Gibbs carefully guided Tony toward the bathroom exit. Tony just looked so lost and lifeless. The normally larger-than-life young man was totally defeated. As they slowly went thru the door, Tony continued to stare at the ground, forgetting completely that Gibbs was standing beside him. As they continued down the hallway, Tony finally stopped, causing Gibbs to stop as well. Tony swallowed hard, and he turned to Gibbs.
"Boss?" Tony started, as he remembered that Gibbs had not let him out of his sight. Gibbs just stood patiently waiting for Tony's thoughts.
"I . . .I can't go now." Tony explained. "As much as I want to, I just can't leave my dad." Tony revealed and then looked to Gibbs for his approval. Gibbs continued to watch him waiting for the raw emotion he just observed in the bathroom to return.
"I need to make sure the wedding has been cancelled. I haven't talked to my dad yet." Tony continued. Gibbs nodded, but he continued to watch Tony.
"Boss?" Tony needed some assurance that Gibbs would understand or accept his decision. Gibbs just nodded, but he continued to watch Tony.
"Junior!" Tony visibly jumped from the voice. Gibbs turned to the source with frustration. As Tony's father approached, Gibbs did not leave, but he distanced himself from the two.
"Junior." Tony Senior repeated slightly out of breath.
"I started to think you left already." Tony Senior stated with a mild laugh. "The wedding is back on. You aren't leaving are you?" Tony Senior asked, looking this time at Gibbs as well. Gibbs stood some distance from Tony, watching Tony Senior give Tony the news. When Tony Senior looked at him, Gibbs gave a straight, emotionless return to his news.
Tony finally gave a small smile and assured his dad that he was not leaving.
"All right then. We will talk later." Tony Senior added.
"Agent Gibbs." Tony Senior smiled briefly giving a very mild farewell greeting once again to Gibbs, as he started to leave.
"Boss." Tony struggled to look at Gibbs. "I am sorry, Boss. I really have to stay. Look, I will see you on Monday." Tony's body language was indicating that he would rather be anywhere then here. Gibbs shook his head, looked Tony over one last time, and headed down the hall.
Monday morning at NCIS headquarters
McGee and Ziva were laughing as they exited the elevator, as they shared the details of their weekends. As they came around the corner, their laughter and movement made a complete stop. Both of them looked at each other in surprise, as they came upon a working Agent Tony DiNozzo, who had appeared to have been there some time.
"Morning!" Tony looked up and greeted both of them with a smile.
"Tony." McGee treated Tony with a small, untrusting smile. He suddenly remembered being super glued to his keyboard almost three years ago. Ziva continued to watch Tony in concern, making a mental note of every moment, gesture, and his every word.
"Good Morning Ziva. Agent McGee." Vance announced as he walked into the bullpen. He quickly turned to Agent DiNozzo's desk.
"Here it is, sir." Tony said as quickly stood and handed Vance a case file that Tony had been working on.
"Very nice work, Agent DiNozzo. Thank you for getting that to me so quickly." Tony quickly tried to appear as he was working again, as he felt Ziva's suspicious eyes examining him. As Tony made a sideway glance at McGee, he noticed that McGee was also examining him. Tony felt momentarily relieved when the elevator doors opened because it broke the concentration of his audience.
Gibbs exited the elevator with his Starbucks coffee. When he got a glimpse of his team all sitting there on a Monday morning looking like they were already in investigative mode, he slowed his pace and tried to pick up on their body language. He could sense that Ziva was examining Tony. Tony looked very awake, very quiet, and surprisingly ready to just work. McGee was torn between watching both Ziva and Tony and opening his email.
"Morning Gibbs. Morning Boss." Gibbs was greeted by his team as he approached his desk. He continued to observe his team, as he sat and sipped his coffee. Gibbs finally just zeroed in on the source of the beginning to an awkward Monday morning. Tony seemed to be shuffling papers and trying to look very engaged in his work. Gibbs regarded him with his best Gibbs' investigative stare as he also began to examine Tony's appearance.
Tony weakened for a moment, giving a hard squint to himself as he continued to try to bury himself into the paper in front of him. He could feel their stares, and he knew that they were all worried about him.
"How was the wedding?" Gibbs looked to Tony as he asked. All three of them were relieved in some sense that the ice had been broken, but, at the same time, amazed that it was Gibbs to break it.
"It was nice." Tony gave an impassive response to the question. "One of his nicer weddings."
Tony looked to all of them as he answered. Although Tony was very refined since they last saw him, he just was not acting like Tony.
"They are on their honeymoon now." Tony added, as he looked back down at his desk. Gibbs finally sat back in his chair and continued to sip his coffee, as he surveyed the room.
Gibbs finally broke his concentration on his team, when his cell phone rang.
"Yeah, Gibbs." He answered. ". . .be right there." Ziva watched as Gibbs left the bullpen and headed for the director's office.