Star of David (pronounced "Star of Dah-veed")

Setting: a little before "Faith", season 7

Disclaimer: I don't own the show or its characters.

Hannukah was so much more sensible, Ziva decided. Eight nights, eight small gifts, most of them practical, and you got all your shopping over with before the Christmas rush became too intense. But she was in America now and all her friends were Christian, or at least celebrated Christmas, and so Ziva was spending one of her rare afternoons off threading through crowds of families at the local mall. It was irritating and tiring, but after all that had happened this year, there was no way she was going to neglect her friends this holiday.

Tony was easy to shop for: get him a few classic movie DVDs and he was happy. The trick was remembering which ones he didn't already have. McGee liked computer components or games. A trip to Hot Topic would yield something suitable for Abby. Ducky would want something classy and preferably antique, which would possibly require a stop somewhere else. Palmer she was still thinking about.

The hardest find would be for Gibbs. He asked for little, and she owed him a lot.

As she searched for a store she was convinced the directory had lied to her about, her eyes fell on a jeweler's. She checked her watch. Why not? She had the time.

She walked in and scanned the rows of glass cases containing every semi-precious to precious stone someone could want coiled in bands of silver and gold. Couples of various ages perused the rows, not-so-subtly hinting about which piece they thought was irresistible. A tired-looking man stood in front of one case with a lost look on his face, obviously no longer remembering which of the nearly identical rings his significant other had mooned over.

Ziva kept looking, along the way deciding this shop was overcharging a bit for some of the diamonds they offered, until she found the pendants of religious symbols. She felt the phantom touch of her lost necklace and her fingers itched to reach up and fiddle with the pendant again. She had wanted to replace it for months, but after coming back to the U.S., she'd had to spend every paycheck finding a new apartment and stocking it with furniture, necessities, and clothes, as she'd had nothing of her own left. She nearly chuckled. Tony had accused her once of getting a first-class ticket into America as a liaison. He couldn't say anything now, as this time she'd come to the country with only the clothes on her back, unable to return to her homeland.

She ran her hand along the edge of the case a bit wistfully. She may not be able to call Israel home anymore, and she may be celebrating Christmas more than Hannukah in recent years, but she did not want to give up everything that had once been part of her. There were several Star of David pendants in the case, a few gold, a few silver. She eliminated the ones with diamonds in them. She had never been fond of combining the showiness with a religious symbol.

And yet, she reflected, she'd been willing to wear one made of gold. It had been fairly pricey, she knew, her father's gift for her bat mitzvah. She'd suspected even then that he had gotten that particular one more to boast his recent promotion and status in Mossad to his family than to give his daughter a valuable gift. Still, it had been important to her, a tie to her homeland and family, and she didn't like thinking where it had ended up in Somalia.

She priced the gold pendants and grimaced a bit. She might be able to scrape together enough spare money for one, but it would mean lean living for a while, especially after buying these Christmas gifts. Before, money had never been something she thought too much about. She'd had ample to meet her simple needs and allow for a few luxuries here and there. Now, she saw the cost of the necklaces and could only think that that money instead could be part of next month's bills, the cookware she still needed for her kitchen, several dinner parties with her team. It just no longer made sense to her to use so much money on a piece of jewelry.

Ziva shifted her gaze to the silver pendants and saw the prices were significantly lower. She did a mental calculation. She couldn't afford one immediately, but after the holidays were over, perhaps.

As she considered the silver Stars of David, she warmed more and more to the idea. She was no longer the liaison, the privileged daughter of the director of Mossad. She was earning her place here and would buy her own necklace with her money earned from her hard work. The necklace she focused on was much like the one she'd had before, but, like herself, a bit humbler.

A saleswoman came over. "Can I help you find something?"

Ziva smiled at her. "No. I think I've found what I was looking for."