A/N I dedicate this to my Not-Stalker (love her so much).

DISCLAIMER: I don't own NCIS, but now I also own a deb dress pattern. Score!


Chapter 1

"I'm just saying, he was a crew member. You probably didn't need to threaten to entire gang when all you had to do was handcuff the guy," Tony said as they sat at their desks.

Ziva smirked slightly. "It was barely a threat, and after two months, we finally got Hector José. His gang should know that we are after them as well."

Tony stared at her for a moment. They had been working that case for a while, constantly trying to catch a lead on a major drug ring that was connected to a series of stabbing murders. After attributing the ring to the Mala Halo crew, all they had to do was wait for a leak or for someone to screw up. Then, within days, Hector José had been caught distributing their substance near one of the undercover NCIS agents strategically placed in the area.

At the bust, they had apprehended José in the middle of a crowded street, surrounded by Halo members. After a somewhat violent scene with José, Ziva had said quite clearly, "One down, about 40 to go."

That hadn't pleased the Halo's leader very much, being 'threatened' on his own turf.

Tony couldn't help but be impressed by his partners lack of anxiety when surrounded by some of the most brutal gang members in the country. By now, he was used to it, but occasionally it caught him off guard.

"Fair point, but even a little threat can go a long way," Tony said.

Ziva laughed and turned her attention to her paperwork, allowing Tony to stare at her some more.

He'd never mentioned it to anyone, but he did find Ziva quite attractive. And smart. After working with her for three years, he was certain that she was his best friend...maybe even something more...

"DiNozzo, David, take this down to Abby," Gibbs said as he walked into the squadroom. He handed an evidence bag holding a knife they'd found at the bust to Tony. "See if she can link this to the murders."

"On it."

They walked into the lab arguing. "I'm just saying, stereotypically men protect the women in society," Tony said.

"Stereotypes are not always correct," Ziva countered.

Abby watched as they walked in. She loved her co-workers like family, and was rather fond of the idea that they meant something more to each other.

Finally they noticed her presence. "Present from the boss," Tony said, handing her the evidence bag before moving so he was standing in front of Ziva. "So you've never needed protecting?"


"What about when you called Gibbs out of retirement. Wasn't that so he could protect you?"

"That was not protection. That was him finding out who framed me-"

"So he was protecting you from federal charges."

"Let it go, Tony," Ziva said, sidestepping him so she was in front.

It seemed to happen in slow motion. All three of them heard two loud gunshots, but only two of them looked to window where they came from.

Ziva stumbled backwards slightly before falling completely, landing awkwardly on her side.

"Ziva," Tony said immediately. He fell to his knees next to her, examining the damage. Blood was flowing from her side and her neck, and he could feel the blood spray on his face.

He turned to Abby. "Get the medics," he said, even though she was already dialling. She looked as though she was in shock; just staring at the motionless person on her lab floor. She also had blood on her face, but not as much as Tony.

He reached up and grabbed a spare lab coat that was on Abby's desk and used it to stem the bleeding. From the look of it, Ziva was going in and out of consciousness every few seconds. "Ziva, stay with me," he said quickly, not knowing whether she could hear him. "Abby-"

"They're on their way," she replied just as urgently. She had seen her share of gunshot victims, but never here, in her lab, and never one of the co-workers.

Tony continued to work on Ziva, desperate not to let her go.

A/N Review!

There are three chapters to this fic...this was more of an introduction compared to the other two.