Sorry for the awfully long wait but here is the last chapter of this story. Hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it well i didn't enjoy writing some of this, i'll warn you now that the scene coming up isn't for the light hearted and there will be a little swearing.
The remaining length of the journey to headquarters was silent and uneventful. Usually it unsettled Gibbs when it was this silent, especially with Tony in the car. Usually Tony was always in motion, even if it was just his fingers tapping on his leg or the dashboard. However, this time, he knew that the silence was merely because Tony was too physically, mentally and emotionally drained to do anything but think of what was to come now.
They were at a cross-road of sorts, Gibbs had shown that he cared about his Agent and Tony was finally warming up to that fact. The fact that Gibbs had always been there, even when Tony thought he should. And that little piece of knowledge was still a shock to the younger man. The ball, so to speak, was in his court, he knew that Gibbs didn't plan on firing him any time soon but he didn't know if he himself could face going back to everyone. Recently, he'd only seen and spoken to Gibbs, what if the rest of them hated him for putting them all in danger and getting Gibbs hurt and walking out on him and...
"They've been asking about you, you know." Gibbs had sensed that something was building up within his Agent and his gut had told him it may have to do with where they were heading. He couldn't say he was surprised by the look he caught coming from his Agent from the corner of his eye, though he hoped disbelieving looks like that would disappear in time.
"But..." The tone was quiet and nervous.
"Tony, at least give it a chance?" It was more a suggestion than an order or even a question but Gibbs knew that Tony would do it anyway; Tony was anything but a quitter. Gibbs smiled a rare proud smile at that little fact, hoping that Tony would see it.
It seemed the younger man had when he relaxed just that little bit more in to the car seat and released a somewhat relieved breath. Maybe, they wouldn't hate him. The next few minutes were spent in silence, scenes flashing past as they drove towards NCIS.
"I-" Tony stopped for a moment, weighing up whether or not this was the best time to tell Gibbs what he was thinking.
"What is it, Tony?" Gibbs encouraged, trying not to sound like he was pushing too hard; and while keeping his eyes on the road.
"I haven't told you everything." There he'd said it. Tony worried what Gibbs' reaction was going to be and looked away and out of the window, trying not to remember what he was talking about.
"I know." Gibbs responded calmly. He knew that the kid was hiding something but hoped it wasn't as bad as the things he'd already been told, he didn't know how much more Tony could handle to share.
"I think it's the reason this all started, the reason that he hates me." Gibbs tried to gauge the mood of his Agent, it seemed like Tony had accepted that it had been his fault.
That would not do, no way in hell was any of this his Agent's fault.
Gibbs stopped the car so suddenly that Tony thought they'd been hit; Gibbs turned towards him and held his gaze for a moment, conveying what he was just about to say with all the conviction in the world.
"There is nothing that you could have possibly done that should have made him hate you. None. Of. This. Was. Your. Fault."
Tony smiled a small genuine smile, the first in a long time and Gibbs was relieved to see it.
"I think I should tell you and the team, but I only want to have to say it once." Tony was guarded when he spoke and nervous but Gibbs understood, there were times where he himself had only wanted to say things once and then forget about them.
"Then let's go." Gibbs stepped out of the car.
Tony was confused for a moment until he realised where they were.
They were back in NCIS headquarters.
Tony caught up to Gibbs in the elevator and swayed a little. Gibbs steadied him and looked at him with concern clear upon his face.
"You sure you up for this, Tony?"
Tony nodded slowly but stood tall, ignoring the bruising, as if it were nothing, that had appeared on his throat in a way that haunted Gibbs.
"I need to do this, Boss." Gibbs nodded in reply.
"You wait in autopsy; I'll get the rest of the team." With that Gibbs got off at the bull-pen level and shot Tony a proud look.
As Tony walked into autopsy his resolve wavered a little, everyone would have questions after what he was about to tell them, not that they wouldn't anyway. He just hoped that they wouldn't be mad for him running out on them. He was disturbed out of his wonderings when Ducky appeared a little too close that he was used to at the moment, he took a quick step back from the elderly doctor.
