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Tony pulled out his phone and frowned at the name displayed on it, his stomach dropping in the beginning of fear. Nobody except his father called him, not when email was free. Not that he answered most of the emails, but… “Tim? Everything okay?"

"Tony!" He could hear the genuine happiness in his friend's voice, and began to relax. Nothing bad, then. "Yeah, everything's fine. Good. Great, actually. How about you?"

Tony took the phone away from his ear for a moment to squint at it. McGee sounded…scattered. "We're fine," he replied carefully. "Look, not that it's not good to hear from you, but what's up, really?"

"Um…a lot, actually. I've got some news, that's all. And I…well, I could have emailed you, but I really wanted to tell you myself. I mean, live. On the phone, I mean--"

"Tim!" Tony interrupted. "Delilah okay? The team okay?"

"They're fine. She's fine. We're all--" McGee stopped, cleared his throat, took a deep breath. "Sorry. I just…Tony?"

“Right here, Probie." He let just a hint of impatience creep into his tone, hoping it'd help McGee focus.

"Delilah's pregnant," McGee said in a rush. "She's--Tony, we're having a baby."

"Oh, Tim," Tony breathed. He backed up until his legs hit the couch, and sank down onto it, clutching the phone blindly. "That's…congratulations, man. That's great!"

"Thank you," McGee said automatically, and then took another deep breath. His voice was wavering, Tony noticed. "I…I'm gonna be a dad, Tony."

"You're gonna be a great dad," Tony corrected him firmly. "And Wheels is gonna be a kick-ass mom." He glanced over at the mostly-closed bedroom door, and his eyes were stinging a little but it didn't think it was affecting his voice. "How is she? Everything going good for her?"

"She was sick for a while. Turned out she was a little anemic." McGee’s voice was getting stronger. "They've changed her diet now that they know what's going on, and she'll be fine. There shouldn't be any complications for the pregnancy, and the delivery--well, we don't know yet how that'll go, so we'll just be prepared for whatever comes."

They would be, Tony knew. McGee and Delilah both. They were both good people, strong in their own ways, but together they were stronger than they ever could be apart. That was what a relationship should be like.

He sighed, putting those thoughts away yet again. "I'm glad you called, Tim," he said sincerely. "That's the kind of news that's worth hearing in person. More or less."

"Yeah, not really an email thing," McGee agreed. He was back to hesitant, and Tony tensed a little again. "But there's more."

"It's a boy and you're naming it Jethro?” Tony guessed. "It's a girl and Abby's--oh, God, Abby, how am I not hearing her screaming all the way from D.C.? I'd have figured she'd be--oh, no, wait, Probie, it's twins, isn't it--"

"Tony." McGee just sounded impatient now, and Tony grinned. "No, listen. Yeah, Abby's pretty excited, but she's trying to keep it quiet for now. She found out almost as soon as we did, and we haven't told anyone else yet."

"I hate to break this to you, but if Abby found out, there's no way the entire office doesn't know by now," Tony pointed out. "I love her, but we both know she sucks at keeping secrets."

McGee sighed. "Yeah, we know. We've invited everyone over tonight to tell them, but that's just a formality at this point."

Tony was grinning again, because even though it was likely that he was the last to know anyway, due to Abby's total lack of guile, McGee had called to tell him before they officially told anyone else. That distracted him enough that he'd missed some of what his friend was saying. He tuned back in to hear, "--and her mom's just driving her crazy and we can't--I can't have her upset right now, she's already been through enough, and…well, we figured that the easiest thing will just be to do it now and get it over with."

"Wait," Tony tried, because surely this was not what it was sounding like.

"We can't wait, I just explained that," McGee said impatiently. "It's the only way for Delilah to get some peace and quiet. We'll do it tonight, when they think they're coming over to hear about the baby, and surprise everyone. And then our moms can get on with baby stuff and stop bugging us about the wedding."

"You're getting married tonight," Tony stated flatly, just to make sure.

"Uh…yeah." McGee was back to hesitant again, and Tony didn't want that; didn't want his slowness to comprehend to make his friend think he didn't approve.

He did have one key question before he could jump in wholeheartedly, though. "Delilah's okay with this?”

"It was her idea," McGee responded. "Less stress for both of us, honestly."

