I am SO sorry for the wait :( My life has just been all over the place right now - I didn't think having this much work was possible! Hopefully this chapter (Final one!) makes up for it :)
Plus, I kinda stole some lines from 'Good Will Hunting' and 'Donnie Darko' - don't sue me :P You can make a game of finding them if you want :P
Tony yawned as he plonked himself down at the breakfast table in Gibbs' house. He'd slept so much the last few days he couldn't stand another couple of hours snooze in bed, so he had gotten up when he'd woken up and wandered downstairs - not really surprised when he saw a still warm plate of bacon and eggs was sat at one of the chairs. He grinned as he started to eat it - slowly at first, but soon getting his appetite back.
It was as if what had happened in the past few days was all a bad dream, and he was just waking up. He also felt… well, there was no other word for it - safe here. He was remarkably relaxed as he sat in the kitchen of Gibbs' house, and breathed out when the familiar scent of sawdust came up from the hallway… which must mean that Gibbs was just coming up from the basement,
"Boss, do you actually sleep?" He asked, taking a sip of the cup of coffee that had stood next to his plate.
Gibbs merely ignored his question and said, "Don't forget to be ready for that psych appointment today, I don't fancy dragging you there - because I will win that battle." Tony sighed, knowing he had a point. The only thing was - he honestly didn't think he needed to go. Not because he was stubborn (Well, that did help) but because nothing had happened recently that warranted a visit to a shrink. Okay, the whole asylum thing might have needed something, but he felt fine right now. It was all just like a bad dream.
"Tony." He jerked his head up, blushing when he realised he'd been thinking all this time, completely ignoring what Gibbs had been saying,
"Sorry Boss." He quickly apologised before adding, "Right, sign of weakness, sorr…"
"DiNozzo," Gibbs started, "Shut up and eat."
"Er… I'm already finished Boss…" He looked down at his practically licked clean plate, before grinning wryly at Gibbs.
"Glad to see you've got some appetite back," He remarked, and looked up when the door opened, "I really need to get a lock for that door." He added, as Abby bounced through,
"Hi guys! Tony, how are you?" Tony smiled at her warmly and nodded, pulling her into a hug. She looked confused but happy nevertheless and hugged him back with relish,
"Someone's happy today." She beamed. Tony just chuckled and took a sip from his coffee cup. He burst out laughing as he realised what was in it,
"What?" Abby asked, as Gibbs gave him an odd glance,
"Boss, this has sugar and hazelnut in it," He said to Gibbs, "You don't possess either of those things in your house. Did you buy this and then put it in a mug so I'd think you did make it?"
Abby started to giggle and said, "That's so sweet Gibbs…" She was about to tease him more, but saw his face and decided she didn't want to. He looked like he was trying hard to act calm and as if he didn't care, but she saw the slight hurt in his eyes as Tony laughed. She didn't think that Tony was uncaring, but it was slightly insensitive. Although he probably hadn't seen it.
There was no reason why he shouldn't, she mused, he and Gibbs had a unique bond - more so than she and Gibbs had. What they had wasn't really a bond, more just a father/daughter kind of bond. But what he and Tony had, it was an almost telepathic link. Sure, she joked about having one with Gibbs, and could often get inside his head, but Tony really seemed to get that down to a T. He knew when Gibbs just wanted to be left alone, knew when he wanted to talk. It was vice-versa, and she knew that they could tell what each other was thinking right now,
"Gibbs," She said, veering him away from the subject of coffee, "What time's Tony's appointment again?" She saw Tony scowl and then realised. He hadn't been trying to be funny or insensitive - he'd been trying to steer them to safer ground. Away from psychologists and crazy people, and back to reality.
"Half 10, so DiNozzo had better be ready." Gibbs replied, staring menacingly at Tony.
The younger man glanced down, "Don't you trust me?" He asked, "Is that it? You think I'm going to disobey a direct order and not turn up for that appointment?" Gibbs' stare showed that he was all too aware of what would happen if Tony went there on his own,
"You don't need to be scared Tony," Abby told him cheerfully, "I'll come in with you if you want, and hold your hand." Tony chuckled, before realising she wasn't actually joking.
