A/N: I own nothing. This story was much longer than I intended it to be…oops :) No beta, so could be a little disjointed.
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
Tony walked into the office with his patented smile. If he didn't smile then it would be obvious something was wrong. "How you doing Tony?" Ziva asked not looking at him.
"I am beautiful," he said as a double meaning just so Ziva would roll her eyes.
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
Ziva didn't see through the mask. Maybe if she looked deep enough into his eyes she would have. She would have seen how broken and upset he was. Tony thought to himself. DiNozzo knew her mask as well. Her mask was keeping a wall around her heart. Not letting anyone in wouldn't let her get hurt. Tony had never tried that mask on for size. It was too hard for him to not let himself love and be loved. Being caring and protective was in his nature.
This debt we pay to human guile;
Deceit, that's what was wrong with the world he thought. He was deceiving Ziva by making her believe that today was any other day. He used the deception so she wouldn't be clued into the tragic events from the day before.
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
Tony wore his mischievous grin as threw a paper ball at McGee as he walked past the desk. McGee simply looked at him. McGee's mask was less obvious. He was, for the most part, an open book, but he did have a tendency to hide behind logic. He believed that all humans had patterns and could be figured out by some kind of math formula. He was dead wrong, of course. DiNozzo wondered how all of McGee's math and computer knowledge didn't give him an edge on seeing past his own mask.
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
"McGeek!" he greeted.
"Tony," McGee replied before sitting down at his desk.
"How are you today?"
"I left my wallet at home. Now I won't get lunch," he whined.
Tony gave him ten dollars.
"Thanks Tony, I'll pay you back tomorrow."
"No need probie. I know how cranky you get when you have no food."
That got an embarrassed smile out of Tim and a small laugh from Ziva.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Tony didn't know why he was hiding his anger. He wondered what would happen if he had walked into the office and told Ziva that he was angry, hurt, and felt like he was going crazy. All these conflicting emotions churning inside him all because he opened his stupid door. Ziva probably would have laughed at him not believed a word of it, he assured himself. It was too late anyway, he fell into his old patterns. Keeping his emotions hidden and the ones he loved at a safe distance. Maybe he was more like Ziva than he thought.
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
"Morning boss," Tony said as he leaned back in his chair.
"DiNozzo," Gibbs greeted back.
Gibbs stopped and looked at Tony for a hard second. Tony's smile was more forced than his usual relaxed smile. Tony knew that most of the time Gibbs could see past his mask. Often times his boss didn't look deep. Gibbs mask was more obvious. He hid himself behind work and routine.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
"Hi," Tony smiled to the young boy whose case his team was working.
The boy's mother had been murdered by his father who was a petty officer in the Navy. The boy wouldn't admit that his dad did it, but he had obvious bruises from when he was trying to stop his dad's attack on his mom.
"Oh God why him?" he asked.
Tony never prayed. That was as close as he ever got. Kate had prayed for him often, but tried not to make it obvious. He didn't realize how much he appreciated it until after her death.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
It had been over an hour since Gibbs let the team go. Tony hadn't left yet. The boy's grandparents came to claim him. Tony wished he could make the boy's pain go away. He wished he could kill the father for hurting the boy's mother. In lieu of the boy's father he took it out on his locker. The agent slammed his fists into the locker hard and methodical. Each blow began to increase its intensity. With his knuckles bruised and bleeding, he was about to reach his climax when his fists were physically restrained. He fought at first, but that was purely instinctual. Only after an arm wrapped itself around the front of Tony's chest did he stop. Tony took in a few breathes and instantly calmed himself. McGee was holding his left fist, Ducky was holding his right, and Gibbs was holding his shoulders.
But let the world dream otherwise,
Tony realized what a sorry sight he must look like. He squirmed his way out of the men's grasp.
"I know what that must look like," Tony smiled and faced the men. "But let me assure you the locker started it."
That got him smacked.
He flinched, but learned not to apologize. The grin never faded. This caused Ducky and Tim to release a trapped breath. Gibbs held his stare. Tony held his hands up in a placating gesture as he headed for the door.
Gibbs might…might…might have let Tony leave on any other day. That day, however, Gibbs looked at his hand and noticed blood. The blood wasn't his it belonged to Tony from when he had smacked his head. Tony had apparently acquired a head wound the previous day.
"DiNozzo!" Gibbs called after him.
Tony stopped just as he opened the door. Two women were waiting for him.
"What are you two doing here?" he asked them.
