A/N: Here is the conclusion. Sorry it took longer than I expected! Hope you like!
Tony drove home as fast as he could. He flung some vaguely appropriate clothing into his suitcase and ran downstairs to hail a cab. At the last moment, he hurried back to retrieve his passport, pausing to open his top dresser drawer in consideration.
Fifteen minutes later, sitting in a taxi, he made up his mind.
"Excuse me," he tapped on the shield that separated him from the driver, "can you pull over for a second?"
The driver frowned but complied, indulging several of Tony's brief stops before resuming their trip to the airport.
Too many hours and one layover later, Tony approached the David compound, presenting his NCIS identification, as well as his passport and a sealed letter from Jenny, addressed to the Director himself.
Nearly thirty minutes later he was unceremoniously searched and escorted to the main house, left in an office so plush and formal that it left no doubt as to its occupant. After just enough time to make Tony's palms start to sweat, Director Eli David walked in.
"Special Agent DiNozzo."
"Director David," Tony nodded as the older man took his seat behind his desk.
"You have come a long way."
Eli paused, evaluating the man before him, assessing which tactic to take. When Tony's eyes revealed nothing to him, he decided to jab and gauge the response.
"Your boss, Special Agent Gibbs...I get the sense that he does not like me."
Tony remained silent.
"And yet...he seems to care about Ziva a great deal, yes?"
"Yes," Tony answered simply.
"His interest does not bother you?"
"No. Gibbs doesn't look at her like that. She's part of his team. He looks out for her, even when she doesn't want him to. He thinks of her like a..."
"Like a daughter?" Eli arched an eyebrow.
Tony had realized his misstep but he knew what he said was true and so he held his ground.
"I see. And why is it that Agent Gibbs, who is so fond of my Ziva, has such arbitrary contempt for me?"
Tony sighed, unwilling to step in a trap so cheaply baited.
"Let me be clear, Director David. I am not here on NCIS business, I'm here as Ziva's-"
"Partner? Lover? Boyfriend?"
Eli arched his eyebrow and Tony held his gaze.
"Yes. All of those things."
Ziva's father was silent for a long moment.
"Ziva is not here."
Tony felt his heart sink in his chest, concern quickly overriding his disappointment.
"She is on a mission and will return tomorrow afternoon. You may see her then. Now, I can see that you are tired. I will have my staff find a guest room for you and bring you something to eat."
Tony collapsed onto the comfortable bed, rubbing his eyes in frustration. After all of his traveling, she wasn't here. He was only miles away from her yet he couldn't see her or touch her or even talk to her. Thoughts of her tormented him for awhile longer, but eventually jet-lag caught up to him, luring his eyes shut and deepening his breathing.
After a quick, awkward breakfast alongside Ziva's relatives, with Director David thankfully absent, Tony headed outside to wait for her to return from her Mossad exercise. He positioned himself under one of the few trees, his eyes directed towards the compound's front gate.
Two hours later, Director David shook his head, watching the stubborn American from his office window. The NCIS agent refused to come inside, subjecting himself to the heat as his gaze remained fixed, his jaw set.
Eli's eyes were distracted as he saw movement at the gate. They were back.
He spotted Ziva riding in the back of a truck with his men. They had been successful, her upright posture and her content stillness indicative of satisfaction. He saw the American stand and shade his eyes, scanning the group for her.
At the sound of her name, Ziva turned and gasped. Tony was standing under her tree, his bright white smile on full display.
"Atzor!" she shouted up to the driver. Stop!
She jumped down from the truck and ran to Tony with a wide smile.
"Tony! What are you doing here?"
He grinned down at her and wrapped his arms around her.
"I missed you, ninja."
"Oh! I missed you, too, my little hairy-butt."
Eli held his place at the window and watched his typically stoic child come to life. Even a man such as he was moved by the way the pair held each other, by the happiness on his daughter's face. She looked like her mother, just then, and he wondered why he had not seen that before.
He picked up the letter that Jenny had sent him, re-reading it, laughing when he reached the postscript.
Dear Director David,
I hope this letter finds you and your family in abundant health and happiness. I beg your pardon for my lack of civility as I write in haste, my deadline an El Al flight out of Ronald Reagan Airport.
Your daughter will tell you that NCIS has been kind and welcoming place for her. Ziva is an invaluable member of our team. We consider her family and she will tell you the same if you ask. I trust that you will receive Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo with the same level of warmth and hospitality.
I look forward to working with you, Director David, and I hope to see you at the Zurich conference in the spring.
