No spoilers here, well, perhaps light ones for Under Covers, but that's it. Doesn't really fit anywhere in particular, just sometime after Under Covers.

Don't worry. I know they're not mine. I'm not trying to kidnap them or anything like that. They're free to go whenever they want. Honest!

In other words, none of this stuff belongs to me. Well, the plot does, but all of the character details and such ... uh, no. They're not mine.

The Name Game

It was a murder investigation, and they were interviewing witnesses at a local bar where the young - now dead - Marine spent his time after hours. There were about three witnesses left to speak with, though so far, most of them were saying pretty much the same thing: Lance Corporal Scotty Lawrence and another man no one recognized had gotten into a fight, and the unidentified man shot Lawrence four times. Seemed like a fairly open and shut case, what with the large number of witness testimonies, but the murderer still had to be found. That part alone would probably prove to be the most challenging.

"Thank you," Ziva said to the man she had been speaking with, handing him her card. "If you think of anything else..." she trailed off. Same story. Barroom brawl, four shots, dead Marine. The man took her card, nodding, and meandered off.

Ziva surveyed the scene. Gibbs had just pulled the final witness aside and was talking to him, McGee was speaking with an elderly man at the bar over a cup of coffee, and Tony was, naturally, flirting with a pretty woman under the guise of interviewing her.

"He is always on the prowl," she muttered under her breath. Jealous? she thought to herself, but quickly dismissed the thought. Still, his constant and obvious flirting was getting quite old.

Suddenly, she had a wonderful, terrible idea. Wait, not terrible. Terrific. Well, perhaps a little bit of both.

She made her way over to where DiNozzo was working his charm. As suspected, he had finished the actual interview portion and was now just joking around with the witness, no doubts in an attempt to score a phone number. Perfect, she thought.

She moved directly next to him and held out her hand to the witness as if to shake it. "Ziva DiNozzo, she said, shocked at how easily the name rolled off her tongue. "Is my husband bothering you?"

The young woman's eyes widened and she backed off slightly, confused. What the hell?!? Tony thought to himself. He looked at his partner, not at all surprised to find a look on her face that plainly expressed to him that she'd gotten him, and gotten him good. He'd grown used to that smirk.

"What the hell was that about?" he asked as the witness walked away, obviously not wanting to become a home wrecker or witness a marital argument.

"Oh come on, Tony, there are many other women out there," she paused to chuckle a moment, "many of which, no doubt, you will find, but oh, you should have seen your face!" He saw that smug smirk again. Damn her!

"Is it legal to beat your wife where you come from?" he asked, and she laughed loudly.

He was annoyed, but no great loss, he supposed. What bothered him more was how surprisingly good it sounded when she'd intentionally called herself by his last name and said the words, "my husband" while referring to himself.

He'd never thought of her like that before. Sure, he'd imagined sex - he was, after all, Tony DiNozzo - but never anything beyond that. But now that he heard it and gave in to the possibility, he realized that there was a really intriguing aspect to the thought of a potential relationship with this woman. If he didn't kill her first.

"You know, Ziva, identity theft is a crime," he started.

"And exactly whose identity did I steal? Some wife I don't know about?"

"Okay, whatever. Why did you do that?" he asked.

"Because it was absolutely hilarious, Tony," she responded. And because she'd wondered just how he'd react to such a thing. She could tell he was mildly annoyed, but not disgusted or repulsed by the thought of a wife, which was a sign that just maybe, there was hope for him yet.

"I suppose it was a fairly good little trick," he said. She'd gotten him. This time. It wasn't the first, and it surely wouldn't be the last. "Just remember, payback's a bitch." He grinned.

She leaned in closer to him, invading his personal space. I could kiss him right now if I wanted to, she thought. She could feel him drawing in his breath at her new closeness as she looked up into his eyes and whispered almost seductively, "Bring it."

He brought it, all right. Leaning into her, he closed the gap, bringing his lips down to touch hers tenderly, nibbling at her mouth for just a few moments in time. Just as quickly as it had started, it was over and the gap between them had widened once more. Ziva's lips burned from the touch of his on her own. Did that just happen?

"That ... wasn't exactly what I had in mind," she said.

"Bull. Shit, Ziva," he threw back. Bullshit indeed, she thought. She wanted to kiss him again, and she could sense the same from her partner.

Unfortunately, they were working. By some miracle, though, no one had noticed their little moment of ... unprofessionalism.

