Well, here it is, the end of this quite long tag. I really do hope you have all enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it. I really want to thank everyone who had taken the time to read and to review this story, especially the ones who have reviewed every chapter. Well, on with the final chapter, enjoy.
Chapter 20- That Almost Perfect Fit
Only the sounds of the elevator moving brought Gibbs out of his shock at what had just happened. Moving to follow his agent, he was surprised to find himself stopped, upon turning around he found Abby staring at him, tears pooling in her eyes.
"You can't Gibbs." Her voice was low but everyone was listening intently.
"Why the hell not!?" he practically shouted, causing Abby to jump a little.
"He needs time to figure it out," Seeing a somewhat lost look on Gibbs' face Abby continued, not allowing the tears to fall, "to figure out that we care about him."
"But..er…Abby… he just seemed angry." McGee piped up, he wasn't at all sure he knew what Abby was getting at.
"That was because he thought we thought he was weak and saw how we looked at him, he thinks we'd treat him differently and he doesn't want that."
"Then what does he want Abbs?" Asked an annoyed Gibbs, nothing seemed to be getting through to Tony at the moment.
"I believe that even he does not know what he wants or needs, Jethro." Ducky replied, placing a calming hand on Gibbs' shoulder.
"So what do we do?" Gibbs looked towards the team, hoping beyond anything that they had a plan. Nobody moved a muscle, just staring briefly at each other, Gibbs watched as Abby gave Ziva a slight nod of her head.
"I believe that another dinner festivity is required, yes?" she wondered a little nervously.
"It's party, and how would that help, it was your little party last time that got us here." Gibbs snapped at her. He didn't usually correct her but he'd had enough at her seeming to want to split the team apart.
"Wait Gibbs; give her a chance to explain." Abby interrupted before Gibbs continued to rip into Ziva. Sending a glare to Ziva then looking towards Abby, his glare softened when he saw a sparkle to Abby's eyes that had nothing to do with the tears he'd seen previously.
After the plan had been explained fully Gibbs calmed and really hoped it would work. It was the only thing they had left, he tried as had Abby in the hospital but it obviously hadn't been enough, he figured, only the person would had caused it could fix it with the help of the others. On their way out he called the director to tell her what was happing and to get other agents to wrap up the case, they could finish their reports later. At the moment, finding Tony was more important to them.
Stepping out of the warmth of headquarters and into the bitter chill of the night air, he wondered what the hell he'd just done. They'd all been there, showing that they cared. Yet, he still had a hard time believing it. They couldn't, shouldn't care….but they did. You couldn't have faked the looks of shock and concern that well in such a short amount of time if they didn't actually care.
Something within him was screaming at him to go back, let them talk, let them say their piece and then make his decision. But he couldn't, not after he'd just thrown all their care and concern back in their faces.
Damn it all! He'd messed it all up again. But it had only been his normal reaction to people finding out. They'd treat him differently now they knew he was weak. But that's what he wanted wasn't it, no, to at least be noticed but nothing else would have to change. Hell, he didn't even know what he wanted anymore.
Clenching his fists, he moved away from the building, away from them so he couldn't do anything to them anymore. Leaving would have hurt Abby and he didn't want that, never wanted that. He was sorry but he just needed time to think clearly, to get away from the oppressive atmosphere of autopsy, to think without everyone needing an answer.
Because he surely didn't have any answers for them. He barely had any answers for himself. The voices in his head and long since worn themselves out and he was just simply left alone to figure everything out. Walking slowly he wasn't aware of where he was going; he was just walking without an aim or reason.
The only sound above the silence of his mind he could hear was his own slow breathing, the anger had faded now he was alone, there was nowhere to aim it at really. Was there? It wasn't their fault, was it? No and he knew it. Only he could make the next move, take the next step. But he wasn't sure what to do; they'd proven what he wanted them to. What more could he ask of them, maybe to tell him why they'd done what they had. Maybe, he just needed them to apologise in their own way.
Would it make it all better? No, but he could learn to trust them again, had to at least give them a chance. A slight twinge in his side threw his thoughts back to the hospital visit with Gibbs and Abby. They knew him more than the others with the exception of Ducky of course, they known how to calm him then; they'd stayed and not judged him when he had looked weaker than he had before. Maybe he could give them this chance, but…
… But what if he gave them all the chance and they destroyed it again. Why not, it had happened before, what was stopping it from happening again. He growled deep within his throat, if you never gave anyone a chance, you'd never get anything more than you had. Forcing himself out of his thoughts and doubts he walked in the direction of his apartment, he'd speak to them tomorrow. He just needed to work everything out tonight, surely they could understand that.
