- Character Bashing
- Explicit Sex
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Alternate Universe
- Crime Drama
Chapter 6: The long gulf and siestas
Annie Montrose was a cool, calm professional – a woman at the top of her profession. She had to be to hold the title of Head of Media Relations. She could honestly say that she never planned for this. It was not what you expect to hear over a secure FaceTime, even from Mark. She tested the words on her tongue. “You’re on your honeymoon?”
Mark nodded, he certainly looked happy enough to be a man on his honeymoon. “That’s right. This is Tony and he married me; even knowing about Mars.”
Annie had no doubt he had. The man was gorgeous but there was something else she could see that made him even more so, the look of love in his eyes. For a second, she was jealous, she had two two ex-husbands she was paying alimony to; that said she’d failed in that part of her life.
“Well, you’re batting above your average, Watney. Now explain to me why this joyous event. And truly, congratulations won’t become a fucking headache for me.”
Mark smirked. “Tony is a Federal Agent and because of that, we have been as careful as we can. He works undercover, Annie. I thought we should tell you, at least.”
She pinched her nose in frustration. She was imposing on an iPhone screen which Tony could appreciate. She pointed at Mark, “You did the right thing.” Next, her attention turned to Tony, “You, pretty agent, I want you to make sure he arrives on time.”
And Tony did send Mark off for his trip with a sad heart but Tony knew it was the right thing to do. He wanted more than anything to go with him to ground control but knew that in doing so, it would be a little hard to stay incognito if he did.
Mark kept kissing him, Tony pulled him away reluctantly. “Go, Spaceman, and make sure you get this exploring out of your system.”
Mark kissed him soundly and it was unlike anything Tony had ever known. It was a man doing his best to commit something to memory by engaging every one of his senses. Tony groaned. “Go – before I have Annie Montrose hunting me.”
Mark pecked his lips one more time. “I’ll be back. And in the meantime, we will have a hook up on the Hermes.”
Tony tried to make a weak joke. “Kinky.”
“See you soon.”
Mark would later wonder, on reflection, whether he would have taken that statement back on the grounds that he’d tempted the gods.
A month later, and Tony felt like life was seriously fucking unfair. His husband was still on his way to Mars. Gibbs had gone and abandoned him. The worst of it, Tony couldn’t even blame the guy. It was not like he’d deliberately cast Tony off like his biological father. Gibbs, the second B is for Bastard, had shown he wasn’t as invulnerable as he liked to think. It turns out a bomb could scramble Gibbs’ brain just as much as it could anyone else.
He’d been in a coma and woken disorientated and confused. “Where’s Shannon?”
Tony’s heart sank. He knew this was going to get way worse before it got better. If what he suspected was true then the man deserved his privacy. “Everyone out.”
“What?” Abby said, eyes wide in shock, not believing the order she had just heard.
“No!” Ziva managed to smirk.
“You can’t make me!” was McWhiner’s reply to finish off the tantrum trio’s chorus of replies.
Tony did not have time to pander to their ego’s. He growled once more, letting the real him peek out. “OUT NOW!”
Gibbs’ blue eyes showed nothing but confusion, as the young man ordered the people from his room. He didn’t recognise any of them but he could tell they were all worried about him. He asked the young man who seemed to know something. “What’s going on?”
Tony put on a brave face. “You’ve been in an explosion and a coma for a few days, boss.”
“You’re no marine with that hair,” Gibbs observed.
Tony shook his head. “No, I am no marine. What I am is Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, your SFA for the Major Case Response Team for NCIS.”
“I’m a Fed?” He said, disbelieving. “Where’s Shannon and Kelly?”
Tony winced as this was perhaps his least favourite thing he’d even done. “I need to call a doctor in but first let me show you your appearance.”
Gibbs was a smart man and knew what his reflection meant, it was a gentle way to break it to him. “How long? How much memory is missing?”
Tony sighed. “My guess ten years. You had an injury in Iraq you told me about, scrambled your head then. You’ve just reset to that time by the sounds of things.”
“Where are my girls?” He asked again, and Tony would happily go another decade without hearing him sound that vulnerable again.
Tony spoke softly. “I’m so sorry to say they’re gone. You told me that someone took them out when you were in Iraq.”
At that pronouncement, Gibbs turned his head towards the window and Tony let him have his grief. The man deserved that.
Tony then left the room, knowing the nurse and doctors needed to check him out. Once outside the doorway, he was beset by angry people demanding answers. “How dare you kick us out of the room!”
“Who do you think you are?” Ziva added with a sneer.
Tony rolled his eyes. “You may not understand this but right now my worry is all for Gibbs. I just had to deliver the worst possible news to a man who has already lived through it once. Sorry I don’t have time to soothe your bruised egos.”
He stepped away then to more outraged hisses but he was way past caring.
It got worse from there. Gibbs left him, running away to Mexico to hide with his old mentor and he’d got the overwhelmingly ringing endorsement of. “You’ll do.”
Tony was ready to hang his two teammates out of the window and accept the trouble. No, better yet, if he could find a rocket he could launch them into space. That was a nice thought although he didn’t want them anywhere near Mark and whilst space was vast, it would be too close for his comfort.
Today was a long line of the same. Work had been a wash, rinse, repeat, Ziva was insubordinate, Tim being a sheep, Abby being clueless and even Ducky, who he’d hoped he could commiserate with was still angry that he hadn’t known about Shannon and Kelly. The team was struggling with the fact that he had known and hadn’t told any of them. Tony didn’t get why they would think it was his secret to share but they were holding a grudge.
