Disclaimer: NCIS and it's characters are in part owned by me and no profit is made in the writing of this story.

Well, this is the end my friends. I just want to thank everyone that has left feedback or a review. I've appreciated every word you have written to me. :D

Chapter 5

Tuesday, May 24, 2005



"DiNozzo." Tony felt a hand on the back of his neck, shaking him out of his trance and he turned to look into sympathetic blue eyes.

"McGee's got the area secure and Ducky's on his way. Go get cleaned up."


"Ducky and I will take care of her."

"I know, I just....

"There's got to be a bathroom in one of these buildings. Go use it. Clean up. Pull yourself together, then we can process the scene."

Tony only nodded, his eyes shifted from Gibbs to Kate. He didn't want to go. He didn't want to leave her.

"We'll get him, Tony. There's nothing more we can do right now." Gibbs assured him with a hardness in his voice that left no doubt in him that his boss would do nothing short of put a round through Ari's head just as he had done to Kate. But that wouldn't help her now. Nothing could.

"Go." Gibbs ordered.

Tony couldn't find the strength to respond with words through the numbness he felt. He could only nod and force his legs to move and carry him away. How could Gibbs be so calm? Kate was just talking to them just a few minutes ago, or was it hours? He wasn't sure. Either way, she was gone and Gibbs was just as much of an impenetrable fortress as ever. Tony envied his control. As it was, he had to squeeze his hands into fists, his fingernails digging painfully into his palms in order to keep the shaking in his hands and throughout his body from taking over.

As if on autopilot, Tony found a bathroom in one of the old warehouses next door. It must not have been used in a long time as only one light bulb dimly lit the interior, casting long shadows against the broken tile walls. He made his way over to the sink and turned on the faucet, putting his hands under the cold water and looked up into the dirty mirror.

Immediately his stomach revolted at the sight of his own face. How had he forgotten that he was still covered in Kate's blood?

He dove for the toilet, landing hard on his knees, grasping the porcelain bowl and began to unleash what little food he had managed to keep down that day until there was no more to bring up and could only dry heave. Just when he thought he was finished being sick, he began to feel that familiar tickle in the back of his throat he had come to know so well over the last couple of weeks since he fell ill with the plague.

He tried to fight the cough, but his attempt to suppress it only made it worse and he began to hack uncontrollably. He fought for air and pushed against the toilet, attempting to stand and make it to the sink so he could get a drink of water and quell the riot in his throat and end the pain that flared across his chest.

But he came up too fast and his heart pounded in protest, rushing blood to his head. Before he could stop it, he fell backward and hit the tiled wall behind him, black spots clouding the sides of his vision as he slid down to the floor, swallowed up by darkness.

"What are you doing on the floor, Tony?" A distant and familiar voice asked teasingly as he came around. "It wouldn't be because you passed out, now would it? because I thought DiNozzos never pass out."

Tony coughed a couple more times before prying his eyes open and looking up into an angel's face, complete with white robe, wings and halo grinning down on him with her hands on her hips, challenging him to make a smart remark back.

"Nope, definitely didn't just faint, I was just checking to make sure this floor still works properly. Ya know, up to code and such." He patted the tiles. "Yep...Looks like it's still doing its job correctly."

"Great... you almost die from the plague and nearly get blown up and now I'm dead and we still can't have a serious conversation." She complained, throwing her hands in the air.

"Sorry, Kate. It's just that I've never talked to a dead person before."

"That's not true, remember? You talked to your mom for almost a year after she died."

"How do you know that?"

"Because I'm just in your head, Tony. I'm not ever coming back; just like your mother."

"Shut-up, Kate."

"Is that how you speak to the dead?"

"No, just you."

"You need to get up." She insisted.

"I'm too tired." He sighed. "I've had enough, Kate. I'm sick of all of this."

"What's the matter? Finally admitting that your vulnerable and weak? That maybe, just maybe, you weren't ready to come back yet and that you're still sick....Boy, wouldn't Daddy be disappointed?"

"Leave my father out of this." Tony sighed and closed his eyes.

"Or is it Gibbs you don't want to disappoint?" She prodded.

Tony refused to answer to his vision of her.

"What is it with you and this obsession of yours to prove worth through macho-manliness to those two anyway? You'll just about kill yourself for even the slightest atta-boy from Gibbs and your father hasn't spoken to you in years. It's like you're still trying to show him up. You're not fooling anyone here, so why don't you just let it go?"

"What do you want me to do, Kate? Cry?" Tony asked exasperated.

