Sometimes it's nice to take a moment and appreciate the quiet. Helpful, really, when the world goes bad. Just to let you eyes glaze over and fall away from the now. Colors merge, flowing and ebbing, taking on shapes and forms. Becoming living things. He takes things for granted too much. That really needs to stop. Is it too late to stop?

"Tony…"

More often than not it's the little things that mean the most. A smile. A warm handshake. Shared and private jokes amongst friends, spoken in a teasing manner. Those things make the work much better. Wish he'd done that more instead of falling on the tried and true biting sarcasm. It's just sometimes he really wasn't sure he liked people.

No, that's not right. Maybe it's that people really don't seem to like him much when they get to know him. Never let anyone get to know him. That's rule #1.

"Tony?"

Life doesn't always allow for little things, or if it does, it's so fleeting a moment that's it's easily missed. Take enough little moments and you can build a memory worth keeping. He really should have done that more. Should have tried a bit harder. She could be nice when she wanted to. Bethesda had shown him that.

"He's not responding to me…"

The colors slow their dance and shadows emerge in the foreground. The little moment is fading and reality begins to sneak in with its usual disregard. Calloused hands grab his face and pain blossoms deep in his chest, choking him and stealing his breath away.

"Tony. Look at me."

No. He wasn't ready yet.

He wished he'd been a bit nicer. They argued so often, like a couple of kids. Not like two agents of NCIS. Maybe he should have gave her a real smile, said something nicer. Well, it was too late now.

Too late.

The shadow shook him hard enough to rattle his teeth and a voice seemed to boom all around him.

"Dinozzo! Front and center!"

Clarity shattered the moment and reality finally found it's foothold. Blood on his face filled his nostrils with the pungent stench of death and everything went wrong. Colors melted away and the world became flat and gray.

The moment was gone.