Title: A Storm is Threatening
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Patrick Sheppard, Jason Hayes, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Abby Sciuto, Brief Appearance by Sonny Quinn
Relationships: Tony DiNozzo/Jason Hayes
Warnings: Slurs Directed at Military Members, Anti-Abby Sciuto
Tags: Altered Background for Tony DiNozzo, Alternate Timeline for SEAL Team, NCIS Ep Dead Air Coda, Fix-It, Trope Bingo 2020, Betrayal
Notes: Song title is from Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones. There is a slur used in the second half of this fic toward a military member. Tony is a Sheppard in this story. How that came to be will (hopefully) be explained in more detail anther fic. This story was written for Trope Bingo on Just Write and is the answer to my Friends to Enemies square. Lastly, I am ignoring SEAL Team show timeline mostly and moving it back almost a decade to better line up the two shows.
Summary: When the case that left Tony in the field without backup got wrapped up, Antony Sheppard Paddington knew that there were going to have to be consequences. He also knew that consequences meant changes in the team’s relationships. What he didn’t expect was to walk out at the end with a new enemy and for that person to have once been one of his best friends. But, between Jason Hayes and Patrick Sheppard, Tony had learned what family really meant, and Abby’s definition just wasn’t it.
A Storm is Threatening
Antony Sheppard Paddington made it all the way to the elevator of the condo he shared with his father Patrick Sheppard when he ran out of steam. He’d managed to hit the button for their top floor penthouse condo but then quickly sank down to sit on the elevator floor with his back resting against the wall. He couldn’t believe that it happened. His mind was just fully coming to accept what his partners had done in Royal Woods. The fact that his throat burned and was exhausted from a combination of the long hours spent on the case and the effects of just generally not feeling good were certainly contributing to things.
He’d tried to push the panic and feeling of betrayal to the back of his consciousness long enough to resolve the case. Now that it was done and the bad guys in jail though, his mind wouldn’t let him disregard the betrayal any longer. McGee and Ziva had tuned off the radio to his comms while he had been in the field chasing a domestic terrorist. Being the SFA, it had been easy to get a copy of the recorded audio to use for his reports. Hearing the gap in sound that went on for hours had been devastating. Having Abby wave it off with an eyeroll and a look like Tony was the problem had only added to his devastation.
He’d felt the elevator stop at their floor, but had his eyes closed trying to get his brain back in gear. Because of that, he only heard the elevator doors closing and when he felt it moving again buried his fingers in his hair frustrated. His throat burned, and he could feel himself wheezing slightly, which always added to his frustration and gave him a bit of anxiety. Nightmares of blue lights would haunt his dreams that night and his partner wouldn’t be there to keep them at bay. He longed for Jason, but his partner was currently on a mission Tony wasn’t read in on.
Tony met then Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Hayes back when he was working with Philadelphia PD. Philadelphia just happened to be Jason’s hometown, and the two had met at an out of the way bar while Jason has been visiting family. Jason at the time had still been married to his best friend Alana, whom he’d known since he was 9 years old. The two continued to share a close bond and friendship that Tony envied but had no issues with, and not just because of the two children that they shared.
Jason was Bisexual but tended to lean more towards men in his sexual preferences. However, because of his intense love and dedication for being a Navy SEAL, he’d shoved down his desires in order to be able to protect his country and do the job he loved. When the two men met however, there had been an attraction neither could deny despite the fact that the timing had been horrible on both their parts.
Being anything but a straight male in the military was a huge no-no, and Tony had been about to go into a year long undercover assignment to bring down a mob family. Then there was the fact that Jason was married, and neither was the type of man to cheat. In the end they’d decided to walk away as friends, and if things were supposed to evolve, they would. Jason had some big decisions to make and a conversation to have with his wife. Just the fact that he was attracted to someone strongly enough that the thought of risking his career even entered his mind told Jason that he needed to make changes.
