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Chapter One: The End of Everything
The case was over, or as over as it was going to get for the moment. Tony’s gut told him that there was more to the whole situation, but that wasn’t his primary focus currently EJ was missing, maybe dead. Cade was definitely dead. There was some man running around pretending to be an FBI agent, but wasn’t. Said pretend FBI agent had murdered Cade, and framed Tony. While he had issues with the FBI in the past, they’d never gone quite that far.
His memories were back, but Tony wasn’t sure that he was completely settled. Between the mission that he hated, and being manipulated by another person above him on the food chain, this time SecNav, he just didn’t feel whole yet. Add to that, Dr. Kate’s Sister with her mind games, and Gibbs’ yo-yoing between concern and harshness, Tony wasn’t sure he was yet on solid ground.
He needed something more. He needed someone to tell him that he was ok. He needed someone to tell him that there was a forever out there for him. He needed someone to tell him that forever would be spent with them. He knew who he thought that someone should be, but his gut…
Tony readily admitted that his gut wasn’t as advanced as Gibbs’, but it was pretty damned good. This need for more, for forever, for safety, and home wasn’t new. It was something he had buried inside of him for as long as he could remember. Probably since his mother had died, possibly even before that.. Safety and security weren’t something he had experienced much as a child.. He had money, he had clothes and things, and he even had people to make sure that he was fed, usually. Those people were servants, but he had never questioned it. He needed more though.
He often heard people talking about their biological clock going off, and wanting babies. Tony’s must have been defective. His told him that the time to find someone to spend his life with was running out. He had no need for children. He loved his career, and his vacations. He had no need to be tied down to a child, as selfish as he knew that sounded. What he did need was someone there with him. He thought that he needed that someone to be Gibbs, because… well dammit it just had to be Gibbs.
Tony had devoted more time to Gibbs than he ever devoted to any other person. He needed all that time, and effort to mean something. Even if he had been putting off this conversation that he knew he had to have. The conversation that he needed to have. The conversation that he was scared shitless wasn’t going to go how he wanted. Gibbs was…
Gibbs was like a huge thick solid cement and lead lined wall. Tony’s need was like Ziva’s Mini. Tony was trying to ignore his gut, which was advising him that his inner Mini was going to go splat all over the wall that was Gibbs. He wasn’t ready to accept that though. He needed to believe it was going to work out. It had to work out, because after all that happened with EJ, Cade, and SecNav, Tony was pretty sure he was gonna fall apart if it didn’t.
He had been parked outside of Gibbs’ house for at least a half an hour. Tony was a little surprised that the neighbors hadn’t called the cops yet. He hated this feeling. Being so insecure and needy sucked. He didn’t want to be like this. He wanted to be as confident and sure of himself as everyone always assumed that he was. He wasn’t though. He needed love. He needed comfort. He needed forever.
He was going in a loop, and quite possibly driving himself crazy. He knew that he was making his anxiety about the whole thing worse. It was time to suck it up, buttercup.
Taking a deep breath, Tony got out of the car, and straightened his suit. Armani. It was his best one. He needed the armor that it would provide. Taking a deep breath, he locked the doors, and quickly strode up the walk. He entered the house without letting himself hesitate. A part of him was screaming in his head to stop this madness. It was saying as long as they didn’t know there was still a chance.
The bigger part was pointing out that he couldn’t stand not knowing any longer. It was the bigger part that kept him moving forward. Through the entrance way, through the living room, into the kitchen, and over to the basement steps. Every step taken had him wondering if it was taking him closer to forever, or to the end.
Striding through the doorway and down the steps, Tony paused at the bottom, staring at Gibbs in disbelief. It never occurred to him that he wouldn’t be alone. Gibbs was always alone, unless Fornell was there. He obviously was wrong though, because the proof was right before his eyes.
