Author: Katjandante PM
Tag to 7x14 'Masquerade.' Tony's inadvertent admission at the crime scene results in some revelations for McGee.Rated: Fiction K - English - Tony D. & Tim M. - Words: 2,183 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 57 - Follows: 4 - Published: 08-10-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6224302
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
AN: Although I've been writing for years, this is the first piece I've posted, so I hope everything is okay. Computers and I tend not to get along, so if things are screwy, let me know. Advice and constructive criticism would be much appreciated, seeing as I'm relatively new to this.
: Story takes place after 7x14, 'Masquerade.' Tony's slip of the tongue results in some revelations for McGee.
Tony's inadvertent admission at the crime scene last week had made Timothy McGee think. Really think. And he did not like what he came up with. He needed to talk to Tony, needed to make sure the other man knew Tim was there for him, if he wanted.
His opportunity came before he had the time to plan out exactly what he wanted to say, but Tim grabbed it anyway, having learned early in life that he who hesitates loses. This was not something he could afford to screw up.
He didn't have the same gut intuition or natural investigative skills or street smarts Tony did, but he had other strengths that complemented Tony's, and he knew his team-mate well enough after six years to be aware that something was wrong.
"Tony. Can I talk to you a minute?" Tim asked, approaching the older man, suddenly aware of the crushing weight he seemed to be carrying on his strong, broad shoulders.
"What is it, Tim?" Tony asked, the use of his first name suggesting Tim had caught the Senior Field Agent in the right mood to have this sort of conversation.
Tim walked the rest of the way over and perched on the inside edge of Tony's desk, facing him, and crossed his arms over his chest. Gibbs and Ziva were out following a lead, Abby was out bowling with the nuns, Palmer was studying for his Boards and Ducky was in the midst of an autopsy on a double homicide, so they weren't about to be disturbed any time soon.
"Are you okay?" Tim asked, the tone of his voice letting his colleague know this was a real question.
Tony eyed the younger man for a long moment, so long that Tim couldn't help but squirm a little under the appraising gaze. He knew Tony was carefully evaluating the situation, deciding what to say.
"I'm fine, thanks for asking, Probie." Tony offered up his trademark smile, not too overdone, with just the right balance of cheer and sombreness in his voice to be completely convincing. He was an expert.
It was a good thing, Tim thought, that he'd been working with Tony this long. And his enlightenment had been none too soon.
"I just wanted to say, you don't need to lie to me about seeing a psychologist" Tim said, falling silent after that. He knew if Tony didn't get the words of denial off his chest, the other man would never hear the rest of what Tim wanted to tell him.
"Oh, reeeeally?" Tony asked, drawing it out, eyes animated, wide smile, and Tim wondered if he should just head this off before it really got started. Maybe letting Tony talk had been a bad miscalculation on his part.
"I'm seeing a physiotherapist, Tim. You know what the difference is, don't you? One's for little Elf-Lords like you, and the other's for athletes, like me. And, you want to back off my desk a bit? You're creeping me out here, Probie."
Tim grabbed the opportunity when Tony took a breath. "And I wanted to add, that if you ever want to talk about it with someone who will, you know, actually listen, and who's been there, then, well . . ." Tim's voice trailed off and he shrugged. "I'm here."
And you've been there for me so many times, that it's about time I realised what you've done for me, for all of us, and started repaying it.
"Think you need to get your hearing checked, Probie, because as I remember it, I just told you I was going to a physiotherapist. You know, those people who help you get back in shape after an injury? Massage your body?" Tony leered, and now that Tim knew the truth, he could see the falseness of if.
How long had Tony been going on like this?
"I've been working with you for nearly seven years, Tony. I know when you're lying" Tim told him matter-of-factly.
"No, you don't" Tony replied bluntly, his face suddenly going blank, and Tim knew just how true that was. No matter what Ziva professed, there was no one here who knew when Tony was lying. If the Senior Field Agent didn't want them to know, they wouldn't know. Nobody had known the truth about Jeanne Benoit. And Tony hid his real self on a daily basis from them, the intelligent, insecure, compassionate, loyal investigator hidden by the frat-boy, dumb-jock, womanising rich-kid mask.
Except maybe Gibbs, who saw everything but chose to comment on only a tiny portion of what he knew.
"You're right. Sometimes I don't, because you're too damn good, and that scares me." Tim shifted closer. "But I think it's about time you found someone you can talk to. Anyone else who'd been through what you have the last few years would have broken down ages ago" Tim said conversationally.
A pause, in which Tony said nothing.
"You know, Agent Tommy is seeing a shrink" Tim said. It wasn't true, exactly. But he thought that maybe using their alter-egos would make Tony a little more willing to admit to this.
"Good for him" Tony snarked.
"It's about time, too. When I think of what he's been through in the last few years . . . well, he's stronger than he should have to be, but he's only human. Anyone else would have cracked years ago, but Tommy just keeps going on. It really is something."
Tony was quiet. Tim wasn't sure what to make of that, so he ploughed on.
"I mean, I don't even know where to start. With the plague and his partner being murdered right beside him."
Tony flinched, and his hand came up to rub at the cheek that Tim suddenly realised had been the one spattered with Kate's blood. So that was why Tony rubbed at it when he got upset.
