Lizzie

It was a nickname. Just like any other.

But for Elizabeth Keen it meant something special.

She had always been Elizabeth. Even when she was little.

Sometimes her name was shortened to "Liz" in conversation. Once during gradeschool, a teacher insisted on calling her "Beth".

But the nicknames never stuck.

Never, until "Lizzie", not until Tom.

She never knew a name could mean so much before she became Lizzie.

Tom's Lizzie.

She had always been Lizzie to him.

He was the only one.

Tom had joked that she needed a nickname, since his own name was so short. It had been their first date and Elizabeth did not yet know that she would fall for the man before her.

That he would become her husband, she would become his Lizzie.

That was years ago, the novelty of the nickname had worn off, replaced with a sense normalcy. Of everything being right in the world.

"Lizzie" meant home.

"Lizzie" meant Tom.

"Lizzie" meant the one safe haven Elizabeth had found in this world.

Hearing him call her that was unsettling.

It felt wrong.

"I'm going to make you famous, Lizzie."

At first it was a minor annoyance. Unimportant in the bigger scheme of things.

She corrected him anyways.

Her name was Elizabeth.

To him, to him she was Agent Keen.

If she was going to be stuck working with him, he had better call her by the right name.

Maybe that had been a mistake. Maybe she should have ignored it, ignored him.

Ignored every "Lizzie" that slid out of his lying, manipulative mouth.

It was just a name, after all. Like Liz or Beth.

Just a nickname.

But coming from him...coming from him it was an invasion.

One little word, getting under her skin. Nudging her, reminding her that she was here with him now. That things were not normal.

It rubbed her the wrong way every time.

He called everyone else appropriately. Used their proper names.

But she was always "Lizzie".

Was he trying to cut her down in front of the others?

Using a diminutive.

Not respecting her as an Agent; as an equal, to the others if not to him.

But in public, when introducing her to others, when it really became a matter of respect, he let her be Agent Keen. Elizabeth at the least.

He was insistent on it.

He insulted the others as well, straight to their faces.

Her, he simply called Lizzie.

On top of everything else, all the other unsettling actions and deceptive details, the prying into her private life; there was this.

And there was nothing she could do about it.

"Zamani did you a favor, Lizzie."

It made her blood boil.

Hearing him call her that while Tom lay dying in the hospital.

Reddington was utterly unrepentent.

All smiles and cryptic answers for anything "Lizzie" could throw at him.

And Elizabeth was forced to swallow her resentment and deal with it.

Her life had been sent into a tailspin since Reddington arrived; her husband attacked, her career rerouted, her loyalty questioned, her life put in danger.

But the FBI needed Raymond Reddington.

He insisted on working with her, and only her.

And he insisted on calling her Lizzie.

Being alone with him, having him call her that...

It made her skin crawl worse than when he touched her.

He had no right to call her Lizzie.

But there was no stopping it.