Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1186
Character(s): Tony DiNozzo
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: The apartment came furnished.
Author Notes: I kind of wanted my first EVER fic for NCIS to have some sort of, you know, plot. Guess that's too much to ask, huh? Oh, well.
Un-beta'd. All mistakes are mine and mine alone. None of this belongs to me, unfortunately. They're only at my mercy for fun, and not for money (pity, that).
Please, please send feedback. Like I said, first fic. So please send feedback. I'll love you forever and ever and ever.
The apartment came furnished.
It's modern. All clean lines and glass and stainless steel. It's not where he imagined he'd be living, but the rent is good, and the neighborhood is good, and the super's nice, and he likes his neighbors, and it's close to the office.
So that's okay.
He liked the heavy, dark stuff as a kid. Clawed feet and velvet and sun-warmed wood. He liked the sturdiness. He loved antiques. They made him think of history – not the history he learned in stuffy classrooms listening to stuffier teachers, but real history, gritty history. The personal history of people. Where they came from. Where they're going. Their dreams, their demons.
He bought accessories for the place. Lamps. Knick-knacks. Just enough so that the shelves weren't so glaringly empty. But he's never been one for things that don't go together. Doesn't have the patience for it. And so the stuff he bought matches the place. He knows he'll leave it behind when he leaves.
And he will leave. He doesn't like the apartment enough to stay.
It's too airy. Too much space. The furniture is low; the ceilings are high. The lights are small and don't take up enough room on the walls. The carpet is some sort of off-white colour – he's not really sure what. Maybe it actually was originally white. The walls are light gray. So are the kitchen cabinets. The countertops are dark gray. The appliances are white. Nothing is black. It's supposed to make the space look larger.
It just makes it look empty.
And boring. It's all fading shades of nothing in particular, no colour, and he doesn't have the inclination to add any. It's simple. It's modern, fashionable. It's elegant. He's sure he's read that in some magazine, somewhere. Probably at the doctor's. It screams neutrality.
It doesn't always have the soothing effect it's supposed to.
Sometimes, he wants a stance. Sometimes, he wants personality. Sometimes, he doesn't want anything to remind him of the political posturing that is far too common in a profession he thought was more black and white than the apartment. Not that that's hard or anything. His apartment has far too much gray.
He never really liked the colour gray.
And he knows he can make his apartment more like he is. It isn't anything like him now. Or, at least, not like the person people think is him. He's not sure if it's like the actual him, because he doesn't know who that is.
Maybe that's why gray is easier.
But, as it stands, he's the only thing in his apartment that looks alive. And that's okay. He doesn't want to give too much away with the way where he lives looks. What if he does it wrong? It's not like he’s ever had to pick out the décor for anyplace he's lived. So he doesn't know how to make it reflect him, and he's not sure he wants to. Doesn't have the energy, anyway, to do more than make sure it coordinates. Easier to go for something classic, to let someone else tell him what looks good, what should be there.
Easier to let someone else tell him what his reflection should look like.
When he was fifteen, his violin teacher suggested that he audition for a youth orchestra. Said that it would be a fun counterpoint to the strictly private lessons. He nodded at her and did the audition. He knew he wasn't very good. He knew he wouldn't get in. But she asked him to try, so he did.
The rejection letter came a month later, in the mail.
His mother was on the phone when he walked in the door. He handed her the letter, gave her a few seconds to read the first paragraph. Then he took it back, looking at it instead of his mother's face. He knew what her face would look like, anyway, and he didn't want pity. Didn't need it. He hadn't expected anything better. Still on the phone, she wandered into the laundry room, and he opened one of the kitchen cabinets. He grabbed a case of matches and a bottle of water and was out the door as soon as "I'm going outside" was out of his mouth.
It burned so slowly at first.
The corner of the paper shrunk, blackened, but that was the only evidence of a flame that hid its brightness in the sunlight. Only when the paper was half-consumed did the fire gain some sort of zeal. He let it fall to the asphalt behind the backyard of his house when it got too hot and watched it disappear with detached interest. He didn't need the bottle of water.
The ashes were gray – light gray and white.
They were soft in his fingers, turning to dust that clung to his skin. And he wondered why fire that burned created something so soft. He wondered why people burned things. Did it take some of their passion away? What was left when that passion was gone, then? Ashes of regret. He wondered, when people burned things, whether it was the fire or the ashes that made them feel better.
They just left him feeling empty.
He wasn't disappointed. He hadn't thought he’d get in, wouldn't have cared if he had. Besides, he knew his mother would be disappointed enough for the both of them. She would ask him how he felt, because she thought that that was important. Knowing how you felt, and talking about how you felt. How do you feel about that, Anthony?
He didn't feel anything.
He took the useless water bottle and opened it, pouring it over his fingers to remove the gray silk death that coated them. Looking down again, he noticed that he could still read the writing on some of the bigger pieces of ash. He caught the word "orchestra" in one. It looked smaller, somehow. Shrunken. But it was still there. He tried to pick it up, but it fell apart as soon as he touched it. Fragile. Interesting. He dribbled some left over water over the ashes on the pavement and watched as they disappeared instantly. Like magic.
He never really liked the colour gray anyway.
He wonders, if he spilled water in his apartment, if it would disappear, too. He can just imagine it folding in on itself. Problem is, he doesn’t know what would be left when it's gone. He doesn't even know what that apartment means to him. Yeah, sure it's close to work. But so are a million other buildings, with even lower rent and better living space than his. And yeah, his super is nice, but he minds his own business and isn't home all that often anyway, so what does it matter? It's just the ashes that are left. But he can't get rid of it. He's used to it. And it's what he has, and in some strange way, he thinks he's learning to like that, if not the apartment itself. It's what he has.
So that's okay.