Okay, first off I am so terribly sorry it has taken me months to post another chapter! I wasn't sure what to do after Ch. 16 so I just kinda left it. I'm not good at updating. So I hope I have some readers still out there that will enjoy it!

REVIEW! Please tell me what you think! I will try to update better!


A knock on the room's door distracted Rivkin and his men pulling their attention away from Ziva and her task. Ziva let out a shuddering breath and stopped pushing the dagger into Tony, she whispered, "I'm so sorry. I know I am making it worse because it is slow, but I...I can't."

Tony groaned, "It's okay, Zi." He clenched his jaw and took a deep breath through his nose before continuing, "Hey, you used a contraction."

Ziva smirked ever so slightly even as tears continued to fall from her eyes. When Tony's eyes flickered toward the door, Ziva turned to look. One of Rivkin's men opened the door and Rivkin looked toward it. Ziva's eyes widened as she realized who was on the other side of the door. She quickly turned back to Tony and shielded both of them.

Suddenly the room exploded with smoke and flashing lights as people swarmed in shouting "Federal Agents, Freeze". Relief flooded through both Tony and Ziva as Gibbs became visible through the haze. He yelled, "Tony! Ziva!"

Ziva shouted back, "Here, Gibbs! Tony needs an ambulance."

Voices were shouting all over the compound as terrorists were arrested and taken into custody. Ziva ripped part of her over shirt off and wrapped it around the dagger protruding from Tony's chest, "Just breathe, Tony. Help is almost here." On the inside she was screaming prayers that he would be okay and that the knife hadn't struck anything vital yet. She hoped the material would prevent precious oxygen from escaping his chest. She desperately wanted to take the knife out of him, but she knew then there was the danger he would bleed out.

Tony tried to concentrate on breathing as searing pain ripped through his body. A shadow of movement flickered in the corner of his eye and his mind registered a possible threat. His eyes flew to Ziva in a warning as she looked at him trying to reassure him. He saw her recognize his message and she scanned the room trying to locate Rivkin.

Then Michael slid between her and Tony snaking an arm around her neck and squeezing her to him. Ziva's eyes began to water immediately and panic again flooded her as he held a knife to her throat and shouted, "Everyone freeze or else Ziva is dead." With his back to Tony, he stared down the agents.

As all attention in the room was drawn to the scene, Gibbs yelled aiming his gun at Rivkin's head, "How did he escape? Rivkin you let her go!" He gritted his teeth, there was no clear shot. It was too big a risk that the bullet would go through Rivkin and into Tony.

A morbid smile spread across Michael's face, "Now that I have everyone's attention, you are going to listen to me and follow my instructions. I will be leaving here unharmed and as a free man with Ziva."

"That's not how it works," Gibbs spoke calmly despite the fear gnawing at his gut.

Ziva clawed at his arm, "NCIS does not negotiate with terrorists."

Tightening his hold on her and putting pressure on his weapon, Rivkin stopped Ziva's squirming, "We will just see about that, won't we. I want everyone to leave the room."

Gibbs cleared his throat, "I don't think so. You led us here with Tony's phone and we just got here."

"That was my mistake, but it served my purpose well. Leave now!" Rivkin pressed his finger to the blade pushing it into Ziva's delicate neck causing blood to ooze from beneath her skin.

Gibbs pierced Rivkin with his steely gaze and hollered, "Everyone get out and take the dirt bags with you. I stay."

Rivkin glared in return, "Thank you Agent Gibbs, but you will need to leave as well or else I'm afraid precious Ziva will lose all her blood."

Warring with himself, Gibbs said, "Where will you go anyway? You are surrounded by armed federal agents." He could not just leave his agents to this man's evil, but he also didn't know any way around it.

"I always have a plan and this one is so important to succeed in that I have multiple how do you say…safety nets in place," Rivkin smirked arrogantly staring at Gibbs.

"And what exactly is your plan?" Gibbs continued to talk seeing something in Tony's eyes that told him the risk of stalling was needed.

Rivkin answered with all the confidence in the world, "Well, seeing as I will succeed I suppose I could inform you of the basics. Before Ziva and I make our escape, she will finish killing Tony. Then since we are already married we will runaway together to achieve the power I deserve so much. You will have to use your imagination for the rest."

Tony had always heard adrenaline could allow the impossible to become possible and when Rivkin mentioned taking Ziva away that adrenaline coursed through his throbbing body. Adrenaline combining with his anger and love gave him the power he had been lacking behind his emotions.

Gibbs opened his mouth to respond and Rivkin screamed, "Get out!"

So backing slowly toward the door, Gibbs saw what he had been waiting for, hope glimmered in his senior field agent's eyes. Keeping his face expressionless, Gibbs said, "Okay I'm gone." Tony would not let Rivkin kill Ziva and Ziva would not let Rivkin kill Tony. His agents were the safest in each other's hands and he was just getting in their way by infuriating Rivkin so he turned and left the room. He stood next to the doorway carefully out of sight, but not completely leaving after all they were his agents.

