Title: From The Couch
Rating: k / Anyone
Spoilers: Through "Masquerade"
Summary: Tony describes his bad day to his therapist.
Author's Note: Just something that popped into my head. I haven't written much in awhile, and would appreciate some feedback on this.
X X X
"You. Leave me alone," Tony stated, glaring at Ziva as he threw his bag down in the corner. With a huff, he pulled out his chair.
Dropping into it, he felt the legs suddenly give and the next thing he knew, the ground rushed up to meet his face; although not before he smacked the corner of his desk with his forehead. In a heap on the floor, he muttered a few choice words under his breath and tried to get his leg untangled from the chair. It just wasn't his day.
"Can I help you?" Ziva asked from her own desk, making him frown all the more. He didn't miss the slight laughter in her voice.
Without answering, he rolled onto his knees and began to rise, only to find the room spin around him. So he lowered to the ground and extended his legs. Closing his eyes, he waited for his muscles to relax. It wouldn't do to pass out in front of the Probies.
All he needed was a few minutes.
That didn't happen, though, and he shouldn't have expected it.
The shadow that passed over him had Tony staring a pair of shoes in front of his face – and not the sleek little black boots or sexy little slippers his ninja wore. No, they looked suspiciously like something Gibbs would wear.
"Having a good nap, DiNozzo?"
"Yeah, Boss. Just… never mind. I'm on it. Just let me…"
Standing too fast hadn't been such a good idea, Tony decided as every ounce of blood drained out of him and he saw a flash of brilliant white light.
"Oh hell," he muttered, settling himself back onto the tilted floor.
For the first time, he really noticed the trickle of something wet sliding his hairline from his forehead. Like an outline, it slid past his ear, chilling him in its crawl, and he didn't need to feel it to know he bled everywhere.
"Go see Ducky," Gibbs said, walking away. "Ziva, help him."
"Boss, I don't need any help," Tony mumbled, noting that Gibbs didn't bother retracting his order to Ziva.
"Come on, Tony, let's go," she said, reaching over to grab his arm and offer her support.
So maybe getting a mild concussion on his desk wasn't so bad if he got to hug her all the way to autopsy.
X X X
"So what you're saying is that sometimes being an idiot gets the girl?" Doctor Adam Templar asked, as Tony nestled into the plush leather couch.
In reality, the psychiatrist preferred his clients to use chairs where he could have a mature (and sometimes emotional) conversation. That particular preference had been summarily ignored by the NCIS agent on the first visit, when Tony's eyes had popped open wide and the Cheshire grin had enveloped his face. After several months of seeing the agent, Templar had gotten used to his patient hopping into the couch and snuggling in like a twelve-year-old on a sugar rush.
"Hey, whatever works," Tony eventually said, tilting his head up to grin at the doctor. "Although, I have learned that perhaps Ziva's not the best choice. I have a bruise on my rib to prove it."
The doctor, who in his late fifties had seen and heard just about every story, had been hard-put to peg the younger agent when Tony had first shown up. However, it hadn't taken much more than reading his NCIS background file for Templar to figure out the façade Tony showed directly contradicted the persona shown to the world. No one could be that jovial after the events of the past few years.
"So, do you want to tell me how you pissed off the karma king yesterday?" Templar asked.
"If I knew that, Doc, I'd know how not to do it again," Tony replied. "Just woke up late, and everything went downhill after that." Pointing to his hairline, he added, "On the other hand, the three stitches look a little roguish, wouldn't you say? The girls like it."
Snorting a laugh, Templar leaned back in his chair, stretched out his legs, and approached Tony the only way the agent would respond – like a friend, over a beer. "You take personal injury to a whole new level."
"Yes, well, whatever works," Tony replied, closing his eyes and lacing his fingers over his chest. He hadn't realized when he'd first decided to see an Agency-Approved psychiatrist that he'd feel this comfortable. Then again, Doc was more like a frat buddy than a stuffy therapist.
"You weren't just having a bad day," the doctor finally said. He'd caught something in Tony's voice. "Something's really bothering you."
