- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Character Bashing
- No Beta
- Permanent Injury
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Alternate Universe
Chapter Two: Saying Goodbye
The next morning, Tony stood in the doorway to his kitchen watching his son eat breakfast under the watchful eye of his live-in nanny Isla Collins. Isla came from a long line of nannies and servants who had served the Paddington family for generations. About five years prior, Tony had a weekend fling with a gorgeous blonde from the State Department. After a long wild two and a half days spent mostly in bed, they exchanged contact numbers for work purposes and went their separate ways never expecting to see each other again.
Then three months later, Amber called him advising that she was pregnant and thought it was his. She had no interest in having a child, but wanted to give him a voice in the situation. She advised him that if he wanted the child then she’d carry it, and after birth sign away her rights. Tony took a long weekend, and after conversations with John McGarrett, his father figure who lived in Hawaii, and his Uncle George and Cousin Edward, he decided to take the child, should paternity tests show it was his.
The test came out as Amber expected and a little over 6 months later Tony found himself a single father to a beautiful blond haired blue eyed baby boy that he named Tristian Jordan DiNozzo. Shortly after that, Amber got a new assignment that took her outside of the country. Unfortunately six months into her assignment there was a terrorist attack and she was killed.
When the Paddington family found out that Tony was indeed going to be a single father, they insisted that he use one of the family nannies. This led to Isla entering his and TJ’s lives. At 34, Isla was gorgeous, bright, and everything that Tony would normally look for in a woman. His Uncle and Cousins Edward and Ashcroft made sure that the young lady was not your normal nanny. Having strong ties to SIS, with Uncle George being a former head of MI5 and Edward and Ashcroft both current employees of the MI6 division, the three men decided she would receive enough training to ensure her charge would survive any situation. Isla was just ending her service with the British Army and was unsure where she was going to go from there, when George approached her about the position. After accepting the spot, she was put through training with several Edward’s cohorts at MI6 to ensure that his American Cousin’s child would always be as safe as possible.
Thus, when the young woman stepped foot on American soil, she was probably the most highly trained nanny of a child outside of a political leader’s family, maybe ever. Had she been anyone other than her son’s nanny, Tony could easily picture himself falling for her. However, she was too important to his son, whom he loved more than any other soul on the planet, and thus he didn’t find himself even slightly attracted to her.
He knew that most of the people at NCIS wouldn’t believe that someone with Tony’s reputation hadn’t already had a fling with his very attractive nanny, but he hadn’t and didn’t want to. It was like imagining himself having a fling with Aunt Olivia, whom was one of his favorite women ever. At 72 she still had a wit and an air about her that you just knew a true lady was in your presence anytime she was near you. The thought of having sex with her though was incredibly nauseating. The same as it was Isla. She was his son’s caregiver. There was nothing even remotely sexual about it.
The two had formed a friendship of sorts, although Tony struggled with it. He felt in his heart that there should be a line where his friendly affection for Isla couldn’t go beyond, but was damned if he knew where it was. Since there weren’t any other single father’s in his family, he didn’t really have anyone to talk to about the situation, and with the Paddington’s all the way across the ocean, he didn’t generally confide such personal annoyances and uncertainties to them. Every once and a while Edward or his Aunt Olivia would call him and find out what was going on in his life and remind him that they gave a shit and even considerably more than that. Mostly though there was a weird gap between them caused by Tony’s childhood that, while he knew they cared for him, he just couldn’t or didn’t know how to get over.
“Papa, come eat wif me!”
Pulling himself out of his musings, Tony smiled at his son, and headed into the kitchen to give him a kiss on the top of his head before making himself some breakfast. Once he reached the table with his coffee, bowl of granola, bacon left from what Isla had made TJ, and a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and more cinnamon on top, he took a big bite as he looked at his son’s nanny. Once his mouth was empty he smirked at her before speaking.
“How would you like to be a hula nanny? We’ll get you a grass skirt and… ok maybe that’s not the best example.” Tony said frowning at how much he didn’t want to see her in a coconut bra.
Isla for her part just snorted at him as she finished her own breakfast and gently prodded TJ along. “You wanna try that again, Boss?”
Tony snorted happily at the title and smiled around the bagel he was biting into. As he chewed he made a face at TJ, making the little boy laugh with his spoonful of captain crunch dangling in the air. His bowl of fruit was already empty, and his peanut butter and strawberry jelly toast was waiting on him to get done with his small bowl of cereal. It always cracked Tony up watching his little boy eat. He was very methodical at it eating all of one thing before moving onto the next.
