Disclaimer: Don't own nothing, making no money.
Spoilers: None, that I've noticed.
Warning: Some disturbing content.
A/N: Thanks to Cha Oseye Tempest Thrain and Kate98 for betaing. Livejournal challenge at ncisflashfic for "influence".

God, he'd messed up. He felt his body slam back against the wall, his thighs hitting the top of the window frame.

He stared at the building opposite, not looking down. He'd almost succeeded. He was so close, and then in one second it was all lost. He was about to fall and then he was yanked back from behind.

She was dead before we got here; that was what he'd say to McGee. Nothing they could have done would have changed the outcome. But did he really believe that? Was that why he'd talked so hard and fast?

Everyone thinks about it; he'd said that. He'd thought about it, but mainly in the abstract, what he wouldn't do.

What had pushed her so far? Who had said what, when? Who hadn't said what needed to be said? So many forces, so many influences, shaping a person. One wrong little word, that was all that was needed, to push someone over the edge. Sometimes literally.


He crouched down, and stumbled back in through the window, ignoring McGee's out-stretched hand.

"She was dead before we got here, McGee."