A/N: This is a one-shot. I had to do it. The elevator scene in Swan Song…what can I say, I must have already watched it at least 10 times since when I saw it this afternoon. Spoilers for Swan Song and the title is taken from Avril Lavigne's Keep Holding On. Kind of the perfect song for this scene.
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS. I make no profit from this story and all that's mine are the words. All rights to DPB and CBS.

Ziva never liked Autopsy.

She loved the rush of adrenaline that came from working in the field; the feeling of having to stay on high alert, not knowing what comes around the next corner. Feeling danger so close you could almost taste it, and its electricity hanging in the air, making the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

In contrast, she appreciated the safety and security of her desk in the squad room. She often thought of it as her second home. The air was filled with memories of campfires, head-slaps, pizza dinners, and the playful banter between her and her fellow team members. Six years' worth of images hit her every time she walked in, greeted warmly by the orange walls and the skylight, however glary. She adored the familiarity of it all. Her life had always been very unpredictable, and it was nice to feel like there was something secure in it all.

But Autopsy had always been a different story.

It wasn't the blood, or the organs constantly on display from various visitors. That had never been a problem for her.

It wasn't the way innocent lives were expertly sliced and stitched, their insides, something that should truly not be disturbed, taken away and made nothing but evidence, everything else in their lives before now meaningless.

It was the cold, dark atmosphere, where she watched men and women come and go, all of them taken so ruthlessly by Death before their time. She felt so helpless not being able to help them, to save them. That was her job, wasn't it? To help people. She couldn't help these people, so she had to make it her mission to find the heartless animal that took these people's lives.

There was no doubting McGee was the most squeamish of the team, but she could rely on Tony and Gibbs to stop her from going insane. She had come to NCIS a killer, but it made her sick to the stomach to even think that she ever caused someone so much pain. She had never seen the other side of the story. The grieving spouses, the mourning friends and family. But they were used to it all. Gibbs had been an agent for nearly twenty years, and Tony had been one for ten, and before that a homicide detective. For them, this was just everyday.

It had been six years of trying not to look at the bodies as Ducky spoke to her, trying not to remember the giant stitches in their victims' chests, so violated. The problem with relying on someone else is, when they break, you have nothing.

Gibbs was a legend, but once, they could only imagine it, he had been a probie. He had been Franks' probie. Gibbs had looked up to Mike from the very beginning. He was the only real connection he had to his old life. Before NCIS, before losing Shannon and Kelly. And now, Mike was gone. Gibbs was lost, Tony was tiptoeing around everywhere and Ziva, she just felt like everything was falling apart.

To see Mike Franks' body laying limp on the icy steel table reminded her death was only a second away if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. At Mossad that had just been a reminder to be quick and get the job done but now, she had so much to lose, she simply couldn't bear it.

All these years she had been able to deal with the bodies that lie on those slabs, but today it was just too much.

She felt her stitches coming undone one by one, and fear was beginning to engulf her in its waves. She was tired. Tired of pretending like she could take the pressure, the pain. Tired of acting like she was strong enough to get through this without help.

She found herself in Tony's strong arms, the sting of tears still present in her hazel. He acted like the strong one now but inside he was just as terrified, and he held her close, remembering their closeness so rare, so special.

As the doors opened to reconnect them to the rest of the world, Tim and Abby were much the same. They stepped into the elevator together, the four of them forming a circle, their friendship and love for one another feeling like the most powerful, unbreakable bond in the world. Such differences between them, yet they were so very close. There stood a young MIT graduate with a passion for writing who refused to let himself be the smaller man regardless of rank or reputation, a spunky Goth forensic scientist with a heart so full of love (and caffeine) that she sometimes couldn't control herself, a former homicide detective with an incredible talent for what he did and an obsession with movies, and an Israeli assassin turned American federal agent with a broken heart. And as the doors closed once again, the doors creaked with exhaustion, as if this secret moment was too heavy a load with so many others.

If these walls could talk…

A/N: wow, I'm sad now…reviews?
You Are Not Alone readers if there is any reading this, I haven't had much time to write more as I have a piano exam coming up VERY soon. I will try my best to update on Friday.