Disclaimer – DiNozzo doesn't suffer nearly enough on the show for me to lay claim to him.
AN- More of "Hearth and Home" will be coming. But I finally saw "Flesh and Blood" this weekend and I just couldn't resist the multi-chapter possibilities!
"You need me, McGee?"
"No Boss, just gotta tell Tony here something."
Leroy Jethro Gibbs didn't like surprises. He especially didn't like 'em in the middle of a hot case with the potential to become an International incident. But when he came out of his consultations with the Director and the Saudi Embassy to see Ducky waiting for him with a grave expression he instantly knew it wasn't going to be anything good.
"Something up with the body, Duck?"
"I almost wish it were that simple," Mallard looked around, before taking his arm and drawing him into the empty conference room, making sure the door was closed before he continued. "I thought you would want to know straight away. Tony's father is here."
"Here in DC?" Gibbs blinked.
"Here in this very building," Ducky explained. "Or at least he was. I overheard Charles in Building Security telling Delores from Human Resources that he had just been asked by Agent DiNozzo to call a cab for his father. Apparently the physical resemblance is quite striking."
Gibbs frowned, the memory of McGee coming into MTAC positively humming with undisguised glee, wanting to talk to Tony suddenly making a whole lot more sense. Pulling out his phone Gibbs expected to find a voice mail or a text message from DiNozzo. But to his surprise there was nothing at all. Gibbs' concern for his senior field Agent was overlaid by a sharp stab of hurt. Why hadn't Tony been the one to tell him that his father was in town?
"We have any idea why he's turned up now?"
"That is the question, is it not?" Mallard mused. They both knew Tony had had very little contact with his father over the years. Despite the younger man's numerous brushes with death DiNozzo Snr had never shown his face at NCIS before. "Tony fears that he might be unwell. Apparently, his father arrived on the train, which is totally out of character so the poor boy rang me just now to ask about medical conditions which might preclude a person from taking a flight."
"I'm on my way to the Adams House Hotel," Gibbs pressed his lips together. "Can you do a spot of digging, Duck? See if you can find out what we're dealing with here?"
"I can try but my sources will be limited," Mallard warned him. "Unless, his condition is already public knowledge I doubt I will get very far. There is such a thing as Doctor/Patient confidentially Jethro and none of my usual shortcuts will apply since the man is not a suspect in any ongoing investigation."
"Just do your best, Duck."
"Jethro," Mallard's voice stopped him in his tracks. "You will talk to Tony, won't you? I know, how singled minded you become during an investigation, but this really isn't the sort of thing that can be put off until a more convenient time."
Gibbs scowled. He didn't think the Saudi Embassy would take too well to waiting whilst he took time out to hold DiNozzo's hand. More to the point, he wasn't at all sure he trusted himself to handle this right. Part of him wanted nothing more than to take DiNozzo Snr to task for everything he hadn't done for his only son over the years. But he also knew how much Tony ached to have a closer relationship with his father. Having his Boss sticking his nose in could only complicate that. And obviously, DiNozzo felt the same way. What other reason would he have for not bothering to mention his Dad was in town?
"Got a job to do, Duck," Gibbs said gruffly. "And DiNozzo's not a kid anymore. He won't thank me for treating him like one."
"That might indeed be true," Mallard reflected, once he was alone. "None of us ever outgrow the need for a parent's love and care. And I rather fear that DiNozzo Snr is somewhat lacking in that regard."
Still, even as Gibbs tried to focus on the investigation his mind kept coming back to his senior field Agent. He remembered how uncomfortable he had been back in Stillwater to have his own estranged relationship with his father under the microscope of his team's curiosity. As soon as he had arrived at the Adams House Hotel Ziva had drawn him aside to admit her anxiety over Tony's father true motives for being in town. And the smirk on McGee's face every time he looked at the senior field Agent spoke volumes about how much he was looking forward to using DiNozzo Snr's visit as ammunition in their ongoing battles of sibling rivalry.
Tony still hadn't said a damned word.
When he arrived at the Hotel, DiNozzo had been busy liaising with his Saudi counterparts and Hotel security so he had been forced to get a sit rep from Ziva and McGee. The team lead knew it was exactly what he would expect his senior field Agent to be doing in these circumstances. Still he hadn't missed the way DiNozzo had barely glanced at him before looking straight at Prince Abdulla to give his report. Even whilst Gibbs had cooled his heels waiting for McGee and one of the royal guards to make sure the fitness centre was secure, DiNozzo had stayed busy, working out watch rotations for the protection detail with the Commander of the Royal Guards.
"I think that will be more than satisfactory," The man nodded his approval respectfully. "Excuse me, while I advise Prince Abdulla of our arrangements."