It might have sucked, the loss of his friends at work, but there had been an upside to it. The time was allowing him to work through the course material for his studies. He was looking at testing out on several of the modules if he could get the time. The one good thing at NCIS is that they allowed for time off for furthering your education.
Tonight though, no one would dent his mood. It would be the first time that Mark would have his Sat time. Tony might be worried about meeting the Ares crew but Mark had spoken so warmly about all of them that he didn’t think it would be too harrowing.
He was at home and he’d finally managed to finagle his TV to accept the camera. He was sitting on his sofa, eating a bowl of pasta when the connection request came up. It was accepted immediately and Tony grinned seeing Mark’s smiling face. “Hey, babe! You having fun?”
Mark licked his lips. “You’re eating your home cooked pasta?”
Tony nodded with a smirk. “That’s right. How’s your food?”
“Not even half as tasty.” Mark pouted. “So Annie sent your messages through in a special way. How did you get her on side? We need to know.”
Tony chuckled as that seemed to be a question that all the crew wanted to know the answer to, including Commander Lewis. After his terrible week, he decided to play with the group. “What have you done to upset Annie?”
“She lets you call her Annie?” The Doctor of the crew asked, at least Tony was making an assumption that was the doctor with the stethoscope kind of hovering around his neck.
Tony snickered. “Yep, we bonded over Mark and how she wished I could help her.”
Mark was starting to get worried. “What did you say?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I said that I love you the way you are, so no, I wouldn’t try and change you.”
“That’s my husband,” Mark said with a massive grin. “So Tony, this is Herr Vogel, Commander Lewis, Dr. Beck, Commander Lewis, Major Martinez, and Ms. Johanssen.”
Tony smirked. “Pleasure to meet you all. Our window is closing, I will let you know how operation de-douchebag goes. I love you to Mars and Back.”
Mark had a fond grin on his face. “And that is why you are the most amazing husband ever. Isn’t he?”
Johanssen appeared to study him. “He is way too pretty and good for the likes of you, Watney.”
Tony smirked. “Nah, we fit just right. Look after him please, and bring him home to me.”
The female commander nodded to him. “We will, Agent. He is dear to us even if it doesn’t look like it.”
Tony grinned. “Signing off Hermes. Swift and safe journey.”
Tony managed just under a month of the cycle before he went to Jenny to complain. She listened about as well as Gibbs did, which was to say not at all. “So I can’t write them up?”
Jenny looked at him as if she was disappointed in him. “You want to write them up for grieving?”
Tony took a deep breath and managed to resist the urge to say something unprofessional. “No, I want to write them up for not doing their job, Madam Director.”
“I’ve told you to call me Jenny when we’re alone, Tony.” Tony had no idea why but all he had running through in his head was said the spider to the fly.
She thought about something and Tony knew it would be a placating measure. “Look – give them until I process the paperwork for Gibbs’ retirement – that’s three more weeks.”
In Tony’s head, all he could think was that was when Mark was going to touch down roughly on Mars. “Fine – but Ma’am, if you don’t file the paperwork then, it won’t just be Gibbs’ exit paperwork you will be filling.”
She looked startled at that. “You don’t mean that.”
Tony snorted. “Oh, but I do, Madam Director. I have walked away from police departments for much less.” Tony would draw his line in the sand. There was only so much that he would accept.
“Well, while I have your attention I do have to talk to you about an operation I would like you to be part of.”
Tony quirked an eyebrow. “I thought you said that you couldn’t afford for the MCRT to lose two leaders.”
“Oh, this will be a side mission of great importance. Have you heard of Rene Benoit?” She asked him eagerly. And of course, the answer was yes, he had.
“The Frog? Sure.”
“Well, I want you to get close to him using his daughter who is working as a doctor here in Washington.”
Tony stood up, buttoning his suit jacket as he rose. “I thank you for your time, director. I won’t be able to accept as I would be unable to explain it to my partner.”
“Gibbs is gone, DiNozzo.”
Tony smiled. “I mean romantic partner, ma’am, it is new and I haven’t shared it with the team but I know it is special.”
She pursed her lips like that was the last thing she wanted to hear. “I’m pleased for you, Tony. If you reconsider then please let me know.”
Tony stood up. “I thank you for the consideration, Madam Director.”
He didn’t and he had no intention of going anywhere near that storm brewing. He would reach out to Fornell because there was no way a man of Benoit’s influence wasn’t already under surveillance. He had no intention of stepping on another agency’s shoes and getting into a pissing contest. He could ill-afford the time what with his recalcitrant team members, absent-minded boss (Shephard) and schoolwork.
Jenny phoned him. “We have a problem.”
Tony bit back a sigh; he’d already left the office. “No, Ma’am – because you won’t let me discipline the team. I left the office at two this morning to make sure the case was ready for JAG to prosecute.”
“It’s that bad?” Jenny asked surprised, as the solve rate hadn’t dipped she’d assumed some of it was griping on DiNozzo’s part.
“It’s worse. Now Madam Director, you said there was a problem?”
She sighed. “Yes, Ziva took command of a prisoner last night for a transfer, as a personal favour. Only now the prisoner is dead and she is in the wind.”
“The Feebs put out a warrant?”
“Yes. I need you to reach out to your contacts. Has she contacted you?”
Tony ran his hands through his hair. “No, and she’s more likely to go to Gibbs than me.”
And he was right.