A/N: Originally set to Kate Miller-Heidke's Last Day on Earth.
She woke to a throbbing head. Her eyelids fluttered open, and though she could barely see a thing, the first thing she saw was her partner, lying limply beneath her, their legs entangled on the elevator floor.
She barely remembered the explosion. She remembered a deafening crash, the elevator rocked back and forth, and she threw herself onto Tony, shielding him from the debris that fell from the ceiling, which hit her instead, knocking her unconscious. That is, until now.
She tried to lift her right arm and gasped in pain. She'd fallen and now it ached terribly. She tried her left, and noticed his fingers still gripped hers. She pulled away from his grasp and brushed his cheek.
"Tony," she struggled to say. Her voice was hoarse and rough. She swallowed. "Tony," she repeated, louder.
He didn't move. She tried to feel a pulse, and was relieved when she did. But it was weak.
"Come on, Tony. Wake up. Just open your eyes. Look at me. It's me, it's Ziva." She tried her best to sound convincing, even on unhearing ears, but she just sounded defeated.
Then she did the only thing left that she could think of in the face of despair: tapped her hand lightly against the unbruised part of his scalp. And without a doubt, his eyes began to open, and when they did, they met hers. She grinned.
"You're alive," she said.
"And you're on top of me," he wheezed under her weight. He coughed a little.
"Old habits die hard," she replied. But she did try to move off him, only to find that she simply couldn't.
"Guess we're stuck like this till they find us," she told him.
He was breathing more heavily now, his chest rising and falling with each breath. Her good arm propped her up on his chest and her face hovered right over his, her hair tickling his cheeks.
"You…you should have gone without me."
"No. No I shouldn't have," she argued. "Not without you."
"You'd be outta here," he protested.
"Or killed by the explosion once outside the building. No, Tony, you are my partner. Either we stay alive or go down together. Understand?"
Feebly, he nodded. "I got your back, Ziva." And quite literally, he pushed off shards of the roof that had fallen on them, so he could run his fingers across her back and hold her tight.
"We're lucky to be alive," he said. "What about the others?"
"I…I don't know," she said in a whisper, trying to cover up the crack in her voice. "No one knew we were in the elevator. It could take a long time before they even get us out."
She rested her head on his chest and a sniff escaped her. "What if they are all gone, Tony? What if we are the only ones left?"
He lifted a hand to her head and stroked her hair. She was asking for his help, his advice, and guilt ripped through him because he didn't know what to tell her. "Then…we should be thankful that we've still got each other, right?"
She nodded against him, and he struggled, but managed a gentle kiss on the top of his head.
"There is no use in hoping, is there?" she asked.
He sighed. "No," he answered honestly. They had felt the explosion. McGee, Gibbs and Abby were still in the building when they got into the elevator. There was no way they had escaped unharmed. "But we've survived a lot up till now, right? Maybe they're OK…"
She looked up. "Tony, you said it yourself: there is no use in hoping. Hope is naïve. We can't afford to hope now."
Tony was going to say she was being a little pessimistic, but she was right. He'd been hopeful before, and much of the time was only rewarded with disappointment. There is no connection between hoping for something and it actually happening. The best way to survive in this harsh reality is to accept it. It's the only way