Author: brightblue PM
Missing scenes/post-episode for "Faith." Tony and Ziva exchange gifts. Holiday, Tiva fluff.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Tony D. & Ziva D. - Chapters: 3 - Words: 9,349 - Reviews: 87 - Favs: 104 - Follows: 42 - Updated: 12-31-09 - Published: 12-17-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5586993
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Finally! The rest of the story! :-) Warning: more fluff ahead. Thanks to all of those who took the time to read and review, nothing makes me happier than a review alert in my inbox. It's even better than Christmas cookies for dinner. Yeah, I said it. I hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year!!!
Sadly, I do not own anything here except the silly plot. Spoilers ahead for It's a Wonderful Life...but if you haven't seen it before, really, you deserve to be spoiled. And probably shouldn't be reading this when you could be watching that.
Tony's Car, 7:57pm
They were never going to make it to Gibbs' place on time, though Tony doesn't think they are doing too badly given the short notice.
After reluctantly separating from Ziva in the stairwell, they agreed that he would swing by the grocery store for dessert and the staples needed for their Christmas Day celebration. In the meantime, Ziva would head back to her place to grab some wine. Tony offered to pick up Ziva from her apartment after his grocery store run because, after all, why should they drive separately in this global climate crisis?
Secretly, he hopes that Ziva will be up for staying the night at his place. He even bought pancake mix for breakfast.
Double parking in front of Ziva's new apartment (located rather conveniently close to his), he sends her a text that he has arrived and begins to wait. He does a quick check of his hair in the rearview mirror and is pleased that he was able to tame it back into submission after Ziva had her wicked way with it.
In less than two hours, his relationship with Ziva has changed completely. Abby said it right before: it's definitely a Christmas miracle. Tony finds himself whistling along to a holiday tune on the radio. He can't remember the last time he was this excited and anxious for a date, maybe Maryanne Farwell in the 7th grade? And it's not even like this is a date date. He would hardly qualify being forced to spend time in the presence of Gibbs a romantic, sexy time, but nevertheless, he finds himself eager to see Ziva again, like he hasn't just kissed her goodbye less than a half an hour ago.
He smiles at the thought. He wonders when he'll get to kiss her again.
Catching Ziva's approach out of the corner of his eye, he does one last check of his hair before hopping out of his car to go open the passenger side door for her. The Mona Lisa smile on Ziva's face fades into a frown at his chivalrous gesture.
"Tony?" She looks up at him in question. "You do not have to…"
Tony shrugs, holding the door sheepishly. "The holiday spirit has overcome me."
With a huff that doesn't exactly hide her renewed grin, Ziva slides into the passenger seat. She tosses an overnight bag into the backseat and Tony can't hide the look of delight that crosses his face.
"Do not get any ideas!" She is quick to say as she turns back around in her seat. But the glimmer in her eyes reminds Tony that this woman is a trained seductress and the ideas that are currently streaming through his mind didn't just materialize out of nowhere. She deserves at least some of the blame.
It's been a long four years.
Shaking his head clear, Tony chuckles, shuts Ziva's door, and jogs back to his side of the car.
He starts whistling a tune without thought as he starts up his car. He catches Ziva watching him curiously; he smiles in response. It's only then he realizes what song has been running through his mind. He finishes it off with a flourish, "…and dance by the light of the moon!"
Ziva makes a face at him. "You are so weird."
Tony just waggles his eyebrows in response, but thinks he finally understands how Jimmy Stewart felt at the end of It's a Wonderful Life. He sends up a silent prayer of thanks, to any god that will listen, for a second chance with this woman. For a second chance at his own life.
Suddenly overwhelmed by his feelings for Ziva, and unsure how to put them into words both adequate and appropriate, he settles for grabbing her hand instead of speaking. He gives it a quick squeeze. That enigmatic smile on her lips again, Ziva studies him for a moment. Satisfied with whatever she finds in his expression, she leaves her hand in his and returns her focus to the road ahead.
Gibbs' House, 8:21pm
"Ziva! It's a fun holiday song. Stop being such a Scrooge."
Ziva shuffles along after Tony as they make their way to Gibbs' door. Though the walk is freshly shoveled, the temperature has dropped and the ground is a bit icy. Her boot hits a slick patch and she has to throw an arm out to catch her balance. Tony, so absorbed in defending one of his favorite Christmas songs, doesn't notice.
Righting herself, Ziva tries to remember her argument. "The lyric is what's in this drink! The man spiked her drink, Tony! How is that a cheery song?"
