McGee talks with Tony and has a revelation...not slash…Tony angst…
Warnings: K+…alcohol use, minor swear words, abuse
I'm a bit new to fanfiction, so please I'd love input and your opinions. Thanks!
3.4.09- I know I'm a little late. But I wanted to clear up a recent question. A few days ago, I rewatched Twisted Sister and I realized that layout of McGee's house/apartment is off, so I'm pleading poetic license. *shrugs* Enjoy either way?
I was a little shocked when he called me. I never thought we had that kind of relationship, where whenever one of us needed a favor we could call. I don't think he thought so either, or he wouldn't have sounded so ashamed when I picked up on the second ring.
I always thought if something happened he would go to Gibbs. I mean that was how things were. Tony had Gibbs on a pedestal, he looked up to him and was his mentor. Gibbs might not show his true feelings to the world (he was too marine for that) but he had his own way of showing his affection.
Even though, Kate and I had never understood the point of slapping the back of his head, we were smart enough to know that it was Gibbs' way of showing he was proud. I knew that Tony had often enough visited Gibbs and chatted with him while he fixed his boat. But Tony and I never spent "quality" time together, we weren't close, we were like acquaintances. Maybe the only personal time we've spent is when Gibbs has forced us or we had a stake-out (oh those beautiful swimsuit models!). The only time I've ever seen Tony outside of work is when we're all out together after a tough case, minus Gibbs, and if I see him at a club by chance.
I saw him a couple of weeks ago at Vera's bar. It was after a case of parental abuse. It seemed that a Seaman's 9 year old son was killed by his abusive alcoholic for a father and wasn't regretful at all. The Seaman had drank too much the night after returning from his duties and his son had to battle the brunt of his drunk father. He had acted like he didn't care and didn't say anything while in the interrogation room. Only ten minutes into the interrogation and Gibbs was all ready to tear out the man's heart. We would all have gladly let him and not say a word, believe me we were all willing to do our part. But Gibbs held enough self-control (surprising? I know) to wait long enough for Ziva to get a full confession out of the man.
The entire time that we typed up the reports regarding the case Tony didn't say a word, didn't perform his usual evening banter with Ziva and never once called me Probie. As we finished, Ziva and I had exchanged worried glances. We had just assumed at the time that Tony hadn't been prepared for what the father did.
We were wrong and we shouldn't have forgotten Gibbs rules. I think at least one of them said, never assume. Or maybe that was just a childhood memory, something about don't assume because it makes an "ass out of u and me". But in the end, and as I later found out, the case had hit Tony pretty hard.
Vera's bar was loud. The huge plasma TVs that lined the walls were blaring the scores and commentaries of the latest basketball game. I sat down at the end, chanting along with some others for the winning team and later joined in for some shots. It wasn't very often that I went to bars but when I did I drank and had a lot of fun. Sometimes after tough cases you need to have some fun.
Normally, I would be more content to play a role playing game and lose myself in the game but one of my old friends from MIT told me about this bar and well my poor character needed to rest after it had fought a rather powerful enemy.
So there I was at the bar, I danced a little, drank a little and by 1 am I needed a break. I sat at the bar counter, chatting up a pretty black haired girl (just because I'm a geek doesn't mean I have no social skills) but as she left with a tall guy, I was feeling a little too light headed and proceeded to hang outside and refresh myself.
That's when I found Tony. At first glance I didn't even know it was him. I saw the shadow, and well, honestly, I thought it was someone very different. He was pale and wasn't acting arrogant and charming. Then his face seemed to catch the dim light of the moon and I saw him. I thought that he was flirting with a girl next to him and that by some chance he wasn't just leaning against the railing of the balcony lost in his own thoughts.
He looked bad. I think this was the first time that I noticed that Tony is something other that what everyone else seems to think, that he isn't just a pretty face. His mask had slipped.
I didn't know whether to approach him. I guess being people friendly and seeing a coworker that looked like the world had crashed around him jarred the part of my brain that was a compassionate special agent and felt complied to help.
For a while we didn't say anything just watched the Potomac River rush by nearly twenty feet below us.
"Nothings wrong, McGee," he said softly. I almost missed it. The music that flooded from inside the bar was pumping through speakers near us and it was annoying at the time when I really wanted to listen.
"Well then I guess I should just leave you leaning suspiciously close to the railing over the Potomac River," I said, surprised at my own sarcasm.
He looked a little stunned, and I had the idea that maybe I should have apologized. But then my veins were pumping and filled with alcohol and I knew that I would regret where this conversation was going.
Tony seemed to understand that I had been drinking and I wouldn't normally be this blunt. He also seemed to relax knowing that he could explain to me what happened and by work tomorrow I wouldn't remember a single thing he said.
He opened his mouth and told me what was bothering him. I sort of remember saying something intelligent that night for he was in the bullpen at his usual time and was his usual chipper self.
