AN: Okay, I don't want a bunch of animal rights wackjobs PMing me about how I'm insensitive. I love animals, and I hate to see them abused. Its only the first chapter, chill out, and wait for the plot to unfold a bit more! What fun would it be reading it if I spilled everything upfront?

McGee ran yet another sheet of paper through his shredder. He'd spent the past hour trying to come up with a decent epilogue, but so far all he'd come up with was a headache. As he reread his work, it all seemed clich├ęd and bland. His first book had come naturally, all he did was write whatever was in his mind at the end of the day. But now that he'd developed a reputation, and people began to demand more of him, his creativity alluded him.

He heard a low growl coming from behind him. He looked over at his couch, where a large German Shepherd was staring down his shredder. Ever since Abby had convinced him, well forced him, to take in the ill-tempered canine, the dog had picked a fight with anything and everything that made a noise. His latest target was the shredder next to the desk. In case the papers weren't shredded quite enough, Jethro would always rummage through them, tearing the pieces to oblivion.

Jethro leaped down from the couch, and began to nuzzle McGee's thigh, "Oh, come on!" McGee tried to nudge him away, but the dog persistently pawed at his legs, "You just went out less than an hour ago, you've been fed, you're fine!"

The dog continued to whine, walking over to the door, and carrying his leash to his master. "Smart dog." McGee thought. He didn't really have time to take him out for the seemingly infinite number of walks the dog wanted.

Inspiration struck him. It was nearly four thirty in the morning, but he knew of someone who was willing to go out at this hour, just to get some exercise. He picked up the phone, which thankfully Jethro hadn't destroyed just yet, "Hey, Ziva? Can I ask you for a favor?"

Ziva knocked on the front door a short time later. He didn't want to think about the number of traffic violations she had committed, driving thirty miles in less than thirteen minutes. "Hello, McGee," she didn't wait for him to unlock the door, picking the lock faster than he could undo it himself, "I am glad to see that you have found a larger place. Your old apartment was barely livable. This is nice," she took in the room, a nice improvement over his old place, "Not bad, McGee. I cannot imagine it is cheap to live here."

"No, not really," he put the leash on Jethro, "Thanks for doing this, Ziva. I've got a deadline in three hours, and I'm getting nowhere fast." he handed her the leash, connected to Jethro, who was running laps in anticipation, "I usually take him around through the park and past the cemetery on Fourteenth. The loop is about a mile and a half, but he can go longer."

"I would hope so," she snapped her fingers, making Jethro sit at her heels, "I normally run eight, but I doubt he could keep pace with me for long if he is only used to walking one mile!"

"No, he's let himself go," McGee chuckled a bit, "Abby's been feeding him junk food lately, he's started to get a bit chunky." he felt Jethro's side, taking a handful of fat, "Maybe a bit of exercise will do him good."

After a the first few blocks, Jethro was panting heavily and starting to lag behind. Ziva sighed, slowing down a bit to let the dog cool down a bit, "Pathetic!" she accused, knowing the dog couldn't understand her, "You are a Navy dog, you should be able to act like one!" Jethro sat down on the sidewalk, taking the opportunity to lick at its crotch, "Animals are disgusting!"She tugged on the leash a bit, causing Jethro to jump to attention.

They walked the next few blocks; she knew the animal wouldn't be able to run and still be able to make it home without collapsing. Once they'd made it a mile or so out, Jethro began to lag farther and farther behind. Ziva decided now was probably a good time to turn back, "Come along, we will head home now, and then you may rest."

Jethro finally quit walking altogether. He simply sat down in the middle of the intersection, half-way across the road. Thankfully it was early enough, there wasn't too much in the way of traffic, "What are you doing?!" she hissed at him, pulling on the leash, "Are you trying to end up like that?!" she gestured to some fresh roadkill on the side of the road, "Do you want to become flatmeat?" she knew that wasn't the right term, but it worked

Exasperated, she tried picking him up. She was a strong woman, but Jethro was a very large dog. He went deadweight in her arms, continuing to lie down in the street.

Running out of options, she rummaged through her pockets, finding an energy bar, "Do you want this? Yes?" she unwrapped it, throwing it across the street, "Go and get it!" still, Jethro didn't move

"Fine! I will leave you here!" she dropped the leash, and began to walk off. She hoped that after she got a short distance away, he would panic and follow her. She turned around to see if her plan had worked, and sure enough, Jethro was limbering along slowly, now safely on the sidewalk.

Well, better than nothing at least. He was finally out of harms way, and that was all she really cared about. Abby would kill her if anything happened to this dog.

She decided it was best to stop for the day. Figuring Jethro couldn't walk another mile in his condition, she called McGee, "Hello, McGee? Can you come and pick us up? Jethro is not exactly in the best of shape; he is about to collapse!"

"Alright, I'll be right there. Where are you?" he asked

"Out by the cemetery, across from the little diner." she told him, "It is less than a mile from where you are."

"Okay, I'm coming."

Sighing, she sat down next to the dog on the corner, "So much for running the fat off of you," she pinched gently at the dog's gut, taking a handful of fat, "Look at all of this!" she teased, rubbing at his stomach, "There is more fat than dog!"

Jethro growled, low and angry. She immediately let go, knowing better than to irritate the dog any further, "What is wrong?" she looked around, trying to see if there was anything around that had upset him. Another dog, a cat, squirrel? There was nothing. The only thing he was growling at was Ziva

"Alright, I will not make fun of you," she promised, reaching over to stroke his head. Jethro lashed out, biting down hard on her wrist, "Ah! Get off of me!" she tried to shake him off, but he held onto her hand tighter, drawing blood

The pain was bearable; she'd been through worse. What was worse was the feeling of helplessness as the dog pulled on her arm, pulling her down the street. Digging in her heels, she pulled free of his grip, "Bad dog!" she gripped his choke chain, regaining control of the animal, "You do not bite people, Jethro!"

The dog thrashed and squirmed, trying to break Ziva's hold on his collar. Finally, the chain slipped over his head. Angrily, the dog lunged for her. Reaching for her belt, Ziva took out her knife, knowing she was running out of options. While she knew Abby would never forgive her, this dog was becoming more and more dangerous by the minute.

Jethro stood up on his hind legs, his full height nearly equal to hers. He placed his forepaws on her chest to get his balance, and he dove for her throat. Feeling the animal clamp down on her neck, that was the last straw. She buried her knife deep in Jethro's chest, causing him to loosen his choke hold instantly. She shoved him away, letting his body fall to the ground. Her hand clutched at her neck, now bleeding profusely.

A car door slammed a few feet away, an event that barely registered with her. She could feel herself losing consciousness quickly, her footsteps swaying and her vision blurring. She could faintly hear a voice calling out to her, "Ziva? Ziva!" before the world faded to black