One Last Mission

It felt as if she'd run for too long. Her heart was pounding against her chest as if it were a caged bird trying to free itself. Her hands shook from adrenaline. This wasn't right – she could have dealt with herself being here, but not Gibbs.

There was something fundamentally wrong with the fact that he was there, sitting next to her, incapacitated.

There was something fundamentally wrong with the fact that she could do nothing to save them. That she had to rely on the hope that someone somehow would find them and save both their skins. She seemed to rely on others a lot lately.

First in Somalia. Now, this. She didn't know how long it would be before she could not handle it.

"I should have been smarter, Gibbs." She spoke aloud though she knew the risks of them hearing her. "I should have seen through it." Her head rested against the cold, damp wall behind her. "At the very least," She murmured, "I should have tried harder to lie to you." There was no answer from the other side of the room; for a moment she stilled her own breathing to be sure that she could still hear his.

She laughed; it was short and sarcastic. "I would not have done it." She told him as if he could hear her. It was, however, only because he couldn't hear her that she spoke to him now. "I would not have done it if it had not been for his threat." Tears threatened to spill over the edge; she held them back. "I could not let him take another one away."

There was a sharp intake of breath from the other side of the room; she stopped speaking immediately. For the first time since they'd been held captive, she hoped that he could not hear her.

"'s where …" Gibbs spoke in a struggling tone. "You're … wrong."

"Gibbs…" She said, shaking her head. The small movement made her sick to her stomach. "I was not going to let them take another like they took Kate from you." The tears that had threatened to spill fell over the edge. She did not say that she could not let them take another from her, either – that Tony's death, Abby's death, McGee or Gibb's death would be unbearable to her.

It was a moment before he spoke again; she could nearly hear him attempting to speak. "You … ever stop…" He stopped speaking for a moment, and she feared that he'd fallen asleep again. When he spoke, his voice was stronger. "To think that … losing you would … be the same thing?"

"Gibbs." She said, feeling suddenly colder. "He threatened to end a life on the team the same way Kate died." Her words trembled.

"So you figured … that losing you … would not be the same?"

She didn't answer him; she did not have the strength to. Ziva curled her legs closer to her body; and for the first time since she'd received the phone call with Ari's voice, began to sob.

Author's Note:

Is there anyone reading this? We haven't got as many reviews as we usually do, so we're just wondering. This one goes out to Rukia. Because math class sucks. And we all know it.

Shorter chapter, next one will be much longer. Please review!

Much Love,

SSW