Masks

Anthony Dinozzo was a frat boy, ladies man and some may say spoilt rich boy who irritated men with his ability to flirt with all women without trouble, the women themselves fell under his charm without conscious thought, even those who would never consider pursuing anything with him could not say that they were upset with his behaviour. With all of his talents for annoying people, and there were many, they could all agree he was a good cop, despite their annoyance with him his fellow cops appreciated that he could and would get the job done and do it well.

Tony Dinozzo was a brilliant undercover cop; he could slip on the criminal mask with surprising ease for someone from such a privileged background. His colleagues did not realise this ability had been found at the age of four as a survival instinct and that the man they saw everyday was only another mask employed by him as a shield. The sad thing was that despite his obvious ability to hide not one person could see the mask for what it was, that not one of his team, through all the hours working together, would ever consider he was something more and therefore he moved jobs on a regular basis. Tony wanted to hide, needed to hide but deep down he also needed to be seen, not just the mask but him, when after two years they still treated him as a joke he moved on, until one person made him stop.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs was a gruff and angry Special Agent who saw Tony's ability as a cop within ten minutes of meeting him, and by the end of the case had offered him a job. Tony who had reached his two year limit moved to Washington considering it a short stop to another job, he didn't unpack not believing the former marine would ever keep him around for long, he realised he was an annoyance, was told many times before that he wasn't wanted and so he started work for NCIS whilst he updated his CV again.

A month into the new job and he knew for sure he wouldn't make six months, Gibbs didn't appreciate idiots or jokers on his team and he certainly didn't like Tony, he could see it in Gibbs eyes every time the glare was turned his way and he knew the other agents were betting on how long he would last. Miss Scuito the lab tech made her feelings clear by telling him he was nothing like Stan Burley, apparently she hated frat boys and jocks too. He avoided the lab as much as he could, only going when ordered to by Gibbs, he pulled his mask down tight all day and only showed his true face alone in the bullpen at night when he worked the case in the dark.

Tony knew he would die on the job, it was surprisingly calming to know, well calming until Gibbs smacked him on the top of his head even as his other hand pressed against his bleeding side and ordered him to open his eyes. He of course obeyed.

When he awoke in the hospital to find Gibbs still at his side he felt safe, if confused. No previous hospital visits had ever resulted in someone waiting with him, even as child in the sterile hospital room he had woken alone and afraid and it had stayed that way until the driver had collected him a week later. Tony had been four, the first mask had been made then. The hospital visit was not discussed again in his family but was repeated throughout his childhood.