I Wanna Scream
A/N: Tony's feelings after Gibbs came back…..postHiatus. Inspired by cedera.
Disclaimer: I do not own NCIS or any of its characters
Tony wonders how long he can keep this up. How long before he can't hide the hurt anymore, and the mask slips and breaks. He wonders if anyone will notice. Probably, if only because he wouldn't be as 'immature' as usual. Would they care? Not likely. Not unless he got in the way of their precious Gibbs.
It's not that Tony's resentful of the older man – not really. Why would he be? Gibbs was what the team wanted, and now they had him back. And the strangest thing was, he had wanted him back too.
So when Gibbs asks if there's a problem, Tony responds, "Not really." And he's being honest for once. Because there is no problem. The team got what they wanted – and what they wanted wasn't him.
Still, he wished he could have been warned, you know? It would have been nice to be told he was only a temporary replacement, a "you'll have to do", to be cast aside as soon as Gibbs returned from his little vacation. Because then he wouldn't have bothered. He wouldn't have bothered trying to move on, trying to be strong and a good team leader. Besides, it's not like anyone cared.
Every time he entered Abby's lab, Gibbs's face stared at him from a half a dozen screens. And it hurt. He knew Abby and Gibbs were close, he knew she missed him – but it still hurt.
Every time he did something in a leader capacity, he was always compared to Gibbs. " Gibbs would have done it this way." Or "Gibbs wouldn't have done that." He wanted to scream at them, "I'M NOT GIBBS!" He wasn't Gibbs, and he wasn't ever going to be Gibbs. He was Tony, and he was going to lead them the best way he knew how, not Gibbs's way.
Yet it seemed the only time he got any respect was when he channeled Gibbs. If he gave them the 'Gibbs stare', the team would hop to – if only for a little while. Then, invariably, they would always come back and snipe, " You're not Gibbs, Tony." As if he was a little boy playing make-believe.
He wanted to scream at them. He couldn't believe it. Did they honestly think his immaturity was the only part of him? Did not one of them look underneath to find the agent that had solved countless murders and busted drug rings, or the man that was always ready to do what he had to? But no, they deemed him "insufferable" and undermined his authority. Lee was the only one that truly respected him, even if only a little bit. And Lee had been tossed out on her ear when Gibbs returned, hadn't she?
The only one who he could slightly relate to was Ducky. But Ducky was mostly just annoyed by Gibbs abrupt departure, and Ducky didn't really believe in Tony's leadership abilities either.
All in all, the Director probably treated Tony the best. She respected his judgement and relied on him as an invaluable member of the team. She offered him his own team in Spain, but he turned it down. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now? He wasn't so sure.
But Tony didn't give up. He struggled on. And when he thought finally, maybe he had gained the trust of his team, Ziva went and got herself framed. But did she go to Tony? No. Instead, she called her 'true' leader. Gibbs, half a world away in Mexico.
Gibbs came to save the day, of course. Never mind Tony, he's not any use. And all the respect and authority Tony had built up to that point was tossed out the window. And when Gibbs came back, Tony was kicked out of the leadership seat as if he had never been there, merely a placeholder until Gibbs got back.
And Tony could have handled that. But it didn't stop there. Did he get any praise for trying to be a good leader, for putting up with all the crap he had? No. Not from anyone. Not Gibbs, not his team, and not the Director. Instead they took turns making fun of him, of his demotion. Ziva especially. When he complained, McGee had the gall to tell him that if he were such a good team leader, then the Director would have offered him a promotion. He almost cracked then. But still he kept silent.
He wondered if he had really been such a bad team leader. Because, really, everyone seemed to be celebrating the fact that he was gone more than the fact that Gibbs was back. And he remained quiet. If he showed any glimpse of the hurt he was feeling, they brushed it off as the wounded pride of an overlarge ego.
Not one of them guessed what Tony really felt. When Gibbs came back, he retreated behind his immature antics, hiding behind the mask that had never failed him before. And no one – not one single soul – noticed.
As so Tony suffered quietly, covering up how betrayed he felt with smiles and laughter. But a person can only take so much before they snap….TBC
A/N: This is my first NCIS fanfic. I'm not sure if I entirely liked the way it turned out, but I kinda just did stream of consciousness….
Anyway, please review! Thank you!