The “Boss” thing also amused him and perfectly reflected the woman’s wit. She’d picked it up quickly after hearing him talk about Gibbs, and liked to use it when she was being smart with him. Tony took it in stride and was just glad that she never called him Mr. DiNozzo like all of his Uncle’s servants did. It was actually one of the first things Tony had covered with Isla. He didn’t much care what she called him as long as there were no Misters or formal titles involved.
So, usually it was Tony with occasionally an AJ if she was tired and had come in from a late night with the friends she had made in DC. Sometimes Special Agent DiNozzo if they were out in public. Never Mr. DiNozzo or God forbid Junior. Fortunately, Senior didn’t even know TJ existed, and if Tony had his way he never would. Just to be safe though that was added to the list of do not ever’s and she’d not once let the word cross her lips.
“How did the talk with Director Vance go last night?” She prompted and Tony shook his head to come back to the present again. He thought maybe the lack of sleep from a combination of the excitement and a lack of sleep combined with not enough coffee yet was messing with his head.
“I have been offered the lead position at the Pearl Harbor office starting in January,” Tony replied grinning as his genuine happiness came through.
“AND… what’s even better is that they need a Forensic Analyst in the same office. So, Vance said that he’d offer the spot to Abs. So, I might get to take her with me!”
“Tony, that’s awesome!” Isla gushed happily and TJ nodded big.
“Is good, Papa!” The little boy offered before his nose scrunched up frowning. “Where dis Perl place?”
Tony smiled turning his attention fully to his son. “It’s on a series of islands in the Pacific called Hawaii. It’s where Nonno John lives.”
“Oh!” TJ exclaimed picking up his toast after pushing away his bowl. “I get meet Nonno John? Dat would be nis. Can do dat pes.”
Tony chuckled affectionately before ruffling his son’s hair making him squawk with displeasure. “No touch da hair Papa!”
Isla snorted at them and Tony turned his gaze toward them. “I’m down for a change of scenery. What are we doing between now and then?”
Tony shrugged before getting up to get more coffee. After returning he rested his elbows on the table to study her while it cooled a little. “I thought we’d go to England for a bit. Probably go somewhere else for a bit. You are welcome to visit your parents when we’re in England.”
“That sounds wonderful. I vote we do that. I’m glad things are going to work out. I know you’ve been worried about something. I assume it was work.”
Tony nodded as he shrugged one shoulder. “I think this will work for the better. I am sure that we’ll have guests sometime this evening. So, you may wanna take squirt here somewhere. I’ll call you when they leave.”
Isla nodded and started discussing options with TJ, who was always up for an adventure. Tony just sat back and listened as he plotted out in his head all the things he needed to get done.
Around mid-day, Tony found himself alone in the apartment. Isla had met up with one of her fellow nannies at the park after breakfast and TJ got invited to a sleepover with her friend’s charge solving Tony’s worry about who might show up that day. He hoped Abby and Jimmy would come by. He’d accept Ducky if he insisted. He’d handle McGee if he pushed it. He wasn’t in the mood for Gibbs just yet but was pretty sure he’d be able to do that on his own time. Ziva just better stay the hell away. If she came anywhere near his house, which she didn’t have the address for from him, he’d happily have her arrested for trespassing.
This left him home alone with nothing but his thoughts to entertain him. Oh sure, he had like a million different movies he could watch and a good sized collection of books to read, but none of that interested him. Instead, he found himself sitting in a chair in his backyard under a beautiful tree that looked like it had been there since the beginning of time. He had Pandora playing on his phone tuned to the Frank Sinatra station with his earbuds in to tune out the everyday sounds of his neighbors as they went about their business.
This whole thing with Ziva had really thrown him. A voice in his head that sounded way too much like Senior was telling him what a fucking pussy he was. “Who cares about a few secrets. A pretty thing like that belongs in your bed. Of course, if you were a real man you’d be banging that girl who watches the kid. You’re nothing but a waste, Junior. I always told you that you’d amount to nothing, and I was right.”