They were watching him now. Gibbs with confusion, and more than a little irritation. She was… Her face held that mask that he’d become familiar with over the last day or so. That professional blank slate that hid what she was thinking. Unfortunately for them both, it hadn’t slid on fast enough. Not before he saw the look in her eye, before he heard the soft laugh escape her lips, and not before he saw how Gibbs was watching her back.
“DiNozzo, what are you doing here?” Gibbs ground out pulling back from her slightly, but not completely.
He could see the look in his eyes, as if daring Tony to make a single comment about it. As if he knew that Tony wouldn’t make a comment about it. The thing was 72 hours ago he might have been right. Before EJ, before the temporary amnesia, he might have kept his mouth shut, and just gone home to lick his wounds. Tonight, though, that wasn’t happening.
“You weren’t expected, Tony, maybe it’s better if you talk to Jethro in the morning at work?” She suggested, sounding all reasonable and shit. Too bad for her she had no idea what was about to come next. Maybe it wasn’t her fault, maybe she was an innocent victim in all of this, but right at that moment he was all out of fucks to give.
“Oh, no, I think this is right where I need to be,” Tony offered, wide grin plastered on his face.
He didn’t care if they both could see right through it. Damnit, it made him feel better having the mask there. So, he left it in place for as long as possible.
“I came to talk to you, Jethro.” Tony emphasizing the name she had used for the other man. A name he was never allowed to use, not even when his boss was dick deep in his ass. The name, when it came out of his mouth, was more brittle than the affectionate tone she had used.
“Tony, I don’t think…”
“No, you really don’t. So, I would suggest that you just keep out of this, and leave it to me and Gibbs. By all means, though, stay. I won’t be long.” When she moved to leave he stepped in her path. Maybe it was childish, but she wasn’t getting out of this. Not after she had so much fun picking at his brain.
“DiNozzo!” Gibbs barked sharply, but was cut off quickly.
“I came to tell you that I loved you, Gibbs.” Tony informed, and both of the other occupants of the basement shut up quickly.
“Oh, Tony…” She started again, but Tony cut her off too. He decided to pretend she hadn’t even spoken.
“I came to tell you that I loved you, Gibbs, because I need you. I need more than this weird fuck buddies thing we have going on. I need more than being on call for you at work, and on call after hours in your bed when you need to really pound your cock into something hard. Of course, I was unaware that I wasn’t the only one in this arrangement. After all, you made such a fuss at the beginning that there be no one else on my part.”
“Kinda hypocritical of you after you mooned all over that bitch, dontcha think, DiNozzo?” Gibbs sneered, and Tony’s smile was brittle.
“Not really. See, the difference here Gibbs, is that EJ and I were friends. We weren’t dating. We weren’t fucking. I was fond of her, yes. I cared about her, yes. I certainly don’t want her dead. However, I wasn’t dating her. I wasn’t FUCKING her. I wasn’t in a fucking relationship with her.”
“What… I don’t… Jethro? What is he talking about?”
“You had no right to try to ruin this, DiNozzo! Shut your fucking mouth! Rachel, he’s…”
“Telling the absolute truth, Dr. Kate’s Sister.” Tony said again, smiling his big, toothy, and fake as hell smile. “I mean you’ve been head shrinking the shit outta my brain. You know by now when I’m lying and when I’m not.
“See, I’m in love with him. We’ve been doing our thing for two years now. I am…” Tony stopped as the mask began to crack, but, with sheer will alone, he forced it to stay together. “I was here to tell him I wanted us to be together, really together, forever together. I guess that’s off the table though.”
He watched her look between him and Gibbs. He saw Gibbs reach out, and how she side stepped his touch. He saw the fury on Gibbs’ face. “Goddamnit, DiNozzo! Why do you have to fuck up everything?”
The mask cracked, again. It was only a matter of time before it shattered. Tony just hoped that it held up long enough for him to get out of there. “Why do I…. Gee, Jethro, I am sorry my love for you interfered with you landing wife #5. You competing with senior now? I think he’s still a few up on you.”
