Hi. This is a one shot considering Thanksgiving. I really wanted to publish it earlier but the Author's Block and some health issues prevented me. Well, writing that one shot means that it might take a little longer to update Familiar Faces. Sorry about that.
Warning: This chapter isn't edited and corrected by Beta so forgive me for my grammar errors. Unfortunately English isn't my first language.
Disclaimer: I own only that story not the characters.
When Tony was little child, he was thankful. He had a happy and rich family. Back then, when Tony's mother was alive, Senior wasn't a con man. If anything he was a decent man, a loyal husband and a good father, so Tony had everything he was asking in his life.
The first Thanksgiving after his mother died, Tony was thankful for every day of the year that his father wasn't coming home drunk. Those days where few, but at least then, Senior wasn't the monster he was abusing him both mentally and physically but reminded him of the erstwhile good father, even if he wasn't caring as he was when his wife was still alive.
The Thanksgivings which followed the years he was in board schools and RIMA, Tony was thankful, he wasn't home. He didn't only get away from Senior's abuse but also he wasn't there to see the ultimate moral degeneration of his father with the dissolute life he was leaving and the endless parades of girlfriends and wives. Tony didn't live that at first hand and he was grateful about that.
The first year on OSU Tony had been very thankful. He had just won a scholarship and in combination with the fact that Senior disowned him, it was the first thing he had accomplished by himself. The Thanksgivings of that year, Tony wasn't only grateful but also proud of himself.
The year he met Gibbs, he was thankful because for the first time, after many, many years he felt as a part of a family. Although he knew the ex-Marine for few months only, he grew to love him as a father, with Abby and Viv Blackadder as sisters and Ducky as the grandfather he had never met. Tony also felt thankful that year because he got engaged to Wendy the love of his life, or at least that was what he believed back then. On the contrary, the following Thanksgiving, few months after that woman left him at the altar, Tony felt grateful that the wedding never happened. He had realized that Wendy would have been his disaster at the end and the divorce between them would have been inevitable.
The following years every Thanksgiving was thankful for everyday of his life. Work, the expensive Italians suits and women were his only worries. He had no responsibilities for anyone. He had no family, no kids no wife to care but he was mostly concerned with taking care of number one. He loved that life and he was grateful for living it.
The Thanksgiving after Kate's death, he was thankful that Gibbs had managed (or at least what he believed for years) to plant a bullet on Ari's head, the bastard who killed his surrogate sister. But that year, he was thankful for one more thing. He was thankful for meeting Ziva David, a woman who could needle him and compete against him. A woman who had strength, courage and mystery. A woman full of fire. She was the reason that an unprecedented sentiment of had overtaken him, a feeling that he had never felt with another woman before, not even Wendy. Since the day he met her, Tony was thankful he could see Ziva everyday. He was thankful that he could see her Mona Lisa smile, her brown curly hair. He was thankful that he managed to taste her lips when they were undercover, those lips who loved to watch Ziva subtly bite them while she was staring at him in the eyes with a seductive look. He was thankful every day, every Thanksgiving for years, until he felt the need to be more thankful. It was the year they rescued her from Somalia, for the fact they found her alive on that terrorist camp. He was grateful she could have the American Dream even if it was with another man like Ray.
The year of Dearing's bombing, Tony was thankful. All members of the Team Gibbs were alive but most of all, he was thankful that he and Ziva were closer than ever. When they were trapped in the elevator, many things had changed between them. He had formed an opinion that they could have something more than simple partnership and friendship in the future. But he couldn't predict the events that followed. He couldn't predict Eli's death, Parson's investigation, Adam, the resignation of the team. He couldn't predict that Ziva wouldn't have returned from her summer trip to Israel. He couldn't believe that the next 3 Thanksgivings would be thankful for each day he was managing to live without Ziva as she was thousand miles away.
