It was all his fault.

Special Agent Anthony Dinozzo stared at the barrel of his own gun.

Jenny shouldn't have had to die. Jeanne shouldn't have had to been hurt. Paula shouldn't have had end life like that. And Kate.


A sigh escaped Tony despite himself. He tried to forget, forgive, and relieve himself of the pain of losing his partner he had loved like a sister. But somehow, he was never able to let it go. Tony had always figured that he would be the one to break Gibb's record of never losing on of his own.

But his partner had fallen, almost gracefully except for the small hole-

Nonononononononono. Tony murmured. He had enough of that in his dreams. He shouldn't have to have to watch the scene in his head when he was awake too.

The night was silent. The only thing that seemed unable to shut up was his own head. Funny that couldn't have happened two week ago, when he told Gibbs Jenny was dead. The silence, that oppressing uncomfortable, even cold, lack of conversation had screamed at him.

It is all your fault.

Picking up his cellphone, Tony dialed the number he knew by heart, only vaguely realizing the time. He allowed himself a small smile.

This was the end. Although, not the way he had expected it, it was how things were going to end.

Tony's gaze returned to the barrel of his Sig.

The nightmares, the alcohol, the guilt, the self-loathing-

Gibbs, an annoyed gruff voice shattered the silent night.

-and the pain, would finally end.

When Gibbs heard his cell ringing, he actually started rethinking of rule #3, never be unreachable. At this very moment he just wanted to disappear on the face of the world for a good night sleep. The previous day had been... Shitty. Not Gibbs' choice of words, but rather Abby's. However he fully agreed with her as his current three agents all managed to royally screw up in their own special way.

Losing evidence, using personal time on his watch, insulting Abby by questioning her results, it was a bloody miracle Gibbs hadn't strangled any of them.

If this is a damn prank phone call, I will get McGee to find the man and shoot him myself. Gibbs thought darkly as he flipped his cellphone open.


Gibbs summoned all the irritation in the world into that single syllable. Only to be answered by silence. He sighed loudly, as he was about to throw the phone when he heard another voice.


It was as if a Gibbs-ON-switch had been turned on. He had thrown the bed covers off, alarmed by the faint pain in the voice, before he realized it.

"Tony? Is that you?"

"Yea. That's me."

Gibbs did not miss the bitterness in his Senior Agent's voice, but he chose to leave it for now. Something was wrong, and he didn't want to scare Tony off.

"Giving me a call in three o'clock in the morning Dinozzo? You forgot how much it hurts when I head-slap you didn't you?"

Gibbs expected a smart ass comeback.

"I.. Just..."

What he got, was a Tony at a loss for words.

"Dinozzo." Gibbs' gut was screaming at him, that something was seriously wrong. He softened his tone as he coaxed the man out of silence. "What's up?"

"I'm... sorry Boss."

The anguish was plain but about what?

"Dinozzo, what-" Gibbs closed his eyes as he realized. "Tony. I told you, it wasn't your fault. You were following orders."

"I disobey you when I think you're losing it." Tony continued miserably. "I knew something was up Gibbs. I knew.. But she told me to back off, and.. After Jeanne, I just didn't want to face her. I knew something was up Gibbs, I knew-"

"Tony." Gibbs interrupted Tony's blabbering, alarmed at the guilt that seemed to be swallowing his agent. "You were following orders. She is.. was the director of NCIS, and there was no way you could have disobeyed her without losing your job. She knew that and that was exactly what she wanted. Quit blaming yourself, I'm not going to tell you twice. She doesn't blame you."

"...But you do."

The soft spoken words struck Gibbs into stunned silence. He struggled to reply but before he could find his voice, Tony chuckled.

"It's okay Boss. It's okay."

Gibbs swallowed his anger at the damn sound of resignation of his agent's voice. He was going to tell Tony off, tell him to get his ass here this second so Gibbs could headslap the man into next week, when he heard a familiar sound that made him freeze.

"Tony," Gibbs started slowly, trying to understand what he just heard. "That sound right now..."

The sound of a safety latch of a handgun switching off-

".. I'm sorry Boss."

"Damnit Tony, NO!"

-was followed by the fire.