'Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light…'
Frank Sinatra's low voice floated through the apartment as Ziva worked slowly in the kitchen. Out in the living room she could hear Tony singing along softly as he finished putting the last of the ornaments on the tree. A small fire crackled away in the fireplace, casting a warm glow over the two of them.
Tony had declared that Christmas Eve would be just them. Tomorrow they would pack up all the gifts under the tree and head off to Gibbs' house to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the 'family'. And that's what they were to each other. One big dysfunctional family.
McGee and Abby felt more like siblings to Ziva than Ari and Tali had. Ducky and Palmer were like her wise old uncle and that strange cousin that you're not quite sure how you're related but he's at every family function. Gibbs and Jenny (though she'd never admit it to their faces) were in a way her surrogate parents.
"Well, that's one way to do it, Zee." She looked over at Tony standing next to her and then down at the 'task in her hand'. She had been threading popcorn and cranberries onto a string to hand on the tree but she had gotten distracted and hadn't remembered to alternate, so now there was now about a foot of straight popcorn.
"What is the point of this anyways?" She asked as she began to roughly pull the fluffy kernels off the string. A few pieces crumbled in her hand.
"It's tradition." He stated, taking the string out of his girlfriend's hands. Ziva frowned. Tony had spent the entire Christmas season explaining Christmas traditions to her and most of them didn't make any sense to her.
"Are there any other traditions I need to be aware of? Or have we finally reached the end of the list?"
"I could explain mistletoe to you again." He replied with that classic DiNozzo smile. She smiled too. The first time Tony ever tried to use mistletoe on her, she elbowed him in the gut. "Hey Zee, look." She looked up to find Tony holding a handful of something green over their heads.
"Those are needles from the tree, Tony." She pointed out. He frowned.
"Just shut up and kiss me." She leaned up and placed a kiss that was way too short for his liking upon his lips. "Can't pull anything over on you." He mumbled under his breath.
"What was that?" She asked sweetly.
"Nothing sweet cheeks." He smiled brightly. "Ready to finish the tree?" He held up the now fixed string of edible garland and she followed him into the living room where the tree was set up in a crowded corner with his DVD collection.
As Tony began to wrap the garland around the tree, Ziva couldn't help but wonder what her father would think of her if he saw her celebrating Christmas with her non-Jewish American boyfriend.
She of course had celebrated her own faith and traditions. She had gone to temple (Tony hadn't gone with her but then she hadn't gone to Mass either). She lit the Menorah every night and had even taught Tony and the team how to play Dradle, which had then promptly turned into a fiercely competitive battle between Tony and McGee. Tony, trying to be supportive, had played "The Chanukah Song Pt 1 & 2" and then spent the rest of the night explaining it to her because she had no idea who the majority of the people were.
"A little help here, Zee-Vah." She looked over at her boyfriend and found him entangled in a mess of lights and popcorn. She burst out laughing. "Yeah, laugh it up Ziva. Next year you can decorate the tree." Next year? It made Ziva smiled. Tony was actually going to make a commitment and it was with her.
"What am I going to do to you?" She laughed as she started to untangle him.
"With you, Ziva. What am I going to do with you." He corrected.
"No, I like my way better." Tony saw an evil glint in her eyes.
"Do not worry, my little hairy butt." She emphasized with a slap on the ass. "If you're a good boy, I may let you open your present early." She whispered suggestively. He groaned, really wishing that he wasn't all tangled up in the tree. He'd much rather be tangled up with her. After she finally managed to remove him from the tree and finish hanging the garland, Tony pulled Ziva into his arms and the two stood back to admire their work.
"It's missing something." He declared softly. She frowned. She couldn't think of anything else to put on the tree. It already had lights, ornaments, garland and tinsel, what else was left? "It needs a star." Tony pulled a box off one of the side tables and handed it to her. Inside was a beautiful gold and crystal adorned Star of David that looked almost identical to the one hanging around her neck.
"Tony…I….it's…." Tears filled her eyes and they said everything she couldn't.
"Do you want to put it up?" She nodded and he lifted her up into his strong arms. She carefully placed the star atop the tree and then slid down back to the floor. He kept her tightly in his arms and placed a kiss on the top of her head.
"Merry Christmas, Ziva." She looked up and kissed him properly.
"Merry Christmas, Tony.
'Hang a shining star upon the highest bough, and have yourself a merry little Christmas now'