"Nah thanks Abbs, I'm okay. I'm perfectly capable of going in there on my own."
"Actually," Gibbs said, "A patient deemed dangerous has to be accompanied by another person."
"Did you tell them I was dangerous?" Tony asked, slightly stunned,
"No," Gibbs answered, though the slight upward quirk of his lip showed what he thought of the idea, "They assume everyone is until they've been evaluated after the first session. Sorry there, kid."
Tony slipped further down his seat. Was everyone just completely against him today?
The trip to the psychologist's office was quiet, considering the amount of people in the car. Ducky had been invited along (More moral support for Gibbs than anything) and Abby and Tony were squashed up in the back. It was Ziva and McGee's day off, but they were more than likely planning to stop by. This thought didn't really agree with Tony, and he became increasingly withdrawn the nearer they got.
Everyone in the car noticed this, but it was just lucky they didn't become anxious. One of the signs of Post-traumatic stress, they had been told, was sullenness, but they all knew better, and that it wasn't anything bad. Abby could tell Tony was angry about being made to go to a psychologists, Ducky picked up on the fact that he was yawning, and so was still tired, and Gibbs…
Gibbs gave him a furtive glance in the mirror every so often, on the pretence of looking out for traffic behind them. He saw the slight pale colour the younger man had turned, and how his leg was jiggling up and down nervously, even with Abby's calming hand on his arm. This wasn't just stubbornness or even anger. This was fear.
Gibbs wondered first of all if maybe his father had done something before that had scared him like this. He knew enough about Tony's past to know it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, and he wouldn't put it past DiNozzo Sr to send his son to a shrink - God, he probably thought the boy was mad when he expressed a wish to be a cop. Then he shook his head, although that sounded pretty plausible, it was surely just the experiences of Rosewood that were making him so nervous. Getting locked in that spinning box must have been terrifying, and the kid probably thought he'd be sedated as soon as he opened his mouth.
"Are we there yet?" Gibbs had to grin at Abby's childish question,
"Nearly," He answered, "Wake DiNozzo up." Abby looked over to see that Tony had indeed fallen asleep. His head was lolling listlessly and his arms were still folded as they had been from the moment he got into the car.
"Tony," Abby whispered, prodding at his arm, "Wake up. We decided to drive you to a strip club instead." Tony shot awake, the reaction much like Gibbs' when coffee was passed under his nostrils.
When he looked around the car park they had stopped in he shot Abby a dirty look and said, "This isn't a strip club."
She rolled her eyes, "C'mon Tony - d'you really think me, Gibbs and Duckman would go with you to a strip club?" He harrumphed and unwillingly unclipped his seat belt as everyone else did, opening his car door moodily and throwing his arms around himself in order to hug his chest,
"Can't we just go home?" He whined, gazing at the building apprehensively,
"Don't be such a baby," Abby replied, hitting his shoulder, "Come on."
"So Mr DiNozzo…"
"Agent," Tony corrected her wearily, "Special Agent DiNozzo."
The psychiatrist nodded, "Sorry. Agent DiNozzo - how are you finding things at the moment?"
"Er… fine? And… thing… like?" He wasn't awfully sure what she meant by this, but tried to look away as he sensed rather than saw Gibbs grin at this. He'd promised not to say anything during the session in case he led Tony into saying something he wasn't going to, but he really felt like saying something to get the younger man back on track. Instead, he administered a rather rough head-slap,
"Ow!" He yelled, before looking over at the shrink and making puppy-dog eyes, "You know - my father used to do something very similar to that."
"Really?" Dr Foster (No, that was her real name) looked up, before glaring coldly at Gibbs, "How does thinking about it usually make you feel?"
Tony leant back in his chair and breathed out, "Erm…" He said, drawing the word out and repeating it several times before finally answering, "Sad."
"Sad…" Dr Foster repeated,
"Is there an echo in here?" He said, glaring at her, before continuing, "Yeah. I felt sad. Every time the Boss hits me in the most brutal and vicious manner, I feel sad. Jesus lady, come on. I'm fine! I don't need therapy! My father never hit me like that!"