Over the course of the approximate 13 years since they met, their relationship had certainly shifted from friends to a relationship they couldn’t deny but couldn’t afford to make public due to DADT still being a thing. Jason had indeed gotten a divorce. It had been done quietly and for almost a decade the only thing that changed was the marriage was no more. When Jason was home, he lived with his ex-wife and his children. Alana took the news well. It wasn’t like she had been unaware of Jason’s bisexuality and she’d known from the start that their relationship was more like close friends who wanted children than a forever kind of love.
By the time neither Jason nor Tony could deny their feelings, Alana was invested in someone new, and Jason was ready to get a place of his own. So, the then newly promoted Master Chief had moved out, getting a home where he could have the kids over and Tony could be comfortable in when he came to visit. The old family home was sold, and Alana got a new home for herself and the kids.
Within a year her new boyfriend had moved in and Jason couldn’t help but really like the former Marine. He certainly felt better knowing someone of Mitchell Cutler’s skill was watching over his family when he wasn’t there. Not to mention, Mitch was just a good dude who was clear from the beginning about understanding his position within the family.
Jason and Tony didn’t see each other a lot but made the most of it when they could be together. Tony did his part in hiding their relationship by keeping up his playboy act, and Jason got a kick out of all the different names and personalities his partner came up for him. There weren’t a lot of people that knew about the relationship outside of their two families. Maybe two or three people total. Jason’s SIC Ray Perry knew because Jason trusted him like as much as he trusted his own flesh and blood.
Jimmy Palmer knew because he was the only person at NCIS that Tony trusted without question and he felt like someone needed to know just in case something happened to him, and his family wasn’t available. That was it though. Both men hated keeping such a big secret but understood the consequences if they didn’t. At times, Tony had wondered if his career was worth the distance from DC to Virginia Beach where Jason lived.
Before that day though, the answer had always been yes. In that moment though, Tony wasn’t so sure, and as he sat on the elevator floor, he couldn’t help but think the time to move on from NCIS had come, even if DADT wasn’t gone yet. There was maybe nothing in the world that Tony needed more than to be able to have a real public relationship with the man he loved, but because of a bunch of homophobic assholes, he couldn’t.
“Tony? Son, what’s wrong? What are you doing on the floor?”
Lifting his gaze, Tony looked up to see his father standing over him looking worried. Shaking his head to try and get his shit together. Tony accepted his father’s hand and let the older man help him up. “Sorry,” Tony whispered and winced at the pain in his throat. Reaching out, he hit the button for the penthouse floor again, as his father studied him.
Patrick Sheppard had been a surprise, one of the few good things to come from Tony’s run-in with the plague. Somehow in the vast array of testing they’d run something had triggered a need for further and different testing to be done. The end result was that when Gibbs gave him the order not to die, it had been echoed by the father Tony had always longed for. So much had changed in Tony’s life when Patrick Sheppard stepped into it and refused to leave. Not that Tony wanted him to, because honestly, anything that made him not really be Anthony DiNozzo Senior’s son was just fine in his book.
Having the Sheppard clan in his life hadn’t been something he’d gotten used to as easy as a light turned on in a dark room. The family patriarch though had been willing to give it as much time as Tony needed, and over the years the NCIS SFA had gotten used to having a father and three brothers who loved him and worried about him. Having two of his three brothers in the military made Tony’s secret relationship tricky, but they’d agreed that at least their family needed to know. When the youngest Sheppard, Aiden, had joined the Navy and then successfully completed SEAL training, Jason had been extra stressed. Aiden however made it clear that there wasn’t no-damned-body that was getting the truth from him. So, not to sweat. “Family first, man,” was all he’d said and that seemed to be enough for Jason.
When the elevator stopped again, Tony let his father lead him off and into the penthouse where he was ordered to sit on one of the couches. The request for some hot tea was barely out of Tony’s mouth before his father was off to the kitchen to make some giving the son more time to get over his disbelief over the clusterfuck they were in.
“Now, tell me what happened,” Patrick ordered handing Tony the tea and after taking a sip he explained what happened leaving out as much case detail as he could.
“They did what? Were you working that DJ’s death? Wasn’t that rumored to be terrorists?” Patrick asked spitting out one angry question after the other.
