I don't remember where this one came from, the idea just sort of amused me. Thanks for reading, and to those who do, thank you for reviewing!
"Ah, not true, Motek. The wife's alibi," Ziva said, presenting a copy of a hotel reservation with flourish.
"She could have checked in, and left Ziva." Tony answered, ignoring the nickname she'd been using for the last few weeks.
He had no idea what it meant, and he'd been resisting asking her for three weeks-he couldn't believe he'd actually lasted that long. He knew she wanted him to ask, and didn't want to let her win the game. Tony figured he was probably better off not knowing anyway, he had a sinking feeling that it was the Hebrew equivalent of 'dickhead', or the like, and she was just screwing with him. She always had a mysterious little smile on her face when she used it.
"Yes, except that it is in Puerto Rico, and the concierge said she was a constant presence, flirting with his employees."
"So, clearly it wasn't a happy marriage." He said.
Ziva shrugged. "I do not know, it seems rather typical of rich Americans. He gets a respectable trophy, she gets his money and as many pool boys as she can go through, yes?"
"Five years, and this is the impression you pick up?"
"Only of the dirty rich."
"Filthy, Ziva. Filthy rich."
"And, what is the difference, Motek?" She smiled and leaned toward him.
Tony cleared his throat, but resisted the urge to shift away and give her a win. "None, I suppose, just that that's how the expression goes."
"You Americans are very specific with your words."
Tony stared, feeling her hip press against his, as she watched him, appearing somehow flirtatious and innocent at once. Only Ziva could maintain complete professionalism while rubbing up against him. "So, uh wife's out."
"Yes," Ziva agreed, smoothly pulling away from him, just as Gibbs strode out of the elevator. She walked back to her desk. "We should look at the sister, there was something...off about her."
"Spidey sense kicking in?" He asked, sliding into his seat, his mind still struggling to right itself.
"My gut agrees," Gibbs commented, breezing past them to his desk, a fresh cup of coffee in his right hand.
"Right, Boss. We'll work on that." He commented before turning to his partner. She was already looking at her computer, but he could tell she wasn't really working. There was a little smirk on her face.
Two days later
"Probie, you gotta help me here," Tony whined, perched by his colleague's desk. "I have to know what it means."
"I don't know, Tony." McGee told him, only briefly glancing away from his screen.
"Yeah, but you can figure it out. Work your magic, McMagician." He gestured to the keyboard.
"I can't, Tony. Ziva is prepared to remove my fingers one by one if I help you." He already asked the Israeli what the nickname meant, and was quickly reminded why he'd been afraid of her for a year. Or two. At least.
"She'll never know, Probie!"
"How many times have you said that, Tony? And, how many times has she not found out?"
"Okay, so she's freakishly intuitive. We can work around it."
"Not happening, Tony!"
Tony huffed, resting his hands on his hips. "Fine, I'll go to Abby."
"For what, Motek?" A voice breathed along his ear, causing him to jump.
"Ah! How the hell do you do that?"
"It was not hard. You were rather intensely focused on McGee." She shrugged.
Tony cocked his head, and took on a confused look. "That sounds really weird."
"Yeah, a little," McGee mumbled, focused on his screen, knowing he was in for another round of 'ignore them while they flirt in a painfully obvious way'.
Ziva looked between them, trying to figure out what she'd missed in her word choice, but couldn't find anything. "So, what did you need Abby for?"
"You are lying, Motek."
"That!" He snapped. "What does that mean?"
Ziva smiled like the Cheshire cat. "Oh...she will not tell you."
"You threaten to cut her fingers off too?"
She looked at McGee, who hid further behind his computer monitor, and back at Tony. "I did not threaten anyone's fingers, I simply made McGee aware it was not in his best interest to help you, and Abby is not so easily interrogated."
"Sure she is...by Gibbs." Tony said.
"Yes, but Gibbs does not care what I call you."
"As long as it's not dirty, David." Their boss once again swept by them with a paper cup in hand, and sat in front of his computer, all but ignoring them. He tapped at some keys, and sipped at his coffee before noticing his agents hadn't moved. He looked up. "Are you all going to work, or do I need to start smacking some heads?"
Just like that, their powwow broke up, and they returned to their desks, conversation forgotten for the moment. Tony heard a beep, and checked his email.
Figure it out, Tony, and then come find me.
He glanced up to see her completely focused on her screen, and shook his head. Easier said than done.
Tony was losing his mind. It was almost nine, and he was still at work, going through every search engine ever created on the internet. Not a single one found anything on 'Motek'. It wasn't in any Hebrew-to-English dictionaries. Didn't work in the instant translator website he'd found, and seemed not to exist for all intents any purposes. He had tried multiple spellings. Had she made it up?
From the way it rolled so smoothly off her tongue, he didn't think so. Then again it was Ziva, and she could probably make Hootziggybobble sound like a real word—a sexy one no doubt. And, her almost flirtatious, always amused, and always mysterious delivery meant that it could be anything from an insult (like dickhead) to something designed to make him really uncomfortable (what was 'my little hairy butt' in Hebrew?).
He was at a complete loss.
"Working late, Agent DiNozzo?" Vance was suddenly beside him, briefcase in hand, ready to walk out the door.
"Yes sir. I do my best work at night." He smiled charmingly, and hoped Vance didn't ask anymore questions.
The Director snorted. "Right. Don't stay too late."
Vance rolled his eyes, and disappeared toward the elevator. Tony stared back at his computer screen. This wasn't working. He had one final idea, before he ended up at Ziva's stoop, groveling. Tony opened google, and conducted one last search.
