Title: Untitled at this time
Story Fandoms: NCIS and Queer as Folk
Story Relationship: Tony DiNozzo/Brian Kinney, Justin Taylor, Prior-Tony/Gibbs
Story Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Brian Kinney, Justin Taylor, OC-Padraig McCormac
Story Contents: Tony Leaves NCIS, Tony and Gibbs Breakup, Angst, Consequences of the Plague, NCIS AU Post-Requiem
Notes: This is another post Requiem fic. I really wanna do something post this ep because I think there are some things that really got ignored like Tony’s lungs. This will be the first follow up to One Beginning and part of the One Beginning and Many Endings Series. I had another story planned to come first, but I ran into a massive plot hole and got blocked. So, its on the back burner and this is coming instead. My OC Padraig McCormac will be played by Pierce Brosnan. Fair warning. I don’t like Michael. I will never like Michael. I put him on the same level as Ziva. So, don’t expect me to be nice to the asshat.
Tony/Justin/Brian Requiem Aftermath
“I love you, and I’ve screwed this up completely. I wish I knew how to fix it. I wish it was fixable, but I know it isn’t. I’d kick your ass if you took me back after all of this. On top of that, I’ve nearly killed you. How you’re not in the hospital after being in that river so long with your lungs and all the other shit that came with the plague aftermath has to be some kind of miracle. I know you won’t believe it, but I regret a lot right now, Tony. I’m losing more than my Senior Field Agent. You deserve so much better than me, and it makes me sick to my stomach that I’m just another in a long list of people who have hurt you.”
Tony stood leading against the cement wall in Gibbs’ basement at the bottom of the stairs listening to the shit come out of his former partner and boss’ mouth wondering why it couldn’t have happened earlier. Why was it that people only accepted his worth after he’d crossed the point of no return?
“For what it’s worth, Jethro,” Tony offered pushing off the wall and turning to head up the stairs. “So do I.”
“I’m pretty fucking tired of this bullshit. It’s been real. I already packed up my desk and left letters. Tell the team I’ll contact them if I feel like it. Tell your precious daughters and McGee that if they hack or snoop into my shit I’m gonna have them arrested. I’m not taking this bullshit anymore. Frankly, you’ve all been just another huge disappointment. I’ve already put a bug in the ear of one of my contacts at the FBI who isn’t in DC and Fornell knows nothing about. If there’s so much as a credit check or any other kind of unauthorized peep in my records, they already have my ok to press charges. I never thought it would happen, but I kinda hate you all right now.”
With that, Tony headed upstairs and out of Casa Gibbs for the last time. As he eased into his rental car, the loss of his Mustang wasn’t helping the hurt any. He briefly wondered if he was making too big of a decision in the midst of too much turmoil, but then quickly decided that enough was enough.
He’d had it with a Director that used him for an unsanctioned operation. He’d had it with a Mossad Liaison that no one wanted to admit had no business being on a top investigative team that required a security clearance above what a foreign operative should be allowed. He was tired of spineless probies and whiney spoiled forensics technicians. He hadn’t forgotten how Abby, McGee and Ziva had treated him while Gibbs was gone, and didn’t think he would any time soon. Honestly, he was tired of it all, and just wanted something better.
Two days later, Tony walked into Mínealaín hoping that Padraig was busy because he needed a few moments to himself. Wandering through the familiar gallery he wondered if he could find this painting that his friend had been raving to him about saying it would be perfect for him. As he was strolling through the hallways and rooms, a painting caught his eye, and he found himself sitting on the bench in front of it to study it.
It was an abstract, which was not typically something that Tony liked. It wasn’t that he couldn’t appreciate the art form, he just preferred usually to know what he was looking at. Something about this particular painting though was calling to him. It was mostly black with red and white accents. He wasn’t sure what the artist had done, as Tony’s own ability was limited to crime scene sketches, but there was a pattern in the paint where he could see rough vertical almost triangles.
It was the black with white accent in the chaos that was speaking to him though. He wondered if it was maybe because it reflected his current state of mind. The blackness made him think of the anger he held toward people and an agency that he’d put so much faith in and devoted so much of his soul to. He was tired of hurting, and was now convinced that he’d never find happiness outside of The Pitts.