Pasting on a grin, Tony lavishly said, "Yeah, well, I'm still a little pissed I never got to see the latest Star Trek movie in the theater. Plus, my Blu-ray player died a slow death last week. Does that count?"
And so Templar waited; because it wouldn't take long in the ensuing silence for it to happen. One. Two. Three. Four…
"Had the same damn dream," Tony quietly said, his smile fading away. "Woke up late. Strange thing was that this time she was dead. Nothing. Just empty eyes when Saleem pulled off the hood."
"Any idea what brought that on?" Templar asked.
"I wish I knew. It's gotten more persistent since we got back from Paris."
"You've not really told me what really happened while you were away," Templar said, watching Tony begin to squirm a little.
Blowing out a breath, Tony murmured, "It was great. Fantastic. God, she's beautiful."
Now that got the doctor's attention, and he sat up a little straighter. Actually, between the case load the MCRT had been drawing of late and his own schedule, Templar hadn't seen Tony in several weeks. Certainly not since the younger man had gone off to a romantic city with a woman for whom he had feeling.
"So… things went well?" For a second, Templar forgot he was a psychiatrist, and the romantic in him thrust itself to the forefront. He'd been waiting for Tony to one day actually say the words, "I'm in love with Ziva."
"We shared a bed," Tony said. "We slept together. And she still snores louder than a lumberjack."
"But?" Templar prompted.
"When I woke up, she'd pretty much wound herself around me, and it felt good," Tony said. "Sure, she's beautiful and fun; and I consider her a friend. Always have. She's my partner. I just didn't expect it to feel so good, y'know?"
"How much did it scare you?"
"Enough that as soon as I could, I ran away for a couple hours."
"Well, at least you're being honest with me," Templar said, grinning. Even though Tony had begun therapy of his own volition, the young man hadn't been all that forthright at first. It hadn't been until the nightmares had become so bad Tony could barely function that the agent had really begun to open up. Then his father had shown up one day, and breakthrough upon breakthrough had followed.
A lightness and self-respect had begun to replace obvious insecurities. Templar doubted that a couple months ago, Tony would have been as self-aware as now. That didn't mean the younger man couldn't have fun ribbing his co-workers, especially his 'Probies' as he called them.
"What do you plan on doing about it?" Templar asked.
The most intelligent response Tony could come up with was a snort.
"Do you want something more with Ziva?"
Lifting his head, Tony stared and said, "Are you stupid? Of course I do."
Leaning forward, Templar closed the gap between himself and Tony, so he was only a couple feet away, and quietly asked, "Is this about Jeanne? About opening yourself up again?"
"Naw. I'm okay with that," Tony murmured, smiling a little. He actually was, too. It had been a long time since the debacle with his former love had kept him up at night.
Tony eased himself into a sitting position and leaned his elbows on his knees. His hands splay directly in his line of sight, and he wondered over how similar his own hands were to his father's. In so many ways they were so very alike. They loved fast and burned out that love faster. It was their own form karma.
"At some point, I have to step off my father's path," Tony said, looking up.
Templar watched quietly, not interrupting.
"I've spent so many years seeing him bigger than life – good or bad. The man simply does everything huge," Tony quietly stated. "That includes his relationships. And I need to stop trying to follow that same route, or I'll end up the same lonely man he's become. I'm not him."
"It's hell realizing our parents are human, isn't it?" Templar asked, and watched Tony grimace.
"Yeah. It means I can't blame him for who I am anymore."
"So what are you going to do?" Templar asked.
After blowing out a sigh, Tony's lips turned up a little at the corners and he replied, "Hope that maybe one day Ziva realizes I'm not joking when I tell her she's my best friend."
"It's a start," Templar said, rising from his chair just as a timer dinged on the desk. "Just one thing you might want to think about. Consider it advice from one friend to another."
"What's that?" Tony asked.
"Next time you try to cop a feel from her… wear a cup."
As he walked out of the office, Tony laughed to himself. He'd felt miserable walking in – it was funny how he'd come to feel better each time he made his way from the couch to his car.