Too Late

By EmyPink

Disclaimer: Still Not Mine.

A/N Hey guys, I'm back with my second fic. This is sorta just a filler; I do plan to write my multi-chaptered Tiva fic sooner or later :) Anyways, it's another kinda depressing one-shot. I don't really know where they're coming from. I think this one stemmed from a stressful week of exams, plus all the sad TV shows. I mean, NCIS's Grace Period was on this week tear, Sean died tragically on All Saints leaving Zoe heartbroken a few more tears and Meredith has like drowned on Grey's Anatomy. Muchly depressing.

Anyways, I would really like it if you could comment on my characterisation of the characters. Too Late contains more dialogue and present time reactions than my other fic, The Day It Changed. Changed was basically descriptions which I thought would be easier for my first. So I'm not sure how I'm gonna go with actual characterisation and dialogue. I'm a probie when it comes to NCIS (season three's Bloodbath was my first ep) and don't have time to watch most episodes more than once so I haven't had the chance to study each character closely. Any kind of comment would be great, even if it's to tell me my characters are very OOC. I would much rather criticism than continuing to write OOC. I want my next fic in character.

And yes, as you can probably tell, I love quotes. So expect to see them pop up in my fics.

Sorry 'bout the long Author's Note and now on to the story.

Rating: T for some adult themes and a few mild swear words

Parings: Tiva with Tate

Summary: As he fell into a world of darkness, one phrase kept running through his head. Too Late.

'Love is a moment that lasts forever.' Julie Wittey
"What did I do?" Tony moaned as he felt his lunchtime snack jiggle dangerously around in his stomach. He grabbed hold of the car handle as he felt the SUV sharply cut a corner. "Is this some Israeli spy tactic? Death by driving?"

His partner rolled her eyes. "We have much better ways to put a man ten feet under. Ways that shut men like you up in seconds."

'It's six feet under, Zee-vah, not ten," Tony pointed out as Ziva yanked on the steering wheel and dived into the next lane over. Tony narrowly missed out on being knocked unconscious as he was jerked sideways. "Could you drive like a normal human being for a change? – And what do you mean 'men like me'?"

Ziva chuckled as she changed lanes yet again. This time, Tony was ready and shoved his arm out to stop his head hitting the side window. Unfortunately for Tony, all this achieved was a sore arm and another laugh from Ziva.

"Ouch," Tony complained as he inspected his arm to make sure it wasn't broken. It wasn't. "I could have been seriously injured you know. I mean like seriously, career ending seriously."

"I didn't do anything," Ziva replied. "I'm just driving. I'm perfectly safe."

"Yeah, well, that's perfectly debatable," Tony muttered and his words earned him a glare from the Mossad officer. "What? I didn't say anything. I'm perfectly innocent."

Ziva snorted. "Well, then I'm the Easter Rabbit."

Tony's mind immediately went to that place as he imagined Ziva in a pink bunny costume, not unlike the one Reese Witherspoon wore in Legally Blonde. A movie, which in Tony's opinion, would have been a total bore if it hadn't been for the lovely blonde lying in lap.

"Bunny, Ziva," Tony corrected almost subconsciously as his mind was still picturing Ziva in the small pink costume, well anything pink really. "It's an Easer Bunny."

Ziva recognised the look on her partner's face, reached across and slapped him on the head. "DiNozzo, get your mind out of the drain."

Tony didn't even bother to correct her as he reached behind his head and gently rubbed the spot where Ziva had hit him. "What…was that for?"

"To make you stop thinking of me naked in a bunny costume," Ziva answered. "From Legally Blonde, yes?" Tony looked at her. "What? I do watch movies occasionally and who can resist Reese Witherspoon in a bunny costume?"

"But?...How?...You?...What?" he spluttered as his mind registered what Ziva had said. "And technically, you wouldn't be naked if you had the bunny costume on. Naked is..."