"It just is. Don't over think it," Tony says airily as he moves to open the door. He gestures for Ziva to go first. When Ziva has just about crossed in front of him, he grabs her arm to stop her. Ziva looks up, confused, but calms when she sees the look on Tony's face. It's the one he's been giving her all night—clear, bright eyes and a soft smile.
"What?" She asks, a bit self-consciously. She tries to move past him to open the door. He stops her again. His hand runs down her arm and settles at her waist. She feels the warmth of his touch even through her wool coat.
"Just 'cause I can't really do this in there," he murmurs, affection dancing in his eyes, and starts to lean into her. Ziva responds with only a raised eyebrow, but takes the hint like the trained investigator she is and starts to lean in as well.
"Hey! Look who I found hanging out on the doorstep!"
The door swings open to reveal a smiling Jackson Gibbs.
"Come in before you turn into icicles out there." The elder Gibbs stands aside to grant them entrance.
Ziva sighs at yet another interrupted moment. Tony's grin gains a plastic sheen as he tries not to look disappointed. With a gentle pressure on the small of her back, he ushers them inside.
"What could have possibly taken you two so long?" Abby asks as she appears in the foyer, the fake sweetness in her voice enough to make Ziva wince.
In a unified response, Tony and Ziva hold aloft their gifts of dessert and wine.
"Excuses, excuses," Ducky says with a wink as he pushes past Abby and grabs a bottle of wine from Ziva. "We'll be needing this now."
After a whirlwind of Christmas greetings and a quick pizza dinner, Ziva finds herself wedged between McGee and Jack on the couch with a glass of pinot noir in her hand. She sits back and listens to Ducky tell a story of a Christmas Eve he spent in Paris as a child. The doctor's hands make graceful arcs in the air as he spins his tale. A glass of wine already in her system, Ziva finds herself pleasantly zoned out, watching the faces of her friends in the glow of the crackling fire. Gibbs' living room is more festive and cheery than she's ever seen it. The house is bright and alive with the sound of laughter and the glow of the Christmas decorations.
Abby moves through the room, topping off wine glasses. She finally settles herself in the small space left next to McGee at the end of the couch, causing Ziva to be even more squished between Tim and Jackson. Gibbs watches in amusement from where he hovers at the edge of the room, nursing a mug of coffee. As Tim and Abby bicker over the small space, Jackson puts his arm around her and squeezes.
"I am thankful you are here to celebrate with us," he whispers with a twinkle in his eye. Ziva feels her cheeks warm, wondering just how much the man knows about her disappearance this summer.
"I am grateful to be here," is all she says in response, meaning every word. Jack tunes back into Ducky's story, but doesn't remove his arm. Ziva's eyes lift and immediately find Tony, standing near Gibbs. Meeting her gaze, he gives her an exaggerated wink and nods his head at the arm around her shoulders.
Ziva rolls her eyes at him, but can't hide the smile that blooms on her face. She feels like a schoolgirl again, the attention of the cute boy across the room making her stomach flip and head spin. But then Tony's expression becomes heavier, more intense, as his eyes wander over her figure and her body's reaction is all adult.
As happy as she is to be in the presence of those who are like family to her, she wishes they would all just go away. Only for a little bit. Tony stole that mistletoe from Abby's lab and Ziva isn't done playing Santa just yet.
The conversation shifts and Abby asks for a recount of Tony's gift exchange with Delores.
"Aw, Tony! You probably made her year!" Abby gushes after Tony has told the story. Then, her face darkens, as she adds, "and all Patricia Randal got me was some fancy soap. I hope that wasn't a hint or something."
"It was just a gift, Abs," Gibbs reassures, trying to hide a smirk. Abby tries to cajole an embarrassed McGee into smelling her.
"Yes, well, Agent Cortez presented me with a lovely box of chocolates," Ducky interjects, before launching into a monologue about his favorite type of candy.
Ziva listens to her coworkers detail the generic gifts they received in the Secret Santa exchange and is once again filled with pride at Tony's choice for Delores. Even if it was a little ethically questionable.
"Of course, I wound up with Agent Miller after Ziva bribed me to trade," Ducky continues, a twinkle brightening his eye. He doesn't seem to realize the impact of his revelation as he goes on about his exchange with the newly transferred agent.
Tony, however, doesn't miss a beat. His whole face lights up at the implication. He stands up straighter. Ziva shrinks a little into the couch, sensing Tony's ego is about to take up even more space in the crowded room.
"Probationary Agent David, did you bribe a colleague to influence the outcome of the highly organized Official NCIS Interdepartmental Secret Santa Exchange?" Only Abby's grin displays more wattage than the smile pasted on Tony's face.
Ziva feels the eyes of everyone in the room on her. At least Tim seems as uncomfortable with this line of conversation as she is. Ziva opens her mouth before she's come up with a defense.
