Disclaimer: I don't own them, just like to write about them.
Author's note: Yea! 2 chapters in one week. Shocking isn't it. :) And OK...So I lied. This isn't the last chapter. I thought I could finish this up with chapter but I think it will take at least one more. Enjoy!
Gibbs stepped towards the entrance to autopsy and the doors swished open but Tony didn't react. He took a couple of steps forward letting the doors close behind him.
"Tony" Gibbs said quietly.
"Tony" he tried again.
There was still no reaction.
"DiNozzo" he said louder.
"Heard you the first time boss." He replied without moving.
"Then why didn't you answer me?" Gibbs asked.
Tony took his hands away from his face and rested his arms on his knees. With his head against the wall behind him and eyes closed, his only response was a shrug of his shoulders.
Gibbs walked over to stand in front of him. His face showed his worry until he got a closer look at Tony, even though he still looked tired and his eyes were red, most of the stress was gone from his face.
"You OK?" he asked with a concerned tone.
"I'm fine" Tony looked up at Gibbs "All things considered"
"Are you sure? If you need more time I can…" Gibbs made a gesture towards the door but Tony cut him off.
"Nah, I'm good." Tony made a move to get up off the floor when Gibbs held out his hand to help him up.
Without thinking Tony grabbed Gibbs hand with the one he had slammed into the wall and couldn't quite hide the hiss of pain at his boss's tight grip. Once he was standing Gibbs, not letting go of Tony's hand, looked at the bruises that had started to form on the knuckles.
"What did you do?" he practically ground out.
Tony's eyes flickered to the dent in the wall as he pulled his hand away.
"It's nothing." He replied nonchalantly.
Gibbs gaze went from Tony's hand to the dent in the wall back to his hand and then up to his eyes. He raised an eyebrow in disbelief.
"No, really boss. See?" Tony held up his hand and wriggled his fingers. "It's fine, nothings broken. Just a little bruise." This time he was able to hide the pain…almost.
"We're stopping by the hospital on the way home." Gibbs declared.
"No way! C'mon boss, it's really not that bad." he insisted.
"Would you rather I call Ducky back in? You're going to have to explain THAT to him anyway" Gibbs pointed at the dent.
Tony really wasn't in the mood right now for a lecture from Ducky about how inanimate objects can't fight back or something along those lines. He dropped his head for a moment then looked back up at Gibbs.
"Hospital" he sighed.
Gibbs nodded his head once then motioned for Tony to follow as he headed out.
Thankfully the ER wasn't too busy and they were in and out in a couple of hours. Tony was right that his hand was only bruised and if he had been with anyone else but Gibbs he might have had an "I told you so" attitude.
On the car ride home Tony laid his head back as he stared out the side window and tried not to fall asleep. He noticed that they were going towards Gibbs house and not his own place. Secretly he was glad, he really didn't feel like being alone tonight. Tony then gave up on his efforts to stay awake.
Gibbs glanced over as he was driving and saw that Tony had dozed off. "Good" he thought, he could use the rest.
Tony jerked awake when the car came to a stop, biting back the apology that had sprung to his lips. By the time he got the seatbelt undone and out of the car Gibbs was standing there waiting for him. When he stumbled on his first step Gibbs reached out to help but Tony waved him off with an "I'm fine." But that didn't stop his boss from walking right next to him, just inches away.
Once inside Tony followed his boss into the kitchen sitting at the table. Gibbs got the coffee started then sat across from him. The two sat there silently, the only noise in the room coming from the coffee maker. Tony kept his eyes lowered, his finger tracing a random pattern across the top of the table while Gibbs had his gaze locked on Tony. Once the machine signaled that it was done Gibbs got up and filled two mugs setting one in front of Tony before he sat back down.
Gibbs waited silently; he knew it wouldn't be long before the younger man broke.
"So" Tony suddenly spoke keeping his gaze lowered "I suppose you want to know how it went."
"Only if you want to tell me," he responded quietly.
"Well, I got some things off my chest. Cleared the air a bit." Tony sighed "Just wish I had done it sooner, you know, while he was still alive."
Gibbs nodded letting him know he understood as he drank his coffee but stayed silent, not wanting to interrupt.
After a couple of minutes Tony looked up meeting his boss's eyes and whispered, "I forgave him."
The mug he had been raising to drink from froze half way up as his eyebrows shot up in surprise "You what?" he asked.
Tony held his gaze as he leaned forward resting his arms on the table as both hands wrapped around the mug of coffee. "I forgave him," he repeated a little louder.
When Gibbs lowered his mug but didn't respond right away Tony began to get nervous, thinking that maybe he shouldn't have said anything. Gibbs was about to speak when Tony stopped him before he could even start.
"I don't really expect you to understand or even approve but it was something I had to do." Dropping his gaze Tony began to fidget, his hands twirling his mug of coffee. He started to ramble "You know what, I think I'm just going to go home now. Don't worry, I'll call a taxi and we can just forget I even said anything."
When he started to stand up Gibbs reached out and grabbed his arm; Tony froze.
"DiNozzo" he said firmly "Sit."
He slowly sat back down and Gibbs not only saw but also felt the tension in Tony so he didn't remove his hand.
"Look at me" Gibbs said and when he didn't look up Gibbs sighed.
"Tony" he said softening his tone "Look at me."
When Tony finally raised his head and looked him in the eye Gibbs made sure that all his care and concern showed as he spoke.
"It's OK." At his look of disbelief Gibbs continued "Really. It's OK."
Tony searched his face and finding only understanding there he started to relax and Gibbs let go of his arm.
"Don't you remember when we were at your father's house? I told you then that this was all on him, not you. I'm glad to see that you finally understand that."
When Gibbs mentioned his father's house Tony couldn't help the childhood memories that flashed through his mind. Seeing him start to tense up again and the doubt that flickered across his face Gibbs pressed on.
"You DO know that you didn't do anything wrong, don't you?"
Tony dropped his eyes back down to the table his only answer a slight shrug and a muttered "Sure boss".
Gibbs laid his hand back on Tony's arm determined to get through to him.
"Tony" he said his voice gentle yet insistent.
Tony raised his eyes to meet his.
"It wasn't your fault, how your father treated you. It never was." Gibbs squeezed his arm with each word. "It's. Not. Your. Fault."
Tony studied his face and saw the sincerity there but he was so confused. Even though he had forgiven his father, everything that had been drilled into him as a child had stuck. And now here was his boss saying the exact opposite. He must be telling the truth; Gibbs would never lie to him about something like this. Once he thought about it, really thought about it, he knew what the truth was. Tony felt twenty pounds lighter as the pain and insecurities he had been carrying around all of these years started to fall away.
Gibbs could tell the minute that it sank in by the look on his face.
"Got it?" he asked.
"Got it" Tony choked out as he ducked his head to hide the tears that suddenly sprang up.
"Good" Gibbs said as he patted his arm then sat back and drained the last of the liquid in his mug. Seeing Tony fight to control his emotions Gibbs got up to refill his coffee, giving the younger man time to pull himself together.
Filling his mug Gibbs kept his back to Tony as he spoke. "The guest room is ready, why don't you go on up and get some sleep."
He heard the chair being pushed back from the table and Gibbs turned to say goodnight, thinking Tony was headed upstairs. Instead he saw him just standing there next to the table. Before he could say anything Tony swiftly walked over and gave him a quick hard hug with a whispered "Thanks." Gibbs instinctively returned the hug but before he could say anything Tony quickly left the room, not that Gibbs could have gotten anything past the unexpected lump in his throat.