Ziva glared at him. "I do know what naked is, Tony. I'm from Israel, not Mars."

"Err…not that I want to see you in a pink bunny costume or anything," Tony said hurriedly, backtracking.

"Anything, huh." Ziva glanced at him curiously.

"I didn't mean….I don't think…I mean I'm sure you're…well I know you are…" Tony trailed off once he saw Ziva's look. "Shutting up now."

Ziva just smiled.

A couple of minutes later, Ziva jerked the SUV to a stop in front of the house belonging to their main witness in the shooting death of a naval lieutenant.

"Let's go see if our friendly neighbourhood vigilante remembers anything else," Tony said as he practically fell out the door of the SUV.

Tony was referring to Fredrick Anderson, the head of the local Neighbourhood Watch group, who took his job a little too seriously and seemed to feel that it was his duty to make a note of every little thing what went on in his neighbourhood. It was lucky for NCIS that he was such a nosey old man or they would have never gotten anywhere in the Mead case.

"Lead the way Tony," Ziva said cheerfully as she gracefully exited the car.

"How can you still stand after that……I'm not sure I can call it a car trip." He grimaced as he remembered how he practically saw his life flash before his eyes.

"Oh Tony, grow up," Ziva sighed, walking towards the blue front door. "I'm no worse than Gibbs and you seem to survive that."

"It may seem like that, Zee-vah, but you know as well as I do that if I complain I probably wouldn't survive long enough to have to survive Gibbs' driving again," Tony replied, striding past Ziva.

He climbed the stairs and approached the door. Unfortunately for the NCIS agents, the door was slightly ajar, giving Tony an uneasy feeling.

"Ziva," Tony said quickly as he pulled out his gun and stopped just to the right of the door.

Ziva quickly joined him on the other side, her gun at the ready. She nodded. Tony tentatively pushed open the door and he and Ziva entered the house. Ziva immediately entered the first room on the right and Tony inched his way down the hallway.

"Clear." Ziva backed out of the room and immediately entered the next. "This one's clear too."

Ziva turned her head, half looking for any unsavoury characters and half looking for her partner who had disappeared.

"Ziva. In here. Now." Ziva heard Tony's voice coming from the end of the hallway. Ziva made her way into the room she remembered as the kitchen.

"What's going……….." Her voiced trailed off as she saw her partner kneeling next the body of the man that used to be Fredrick Anderson. "Crap."

"That's putting it mildly," Tony sighed. "He's dead. Shot at point-blank range is my guess. Ducky will be able to give us a more specific report."

"You want me to call Gibbs?" Ziva questioned, holstering her gun and taking out her phone which was a big mistake on Ziva's part as at that exact moment, a bullet went whizzing past her head.

Tony instinctively ducked and dragged himself so that he was behind the kitchen counter. Three more bullets echoed around the room. He peered around the corner and aimed his weapon at the unfamiliar figure dressed in black. Before he had a chance to empty his clip into the intruder, three bullets came in his direction.

He pulled himself out of the firing line and watched as the bullets lodged themselves in a poster of The Beatles, one burying itself in the head of John Lennon. 'Ouch,' thought Tony and remembered that this was neither the time nor the place to be feeling sorry for a poster.

He turned and aimed his Sig at the figure, but was caught off guard as another two bullets went flying past his head. 'Damn,' thought Tony as he retreated behind the cupboards once again, 'this guy is good. And where the hell is Ziva? She's meant to be the high flying Mossad assassin, why hasn't she taken him out yet?' Tony heard and saw another bullet lodge itself in the now damaged Beatles poster. 'What's this guy got against the Beatles? Snap out of it DiNozzo, it's time to take this guy down.' Tony mentally Gibbslapped himself, quickly poked his head and gun around the counter and managed to fire three shots.

The first two hit its target, twice in the chest and the third went wide as the shooter fell backwards. 'DiNozzo one, crazy shooter zero.'

