Basic Human Impulse
Disclaimer: Even though I own seasons 1 - 4 on DVD I sadly do not own the rights to NCIS they belong to DPB and whoever else. Before you think of suing me let it be known that I am a poor, jobless recent university graduate with nothing of value to my name, though you are welcome to take the thousands upon thousands of dollars of university fees I will be paying off from now until the end of time... either that or I would be willing to work as a writer for NCIS free of charge.
Also though I may dream of marrying the ever talented and stunningly handsome Michael Weatherly I am in no way connected to him or the equally talented and gorgeous Pauley Perrette.
Summary: After a hard and heart breaking case DiNozzo is left hurt in more ways than meets the eye. Who is there to pick up the pieces and heal old wounds when he is left all alone. Dinozzo/Scuito friendship.
A/N (1): While this was planned as a short one shot it seems to have taken on a life of it's own and at 4.48am on a Sunday I am debating whether or not to stop for the night /morning and continue on in a new chapter tomorrow or have a seemingly endless one chapter story. BTW this was initially going to be a Christmas story but for some reason when I started typing this came out.
A/N (2): Started at about 2.30am and as it is almost 5am and I haven't stopped writing yet this may not be the clearest story. However I will edit it when I am alert enough so I don't even know why I am writing this author's note. (BTW it is now 6:02am and I have just roughly written out the dialogue for the second part/chapter am calling it a night/morning so I bet the rising of the sun... thank god it is Sunday.)
A/N (3): Just so you know my state of mind when I wrote this I was listening to Kelly Clarkson's 'Because Of You' on replay on my phone while writing this.A/N (4): Tony/Abby story, can be considered either friendship or pairing it is up to you... also a blink and you miss it hint of Tiva.
Basic Human Impulse
Tony sat at his desk almost silently as his co-workers hurriedly packed up their belongings in anticipation of their upcoming and somewhat impromptu time off.
Their latest case had been one of the more difficult ones, two months of dead ends and lying suspects. A marine, his pregnant wife and their three young children, not too mention their eight year old Saint Bernard, had been murdered in cold blood as they spent their usual Thursday family night playing board games in their living room.
To Tony, the word murdered seemed an understatement in the case of the Jeffereds', the overkill of even the youngest members of the family reminded him of something he wouldn't even see in a horror movie. They had been slaughtered and massacred. The sight of the almost full term foetus ripped from it's mother's womb would be a vision that would haunt his nightmares for years to come. Replacing that of his friend Chris Pacci's gutted and lifeless body on an elevator floor.
Because of the heinous circumstances, and the events which followed, Vance had told Gibbs and his team, actually it was more of an order, to take the next two weeks off, at least. The director's words to them were to go home and not to come back until they were ready, that they all were to make appointments with the agency's shrink and that they should all spend this much needed vacation time with their families, which was exactly what Vance himself was planning to do, even though he didn't have the luxury of a fortnight off.
Vance had made it clear to team Gibbs, Ducky, Palmer and even Abby that they were not to step foot back into NCIS headquarters until they were one hundred percent ready.
While the case had been difficult for everyone, Gibbs wasn't the only one snapping people's heads off and every time he walked into Abby's lab his heart broke as he could see that the Goth had not stopped crying since first viewing the crime scene photos; Tony, however, had been the unlucky one to chase down the killer. Ending up with a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and almost being strangled to death by the accomplice who they were previously unaware even existed.
Arm in a sling, rubbing the still tender bruises and wounds around his throat Tony continued to observe his team-mates as they all finished up their last minute paperwork and whatnot.
McGee was talking to his parents on the phone discussing his plans to pick up his younger sister Sarah from college and drive the two of them home for a week. He would never admit it to anyone but DiNozzo was proud of the way his probie had handled his emotions over the past eight or so weeks, not once did he take his anger or pain out on the others and he succeeded at putting on a brave face for the majority of the case. He had also been the one to offer to help Dr Mallard at the crime scene when Jimmy Palmer had run outside to throw up.
