Her desk was empty. Void of everything she was. Void of her knick-knacks, her spirit. Of the extra knife he knew she kept taped underneath. Of her notes, her pictures, the snacks she didn't know he knew about under the false bottom of her third drawer.
All he could do was stare. He got lost in the void where he used to get lost in her eyes. He stared into the darkness, as though if he stared long enough, he could will her into existence.
He reached down, opened his second desk drawer and pulled out a beige scarf. The one she was wearing when she walked into the bullpen and stole his heart.
He rubbed the soft fabric between his fingers and frowned. It still had some of her hair woven into it. The hair that cascaded too perfectly over her delicate shoulders, and brushed his clavicle gently when she leaned down to kiss him. The hair that he loved to run his fingers through and ached to touch once again.
He sat in his chair and rubbed the fabric between his fingers. He allowed the silence of the abandoned bullpen to envelop him.
"DiNozzo." He looked up from his hands to the eyes of Gibbs, soft and concerned.
"You've gotta stop killing yourself over this."
Tony looked into his hands once again as he continued to brush the scarf between his fingers.
"I just…I miss her."
"I know you do," he said as his eyes flicked to her empty desk, "Trust me, I know."
Tony sat silently for a moment as he fought with himself. "She's coming back, right?" he asked, his voice wavering. "I mean, I know she said she was coming back…but do you think she…"
"Yeah. She's coming home."
Tony nodded subtly, pain written across his features.
"Hey," Gibbs said sharply, causing Tony to finally look up. "She's coming home."
He nodded again, defeat laced through every bit of him.
Gibbs sighed, grabbed the chair from Tim's desk and sat down in front of Tony.
"Listen up, DiNozzo. I have watched the two of you try to work yourselves up enough to make a go at a relationship for years now. I have watched you two love each other across this gap for eight years. I have seen you go to the ends of the earth for her, and to bring her home where she belongs. Now you have to trust that she can come home to you herself."
"Yeah, that's the part I'm having some trouble with. We don't have a great track record when it comes to leaving each other on the tarmac."
"Difference is, this time she chose to go on her own. She'll come back on her own, too. Because she has something to come back to."
"Yeah. I guess I was just hoping that I'd be enough to make her want to come home with me," he said as he clenched the scarf in his fist.
"Can't it be enough that she's going to come home for you?"
"It'll have to be," Tony said sadly.
"She will come home. And you two will figure it out. But in the meantime, you can't be this guy. This is not who you are."
"It's so stupid, because once she gets here, I'm not worried about figuring it out. I'm not worried at all about being with her. I know how to be with her. It's the being without her that's killing me. And what am I supposed to do in the meantime?"
Gibbs shrugged, "Ever wanted to learn how to build a boat?"