And now, this year's Thanksgiving, Tony was in Paris, along with his daughter, Ziva's daughter, Tali so they would make a fresh start. They were walking together on the streets where he had walked with Ziva, years ago, when they were there to pick up a witness. It was a route that both he and Tali were following every day, so he would show his little daughter the places he had seen with her mother while they were in the city of love. He didn't hope he would find her in the crowd. Ziva was dead. It had been months he had the news by McGee and Abby for Ziva's loss. If Mossad had mistaken, she would have showed up already, she would have figured out a way to contact them. Tony kept walking along with his daughter on the Place Saint Michel square until they headed for the café he had gone with Ziva when they had first visited Paris. Both he and Tali were patronizing it every single day, sitting on the same table. The waiters didn't know the significance of sitting always on that particular place but Tony was appreciated that the table was always reserved for them.
"There you go." Tony carried Tali to their small table, setting her down in one of the chairs.
The little girl just giggled. Tony felt heartache, seeing her. He felt someone had ripped his heart out off his chest. She looked like so much like her mother. He shut his eyes, so he would control himself and not cry. There were days like this one, her birthday, the anniversary of their first meeting, Christmas and New Year's that he missed her more and he knew that year with Tali, Ziva's absence would be harder.
"Hungry?" Tony asked opening his eyes.
"Coissant!" Tali exclaimed happily.
He smiled softly. "You know something, Talia?" he let each word slip out of his mouth slowly, afraid his voice would crack if he spoke quicker. "Today is Thanksgiving." he went on, buttoning Tali's fur coat. "And people during that day are thankful for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year."
"And you know one more thing, Love Bug? This year and every year from now own, I will be thankful only for one thing. You." he told in a sing sang voice and tapped her nose with his index finger.
"Ima?" Tali asked with curiosity.
Tony's smile faded upon hearing the word that came out of his daughter's mouth. Few days after their first meeting Tali realized that Ziva was gone. His heart clenched every night she screamed in her sleep, asking her mother repeatedly. It had taken weeks to calm herself down. She hadn't stopped asking her but she had used, as much as a two year old child could, to live without her.
"Yes baby." he swallowed hard a lump in his throat as he tried to chock on his sob. "I'm thankful for meeting her. I will be always thankful for her because the best gift she could have ever given to me was the honor that I have found in fatherhood." he leaned forward to kiss Tali's top of the head. He could feel tears burning the corners of his eyes. He missed her as Hell and truth be told a part of him had died the moment his colleagues announced her death.
"Ima." Tali told once more and reached out to hug Tony. "Ima, Ima, Ima!" he kept repeating like a mantra more excitedly.
Tony smiled slightly. "I know sweetheart. I miss her too." he confessed and tried to catch his daughter so he would lift her up into his arms.
Tali drew away. "Ima!" she squealed with delight and tried to pull herself out of the chair.
"Where are you going lady?" Tony restrained his daughter from standing up. He was afraid that she would run off. He couldn't lose her too. Tali dropped back into her chair again, with frowned brows. Her narrowed eyes had utterly shocked him at how much she looked like Ziva's every time she got mad with his heart swelling in his chest from pain at that sight.
"Ima!" Tali shouted, furious at her father's attitude. "Ima! Ima! Ima!" she chanted. She was swinging back and forth, pointing with her index finger to something behind his back and over his shoulder.
"Sweetheart," Tony addressed his daughter. "I know you miss Ima but-" It was the only thing he managed to say when turned around and looked at in the direction that Tali was pointing.
He froze at the sight in front him being wide eye and not sure he was seeing things right. She was there. Alive. In the flesh. She was visibly tired and her body frame leaner than she had been the last time they had met but not as skinny as she was when they had brought her back from Somalia. Nerveless, whatever hardship had endured her life during those months, she didn't stop being beautiful, she didn't stop being the woman he loved. Tony kept staring at her unable to utter a word. He was so shocked, so surprised that he didn't realize Tali pulling herself out of the chair so she would run to her mother. He only came down to earth when he saw Ziva embracing his little girl. His heart skipped a beat. It wasn't a dream after all. It was the reality, the outcome he yearned for months but never believed it would happen. Tony made a few steps towards her and Tali but he stopped immediately. It would be unfair to his daughter if he ruined the moment with her mother. He had never seen so much emotion as he did watching Ziva pick their daughter off the ground and swing her in her arms. Tony watched in complete and utter silence as Ziva set Tali back on the ground, but kept Tali wrapped securely in her arms. He stopped breathing when she looked up from her daughter and unto him.
