Monumental Changes
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Tony knelt down in front of the cold marble. He was silent, reflective, as he ran his fingers over the carved name.

“I miss you.” Tony said. He always got emotional when he came for a visit.

(I miss you, too!)

“Really?” Tony said.

(You’re surprised?)

“Well…yeah!”

(Why?)

Tony shook his head. “You’ve been gone for awhile. Maybe you forgot…” Tony gestured to himself. “…ENORMOUS pain in the ass. I drove you crazy, invaded your privacy, the movie references. Anything ringing a bell here?”

(I remember it all. I still love you.)

Tony was stunned. He couldn’t speak for a moment. “I…WHAT! Kate?”

(I still love you.) She repeated.

Tony really didn’t know what to say this time.

(I kept you at arm’s length, Tony.) Kate explained. (I kept you at arm’s length because I saw the type of person you really are. I got a peek behind the mask and I really liked that guy. I…I liked him too well.)

“Kate??”

(I profiled for a living, remember?)

“You think I’m a good guy?” Tony asked, amused.

(I KNOW you are.) Kate affirmed.

“I knew you had a thing for me.” Tony mused.

(No, you didn’t.)

Tony sighed and shook his head. “You’re right, I didn’t. I guess it was all the comments you made to me.”

(The comments were wrong, Tony. They were mean. I was really mean to you.) Kate confessed. (I know that. I wanted to ward off that charm of yours. I knew I could really fall for you.)

“Really?” Tony said amused again.

(Sure! You’re gorgeous, smart, and sweet.)

“You tell me this now!” Tony replied.

(If I’d have told you then?)

Tony thought for a moment. “I don’t know.” Tony said honestly. “There’s rule 12….”

(What is Rule 12?)

“Co-worker relationships.”

(Oh!) Kate said, understanding.

A huge grin covered Tony’s face. “I…I’m shocked.”

(This is not what you came all the way to Indiana for.)

“Don’t change the subject, Kate.”

(I told you how I felt, feel whatever, Tony. Nothing can change that. There is nothing either of us can do about it. But I…I guess I just wanted you to know.)

“That stuff you said about a brother/sister relationship….”

(I lied to throw you off.)

“It worked.”

(As I had hoped it would.)

“Why?”

(Why the lie, or why didn’t I pursue the relationship with you?)

“I got the lie part. The relationship….”

(Well, I just never pictured being with anyone else in any kind of law enforcement position for one thing. I…My…Our jobs were so dangerous. I didn’t think I could function properly if I was married or dating someone who was in the same type of dangerous job. I didn’t want to have to worry about my significant other in that way.)

“Okay.” Tony nodded. He could definitely understand that.

(Second, it is hard to find people who are so totally, wholly trustworthy in this type of work. You work for and with people for years and find out they have plans or agendas. Oh, you get hints along the way but you either chose to ignore them or just fail to recognize them in the first place. It’s…It’s hard.)

Tony nodded, encouraging her to continue.

(I found you to be so totally trustworthy, it was scary. I never, ever found an agenda with you. I found a really nice, caring guy who just wanted to make me a better agent.)

“You’re gonna make me cry.” Tony replied, wiping away pretend tears.

(OK, smartass…) Kate said, smiling. (…I mean it. I felt like I couldn’t work with you day after day and have that kind of relationship. What if things hadn’t worked out between us? I didn’t want an awkward working relationship.) Kate paused. (Plus, Gibbs would have kicked both our asses.)

Tony smiled and nodded. He agreed 100%.

(You didn’t come to talk to me about this.) Kate repeated.

“No, I didn’t. I came…It’s about….”

(Ziva, right? Ziva David, my replacement.)

“Yeah, that’s her. She is so different from you. She…They didn’t wait anytime. I mean, it didn’t seem like any time before they brought her on board. It was so abrupt. No warning, no heads-up. I’m sitting at my desk one morning and she walks in and asks to speak to Gibbs. I mean.” Tony nodded. “And I know life goes on. The team, the agency was down an agent. The position needed to be filled. Intellectually I knew all that. I know all that. It’s just…It’s just I wanted…. It was like you didn’t matter. You were interchangeable. That anyone could take your place. And she’s not she is nothing like you. You two are polar opposites.”

(Probably a good thing, Tony. If she had been like me, it would have been too painful, too much of a reminder. I’m glad she’s not.)

Tony nodded, understanding her point. “I just don’t like the politics of it all.”

(I know, Tony.) Kate said, understanding.

Tony sighed.

(She’s good for you. Good for the team. She’s a firecracker. I know she’ll keep you on your toes. Her background will be very helpful to you all.”

“How do you know so much?”

(Things are different over here.) Kate explained.

“So, I need to give her a chance. Is that what you’re saying?”

(Yes, it is.)

“I miss you soo, much.” Tony said again.

(I miss you, too.)

“I…If you had lived…?”

(Never happen, Tony.)

Tony opened his mouth to speak.

(Never.) Kate repeated.

Tony nodded. “OK.” He smiled and ran his finger over the letters in her name again. “Happy Birthday, Caitlyn Todd.”

(Thank you, Anthony.)

Tony placed the single red rose he had brought with him on her grave. He stood up slowly and then walked away.

THE END