Ziva was at her desk across from Gibbs' senior field agent, also on the phone, organising a flight to Israel. The normally emotionally blocked Mossad officer had broken down in autopsy as the ME explained how Mrs Jeffereds' stomach had been sliced open and the baby stabbed a dozen times. In a brief moment of vulnerability she had let Tony embrace her in an Abby style hug, a moment not witnessed by any of the others and one which both agents knew would never be spoken about out loud.
Despite the strained relationship she had with the Director of Mossad, Tony could tell that his partner was in desperate need of family closeness and what little comfort and support that it may provide.
Even Gibbs seemed in a rush to flee the bullpen. While his angry growls and head slaps were in abundance and more vicious than usual, the silver haired man had been keeping an eye out for his team for any signs they were about to crack.
Trying, and failing miserably, to add the DiNozzo personality and charm to his attempt at nosey prodding the injured agent questioned his boss about his plans for the coming fortnight. His voice still rough and croaky from almost dying.
"Big plans to spend your time off locked in your basement with your boat and a case of Jack boss?" the sparkle missing from the younger agent's eyes, his exhausted heart filling with a tiny sliver of hope.
"Actually, no DiNozzo, If you must know I am following the director's lead and planning to spend time with the only family I have" Gibbs unintentionally bit back.
Tony was surprised when he felt his heart sink a little at the harshness in his boss' tone.
"So Jackson Gibbs will have the pleasure of your company? Planning on headin' down to the ol' fishin' hole in Stillwater to pass the time with pops?" He hadn't meant the comment to come out quite as snidely as it sounded. The agent was hurting both physically and emotionally and the normal mask he wore had slipped down for a slight second.
Gibbs' only reply was one of his infamous death glares, with which DiNozzo's face reddened and he shut his mouth, avoiding eye contact to an extreme.
As McGee grabbed his bag, said goodbye to his colleagues and headed for the elevator Ducky made his way to Gibbs' desk.
"Jethro, I am heading over to visit my mother in the hospital, I will be spending most of my time with her during our leave so if you need me, which hopefully you won't, you have the number. Also Mr. Palmer is heading home to his parents, this case has been hard on him so I would rather you let everyone know not to call him in. He needs the time off as much, if not more, than the rest of us."
Replying with a nod Gibbs slung his jacket over his shoulder and led his older friend to the lift. As the two men were about to pass Tony's desk Ducky briefly paused.
"Anthony, do not forget to take the medication the doctor prescribed you in the ER, even though your wound was a through and trough and did not do any permanent damage, we don't want it to become infected. Remember to also bathe the abrasions on your neck. If you have any sort of complications or signs of infection head to the hospital straight away."
All the doctor received was a small forced smile and a hint of a nod. Acknowledging the fact that that would be the only response he would get Ducky continued to the exit with Gibbs.
He didn't know why but for the second time in almost as many minutes Tony's heart fell from something in one of his colleagues' words.
Hanging up the phone, flight booked and belongings in hand, Ziva followed the two older men to the elevator, quietly offering a goodbye as Tony mumbled something about having a safe flight.
Being the last remaining member of the team in the bullpen Tony leaned back in his chair and let a pent up sigh escape through his nostrils. Wincing at the pain in his neck Tony sat up straight again and grabbed the phone on his desk with his left hand. Pressing the receiver between his only good shoulder and his ear, Tony dialled the familiar number for Abby's lab.
DiNozzo was clueless as to why he was ringing his friend downstairs, but he felt a sudden urge to hear her voice.
He waited as it rang over and over again in his ear, the shrill sound creating a migraine in his already throbbing head. He was just about to hang up, presuming Abby had already taken off, when an un-cheerful Goth picked up.
"Hey Abs, how you doing?" It was a stupid thing to ask as he already knew the answer, he also knew though that the forensic scientist would reply anyway.
