A/N: Okay, I have no business starting yet another one, but I couldn't help myself. Anyway, "A Cry for Help" will be wrapping up soon, so I went ahead and indulged this plot bunny as well. I hope you enjoy it.
Title: Silent Tears
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Jethro Gibbs
Spoilers: takes place sometime in season 2
Warnings: Violence, disturbing images
Summary: A secret from Tony's past is exposed by a man out for revenge. Will Gibbs and the team be able to save DiNozzo from losing everything important to him?
Jason Miller sat in his tiny apartment, staring at the photographs littering his coffee table. A smile danced upon his lips as he picked up the picture closest to him. There was no doubt in his mind that he was staring at the image of the man that had destroyed his life. The eyes, the cocky grin, the egotistical aura, belonged to none other than Anthony DiNozzo.
He had dreamt of being able to exact his revenge for a long time and thanks to an unexpected twist of fate, his dream was about to come true. How could he have known that by simply being in the right place at the right time, would lead him to the one man he hated more than anyone in the world. He had been huddled in the midst of onlookers behind the yellow crime scene tape when he saw DiNozzo sporting a jacket and a hat bearing the letters NCIS. Jason had immediately pulled out his cell phone and began snapping a few photographs of his nemesis.
Knowing that he couldn't risk being seen, he had left and headed to the nearest drug store to develop the pictures that he had just taken. Now, he was sitting on his couch, fixated on the photo in his hands.
"You took Sydney away from me and turned her against me." Jason reached into his pocket and pulled out his lighter. "All she had to do was walk away from you, but she wouldn't. She said she loved you, kept saying it until her last breath. Sidney would still be alive if she would have left you."
Setting fire to the picture, he tossed it in the trash can and watched it burn. "I've been planning for this day for fifteen years, and believe me DiNozzo, you will suffer. I'm going to enjoy watching you trying to hold onto your sanity."
Jason's laughter echoed throughout the small room. By the time the NCIS agent figured out what was happening, it would be too late. Anthony DiNozzo's life was about to start unraveling before his eyes and Jason Miller would be the one responsible. He was already savoring the sweet taste of victory.
Tony managed to slip through the elevator doors just before they closed. "Thanks for waiting, Kate," he grumbled as he adjusted his backpack.
"Anytime," she replied.
"So, what's you're hurry? Got a hot date?"
"That is none of your business, Tony. Honestly DiNozzo, you really need to get a life."
Tony flashed her a grin. "I take that as a yes. What's his name?"
"You just don't give up, do you, DiNozzo?"
"Nope. Part of my charm," he quipped.
"That's a matter of opinion," she sharply retorted.
"You didn't answer my question," Tony pointed out.
"And I'm not going to."
The elevator came to a stop. The door opened and the two agents headed towards the parking garage. "Come on Kate, give me a hint."
"I'll tell you what I'm doing tonight," he playfully bargained.
Tony didn't miss the look of disgust on her face. "I don't care what you're doing tonight," Kate informed him. "I just hope that she's legally old enough to drink."
He stopped mid-stride. Most of the time he was able to let Kate's snide remarks simply slide, but this was not one of those days. Although the case they had worked today had been ruled as a suicide and there was very little to do except file their reports, it had still been a long and tiring day and he was in no mood to trade insults.
"Yeah, well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow," he mumbled. Taking his keys out of his pocket, he left Kate standing in the middle of the garage and headed to his car.
He didn't turn around when Kate called after him. "Tony, I didn't mean…"
"See you tomorrow, Kate," he repeated as he got into his car. Pulling out, Tony gave a slight wave and a smile, just so she would know that he didn't intend to hold a grudge.
As he was driving, he wondered what Kate would say if she knew that his plans tonight involved a pizza with sausage, pepperoni, and extra cheese, and a 'Magnum, P.I.' marathon. She probably wouldn't believe him, but it didn't matter; he was too tired to care what she thought.
Tony wheeled into the parking lot of Angelo's, his favorite pizzeria, to pick up the order he had placed before he left work. After exchanging a few pleasantries with Angelo, he offered to pay for his pizza, but the owner refused to take his money. When Angelo turned his back, Tony stuck a ten dollar bill in the tip jar and made a hasty escape.
Opening his car door, he placed the pizza on his passenger's seat and started the engine. He started to back out of his parking space when he noticed something on his windshield.
"You'd think that people would have better things to do than put flyers on windshields," he growled.
He got out of his car to discover that it wasn't an ad on his windshield; it was a picture. Tony grabbed the photo and got back in his car to study the image.
His hands began to tremble as his fingers traced the face of the woman in the photograph. Choking back a sob, he whispered, "Sydney." His heart was racing and his head pounding as long buried memories were resurrected and began to assault his mind. He could hear her screaming his name, crying for him to help her, but he had been too late.