“You’re not supposed to know things like that,” Tony croaked with a sigh and Patrick waved a hand in the air.
“It was just a guess,” the father said sitting back with enough force he bounced slightly in his chair. “It seems the kind of case your team would work, and I heard talk on the hill this week when I was there that NCIS was investigating. I’ve tried to stay out of your career Antony, but I don’t think I can keep silent any longer. If they’re blatantly and without regret endangering your life, I can’t stay out of it any longer. Does Gibbs know?”
Tony shrugged sipping on the hot tea enjoying the warmth on his throat. “I sent him an email with a copy of the audio. I probably should have talked to him, but my throat isn’t up to the screaming match I expect it to be. Don’t worry about the other stuff. You aren’t saying anything I don’t already know, or Jason won’t say at the top of his lungs when he hears.”
“Can you blame him?” Patrick questioned and Tony quickly shook his head.
“No, because if someone on his team left him unprotected deliberately, I’d pull every marker I had and probably some of yours to get the fucker buried in the deepest darkest hole I don’t know exist. Even if that means finding one of those off the book’s ones in that Super-Duper Top-Secret Program John works for that I pretend I don’t know about. You wanna know what’s really fucked up?”
Patrick just arched his eyebrow then sat quietly waiting until Tony felt like he could talk again. Even though it took Tony draining his tea and going for another, bringing it back to his couch seat before continuing. “I’m not surprised by Ziva, at all. I mean, I’m not stupid, and I’ve never fully agreed with her placement on the team. She certainly never warmed up to me when it became clear I wasn’t going to buy her little seduction routine. I may have overlooked it eventually, but I never fully accepted it despite how I made it look.
“McGee just can’t get over his own preconceptions. There was a brief period when Ziva was gone that I thought we’d finally get over that hill, but the second that she returned that all went out the window. He’ll never get over wanting to be one of the cool kids to understand a good leader isn’t so easily manipulated by beautiful women. Abby though…”
Tony trailed off and ran hands through his hair and, when he felt someone sit next to him, looked to his left. When Patrick placed an arm around his shoulders Tony leaned into the man’s touch. He knew some people thought it odd that he lived with his father. Heaven only knew McGee and Ziva had used it to give him enough shit, but it was times like this when Tony knew why he’d agreed. It had taken a couple years of therapy, but by the time Patrick decided he needed a new home in the DC area, Tony was ready to be open about the fact that he wanted his only living parent in his life as much as possible.
“I thought Abby was my friend,” Tony forced out then drank more tea at Patrick’s prompting. “I know things have been off ever since Gibbs’ little Mexican siesta, but to just overlook this and play it off like I’m being some kind of a poor sport. Dad, she actually told me I needed to grow up. She told me that if I couldn’t take a joke, I shouldn’t pull so many pranks. Damnit, I rarely ever do that stuff anymore. Even when I did, I would never pull one in the field. I could have died! How can she not… I don’t understand. What did I do to make them devalue my life so much.”
“You didn’t do anything except your job. Just like you always have. All of my boys are the best at what they do, including you. I don’t want to place more pressure on you, son, but it’s well past time you moved on from that team. I know you’ve lingered out of some sense that you owe Gibbs something, but my son, that dept has more than been paid, if it ever existed.
“Over the years since I’ve found you, I’ve watched you become an even more amazing man. The problem is from what I’ve seen Gibbs and the others around you have gone in exactly the opposite direction. I know you think he’s never fully recovered from his last bout of amnesia, but that isn’t on you. It wasn’t when he first came back, and it isn’t now. You have more options than you realize. There are people who have literally just been waiting on you to get tired of NCIS for years so they can offer you a job. That includes that Super-Duper Top-Secret Project of your brother’s.”
“I won’t leave Jason behind. Part of the point of leaving the MCRT would be to be closer to Jason, even if we still have to pretend.”