"Anthony, I am sorry dear boy." Ducky had been surprised to find the younger man when he'd walked through the door and became worried when the younger Agent hadn't reacted to the door even opening but put it down to what the lad had had to put up with recently.
"That's okay, Ducky." Tony smiled at him, at least Ducky didn't seem to be mad at him.
Before anything more could be said Gibbs, followed by the rest of the team who looked quite confused, entered through the door.
Kate and McGee were happy to see their partner and friend but unsure quite how to react. Abby on the other hand practically bounced towards Tony, glee beaming from her every being. She stopped shirt though when he looked uncertainly towards her.
"Tony! It's so good to see you." She itched to hug him but wasn't sure how they would go with the confused look upon his face and remembering the last time she had hugged him.
"Wait, none of you are mad at me?" He looked towards Gibbs who had a smug look on his face saying 'I told you so'.
"No, worried sure, mad, no." Abby answered as if it were the simplest thing in the world. Tony looked around at the look on the face of the rest of the team and saw the same in them that Abby had just shown. Maybe it wouldn't be as bad as he thought it would be.
An awkward silence started and Tony wasn't sure how to start what he was going to tell them.
"There's something that I need to tell you all because..." Tony wasn't sure whether to go on and looked towards Gibbs again, Gibbs nodded and he continued, "It could be used as evidence." There he had said it; he waited with baited breath at their reaction.
"Evidence? Of what? Against who?" Kate asked tentatively, not wanting to force everything out of her friend, she had seen the error of her ways a few days ago.
"Erm, evidence against my Father." Tony was nervous now, maybe he couldn't do this, he really shouldn't have hidden something like this.
To say that they were surprised would have been a massive understatement, that their friend had had evidence against his own father, wasn't sitting right with them. What they had learned so far about Tony's childhood and been horrible enough, now this, they wondered when it would stop. Not for themselves, but for their co-worker and most importantly, friend.
Gibbs could see that Tony was working himself up into a state, stood close to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "It's okay. You've been through a lot; you're bound to forget some things." Tony was relieved at the easy out that Gibbs was giving him, even if he didn't feel like he deserved it.
Tony was sat on one of the metal tables but hadn't noticed the rest of the team had done the same, Gibbs and Ducky were either side of Tony. Abby, Kate and McGee were on the opposite one sensing that the story was going to take a while to explain fully.
They were all here for him, were ready to listen, without asking too much from him. Tony relaxed a little and started, though it wasn't going to be easy. Not by a long shot.
A bored 10 year old Tony was sat in his room; his mom had gone out to do some shopping and wasn't expected back for hours. Tony had already explored the grounds surrounding his big house like a gazillion times, nothing was new anymore.
The little boy sighed, his father was home but working in his study, he already been warned not to disturb him when working like a million times but he was curious. And most importantly. Bored!
Pretending he was an explorer, exploring unknown lands he crept out of his room, down the large staircase and ran straight into...Alice, one of the maids.
"Ah, young Tony, and what are you up to mister." He liked Alice; she always kept him entertained when his parents were away and snuck him some snacks before dinner when she thought they could get away with it.
"Exploring!" The child shouted excitedly. Alice giggled at him.
"Well, you know where not to go and not to be too loud, and try not to get yourself hurt this time." The young boy saluted and was mock serious when he said "Yes ma'am." then continued on his away, a little more quietly this time.
The closer he got to his father's study the more curious he became, and then he heard a raised voice. That was odd; he hadn't heard anyone else come in the house and it wasn't his father's voice.
Frowning, the little boy crept slowly up to the door and found it closed. Putting his ear up to try and hear what was happening he heard a weird noise, it was almost like a popping kind of noise. Then he heard footsteps and he ran to hide, hoping that he wouldn't be caught.