The sound of his phone ringing forced him back to the present. He fumbled for the phone and finally managed to answer it.
"DiNozzo," he rasped.
"Tony, it's Kate."
He clenched his eyes shut, attempting to pull himself together so that he could talk to his partner. She would definitely be able to tell that something was wrong. "Yeah?"
"I wanted to tell you that I was sorry about what I said earlier," she apologized. "It was uncalled for and…"
"It's okay, Kate," he assured her, his gaze now riveted to Sydney's picture.
"No, it's not," Kate continued. "I just…Tony, are you all right?"
Tony cleared his throat. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. It's just been a long day. I'll see you tomorrow."
Without waiting for a response, he hung up and tossed his phone on the seat beside him. Tony leaned his head back against the headrest. How did a picture of Sydney end up on his windshield? Obviously someone had to put it there. But who? No one in D.C. knew about Sydney and if they did, they wouldn't place a picture of her on his windshield, sparking memories that consumed his soul like a raging fire.
"You're an investigator, Anthony," he muttered to himself. "Start thinking like one!"
Tucking the picture in the inside pocket of his jacket, close to his heart, Tony went back inside the restaurant to see Angelo. After a problem with vandalism, he had helped the owner install a security camera to cover the parking lot. Hopefully, he would be able to pull the tape and identify the person who had placed the picture on his windshield.
"Hey, Angelo!" he called out to the robust man.
"Anthony! Did you forget something?" Angelo asked, clearly surprised to see him.
"I need to see the tape from your video surveillance camera in the parking lot."
"I'm afraid that's impossible, Anthony."
Tony could feel his rage beginning to build inside him. "What do you mean?"
"That camera's been broken since last week. I meant to ask to you to look at it, but today's the first time you've been by since it happened, and you looked so tired, I didn't want to impose," the older man explained. "Did something happen to your car?"
He tamped down his anger; it wasn't Angelo's fault that the only clue as to who left him the photograph of Sydney had vanished. "No, Angelo," he sighed in frustration. "Nothing's wrong."
"Are you sure? You don't look so well. Maybe I should call Jethro."
"No, don't do that!" Tony protested, his tone a bit harsher than he intended. "I'm fine. Thanks again for the pizza. I'll uh…fix that camera the next day I'm off."
"Then I shall reward you with a one of my specialties. Rigatoni alla Angelo!" the older man promised.
"Sound's good. See you later."
He went back to his car, uncertain what he should do next. The picture of Sydney had completely unnerved him, causing him to feel like he was losing control of his mind and his life. Tony pulled out of the parking lot and headed towards his apartment. He need to get his head on straight in order to figure out what was going on. His gut was telling him that something was very wrong. Since he had been working with Gibbs, he had learned to trust his instincts. Maybe if he had listened to his gut fifteen years ago, Sydney and their son would still be alive.
Jethro Gibbs emptied out the contents of his glass and poured himself a drink. It was a rarity that his team caught a case that was wrapped up in a single day, but today had been an exception. A Navy lieutenant had jumped to his death and although his death had been ruled a suicide, it had still proved to be a taxing day.
He took of sip of his bourbon and stared at his boat. It was about half way finished, but he knew in his heart that in a sense, it would never be completed; when this one was done, he would simply start another one. This basement was his refuge from the stress and the harsh realities of his job; if he wanted to be truthful, there had been times that working on his boat had spared his sanity.
As he picked up a piece of sandpaper, his cell phone rang. Glancing at the caller ID, he saw that it was Kate. "Yeah, Gibbs," he answered.
"Gibbs, I have a problem," Kate began.
He sat down on a sawhorse, knowing that this could turn into a long conversation. "Yeah?"
"Well, I think I hurt Tony's feelings," she confessed.
"You're calling me to tell me that you think you hurt DiNozzo's feelings?" Gibbs was sometimes amazed by the naivety of the former secret service agent. Sometimes she could be so gullible, especially when it came to DiNozzo.
"Well, I didn't mean to and I called to apologize and he said that it was all right, but I'm not sure I believe him."
"And why wouldn't you believe him, Kate?"
"Well, he sounded…odd."
Gibbs couldn't help but grin. "Did you ever think that maybe he was busy?"
"Well, I uh…oh God," she exclaimed. "Do you think I was interrupting something? Oh, God."
"I'm sure he'll let you know in the morning," Gibbs added. DiNozzo was right; it was a lot of fun to tease her. "If I were you, I'd have some doughnuts and coffee waiting for him," he suggested.
"Do you think I should call him back and apologize for calling him in the first place?" Kate asked.
"No, Kate. Just save it for the morning."
