This is set sometime in early season five, after the Jeanne mess, but before Jen was killed. So, I started this in February, and then had a raging case of writer's block. Still turning over the end in my head, but I'm confident I can finish it now. So, thank you for reading, and please review!


Ziva nodded her ready, her back flush against the outer wall of the warehouse, to the left of the door. Gibbs moved from his position on the right side, and threw a strong kick, sending the door flying open in a crash of splinters. He maneuvered in, his gun aimed, arms tight against his body, turning to clear the right side. Ziva was directly behind him, eyes focused as she swept the left side, fully concentrated on the mission.

They moved silently through the large structure, McGee and Tony's voices occasionally interrupting through their earpieces, as they investigated a warehouse in another part of town. The suspects were in one of the buildings; two Pakistani men with big plans to bomb D.C. A young Petty Officer died trying to warn his superiors about the men, whom he'd overheard in a bar.

Cartons and boxes filled the warehouse, making clearing it a bit precarious. The men could be hiding anywhere. They got to the opposite end of the building, and found a card table, two chairs, a laptop, a Pakistan flag, and the left over refuse from a bomb workshop. The device was likely in a vehicle for transport to their detonation site, but Gibbs was glad to have Ziva with him anyway. If they found it she could disarm it.

Movement. A flash of brown, the scuff of sneakers. Ziva already had her gun pointed to the noise when he turned to look. She treaded carefully, and silently in that direction. Gibbs was on her six, keeping a distance, with his weapon aimed a few feet to her left.

Both NCIS agents heard the tiny little beep, just before the mess of boxes to Gibbs right exploded. They hit the ground, uninjured from the small blast, but still struggling in the shrapnel and smoke, Ziva rolling to stifle the flame eating at the back of her windbreaker.

The scuff of sneakers moving away from them had Ziva yanking her head up from the floor, seeing the men running toward a back door. She turned to Gibbs, who was blinking and coughing, but unharmed. She leapt up, yanking off her burnt windbreaker, and ran toward their suspects, heedless to the danger of going after them alone.

"This is MP137, we're in the area and on our way. The Feds mention what they're after?" Officer Drew Bergman asked into the radio.

He was 24, good-looking, and hoping to get himself a gold shield one day. Helping the Feds take down a suspect, that couldn't hurt his chances.

"All they said was two Pakistani terrorists." The dispatcher answered.

"Figures," Officer Jay Thompson said. He was two decades older than Drew, blue-collar his whole life, and out of patience with the scum he saw everyday on the job. No matter how many people they put away, no matter how many bad guys they got off the street, there was always more.

Drew steered through the shipping yard, down toward the large, seldom used warehouses. They weren't in fantastic condition, so most people rented the newer ones. No point in trusting your merchandise to storage units that might leak, or who knew what else.

The explosion surprised them, but left them with little question of which building to aim for. Drew threw on the lights, and gunned the engine of the Crown Vic, heading toward the cloud of smoke. Near the building, he initiated a half-spin, and squealed to a stop, throwing the car in park.

Using their doors as shields, the DCPD cops crouched behind them, and aimed toward the warehouse, as a woman flew out, gun drawn. They didn't have much time to think, she was firing her weapon at the small shed by the dock. She looked Middle Eastern. Drew and Jay took aim, firing at the woman. Three shots each.

She went down.

A man flew out of the building toward her. He had to be one of the Feds they were called in to back-up. He stopped short when he saw the suspect on the ground. Only seconds before he ran toward her, gun still drawn.

They jogged over to him, both their guns out, better safe than sorry.


Oh god, oh god. They got her, the bastards got her. Gibbs sprint toward Ziva, his stomach twisting violently at the volume of red already seeping out into her sweater and on the pavement.

He saw both their suspects were already down for the count, blood oozing out of their bodies, taking their lives with it. They couldn't have shot her, his head whipped around, landing on the LEOs in their patrol blues.

"NCIS!" He whipped his ID out to show them, watching them lower their weapons. "You idiots just shot an NCIS agent!"

Gibbs slid down beside Ziva, sighing as he saw her eyes still open. "Call for a bus!"

"W-w-what?" The younger officer stuttered, standing only a few feet away now. The older one was dialing for the ambulance, no less shocked than his young partner, but better at handling it.

"Ziver, hang on, a bus is coming." Gibbs surveyed her injuries, noting four entry wounds. Three in the chest—two in the vest, one above it—and one in her abdomen, below the vest.

"We…g-got them," Ziva choked out at him.

"Yeah, you did. Both of them. You did good." It was then, Tony and McGee's panicked voices actually made it into his brain. He forgot for a moment that they could all hear and talk to each other.

"Ziva! Boss, what happened!" Tony shouted.

"Are you guys okay? What's going on!" McGee was just as loud.

"Local LEOs mistook Ziva for one of our suspects, get over here now."

"Is she alright?"

"No DiNozzo, she's not," he snapped, shutting off their mics.

Gibbs took a moment to glance up at the cops, the younger one had his mouth open, looking like he'd just been sucker-punched. The older one just stared, eyes wide, but face impassive.

