A/N: This is a one-shot set at the start of S7. Ziva is remembering her time in Somalia and is very upset and vulnerable when Tony unexpectedly drops by. Ziva asks him to stay, and he comforts his scared and sad partner with, of all things, a Pretenders song. Tiva! Tiva!

PS if you like this story, I have made a Tiva movie on YouTube to this song. If you are interested, search "superashy8" into the search bar and click on "Tony and Ziva: I'll Stand by You". I have also made two others if you wanna check them out too but this one is the best one.

Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS or the song I have used.

Tell me everything you know about NCIS...

Those words rang through a sleeping Ziva's head. Her memory was so vivid she could almost feel her yanking on her hair and still felt as if her eye was swollen. She awoke on her sofa, screaming, sweaty and terrified. She could deny it all she wanted, but those months in Somalia were something she would never forget. Even with age, she would remember them perfectly, and she wanted so much to forget them.

"Ziva," she heard a familiar voice and saw a head poke through her front door.

"Tony," she said, trying to be calm.

"Are you alright?"

"I am fine," she lied.

"No you're not. Tell me, Ziva."

She hesitated. "I'm scared, Tony, and I have no idea what to think. I feel so alone. No one can ever understand what I've been through."

"You're right, no one can understand. But I'm here for you Ziva, even when you don't want me. I owe you that much. All I can offer you is a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. But I'll go if you want me to; I just wanted to check up on you to make sure you were OK. I'm glad I did."

"No, please stay. All I need right now is reassurance."

Tony sat down beside Ziva on the couch. "You are safe. Salim is dead and you are back in America, in your apartment and I'm here. Come on, Ziva, you're still my ninja, right?"

She smiled at him but her eyes were tearing up a little. She seemed reluctant to accept his help, his love. Tony took a chance and did something unusual: he sang to her, softly and sweetly.

Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now.
Don't be ashamed to cry, let me see you through
Cause I've seen the dark side too.
When the night falls on you, you don't know what to do,
Nothing you confess could make me love you less
I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you,
I'll stand by you.

He put an arm around her and expected her to shrink away, but she stayed, snuggling into him. Tony was truly worried. This was very un-Ziva of her. She wasn't this vulnerable, she was strong. He knew she wasn't just an emotionless form who was really in pain, she was a girl. She was nobody's girl.

So, if you're mad get mad, don't hold it all inside,
Come on and talk to me now.
And hey, what you got to hide? I get angry too
But I'm a lot like you.
When you're standing at the crossroads, don't know which path to choose,
Let me come along, cause even if you're wrong
I'll stand by you, I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you,
I'll stand by you.
Take me into your darkest hour, and I'll never desert you.
I'll stand by you.
And when, when the night falls on you, baby, you're feeling all alone,
You won't be on your own, I'll stand by you. I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you, won't let nobody hurt you. I'll stand by you
Take me in into your darkest hour and I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you.

"I will never let you down, Ziva, I promise that."

"I know you won't," she replied. "The only way you can let me down is if you leave me. Unless you're on temporary assignment of course."

"Leave now or leave ever?"

"Both. I could use some company."

"I'll stay till you kick me out if that's what it takes."

That night, Tony stayed with her. He was a gentleman, and offered to take the couch. She woke up twice to nightmares and Tony had rushed in. She had felt like a pathetic little child waking up during the night but she couldn't help it. After the second time, Tony had stayed next to her until she fell asleep, almost falling asleep himself. Ziva did not wake up again, and she rolled over right next to Tony, wrapping her arms around him and not letting go. He kissed her forehead gently as she slept and then shut his eyes, right next to her.

"Tony," she whispered in her sleep. And then she muttered something. Tony didn't hear it properly, but he was sure it sounded like "I love you".