For the first time since Gibbs had arrived at the Hotel, Tony was alone. As his senior field Agent turned to look out of the window, the former Marine caught the way his jaw tensed and his eyes clouded with worry. Gibbs' own expression darkened. He knew "DiNozzo's rule number two" as well as any of his own. Never think there isn't somebody watching you. If the best undercover Agent Gibbs had ever worked with was distracted enough to let that slide, then maybe he did need his Boss to step up. Gibbs had actually taken half a pace towards the troubled young man, when he saw Ziva move to stand beside her partner. At her approach DiNozzo straightened up, all traces of emotion instantly wiped from his expression.
"So, your father is in town," Ziva's tone was neutral. "I was pleased to meet him."
"I suppose I should be kinda flattered that people are so excited about his visit," Tony scoffed slightly. "McGee has been wandering around like he won the DC lottery's mega millions all morning. And I've had 42 texts from Abby in the last thirty minutes. Her fingers are scarily fast."
"Did you father tell you what brings him to Washington?" Ziva cut to the chase.
Gibbs tensed. He should have known the former Mossard Officer wouldn't be able to just let this lie. Not when she had already voiced her concerns for her partner. But for once he couldn't predict how Tony would react. Having his father actually here in DC was unchartered territory. He just hoped the bond between his two Agents was strong enough to result in honestly rather than homicide.
"Not yet," Tony sighed. "But isn't just social visit. It's not like him to show up like this. You know, I actually think he might be dying? He took the train and he never takes the train. There are medical conditions which mean you can't fly aren't there?"
"I am sure we could manage, if you need to take some leave?" Ziva suggested. "Spend some time with him?"
"You know," Tony gave a mirthless smile. "That is actually almost funny. Because, I already suggested the exact same thing to my Dad, but he was going to be much too busy."
"Too busy?" Ziva's sceptical expression reflected Gibbs' own feelings perfectly. "Doing what exactly?"
"Story of my life, my little Ninja," Tony laughed hollowly. "I have absolutely no idea. Right now, I don't even know where he is or what he is doing."
Gibbs curled his hands into fists so tight that his finger nails bit into his palms. It wasn't like he didn't know about the casual neglect DiNozzo Snr had inflicted on his only son but hearing the resignation in Tony's voice cut deep. His had seen his senior field Agent fight toe to toe with crazed drug dealers, international terrorists, the damned plague and even his bastard of a Boss without flinching. That the younger man simply accepted that his wants and needs wasn't a priority with his father made Gibbs' itch to slap some sense into him.
But then McGee returned and wanted to give him a threat assessment, the Commander of the Royal Guards asked to talk about jurisdiction and afterwards Prince Abdulla required his attention and the case had to come first. So, the team lead could do nothing but listen with half an ear as DiNozzo and McGee escorted Ziva and Prince Sayif into the elevator as they headed for the fitness centre and then stationed themselves in the hallway as they waited for him to finish taking his leave of the Prince.
"So, 'Junior' huh?" He heard McGee murmured. "You kept that pretty quiet."
"It's a matter of public record that my name is Anthony DiNozzo the same as my father." Tony pointed out.
"Yeah, but still. 'Junior'" McGee smirked.
"Listen McNickname, you even think about calling me that and I'll .. I don't know what I'll do but it won't be pretty," Tony faltered as inspiration failed to strike. His smooth façade crumbled into irritation. McGee opened his mouth to speak but Tony beat him to it. "You stay here and wait for Gibbs. I'm going down to check on Ziva and our precocious Prince."
"Whatever you say," McGee waited a beat until Tony was inside the elevator and the doors were about to close. "Junior."
Coming up behind him Gibbs didn't give his smug Agent even a single second to bask in the enjoyment of his baiting, before his hand connected sharply with the back of his head.
"Boss," McGee tried to recover from the stinging chastisement. "I didn't see you there."
"Don't let me hear you calling him that again, are we clear McGee?" Gibbs warned.
"But Boss, he calls me .." McGee protested.
"McGee!" Gibbs barked, instantly lowering his voice to a deathly whisper as he realised they were attracting attention from the Saudi's. "You don't call him that. Ever. Are we clear?"
"We are," McGee nodded fervently. "Crystal clear, Boss."
Gibbs looked at the elevator as the numbers descended. He didn't know what had bothered him more, the bleak look on DiNozzo's face as the elevator doors closed, or the fact that his Senior Field Agent was clearly sufficiently off his game that he couldn't even think up one of his trademark comebacks that usually came as naturally to him as breathing. Instinctively, he pulled out his phone, his finger hovering over the speed dial. Only to click in shut in frustration.
Tony knew enough to ask for his help if he wanted it. But he hadn't even raised the fact that his father was in town. Instead, he had knuckled down and done the job he was trained him to do. So far, a damned sight better than Gibbs had managed in the same circumstances. Back in Stillwater hhe had felt like a damned teenager again, every time his Dad looked in his direction. Still, that hadn't turned out too badly, all things considered. Much as he hated the idea, he owed Tony his own chance to find his way with his father, without his second B for bastard Boss making things even harder for him.
"With me, McGee," He decided, putting his phone firmly in his pocket, as he headed to the stairs. "DiNozzo and David can handle things here."