Thanks to my two awesome betas Kejfe and Karen19, who made this story, much more smoth. I wish I could send them a box of chocolates. Also, this was written before the Daddy DiNozzo episode, so it may not fit after next week. Oh well.
Tony DiNozzo stomped up and down the conference room in a rage. He couldn't believe what had just happened. Angrily, he turned and slammed his fist into the wall, then howled at the pain. The wall was definitely not what he wanted to hit. Right now, though, he would settle for the pain as neither of the men he wanted to strike was in the room. Although he had a sneaking suspicion that one of them would be joining him soon. His huffing was shortly interrupted by the door opening.
"You had no right!" DiNozzo snarled before Gibbs could even shut the door.
Gibbs eyes narrowed. He had just saved DiNozzo's ass and the agent was obviously not appreciative. He quietly closed the door and turned towards his senior field agent. "Sit" he ordered.
"No. "Tony replied angrily as he stepped into Gibbs personal space. "That was my fight!" Tony poked his finger into Gibbs chest screaming. "You had no right."
Angered and shocked at Tony's forwardness, Gibbs roughly pushed Tony's
hand way. Obviously, Tony was pissed off at his father, but anger was no excuse for the disrespectful attitude or his earlier stupidity. "He was goading you, idiot! You were going to hit him." Gibbs responded pressing into Tony's space.
"I don't F-ing care. He's a jerk. If I wanted to hit him, that was my right. You made me look like a moron." Tony spit back.
"You were acting like a moron!"
DiNozzo's eyes narrowed to a slit and hands subconsciously formed into fists. "Screw you Gibbs! "
"You would have lost your job." Gibbs growled, angered at Tony's unreasonable attitude. If Tony had taken a swing at his father in full view of multiple security cameras and his father's lawyers, he very likely would have lost his job. NCIS would have had a huge lawsuit on its hands and Tony might even have lost his freedom.
However, Tony didn't think about what could have happened. Tony thought only of Gibbs ordering him to the conference like a disobedient child in full view of his father. And his father's snide chuckle at the situation.
"Hitting him was my right, Dammit!" Tony yelled in response.
Gibbs' hand rose automatically slapping the back of DiNozzo's head. "I'm not losing you because you can't keep yourself in check."
In most instances, a 'Gibbs slap' wasn't exactly welcomed, but at least it made Tony feel cared about. However in this moment the slap hit a little too close to home, a little too close to his wicked childhood. The visit from his father had awoken memories and Gibbs had unintentionally rubbed salt in his wounds, and like a hurt animal Tony responded with only rage.
His teeth gritted, Tony raised his hands to Gibbs chest and deliberately pushed his boss out of his personal space. "I am not stupid," he pushed again. "I am not immature," he pushed again. "And I am not your responsibility! " He pushed one more time, more roughly than he had before.
Stunned, Gibbs grabbed for DiNozzo's wrists. However, Tony knew what was coming and deftly moved out of the way. As he slipped behind Gibbs his fists rose automatically and he took a swing. Gibbs though, didn't miss twice. He ducked below Tony's fist and came up after the arm had passed over him. He skillfully grabbed for Tony's arm and used his momentum to shove Tony to the floor. He pulled up on the arm and twisted Tony's wrist locking Tony face down on the ground.
Tony yelped in pain. "Let me go" he screamed. "F#$ you, Gibbs." Tony struggled, angrily trying to shift out of his boss's grip. Unsurprisingly, Gibbs grip was Marine tight and Tony barely budged from his position on the floor. A move in any direction meant pressure on his arm.
"DiNozzo, Calm down!" Gibbs ordered.
However, Tony wasn't in the mood to take orders, he shifted and pushed trying to get out of Gibbs' grasp.
The more Tony struggled, his face planted on the carpet, the more he swore. "Let me GO Gibbs, F#! you. Let me go!"
"DiNozzo, stop!" Gibbs reprimanded, holding his charge to the floor.
Heatedly, Tony continued the fight. "I'll sue you. I'll f$#$ing sue your pants off. I'll take every red cent your exes don't already have. Let me go!" His breath came in heaving spurts and he pushed against Gibbs grip even more, ignoring the arm pain he was causing himself. "You're a bastard. No wonder they all left you. You're f%#%ing alone and I know why."
Holding Tony's arm, pinning him to the floor, Gibbs' heart bled. True, he was angry. Tony was persistently pushing every one of Gibbs buttons. Nevertheless, he'd seen pure rage in Tony's eyes as Tony had pushed him. The team leader had realized the moment he pressed Tony to the floor that Tony's fury was misdirected. Obviously, Tony was angry at his father, and at being chided in front of the man.
