Authors Note: Tony and Ziva's emotional elevator scene, right up to the group hug. RIP Mike Franks.

She was already pressing the elevator button. Tony picked up his pace and joined her, she was standing there didn't even make a sound.

"Ziva" he tried getting her attention. She didn't move she stood there staring at the elevator door waiting for them to open. She sniffled at Tony's voice turning her head slightly away from him and wiping a tear from her cheek. The doors beeped open and in them both went.

They both stood there in silence. Waiting for each other to say something. He knew it was best to leave her alone, when she was ready she would, until he heard Ziva say.

"There's always another monster" Ziva's voiced cracked rubbing the tears from her eyes catching her breath.

"Yeah" Tony kept his gaze ahead. His heart couldn't handle it. He couldn't stand seeing her breaking apart in front of him.

"I mean we peruse them but we just keep making targets of ourselves." She started rambling her thoughts out in the open. She knew he was there, for her, and to listen is what he knew how to do best.

He paused a moment looking down at the women in front of him. Her eyes were tear stained. Her voice cracked.

He grabbed her hand and gently squeezed it. "It's better than us, then someone who didn't sign up for it" tried making sense of it. He didn't know how to explain it to her. Even if he could it wouldn't be right.

He felt Ziva squeeze his hand back. She collected her thoughts then picked her head up. She didn't want him to see her cry.

But for a moment a part of her didn't care anymore. She has been with him long enough, to finally let down her defenses. Who was she fooling? Not anybody and Tony knew her better than anybody else on the team.

She looked at him his hazel green eyes. In a low hush tone she uttered the words. "I don't think I can take this anymore"

Tony heard it. He wasn't surprised that she was feeling this way. She was starting to become tired of having to be on alert all the time. Having to worry about her safety, team's safety, her friends the people she had learned to love. Tony, her partner she was always fearful of getting hurt, she loved him more than anyone else.

Tony couldn't stand it. He needed to be close to her. He pulled her into a hug and Ziva accepted. She laid her head on his shoulder smelling in the scent of his cologne.

Tony wanted to keep her safe. He wanted her to know that he wasn't going to let anything happen to her. He loved her too much to let her go, and he wasn't going to let the port-to-port killer claim her.

Ziva felt safe. She could feel his body's warmth radiating off him. She could fell his arm around the small of her back pulling her close to him. It was a feeling she rarely felt. I mean there were times she would feel like this with a fatherly hug from Gibbs. But this, this was different, this was something she wished she could have every day.

"Hey" he whispered into her ear as he pulled her far enough to see her face. Looking into her eyes he couldn't stress this enough in a low voice only they could hear. "We're going to get him ok." He raised his hand and wiped the tears away from her face.

Ziva could feel the warmth from his hand rough and gentle she couldn't help but love the feeling. She looked up at him. With her confused eyes, she wanted to believe what he was telling her, she wanted to believe that they would in fact catch this monster, the team would be safe and a part of her would stop worrying.

As long as they had each other, as long as she stood by his side, as long as he would let her, they would be the strongest pair. Their friendship and their bond would make it all worth the years of being together, they were looking for something this whole time, they were just to blind to see they were standing right in front of each other.

Tony knew there were only seconds before the elevator stopped at the bullpen and the doors would open. Looking at her, his heart hurt for her. How could he make this better? He didn't know how.

His mind was telling him to kiss her. She was looking at him she felt safe, she remained speechless; she understood what he was trying to tell her. What was there to say, when you know what has started isn't over yet.

Standing close, face to face. Ziva could hear Tony breathing she could hear his heartbeat. She didn't want to let go, not yet.

Tony kept Ziva close, closer in that moment then ever before he could also feel her heartbeat, he could hear her breathing his gaze wondered to her pink lips he found himself leaning in to her….

DING! The elevator doors parted. They saw Abby and Timmy, standing there before them.

Abby and Tim were hugging they always had each other as their rocks. Abby knew she could always count on Tim his hugs were something she always looked forwards too.

Looking up she pulled away from Tim. Seeing her other too team members having their own moment.

Ziva looked down at her shoes, embarrassed she didn't want to see anybody but Tony see her cry she wasn't ready to show anybody else the way she is when she breaks down. Turning back to Tony she wrapped her arms around him, seeing Abby crying on Tim's shoulder made her start all over again. Tony wrapped his right arm around her waist and pulled her close once more.

Tony looked at his friends, a thought ran through his mind 'it's better to be together then to be alone' he took a breath and waved his two team members in. "bring it in" he signaled as they accepted the gesture. Ziva and Tony made room for the two; huddled in a group hug in the elevator the four agents grieved the loss of Mike Franks together.

As the doors closed leaving the agents to each other in unity they were. The team had become one, finding strength in each other. It was truly symbol of their friendship and how close they were a family that will not be brought down by a monster. Team Gibbs can make it through anything.

Fade to black

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