Don't own the characters.

Another very random one shot to get out of the block my mind had created, hope you like it. Warning for cannon character death. Wanted to write something for the rooftop scene.

That Split Second

The shot rung out.

Blood sprayed.

Silence reigned

And time, quite literally, stopped for that split second when you know everything has changed.

And not for the better.

The second you know nothing will ever be the same again.

It couldn't, not after seeing her fall.

Not after feeling her blood on your own face. You want to rub it away but you can't. Its stain will be forever smeared on your face, every time you look in the mirror.

Every time you think you have screwed up and start blaming yourself for everything that has gone wrong.

Looking at her lying there, so lifeless, so in contrast to just a second ago. It seems so surreal that you barely believe it.

But you know it's true, you did just see and feel every final second of her life being taken away. You should feel angry.

Why don't you?

You try beyond anything to feel something, anything beyond the nothing that now fills you soul, your being. You want to drag some sort of emotion, feeling out of the void for her, she meant more to you than that.

But you can't.

And you don't understand it fully.

Why did it have to be her?

She had so much more to live for than you. She deserved it more than you did. Why couldn't you have saved her in the end?

You were meant to be her partner after all.

The rational part of your mind knows that neither you, nor the other man on the roof could have stopped it, even if you'd wanted to.

Does that even make you feel any better? The simple answer is a resounding no.

That meant you weren't in control, and you like control. But every ounce you had, every last strand of control was gone, all in that split second.

Who knew something as small as a split second could have such a damaging effect?

At the curtain call, you could do nothing. That, just left you this empty shell of a man standing on a roof top looking outwards for the target and inwards for anything, any wisp or inkling of emotion.

You've been in this situation before and felt it before. But now you feel nothing. Why? Had you stopped caring?

No? Then what?

Because…because, she did mean more to you. You'd allowed her to get close to you, allowed her to become something more than a friend. You'd allowed her to become part of your carefully constructed family. The one that actually cared.

You berate yourself for the selfish thought that you might just need a little help after seeing that. You know the others will need your carefree nature to help lighten the mood, to help them move on. Even though, you don't believe you ever will. There will still be unanswered questions.

You know that it has been more than a second and you can't even find enough emotion to not care. For this moment, you're just frozen, empty and merely just exist.

Wanting to somehow not see the blood, not see the cold, lifeless look in her eyes. Wanting to look away but struggling with your own body to do so.

Your breaths are slow, measured even; yet, the oxygen doesn't satisfy your damaged lungs. Your body refuses to follow your commands as you try to turn away from her, trying to forget what you saw. Even though, you know you will have nightmares about it.

But, you find that you'd actually allow them as long as they made you feel again, as long as you didn't feel as cold and dead as her eyes. The ones that used to smile at you with their special twinkle, the ones that even frowned when they disapproved at something you'd said.

You try to resist the urge to blink, but your eyes have become dry, looking so long at something in shock and silence, unblinking.

Yes, you can stay silent when it's important, when it's necessary, when it's personal.

But this is unnatural and you know it. It's dangerous and you know it. You don't have your boss' six, not at all, and you're an open target.

Yet, here you stand. Not seeing, sensing, hearing, feeling anything. Even though you should, she meant more than nothing.

If you blink you know that everything would come crashing, tumbling down, you feel it in the pit of your stomach. Well, you said you wanted to feel.

But, you're not ready, are you? You don't want to accept it, you can't, its denial. Even though that denial can't disprove what you saw before your own eyes.

You blink, trying to get rid of the dryness of your eyes. You swallow, tasting bitter blood. Breathing deep, your lungs expand as much as possible, trying to push past the gag that came with the taste of blood, her blood. And you gag again.

The weapon in your hand becomes impossibly heavy and it clatters to the ground. That, is when your senses, all of them, come down on you like a ton of bricks.

Barely standing, you sway and your eyes betray you. Showing all the emotion you'd just whished you felt but also knew you couldn't handle.

A voice catches your attention.

"Tony?" It's questioning, and a hand steadies you but you flinch away, thinking it will hurt you for failing. You land painfully on your backside. But at least you feel now.

Blue eyes bore into you, trying to see into your soul, but you merely stare right on through them not into them.

You can't help but feel pathetic and weak for showing this kind of weakness. But the eyes show no judgement, no pity, only understanding.

And the voice is back, though, more desperate than the last time it spoke.

"Tony? You with me?" And the concern turns to fear. The look in your boss' eyes shocks you enough to at least try to speak. You find that your mouth only open and closes, wanting to speak but not finding the words.

Turning away from the man in front, you looking with longing at the body lying next to you, lingering longer than you should. Strong hands force your eyes away.

"Tony, you need to listen, this was not your fault. You got that?" the voice was gentle, in contrast to the man's usual outward appearance.

Nodding in response, you trust the man before you, above all, to tell you the truth. But this, this simply could be one truth that you can never accept. Maybe in time, but not now.

Gathering your thoughts, composure and masks, you force away your own feelings and trap them in a carefully constructed box. They might break out once or twice when alone. But for now, you've had your moment to process what just happened. Now, you will be there for everyone else's moments.

The End

Thanks for reading, hope you all liked it.