Tony bellowed while attempting to shift out of Gibbs grip. Laying flat on the floor, trapped was infuriating. "I quit you b$##$. I QUIT! Do you hear me? Are you happy now? I'm not your responsibility and I won't embarrass you! I'll leave and you will never have to see me again. Let ME GO!"
The statements Tony shouted, supposedly directed at Gibbs, shed light on Tony's relationship with his father. They showed the shame and guilt Tony's father had transferred to an innocent child years ago.
"This case is all you care about! You don't want to lose this damn case because my father is involved. You care more about the case then me!" Tony shouted attempting to squirm out of Gibbs grasp.
Truthfully, Tony's father had disgusted Gibbs as well. For Gibbs, spending minutes with the man had been infuriating and he could only imagine what growing up with that man had done to his senior field agent. At the moment he wished only to comfort and support Tony, but he knew he had to wait until Tony stopped fighting. Sadly, his support would not be appreciated at the moment. He considered physically manhandling his senior field agent into an embrace but quickly gave up on the idea. He knew he wasn't strong enough to hold Tony when he was fighting like this. Instead, he mentally blocked out Tony's shrieks and angry words; he chose instead to focus only on his grip. He knew eventually Tony would tire from the fighting.
"I F-ing quit, Gibbs! I quit, you hear me! You can't stop me." Tony shouted. "I hate you. I HATE YOU!" he howled. Tony suddenly slumped; exhausted from fighting in the prone position. He was still breathing heavily, panting from the exertions. He wanted to keep fighting but he knew it would be in vain.
Gibbs slowly and gently slipped to the floor semi releasing the pressure on Tony's arm. Quickly, Tony tried to pull away. "Ah!" Gibbs scolded pulling up on his arm re-pinning him. "You don't move." Tony gritted his teeth in response and momentarily considered disobeying.
Gibbs could see the indecision on his face he knew he needed to control of the situation. "DiNozzo." He barked, pushing Tony for a response. "You don't move!" he ordered.
"Yes, Sir." Tony growled though his teeth, knowing the reaction Gibbs was waiting for. He had no idea what Gibbs was going to do next and he had no idea how the whole situation had gotten so out of hand. His major urge suddenly changed from fight to flight. All he wanted to do was run but instead he stayed in place. Right now, Gibbs had the upper hand.
Gibbs slowly lowered himself to the ground and sat next to Tony, who still lay stomach down on the carpeted conference room floor. Sadly, Tony looked spooked. Momentarily confused about what was frightening his fearless senior field agents, Gibbs quickly realized that the response was a reflection of previous years.
For several reasons, the older man was unsure of how to handle the situation. First, his senior field agent was almost never spooked. Flight or Fight had definitely kicked in. Second, being in control was very important to DiNozzo . Gibbs knew his instincts to protect and shield Tony might make the situation worse. Third, Gibbs recognized he was a failure at comforting with words. His emotional vocabulary was severely lacking.
Sitting next to Tony, he finally decided to quit analyzing and instead go with his gut.
The normally ridged and unrelenting Leroy Jethro Gibbs reached over and softly placed his hand on Tony's back. It saddened Gibbs that Tony flinched in response. Undeterred, Gibbs continued on the path he'd decided on. He started by gently patting the top of DiNozzo's back. Then easily, his hand slid back and forth over Tony's tense back. He rubbed in a consistent pattern, attempting to calm the younger man. He suppressed the urge to speak and focused only on soothing and consoling Tony through the tender motion.
When Gibbs had placed his hand on Tony's back, Tony had sucked in a mouthful of air and frozen. As his boss began rubbing his back he tightly clamped his eyes shut unable to breath. Whatever he had been expecting in response to his temper tantrum, this had not been it. Suddenly, he was very ashamed of his earlier actions. He was still mad at Gibbs for treating him like a child in front of his father, but now he was more upset about throwing a punch at the man he respected most in the world.
And now, even after all he had said to Gibbs and after all he had done, Gibbs was attempting to comfort him. He fought with every ounce of his willpower to stop the tears that were threatening to fall. He slowly released the breath he was holding. Simultaneously the situation was soothing and uncomfortable. He wanted a father's touch, a father's love, but he felt uncomfortable accepting the attention. He'd thrown a fit, attempted to physically assault his boss and verbally punched Gibbs in the stomach. When he shifted slightly thinking about getting up, Gibbs pushed down softly warning him not to. Tony complied, and then relented to the situation.
