Ziva stomped her feet as she stepped inside the apartment, the snow on the ground making her normally quiet entrance an impossibility. She swore slightly as she slipped her snow boots off and her sock bound feet touched the melting, icy cold, white moisture which also helped to announce her presence. He smiled as he stepped out of the kitchen, and she giggled at the frilly apron that he was wearing.
"What is that, Tim?" she asked pointing at the apron.
"Oh it's something my grandmother left behind. I hadn't intended on wearing it where anyone else could see me, but then I ended up with this beautiful dark eyed lady who came to visit me."
"If I am interrupting you in anyway, I'm sure I can leave." She said in a playful voice. He gave her an equally playful growl as he pulled her into his arms and laid a kiss on her lips.
"You better not leave. You'll miss out on my snickerdoodle cookies."
She giggled at the unfamiliar name and followed him back out to the kitchen where he finished mixing up his cookie batter. He handed her a spoon and she took a quick taste of the batter and frowned.
"It tastes…incomplete or blanched or something."
"I think you mean bland, and right now…" he kissed her again as he pulled out several containers of colored sugar and poured it out into small breakfast bowls. He then pulled out some cinnamon and the regular sugar and poured a hefty amount of sugar into a bigger bowl and mixed some cinnamon into it and then mixed the two together. He also poured some Splenda into a bowl and mixed some cinnamon with that carefully keeping that mixture separate from the rest.
"Right now it is a bit bland." He admitted. She looked at him as he pulled two little scoops out of the utensil drawer and handed one to her.
"This is one of the times where you actually get to play with your food and have fun doing it. Now, take your scoop and dip it in the batter and then roll it in whatever sugar you want and place it on the cookie sheets."
He moved the Splenda mixture next to a smaller bowl and she had to ask him, "Why did you do that?"
He smiled as he replied, "You remember that Jimmy's diabetic? I take my recipe and half it, using a sugar substitute and this way Jimmy can have some too."
"You are very thoughtful Tim. Not many would think about Jimmy this way."
Tim leaned against the counter as he watched her decide which sugar to place her next dollop of dough into. He often wondered how he ended up with the Israeli beauty as not only a good friend but a girlfriend. A soft kiss on his chin had him looking down into Ziva's brown eyes.
"You look very … umm…what is that word?"
"Silly?" He asked referring to the apron he was still wearing.
"No, thoughtful or insightful, but I would not mind if you had another one of those that I could put on."
He cursed lightly as he turned to the sink and rinsed his hands off. He then bent down to the lowest drawer and pulled out another apron, this one with a red and green Scottish plaid on it.
"This is for when Ducky comes to visit." She guessed and he smiled at her astuteness.
"He likes to come over during the holidays and do some baking without the Corgis being underfoot."
"What are the Corgis names again?"
Tim frowned as he thought about the ankle-biters as Tony often referred to them. "Tyson is the male; he's the one that likes to bite Tony. There's also Queenie, Princess, Duchess and Contessa."
Ziva laughed at the thought of Tony trying to take care of the Welsh Corgis who dominated Chez Mallard even when Ducky's mother Victoria was there.
"Tony just has the misfortune of being thought of as a jingle-oh?"
Tim almost choked on his bite of cookie dough at the thought of Tony wearing jingle bells as he gently corrected her. "Gigolo."
"What made you laugh?"
"I was thinking of Tony and how to get him to wear jingle bells without his knowledge. That way we could hear him coming all day long and he wouldn't know how we knew he was there."
Ziva chuckled at the thought of their co-worker walking around all day with a slight jingle in his step every time he would move. It could be a bit of fun, on the other hand knowing Tony it could also be a way to irritate Gibbs which would then be a way to earn the other two head smacks.
"It could be fun, but it could also be dangerous for us." She warned and Tim nodded.
"Yeah, it's why Abby and I never did it either. Abby could more than likely get away with it; I'd just get the smack of a lifetime."
They continued working on the cookies and soon Tim placed the first batch into the oven. When he finished doing that, he went into the pantry and pulled out a huge bag of miniature pretzels and several bags of what looked like gigantic chocolate chips. He handed one to Ziva and she saw that it was labeled as dipping chocolate and her curiosity was peaked even further.
Once those were on the counter, Tim pulled out a pair of oven mitts just as the timer went off on the oven. Ziva watched as Tim then pulled out a spatula and put the cookies on a cooling rack. He didn't however, immediately put a new batch of cookie dough on the pan.
Ziva knew that he was letting the pan cool down a bit so that the new batch wouldn't start cooking too early. She wasn't too worried though as Tim had pulled out two more cool cookie sheets so that they could keep working, rotating the pans as the cookies came out of the oven.
While those cooled Tim turned to Ziva and asked her if she wanted to go with him and Jethro for a short walk. Ziva pretended to sigh in resignation then brightened as the German Shepherd came out of the laundry room and bounded towards her. She laughed as the dog slid to a halt in front of her, leash in his mouth and his tail was wagging in excitement.
"He acts like he has not been outside all day." She commented lightly and Tim nodded.
"He doesn't like it when I keep him in the kennel while I cook but he does tend to get a bit underfoot when I make the snickerdoodles."
At the word snickerdoodle, Jethro leaped up on Tim who laughed and Ziva was reminded once more of the reason she loved this man. His laugh was great, but it was the way his eyes deepened to a forest green whenever he was happy that really entranced her. He held her coat out to her and as she slipped her boots back on he put a hand under her elbow which provided that little bit of stability so that she wouldn't fall.
