Disclaimer: All hail DPB. You know the drill. I own no one. Nada.
Summary: "I've damaged us, haven't I?" Takes place directly after Singled Out. Tony is angry.
Author's Note: Gibbs' return to NCIS was way too easy in my opinion. Ducky was the only one who reacted appropriately, and I think that Tony should have been more angry.
Anger, Respect, and Trust.
Tony sat at his desk after leaving Shepard's office, replaying the conversation he'd just had in his head. "I can't believe I did that," he whispered.
"Did what, DiNozzo?" Gibbs' voice came from in front of him.
Tony flinched. He hadn't expected Gibbs to be standing there. He looked up, "Nothing, Boss." He grinned, his careful mask back in place, "I am going to learn how you do that one day."
Gibbs sighed, sitting on the corner of Tony's desk. "We need to talk," he stated without preamble.
Tony's brows furrowed, "'bout what?" he questioned, wondering how he could be in trouble so soon. Gibbs had only been back a week.
"You're mad that I came back, aren't you?" Gibbs didn't even look at Tony.
Tony laughed, "No offense, Gibbs," he responded, "but not everything is about you. I told Jenny, I'll tell you, I have no problem working for you." He stood up, "I'll see you tomorrow."
Gibbs followed him, "Jenny?" he asked.
Tony sighed, "Not going there with you right now," he responded, hitting the down button on the elevator.
Gibbs looked at him, "You don't have a problem working for me, but you're obviously angry with me. Want to tell me why?"
Tony didn't look at him, "I will go back to being your senior field agent," he returned. "I'm well aware of how much I can learn from you. And I respect that. And I respect the fact that you're in charge. That's not going to change."
Gibbs nodded, "So what has changed?" he asked.
Tony shrugged, "Everything else." He stepped into the elevator, catching the surprised glance on Gibbs' face before the doors slid shut. He hit the button for autopsy. Ducky was the only other person who seemed to be angry with Gibbs. Abby was ecstatic, McGee and Ziva relieved. But Ducky was angry, and that comforted Tony. To know that he wasn't the only one.
Ducky glanced up when the younger man entered the room. He smiled softly, "Hello, Anthony," he greeted.
"Hey, Ducky," Tony returned, smiling softly. "Can I ask you something?" He jumped onto one of Ducky's autopsy tables.
Ducky paused in front of Tony, "Of course. What's on your mind, Tony?"
Tony sighed, "Should I be angry?" he asked.
Ducky sighed, "I believe anger would be an appropriate feeling, yes. You've been demoted, teased, and belittled by both him and the rest of them. I think a little anger is well justified."
"And you?" Tony asked.
"I never thought he'd just up and quit. But apparently, none of us knew Jethro as well as we thought." He looked at Tony, "Will you be taking the promotion?" he asked.
Tony stared at him in shock, "How did you know?" he asked.
Ducky shrugged, "Director Shepard seemed to think you needed someone on your side. She thought I was the best choice." He grinned at Tony, "Can't imagine what made her think that."
Tony nodded, "I turned it down," he whispered.
Ducky looked at him confused, "Why?" he asked in disbelief.
Tony shrugged, "I came up with tons of reasons at the time, but you know," he looked at Ducky, "I can't remember any of them."
Ducky nodded, "I know how that is."
Tony jumped down, "Thanks Ducky," he whispered. "I needed that."
"You are most welcome, Anthony." He followed Tony to the door, "I believe it is time to go home."
Tony nodded, leading the way to the parking garage. He'd have to thank Jenny. She was right. He did need someone on his side.
Later that night...
Gibbs pounded on Tony's door, "DiNozzo, open up," he demanded.
Tony shuffled to the door, pulling it open, "I have a phone, you know," he greeted, rubbing his eyes.
"Do you have a problem with me DiNozzo?" Gibbs demanded, pushing his way into the apartment.
Tony shrugged, "Not really," he responded. "And it's been a long night. I have to get up early, so if you'll excuse me..."
"We have to talk about this," Gibbs growled.
Tony smiled, "No," he responded, "no, we don't." He started down the hallway, "Close the door on your way out."