"Ok I guess... just got off the phone with my brother letting him know I will be leaving tonight to see him and then heading down to my folks at home... What are you still doing here? I thought Vance gave you guys marching orders to be out by 5.30? At least that is what he told me..."
Tony gave a slight emotionless chuckle at the thought that everyone, except him, was following the directors 'orders'.
"Yeah Abs he did... everybody else just left... taking me a bit longer to finish the report with one hand." Truth be told he hadn't even thought about starting the report, he could always type it up at home and email it in when he was done. "Almost done so I guess I'll be heading out in a minute." He lied hoping his friend wouldn't guess that he was.
"Well, that's ok then, just as long as you don't strain your arm and make sure you get home soon and get some rest."
Tony could tell that they were both withdrawn because of the case, the playful banter their conversations usually held was noticeably absent. So for the second time that evening he tried and failed to bring normalcy into his conversation.
"Will do... Say hi to the Sciuto clan for me and say goodnight to Bert, Major Mass Spec and the other soldiers."
The corners of his mouth curved ever so slightly into a barley visible smile as he heard her faint but honest little laugh.
"Sure thing DiNozzo... Night..."
Tony quickly, and for some mysterious reason, tried to stop his friend from hanging up the phone.
"Wait Abs... before you go..."
"What is it Tony? You ok?"
He hesitated for a minute about what to say.
"Yeah nothing wrong here... but..." Tony paused again for a brief second and then shook whatever he was about to say off "Just wanted to say have a safe trip..." with that he hung up his end of the conversation.
He looked down at the hard edge of the wooden desk in front of him and resisted the urge that was building inside of him to smash his head down in frustration.
Taking another minute for himself, inhaling and exhaling deeply, he rubbed his eyes and tried to grab everything he needed in the one hand. Just like the others had almost half an hour before he headed towards the lift for the beginning of his fortnight off. A familiar feeling he hadn't experienced since he was at boarding school began to fill his gut.
As soon as he had gotten home, in a cab of course as he wasn't able to drive home with his arm in a sling, he dropped his bag and jacket on the hardwood floors beside the front door and slowly made his way to the kitchen, forgoing the prescribed painkillers and pulling out a decanter of extremely expensive single malt scotch. He poured the amber liquid into a tumbler, downing it straight away, and he poured another, this time sipping it slowly as a liquor of it's quality should be appreciated.
Not bothering to look in the refrigerator or cupboards for a decent meal, he tightly hugged the crystal bottle to his chest with his injured arm and carried it into the living room with the tumbler in the other. Sitting in the silence of the dark room he let the alcohol numb the feelings of abandonment and loneliness with little success.
By the time he was almost through with his third glass the feelings had only intensified and he had to struggle hard not to let the tears that were gathering behind his eyes fall.
When someone began to knock at the door the Italian was slightly glad for the distraction, even though he tried to ignore it, staying seated in the darkness of a semi-self imposed misery. Whoever it was at the door though didn't seem to be letting up, if anything the knocking became louder and more frequent as time went on.
Tony sighed and gave into his evening visitor, placing the tumbler down on the table and easing himself up off the sofa, wincing as he jarred his injured shoulder.
Despite knowing Gibbs would be pissed to find out his senior field agent opened the door willingly without first asking or checking through the peep hole to see who was there, the mix of alcohol and the remnants of the hospital provided painkillers left the slightly intoxicated man not giving a damn.
"Oh thank God Tony, I got worried when you didn't answer the door. I kept knocking hoping you would come, I was one step away from using the skills Ziva taught me to pick your lock... though you do have the chain on your door so that wouldn't have worked... oh I know! I could have climbed up the fire escape and smashed in your window or if worse comes to worse I could have climbed in through the ceiling Mission Impossible style..." The excitable scientist tuned red as she barely paused to breathe and Tony was sure if she kept on going she would pass out from lack of oxygen.
If it was any other day he would find this amusing but standing there at the door to his apartment, one of his best friends ranting about committing breaking and entering in the hall, Tony was just plain confused and decided to cut her off.