"Or with the undercover op where he was tortured, and made a deal to save Officer Lisa's life, knowing full well it would cost him his own if Tibbs didn't pull off his perfectly-timed rescue. Or when he was framed for murder so perfectly Amy Sutton nearly sent her best friend to jail or worse. Or maybe with the explosion that cost Tibbs his memory and sent him off to Costa Rica, leaving Tommy in charge. I never did realise how crappy his team-mates treated him when Tibbs was gone" Tim commented, and he knew from the closed expression on Tony's face that this was hitting home.
"Or maybe the even crappier way everyone treated him when Tibbs came back. And then there was the undercover mission the Director sent him on, the way she used Tommy and another innocent woman to satisfy her own personal agenda with no thought whatsoever to the consequences. Tommy felt so guilty over his role in hurting Jean, that he never realised hers hadn't been the only heart broken. And then Jean came back and accused him of murdering her father, and once again Tommy was saved by the bell."
Listing it like this was taking forever.
"And then there was that disastrous trip to Vegas, where the Director ordered Tommy and Lisa off protective duty and orchestrated her own death, and Tommy ignored his gut because once burned, twice shy, and he learnt the hard way what getting involved in her personal missions cost a person. And then the new Director, Lance, came in and banished Tommy as an Agent Afloat, and that was bad.
"That was really bad, because Tommy blamed himself, and so far away from home and everyone who cared about him, even if they weren't being very nice about it, he wallowed, and he fell down a slippery slope when he started needing that tequila. And then he was finally brought back, not really any better, and Tibbs, the man he trusted more than anyone else in the world, admired and respected and looked up to, abused that trust, and was the third person to screw Tommy over badly, really badly. And he probably never even felt bad about it."
Tony's lips were pressed tightly together, and he had his face turned away from Tim, who hadn't expected Tony to allow this monologue unchecked.
"And then there was the innocent guy he sent to jail for three years, even though his entire team thought the guy was guilty. And then, the biggest betrayal of all, as Officer Lisa is suddenly caught between her two loyalties."
"Tim" Tony said softly, but now Tim thought he had to finish this.
"Because Tommy has taken the Marine motto up as his own. Semper fi. He'll do anything, anything for his team-mates, and he's taken an awful lot of hits for the team. But Officer Lisa accused him of some pretty terrible things, and Tommy never talked about what happened in Israel, but everyone knew it wasn't good, because he came back a changed man. Even the rescue mission that he put together and led and executed didn't fix it, couldn't, because something finally broke inside."
"Tim" Tony said again.
"Maybe it was then, when Tommy sought out someone to help him. I hope it was, because Tommy's been through a lot of crap, and he doesn't deserve it, and MacGregor would really love to see the old Tommy again. Not the painfully obvious mask, but the real Tommy, who teases his partners and plays tricks on them and annoys Tibbs and quotes movies. I mean, MacGregor knows that Tommy's grown up an awful lot, and matured into a highly capable agent who should have moved on years ago to something else, undercover ops or his own team, but something kept him here."
"It's between Tommy and Tibbs, I think, but I'm going to work it out. But after all that, there's no way Tommy can be okay, and MacGregor understands that sometimes pizza and movies, or Tibbs' boat and bourbon, or Amy's bowling nuns and clubbing just aren't enough to get past it all."
"You sure like to put your characters through the ringer, Tim" Tony said softly, his face hidden, voice soft and contemplative.
"Active imagination." Tim was surprised by how well this had gone. "Point is, Tony, MacGregor realised a while back, that it was high time he started treating Tommy with the respect he deserves. And that he needed to let Tommy know that he had his back as much as Tommy always has his. And that he was really glad Tommy was finally able to start sorting things out."
Tim's voice grew soft and earnest, because he needed Tony to truly hear this.
Tony's Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed hard, and Tim wondered if that was a trace of a tear he saw shining on the chiselled cheekbone. "Tell Agent MacGregor thanks for that. And that he's a good friend."
"Tell Tommy that MacGregor appreciates that."
"And tell him that Tommy will let him know when he needs to take him up on that offer. MacGregor owes him a bunch of drinks anyway."
The glint was back in Tony's eye, and the man was looking at him again, and Tim smiled despite the protest that rose to his lips. "What? Since when!" he demanded.
Tony shrugged. "Since Tommy said he did. Tommy is Senior Field Agent, after all." The grin was back too, and there was something different about it that Tim hadn't seen for a long time.
"How come that only ever applies when it'll benefit you?" Tim grumbled, stumbling as Tony shoved his butt off the desk ledge.
"Because I'm the Senior Field Agent" Tony grinned, and Tim was pleased at how they'd slipped back into themselves, not needing the characters anymore.
"Oh, Tim?" Tony called as he made his way back to his own desk and the much more comfortable chair.
Tim stopped and turned. "Yeah?"
The smile faded, and a haunted look passed briefly over Tony's eyes, gone so fast Tim wondered if he'd imagined it. "Thanks" he said simply.
Tim held his gaze for a moment, and replied in kind with a simple nod.
Agent Tommy was going to be okay after all.