Dear readers. This fanfiction is for anyone who has lost someone in this tragedy. I thankfully, haven't lost anyone close to me, but I understand that others were less lucky than I and I wrote this as a memory~ Lest we forget.
Tony twirled the ring between his middle and index fingers thoughtfully. To think he'd soon be with the most amazing woman in the world. It would belong to her soon. It would show the world that she was his.
His partner seemed to think a ring was some sort of low jack- which, Tony guessed, it was. But it was also a sign of commitment. That ring symbolized what he and Wendy were. They were soul mates. Tony was both terrified and ecstatic at once.
He carefully slipped the newly resized ring back in its box and pulled his winter overcoat tighter around himself to chase the chilly September morning's air from of his bones. Tony stared around him at the dim, blue-gray sky. Soon the sun would be up and the brilliant blue would prove the weatherman right. Tony couldn't help but think that the gorgeous forecast was fitting.
His soon to be wife was looking for a job today to help with the payments for the house they'd considered buying. Wendy had insisted that living together without first being married was wrong and Tony had accepted her views without argument. She'd gone for the interview in New York this morning after about a week of waiting.
Tony secretly hoped Wendy wouldn't get the job. The last thing he wanted was to leave Baltimore. It had been his rock for almost a year and a half now. He liked it here. His job, his partner- at one point those two things were all he had and they'd been enough. After Wendy they were the most important things in his life. Danny was his best friend, his brother and his best man. He wouldn't do anything to ruin that relationship. Besides that he was good at his job. Very good. The best and no one could deny it.
Through his musings Tony smiled. He couldn't believe she'd said yes. That was hands down the happiest moment of his life. He hadn't known it was possible to love so much.
NCIS was treating him pretty well for an agency barging in on Baltimore PD. Danny didn't like their presence much at all, but Tony figured he'd get used to it – after all, this investigation could last months. Still, Danny acted pretty strange around Agent Gibbs.
If his boss found out he'd been to a bar before work he'd get it. Shivering, Tony checked his watch. Shit, not too much longer until 9 o'clock. He was going to be late. Again. But that didn't matter so much to him as it used to.
Wendy was his fiancé- God, his fiancé. The word made him want to run both toward and away from her. It made him want to smile and cry in frustration that he might not be good enough. He wasn't his father, though. He would be the best he could be for her.
Suddenly, the bar tender came running from the bar. Tony's smile vanished as he took in his friend's expression.
"What's- is there a fight you need me to-"
"Tony." Hank said gravely. Something was very wrong. His face was a very Irish red. Tony usually messed with him for being an Irish bar tender but that look on his face was the first time Tony had ever seen Hank actually panic. His eyes were wild and searching. Tony's brief thought to crack a joke flew out the window as Hank grabbed his arms in a vice-like grip and ushered him back into the bar.
Tony didn't understand. For a bar fight to have erupted at such an early hour someone had to be really, really snockered already. That had to be a record.
When Tony had left less than ten minutes ago the dimly lit bar couldn't have been a warmer, happier place. It was eerily quiet now. Tony took a quick three-sixty of the place for any sign of a disturbance, but all he could hear was the mumble of the TV in the corner where everyone seemed to be looking, shell shocked at the news, but he wasn't facing that direction. He tried to turn, but Hank's muscled arms held him firmly in place as though afraid he would fall apart if he were let go.
"Where." Hank demanded.
Tony looked at Hank in confusion and the shorter man shook him roughly. "Wendy! Where is she!"
Tony blinked, confused by Hank's actions. Tony twisted around, wrenching one arm free of Hank's clutches. "At the-" his gaze landed on the television and his blood froze. "-towers." The last word was no more than a choked whisper. He couldn't breathe.
If Tony could have felt anything at that moment he would have realized that Hank's grip had gone slack and the other man had relinquished his hold on the taller man in shock. He would have seen his friend's jaw drop open in disbelief. He wouldn't have felt his heart beat because his chest was empty. Hollow.
On the TV screen smoke, as black as Satan's heart billowed from the World Trade Center. Clouds of dark smoke and flames licked at the building, malicious and blood thirsty.
Tony didn't notice his arm pulling his cell phone out of his pocket or realize he was calling her, but his lips were moving and dull, muted words that he barely registered were escaping his lips.
He was in the parking lot now. The sky above was a disarming blue as he flew down the highways and streets, riding curbs and cutting lights, signs and intersections. Message after message. It wasn't possible. She…Wendy was alive. She had told him she loved him this morning.
He had no idea how long it took him to get there. The sky was obscured by the ashes and smoke. The after effects of a tragedy. No matter how fast he had driven...he was too late. Somehow he'd arrived and climbed out of the vehicle as quickly as possible, sprinting for the smoke. People, so many people, covered in ash, soot and blood, covering their mouths, clean trails of tears on their filthy faces as they cried, screamed. Firefighters rushing past, holding limp forms. They streamed past him in a blur. He was screaming something. Her name – her beautiful, lovely name. He was gasping for breath. The air was so dirty. He ran full force until a man in a yellow suit and hard hat grabbed him around the waist.
The building was only feet away. Sirens blaring and the muted sound of tortured screams and shouts. Tony threw his elbow back in desperation.
He screamed her name, running into the already dead tower, but three more men rushed him, pulling him, battling to get him out. Tony was now unaware of what he was saying. He was shouting incoherently, struggling, pushing to escape. He had to save her. Denying what was happening, he shouted for her.
His face was dirty, but he could feel the cool streaks of tears on his face, like blood- before knocking a man down in his fight.
He'd failed her.
Something large and heavy collided with the back of his head and he blacked out.
When they identified her body Tony DiNozzo hadn't known it was possible to hurt so much.