"Not too bad if I do say so myself," Tony announced as he stood up from behind the counter and surveyed his handy work. "Not that you were any help, Zee-vah. What happened to you?"

When he didn't receive a reply, he assumed she must have gotten out of the room or something to that extent. He wandered over to where the body of the shooter was lying and pulled off the mask he was wearing. He was surprised to see a young sandy-blonde haired man staring back at him. He looked like he'd just gotten out of high school or college. Tony felt a pang of guilt as he looked into the eyes of the young shooter, thinking that to someone he was the loving son and not the man who had tried to kill him and his partner and had most likely killed Anderson. Tony was startled out of his thoughts by a small moan coming from behind him. He immediately spun around and pointed his gun at whoever was making the noise.

Not in a million years did he expect it to be his partner, slumped against the wall, clutching her chest. Underneath her, a small pool of blood was forming.

"Oh god, Ziva." Tony stood in shock for a moment before running over to the body of his partner, the body of the shooter forgotten. He dropped to his knees and immediately pushed Ziva's hands away and covered the wound with his own. "Oh, shit Ziva. Don't do this."

"I…I'm f…fine, T…ony," Ziva muttered weakly. "It's j…ust a sc…scratch."

"Then it's one helluva scratch," Tony replied, reaching with one hand for the nearest material item which happened to be a small quilted blanket. He pushed the blanket against her chest, and was alarmed to see how much of his partner's blood was already on his hands. "It's gonna be okay Ziva, I'm gonna get help."

"He…help for wh…at?" Ziva managed a tiny smirk. "Your b…ad …aste in w…w…women?"

"This is no time for god-damned jokes, Ziva," Tony exploded, worry and fear setting in. "Your bleeding out…quickly, we need to get you to a hospital now."

"N…ice…toknow….y…you…c…c…ar…e." Tony heard Ziva's words slur together even more and knew that she was rapidly losing blood and dying on the floor.

"It's good, it's gonna be okay." Tony reached for his cell phone and managed to dial 911 with one hand. "Stay with me, yeah."

"Hello, 911. How may I help you?" Tony heard the calm voice of the operator on the other end of the line.

"This is Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service," Tony said with as much authority as he could muster. "I have an agent down with a gunshot wound to the chest. I require an ambulance and back up immediately. Now!"

Tony heard keys tapping away faintly on the other end of the phone and then the operator reappeared. "An ambulance is coming, Agent DiNozzo, and I've put out a call to local squad cars and your headquarters. ETA ten minutes."

"Thanks," Tony said quickly and hung up. After shooting Ziva a worried glance, he pressed speed dial one and heard the familiar voice pick up after three rings.

"Gibbs." Tony heard the familiar voice of his boss. Immediately Tony lost his voice of authority and reverted back to the very worried and slightly scared agent.

"Boss, oh my god, you need to get here now," Tony managed to say. "It's Ziva…there's too much blood…I've…I've called for an ambulance."

"DiNozzo." Tony faintly registered that his boss was talking to him. He had turned his attention back to Ziva and was horrified to see that the blanket was rapidly being stained with blood. Without thinking, Tony absentmindedly put down the cell phone, slid out of his jacket, removed the blanket and replaced it with his best Ermenegildo Zegna jacket.

"N…o…nee…d to str…ip for…me." Tony jumped slightly at the voice of his partner. "It…n..ot like…I have…n't…see…n it…'fore."

"DiNozzo." Gibbs' voice on the other end of the phone was becoming increasingly louder with every passing second. "DiNozzo. TONY! Talk to me. Talk to me, Tony. What's going on?"

Tony finally picked up his cell and he swore he heard his boss let out a sigh of relief.

"What the hell happened, DiNozzo?" Gibbs asked.

"Anderson's dead, boss," Tony replied softly. "Me and Ziva found him and then we were ambushed. I thought…I thought she was okay. I mean she's got crazy ninja skills, and she's a better shot than any of us. But…she was shot, boss. Chest. I don't think she's doing too good."