Shaking his head with a growl, Tony forced his mind to forget Ziva. He didn’t have one ounce of guilt for making sure Vance was going to keep an eagle eye on the bitch. He had no doubt at all that she was still sending information to Israel. He wouldn’t put the whole Somalia fiasco to be some elaborate plot of Eli David’s to get her back into NCIS. If someone didn’t do something then someone was going to end up dead because of her. Either directly by her hand, or indirectly because of something she did and wasn’t supposed to or didn’t do and should have.
Was he being too harsh on McGee? Should he give him the benefit of the doubt? Tony knew that there was no way Tim had the stones to stand up to Ziva but was that really a valid excuse? No, not in Tony’s book. And, maybe more importantly, not in Abby’s book either unless she had changed her tune since the last time they talked about it. Certainly, she was more emotionally involved with Tim than he was despite the fact that their brief love affair was long since over. Maybe he’d been harsh in writing him off, but he just didn’t trust him. The Junior Agent hadn’t shown anything that proved he would have Tony’s back in the face of adversity. That just wasn’t a character trait that Tony was willing to have on his team.
Ducky was what Ducky was. A part of him would miss the older man, but frankly speaking, he’d long since accepted where the ME’s loyalties laid. And, it wasn’t with Tony or anyone who wasn’t Gibbs. So while he had feelings of affection for the man, he wasn’t going to beat himself up for not going out of his way to… well, to do anything.
Gibbs was the reason why Tony was sitting alone in his backyard. Gibbs’ support of Ziva was what had broken him. He was so tired. He was tired of being let down every fucking time that he thought he’d finally found the right place. He was tired of feeling like he was alone on an island filled with people who couldn’t see or hear him. He knew he had the Paddington’s behind him. He knew he had John. He knew he had his son and Abby and Jimmy.
But he still felt like he was alone.
He longed for someone he could tell all of his secrets to without fear of being taunted or ignore. He wanted someone who was there only because they wanted to be there and chose him over every other option they had. He wanted to be able to trust someone and not feel like it was only a matter of time before they turned on him or broke that trust. He wanted someone who would help him find all the broken and scattered pieces of himself and gently glue them back together. He wanted someone who was his before they were anyone else’s, but he honestly didn’t believe that would ever happen. Mostly, because he just didn’t have even a tiny shard of faith left.
Resting his head on the back of his chair, he wiped away the tears on his cheeks frustrated. He hated this new him. Maybe the voice of senior in his head was right. Maybe he was weak. Maybe he was washed up. Maybe… just maybe he was irreversibly broken.
It was nearing dinner time that night when someone began pounding on Tony’s door. He was almost glad for it because the silence of his phone and the lack of said pounding on the door was beginning to make him nervous. The last thing he needed was someone plotting something worse than angry words and threats of payback for leaving the team and squealing to Vance.
Warily, he got up off the couch and moved toward the door where he checked through the peephole. Smiling as he saw who it was, he opened it and braced himself for the body that launched itself at him. “TonyTonyTonyTonyTony! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God!”
Laughing, Tony wrapped his arms around Abby to make sure he didn’t drop her as he stepped back to let in Jimmy, who was standing on the front porch looking amused. Although, with the octopus like grip that the exuberant Goth had on him, he didn’t imagine that there was any chance she was going to fall. “Oh My God, Tony, Oh My God! We’re going to Hawaii!!”
“You accepted?” Tony asked suddenly happier than he was before.
“Yes!” She confirmed nodding happily still attached to him like another appendage. “It’ll be weird being even further away from Lucas and I’m gonna need to invest in some higher strength sunscreen, but Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! We’re going to Hawaii!”
Jimmy finally stepped in the door laughing at the scene in front of him and lifted the carryout bag from Tony’s favorite steak place. “We thought that we’d celebrate.”
Tony smiled at his friend and nodded his head toward the kitchen. “You know where everything is, Gremlin. I’m gonna try and un-attach Abby, and we’ll be right in.”
“Oh My God, Tony, Oh My God!” She said laughing excited as she finally let go and slid down to stand on her own two feet. “I can’t believe it! I’m so excited! Where’s my favorite nephew?”
“I couldn’t tell,” Tony teased smiling as she smacked his arm lightly having long ago stopped punching, after Tony and she had a talk about abuse, and how not funny it was to hit people. “TJ and Isla are having a sleepover with one of his little friends from the park. Isla and Robert, the little boy, are friends also, so they’re at the other nanny suite in the kid’s house.”
“I’m glad you said yes,” he admitted softly. “Moving away from you and Jimbo in there were my two big drawbacks.”
