AUTHOR'S NOTES: To further my NCIS writing I've been working on a few one-shots based on scenes or ideas. (Any suggestions are welcome. Keep in mind I'm catching up on the first two seasons.)
Story summary: This takes place after Ziva left Tony in Jeanne Benoit's apartment in 'Bury Your Dead'.
NCIS: What Happens Now?
Sitting in her apartment after finding the note, I feel like a complete idiot…
No, I'm worse than an idiot. I'm the world's biggest ass and a heart-breaking weasel.
I love Jeanne…
That's the only thing I'm absolutely certain of right now. The only thing I'm still certain of.
After a few minutes, I jump to my feet when I hear someone knocking on the door. A moment later the last person I expected to see again comes through the door.
I expected him to look angry… or disappointed…
But Rene Benoit—aka: La Grenouille—just gives me a light smile. "There is one thing that matters most to me," Rene said, closing the door behind him. "And that is the safety and happiness of my children."
"If I could take it all back…" I said, knowing how stupid it sounds.
But Rene's smile grew. "I know… Tony… I know you care about her. That you love her…"
I held up the note. "She wants me to choose. Her or NCIS."
"And what is your decision?" Rene asked.
I sighed and sat down on the couch. "It's not that simple…" Looking up at him, I went on, trying to talk to him as a father, not an arms dealer. "She fell in love with who I was pretending to be. Not who I am."
Rene sat down next to me, his smile never wavering. "Jeanne told me about you. She told me you were charming, amusing… and even romantic. Is that who you are, Anthony DiNozzo?"
I shrugged. "I guess… When I want to be… When I'm trying to impress someone…"
"And you are a fan of movies, no?" he adds, raising an eyebrow at me.
"Oh, yeah," I say and I can't help grinning.
Rene gives me a quiet chuckle and a smile. "Then my daughter did fall in love with who you are. The details… they are not as important as the bigger picture." Seeing the doubtful look on my face, Rene said, "You think my daughter knew about my true business before all this? I have had to conceal things from my own children because they did not need to know."
"But Jeanne does need to know what I really do," I protested. "She deserves someone who will be honest with her."
Rene nods slowly. "Yes… I suppose she does."
As he stood and headed for the door, I asked, "What are you going to do?"
"Talk with my daughter," Rene replied, turning to me. "Do you love her?"
The question caught me a bit off guard but I replied quickly. "Yes, I do, sir."
"Then I will do what I can, Agent DiNozzo," Rene said, heading for the door. "Come by the Gangplank Marina tonight. You and I can talk things over with Jeanne."
I stood up, still doubtful that my relationship with Jeanne Benoit could be salvaged. "And if she won't forgive me?" I asked, afraid to hear the answer.
Rene gave me a knowing look. "My daughter has always been passionate… When she loves she is absorbed in her emotions. When she is angry… Give her time, Tony… Let Jeanne's love for you win out."
Until now I loved my father dearly.
Now… I hate him. I hate him for ruining what I had with Tony. I didn't care that Tony had been a federal agent. I don't care that he'd pretended to be a stupid film professor. All I care about was that I had finally found a man I didn't have to be perfect with. I didn't have to be fancy… I could just be me.
When Dad called and told me to meet him at his yacht, the Mauritania, I wanted to yell, scream… tell him to stay the hell away from me. But he was scared. Afraid that whoever had bombed Tony's car was trying to kill me. And as much as I hated him… hearing that much fear in my father's voice scared me.
Parking at the marina, I didn't want to be there, but seeing Tony leaning on a black sedan nearby, I got out of the car and walked over to him. Looking into his eyes and seeing the hurt that he'd lied to me, I wanted to be mad at him. But I still saw the tenderness in his eyes. And when he put his arms around me I still felt safer than anywhere else.
"I'm so sorry, Jeanne," Tony said, as he held me. "I'm sorry for putting you through this."
I gave Tony a glare. "That's one of your more aggravating habits, Tony," I said, pulling away a bit and smacking him in the chest. "You make it so damn hard for me to be angry with you." I could see a smile starting to form on his face and I stopped him before he got his hopes up. "But I'm not ready to forgive you, Tony."
As I start to walk away, Tony grabs my arm. "Jeanne…"
"Tony," I snapped, glaring at him. "Let go."
But when I see his eyes I know he's not stopping me because he doesn't want me to leave. "Jeanne… It's not safe."
"'Not safe'?" I repeated, with a derisive laugh. "Why? Because my father's one of the world's arms dealers? Because someone could get to my father through me?" I regret saying that when I see the pain in Tony's eyes.
"Jeanne, I don't care if you hate me," Tony said, still holding my arm. "But I'll be damned if I'm going to let anything happen to you. I love you."
"Do you?" I say, coolly, my anger rising again. "Then why did you lie to me? Why did you tell me you were someone else?"
"I was under orders," Tony replied. "I never meant to fall in love with you, Jeanne." He took my hand and added, "And I do love you. But if you're going to make me choose between you and NCIS…"
I pulled my hand from his. "Let me get my head around this." Seeing Tony was worried about me being alone, I said, "I'll be fine. I'll call you."
It felt wrong as I walked away… and as I left the marina I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong… That there was something Tony hadn't wanted to tell me…
Trent Kort came up behind Anthony DiNozzo and gave him a slick look. "How are you going to tell her that you saw her father killed by one of his competitors?" Kort asked in a low voice.
Tony whirled around and slammed the CIA agent onto the hood of the nearest car. There was rage and promise in his voice as he said, "If you ever tell Jeanne that I got here just as her father was murdered… if you even imply to anyone that I or NCIS Director Shepard had anything to do with this… Remember: I've got an Israeli Mossad officer and a very, very good forensic scientist in my corner. Between the two of them… they can make sure the CIA and FBI will be investigating your death for years." Tony let Kort up and backed away, checking to make sure he had his weapon in case Kort tired something. "We clear?"
"You can't protect her," Kort said as he walked away.
"Maybe not from her father's enemies," Tony shouted at Kort's back. "But certainly from you." After Kort drove away, Tony pulled out the letter he'd found addressed to Jeanne from her father.
'My dearest daughter,
I am sorry for the pain I have caused you. I have made a deal with NCIS to insure your safety. I have faith in Agent DiNozzo. He will protect you until other arrangements can be made.
With all my love,
Tony tucked the letter away and drove back to his place, pouring a glass of the scotch he kept in the back of a cabinet. Sitting on the couch with his drink, he wondered what would happen now. Things would never be the same and even if Jeanne did forgive him there was still the fact that her father had been killed. Even if he tried to tell her it was a suicide…
Tony sighed, his mind coming back to the same question he'd had before…
What happens now?