A/N: After reading numerous fics in which Tony calls Ziva 'Zi', which he has not done in the actual show, I had the idea of writing a one-shot where the nickname itself is introduced. This is set during Dead Air, prior to the end scene.
Summary: Tony decides that Ziva needs a nickname, but she doesn't seem too fond of the idea herself.
It was a crisp winter morning. The sun was shining and dew clung to everything it touched; cars, windows, flowers.
Ziva entered NCIS with a beanie flattening her curly hair, and smiled at Tony and McGee, her two fellow agents.
"Morning," McGee mumbled, concentrating on paperwork. Tony, who had not noticed her presence at all before, looked up and grinned.
"Morning, Zi," he greeted cheerfully as the Israeli removed her beanie.
She frowned at him. "Zi?" she asked, questioning the strange nickname.
"Yeah, short for 'Ziva'. I figured you could use a nickname." He put down his pen and locked his fingers.
"What makes you think that?" Ziva leaned up against her desk, curious to hear her co-worker's theory.
"Well, take me. My name is Anthony, but does anybody ever call me that? No, they all call me Tony, with the exception of my dad, who calls me Junior. Very rarely do I use McGee's first name—"
"Or his real last name, for that matter," she interrupted.
"What do you mean?" he asked, folding his arms over his chest.
"McGeek, McGiggles, McGoogle, McGoo, McNerd," Ziva chanted, doing a squeaky impersonation of Tony's voice.
"Look, all I'm saying is take the nickname. You're, like, the only one here who always gets called by their full first name."
"Well, can't I just make up my own nickname?"
"It doesn't work like that, Ziva," McGee piped in.
"Well, why not?" she was exasperated now.
"'Cause," Tony said, not actually being able to think of a reason.
"I'm going to need a little more than ''cause', Tony."
"OK, be-cause," he countered, smiling smugly.
She rolled her eyes and sighed. "I suppose it's better than 'ninja'."
"You remember that? It was, like, two years ago."
She grabbed his arm the way he had done. "Style over substance," she said, imitating him again, but this time in a deep, husky tone.
He grabbed her wrist and looked into her brown eyes, which were lit up by her beautiful smile. He tried not to stare in awe of her beauty and look serious for just a minute.
"You've called me some pretty interesting things over the years too, Zi," he said, once again emphasising the nickname.
"I do remember calling you a dork once," she said thoughtfully.
"When we were undercover five years ago, you called me your—"
"My little hairy butt," she finished, smiling and nodding. McGee snorted.
"I was gonna say furry bear but there's that one too."
"OK, you can let go of my wrist now, Tony."
The Senior Field Agent did as he was told and released his grip. "Look, my point is, you should just take the nickname. It's cute. It suits you."
"Whoa," McGee interrupted. "Did you just call her cute?"
Tony tried to ignore that statement due to potential awkwardness and continued. "It is better than ninja, after all."
"I do not know why you even called me that in the first place. In your American movies, ninjas are people in full black body suits with grappling hooks that scale tall buildings and are generally Asian. I am none of those things."
"But you can kick some serious butt and that, my dear Israeli, is one thing you have in common with the ninjas."
She rolled her eyes.
"Do you want me to start calling you 'Probie' again?"
"Or 'minx'," McGee chuckled.
Ziva looked wide-eyed at McGee, and then Tony. "I do not remember that."
"That's probably because you weren't there," McGee said, looking at Ziva. In his peripheral vision he saw Tony glaring at him to stop, but he kept going. "What were his exact words? Oh yes, I told him you were undercover as yourself from five years ago and he said you were a 'sassy, rogue Mossad agent. Sometimes I miss that little minx."
Ziva looked at Tony, a glint in her eye.
"Oh, he also commented on how sexual you used to be."
There were a million things Ziva could have said to that, but Gibbs made one of his timely entries and brought the conversation to a halt before things went too far. All three sat back down at their desks.
"DiNozzo, McGee, go check out this warehouse," Gibbs said, handing Tony a sheet of paper with an address on it.
"On it, Boss," Tony replied, walking out of the bullpen. "Later, Zi!"
Ziva's fist clenched around the pen she was holding. She hated that nickname.
A/N: So before I go to sleep, I just wanted to get that out. Glad I've done it now. And to anyone who reads any of my other stories, I promise I will update soon. I just have a little writer's block and seem to only be able to choke out one-shots. :) Anyway, please review.