Disclaimer:I own no part of NCIS or its characters. No profit is derived from this story. It is intended for entertainment purposes only; mostly my own.
A/N: This little thing was written during a fit of insomnia, so if it's cr*p, I apologize for wasting your time, but I just figured that Tony probably would have needed to do some housecleaning after Jeanne left. I'll admit that I was never a big fan of her character, but she did help to mature him a little. This was also written for the April Thing-a-Thon at NCIS_Shared at LiveJournal from the prompt: Erasing all traces of Jeanne.
for NCIS_Shared on LJ....Prompt: Erasing all traces of Jeanne
Striding swiftly and with a purpose to the bedroom, Tony came to his knees beside the bed. Lifting the bedspread up, he needed to lay on his stomach in order to find the small box that had been sitting untouched under there for months.
With a grunt, he managed to reach it with his fingertips and bring it out into the light of day again. Placing the small, plain cardboard box onto the top of the bed, he opened it up for the first time since he first shoved it under the bed and looked inside.
Pandora's box had nothing on this thing.
He was consumed by the memories that flooded him as he pulled each object out one by one and laid them out on the bed..
First came the tube of lipstick.
It was her favorite color. He swore she had about five tubes of that same color and he had kidded her mercilessly about it. She insisted that they were all different, but he could never tell, because to him red was red no matter if it had 'Cranberry' or 'Persimmon' or some other fruit name stamped on the bottom of it. She would just laugh and accuse him of 'being such a guy', something he used to think was a good thing, but she apparently took offense to.
Next he pulled out her toothbrush.
He wondered how such an ordinary object could hold so many memories. All those mornings where she had insisted that he not kiss her until they had both brushed away their morning breath. He didn't care if her breath smelled like a hippo's butt, but in all fairness, he could never subject her to his stale breath first thing in the morning. So dutifully, he would stand side by side with her and take turns spitting into the sink after they had thoroughly scoured their teeth, then he would waste no time taking her into his arms and kissing her until the need to breathe became an issue.
He reached inside the box again and came up with the tie she had given him to wear when she had dragged him to an art show. She said that the silk, green and blue striped thing brought the green out in his hazel eyes. He had never paid that much attention to his eye color before, but apparently she had, so he had worn the thing with pride that night. He hated that art show, but she laughed at his interpretations of the abstract paintings, most of them reminding him of the finger paintings he had been so skilled at in kindergarten. She accused him of having no sense of culture, to which he really had no argument against. After that night, he wore the tie often to work, but after she was gone, he could barely stand to look at it without thinking of her, so into the box it had been thrown as well.
There were a few other odds and ends inside of it as well: a hair clippy thing she used to hold back her bangs at work, a pair of tweezers, a lacy bra, some 'feminine products' which he wasn't even going to bother touching or taking out of the box, a comfy pair of cotton socks with cute little yellow ducks on them, a set of keys to her place which he had never been able to give back, an Oprah book club selection that she had been reading before they would fall asleep at night and last of all, a photo of them together taken in the Bahamas by a passing tourist that barely spoke English. Admittedly, he spent way too long lingering and meditating upon it, lost in the sight of her beautiful, happy face.
She looked so carefree and joyful.
So unlike the bitter look she gave him before she walked away that afternoon in disgust after he confessed that he had never loved her.
When he lied to her for the last time.
But it was what he needed to do to let her be happy again and move on and get away from all of this shit that had been so unfairly tossed her way. In a way, he hoped she would hate him so she could be happy again someday when she got as far from here as she could and he was confident she would find real love without him. That's all that mattered anymore.
And now it was time for him to move on as well and make it all disappear. He couldn't ever forget her and he would never be able to completely erase the memories he had of being with her, but he sure as hell could get rid of that damned box.
Packing all of the objects in the box once again, he picked it up and headed out of his apartment to his car, placing it on the passenger seat before he took off.
Looking at the box from time to time as he drove, he realized that he hated all of these objects of their happiness now, maybe as much as she hated him, but he doubted it. Their only purpose had been to remind of how miserable he was now that he knew he could never have her and most likely never see her again.
He had hated that he had kept it all in his home for long after she left and it had been hard to sleep knowing it was all stowed away under where he tossed and turned at night dreaming of her, but at the same time, he had never been able to bring himself to do away with it all. Until now.
Seeing her that day had brought a revelation to him and he concluded that it was all too close for comfort anymore and he didn't think he could sleep another night knowing that it was all still underneath his bed. All those little things only served as physical tokens of the way things were and never would be again.
They had to go.
Maybe now that he had known what it was like to taste what true and actual love was, he could find his own slice of happiness too once she and her forgotten items were totally and completely out of the picture.
He wasn't sure it would work, but it was worth a shot.
He pulled to the shoulder near an empty field far outside of town, as far from people as he could get and grabbed the box, heading for the center of the field. The grass was short and wet still from a recent rainstorm, perfect for the task at hand as he sat the box down and doused it with a can of lighter fluid.
Producing a box of matches from his coat pocket, he lit one and tossed it onto the box with only a moment's hesitation.
Immediately flames leaped around the edges of the cardboard, burning it and the contents inside with a sudden intensity until it was a near bonfire. He watched the glow of the fire, it's flames licking around the exterior until it turned black and began to crumble into ashes.
This was the funeral pyre of all that they had been, a fitting end to a romance that was doomed from the get go.
Strangely enough, he began to feel a lightness fall upon him and in some ways he felt relieved to see it all go up in smoke.
He could finally let it all go.
Once the flames had died, he scattered the remains of the box around to ensure that no burning embers were left and no traces of the objects inside had survived to litter the ground, then he turned to walk away and went home without looking behind.
He would sleep well that night, free to dream of things other than what might have been, but of what was yet to come.