“But you’ll be closer to John! Oh, My God, I get to meet John!” She squealed happily as Tony laughed again leading her to the kitchen where Jimmy was plating up their food on the island.
“The Bone-In-Ribeye is yours, Tony,” Jimmy said before picking what Tony guessed was his own plate given that the other plate had two huge portabella mushrooms on it and a big baked potato. There was no way Abby was eating meat, and there was also no way Tony wasn’t. Picking up his plate, he moved to the table, noting that the three seats already had bowls of salad and bottles of beer.
“So, what happened at work today?” Tony asked taking a sip of his beer before digging into his plate. “To be honest, I expected someone to come pounding on my door long before you two.”
“Vance won’t let them,” Abby offered as she cut a piece off of her mushroom. “He said anyone that comes to bug you or gives you a hard time in any way gets immediately fired. He said if you wanna talk to people that you’ll come see them. Jimmy and I were the only ones given exemptions. Even Ducky’s not allowed to come bother you!”
“How did he know,” Tony started and shook his head. “I never mentioned Ducky.”
“I told him,” Jimmy declared shrugging his shoulders. “I told him that sometimes Ducky took things too far acting like you just don’t care about yourself, or getting on you about what you’re eating when Gibbs won’t let you leave the building to get food sometimes all day. There are no fresh food machines in the break room. So, what did he expect you to eat? I told him how I’ve even seen Ducky throw your food out when you haven’t eaten all day like it was any of his business! He’s not your primary physician and certainly, has no right to deprive you of food when you’ve starved yourself all day because Gibbs was on a tear. Then we talked about a few other things and well…”
“I think Ducky feels bad,” Abby admitted softly. “He told me that he hadn’t realized that he’d let his friendship with Gibbs blind him to what was going on with others, and how badly sometimes the Bossman treats the team. He told Vance today when the Director called him into his office that he’s taking a sabbatical. I… I think it’s for the best.”
Jimmy quickly nodded his agreement. “I think so, too. As much as I like and respect Dr. Mallard, I think he needs to reorient himself. He told me that he’s not sure he ever fully got over Gerald getting shot. Speaking of, Ziva is getting moved off of the MCRT! Vance is requiring a new security assessment before they determine what to do with her. Apparently, while the State Department wanted her back with a Federal Intelligence Agency, they agreed that maybe it didn’t have to be NCIS. With all the problems that she’s causing, Vance doesn’t want her with us anymore. He says Homeland or the CIA would be better suited for what she can offer and could keep an eye on her.”
“What about McGee?” Tony asked curiously.
“He’s being shipped down to Dwayne Pride for some humbling,” Abby muttered frowning, “and man is he whining about it, too.”
“How’d he take your new position?” Tony asked curiously and Abby scowled. “He bitched at me for leaving and for following you no less. He’s acting like I should be more loyal to him than you. I told him that he and I weren’t fucking anymore, and with the way he’s been treating you that I’m not sure that he and I are even friends anymore. I’m not friends with bullies. Of course, he completely lost his mind about that. He insists that he’s a victim and hasn’t done anything wrong. I can’t wait for Dwayne and Christopher to get their hands on him. Dwayne isn’t gonna put up with any of his BS.”
Tony snorted and popped a chunk of his steak into his mouth thinking as he chewed. While Dwayne and Gibbs were friends and on the surface had similar personalities that was really all it was. Pride would never allow the crap that Gibbs fostered by pitting teammates against each other. Christopher was very clearly his second in command and made sure that anyone who came onto their team on a temporary basis knew it. He also wasn’t going to let inflated egos to run amuck in his office. Sebastian was amazing, and while quirky like Abby would never allow Tim to run rough shot over him, and if for some reason he did Dr. Wade certainly wasn’t going to allow it. New Orleans would certainly be a wakeup call for McGeek.
“And Gibbs?” Tony asked after eating in silence for a few moments. He saw Abby and Jimmy look at each other before both of them shrugged at the question.
“He and the Director had a huge blowout,” Abby confessed. “I guess that Vance arranged for him to be assessed initially by Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner over at the BAU, and then he’s going to have to attend mandated counseling with one of the Homeland shrinks. After that, depending on what the Unit Chief says, they’ll figure out where Gibbs will be assigned. I didn’t understand how Hotchner got involved, but my friend Penelope, who is his Technical Analyst, says that he does assessments for the CIA, too. So, I guess Vance figures that there’s no way Gibbs will get anything past this guy.”