Gibbs heard the voice of his senior agent crack and he became worried for his agents. "She'll be fine, DiNozzo."

"Kate wasn't fine, boss." He tried to keep the emotion out of his voice, but failed. "Kate died and Ziva might too."

"She's not gonna die, Tony," Gibbs replied. "If she does, I'll follow her to heaven and Gibbslap her into next week."

Tony smiled slightly. "Maybe you should meet us at the hospital, boss. It'll probably be better. Send another team down, plus the local LEOs are on their way."

Tony never heard the reply from his boss as he dropped the cell at the sound of Ziva's strangled gasp.

Tony shifted his attention to Ziva and saw blood trickling out of her mouth. Her eyes were slowly closing and he saw her breathing become shallower.

"No, Ziva, please, don't." A lone tear trickled down his face and his breathing become more rapid. "Please don't do this to me. Please don't die. Please don't die, Kate." He didn't even register that he had mistakenly called his new partner by his old partner's name. All he could think about was that the only other women he had truly loved was dying. The other was already dead and this one seemed to be joining her.

"Don't Ziva, please. Don't die. You're not allowed to. Gibbs said so. Don't do this to me. Don't leave me by myself with the others. They…they can't handle another. Abby…Abby will be devastated. She really likes you, you know. Ducky won't be able do to another autopsy on one of 'his' agents. Probie and Jenny, I don't know what this will do to them. And Gibbs, please don't make him feel anymore guilty. I know he still does for Kate. We need you Ziva, please."

Tony was jolted out of his monologue as two paramedics and two uniformed officers entered the kitchen.

"Sir, I need you too step back." The young brunette, Stephanie, rested her hand on Tony's shoulder. "We'll take good care of her, I promise."

When Tony didn't move, the other senior paramedic, Caleb, practically lifted him up off the ground and half carried him to the nearby chair.

"We will do everything we can, son," he said gazing sympathetically at the young agent. "Are you hurt in any way?"

Tony shook his head. 'No, just her. You'll help her right?"

"We'll do our best." The paramedic noticed that Tony was shaking slightly.

"Put your head between your legs," he instructed gently, fearing that the agent might be going into shock. He manoeuvred Tony's head between his legs. "Stay like that. I'm just going to check on your partner, okay."

Tony didn't move until Caleb came back and asked whether he wanted to ride with them. Without saying anything, Tony walked out the door and into the back of the ambulance where he saw the Stephanie pounding on Ziva's chest, trying with all her might to keep her alive.

"Ziva David, has she been brought in yet?" Gibbs yelled at the receptionist who was trying to keep things under control. "Has. She. Been. Admitted. Yet?"

Behind him was a sea of worried faces. Abby looked like she'd been crying, McGee and Jenny looked shell shocked, and Ducky was trying to take it all in his stride.

"I'm sorry, sir," the receptionist said, her name-tag naming her Elise, "no one by that name has been admitted. We do have a GSW incoming though."

"That would be her," Gibbs replied, turning away from Elise.

Suddenly the doors to the emergency room burst open and a stream of doctors met the incoming gurney. The first doctor took one look at Ziva.

"Trauma One," he yelled and led the way to the trauma room on the right. Stephanie was still performing CPR as they rolled her passed her horrified team.

"Oh, my god, Ziva," Abby shrieked, as she spotted her friend and turned to McGee. "She'll be fine, won't she? I mean she's Ziva. Ziva's indestructible. Ziva's strong, Ziva's Ziva. Surely Mossad taught them how to survive gunshot wounds. If they haven't, they should. We should ask. Asking is good. Ziva is good. Ziva will be all good. TONY!"

The others turned at Abby's shouts and saw Tony being led into the ER by Caleb. They were shocked by the amount of blood that was present on his shirt and arms. Abby took no notice of this and threw her arms around him.

