Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Love and Loss

Yes, this is ripped from the headlines. Ironically, this was inspired by an episode of Rizzoli & Isles. I watch too much television.

Tony watched the steam billowing out of his shower for a quick second before stepping in. He stood under the stream and let the water completely overtake his body.

The team had just completed an emotionally difficult case, and while taking a moment to check the news Tony caught wind of a story which had quickly gone viral - a man had sacrificed himself to save his wife and unborn child during an auto accident.

Tony tried to find comfort in the warmth of the water. He couldn't get out of his head, though. His mind raced with thoughts of people he had loved, people he had lost, good people who had gone too soon, and the few for whom he would have given his life.

He thought about his mother. He loved her. He missed her. He wished, his whole life, that he had taken the time to get to know her.

He thought about Kate. He never really understood that situation. They joked like brother and sister, yet they had flirted like high schoolers. Maybe if they had had more time something would have happened between them. All he knew was that he loved her, and that in some weird way she was family.

He thought about Ziva and banged the side of his fist against the tile. That situation he did understand; he was in love with her. He knew that at some point she had been in love with him, but he had screwed it up. She had no feelings for him anymore. They still got physical every now and then but nothing would ever come of it. He lost his chance the moment she fell for Rivkin.

He thought about Jenny. No matter what any one said, he would never forgive himself for her death. And every time he thought about it, he found some new angle from which to berate himself.

He thought about Gibbs. Or, rather, he thought about the Gibbs who had once been - before the explosion, before Mexico, before Jenny. He wondered if he had ever really known that man. He wondered if he would ever really know the man who had taken his place.

And finally he thought about himself. He thought about all the people he had been in the past. In some ways he enjoyed who he was now and in others he missed who he had been. He wondered who he would be in the future and how the people in his life would influence that.

Tony stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He looked in the mirror and just stared into his own eyes. They held a thousand tales of death and destruction, love and loss. Yet somehow there was still room for a glimmer of hope, and that was what he swore he would hold onto.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Life Support

Look, I find some of what you teach suspect,
Because I'm used to relying on intellect,
But I try to open up to what I don't know
Because reason says
I should've died three years ago...
There's only us.

There's only this.
Forget regret, or life is yours to miss.
No other road, no other way.
No day but today.

Greg House limped into his empty apartment. He had come home after solving yet another case. Awesome as he thought that was, that was work and now he was home. Home to nothing. House hung his cane on the ledge over the entryway, fell into the cushions of his couch, and poured a glass of bourbon from the waiting bottle on the coffee table. He took a long drink. He was somehow thankful as he felt the alcohol burn down his throat. Maybe thankful that he could still feel it burn, maybe thankful something hadn't changed, or maybe thankful that in a couple more glasses he wouldn't care how miserable he was. For once the 'why' didn't matter. He was just... thankful.
Realizing how quiet it was and not wanting to watch TV, House made his way over to his stereo. He searched for a certain unmarked CD case containing a certain CD, the only mark on which was a hastily scribbled "R". Of all the things House should have been embarrassed about - the hookers, the porn, the drugs, the brazen misanthropy - this CD was the one thing in his life he would never bring up in front of another person, even jokingly. House gently blew on the back of the disk to clear it of any particles, gingerly placed it in the player, and pressed play. Just as he had reached the couch once more, that familiar guitar rift wafted through the room, followed shortly by the voice of Rosario Dawson.

"RENT?" House practically yelled at what could best be described as his counterpart.
"I've heard it's a good movie," James Wilson said defensively.
"A, it's based off a musical, so there's no way it can be a good movie, B, it's a total chick-flick, and C, you're an oncologist, for God's sake. Don't you get enough of people dying in real life?"
"What, so because I'm an oncologist I'm resigned to watch Jackass and Old School for the rest of my life? No thanks." Wilson put the DVD in the player.
House sat down with a drawn-out sigh, but didn't comment again for the rest of the movie. He watched with rapt attention. He even - though he would never admit it to any one, ever - almost teared up at the funeral scene.
"See, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Wilson asked as the credits rolled. "I really liked some of that music." He walked over to his computer.
"Please, God, don't tell me you're about to download the soundtrack."
"Shut up, House," was all he could say to counter the correct assumption.
Wilson clicked 'buy' and walked away to let his computer download. "You want something to eat?" he asked House and walked to the kitchen.
"Got any pizza?"
"Yeah, you want me to warm it for you?" Wilson's disembodied voice came from the kitchen.
"Sure." House's attention was glued to the computer.
Wilson put the pizza in the microwave. "I'm going to the bathroom, come get your piece when it's done."
"Right," House said towards the kitchen. His eyes still hadn't left the monitor.
The bathroom door closed just as the computer dinged, signaling the completion of the download. House jumped off the couch and toward the computer. He had to work fast. He made a new playlist and added his favorite songs from the movie. "CD, CD," he mumbled as he searched Wilson's computer desk for a blank disk. "Damnit, Wilson. Why is this the only part of your life you're not anal about organizing? AH." House found a blank CD and put it in the slot. He pressed "copy" just as Wilson walked out of the bathroom.
"House, please tell me you're not downloading porn to my computer again. There're so many viruses attached to that stuff."
"No, controlling, I was just checking out your music library, seeing what other sappy musicals you had in there," he lied convincingly.
Wilson walked into the kitchen. "It's not controlling when it's MY computer."
House found a sharpie and scribbled an "R" on the completed disk. He stowed it in his jacket pocket and deleted the playlist just before Wilson walked back in holding both pieces of pizza.
"You want another beer?" Wilson asked.
"Nope, gotta get home," House said suddenly and stood. "Patient in surgery tomorrow. You know how that whole doctor thing goes."
"Okay," Wilson said, completely confused at his friend's sudden attitude change. "See you tomorrow."
"Yeah, see ya." House raced out the door and Wilson just stood there, holding both pieces of pizza.