“Huh,” Tony offered trying to decide how he felt about what he’d been told. “I didn’t really expect all of that.”
“What did you expect?” Jimmy asked curiously and Tony took his time in answering.
“Not much,” he finally admitted. “I mean, Vance said that he understood where I was coming from and that he was on my side, but to be honest, I didn’t really believe him. I certainly didn’t think that he’d act on anything I told him, or if he did that it would be anything this extreme. I just…”
Trailing off, Tony ran a hand over his leg before continuing quieter. “I just knew I couldn’t continue as I had been. I knew that I could never trust Ziva again and that I felt too betrayed by Gibbs to work under him anymore. If I’d known that she’d sold us out, if I’d known that she tried to get me kicked off the team, well the whole avenging her thing would have gone differently. That’s for sure.”
The other two were quiet as they watched their friend. The happiness and excitement from earlier seemed to be slipping away. “You never did tell us what happened. How did you find out?”
Tony chuckled darkly as he stabbed a piece of his meat and shoved it in his mouth chewing violently to give himself a few moments before answering. “She tried to kill me in the hospital, and Gibbs and McGee just acted like it was no big deal.”
“Holy shit, Tony!” Jimmy burst out while Abby just stared at him with big eyes.
“Gibbs acted like him picking me the first time should excuse her trying to kill me and I should just blow it off like it’s no big deal. McGee thought I should just let it go. ‘Cause you know, I was the only one making a big deal over what she had tried to do and that she blatantly said that she wished me dead and she’d never have told that Michael killed me. Apparently, SOP is for me to just take the abuse and let it roll off my back. I mean, to hell with McGee. His betrayal I can handle, but Gibbs…”
Tony trailed off and looked down at his hands. “I’m tired of not being good enough for the people I look up to. I don’t get it. I wanna see John so bad, but I’m scared shitless that I won’t be good enough for him, too.”
“Oh, Tony,” Abby said softly wanting to get up and hug him, but knew he wouldn’t welcome it at that moment.
“The position in Hawaii doesn’t start ’til the beginning of the year. Director Vance suggested I take the time to get away, and I think I’m gonna do it. Spend some time out of the country. Maybe island hopping. Maybe seeing the family in England. You be ok on your own for a bit without me Abby girl?”
“Of course!” Abby assured her pig tails bouncing from the force of her nods. “I’ll have plenty to do to learn my new lab! I’m sad I’m gonna have to leave my babies, but it’s exciting getting all new ones! Are you going to talk to anyone else before you leave?”
Tony shrugged picking at his potato before shoving some into his mouth. After swallowing he answered. “Gibbs for sure. Ziva and McGee definitely no. Ducky is the only one I don’t know about. I’m leaning toward a letter for him and I’ll contact him later. Maybe. It’s not that I’m mad at him and less mad at Gibbs I just… I don’t trust Ducky not to try and change my mind, or try and convince me that Gibbs hasn’t done anything wrong. Sometimes it seems like he feels like he’s the only one who can be mad at Gibbs, and I really don’t need a lecture of any kind at the moment. I’m just… I’m over it all.”
Jimmy cuts some of his steak off as he replies. “I understand where you’re coming from. I think he’ll be upset at not getting to talk to you before you leave, but at the same time, you need to do what is best for you. Dr. Mallard does tend to get caught up in his own opinion and forget that just because we’re not as worldly as him that our points of view are just as valid. I know that I have a different relationship with him than the rest of you do, and I’ve seen him scold people for things he shouldn’t have in the past. You need to look out for your own well-being right now, and I think that ultimately Dr. Mallard will understand that. If not, fuck him.”
Tony makes a face as he almost chokes on the steak he’d been swallowing. “I’d rather not Jimbo, but if that’s your thing…”
Abby shrieks laughing as Jimmy’s face turns red. The Assistant ME picks up a roll and throws it at Tony who just laughs. The conversation turns to lighter topics from there as the three friends share one of the last nights they’ll all be in DC together.
Two days later, Tony lets himself into Gibbs house and makes his way down into the basement. He knew that there was a chance that this could get ugly, but there was no way he could leave without at least trying. The man simply meant to much to him, and as upset as he was with him, he couldn’t just throw all those years between them away. When he reached the basement steps though, he couldn’t help but hover at the top trying to make himself descend into the lion’s den.