Patrick smiled and Tony narrowed his eyes suspiciously at his father. “Trust me when I say those that need to know are aware that to get you they need to take Bravo team, too. It was expressed to me that it would be no hardship to pull the Navy’s top SEAL team into the project. Before you start panicking, stop. No one knows anything definitely, but even if they did… Son, this project actually doesn’t give a shit about those types of things. Besides, I have been told DADT will be done by the end of next year. The President is working on a repeal right now. I need to know. Are you honestly thinking of leaving this time?”
“I think I have to, dad,” Tony whispered. His voice almost gone and his energy equally low, which is the excuse he told himself for why he had leaned against his father. Closing his eyes to let himself rest for just a moment, Tony was just about asleep when he felt a kiss pressed to the top of his head. He thought maybe he should protest. After all, he wasn’t a child, but after the last few days, he thought to himself that maybe it was just what he needed.
While things were being investigated in the aftermath of Ziva and McGee turning off the sound to Tony’s coms, Tony had taken some time off and headed to Virginia Beach. It was decided by those higher on the totem pole than Vance that Tony might need somewhere safe to ride out the storm that would be Eli David. Especially when they found out that Ziva had been committing espionage sending classified NCIS information to her father, and despite her and Vance’s claims not all of the information was limited to cases that both agencies were working on.
Being the son of a billionaire meant that none of it was getting swept under the rug, and there would be consequences for people’s actions or Patrick Sheppard would make his displeasure known. That didn’t mean though that people weren’t aware that Tony would be the singular focus of Eli David’s anger and angst and being surrounded by a team of highly trained SEALs was agreed to be just the place for Special Agent Antony Paddington. By the time the decision that Tony needed protection was made, Bravo Team was back in the US from their mission, and Lt. Commander Blackburn had quickly agreed to the pseudo protection detail.
For his part, Tony didn’t even think about arguing. He got to spend time with Jason, and his team, including the newest member Clay Spencer, and one of the Navy’s Master Chief’s got to protect someone that he considered his, even if most didn’t understand just how intimate that ownership was. Fortunately, Tony considered Jason and the team as much his as he was Jason’s, so it all worked out in the end. While he was there, an Air Force General named Jack O’Neill came to visit Tony and the members of Bravo Team including Lt. Col. Blackburn and Ensign Davis about joining his program. By the time Gen. O’Neill went back to his base, he had signed NDA’s from every member of Bravo team and one Very Special Agent from NCIS, a brand new SEAL Team for the SGC, and an investigator for Homeworld Command.
When Tony finally saw his father again after that meeting, he admitted that maybe he should have let them read him in on the secret all those years ago. Because, now knowing that his half brother had been in another galaxy all this time was making Tony a little crazy, and he quietly admitted the decision to leave would have been made much sooner had he agreed to his father’s pleas to let him be read in.
So, by the time Tony got back to NCIS to clear out his things, Tony was no longer a Very Special Agent from NCIS and instead a Very Special Agent from Homeland Security who was really the lead investigator for Homeworld Command under the direction of his former boss Tom Morrow and pleased as punch to be back underneath what he considered the last trustworthy person in DC.
Of course, not everyone was happy about the change. Eli David was still out for vengeance for not only the death of his operator but what he saw as the illegal imprisonment of his daughter. Things with Ziva were looking about as bleak as they could get, and frankly Tony didn’t feel the least bit bad for her. From the start Patrick had made his feelings about having a Mossad Officer on the MCRT known, but while Tony hadn’t liked the placement, he had eventually agreed to give it a chance as long as certain conditions were being met. Now, it seemed that none of those conditions had happened, and everything Tony had seen or heard had either been a lie or an illusion. So, Ziva was going to end up in jail, and Tony was feeling rather good about that fact.
Tim McGee wasn’t in quite as much trouble as Ziva, but his time at NCIS was done and his dream of ending up in the director’s chair was very definitely over. Not only would he never end up as the NCIS Director, he’d never work for another federal agency again. Tony struggled over Tim’s fate, but in the end, it had been Jason who helped Tony straighten out his heart and his mind to a point where Tony could live with what had happened. There was really no excuse for Tim’s actions.