"No, DiNozzo. I just want you to admit to yourself that you're not Gibbs or your father. That you have your own...unique...way of dealing with things and that you don't have to be the hardened bastard that they are to be a man. You can grieve, Tony. It's alright."

"But I don't want to see you cry over me either. I know that's just not the way you roll." She sighed and knealt down next to him. "I'd much rather see you laugh, make inappropriate jokes at the absolute wrong time, quote movies that no one but you has seen, chase anything under 25 in a skirt and be the selfish, arrogant pig-headed asshole you were born to be."

She smiled and batted her eyes in that self-satisfied way that used to get under his skin, but would now be one of those things he never wanted to forget about her.

"I can do that." He replied with a growing smile. "But it won't be as much fun without you around to pick on and I'm going to miss the ...'thing' we had. It was fun."

"What 'thing' Tony? We had no 'thing'" She insisted.

"Yeah we did."

"No we didn't"

"Yeah huh."

"No way."

"Yes way. See? This is the 'thing' I'll miss."

"You mean the bickering like siblings and constant baiting 'thing'"

"That would be the one."

"Well, at least you'll still have McGee to torture."

"There's that." He agreed with a grin.

"Just promise me you'll go easy on him for a while. He's a lot more sensitive than you and Gibbs."

"Duh..." He snorted, then gave Kate a serious face. "Ya know, Kate you were a pretty cool partner; way better than the vast majority of the other ones I've had over the years."

"Awww, Tony. You think I was cool?" She asked.

"No, not really." Tony snickered, feeling better at seeing her give him an annoyed look. "You were mostly a stick-in-the-mud."

"Jerk." She retorted.

"But you had your moments." He admitted.

"You too. But you'll always be an ass."

"Yeah, you're probably right about that. But seriously Kate, I don't think I'll ever have a partner that I'll like as much as I liked you.

"Oh, Tony, You will. You'll see...." He didn't believe that one, but listened to her anyway. "Now, get up before you catch the plague again from this unwholesome bathroom floor and get cleaned up. You still have a job to do." Tony sat up, Kate's face now deeply serious.

"Go help Gibbs kill Ari- for me."

Tony did as he was told, getting to his feet and heading for the sink basin again, steadier and more confident, the sick feeling gone. The water was still running from when he turned it on before and it just as cold, but it helped to refresh him as he scrubbed his face, renewing his vigor and resolve.

His phone rang as he turned off the water.

"Tony? Where are you? You okay?" McGee asked from the other end.

"Yeah, McGee. I'm fine. I'm just in the bathroom"

"Gibbs is going back with Ducky, he wants us process the scene and to find where Ari's sniper's nest was."

"I'll be out in a sec, Probie." He snapped shut his phone and turned around.

"Ka-" He began, but she was gone.

He knew then what he needed to do. Taking a deep breath and a look back at his tired features in the mirror, he stood a little straighter, pushing the exhaustion that pulled at him from all angles aside with a new sense of purpose, leaving the bathroom to do his job. This time however, he wasn't chasing after this terrorist in order to prove to himself that he was as manly as his father or to prove to Gibbs that he was worth the chances he took on him, but he was pushing forward for Kate, the best partner he would ever have and the closest thing he'd ever had to a sister or best friend.

The End

But Wait there's more......

A Sequel (Of Sorts)

Warning: There is some Tiva coming up, so if you're not interested in this ship, just consider this the end of the story. However, if you want more... here it is:

One Time When DiNozzo Will Pass Out

Unspecified Future Date

Tony burst through the doors of the hospital and ran at top speed to the reception desk.

"Ziva David." He panted, trying to speak between breaths "Where... can I.... find her?"

The nurse at the station merely glanced up and held up a finger while she spoke on the phone.

"I'm a federal agent!" He nearly shouted, flipping out his badge. "I need to know where she is now!"

"Alright sir, just calm down." She began as she hung up the phone. "What was the name again?"

"Zee-va. Daaa-veed." He dragged out her name for the nurse, pronouncing each syllable sharply in frustration.

"How do you spell it?" She asked and Tony nearly had an apoplectic fit.

"'D' as in Day-vid and that's how you spell it" Tony replied shortly, growing more impatient by the moment.

"Tony tapped his hand on the desk, hoping to hurry things along while the nurse looked up the name in the computer, making eye contact with him more than once in annoyance.

"Room 625...." Tony ran for the elevator before the nurse could finish speaking. "Wait" she called out to him before the elevator arrived. "She's not there yet. She just went into surgery."

"What?! Surgery? Where!?" He ran back to the desk.

"OR 4- " The nurse started again, but Tony was off and running again.

