- Text Size +
Story Notes:
Written for day 10 of tibbs-yuletide.
Author's Chapter Notes:
It started with a dream, only Tony doesn’t think it was just a dream. Now he has strange books appearing on his bed, he’s seeing a dead woman, and everyone seems to be wearing costumes.
Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo panted heavily, arms straining against his opponent, back pressed to the cold hard floor. Gunshots echoed distantly from other parts of the warehouse, getting closer and closer to their current location. While Tony was hoping that his team hurried up, he was too busy trying not to get knifed in the throat to really think about it.

Any other day and Tony would be able to hold his own. However, Tony’s been awake for almost three days straight, running purely on coffee and sole determination, and this guy makes the Hulk look like a teddy bear, all teeth and rippling muscle. His partner had run off to who knows where when the gunfire started up, which is when big, tan, and ripped made his move.

Tony wildly kicked out at his opponent, his teeth bared. The other man only grinned, showing stained teeth. –What’s wrong, little copper?” he chuckled, still fighting to force the knife into Tony’s throat.

–Ever…heard…of a breath mint?” Tony replied, breathing heavily as he fought for his life. He bucked his body, trying to throw the other man off, but it didn’t work.

The gunshots were growing ever closer to their position, and still no sign from the rest of his team.

Tony’s eyes flickered around, quickly processing the situation as he tried to think of a plan, trying not to think about how close he was to dying.

His gun was out of reach, his spare knife was in his beltâ€"which would be nice if he didn’t need to use both hands at the moment and if the other guy wasn’t directly in his way, and his legs were freeâ€"but he was pinned down at the waist by Big, Bad, and Bulky. Who had his face positioned right in front of his.

Well, that might just work. Tony grinned fiercely, took a deep breath, and spat in the other man’s face.

–Fuck!” he yelled, pulling his head back sharply and overbalancing in the process. Tony took advantage of the moment and bucked up sharply, forcing him off as he grabbed the man’s arm in both hands and pulled in the opposite direction that the man was moving. There was a sharp crack, and the thug screamed in pain, the knife falling out of his limp fingers.

Tony quickly got up on his feet, grabbing the knife as he did so, and looked around quickly. The thug was whimpering on the floor, but his gun was nowhere in sight. Where was his gun?

He’d been attacked near those boxes to his right, and he’d dropped the gun in the struggle, so it should be over there somewhere, but it wasn’t. Tony dropped into a crouch, still looking around. There was a chance someone else had grabbed it and was still in the area.

Whimpering thug was still whimperingâ€"they apparently didn’t build them as tough as they used to.

Tony carefully moved back to the thug, patting him down for a gun. He had a small caliber weapon concealed in his clothing, as well as a small knife in his boot. Tony hit the man over the head with his gun, knocking him out, and began to move towards the sound of approaching weaponry, only to fall to the ground as sudden pain ripped through his shoulder.

He clutched his shoulder, feeling blood seeping through his clothing, cursing at the fact that whoever shot him had had armor-piercing bullets. He scrabbled with his free hand to grab the knife he’d dropped when he fell. His hand curled around the hilt of the knife before three more shots rang out.

–Sorry, Tony, but it’s time.”


Everything went dark.


Tony rolled over with a groan, flinging his arm out across the bed, only to jerk up in surprise, his eyes wide. He clutched his head, almost able to feel the sharp pain of a bullet to the brain.

He staggered out of bed to the bathroom and turned on the light, blinking blearily and squinting through the sudden harsh brightness that assaulted his eyes. He groaned, opening his medicine cabinet and taking out some Advil, gulping them down with a swallow of water from the sink.

‘What did I drink last night?’ Tony asked himself in confusion. His head felt like it was full of cotton and the last thing he really remembered was the fight in the warehouse, but that was a dream. It didn’t feel like a dream, but it had to have been.

He turned on his shower, and closed his eyes with a sigh as the steam from the hot water began to fill the room. Stripping off his boxers, he climbed into the shower and leaned his head back as water began to run down his face.

It wasn’t until after his hair was clean and he’d begun to lather up with soap that he realized that there was a bright pink scar on his shoulder, in the same exact place where he had been shot in his dream. Examining his body, he found one more scar on his chest.