Rivkin laughed, "Don't negotiate with terrorists? Now before we continue where we left off with Tony's murder, Ziva I want you to remember the feeling of this blade against your throat because I won't hesitate to slit your throat if you try to outsmart me."

Ziva's mind raced trying to wrap her head around what was happening. Gibbs had just left them, this wasn't making any sense. Now how would they escape? She could not handle killing Tony especially after they had come so close to being free.

This was the moment he had been waiting for. Rivkin was over confident and distracted with threatening Ziva so Tony made his move. His arm rose from the chain he had escaped from with the adrenaline's help. Tony clenched his teeth, this would hurt like crazy, but he had to save his ninja. Ignoring the paralyzing hot pain, Tony ripped the dagger from his own chest and skillfully spun it in his hand so he was clutching the handle where Ziva's hand had once trembled with regret. Tony gripped the dagger and raised it silently. With no hesitation, he plunged it into Rivkin's back precisely where his heart would be.

Rivkin tightened with pain and surprise until the injury took effect. He went limp, hand dropping from around Ziva's throat and he fell to the cold cement floor. The hand holding the knife opened upon hitting the ground and the weapon skid across the floor. Ziva's eyes widened having no idea what had just taken place, she turned scared to hope. Her eyes went immediately to Tony, who was putting pressure on his chest as blood slipped through his fingers.

Ziva yelled, "Gibbs, clear!" She stepped over Rivkin's gasping body to help Tony try to stop the bleeding. Gibbs charged into the room with McGee at his side, guns raised.

Gibbs talked into his headset, "All four hostages secure." He frowned at his agent that was bleeding profusely on multiple parts of his body. "Tony, you good?"

All the hostages were secure, they were all safe. Tony smiled brightly, "Yeah, I'm great!" Gibbs smirked in relief and Ziva grinned in return. They were okay.

McGee rolled his eyes but let out a breath in relief, "And he isn't even on pain killers yet."

Rivkin clutched at his chest as if he could remove the blade piercing his heart from behind. All eyes shifted to the dying terrorist on the ground. Tony and Ziva shared a look of relief and victory. Then paramedics swarmed in. A flurry of activity followed. Tony was freed the rest of the way from the wall and he was moved onto a stretcher as they worked to stop the bleeding and assess the extent of his injuries. Ziva was forced into a chair while her neck was stitched up on the scene and her cuts and bruises were sterilized.

When a paramedic stood up from taking Rivkin's pulse, all eyes turned to him, "He is dead."

Everyone tried to show a semblance of humanity, but everyone had a smile tugging on their lips. Ziva's lips twitched, "Does this mean I have to get a divorce?"

McGee looked extremely confused, "When did you marry Rivkin?"

Tony grunted from the stretcher, "She didn't."

Frowning, Ziva said slowly, "Tony, you witnessed it. He forced me to marry him."

As he was being rushed from the room, Tony grinned, "Zi, you never said 'I do' plus you didn't repeat the vows under your own free will. You aren't married," since he was already being taken down the hall, he shouted the rest, "Thank the Lord."

Ziva smiled brilliantly and jumped up from the chair as soon as a bandage was placed over her stitches. Preparing to run down the hall, Ziva paused to answer Gibbs questioning look, "I was with him on his last ambulance ride, I do not plan to miss this one." As soon as Gibbs nodded giving her permission, she ran to her partner that was so much more.

Emerging from the compound, she located the ambulance that Tony was being loaded into and jogged up to the paramedics, "I need to ride with him."

They let her in before slamming the doors closed. Tony smirked wearily over at her, "Miss me?"

Ziva smirked, "Not at all," then getting serious she leaned close to Tony, eyes glimmering with tears, "I am so sorry."

"Nothing was your fault," Tony used all his strength to wipe a tear from Ziva's cheek, "remember, I asked you to kill me."

Ziva wrapped both of her hands around his holding it to her cheek, "I thought I was going to lose you. I was so scared," her voice was barely a whisper, "And then you saved my life."

Tony brushed his finger against one of her hands, "We saved each other, Zi and for the record I was scared out of my mind."

A paramedic cleared his throat, "Sorry to interrupt, but we need to put Mr. DiNozzo on oxygen so your conversation will have to wait a while."

Ziva tore her eyes from Tony to ask, "Will he be okay?"

Smiling reassuringly, the medic answered, "He will make a full recovery but he will need surgery and quite a few stitches."

Returning her gaze to Tony, Ziva took in his appearance realizing that he was actually okay and that they were really together. His eyes were closed and a mask covered his mouth and nose. Pain created tension in every muscle of his face and his skin was a shade lighter than his natural color, but it was the best sight Ziva had ever seen. She smiled with the happiness coursing through her veins. A few short days ago she had sat in the back of an ambulance studying Tony's hand admitting her love for him to herself and now she held his hand with the joy of knowing he loved her back.

So much had changed through the tragedy and chaos of the past week, but as always they rose from the evil, stronger.