A/N- Well the end is near. Only one chapter left after this. Apologises for the delay in updating. Life, computer time, lack of motivation of the plot bunnies to finish this or even write much else. I think they have gone on a temporary holiday and are only coming back one at a time. It's taken a while of small doses to get this tweaked enough to be happy with it.

Glad you enjoyed the Kensi/Marcus make up. Hope you enjoy meeting the bump.

Disclaimer in Chapter 1


Chapter 76

Annabel looked up at Callen after a really strong contraction. Her breathing was harsh and there were tears in her eyes.

"I can't do this," she whispered in despair.

Callen cupped her face and looked at her carefully. The contractions had started to get more frequent and stronger since about an hour after they had arrived at the hospital. She'd been doing great so far, managing the pain, though he knew it hurt her. The way she gripped his hand told him that. He really wasn't sure where this doubt was coming from. Something was very wrong and he had no idea what.

"Why not?" he asked gently

Annabel took some deep breaths trying to steady her breathing.

"What if they're wrong?" Her voice was soft and worried.

There was pain in it that had nothing to do with the physical type that they'd been working through and suddenly Callen understood. Before he could say anything to encourage her or reassure her, she continued and the tears fell.

"What if the same thing is wrong as with Zoe? I can't go through that again. I can't."

Callen brushed the tears off her cheeks, his fingers soft and gentle as she lent into the touch. "Annabel, you know we've checked, double checked and triple checked. Even just last week. The doctors say everything is looking great."

There had even been one point that they had dropped into a random obstetrician's office for a check-up that they had never been to – a doctor that no one could have gotten to – after she'd woken up from a nightmare of a repeat of everything with Mitch and Zoe.

"They could be wrong. I don't think I can take that risk. I'm sorry."

Callen pulled her into his arms, held her and pressed a soft lingering kiss on the side of her head. He knew how much she wanted this. They'd been working toward this for so long. She knew the risks and benefits of the different types of birth by heart and hadn't wanted a caesarean. But now she wasn't sure.

"Whatever you need," Callen whispered softly against her head. He wouldn't push her, just support her, encourage her but never push her. He hadn't been through what she had and this was obviously affecting her deeply. "Just remember though, we've done everything to make sure that we knew everything was fine."

Annabel lent into him and took some more steadying breaths. "I'm sorry, I just … I can't lose this one too."

Callen glanced over at the midwife and nodded. The midwife had been briefed on Annabel's previous complications and understood. She left quietly to make the necessary arrangements.

Another contraction hit Annabel and, as they worked through the pain, Callen heard the door open. He raised his eyes briefly to see Pen walking slowly over, giving them time to get through the contraction before she came into Annabel's line of vision. Annabel let out a shaky sigh of relief when it was over. Only then did Pen move closer and put an arm around her daughter. She also reached out and took Callen's hand in hers.

"Are you all right my darlings?" she asked both of them, though her eyes were focused on Annabel.

Annabel looked up at her mother and when Callen saw the look that passed between them he knew that Pen already knew that something wasn't right, which was the reason for her being in here.

"I'm scared Mum, more than scared," Annabel admitted quietly. "I don't want to lose this child. What if they were wrong? What if they missed something?"

Pen brush a soft kiss across Annabel's forehead and squeezed Callen's hand. "Is that what you are worried about or are you worried that someone may have gotten to the doctor like before?"

Annabel shook her head, reassuring Callen that they had actually managed to take care of that fear.

"No, I'm not worried about that."

"You had this pregnancy checked out by multiple doctors. You still aren't sure?" Pen asked gently.

Annabel just stared at her mother, not really able to put into words why this was freaking her out. She knew that they'd had more than one opinion, knew all of the results matched up but she was still terrified that they had missed something.

"Darling," Pen started as she stroked Annabel's hair, "do you remember when you were four? And Milton Pickford tried to teach you how to ride a bike?"

Callen hadn't heard this story before but it was obviously a good one since Annabel smiled, albeit only briefly before another contraction hit. Pen stepped back and allowed Callen to help her through it without interference. Once it was over, Annabel looked at Callen and smiled again.

