Well here it is, my newest NCIS fic. I've got two chapters ready so far and a few more in various stages of completion. I know I said I wouldn't post until this one was complete but I just can't wait anymore and frankly I'm curious to see what y'all think. As this story has a bit more Angst!Tony. But don't worry, it will still have plenty of Hurt!Tony and even some Competent!Tony as well as (of course) lots of PapaGibbs.
Major thanks and big hugs to my beta SlowSnail. You rock dude! :o)
Hope y'all like it.
"Take care of yourself Tony, don't go falling overboard."
After helping his former junior team member and former boss (he hated thinking of them as "former" anything), Tony walked back to the office for the Agent Afloat on board the Seahawk. Talking to them briefly reminded him once again just how much he missed everyone back in D.C.. It never ceased to amaze him that on an aircraft carrier surrounded by about 5,000 people, Tony never felt so alone in his life.
Deciding that he couldn't go back to his cramped office, Tony took a sudden turn and headed down a ladder on his right. Keeping his head down he doubted anyone noticed him as he walked quickly by, going to the one place he knew he could be alone.
Reaching his destination, Tony opened the door and felt the sun hit his face. He had discovered the spot purely by accident one morning while searching for the mess. He'd been completely lost and wound up somehow in the hangar bay. Doing his best to avoid getting in anyone's way as the huge aircraft were moved around, he had ducked out the first door he'd seen.
To his surprise he had ended up on a small walkway. It was barely two steps between two doors and the only thing between him and a very long fall into some very deep water was a couple poles with a chain hanging over them. It looked out over the back end of the carrier and was far from silent as aircraft took off and landed almost constantly overhead.
Even with all the noise, it felt like paradise to the NCIS agent. A small piece of the world he could call his own and he snatched it. Sometimes he wasn't always completely alone, the area being a go-between for some of the seamen on board, but most of the time it was all his.
Looking out over the sea, Tony ran a hand through his hair, watching the water pass below him faster than one would think a ship that large could move. He'd been on the Seahawk for a couple months but somehow it had seemed liked years. Somehow it didn't seem that long at all either.
Not that long since he'd made the biggest mistake of his life.
Shaking his head as the thoughts came unbidden to his mind, Tony stood up straight, keeping a steady hand on the chain serving as a railing on the "balcony" of sorts. Turning his head upward, he let the breeze hit him in the face. He hoped the cool air would blow away the thoughts that came to him whenever he had a quiet moment. Things that brought him out of a dead sleep in the middle of the night, panting and covered in sweat, usually calling out a single name.
Tony smiled ruefully knowing that most of his friends would think some very interesting thoughts if they knew he woke up in the middle of the night shouting a woman's name. For the well-known playboy, that could only mean one thing. How surprised would they be to find out that it wasn't passion, but terror, that woke him out of a less than peaceful rest every night?
The nightmares had gotten so bad that Tony had taken to sleeping in his office. A few screams here and there no one would care or notice, things like that could happen to men serving on a ship together. As the frequency increased though, Tony knew it was just a matter of time before one of his bunkmates reported the odd behavior of the NCIS Agent Afloat. Sleeping on the floor of his office gave him the privacy he needed to keep his personal turmoil continually hidden.
Unfortunately there had been another solution to the nightmares. One that Tony didn't want to admit to himself. It had started so innocently. The day he had returned to DC after his utter and complete failure. Going down to Ducky's lab to drink to Jenny's memory had seemed harmless. No one had any way of knowing where that would lead. Not even Tony.
As the tremors in his hands continued, Tony tried to ignore them like he usually did, though it never worked. Nightmares were something one had at night. What could it be called when they occurred in the middle of a sunny afternoon looking out at the ocean? Daymares?
Tony had promised himself that he wasn't going to drink when he woke up that morning but as the day had worn on that promise had gotten harder and harder to keep. The chat with Gibbs and McGee had been a nice diversion, playing with the computer and helping the Probie and the Boss with some top secret mission. Tony had enjoyed the banter that had come so easily, teasing McGee and headslapping himself for his Boss. He knew that both of them had fallen for the act. Heck, he'd almost fallen for it himself. It had almost felt like old times.
