Tony stood in the hospital doorway wondering if there was any way he could walk away, was there a way to pretend it all wasn't real?
For years he had been dealing with this demon and trying to make it in to an angel. He knew now that was never going to happen.
He should just walk away but unlike the song playing in his head there was everything left to feel. Leroy was not an angel and never would be, but he loved the man too much to walk away.
This was his hell and there was no way to make it easier. Leroy didn't remember them, he only remembered a wife and a child no one knew he had had. There was a war torn marine before him, but that war had ended a decade ago, replaced by new wars.
He watched his Leroy disappear and their Leroy appear and it was killing him.
His Leroy had fallen and it was no laughing matter, but it seemed he was going to have to pretend he never cared at all.
He was watching as their Leroy shaved his head in a horrible attempt to reconcile the Leroy he saw in the mirror and the Leroy that had moved into his mind. He watched as his Leroy fell into the sink to be washed away.
His heart shattered and he turned away before he did something stupid like scream in agony or worse, take out his government issued weapon of its holster on his hip and shoot himself in the head. A hip his Leroy had gripped and left bruises on only hours before they left for this hellish op. Tony knew he would do what he could to keep those bruises there because it would be the only tangible link to his Leroy.
They had decided to move in together after years of never even leaving a shirt at the others place, they where going to start moving Tony's things after the operation was over… to late now.
Tony was aware of where he was only when the sound level changed around him. He had walked outside and was standing in front of a small water fountain on the hospital grounds. He sat down on a bench and dropped his head into his hands. He wanted to cry, to scream, to rant, to change time.
But he couldn't do any of it. He was to numb, to shattered, if he gave in to any of what he wanted to do he would never be able to put himself together again. God he felt like Humpty Dumpty. A manic giggle escaped, and Tony covered his mouth with his hand before another could escape. His chest hurt, it was so tight, it had only hurt that badly once before, when he had gotten the plague.
A million songs ran through his head…he might always mention movies to everyone but he had a song for every situation more than he had a movie ready. He just didn't share that with everyone.
The fates were cruel, because as Tony was sitting on the bench, he saw their Leroy walk towards him, but stop at a table with a man Tony barley knew. He knew it was Mike Franks. Tony, ever the masochist, watched the scene unfold in front of him and knew he had for certain, his Leroy was forever gone.
Why couldn't he leave? Why couldn't he just walk away? Why couldn't he have never cared at all?
Tony did walk away though, he walked away to his car and drove to the Yard. He went through security on autopilot and went to the bullpen the same way. At his desk he pulled out a letter he had written up years ago but could never make himself get rid of it.
Now he knew why…it had been waiting for this very day.
Printing the letter he set it on his desk, turning he picked up his Mighty Mouse stapler, and then he opened his bottom desk drawer and opened the locked box inside.
Biting the inside of his cheeks he pulled the various metal out and set them on the desk next to the letter. Standing, he stopped and picked up one box, then continued out of the bullpen to the elevator.
He took it to the top floor then took the stairs to the roof. He didn't know if he could do this here or not but it seemed as good of a place as any. This was home after all…well as much of a home as he would ever have now.
Walking to a nice secluded section of the roof, Tony sat down and looked at the box in his hand. That was his Leroy. It was the last Medal of Commendation that NCIS had awarded his Leroy. Of course Leroy being Gibbs he hadn't personally gone to receive the award, Tony had. And he had been humbled to receive it in his partner's stead. But of course no one knew that the partner status was anything but work related.
Opening the box Tony let every good memory wash over him, every caress, every touch, kiss, every glide of skin to skin, every laugh, every argument that ended up with them plastered to each other with sweat. Tony finally let every ounce of pain and anguish out. Giving in Tony screamed in the agony he felt. He pulled the gun from its holster and looked at it. He tried not to give in to the manic laughter that was threatening to take him over again.
Tony turned the gun barrel towards him, and looked deep in to the soul of the weapon. He knew someone would think him crazy for thinking that a gun had a soul but he knew it did. Besides he was crazy with grief.
Staring deep in to the black Tony slowly very slowly pulled the trigger back and waited with held breath for the pain to ratchet up and then stop all together.
But instead there was pain in the back of his head and in his gun hand.
Tony was curled on his side cradling his hand and trying to decide what hurt more, his head, his mind, his heart, his chest or his hand. Hearing Ziva's voice near him only made everything hurt a thousand times more.
No one was supposed to find him yet. No one was supposed to know he was gone until he was gone.
"Oh Tony." Ziva knelt next to him and pulled him up and into her arms. "How could we have all missed it?" Ziva stroked the back of Tony's head were she had kicked it before wrenching his weapon from him hand.
"I can't Ziva, you have to let me…I can't."
"It's alright yedid sheli. We are here to help you. Please don't leave us too."
At that Tony began to sob and Ziva knew she had made everything worse. Well not worse but not better.
