A/N - Tony went AWOL. Gibbs wants to make sure it never happens again. After ordering him to work the weekend shift, Gibbs finds out a little more about his senior field agent and Tony finds out just how big that second 'b' is. Sequel to The Onion. Tag to 'Boxed In'.
Weekend Duty builds on the issues explored in The Onion and Word Salad, which were tags to 'Boxed In'. This story attempts to explain the possible reasons for why Tony acted as he did in The Onion. There are quite a few dreams and flashbacks in this story, and although Weekend Duty contains some case elements, it is not a case story. Contains brief references to 'Mind Games' and 'Caught on tape' and also picks up on a few things that Tony said in 'Boxed In'. Also addresses the issue of head slaps and could be read as a possible back story for the comment "You'll do" said by Gibbs to Tony in 'Hiatus'. Warning - contains some minor violence, mild/moderate language and references to abuse – hence rated T. NCIS characters belong to Bellisario, CBS and Paramount.
I also owe huge thanks to CSIGeekFan, Obsessed Pam and William for taking time out from their busy lives to beta this story.
Thanks also to Incinera for playing SA3 tag with me.
Chapter 1 – Saturday, 05:45 EST
Sitting on the hard cold wooden floorboards of his room, he pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his head and drew his knees up to his chest. No one should see him like this. No one could see him like this. Pain coursed through his body, a rhythmical throbbing that echoed the beat of his heart. His eyes were wet, his face hot. How the hell would he explain this tomorrow?
A noise outside in the hallway startled him.
What was that? Shutting his eyes tight and straining his ears, the fearful teen stayed deathly quiet, trying to make out any distinguishing sounds. He was getting good at that. Footsteps... heavy... a man's. As he tensed, the accompanying pain sent a wave of nausea throughout his system causing him to release an audible gasp. He could have kicked himself. Instead, he held his breath and waited. Slowly, the footsteps drew nearer... and stopped. They were outside his door now. He waited... and waited...
After what felt like an eternity, he heard a sigh from outside the door. Rather abruptly, he heard the originator turn and start to walk away. The footsteps were beginning to get lighter when he allowed himself to open his eyes, push the hood back from his head, and sneak a look at the gap underneath the door.
The footsteps returned, increasing in weight and pace with every step. The hurried treads were quickly followed by an expletive as a glass smashed on the floor outside his room. The door flew open and there was a moment when he thought he hadn't been seen but he knew it would be short-lived. Then he saw it. Not obvious at first glance, especially when set against the alcohol glazed tinge, but there nonetheless... the look of utter disappointment in the hazel eyes that stared back at him from across the room.
The stench of alcohol intensified as the hazel eyes approached.
Trapped; there was nothing he could do but wait for his vision to turn grey, fade and allow himself to sink into oblivion.
Tony bolted upright, beads of sweat scattering in all directions from his brow. Breathing hard, he pushed the covers away and wiped his forehead, finally resting his hand over his mouth and chin.
Not again. Not today. Just not today.
After a minute he began to breathe easier, relaxing his tightly tensed muscles and swung his head to glance at the clock on his bedside table.
Sleeping through his alarm, on the first day of his 'weekend duty' with Gibbs, was not going to go down well. He'd have to forego his morning run if he was going to make it on time. Oh how he'd been looking forward to this weekend. Tensing again, Tony mentally kicked himself into gear. There was no way he could be late today.
Get a move on Anthony!
Any lingering memories from his earlier 'encounter' vanished, pushed back into the neat, and now safely secured, compartment buried deep in his mind. Tony took a quick shower, dressed in the suit he reserved for occasions when he felt the need to hide behind an extra protective layer, holstered and locked his sig and stumbled into the kitchen.
Now where was it? Tony spied the pizza box. "Ah ha... thought you'd got away from me didn't you?"
He flipped the lid to the pizza box precariously balanced on the edge of the counter. Gravity intervened, and the now stone cold remaining slices of a hot and spicy pepperoni pizza with extra cheese slid out of the box, to fall face down onto the kitchen floor. Tony watched in silent resignation as the box tumbled, almost in slow motion, to join its previous contents just a few inches away.
