Outside of NCIS

Fornell saw the jacket flying out of the second story window and hurriedly got a ladder truck over to it, the ladder raised too slow for his liking but when it finally reached the window, the firefighters quickly went into action.

Ziva waved them over to McGee, who seemed to have drifted off again. He was unable to assist in getting out of the building. She watched as the two men went to work, the first went to McGee and the second she waved over to the elevator but as she looked down the shaft the box was gone and her heart sank. It must have fallen, the weakened cable must have broken.

"It's gone." Her voice was just above a whisper, an overwhelming urge to cry hit her and she fell to her knees, assisted by the firefighter, and her only thought was that Tony was dead.

"Ma'am, we need to get you out of the building, it's imperative." The firefighter was directing her with a firm voice, but she had to make sure that Tony was not dead, she wouldn't leave him behind, he was her partner, the man who had not given up on her in the past and and proved that more than once, Somalia came to mind.

"My friend might be dying or is already dead, I have to see him, I have to know. I can not leave him there without knowing. I will not let you stop me." Ziva knew what she had to do and nobody would stop her.

John thought back on that day he was left on the first floor of Tower two, to direct the others into the burning building. He thought back on how he wanted to assist with the fires and how helpless he felt when the building started to cave in, his own life spared. He remembered the mental anguish it had caused him, because the survival guilt that was given to him on that day, never went away.

" I understand why you are doing this, but I would not be doing my job if I didn't try to stop you, Miss." As a firefighter John felt he still had to do his job, and that was to protect the young woman from possibly getting herself killed.

" I have to do this. He is my partner, my friend." she started to descend into the elevator again but stopped and glanced upwards towards the man in the brown pants and bright yellow jacket, " Take care of McGee. The elevator would have fallen to the basement floor near the lab,please try and get us some help." she pleaded to the stranger as she reached for the cable, she had to assume her partner was still alive and then she grabbed for the shaky line that led down to the elevator, wherever it was, she grabbed it with her bare hands, she would have to see for herself. She would not give up on Tony, she could not give up on her friend.

John finally accepted that the woman was going to do what she had to do," Here take my flashlight, I'll steady the cable." he clipped the light to her belt and handed her a pair of thinner gloves that were on his belt, they would at least be better than nothing.

She nodded her thanks as she gripped the cable and started downward into the shaft." By the way, my name is Ziva. Thank you."

" I'm John, and you're welcome." The firefighter smiled at the brave woman, agent, then he pulled out his radio and called out for an assist, he could not leave anybody behind ever again, he had worked the twin towers in New York, he had lost a lot of true friends that day and he felt a twinge of dejavu hit him. "We have another possible survivor in the elevator, I will need an assist on the basement floor near the lab." With gloved hands he held on to the cable the woman was descending on and steadied it, hearing it work hard as the tension increased with her weight.

Lab Floor

Gibbs had never felt so helpless as he did right now, well, actually he had, the day he had placed that gun to his head, the day he wanted to pull that trigger so badly but didn't. Maybe this is why he had steadied himself and held it together. Maybe God himself knew this day would come.

He shook his head as he loosened Tony's tie and after shaking the shattered pieces of glass from his jacket he placed it underneath his second's bloody head. "Dammit DiNozzo, another head injury." he cringed at the thought of his friend going through another bout of scans and needle sticks.

Gibbs attention was redirected when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye, it was Abby. He rushed to her side to see that she was having a difficult time orienting herself to her surroundings, her hearing also effected by the blast, it was evident.

He gently took her chin into his hand and directed her sight to his hands, that got her attention and with the little bit of light in the darkened hallway he signed that she was fine, he was fine. That seemed to help until she caught sight of the man on the floor, the unmoving form of her friend, Tony.

"Tony!" her damaged voice yelled, though Gibbs really didn't think she was able to hear her own words.

She reached down and hugged him tightly. Tony did not respond though, he was still, too still for Tony DiNozzo. " Is he dead?" she signed as she pushed herself back on her haunches, her own head hurt and she still didn't have her equilibrium regained.

Gibbs shook his head and signed that Tony had another head injury and that he felt he had other injuries as well. He reached over and gave her a gentle kiss on her head, her hair still littered with broken glass, he could fill a piece of glass sting his lip.

He knew he had to get them out, the lack of a rescue team was indicative of either another bomb or worse, they thought they were already dead, it had to be bad outside, really bad.

He looked over to a very distraught Abby and signed again, asking her if she would be able to walk.

Abby nodded, she thought she would be able to but when she attempted to stand she had wobbly legs and tilted slightly to the side: it would be difficult to go too far with her in tow but they had to get out of the building, it could be in danger of another explosion, his gut was screaming that time was running out.

