A/N: Just a little short story in honor of Thanksgiving. Takes place directly after Child's Play. Enjoy! :D
But your picture on my wall—
It reminds me that it's not so bad,
It's not so bad.
~"Thank You," Dido
The knock on her door was unexpected and gave her suspicious pause. After all, it was nearly midnight. Who would be banging at her door this time at night?
Checking through the peephole, she rolled her eyes at the person on the other side.
"Tony, what is it exactly that you want?" Ziva demanded, opening the door and leaning against the doorframe. He was a strange sight to behold: drunk with a pleasant smirk on his face, his tie loosened. Under his arm was a bottle of wine from Ducky's and one of his silly American films.
"You know, I've always hated that question," he answered, still smirking. "I mean, why do I need to know what I want now? I'm still young."
Ziva snorted. "Hardly," she muttered, walking back into her apartment. She beckoned for Tony to follow her. He closed the door as he did.
Indicating that he should sit on the couch, she sauntered into the kitchen to grab two wine glasses. She paused, wondering what she was doing, allowing this man to intrude on her personal life.
She sighed, leaning against the counter. It was useless to try to fool herself: he practically was her personal life.
Still. It was a big step for them, allowing him back into this part of her life.
Not that there was much she could do about it. Tony was obviously a little more than tipsy; it would be hard to convince him to leave.
Entering the living room, Ziva said with a smile, "Would you like some wine, Tony?"
"That's why I brought it, Zee," he returned, studying her. She caught his eye but quickly looked away. He was giving her that look—the one that held both a promise and a question.
She was not sure how she felt about that look, anymore.
"Here you are," she said, handing Tony his wine. Pouring some for herself, she sat back on the couch, not near him but not far away either.
"What movie did you bring?" she asked, to break the silence. Tony handed it to her.
"Amelie," she read and smiled a little more. Not a stupid American movie, after all.
"She, uh," Tony said, looking somehow a little less drunk, despite the glass of wine in his hand. "She kind of reminds me of Abby," he admitted.
Ziva let out a loud laugh. "Yes. Yes, I see that."
Getting up, she put the movie in and then returned to the couch. They watched the movie in silence, and Ziva wondered the entire time if he was watching her or the movie more.
When it ended, they sat in the darkness, their elbows and knees barely touching. The sound of their breaths echoed in her half-bare living room.
Eventually, Tony turned to her, saying, "We never said what we were thankful for."
Ziva glanced at him, confused. "What?"
"It's an old tradition in American families: at dinner on Thanksgiving, each person says something they're thankful for," Tony explained, and Ziva could see his grin even in the darkness.
"That is silly," she told him, though she wasn't entirely sure she was telling the truth.
"Maybe." Tony shrugged. "But you're going to be an American now, sweet cheeks, so you better get used to it."
"Ah, but you said it was for American families."
She could tell Tony's look had become serious, even in the dark. "We are a family," he told her softly, and before she could protest, a hand was reaching up to push her dark hair behind her ear. The hand lingered for a moment, and Ziva found herself missing it when it was gone.
"All right," she breathed, leaning forward. "I will play." She paused. "What are you thankful for, Tony?"
"Me?" He pondered a moment. "I'm thankful for good movies and good wine." Ziva rolled her eyes. "You?"
"I am thankful…" She paused. "For the leaves that change color. We do not have many trees in Israel, and they are always the same."
Tony smiled. "Well, I'm thankful for Ducky and his good food."
Ziva chuckled. "And Abby and her cranberry sauce."
"McGee, for putting up with me all these years."
"Gibbs, for never killing us when he wanted to."
Tony paused. "I'm thankful for…" He broke off, as if gathering courage. "For you. Being here, being…alive. I…I'm thankful I don't have to mourn you, anymore."
Ziva caught his eye, moving closer to him without thought. "And I," she said, "am thankful for you. For saving me. For…not giving up, even when you should have."
"Shh." She placed a hand over his mouth, drawing a shaky breath. "I do not think I ever thanked you properly, and for that, I am sorry."
"It wasn't necessary," Tony said through her fingers, shrugging.
"Still…" Ziva answered. "If not for you, I would be dead."
It was something she had thought about often, but never quite managed to say aloud: She could be dead right now, if her team—her family—had not chosen to act when they did.
It was one of those strange circumstances of life that tasted like fate. Or destiny. Whichever.
"Thank you, Tony," she said, taking his hand. "For everything."
She still wasn't sure if she deserved any bit of happiness, but sitting in the darkened living room with this man, she thought maybe she would, one day.
They stayed that way until the early hours of the morning.