"So. Ziva DiNozzo," he said, drawing out every syllable, taking great delight in watching her bite her lip, "ready to report back to the boss?"

Oh, so is that the game you want to play? she thought to herself. She answered his question: "Yes, dear," both smirking and winking at him in the process, and turned to head back to the vehicles.

He watched her for a second, walking in front of him, realizing that they'd just begun to play a very interesting game. He couldn't help but wonder if it would lead them where he hoped it would. Regardless, it was on. And he would emerge victorious. Even though she had quite the lethal weapon - at least against him - in that ass of hers, as he observed her backside walking away. He mentally snapped himself out of it and followed his partner.

"Ready to head back?" Gibbs asked him when he'd finally made his way back to the rest of the team.

"Let's do it," Tony responded. They had a crime to solve.

Ziva broke the silence first. They had been driving back to the office wordlessly, when she spoke. "Why did you kiss me?"

"Why not?" was the shrugged response. He looked at her briefly to gauge a reaction before quickly returning his eyes to the road. He couldn't read her, at least not this time.

"That is not an answer!"

"Because I wanted to?" He spoke slowly, asking rather than telling. He didn't know why he'd kissed her. She was just there and he just felt like he should. It didn't need an explanation.

"Well that is a slightly better answer, I suppose." She smiled just a bit. That's probably the best answer I'm going to get, she thought. She didn't really know what to think about it. She looked at her partner out of the corner of her eye.

He was undeniably sexy. She'd been attracted to him for quite a while, an attraction only deepened by the time they'd spent undercover together a few years ago. What torture that had been, being close enough to touch without actually touching.

Before she could delve too deeply into her thoughts, however, he spoke again. "Did you not want me to?" he asked her, thinking he already knew the answer but wanting to hear her say it anyway.

"We were working." She shrugged the question off nonchalantly. She could dodge a question just as good as - if not better than - any man, including her partner.

"That didn't answer my question, Ziva," he said matter-of-factly. And he was the perfect counter to her; he could be just as persistent as any woman.

She swallowed. Might as well just say it and get it over with. "Yes. I wanted you to. Happy?"

"Quite," he said, and returned his attention to the road.

"And that's all you have to say?"

"No, I can think of a few things I could say right now," he teased.

"Such as?"

"Well now if I told you, Ziva DiNozzo, then what would be the fun in that?" He was desperately trying to hold in his laughter as he registered the shock on her face from his use of her prank against her once again.

"Oh, I see..."she said pointedly. "It appears you quite like calling me that. Something you should tell me, Tony?"

"Nope," he said confidently, turning to look her in the eyes as he said it, only a moment before returning them to the road.

"Oh," she said. She opened her mouth as if to say something else, but stopped, reconsidering it.

He noticed. "What, do you have something you'd like to tell me?"

"Well, no, not really, but I thought maybe you had something to say indicating why we were not going back to the office when we passed our exit back there," she pointed out triumphantly.

"Damn it!"

Ziva laughed, knowing that she might be losing the name game, but she had gotten another small victory this round, in that talking about it had distracted him to the point of missing their turn.

The game had continued another three days, the competition growing fiercer at every single use of the name. Surprisingly, no one on the team had caught wind of their effort to outdo one another at every turn, perhaps because they were always trying to outdo one another. It seemed, at least, that no one had noticed exactly what type of competition they were running with each other this time.

"So what is that, Tony, tied at seven?" Ziva asked him as they walked away from yet another witness in the Lawrence case. He'd gotten her this time, much to her dismay, and even put his arm around her as he said it.

"No, I have eight. You have seven," he said, basking in the fact that he was winning.

"How do you figure?" She mentally began counting in her head.

"Well, for you, there was the first one with that witness, Ashley I think her name was, then over the phone to the Chinese place-"

"Then Mrs. Carroll, and that bartender-"

"Stan," he supplied absentmindedly, "And that's four."

"I know," she replied, "And then Kim Stetson, and the officer at the Murphy crime scene, and Betty." She realized he had no idea who Betty was. "The waitress at that diner the other night," she added, with a flourish of her hand, as if to nonchalantly wave the words away.

"Oh, yes, that one. And I have Bill Mason, the delivery guy of said Chinese food, Norma Johanssen-"

"Who?" She stopped walking and turned to look at him.

"Norma Johanssen, Mrs. Carroll's neighbor."

"I was not with you when you interviewed that witness. It does not count," she said indignantly.

