A/N: Hey. Here's the latest installement. Though, seeing as I wrote it probably four months ago, it's not technically new. But it is to you. So enjoy. : ) And congratulations to all the graduates!
"Ah, Mr. Palmer would you—"
"It's me, Ducky," Tony said as he walked into the autopsy room. Ducky turned around to see Tony leaning against one of the tables.
"Welcome back, Anthony. I guess your heart got the better of you then?" Ducky said as he walked over to Tony, a cup of tea in his hand, offering it to him.
"Yeah, it did, and it reminded me of why I left," Tony said, thinking of the stupid things he had said to Ziva only minutes before. It hadn't taken him long to storm inside the building, and he had fortunately done so without seeing Ziva. Tony took the cup gratefully. Tea wasn't really his thing, but he needed to do something with his hands, and it was either that or punching his fist into the wall.
"And why is that?"
"I'm a lousy partner,"
"Which is why you made it so far in your career and even had an offer for your own team in Rota, Spain?"
"Jenny told you about that?"
Ducky nodded. "But mostly, I like to think I have well-tuned skills of observation,"
"I was a jerk, Ducky," Tony said quietly.
"I'm sure she understands," Somehow, the doctor just knew.
"I don't think she does,"
"Things like love, they take time my dear boy," Tony looked at the doctor. "Yes, I know all about it. It was never hard to miss,"
"I had four years and then I ruined it, only to find out that she… She's not available,"
"What are you talking about?"
"Israel," Tony said simply.
"Well there's no way you could have known,"
"But I did. I just didn't want to believe it,"
"Sounds normal to me,"
"What isn't normal is accusing your partner, your best friend, of things they're not guilty of,"
"Perhaps you're right then. You shouldn't have waited," Tony stared at the floor.
"It's not my fault, Ducky. Jeanne…"
"Ah, yes, I remember the ordeal. You had your heart quite broken,"
"Yeah, I did. And then things got better and then… and then Jenny died and everything got messed up,"
"Perhaps not," Ducky suggested.
Tony shook his head. "It's over," He set down the cup on the table behind him and left the room.
"I'm afraid that young man has taken after Gibbs a little too much," Ducky mused quietly to himself.
Tony sat on his couch, defeated and weak. This wasn't who he was. He was a DiNozzo, after all, and DiNozzo men were supposed to be stronger than this. How could the same woman who made him want to be a better man make him feel like a fool? Perhaps it was because she really was right. He knew she was. I should have called. I should have never let her go.
He needed her. He loved her. Being without her was like the ocean without sand. It just wasn't right.
The letters. Tony still wasn't sure if he did the right thing, giving her the letters. But he needed to stop reading them and rereading them, trying to decide what to do with them. Tears stung his eyes just thinking about hit. Maybe, just maybe, if he had sent those letters he wouldn't be alone tonight. Maybe she'd be sitting beside him watching a movie, like they used to do. Only in those days, he would never have admitted his feelings to her, much less to himself.
He had written so many. One letter each day that he didn't see her. When he had first begun, he wasn't sure what to say, but he knew he needed to. But page by page, he began to open up, to share with her all the things that were in his heart. He couldn't do that with anyone else, not even Jeanne.
But he had never sent them. He always meant to, always wanted to. Whenever he began a new letter, he did so determined that today would be the day when he would send it. But when it came time to post the mail, he couldn't. He wanted to, but he couldn't.
Tony sat on his couch for hours. He wanted to sleep, but his mind was reeling with thoughts and images and regrets. Why can't I shake this? He thought in frustration.
"You've made a lot of mistakes. Don't make this another," Gibbs' words rang through his ears loud and clear. It seemed too late. The one chance he had with the one woman he loved had been lost.
He grabbed his cell phone and began to dial her familiar number. He hated to wake her, but he had to solve this, and now. He needed to see her, to talk to her. To tell her that he was wrong. His finger lingered over the "Send" button. Mustering up his courage, he pressed his finger onto the button and waited to hear her voice.
He got to hear her voice alright, but it was only her message machine.
She was on the phone, and there was only one person she'd be calling at four AM.