Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS.
Spoilers: Vague reference to 11x02 "Past, Present, Future". Vague. You don't even have to blink to miss it.
Dedication: To Jo. I couldn't give you Tony in a suit by the Christmas tree, so I gave you this :)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! I, personally, do not celebrate the holiday, but I hope that whether you do or not, you'll have a good day!
The cackle that escaped him as he lit the single long, thin candle made her own lips curl upwards fondly. She regarded him with her head tilted, watching as he stuck the helper candle—the one he had used to light the Chanukkah candle—back into its spot on her menorah.
He stepped back, and they admired his work; there, under the dim shadows of the crackling fire before them, glimmered two tiny pinpricks of brightness—one, the helper candle in the middle of the candelabra; the other, the Chanukkah candle in the first holder from the right to mark the start of the holiday.
He whirled around with a beam. "Chag Urim Same'ach," he greeted her in Hebrew, looking so proud over his knowledge that she had not the heart to tell him he should have lit the candle an hour and a half ago, when the sun had first begun to set.
Or, well, she should have lit the candle.
If she bothered with Chanukkah.
But she did not.
He loved the novelty of it, though—'Our first holiday season together!' he had told her—and she loved him for wanting to celebrate with her, so she let him decorate their mantelpiece with the gilded nine-branch holder she had purchased many a year ago and obtain a pack of colourful candles for them to use that evening and for the next seven. In all honesty, his zeal was refreshing; it had been a long time since she had celebrated Chanukkah.
Smiling now, she patted a spot on the blanket they had spread out in front of the hearth. "Sit down," she invited, and he nestled in beside her, knee nudging her knee and arm rubbing her arm. She leant in to brush her lips lightly across his. "Merry Christmas."
The edges of his face melted into something remarkably soft. "It's Christmas Eve," he whispered.
"Chanukkah started almost two hours ago," she retaliated teasingly, and his face fell so much that she almost regretted it. "But you are sweet, for doing this."
"What, playing with Chanukkah candles?"
"Incorporating my religion with yours," she corrected, noting the twinkle in his eyes at that.
"It seemed important." The nonchalance in his tone was deliberate, as was his shrug.
She chuckled. "Wine?" she asked, playing along and changing the topic.
"Don't mind if I do," he answered smoothly, and she lifted the bottle of red to tip the liquid into their glasses. He clinked his goblet against hers, as if in toast, before she had even set down the bottle in her hand; she laughed loudly at his over-exuberance.
"Cool it," she warned him, her eyes tracking the progress of his glass to his lips. "Christmas Eve is not the night to get drunk."
"Says who?" he countered immediately. "Haven't you ever heard of the Inappropriate Uncle before?"
She startled. "You—you have an inappropriate uncle?"
His chuckle morphed into a snort. "I guess that answers my question."
"Seriously, Tony," she chastised him. "Who is this inappropriate uncle? What did he do?"
Tony grinned. "He's always the one that gets drunk at parties."
"So, you want to be him?"
"No!" Tony scrunched up his face, shuddering as if the thought repulsed him. "I'm just saying, there are people who get drunk on Christmas Eve."
"Yes, okay," she conceded firmly, "but you are not going to be that person."
"No." His smile was shy and the tiniest bit hesitant. "'Cause then I couldn't do this."
"Do wha—" she started to ask, but was cut off by the sensation of something hard. And soft. And squarish, if the awkward folding motion he was trying to get her fingers to do around the object was any indication. Her fingers were not quite long enough, though, and the black velvet jewellery box that peeked out through her digits when she looked down made her heart stop. "O-oh, Tony."
"Open it," he murmured.
And she did, her pulse thrumming in her throat as her cold fingers shook and threatened to allow the cover to remain shut. She finally pried the box open, though—and ironically, the sight that greeted her eyes was what made her calm down.
"I know it's soon," he began. "It's been less than a year since you came back. But … I can't let you go again, Ziva."
She swallowed noiselessly, staring at the neat satin cushion.
"Say 'Yes'?" he pleaded, and it wrenched her heart to hear the question, the uncertainty in his tone, where confidence should have been. She pressed the box back into his palm.
"You haven't asked," she answered evenly at the catch in his throat. His eyes widened fractionally. He gulped and held up—finally—her ring.
"Ziva David," he started obediently, his voice strangled, "will you—will you marry me?"
The definitive answer had him exhaling loudly, full of relief and something that was probably adrenaline rush washing away, against the lips that had long since captured his.
"Oh god," he mumbled against her. "Oh god."
She laughed softly. "Were you nervous, Tony?" she teased, even though the still-fluttering of her heart told her she was not much better off.
"No," he answered. "Excited."
It was obviously a lie, but it made her laugh.
He made her laugh.
And he was going to be doing that for the rest of their lives, she realized as he slid the ring onto her finger and chased the shimmering diamond's path with a kiss.
She did not think anything could make her happier.