A/N- Finally finished, as opposed to my other story this one has a typical happy TIVA ending. And why is it whenever there are italics in your story that when you click save it fucks everything up!
Three years later-
My dearest daughter,I must confess that when I received your letter three days prior, my first reaction was one of shock; I thought you were merely trying to play a joke on your poor old father. However, after my sources assured me that you do indeed appear to be serious about this union, I must confess that I was stunned beyond belief.
Perhaps you have been away from Israel for too long and have become accustomed to the different manners of living in Europe and America, if so, then I shan't be angry with you, concerned for your foolishness yes, but not angry. In fact I have already spoken to Director Sheppard about terminating the Mossad Liaison position with NCIS immediately and recalling you home within the week. Her obvious reluctance to acquiesce to my request shows clearly how you have striven to earn my approval within your work life and I feel compelled to confirm that you have rarely failed me in this aspect. However your personal life leaves much to be desired. Admittedly at first I saw no harm in your relationship with Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, assuming that it was a strategic move on your part to ingratiate yourself further within the NCIS MCRT, if this is the case then I must order you from proceeding any further. Marriage to this American Agent is simply an unnecessary step that will, in future, cause more harm than advantage to Mossad and our David reputation...
There was another two pages to the letter but Ziva always found herself unable to read on. She could easily guess at the rest of the contents anyway. Disbelief followed by orders, followed by veiled threats.
She wondered whether Eli David had penned this missive himself or had simply dictated to his secretary, she guessed the former, otherwise the news would likely be all over Israel by now, something her father is not likely to risk giving his opinion on the matter.
Taking a deep breath, she folded the letter in half and pushed it back on the vanity table until it hit the large mirror and was lost amongst the various assorted bottles, jars and containers.
"Mademoiselle, raise your head s'il vous plait"
The hairdresser's soft voice brought her back to the moment and she obeyed the request, smiling as the woman's soft fingers ran through her barely subdued curls and snapped the second antique hair clip into place. The two pieces had belonged to Mrs Mallard and fulfilled part of Abby's requirement for her outfit on that day.
Her wedding day.
Allowed to stand up now, Ziva heard Abby in the next room chattering away to Jenny. Smiling nervously and checking herself in the large mirror one last time. Ziva crossed the bedroom floor and slipped quietly into the living room, biting her lip nervously.
Abby was standing with her back to her but when Jenny gasped she spun around and yelped with happiness.
"Oh my gosh! Ziva..." she stomped her foot and waved her bouquet around dangerously,
"You are so beautiful!"
Ziva smiled thankfully as she moved to the window to gaze down onto the lower rooftop courtyard where the ceremony would take place. She was adorned in an a-line princess wedding dress of satin with lace over the top and an inverted V neckline with a pearl trimmed piece of lace to cover any hint of cleavage for modesty. Under her bust was a champagne coloured ribbon with an antique broach fastened and keeping it in place. The gown had been made for her by a dress maker they'd met when they had rescued her son from a drug cartel in Anacostia. The satin she had already but the lace- Tony had taken three days off eight months prior and disappeared. Gibbs had been furious with the unregistered leave and the rest of the team had been concerned that he was in danger. Until the dressmaker had rung Tim- Tony's best man, to ask if he had returned from Italy yet.
A week before, Ziva had mentioned to Abby that the dressmaker had decided to add lace to the dress, and Tony had overheard, so he had got the measurements from the elderly woman and then flown to Venice to buy yards of the famous handmade material that could only be bought in that ancient city.
Every woman at NCIS had sighed over that romantic gesture.
Ziva, Abby and Gloria the dressmaker had still refused to let him see the gown before the big day.
It was bad luck after all, and they would need all the luck they could get.
Scanning the growing crowd, seeing most of NCIS, half the Navy Yard, a large portion of the FBI and even a few Baltimore PD, CIA, DOD and Secret Service Agents milling amongst the white chairs with the pink hyacinths and the cobblestoned courtyard, she looked in vain for the familiar crown of grey hair that would signify that her father had changed his mind at the last minute and decided to attend the wedding of his only surviving child.
Not even her Aunt Nettie or Uncle Saul had come, though she had sent them plane tickets and booked them rooms at the hotel, both followed her father's lead and sent the invitations back unopened.