There was no way he'd have time to clear it up and get to work without being late. Leaving several streaks of tomato topping and mozzarella cheese on the kitchen floor, Tony picked up the pieces, threw them in the box and then wedged the oversized, square container in the trash bin in the corner of the kitchen. The box stuck out at an odd angle, mocking him. 'When you get home this evening,' it laughed, 'I'm going to be down there, on the floor and I'm gonna spill my guts again... just like you!'
Forget it. Leave it Anthony. Sort it out later.
Grabbing an apple from the glass bowl on the counter top - that would have to do in the circumstances - Tony made his way to the hallway. He picked up his coat and keys and headed out, slamming the front door behind him.
Two feet from his Mustang, still wrestling to get into his coat, apple gripped between his teeth, Tony suddenly realised he'd left his cell on his bedside table. He stopped struggling and sighed, which unfortunately was exactly the wrong thing to do as the apple that had been carefully positioned between clenched teeth worked its way loose at the sudden ease in pressure. Before Tony could think to react, it fell from his mouth, hit the tarmac and sent a shower of sticky juice in the direction of his suit pants.
Tony resigned himself to the fact that this was going to be the start of things to come this weekend. As he picked up the apple that had rolled neatly behind the front wheel of his Mustang and headed back towards his apartment to collect his cell, he prayed the traffic would be on his side.
The squad room was empty. Well, technically, the MCRT section of the squad room was empty. There were other agents around. Special Agent Stephanie Cole, currently running the Middle East desk, had her head buried in threat assessment reports; sitting not far from her was Special Agent Daniel Wright on the European desk. There were also those who had passed through on route to MTAC or the conference rooms from other areas of the building.
She was there when the janitor had made an appearance around 04.30 and the mail had been delivered around 06.00, but since then it had been very quiet. She often dropped by the squad room. She liked to watch her friends as they worked a case; teased each other, and comforted each other. Not that they ever saw her; she could come and go as she pleased and no one saw her. There were times, though, when she wondered if they could sense her.
She surveyed the scene in the open plan office. The four main desks of the MCRT were empty. No Gibbs, no McGee, no DiNozzo and no David. It was a Saturday. Under normal circumstances the desks should be empty. This weekend, however, half the team had been assigned the 'weekend duty', which meant that two of those desks would not remain empty for much longer.
Gibbs, you really are a bastard and DiNozzo, you can be such an idiot...
The elevator signalled its arrival with a familiar high pitched stab and threw open its arms to reveal a very determined Gibbs carrying a large box of files.
She hovered; watching as Gibbs strode purposefully into the squad room, deposited the heavy box of cold case files with a resounding thump on DiNozzo's desk, and checked his watch.
She watched as Agent Cole had looked up briefly from her papers and had bravely ventured a quick glance in Gibbs's direction. She watched as Gibbs had caught Agent Cole's eyes with a stare, and she observed silently as Cole had subsequently dropped her gaze immediately back to her threat assessments.
She watched and felt the tension as Gibbs, staring inwardly, walked back out of the squad room and headed once more for the elevator.
Good luck DiNozzo, was Kate's last thought before she vanished.
Tony locked the door of his Mustang, pocketed the keys and jogged towards the entrance to the NCIS building. He wasn't going to be late but it would be close.
It had actually been a good job he'd forgotten his cell. He'd realised he'd forgotten his back pack with all his usual gear and his extra shirts. He always kept a change of clothes at the office - had done ever since his rookie cop days - but he figured it'd probably be a late one tonight. Given the circumstances, he needed to be prepared for every eventuality... had to be extra prepared. No excuses. In fact, it wouldn't surprise him if Gibbs denied him permission to leave at all this weekend. This was, after all, going to be a Leroy Jethro Gibbs lesson in following orders. Still, there was an upside to his 'house arrest' or 'detention' weekend. At least he wouldn't have to face that Pizza box for a while.
Waving his badge and mock saluting the new security guard as he entered the building, he wondered what had become of the old security guard. He made a mental note to ask Dave in DVU and headed for the elevator. Pressing the call button three times in quick succession, Tony fished at his side for his cell. Just got time to send a quick text to Abs.