“Why in the fuck would I want to spend the rest of my life with you? What the fuck are you worth other than a good hard lay on occasion? Rachel is my forever. You’re just…” Gibbs waved a hand in the air, and reached for Rachel again.
“I was breaking it off with him. We haven’t been together since you and I got serious, Rach. You gotta believe me. He’s nothing compared to you. Hell, he’s nothing in general.”
Turning to Tony, Gibbs glared angrily. “I love Rachel, Tony, but not as much as I loved Shannon. Rachel understands that though. I care for you, but not the way I cared for Shannon, or even how I love Rachel. You’re just… not enough to fill either of their shoes. I’m asking you to move on.
“Move on from me, and NCIS. I can’t have you around anymore. You’re too tempting, and I won’t let Shannon be tarnished by your… inadequacy. I won’t let my future with Rachel be affected by your ineptness. You need to leave NCIS. I just don’t want you there anymore. You’ll see that it’s for the best. If you leave quietly, I won’t tell anyone this happened.”
Tony laughed hollowly, and shook his head. His arms moved to wrap themselves around his middle. “This is… Jesus Christ. So let me get this straight. You cheat on ME. You fuck the woman you sent to head shrink me. You get caught, and I am the one that loses everything? You really are a bastard. Word of warning, Dr. Kate’s Sister, one day he’ll turn on you, too. You’ll find out he’ll never have the balls to move away from his fucking precious dead wife as much as you’re quietly telling yourself that someday he will. I’m not enough, and neither will you be.”
Rachel narrowed her eyes, and lifted her chin. “I guess we’ll see about that. Jethro is right. It’s time that you move on, Tony.”
“Don’t fucking use my first name. You don’t have the right. I wish you two nothing but misery and heartache. Don’t worry, Gibbs. I’ll be gone by the time you get to work in the morning, you heartless coward.”
Turning, Tony ran up the steps, leaving the sight of Rachel stepping back into his arms behind him. He really did hope for nothing but the worst for them from here on out.
Several hours later, Tony wasn’t sure how he ended up in Fornell’s driveway. He wasn’t really sure of much since he had left Abby’s. No, not Abby. She didn’t deserve a place of affection in his life anymore. Not after last night. Not after…
He was trying to block out their argument. She was less sympathetic than he had hoped she would be. She was supposed to be his sister. Instead her Gibbs worship had overruled everything else. He told himself he should have known it would but…
She hadn’t believed him. She said that he was lying. There was no way Gibbs would cheat on someone. Tony obviously had deluded himself into some imaginary relationship with her Silver Fox. After all, Gibbs wasn’t even gay. Why would Tony make up something like that? It was wonderful that he and Kate’s sister were in love. There was certainly no way that Gibbs would kick him off the team.
“Abby’s rule #1, DiNozzo. You need to stop lying! Just… leave until you can tell me the truth. I don’t appreciate you trying to cause trouble for my Silver Fox like this.”
After that things were hazy. Tony’s gas gauge said he had been driving around for a while. It was hard to see the house because everything was blurry. Looking at the clock, Tony could see it wasn’t even 5AM yet.
He almost pulled back out of the driveway, but just as he was putting the gear shift in reverse, the front door opened. Tobias stepped out onto the front porch in his boxers and robe. He watched as the man came down the front steps and made his way to his door. The older man tapped on the glass, but Tony just turned his head to look at him. He could hear him talking, but the words just didn’t make sense. Everything was over. No team. No friends. No job. No Gibbs. Tobias’ voice was like the teacher on Charlie Brown all wah waah wah wah waah wah.
He heard more than saw the thump of something hitting his drivers’ side window, even though he was looking right at it. Blinking he tried to focus back on Tobias, but it wasn’t working. He saw his lips moving, but he had no idea what he was saying. Finally, when the older man started acting out putting the car in park, Tony nodded, and repeated the action hearing the doors unlock.
Almost immediately the door next to him opened. “Jesus, Tony, what… Let’s get you inside. Come on, Tone. Just… Never mind I’ll do it myself.”