Gibbs followed him, "I'm not leaving until we..."
Tony waved his hand dismissively, "Well, then, stay. Sleep on the couch. I'm going to bed."
Gibbs growled, "We have to clear this up."
Tony glared at him, "There's nothing to clear up. You left. Were gone for four months. Came back. Everything's back to normal. Was there something in there that was unclear to you, 'cause I seemed to get it all fine." He walked back over to the older man, "Leave."
"I've really managed to piss you off, haven't I?" Gibbs pondered.
Tony sighed, "You managed to do way more than that," he returned. "And let's face the truth; you couldn't care less that I'm mad at you as long as I do my job. So I'll make it easy for you, I will do my job. And the minute you seem to think I'm not, we can have this conversation. Until then, leave me the hell alone."
Gibbs nodded, "Right then. See you tomorrow." He left.
Tony breathed a sigh of relief.
The Next Day...
Gibbs strolled into autopsy, "Ducky, we need to talk."
Ducky didn't look up, "We do, do we, now," he returned.
"You're pissed at me, too?" Gibbs demanded. "What is with you people?"
Ducky looked at him, "You've spoken to Anthony," he stated.
Gibbs nodded, "Why is he so angry?"
Ducky sighed, "Why don't you think about it for a little while, Jethro?"
"I don't have time to think about it. I need to know why my senior field agent is acting like I betrayed him," Gibbs growled.
"Because he thinks you did," Ducky returned. He sighed, "Look, Jethro, you know as well as I do that Tony doesn't trust all that easily. And you fractured it. Hell, you smashed it. His trust, his respect. You've lost it all. I suggest you stop fighting with him and start trying to earn it back."
Gibbs looked shocked. Then he was moving. He took the elevator up to the squad room. "DiNozzo," he barked, "Here. Now."
Tony sighed, moving to the elevator. "What's up, boss?"
Gibbs waited until the elevator was in-between floors before flipping the emergency stop switch. He turned to face Tony. "You're angry with me, aren't you?"
Tony sighed, not this conversation again, "You seem to think so," he muttered, crossing his arms over his chest, leaning against the wall.
Gibbs sighed, "Can I ask you some questions?" he asked, his tone softening.
Tony looked at him in confusion, wariness on his face, "Okay."
Gibbs paced the small enclosure, "You told me that you respected the fact that you had a lot to learn from me and that you respected the fact that I was in charge."
Tony raised his eyebrows, "Yeah?" he asked, wondering where this was going.
"Do you respect me?" Gibbs asked.
Tony looked down, "You don't beat around the bush, do you?"
Gibbs frowned, "Answer the question, Tony," he demanded.
Tony shrugged, "Not so much anymore, no," he responded.
Gibbs nodded, "Do you trust me?" he asked.
Tony shrugged again, "I trust you with my life."
"Only because you have to," Gibbs responded.
"Look," Tony responded, "What do you want from me? I do my job. I do it well. I have lost all personal respect for you. I have lost all trust in you personally. But not professionally. You are good at your job. I don't doubt that you will watch my back."
"I've damaged us, haven't I?" Gibbs asked softly, "Irreparably."
Tony laughed, "What's to damage? You're my boss, I'm your subordinate. That remains intact." He flipped the switch.
Gibbs flipped it back, "I was under the impression we were friends."
Tony glared at him, his carefree attitude gone. "So was I. Until your little stunt. Let them all be happy to see you. I'm going to be angry for a while. Then, things will go back to the way they were. Unlike you, I can't just flip emotions on and off." He flipped the switch.
Gibbs reached for it again, but Tony stopped his hand, "No. We're done here. You don't like the way I do my job, transfer me. I just ask that you don't."
Gibbs' eyes widened, "Why not? You obviously aren't going to get over this soon. Wouldn't you rather work for someone you actually respect?"
Tony gave him a cold stare, "I meant it when I said that I have a lot to learn from you. I turned down a promotion to stay here. I regret a lot of things. I don't want that to be one of them." The doors opened and Tony stepped out.
Gibbs stared at him in shock. And let him leave.
A/N: Did you like it? Hate it? Review!