He made it several feet before he turned right back around again.

"Where's OR 4?" He asked the nurse and she rolled her eyes with a sigh before narrowing them in his direction.

"Please." he begged.

"Sixth floor." she replied flatly.

"Thanks, Nurse Ratchett." He turned and muttered under his breath as he ran for the elevator again, jamming his thumb into the up button.

"C'mon...c'mon...c'mon" He growled at the slow moving elevator.

After the fifth time he pressed the up button he gave up on the elevator in frustration and ran for the stairs instead. Just as the door to the stairwell closed behind him and he began his ascent up the hospital stairs, the elevator car arrived and opened it's doors just in time for a trench coated, silver haired Gibbs to stroll casually into it, taking a sip of his coffee as the elevator doors closed before him and delivered him to the top floor.

Tony pounded up the stairs, taking two at a time until his legs and lungs burned and he was forced to slow to a jog. By the time he reached the fifth floor he was tired and sweaty, but adrenaline kicked in and he gained his second wind, rushing up the last flight of stairs until he fell onto the last door at the top and burst out into the hallway of the sixth floor.

"'Bout time you got up here." Gibbs greeted him.

"How...?" Tony panted. "You were still...parking the car... when I went in. How did you beat me up here?" He tried speaking and breathing at the same time.

"It's called an elevator, DiNozzo." The seasoned agent pointed out to his subordinate. "Should have waited for it."

"Yeah...I'll try that next time." Tony came back, irritated that he had wasted time and energy running up the steps. "Where's Ziva?"

"This way." Gibbs pointed and started down the corridor at a casual stroll. Tony was on his heels anxiously trying to push the pace.

"Calm down, Tony. She's going to be fine."

"I am calm." He lied, running a shaking hand through his sweaty hair. Gibbs shot him a disbelieving look. "Relatively calm, that is." Tony corrected himself "considering everything... and now she's in surgery...this wasn't supposed to happen....we had a plan or at least she had a plan....she's going to be so pissed. Especially at me...I should have been here when she got here...I'm so gonna die. I wonder how she'll kill me.....? I hope it's not the knife...she's really-"

"DiNozzo" Gibbs interrupted his babbling sharply then stopped and smacked the back of his head, causing the younger agent to blink a few times and come to his senses again.

"Thanks, boss." Tony stated gratefully. Gibbs gave him a small half-smile then turned and kept walking down the corridor with Tony in tow.

They reached the double doors to the OR wing and Gibbs stopped, he wouldn't be allowed to go any further. Tony kept going for the door, but Gibbs grabbed an arm and pulled him back.

"You know I was against this for a long time and I didn't appreciate it when you two broke my rule, but you should know that despite all of that....I'm glad you did..."

Tony's grin couldn't have gotten any bigger when Gibbs held out a hand for Tony to shake it then drew him into a quick hug with a manly pat on the back for good measure.

"Good luck, Tony." The genuine display of emotion Gibbs just displayed took the younger man by surprise and he could only smile dumbly before he pushed his way through the doors.

However, once past the doors, the sounds of a woman screaming in Hebrew had him dropping the smile and racing for the commotion. A nurse walked out from the operating room the shouts were coming from wearing surgical scrubs and a cap just as Tony approached.

"What's going on?"

"Are you Mr. DiNozzo?"

"Yes, Is that Ziva in there?"

"Yeah, I was just coming out to find you. C'mon." The nurse pulled on his arm leading him to the door. "She's been insistent that we hold off and she wouldn't even allow the anesthesiologist to give her any drugs until you were here, but we just can't wait any longer." She practically dragged him through the door and into the surgical scrub room.

"Scrub your hands with this soap," She pointed to a sink. "then put these on" She handed him a surgical gown, cap, gloves and booties to go over his shoes. More screams and moans coming from the other side of the door set him on edge and he rushed to do as he was instructed. Before he could finish dressing, another nurse burst in from the OR.

"He can just come on in, Grace. It's too late for Dr. Haskell to do surgery after all, so he doesn't need to be sterile. She's doing this naturally and he needs to hurry. It's happening right now."

"What? It's happening right now?" He asked, feeling the blood drain out of his face. The nurse named Grace, grabbed him by the arm just as he snapped on a glove, but before he could get the other one on, she pulled him into the OR where Ziva lay on a table with her legs in stirrups, giving him a full view of everything, freezing him to the spot in shock at the sight of all of the blood, his knees locking. Ziva let out one last horrific wail and the doctor came up from between her legs and announced.

"It's a Girl!"