Gibbs yanked his blazer off, and pressed it into the chest wound, trying to ignore Ziva's hiccupping gasps. He knew that sound. The bullet above her vest must have torn through a lung, and blood was pouring in, making it impossible for her to breathe.

"Hang in there, kid," he whispered to her.

"Not a k-kid…for…l-long time, Gibbs." Speckles of blood landed on her lips and chin as she coughed out the words.

"Yeah, I know that." One hand pressing against one of the wounds, Gibbs moved the other to stroke through her hair.

Her hat had come off in the blast, so he could see her hair pulled away from her face and fastened to her head on either side with little clips. It was a style she wore fairly often, and while it usually made her look younger, her injuries added to make her look very vulnerable.

She looked like a teenager, and it made the situation all the more grotesque.

"C-chest hurts."

"Don't talk, Ziver."

"Can-can not b-breathe."

"You've got at least one bullet in a lung. You've got to try though." Sirens erupted near-by as an ambulance sped toward them, squealing to a stop.

"G-go wit-with me?" One of her hands floundered through the air, groping for his. Gibbs met it, and held onto it, both their palms slick with blood.

"Can't. I've got to take care of things here." Namely, ripping two DC cops brand new assholes.

"P-please?" Her dark eyes were wet, growing almost glassy, but strong enough to beg him.

"I'll send Abby to the hospital."

Ziva shook her head, the first traces of pain breaking out on her face. Even she couldn't hide it forever. "I D-do not wan-want to di-die alone."

"You won't die, Ziver. You don't have permission to die."

A smile became a grimace as pain coursed through her body. "D-does not work…l-like that."

"Worked for DiNozzo." Still holding her hand, he moved to give the paramedics room to work.

She groaned and whimpered as they moved her onto a gurney, the movement jarring her wounds. Gibbs squeezed her hand through a flurry of pressure bandages, IV tubing, an oxygen mask, and yelled numbers he didn't understand.

"Take her to Bethesda Naval," He instructed them when finished their ministrations, and pulled the gurney to it's elevated position.

"She's Navy?"

"NCIS." Gibbs showed them his badge, smearing it with blood from his fingers.

The paramedics nodded, ready to roll with her. Holding her left hand between his, Gibbs bent over, and placed a kiss on her cheek, then whispered his lips close to her ear.

"You will not die. You fight, Ziver. Don't you stop. Ever."

She nodded, and Gibbs could see her lips trembling under the oxygen mask, and her eyes swimming. He dropped her hand, and let the paramedics race off with her, knowing that image would haunt him in nightmares.


Tony drove as fast and erratically as Gibbs, maybe even Ziva, speeding toward the other warehouse. They weren't more than a few miles away, but mid-day traffic was a bitch. His body was humming with adrenaline, fear gripping his brain, and pumping the hormone into his veins. Ziva had to be okay, he couldn't imagine it any other way.

She was shot. That was about all they knew. It was enough to scare the hell out of them.

"She's alright, right?" McGee asked, body tense as he gripped the door handle of the Charger.

"I know as much as you, Probie."

"But, it's Ziva. She's like…invincible."

"She's not a comic book character, McGee. Flesh and blood just like the rest of us."

McGee offered a dubious look.

"Okay, so maybe not quite like the rest of it, but her skin isn't thick enough to stop bullets."

"What about her vest? Weren't they both wearing vests?"

McGee needed reassurance, but Tony had none to give him. The same questions were running through his mind, the same denials. Ziva was practically Wonderwoman, didn't she have some secret Mossad trick to dodging bullets?

"I don't know, Probie. We'll find out when we get to the scene."

Tim nodded then, seeming to understand that Tony was as much at a loss as he was. But, he had faith. Gibbs was there. Between the two of them—both practically superheroes—she had to be alright. Well, maybe not alright, but at least not as bad as his mind was thinking.

"Shit." Tony cursed as he screeched to a stop. An ambulance just left, screaming away from the docks. He jumped out of the car, and headed toward Gibbs, McGee by his side.

Gibbs turned toward them, at the sound of their approached, and Tony stopped short, nearly turning and vomiting on the spot.

"Please tell me all that red is from our terrorists."

Gibbs shook his head. "She took a round here," Gibbs pointed toward his left-side, up by his collarbone, "it entered a lung, and one in her stomach, below the vest."

Tony heard McGee gasp, but was unable to make a sound himself.

"She'll be fine. Take these two back to NCIS." Gibbs gestured disdainfully toward the two DC cops. "One of you better call your superior and tell him to meet you there. Your Union Rep as well."

"Y-you can't be seriously considering prosecuting us for this," the older cop said.

"Oh no?" Gibbs walked up into the cop's face. "You shot a federal officer! The least I want is both your badges!"

He turned back to his agents. "Tony, call Ducky, send him down here. McGee, call Abby and tell her to get herself to Bethesda, ASAP."

The guys nodded, and whipped out their phones, still too shocked to react to anything but their leaders orders.