"Yes it does. I pointed you out and everything."

"It does not matter. The entire point of this was to mess with each other. What good is it to say it out of earshop?"

"Earshot," he corrected without even thinking about it.

"Whatever. You can not count that one. We are tied at seven." They were facing each other now, toe to toe and practically in each others' faces like an umpire and manager having a yelling match.

"And I say that I have eight. What are you going to do about it?" He said, leaning in closer to her. She drew in her breath slightly.

"I am going to-" She was cut off. Again, seemingly out of nowhere, he claimed her mouth with his own. This kiss was nothing like the one from the other day, though, as this time, his tongue had already found its way into her mouth. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him. She did not resist, instead she melted into him and allowed the kiss to deepen.

He pulled back slightly enough to murmur her name breathlessly, and dove right back into kissing her, savoring the taste of her lips. She moaned slightly into his mouth, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him to her, pushing all thoughts out of her mind and for once, allowing herself to enjoy nothing but the sensation of it all, the feel of this man pressing against her body. I could get used to this, she thought to herself as he pulled his lips away from hers, though not releasing her from his embrace.

"Ziva," he whispered again. She raised her eyebrows questioningly. "Do you think we should, you know-"

"Take this somewhere else?" She supplied, finishing his sentence.

"Exactly," he said in a typically exaggerated fashion. They walked the rest of the way to the car silently, each wondering what, exactly, this would mean for them.

Ziva sat down in the passenger seat and buckled her seat belt, then brushed her hair back behind her ears with her hands. She watched as Tony settled himself into the driver's seat beside her, again admiring the good looks of the man she had as a partner.

"So are you going to ask it, or shall I?" she asked him with a slight smile, watching him buckle his seatbelt.

"Ask what, Ziva?"

"'Your place or mine?' Is it?" She looked over at him, and he chuckled.

"Mine's closer," he supplied, starting the car.

"Yours it is then," was the answer. He pulled away from the curb and made a left turn at the end of the street, heading toward his apartment. He reached over and took her hand in his, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb. This simple gesture, while so innocent otherwise, sent a shiver down Ziva's spine. She realized then just how badly she'd wanted this man. Really wanted him, and for quite a long time.

Tension in the car was thick, and with each passing second the obvious and raw sexual desire was increasingly evident, along with anticipation of what was to come. They rode in silence, each enjoying just being with each other and not feeling the need to talk.

He made another left hand turn onto the highway ramp, and just as he was getting the car up to speed, his phone rang. He groaned inwardly, releasing Ziva's hand and reaching in his back pocket to answer the device.

"Agent DiNozzo," he spoke, answering the call.

"DiNozzo, where the hell are you and David? We've got another body," Gibbs voice barked at him, loud enough for Ziva to hear.


"The same bar where our other Marine was shot," was the reply.

"On the way, boss," he said, and hung up the phone. Damn it. He turned his head slightly to look at his partner, and he could see that she was thinking the same exact thing.

"I guess you're just going to have to wait a little bit longer," she said, leaning over in her seat to speak the last few words in his ear seductively, punctuating the sentence with a slight nibble on his earlobe.

Damn it, damn it, damn it! He thought.

She was rather enjoying how disappointed Tony was that he would not be sleeping with her in the next hour. Her exterior appearance of enjoyment at his expense helped to mask her own disappointment.

"Let's just get it over with," he said with a sigh. "Who the hell shoots someone in broad daylight anyway?"

"The same kind of person who sits in a bar all day and drinks, apparently?" she responded with a sigh. It was after five, but still seemed early to be in a bar.

They rode silently the rest of the way to the crime scene, both brooding over their lost opportunity. When they arrived, they saw that Gibbs and McGee had already processed most of the scene and that Ducky and Palmer had already taken the body. This time, there was only a handful of witnesses for them to interview, so they questioned them in teams.

It didn't take long for almost all of the witnesses to be interviewed, and finally Tony and Ziva approached the last remaining witness.

"Excuse me, miss," Ziva started from behind the witness, "We're agents Tony and Ziva DiNozzo and we have some questions we need to ask you." Tony startled a little at the realization that she'd gotten him again, at least momentarily, until the witness turned around.

"Tony and Ziva? Timmy didn't tell me you guys got married!" Sarah McGee exclaimed as she turned around to face them.

Oh, shit.

