"I don't think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking there's some kind of change." - Bob Dylan
One month later …
Mike Franks slammed the car door shut looking up at the house in front of him. Tear streaks softened the otherwise hardened expression that was usually plastered on the man's face. His hair was awry as he ran his fingers through the thinning patch yet again. Besides him agent Macy stood, emotions hidden behind a professional exterior, and besides her, the director of NIS. Together they approached the front door smoothing out the wrinkles in their suits. Each one lost in their own thought as they forced themselves to step on forward. The director and Macy stared up at Franks with expectation with a scowl Franks reluctantly jabbed at the doorbell knowing that it was all for formalities sake. The door hadn't been locked in a little over a year.
Franks prayed that the door would stay shut – that no one would ever answer the door. He prayed that the doorbell didn't work, and the door stayed lock, because then he wouldn't have to face his own failures. It had been a month since Tony had been taken from his house to the day. One month since Jethro had lost it completely and locked himself in his house, hiding from anyone and everyone. He had shut off completely, barely trusting Mike. The only times Jethro did pick up the phone was when he knew that he'd be expecting an update on Tony's situation.
Macy had taken her sweet time with the investigation despite the pressure placed upon her by not only Franks but also the director of NIS himself. Franks was given absolutely no information about the case after Tony was taken and it eventually became a joint investigation with the FBI. Franks was able to get one of his previous probies, Tobias Fornell, on the case, but even he kept a tight lip on the investigation.
Three days ago scuttlebutt spread like wildfire amongst the bullpen that Macy finally had a break in the case and Franks had found himself hopeful that maybe the madness would be over. Damn he wished that he was back to three days ago…
They had gotten the call early morning from the idiots the director had placed Tony with. They knew of Tony's relation to Jethro and furthermore of Jethro's place on Franks' team. Franks figured it was probably more out of respect than anything else that they called him. The seconds following the call were blurry, despite the fact they probably only occurred barely an hour ago.
Franks remembered demanding they make sure – demanding they make damn sure. He remembered yelling into the phone and squeezing it when they told him they did. He vaguely remembered slamming it down into the receiver and giving a defeated yell of anger when he realized they already did. He could barely recollect Macy and the director appearing from out of nowhere, their own sorrow written on their faces as they patiently waited for Mike to get a hold of himself.
It was unsaid that he would go with them to deliver the news and Macy allowed Mike to freely tell her how badly she had fucked up the entire car ride. She said nothing as the man's sorrow turned to anger, all directed at her. She didn't flinch when the man called her an incapable agent or when he blew smoke into her face without apology. She said nothing of his suicidal driving, and the director knew better than to mess with Franks when he was in one of his moods.
The door opened revealing the most broken man either three had ever seen. Franks gulped and stepped forward saying nothing as the man took a step back. Franks looked deep into the other man's piercing blue eyes studying them, wondering if this was what would break the man to the point of no return.
Franks opened his mouth, his heart yearning. He found himself reaching out to clasp on one shoulder, keeping it steady despite the other man's attempt to shrug it away.
"What's wrong?" Jethro finally whispered.
"It's Tony, Jethro," Franks started, his voice husky with unshed tears.
"Please…" Jethro's voice broke immediately, his eyes going from Franks to the director's to Macy's before finally landing back on Franks. "Boss…"
"Don't! Don't finish that sentence. If you're going to say that he's…" Jethro's voice broke.
Franks took Jethro into his arms wrapping the younger man into a hug that relayed what he could not say.
"I'm sorry probie."
A/N - Thank you for your reviews. After debating I decided that this is the end of part one. I know there are holes, but those are intentional. We will see them in part two. I will re-write the last three chapters to really incorporate the title because they are in essence what this part is about. As of right now...I'm going to put a complete on this because Biological Catalyst IS complete. It is my first complete story, but the series itself where Tony becomes DiNozzo and hence the characters we see right now is the next part of the series and that continues on. Be looking for that in the following days. Reviews do help speed up the writing process. Once again, thank you all for reviewing. This has been interesting. Hopefully the somewhat cliff hanger encourages reviews. I did plan on that cliff hanger from the very start and the title did hint towards it. Once again, thank you.