Not only was he a goddamned federal agent, but his father was an Admiral in the Navy. So, no matter how stained their relationship was, Jason pointed out that McGee should have at least some concept of teamwork and what it meant to watch your partner’s back. In the end, Tony had a quiet conversation with McGee that was maybe not so quiet at times, and when he was done, Tony felt he could live with how their professional relationship ended.
Ducky and Jimmy had been easy, as Tony had no intention of breaking ties with either man. Granted, most of their communication would from that point forward be mostly over the phone or email, but they would still stay in touch, and Tony made it clear he wasn’t more than a phone call away if they needed his help. The last two people, however, were much harder, and the reason they’d been left for last. Which was why he was currently standing in Gibbs’ basement listening to Abby spew her venom at him putting all of the blame on Tony and taking none of the responsibility for her own actions that lead to her own punishment.
When the IG’s office found out that not only had Abby overlooked the huge transgression committed by McGee and Ziva, but then also assisted in covering it up by attempting to alter the master recording so that the silent parts and the end conversation never happened, they’d been livid. Not only did it put the current case in jeopardy if anyone found out what she’d tried to do, but it put every case that she’d ever touched in jeopardy. It cast a shadow of doubt on every case, every piece of evidence that she’d ever worked on or touched during her time at NCIS.
The only thing that would save that case, was Tony’s actions and instincts when he’d made copies of the master files. Not trusting Ziva and especially McGee not to hack into the system and do something to the master copies, Tony used some of the computer skills he’d learned over the years to protect the files from being altered and replaced them with a very good copy. Somehow when Abby got around to doing her hack job on the files, she hadn’t noticed that she wasn’t altering the master, but just a copy and left things at that. JAG would still have to do some fancy footwork, but things wouldn’t be as bad as they could be.
Abby was still in deep shit though, and her future was in serious jeopardy. At the very least a demotion would be in her future. She’d certainly no longer be allowed to have her own lab, and if somehow, she managed to keep her job at NCIS, everything she did from that point forward would be highly scrutinized. Chances were though that it would be suggested that she leave NCIS and take up one of the many offers she got every year, and jail would be avoided if she just kept her mouth shut. She wasn’t good at that last part though, so Tony had his doubts.
“Are you paying attention to me, Tony?” Abby screeched stomping her foot, and Tony took a deep breath as he pulled himself out of his own head and refocused on the child in a woman’s body in front of him.
“No, not really,” Tony finally admitted with a shrug, and barely resisted the urge to smile when Jason snorted amused from his position behind him.
“You keep your mouth shut you baby murderer! You shouldn’t even be here! This is a family matter and you aren’t family.” Abby spewed hatefully and Tony very quickly straightened from his spot leaning against the stair railing.
“Hey!” He snapped angrily and took a step forward before forcing himself to stop. “Don’t you dare turn your hateful bullshit on him. I know it’s really hard for you to act like an adult, Abby, but try to pretend you aren’t some toddler who hasn’t had her nap. You caused your current situation. You had a choice. You chose to do the wrong thing instead of doing your job. You don’t get to take your bullshit out on one of the men who now have to protect me to make sure Eli David doesn’t cap my ass.”
“It was family business,” Abby shouted back stomping her foot again and flailing her arms angrily. “I did exactly what I was supposed to! I protected Ziva and McGee, and you’re the one who needs to grow up Mr. I-can-play-jokes-on-people-whenever-I-want-but-can’t-take-them.
“You know Tony you used to be a good person then you let that… that father imposter infect you with his scumminess and confuse you about who your real family is. You’re so greedy and disgusting. Your poor father, the way you treat Senior is pathetic. Everything he says about you is right. You’re nothing but some cheap carbon copy and not worth being the son of an honorable man like him. Your gross and a liar and a pathetic excuse of a man and a coward too!
“If Ziva’s father does do something to you, you’ll deserve everything you get and I hope he does really bad things to your family and those pathetic creeps protecting you, too. You all deserve horrible things to happen to you. Tell ‘em Gibbs! Tell ‘em what they’re gonna get for treating us like this!”