As soon as he left the comm. room, Tony knew, if anything, seeing and talking with McGee and Gibbs had just made his day worse. He couldn't stop thinking about how much he missed them, his home, his old job, everything. Then those thoughts inevitably led to why he no longer had those things, why he had been banished to sea…
Why it was all very much his fault.
When the Seahawk had been docked earlier it would have been so easy to walk off, go to the local bar and toss back a few. He'd done it before, many times, but that morning Tony kept himself aboard. He had been determined to break the habit, angry with himself for allowing it to go as far as it had.
Now they were at sea again and Tony wondered if he made the wrong choice. After all, who would care if he had gone to have a couple drinks at the local hangout? Wasn't that what someone did after they'd been at sea for a couple weeks? Go off and do the things they couldn't do while on the carrier?
Except Tony knew that he wasn't doing it just to relax. Unlike the rest of the crew that hit the bars the moment they were on leave, Tony went there with a mission. The alcohol was a crutch. With it flowing in his system he sometimes would forget for hours at a time the horror of seeing her face lying in a pool of her own blood.
The images came to his mind before he could stop them. Driving in the car and arriving at the old diner in the desert. Knowing as soon as he saw the shot up windows that something was wrong. Walking through the carnage of the gun battle he'd been helpless to stop. Seeing her there with no life left in her. Knowing that it was all his fault no matter how much his partner, his boss, everyone, had tried to convince him otherwise.
Tony wondered if maybe he should go searching the bunks of a few of the known boozers on board. Being the Agent Afloat had it's advantages and he was quite familiar with who was doing what. If a few confiscated bottles went missing, who'd know, right?
"Dammit Anthony, get ahold of yourself!" Tony said aloud, disgusted with himself for even thinking of such a thing. What the hell was wrong with him?
Trying desperately to stop thinking about the things he most certainly did not want to think about, he turned his mind to the job. Because the job was the only other thing that kept his agile mind busy enough to keep the bad thoughts at bay. Most of the time.
The case he'd completed the day before still hung heavily on his shoulders. It had been a long, arduous investigation that had resulted in quite a few men in the brig and quite a few more men pissed off that their friends had been sent away. The stress had been a lot but Tony wished it were just that. A few pissed off sailors he could handle. That would be easy.
It was the other thing that bothered him. The thing that had been running through his mind over and over again for months.
"Dammit!" Tony repeated fiercely, feeling the familiar tremble in his hands that he couldn't ignore, the fear that threatened to take over. Not fear for himself. Again that would be easier. No it was fear for another. Old fear. Fear that was unnecessary, since …..well, she was dead actually. No need to worry about her now, right?
Worrying wouldn't do her any good now. Not that worrying would have done her any good then either. No, what would have done her good back then was an agent who knew his crap and was on the job. Not an agent who'd been out gallivanting, hoping to get some tail and ogling his partner and…..
The shaking in Tony's hands went straight to his gut and he all but turned on his heel right then, ready to run somewhere, anywhere, so long as he didn't have to keep thinking about it all. Maybe he would head to the gym. Sometimes that helped. He would run on the treadmill until he was so exhausted that he could tell himself that the shaking was due to tired muscles, not anything else.
Tony was about to leave when he saw one of the doors behind him open of the corner of his eye. Knowing that he wasn't the only one who liked to look out at the sea at sunset to relax, Tony put on his best smile and turned around to greet the visitor. He figured there was no need to have anyone thinking that the Agent Afloat was doing anything other than enjoying the view.
The smile Tony planted firmly on his face went completely unnoticed except for the fist that greeted it. Not expecting it, the stunned agent didn't even get a chance to duck as his jaw took the force of the blow, snapping his head back. Momentarily disoriented, he put up his hands to defend himself. Too late.
Strong arms grabbed him by the shoulders and roughly pushed him closer to the edge. Before he could do anything or even scream, he found himself falling.
As the ocean below flew up towards him Tony couldn't help but to think of the last thing McGee had said to him before he'd signed off with his former partners. Little did the Probie know how his words would end up coming true.
"Take care of yourself Tony, don't go falling overboard."