"Milt was our neighbour, a couple of years older and supposedly wiser," she said. "I wanted to learn to ride my bike before Grey and Dad come home from their boy's day out." Annabel looked at her mother with a slight frown. She wasn't quite sure where this story was going.

"He told you how to ride the bike and you tried. Do you remember what happened?"

Annabel nodded. "I fell down the hill off my bike and scraped my knees and my arms."

"Yes. It didn't work. Because he gave you the wrong information. What happened when your father came home?"

Annabel smiled softly at the memory and Callen started to feel her relax slightly in his arms. "He showed me how to ride the bike." The smile turned into a soft chuckle as she turned her face to Callen and continued. "On my bike. A grown man on a four year old's bike was an interesting sight. Surprisingly, he did actually do it successfully."

"And…" Pen prompted.

"And then I got on, rode the bike and didn't fall off," Annabel concluded.

"So, what I'm trying to say here is that when you have the right information, things work. You didn't have the right details from Milton, but you did from your father. It made all the difference." Pen dropped another kiss on Annabel's forehead before she continued. "Before, with Zoe, they gave you the wrong information. This time, it's different. You've had the same results from multiple sources. You can do this Annabel, the way you did with Zoe. Or not. It is you choice Sweetheart. I just don't want you making a choice clouded by fear. Make it from the information you have and how you feel about that, but please, set the fear aside. Don't let it take this experience away from you."

Annabel nodded but before she could say anything another contraction hit, which Callen was sure was way closer to the last one than they had previously been. Stronger too if Annabel's grip on his hand and look on her face was anything to go by.

"You okay?" Callen asked, concerned, when it was over.

Annabel looked at him, her eyes slightly wider than before. "I don't think I have much of a choice now," she told him slowly. "This baby is ready to meet us." She looked to her mother. "Please Mum, can you find the midwife? This isn't going to take much longer."

Pen left quickly and Callen turned Annabel in his arms and studied her face before he spoke, relieved that the despair and fear wasn't there anymore. "What do you want me to do?"

Annabel smiled. "What you do best. Be there for me. I don't know how yet."

"Always," Callen replied softly and brushed a gentle kiss across her lips, just moments before the next one hit and the midwife, doctor and Pen came back in.

Pen came up beside Annabel. "Would you like me stay?" Annabel nodded. Pen looked at Callen to make sure it was okay with him. He nodded too.

In the end, Callen ended up sitting behind Annabel, with her leaning against him. Pen held one hand, whilst Callen continued holding the other. His other hand alternated between resting reassuringly on the bump and stroking her cheek or shoulder depending on what he felt she needed at the time. Annabel's head dropped back against his shoulder when she pushed and he whispered anything he could think of in her ear.

He'd read the books on how to help her, what not to do, but that went out the window and he let his instincts take over. He knew his wife better than any book could and he must have been doing something right because he didn't experience any snapping, anger or any of those other 'crazy' things women in labour are supposed to do when their partners say or do the wrong thing.

Annabel trusted him, needed him and wanted him there; depended on him to help calm and settle her down between contractions. She turned her head into his neck between pushes and took deep breaths, breathing in that scent that always helped her calm down. It had been too late for any major pain relief by the time the midwife got back with the doctor, so she relied on him. On his scent, on his touch, on his voice to get her through the pain and to help her settle even when all she felt like doing was screaming that it hurt too much and could someone please stop it, she just wanted to go home. Somehow he knew what she needed and when and it worked. He kissed her often, made her smile in the short time between contractions. After that final push, when their child finally arrived, she collapsed back against him and he could feel the relief settle over her.

Then they heard their child's first cry and Annabel started to shake in his arms and the tears fell down her face before making their way down his neck. Callen looked between their child and Annabel and he could see in her eyes exactly what that cry meant. Zoe hadn't cried. It was a sign to Annabel that everything had actually gone well.

The baby was quickly placed on Annabel's stomach, a soft sheet draped over them. The midwife looked up and smiled. "Congratulations, it's a boy. A perfectly healthy boy," she assured them.