Tony watched Tobias squeeze into the car as much as he could around his tall frame and thick chest. The FBI supervisor turned off the engine before unlatching his seatbelt taking the car keys with him. Tony’s mind finally shut itself off leaving everything in Fornell’s hands.
Straightening, the older man tried to not let his panic grow. Just let him get the kid inside and laid down on the couch. Then he could make some calls, and figure out what was going on.
Getting him out of the car hadn’t been any less of a chore. He almost called Gibbs a few times, but he had left his cellphone inside. He was too worried about how the kid was acting to leave him alone to go get it. Fortunately, Tony eventually got with the program, and got out to follow him inside. When Tony was finally settled on the couch, Tobias took off his shoes, and tie. Then he went to find a blanket, and grab his cellphone.
When he came back, Tony was staring at his own cell. “You call Gibbs, kid?”
Tony’s head whipped up, and his eyes got big and suspiciously shiny. “FUCKING BASTARD! No! I’m not calling that uncaring prick! You fucking call him, and I am out of here!”
Tobias immediately held up his hands, just barely keeping his jaw from dropping open. If Gibbs was on the outs, this was a bigger deal than he suspected.
“I’m just checkin’ in with work, and tellin’ them I am working from home, Tone. Lay down ok? Here’s a blanket. Sleep will do you good. We can talk when you get up.”
Tobias tried not to frown, or take it personally, when Tony studied him for what felt like 15 minutes before finally laying down. Toby waited until he seemed to be completely asleep to move to the kitchen. Before leaving the room though he checked the cell. Tony had sent a message to someone called TK.
“I need you.”
This TK had responded with “Am out of country, Cuz. Will make my way back, and be there within week. Take care of yourself, Poco Tino.” Huh, things were getting curiouser and curiouser.
Gibbs stood on his front step the next morning watching Rachel drive off. He had luckily been able to convince her most of what DiNozzo was saying was bullshit. He had miscalculated there.
The kid had been needier than he imagined. To show up in the basement saying that he was in love with him? Gibbs snorted in disgust as he went back inside to get his gun and credentials so that he could leave for work still thinking about the scene in the basement the previous evening.
As if he would settle down with one of the play things. They all seemed to have a habit of forgetting their place. Of course if they didn’t break so wonderfully it wouldn’t be quite so much fun. Seeing the pain he carried every day reflected on someone else’s face was the whole point of it all.
When he reached work he was happy to see that Tony’s desk was cleared off. He was less happy to see that his medals were scattered all over his desk, but it figured that Tony would be so childish. Underneath them was a smashed phone he recognized as DiNozzo’s, the kid’s badge, and the locked box that the medals were normally in.
Digging around in his desk, he found the spare key the kid had given him years ago, and unlocking the box found DiNozzo’s service weapon. He’d have to con McGee into keeping the medals. That kid was truly spineless. He would be much easier to control than DiNozzo had. Tony was much too headstrong. That was his mistake, and he wouldn’t make it again. He was a marine after all.
When McGee and Ziva got in, they questioned what was going on. Ziva happily accepted the bullshit that he had plotted out. McGee would come around. It just might take a little bit longer than he liked.
A week or two of being barked at, and he would be back to the stuttering wonder that Gibbs had hired him for. Fucking DiNozzo had to go and toughen the kid up. Well no big deal. He was Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He could make a crying shaking mess out of anyone. Timothy McGee would be stuttering, sniffling, and begging for his special attention in no time.
End Notes: For those that didn’t read this on Rough Trade, this is very firmly a Tony/Aaron story. There is no chance that Gibbs and Tony will reconcile. This story is very much about Tony and his life after NCIS, so while there will be some talk about NCIS, it won’t be much. Asking for other views won’t change anything. I deliberately increased the B factor in the second B for story-line purposes. I don’t really think he’s this crazy.
This story is like my child, and I hope you enjoy it.