He found a certain pleasure when he turned the key on the keyhole locking his apartment. As if that simple gesture was the one that signaled the end of that day. He leaned against the door closing his eyes for one moment and sighing grateful for being home and be safe. He pulled himself off the metal surface and left the keys on the table, above all the mail he hasn't had time to look at. He went into the kitchen, leaving the jacket on the first chair he saw and opening the refrigerator on the quest for something to eat. But when he saw the food scattered over the shelves, he realized he wasn't that hungry. So he grabbed a beer, threw the lid over the stack of dirty dishes and took a long sip before heading to the living-room.

He turned on the TV not caring about the channel and entered the bedroom, thanking the noise of the device in the hollow silence of the apartment. He left the bottle on the bedside table, conscious of the ring that would be formed for the moisture and not giving it a second thought. That was a stain that could be removed. With slow movements he took out his clothes leaving them in a heap and thinking if he should wash them or burn them. He opened the top drawer of his bedside table checking for the spare gun that rested next to a package of condoms. "Make love not war!" Tony though with a hint of irony. He closed the drawer and taking the beer he put the cold surface over his cheek.

"Hmmmmmm"

His ears were ringing for the closeness of the shoot and because of the powder, he felt the right side of his face as if he had spent the day sunbathing. He closed his eyes allowing the lock that put siege to his memories becomes dislodged. The images of the last minutes of Jeffrey White's life repeat behind his eyelids. Fear, anxiety, anger. All the feelings he hadn't had time to experiment, started flowing with each situation. He really liked the kid, he had an air of necessity and looked so lost that had led the protective side of Tony took primacy over his emotions, but the time when someone could have helped Jeffrey had passed long ago. Despite everything, he still could hear the echoes of not uttered cries.

Tony's fear was to become himself a monster, as it had happened with Jeffrey and his own father before him. People that fulfilled that role did it out of weakness or by necessity. If you are the monster then you have nothing to fear from the rest of nightmares. It was also true that the strength and determination that Tony had shown at rough times, came from that dark corner of his being that he was determined to keep under constant surveillance. From time to time he had to become the nightmare to keep on living, and if something worked well in the young agent it was the survival instinct. So he put his feelings in a box and he introduced himself into the hollow blackness of his person, so that he could be able to lift the gun and shoot at close range against the head of troubled young Jeffrey White, ignoring the blood that splashed over his face or the pinkish lump that had gone against the rear window of the car. But now, without the adrenaline running through his veins, without the anger and the fear, he had to pay the bill to the twisted monster that growl inside himself demanding a part of his soul.

/-/

There was new moon up in the dark sky and the only lights that cast shadows over the pavement were from the street lamps in the sidewalk. Gibbs parked the car and without stopping the engine looked out to the facade of the building searching for the right window. He soon discovered red curtains that were fluttering freely in the air. As expected the room was lit up and he could guess the flicker of the television on the walls. He removed the ignition key and grabbed the box resting on the passenger seat, being careful not to smash its contents. People usually said that Gibbs wasn't a person with the best social skills, but there was no doubt that he cared for his people. Although it wasn't shown in the daily specials.

He knew Dinozzo was in one of those moods when you can't stand having people around but don't want to be left alone, not to mention "feel" alone. The problem was that his young subordinate believed that no one could understand him and he didn't realized that it wasn't necessary to live the same experience to know how to provide support.

As expected from a good superior and in anticipation of any problems, the ex-marine had a key for each of his agent's houses. Each key had a label with the name of the owner, except Tony's. There was no need to put any distinctive on it. Dinozzo had given him a Mickey Mouse key ring and a lopsided smile, waiting for some response from his boss, but Gibbs had said nothing, instead he picked up the toy with two fingers and hold it away as if it contained a virus that changes those who touch it in some kind of a big kid. He had dropped it into the drawer producing a loud sound when it hit the metal, not sparing a second glance to DiNozzo. Despite all the pantomime, Gibbs had not changed the key ring.

Balancing the box in one hand he knocked with the other on the door and waited in the dim lighted corridor.

/-/

The sound made him jump out of his thoughts and his hand jerked instinctively to the drawer where his gun rested, but instead he took the alarm clock and turned it over to see the time. Two o'clock in the morning. He smiled despite himself, he could figured who was at the door.

Beer still in hand, he got out of the room and went to the receiver. He looked through the peephole to discover the distorted figure of his boss holding a pizza box in his hand. It would be very rude to leave him out there, so he drew back the bolt and opened the door. Tony leaned on a half-hearted gesture against the frame and looked expectantly at the man with gray hair and a piercing glare. Gibbs raised an eyebrow and showed his offering while Tony curved his lips in a gentle smile and stepped aside, giving way to his boss. The older man already knew the apartment and went to the living room, leaving the box on the table. He opened it and took one of the slices setting himself comfortable on the couch. Tony was done with several napkins and a beer and put them next to the pizza. Gibbs made a small sound of satisfaction and took a long sip from the bottle.

"What are we going to watch?" Gibbs asked, leaning back against the cushions, pizza and beer in hand.

Tony looked at one of the many crowded shelves of DVDs and books until he finally settle for one. Opening the plastic cover he removed the disk and inserted it into the DVD player.

"Miller's Crossing" Tony said, taking the remote and sitting down next to Gibbs. - You'll love it boss, John Turturro, Gabriel Byrne ... the Coen brothers. The good old mafia, cigar and hat and not a single computer in the entire movie.

END