Arriving at his apartment, Tony hesitated. There is was again, that voice screaming at him to go back, or at least find them to talk to them, but he couldn't, not yet. Turning the key in his lock he opened the door slowly, expecting to be met with darkness and nothing, just expecting to be alone.
What he wasn't expecting was the smell of delicious food to waft past his senses as he stepped in. Shocked, he observed the whole team in his apartment, Abby and Ziva pottering around in his kitchen, Ducky, McGee, and even Palmer setting his dinner table. Looking around again at his open plan living space and kitchen he searched for the one person that was missing. Gibbs.
When the door had opened everyone had stopped what they were doing and looked towards Tony, Tony stared back, shock still written on his face. He couldn't believe that they cared enough to do this, even after he'd walked out on them, leaving them all to finish the case and turning his back on them.
An uncomfortable silence stretched time out, causing the welcoming smiles to falter a little. Nobody spoke, not really knowing what to say.
Tony swivelled around at the sound of his door opening again, in stepped Gibbs. Gibbs simple stepped past him and gave him a tap on the head, albeit a little gentler than usually and gruffly stated,
"You're late, DiNozzo." Tony didn't need to face Gibbs to know that there was a small smile playing upon his lips as his spoke. Still shocked, Tony stuttered out a response.
"But….how did you….why?" to his surprise it wasn't Gibbs that answered, it wasn't even Abby, it was Ziva. She stepped up to him and gently place her hand on his cheek, looking deeply into his eyes, conveying what she knew about him and for some reason he didn't even seem bothered that she did. Well he had guessed she knew about his father anyway because of the files and for some reason the look in her eyes told him to trust her with it, and that she wouldn't speak about it until he wanted.
"I am sorry Tony, I never meant to hurt you the way I did." He looked away for a moment, looking towards the rest of the team, they each had a look about them saying how truly sorry they were. But he still couldn't get rid of the doubt that held him back.
He wanted to ask why she did it, honestly he did, but he wasn't sure he actually wanted the answer. Before he could do anything, Ziva spoke again, answering his question.
"I have learned not to judge a novel by its cover." Everyone seemed to be waiting on his response, tension filled the room, and the soft music being played was the only thing that was heard.
Tony knew everything was depending on his answer to a question that was being thought, but not asked. They were asking for a chance to prove that they cared, that much he was certain of. A moment more passed and he couldn't resist his next comment.
"It book Ziva, not to judge a book by its cover." His voice seemed relieved, the tension dissipated and everyone smiled at him warmly. Abby ran at him and squealed.
"We are sooo sorry Tony." she repeated a few times as she tightened her hug.
"Abs, I can't breathe." He rasped out. But she still held on.
"Abby, put him down before you suffocate him." Gibbs warned with a smile on his face.
Tony just watched as everyone got back to what they had been doing. Gibbs had brought a few chairs over from his and finished setting the table. Tony walked to his bedroom for a little while to get his feelings and emotions straightened out a little. Gibbs followed and Tony couldn't resist a question he'd first asked.
"Boss, why?" Gibbs looked a little puzzled at the question.
"Why, what DiNozzo?" Gibbs could still see the uncertainty within his agent and wished that he could get rid of it, but he also knew that it would never all go away.
"All this, the dinner party?" Gibbs smiled confidently and warmly, he walked up to Tony and placed a hand on the back of his neck, in a fatherly gesture.
"Because we're family, DiNozzo. You're stuck with us whether you like it or not, got it." Tony wanted to argue with him but their actions had proven what Gibbs had just said right. Tony nodded in response.
"Come on DiNozzo, lets not keep the family waiting." Gibbs smiled again, Tony was actually liking this side of Gibbs. They hadn't changed how they acted towards him, and he found that this new feeling of being cared for wasn't as scary as before. Gibbs watched the message finally settle into his agent and started to move out of the room. He almost laughed at Tony's next comment.
"Some dysfunctional family, eh boss." The joy had returned to Tony voice and posture. Walking out of his room, he smiled at the team who had settled at his dinner table, they all smiled back and invited both him and Gibbs to join them.
They all enjoyed the meal Ziva and Abby had cooked, shared stories, told him how they had gotten there bore him and even laughed a little. As the night wore on Tony started to feel comfortable with the team again, nothing seemed to have changed except for them all actually seeming more like a family than they had before, and for the first time after Kate's death.
Tony would be fooling himself if he thought the doubts would magically disappear though, he knew from experience that they wouldn't, but they'd quieten and be almost none existent for a long while hopefully. For now, that was good enough for him. At the moment he had a family that he cared for and who cared for him. That was all he could ask for.
Well I hope you all like the ending, I really loved writing this and I hope you all liked reading it. Please review and let me know what you thought of it. thanks again to everyone who stuck with this story and reviewed.