“Don’t have to stay all the way up there, DiNozzo,” Gibbs said quietly sanding a piece of wood at his workbench. Tony watched the older man toss it down and turn to look at him. His expression guarded, and his voice lacked the fiery anger that he’d expected. “I’m not going to take your head off.”
Nodding carefully, Tony headed down the stairs and crossed to the stool that Gibbs had pulled out and wiped off with a nearby cloth. “Thanks, Boss. I was… I thought you’d be a lot more pissed off than you’re acting.”
“Was at first,” Gibbs admitted quietly and Tony thought maybe there was some regret in his eyes. “But, Vance gave me a few things to think about. Pride gave me a few more things to think of. Then, I had my initial assessment with Hotchner over at the BAU this morning, and he pretty much chewed my ass from one end of Quantico to the other. As much as I wanted to tell him that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about, I can’t really do that all things considered. He’s got one hell of a reputation, and even I know that I’d be a fool to ignore that. Ultimately though, it was realizing that I’d lost you that made me realize how badly I’d fucked everything up. So, I’m trying to pull my head out of my ass. I know it’s a little too late to save our friendship, but…” Gibbs trailed off and looked away with an uncertain expression on his face.
“That’s,” Tony started, but stopped to push past his shock before trying again. “I’m glad, Gibbs. I’ll be honest. I wish that you’d pulled your head out sooner, but it’s never too late, Boss.”
“Not your boss anymore, DiNozzo,” Gibbs said quietly, and Tony immediately shook his head.
“You’ll always be my boss,” Tony corrected firmly. “That’s… that’s why I did this now. So that I could leave before our friendship was ruined beyond repair. I won’t lie. I’m really hurt right now and there aren’t words for how betrayed I feel, but I don’t want…”
Tony stopped when the emotion became too much and hated that Gibbs could see how upset he was. It was something that he wasn’t sure he’d ever get used to. This whole ‘people being able to see everything he felt’ now was seriously inconvenient, and silently he cursed that terrorist bastard. A part of him was pissed off that he hadn’t been able to kill the prick himself.
“I need you in my life, Gibbs,” Tony finally said. His voice thicker with emotion than he’d like, but he and the Boss would both have to get used to it if there was a friendship beyond this left for them.
“I can’t have nothing left from this path we’ve been traveling. I can’t lose someone else that is as important to me as you are. I need this to get fixed, Boss. I just… You’re not even mad about Abby?”
Gibbs immediately shook his head and reached for a bottle of water sitting on his desk. Tony lifted an eyebrow but didn’t ask. “No. In fact, I’m glad that you’re taking her with you. The team is… well it’s done, and to be honest, if I decide to go back I won’t be running an investigative team anymore. Vance wants me to move into something overseeing special projects either out of MTAC or where ever they need me on the ground. Something like a problem solver for more serious issues and cases. I’m… I’m not exactly opposed to it, and I don’t really want to start from scratch as close to retirement as I am. Once McGee gets done with Pride he’d come back and work with me. There’s an undercover guy Vance is gonna move to work with us that he wants to pull out of the field named Torres. So, we’ll see how it goes. I owe you a big apology, Tony.
“It never should have come to this. I keep seeing her killing you in that hospital bed, and I can’t believe that I let things go so far. You shouldn’t have been kept in the dark. Hell, you shouldn’t have been kept in the dark about a lot of things. You certainly shouldn’t have been treated like you were no different than any other agent. At the beginning with Kate, it made sense, but the second Ziva joined the team things should have changed. Hell, maybe we shouldn’t have even done it with Kate. At this point, I don’t know if I know my ass from a hole in the ground.”
Tony held in a sigh as he chewed on the inside of his cheek while trying to decide how he wanted to reply. “I don’t know what to say, Boss, other than thank you for the apology. I think at this point the what we should have done’s and maybe if we had only’s don’t really matter. The fact is that we both did things we shouldn’t and didn’t do things we needed to. Maybe… I hate to say it, but maybe this was how it was meant to be. You know I’m not a religious man, but I do believe in fate and karma. I have to believe that there’s a reason that this is happening like that. Like, there’s something I’m meant to do in Hawaii that had we done things the right way I wouldn’t have been able to do. And, it isn’t like you can’t ever come see me. Wherever I end up laying my head will always have a spare room for you, Boss, and if I have my way it’ll be on the water. So, plenty of room for a boat.”
