A/N: So I just came up with this random idea while I was scanning through my profile. Probably a one-shot. Please let me know what you think! PS Set when Jenny is still alive.
Wine glasses were raised and party poppers burst in celebration of the of the New Year.
Ziva David stared around the room as her colleagues said toasts and clinked their glasses together. Over in the far corner, near the fireplace, stood Jenny and Gibbs, huddled close together for warmth on the first cold night of the year. Seated on some plush sofas were McGee and Abby, who were simply talking as they sipped their wine. Well, Abby was talking, and McGee was doing most of the listening. And then there was Tony, waltzing around the room like a waiter serving people. He glanced at Ziva and they shared one of their stares where, no matter what was happening around them, everything else in the world disappeared. Including, this time, Gibbs with a suspicious look on his face. Then, Tony spoke to the party of people that filled his living room.
"So, uh, I'm not a great public speaker but I'd just like to say thanks to all of you for coming, even though Ducky couldn't make it, and I'd like to propose a toast. To my co-workers. I'm proud to call you all my friends, even you, Boss." He gestured to Gibbs. "Boss, you're a really good cop and a great leader and I look up to you. You're like...well, not the father I never had, but more the father that I like more."
"Director—uh, Jenny. I admire you and your work. You're determined, passionate and really professional, something that I don't think I will ever be." He raised his glass to her and turned to the left, facing McGee now.
"Oh, Probie, I know I make fun of you, but really, you deserve it. You're a geek."
McGee rolled his eyes. "Thanks Tony."
"Abby," he continued. "Oh, Abby, Abby, Abby." He tapped his foot and looked at the floor, searching for words. "A puzzle of a woman. An oxymoron wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a..." he cocked his head to one side as he examined her attire for the evening: a black shawl over a skirt and top. "Uh, a blanket of some sort?" he finished.
Abby stood up, threw the shawl aside, gave Tony a 'Gibbs-slap' and then returned to her seat as Tony, in pain, turned to the final person, whom he had purposely left until last.
"Ziva. You're different than any woman I've ever met, and I'll be honest, you freak me out sometimes. But you're funny, and I love it when you smile. It makes me feel happy. We make a great team, especially when we gang up on McGee."
McGee shot Tony one of his pathetic 'death glares' and took another sip of his wine. He was gonna need to be drunk if he had to face this much ridicule for the rest of the night.
Tony considered saying more. He certainly could say more about Ziva. He could probably go on for hours telling her how wonderful she was, but he didn't. He just raised his glass one more time and toasted his co-workers, who in turn, toasted him.
"You're a great cop too, DiNozzo," Gibbs told him.
"You're just as professional as I am, Tony," Jenny said, then adding, "When you want to be."
"Don't make fun of my clothes and I will let you live," Abby added, but stood up to hug him anyway.
"You watch way too many movies," McGee stated grumpily, returning the insults.
Everyone's heads turned to Ziva, expecting a big finish. She did the best she could, within the rules.
"You are a very special person, Anthony DiNozzo. You're funny...sometimes. You are very good at what you do, even though you doubt yourself at times. I just want to say how glad I am that I met you."
Everyone clapped and cheered. Short and sweet; that was a good way to do it.
"And now I'd like to carry out a little DiNozzo family tradition," Tony said, handing everyone a piece of paper and a pen. "Write out your New Year's Resolutions, and then I'll burn them in the fireplace and hopefully you'll achieve them."
Everyone was a little hesitant at first, but then they began to enjoy it. McGee finished first, his goals being:
Become a Level 7 sorcerer
Write a sequel to Deep Six
Get the nerve to put pepper in Tony's coffee at least once
Of course, Tony would never know these goals, as he didn't look at them, even though he was curious, he resisted the temptation.
Abby only had one goal, as she was pretty content with her life:
Convince Gibbs to buy me a Caf-Pow machine.
Jenny stared into the flames dreamily, and eventually thought of a simple and achievable goal:
Improve my shooting.
While she was a wonderful shooter, there was always room for improvement, especially now that Ziva had been employed.
Gibbs, feeling creative, wrote himself a goal that he would probably never achieve:
Build a boat and sail it for once.
Ziva wasn't sure if she should write her New Year's Resolution on paper. It seemed unnecessary, but if it would help to achieve it, then perhaps it was not a bad idea. On the paper she wrote six words:
Tell Tony that I love him.
Then, she turned the paper over and wrote herself a plan of action.
Things stopping me from telling Tony:
Gibbs/Rule 12. Stupid Rule 12. Solution: simple. Argue until you have convinced him. That's the only way.
Father. Solution: He is dead to me and I am an adult, who can do what she wishes with her life. I am not a teenager, and I know I am making the right decision.
Vance. Solution: What he doesn't know won't hurt him.
Fear. The biggest problem of all. What if he doesn't feel the same way? What would it be like to have to work with him and deal with the sadness and the heartbreak? But he must feel the same way; think of what he said. Think of all the things he has ever said. If is left unsaid, then one day it will be too late. And with our jobs, 'one day' could be any day. It could be tomorrow for all I know. Solution: Just spit it out. Three little words, that's all it is. Tonight, later when everyone else has left.
Ziva read the words on the paper over and over, memorising them word for word. Then, she threw them into the flames with everyone else's, praying she would have the courage to tell the truth. She watched it burn to ash, with the information safely stored in her head.
The team decided to call it a night at two a.m., after watching Casablanca with Tony mimicking it perfectly. He remembered all the lines. Ziva approached him, keeping a small distance between.
"I had a lot of fun tonight, Tony," she said.
No! A voice in her head commanded. Just spit it out already! He doesn't want small talk.
But he beat her to it. "I love you, Ziva." He said it sincerely, with a DiNozzo grin and all.
She opened and closed her mouth like a fish, unsure of what to say and finally deciding simply to hug him. He stroked her hair as she snuggled her head into his chest. "I love you too," she whispered. "Now what?"
"I don't know," he replied honestly. "All I know is that I feel so relieved now I've said it. I have been waiting for the right moment and this was it. Screw Rule 12, Ziva, I want you more than anything."
She said nothing in response, she just stared at the flaming lump in the fire that used to be her sheet of paper. She didn't have to ask him what his New Year's Resolution had been; she already knew.
The two spent the night together, just talking, and they fell asleep at the crack of dawn, in each other's arms. Not quite how Ziva had imagined it, but somehow more perfect.