The red blots mixed in with the black background was like how his anger burned though his veins threatening to ignite and swallow him. The white though. The way it seemed to struggle to not be over taken by the black and the red… He had no idea what that was. White was innocence. White was purity. Neither were things that Tony felt anymore. Things that he’d long ago been robbedd of. Things that made him remember a blond haired blue eyed boy with the most perfect bubble butt and a sunshine smile. They certainly weren’t things that he could relate to himself though or the fucked-up situation that he’d found himself in.
“Not your usual fair, buachaill,” he heard a familiar voice observe as he felt someone sit next to him.
“Maybe not,” he agreed. His bitter anger slipping through despite his best intentions. “It’s how I feel though.”
“I’m almost afraid to ask what happened, if that reflects your current mood,” Padraig commented quietly, and Tony could feel the older man’s eyes on him.
Padraig McCormac was a friend and former schoolmate of Tony’s cousin Edward. The two men had been best friends since they met as children. When the Irishman decided to move to the states to open an art gallery, Tony made sure to introduce himself. He wanted to make sure Padraig knew that he had a friend he could depend on, if needed.
Before Tony could answer, a cough erupted from his chest wracking his body and making it difficult to breath. He probably should be in bed somewhere. He imagined that Brad would kick his ass if he found out that Tony had hopped on an airplane instead of taking the sick days that he had insisted he needed.
He felt a hand on his back rubbing soothing circles and heard the familiar lilt of Padraig’s voice as he called for someone to bring water. The cough subsided leaving Tony feel wrung out as he gasped for air to fill his lungs again while trying not to set off another cough.
“I should have never walked away from the FBI offer,” he croaked out. Tony’s elbows resting on his knees as the exhaustion made it impossible for him to sit up straight. “I should have never… I don’t know. I feel like ever since that fucking undercover job in Pittsburgh when I had to walk away from Brian and Justin nothing has gone right.”
“What happened, Tonio?” Padraig asked gently. Tony could feel someone approach them, and before he could answer heard a shocked gasp.
The sound of the familiar voice had Tony looking up and standing in a motion that normally he’d pull off with the grace of a cat. In his weakened state though he was left dizzy and would have fallen on his ass had Padraig not been so close.
“Christ, Tonio,” the gallery owner cursed as he helped him sit once more on the bench. “Don’t do such things. Edward will have my arse if you bust your head open in my gallery.”
“Tony, what happened to you? Are you sick?”
He would have tried to stand again if Padraig’s hand wasn’t holding him in place. “Justin?”
Quickly, the familiar blond hurried forward and handed Tony the bottle of water that his boss called for him to bring. Reaching out to him, he was happy when Justin stayed close and leaned into his side as he took a sip of water to try and calm the tickle in his throat. Closing his eyes, Tony leaned his head against Justin’s chest breathing in his familiar scent. He had no clue how one of the two men who held his heart came to work in the gallery of one of the only real friends Tony had, but he’d take it. He needed Justin so badly at that moment that he’d take anything he could get.
“I take it this is your Justin, Tonio?” Padraig asked drawing Tony’s attention away from the face he loved so much.
“You didn’t know?” Tony asked turning his face toward Padraig, but leaving his head rest on the younger man’s chest.
“No,” his friend said smiling. “You never told me his last name. I admit that there are times I’ve wondered because he reminded me of the young man that you told me about.”
Tony just nodded carefully before another cough came and this time it was Justin rubbing his back. When he was done, he squeezed his eyes shut tightly seeing the stars dancing on his closed eyelids.
“That doesn’t sound good, kiddo.” Padraig pointed out as Justin listened worried. “Does Bradly know you’re here?”
“No,” Tony admitted before sitting up reluctantly so he could take a drink of water. He held Justin’s hand though to make sure he didn’t move away.
“I had to get out of town though, Paddy,” Tony confessed. “Things are… I quit NCIS. Jesus, I should have never let that jackass boss of Fornell’s piss me off. I can’t…”
“What happened, Tonio,” the older man repeated hoping this time his friend would answer. In his head, he was already planning out what he was going to tell Edward, and wondering how quickly the Englishman would hightail it to the states.
“Fucking Gibbs decided that it would be a good idea to drive his car into the fucking river to get away from the bad guys with his dead daughter’s best friend in the passenger’s seat. Of course, there was no one else around, and I had trouble getting them out. So, I had to get the girl out first and then go back for the asshole. The prick couldn’t even be bothered to say thanks. When I asked him what the hell he was doing, he told me that he had things under control. Apparently killing yourself and the victim is SOP now. I mean, later after I quit he got a half a clue, but fuck Paddy. I can’t live like that anymore.”