Gibbs smiled and shook his head at him. “You’re one of a kind DiNozzo. I’m proud of you. I hope you know that. You’re gonna do an amazing job in Hawaii, and I may just take you up on that. Especially now that I will have two reasons to visit there.”
Tony lifted an eyebrow as Gibbs picked up a folder and after blowing sawdust off of it, handed it to him. “Vance thought it would be best if I gave you a heads up about one of your new agents.”
Tony took the folder and immediately opened it as he listened to his friend and mentor speak. “Name’s Tara Gideon. She’s the adopted daughter of Jason Gideon, who was one of the founders of the BAU. She’s also my Goddaughter and is the Pearl Harbor team’s version of McGee. Although in my biased opinion she blows him out of the water. She’s sharp as a tack and doesn’t take shit from anyone, including me. She’s been verbally kicking my ass about how I’ve been running the team for years. So, she knows more about your current situation than I am sure you’d like. I can assure you, though, that she won’t just automatically take my side. She knows how big of a bastard I am, and fortunately loves me anyway. I know I don’t have to ask, but I’d appreciate it if you’d take care of her, Tony.
“She’s had a hard road thanks to that prick Gideon. I’ve hated her being so far away from me doing what she does. I’m gonna feel a lot better knowing that you’ll be there now to watch her six like you’ve always watched mine. Just… I know you wouldn’t, but I can’t… Don’t hold my bullshit against her, please?”
Tony nodded suddenly overwhelmed with emotion and huffed angrily as he had to wipe off his cheeks. “You have my word, Gibbs.” He promised as he nodded.
“I’ll treat her as if she’s my own flesh and blood, and I’ll introduce her to John McGarrett, too. That’ll give her someone else to watch her six.”
Gibbs cocked his head to one side at the name. “Don’t remember you mentioning him before.”
Tony took a deep breath to settle his nerves before replying. “Remember how I told you how Senior left me in a hotel in Honolulu when I was 12? Well, John McGarrett was the officer who responded. CPS didn’t have any immediate place to put me with a family until Senior got there, so John convinced them to let him keep me since he had a son and a young daughter of his own. I wasn’t there long, but he left a huge impression on me. I always wanted to be a cop, and when Brad broke my leg, I took it as Fate’s sign that it was what I was meant to do. We’ve called and written letters regularly since I left his home. He’s more a father to me than Senior ever will be, and on the plus side, my father hates him. So, I won’t have to worry about him ever making a surprise visit. John’d chase him off the island with a spear gun.”
Gibbs snorted amused as he took another drink of his water. “You worried that’ll happen? Senior visitin’, I mean.”
Tony ran a hand over the back of his neck as he made a face. “I figure it was bound to happen one of these days. Probably when I had the least amount of time to deal with his bullshit. Seriously though, it won’t happen as long as I’m in Hawaii. John would probably literally kill him, and since he knows like half the island, no one would ever find my father’s body. I’m…. thank you, Gibbs. For letting this part of our path end like this, and for everything you’ve done for me. I was…”
Tony shook his head and scowled at himself. “I was a lot bigger of an arrogant prick before I met you. I’d probably still be one if I hadn’t tackled you in that alley.”
“Nah,” Gibbs disagreed smiling softly. “You’ve never been arrogant, you just had a really good asshole character. I think eventually you would have gotten tired of it and moved on so you could change it. You’re a good man, Tony. One of the best I’ve ever met. The DC office will not be better off without you. I will miss the hell out of you, but I am damned proud of you for standing up for yourself. You need me, you know where I am. I’ll drop everything and come if you call. Don’t let anyone change who you are, and don’t let Wendy and Jeanne make you afraid to love again. The last thing that I want is for you to end up like me. You’re a man meant to love and be loved, DiNozzo. So, when the right person comes along, take that step. Then you damned well better bring him or her to meet me.”
Tony grinned shyly before standing and holding out his hand. “It’s been an honor, Special Agent Gibbs, to be your Senior Field Agent. Thank you for taking a risk on a cocky Detective from Baltimore with a shit ton of baggage.”
Gibbs stood and ignored his hand, instead choosing to pull him in for a hug, which Tony immediately reciprocated. “Honor’s all mine, DiNozzo. Give ‘em hell!”
Nodding Tony patted his mentor’s back before pulling away and leaving brushing away the tears as he left. It hadn’t gone the way he’d expected, and he couldn’t thank the Fates enough for it.
- - - -