"Did he hit you?" Tony was taken aback at the straight-forward question,
"Erm…" He glanced around, not knowing what to say. One the one hand, he'd love to rant and rave about his father, but in the other, she'd just nod and say something about him still not getting over his past. They did that. All the time. He could be a psychologist; it's not as if they need training. Common sense would do. Instead, he settled for a diversion,
"Who's that?" He asked, pointing to a picture on Dr Foster's desk.
She looked at it and idly traced her finger around the silver frame before answering, "My mother. She died when I was 7."
Tony nodded absent-mindedly, "Same. Well, when I was 5 - but it's still young, isn't it? I mean, losing your mom at that age… How did yours die?"
"She was hit by a car." Dr Foster said softly,
"Mine killed herself," Tony said calmly, "One day she went out the conservatory and saw my Dad… with another woman. She went back into the house, patted me on the head and closed the door. Last time I ever saw her. They locked me in my room when they went to take the body away." Tears were pricking at his eyes as he said this, so he hastily looked down at his lap until he felt safe,
"I bet you started to blame yourself," Dr Foster said, "You were sat there in your room, when you found out what had happened, and you just started thinking, 'What would have happened if I'd gone in there and stopped her?' But you can't Tony. She's gone, and thinking about her now isn't going to help anything."
"You brought her up!" He cried out indignantly, ignoring Gibbs' hand on his shoulder, "You asked me how mine died…"
"Actually," She replied, "You asked me how mine died. Then you talked about yours without any pushing. I think that's what's got you so bothered about everything isn't it?"
Tony snorted, "I'm bothered because I was locked in a box that made me see things!" He yelled, "It made me…"
"See things that you most fear," The doctor interrupted, "It made you see a woman that you, through a hazy mind, saw as your mother. It scared you that you couldn't do anything. Couldn't get out of that box, and you couldn't save her."
"I research. I know a lot about that machine - it fascinates me."
"Well then why don't you get yourself locked in there?" Tony spat angrily,
"Is what I said right?" She asked calmly, glancing at a clock and discreetly jotting something down on a clipboard, "About your mother?"
Tony realised he was between a rock and a hard place. On the one side he had to tell a shrink everything he'd kept up all these years - things he hadn't even told Gibbs. And at the other side, he'd be forever getting little side glanced from Gibbs to make sure he wasn't about to break down suddenly.
"Answer her Tony." Gibbs said gently, his hand still on the younger man's shoulder.
Tony sighed, "Yeah. I saw my mother. And yeah, I sometimes think I could've done something when she died. But that's it. I'm only here because I was sent to an asylum that people think left some sort of scar on me. Sure, I saw my mom in that box, but I know she's not coming back, and I know there wasn't anything I could have done."
"You do know it's not your fault, don't you?" She asked slowly,
"Yeah…" Tony said dully, glancing down at the floor, sighing,
"Tony - it's not your fault."
He looked up and gave a small nod, "I know."
"No. Tony. It's not your fault."
"Yeah. I know."
"No, you don't - it's not your fault Tony."
Whatever she was doing, Gibbs thought, it was working. Slowly, little by little, Tony's defences were coming down one by one, and it wasn't long before Gibbs could see tears in his eyes,
"It's not your fault." Dr Foster said a last time, making Tony suddenly break down,
"Don't you… it's not… stop…" His body wracked with sobs, he leant over the only thing close to him - Gibbs. The older man seemed to just take it into his stride, and he turned so that Tony's head was buried in his shoulder. Gibbs pulled his arms up so that they curled around Tony, and he patted the younger man's back as he kept gasping and sobbing.
"Hey," He whispered softly, "It's okay son. It'll be okay. I know how ya feel kid, God knows I do…"
After about ten minutes of this, Tony pulled himself off Gibbs, sniffing hard and rubbing at his eyes furiously,
"You don't need to be ashamed of that," Dr Foster told him, "I think it'll be quite good if in the future you let your guard down a bit more. Cry a little every now and then."
"You gonna be scrutinising that at all our sessions Doc?" Tony asked, his voice thick.
She shook her head, "I was under instructions from a doctor at Rosewood, Clare I think her name was - she said that if I feel you're fine, we don't need any more sessions."