"Hey, hey Abs, slow down. What are you doing here? Didn't you have plans?"
"I was worried about you... that you had done something stupid... your voice sounded all hinky on the phone." She took a deep nerve calming breath and was assaulted with the smell of the liquor on Tony's breath. "And I can see I had every right. You know you shouldn't be drinking when you are on medication, it is not good for you Tony boy. How many have you had anyway?"
Blushing Tony ignored her question and changed the topic "I thought you were spending the two weeks we have off with your family? I know you haven't seen them in a while, you should go be with them. I'm fine."
"I called my brother and cancelled, they'll all understand, and if you think about it I am going to be spending it with my family. Haven't you realised by now that you are part of my family? and you need me more than they do at the moment. I could tell by your voice on the phone that you were hurting...." she moved past him into the apartment and gave him a signature Abby hug.
"Abs I am fine the doctors gave me something for the pain..." he gave her a small smile and pulled out the unopened pill bottle from his trouser pocket giving it a little shake.
"That's not what I meant and you know it DiNozzo, this last case was tougher than tough and everyone has gone home to be with their families to recover from it... they didn't even ask about you did they?"
Tony's head dropped and he tried to fight off the tears that were once again threatening to well up in his eyes.
"It's not that they don't care about you it's just that the case was so difficult, they were all in their own head spaces and needed to escape any reminders of it that they didn't even give a second thought about anyone else on the team. Also you wear that mask so well that no one really knows how you feel or what you need. Gibbs and Ducky try their best but you shield yourself so well that you even fool them, and they are masters and reading people." She tried to look her friend straight in the eyes but he refused to return her gaze and she could feel her heart breaking all over again.
"Is it wrong that I am jealous of the Jeffereds? No one should have to suffer through what they went through, but they all died together, their life, apart from the last hour or so of their lives were full of happy memories, you could tell by the photos on their walls, they weren't expensive posed portraits with forced emotions, they were all candid photos that showed they were truly happy. They got to all know the moment they died that they never went a second doubting they were loved." Tony's husky voice sounded so defeated and when their green eyes finally met she could see the desperation in them.
Abby's hand shot out and slapped him across the face.
"Oh my God I'm so sorry Tony I didn't mean to do that it was a reflex action..." one hand covering her mouth the other snaking it's way up, stopping mere inches from his now reddened cheek, not willing to touch the pain she had just inflicted on the already broken man.
Dropping his head even further Tony's voice came out like that of a lost, lonely child "Don't be. It's all my fault, I know I was wrong to be jealous of them... sorry" the second slap was harder and just as unexpected as the first "Ow, what was that one for?"
"I didn't slap you because you said you were jealous of that family. I slapped you because you basically said that no one had ever loved you..."
"It's true..." his voice no longer resembled the normally humour filled agent, the moments from his childhood playing in his mind like a movie.
He knew his father had never loved him, not even bothering to remember he was even there half the time, the worst being the time he was forgotten in the Maui Hilton. Tony had been a disappointment and embarrassment to the senior Anthony DiNozzo. The words that one day he would end up in a gutter were never far from his mind.
Tony's relationship with his mother was no better, it was well known that Isabella DiNozzo had never wanted children in fear of losing her perfect figure, when Anthony senior had basically forced the young woman to carry his heir something inside of her snapped, leading to a dependence on alcohol, anti-depressants and an early death. The only thing her son was good for was to amuse her friends, Tony was nothing more than a living doll dressed in a sailor suit until the woman's untimely death.
