Setting: at the end of "Faith"
Disclaimer: I own nothing, of course.
Author's note: I intended "Star of David" to just be a one-shot, but after seeing a mention of how we start seeing Ziva's replacement necklace after "Faith", I knew the timing was too perfect and it had to be a Christmas/Hannukah gift, and after doing a little reading on the Star of David symbol, this story came about. I hope you enjoy it!
"You see?" Ziva prodded as they left Delores to enjoy her new doll. "Was that really so bad?"
"No," Tony agreed. "It was actually kind of fun playing Santa. Must be how Scrooge felt when he brought all the gifts to the Cratchits." He pointed down the hallway at a nonexistent Dickensian child. "'You, there! What day is today?'"
Ziva pulled his arm back down. "It's night, Tony, and time to go home."
"True. But, since I'm feeling overcome with the Christmas spirit…" He stopped walking, reached into his pocket, and held a small box out to Ziva. "Merry Christmas, Ziva. Or belated Happy Hannukah."
She eyed the box warily. "I thought we weren't doing gifts."
"Yeah, but I was ordering that doll anyway, and the case today just got me thinking."
"That's dangerous," Ziva commented.
Tony scowled. "You know, I can return that."
She clamped her hands around the box defensively. "Ah, ah! No take-backs!"
"Or at least exchange it for coal," he continued as she began to unwrap it. "What do they give naughty kids for Hannukah?"
"Guilt." She opened the box and her grin faded into a look of touched surprise. Inside, a silver Star of David pendant gleamed on a loop of fine chain, very similar to the ones she had been admiring in the mall less than a week before.
She looked up at him, eyes wide. "Tony…"
"I hope you still wanted one. I know your old one was gold, but what with buying that surprisingly expensive doll I didn't have enough, so I hope that will do for now."
She smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "It's perfect, Tony. You shouldn't have."
He shrugged nonchalantly. "You looked wrong without it. Enjoy it."
"I will. And I think Santa might be coming for you too, if you check your desk in the morning," Ziva said.
His eyes lit up a bit. "Yeah? Even though we're not doing gifts?"
"Yes. Because no one told me that until after I'd already done my shopping."
He grinned. "You see? If you'd just procrastinate like me—"
"I could get charged too much for overnight shipping on a doll?"
He chose to ignore that. "So what did you get me?"
"You'll have to wait and see. It's not as nice as this, I'm afraid," she said, holding up the pendant. "But after everything that happened this year, I owed you all that much at least."
She saw the shadow flicker behind his eyes as he thought about the past summer. "I already got what I wanted for that."
She smiled and rubbed the pendant between her fingers. "Hmm. Did you know that in Hebrew this symbol is called the Shield of David?" She pronounced it like her last name, looking up to see his response.
"No." He reached out to help put it on her neck. "I hope it works better than your last one did."
He drew back his hands and lingered there, standing close to her, their eyes locked on each other's in silence.
The door opened down the hall and McGee stepped out of MTAC. They moved away from each other quickly as he turned and saw them. "You guys are still here?"
"Yeah," Tony said, quickly regaining his usual sarcastic tone. "What are you up to in there, McGrinch?"
McGee grinned. "Just playing Santa for Abby."
Tony frowned. "I'm not sure I want to hear about this."
McGee rolled his eyes. "Abby asked me to set it up so a kid could talk to his mom while she's afloat. They're in there now."
"Aw. Well, that's actually a little heart-warming. Are you sure you're not a Santa's Elf Lord?"
But Tony had found an idea he liked. "No, really, we already saw the funny hat and the ears. You have little curly shoes, don't you?"
McGee pointed to the door. "I'm going back into MTAC now."
"Wait! Don't go!" Tony called, following McGee. "Do you dream of being a dentist?"
Ziva shook her head as they left. That was her partner. And yet, with all his teasing, once in a while he was capable of these surprisingly sincere gestures.
She looked at the pendant again. She had wanted to buy one herself, to prove she was reliant on no one now, her own woman. But still, perhaps it wasn't a weakness or a failure to rely on your teammates. Perhaps there was no shame in allowing someone else to be your shield, as long as you returned the favor.
Abby poked her head out of MTAC and looked around, spotting her. "Ziva! Everyone's coming over to my place for a sort of late dinner thing since none of us are ready to sleep yet. You want to come too?"
Ziva smiled. She suspected Abby was the only one still riding the peak of her caffeine-fueled metabolism while the rest were winding down after the long day, but no one could turn down Abby on Christmas Eve. "I would love to, Abby."
"Yay! Come on in here! We're debating where to get food."
Ziva let herself follow the warmth of Abby's excitement into MTAC, musing over the reference Tony had made earlier and remembering talking with Tony last year about feeling the lack of family around the holidays. With the ghosts of the past lingering in the background, the spirits of the present talking cheerfully around her, and musings of phantom futures hovering in her mind, Ziva knew that this time she had a new family which had officially claimed her as their own, and she would not take it for granted again.