Despite how this story plays out at the beginning it is not a death fiction, none of our NCIS team dies. But Ziva and Tony do have an iffy moment, or maybe two. Slight spoiler for Chimera. Also, of course, the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as the movie Ghost. This is set sometime after season 8.

I own no part of NCIS. If I did there surely would have been some follow up on "couldn't live without you" before now.

Butch and Sundance

-1-

The sharp coppery smell of blood hung in the air, an almost solid presence. Everytime he tried to take a deep breath it felt like it coated his nostrils, his lungs, closed up his throat. He had two bullet holes in him as opposed to her one but her one was in the lower abdomen and much more worrisome, at least to him. She sat next to him, legs stretched out and her back against the wall, shoving the last magazine into her Glock. The rasping sound she'd been making for a while seemed louder with each inhale.

His own breathing didn't sound much better. He knew he had a through and through in his right thigh and then a second wound to the left shoulder. Felt like the damned thing had refractured his clavicle, the same one he'd broken in high school. The bullet was still in there somewhere and the pain was almost bearable if he stayed perfectly still but of course he had to keep turning his head to check on Ziva.

Pale, she was way too pale. Her shirt and jeans were soaked in blood down her left side, pooling underneath her, where it merged into his own not-so-small puddle. Did this make them blood of each other's blood or something?

"You look like shit, Ziva."

A tiny smile appeared on her colorless lips and then slipped away.

"May I return the compliment, Tony?"

She didn't look at him as she leaned her head back against the wall, lowering her now reloaded gun to her lap. With closed eyes she looked too much like a crime scene photo, it scared him.

"You know Gibbs will come riding to the rescue at the last minute, right?"

Several seconds passed and he could hear noises from outside, as if people were moving around, changing places, getting ready to come in and shoot them dead.

"I do not think so, Tony. Not this time. He has no idea where we are. Cell phones out of range. Even Tim and Abby cannot find us this time."

He started to say something and she opened her eyes and looked at him.

"Not this time, Tony."

She closed her eyes again.

Ignoring the pain, except for a hiss he couldn't hold back, he butt cheek walked slowly to where he could touch her thigh with his. Only an inch or two but it seemed to take a long time. They looked like they were wearing matching dark red pants. Carefully leaning over, tears spurting from his eyes at the pain of the movement, he touched her shoulder with his. She sighed and leaned toward him. He gritted his teeth at the gentle jostling. He would have held her hand but the right one still held her gun and the left one, the closest to him, was clutched to her side, trying to stem her bleed out.

He was so tired. Really, he needed a nap. So easy to just lean on her and they could both fall asleep.

It jarred him back to wakefulness when she spoke again.

"What was that movie, the one with the 2 bank robbers who chose to die trying to shoot their way out rather than wait for the coup de grace from the soldiers? I think it was in Bolivia? I remember you told Gibbs once you always thought you would want to go out like that, in a gunfight."

It took her a while to get it all out, she had to stop every third or fourth word and breathe. The voice was much too soft for his ninja. Then he realized what she'd said.

"You talking about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Paul Newman, Robert Redford, 1969, best song academy award, best screenplay, best director…?"

She nodded slowly.

"Yes. We should do that."

"Go out in a blaze of glory?"

"Yes."

The iconic image of Redford and Newman bursting out of the ramshackle building they'd been trapped in, guns in both hands, fearless determined looks on their handsome faces, flashed through his mind. He had indeed told Gibbs on that nasty ship, the Chimera, that he'd rather go out like Butch and Sundance than die the victim of a gruesome gastrointestinal plague but actually he didn't want to go out at all. Gibbs would find them. He always had.

But looking at Ziva, at their ever widening shared blood puddle and realizing how woozy he was, he thought it might be something to consider. At least if they talked about it, it would give them something to do besides wait for the end, however it came.

"Okay. I'm in. I guess I'm Sundance."

"No, you are Butch Cassidy."

Trust Ziva to argue with him even at a time like this.

"WHY do I have to be Butch?"

"You are older. Isn't Butch older than Sundance?"

"Well, yeah, but Sundance is blond and better looking and that's me."

She made a guttural sound deep in her throat and he was afraid, so afraid…then he realized she was laughing, not long and not loud, but laughing nonetheless until it ended in a cough and a moan.

"Yes, Tony, you are the beautiful blond one. I will be Butch Cassidy."

He didn't say anything. Something weird was going on here. It took him a minute…hold the popcorn! She actually knew the movie. She knew Butch was older.

"Wait! Did you actually watch this movie?"

The little hit and run smile came back for a moment.

"Yes. After you mentioned it. They were both beautiful men were they not?"

"I guess. When did you start watching…?"

"Does it really matter, Tony? If I am to die today I would rather take the fight to them than wait for a bullet to the back of the head; face my death like Butch and Sundance did."

The more he thought about it, the more the idea appealed to him. Facing their enemies, maybe taking out 1 or 2 more of them, not going out meek and mild, but fierce and wild. Yeah, that was something to consider. And God knows, he had to admit she was right. Chances of Gibbs finding them were anorexic to nonexistent.

He looked over at her again, touched his head to her's, trying not to moan at the intense pain the movement gave him.

"Okay, Butch. Okay. Let's do it. You ready?"

Her chest heaved as she spoke.

"Give me a minute, Tony. Then I will be. I need to rest for a minute."

Their harsh breathing was the only sound in the room but he thought he heard the whup-whup-whup of a helicopter off in the distance and for a second he imagined Gibbs coming to find his wayward chicks. Maybe not - cause then he heard a man's voice screaming in Spanish they had one minute then he and his companeros were coming in. To kill their asses. Dead.

"We got to go now, Ziva. They're going to be coming in."

She didn't move.

"Ziva…?"

"I do not think I can do it now, Tony."

"Yes, you can. C'mon, I'll help you up."

She shook her head and the gun slipped from her hand.

"I am sorry, Tony."

Why was she sorry? He was the one who'd led them into this deathtrap, not her. In fact, she'd been shot while trying to help him up and into the shed.

"What the hell are you sorry about?"

A tear slid down her face.

"I am sorry it all has to end."

He wanted to deny it, pretend he didn't know what she was talking about, say it wasn't ending, force her to believe they'd get out of this alive. But he couldn't. The joker couldn't deny it this time. Reaching over he gently wiped the tear away, his hand cupping her cheek.

"I'm sorry too, Ziva."

She rubbed her face on his hand.

"I'm sorry I never told you what you mean to me."

He blinked in surprise. Has loss of blood unhinged both his mouth and his brain?

"I'm sorry I never told you you're more than my partner, you're my best friend. You're the one who keeps me sane on the bad days."

Now he'd started, he couldn't stop. His mouth just kept moving.

"I'm sorry I never told you how beautiful you are or how happy I was when you became an American. And I'm really sorry I never told you how much I need you."

Finally, he managed to shut up.

The smile was more definite this time and she managed to bring her hand up to cover his. Her eyes luminous, bottomless; he saw his soul reflected in their depths.

"Ditto," she said.

"Ditto? Did you say 'ditto'?"

Ziva was quoting Ghost?

She never got the chance to respond to his question as the door slammed open, a large body filling the opening. People yelling. Guns firing. Someone screaming.

He realized he was the screamer even as he tried to shield Ziva with his torso and the bullet in his shoulder moved causing a straight shot of agony to his brain leaving him afloat in a sea of pain, white light filling his vision. Then the pain took the light and sound too.