He was nervous. And, quite clearly desperate, considering his present location. He'd never been to a synagogue before, at least not without flashing his credentials. This was not police business though. His crazy, hot partner developing weird Hebrew nicknames for him, and refusing to tell him what it meant was definitely personal. But, if this was what he needed to do, he'd do it. Tony swallowed and pushed the door open.
The service hall seemed to be empty, except for one or two people. Tony stared around nervously, wondering where one would go to find a Rabbi.
"Can I help you?" A voice startled him into whipping around.
"Uh, h-hi." The voice belonged to a man who looked to be in his mid-fifties, and was wearing a black suit and a kippah on his head.
"I'm Rabbi Grauer," the man paused, studying him. "You're not Jewish, are you?"
"Um, no sir, I'm not."
"Then, may I ask, what brings you to a synagogue, Mr...?" The Rabbi looked rather amused by him.
"Italian, Catholic then?"
"Yes, sir." It was like talking to a priest, or Gibbs. They were all equally intimidating.
"So, Tony, what can I do for you?"
Tony cleared his throat. "This is going to sound very strange-"
"It usually does."
Tony chuckled. "Well, there's this woman that I work with, she's Jewish, Israeli, actually..."
"So, you want to know about dating a Jewish girl?"
"You're already dating her, and you want to marry her," the Rabbi guessed, not missing a beat.
"Wha-whoa. No. Not dating, no marrying," Tony answered quickly, feeling the collar on his shirt tightening.
Grauer sighed. "So, what about this woman?"
"Well, she started calling me this nickname. It's in Hebrew, and I can't figure out what it means." That really does sound weird, Tony resisted the urge to hang his head.
"And, you're not dating this girl?"
Amused disbelief was still evident on Rabbi Grauer's face when he asked, "So, what's the word she's using?"
The Rabbi frowned, seeming puzzled for a moment.
"It's bad isn't it?"
"No, it's slang. You're really not dating this girl?"
Tony shook his head.
"But you want to?"
"W-what?" Tony stuttered, unprepared for that question.
"Why else would you be here at," Grauer checked his watch, "quarter to ten?"
"Well I, I just wanted to know what it meant." That sounded lame even to him.
Now there was a little bit of pity tingeing the disbelief. "It's a term of endearment. Like sweetie, or honey, or even baby, I suppose."
That he was not expecting. Ziva spent the last few weeks calling him sweetie? He winced. It definitely sounded less sappy, and more romantic in Hebrew. But, that just confused him further. Then realization dawned, and it may as well have been a giant freaking light bulb spouting over his head.
Ziva, who hid all her emotions, was being verbally affectionate with him. That's why the mysterious smile. She'd finally gotten fed-up with pretending, and decided to make the first move. But, did he want to make the second one?
Tony swallowed past his suddenly loud heartbeat, the last few weeks racing through his head. More like the last five years. The summer from Hell on that damn boat, the second summer from Hell, when she was gone, and then dead. And, the feeling deep in his belly when he saw her alive. He didn't need to ask that question.
He turned, about to take off, but stopped suddenly. "Uh, thank you very much Rabbi Grauer." He offered a hand.
The older man took it, amusement coloring his face. "The kids will be Jewish by birth," he shrugged, "I can live with that."
Tony's mouth dropped open, as the Rabbi began to chuckle. He shook the comment out of his mind, and took the opportunity to fly out the door like a man possessed. He had another destination now.
His heart was thudding like a dozen wild horses when he finally knocked on her door. He glanced at his wet palms, and mumbling about crazy, beautifully exotic women, rubbed the sweat off onto his pants. Only Ziva could possibly reduce him to a nervous 12 year-old boy. He heard the switch of the lock, and his mouth suddenly felt very dry.
"Shalom Tony." Ziva didn't look surprised, maybe a little confused, but she definitely looked relaxed. Deliciously so. Her hair was down in curls, and her white tank top was riding up, exposing the beautifully tanned skin of her midriff. He was momentarily taken back four years, to the summer Gibb's was in Mexico and he visited her apartment frequently. He knew at that moment, coming was not a mistake.
Knowing that he'd just end up babbling, Tony forewent words, and settled for wrapping an arm around her waist, and holding her head with his hand, pulling her against his body, her lips against his mouth. Ziva stiffened at first, caught off guard, but soon relaxed and wound her arms around his back. She sighed into his mouth, her fingers digging into his back. When he finally released her, breathing heavily, she still looked unflummoxed.
"You figured it out then, Motek?"
"Yes, I did. It wasn't easy."
She moved away from the door to let him in, having already given her neighbors a bit of a show. "How did you do it?"
"I went to see a Rabbi."
Her eyebrows shot up, and she couldn't hide a smile. "That is a conversation I would like to see."
"Not a chance, Coccolona." He pronounced it in perfect Italian.
Ziva cocked her head to the side, grinning, impressed. "And, what makes you think I like to snuggle, Motek?"
It was finally his turn to smile, and lean in, whispering against her ear. "Your complete lack of respect for personal space in all other settings."
"I can change that, if you do not like it." It was an empty threat, and they both knew it.
"On the contrary, I'm a big fan."
"Then we are finally on the same book?"
Rather than correct her, Tony mumbled out a yes that was silenced as their mouths grew busy with a heady, passionate kiss. But, he couldn't help himself, breaking away momentarily.
"Page, Ziva. It's page."
She chuckled, and moved her mouth back toward his. "I know."
Thank you reviewers who suggested Coccolona, I hope that's used correctly.