Disclaimer: Once again, I do not own, nor am I making profit, off of this story or NCIS.

Note: This story follows The Leaving Rhapsody, The Finding Symphony and The Shaping Melody. I recommend you read those first but if you choose to begin here, know that the first three are...complimentary to this one and the ones to follow.

A/N: FINALLY! Alright, quick note before you're on your way. We're back at the beginning. For the most part, scenes in italics do not happen in order; view these scenes as more of Tony's thoughts, dreams, nightmares, etc... Scenes in normal font happen in order and are events that are in the "now". Is it a tad confusing? Why, yes. But this is Tony's story. Did you think it was going to be simple?


Chapter One

Unknown: Nameless; Stranger, anyone who does not belong in the environment in which they are found.

Song: a distinctive or characteristic sound made by someone

It was dark, when he opened his eyes.

Somewhere out there, he could hear the voices.

Faster…Slow down….Coming for….Hurry….

He stood shakily to his feet. Everything hurt. He didn't understand. His arm wasn't working right and it felt as if someone was inside his brain, playing with the controls to his hearing.

Coming….Look….Over there…..Find him….Bring him back…..

Who was out there? What had he done? Were they looking for him? Why? What had he done?

He used the hand that didn't hurt to pat himself down. He searched quickly and blindly. It was dark.

Voices were all around him and someone was coming, looking for him.

But why?

Kick his butt…..Find him….Shoot him….Look….

He stumbled back, biting down hard on his lower lip to keep the scream of pain in his throat. He searched faster, coming up on an ID of some sort. It was too dark to see it really well, but he could make out the first name.

Anthony.

Kill him….Tony's out…..

Anthony set the ID down, continuing his search.

"Look…here!" A voice rang out, about fifty yards away from where Anthony stood. Why couldn't he hear properly?

Anthony stood. He had to move. He couldn't let them catch him.

Hurry, Anthony, before your father…

Anthony, my dear boy, why in such a rush…

Anthony grabbed his head with his hands. Too many voices. Too loud but too soft. His head hurt. Everything hurt.

Hurry, Anthony. They're getting closer.

Anthony please, do listen…

Anthony go-

Anthony don't-

Anthony hurry-

Anthony-

"Stop, stop, stop," Anthony whispered. It hurt. He didn't understand what was happening...he didn't - there were too many voices, too many noises everywhere. He didn't know what to do. His head hurt and nothing was right.

What-

Run!

So Anthony turned his back and ran.


"Excuse me sir, you need to leave. Park closes at 11."

Tony moved sluggishly, having not eaten in awhile.

And he was thirsty.

So thirsty, he wondered if he would get terribly sick from drinking that old bottled water over there…

"Mac, help me move him. Guy's probably drunk off his ass."

Not drunk, Tony wanted to tell the man; but couldn't find the strength in his body.

But no matter.

It wouldn't matter what these people thought about him.

Not in a few hours anyway.


Blood. Blood was everywhere. On his face and on his clothes and on his teeth and he could taste it, could taste her and what was happening?

She had been alive and now she was falling, falling, falling down…

In the water. It wasn't blue. He hated blue. Blue meant slowly suffocating. Not being able to breath.

But someone was down in the blue, the murky blue and Tony had to get to them.

And he had to hurry.

He pulled at the window but it wouldn't budge.

Someone was banging on the window that was a wall and Tony couldn't move the wall that closed but someone was behind it-

Someone-

Then his shoulder was grabbed and he was thrown backward and he turned, he had to fight, he had to stay alive because this person was going to kill him if he didn't move, but suddenly she was there and he wished he had died when-

Alive. She was alive but Tony didn't understand. She had been dead.

It was too fast again. The pictures - they needed to slow down.

He couldn't grab them. They came and left and then they were too fast and then he couldn't see-

Blind. He was blind. Or he was seeing in the dark but it didn't matter.

He still couldn't see anything.


"Hey, hobo - get a job."

Tony turned, looking at the self-righteous woman who had thrown her insult across the way.

End up in the gutter…

The words hurt, no matter how much Tony tried to shrug them off.

He didn't want to be like this.

He wanted to wear nice things and watch movies and listen to music and dance till he was so tired he had to sleep.

He wanted to.

Couldn't she see that?


He was running again. He ran a lot.

In his dreams.

His chest didn't hitch and his breath didn't catch and he could run faster than the noises and the words and the pictures and faster than the all consuming feeling that he was missing something.

He ran over the sidewalks and down the alleys and past the people and past the cars and he was running after someone, after a memory but no matter how fast he ran he could never catch them/him/her - and one day, Tony knew he would stop.

Because he couldn't run forever. He would get tired and one day, he would stop and turn away.

And never look back.


"Don't touch me."

Tony said it again adding as much venom to his voice as he could. He might be a lot of things but he wasn't dead yet.

The man smiled a feral smile and Tony would have decked him there if he had known.

But he hadn't so he had extended his hand for the handshake and ignored the way the hair on the back of his neck stood on end all the way back down the alley.


He fought sometimes, not just at the building with the other fighters but in his dreams.

He was always fighting someone bigger or faster or stronger and once, Tony wished he could just win.

He wondered if that was too much to ask.

There was always someone there though, he was waiting to come and fight, green as the grass Tony somtimes slept on at night.

And Tony knew he could beat him - could kill him if he wanted too.

Tony hoped he never got in the ring with him.


Tony faked left and then threw his foot forward and felt the crunch and heard the snap and knew he had won and that this no-name wouldn't be walking for awhile.

But it was the rules.

You fought till you couldn't.

And Tony always followed the rules.

Well, most of the time anyway.


Tony stopped running one day. His breath finally caught and his chest at last hitched and he turned, breathed, and walked away.

Instead he fought. Every noise and word and picture and every stronger and bigger and faster person.

He didn't want to lose.

He had lost too much already.

He couldn't lose this time.

But then, it really didn't matter.

He had passed the point of caring a long time ago.

There wasn't anything left for him to lose anyway.