They sat like that for minutes in near silence. Gibbs' hand sliding back and forth across Tony's back, quietly trying to erase the pain and stress he could see in Tony's body. Unhappily, Gibbs realized Tony may never have had anyone rub his back. He thought maybe someday he should ask but he knew was unlikely to press the topic. The few times he'd pushed Tony to open up had not gone well. Unexpectedly, rubbing Tony's back seemed to be going quite well.
After a minute of rubbing, Tony had quit shifting and his breathing had evened out. For the first time since his father had walked in the door, he didn't feel like punching someone. He didn't remember ever having his back rubbed, and strangely it was beginning to feel good. Gibbs full attention was on him and it wasn't in a negative way. He didn't understand why his boss was being nice, but he wasn't going to complain.
After two minutes, Tony's back, arm, and leg muscles began to relax. He focused on feeling his bosses hand on his back. His shirt was too thick to feel the calluses that Tony knew were present. Nonetheless, he felt the weight of the hand and the pressure on his back. His boss' hands seemed larger than he'd remembered and Gibbs hand was gentler than he had imagined too. He realized he could feel more of his bosses hand when it slid towards the small of his back. Realizing that Gibbs was probably uncomfortable with the close contact, gave him a slight chill. Gibbs was willing to go out of his way to reassure Tony.
Tony kept his eyes shut, sure that Gibbs would quit soothing him the moment he opened them. He didn't want the sensation to end. Seeing his father had hurt. Attacking Gibbs, even though it had been his fault, had hurt. And being pinned to the floor had hurt. And now he didn't hurt. He was however nervous about what would happen afterward.
After five minutes, Tony had the courage and the wherewithal to open his eyes. He wanted to see what was happening. If he couldn't see Gibbs, he had a harder time telling what his boss was thinking. And at the moment knowing what his boss was thinking seam very important. He wanted to see Gibbs face. Unfortunately, his face was turned towards Gibbs, but all he could see was Gibbs' outstretched leg.
Gibbs, however, had a side view of Tony's face and he could tell that he had chosen the correct plan of action. Some of the tension was still evident in Tony's eyes, but most had vanished. It had been mopped away by the soft caressing.
Truthfully Gibbs knew he could probably quit at this point and move to the next step, but he didn't want to. He'd had a glimpse of Tony's core today and he wanted to help, to repair some of the damage that his father had inflicted. And just maybe he enjoyed comforting Tony, although he'd never admit it. Sometimes he wished Tony was still a child, and that he'd been able to rescue him before his father had messed with his head. But then again Anothony DiNozzo might have been a different person. And strangely, he liked Tony just the way he was.
Gibbs knew he could not sit on the floor soothing Tony forever. They both had to get back to work, they were still in the middle of a case. Tony's brainless father had tried to interrupt the investigation when his name had come up as an associate of the dead man. McGee and Ziva were doubtlessly still working on other leads and Gibbs had to go see what they had found.
Gibbs was also aware he needed return the current situation to something more typical. Tony was going to be uncomfortable enough, with the fact that he had attacked Gibbs. If Gibbs continued being nice, Tony would only become suspicious.
Gibbs removed his hand and creakily dragged himself off the floor. He was getting far too old for sitting on the ground. As Gibbs stood above him, Tony didn't move. Gibbs was proud that Tony waited for orders to stir. "Up." He instructed and Tony was on his feet immediately. Sometimes Gibbs envied Tony's youth. "Sit." He drilled pointing to the nearest chair. Tony listened without argument, but his mouth opened the moment his butt hit the chair.
"Boss, I.." he began to apologize attempting to meet Gibbs eyes. He was unable to finish because Gibbs interrupted him.
"You, are going to sit here and think."Gibbs ordered. DiNozzo's head dropped unable to respond.
" You'll wait until you are completely calm, then you'll go to your desk." Gibbs continued, standing above Tony.
"And, IF you still want to quit, you will write your letter of resignation. If NOT you'll get back to work on our current case."
"Yes, Sir" Tony replied quietly into his lap. He was unable to look up to at his boss. He felt guilty, sad, ashamed and useless. Every attribute he worked to avoid was compiling in him.
Gibbs decided maybe his orders had come out a little strong, Tony almost looked like he would blow over. On a normal day, Tony would never back down, but it seemed that nothing was normal today.
Gibbs turned and marched out of the room. He turned back towards Tony just before shutting the door. Gibbs could tell that he still wanted to run. "DiNozzo!" he said. Tony's head snapped up automatically. Gibbs softened his voice. "I don't want you to quit." The edge of Tony's mouth curled up in a slight grin at the reassurance. "Got it Boss." He responded, before Gibbs shut the door and left him alone with his thoughts.