AN: This is a one shot based on S9 episode, 'Secrets.' Tony's POV. Enjoy.

I've got to say, her response to my question surprised me. 'She wasn't ready for the 'right one'.' I am not even entirely sure what that means. She wasn't ready for me and runs and marries someone who is the exact opposite of me. Someone, she said, who was completely materialistic and didn't care about people. At least she did see my good qualities, I can, at least, say that much for her.

I do have a thing or two to say to Gibbs. Well…not really, now that I think about it. He made it so we could talk. We HAD to talk. He forced us to by putting me in that situation. I guess he wanted me to get closure and answers on my relationship with Wendy, something that he never got in his marriages. I really do have to thank him for that. Though I really, really hate the way he went about it.

Did Gibbs send me down to see Ducky on purpose or not? I can never be sure. Gibbs just has a way of knowing things. It is as creepy as hell, sometimes. But Ducky was absolutely right in his assessment. I had thought I had put it all behind me. I thought I had gotten over it. But what I had really done was to force myself not to think about it. I had filled my life and my bed with 20-somethings whom, I knew, would not want to marry. And whom, I knew, I did not want to marry. You can't get hurt if no one is even interested in throwing the first punch.

Then, of course, there's Tim and Ziva, complaining how I'm not talking, then how I'm not eating. And they were absolutely right in both assessments. I am never at a loss for words and I have a bottomless cast-iron stomach. I was acting very unDiNozzolike. I am sure it freaked them out, at least a little. I sometimes forget that 99% of our job is observation of our environment. I just hate when that magnifying glass is turned on me. They had every right to ask questions. I know, as friends and as team members, they were concerned about me. I was concerned about me.

I just…I never expected to see her like that. Not at NCIS and definitely not involved in a case. The last I knew she was teaching school. Her Christmas invitation had not mentioned her new occupation. Not that I would have expected her to tell me about the last 9 years of her life in that card. Just learning she had been married, divorced and had a kid had been enough. Believe me. And I had not expected her to keep up with me. But her new reporter job gave her ample opportunity to do so. But I, in the last 9 years, had not even searched a database to find out a recent address.

I guess coming to NCIS provided me with the break and the distance I needed. I know, had I stayed in Baltimore, I may have stewed about it. Than the thing with Danny…I don't know what would have happened to me if NCIS had not come along when it did. I almost think I would have…could have turned out like Danny, an alcoholic, dirty cop, all because of the rejection. It terrifies me to even entertain that notion.

But…I have my answer. For 9 years…I was afraid. You know the old tried and true saying, 'If you don't want the answer, don't ask the question.' Well…I was terrified of the answer. I had no idea what I had done, what I could have done.

I think I understand her statement now…and she's waited too late for the 'right one.'