"Always knew she was brilliant," Tony said warmly. "Congratulations again, Tim. Wow, this has really been a week for you, hasn't it? Everything's changed." Everything had changed. Everything would be completely different by the time he went back. If he went back. Whatever had gone squishy in his chest at McGee’s news had hardened again and was twisting, and it felt a little bit good but an awful lot sad too, and he didn't really like it.

"Yeah." McGee cleared his throat again. "Look, Tony…I'm really sorry you're not going to be here."

"Yeah." Tony had to stop and clear his own throat as that thought sank in. His probie was getting married, and he wouldn’t be there to see it. He shook his head. "It's okay. It'll be perfect. As long as the two of you are together, that's the main thing.”

“It's just…I'd always thought, if …" McGee hesitated, and just as Tony was about to prompt him, he said it in a rush. "I wanted you to be my best man."

Tony couldn't speak, for a moment. Wasn't sure if he was still breathing.

"I mean, I never really talked to you about it," McGee was continuing nervously. "I just kind of assumed…you know, if it ever came up, I thought I'd ask you then--"

At least four or five "best man" jokes were lining up at the tip of Tony's tongue, but he managed to push them all away. Somehow his eyes were closed, which was good because he could concentrate better, make sure the right words came out instead, the ones that were so much harder to say. "In a heartbeat, Tim. I'd be proud."

"Thanks, Tony." McGee sounded way too choked up, and Tony really, really hoped he hadn't sounded that way too, but he had a sneaking suspicion that he had. "Means a lot."

It might mean a lot to McGee, but it meant immeasurably more to Tony, way down somewhere so deep that he couldn’t admit it, even to himself--that he hadn't been forgotten. That there were people who cared. Let friends get closer, he'd written on his bucket list, years ago, and he hadn't done really well at it overall but then there were moments like this, when he thought that maybe he'd done something right, somewhere.

“So, look, since you can’t be here, I thought maybe I'd Skype you?" McGee offered. "You know, just set up the laptop and point it in the right direction, so you could watch. But then I thought, it's gonna be the middle of the night over there…"

"I don't mind staying up." He might be up anyway. Tali was sleeping through the night most of the time now, but occasionally she still woke with nightmares. The only up side of that was that Tony was usually so exhausted from their days together that his own nightmares were kept at bay; the down side was that he'd realized almost immediately that he'd gladly take them back a hundred times over if he could find a way to keep Tali safe in her dreams, to keep her from waking up screaming ever again, tears streaking down her small face, unable to tell him what had terrified her but sobbing inconsolably for her "Ima".

He wasn't sure about the Skyping thing, though. "Tim," he said slowly. "I'd love to see your wedding, but…if you do something like that, everyone's going to notice. Abby's going to want to talk, and Ducky's going to ask about Tali, and--" And he wasn’t ready to talk to anyone else just yet. "This should be about you and Delilah."

"Sure, Tony." McGee’s tone said he understood what Tony wasn't saying, and Tony wondered when exactly his probie had gotten so perceptive. "Okay, what if I rig up one of our spycams. Put it somewhere no one can see it. You wouldn't be able to talk to us, but you could see and hear."

"Perfect," Tony said, nodding even though McGee couldn't see him. "Don't tell anyone, okay? I don't want…it's just not…"

"I get it, Tony," McGee said patiently, and Tony felt like maybe he really did.

A sudden thought struck him. "No, wait, tell Delilah, otherwise it's kind of creepy. But nobody else."

McGee chuckled. "Will do."

“So, look, McDaddy. Oh, hey, look at that!” Tony took a moment to laugh at his own joke, while McGee groaned in the background. “Never gonna hear the end of that one, let me tell you. Anyway, how far along is she?"

“Ten weeks," McGee said proudly. He hesitated for a moment. "That's…plenty of time. I mean…you'll be back by then, right?"

For the second time in the phone call, Tony couldn't find words.

"Tony," McGee said insistently. "You're coming back, right?"

He didn't know. Three months, and he still didn't know what he should do, where he'd fit in now that his entire life had been shaken up so wildly. Wasn't sure who he was anymore, if he wasn't a Very Special Agent. He had only one constant in his life right now, and she was currently--thankfully--asleep in the bedroom.

McGee was still waiting for an answer. It was time to make at least one decision. Maybe he still didn't know which end was up, but maybe he didn't have to know just yet. "I don't know if I'll stay," Tony said hesitantly. "Not sure where I'm gonna end up. But…yeah. Even if it's just for a little while...I'm coming home."