Disclaimer: It's been 17 chapters and I still don't own it!


Author's Note: The final chapter. I know it is very short, but I think it gets the job done. Also, the fact that I started with a Lao Tzu quote and ended with a Lao Tzu quote was completely unplanned.


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage." - Lao Tzu


Two days later, Tony stood over a hospital bed as Ziva's eyes fluttered open for the first time since that day in the evidence locker.

"Hey," Tony whispered, a relieved smile washing over his features.

"Hey," she replied, looking around the room, "How long was I out?"

"Two days."

"Anything good happen?"

"Well, we arrested Dustin; the kids went back to Arkansas, they wanted to tell you 'thanks', by the way, especially Syd; ummm...Probie and Abby went on a date...I assume that went well because he was in an annoyingly good mood this morning...I think that's about it."

"Tony, what happened to your arm?" she asked, motioning toward the bandage that covered his elbow.

"Oh, just the usual. Took a bullet in the arm saving the woman I love from a maniac who wanted to claim her as his own," Tony smiled.

"He shot you?" she asked, eyes opening wide and she tried to sit up.

He put a hand on her shoulder and pushed her back down on the bed, "Just a graze. Took some stitches, that was all. I had worse things happen to me when I was playing football."

"Why does that not make me feel any better?"

"Because you know that football is a very violent sport and I tend to go gung-ho into every thing that I do?" Tony offered.

"I do not fully understand what 'gung ho' means, but yes, I believe that is why I am not surprised."

"I'm really glad you're okay, Zee. I don't know what I would have done without you...died, I guess," Tony sighed, taking her hand and sitting down.

"Do not worry yourself with stuff like that, Tony. We're both here. We're fine. We have our whole lives ahead of us. The world is out clam."

"Oyster. You know, because of the pearl," Tony smiled, kissing her knuckles.

She smiled a little more, "Whatever."

"I just want to make sure that you know I love you," he smiled.

"How could I forget?" she laughed, "I love you, too, Tony."

He leaned over and kissed her and with that kiss he promised that as long as he was around, no one would lay a hand on her ever again.

THE END


A.N.: I just want to thank you all for reading and reviewing this story, even after I gave up on it. You guys were persistant and made me ressurect this one. Thanks.

Also, a BIG thanks goes to (who else) Cable_Addict you are my hero. Word.