"I would not call it bribery in the strictest sense of the term…" Ducky tries to help her out, but it's no use: Gibbs takes up the case.
"People have been transferred to Singapore for far less." Gibbs peers at her over his mug. Ziva shifts in her seat. "I hope you had a damn good reason to break the rules."
Something in his tone of voice tells Ziva that Gibbs is, as always, aware of things he should have no way of knowing and that his choice of phrase is intentional.
She forces herself not to look at Tony, though she can envision the panic on his face. Abby looks like she might explode with their secret. Ziva just keeps her countenance steady, revealing nothing.
"So! Who's up for a game of Pictionary?" McGee suddenly stands up as the tension reaches an unbearable level. "I'll go get the paper."
Abby takes advantage of the out as well and hurries after him. "I'll find the pens!"
"You know, it's really rude to keep the elderly in the dark. What the hell am I missing?" Jackson barks, looking between his son and the remaining members of his team.
Gibbs takes a sip of his coffee. "Not much. Just that it took Ziva rigging a company gift exchange for DiNozzo to finally get his ass in gear."
Tony's mouth drops open and it seems he can't quite decide if he's shocked or offended. "It did not take…. I mean, what?"
With an exaggerated roll of his eyes, Gibbs plucks the plastic mistletoe out of Tony's jacket pocket. He dangles the sprig in the air.
Ziva can no longer hide her amazement at how well and truly Gibbs has busted them.
"Oh! Hey. How did that get there?"
Turning to Tony, Gibbs deadpans, "I don't know, DiNozzo. Why don't you tell me?"
"Well…I…uh…" Tony splutters, looking anywhere but at Ziva for help. "It's a Christmas tradition, you see, and since we didn't really have an official office party this year and that's usually how I meet all the new recruits… It's a silly, juvenile tradition, I know, but it's an effective method if you know how to play it…and how else am I going to score with all the fine ladies?" He finishes lamely.
Hiding her face in her hand, Ziva mutters a Hebrew curse under her breath. Jack chuckles.
Gibbs smacks Tony in the back of the head, earning a strangled noise from Tony.
"I can't believe you needed assistance from a plant," Gibbs smirks as he tosses the mistletoe back at his flustered senior agent. Then, turning, he heads off to the kitchen. "Keep it out of the office or I'll have you both transferred to Singapore!"
Tony catches her eye again and the relief is plain on his features. "Uh, sorry, Ziva, I tried to cover…"
Ziva just shakes her head.
Grumbling, Jackson eases himself to his feet. "I don't know, Ziva. Any man that relies on a ruse to kiss a gorgeous girl probably doesn't deserve the privilege." He winks at her. Ziva laughs.
"I did not need a ruse!" Tony protests as Jackson hobbles by him.
"Whatever you say, kiddo," the old man smirks.
"Ziva?" Tony looks to her for help. Trying to hide her grin, Ziva shrugs.
"Well, ruse or not," Ducky says as he stands. "I'm glad you two finally realized that love is not something to be wasted or ignored. And what a lovely opportunity to take advantage of, Ziva! As Emerson once said, the greatest gift is a portion of thyself."
"Er, right, thanks, Duckman," Tony says as he makes his way over to Ziva on the couch. When Ducky clears the room, Tony offers her a hand.
Accepting his help, Ziva lets Tony pull her up off the couch and into his personal space. She thinks she should be upset or bothered by this rather public unveiling of their nascent relationship, if they can even call it a relationship yet, but Tony looks happier than she's ever seen him and the sentiment must be contagious because her she can't seem to stop her lips from curling up into a smile.
"I guess the cat is out of the cage," Ziva says. She takes the mistletoe out of Tony's hand and tucks it back into his pocket.
"Yes, and the bag, too," he smirks, placing his hands on her hips. Just the barest brush of his thumb across a sliver of exposed skin is enough to make her shiver in delight.
Framing her partner's face with her hands, Ziva leans her forehead against his and grins. "I know. I got that one wrong on purpose."
Tony just laughs and kisses her again. Finally. Ziva melts into his touch.
After a few seconds, she pulls away. She wipes phantom lipstick from his lips. Her body is buzzing, a combination of the wine, holiday cheer, and the heady sensation of Tony's body pressed so closely to hers.
"Perhaps it is time for us to have that Christmas celebration you promised me?" Ziva looks up at Tony from under her eyelashes and relishes the dreamy smile that eases across his lips.
"I'll go get our coats!" He agrees, kissing her quick on the cheek before heading towards the foyer. "You break it to Gibbs that we are leaving."
"Hey!" Ziva protests, not happy with her task.
