The Shakes

by Nix
(crimsonquills AT gmail DOT com)

Author's Notes: Not betaed. Not up to my usual quality. (Or so I thought at the time.)

The first time Tony held a gun it was all he could not to shake with nervousness and excitement. He was still at the academy, still learning, not even a rookie yet, but the gun made it all seem so much more real, more than the uniform, even. His aim was shitty when he started, but then, everyone's was. It didn't seem to matter, not with the weight of the weapon in his hand, not when he felt the power of the recoil and the way the metal heated up after he'd fired a few rounds.

After he graduated, when he put on his holster and went out to walk his beat, that gun made Tony feel invincible. He hadn't quite been in the top of his class when it came to marksmanship, but he knew he was good. He'd learned to control that bucking power. It was leashed to his will.

He learned differently the first time he actually had to fire the damn thing out there on the street. Bullets went everywhere; he was lucky he hadn't hit a bystander. He was so scared he pissed himself, although he didn't realize it until later. Tony spent endless hours on the firing range after that, but with ear protectors dulling the sound and a lane all to himself and nothing but a paper target to aim at, he was just as good as ever. His mechanics hadn't been the problem.

His reactions under fire got better, of course. He'd never have made detective if they didn't. The first time he realized how much better, Tony almost wished he hadn't improved. All that blood...there was a difference between seeing a corpse that someone else had made and one that had his bullet in it. He'd managed not to puke, but it had been a close thing.

Then there had been the investigation and the questions and the mandatory time with the shrink. It had been justified, of course. Just jump through the hoops and everything will be fine, his lieutenant said. Standard procedure and all that shit. By the time it was done Tony had wished a thousand times over that he'd never pulled his gun, nevermind actually fired it. He wondered if that was the point of the 'standard procedure.' Make accounting for every bullet a nightmare and the cops would be less inclined to use them.

It actually worked. Tony thought more before he drew on someone. At least, until he learned that seeing someone else's bullet in the body wasn't any easier when that the body was one of your buddies. Maybe if he'd been a little faster...

The gun was just a tool. Like a badge or a warrant or a bluff in the interrogation room, it was just a tool. Even if it had been harder to learn to use properly than the rest.

But when he gets the shakes now, it sure as hell isn't excitement.