Ziva can't even walk properly. It's not actually something that serious and it seems a logical consequence of her imprisonment and God knows what tortures, still, her almost dead weight on his shoulder scares the hell out of him.

"We need to go faster!" The Boss's steps echo loudly in the dark hallways, his movements quick and smooth with a practice that never ceases to surprise him while he tries to secure the zone for them.

McGee is too afraid to look back but he knows they are being followed and that Gibbs wont' be able to hold them back forever.

He feels his heartbeat pulsing against his bruised skin, the pumped blood escaping in small drops from the array of minor cuts peppering his arms, his sweaty and dirty arms. He concentrates on them, on the thumping of his heart instead of in the burning sensation coming from his lungs with every breath.

The sound of gunshots and small explosions gets louder, closer, and he can feel Tony walking faster, clinging to Ziva's body, the hallway barely wide enough for the three of them.

"Run, Probie, run," Tony's says quoting Forest Gump with his distressed voice and McGee wants to smack him so badly despite his swollen facethat he almost bits his own tongue.

His left arm collides against the irregular wall time and time again but he can barely feel the pain above his sore muscles protesting with every unsteady step. He tries to increase his pace but his legs don't seem to cooperate, his back damp with sweat both from the effort and the desert heat. It's like he's the one holding all of them back.

When they finally reach the outside of the main facility where they had kept them his feet sink in the unfamiliar sand and the merciless sun makes him blink and stop for a moment, his knees almost buckling under his and part of Ziva's weight.

"Over there!" Gibbs's voice rises over the deafening noise, pointing to where part of the Marines assault team that came with him are holding position. He sees him grab what he guesses is a grenade from somewhere inside the camouflage suit and throw it through the door they have just came out from.

The force of the blast throws the three of them to the sand and McGee swears can feel the heat from the flames caressing his back.

He is not sure how it happens, he is not even sure how much time it takes them but there is much shouting, bullets passing them closer than he'd like, and a couple of nearby explosions that make them stumble again. When they reach the vehicle, Gibbs carefully takes an almost unconscious Ziva from them and helps her into the back seat.

The moment Ziva's weight is off his shoulder, McGee runs like he has never run before, feeling suddenly light and quick, jumping into the front seat of the car like an Olympic athlete -or at least that is what he thinks- at the same time as Tony closes his door and Gibbs gives the "go" to the Marine in the driver seat.

The hot metal of the jeep burns the skin of his hands when he gets hold of it trying not to fall as the car lurches, his mouth is dry as the desert as he looks back to check if they are in the clear. There's so much dust around them that it's almost impossible to distinguish the camp getting smaller, further away. In the backseat, Gibbs holds tight onto Ziva, protecting her of the potential bullets and the bumps of the inexistent road while she looks exhausted to the point of unconsciousness.

He takes a deep breath, a combination of pure relief and an attempt to slow down his heart rate. He closes his eyes trying not to faint, his body exhausted and running out of pure adrenaline seems unable to stop trembling.

"Try not faint, McGee. You're far too ugly to be the damsel in distress."

McGee opens his eyes to give Tony a censuring look through the rearview mirror for his umpteenth inappropriate comic relief attempt of the day, but he sees him watching Ziva and forgets about it. He is all seriousness, the same determined look and straight jaw he had seen when he was being interrogated, watching Gibbs hold onto her closely and suddenly all that Tony said to Ziva in that cell comes back to him in a rush, making him feel a little bit too much of a voyeur.

McGee can't help but wonder if all of them will be able to get completely out of that cell.