Now that I remember that night and don't feel so ashamed that I can't remember what he told me, I think that maybe the reason why he called me and not Gibbs. He's already told me what happened with his childhood and why he reacted so badly.
I slowly move out of my chair and put away my writing pad where I was beginning to write down ideas for my next story.
It doesn't take that long for Tony to arrive at my door. He has his NCIS bag and was wearing sweats and an Ohio State sweatshirt.
I watched him from the corner of my eye as I made coffee. He looked so uncomfortable and uneasy. I got the feeling that he didn't ask for help too often. He has more of a stubborn attitude, the kind that he'll stay dying on the floor if it means that you have to put something down to help him.
I passed him a mug and kept an eye watching him. He sipped at the coffee, not because he was thirsty but because he had nothing better to do. His green eyes watched me with the same apprehension that I had.
Both of us wanted to ask what the others reason was to let him come or to call but we're both just too damn polite to just outright ask.
It seemed wrong describing Tony with the attitude of a polite silent man but Tony couldn't be acting any weirder.
When I first met Tony, I held him at arms length. I wasn't sure about him. He was intriguing. He had an odd personality that I just couldn't figure out. He was easygoing but had an air of superiority around him. Behind that arrogant smirk and charming attitude he was instinctive and empathic.
After being part of Gibbs' team for awhile, I forgot about my first impression of him. I mean after all, first impressions are usually wrong. I stuck with that carefree-I'm better than you attitude and forgot about his seemingly secretive, weird other side. It wasn't until now that I remembered that part about him.
In my first book, I wrote about Agent Tommy based off of Tony. He had that attitude but I didn't know what to do with the information that I had. Tony had never shown that side.
But then, of course certain cases brought weird traits out in him. He seemed oddly insecure, quiet, and low in self-esteem when he was dealing with child murderers. He always needed someone to approve of his instincts and his gut feelings. But then as soon as it was over or the suspect was in the interrogation room he was back to himself.
Of course this happened rarely. He usually stuck up, what I call his "mask". Many people think that just because I decided that I like to deal with computers better than people it means that I don't know the difference body language and fake appearances.
There are times when people pretend that they are different so people treat them a certain way, they act when they want people to see and forget to put it back up when they're alone. Soon enough their real personality gets lost in the tangled web of their fake appearance and reputation.
At least some do. Tony seemed to like his other persona better than his real one. Tony has this odd twitch. When something happens or when we're talking about families he seems to make his smile more forced, larger and greater like he agrees heartily. Its sad really, I think all of us were itching to see what the real Anthony DiNozzo looked like.
"So, thanks for letting me stay here tonight," he said uneasily, shifting his gaze from me to his coffee cup.
"Oh, its…um no problem. The couch is pretty comfortable," I said taking a sip. I winced as the burning liquid made its way down my throat.
"Probie…"he began just as I started my own statement of, "Tony…"
I placed my cup on the counter and met Tony's eyes. We both smile slightly knowing what the other wants to say.
"You go first. And if it doesn't make you too…" I stopped searching for the right word. It was odd normally I can spit out the right word that makes perfect sense but it was like my brain shuts down that corner of operation.
"uncomfortable?" he supplied.
"uncomfortable, could you tell me what we talked about at Vera's bar about three weeks ago. I was so damn drunk and god I don't remember what I said."
He laughed and said, "Wait till I tell Ducky and Abby you got drunk. Of course I'll have to embellish some of what you said because even the heavily intoxicated McGee sounds intelligent when drunk, maybe sarcastic but than you went on about some guy that created the computer…"
I glared and joined in the laughter. "Anyway, I have a weird feeling this has something to do with what you told me,"
He stood up and nodded. All traces of laughter were gone and a surprising bitter smile was sitting on his face, "When I was younger, I didn't have a great relationship with my father. He was always away on business or even when he was home it was like we were acquaintances not family. My mother was different. She cared for me and loved me but preferred to go back home to Florence, Italy. She liked being back there and well she would spend days there remembering her childhood. When she came home she became depressed. She was happy to stay in her room with her cosmos and martinis and venture out to join my father at parties or to get her hair done. She died when I was thirteen, she was driving drunk, and she killed herself and a father of four children."
I never knew, I think. I had always assumed that he was just a pretty little rich boy who just never interacted with his parents. I pause my thought to listen to Tony.
"My father has never been a good drunk. He's always loved his drinks but no more than work. After my mother died he got worse. He drank every night when he came home. I got pretty good at dodging his radar as did most of my father's maids and other people employed to him. When I was fifteen, we had an argument about my future. He had planned it out that I would go to Harvard and become a business lawyer. I didn't want to." He paused and scowled, " He went ballistic, and well I just ignored him like I always did when he drank. He never touched me once until that night. We had a glass door to the outside deck by the kitchen and well that night my father broke the glass. Not with a golf club or a bat but with a human. I still have the scars, on my back." He paused and turned to face me, holding the mug, clutching it so hard that his knuckles were white.
