Title: Menagerie
By: Robin
Rating: PG
Category: Humor, Friendship, Gen, Slight Crack
Characters: Abby, Tony, Ziva
Spoilers: Takes place sometime after S5's "Dog Tags"
Disclaimers: Neither NCIS nor any of its characters belongs to me.
Summary: Kittens in the forensics lab.
Note: I wanted to write fluff, so I asked for prompts. Kyrdwyn: "Abby. Tony. Bert" and Rose Wilde Irish: "Kitten!" Thanks to Rose for the beta and the title.

When Ziva entered the lab, she found Abby, Tony, and Bert huddling around Abby's desk.

"Abby? Tony?" she said, pausing at the glass doors.

Tony jumped and Abby whirled around; both wore identical expressions of guilt on their faces. Even Bert seemed to look guilty, but Ziva was probably just imagining that.

"What are you two doing?" At Abby's stare, Ziva amended, "You three. Sorry, Bert."

"Nothing, Ziva," Tony said, trying for casual. "Why do you think we're doing anything? Can't two - sorry, three - friends just hang out in a forensics lab and listen to really, really loud death metal without getting interrogated?"

Ziva only gave him a wordless, pointed look.

"Right, I forgot about your Mossad super powers."

Ziva rolled her eyes. "Your behavior is strange, even for you, Tony. It is obvious to anyone that you are up to something."

Bert had to agree.

Abby bounced forward, grabbing Ziva's hand. "Okay, since you're here, Ziva, we'll let you in our secret, but you have to promise not to tell Gibbs."

"Tell Gibbs what?" Ziva asked as Abby pulled her closer to the desk. "I don't- oh."

There, sitting inside a shoe box on top of the desk, was a tiny kitten. It looked at Ziva sleepily and yawned, showing even tinier teeth. Its fur was mostly dark with patches of black and brown in a mackerel tabby pattern.

"Isn't he adorable?" Abby gushed.

"Aw, thanks, Abs-"

"The cat, Tony!" Abby interjected.

"He is extremely adorable," Ziva agreed, a small smile on her face. She glanced up to see Tony giving her a funny look. "What?"

"You're smiling," Tony pointed out. "Don't tell me our scary, hardcore Mossad assassin has a soft spot for fuzzy felines."

"I am very fond of cats," Ziva defended. "I had one when I was a child."

"I'd say that explains a lot, but it really doesn't," Tony mused.

"Why can't I tell Gibbs?" Ziva asked, ignoring Tony.

"He'll make me get rid of him," Abby said. "Remember Jethro?"

"Abby, we thought that dog killed a naval officer," Tony reminded her.

"And he attacked McGee," Ziva added. "It is hard to imagine this poor little kitten causing anyone harm. I don't think even Gibbs would be so cruel. By the way, where did you find him?"

"Tony almost ran over him with his car," Abby said, fixing Tony with a glare.

"Abby!" Tony exclaimed.

"Tony!" Ziva said at the same time, outrage in her voice. She punched him in the arm.

"Ow! Hey, it's not like I did it on purpose. The thing just darted in front of me like some crazy squirrel! I swear, this was not my fault."

Abby and Ziva gave him Twin Stares of Doom before turning their attention back to the kitten. Tony sulked, rubbing the spot where Ziva had hit him. It matched the earlier punch Abby had landed on his other arm. Bert gazed at him sympathetically.

"The poor thing probably got separated from his mom," Abby said, stroking the tiny kitten's fur. "We have to find a good home for him. Oh, I wish I could take him."

"Your landlord does not allow cats?" Ziva asked.

Abby shook her head mournfully. "Only fish. Oh, and gerbils. Not sure why on the gerbils. He doesn't allow rats or mice. Gerbils are kind of a weird exception, don't you think? I mean-"

"Abby," Tony said, "focus."

"Right. Sorry."

"What about Tony?" Ziva suggested, looking at the male NCIS agent.

"What?" Tony was startled, then wary. He lifted up a finger in warning. "Ohhhh, no."

"You almost killed him," Abby said, not even trying to be subtle about guilt-tripping. "It's the least you could do to make it up to him."

"Almost being the important word. Besides, cats aren't really my thing," Tony said, noticeably apprehensive.

Sweetly, Ziva said, "Tony, you really are afraid of a little p-"

"Actually, Zee-vah, I'm more of a dog person," Tony interrupted, glaring at her.

Ziva only smirked.

"What about you, Ziva? You like cats," Abby said.

"I have too many weapons in my home," Ziva said, gazing wistfully at the kitten. "It would not be safe for a cat. Or any pet, really."

"You are one frightening woman, Ziva David," Tony commented, wondering why he felt slightly turned on.

"That reminds me, Abby, my new knives arrived yesterday. You will have to come by sometime to see them, yes?"