“Wow,” Tony breathed as he finally was forced to come to terms with what was going on. There weren’t a lot of people in the world that Tony felt true enemy level contempt for. The man who had pretended to be his father was one. Eli David was definitely another. Tony thought he might be as close as Tony could get to having an arch-nemesis. Trent Kort was close, but Tony mostly thought he was slimy and pathetic and didn’t want to waste time and energy on the man. There were plenty of people that Tony hated, but enemy level contempt… soul deep loathing for someone wasn’t something he felt often, and he never imagined that Abby would be on that list, but…
“There are so many things wrong with what you just said I don’t even know where to start,” Tony said in this calm near monotone voice that made Jason move down the stairs a couple more steps and move to Tony’s side where he rested a hand on Tony’s shoulder.
“Normally, I don’t enjoy name calling, but I can’t help but notice that if anyone is pathetic here, Abigail Sciuto, it’s you. You’re a 40-something year old woman who acts like she’s 15 or less most of the time. You stomp your foot, throw temper tantrums, and hit people when you don’t get your way. You have no concept of professional behavior. You throw around words like family, but then don’t honor anyone else’s family if you choose not to recognize it. You are so easily manipulated that I don’t know how someone hasn’t turned you and used you against NCIS yet. Although when you call a highly decorated and respected Navy SEAL like Master Chief Hayes a baby killer, it makes me question who has been whispering in your ear.
“What happened wasn’t family business, and you don’t get to just disregard the law when it suits you. NCIS is a federal investigation agency serving the men and woman in the US Navy and Marines. We were chasing terrorists and at one point kicked around the idea that it was an Al-Qaeda terrorist cell. I have never in my over 15 years in law enforcement played a joke on anyone when we were in the field in the middle of a case. I certainly have never left my partner without backup because I was irritated that they were doing their job. Frankly, I shouldn’t even have to explain any of this to you.”
Tony huffed and shook his head, looking briefly to Gibbs, but couldn’t tell what his now former boss was thinking. So, after only a brief glance, he shifted his gaze back to Abby and continued. “You used to be a wonderful and loving person. Then, at some point you went off the rails. I think it started with Kate. God only knows she had issues of her own, and I think she got in your head in all the wrong ways. Then she was killed and instead of coping and working through it you just pretended that it didn’t happen. You never deal with anything. You just stomp your foot and demand that someone else fixes it even if you’re the one who made the mistake.
“Maybe at one point, I would have jumped and danced to your tune, or indulged you, but little girl those days are long gone. Not only do I not have any intention to making any of this go away, I fully support everything coming your way, as well as Ziva’s and McGee’s. I think too many people on and around the MCRT lost track of why we are here. You all forgot that you’re not above the law, and you have to abide by the same rules as the people we put away. I didn’t realize how hard it’s been to try to keep on the right side of the line around you people until I realized I was free of you all.”
“Oh give me a break, you and your pity party,” Abby sneered, and Gibbs huffed and walked to his workbench sitting heavily on the stool.
“Abby, shut up,” he said quietly, and when she gawked at the older man surprised, Tony took advantage and continued on.
“You know, one time I would have called you not just friend, but sister. I thought you were someone who would be in my life forever. Then you stopped being a free-loving, kindhearted spirit and became a child and a bully. The only person you care about is yourself and by extension Gibbs because he indulges your every whim. I never imagined the day would come when you would go on my list of people that I feel absolute soul sucking hatred for, but there you are on the list of enemies right there with Senior and Eli David. Not that I think that will bother you because it seems you are quite fond of both of them. I guess that tells me everything I need to know about what kind of person you are.”
“Gibbs!” Abby snapped and stomped over to the man growled at him. “Are you just gonna let him talk to me like that? He needs to answer for what he’s done! Why aren’t you yelling at him?”
“Jesus Christ, Abby, enough,” Gibbs finally barked and then seemed to almost wilt in front of Tony’s eyes. “Enough,” he repeated much quieter.
