Long after the world stops shaking and debris stops falling, an eerie silence fills the elevator. Tony's eyes are closed against the pounding in his head; he is hesitant to open them. He is afraid of what he will see, of the size of the metal weighing on his lower leg, of Ziva's condition.

She is laying across his chest; he can't see her, but he can feel her body, her hand that has stayed in his for the entire explosion and has yet to be removed. Wary of looking at her, he murmurs, "Ziva."

The only response she gives is a moan, but it is good enough for him. Tony opens his eyes and there is her forehead with a trickle of blood creeping down it. He lifts his free hand and swipes at it, and she moans again, this time in pain.

"Sorry," he says, but the need to touch her causes him to grasp her ponytail instead, raking his fingers through it as she lifts her face from his chest. Their eyes meet, and the look in hers terrifies him. He has seen Ziva's eyes scared and gleeful and laughing and broken, but never this.

Never empty.

"Are you-" he begins, but then stops, because it is obvious that she isn't okay. It hurts, but Tony cranes his neck and sees the large piece of debris laying beside them, and he knows. "Did that hit you?"

No affirmation is needed, and she does not give one; her eyes are beginning to slide closed. Panic seizes Tony; he tightens his grip on her hand as if it is his lifeline- and in a way, it is. "Ziva, stay with me. Come on."

In the next split second, their entire relationship flashes before his eyes: that one question, having phone sex?, had set off an entire chain of events that had changed her and him and them and led to this moment, huddled on the floor of the elevator in each other's arms.

Couldn't live without you, I guess.

Contents priceless.

Tell her.

Tell her.

Tell her.

Ziva's lips are moving as if she is attempting to speak, but she can do nothing but lay her head gingerly on Tony's shoulder and squeeze his fingers the way he is squeezing hers. As her brown eyes disappear beneath her eyelids, he says it in desperation, a burst of words and emotion that rushes out of him all at once: "I love you."

He does not know if she hears.

He does not know if he will ever find out.

Whatever you think happens, does.

Thanks for reading- review?