"Oh!" Abby clapped her hands excitedly. "Not the custom-ordered ones?"

"Yes, I-"

"Ladies," Tony cut in, "much as I hate to interrupt a good knife-chat... The cat, remember?"

"Right." Abby and Ziva both looked at Tony, then the kitten.

"McGee cannot take him," Ziva said slowly. "He already has Jethro."

"Ducky has dogs, too," Abby said, frowning. Then thoughtfully: "Maybe Director Shepard-"

"She's allergic," Ziva and Tony said simultaneously.

Abby sighed, pushing her hand down on Bert in frustration. The hippo's farting noise scared the kitten, who freaked and started hissing, much to Tony's amusement. The kitten only relaxed after Ziva patted his head soothingly.

"We could ask Jimmy?" Abby offered. "He did work with a veterinarian for two years."

Tony let out a sharp laugh. "Oh, god. Can you even imagine Palmer with a kitten?"

Abby, Ziva, and Bert thought about it for a moment before wincing. Tony had a point.

"That only leaves one person," Ziva said decisively.

"You think Gibbs will adopt him?" Abby said, voice hopeful.

"I don't know," Tony answered doubtfully. "Gibbs isn't really the pet-owning type. I mean, his idea of fun is sitting alone in a dark basement drinking bourbon out of nail jars and building boats that will never sail. What would he do with a cat?"

"Teach it to sand wood, DiNozzo."

The three, plus Bert, started, looking up to see Gibbs in the doorway holding a cup of coffee.

"Oh. Hey, Boss," Tony greeted sheepishly. Recognizing the look on Gibbs' face, Tony swallowed and whapped himself on the back of his head. "Sorry, Boss."

Gibbs approached the desk. He stared down at the kitten; the kitten stared lazily back at him, unperturbed. "Picking up strays in your spare time, DiNozzo?"

"Ah, no. Well, yes. I mean, not exactly-" Tony shot Ziva a glance that screamed 'save me!'; Ziva wisely kept her mouth shut.

"Abs?" Gibbs said, raising his eyebrows expectantly.

"Gibbs, I know this isn't an animal shelter, and I know he can't stay here, but we can't just get rid of him! Look at him! He's so tiny, and he's all alone, abandoned by the entire world. And he almost died today when Tony nearly killed him-"

"How many times do I have to say it was an accident-"

"Gibbs, you are this kitten's only hope. You have to keep him. My landlord won't let me have cats, Timmy and Ducky already have dogs, Ziva's apartment is a deathtrap for pets, Director Shepard's allergic, and Jimmy is, well, Jimmy." Abby gave Gibbs her best pleading stare. "Please, Gibbs?"

Gibbs looked at Abby, all heartfelt earnestness, then at Ziva, who shrugged, then at Bert, who said nothing, and finally at Tony, who was now having a staring contest with the kitten. A small smile crept up his lips. "I have a better idea, Abs. Since DiNozzo thinks I'd make such a horrible owner-"

"Boss, I didn't mean-" Tony began, not looking up.

"- I think he should be the one to take the cat in."

"We already went over this, Boss," Tony protested, finally tearing his gaze away from the cat's, "when you weren't here. We decided I couldn't take him either-"

"Actually," Ziva put in, finally speaking up, "you did not really have a good excuse for not taking the kitten."

"That's right," Abby agreed. "The rest of us had valid reasons. You didn't."

"You guys can't be serious."

"You are not allergic, your apartment lets you have pets, and you claim not to be afraid of cats," Ziva summarized. "I think that covers everything important, yes?"

"Okay, so all of that is true," Tony admitted grudgingly. "But-"

"Good, then the decision's made," Gibbs said, his voice brooking no argument. "Congratulations, DiNozzo. It's a boy."

Abby looked gleeful, Ziva seemed pleased, and Gibbs was... Gibbslike, sipping his coffee nonchalantly. Tony felt bewildered and confused but accepted Abby's enthusiastic hug all the same.

"Oh, Tony, this is so exciting! After work, we'll help you buy food and toys for your new pet. Right, Ziva?" Abby said. "Oh, and a litter box and a collar. There are probably tons of pet stores around here. I'll ask McGee which one he goes to."

Ziva said, "My neighbor is a veterinarian. I will schedule an appointment at her clinic so that the kitten can get all of his shots."

The two women departed, Ziva patting Tony on the shoulder as she walked away while Abby, holding Bert, kissed Tony's cheek. Gibbs, apparently, had already left, exiting as quietly as he had entered. (Why had he come down here anyway?)

Tony looked at the kitten; the kitten looked at him with big black eyes. The animal was pretty cute. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad...

"Guess it's just you and me now, Magnum," Tony sighed, tentatively petting the kitten's soft little head.

Magnum the cat purred happily.