"Tony, Tony," Abby asked frantically. "You're okay? Ziva's not, but you're okay."

"I'm fine, Abs." Tony's voice was weak and tired. "How is she?"

"They've just taken her into trauma," Ducky answered, walking over to the bloody agent. "Come, my dear boy, sit. Timothy, would you please get Anthony something warm? A tea, I think." Ducky lead him over to a block of uncomfortable chairs and sat him down.

"Please tell me she'll be okay," Tony asked, looking at his team. "I mean she'll be fine, right?" His voice betrayed his words.

"I don't know, DiNozzo," Gibbs answered as he sat in the chair next to him. He ran his hand through his hair. "I did not expect to be in this position again so soon."

They were all thinking about Kate, how she was gunned down and pronounced dead on arrival at this same hospital. At least Ziva wasn't DOA. They stayed like this for ten minutes, until Gibbs got fed up and went to harass Elise the receptionist.

After Gibbs had stood up, Tony did something he hadn't done in many years, he prayed. Not just to anyone, he prayed to Kate.

'Please Kate, help Ziva through this. Look out for her, let her survive. Tell whatever higher power up there that I can't live without her. I need her to survive. Save her, Kate. Please save her. You would have liked her. I know you would have. Please don't let it be a met and greet in heaven. I know her brother killed you, but please, you're a good person Kate. Don't punish her for what her brother did. I love you like I love Ziva. I never told you or her so now I am. Please Kate, I need you. I really miss you and I need you. Let her survive, Kate. Please let her survive.'
"Agent Gibbs?" Tony head and feet jumped up at the sound of the doctor's voice.

"Yes," Gibbs replied immediately. "Is my agent okay?"

Tony couldn't read the doctor's face, he was impassive. Abby looked seriously hopeful, McGee a little less. He knew Jenny, Gibbs and Ducky weren't going to get their hopes up until they heard it from the doctor himself.

"I'm sorry, agent," the doctor said solemnly. "We did everything we could. The bullet pierced a vital artery, she lost too much blood. Her heart shut down. I'm truly sorry. We were too late. She died a couple of minutes ago."

Tony felt his legs give way. He vaguely heard Abby's cries as McGee wrapped his arms around her. He didn't register Gibbs punch a hole in the wall, or him being lead to a seat by Ducky and burying his head in his hands. He didn't realise that when Jenny sat down next to Gibbs, his consoling hug brought back memories. All he knew was that Ziva…and Kate were both gone and that he was too late. As he fell into a world of darkness, one phrase kept running through his head. Too Late.
When Ziva awoke, she was surprised to see that she wasn't lying in a sterile, white hospital room or still lying in that awful kitchen. She was surrounded by people, people she didn't know. She sat up, confused and like a good Mossad officer, surveyed her surroundings. She was in a place like she'd never seen before. She turned to the closest person, a brunette female.

"Where am I?" Ziva asked in confusion. "I know this is not a hospital or that awful kitchen, but…………."

"That kitchen was quite awful, wasn't it?" The other woman smiled. "Don't worry, this place is okay once you get use to being one of us. You are?"

"Ziva David," Ziva replied and it hit her. "Am I dead?"

The other woman just smiled and stretched out her hand. "Kate Todd, it's nice to meet you."

'Love is too strong a word to say it too early, but it has too beautiful a meaning to say it too late' Author Unknown
A/N 2 Hopefully you've made it this far. I didn't plan for it to be so long, but once I started writing, it just came to me. I'm still undecided whether I like it or not. I do but I don't. I think my characters are a little OOC (esp. Tony). Okay his partner and potential lover did just die so I guess he's allowed to be a little emotional, but hopefully it wasn't too unrealistic. I'm pretty sure the medical stuff was kinda off, I have no medical knowledge whatsoever and the little I do know comes from watching Grey's or All Saints or ER. And yes, I know this is the second female character I've killed off so please don't hate me. Please comment, good or bad, let me know. Thanks.