"We were worried about you," a certain goth replied.
"Why?" Tony asked
"You haven't been acting like yourself today," a Mossad officer replied.
"Flimsy mask," Tony muttered, but he was ignored.
"And your bleeding," Abby added.
Ziva looked at his head wound until she was replaced by Ducky.
"I need to stitch you up, Anthony," the doctor told him.
"I'm fine Duck, the thing clotted before Gibbs smacked it open."
Gibbs gave Tony a threatening look.
"Ducky's lab. 1..2…" Gibbs pointed toward the lab the whole time he counted.
Gibbs had never counted at Tony before. The young field agent didn't know if Gibbs was the type of person who counted to 3 or 5, but he didn't want to find out.
Tony sat down on a chair as Ducky cleansed his wound. Ducky instructed Abby to hold Tony's hand as Ducky went for some tweezers. Tony didn't notice, but Gibbs did. He stood opposite Abby and held each side of his field agent's temples as Ducky took a long sliver of brown glass out of Tony's head. Tony's body jerked as the sudden pain shot through. The combined efforts of Abby and Gibbs kept him from getting injured further.
"What happened dear boy?" Ducky asked as he took out a few more splinters of glass.
"It wasn't anything serious," Tony said evenly; it was a lie he was well rehearsed in.
"Then why are there defensive wounds on your arms," Ziva asked.
Gibbs stepped aside and let Ziva undo the buttons on Tony's cuffs. In any other instance Tony would have made it difficult for her, but with Gibbs in arms reach he knew better. Sure enough, there was bruising all the way down his forearm.
"You might want to check his left ankle as well. He was favoring his right foot," McGee chimed in.
Ducky stuck a wad of gauze pads on Tony's head.
"Onto the autopsy table," he instructed.
When Tony did so his feet were dangling. As Ducky collected all the supplies he'd need, Ziva made an attempt at his foot. Tony kicked away from her.
"I haven't changed my socks in three days," Tony grinned at her.
That gave Ziva enough reason to stop.
Gibbs moved Ziva's hair to make sure she didn't have a head wound. Once he was satisfied he smacked her.
The Mossad agent grabbed Tony's foot. This time the green-eyed field agent tried to push her away. Gibbs stopped him half way there.
"What happened to you?" Ziva asked looking at Tony's swollen ankle.
"Small scuffle, no big deal," the lie was a breeze.
"Who hurt you Tony?" The boss asked after he pulled Ziva to stand with Abby and McGee.
Tony thought of different things he could say, jealous ex, at odds with a rival football fan, the boogeyman. The last one made Tony smirk to himself. Gibbs was not at all amused.
"Who..Hurt..You," Gibbs said face to face with Tony.
"Boss, I'm fine," Tony said lightly and, yes, he smiled.
That was the last straw for Gibbs. His fist pounded the same autopsy table Tony was sitting on. Metallic instruments Ducky sat down clanked and reverberated.
"You smile one more time, you are fired," Gibbs said with resolve.
Tony drew his head back from his mask being torn off and thrown to the floor.
'This isn't fair,' Tony thought to himself. If Ducky could hide behind incessant talking and Abby behind the adrenaline surge from caffeine, why wasn't he allowed to hide behind his smile?
"Who hurt you?" Gibbs asked with calm and reinforced it with the same kind of touch.
"My dad was in town for a business conference. He got drunk and decided it was time to look me up."
Tony made eye contact only with the ground.
"He hit you in the head with a beer bottle? Came at you, but you didn't fight him?" Gibbs asked.
Tony didn't have any markings to indicate a fight except the ones made by the locker.
The young agent nodded and quickly regretted that decision.
"Time to lie down," Ducky said gently.
Gibbs squeezed his agent's shoulder reassuringly before leaving to pack some things for Tony, so that his agent could stay with him.
"If he's not resting by the time I get back you're all fired," Gibbs warned.
Ducky eased Tony down to a makeshift pillow and gave him a shot first in the arm. Then he asked for Abby's hand again, but the whole team came to give Tony support as ducky had to inject the numbing agent into Tony's scalp. Tony hissed at the pain, but looked up at the worried faces standing above him. DiNozzo began to feel suddenly tired as he realized Ducky had given him a sedative. He didn't feel comfortable being doted over by anyone, nonetheless, four people. Still they were his friends. He looked at each one of them and before succumbing to sleep…he smiled.
We wear the mask!
A/N: Chapter two is the poem by itself!!!!!!!