Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to NCIS, just taking them out to play for a bit. No (monetary) profit being made here...
A/N: This is an idea that just recently popped into my head regarding Tony. It's a WIP right now, envisioning 2-3 parts to the story at this point. A bit of a character study I guess you could say. If you're so inclined please let me know your thoughts.
Warnings: If you haven't seen Twilight yet... mega-spoiler ahead, so I'd stop reading right here. There may be a smattering of references to conversations from other episodes, but nothing "spoiling" I shouldn't think. If that changes, warnings will be posted within the chapters the spoiler occurs.
Kate stood over his shoulder, her Catholic schoolgirl uniform as perfect and forced as it had been the first time he had envisioned her in it.
"Tony, this has to stop." Kate said with an exasperated and affectionate tone.
"What, Kate? The uniform? C'mon, admit it, you know you wanted to wear it for me," he said, flashing a leering grin.
"No, Tony, not the uniform," she sighed. "This," gesturing around the graveyard, "has to stop."
"It can't, Kate. Remember? You're dead," he said forcefully.
She stepped around to the front of his field of vision and sat down. Looking Tony in the eyes, she stated flatly, "It's a bit hard for me to forget that, DiNozzo. We're past your guilt about my death. You know it wasn't your fault, that there was no way Ari was aiming for anyone but me. But this is retreading old ground. I don't understand why you're here. I'm not talking about stopping by from time to time to pay you respects; I'm talking about all these visits. It's not healthy."
Tony stared at Kate's image, leaning casually against her own gravestone. Despite himself he had to smile, it was an image that Abby would appreciate. He had seated himself just off to the side of her grave, old childhood superstitions about disturbing the dead by treading on their graves weren't so easily tossed aside when it was the grave of a friend. His arm was resting comfortably on a drawn up knee. It was a perfectly valid question. Why was he here?
The first few months after she had died, he had stopped every week. Then as his guilt lessened and he came to terms with the circumstances of her death, his visits became less frequent. His last visit had been a just after he had received his Agent Afloat assignment after Jenny's death. He was coming to understand that Kate's grave was a sanctuary for him. He talked, she listened and sometimes they bantered. But what was it that drew him today?
He glanced at his watch. Then he remembered waking up this morning and seeing the date, October 3rd. He had pushed it out of his mind in his usual morning flurry of activity. Being stuck in the office with no casework had put it out of his mind from mind-numbing paperwork. With no excuse for overtime, he found himself here.
"Did I ever tell you I had a sister, Kate?" he whispered.
"No, Tony. You never talked about your family. You tossed out a few comments here and there, but no one knows when to take you seriously," she sighed.
Tony dropped his head to his knee. She was right. It had become so natural for him to joke around, keep people off guard he didn't always realize what was coming out of his mouth. It was a coping mechanism, how he'd learned to keep people from getting too close.
"It was no joke when I mentioned my father leaving me behind at the hotel for two days. It sounds so absurd; I never thought anyone would believe it anyway. But it was true. I was ten. I think 'lost in the shuffle' was the reasoning," he chuckled without humor. "Seriously, who would leave their ten-year-old stranded in a five-star hotel on a tropical paradise?"
He took a deep breath and continued, "I never talked about my family, Kate, because I lost my family when I was five."
Kate looked at him impassively. She merely prompted with her eyebrow for him to continue, to elaborate on that mysterious comment.
"I had a twin sister. Her name was Adrianna. Both my parents adored her, hell, I adored her. She was smart, she was well behaved, she was a people pleaser. Smart isn't giving her enough credit. She started playing on my mother's piano when she was three. They bought her a concertina to practice on until her fingers were bigger for the piano keys. According to my parents, I was just plain trouble. I got dirty, I talked back. I embarrassed their socialite friends.
"Adrianna was their little princess. And despite not being the favorite, life wasn't that bad for me. I had their attention; I got my share of playtime with my mom and hugs from my dad. Shortly after our 5th birthday that all changed.
"We had been out sailing, getting in one last adventure before the boat was taken down to the Bahamas for winter berthing. Both my parents were avid sailors; my father owned a beautiful schooner. I loved being out on the water. The water had always made Adrianna nervous. She didn't like swimming and she wasn't fond of sailing. We were out by Hyannis Port when a squall sprung up. It was just my parents and me and Adrianna. They had their hands full with the boat, trying to bring in the sails under winds that were suddenly too strong. Dad had shouted for me to get Adrianna below to ride out the storm.
"It was one of those freak accidents, Kate. I was holding her hand, trying to get her down below. She had panicked so she wasn't moving easily. I still don't remember exactly what happened, if it was a sudden wind gust, or a swell catching us just right or some combination of both. She was no longer in my grasp. She was sliding down the deck towards the railing and then she disappeared. Mom and Dad always made us wear our life vests on the boat, but it didn't do her any good. Dad jumped in and retrieved her quickly enough that she wouldn't have drowned. Somewhere along the way though she had hit her head hard enough it killed her."
Tony took a deep breath, remembering those last few moments with his sister. He shuddered and looked back at Kate. She reached out and patted his leg, beckoning for him to continue.
Clearing his throat he continued, "I don't remember a whole lot about the few weeks after her death. Everyone was a little crazy then. Mom never really recovered from the incident. I suddenly found myself taking piano lessons and being dressed like a sailor. She started drinking. More and more, I was being raised by nannies and maids and less by my parents.
"Kate, do you know what it's like to have your father look at you and know that he thinks the wrong child died?"