Disclaimer: I am a sandwich with no savory NCIS spread.
Spoilers: Everything through Bury Your Dead (5.01).
Summary: What would happen if Jeanne and Tony bumped into each other by chance at some point in the future? I've been thinking about this one for a while and ended up here.
Dr. Barbara Schwartz didn't get a chance to greet her patient as she stormed into the office five minutes late and angrily stated, "He came to my hospital today."
She looked up from the notes she was making on a pad of paper. "Good afternoon, Jeanne. Why don't you sit down and tell me who he is."
"I don't want to sit!" She tossed her purse on the couch and stomped her foot. "And what do you mean who? I've been seeing you for over five years. Who else could I possibly be talking about?"
"I don't like to make assumptions." She watched as Jeanne began to pace, arms tightly locked across her chest. "Am I to understand that this concerns Tony?"
"Yes! Tony! Tony DiNardo…oh, wait, no!" Her pacing became frantic as she began to gesticulate wildly. "Federal Agent Tony DiNozzo. Tony goddamn DiNozzo!" She abruptly burst into tears and sank onto the couch. "I was supposed to be past this! He wasn't supposed to do this!"
"Hmmm." Dr. Schwartz wrote a few brief notes after passing Jeanne a box of tissues. "Take some time to let it out. Then perhaps you could tell me exactly what occurred during this encounter."
She sniffled, dabbing her eyes where the mascara had run. Dr. Schwartz could tell this was going to be long session.
Jeanne Benoit didn't realize she had stopped walking until Brenda turned around and asked, "You okay?"
Her eyes remained fixed on a figure standing in the hallway holding a large bouquet of flowers and a stuffed dog. She blinked to make sure she wasn't imagining him. He could still be a figment of her imagination, but – did he look older? Maybe it wasn't…
"Jeanne?" She looked at her friend, who seemed concerned. "Whoa. You still with me? You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Yes, well…" Her eyes drifted back to where the man was standing; he was now looking at her with some alarm. She took a few confident steps toward him, brushing off Brenda with a brusque, "I'll catch up to you in the lounge."
As she got closer, there was no question that Tony DiNozzo was standing in her hospital, trying to hide from her behind a bouquet of flowers. She had been dreaming of this moment for six years – the moment when she could look him in the eye as he groveled and tell him she didn't need him, that he had been the one who lost the best thing that had ever happened to him. She stopped directly in front of him and shoved the flowers aside. He gave her a half-smile, half-grimace. "Jeanne. Hey. Didn't expect to see you here."
"Oh really? Is that why you brought flowers and a stuffed animal?" She pulled the two items from his hands. "Or were you just carrying these around in case you bumped into someone?"
"No, that's not…"
"It's been six years, Tony. Six. Years. Did you think I was going to be so happy to see you that I'd forget what you did?" She could feel her fingers digging into the soft fur of the toy and the stems of the flowers. "Did you think I'd forgive you?"
"You don't deserve another chance." She threw the flowers to the floor and brought her foot down, trying to grind them into the tile.
His eyes flicked from the bouquet on the floor to the stuffed dog still grasped in her hands. "I'm sorry…"
"Oh, you're sorry?" she cut him off again. "Are you sorry for lying to me? Are you sorry that my father hasn't spoken to me since I saw you last? Did you people arrest him and hide him away? Because whatever you thought he did, you were wrong."
"We haven't heard anything about La Grenouille since…well, since…" For the first time, he looked more sad than chagrined by the encounter. "I am truly sorry for everything that happened back then."
"Then why the hell are you here?"
"You show up at my workplace after years with no communication, with flowers and stuffed animals, and expect me to just accept you back with open arms? Well, let me tell you something, Tony…"
She was interrupted by a child's voice, "I'm done, Daddy."
Tony's entire demeanor changed in a flash. A smile spread across his face as he looked down at the small dark-haired boy who had appeared in the men's room door. "Did you wash your hands?"
"I forgot." He disappeared back into the bathroom.
Tony immediately became nervous again when he was gone. "Uh, that's Danny. Daniel. He's four. Wants to do everything for himself." He pointed to the stuffed animal Jeanne was still clutching. "He'll be upset if you do anything to Tommy."
"What?" Her momentary trance broke as she looked down and realized for the first time that the toy wasn't new, but was clearly a much-loved possession. "Oh. Here."