Movement to her left caught her attention and she turned slowly to see who was there. Standing on the roof was the source of Tony's pain. Battered and bruised, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, stood looking as lost as ever, maybe more so since he had woken up broken. Ziva had tried to get him to remember her for her own reasons but now she wished even more than he knew who they were.
Tony was lost in his world fill with grief he didn't notice the position change as Ziva adjusted to see Gibbs better.
Ziva watched Gibbs move in front of her and saw the slight recognition of Tony. But it was not nearly what it should have been considering the anguish Tony felt at being forgotten.
Ziva watched Gibbs reach out and brush a lock of hair from Tony's face. This only made Tony sob harder in her arms. Not being the emotional member of the group Ziva wasn't sure how to comfort either person. She was glad she was the first one to find Tony's letter but now she wished she had been the only one to find it.
Why hadn't she shoved it in the desk drawer, thrown it away, anything to protect Tony from this torment?
Jethro sat down on the roof with Ziva and Tony. Things weren't adding up in his head. Worse than he could figure out…there where memories that weren't his but yet they were. There was a memory of telling Tony he had to live with a strange blue light surrounding them. There was a memory of Tony limping out of the elevator, so many memories with Tony. Almost all of them were related to work…almost.
The one that had him all but begging Franks to drive him to the yard to find the blond in his mind, was the reason he was on the roof with the sobbing man in the arms of the Israeli agent who had already demand in tears that he remember them, remember her.
That memory was one were Tony was beneath him with a look of sheer ecstasy that could only come from one act. This memory continued as he leaned in and kissed Tony and Tony kissed him back.
Tony couldn't look, it was still their Leroy. His was still back in that freighter, dead. Tony had to think of his Leroy as dead. He had to grieve or he would be dead to. That was why he had go on to the roof after all.
"Tony, please. I don't know what it is that I don't know."
Ziva felt Tony curl farther into her. She was almost wishing she had been a second to late. He was so much more broken than Gibbs. Finding her voice Ziva spoke for Tony, "I do not think he can withstand your not knowing what you do not know." She tipped her head toward the pistol to her right. The slide was disengaged and the safety now on, but the intent was there for anyone to understand, even someone as out of place and time as Gibbs was at the moment.
Jethro picked up the weapon and slid the slide forward and released the clip. Checking the clip out of habit he found it to be full. He flipped it behind him, satisfied with the amount of time it scrapped across the roof. Then he checked the chamber and once satisfied there wasn't a round left he put it back were he had picked it up from.
He wished he had his memories so he knew how to deal with the man before him. Was this a new thing, a one time thing, and long time thing? Tony had only come in once since he woke up and he had called him Boss. What didn't he know about his own life? His heart? Did he love this man? Did he despise him for what had passed between them?
What didn't he know?
She didn't know what he was asking her. Did he want her to leave, fill in the blanks that were just as blank for her as they were for him.
She shrugged and held Tony's silent form.
"Give us a minute Ziver."
Ziva's heart skipped a beat at the nickname Gibbs had used for her, maybe he remembered more than he thought he remembered.
Stroking Tony's hair again she leaned down and kissed his brow, "I will be just inside the door if you need me, yedid sheli." Ziva slipped out from under Tony, who only curled in on himself more.
Walking away was the hardest thing she had ever done in her life, more so that leaving Israel, which the more she was in America the more she thought she would never see her homeland the same again.
Tony pulled himself up and picked up the box sitting next to him. Neither Leroy or Ziva had noticed it. He opened the box and looked at for a moment. The emotions tied to it were to much. He closed the box with a snap and threw it to the roof top. He got up but shoved Leroy away when he stepped towards him.
"Don't. I can't Boss…" Tony's voice cracked. If they weren't going to let him end it then he had to keep his sanity, so he was going to think of hid Leroy as only dead. Gibbs had to go back to being Boss or Gibbs.
Jethro stood and watched the man he didn't know struggle with everything. He wanted to comfort him but he didn't know how. The Israeli had pointed out the gun, and from the way the man was holding his hand, Jethro was sure she had taken it from him by force.
"When?" Jethro asked.
"Forever. Never." Tony answered.
"I'm trying to make sense of what's up here." Jethro offered.
"I'm not up there, they are."
"You are here, it's I just don't know how much is suppose to be there." As the words tumbled out the man's shoulders slumped more.
Jethro cursed and debated whether to reach for the man or not. When he watched him step closer to the edge he walked silently towards him. As the blond leaned forward, Jethro grabbed his arm and pulled him into his arms. "Don't."
"WHY DO YOU CARE?!"
"BECAUSE I DO!"
"Why?" Tony whispered.
Jethro whispered back, "I don't know."
Tony couldn't stay on this roller coaster. He shoved away from Leroy and sprinted the few steps to the roof top edge, but even battered and old Leroy beat him to it and pulled him back again from the precipice. This time however Leroy pulled him down to the rooftop. "Am I so important to you that you can't live with out me?"