“What exactly do you want me to say? That he’s right? Cause I sure as hell can’t argue with him. As much as I would like to, it has been pointed out to me in precise detail just how many ways I contributed to this FUBAR. You can’t seem to grasp the concept that you aren’t the only one in this room effected but you are the only one who doesn’t understand that they fucked up. I can’t protect you because I have no ability to do it anymore, and even if I had, frankly, after hearing what you called the Master Chief I wouldn’t. It’s no secret that I’ve looked at you like a daughter for years, but now, I honest to God don’t think that’s a mantel I wanna carry anymore. I think maybe that you need to leave.”
“What!” She screeched again and whirled around to glare at Tony. “Look what you’ve done! You broke Gibbs!”
“Jesus Christ,” Jason cursed and then turned his head to holler up the stairs for one of the men stationed upstairs. “Bravo Three get down here and take this woman outside. Gunnery Sergeant Gibbs has requested she vacate the premises, and it appears she’ll need some help.”
“Gladly,” Sonny Quinn muttered as he hurried down the stairs and headed to Abby’s side. Quinn wasn’t the tallest guy on the team, but he might be the buffest and was definitely the strongest. “Now ma’am, we can do this one of two ways. You can leave peacefully, and I will escort you to your vehicle, or you can give up your right to leave of your own accord. If you do that, I will fling you over my shoulder, carry you out, and dump your spoiled ass on the lawn for all the neighbors to gawk at. Decision is yours. Frankly, I don’t care either way, being a baby killer and all.”
“You’ll regret this, DiNozzo!” Abby snapped stomping up to him before Sonny grabbed her arm to steer her away. “Someday all these people will abandon you, that so-called family if yours will abandon you and when that happens, I’m gonna laugh in your face.”
“I do believe his last name is Paddington ma’am,” Sonny commented as Abby yanked out of his grip. Since she was moving the direction he wanted, the SEAL let it go and just followed her sniping at her the whole way. “I know names are hard for some people. Although, you’d think as long as y’all have worked together you’d at leas’ know the man’s damn name by now. Guess you jus’ got lucky gettin’ that job of yours, huh? ‘Cause you don’t seem all that bright to me.”
Tony’s lips twitched as he listened to the conversation as long as he could. Tony liked all of Jason’s team, and couldn’t wait until they could be completely and safely honest with them about his and Jason’s relationship. Watching Gibbs, Tony felt his amusement drain away as he studied his former boss. In this situation, Gibbs actually hadn’t done anything wrong. Tony hadn’t honestly given him the chance to. The email he’d sent to Gibbs had also been sent to Director Vance, the IG’s office and the current head of JAG. He’d simply had no faith that Gibbs would do the right thing, and maybe that was the most damning thing of all.
Gibbs wasn’t an enemy like Abby was now. He was just… Well, Tony thought that right then he was pretty apathetic toward the man and knowing that he felt that way toward someone he’d held such respect for at one time hurt. The thing was that Tony didn’t know what to do about it if he wanted to do anything at all.
“I’m gonna retire,” Gibbs said quietly, and Tony startled for a second not having expected the man to speak. “Got a couple of options that I’m mulling over, but none of ‘em will be doing this kinda work anymore. Certainly, won’t be leading anyone ever again. It was pointed out to me that I’m a pretty crap leader and suggested that the MCRT would have been better off if I hadn’t returned from Mexico and Jenny had just let you do what you wanted. I know it doesn’t mean anything, but I’m sorry.”
“Might not mean as much as it would have at one point in our past, but that doesn’t mean it means nothing, Boss,” Tony offered as he sighed and looked over his shoulder. “I assume you heard I got a job with Morrow. I won’t be around much, but that doesn’t mean I won’t answer if you call. I don’t… You’re not in the same category as Abby, Boss. I’m not… I’m not… things aren’t how they were before… well before Kate’s was murdered. That doesn’t mean that maybe someday they can’t be something different but still good. I’ll leave that up to you to decide though. I think I’ve done enough anticipating and jumping to please you. You decide what you want, you call me, and I’ll decide if I agree.
“Until then, it’s been an honor boss. No matter how it ended, I learned a lot from you and I’ll never forget that.”
