A/N: Well, this is my first fanfic, wish me luck! If you review, please be nice! Thanks, Kit

She Nearly Killed You Then:

The first time she nearly kills you is the first time you ever went under cover with her. You know very little about her –she was mysterious and exotic, elusive –a stranger that arrived in cargo pants and a headscarf, slouching provocatively and making you flustered, uncomfortable, and insecure as she invades your space, uninvited . . . . .

When you were ambushed on an elevator and herded into a suite that promised death, tied to a chair, completely compromised, you figured you could stall because, after all, someone would notice that you both went off the grid and come looking. Then the bad guys decide that they won't be negotiating, so you resolve to take the chivalrous route and get her out, give her a means of escape, provide her with a fighting chance to maybe, maybe, save you both. . . . She accepts the five minute ultimatum, vowing to return with an unknown prize in the short window of time allotted her –and if she is even a second tardy within the five minute limit, your life will be taken as a consolation.

Thankfully, after she departs and you salvage the situation and regain control, reinforcements finding you holding your own. It isn't until later, after you've been stitched up and your nose stops bleeding, that you realize she nearly killed you with her barbed tongue retaliations and prideful refusal to submit, that the knife in the crime boss's hand could have gained her compliance and silenced her uncensored retorts by silencing you, permanently.

The second time she nearly kills you is when unforeseen circumstances find you taking refuge in a metal shipping container with her. You are amused at the fact that she was pacing like a caged wild cat, going mad at the appalling thought of being stuck with you for any extended period of time –though you can't help but find the idea of being locked in a small space with her appealing.

You are having trouble distinguishing the cause of her rashness –is it the cold, the clastaphobia, PMS? Your ears are still ringing from the firefight as you try to talk her down inconspicuously –she doesn't seem worked up, but a minute ago when she looked at you, you got a glimpse of the rawness of her nerves. You're fighting with your cell phone that refuses to cooperate and only half listening as she muses out loud, hashing out a plan.

"What if we blow a hole right here at this door where the bolt is? Then we might be able to force something under it and jam it open . . . ."

At this your eyes nearly bulge out of your skull and your adrenaline level begins to peak upwards once again as you go to point out the obvious flaw in her irrational and ill-conceived plan but, alas, you're too late.

There's a crack and violent pings as a bullet from her gun ricochets dangerously around the close confines of the container and you're thrown mercilessly backward, landing spread-eagled with her small frame covering you and her hair is falling in your face and nose and mouth.

"As I was saying, there's a good chance that the bullet might ricochet and kill one of us."

The third time she nearly kills you is in a barn with death wishes directed at your country painted blatantly on the wall. The bossman ordered everyone to leave because the dark object resting on the crossbeams above you is not full of confetti. . . . Her argument as you followed her back inside is that she could prevent the potential loss of incriminating evidence; your argument is that you could prevent the potential loss of both your lives if only she would return to the safe distance several hundred yards away . . . .

You don't know what possessed you to follow this relentless and beautiful woman into closer proximity to an appending doom; you aren't exactly sure why you felt the driving urge to follow her and protect her. You have to fight the instinct to scoop her up –paperclips be damned- and carry her to safety because for some fascinating reason you want to see what she does.

So as you sit across from her in the rafters with the bomb between you both, you try distracting yourself with the unobstructed view of what-s underneath her sweater –the simplicity of the black cotton unsurprising- but you remain acutely aware that one minor slip of her omnipresent knife, one tiny miscalculation of her deft fingers, one phone call, and both of you are dead. So you settle for the slim possibility that if the situation turned opposite your favor, you could at the very least, shield her from shrapnel . . . . Fortunately, you live, but she is threatened with a one way plane ticket if she ever dares to pull a stunt like that again.

The fourth time she nearly kills you is by her own direct hand. You're on your back and she's looming above you, eyes alight with a burning, palpable anger. There are bloodstains on your hands and the barrel to her gun is pressed to your chest and the safety latch is off and it's her finger itching to pull the trigger. Your arm hurts because of a fractured radius, but you barely notice anyway. This near death experience with her, because of her, is different than the previous: You're lying on her homeland, not yours; everything is your fault, this time it's because of you. And if she kills you, it won't matter because the flag fluttering in the west is absent of red and the man downstairs with cold, calculating eyes is sitting in the big chair, calling the shots. Her trust in you is shattered and you can see it so well in her damp eyes and it is that that hurts more than any cracked bone. She hates you –and her voice is loud and accusing and her words ring with a crystal truth and you should apologize and atone for your sins, but alas it is a weakness.

Just as suddenly as she pounces in you, she releases you, granting you a mercy you know you don't deserve.

She nearly killed you then.

Now you stand, time frozen, rooted to the spot as the words 'no survivors' echoes hollow in the still air. Vague awareness that Abby is crumpled and limp in McGee's arms, her sobs muffled against his chest, twin tears streaking down either side of his face. There is ringing in your ears and you have to consciously draw in a breath and it hurts so bad you would rather not inhale again. Suddenly the room is too small so you drag yourself forward, brushing past the silver haired messenger, envious of his stoicism.

You don't know how you got home, yet here you are. Somehow you're on the floor and there is an awful ripping noise and you realize it's you. You're sobbing like a child and you couldn't care less because everything is devoid of meaning now.

This insignificant outsider who drove like a blind, drunken kamikaze with her lead foot and total disregard to the color red (red lights, tail lights, stop signs, and brake lights), who butchered her idioms and refused to use contractions, whose marble-like snores were the envy of emphysemic sailors everywhere. . . . was able to bring you to your knees, drowning your glory and bravado in bourbon and tears, stealing your heart and the meaning of everything else.

Later, you lay awake in bed and contemplate the irony of it all: She was capable of shooting two guns at once, hitting both targets with frightening accuracy; her knife could spear every bull's-eye first throw. She could take down a marine, pumped high on steroids and twice her size by herself, when three grown men combined could scarcely touch him . . . . She knew how to kill a person eighteen different ways with a single paperclip. . . . You don't know –or care- why it took her as long as it did, but you do know that after five tries, she finally succeeded in killing you.