When he exited the shower and wiped the steam off the mirror, he noticed something that in his exhaustion he hadn’t noticed earlier. There was a scar on his neck, and another one on his head, in the same place where his headache was coming from. He frowned, and gently poked the scar on his neck.

‘What the…hell?’

Drying off, he padded back into his room and made a quick note of the time, before digging out the old cover-up that he used to cover hickies in his wilder days. He still wasn’t the most professional of agents, but he knew better than to go into work with love bites visible.

At least the boss-man knew better than to try to mark him in such obvious locations.

It wasn’t until he walked back into his room from covering up the strangely appearing scars on his neck and head that he noticed the black book sitting on his pillow. Cautiously walking over, he picked it up. There was nothing on the cover of the book that said what it was, so he opened it up to the first page, and pulled out a yellow post-it note.

Tony -

Meet me in Gibbs’ office. Bring the book.

There was no sign of who it was from, and the book’s pages were all blank. Maybe Abby was pulling something over on him? He wouldn’t put it past her.

He eyed the book before shrugging and tossing it back on his bed before digging out his clothes for the day. Before he left for work, he found himself looking at the book again before picking it up and taking it with him.

He’d play along, for now.


Tony hit the stop button on the elevator shortly after the doors closed behind him, and he looked around. There had been no one waiting for him, either on the first floor or in the bull pen, and no one had seemed interested in getting into the elevator with him.

It seemed like today was costume day and he hadn’t gotten the memo, though. He’d seen one of the guys manning the first floor in a kilt, and another had been wearing a toga. Also, he wasn’t sure, but it had looked like Vance was wearing a pirate hat of all things, although he managed to pull it off fairly well.

He leaned against the wall of the elevator and flipped through the blank pages of the book in his hand, not noticing when someone coughed to try to get his attention.

–â€"ny! Tony!”

Tony jerked and looked up in surprise, only to freeze.

Kate waved at him cheerfully.

His jaw worked, but no sound came out as he stared at her, his eyes wide.

–You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” she smiled, before frowning. –Tony, don’t you dare pass out on me.”

Tony tried not to laugh hysterically. –I’m fine, I’m just hallucinating again, why am I hallucinating again?”

Kate stepped forward and slapped him. Tony’s hand jerked up to his cheek, where he could feel the sting of her touch. –You’re not hallucinating, Tony. Look at the book in your hand.”

Tony raised the book up to eye level, so he could look at it without taking his eyes completely off of Kate, and glanced over at it, before doing a double take and paling rapidly.

–Please tell me I’m dreaming. I am not living It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Kate shrugged. –Sorry, Tony. This is really happening.”


Tony walked out of the elevator, his hands shaking, holding the book in a tight grip. He walked over to his desk and collapsed in the chair behind it, trying to ignore Kate as she followed behind him.

Kate picked up a santa hat from his desk and dropped it on his head.

–So, what’s this about you dating Gibbs?” she asked.

He waved a hand in the air; his head leaned back against his chair’s headrest, eyes closed.

–You’re dead.”

–So are you,” she countered.

Both were quiet as Gibbs walked past, throwing Tony a quick concerned glance before stopping.

–Hey, Tony, you okay?”

Tony opened his eyes and forced a cheerful-looking smile. –Yeah, Boss, never better. We still on for tonight?”

–We are,” he confirmed. –Are you sure? That was a pretty close call yesterday. You were lucky.”

Tony’s laugh sounded fake. –Don’t worry about it, I’m fine, nothing a few Advil won’t cure.”

Gibbs stared at him before nodding curtly. –Get Ducky if it gets too bad,” he said, before walking off.

Tony and Kate both stared at him as he left. Tony glanced over at Kate.

–Was it just me, or was he dressed as a Western sheriff?”

Kate raised an eyebrow. –Have you looked at yourself in the mirror?”

Tony looked at her suspiciously. –No, why? And why am I talking to you?”

–Go look in the mirror, Tony.” She looked at him firmly. –Go.”


Tony stood in the men’s room, staring at himself in shock. When he looked down at himself he was wearing the suit he had put on that morning. But when he looked at himself in the mirror…

Kate looked over his shoulder. –So, soldier, believe me now?”