Gibbs nodded and turned his gaze to Master Chief Hayes. “You take care of him. He’s yours now. I expect you to take care of him as best as you can.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Jason offered stiffly, and Gibbs just offered a smile and a shrug. “I didn’t ask anything and certainly don’t want you to tell me something. I’m just saying. He’s the most loyal person I have ever met, and I fucked that up by betraying his trust and bringing people into his world who shit all over that trust. Do a better job than I have.”
“Yes sir, Gunny,” Hayes replied before nudging Tony toward the staircase. After another long look, the former SFA left letting Jason and Clay Spencer who was standing in the living room, follow him outside where he saw Abby’s car was gone.
“You ok?” Jason asked quietly nudging Tony again to keep moving toward Jason’s truck. Tony waved his hand at Sonny and Clay as they called their intention to follow but waited until he was inside the cab to answer.
“I think so?” Tony offered but reached out for Jason’s hand and was happy when it was taken once the Truck was in motion heading back toward the condo where the four were staying the night. “I just, I can’t believe that it’s come to this. I honestly don’t think I ever expected anything different from Ziva. McGee never had a chance of getting where he wanted to go. I thought for a bit he’d be a good agent, but he’s wrapped himself up too tightly in a childhood where he was bullied to grow from that. Gibbs is Gibbs. Nothing he does surprises me, although I’ll be honest in that I expected him to throw the mother of all fits about this. I’m curious who gave him this coming to Jesus meeting that seems to have happened. Abby though…”
“I’m so fucking angry at her, Jason, and so many other ugly things on top of that. I know things haven’t been the way they used to, but I still thought of her as my friend. Maybe not sister anymore, but friend and I was ok with that. If I hadn’t found you and if I hadn’t found out what a real family was from the Sheppards, maybe this whole situation would have gone differently. Maybe I would have been too scared of losing everything to speak up. Never thought I’d walk out of that basement with a new enemy though. That’s… I’m gonna have to process that.”
“So, that’s real then? Not gonna write it off in the morning as just angry words?” Jason asked and Tony could tell from his tone his partner was just curious.
“She called you a baby killer, Jason. That’s… Its ugly and disrespectful for anyone but coming from someone who has worked with the military for more than a decade, it’s something I just can’t forgive. She knew what she was saying and used that slur intentionally. You’re the love of my goddamned life, but besides that you’re everything a SEAL should be and exactly the person I want keeping this country safe.
“I work every day of my goddamned life to defend people just like you and for her to shit all over that because she’s too childish to accept the consequences of her actions is… Yeah, babe, I mean it, but I have no doubt she’s gonna try and cause us all some trouble. I’m gonna talk to Patrick the second we get to the condo about making sure the team’s personal digital lives are safe. She tries to fuck with you guys and she’s gonna find herself in a world of hurt.”
“OK,” Jason agreed easily knowing by now what battles to fight, and what ones to not even attempt. He certainly wasn’t going to argue over something that would help keep his team and their families safe off the battlefield, and he trusted Patrick Sheppard to do that.
Jason Hayes had been fighting long enough to know what an enemy was and when he looked at Abigail Sciuto in that basement, he saw a serious threat being created. Despite Sonny’s words, Jason knew she wasn’t stupid, and knew his friend just said it to piss her off. Tony now had a highly intelligent and vindictive woman out for his blood with the means to create trouble and the backing of people like Anthony DiNozzo Senior and Eli David on her side, if she wished.
Kissing Tony’s hand once more, Jason let go briefly to turn the radio on quietly to give them some music to listen to. “Whatever needs to be done to keep us all safe that includes you, Paddington. I’m sure as hell not gonna take any enemy lightly. I just know if Ms. Sciuto comes after you, she’ll find all of Bravo Team standing at your back.”
“I am a lucky man,” Tony said softly, smiling at the man he loved before letting himself get caught up in the song, singing Gimme Shelter along with Mick. He might have one more enemy on his list, but Tony had never felt so safe in his life, and he’d use ever resource he had including all those that came with his new position as investigator for Homeworld Security to keep them all safe. If Abby came after anyone that he considered his, she was going to find out just why that list was so short, and what it meant to be his enemy.