"YES!" Tony screamed at the face that wasn't the man that he loved. "God yes. You and this job are my life. I can't do this job with out you here." Tony sobbed.
Jethro looked down at the man beneath him, looking so much like the man in that memory but looking nothing like him at the same time. "What can I do?"
"Remember me and not them." Tony said the words and had no regrets.
Jethro swallowed hard. Could he forget his girls for this man? This man he didn't know. They told him his girls were gone, almost a decade gone. How long had he been with this man? Dearing to ask the question again that had driven Tony to the root edge Jethro asked again, "When?"
Tony turned away from Leroy; he couldn't look at him and tell him about their life. "Five years. Just after I started."
"Forever," Jethro answered.
Tony didn't respond. Jethro looked at him again and tried to will something to come back to him. Their first kiss, the first time the made love. Anything.
"Besides Ziva, who knows?"
"No one. She didn't know until she came up here."
Tony wanted to die with each second. Why could his plague spontaneously regenerate and take him. What was making everything worse was to keep Tony still Leroy had him pinned to the rooftop by sitting on him, a position entirely to familiar.
"If you're going to leave me and take everything good in my life, just let me go," Tony pleaded. In a moment of pure insanity Tony sang the chorus to the song that had popped into his head the second he saw their Leroy.
"Just walk away make it easy on yourself
Just walk away please release me from this hell
Just walk away there's just nothing left to feel
Just walk away pretend that none of this is real."
Jethro hurt as Tony sang the lyrics to a song he didn't know, but he could hear the torment in the man's voice. He wanted to take it away but he just didn't know how.
"It's called Walk Away. The band's name is Five Finger Death Punch. Very appropriate right now, don't cha think?"
Jethro knew what the man wanted him to do but he couldn't and that was killing him as much as it appeared to be killing Tony.
"I want to remember you, us. I want to know what day it is, but its not there. But I don't think it will ever come back if you do this." Jethro gestured to the edge.
"Leroy I cant's stay here. I can't do this, live this life without you."
"What if there is a better life out there, than with a broken Marine who can't remember…"
Tony did the one thing that he could think of he pulled their Leroy down to him and kissed him. When their Leroy didn't change to his Leroy he shoved the man off and ran to the opposite side of the roof.
The fates hated him because three steps from the other edge Ziva stood arms open. When he pivoted to move past her block she pivoted as well and took him down. But as soon as she was down she was up dragging Tony with her. She pulled him from the rooftop to the stairwell and before he could think to jump the railing she had him over her shoulder and down the flight and into one of the empty rooms.
"This must stop Tony. You are not this man. You are stronger than this. If Gibbs had died you would be grieving but you would be strong."
"I'm tired Ziva, I'm tired of being strong."
Ziva dragged Tony from the room to the elevator, and punched the button for Abby's lab. Once there she went directly to Abby's futon. Pulling out Ziva pushed Tony down on to the mattress, once there she pulled the blanket over him and then lay next to him. "Sleep, there is no need to be strong now." Softly Ziva began to hum a lullaby her mother had sung to her and her siblings.
With in minutes, exhaustion took over and Tony was asleep and Ziva watched over him.
When Abby came rushing in Ziva motioned for her silence. Abby turned her head to the side and tried to process what she was seeing. She stepped forward and knelt next to her friends. She wanted to sign, to ask what was going on, but Ziva couldn't read sign. Instead she shrugged and pointed at Tony. Ziva shook her head and kept stroking his hair.
Another sound drew her attention to the doorway and again saw Gibbs standing there looking awful.
Abby heard him and turned. Stifling a squeal she bolted towards the man who was more father than co-worker.
He paused at the rib-crushing hug but returned it with a pat on the shoulder.
Signing to Abby, Jethro asked how long Ziva and Tony had been in her lab? Abby answered that she didn't know and she didn't know why they where even there. When she asked if Gibbs knew she didn't get an answer back.
Jethro didn't know if the group not knowing about he and Tony was something Tony had wanted, that they had wanted or if it was a work mandate. He couldn't tell her without knowing why she didn't know.
Tony began shifting in his sleep, mumbling, whimpering. Ziva tried to calm him, she began humming again, but that seemed to only add to Tony's agitation.
Jethro walked over to Tony and ran a soothing hand over Tony's back. That stilled the sleeping man but only for a moment. Then the shifting turned to thrashing, and the thrashing turned into Tony sitting up straight, screaming. Jethro had a flash of this happening before. He pulled Tony into his arms and hugged him.
"I'm here. I'm here."
"No your not. You're not mine. You're theirs." Tony's voice broke.
Leaning back, Jethro looked at Tony and asked, "Can't I be both?"
Looking deep into Leroy's eyes, tony let one tear slid down his cheek, "No, you don't remember me."
"I want to, can you give me time?" Jethro asked.
Pushing up and away from the man who wasn't his anymore, he said, "No I have to, I have to just walk away."