It was typical he thought. That Ziva would be the one to throw herself at him, protect his body with hers before he even had the chance to realise what the hell was going on.
She could never just let him be the hero.
Though as they fell to the ground in what seemed to be slow motion, his arm wrapping around her waist of its own accord, her face meeting his chest, he knew that this was how it had always been. How it always would be.
Always fighting to protect each other, complaining when they were beaten too it.
He would quite willingly give his life so that she could have hers. Put himself into the line of fire and take a bullet that was meant for her, it was what partners, team mates, were meant to do. It was just too bad he had such a hard time convincing himself that.
It wasn't as if he wouldn't do exactly the same for McGee or Gibb's or anyone on the team, but with her it was just different.
It always had been.
He wasn't the type of guy who needed protecting. He had been pretty much on his own since he was seventeen, making his own way, doing things the way he liked them.
And yet that all changed when she showed up.
She was like a bug that he didn't really want to get rid of. He pushed she pulled. She refused to listen to him even when she knew he was right, he made jokes and movie quotes just to annoy her, and they would both get in each other's personal space just to see who would crack first.
She was the most infuriating, frustrating person he had ever met, and yet he wouldn't know what to do without her.
And as he felt his back hit the ground, though not without his head first taking the impact against the elevator door – boy would that hurt in the morning – he was for once glad that her ninja skills had resulted in him being on the bottom.
She was always trying to protect him, trying to prevent him from being hurt. He would be lying if he said he didn't hate it.
Bombs going off, bullets flying, you name it and they were throwing themselves on top of one another – or more she was throwing herself on top of him.
But this time he was glad that she had, because this way it meant that not only would she be cushioned like she was now but if he wasn't mistaken they were about two levels up, and he doubted that it wasn't only the electrics of the elevator that had taken a hit.
Unlike every other time he wasn't going to fight her to be on top, no this time he would remain where he was, because if this elevator was to go down now, if the cables holding it in place gave out, she stood more of a chance braced on top of him, than crushed underneath.
He could feel her hand meet his, as the cab tilted at an unnerving angle. They had stopped moving but were now swinging from side to side. How large was the elevator shaft exactly? Hopefully it was wide enough for Ziva to climb out.
Even in the dim light, made worse by the fact his sight was now growing fuzzy – damn he must have hit his head harder than he thought – he could see her eyes were squeezed shut. Too tightly to be unconscious he thought.
He gave her fingers a squeeze testing his theory, and she pressed back with such an amount of force that he worried that she may cut off the circulation.
He didn't care though.
It was a signal that she was fine, that they were both still there that she, no they had refused to leave each other, even when the pair had ignored the most obvious of safety protocol and used the elevator.
In their defence, they did think they would have more time, everyone always does don't they?
She was alive, she was ok, didn't appear to be bleeding – he was ninety nine percent positive the warm wetness he could feel on his scalp was in fact his own blood – and she was safe, well as safe as she could be given the circumstances.
That was all he really cared about at that precise moment.
He wouldn't even allow himself to consider that the rest of the team didn't get out, Gibb's would have made sure that Abby was safe, and McGee well he was just too intelligent to hang around, even if he had been backing up the entire content of his computer the last time he saw him.
They were all ok. They had to be.
The debris had stopped falling now, and only the occasional spurt of dust was falling into the cab, but black patches had began to appear across his vision.
He felt Ziva shift slightly, brushing a few bits of metal and dust from her back, though her face was still buried into his chest and she refused to let go of the tight grip on his hand. Good that meant anything that had fallen on her hadn't caused any major injuries that he couldn't see.
She must have noticed that his own grip had grown weaker, because right now his head was thumping and feeling dizzier by the second, each of his limbs had turned to jelly – though he was reassured by the fact he could still feel his toes, yeah way to prioritize DiNozzo – and the way her eyes shot open, meeting his, a look of confusion and then horror crossing her features, all without him uttering a single word. He knew he must look close to deathly about now, even if he had only banged his head.
He was fine, though when he opened his mouth to tell Ziva that, nothing seemed to come out.
He couldn't even manage to give her a weary smile, as her hands cupped his face feeling round the back of his head before staring at her fingers that were now stained red.
Instead he had to listen, to her desperate pleas for him to stay awake, that she hadn't left him so he most certainly wasn't allowed to leave her, all the while his vision becoming more tunnelled.
He was just glad that it wasn't the other way around, that it wasn't him begging her to keep her eyes open, running his hands through her hair alternatively with trying to place pressure on the wound, never letting go of the tight hold he had on her hand.
He couldn't hear anything now, just a high pitched keening sound that seemed to pierce every nerve ending; he knew it wouldn't be long until the darkness consumed him.
Ziva obviously realised this too, the way the blind panic was visible on her features, the way tears now freely ran down her cheeks, while she screamed soundless threats at him that he would never hear.
This so was not like her.
He couldn't tell if she was more concerned about the fact he was slowly losing consciousness, or the fact they were now trapped inside a very unstable elevator, he had forgotten about her fear of small spaces.
Either way, this was definitely upsetting her, giving her a totally different persona.
As his eyes fluttered closed and then open before closing again, he felt slightly bad for putting her through this sort of pain.
But for once he was the hero, and if that made him selfish then so be it.
Ziva was safe and would get out of here, even if he didn't.
And that was all that mattered.
A/N: Not really sure if I'm pleased with this or not. I sometimes feel that my writing is a bit repetitive, so undecided whether I will write another chapter for this. But this is just a really short drabble that came to mind in the midst of all my revision, to all of those waiting for an update on 'Regrets Collect Like Old Friends' I can't apologize enough, things have been pretty hectic recently but I will try and update in the next few days. Thanks for reading!