
Gibbs swung his head automatically to the couch, ready to ream someone out. The tableau he saw had him clamping his jaw firmly shut.
Torres was stretched out on the couch, eyes closed, breathing deeply. The baby rested against him, chest to chest, his head turned to the left, one tiny cheek flattened against Nick’s shoulder, his lips pursed adorably in the way that only newborns could. A blanket was draped over his back and Gibbs could see the outline of Nick’s hand underneath it, protectively on the baby’s back, holding him securely in place.
But that wasn’t what made Gibbs smile.
What made him smile was that Bishop wasn’t upstairs in his spare bedroom.
No, she was lying on the couch too, just as fast asleep as the two other occupants. And from the tilt of her head, it looked very much to Gibbs that she’d fallen asleep looking at Torres and the baby, like she hadn’t been able to keep her eyes off them. Her lips were curled up, the way Kelly’s used to when she’d been having a particularly sweet dream, her hand outstretched, halfway towards Torres and the kid.
And that still wasn’t what made Gibbs smile.
No, what made Gibbs smile was that he’d seen a photograph similar to that before, courtesy of Shannon’s mom when she’d stayed to help them for a few weeks when Kelly was a newborn. The camera flash hadn’t woken any of them so the first they knew of the photograph was when the film was developed and in among the many shots of Kelly was one of him lying on the couch, fast asleep with Kelly pressed against him, Shannon asleep beside them, her head on his shoulder, her hand on Kelly’s back.
Past and present combined to make him smile and shake his head all at once before heading into the kitchen and reaching for the coffee pot, making an extra large one that morning.
He had a feeling they were all going to need it.