Callen and Annabel looked down at their child and neither could resist a smile. Their son wasn't exactly clean or dry or unwrinkled. He was red in his face and was still crying a little. Annabel reached out and stroked his cheek. She whispered softly to him and the baby looked at her, one eye open the other still stuck a little closed, and stopped crying. Callen kissed Annabel on the side of the head and reached out to their son too. He put his little finger in the palm of their child's hand and the tiny, perfect fingers closed around his. It was just a reflex, he knew that, but Callen didn't care; it warmed his heart and he felt his own tears form in his eyes.

"Congratulations," Pen whispered to them both. She kissed her daughter's head and smiled at Callen. "I'll let the other's know. They're all here waiting outside." With that she left the new little family alone, before she even knew the name of her grandson.

Callen gazed at his little family and smiled. Gibbs had said all he needed was a wife and child to complete it and here they were. And he couldn't be happier.

Annabel pulled her gaze away from their son and looked at Callen.

"So, Dad. What's his name?" she asked softly.

Callen looked at her face and smiled at what he saw. She was happy; there was no trace of the pain on her face that she had just gone through. Tiredness yes, but no pain and no fear.

"Name?" Annabel prompted with a little grin. "You did choose one didn't you?"

"I did," Callen nodded. Annabel had left the name up to him. She'd already had the privilege of naming Zoe, so she was giving him that same chance. Next time, if there was another child, they'd agreed they would figure that one out together.

"Thomas Caleb Callen."

Annabel stared at him for a moment, looking shocked at his choice. Callen smiled again.

"Two men who have made us what we are in some way. Two men who, if he turns out anything like either of them, will be a lovingly, caring and protective man. A man worthy of those names."

He'd learnt enough about his father and Tom from Rebecca and Annabel to know that.

Annabel felt the tears fall from her eyes. "Thomas Caleb," she repeated. "I like it. I like it a lot."

Callen looked down at their son, just as the midwife came over.

"We need to do those checks again and weigh him. We'll just be a minute."

Callen and Annabel both nodded. The midwife carefully took their son and both watched as she moved only a few steps away.

Annabel looked back to Callen. "I honestly thought you'd put Sam into the name."

Callen grinned. "I was going to but Thomas Caleb Samuel Callen seemed a bit too much of a mouthful. We'll do it for the next one."

Annabel raised her eyebrows and looked at him curiously. "You want to go through all this again?" she asked.

"That will depend on whether you are up for it," Callen replied seriously. He wasn't going to push, but he was more than happy for his family to expand. Even though he really didn't know how things would go with him as a father, he was confident with his family around and Annabel by his side, he'd do a pretty good job. Plus, he had a good idea of what not to do and that had to give him a definite advantage.

Annabel rested her head against his shoulder and their eyes turned to their son as she answered.

"Figure I can handle it again, as long as you're by my side."

"Always," Callen whispered as the midwife brought little Thomas back to them. She placed him on Annabel's chest and again he stopped crying when she touched him. Callen smiled at the thought that their son found her touch just as comforting as he did.

Annabel's eyes were still on their son, though her question was most definitely directed at him. "What are we going to call him? Thomas, Tom or Tommy?"

"I think Tommy for now," Callen said. "The other's seem a bit too grown up."

"Tommy," Annabel whispered as she stroked the little boy's cheek. "Sounds good."


It ended up being half an hour later when Callen finally left the room to see those waiting patiently for them. Annabel and Tommy had managed to have that first vital feed. Another milestone that had been extremely important to Annabel and one he hadn't wanted to miss. The midwife was helping get them cleaned up and ready to move out of the delivery suite to the private room that had been arranged.

Sam was the first to spot him and was out of his seat quickly. Callen smiled at the excitement on his partner's face.

Callen knew Pen would have told them it was a boy and that they were doing well, but given that they were all here, they obviously wanted to hear it directly from him that everything had gone well or were waiting for a name.

