A/N: Okay so this little fic is what came out of my mind when I was stuck with all of my current writing projects (well still kinda am really). It's dark, angsty and un-betaed. It includes very dark and suicidal thoughts and because of that the rating is what it is.

Kate slams shut the door to her apartment and kicks off her high heels and drops her back pack to the floor before making her way to her living room where she drops to sit on the sofa.

The day hadn't been anything special, just surveillance and trying to crack a case that resulted in a death of a fine NCIS agent. Well it had been as simple until Tony managed to get caught up with kissing a man dressed as a woman and then got his head whacked by a couple of hillbillies trying to help a damsel in distress.

Kate sighs as she thoughts about the words she'd said to Tony before the man had hightailed it out of the bullpen like the hounds of hell were after him. She had seen the disapproval in Gibbs' gaze but there had been no verbal reprimand, not that she needed one to know she crossed a line.

Everyone knows there's more to Tony than the frat boy persona he portrays to the outside world, there is a genuinely compassionate man underneath the seemingly idiot exterior and the mask isn't the man's way of escaping reality, it's his way of making it easier for himself and yes, even others, to deal with it. And she knows this, she knows that kissing the man responsible for the murder of his fellow agent and friend would have hurt him.

And still she had given him a hard time about 'tonguing' the he/she.

Well as much as it's clear to everyone with a brain that there is more to Tony than meets the eye, as unclear it is to them that he's not the only one with a mask.

Kate stands up from the couch and makes her way to her bedroom with it's big bed that has never had anyone else sleep in it except her. She pulls a pair of sweats and a t-shirt from her wardrobe and changes out of her work clothes before dropping to sit on her bed and dropping backwards so she's lying on it with her feet still firmly planted on the floor.

She hasn't bothered to put on the lights since the street light outside are enough to let her see what she needs to and the shadows that the outside lights draw to her ceiling gives her eyes something to focus on as she lets her mind wander.

Kate looks at the shadows and think about the hurtful words she'd hurled at Tony earlier. She knows why she said it, and there lays the problem, she's the only one who knows. She'd seen the way Gibbs had been looking at Tony all they, the worry had been clear and when they had gotten back to the office after the whole incident at the bar, the older man had made sure Tony got to his desk okay

Gibbs saw through the mask Tony had on and saw the hurt and pain underneath it, and it clearly brought out his protective instincts.

Kate blinks back the tears that threaten to fall from her eyes as she thinks how no one ever feels that way about her.

She begrudges Tony that he has someone who sees through his act, it's petty and she really shouldn't feel like that, but she does.

Because the reason she said those words, the reason she ever says the hurtful things she does, is because it's her mask.

Most of the time she hides her loneliness and insecurities by appearing extra professional and competent, her face shows confidence she has never felt inside. And if she has to sometimes say something bitchy to keep anyone from seeing the crying little girl inside who just wants to be hugged and held, so be it.

At her own bedroom though, lying alone on the too big bed, she finally lets the tears fall like she does on so many other nights. She wraps her arms around herself as she wishes for those arms to be someone else's. The mask is for them, for everyone in the outside world to see, it doesn't belong here. It shatters every time she gets home and rebuilds itself every morning before she heads out.

She longs for someone to see through the mask she wears, to see all the pain she has been hiding for so long, but no one does. There's no one to wrap her in their arms and make her think it's going to be alright, that she won't be alone forever. The loneliness she hides from everyone is there plain to see as she sobs her pain into the quiet of the night.

She knows she must look pathetic, alone on the big bed, crying like that. But she doesn't care, after all doesn't her desperate need and craving for being touch make her pathetic all on it's own. She can feel the physical ache of wishing for a human contact she knows she won't get, the all consuming hunger to feel even the simplest of contacts leaves her bordering on starvation.

And like every other night she sits up in bed with tears still streaming down her face and reaches to her bedside drawer to pick up the knife she holds there.

She rests the blade on her exposed wrist and thinks how easy it would be to just make the cuts, put an end to the ache, the longing. But there's still a small seed of hope somewhere in her, that makes it impossible for her to even press the sharp blade enough to draw a line of blood.

Like every other night when the ache gets to bee too much, she just sits there and dreams about how good it would be to not having to pretend every day, to not have to come home to an empty apartment, not to be more and more willing to end it all each day.

Suddenly the script to the night changes as there's a knock on her door and she frowns. It would be tempting to just ignore whoever it is, but for some reason she doesn't. So Kate puts down the knife and walks to the door.

She doesn't bother looking through the peep hole, she just pulls open the door and has just enough time to register that it's Tony on the other side before she's rocking back a step from the force of the man wrapping his arms around her and holding her tight.

The tears start again when Tony murmurs in her ear "I know." And she's grateful that the other agent leads them further into the apartment and kicks the door shut so her breakdown isn't viewed by her neighbors. Without saying a word or breaking the embrace Tony leads them to the way he thinks the bedroom is located and guides them to lay on the bed so that they're both on their sides, Tony's arms still locked around his sobbing team mate.

He runs a hand through her soft hair and smiles sadly as her shaking seems to increase as a result to the comforting touch.

"You should have just let us help you." He whispers as his own heart aches at the torture he knows his friend has put herself through all this time.

"I can't. Don't you see how pathetic it is? Being so god damned needy all the time!" the words are desperate, even a bit angry, as Kate grabs a hold of his shirt, pushing him away with her words but begging him to stay at the same time.

"Shh." Tony murmurs, not really knowing what to say to make everything better for her, but willing to give it his best shot "It's not pathetic, you are not pathetic. Everyone needs someone to be there for them, and if I can give you this, then I'll be more than happy to be here for you whenever you need me."

The words sounds so sincere that Kate can't help raising her head to look at the man lying next to her with shining eyes.

"You promise?" And Tony can't help but lean to press a kiss to her forehead as the vulnerability in her eyes and tone raises his protective instincts. "I promise"

And if he had once thought that there would be no way in hell that the ex- secret service agent would allow herself to seem to seem so vulnerable and even childlike, now he knows better since he finally sees through the tough exterior she always carries.

Kate lets out a content sigh as she snuggles closer to her friend and closes her eyes. She should have known that if someone would ever see behind her mask, it would be Tony. After all it really does take one to know one and she always knew he is one hell of a investigator.

And now, snuggled in Tony's arms she feel better. Tony is just a friend and there will never be anything more between them, but still having him hold her, makes her believe that maybe she won't be alone anymore, maybe there is someone willing to just hold her and be there for her. For the first time in a very long while she feels that things might actually get better. And she knows her friend will be there to chaise away the loneliness and sorrow when it all gets to be too much.

It may not be ideal, but it's enough for now.

Maybe she can move the knife from the nightstand back to the kitchen where it belongs. And maybe now she can find where she belongs too, though something tells her she might already have found at least part of it.

THE END

Hope you liked the ficcie and reviews are greatly appreciated ;) And I actually have this fic idea about Tony that has kinda similiar theme to this one... So I'd like to know if anyone thinks it might be worth writing (read: is there anyone interested in reading it? :D)