As he had been unable to accept Abby's invitation to watch her, Sister Rosita and the nuns hopefully thrash their opponents in the bowling quarter finals later that evening, the least he could do was wish her luck. Not that she needed it mind you... according to Abby, winning was a foregone conclusion. He smiled at that. Abby was always right.
A couple of thumb movements later he pressed send and then resumed his wait for the elevator.
Gibbs had returned to his desk and had been steadily working through his e-mails, the important ones anyway. There had been no calls and nothing on the tip line which meant this was an ideal opportunity to catch up on paperwork... he would rephrase that... it was an ideal opportunity for DiNozzo to catch up on paperwork. Well, it was supposed to be a punishment. And he was definitely going to treat it like one. DiNozzo wouldn't learn if he didn't. The guy needed to realise that going AWOL immediately after managing to get himself and his partner locked in a shipping container was not one of his better decisions, especially when the rest of the team had been run ragged trying to find the pair. However, Gibbs did have an alternative reason for insisting DiNozzo work the weekend shift. It would give him the chance to observe Tony without the others around – watch him perform his duties on his own and also see how he reacted now to one on one time. The last time they'd worked together, just the two of them, had been just after Vivien Blackadder had 'reconsidered her position within the MCRT'. They'd worked as a two man team for just over three months before getting a few sporadic TADs, probationary agents and downright disasters over the course of the next six months.
None of them had lasted.
Then he'd met Kate Todd, a secret service agent. She hadn't lasted either. But that was different. And even though it wasn't his finger that had pulled the trigger that fired the bullet that killed Kate, he still felt as though he had been responsible. He was the reason she hadn't lasted. It had been personal. The rifle, the bullet, the background that Ziva, as Ari's handler, had pulled up on him had been enough to equip Ari with the knowledge he had needed to rattle Gibbs, break through his tough external shell, expose his core, catch him off guard and... kill Kate.
It was a fine story... one he was adamant not to repeat.
DiNozzo had been caught off guard recently. He'd been rejected by his colleague and that had stirred some painful memories for Tony. Tony obviously thought of himself as a bad person and Gibbs wanted to know why. Tony was too good an agent to lose and he didn't want him failing his next psych evaluation. If the psych guys got a hold of something from Tony, they wouldn't let go until they were certain the agent couldn't be manipulated, couldn't be bought and, more importantly, wouldn't crack. Gibbs knew how hard it was to keep memories private, buried and compartmentalised. He had his own ways of coping with his pain, and he had to make sure Tony did too. Neither of them could afford to fail.
In the past 48 hours Gibbs had done some digging... and a bit of thinking. He'd reviewed Tony's personnel file... although he already knew it inside out. He'd concentrated on the personal information. DiNozzo came from a wealthy family. Tony's mother was dead. He'd been cut off by his father and they didn't speak... but Tony had already told him about that. It was all part of the vetting process that every agent had to go through before they got their clearance. He hadn't thought Tony's relationship or lack of relationship with his father was a big problem for DiNozzo. Tony had even joked about it at times. Lots of people grew up without a mother or a father and lots of people didn't get along with their parents. He had a father and he didn't speak to him much either... didn't bother him.
He wasn't so sure about Tony now. The clues were there... he just hadn't been listening. Gibbs was so accustomed to Tony's incessant drivel as they drove to a location or processed a scene, that he hadn't noticed the importance of those few choice times Tony had referred to his father. The joking was real enough, but that was the point. DiNozzo had a tendency to use humour to hide his feelings, hide his pain; hide others' pain too. He could think of half a dozen times now where Tony had joked about his father not coming to watch him at a game, teaching him how to 'report' whilst pouring his father's scotch, leaving him in a hotel suite for heck knows how long. If he'd looked beneath the surface he would have seen it earlier... DiNozzo's past was littered with rejection.
Was that really the reason he was so insecure now? Was it really the reason he desperately needed to be needed? Why he tried to impress so much? Was it the reason he, himself, tried to keep Tony at arm's length? Maybe, subconsciously he didn't want Tony to get too close in case he hurt him in some way and Tony saw it as rejection.
After his mother had died, his father had sent him to a military academy... sent him away. Out of sight, out of mind? Then a couple of years later his father had disowned him completely... rejecting him again.
No, however much Tony joked about his father... however much he said it didn't bother him... it did. But if it really bothered him, why hadn't he done anything about it? Why hadn't he tried to contact his father?
