Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS.

Prompt #12: Puppies - She thought it was an appropriate comparison.

Words: 663

"I love you McGee. Not like "love you" love you. Not that I don't love you, because I do, kind of. You know, like the way I love puppies."

"I could have done without that comparison."

"But I love puppies."

McGee sat at his desk with his head in his arms, looking asleep for all intents and purposes. Tony and Ziva watched him with some concern, then turned to face each other. What's with McGoo? Tony mouthed.

I do not know, Ziva replied. Perhaps he is down in the pits?

Dumps, Ziva. Dumps. Tony raised his voice and said, "What's shaking, McSleepy?"

"Leave me alone, DiNosy," came the muffled response. "I'm not in the mood."

Ziva raised her eyebrows in surprise. "You sound very depressed, McGee. Did something happen?"

"Please Ziva, not now," McGee replied.

"Looks like McGloomy's a little down in the dumps," said Tony, now recovering from the unexpected name-taunt from his coworker. "C'mon, tell us what's the matter."

"We are friends, are we not McGee?" Ziva added. "Perhaps we can help you."

"It's nothing, guys. I'm just really tired and trying to catch some Z's before Gibbs comes back." McGee shifted, settling down again and sighing, "Leave me alone, okay?"

While still concerned about him, Tony and Ziva respected his wishes. After thirty minutes of napping, McGee was refreshed and ready to go when Gibbs blew in with his coffee and asked for an update.

Ziva peeked into Abby's lab when she had a free moment. "Abby, do you have any idea what is wrong with McGee?" she asked.

"Something's wrong with McGee?" Abby repeated, sounding concerned. "What? Is he sick?"

"No, he just seems...depressed," Ziva decided. "He is listless and distracted, and he would not rise to any of Tony's taunts. It is as if he recieved some troubling news, but he will not tell us what happened."

The assassin saw a look of guilt pass over Abby's face, and the pigtailed woman bit her lip. Ziva gave her a strange look. "Perhaps you know what happened, yes?"

"I - I didn't know he'd get so messed up." Abby looked at her friend with wide eyes that begged to be believed. "I just - I said I loved him like I love puppes. And I love puppies. It's a compliment."

"Abby, you do not need to explain yourself to me," Ziva assured her. "However, I do know that men are sometimes offended or insulted when they are compared to animals, no matter how cute they are."

A wry smirk creased Abby's lips. "Speaking from experience?"

"I have seen enough annoyed faces to hazard a guess."

The two women shared a sheepish look, and Abby let out a small giggle. "I guess it was a little insensitive," she admitted.

"But, knowing McGee, you just need to show him that you care," Ziva replied. "He'll bounce back. He always does."

McGee never saw it coming.

Abby waltzed into the bullpen, draped her arms around his shoulders, and planted a kiss on his cheek. "You're definitely not a puppy," she said with a hug, and then she was gone.

He smiled to himself as he reached up to touch the lipstick smear left by her kiss. If Tony and Ziva weren't on their way back, he would've left it there. But they were, and he wasn't in the mood to hear any more of their teasing.

So, with much reluctance, the junior agent stood up and headed for the men's room to clean up.

Just a tag for 4x23 "Trojan Horse" that I thought was cute.

Review please!