Chapter Two

Disclaimer: Some curse words as Tony looks back on his childhood.

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"And let me guess, you want to go?" Gibbs asked. Ziva had just informed him of Tony's dad. For a moment, the usually stern-faced man flinched under her words before asking her if she wanted to go with him. He knew Tony needed her.

"Yes," Ziva nodded, "If that is perfectly okay with you? I know we have a case that we are working but I think it would…"

"Mean a lot to DiNozzo?"

"Yes."

"Then you may go with him. I can cover this case with Ducky and you go and be with DiNozzo. He needs you right now."

"Yes sir," Ziva didn't know what else to say.

"That's an order, David."

Ziva let a small smile escape her lips before meeting Tony outside. He was waiting for her in his car, his hands tightly clenched against the steering wheel. His knuckles were a ghostly white and he didn't even look at her when she opened the car door.

"You want me to drive?"

"I am not handicapped you know, Zi."

She didn't say anything else. Tony's father had always been a touchy issue with him and she didn't want to overstretch her boundaries.

"Sorry," Tony glanced at his passenger from the corner of his eye, "I guess it isn't your fault. You know, I haven't even seen him in about fifteen years. He didn't want anything to do with me after I went into the academy. Said I was a waste of everything – the prep-school tuition, the fancy cars, the nice house. Told me I didn't appreciate anything I had been given and decided to take it all away."

"Tony…"

"He had me live on the street for all he cared. I could have been killed or mugged or something but that didn't matter. Once he took away my life, I was no longer his son. I think he preferred it that way. Someone that wouldn't get in his way when he had his…friends over."

"Friends?"

"After my mom died, we had lots of women over practically every night. Any leggy blonde with the brain of a mosquito would do anything to get her hands on my dad's money."

"I'm sorry, Tony."

"It's the past now," he shrugged, "Sweet family memories, huh?"

"Something we have in common," Ziva attempted a smile, "Come on, Tony. I know he wasn't a good father but he needs you right now. You are all the family he has and you can't want him to be alone."

"He left me, remember. Threw his only family out like garbage!"

"Tony," Ziva lowered her eyes, not able to meet his, "Maybe you need this right now. Look at yourself, Tony. He may have thrown you out but look at what you've accomplished! You are one of the best NCIS agents – a very special agent – and you have Gibbs, Abby, McGee, and me. We're all here for you. Your dad has no one."

"Maybe he doesn't deserve to have anyone."

"Believe that if you want but Gibbs has given us the day off and I intend to use it. Now, let's go."

"He won't even want to see me."

"Since when does Tony DiNozzo think no one wants to see him?"

Tony smiled at that, "Alright. We'll go."

The car pulled out of the drive way and headed to St. Michael's. The hospital was about an hour and a half away from where they were but the drive gave Tony some time to think. His mind was practically swimming with memories.

It was Christmas morning and seven year old Anthony made his way down the stairs and to the living room. There wasn't even a tree. The room was completely bare: no stockings hung on the chimney with care, no tree sparkling with lights, no neatly wrapped presents. The room was cold, dreary. Another Christmas alone.

His parents would be off at various parties tonight sipping peppermint cocktails while he waited here, amongst the alabaster vases and antiques and furniture he wasn't allowed to touch.

"What are you doing awake?"

His mother sloshed down the stairs, her satin nightgown dancing by her knees. She looked like a wreck – no wonder considering she was out until three the night before.

"Merry Christmas."

"Oh, yeah," Cynthia DiNozzo paused, as if trying to remember what Christmas was, "Well go get dressed. Your sailor suit is hanging up in your closet. We do not have time to sit around. Go!"

Tony did as she had instructed, making his way up the winding stairs to his bedroom. It was adorned with toys – a train, teddy bears, a basketball net, everything a little boy could dream of, right? Standing in the middle of the room, he looked lost. Like he had been plucked up and dropped off in this unfamiliar world with no one there to console him.

He hated the sailor suit but he put it on as she had told him to do and made his way back down the stairs. His father was up, sitting at the dining room table beginning to eat his omelet and cinnamon bun.

"Good morning," he said, not looking up from his paper.

"Good morning," Anthony crawled into one of the seats two seats down from his father.

"Did you sleep well?"

"Yes."

"It's Christmas. You should be excited."

"There isn't a tree."

"Trees are a ridiculously immature tradition. I do have a gift for you, Anthony."

His father reached into his pocket and handed his son an envelope.

"Well, go on. Open it."

Anthony slid his finger, breaking the seal, and retrieved a fifty dollar bill from inside."

"Thank you, father."

"Well it is Christmas, Anthony."

Anthony stared down at the bill in his hands. It would be put into a savings account later on and he would be back to his usual, boring life. Anthony could practically picture other kids spending time with their family. Another Christmas alone.

Happy fucking holidays.

The car pulled into the parking garage of the hospital.

"You're gonna be alright," ZIva said, patting Tony's arm.

"How do you even know?"

"Because, I am always right," she smirked, "And you're strong enough to do this."