A/N: Ohmygosh . . . . I LOVED Swan Song (though it made me cry). And I cannot wait for the finale on Tuesday despite the fact that I have a concert that happens to coincide with the air time (fingers crossed that the DVR-type thing works) and this little fic stems from the preview (I read somewhere that CdP re-upped her contract so I'm just gonna tell myself everyone will be fine). Also, I have a three chapter piece in the works that will be completed by Tues. centered around the last four episodes, so watch out for that. And I've resurrected my LiveJournal account, so if you want to pop in for some behind the scenes on Kit's world and writing, feel free (the link is on my FF page). Anyway, enough of my rambling; much love, keep the peace, and feel free to also to let me know what you think, Kit!

Spoiler-ish for Swan Song . . . . Based (loosely) off promo for Pyramid.

DISCLAIMER: If I owned anything, I would know what happens next. But I don't and therefore, by default, I don't.

"STOLEN MOMENTS"

I.

Your initial response is that someone, somewhere, has simply misunderstood. Somehow, wires got crossed and words rearranged to resemble the statement that she's gone. Fortunately, you are the logical one and you reason, quite well, you think, that she can't be missing –you only spoke to her, what, an hour ago?

And besides, she's already disappeared off the grid once, isn't her turn over?

And the last time you got to hold her seems like such a long time ago.

II.

There's a fist-sized hole in the wall of Abby's lab and a wall-sized bruise distorting your left hand. You should feel bad for the poor guy who has to plaster over the hole, but right now, you don't feel anything.

Except rage. Rage exacerbated by fear and a suffocating sense of foreboding.

And helplessness.

And all you can do is drive.

III.

The memories play like some damned montage, though instead of sepia tones and black and white, everything's in stark Technicolor. It's the ghosts again, you realize. It's the ghosts that are filling the spaces around you, following you, whispering by you as you creep down the corridor. They're saying things, calling you perhaps, echoing moments you lived once upon a time.

They are the ghosts of memories, you think.

And then, Please, God, don't let her be a memory.

IV.

You've decided dumb-luck is the only thing keeping your ass alive. Dumb-luck or Gibbs' uncanny ability to anticipate your every move –and, later, it'll dawn on you that he knows, not because he's psychic, or magic, or Spiderman, but simply because he's been there. You'll realize he'd lost his lover years ago.

And, most likely, you're about to lose yours.

Cobb isn't moving, a thick pool of crimson seeping out from under his still body, further corroborating the fact that he probably isn't getting up anytime soon. Or at all. And you'd still like to put another bullet in his head anyway. But while the lieutenant takes on the deathly parlor of a corpse and rigor sets in, you couldn't care less that once again vengeance was robbed from you.

Because she isn't moving either.

There's blood on your hands as you cradle her head, looming over her, both of you staining vermillion. She has a pulse, you think, but why isn't she moving . . . .

"Hey, come on now," you hear yourself beg and that's all you hear. Your voice, your soft voice that breaks on the second-to-last syllable, is the only thing in this moment. Gibbs' is shouting orders into his phone, you're sure, and police and paramedics and SWAT and the Navy are storming the place like ants, but all you hear is your voice, your voice pleading with her quietly.

"You can't leave me like this, alright? I'm an idiot, you know that, and it takes me awhile to get things, but I think I get it now. . . . so you gotta stay, okay? Okay? Please." And you're whispering something into her ear when an EMT pushes you out of the way. And, apparently, the world had slowed down because now it picks up the right tempo and nearly knocks you off your feet.

You don't think she heard you.

V.

This is the part where you'd normally run.

Though, to be fair, you shouldn't have made it this far to begin with; if things had gone the way they always did, and you got what you always gave, you would have fled a long time ago. DiNozzo men weren't bred to stick around, when the going got tough, they got the hell out.

Oh, you tried so very hard too to keep the distance. And it worked. For a while. And you gave in again, to her, to the unspoken promise of a life with her before the cycle started all over again.

Incrementally increasing the space between you and her, though, doesn't appear to be working because, curiously, you are still here at her side.

And you aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

VI.

This is the part where the movie gets bad.

This is the part where the sappiness becomes unbearable and the dialogue is lacking and the music is so overly dramatic it puts daytime soap operas to shame. You would usually take a bathroom break around this time had this situation not been your reality. You would have gone to the bathroom and by the time you got back, the scene would be over, everything resolved, and the sun would be shining and some sort of pop song playing in the background. The credits would roll and happily-ever-after and all that jazz.