Tony looked away from himself dressed in an American uniform circa World War One, only to look at Kate’s reflection in the mirror. He raised an eyebrow, before slowly starting to smile.

–Don’t even. I am not against strangling you with my habit,” she said.

–It’s too bad I missed the schoolgirl years,” he mused.



Tony walked back into the elevator with the book, Kate following him, and hit the stop button.

–I’m dead?”

–You’re dead.”

–What happens now?”

Kate shrugged. –Whatever you want. It’s all in the book, but start from the index. You’d never be able to read through it all.”

Tony opened the book, not surprised to see that the formerly blank pages were now covered with text.

–If I’m dead, why did Gibbs see me? Why did he think I was still alive? Why is everyone wearing costumes?”

Kate sighed. –It’s not just costumes; by now you’ll probably be able to notice the other changes.”

–Other changes?”

–There’s horse drawn carriages, old cars, recent cars, cars you’ve never seen before. There’s people on their feet and people walking and people hovering in the air. There are buildings you would recognize from old photos, and others you wouldn’t. The street is paved, or cobblestone, or not even there.”

Tony only looked at her, confused.

–Before I died, I was a nun. Before you died, you were an American soldier. Before Gibbs died, he was a sheriff. We’re all dead, Tony, it’s just your time to remember and continue on. Have you started getting memories back?”

He nodded, silent. –My name was Antonio Dinalli.”

Kate nodded. –Catherine Dodd.”

–What do we do?”

–We kill you.”


Tony rubbed the back of his head nervously. –I don’t like this.”

–Neither do I, but the longer you wait, the harder it gets. Are you ready?”

Tony nodded, before walking into Gibbs’ house, a gift-wrapped present held in one arm. –Hello?”

–Tony! I’m in the kitchen!”

Tony grinned, and walked into the kitchen, giving Gibbs a kiss as he did so. –Mind if I put this under the tree?”

Gibbs nodded, before pulling him into another kiss. –Dinner’s almost ready.”

Tony smiled, and left the room with his present, putting it under the tree.

–Sharon and Kitty are waiting down the street,” Kate informed him as she entered. –Mick’s about ready to place the call.”

Tony braced himself. He couldn’t believe he was about to do this, die permanently to those who knew him, his lover especially, and on Christmas Day of all times.

The phone rang.

–I’ve got it,” Tony called over to Gibbs as he went to pick up the phone.

–Gibbs residence.”

–Dinalli, tell probie that one of his neighbors needs some help with her groceries, and then head down the street before crossing the road.”

–Not a problem,” he said, before hanging up the phone.

–One of your neighbors needs help with some groceries, so I’m heading over. I’ll be right back,” he said as he walked back into the kitchen, pulling Gibbs into a deep kiss.

–Hurry it up,” Gibbs said as Tony released him. Tony grinned and waved as he left.

–Love you!”

If he was close enough, Gibbs would have slapped him over the head. Tony knew how he felt, he didn’t need to verbalize it.

Tony let the door shut behind him, taking a deep breath to fortify himself before walking down the sidewalk. When he was about three houses down, he started to walk across the street. He could hear the car driving down the street, speeding up as it approached, and then it was hitting him and he was being flung over the car and off the road.

Tires screeched as it quickly pulled to a stop, and a pair of hands helped him up and into the car before pulling away, leaving his earthly body abandoned on the street.

He forced himself to sit up, glancing over at the young girl sitting next to him and the red-haired woman driving the car. –I can’t believe I just did that.”

Sharon looked at him in the rearview mirror and smiled sadly. –I felt the same way.”

The girl leaned against him. –He’ll be along soon.”


Gibbs ran out at the sound of screeching tires, only to stare in horror when he saw Tony’s body on the ground, a car in the distance quickly speeding out of sight.

–Tony? Tony!”

You may be wondering about what has happened, why everything is changing. You are not sick, crazy, or dreaming. You have finally woken up. Your last dream was not a dream. That was your act of awakening, your death of who you believed yourself to be. You died long ago, and you lived a new life making up for your wrongs in a controlled environment. All that remains is to remove yourself from the rest of the dreamers by abandoning your persona. Welcome, to life after death. - Introductory paragraph to The Death Manual
Chapter End Notes:
Written for day 10 of tibbs-yuletide.
You must login (register) to review.