Title: Losing Faith In Happy Endings

Summary: An unexpected death causes Tony's life to spin out of control. Special Agent Jethro Gibbs tries to help him, but you can't save a person who doesn't want to be saved. WARNING: story will contain non-sexual discipline of adults in later chapters, if that's not your cup of tea, don't read!

Disclaimer: I own nothing. The following story is for fan entertainment only.

Chapter One: Between The Lines of Fear and Blame

"How's your apartment looking?" Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs asked his senior agent. The pair were sitting at his kitchen table, drinking coffee and enjoying the warmth of the sunlight filtering through the kitchen window. Agent Anthony DiNozzo was absently flipping through the morning paper, occasionally sipping at his coffee.

"Ah, it's worse than they thought. I guess there's a problem with the pipes in the whole building. The water's off in the whole place" He set the paper down and stifled a yawn "I'm not overstaying my welcome, am I?"

"Not yet" Gibbs said as he eyed the sports section. Tony gave his boss a smile and got up to rinse out his mug. It had been two weeks since the younger man had shown up at his house at three in the morning with his duffle bag slung over his shoulder, explaining that there was a broken pipe and he needed a place to stay. Gibbs hadn't hesitated to share his home, it wasn't the first time he had opened his door for the younger man. He didn't mind Tony's company, even though the senior agent had a bad habit of leaving wet towels on the floor and drinking milk straight from the carton. A good slap to the head had always remedied those problems, but something about Tony's most recent stay just seemed…off.

"You mind if I ride to work with you? I forgot to put gas in my car last night" Tony asked as he placed his mug on the drying rack. He was still trying to convince Gibbs to get a dishwasher.

"Sure" Gibbs said, getting up and placing his coffee mug in the sink.

"Um, I'll meet you outside" Tony was checking all his pockets. "Think I left my badge in my room"

"Your gun, too" Gibbs noticed.

"I'll be in the car" Gibbs said. Tony nodded and disappeared down the hall.

As Gibbs rinsed his mug and placed it besides Tony, he wondered if Tony was forgetting a lot of things lately, or if he just noticing more because he had been spending more time with the young agent. He could never find his car keys, two of his last three case reports had been late and he forgot to set his alarm more times than he remembered. Gibbs made a mental note to further observe Tony's atypical behavior as he grabbed his jacket and slipped out the front door.

In the driveway, Gibbs noticed Tony's car window was down. It was sunny now, but Gibbs could see dark clouds to the east threatening rain, so he opened the driver's side door to roll it up. He glanced at the gas meter and couldn't help noticing the needle was on the half full mark. Tony wasn't the type of person to leave his car unlocked with the window down. And it was worrying the older man that Tony had either lied about needing gas or forgot that he didn't. He sighed and got into his car.

On the drive to work, Gibbs kept glancing at Tony and wondering why he hadn't tried to turn the station. He hated Gibbs choice in music, or lack there of. A monotonous voice flowed through the car speakers, informing its listeners of gas prices and exchange rates. Tony seemed not to notice, he kept chatting on about some movie Gibbs had never heard of but Tony insisted he would love. Gibbs pondered interrupting Tony and asking about his car, but figured that the conversation could wait till later in the day.

At work, the day was dragging. There were no pressing cases and Tony had been buzzing around Gibbs's desk the whole morning.

"Hey, boss. Check this out" Tony was back at Gibbs' desk waving his cell phone in his boss' face. "I just got this new version of Tetris—"

"What have I told you about games at work, DiNozzo?" Gibbs said, slightly exasperated.

A frown settled on the younger man's face as he closed his cell and shoved it back into his pocket.

"Right boss, sorry" Tony returned to his desk, but had journeyed back to Gibbs three more times before noon to compare facts on old case files.

When lunch finally rolled around, Tony asked if Gibbs wanted to grab a bite with him at some new restaurant he'd heard about from Abby.

"Thanks, but I already ordered Chinese" Gibbs said, not wanting to be bombarded with movie facts while he was trying to eat.

"Oh, maybe Monday then?" Tony sounded rejected, but didn't take Ziva up on her offer to join him.

Gibbs lost track of how many times Tony returned to his desk and tried to ignore the part of him that was hoping for an urgent case to get him out of the office.

"So, what are we doing tonight? Are you working on your boat? Cause I was reading about this new wax—"

"DiNozzo, I was actually planning on a quite night… alone" Gibbs interrupted, wondering why the hell Tony was reading his boat magazines.

"Oh, I actually have plans with a few buddies of mine anyway" Tony said quickly, looking wounded. Gibbs tried not to notice the hurt look on the younger man's face, but he really needed a break from Tony.