"You think this is fine?" He joked weakly, motioning towards his red eyes and Gibbs' damp patch on his shirt.
Dr Foster smiled benignly, "I think you're going to be fine. But maybe one more session will be good. Then you can choose to stop coming. But I want you to bring someone to these sessions with you. Okay? You can make your next appointment outside. I'll see you then." She smiled at him and shook his hand warmly, before doing the same with Gibbs.
When they walked out, Gibbs kept him in the small corridor for a moment before they went to meet Abby and Ducky so that DiNozzo could dry his eyes some more and wait for a moment so that it didn't look as though he had been crying.
"So Boss," He said, wiping at his eyes, "How's it feel to have a crazy person for an agent?"
Gibbs gave a small, sad smile and chucked his chin slightly, "Wonderful."
"So Probie, did'ya miss me? And I have to say I was hurt - multiple visits to a shrink and you don't drop by?" Tony leant back in his chair, grinning over as McGee started to splutter. A sharp 'thwack' to the back of his head made him sit up again,
"Don't tease McGee, DiNozzo, he was busy." Gibbs said as he rounded the corner and went to sit down at his desk.
"So…?" Tony said slowly, looking over at him, "How'd it go with Director?"
Tony had been outraged when he'd found out that the Director was refusing to let him come back to work until she got signed documentation that he was fit and healthy - both physical and mental. Dr Foster wouldn't give him any. Even when he'd broken down a second time in one of their sessions. She still wasn't sure that he'd 'gotten over' his mother's death, or 'gotten over' his trip to the asylum. He'd even gone to an extra session to try and convince her. That time, he'd declined Gibbs' offer to go with him, and had gone alone. In just Dr Foster's company, he soon started to talk openly. With no chance of being embarrassed with the knowledge that his Boss knew something he didn't particularly want him to know, he'd told her all sorts of things.
How he still sometimes cried over his mother's grave. How his father had once made him go to an asylum. She's been shocked when she'd heard that. Apparently, when Tony was only 7, his father had decided that he must be unhinged as he didn't want to go into the family business. So he told the orderlies in the asylum that his son was still suffering from seeing his mother die. But when little Anthony DiNozzo was tested, it was obvious he was fine - still missing his mum but fine. DiNozzo Sr was outraged when he was sent back, and locked him in a cupboard for a week.
He didn't even ask that food and drink be sent in there. When he was out the terrified maid who was working that day would open the door and feed him. Tony started to cry when telling his doctor this, and finally started to rant that he didn't think it was professional of Gibbs to send him in there. Pleased, Dr Foster signed a document that was to be presented to the Director saying he was fit to work again. However, he had been advised to continue going to the sessions,
"The Director's fine," Gibbs told him, while Ziva and McGee listened eagerly, "She said that as long as you think you're capable to work again, then you can."
"Yes!" Tony whooped, jump up and pumping a fist in the air, "Boss you're amazing, if I ever make you mad again, I'll…"
"Be getting a head-slap." Gibbs finished for him, before the phone on his desk started to ring,
"So Ziva, how worried were you for me in that asylum?" He asked her as he picked his back-pack up - it was obvious they were getting a call about a case.
Ziva sighed, "If you must know - yes, I was quite worried while you were in there. But you are better now, yes?"
Tony found all three of them looking at him in earnest and he grinned easily and brightly. He actually was - there was no lie in this grin, no hidden emotion. He was fine. Talking with Dr Foster had helped, and Gibbs… Gibbs had been an amazing tower of support for him. He'd never thought his Boss would be there for him like that before. Sure, he had his six, but he thought that only existed for work - never outside of it.
"Yeah," He answered, "Yeah. I'm good." He looked over at Gibbs, his eyes searching the older man's.
Gibbs nodded, "Yeah," He said, "Yeah DiNozzo, I reckon you are. Gear up. We've got a dead petty officer in Norfolk. McGee, call Ducky. DiNozzo…"
"Gassing the truck Boss!"
Was that okay? I know it's been forever, and I had no plan for it either, which sucks. I know it wasn't the best chapter I've ever written - but hopefully you'll still review and/or like it nonetheless :) Thanks for sticking with this story to it's (Slightly crappy) end ^_^ Review? xx