I'm speechless. Absolutely speechless. How could a Father do that to a child? It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.
"After that, a couple of weeks later I was transferred out of my elusive boarding school and was sent to the Rhode Island Military School. I was disowned two years later and sent to a public school. I dressed in Sears clothing and when I turned sixteen I had to work and do everything for myself." Tony paused letting me digest the information he had just provided.
I was amazed. I had always figured that Tony had the perfect childhood. I mean he's told us about his childhood, but not in so many words. More like just little stuff. That he had been the "little poo boy" an about the space suit, nothing big but just tidbits.
He was so different from the confidant, perfect man that I saw every day. It was then that more than ever I saw that Anthony DiNozzo just wanted someone to help him.
"What does that have to do with now?" I said. I wanted to apologize but how could I do that with out pitying him?
"Well Daddy DiNozzo, decided it was time to visit his only son," He smirked and laughed bitterly. " You can kinda figure from my story that he was drunk. He had a conference today with some distributor today. Probie you can imagine it was a shock seeing him in the middle of my apartment. Well after some loud words that woke up my neighbor's baby, I kicked him out and well I didn't exactly feel comfortable with him so close by. And since well he doesn't know you, I figured that it would be better if I went to you instead of Gibbs. And then I thought that maybe you were being the Elf Lord, or whatever that is and—" Now he was just rambling.
"Tony, its fine. I'm…well…sorry. I didn't know everything about your parents and I'm sorry about everything." Tony grinned.
"You know at Gibbs says about apologies."
I rolled my eyes and muttered, "They're a sign of weakness."
He walks to the side of my couch and looks at the photos I have hanging on the wall. He looks at one and laughs. It's a relief to know that he's not acting so dark anymore. It's a little disturbing seeing the normally bright and happy Tony acting like he's suicidal.
Still the sudden switching of his moods is creeping me out. He switched from dark and deadly to laughing in seconds. As Abby would say, Tony's whole personality is "hinky".
The rest of the night passes uneventfully and soon turns into morning. We both get ready for morning at different paces and I think about he said last night.
As we walk out of my apartment, he glances at me and looks at me with faint traces of annoyance.
"Probie, why did you let me stay at your place last night? You never answered it," I think for a moment as I lock up my door.
"We're friends, Tony. That's friends do for each other." I push my backpack up my shoulders and reach my car. "You needed help, and I helped you out of a situation that you couldn't get yourself out of alone." I open the door to my car but don't get in. "See that's what makes us so different than…guppies. We humans thrive for human contact and connection, no matter how small. And sometimes a simple helping hand is all that someone needs, See you at work".
I thought we had all had Tony figured out. He seemed to be an easy person to figure out. He was like an onion. He had a tough outer layer, but many thinner, greater protected places underneath. The more layers you picked off the smaller he seemed, the less arrogant, less charming. I bet if the team and I were to pick off all of the layers, his psyche would be more screwed up then everyone's. And that's what scares me to this very day.
All of the things that his parents did to him, and even some things that they didn't made it seem natural to hide his feelings and pretend that things were perfect even when they obviously weren't.
Even though I feel so guilty for saying this, Tony's situation makes me feel a lot more grateful about my childhood. I can't imagine not being with my overly-affectionate mother and my supportive father even my annoying younger sister. It almost makes me want to pick up my phone and call my mother and tell her that. But I can't cause I'll scare her into thinking I'm dying or something. She never was too crazy about the whole special agent getting shot at job.
Just that very thought gets me thinking. Tony has no one. No parent to share achievements and honors with, no parent to scold if he fails or to comfort if he just needs someone there. No parent to cry at his grave if he dies. No one.
Saying this now, at this very moment makes me feel sick. How could parents create someone special and not love it or care for it?
I take a deep breath and turn over the engine. I buckle my seat belt and begin the drive to NCIS. Maybe today, we could all start showing that we care. I know that Abby would be happy to oblige, she always did have a soft spot for Tony, and I'll just have to manipulate Ziva a bit.
But in the end, maybe one day, everyone could become just a teeny bit more empathic and not so blind to the common problems that everyday people face. It's a saddening fact that people will ignore something so blatant just so they don't have to get involved. I think Tony's problem has changed my perspective of the world. I know that personally my experiences at NCIS have changed the way I view the world. I used to see it with a young, naïve perspective. I thought that everyone was ind and good at heart but today I see the ugliness of it all. Every crack and painful cliffhanger, every person just waiting to see if someone will hang onto them before they take that long jump down. I see it all and now I believe that if I do my part in helping out that maybe, just maybe, the world could become a better place.
If only other people had my logic.
I really like the McGee/Tony friendship. It's not very canon but you know that underneath all of Tony's conceited exterior and McGee's Geekyness that they have some sort of friendship. I hope. (EDIT: McGee's gotten much snarkier lately…I might be wrong, but then again, my muse might shift into overdrive...hmm).