"He doesn't know?" Sarah continued, noticing the shocked looks on their faces. "Of course he doesn't know, he would have written about-"

"Are you twenty-one?" Tony interrupted, trying to shift the focus off of their faux knew damn well that Sarah wouldn't be able to keep from telling her older brother about this, but he was going to try to keep her quiet regardless.

"Twenty-three," she responded, "Though I'm not sure that has anything to do with the dead guy in there. Or the two of you having the same last name."

"Listen, Sarah, we'll get to the questions in a second, but could you do us a favor and try not to mention this to Tim?" Ziva asked. Sarah started to open her mouth to respond, but Tony cut in first.

"See, we were playing this little game," Tony started, "to mess with each other. She started it." He said quickly, looking at Ziva pointedly. "But they don't know that we are messing around like this."

"You guys sure act married to me," the younger woman answered.

"Go ahead and think whatever you want, but could you like, not tell McGoo? Or anyone else?"

"Uh-" she was interrupted.

"We'd really appreciate it," Ziva said.

"We're supposed to take crime scenes a bit more seriously," Tony put in.


"McGee would laugh, I think, but Gibbs ... Gibbs would kill us both," Ziva implored.

"So you can see why we'd want you to keep this quiet," Tony added.

"Well-" Sarah was cut off again.

"Gibbs has these rules-" Tony started, but was cut off as both he and Ziva felt a smack on the back of their heads from none other than the man they'd just been talking about.

"Why didn't you tell us he was standing back there?"

"I tried, Agent DiNozzo," said Sarah, "but you and Ziva wouldn't stop talking long enough to let me."

"Go talk to your brother," Gibbs addressed Sarah. She took off quickly, obviously not wanting to stick around to see her friendly agents get their asses reamed out by their boss.

"Uh, boss-" Tony started.

"I don't want to hear it, DiNozzo, just how long have you two been married?"

"Uh, boss..." Tony started again, but stopped. Gibbs looked at his two agents expectantly.

"It is my fault," Ziva cut in. "Last time we were here, I decided to mess with Tony while he was interviewing a witness. I came up to him - and the witness - and introduced myself to her as Ziva DiNozzo. We have been trying to sneak it into conversation ever since, to mess with each other."

"I was winning," Tony said, and she nudged him in the ribs.

"We were tied," Ziva corrected curtly.

"Eight to seven," he whispered loudly to Gibbs.

"That neighbor didn't-" She was interrupted.

"Enough! And just joking around and pranking each other at crime scenes is perfectly okay to you two?"

"Until we got caught," Tony smirked, but was gifted with another head slap. Ziva managed to stifle her own amused smile.

Gibbs shook his head. "You two ..." He sighed. "This game is over. No more. If you want to introduce her to anyone as Ziva DiNozzo again, you'd better actually be married." The two agents exchanged a look as their boss continued. "Don't be getting any ideas, either. If I hear about any of this going on again, both of you are going to be wishing you'd never met me. Both of you, go home." With that, Gibbs turned around and walked away, shaking his head.

"Like a couple of teenagers," he muttered under his breath. "Damn agents." Tony and Ziva stood in place, watching him walk away.

"So ... that kind of sucked," Tony said after a few minutes of stunned silence.

"Just a little," Ziva agreed, chuckling slightly.

"It was fun while it lasted, Ziva DiNozzo," he said, using the name one final time. She smacked him.

"He just got done yelling at us for that. It absolutely amazes me that you have not yet managed to get us both fired."

"He won't fire us, Ziva, we keep him entertained." He grinned at her then, and she smiled back. "Sarah was the last witness, and she's talking to her brother, so do you want to get out of here?"

"That depends," Ziva began, "are we going to finish what we started earlier?" Her words sent a shiver down Tony's spine, and he looked at her with raised eyebrows. "Or were you just trying to avoid being ridiculed by McGee?"

"Both?" He asked, hoping that answer was acceptable.

It was. "Well then, why are we still standing here?" she asked, and he took the hint. They got into the car, and without a word, they both leaned into each other and practically devoured each other, kissing passionately before Tony started the car and drove away, Ziva still nibbling on his neck as he drove.

Across the parking lot, Gibbs saw everything. "Exactly like a pair of teenagers," he muttered to himself, and grinned.

That's all, though I've pondered revisiting this later and adding more. I have to think on it for a while, and maybe finish more of my other works in progress.

Anyone else able to hear Ziva just say "Ziva DiNozzo" in their head like it's the most natural thing in the world?