After several moment she finally was able to stand reasonably on her own and motioned for Gibbs to do what he had to do to help Tony.

Gibbs hurt, he hurt really bad, he wondered if he had a few broken ribs himself, but he knew that Tony would go to Hell and back to save him and a few broken ribs wasn't going to stop him from doing what had to be done.

He reached down and pulled Tony into a sitting position, he was dead weight, his second was unable to assist in any way and he knew that he had to move fast before his own body gave in to the pain. He steadied himself then placed Tony's arms around his neck and pulled him upward and then onto his back, Abby was assisting in getting Tony's long legs into Gibbs's grip.

He nodded towards the labyrinth of hallways, they started slowly, the journey to the back loading dock would be difficult, he hoped silently for Abby's sake that there were no dead bodies along the way.

Elevator Shaft

As Ziva reached the cart she mentally prepared herself for what she might find, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't fathom the lifeless form of her friend, she knew it would be the most difficult thing she had ever done in her life.

As she descended down the weak cable she flashed back to Tali and her death, an explosion that had not only dismembered her beautiful sister but the had taken away so much of her own soul that day. Her heart had changed, hardened. She knew down deep inside that if Tony died that she would be just as effected by his death. Revenge had already taken a large part of her life, now it would consume the rest.

" Are you there yet?" a voice yelled down from the blown out door. The firefighter was risking his life staying behind, and the gesture made her feel not so alone.

" Almost!" she responded, her feet now touching the top of the elevator, her heart pounding in her chest, worry consumed her mind as she attempted to see down into darkness, he had to be okay, he couldn't be dead, he just couldn't leave her like this.

She quickly descended down into the now vacant metal box, the doors barely open, he had been removed, Gibbs had to have found Tony. " Gibbs!" she yelled as loud as she could, hoping that he would respond but not getting any response. After several attempts she was knew that she would be unable to get out of the elevator through the small opening, it was impossible, the doors now unmovable.

She quickly made her way back on top of the cart and called up, " He's gone!" she yelled up the shaft, her hands now stinging from going down the cable, she could feel a trickle of blood oozing down both arms.

" We have help on the way. Stay put!" The firefighter responded from above the cart, he was again responding to those outside attempting to rescue others from the building, all of their lives now in danger, again.

Suddenly she could hear noises coming from the lab area and she got back inside of the elevator, the jaws of life pulled apart the doors and there stood Fornell and two more firefighters.

"Gibbs must have found Tony. He's gone, and there's Gibbs' jacket." her words quick and panicked as she saw the bloody jacket that belonged to her boss lying on the floor as she exited the small space, the light now shining through the hallway from high beam flashlights and the trickling of light that emanated from Abby's use to be lab.

" Agent David, we have to get out of here, we're in danger." Fornell attempted to get the Israeli to listen to logic, to make her understand that their lives were in danger, that there was no time to get a rescue team involved. Dearing had showed them what he was capable of and he knew that there had to be a secondary way to explode the car load of TNT in the back of the building. It was his training and his training was telling to get the hell out of the already burned out building.

She shook her head and looked around, Gibbs only choice would have been to go out of the loading dock area, right where the bomb would be, and she knew what she had to do, and she ran towards the stairway.

Fornell shook his head but followed after her, he knew Gibbs would do the same for him. The firefighters, in all of their training knew better but they too followed, they would do their best to save the people who seemed to care a lot about each other.

Bethesda Hospital

Jimmy had set up a temporary morgue, his mind racing back and forth from the job at hand and his wife, his new wife, Breena. He had left his beautiful bride at the hospital with his mentor, who was also fighting for his life.

His hands worked on the victim as he mind recalled Dr Mallard on the beach, he had seen him collapse from the balcony window, he had raced to the older man's side and administered first aide and called for an ambulance.

He recalled the man's silence, his inability to move or to talk, Ducky had experienced a stroke, and the only good thought he could have about the entire situation was that he gotten to the emergency room in time to get the much needed TPA. The drug would give the doctor a chance, a chance of regaining full function of his body.

Jimmy was brought back to the reality of the situation when a familiar voice broke through, " Dr Palmer, you need any assistance?"

Jimmy raised his head to see Agent Dorneget standing in the doorway, a look of sadness and fear etched into the young man's face, and he knew he couldn't take advantage of the new agent.

" No, I'm fine. Maybe you can be of assistance upstairs, I believe they are bringing in more injured. We need to make a list of the living so we can separate them from the names on the list of the dead. There are families waiting." He gave the man a small smile and went back to work, people were waiting on him, they wanted to grieve for their loved ones, he had to give them peace, closure.

He raised his arm and pushed up his glasses with his sleeve, he had work to do, he would not let down those who were counting on him.

More soon. Thank you to all who reviewed, it meant a lot.