A knock at the hotel room door startled her from her reverie before the tears had a chance to escape her eyes. In her emerald green bridesmaid dress, Jenny spun on her heels and opened it to see McGee and Palmer shuffling into the room.
"Uh hey" McGee greeted nervously, pulling at his suit as his eyes swept the room, smiling at each of the women in turn.
"Wow Ziva you look great but uh...don't hurt me okay"
Ziva raised her eyebrows at the weird comment but before she could be worried, McGee pulled a pair of handcuffs from his jacket.
"Apparently its tradition at Baltimore PD for the bride to be handcuffed in case she realises her mistake at the last minute and tries to bolt"
Jenny and Abby had to clutch each other to stay upright they were laughing so hard and even Palmer was smirking as Ziva came forward,
"You are not serious McGee?" she asked, running her eyes over her friends face as he sighed,
"I'm afraid so, but for what it's worth; Gibbs allowed Fornell to bring a gun and has ordered him to shoot Tony if he makes a run for it"
Even Ziva chuckled at that, though she knew that the chances of Tony getting wet feet were slim.
Over the last three years their relationship had gone from strength to strength. They'd found themselves a three bedroom house to call home- admittedly only a ten minute walk from Gibbs but it had been the best house by far. They'd managed to finagle a permanent position as NCIS- Mossad Liaison Officer by going around Director David and getting the board of Directors to voice their approval. Tony had taken some crash courses in Hebrew and Ziva had familiarised him with Judaism for when they had children. She had met his large circle of friends and all of them approved of her, if not of Tony ending his bachelorhood. Their love for one another had grown even stronger but brought with it a sense of independence for the both of them. They no longer manipulated their schedules to spend every waking minute with each other. Tony had begun coaching basketball at a youth centre and Ziva had worked on developing friendships with women outside of the world of intelligence and armies.
One of these friends, a female rabbi named Lynn, her third bridesmaid came into the room and nearly collided with Palmer as he darted out, "Sorry" she called absently,
"Ziva time to go, your father is downstairs"
Lynn had not yet met or been introduced to Gibbs- he had refused to come to the wedding practises, claiming that after four marriages he knew how they worked. So it made sense that she would assume the man that would lead her down the aisle and give her away to be her father. Ignoring the pain in her heart she spun on her heel to pick up the bouquet of white roses which she had seen Palmer tampering with while McGee had been distracting her with the handcuffs, which Abby now held. He had added a pink rose to the middle of the white bouquet and Ziva saw a silver chain tied around the stem with a note attached, curiously, she fished it out and held it up to read,
'To the woman who makes all others pale in comparison. I love you Ziva- T'
"Dammit" Ziva cursed as tears sprung to her eyes, quickly shoving the bouquet into Abby's arms and racing back into the dressing room to duck before the mirror and make sure that her overwhelming love for her soon to be husband wasn't going to make the mascara run down her face. In the next room she could hear Abby, Jenny and Lynn's loud sighs at Tony's romantic gesture,
"He is so sweet" Abby announced and Ziva emerged laughing from the dressing room and hurried to the door, grabbing her bouquet as she passed.
"Are you jealous?" she teased as she stepped out into the hall and made her way down to the elevator that would lead her to the courtyard floor, her bridesmaids hurried after her,
"Totally" Abby joked, "And we've been over this Ziva, I go first"
Abby bounded forward and slid into the miniscule space between Ziva and the elevator, pressing the button and shooting her friend a playful look of triumph before the doors opened to reveal an exceptionally well dressed man.
"Papa?" Ziva blurted, the bouquet nearly falling from her hands in shock as her father reached out to gently shift a stunned Abby from his path, enabling him to step out of the elevator.
"Shalom daughter" he greeted, "I trust you are well?"
Ziva found herself without the power of speech as she stared in shock at her father, the man whom she was so sure had disowned her following her engagement to Anthony DiNozzo, the man whom until a minute ago she was sure was boycotting her wedding. He gave each of her bridesmaids a pointed look and out of sheer habit Ziva read his expression and responded,
"Ah...I will meet you all downstairs" she told them, stepping back from the elevator and giving them a quick smile as she ushered Abby and Lynn into the elevator,
"Are you sure?" Jenny asked, using her status as NCIS Director to blatantly insult Eli,
"She will be downstairs a mere five minutes after you" Eli snapped, all but pushing the red head into the elevator and reaching in to press the button that closed the doors. Ziva just had time to see Abby's shell-shocked face before the doors closed and wondered how fast her bridesmaid would be pulling out the mobile she had clipped to her garter belt and sending out S.O.S messages to the team. She looked to her father who held his arm out to her, tentatively she took it and they began to walk back down the hallway towards the emergency exit,
"The stairs I think" he spoke quietly, "They shall give us more time to talk"
He held the door open for her and she slipped into the stairwell, taking care to lift the hem of her dress in case the concrete was dirty and walking a few steps ahead of her father, not trusting herself to look into his eyes.