Tony would never remember what happened after that.

But he would recall waking up a few moments later to the sweet sounds of his baby girl's cries and to the stern look Ziva gave him that quickly softened when he grabbed her hand and kissed her sweaty forehead with tears in his eyes.

Later on as Ziva recovered in her hospital bed and watched as Tony handed off their baby to the nurse so she could give her first bath to the newborn, she just couldn't help but smile at his protectiveness.

"This isn't going to hurt her is it?" He asked as the baby began to cry when the blankets were unwrapped.

"Of course not." The nurse assured him.

"Will it take long?" He asked, impatient to get their baby back in the blankets where she was snug, warm and safe."

"It'll just be a few minutes."

Tony came back to Ziva and took her hand in his, she couldn't hold back any longer. She just had to tease him a little to calm him down. It was usually the only thing that worked when he was this wound up.

"I cannot believe that I am the one that pushed a human being out of my body yet you are the one that passed out." She teased.

"I didn't pass out." He denied and she narrowed her eyes at him.

"Okay, maybe I passed out a little." He admitted with a sheepish grin. "But you didn't have to see what I saw when she came out. It will forever be seared into my memory."

"Oh, you are right. You definitely had it worse. I only had to feel all of the pain and do all of the work."

"Youch!" He drew in a sharp breath through his teeth at her zinger. "Okay, I'm going to shut up now before you hurt me."

"Good idea." She grinned at him.

"I'm so sorry I wasn't here sooner." He began for about the fifth time, feeling guilty about missing almost all of the labor by having to be at a crime scene two hours away.

"Well, things happened a lot faster than we expected. Guess she is just as impatient as her father."

"Me impatient? Where'd you get that idea?"

Ziva could only roll her eyes at him. A moment later the nurse walked up and handed a newly washed and now swaddled little girl into Ziva's waiting arms. She was still crying from being so cruelly exposed to the cold air for her bath, but as soon as she was in her mother's arms, she calmed and fell back to sleep.

"She's a beauty." The nurse told them as Ziva looked lovingly into her daughter's face.

"She gets her looks from her mom." Tony informed the nurse while giving Ziva a loving smile. "But the majority comes from her dad." He added with a wink and Ziva managed to shoot an elbow into his gut while still keeping a firm hold on the baby.

"Well, I certainly did not marry him for his humility." She joked to the nurse.

"I gotta tell you, Mr. DiNozzo. Your wife is one tough cookie." The nurse told him. "Your baby decided to flip herself into a breech position and the doctor wanted to do a c-section. But Ziva insisted that we wait for you and she can be very... persuasive."

"Scary is probably a better word for it. You should have seen her argument for not changing her name to DiNozzo"

"Which will still never happen." Ziva interjected.

"Either way, she did good." The nurse smiled then left them by themselves in the room.

"She sure did." Tony agreed, bending down and kissing Ziva fully on the lips.

"Ahem." A throat cleared form the open doorway. "I'm not intruding am I?"

Tony looked up and grinned.

"Hey, it's the Godfather. Should we call you the 'Don Gibbs' now?"

"Don't push your luck, DiNozzo." Gibbs came in just as Tony took the baby from Ziva and headed for his mentor and now godfather to his daughter, showing her off to him. The hardened, former marine sniper's features softened at the sight of the newborn, rewarding Tony and Ziva with a rare and uncharacteristic smile from their boss.

"How's it feel to be a father, Tony?"

"Terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. Especially considering the DiNozzo track record on fathering. I just hope I don't mess her up too much."

"Well, get used to that feeling, Tony. It's going to be with you for a long time."

Gibbs sighed as he stroked the baby's face and asked "What's her name?"

"Caitlyn Tali DiNozzo." Tony announced.

"Caitlyn Tali David-DiNozzo" Ziva corrected.

"Yeah, What she said." Turning back to Ziva with an apologetic grin.

Turning back to Gibbs, he made eye contact with Tony and nodded approvingly.

As he held his daughter close with his wife and the man he considered to be more of a father than his own had ever been nearby, he thought about everything in his life that lead up to this moment. He thought about all the ways his life had changed over the years in ways he had never expected.

He remembered how he never thought he would love anything as much as sports until he became a cop and then how he believed he would never love anything as much as being a cop until he met Gibbs and joined NCIS. Then there was the time he was certain he'd never have a partner or friend as great or as loved as Kate and then he met Ziva.

But now as he held his own daughter in his hands, he knew without a doubt that there was absolutely nothing else in the world he could ever love as much as her.

The End

That's all folks. Thanks for reading! :D