P.S. They're in love, Eli. Don't be such an old mule. Just look at her face.
And so he did, observing Ziva's delight, her wide smile transforming her from the serious child he knew, the soldier, the warrior. As she reached up to cradle her lover's face and kiss him lightly, Eli chuckled, not in scorn or amusement, but in surprise; his Ziva, despite her training, was a woman after all.
That evening, after they endured a lengthy dinner with the Director, Ziva and Tony poured themselves glasses of wine and went into the sunroom, the large panes of glass reflecting moonlit shadows over the floor. Tony sat beside her on a small sofa, kissing her gently before he interlaced his fingers with hers.
"I brought you something."
She smiled and squeezed his hand.
"I did," he confirmed.
He handed her a small ice chest and she eyed it with obvious suspicion, making him laugh.
"Go ahead, open it."
Ziva carefully removed the lid and peered down into the box. Tony watched her face light up with childlike delight.
"Tony! You brought me a snowball?"
"You missed the first snow. And I know how much you love it. So I brought you some."
Ziva held the freezing orb in her palm, staring at it for a moment before she kissed him, her free hand cupping his face.
He watched her laugh and gaze at the snowball, the rich sound combining with the happiness in her eyes to serve as his reward.
"How did you manage to get this on a plane?"
"It's a mystery," he shrugged, his eyes twinkling.
Tony watched as Ziva studied the snowball, her lips still curved in a surprised smile.
"Snow is really just water and ice and magic, did you know that, Ziva?" he whispered, gently brushing her hair back from her face.
"Magic?" she smiled at him, leaning against him slightly.
"Yes," he said mock-seriously, "You don't believe me?"
"Oh, of course I do," she grinned and patted his head.
"I'll prove it to you, if you want."
Ziva nodded and raised an eyebrow, the corners of her mouth quirked in amusement as he passed his hand over the snowball in slow circles.
"Watch closely, now, Zee-vah. Abracadabra..."
Tony slowly took his hand away and smiled at her.
Ziva looked at her hand and gasped. Delicately nestled on top of the snowball was a diamond ring. Tony dropped to one knee as her mouth hung open in shock.
"Ziva. I love you so much. I was a jerk when you left because I got so scared."
She opened her mouth but he shook his head.
"I've been thinking and I realized that...I was afraid to lose you. That I never want to be apart from you. Ziva, you're the most important person in my life. I know we've only been dating for six months, but there's been something going on between us for years. I'll do everything...anything...to make you happy."
He grinned up at her, his blue eyes slightly blurred by tears.
"Ziva David, will you marry me?"
Tony took a deep breath as the seconds ticked by impossibly slowly. Ziva wordlessly placed the ring and the snowball on the table beside her. She looked into his eyes, sinking into the deep blue gaze that searched her face. Suddenly, she threw herself on top of him, kissing him and knocking them both to the ground as he laughed in surprise.
"Is that a 'yes', Sweetcheeks?"
She beamed at him.
"Ken. I mean, yes!"
"I love you, Ziva."
She rubbed her fingers along the muscles of his shoulders and kissed him softly.
"I love you, Tony."
She grinned and sat up to retrieve the ring, placing it in his palm and extending her hand, wiggling her fingers at him. Tony smiled, feeling his throat tighten with emotion as he slid the ring onto her finger. She kissed him again and he swiped his thumbs over her cheeks, wiping her tears away.
He looked at her questioningly and she flashed him a reassuring smile.
"Do you know what I want?"
He gave her his trademark cocky grin.
"To marry me?"
"Yes," she purred.
"What else?" he asked, rubbing her back.
Ziva trailed her fingers over his chest.
"Mmmm...for you to take me upstairs and make love to me."
Tony smiled and nodded, helping her to her feet before easily lifting her up into a passionate kiss. He looked around nervously as they made their way into the hall.
"What?" she frowned, following his gaze.
"Is an alarm going to go off if I go into your bedroom?"
She laughed and he grinned, spurred on by her amusement.
"Are armed Mossad agents going to crash through the windows and parachute through the ceiling, Zee-vah?"
Her body shook with laughter as she swatted at him and he relented, rubbing his thumb along her jaw line and over her lips. She bit him gently, murmuring an impatient sound as she tugged at his hand. They hurried up the stairs, both of them laughing happily.
Having served its purpose, the snowball was forgotten and left to melt. Its crystals slowly separated and dissolved, leaving behind a glistening legacy; a puddle of water and ice and, of course, magic.