House realized it had been almost two years since he had made this CD. He wondered how many times he'd listened to it since then.
As the third track, "Without You" came to and end, House added his own harmony. He sang on the third, which clashed beautifully with the second and the fifth intervals.
The music ended, and House seemingly readied himself for the next track. He could hear the faster, yet more mellow guitar rift before it even started. Finally the piano entered, and a man's voice joined. House tensed. It had always felt like this song was written specifically for him.
"...Because reason says I should've died three years ago."
No matter how many times he heard it, this line always had an effect on House. He thought about all the times he should have died. All the times he wished he would have died.
"Forget regret, or life is yours to miss."
He couldn't. He couldn't forget all the regrets he had in his life. Even in just the past few years. Stacy. He never should have let her go. Especially not the second time. His dad. He wished he could have been a better son. Cameron. The only thing he didn't regret about that was hiring her. Even Amber. He should have told her to get off the bus. He should have told her...
House poured himself another glass of bourbon and downed it all. He didn't know why he did this to himself. He drank more and more as the CD played on, finally ending with "Seasons of Love". That ridiculous, overplayed song. Why did every one like it so much? Why did he like it so much?
The ending chords resolved and the room was silent once more. He thought again about the words in "Life Support".
"No other road, no other way. No day but today."
House muttered into the silence, "No day but today, indeed," and poured himself another drink.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Love Song to a Family

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
'Cause I will be here.
I will be here when you feel like being quiet;
When you need to speak your mind,
I will listen.
And I will be here when the laughter turns to crying;
Through the winning, losing, and trying, we'll be together,
'Cause I will be here.

Tony DiNozzo loves team Gibbs. And not in the way the word love gets thrown about, but in the deepest, most sincere way. It's not as if they are his family, they are his family.
He loves them each in their own way - the respect he holds for Gibbs and Ziva, the protectiveness he feels for Tim and Abby, and the fond amusement he nurses for Ducky and Jimmy.
These people matter to him more than any one else in the world.
Sometimes he forgets to show that.
Sometimes they forget to see.
But it's always there. Tony would do - has done - anything and everything for this team. He's risked his life, his career, his heart, all in the name of family.
Sometimes he wonders if they feel the same way.
Sometimes he knows they do.
This team, this family, has laughed together, cried together, been to hell and back, and all the while, Tony has come to love each person more.
Sometimes he wonders what keeps this team together.
Other times he knows - it's love.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Waking up is the Hardest Part

Every morning she woke up. Every morning she breathed in the morning air. Every morning she wished he was waking up next to her.

Missing him had become an every-day part of her life. An odd part, seeing as they worked together every day, but a part nonetheless. She missed who he was outside of work. She missed the laid back, open, loving man he was on the inside.

She despised his work persona. Not that at-work-Tony was a particularly bad guy, it just wasn't the man she was in love with - the man she missed.

They had so much history together. History that Tim nor Abby nor even Gibbs knew about. The person who knew most about their history was probably Jenny. And every time she thought about that, it made her even more angry that Jenny put Tony undercover. As an agent Ziva understood Jenny's position, but as a woman it screamed betrayal.

She went to work, saw Tony, and smiled sweetly as her heart shattered once again. It had become as routine as breathing.

It was sad that she'd become so used to this. It was sad that she kept hoping this routine would change.

It was even more sad that she feared that one day it would.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

There were several days each year which, understandably, made him remember his time in the service. Today was one of those days. Memorial Day.

It occurred to him that different days reminded him of different memories. The Marine Corps Birthday, for example, always made him think of fond memories - laughing with his buddies at chow, pulling pranks - the good times. Independence Day always made him think of his time at Paris Island.