When they arrived home, Tony didn't bother to change before heading out. He didn't even enter the house, just went straight to his car and drove off.

Gibbs had been enjoying his quite night alone with his boat, until his cell rang, vibrating on the sawdust covered workbench. He dropped his tools and picked up the phone. He didn't recognize the number.

"What?" He stated.

"Jethro?" A male voice asked.

"Oh, hey Jimmy" Gibbs recognized the voice as Officer Swanston, a local cop he sometimes played poker with.

"Sorry to bother you this late, but I got a guy down here claiming he works with you. Says his name's DiNozzo"

Gibbs sighed. "Yeah, he's one of mine. What'd ya bring him in for?" Gibbs asked, rubbing his brow.

"Drunk and disorderly. Got a call from Slim's bar over on 23rd. He was in a fight with some girl's boyfriend and he started to yell about being a federal agent and he was going to have him arrested. He didn't have a badge on him"

Gibbs sighed again and tried to get a hold of his anger.

"How drunk is he?"

"Enough to think he's not in any trouble" the officer sounded slightly amused.

"Alright, I'll be there as soon as I can" Gibbs flipped his phone shut and cursed under his breath, thinking he would have been better off inviting Tony to help him with his boat. He spent the drive down to the station thinking of creative ways to kill his senior agent, but when he actually walked through the doors, he was more worried about him.

Gibbs followed Officer Swanston to the holding cell. He saw Tony sitting in the corner, grinning stupidly and chatting to the other man in the cell.

"You can understand why I didn't believe him. Not appropriate behavior for a federal agent"

"Not appropriate behavior for anyone" Gibbs said glumly, shooting Tony a look that was lost on him. He was busy explaining to the man next to him about the joys of working with his boss and Gibbs wasn't sure the younger agent even knew he was there.

"…and he's always slapping my head, but it's okay cause I know he doesn't mean it, and he likes to build boats in his basement…" Gibbs resisted the urge to roll his eyes at Tony's yaking.

"The other guy wants to press charges, there's not much I can do about that. You'll have to post bail to get him out of here"

"I understand. I'll be up front signing the papers, bring him up, will you?"

"Sure thing, Jethro" Gibbs shot Tony a final look before heading back to the front. The younger man had no idea how much he had screwed up. Getting arrested for starting a bar fight wouldn't exactly help his career.

Gibbs collected Tony's cell from the woman at the release desk and paid his bail. His gun and badge had been in the glove compartment of his car, which was now in the police impound. He'd have to leave it there for the night; Tony obviously wasn't driving anytime soon.

"Hey Boss!" Tony slurred, emerging from the holding cells with an officer on his arm.

"Lets go, DiNozzo" Gibbs grabbed the back of Tony's coat and guided him out of the station and roughly shoved him into the car.

"Thanks for the ride man, I think my car got towed" Gibbs didn't respond, just gripped the steering wheel tightly. He really wanted to give Tony a good, hard, slap to the back of the head.

"Hey boss, there was this girl and, man, she was so hot. You'd a liked her, she was a redhead" Tony was grinning like an idiot again.

"This the same girl whose boyfriend you beat up?" Gibbs asked.

"Wha? I didn't beat up anyone" Tony slurred, looking surprised.

"Then why did I just have to bail your ass out of jail at three in the morning?" Gibbs yelled, startling Tony. The younger man looked at him blankly.

He was arrested? He remembered a girl with long auburn hair, and some guy who wouldn't leave him alone, maybe he was in fight with him?

"I did? I'm sure he started it. I wouldn't—"

"DiNozzo! Not another word!" Tony finally shut up. He rested his head against the window and was asleep by the time they got back to Gibbs' house.

"Out of the car, DiNozzo" Gibbs said as the turned off the engine. Tony didn't stir, so Gibbs tried shaking his shoulder, but got no response. Gibbs got out of the car and opened Tony's door, nudging the younger man again.

"Goway,m' sleeping" Tony mumbled. Gibbs hauled him out of the car and threw his arm over his shoulder. He dragged Tony into the house and dropped him onto the couch, causing Tony to moan. Gibbs looked down at the younger man and noticed that Tony's face didn't hold the usual peacefulness of someone in a deep sleep. His eyes seemed to be closed tighter than necessary and his lip was curled slightly like there was a foul odor in the air. Gibbs wanted to ignore how young Tony looked, he wanted to be mad at him, but he found that his anger was fading. He grabbed an afghan from the back of the couch and placed it over Tony's sleeping form.

"Get some sleep, Tony" He said quietly.


A/N: having never been arrested, I don't know how police terms and procedures and such, so forgive any mistakes, por favor.