Only, there is no music playing –just the steady beep of her heart rate and the shush of machines. The credits aren't rolling yet, which is probably a good thing, but a happily-ever-after isn't looking like a possibility either. The dialogue maintains some semblance of expectation and is, of course, leaving something to be desired –but not for lack of trying.

You've begged with Him and her and have reached the conclusion that the line must be busy.

And it's raining. Again.

VII.

Her hand seems small in yours; the white bandages holding the IV line in place make her skin seem pale, the purple-blue veins standing out against the paper white of her skin, and she's so fragile. Which is odd because she is everything but fragile when she isn't so still.

"I really need you to pull through, you know. I . . . . It isn't supposed to work out like this –you came back to America; you had all these plans and you can't not see those through . . . . I can't tell you that . . . . that I love you right now because moments like this are under all kinds of copyright protections and, you know, lawsuits are a bitch. So you're gonna have to wake up so I can tell you that, okay?"

Beep . . . . beep . . . . beep . . . .

Your voice shatters on a sob, "Okay."

VIII.

You can live without her.

You just don't want to.

And you won't.


I.

The light is too bright and your skull aches in protest as your eyelids crack open. Everything is tear-smeared blurry and your thoughts are really loud, echoing inside your head. It takes you a moment to perform a silent sit-rep and realize you are laying in a hospital bed with an IV in your hand and various machines littering the area around you. The rain patters incessantly against the window and, how nice, a private room. It would probably behoove you to summon a nurse or something, but it turns out you aren't alone after all.

His hand is warm and sweaty around yours, his fingers grasping onto you like a drowning man clutching a life preserver. Your eyes follow the line of his wrist, down his arm, to his shoulder and a familiar sandy-brown head is resting beside your left hip and a damp spot that's most likely drool. He's been here a while, you surmise, and the angle at which he's bent forward will leave him with a nasty crick.

You squeeze his hand gently –though, honestly, it's as hard as you can- and he sits up so fast he nearly gives himself whiplash. Green-grey eyes meet yours and his are wide and soft as they stare at you.

"Hey," he whispers, reaching out to touch your cheek.

"Hi," you croak around the cotton feeling in your mouth and the sound comes out like a hiss. You manage a hoarse, "Water," that sounds like "wah-her" but he's read your mind and already has a plastic cup in hand and halfway to your mouth. He guides the straw between your lips and you take a grateful sip. The water goes down the wrong way, though, and you choke and splutter and he pats your back as best as he can until the coughing subsides.

"Thank you."

"How are you feeling?" he asks and you take a quick inventory.

Aside from the dulling ache at the base of your skull, everything is pleasantly numb. The fear of paralysis enters your mind and you wriggle your toes discretely to reassure yourself that the feeling is probably just the morphine.

"I've had worse," you tell him and, truthfully, you have had much worse. "You?"

"Better."

"Tony, what happened to your hand?"

He looks confused for a moment before remembering and his expression grows sheepish, "I, uh, hit a wall. In the lab."

"Why?"

"Heat of the moment."

"Cobb?"

"Dead," and there's a bitter quality to his voice, almost, and you know he wasn't the one to kill the man.

"Agent Cade?"

He hesitates before telling you and that's how you know before he says, "He died at the scene. Levin was already gone." Levin's death doesn't surprise you –you saw his body.

"What about-" but something in his eyes stops you from saying her name and you close your eyes against the tears.

"She's gone, too," his voice is thick and you wish briefly that your lives weren't like this.

You open your eyes to look at him, lifting your hand now to stroke the side of his face. "I am sorry, Tony."

"So am I . . . . I was afraid I had lost you too." This last admission comes as a surprise.

"Not this time," you assure him, rubbing your thumb across his cheekbone. "Not this time."

His eyes looked haunted when he says, "Maybe next time."

And you nod against your pillow, conceding, "Perhaps."

"I hope not."

"As do I."

He just watches you, deliberating between something, you just can't quite tell what. He stands up a few heartbeats later, pressing his lips against your temple, murmuring, "I should probably let the nurses know you're awake." And you smile, nodding your gratitude to his retreating back.

He pauses at the doorway , though, and, meeting your eyes, asks, "You are aware that you've met your damsel in distress quota for, like, your lifetime, right?"

And your smile broadens and he smirks and maybe next time will be your last time. Or maybe it will be his. That's the thing about life, you never know.

But, you are certain that fate is once again playing matchmaker by allowing a few more stolen moments.

A/N2: ?