Tony could feel another cough coming, but took a quick drink of his water hoping it would go away. He really didn’t want to be in the hospital, and knew he needed to get his prescription for the breathing treatment filled. In order to do that though, he had to figure out where he was staying. He was so tired, mentally as well as physically, and he just couldn’t take it all anymore. He just wanted to feel good and he didn’t even know what he needed.
He could feel Justin’s fingers running through his hair, and was pretty sure that he’d let out a soft moan of pleasure. He smelled so good, and it was hard to believe that he was really there. “Padraig, can I have the rest of the day? Tony can stay in my loft. I don’t think he should be alone in some random hotel room. He’s too sick for that.”
“I wholeheartedly agree, Justin,” Padraig agreed. “Take all the time you need with pay. I can handle things around here for a few days.”
Tony figured that he should argue that he was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. However, he was sick, and he was tired, and arguing felt something like cutting of one’s own nose to spite their face. He missed Justin. He wanted to be with Justin, and if getting close to the younger man again was his silver lining in this mess he’d take it.
That was how, later that evening, he found himself propped up in Justin’s bed suffering through a breathing treatment with the young artist sketching next to him. He’d taken a dose of antibiotics as soon as they’d gotten home, and between them and the movie playing softly in the background, he was getting sleepy. “Tony, you should rest.”
Turning his eyes to Justin’s, Tony scrunched up his face and then pointed to the breathing apparatus. Seeming to understand, Justin nodded, but set the sketchpad on his lap for a moment while he frowned at him. “But you’ll lie down and rest as soon as it’s done. Right?”
Once more he knew that he should argue. The ever-present sound of Senior in his head was spatting something about real men don’t allow themselves to be so weak. For once though, he ignored it. Tony figured that between the plague and his recent trip into the Potomac that he deserved a few days of weakness. So, knowing he couldn’t sleep, he nonetheless closed his eyes to rest. When Justin took the Nebulizer out of his hand, and removed the box and hosing from his lap, Tony didn’t think of anything else but letting himself finally fall the rest of the way into dreamland. And, if he felt a familiar weight on his chest just before he fell asleep, it was even better.
When Tony next awoke fully, the clock on the nightstand said 8:12 and from the light coming through the windows he guessed that was AM not PM. He vaguely remembered being prodded awake to take some more medicine, and eat some soup. He didn’t recall being terribly awake though. So, Justin must have done most of the hard work. He felt a little warm, but didn’t know if it was from the fever he’d had or the number of blankets that were piled up on the bed.
Feeling the need to pee, and not seeing Justin in the bedroom area that had screens around it for privacy, Tony got out of bed in search of the bathroom. Of course, as soon as he was vertical he was hit with a series of coughs, and by the time he was finished, Justin was in front of him frowning. “Why are you out of bed, or trying to get out at least?”
“Gotta pee,” Tony croaked and frowned hoping he didn’t lose his voice. He hated when that happened, but it was sounding likely if he didn’t watch it.
“Oh,” Justin replied and nodded. “Back corner of the loft. It’s the only room that’s walled off. Are you ok to go by yourself? Don’t close the door in case you fall.”
Tony stood again, smiling softly as he placed a kiss on Justin’s cheek. “Yes, mom.”
“Eww!” Justin shrieked playfully, and Tony laughed himself into another cough, but made it to the bathroom without falling over and breaking something. “I wanna do nasty sexy things to you. Please don’t bring your deceased mother into this. Necrophilia is not my thing. Gross.”
Tony was glad that there was a wall next to the toilet, otherwise between the laughing and the coughing he might have broken his neck. Once done, he decided that a shower sounded marvelous. “Hey, Jus, can I use your shower?”
“Of course!” The younger man said, and Tony guessed that he was coming his way. “Just don’t fall and hurt yourself. I’ll put a towel out. I store them out here ‘cause there’s no storage in there, but I have the best towels. You remember, I’m sure, how much of a towel snob Brian is.”
Tony turned on the shower, but stood with his jeans on until Justin came in with the towel. “You and Brian made it?”
Justin smiled almost shyly as he leaned a hip against the sink with his arms wrapped around the towel pressing it to his chest. “Well, it wasn’t always easy, and in fact a few times it was really fucking hard. Brian and I are both stubborn morons, and everything seems so much harder without you, but yeah. I think we both were committed to keeping together so that we were there when you came back to us. Much to Michael’s annoyance.”