He would have to remember to tell DiNozzo to go along with the gag. The fact that Gibbs had initiated the joke would delight Tony to no end. "I'll see you in the morning, Agent Todd." Gibbs hung up his phone and stuck in the pocket of his jeans. Deciding that he was hungry, he went upstairs to fix himself a sandwich.
As he was getting the bread, he heard a knock at his door. His senses were on high alert, especially since he wasn't expecting anyone. Making sure that he could get to his gun if necessary, he cautiously opened the door. Attached to his door was an envelope with his name on it, spelled out in letters cut from a magazine.
Looking around outside, he saw no one in the immediate vicinity. Gibbs stepped inside, grabbed a pair of latex gloves out of his jacket pocket and slipped them on. He pulled the letter off the door and went back inside, debating on whether to open it or take it in to work and let Abby open it in the safety of the lab.
Making his decision, he took the knife and opened it on one end. Carefully peering inside, there was a piece of paper and a photograph. He pulled the picture out and studied it for a few minutes. The young girl in the photo couldn't have been more than 18 and it was obvious that she was pregnant. Gibbs guessed that she was probably in her last trimester. Turning the picture over, he saw the words 'Sydney, 8 months', inscribed on the back.
Gibbs pulled out the letter and its contents were also written out using letters from a paper or magazine. He began to read it to himself.
Be careful who you trust. Even the closest of friends have secrets they don't want to share.
If it hadn't been for the picture of the young girl, Gibbs would have thought that the letter was talking about him. Very few people knew about his past and he preferred it that way. There were so many memories, most of them good, but they were his memories and he didn't want to share them with anyone.
He considered his team to be close and Jethro Gibbs felt that he knew all he needed to know about his team. Kate and McGee were still fairly new, but DiNozzo had been with him for close to four years and there were some aspects of the young man's life that Gibbs would have rather not known. His brow furrowed as he read the letter again. Someone was playing games with him and he was not one to play games. He picked up the picture of the girl and stared at it for what seemed like hours. Gibbs vowed to find an answer in the morning. Someone was trying to make him doubt his team's integrity and that was not going to happen.
Tony sat in his apartment; the pizza that he had initially craved remained untouched, as he continued to stare at the picture of his late wife. Alone in the darkness, he had allowed the tears to flow as he clutched the photograph to his chest. He was in agony. It was not a physical pain that would go away with a couple of aspirin; the scars on his heart had been ripped open causing him to ache for what he had lost.
How different would his life have been if Sydney and their son hadn't died? That was something that he didn't want to think about. He had been forced to accept the reality of their deaths and move on and now someone was determined to torment him with the memories of his past.
"Come on, Anthony," he chastised himself. "You've got to get it together. Someone is just messing with you."
The phone rang and he decided to let the machine pick it up. It was probably Kate again, wanting to apologize for her sarcastic remarks. He listened as the machine answered.
"Hey, it's Tony and I can't talk right now so you know what to do," the machine said.
After the beep, he heard a woman scream. "Tony! Tony! Help me!"
He bolted up off the couch and picked up the phone. "Hello?" he shouted into the receiver. "Who is…"
"Tony, help me! The baby!"
"Sydney?" Tony felt the room start to spin. It was her voice, but she was dead. How could she be calling him from the grave? He had buried them; he had seen the undertakers lower their caskets in the ground. "Who is this?" he demanded to know.
He could hear laughter on the other end of the line as the screaming ceased. A muffled voice answered him. "I'm your worst nightmare."
The line went dead and Tony stood there with the receiver in hand. In one swift motion, he took the phone and flung it across the room. Why was this happening? Why now? He missed Sydney and their baby boy more than words could express, but the fact remained that they were gone. She would have kicked his ass if he had simply wallowed in self pity all these years and although it had taken him a long time to where he felt that he could move on with his life, he had done it.
He went back to the couch and picked up the picture that had fallen to the floor. "I miss you, Syd. I…" Tony couldn't finish his thoughts. All he could manage to do was to silently promise her that he would not let whoever was playing this mind game with him, tarnish the memory of his family.
Tony went to his bedroom and fell across the bed. He was exhausted, but he knew that his sleep would not be restful. Sighing, he closed his eyes, knowing he had to try and sleep. Gibbs would kill him for showing up at work looking like he was hung over, but at least everyone would suspect that he had too much to drink and he wouldn't have to explain the dark circles under his eyes. Of course, Gibbs would be able to see through his façade; the team leader seemed to have a unique ability to sense when DiNozzo wasn't being entirely truthful.
"Maybe I should just call in," Tony mumbled to himself as he began to doze. "Stupid idea. Draw too much attention to…"
The young man allowed the darkness to embrace him. His dreams quickly turned into nightmares, forcing him to relive Sydney's death over and over in his mind. As he thrashed about, Tony DiNozzo had no idea that somewhere in D.C., Jason Miller was preparing yet another surprise for him.