HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hayley.

This is for OutCold's birthday. It's Tony/Jeanne, and done in a rush, so very short. Here goes, hope it's alright. From Doug (journalofcrime) and Tay (CatAmongPidgeons).

Tony sat in the cinema beside McGee, performing what he thought to be his civic duty. The new Star Trek had just come out, and it was very possibly destined to be a classic. He was not missing the opportunity to join Thom E. Gemcity with a free ticket to a premiere screening. Tony, however was not thinking about the movie, he was here to say he was there. But he could not stop thinking about what had happened two years to the day.

Jeanne turned to Tony. Laughing in reply to one of her friend's jokes. "I'm sorry. We haven't met. I'm Jeanne."

"Tony DiNardo." He held out his hand smiling, to Jeanne. He had seen surveillance photos, and had read her profile, none of this though could have prepared him for the feeling he was getting as he looked at her. It was stronger than the attraction he had previously experienced towards women, but he dismissed it, concentrating on his assignment, "get close". Those were his orders, easy, working on instinct.

An explosion on the screen brought Tony back to the present. A planet blowing up, he thought.

He watched her laugh, she did that a lot, she teased her friends, she laughed, and she talked to everyone. Tony began to feel himself falling for her already. It didn't bother him. He had no idea how deep those feelings would become...

He had messed up with Jeanne, why hadn't he just said it. Why didn't he just say "I love you, Jeanne", the words weren't difficult. Why didn't he just say it? He could tell everyone but her. He'd just admitted it to Paula, it was easy. Why couldn't he say it when it mattered? Paula was talking, he tried to concentrate on her words when he realised she was talking about Jeanne.

" You know Tony, it's a cliché, but it's true. Life's too short to not to tell someone you love them when you do; and you do..."

Life's too short. He was at Jeanne's door. Life's too short not to say:

"I love you, Jeanne."

McGee was offering him popcorn. He took a piece.

"Was any of it real, Tony?"

Yes, yes, yes, fuck it, yes. His lips moved without his knowing, he responded automatically, in the stupid, thoughtless, classic, Anthony DiNozzo way.

"No."

Why had he said that? Why, because he was an idiot, he liked to sabotage himself. He was worse than Gibbs. Gibbs at least had a good reason. But him... He had personally destroyed the one thing important to him.

He was outside the theatre, he was walking down the street away from his car, and he didn't know where he was headed, only away.

He stopped on the side of a dock, looking down into the water. It was calm, flat, he looked back at himself, his face was streaked with tears , he did not know how they had gotten there. He had based so many of his encounters with Jeanne on movies, he had used films to ensure everything was perfect. Now, once again, he was in a movie. But in a movie, Jeanne would come and put a hand on his shoulder, she would turn him round and ask,

"Was any of it real?"

And he answered, "Yes. I love you, Jeanne."

"Tony, get away from the edge."

She led him by his hand away from the edge; she took his other hand and kissed him. He was kissing her, it was real. As he squeezed her he pinched himself hard. He was awake. It was real.

Thanks for reading. If you could take ten seconds and review, it would be appreciated greatly.