Unfortunately for Tony, he wasn't nearly fast enough and his father had seen him. Tony stilled at his father's voice.
"Anthony! Stay where you are."
The boy trembled at the tone; he'd never heard it before, not even when he'd annoyed his father in the past.
"Turn around." Tony did as was ordered but immediately wished he hadn't; damn the consequences.
The door to the study was open, a smell of metal filled Tony's senses.
Tony stopped talking for a moment to collect himself, he tried to push away his fear that his father could hurt all the people in the room they were in right now. But his father was locked up and there was no way that he could get out.
He could feel all eyes were on him and he faltered again, this was too hard. He couldn't...
Then he felt an arm around his shoulders and knew immediately that it was Gibbs. He nodded at Gibbs as a sign of thanks and continued.
Little Tony's eyes widened at the sight through the door.
Cold eyes started back at him, dark blood spread across the wooden floor boards.
Then he realised that his father had been silent for far too long.
The ground moved beneath him...oh wait, no, it was him being moved. His father had grabbed him by the collar of his shirt he'd been forced to wear earlier in the day. The cold eyes were getting closer to him rather than further away and he closed his eyes in effort to stop them boring into him.
His father shook him roughly and shouted in his face.
"You obviously wanted to see what I was doing, so look!" The man shoved his son to the floor into the blood.
"I didn't...I'm sorry, I didn't mean to." Tony was terrified; he knew it was blood that his hand had landed in.
"You didn't mean to, you're always nosey around where you shouldn't you little shit."
"I'm sorry." Tony stuttered out as he tried to get the blood off his hand frantically.
Tony's father grabbed him by his shirt front and glared at his son.
"You will tell no one, are we clear?" Tony nodded, shocked into silence, he didn't understand any of it. His father wasn't a bad man.
"I said are we clear, boy?" Tony flinched at the tone.
When it was clear that Tony wasn't going to say anything more, the rest of the team started trying to get their minds around it all. How a parent could do that to his own child was beyond them, and then force that child to stay quiet about it, they could ask how he had done it but they knew that Tony wouldn't answer that particular question.
Everyone, even Gibbs was a little pale after what they had been told. No wonder Tony had tried to forget that. It was horrific. They were almost shocked into silence themselves; Abby had tears running down her cheeks freely for a young Tony, Kate's and Ducky eyes were a little more shiny than usual and McGee looked like a ghost, only being young he didn't think that something like that had happened to one of his friends, even with all the crime he'd seen and heard about.
Nobody had any idea what to say. They knew that saying they were sorry for what their friend had been through wasn't going to help anything and it would only cause him to feel weak and that they pitied him. But what could they say to help him.
Before anyone could think of anything Tony asked them one question.
"Just tell me that everyone that was involved is either dead or already in prison and won't be seeing daylight for a very long time." To everyone in the room, Tony sounded tired and could see that his eyes were trying to close without Tony's permission. They also noticed that as he had spoken he had relaxed more into Gibbs, finally realising that it was okay to need someone to be there.
After and few minutes of silence, Tony got fidgety again and tried to move out from under Gibbs arm thinking that they weren't safe but Gibbs held firm.
"It's over Tony, and with what you have just given to us, your father will not be getting out unless it's in a coffin." Everyone in the room new that was a promise.
When Gibbs had sent Tony down to autopsy he had been given an update from McGee and Kate that the last of the people involved had been tracked, some were dead or had been caught in the last few days on different charges. Their trials would be made more interesting with the new evidence they had gathered from the start of this case.
"You're safe." Gibbs reassured his Agent.
Gibbs expected an answer from his Agent but when he looked down at his boy. What he saw was the only response he needed.
Tony was fast asleep, with Gibbs' arm still wrapped around him.
The team stayed like that for a while, all gathering support from each other.
Well, thats it, i hoped you all liked the sappy bit at the end, i couldn't resist it. I thought that it would look cute. Please review and tell me what you think. Its been a long journey with this one but we made it. Thanks all for reading the story!