Tiny tag to episode 7x14 "Masquerade." Yes, this is another "how Ziva got her new necklace" story. Hey, everyone else has written one, so I can too, right? I like to think I put an original spin on it. There don't seem to be a lot of Ziva/McGee friendship fics out there, so I was very happy to write this. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! :)
Silver and Gold
And behold, a new star shall arise...
And this shall be a sign unto you.
— The Book of Mormon.
As darkness falls, McGee's still at his desk, taking his time with the paperwork on the dirty bomb case. Everything that happened today still hasn't sunk in yet. Did Gibbs really let that lawyer get away with sitting at his desk? Did he and Gibbs really almost get blown to smithereens by that bomb? And the biggest question of all – did he really disobey a direct order from Gibbs and live to tell about it? McGee has to smile to himself. Yes, the former fumbling probie stared down the boss. He tries to imagine what Tony and Kate would've said five years ago if someone had told them that one day he would –
The thought is interrupted when Ziva passes by. She left just a minute ago but must have forgotten something because she goes to her desk and starts rummaging around in a drawer. Most of the lights in the bullpen have been turned off, but as Ziva leans forward, her Star of David necklace dangles beneath her chin and catches the glow from McGee's monitor.
For a moment, he just stares, letting the sight sink in. Ziva got a new necklace. It's almost ridiculous how happy that makes him. But to him, this is more than just a necklace. It's a sign that Ziva is still the same person, that she's healing from last summer. Dark thoughts threaten to crowd in on his happiness – no one ever asked her about her old necklace, it would only hurt her to talk about it, he doesn't want to imagine what happened – but he pushes them away. The past is in the past, but right now, Ziva is in front of him, wearing a new necklace, and it's a good sign, just like her old one was.
And by now, of course, she's noticed McGee's gaze. She raises her head and looks back at him, her eyebrows raised in a question. McGee jerks his chin toward Ziva's neck and explains, "I was just... I noticed you got a new necklace." He feels what he's sure is a very foolish-looking smile spread across his face.
Ziva doesn't answer right away; she just slowly closes her desk drawer and straightens up. Painful memories suddenly threaten to overwhelm her – the sharp sting as Saleem ripped her necklace off, in some ways it hurt more than anything else he did – but then she sees McGee's smile, brushes her new necklace with one hand, and feels only peace. "Gibbs gave it to me," she says quietly. Which is fitting, she adds to herself, since Eli gave me my old one.
"Really? Well, he beat me to it," McGee answers. "I was about to buy you one myself. I missed seeing you wear it."
Ziva is surprised. She didn't think McGee had even noticed her necklace was gone. She thought no one had noticed, until that day last winter, the first day of Hanukkah, when Gibbs smiled at her and silently handed the case containing her new necklace. It occurs to her that if Gibbs and McGee both noticed she was missing it, the rest of the team probably did, too. Ziva feels humbled, like she did when they rescued her in Somalia. I never knew they cared so much about me.
"Thank you, McGee," she says, smiling back at him.
"Hey, you can't thank me for anything," he jokes, pretending to be offended. "I didn't actually buy one."
"But you thought about it, and it is the thought that counts, yes?"
"Yeah, I suppose so," McGee agrees. "You know, that necklace was the first thing I noticed about you." There's a pause, and Ziva is about to ask him why that was the first thing to draw his attention, when a distant look creeps into his eyes, and he adds softly, "Kate wore a necklace like that." He says it out loud without meaning to, and he's not even aware he's spoken until he sees Ziva's puzzled face.
"She did?" Ziva asks.
"Uh... no. Well, that is... no. I mean, not exactly," McGee stammers. He mentally head-slaps himself. Now Ziva wants to know what he meant, and while he has an explanation, he's never shared it with anyone. He's nervous now – but why should he be? Ziva might appreciate hearing it. Get it together, McGoo, says Tony's voice in his head. He sighs and collects his thoughts.
"Kate always wore a gold crucifix necklace," he explains slowly. It's difficult to say the words after he's kept them to himself for so long. "And, well, obviously they're symbols of different religions, but they're both religious symbols, so... I don't know, I guess I just always connected the two. The first time I noticed you wearing it, I thought it was a coincidence. But you know the rule."
Ziva nods. "No such a thing as a coincidence," she supplies for him.
"Right. So then I thought..." McGee hesitates. Ziva leans towards him, looking curious, and he takes it as encouragement and goes on, a bit sheepish, "...well, I know this probably sounds stupid, and possibly offensive, but then I thought maybe it was a sign from Kate. Like she was saying, 'It's okay, Ziva's your teammate now.' Or something." McGee shrugs. He's never spoken of it before, never mentioned this similarity between Kate and Ziva to anyone. In the days just before Gibbs left her in Israel, when it seemed that Ziva had betrayed them all, McGee reminded himself of it constantly – It's not a coincidence, it's a sign, Kate wanted Ziva on this team, like a mantra in his head – but always kept it to himself.
McGee lets out a deep breath. After so many years of silence, it feels strange to have finally told someone – but in another way, it's a relief, too. He leans back in his chair and watches Ziva for her reaction.
Ziva is at a loss for words. Four years ago, her brother had just killed Kate, but McGee believed, even then, that Kate was telling him she wanted Ziva on their team. He still believes it now. That he had so much faith in her... Sometimes the memories of Somalia still wake her up at night, sweaty and shaking, but after what McGee's just said, they feel small and far away. She wants to thank him, but thank you hardly conveys her gratitude. The Hebrew word comes a little closer, so she says that. "Todah."
McGee just smiles at her, understanding, because the brightness in her eyes says everything she can't. I should have told her this a long time ago.
A few minutes later, after Ziva leaves, McGee has gone back to typing up his report, but then he stops short, his hands frozen in place above his keyboard. The thought suddenly occurs to him: Was Kate's crucifix necklace gold, like Ziva's Star of David... or was it silver? Sitting in the dark, empty bullpen, he mulls over the question for a long moment... then realizes with a pang of guilt that he can't even remember anymore.
The crucifix necklace is the one Kate wore in episode 1x10 "Left for Dead," and a few other episodes. She did not wear it nearly as consistently as Ziva wears her Star of David necklace – I took a tiny liberty with that.
Although this story isn't seasonal at all, it's named after one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Silver and Gold," by Burl Ives (from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).