Summary: Set after my story Fallen Heroes. Depression is a tough thing to deal with especially after believing you've you lost your grounding force. When Capt Jack Harkness comes under suspicion for the death of 3 Marines on a training exercise it may give him and Tony a chance to pull themselves out of their own gutters.

Chapter 1: Towards One's End

I'm beyond caring...

Not that Tony thought that he was suicidal but he probably should have never driven home from the Mandalorian Bar being as intoxicated as he was. Tony took a beer straight out of the fridge and plopped him self onto the couch. Now he sat there studying it intently as he thought about the events that lead to the pitiful man he saw in the mirror everyday.

The others don't but why should they?

Tony couldn't look at Ziva the same way. After all, he felt as if he forced Ziva into abandoning Jenny which lead to her murder. Abby and Tony would never be close again not since he had hidden so much from her. McGee... He had grown past Tony and that scared Tony. Tony had felt like he hit a wall and that was it... Nowhere left to go. His boss... One Agent Jethro Gibbs wouldn't look at him and Tony couldn't find a reason to blame him. There was a history between he and Jenny and now she was dead.

There's too much blood on my hands...

Often he woke up during the night drenched in sweat after being plagued by nightmares. He felt his hands were bathed in other peoples' blood. In the nightmares, he was carrying the gun that killed Jenny... He was wearing the bomb that killed Paula Cassidy. He was carrying the knife that gutted Chris Pacci. In reality, he did neither of course... But he might as well did.

Why did I beg to come back?

Tony knew he was sent to be Agent Afloat for some reason but couldn't figure it out. It had to be punishment. Out on the seas he had no allies except for the bottle of whiskey he kept in his drawer. Agent Afloat was the loneliest position in the world. But he couldn't complain too much. And then he did... For whatever reason, Director Vance had done the favor and got him back home. Perhaps, a debt that would have to be repaid when asked.

Tony skulled the rest of the beer and leaned back in the chair to study the ceiling. Images of happier times were slowly fading that they were almost unreachable. To Tony, they were buried deeply. Rising up to only mock him by reminding him of what he had lost. That was the place he slept through the night... Sitting upright on the couch in pondering silence.


0645 hrs Zulu time

Marine Fred Sykes threw off his backpack and helmet. He had been doing endurance exercises with his comrades. Everything was going along fine as they tried to outdo each other. That was until the stranger happened to stumble onto their training grounds. The middle aged man looked innocent enough up until he gunned down his CO.

Sweat dripped off his face. The others were unarmed and scattered. He wasn't too sure what the man wanted since he didn't say anything. The firearm he had did all the speaking. Sykes thought that if he could just make it to the car or even the road, he'd make it to safety.

He tripped on the uneven slope and almost went down to his hands and knees a few times. The last trip, he ended on all fours as he fought to catch his breath. All the training was out the window when someone was hunting him down. Sykes turned around and was surprised to see nobody following him. None of his comrades or the stranger. He wiped his hands and turned back around. Brown shoes was the first things he saw. Slowly he raised his head. The man's blue shirt was almost covered by a large old Air Force Coat That almost reached the man's feet.

"What do you want?" Sykes asked. Perhaps he could buy enough time to figure out how to retaliate. The man remained still and silent. "Come on! Who are you?!" He shouted. Marines weren't known to show fear but something about the silent stranger was terrifying. Survival instincts soon kicked in and managed to trip up the man.

The man landed on his back hard and dropped the pistol. That was the opportunity that Sykes needed and he made a grab for the weapon. "Tell me who you are!" Sykes aimed the pistol at the man's head and was shocked to see he was not worried about the consequences. Before he knew it, he was knocked to the ground by the man's kick.

"Man... I love Marines. I really do. They have such fight even right to the end," the man said as he dusted off his RAF coat.

"Tell me why... Tell me who you are," Sykes froze when the man picked the up the pistol.

"Captain Jack Harkness," Jack said. He didn't blink as he kept the sights trained on the intended target. "You want to know why," his accent was somewhere between English and American. "You've lost a lot of money playing poker," Jack told him.

"What?" Sykes asked.

"You've recently got a loan so you can invest in a business... That's not going to work out. The repayments are going to be too high," Jack continued on with his explanation.

"How?" Sykes asked again.

Jack continued on and ignored the question. "You'll become a desperate man... And I know desperate men do desperate things... Think about it... What would you be willing to do? Consider the situation I'm in Sykes. Your death will save lives," Jack said. He didn't think twice about pulling the trigger. He shot five bullets. Three hitting the body and two hitting the man's head.

Jack put the pistol away and walked away from the scene. There was a time where he wouldn't have done it that way but not these days. There was no TORCHWOOD... No holding facility and nobody to talk things through. There was only actions these days and Jack Harkness found it so easy to slip back into the days before the Doctor, before taking over TORCHWOOD... Before Ianto. If he was going to be stuck in the US then he might as well do what he does best... Fight the ongoing threats.