Summary: An offer for cookies turns into a visit with a puppy.

Disclaimer: I can haz puppy, yes? Melikey. (Btw, I don't own NCIS.)

Spoilers: Minor Dog Tags

Nikki姐, here is your puppy fic! Lol! It's um...well...you'll see. For the rest of y'all, enjoy and please review!

-Soph


Puppies

She frowns and taps her fingers against her phone impatiently; it doesn't usually take him this long to pick up. Eight whole rings later he answers, sounding a little breathless.

"DiNozzo."

"I am baking cookies today. Do you want any?" she says without any preamble.

"Good morning to you too, Ziva. You're – no! Bad dog."

"Tony?" she asks cautiously, wondering if he's finally lost his mind. Perhaps all those movies he's been watching have finally gotten to him.

"Sorry, babysitting. Puppy-sitting, actually. Do you mind if we go over?"

"You want to come here?" She blinks in surprise. "I meant to give you the cookies on Monday, when I see you at work. That is what we usually do, yes?"

"C'mon, he'll want to meet you. And he's never tasted your world-famous cookies. You know once he takes the first bite he won't be able to forget it. You'll have a new fan."

"I do not think we are supposed to feed the puppy cookies. And whose puppy is it anyway?"

"Neighbour's. And I know we're not supposed to feed him cookies but he's too cute. He's got that whole puppy-dog-eyes thingy going on...I succumb to their power. He's looking at me like that right now, begging me to take him to your place. Will you let us go?"

She bites back the urge to tell him that he's very much like an eager puppy himself. "Is he well-trained?"

"He seems to have a thing for cell phones but I think that if they don't ring we'll be fine. He's eager to meet you."

"How do you even know that?"

"There's a shine to his fur and a spring in his tail. Can we go?"

She shakes her head, stifling laughter. "Alright. But if he ruins anything you are paying for it."

"Deal. See you in an hour, Zee-vah." He hangs up before she can tease him about having grown soft.

xoxo

Forty-five minutes later, a plate of cookies sits cooling on the table, and she answers the door to a happy puppy and a just-as-happy Tony.

"Meet Sam," he says, beaming at her. The puppy's large eyes meet hers and to her own surprise, she almost squeals.

"He is very adorable," she concedes with as much dignity as she can muster. Her heart softens as she reaches out to stroke the puppy's silky fur; Sam sneaks in a few sniffs and welcoming licks to her hand.

"He likes you. Without your having to bribe him with cookies. This, I think," Tony bends down to tell the puppy, "shows that you have good judgement and excellent taste. Now tell Ziva to let us in."

She laughs and steps aside. "The cookies are in the kitchen."

Sam answers with a short, sharp bark, and Tony obligingly veers towards the kitchen.

"Do not eat them all!" she yells after them as she shuts the front door. She shakes her head with bemusement; she'd never thought she would ever in her life see Tony hugging a dog.

He is already seated at her small table when she enters the room, with Sam lying remarkably quietly in his lap. They both look at her expectantly as she takes the chair opposite them.

"We're waiting for your permission," her partner informs her.

She raises her eyebrows. "Since when do you wait for my permission for anything?"

"I thought I'd set Sam a good example." He grins. "Besides, cookies are meant to be shared. Can't start the feast without you."

"It is hardly a feast, but you have my permission." She tries hard not to smile as she watches Tony pick up a cookie and break it into little pieces for the puppy. "I do not recall seeing you being so fond of dogs."

"Depends on the dog. Can't say I was fond of Jethro the dog, but Sam is too furry to resist."

"Hmm. There is a side to Anthony DiNozzo I never thought I would see."

"Hey, I can be a dog lover under the right conditions. You know, moderate cloud cover, seventy per cent humidity..."

Ziva rolls her eyes. "Whatever. It is refreshing to see that you can care about something other than yourself."

He puts on a mock hurt expression as Sam licks his hand comfortingly. "What's that supposed to mean? I care about you."

Her heart skips a few beats, and she smiles before she can stop herself. "Yes, you do," she admits softly.

His eyes twinkle as he hands her the puppy over the table. "Right now I care about the cookies." He gets up and walks over to the sink as the puppy snuggles into her arms.

"You are hopeless," she huffs at him, stroking Sam's head.

"What? I wanted to give you some bonding time. Look, he's warming to you...I think he's falling asleep. Must be your comforting embrace." He dries his hands and comes back. "You look cute with a puppy."

"...Right."

He breaks a cookie into two and holds one-half out to her. "Here." She nods at her handful of puppy. "Oh. Hmm. Open your mouth, I'll put it in."

"Feeding me like you would feed the puppy?" she asks dryly.

"Not unless you lick my hand...now that you mention it though, I might actually enjoy it."

"Tony!"

He chuckles. "C'mon, sweetcheeks, open your mouth. I promise I won't call you a good dog."

She reluctantly does as he says, and he pops the cookie in. "See? No canine humour." He eats his own half and they sit in silence for a while. Then he turns to her with bright eyes. "Zi, get a puppy with me."

She swallows the remainder of her cookie, wondering if he has gone crazy after all. "What?"

"Well, we're gonna have to return this one. And then we'll be all lonely. Let's get a puppy."

"If you want one, you get one. Why do I have to get one? I do not feel lonely."

"Because it's more fun to get one together, and all puppies need a Mom and a Dad."

"Tony, with our jobs, I am not sure a puppy would be well-taken-care-of even if we both took care of it."

"We'll get a low-maintenance puppy. I looked them up – there are a few breeds. Like pugs."

She stares at him. "Pugs? Tony, why do you want so badly to get a puppy with me?"

"Cause we rarely share anything and a dog would be a nice thing to share." He shrugs indifferently, but she detects the hint of something he's not telling her.

"It is not a plaything," she says more gently.

"I know."

"Pets require a lot of care."

"I know, Zi. I actually considered those things before I..."

"And who would it live with?"

"I was thinking it could live with me, unless you want it. You could visit on weekends or something, whenever you want to. We could split the money for dog food and other stuff, fifty-fifty. Exercise won't be a big issue if it lives with you since you go running every morning. If it lives with me... it's time I get back into shape."

She blinks as she thinks about what to say next. "You have put a lot of thought into this."

"Well..." He clears his throat. "Kinda."

"Why?"

"Don't know. My brain comes up with crazy ideas sometimes."

She gazes down at the puppy in her arms, sleeping ever-so-peacefully. The image of Tony standing at her front door with Sam flashes through her mind; she has to admit that the picture charmed her more than she would have liked.

"Zi." She looks up at him, and he gazes at her beseechingly. "Think about it? Please?"

She bites her lip. "Okay, I will think about it," she sighs.

He flashes her another brilliant grin that makes her pulse race. "Awesome. More cookies?"

This time, she opens her mouth a little more willingly.