"Thanks." His fingers brushed against hers as he accepted the dog back. "He named it after our dog. Doesn't really look like our dog, but…" he trailed off with a shrug.
"He has your eyes."
She smiled even though she didn't want to, remembering what it had been like with him. She was quickly sobered with the correction, "Your son."
"Yeah…he looks more like my wife, though."
Jeanne felt an unexpected pang when she noted that he was wearing a simple gold band on his left ring finger. She tucked her own hands into her pockets self-consciously.
Tony continued, "She, uh…we were just visiting the city and she came down with appendicitis. They decided to keep her a few days after the surgery because she's pregnant and… Jeanne, I didn't come here to, to, uh, harass you or anything. I just…this is weird." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I really am sorry – about lying to you and hurting you and if anything I did affected your relationship with your father and…"
"Tony, it's been six years."
"I know." He handed the dog off to Danny as he exited the bathroom again. "All set, buddy?"
"Uh huh. What happened to Mommy's flowers?"
"Oh, well…" Tony met Jeanne's eyes and smiled. "While you were in the bathroom, this mean old guy in a wheelchair came through and knocked everything out of my hands, and then he ran over the flowers! But this nice doctor saved Tommy."
Danny looked up at her with a big grin and she realized he had inherited more than just his father's eyes. "Thank you." He didn't wait for her to reply, but turned back to Tony. "Did the old guy go to jail?"
"Nah, I let him off with a warning."
Jeanne suddenly felt like she needed some air. "Well, I should let you two get going. It was nice meeting you, Danny."
Tony took his son's hand and took a deep breath as he looked at her. "It was…you look like you're doing well."
"Thank you, Tony. Goodbye."
As she walked down the hall in the opposite direction she heard Danny ask, "Daddy, did you know her?"
"Yeah, buddy. Yeah. I did."
Jeanne ducked into the first empty room she could find.
Dr. Schwartz continued to take notes, not even bothering to prompt Jeanne to continue at regular intervals, as she seemed to need no encouragement. "And he was so nice. And polite. And genuinely apologetic. I had imagined what I would do and what I would say if I ever saw him again, but I thought…I thought if I did see him, I'd have the high ground. Instead, I smashed his sick wife's flowers and nearly ripped the head off his son's toy. Why didn't I yell at him?"
"You told me you did."
"I mean more! Why didn't I tell him he ruined my life and that I haven't had a good relationship since him and that it's all his fault?"
Dr. Schwartz decided that now was not the time to bring up the fiancé who had cheated on her or the father who had abandoned her, instead skirting the issue by saying, "I don't think it's fair to blame all your intimacy and trust issues on one person. But let's move on – why do you think you didn't confront him with these accusations?"
"Because his son showed up and I couldn't."
"You couldn't, or you felt you shouldn't?"
"His son was so little. He wouldn't have understood why some strange lady was yelling at his father. And it was obvious that he adored Tony."
"You spoke with them for less than five minutes."
"Well, some things don't take long to realize." Jeanne sat up and ran her hands through her hair. "It's wrong to make a parent look bad in front of their child for no reason."
"Isn't that what happened with your father?"
"No!" She stood and began to pace again.
"Well, the federal government was investigating him…"
"They made a mistake!" Jeanne cut her off. "That's why he disappeared! Because they made a mistake and he was afraid he wouldn't get a fair chance!"
"Yes, you've made your feelings on the subject clear. I don't think this is a helpful avenue of discussion at the moment." Dr. Schwartz decided that perhaps some reassurance was in order. "Jeanne, you realize that perhaps you did make a point to Tony by not yelling at him in front of his son? You showed him that you are a strong person who doesn't need to hold grudges, no matter what the wrong."
"If I'm such a strong person then why is he the one who's married? Why does he have a beautiful son and another child on the way? Why was he able to move on so easily?"
"You can't assume that it was easy for him."
"It's been hell for me, and what do I have to show for it?"
She tried a different tack. "Are you upset because you saw him, or because he wasn't there to see you?"
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Jeanne, when you first began seeing me, you were convinced that Tony was going to walk back into your life at any moment and beg for your forgiveness. Now, five years later, are you trying to tell me that you didn't think, even for a second, that was what was finally happening?"
"Please take some time to think about that for our next session."
"Has it been an hour already?"
"Yes, Jeanne. I'll see you on Thursday."
She hesitated before picking up her things. "Thank you."