Title: 5 Things Tony Calls Her That He Probably Shouldn't

Warnings: None, really. Some schmoop and bad frameless dialogue.

Summary: Name Games! Because a) I'm always tickled at the roster of names that show up in everyone's stories, and b) I like to think of Tony one day referring to Ziva as "Very Special Agent David."

Disclaimer: I don't own them, yadda, yadda.

One:

"Agent David, if you wouldn't mind joining us?" Tony asks, a vision of workplace courtesy. Ziva takes a final picture and straightens up, wondering when the novelty will cease. Now time soon, she thinks, judging from how he's getting such a kick out of calling her 'agent.'

"Probationary Agent," Ziva corrects him, but he isn't really listening, and she doesn't really want to be called Probie.

He introduces her to the LEO who squints in confusion at this apparition of a foreign-looking woman with mild murderous intent directed at her partner in her gaze. "Officer Sam Kleinman, the former Officer and now Agent, Ziva David."

Ziva rolls her eyes, but inside she smiles.

Two:

"Nice top there, sweet-" Tony can't complete the mocking endearment because Ziva's grabbed one of his cheeks, pinching nearly half his face between thumb and forefinger as the attempted pet-name dribbles out one side of his distended mouth.

"Careful," she says, sweet as sweet can be, "Or I will grab you like this on your little, hairy, butt, and you will not sit comfortably for a week."

He massages his face ruefully as she releases him. "You are dressed in a totally professional manner this morning," he recites dutifully, holding out a folder like a shield. "I notice nothing. Here are the files from Kleinman."

Three:

"Zee-vah."

No answer but the clack of the keyboard.

"Zeee-vahh."

"Don't whine Tony."

"That wasn't whining. That was trying to get your attention. And, oh hey, look at that, it worked!"

She throws a pencil at him, and it's not weighted like an actual blade would be, but her aim's still good.

"Ow! Ziva, what the hell?"

"Now that time you said it right. Come on, I found the address we need."

Four:

"Zivaleh," Tony says.

"What, you're a Jewish mother now?" she asks him in Yiddish. He's stroking her hair like one at least, gentle hand fondly tucking strands of hair behind her ear. Any moment he's going to feel her forehead with the back of his palm or circle her skinny wrist with his fingers and click his tongue.

"Sounds like you got something caught in your throat there," Tony says lightly, not bothering to try to decipher what she said. "You might want to gargle with a little salt water once we get out of here."

She's searching for a witty response in English this time, but the burning sensation in her side keeps scattering her thoughts.

"Just a little longer Zivaleh," Tony says, and he's not lying because she can hear the sirens drawing closer. He takes her hand, but he doesn't click his tongue, just holds it, as his other palm keeps slick pressure on her wound. "Just a little longer."

Italian mothers and Jewish mothers are branches of the same tree Zivaleh thinks, as white-red-blue swarms her vision.

Five:

"Oh, Ziva…"

"Don't say it Tony."

"Say what, your name?"

"No, that's not – "

"Look, I just wanted to stop by, make sure you were recovering okay from that psycho Kleinman. But Ziva, your face…"

"I'm fine, Tony. It's just some bruising. My wound is healing already."

"Okay. Okay, that's good."

"So I will see you tomorrow?"

"Yeah. Listen, Ziva…"

"Just, no, Tony."

"What? Geez, can't I just – "

"You can't call – "

"I can't call you Ziva now? I'm running out of options here!"

"You can't say my name like that!"

"I didn't – "

"Tony! You did. You were going to. You can't look at me that way, and you can't say my name like that."

"Fine!"

Six…

He holds his hands up in surrender to this new brand of crazy that he refuses to admit may have a point. She gazes at him a moment longer, trying to gauge his sincerity then nods and shuts the door.

On the wrong side of that door Tony flexes his hand against the memory of her blood slicking it, and starts to plot his way past her obstacles to a place where he can call her what she protests most strongly against.

The next day, he carefully pats a bruise-free part of her face, calls her Probie, and grins when she swats him away. He's guessing two months, maybe three at the outside if she's stubborn, before he can stand on her doorstep, look at her like that, and be let in.

((This was originally going to end with just the five names, but I thought that made it too angsty, so I fluffed the end. Hopefully it works. Thanks for reading!))