Callen walked over to them. Such a big family. His mother, Mary and Grace were there. Hetty (who for some reason pulled out her phone when she saw him), Sam, Nate and even Eric. Kensi was standing next to Marcus, their arms around each other. Callen caught a twinkling on her finger from the lights and smiled. Obviously those two had sorted things out. Then there was Pen and Nic, Grey and Olivia. Annabel's parents had flown in two weeks ago to make sure they were here for the big event. They were staying with Grey and Olivia.

"They are both doing great," Callen assured them all. "We all are."

"Name G. Don't make me hurt you," Sam demanded, though Callen knew it was just teasing. He grinned back at Sam.

"Thomas Caleb Callen. Seven pound five. 53 cm. Perfect."

Rebecca stepped over to him and hugged him tight. He returned it easily.

"Congratulations," Rebecca said softly in his ear. When she pulled back Callen could see the tears in her eyes. He knew how much it meant to her that things had come so far in the relationship between them that he had chosen to include his father's name in his son's.

The hugs came thick and fast after that, from everyone and he didn't mind. It was only when Hetty hugged him and held out the phone that he realised she'd been calling Gibbs and still had him on the line. When everyone had finished, Callen glanced briefly at his watch and noticed it had just gone half five in the morning. He was tempted to send them home but Annabel wanted to introduce Tommy to the family before they left; especially Pen, Nic and Grey. After that they had agreed it would just be the three of them for the rest of the day and visitors could come back tomorrow. He asked them if they'd mind staying for just a little longer and they all happily agreed.

Once Annabel and Tommy were settled in the room, everyone filtered in slowly, taking turns. One or two at a time.

First was Pen and Nic. Callen saw the delight, the love, and the tears in their eyes. He knew how emotional this time must be for them. This was a whole different experience to what they had with Zoe. This time everything was perfect. The way it should be. They both had a brief hold of Tommy before they left. Their grandson remained quiet and peaceful in their arms. Callen watched Nic's reaction in particular, knew the relief that he saw on his Father-in-law's face was similar to the relief Annabel had felt when she heard Tommy cry that first time.

Hetty and Rebecca came next, two doting grandmothers. Both were delighted with the new addition to their family. They didn't stay long, just enough to give them all a gentle hug and tease Callen that Tommy looked nothing like him, except for the eyes which were, of course, blue. Once they left Annabel looked at Callen and smiled.

"They might not think he looks like you but he has my heart just as much as you do. And if his eyes stay blue, I'm going to be in trouble."

Callen dropped a kiss on his wife's lips. "Can't resist them can you?" he teased.

"Can't resist you," Annabel replied. She looked back at Tommy before she returned her gaze to him. She grinned, shaking her head lightly. "I'm definitely in so much trouble with the two of you."

"For?" came Grey's voice from the doorway.

Callen and Annabel turned to see him and Olivia standing there patiently.

"Hi," Annabel said softly.

Grey walked over to her, Olivia followed slowly.

Grey took Annabel's hand and kissed her on the cheek. "You did it."

"Yep, we did." Annabel smiled at her brother and watched as he looked down at his little nephew. She saw the tears and, due to that freaky connection the two of them had, felt the emotions that were overwhelming Grey at that moment. She squeezed his hand gently. "Do you want to hold him?"

The excitement on Grey's face made Callen chuckle slightly. It reminded him of Sam's look. Without waiting for a verbal answer, Callen carefully lifted Tommy out of Annabel's arms and handed him to Grey. Olivia stood next to her husband and wrapped her arms around him.

"He's beautiful, Annabel," Olivia said in a gentle, quiet voice.

"Yeah," Grey agreed, his voice so thick with emotion. He stroked Tommy's cheek carefully and moved the blanket a little so he could put his much larger hand over the tiny chest. He placed a gentle kiss on his nephew's forehead.

Annabel looked between Grey and Callen and smiled. Callen could see the tears in her eyes and bent closer. "You okay?" he asked quietly.

Annabel nodded and glanced at Grey. "He needed this. To know everything was all right."

Callen looked back and realised there was more behind Grey's actions then just being overwhelmed with a new family member. The touches had been to feel the warmth, the moving of the blanket to touch the chest had been so he could feel the movements of Tommy's breathing and the strong fast beats of the tiny heart.