Memorial Day was always a time of mixed emotions. Sadness would be expected, as would loss, thankfulness, and even empathy. What might be surprising was anger. The way some people had a "Christmas season", with everything all building to one day, was the way Memorial Day was for Gibbs. Every year around this time the sadness and anger built and built until it overcame him on Memorial Day. He spent this Monday, every year, wallowing in his anger and thankfulness in some combination of boat building, bourbon drinking, and cemetery trolling.

This particular year's Memorial Day had started at Arlington National Cemetery and was now in the boat building stage. A particularly painful memory hit him and Gibbs threw down his tools. He walked over to his tool bench, knowing that it was far too early in the day for alcohol and not caring one bit. He was angry. Why did the government dictate that he feel this way every year? How was it their right to demand he spend time remembering his fallen comrades, his fallen friends? When was he ever, ever, going to stop feeling this heavy, sinking, dark feeling deep in his chest when he saw any type of war memorial?

Gibbs was thankful that he came home alive and physically whole. He sympathized with families who lost loved ones to war. He felt the losses of his friends to battle.

And every year he wished it was different. He wished there was no war, no death, no pain. But every year, it was the same. And some years, every once in a while, he wished he hadn't come home.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It was one of those mornings when he just felt old. He looked in the mirror. All those years filled with sleepless nights had caught up to him far too long ago. The dark bags and heavy wrinkles around his eyes were testament to that. He looked down at his practically ancient NIS t-shirt and tattered boxers he wore to bed every night. "This is not going to be a good day," he mumbled to himself.

It was one of those mornings when she just felt beautiful. She looked in the mirror. Her skin had that youthful glow that came along with a night of good, long sleep. Her eyes grazed her own figure as her mind ticked off all the things she loved about her body. 'Strong arms, gentle curves, great ass, beautiful face.' "This is going to be a great day," she told no one in particular.

He walked into the office holding his cup of coffee and scanned the bullpen for his agents. He didn't really expect them to be there; it was still early on a Monday. He sat at his desk and began catching up on paperwork. 'Damn, I hate paperwork,' he thought to himself.

She walked into the office carrying her backpack and scanned the bullpen finding only Gibbs. Just as she expected; he was always the first one there. Even though she was across the room, she had to forcibly settle the butterflies that took to flight in her stomach at the sight of the older man, her boss. She smiled: he was doing paperwork. 'He hates paperwork,' she thought to herself. She deposited her things and sat down at her desk.

"Morning Gibbs," she said cheerfully.

He looked up at his most female agent. "Morning Ziva," he said, her good mood leaking into his words. 'Is it possible that she got even more beautiful over the last two days?'

"How was your weekend?" she inquired as usual.

"'Bout the same as always," he smiled. 'Lonely'. His smile slipped. He hid it by looking at his computer. "What about yours?"

"Fair," she smiled. 'Lonely'. She looked at her desk to distract herself from thoughts of what she wished she had been doing that weekend. 'Paperwork. I hate paperwork.'

The remaining two agents arrived with a ding from the elevator. Tony was ribbing Tim about something and McGee just rolled his eyes. Tony threw his backpack over his own desk before taking perch on Ziva's. "Morning. Zee-vah!" he said loudly, chipper by even his own standards. "How was your weekend?"

"Fine," she drawled, still working.

Tony raised his eyebrows, waiting for her to reciprocate. She looked up and asked the question she knew they would all regret. "How was your weekend, Tony?"

"Oh so excellent, my ninja assassin!" he proclaimed to the entire bullpen.

"Tony, please tell me you left the Georgetown campus at some point in the past two days."

"Didn't need to, Zee-vah." He waggled his eyebrows.

She made a noise of disgust.

"DiNozzo, go see if Abby needs help with anything," Gibbs said.

"On it, Boss," Tony replied before sauntering his way to the elevator.

Ziva shot Gibbs a look of thanks.

He nodded back, an amused grin on his face. Somehow, those two always managed to make him smile.

"So, McGee, how was your weekend," Ziva asked.

"Fine," he droned back. "I had this booksigning and-"

"And you did not tell us?" Ziva cut him off.

"No. Those things are so embarrassing. All those people hanging all over me? Ugh." He shook his head.

Ziva chuckled. "Any of those people female, McGee?"

"That's the embarrassing part! All they know about me is my book, yet they say things like they love me!"

Gibbs picked up a file as he exited his desk, "Ah, you'll get used to it, ElfLord."

Ziva laughed, out loud, at Gibbs' remark, before watching his backside as he walked around to the stairs. She quickly looked down at her work when he faced her as he climbed.

Gibbs peered down at his most beautiful 'Stop it' agent as he ascended to MTAC. He knew he had no right to lay eyes on her, but he was, after all, a man, and could not help himself. He punched in his code and glanced back as he waited for the door to open. What he did not expect was to see her peering back up at him.