Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 878
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Episode(s): 2-23 Twilight
Summary: Tony lies thinking. Angsty dribble drabble.
“The Stars Are Just Dead Light”
Tony had been lying, unmoving, on the roof of his apartment building for hours, long enough for both of his legs to grow numb then fall asleep. The sun had set and it had turned cold, and even though his breathing was becoming raspy, he hadn’t gotten up. The rain that had threatened all day had never materialized, and the clouds had eventually dissipated, while he’d watched the stars appear, one after another, as he lay there. This was how Kate had lain, in her coffin, although she hadn’t had the stars to gaze at, nor had she felt the bite of the night air, or the painful tingling of limbs too long ignored. Nothing was going to bother Kate, ever again, Tony told himself bitterly as he lay on the asphalt, wondering if that would be preferable.
He’d come straight here when he’d gotten back from the funeral, refusing to join Abby and McGee for a drink, ignoring Gibbs’ suggestion that he spend the night at his place. He hadn’t even bothered going into his apartment to change. His backpack and suit jacket were dumped in a pile somewhere up here, still sitting wherever he’d dropped them when he’d reached the roof, irrationally hoping the altitude and open air would somehow allow him to breathe again. He’d stood, near the edge, gazing down, letting the noise and motion of the people and cars below wash over him, wiping out all thought, and when his legs could no longer support him, he’d sunk to his knees, his arms resting on his thighs, in a perverse imitation of some yoga pose, intended to create inner peace and greater personal awareness. But Tony hadn’t been seeking peace, or harmony, or some higher spiritual understanding – he’d been seeking absolution.
He’d wanted the rain to come, had wanted the water to wash over him as the sky cried, rinsing away once and for always each searing hot drop of blood he still felt on his face, burning at his skin like a corrosive acid, even though he couldn’t see it when he looked in the mirror, positive it must still be there. When the first ray of sunlight had battled its way through the clouds, he’d howled in rage, and then lay prone on the ground, feeling cheated and angry. He’d stared at the sun, willing it away, until some instinctual sense of self preservation had forced him to close his eyes, before its glare burned holes in his retinas, and he’d settled for watching the red dots swirling in the dark, behind his closed lids. When he finally felt the sun’s heat on his face begin to fade, he’d opened his eyes, to once again stare upward.
They say you can see for miles from a rooftop, and yet, the last time he’d been on one, he hadn’t seen anything. He hadn’t even looked. It had rained the last time, cold and cutting, but the blood hadn’t been ready to give way, nor had he been wanted it to, even going so far as to push away from Gibbs when he’d taken out a handkerchief and attempted to wipe him clean. He didn’t want to be clean, to let the blood disappear. That would mean she was really gone, and he couldn’t let that happen, not when it meant she’d take a part of all of them with her. Sister, partner, mentor, best friend, she’d been one of those for each of them, and when she was gone there would be no one left to take her place. As he stared up, the blood began to return, each boiling drop ushered in by the emergence of a new star, scorching and staining his skin, and he welcomed the pain, the proof that at least of part of him was still alive.
He felt, rather than saw, when he was no longer alone, but he didn’t look away from the stars. He was aware of when they sat down next to him on the floor of the rooftop, although he didn’t acknowledge them. When a hand reached out, and fingers began to gently stroke his hair, it was all he could do to keep from slapping it away, as the unwanted sensation began to obscure the blistering heat of the blood, but he couldn’t move, wouldn’t move.
“Star gazing?” the person asked softly.
“The stars are just dead light,” he answered, in a voice horse from disuse.
“When the night is at its darkest, the stars still light our way,” the person answered.
“Do you really believe that?” he asked.
“Yes,” and the fingers continued to course through his hair.
“But not everybody’s way,” Tony insisted, trying to hold fast to his pain.
“Everyone’s”, Gibbs said.
“Not the dead’s,” Tony whispered.
“They are the light,” Gibbs said. Then his fingers slid from Tony’s hair and onto his face, where they caught the tears, silently flowing from his eyes, and rubbed them into Tony’s skin, washing away the blood.