Grey had been with Annabel that day with Zoe. He had held Zoe as well, felt the slowing of the breathing and the heart and the cooling of her body. Callen could see it in Grey's eyes. He was surprised how easily he was able to read the emotion there. Grey needed to feel everything was right with Tommy, not just be told.

Mary, Grace, Sam, Nate and Eric filtered in turn, just for a couple of minutes each. Mary, Grace and Sam were quite comfortable holding Tommy. With Sam though Tommy looked a lot smaller than he really was. By the time Nate and Eric came in, Tommy was asleep. Nate had a hold, a softness creeping over his face before he went to pass the baby to Eric, who promptly stepped back and refused. Callen raised his eyebrows and waited. Eric blushed and told them that he had a habit of waking sleeping babies. They just seem to wake up whenever he held them, no matter how long ago they went to sleep. He didn't want to risk that. He was willing to hold Tommy, just as long as he was already awake.

Then came Marcus and Kensi.

Annabel looked at Marcus and smiled. "I guess I'm not in trouble for interfering then?" she teased.

Marcus stepped over to her with a stern look on his face. "Not for interfering but for not telling me you were already in labour when I was dumping on you about how much of an idiot I was. You told me it was just an active night."

Marcus looked down at the sleeping baby in her arms. He reached out and gently brushed the little fingers and smiled softly.

"Well, it was. Just not active in the normal way." Annabel looked between the two of them and smiled again. "I take it you two sorted things out since you are in the same room."

Kensi stepped up beside Marcus and smiled at Annabel. "All sorted. We both reacted badly but we both know what we want."

"And that is?" Annabel prompted.

Marcus reached for Kensi's hand and lifted it. Annabel smiled in delight. "Congratulations. You definitely deserve each other."

Kensi lent forward and kissed Annabel on the cheek. "Thank you," she whispered. "For accepting me."

Annabel smiled back. "Right back at ya. You accepted me too."

Kensi grinned. "Yeah, well. You made him," indicating in Callen's direction, "better. He's more fun these days." She stepped back next to Marcus and slipped her hand into his.

"I was always fun," Callen retorted.

"Never said you weren't, just that she made you more fun."

Callen rolled his eyes and grinned. "Ditto on Marcus for you."

Annabel yawned and Callen chuckled as she tried to fight it. "All right you two. Go get some sleep," he said.

"We get the hint. You want to be alone with your wife and son. We're going."

Callen walked them to the door and closed it quietly behind them. He returned to the double bed and settled himself down next to Annabel and Tommy.

"How are you doing?" Callen asked softly as he snuggled up next to them and rested his hand gently on Tommy's back.

"Tired but happy," Annabel said softly as she lent her head against him and her fingers stroked the soft hair of their son as he continued to sleep peacefully in her arms.

"Makes three of us then," Callen agreed. He looked down at her face and could see her eyelids dropping. "Let me take him. You get some sleep."

Annabel looked up and bit her lip. Callen smiled. He could see how reluctant she was to let Tommy go. He knew it wasn't personal, just that she needed to be close to Tommy – for reassurance.

"I'll be right here. Right next to you," he assured her.

Annabel shook her head, common sense forcing its way through the fear that occasionally reared its head. Every step with Tommy was one step closer though, one more thing that hadn't happened with Zoe.

"You need sleep too," she said. "We'll put him in the crib. We'll all get some sleep."

Callen nodded and carefully took Tommy from her. He made sure he was securely wrapped in the soft baby blanket that Hetty had given them and placed him in the crib just beside the bed – within reach of Annabel.

Annabel turned on her side so she was facing the crib and Callen slipped back into bed right behind her. She settled back against him. He covered them with the sheet and blanket and wrapped an arm around her.

"I love you," Callen whispered softly. "You were amazing."

"So were you," Annabel whispered back so quietly he almost missed it. Callen listened carefully and smiled when her breathing quickly settled into an even and relaxed rhythm of sleep. He followed quickly, though not as deep as normal. He was tuned into both his wife and son in case they needed him.