"I did not expect to see you today papa" she began, swallowing nervously as she heard him only a hair's breadth behind,
"I did not expect to see you today either" he announced, "It was only yesterday that I found myself packing and borrowing the Prime Ministerial Jet to fly here"
It told Ziva of how much of her was still attached to Israel that she felt a thrill at the knowledge of how high her family had risen. The Prime Ministers that came and went were themselves hesitant to use the Gulfstream airplane but Eli had been able to borrow it to fly to Washington on personal business.
In the dim lighting of the stairwell she allowed herself to smile.
"May I ask why the sudden change of mind?" she inquired quietly, stopping to look over her shoulder at her father, he shrugged uncomfortably,
"I have not changed my mind so much as I decided that I did not want to irrevocably damage our relationship by missing your wedding day"
"Ah" Ziva sighed, continuing their path and reaching the landing before her father reached out and touched her shoulder tenderly,
"However...I have done some research into Anthony DiNozzo and I realise that...you could possibly do worse than him"
A genuine smile lit Ziva's face as her father opened the door and she allowed her dress to fall back to the floor as they exited into the courtyard level to find the bridal party waiting indoors, just out of view of the wedding guests, Gibbs having obviously learnt that his services were no longer needed and gone to take his seat. Abby and Jenny sighed with obvious relief when Ziva appeared safe and sound; she approached them with her hand on her father's arm, biting her lip nervously when Abby held up the handcuffs,
"Okay, I checked with McGee and he has the key on him" she explained as Ziva took her place on the white carpet that would lead her to the aisle,
"Handcuffs?" Eli questioned as one was loosely attached to Ziva's wrist and the other to his,
"Tradition from one of Tony's former positions" she whispered in Hebrew, "It is to prevent the bride from running if she changes her mind"
Eli didn't even bother to mask the hope on his face, "Are you having doubts?"
"No" she told him firmly and his shoulders dropped as the music began,
"At least he's not a Neo-Nazi" he muttered under his breath as two of the hotel staff opened the doors to the courtyard and her bridesmaids waltzed through. The guests stood and Ziva was struggling not to laugh as she was led down the aisle, she heard people murmur of how beautiful she looked and blushed modestly, she looked ahead and saw Tony watching her with a goofy grin on his face, McGee standing beside him with three of Tony's former frat brothers. The rest of the team were sitting in the front row, with Fornell who seemed disappointed that he hadn't had an excuse to shoot Tony. As she passed Mrs Mallard turned to her son and whispered loudly,
"Donald, that woman looks like that floozy transsexual waitress that cousin Bertie ran off with! Do you think it's her?"
"Mother" Ducky cried scandalized and most of the wedding party snickered, Tony chuckling as Ziva reached the altar, Eli's hand clenching as he released her with obvious reluctance, McGee came forward with the key but both father and daughter twisted their wrists expertly to cause the cuffs to unlock and drop, Eli caught them in a swift movement and glared at Tony,
"Remember who I am, what I can do and how little I think you deserve my daughter before you make any foolish mistakes" he said to the man before stepping back and taking a seat next to a suddenly nervous Palmer.
Ziva stamped down on her annoyance and looked into Tony's eyes as he took her hand; he winked at her and brought her fingers to his lips, kissing them quickly before they faced the priest.
They said the traditional St Catherine's vows, their own vows having long since been whispered to each other numerous times over since they had first met. Ziva remembered the first time she had promised Tony forever, standing knee deep in weeds searching for clues at a crime scene, she had cupped his cheek in her hand and told him that to the end of the world and back she would never abandon him.
She smiled when McGee handed them the rings and she saw identical inscriptions on the inside of the platinum bands, 'Steadfast faith yet never moved'
Forget not yet.