You don't know that he hasn't Jethro.
Perhaps he had... perhaps he'd tried and failed. Perhaps Tony's father had tried to contact him but Tony had rejected him this time. Perhaps that's why Tony thought of himself as a bad person. From rejected to rejecter.
Kicking himself for not listening more closely, Gibbs needed to understand why DiNozzo had been so rattled the other day. He needed to know what wasn't in DiNozzo's personnel file. He needed to know what DiNozzo hadn't told him. If he was going to do this... and he was determined he was because DiNozzo was worth it... then he needed to be prepared for the fallout... for him, and for Tony.
A/N - The SA3 series. The SA3s (in italics after each chapter) are a definite AU parody and usually have nothing to do with the story itself. I should have said that right from the beginning when I first started doing these things. My bad and I take full responsibility *slaps back of head*. They are not meant to be taken seriously. They usually contain a plethora of head slaps, growls, stares, hard swallows, coffee and everything associated with NCIS. I make no apologies for the cheese. Hopefully you recognise the characters from somewhere. If you don't then here is a quick recap.
The Boss: Gibbs/ SA3: DiNozzo/ McColleague or McColl: McGee/ Zita or Zee-tah: Ziva/ Ally or Als: Abby/ Director Rants: Vance/ Dr Rad Britt: Dr Brad Pitt/ Agent Dodd: Kate Todd
Others may be added later (will be added later). I hope that explains it. Confusing? Thought so. It'll be even more confusing from chapter three onwards. This SA3 is fairly long. Sorry about that. Well it has been a while (not counting Ailing).
SA3 sneaked into the squad room eyeing the Boss's desk hesitantly. "Hey McColl, Boss in yet?" he whispered.
"Nope. Where the hell have you been? We haven't seen or heard from you in over two weeks. It's like you disappeared off the face of the earth. We've been suffering. Do you know how many times the boss has slapped me this week? Even Zita here hasn't escaped."
"Sorry," SA3 sighed. "Can't talk about it. Undercover."
"More like 'keeping a low profile' whilst on suspension SA3466996," the Boss growled as he strode into the squad room, neatly whacking SA3 on the back of his head.
"Morning Boss," SA3 winced.
"Suspension?" Zita queried.
"Uh huh," the Boss replied as he took a seat behind his desk.
"What d'ya do?"
"Nothing McColl..." SA3 spotted the icy glare the Boss was sending in his direction, "much."
"Calling the Director a tight-assed wanker who could shove his toothpick up his... is hardly nothing SA3."
SA3 grimaced. "Yeah, okay Boss... I don't think they need..."
"You did not call the Director a..."
"Seriously? And he gave you two weeks for that..."
"Would have been four if he'd actually hit him."
McColl looked shocked. "You hit Director Rants?"
"Almost hit him." The Boss took in Zita's intrigued expression before fixing SA3 with a determined stare and continuing with his explanation, "Rants ducked. SA3 got me instead." McColl and Zita both gasped.
"Yeah... 'bout that Boss, I'm sorry."
"You will be," the Boss stated rising from his desk and walking up to SA3 in the middle of the squad room. "Turn around."
SA3 let out a deep sigh and reluctantly turned 180 degrees to face his own desk. The Boss leaned in close behind SA3's left ear and growled in a low voice that sent shivers down SA3's spine, "See that desk. You don't move from that desk for the next week."
"Week!" SA3 exclaimed as he felt the warm wisps of his Boss's breath catch the back of his neck. He swallowed hard. "Week. Understood, Boss."
"You do all the team's paperwork that they don't legally have to do themselves," the Boss paused briefly before continuing. "You come in when I tell you to come in, leave when I say you can leave, no breaks unless I okay them and no sound escapes that mouth of yours unless it's a 'Yes Boss' or 'On it, Boss'. Is that clear, SA3?"
"Right answer. Desk. Go to." The Boss waited until SA3 had taken a seat behind his desk and then turned to address the rest of the team. "Anyone else pisses me off today and they'll be joining SA3 on desk duty. Got it?!"
The hastily snapped stereo 'Got it, Boss' response from Zita and McColl echoed around the squad room.