SUMMARY: "This is his fourth year of inertia, but it can't be called stability."

NOTES: An immediate response to "Twilight," so in the light of the summer hiatus and a better presence of mind, I'll probably be cringing in shame. Also, nothing rhymes. Those of you who are talented at writing poetry, please, please forgive me for a rather amateurish effort.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I seem to be having a great dea l of trouble getting a space between stanzas, so - - even though it's cumbersome, a bar will be the stanza break. Sorry.

Three months later, when Ari is dead, he decides

that he is going to become a better person for her.

He reads about feng shui and places houseplants

in appropriate corners to give himself good karma.

He eats leafy green things and manages not to cringe

when he raises a forkful of tofu to his lips, but he never

learns to swallow without wincing at the taste. Never.

When he opens his door and sees his arranged ferns

he thinks that she might be proud of him. A little.

It's the most romantic thing he's ever done

Even though he was never in love with her

Not really.

He can't seem to break the habit of calling Gibbs

in the middle of the night to make sure he's alive.

But in dialing, he always stops at the sixth number.


What scares him is that Gibbs is always awake

never needs the ringing to jar him from sleep

the way McGee never needs to be told when

Tony is seeing her behind every other woman.

The way McGee now knows not to tease him

when he grows desperate and painfully scared

and passes up interviews for behind the scenes.

It's only that he's remembering, and he never

has to explain that. Not anymore. Not to them.

And that would be just fine, except other things

are changing just as quickly, and all for the worse.

He is not what she wanted him to be, he knows

that he is still the same person, under everything

because if her presence could not change him

her absence is not going to do a damned bit of good.

He still thinks the same thoughts at the same times

the only difference is that he runs away from them

because thinking is remembering and remembering

usually means that her ghost is standing in the corner.

McGee is growing brittle, snappish, and Tony doesn't dare

to call him anything other than his name. He's almost scared

of the intensity there, and maybe McGee was in love with her.

Or something else. Tony doesn't try to understand anymore.

There's no joke to be made.

Gibbs is frozen over and

Tony is tired of waiting for spring.

He doesn't believe it's coming anyway.

The seasons now require faith

like believing in cyclic consistency

is a little like religion

and Tony doesn't trust

in happy endings.

This is his fourth year of inertia but it can't be called stability

because three months ago, he had her blood on his teeth.

That's not stable. He's been standing in one place too long.

And Tony would run, if he had somewhere else to go.

Three months later, when Ari is dead, he decides

that he is going to become a better person for her.

It isn't working

she's still dead

and he can't say her name.