"Just like I thought—a chicken shit," Jack interrupts from behind Ziva. Turning, Ziva catches a glimmer of amusement in his eyes. Not unlike the look Gibbs gets when he's messing with Tony.
Ziva chuckles. "But I forgive him for it."
"Tell ya what," Gibbs' father says as he advances toward Ziva. "I'll handle my son while you two kids sneak out. I'm sure you've got better things to do than sit around drawing pictures." He winks at her.
"Thank you, Jack," Ziva replies, giving the man a kiss on the cheek. He waves her off with a smile.
"Psst, Ziva," Tony calls from the foyer, waving her coat at her, "Tiny Tim just spilled eggnog all over the boss-man. Let's motor before it congeals!"
They say quick goodbyes to Jackson before stealing off into the cold night.
Tony's Apartment, 4:57 a.m.
Any other day of the year, Tony is content to sleep in until the sun, or his alarm clock, can no longer be ignored.
But Christmas is different.
And even though it has been decades since he has had piles of mysterious presents under the tree to look forward to and even if every year the holiday's luster wears off by six in the morning, his inner five year-old refuses to let him sleep past five on Christmas morning.
There may be no presents under his tree this year, hell, he doesn't even have a tree, but, nevertheless, Santa has left a doozy of a gift in his bed.
Tony props himself up on his elbow to get a better view of the former assassin curled up next to him. Bundled up in one of his old BPD sweatshirts, hair a wild mess, Ziva snores softly into one of his pillows. A shimmer of light catches his eye. He traces his finger over the delicate chain of white gold that rests against Ziva's skin. She had refused to take it off the night before.
Ziva senses his touch and swats him away. She mumbles something in her sleep, burrowing deeper into the pillow.
Grinning, Tony presses a ghost of a kiss to her forehead before bouncing out of bed. As he goes about his morning routine, he finds that things have never looked quite so good on a holiday that has typically brought nothing but gold-embossed disappointments in his past.
He sets the volume low on his sound system and restarts It's A Wonderful Life on the DVD player. Last night, they didn't even make it past George and Mary's fall into the pool before becoming impossibly wrapped up in one another. True to his word, they kept things close to a PG-13 rating. But true to Ziva's word, she did get a little handsy at times. Okay, a lot of the time.
Not that he's complaining.
Tony cannot remember a morning after ever feeling this good. Especially a morning after that didn't involve sex in the technical sense of the word.
Maintaining a running dialogue with the movie playing in his living room, Tony sets to work on making breakfast. He's flipped the last pancake onto a plate when Ziva sneaks up on him from behind, wrapping her arms around his body.
"Merry Christmas, my hairy elf," Ziva singsongs.
Tony makes a face. "There are so many things wrong with that image."
Ziva snorts and runs her hand over his hairy chest. "I disagree."
"Could you make yourself useful and grab the syrup, my little sugarplum fairy?" Tony asks, voice sickly sweet. He manages to duck just in time, feeling a bottle whiz by his head. "Thank you, candy cane!"
A short while later, they have eaten their breakfast and returned to the couch to watch the movie. Ziva is curled up against him, head resting right over his heart. He never would've pegged the ninja as a snuggler but is pleasantly surprised to find her cuddly as a kitten. His attention is only half on the film as he toys with Ziva's hair.
Sunlight is peaking through the curtains now, made even brighter by the blanket of fresh snow covering the city.
"Check it out, Ziva," he murmurs into her ear. She's engrossed by the drama unfolding in black and white on the television and it takes her a moment to respond.
"It's a white Christmas!" He can't keep the delight out of his voice. Ziva tears her eyes from the screen to meet his. She smiles.
"Yes, that's nice," Ziva replies, though he can tell she doesn't quite get it.
"You don't understand. It's a white Christmas!" he starts to sing for her, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas—
"I know the song, Tony."
"…just like the ones I used to know. Where the tree tops glisten and children listen…" He keeps singing right into her ear until Ziva breaks down and laughs.
"Ah, yes, I forgot," she gives up on the movie and turns in his arms to face him, eyes dancing with mischief. "This was another one of my gifts to you. A white Christmas. I knew that Santa was too busy with all the other children to bring you any toys. And because you have no fireplace—
"Santa can come through doors and windows."
"Oh, right, of course, well since you have no tree." Tony starts to protest again but Ziva puts a finger to his lips. He nips at it playfully. "I asked Santa to bring you a white Christmas."
"Ziva, you are truly the best Secret Santa ever," he says before kissing her soundly and, though his tone is one of exaggerated praise, he means every word.
Even if he's pretty sure she beat him in a photo finish.
That damn doll was hard to find.