"Hello, Tony." She had rehearsed her speech before meeting him many times, but when the time came she hesitated. She chickened out for once more. She and he, eyes locked.
Tony took a few steps forward and stopped in front of her few feet away silent. His heart was beating 500 times a second seeing her. Grief replaced by happiness in a blink. He knew that they would make their relationship work eventually but he still needed a bit time to process it.
"I'm sorry." Ziva said moments later, looking nervous at the same time.
Tony's countenance did show an emotion but she couldn't detect what it was. She couldn't understand the look in his eyes: if he was mad at her, if he was happy for seeing her or not. Tony opened his mouth as if he were going to say something. But he didn't. He remained silent. Once again Ziva felt worried for his attitude, for the lack of his words. What could he say about her effort to justify her cowardice to tell him she was pregnant with his child? How could she justify the fact she never told him about Tali? However, if there was any chance of being a family, she had to talk to him, to make him understand her decisions.
"I'm sorry." she repeated more determinedly. "I'm sorry for not telling you about my pregnancy." she began. "I...I didn't do it because…because I never wanted you to do the one thing you had to do eventually." she went on. "Give up your job, the sacrifices you have made to get where you are." she told further. "It was unfair to you." she lowered her eyes and looked at Tali.
Tony did the same with Ziva resting his eyes on his daughter. He was seeing the love, the woman of his life, ruffling the curly hair of Tali. There were still times he found difficult to believe he was a father a 2 two year toddler. However every time he was brought back to reality he felt very proud, completely content, considering it as the greatest achievement ever. Tony looked back at Ziva. He was expecting further explanations for the reasons she kept Tali's existence secret from him, because he wasn't convinced by what Ziva had told him earlier.
"Few months after she was born, I decided to tell you everything." she sifted her gaze to him. However, I was informed that you had already moved on, your old partner from Philadelphia." she clarified. She felt devastated about Tony's relationship with Zoe, after a phone call to Abby. She couldn't disturb his recent established life. She couldn't unbalance Tali's life. "I couldn't just pop back into your life because we had a child together."
"But you had no right to keep her away from me either."
Tony's statement was a slap in Ziva's face. Maybe it was too late. Maybe she had already destroyed whatever happiness there was in store for them.
"Can you at least tell me the reason you didn't search for us all those months?" he asked raking his air with fingers. "The reason you didn't contact us?"
"I was in coma." Ziva told and Tony's eyes widened. Although all those months he believed she was dead, his heart sank upon finding out what happened to her. He didn't expect that kind of answer. He assumed she hadn't found out about Kort's elimination or she thought they were more people connected to him and she had to fall off the grid.
"After the farmhouse was attacked I was severely injured. Orli didn't tell you anything when she came to D.C. and when you visited Israel because the doctors didn't know if I would have ever woke up, how I would have woke up. I was in coma all those months." Ziva informed with a heavy sigh. "I woke up a week ago and the moment I was released from the hospital. I caught the first flight to Paris."
Tony didn't say anything. He remained silent trying to comprehend her words what she had been through. His eyes focused on Ziva. She seemed worried she didn't receive any answer by him.
"Look Tony I'm sorr-"
She hadn't the chance to complete her sentence as he dragged her into his arms. "You are alive." he breathed, burying his face his her curly hair. "You are alive." he repeated and kissed the top of her head.
Ziva nodded into his chest ne of her hands curling into a little fist around his jacket. She had missed his scent, his hugs, his touch. She had missed him. Ziva raised head and looked up in his eyes. They were full with love, surprise, and happiness.
He didn't let her finish placing his index finger on her lips. He didn't need the words that they were going follow because her eyes mirrored the doubt the fear if everything is to be okay.
"We will make it work." he told her without hesitation and crashed his lips against hers. That year's Thanksgiving will be the best of his life.
That's it. Thank you for reading. Merry Christmas and Happy New year.