Title: the smile when you tore me apartAuthor: perfumedgracesFandom: NCIS.Pairing: Tony/Jeanne, in a kind of messed up way.Rating: pg.Spoilers: from 4x03 "Singled Out" to 5x02 "Family" and 5x14 "Internal Affairs"Word Count:Prompt: Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command. & this image && "Angels" by Within TemptationSummary: tony wishes life lessons weren't so damn painful.A/N: second time for a tony!fic. I haven't seen all episodes with the tony/jeanne storyline, so forgive me in the manner of "first timers". I'm nervous about this, but I hope you like it! :D.
you took my heartHis stomach has dropped straight to his knees and he hasn't even started climbing yet."if you beat me to the top, you get to tell me you love me."Her words have a teasing edge, a small smile pooling in the creases of her smile. When she says it, he wonders if she thinks it's romantic or cliched or even that slightly gag inducing favorite word of so many women, adorable. He wants to tell her what it really means, wants to tell her that it means so many levels of so many things, and that is couldn't possibly be more complicated. He wants her to know that when the words are spoken, it becomes real. It has life breathed into it and can't be controlled anymore. When it's spoken out loud, it means diving in with no oxygen tank and trusting not to drown. He has always felt that when those three tiny words are spoken, they should be said with every positive intention in the world, every inch of resolution and dedication. Instead, he gulps down the dry lump lingering in the back of his throat and tries to infuse his words with as much wit as he can muster, hoping to mask his unsure footing. When he smiles back, he feels transparent and thin. (he was never particularly fond of facades. he wondered how she hasn't seen straight through him yet, like recognizing a masked dance partner at a formal ball.)(he was never fond of masquerade balls, either)"And if I don't beat you?""you still get to tell me you love me."He crosses a pair of metaphorical fingers in his mind and yet her response still sends his stomach flipping. He should've crossed his toes too, he ponders, as she begins to ascend the wall.He never meant to make it to the top of the climbing wall first, but he did and now they're here, and she's waiting for him to say it, say it like it's nothing but means everything. All he can hear are the words of his mother, running back and forth through his mind like water crashing up against the shoreline. Repeatedly crashing against the inside of his ears, slowly wearing down what's left of his surity. Never pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, Tony. For love is not ours to command.Suddenly, there's something that clicks and everything around him flashes back to kindergarten. Kindergarten, storytime and Hansel and Gretel. It's like a clue, like a crumb, like an arrow pointing the way.He's hanging in the air with knuckles white against the wall and when he pushes off and down, his feet hit the ground and it hits him like a bus, like an ice bath, like a slap to the back of the head. He's afraid of falling.It was almost ironic enough to make him laugh. Life hasn't gently prodded him, it has shaken him by the shoulders and screamed "WAKE UP !" like his mother when he's overslept. But this time, there's no bus to catch, there's no homework to find or breakfast to eat.There's just him and karma, or the universe or God telling him that he's at a dead end. Telling him that he missed the turn on the left.This time, it really does make him laugh.********deceived me right from the start.When he gets it, it's ironic and a dawning realization that life has picked the perfect place to start teaching him how to grow up. He feels like he's living an old cliche that refuses to die; like the dirty window analogy, his paradigm has changed. In between strings of relationships that were never meant to mean anything and a job that was supposed to mean everything, he discovered something. Something that could mean something if he let it. Or nothing at all.His knuckles are white against the steering wheel on the silent drive home when he wonders why he ever took this assignment.Perhaps the old saying was right. Hindsight was a bitch.*******You broke the promise and made me realise.Her words bite into him like the mangy mutt that dug it's teeth into his arm back in third grade. "i've said it now, tony and you never have."He can't meet her eyes, can't stare into the desperation, frustration and exhaustion pooling in the creases and curves. The shadows playing along the floor are suddenly laughing at him, taunting and mocking and daring her to just tell her he's DiNozzo not DiNardo.Tell her you're just trying to get to her father! Tell her it's all about the job. About the assignment. Tell her it's not about her the carpet laughs at him. But it's not true. It's not just about the job anymore.(He wonders idly when he's started responding to talking carpet.)"and please, don't insult either one of us by saying it now."His eyes are on his hands and he still can't look up to see everything in her dripping on the floor without a single tear."Even if I mean it?"She standing there and she looks so sick of trying, so sick of asking, so sick of doing the work and getting only hesitation in return. He knows that it's all because of him, he hates himself for it and he wishes that life's little signs that say "go this way!" weren't so painful to discover."i dont think you know if you mean it. i love you. now you need to figure out if you feel the same way".When he looks up and meets her eyes, her tears are not what hurt him most. The distance between them is filled with lies, is based on a lie, and he can't help but wonder why it's taken him so long to learn that lying is not the way to go.***************it was all just a lie.She asks him to chose in letters so short and meaning so long, that all he can see when he stares at her note is her face. Her face full of confusion, her face so full of pain.He hates that he let himself fall, he let himself belief that she would catch him. He hates that he took the jump, took a chance and didn't himself, but hurt her.He hates all the realizations that he's made. He hates that he's had to hurt someone, had to hurt her to learn a concept he should have mastered in kindergarten.He never remembered life lessons hurting this much before.FINI.