A/N: My answer to the Christmas word challenge at Navy NCIS Fic Yahoo Group in which to use the following words: Christmas tree; mistletoe; snowman; reindeer; baubles; lights; candles; presents; tied in a bow; wrap/unwrap).

Christmas at NCIS

by Lizabeth S. Tucker

Special Agent Tony DiNozzo stood in the hallway near his desk and considered the possibilities.

"Tony, what are you doing?" asked Tim McGee as he arranged his small desktop Christmas tree near his computer screen.

"I'm trying to find the best place to put this." He showed McGee a small ball of green and white.

"What is that?"


McGee walked to stand beside Tony, staring up at the high ceiling. "I don't think it'll work. You'd need a ladder to hang it up. And then it would be too high up for anyone to see it."

Tony frowned. "So if I did kiss anyone…"

"…they'd slap you," McGee finished.

"That won't work." Tony bit his lower lip, still deep in thought.

"What about the elevator? It's low enough that you can easily hang it up and it can be seen if you bring their attention to it."

"Good idea, Probie." Tony reached back to desk for a strip of tape, then sauntered over to the elevator doors, reaching up to tape the ball of mistletoe into place.

As his arms were stretched over his head, the silver doors of the elevator opened and he found himself engulfed in a tight hug. He glanced down with a grin. "Hey, Abs."

"Hey, yourself, Tony. Ohhh, mistletoe!" She stood on her tiptoes and smacked her lips against his.

Tony stepped back and checked that the tiny ball was square in the middle of the elevator door frame. "Perfect." He then looked down at Abby's outfit. "Huh. Don't think I've seen a skeleton snowman before."

"Isn't it cute? I found it at this little shop in Baltimore. Oh, and this is for you." Abby handed Tony a brightly wrapped present in red paper with black spiders wearing Santa caps.

He slowly unwrapped the package, then a smile spread across his face. "Abby, this is terrific!" He pulled out the DVD and began reading the back. "Wow, look at all the special features."

"What is it, Tony?" McGee asked, trying to peer over his partner's shoulder.

"The special edition version of The Maltese Falcon. I was planning to get it next week. Thank you, Abby," Tony said, sweeping up the Goth forensics' expert into his arms in an enthusiastic hug, tight enough to make her squeak.

"DiNozzo, let Abby breathe," Gibbs said as he stepped out of the elevator.

"Merry Christmas, boss," Tony caroled, just about to step forward.

"Oh, oh, oh, mistletoe!" Abby squealed as she threw herself at Jethro Gibbs, the team leader.

At first startled by the assault, Gibbs' blue eyes began to gleam as Abby laid her warm lips on the older man's own. "Merry Christmas to you, too, DiNozzo. And to you, McGee." He smiled at the female bundle in his arms. "And most definitely to you, Abby."

The elevator doors swished open again, this time depositing Ziva David, the Mossad agent who was seconded to NCIS for an unspecified time period. Once again, Tony stepped forward, but this time was frustrated by the appearance of Doctor Mallard. Ducky quickly spotted the mistletoe and took advantage of the situation.

Ziva jumped back, her instinctual reaction one of protection. "Doctor?"

Ducky pointed up. "Mistletoe, my dear. An American custom that I heartedly approve of."

"I have never understood how this parasitic plant became such an invitation to kissing," Ziva said.

"I can answer that," Ducky said, not noting the smirks on the faces of the others. "Let's go to the squad room and I'll explain."

The group moved to their desks, Tony pulling two extra chairs over for the medical examiner and Abby.

"Thank you, Anthony."

"You're welcome, Duck."

"The lights outlining your computer monitor are quite beautiful, the way they twinkle."

"Yeah, I thought they added a festive touch."

Ducky settled himself in the chair and gazed about the area. "Now, where was I?"

"You were going to tell the story of mistletoe," Abby reminded him.

"Ah, of course. Ziva is correct in that mistletoe is a parasitic plant. It is usually found in amongst the branches of hardwood trees, such as oaks and apple trees. The waxy berries can be white or red and are popular with birds. The name is actually an old Anglo-Saxon word which can be translated as dung twig. There are many different legends and myths associated with this particular plant, but the one that you would be interested in deals with the thought that it was a sexual symbol, due to the consistency and color of the berry juice. The habit of kissing under the mistletoe is believed to be from the Vikings."

"Isn't there more to how it was supposed to be done, Dr. Mallard?" McGee asked softly.

"Quite right, Timothy. Every time a man kisses a woman under the mistletoe, he is supposed to remove a berry. Then when the berries are gone, so are the kisses."

"I remember reading that any single woman who is kissed under the mistletoe will be married within a year," Tim added, smirking at a suddenly aghast Tony.

"But this plant is poisonous, is it not?" Ziva asked.

"Yes, my dear, it is. It is simply used for decoration during the holidays, but one must be careful if there are children or animals about."

Two special agents from another team came into Gibbs' area, one carrying a plate of holiday cookies in the shapes of reindeer and covered with green Saran Wrap tied in a bow on top.

"Gibbs, we wanted to bring you a little something to munch on when you're working tomorrow." Special Agent Carlos Gutierrez pulled a large bottle of non-alcoholic apple cider and a small bag from his coat pockets. "My wife recommended heating this up in a cooker with a few cloves and a stick of cinnamon. I think there's a crock pot in the break room. I brought the cloves and a small stick for you to use."

"And I brought some sugar cookies to eat with the cider." She handed them to Tony, but Tim quickly swooped in and took the plate away, placing it on Gibbs' desk. "I can't tell you how much I appreciate that you and your team volunteered to work for us for the next two weeks, especially being on call on Christmas Day. I know my kids are happy that I'll be home to watch them unwrap their presents."

"Don't mention it. We're all single with no local family members. It made sense to let those of you with families and plans to enjoy their holidays."

"I noticed your tree, Tim, and thought you might like to put these baubles on it." Carlos said, handing still another bag to the younger agent.

"Cool! Thanks, Agent Gutierrez." He held the bag up to show Abby the tiny ornaments inside.

"You're welcome. And call me Carlos."

"Yes, sir…Carlos."

Once the other agents left, Tony reached for the plate, untying the wrap and shoving a tiny reindeer cookie into his mouth whole. Once he had swallowed it, he held a finger up to Ziva. "I've got something for you, Zee-va!"

"Oh, joy," she muttered, watching him suspiciously as Tony reached into his bottom desk drawer. Her frown turned to a sweet smile when he pulled out a menorah. "For you. I know Hanukkah started last night and, while we can't light the candles inside the building, you could still put them in their holders each evening."

"Tony, that was…thank you," she leaned forward and kissed him softly on the cheek.

Gibbs answered his phone. "Gibbs. Where? We'll be there in twenty minutes." He turned to the suddenly alert team. "We have a domestic involving a Navy lieutenant putting her husband in the hospital. The local police are there now. Let's load up and get back to work."