He then slipped his own coat on and they exited the apartment after Tim made one last check to make sure the oven and stove were turned off. the snow, which had been coming down all day, was still there, just not as heavy. Now it was light and fluffy, almost sparkling white and as it landed in Ziva's hair Tim couldn't help but sigh at the beautiful picture she made.
Knowing that she would more than likely make him pay for his audacity later, he snapped her picture just as she stuck her tongue out to taste the falling snow. She slapped his arm and tried to grab the phone out of his hand. They fell to the ground laughing as Jethro danced, jumped and barked at them, wanting to join them in their play. Tim finally managed to roll on top of Ziva and smiled down at her.
"Ready to go home love?"
"Almost…" she hid a smirk as he helped her stand up and then waited until his back was turned to put the small handful of snow down the back of his shirt. Then she hightailed it for his apartment, knowing that despite the cold, he would never lay a dangerous hand on her. She forgot however about Jethro and the game he thought was still going on. Tim watched in horror as the dog bounded after her and without a sound knocked the slight form into a snow bank face first.
Tim scrambled over and gently pulled her into his arms. Ziva was shaking and Tim looked at her with concern and then smiled at the laughter he saw lurking in her brown eyes.
"I forgot about your other partner. I shall not do so again Timothy McGee." She stated as Tim carried her upstairs and Jethro panted contentedly behind them. Tim offered to let her shower first and Ziva nodded as she shivered from the planting she'd taken into the snow bank. Tim cradled her in his arms as he looked down at the dog, and Jethro whined knowing that Tim needed to get into the apartment.
Ziva leaned down and pulled the spare keys out of Jethro's collar. The dog waited patiently while his master and Ziva entered the apartment then walked sedately inside and nudged the door shut behind them while Tim carried Ziva straight into the bathroom.
"My bathrobe is on the door, if you finish before I get back." Tim said as he lowered her to the floor and turned the hot water on. Ziva shut the bathroom door before he could leave.
"You could just stay here and we could wash each other's backs. It would save on the hot water would it not?" She smiled as she stared at him, daring him to stay in the room with her.
"It would, but …are you sure?" Tim asked and Ziva knew he was referring to her recent ordeal in Somalia. Her gentleman was still that same gentle man that she'd fallen in love with and that was why she knew she was ready for this relationship to move forward.
"Come my love and then you can show me what you were doing with those pretzels and chocolates."
"Chocolates…oh oh…get in the shower, I have to make sure that Jethro didn't decide to eat dessert." Tim said as he dashed out of the bathroom. Ziva shook her head, but said nothing as she finished undressing. She grabbed the bath robe on the door and turned the water off as she joined the others in the kitchen.
"Sorry, he likes to pretend that he's allowed at least one cookie." Tim apologized as he pointed to the kennel and Jethro slunk into the other room, sulking because he'd almost gotten away with a free snickerdoodle cookie.
Tim shook his head as he shut the door behind him and turned to see Ziva standing there in his bathrobe. She was still shivering slightly and he ushered her back into the bathroom. Half an hour later they were both back out in the kitchen, Ziva dressed in a pair of Sara McGee's old sweats and Tim wearing an MIT sweatshirt and pants. Ziva watched curiously as Tim put the chocolates into the microwave and set it for thirty seconds.
"What are you doing Tim?" she asked as she absently picked up a pretzel and nibbled on it. Tim smiled as he picked up his own pretzel and popped it into his mouth.
"I'm melting the chocolates so that we can coat the pretzels with them. it's a bit more painstaking as we want to make sure that we don't burn the chocolate or overcook it."
Once the chocolate melted, he handed some pretzels to Ziva who watched as he took some pretzels, dropped them in and then with a fork put the coated snack on some waxed paper that he'd used to cover the counter. She took another bowl and soon they had a counter full of the candy covered treats.
Ziva looked at him at one point and asked him if he had something set aside for Jimmy and he smiled as he handed her the shopping bag in his hand. She grinned at the bag. She should have known that Tim would find a way to create some diabetic treats for their friend; the bag was full of diabetic dipping discs in a multitude of flavors.
She put the bag on the chair closest to the table and leaned up to kiss him. His arms slipped around her as he asked, "What's that for?"
"You…thinking of others even at Christmas time. There are not many who would remember that our Jimmy is a diabetic and go out of their way to create special treats for him."
Tim gave her another kiss before he started creating the treats for their friend. Several hours later, satisfied with a job well done, he once again let Jethro out of the spare room and looked around for Ziva. She was sleeping peacefully on the sofa and he smiled as he took an afghan from the back of the sofa and covered her with it. Jethro came out of the bedroom with a pillow in his teeth and Tim chuckled as he tenderly tucked it under her head.
"Come Jethro," he said and they exited the apartment. Half an hour later, they entered and found Ziva nibbling on a snickerdoodle as she sat at the kitchen table sipping on a cup of hot lemon tea. Jethro immediately went to her side and she chuckled as she broke off a chunk of her cookie and fed it to him.
The big dog sighed his contentment as he headed for his kennel, satisfied that he'd finally gotten a piece of the sweet treats. Tim laughed as he hung up his coat and the dog's leash and locked the door behind him. Ziva smiled at the sight of his laughter, glad that she hadn't angered him by giving Jethro a piece of her cookie.
"You are not upset with me?" she asked as she led him into the bedroom.
"Nah, everyone deserves a bit of snickerdoodle for Christmas, even Jethro." Tim said as he shut off the lights and closed the bedroom door behind them.