This is an angsty bit. I really hate Tony's father! In my head he's just a real piece of ...


He didn't miss his father, not really.

It was just some days, like today, that he wondered what it would be like to have a real one. Who loved him, and cared for him and worried that he wouldn't eat properly. Or that he would bleed to death.

He saw them sometimes, in the park or in restaurants; the fathers who seemed to care and he marveled at the thought. In Baltimore he'd seen a father get shot, just to protect his little girl. Tony's dad had forgotten him at the Maui Hilton once. He silently laughed at the memory and tiny red bubbles formed in the corner of his mouth.

He knew it wasn't right, his father beating him; of course it wasn't right! But somehow, he couldn't picture his childhood without it. It was part of his upbringing, part of him. Who would he be without the scars on his back and in his soul?

He didn't see himself as a victim, god no. His family life had had its good moments too. He'd had all the things a kid could want, right? Other kids had had worse, right? Right?

Just… days like today, when he suddenly found himself lying out cold on a concrete floor, with blood trickling down his chest, he couldn't help but wonder. What would a real father do if he saw him like this? Would he cry? Gently tell him that everything would be all right? Tony could only imagine.

He had broken his leg once, in a football game in college. He could remember the sheer pain bolting up his thigh, and the terror that followed the thought that he may never play the game again. He clearly remembered his friends hurrying to his side to try to comfort him. He bitterly remembered the 13-13 tie. He could still picture the reassuring smile on the pretty paramedic's lips. However, he couldn't seem to recall his father even showing up at the hospital or calling him to see how he was doing.

He shrugged at that now. He'd had worse pain than a broken leg since then.

Sometimes he just wondered.

His clouded mind wandered to places he would rather it had not. To the time he had found his mother covered in blood in the bathtub, and the time his father had really lost it and nearly drowned him in the pool, and other god-awful memories he had rather stayed where he had them carefully stowed.

The copper taste in his mouth made him nauseous and he shivered slightly. He felt himself slip away, the pain making it impossible to breathe. The lights dimmed and he felt somehow relieved. Maybe he would finally meet his mother again, and this time he would demand some answers.

"DiNozzo! Keep your goddammed eyes open, you hear me?!"

He barely recognized Gibbs' voice, but somehow it kept him from slipping. He couldn't respond to the almost angry tone that kept asking him if he was awake, if he'd been shot anywhere else, if he knew where he was. He just felt himself being shifted slightly and something pressing down hard on his chest. Someone speaking soft words in his ear and brushing his sweaty hair from his eyes.

He smiled; a ghost of a smile formed on his lips. He wondered no longer.