Ziva lounged on one of the lush couches, reading a paperback novel. Slouching in an arm chair, Rose watched a Supernatural episode while simultaneously checking her Facebook on an HP laptop. Tony sauntered out of the deluxe kitchen, carrying a bag of Ruffles chips and a Pepsi can. He placed them down on the coffee table and just as he was about to argue with Rose to change the channel, the doorbell chimed.
Ziva flipped a page in her book and Rose turned up the volume on the TV.
"Guess I'll get that, guys," Tony called out as he approached the entrance where a faint yapping sound could be heard through the door.
Rose muttered a sign of appreciation and Ziva nodded, turning another page in her book. Tony opened the front door and was greeted by one of his old Baltimore PD buddies holding a small Jack Russell terrier in her arms.
"Hey, Tony, glad I found you," She said, "You know I drove all the way to your old apartment before your landlord told me that you'd moved out? Thanks for the notice by the way, but I didn't come here to harass you about that."
She shifted the dog in her arms and shoved a strand of dark blond hair behind her ear.
"Anyway, I'm moving to this new place that's closer to work and my boyfriend, but since it's brand new it has all of these regulations. Unfortunately, one of those new rules is no pets so they can keep the condos as nice as possible."
"So you can't keep her," Tony said. It wasn't a question.
By now, Ziva and Rose's interest had been piqued and they hurried to the door to see what all the discussion was about. As they approached the entryway, they heard the woman speak.
"I just thought since you were the one that gave her to me in the first place you might want the option to take her back before I put her in a local kennel or gave her to a family member."
The woman seemed to notice their arrival and offered her hand as a greeting, introducing herself as Vanessa.
"Aww…your dog's so cute," Rose commented, reaching over to scratch its head as it nuzzled her affectionately. "Can we keep her, Dad?"
This was a fairly new development: one day Rose just randomly started calling them Mom and Dad. No one questioned it or brought it up to talk about. They just accepted it and moved on with their lives like things had always been that way.
"Tony, you never told me you had a daughter!" Vanessa exclaimed. "And she's so pretty."
Rose smiled and thanked her.
"You must be her mother, right? It's obvious – she's got Tony's eyes but your hair." Vanessa grinned and waited for an answer.
"Uh...yeah." Ziva replied warily.
Vanessa realized that the situation was veering towards unwanted territory and shifted the subject matter back to the true reason she was here.
"Do you want her?" Vanessa asked.
"Yes! I've always wanted a dog!" Rose exclaimed.
Vanessa didn't respond to Rose and instead deferred to Tony and Ziva to make the final decision. They shared a glance and there was mutual decision to keep the dog. Ziva was also secretly curious as to how Tony went about procuring a dog only to later give it up.
"Sure," Ziva stated with finality.
Vanessa placed the dog on the ground and handed the light pink leash to Rose. "Here's the number of her veterinary clinic and groomers. I've gotta go, I left the movers all by themselves and if someone's not there to order them around my new apartment will look like a S.W.A.T. team raided the place."
She ruffled the fur on the top of the dog's head and said, "Bye, Toni. Be a good girl."
The dog barked happily and watched Vanessa as she tousled her hair and left.
"Toni?" Ziva said, "Are you really vain enough that you would name a dog after yourself? And a female dog no less."
"I didn't name her, Ziva," Tony said tightly.
Rose unclipped the leash from Toni's collar and carried her over to the couch to resume her T.V. program. She turned up the volume to drown out her parents' conversation.
"Then who did? No one idolizes you that much, Tony," Ziva said.
"Kate," Tony told her.
"Oh," Ziva stated, "I did not realize."
"Kate named her after me when she got her from a Redneck on a case. She thought it was funny, Toni the bitch. She later told me that Toni was short for Antonia. When she died, we had to do something with the dog and I knew that Vanessa was looking for one so we gave Toni to her," Tony explained.
"I'm sorry," Ziva said softly.
"That dog hated me, you know? She snarled at me and snapped, trying to bite off a finger or something. She liked Gibbs and Kate though. But when Kate was shot, Toni randomly took a liking to me and clung to me more so than McGee or Gibbs. Like the dog knew or something."
Rose carried Toni back over to her parents and Toni happily licked Tony on the face.
"Hey, guys, I'm going to take Toni on a run with me, 'kay?" Rose said, prying the dog away from Tony. They hurried up the steps that led to Rose's bedroom. Ten minutes later, Rose appeared with a leash in hand, Toni trotting down the steps behind her.
She adjusted her ponytail and changed the song on her iTouch that was attached by a band to her upper arm. She leaned down and fixed her shoelaces into a perfect bow and scratched Toni on the head.
"Bye, guys," Rose called as she headed out the door.
"Don't get hit by a car!" Tony called back as the two left the mansion.
Twenty minutes passed by in silence as Ziva read her book and Tony channel surfed. Finally, as the silence took a turn towards awkward, Tony spoke.
"We should probably tell her, Ziva," Tony said.
"Tell her what?"
"About our history. About her birth. About your family."