Conversations with Caitlin

Kill Ari

By Lizabeth S Tucker

Tony DiNozzo walked across the green grass of the cemetery, breathing in the clear fresh air. He found the tree that grew not far from his partner's resting place. He came to a stop near the newly placed gravestone, sighing deeply. He leaned down to place a yellow rose in the permanent vase that was part of the headstone.

"Hi, Kate. Sorry I haven't come by sooner. Guess you know that we finally got that bastard Ari Haswari." He stroked the sun-warmed gray marble absently. He shrugged out of his jacket, placing it carefully on the grass before collapsing cross-legged by Kate. "I guess that really isn't right. There was this new chick from Israel, a member of Mossad. She's the one who actually killed Ari."

Tony plucked at the ground, picking the dead grass out and flicking it away. "Gibbs set it up so Ari would come for him. He didn't even bother to tell me. He just told Zee-va."

"Maybe…" He swallowed noisily. "Maybe he doesn't trust me to watch his six, not after what all happened. I mean, I should've known, I should've done something to save you. I remember something making me close my eyes just before you were shot."

Tony leaned back to rest on the headstone. "I think now that it might've been a flash from the sniper scope. If I'd been a little quicker, maybe I could've pushed you to the side. Or something." He angrily wiped the tear escaping down his cheek. "And then, I didn't exactly show a lot of sense opening an anonymous letter against all our procedures. It's no wonder Gibbs doesn't trust me any longer. "

He patted the ground. "I never got a chance to thank you for staying with me, did I? It really helped, Kate. I know I denied it, but…I really was scared. And you being there helped a lot." Tony smiled faintly.

"Where was I? Oh, yeah, Ari and Zee-va. She killed him, shot him just before he got Gibbs." Tony leaned back against the sparkly gray stone, his head leaning back to gaze absently at the sky.

The soft sound of the wind in the leaves and the warmth of the sun combined to lull Tony to a doze. He relaxed for the first time since he had been infected with Y Pestis.

"You really are an ass, DiNozzo."

He blinked, startled to see an angry Kate glaring down at him. "Wha? Kate?"

"Gibbs didn't tell you because he didn't want to lose another member of his team, not because he didn't trust you."

Tony grimaced, not convinced.

"C'mon, you know Gibbs better than anyone other than Ducky. Do you think you'd still be on his team if he didn't trust you to be able to do the job?"

"No, I…I guess not."

"Then don't be an idiot." She gazed down at him, her brown eyes warming with humor. "Not that it's something you can do anything about."

"Ha ha, Kate." Tony's eyes grew heavier, making it harder and harder to keep them open. "I'm just…so…tired."

He felt a gentle touch on his forehead before he heard Kate whisper. "I know, Tony. I know. Sleep. I've got your six."

December 2006