Disclaimer: Sadly, these characters do not belong to me, and they will not be awaiting me under the Christmas tree this year, either.

Spoilers: Not really, as this fic goes massively AU after Christmas of '08.

Notes: This was a late Christmas present last year for a dear friend, which was supposed to be a quick, little, one-shot. Tony and Ziva soon took control of the fic and I ended up with 4 1/2 parts. This is the first, and takes place just before Christmas of 2008, after which I take them far away from what actually happened the rest of the year.

Thanks, Heather, for being the Toby to my Sam. :)

Da Mi Basia Mille


Their first kiss transpires in Abby's lab, of all places, beneath the sprig of mistletoe that the tech has hung from her doorway.

Technically they have kissed before, but that was under cover, and under observation, and so it wasn't really them doing the kissing. Despite the inevitable repercussions of how their time was spent during that case, the curiosity that had been stoked instead of sated and the fantasies that waxed and waned as though their partnership was synonymous with the moon, life and other cases had also inevitably intervened in the years that followed. If not for the numerous sprays of the plant with which Abby has enthusiastically decorated not only her lab but Ducky's morgue and the bullpen, Tony DiNozzo and Ziva David's first actual kiss might have been delayed much longer, or even been lost forever to the land of missed opportunities and chances not taken.

This is not the case, however, Monday morning, December 22nd, in the doorway of Abby's lab. Results from Major Mass Spec brought the partners down to her lair, and the mischievous scientist has timed her parting comment just so, leaving her unsuspecting victims caught in the mistletoe-trimmed doorway. Tony notices it first, and doesn't seem surprised, as he has seen the foliage that has appeared to have sprung up overnight around the building. What Abby doesn't know, but might suspect given his nature, is that Tony has been semi-seriously attempting to end up, very innocently of course, under one such plant with Ziva all morning. Only semi-seriously, as he is well aware of how easily and quickly this plan could backfire on him, given his partner's MacGuyver-like skills at turning nearly anything into a weapon, and her past reactions to overtures of affection. Still, he figures that Ziva wouldn't dare kill him in front of a witness that has connections with their boss, and so smirks down at her, waiting to see how she will deal with this situation.

Ziva has been living stateside for enough Christmases now that, even though she does not celebrate the holiday herself, she is cognizant of quite a few customs surrounding the event. She is not only well aware of the significance of this particular plant, but is also well aware of her partner's attempt to trap her, although she is wary of the intention behind this manipulation. She has learned to tolerate and even appreciate, on certain rare occasions, his teasing attitude, but has also learned that his heart is not the open book that is his public nature. This is most likely just another means of attaining her sheep, but the soberness and hope that she sees in his eyes, nearly hidden by his trademark smirk, gives her pause. Despite herself, and all the previous times she had contemplated starting down this particular road, Ziva decides to go along with this set-up that Abby has so cleverly and stealthily caught her in.

Tony relaxes somewhat when he sees his partner's surprise and wariness turn to resignation and resolve. She's not likely to kill him then, but maiming is not out of the question unless he treads lightly. Abby has remained silent since her last remark that has them paused in the doorway, though he can see her trying not to squirm with repressed excitement on her stool by the counter. He wants to take a moment, to try to formulate a plan of attack that will result in the least amount of bodily harm. While he has spent the better part of the morning trying to get Ziva under the mistletoe, any mistletoe, he hasn't actually planned out what he was going to do with her once he had her there. Yes, there would be kissing, but how soon (so as not to startle her into attack mode), or how much (before he pressed his luck too far)? Tony turns to Abby to good naturedly remonstrate her for setting him and Ziva up like this, but never gets the chance to get a word out.

Ziva is not, nor ever will be, one to back down from a challenge, and she launches herself fully into this one to be sure that she regains the upper hand. Her senses automatically switch into full alert mode, and she is suddenly aware of many things at once. Her ears register the sound of Abby's squeal from her right, about 10 paces away but well within knife-throwing distance; they also hear the various whirring and beeping of the innocuous laboratory equipment within the lab, the sound of the cleaning cart 7 seconds away in the hallway outside the lab, Tony's startled inhalation before she silences him, and the roar of her heartbeat, hastened by the adrenaline coursing through her body.

Her eyes are closed now, but she took a good look at her surroundings before she closed them and caught Abby clasping her weaponless hands together in the periphery and the unexpected anticipation in Tony's eyes that changed from the initial surprise when she had grabbed his chin to turn him to her. Her right hand still rests against his face, cupping his jawline that is just starting to feel rough, like heavy velvet, beneath her palm. Her other hand is paused against his chest, and under the crisp, white shirt she can feel not only the rise and fall of his breathing, but also his increased heart rate.

Ziva is also conscious of the placement of his hands, and his proximity to her body, and cannot stop herself from calculating, even as she feels herself melting from one hand on the back of her neck beneath her braid and the other alighting on the small of her back, the five different ways she can extricate herself from the embrace and incapacitate him on the floor.

She can smell the various lab chemicals Abby uses for her testing, but is most mindful of the unique smell of her partner, which she will not admit to missing as much as she had during her reassignment this past summer. She has come to equate this smell with safety and trust, and even home, but will certainly not admit this either.

What she simultaneously feels and tastes are Tony's lips beneath her own, and this stimulus claims most of her attention. She has not forgotten, no matter how hard she has tried to, neither how it had felt to kiss him, nor how much his taste both stirred and settled her at the same time. She allows herself to settle a bit now, and doesn't let go.

Tony was certainly not expecting Ziva to do all the thinking under the mistletoe for him. He certainly doesn't mind, not in the least, and allows himself to slide a hand beneath her braid, one of the many places on her body that always begged for one of his hands (or so he told himself), and employs the other to land on her lower back and pull her carefully closer. He's sure Abby's freaking out over on her stool, and that Gibbs will walk in at any moment and cuff him a good one, but right now all he can concentrate on is the sound of his heartbeat roaring in his ears and the little sighs he doesn't think Ziva realizes she's making. Not only this, but also how good she smells, the feel of her slim body in his arms and her warm lips under his, and her taste that he has never managed to forget after all these years.

Their first kiss transpires in Abby's lab, beneath the sprig of mistletoe that the now exuberant and bouncing tech has hung from her doorway; what neither of them suspect, but both secretly hope, is that this will not be their last.