This is my first story ever (and I'm not talking only about fanfiction…). Also, English is not my first language, so sorry for all possible and probable mistakes.

As I saw in other stories, I suppose I have to say this, although it's obvious…:

Disclaimer : NCIS and the characters don't belong to me, unfortunatelly…

Seen from a relative distance, from across the room, the girl looked frail, out of place, as if the gun she was holding was just some kind of ill-chosen prop. From her barely found place crouching behind the huge leather couch Ziva thought for a second that maybe this was just some big misunderstanding, that McGee couldn't seriously be held with a gun at the back of his head by this… almost child.

She looked up from the hand holding the small weapon to the girl's (she hardly could think of her as a woman) face. All illusions of a peaceful outcome shattered instantly as Ziva saw her eyes – unwavering, cold and so determined. No trace of hesitation or even desperation could be seen. The agent shivered slightly, from the image before her or the cold creeping into her every bone in the freezing room, she didn't know. She glanced at Tony, partially obscured by the heavy curtains besides her and at Gibbs, a few feet in front of her, weapon on the floor and hands in the air. For the last couple of minutes he had been trying, in his best negotiator style, to reason with the woman, apparently with no success.

"You killed my fiance, so one of your friends must die today..." She was looking straight at Gibbs, her voice clear and cold, like she was reciting a line. "…and you too, Special Agent Gibbs. The rest of you could still make it out before this all blows to hell". She jerked her head towards the torn-out gas pipe, whistling ominously in the otherwise silent room.

Gibbs tried again. "We did not kill your fiance, he chose to end his own life rather than face the charges… You think this is what he wanted for you ? Throwing away your life like that?"

"You know nothing about him, or about what love is supposed to be!" the young woman yelled, her eyes finally coming alive for a second. "Now, I see we all die together, no matter who fires a gun first. You get to see your agent here go before you do though Agent Gibbs. That's only fitting since I saw Jay jump off that bridge…"

Tony's eyes widened, frantically searching for something, anything to grab. Gibbs tried to reach for something at his ankle, presumably his knife, realizing at the same time he had no chance of doing that in time.

More out of instinct than of any real hope of surviving, McGee kicked his elbow hard behind him, surprising the woman enough to delay her pressing the trigger for a second. Ziva reacted instantly, throwing the knife she was already holding straight at the woman's throat. Tony was already on his way, grabbing the gun and tearing it away at the last second, as the woman tried to squeeze the trigger with her last breath, blood spilling from the severed carotid artery.

Everything moved fast after that, the windows opened, the gas shut, calls made. Tony snapping photos and Palmer bringing the black body-bag from the van, Ziva finally brought herself to look at the woman's face. She looked almost sleeping, if you ignored the gash in her throat and the blood under her head and upper torso, her face peaceful, eyes starring at nothing. And she looked so young… Ziva remembered what Tony said a few days ago, as the girl's photo was up on the plasma. "She looks like a younger version of you, Zee-vah… Any cousin you failed to introduce me to?". Ziva laughed at that point, commenting something about him and any breathing female. But now, looking at the dead body on the floor, the agent didn't feel like laughing. She felt an almost panic-like feeling settling in. Working at NCIS obviously changed her, a few years back she probably wouldn't have thought twice about what she had to do. Seeing that… girl lying there – it was almost as if she was… No, she had to stop that thought, she was nothing but a deranged woman who would have died anyway, taking everyone with her. McGee, Tony, … Gibbs. Speaking of whom, Ziva snapped from starring at her victim's face to see him looking at her with an almost sad expression, as if he knew what she had been thinking. But that couldn't be, she couldn't be that transparent after years of Mossad training, not even to Gibbs, with his uncanny ability to read people and their thoughts… and feelings? Well, maybe not so much, Ziva thought, or maybe he would have noticed the way she tried to hide everything, even from herself. But now is certainly not the time to ponder that. She shrugged and looked defiantly at him, chin up, exuding confidence. Or so she hoped. Gibbs' gaze softened and he broke eye contact first. That was, Ziva thought, unusual to say the least. Is it possible he realized somehow how killing that girl affected her? She felt she couldn't breathe, with that young girl lying there, with Tony and McGee giving her slightly worried looks (or was it just an impression…?) and Gibbs obviously on his way, coming to talk to her. With a conscious effort to compose herself, Ziva smiled slightly at her boss, saying the first thing that came into her mind.

"You will want the report on your desk first thing in the morning, yes?"

He looked a bit strangely at her. "You can do the reports tomorrow… You should go home, sleep, take a hot bath, …relax, whatever you do at home." He seemed almost embarrassed.

"Take a hot bath? Where the hell did that come from?" Gibbs thought, as an image of Ziva in a steamy bath, slowly leathering her entire body lodged itself behind his eyelids. "Very appropriate, Jethro…" he mentally head-slapped himself.

"Yes I'll… I'll go home. Thank you Gibbs." She was way too compliant, something was definitely off about her, Gibbs thought, his feeling from earlier reinforced.

"Ziva" he called after her, just as she was leaving, glancing surreptitiously at the body bag being wheeled out. She stopped, not turning for fear he'll see the pain and anguish in her eyes. "Gibbs?" He stopped right behind her, almost touching her back, a hand on her upper arm, his heat seeping even through her clothes.

"You OK, Ziva?" She felt hot tears coming to her eyes at this simple gesture of warmth. What the hell was wrong with her? Her weakness made her angry, at herself, at Gibbs, at the world.

"Of course I am fine, why wouldn't I be? I did my job, what I was trained to do. This is not the first woman I killed, you know. Do you think that should upset me Gibbs?"

She moved, trying to shake his hand off, to drop the warmth she didn't feel she deserved.

He frowned, confused at her reaction, but didn't budge. "You did well, Ziva, you know that. You most likely saved everyone's lives today."

She breathed in and out, getting her bearings.

"Not everyone's" she whispered as she left, so softly that Gibbs almost missed it.