“Good ol’ Mikey,” Tony said snickering before taking off his jeans and stepping into the shower letting loose a big cough once he got inside. He knew the steam would loosen some of the mucus in his chest. “Always there to inject some misery and pessimism into any situation.”
Justin giggled again and from the banging sound, he’d hopped up to sit on the counter, accidentally kicking the door in the process. “That’s him. He owns his own comic book store now and thinks he’s the shit because they elected him the head of their store council on the block or some shit. He’s forever going around now and telling people how to run their businesses. Like Brian and Emmett both weren’t loads more successful that Michael, and like the comic book store isn’t almost always on the brink of bankruptcy. One bad accident or bad sales month and he’d be screwed. Especially since he’s aggravated Brian enough that he’s sworn he’s cut the purse strings off for good this time. We’ll see though.”
“So, the Brian and Mikey show is going as strong as ever?” Tony asked after letting lose another deep cough, but spitting the phlegm that came up down into the drain at his feet. When there was a longer pause than he expected, he peeked out through the almost clear shower curtain to see Justin sitting there as if in thought with his nose wrinkled.
“I don’t know about that,” Justin conceded finally as he began kicking the cabinet doors making them bounce and bang. “He really did irritate Brian with all of this puffing up his own ability to run a business. He seems to forget that without Brian there would be no Red Cape Comics. Never mind the income that he still gets from Rage. Then there was the questionable book keeping.”
The last comment really drew Tony’s attention, and he poked his head out of the warmth of the shower into the colder air of the bathroom and glared at the younger man. “Explain these questionable book keeping issues.”
“I’m sure it’s not a big deal,” Justin tried only to get a glare that would impress even Gibbs in return.
“Justin, if it’s bugged you enough that you mentioned it to me, knowing what I do for a living, then it obviously is a big deal. So, I ask again. Please, explain these questionable book keeping practices Michael has developed.”
Justin sighed and banged on the cabinet doors a few more times before shifting to sit with his legs curled cross-legged on the vanity top. “I’ve learned a lot of things from Brian over the years. I think though the most useful is the business stuff he’s taught me. When we agreed that Michael would take care of the business end of things, I was still a stupid naive kid, and it didn’t ever occur to me that I couldn’t trust him. I don’t know if you knew that Rage was going to be made into a movie. Well, when that was going on, they wanted one of us out there, and Michael couldn’t go so I did. When I was there though I guess I kinda realized how popular Rage really was, and maybe for the first time understood how stupid I was being.
“I mean, things between me and Michael have never been what you call good. It isn’t like I expected him to cheat me, but I guess I’ve always been a realist and known it could happen. So, when I was in California I actually had a meeting with our publisher, and asked that they send me a copy of every invoice so that I could see how much was being printed and how much was being paid to them. It’s not as easy from there to tell exactly from there how much I should be getting. So, it still didn’t occur to me that what I was figuring could be inaccurate. It wasn’t until…”
Tony climbed out of the shower and quickly dried off before heading back to the bedroom dragging Justin with him. Once there, he dressed on some sweats and an old t shirt then climbed back into bed. “Until what?” He prodded once they were re-settled.
“I wandered into a comic shop not too far from my original apartment. It was a crap hole, but it was mine. I was thinking that maybe we could expand Rage into other cities and expand our market. Little did I know that Michael had already done that.”
“Rage was already on the shelves of that shop?”
Justin nodded before curling into Tony, tucking his head under the older man’s chin. “They went batshit when they realized who I was. Asked if I would be willing to do a signing and all that shit. The fucking comics are being sold for at least double what the printer charges us to print the fucking things. I just… I’ve not been home since then, and I don’t know how to tell Brian. So, I just…”
Tony sighed as he pressed his lips into Justin’s hair. Before he could speak, a cough came out and he turned his head coughing into a hand before finishing the young artist’s thought. “You sucked it up and kept your mouth shut like you always do. “How much do you think? How long has it been since you suspected?”
“Thousands and a few years,” Justin whispered obviously ashamed and worried about how Tony was going to react. Not willing to make it worse, he forced himself to stay calm outwardly.
“Why didn’t you ever go to Padraig? He would have helped you.”
“And known that I’m just some stupid little bitch who got taken by someone he thought should be his friend?” Justin spat back trying to sit up, but Tony wouldn’t let go and the younger man didn’t try too awfully hard. “Besides, what can I do? It isn’t as if I’m some big corporation or something.”
“No, but Rage is it’s own entity,” Tony said calmly.