"God Tony, I hope I never run into your father because there is a high probability that I would kill him. He really fucked you up, didn't he?" a humourless chuckle was the only response from Tony. "Can't you see that you are loved? Why do you think Gibbs head slaps you, ordered you not to die when you were in Bethesda struggling to breathe and let's you stay at his place when you need to, huh? For crying out loud Boss-man practically has a room just for you in that house of his. Why do you think Timmy lets you call him Probie or based a character in his book on you? Why do you think Ducky, an M.E, is your personal physician? Why Ziva spent hours researching the plague and its affects or broke down in tears when she saw your car blown up? Kate constantly teased you or named the dog Tony? And what about Palmer? He basically worships the ground you walk on... Hell Tony why do you think I am here yelling at you and slapping you across the face?" Tony raised his head tears now freely falling and a look of doubt in his eyes "In our own, unconventional and often fucked up ways we love you! You may not have realised it but we're all a family and when you hurt we hurt."
As Abby pulled him into a hug, trying to still get the message across to the emotionally scarred ex-cop, his house phone began to ring. Not wanting to break the security that the embrace held, he let the machine pick it up.
"Anthony, it's Ducky. Just wanted to check in to see how you were, I am guessing, hoping, the pills you have taken have knocked you into a deep sleep and you are recovering as I speak. Mother, in one of her Lucid moments today, asked about you and remembered how you helped her wash and groom Contessa. She really took a liking to you and your kindness young man. if you have any time we would both love you to visit soon, she does so appreciate your stories of your days as a cop. I am afraid she has heard all mine including..." Neither could stop the chuckles from coming as Ducky not only helped Abby prove to Tony that he was loved and wanted, but also at the fact that the machine cut off the older Scotsman just before he went into one of his long winded stories.
Almost immediately after Ducky's call ended the machine picked up another and they listened to it as Abby dragged Tony to the sofa, both still had tears falling down their cheeks, though now they were tears of laughter and relief, and in Tony's case a bit of embarrassment.
"Dinozzo, Be here for a week, be back in the basement with the boat and the Jack on Wednesday night... by the way I hate talking to machines." Gibbs' words, while sounding gruff, conveyed more to Tony than his own father ever had. He knew come Wednesday evening that both Abby and Tony would be seated on the steps in the basement watching their silver haired boss construct his boat, trying to convince the older man into doing something outrageous and pestering him about how he was going to get the boat out of the basement.
By the following evening as Tony and Abby sat down for a Magnum PI marathon with a Green Acres chaser; pizza, popcorn, soda and Caf Pow! spread out on the coffee table, Tony had a couple more messages from his colleagues, his family.
"Tony just wanted to let you know that my flight arrived in a piece and I am in Tel Aviv safe. I will let you know when my return flight is and call you when I land again. If you need to talk about anything I can be reached at 555-9613... and Tony?... Thank you."
Abby gave her best friend an inquiring look as the Israeli assassin passed on her gratitude but Tony just brushed it off with a sly smile and a shrug of his good shoulder.
"It's McGee, just wondering if, when we all get back, if you, Ziva and Abby would be up for drinks? uh let me know... I may even let you introduce me to the world of sake bombing... ah um... yeah, bye.
Abby gave Tony a massive smile as Tony shook his head trying to hide the small grin that spread across his face. He would get back to his friends soon enough but at that moment he realised there was a message he needed to send someone else. Being slowed down by the use of one arm, he handed his cell to Abby and relayed the message for her to type
"Ah... Just say, 'If you need to talk, you know where to find me, Dinozzo'" as if reading his mind Abby went to the contacts in Tony's phone and selected the number under the simple name of 'Palmer'
As Tony pressed play on the DVD remote Abby laid her head on Tony's good shoulder, and he in turn rested his head on the black pigtailed head of his Goth friend, he couldn't resist grabbing her hand and whispering something in her ear.
"You want to know something Abs... You really are my knight in shimmering armour."
A/N: I started writing this before New World (Dis)Order back before season 7 started in 2009 but as of 4.30am on January 5th 2010 I think I am finally finished it.
Sorry about the cheesy last line but I thought it fit and would be something that movie buff Tony would say, especially to Abby. A gingerbread Abby if you can guess the movie it is from ;D
Title comes from a quote in Dark Angel "Basic human impulse, not wanting to be alone."