Disclaimer – You might recognise the characters from a certain TV show.
AN –Set after Tony and Senior share a drink at the Adams House but before Gibbs 'tour' with Snr.
"I thought you said you were gonna call," Tony muttered, as his made his way with his father though the hallways of the Navy Yard. He was irritated and more than a little wrong footed by his father's continued expectation that he would just drop everything to fit in with his plans, especially after an absence of more than a decade.
"I did," His father responded. "I didn't realise that Boss of yours would keep you working so late."
"What do you mean?" Tony asked, a dreadful suspicion growing in his gut.
"Well, I thought you would be at home by now so first of all I tried to call that apartment number you gave me when you moved to DC." His father shrugged.
"You tried to call my apartment?" Tony blinked. "Why didn't you just use my cell like normal people? And what do you mean "first of all"?"
"Well, when I didn't get any answer, I took a cab over there," His father fixed him with a look. "Imagine my surprise when the place was rented to a newly married couple who had never heard of you."
"Yeah, well," Tony hedged. "I don't live there anymore."
"And when were you going to tell me this?" Senior was affronted.
"Gee Dad, I don't know," Tony snapped. "Sometime around the point you were gonna mention your new wife or most recent divorce."
"Watch that attitude, Junior," DiNozzo Snr bristled. " I'm still your father."
"Really Dad?" Tony challenged. "What's my favourite food? What kind of reaction do I have to painkillers? How many times have I broken my arm? Do you even know?"
"You can't expect me to know every little detail," His father dismissed that. "I was busy providing for you, I paid for the best schools, camp every summer, then there was the ski-ing holidays, exchange visits to Mexico, flights to Europe to visit with your mother's family."
"Anything, so you didn't actually have to have me hanging around."
"This again? I tried to involve you in my interests, took you to those Civil War re-enactment weekends, took you on trips to educate you about business."
"That's just it Dad," Tony tried to explain. "Those were your interests. Not mine. How many times did you ever watch a movie with me? Or let me drive your latest sports car? How many times have you ever read to me, or stayed with me when I was sick? When did you ever make dinner for the two of us?"
"Now you're being ridiculous," His father scoffed. "I had important deals to take care of with some major players. The life we had didn't come cheap. I couldn't arrange my schedule around your baseball games."
"Of course not," Tony muttered bitterly. "What was I thinking?"
He bit the inside of his cheek, hard, to stop him saying something he would really regret. He hadn't been much into sports when his mother was alive. They had spent their time together watching classic movies, playing duets on the piano, or driving around in her open topped sports car. It had been one of his step-mothers who had introduced him to basketball and football. But he never actually played baseball as a child.
Not until he had met Gibbs.
Who had simply raised a brow at the revelation that the Phys Ed major had never wrapped his hands around a baseball bat, then spent the next few Sundays they had free standing behind him in the batting cages, correcting his stance. When he had played in the annual NCIS/FBI game a few months later looking up as he scored a home run to see Gibbs' proud grin had been one of the best moments of his life.
"Look Junior, it's been great catching up, but what I really need to know is what are Al's movements gonna be whilst he's in town?"
"Dad," Tony scrubbed a hand over his face. He had already spilled more than he should about this case. Gibbs would kick his ass if he knew. And that fact that his Boss didn't know he had screwed up that part wasn't even remotely comforting, because Tony knew. And he wasn't about to do that again. "That information is classified."
"It's a simple enough question, Junior," His father met his gaze. "Of course, I can always just ask your Boss."
"No," Tony flinched at the thought. "That's not a good idea. That's a very, very, bad idea. Gibbs gets really focused when we catch a case, its like tunnel vision. You don't want to be talking to him, in fact it's not a good idea to even look at him right now and definitely not be in the same room as him, um, again."
"Is something bothering you Junior?" His father enquired blandly.
"Me? No, I'm fine, better than fine," Tony almost babbled, in a manner that would never have passed Gibbs' radar, but that his father seemed far too preoccupied about arranging a meeting Prince Al to actually worry about.
The last thing Tony wanted was his father talking to Gibbs. He hadn't forgotten the way the former marine's fists had clenched over the Christmas holidays when had stated his desire to sock his father in the jaw. Under the cameras and recording equipment of the interrogation suite Tony had been pretty sure nothing really bad would happen. But if Gibbs and his father were alone in a room with any actual privacy, he really didn't want to think about what might happen.
"So, where are you living?" His Dad asked. "I'll come by and pick you up when you get off work and we can have dinner."
"I don't know when I'll be free," Tony took refuge in the truth. "Gibbs has us working security detail at the Hotel around the clock until this is all over. I'll need to be close by to relieve Ziva. If I get a chance I'll give you a call. Maybe we could make it was far as dinner in the restaurant this time. I hear the steak at the Rooftop Grill is pretty good."
"You wouldn't be holding out on me would you, Junior?" His Dad obviously suspected something.
"I moved Dad. People do. I know you're familiar with the concept we did it enough times when I was growing up," Tony was sarcastic until a stern look from his father brought him instantly into line. He hated that the man could still do that. He hadn't the right. Yet he still desperately wanted his approval. So, he took a breath and continued in a more reasonable manner. "Look, I'm living in a nice craftsman style house out in .."
"You bought a house?" His father's face instantly creased into a broad smile. "Well, why didn't you say so in the first place? I guess this job must pay more than I thought."
"Dad, it's not like that. I didn't buy the house. I'm just living there."
"So, you're still renting?" His father frowned.
"No," Tony admitted. "I'm not actually paying rent."
"Do I get to meet her?" DiNozzo Snr waggled his eyebrows. "Or perhaps I already have."
Part of Tony wanted to point out that having a father who changed his wives almost as often as he changed his socks sure as hell hadn't helped his commitment issues. But he knew that was unfair. They had both dearly loved and tragically lost the same woman and she had left a hole in each of their lives which neither of them had ever quite been able to fill.
"For the last time, there is nothing like that between me and Ziva," Tony ran a hand through his hair before he resigned himself to the inevitable. "You remember Cousin Crispin?"
"Crispin?" DiNozzo snr furrowed his brow. "Clive's boy? The one with those dreadful home knitted sweaters and those crooked teeth?"
"Not to mention the zillion pound fortune," Tony said a little bitterly "Which didn't count for squat when he came across the IOU for the £10,000 that Uncle Clive leant me when I was in College."
"You never told me you borrowed money from your mother's family." His father bristled.
"I wouldn't have needed to if you hadn't cut me off when I was twelve. Getting a College education is pretty expensive, Dad."
"You did just fine," His father shrugged that off. "You had all those scholarships."
"For tuition," Tony reminded him. "And basic sustenance, which didn't go nearly far enough to make ends meet. I was a Phys Ed major who was looking to looking to go pro. I had to have the proper equipment and to eat the right foods to get a balanced diet. A couple of baloney sandwiches wasn't going to cut it. I needed more Dad."
"Is that why you need access to that account, to pay off Crispin?" His father actually looked worried.
There was no mistaking Senior's genuine concern that there might not be enough money in the account. Tony wanted to think it was all for his sake. Right up until College his father had always been pretty generous in giving him everything he needed. Tony had certainly always believed they were as wealthy as his friends. He supposed a mixture of his mother's money, a few good investments and a string of rich and attractive widows had seen to that.
Tony had always considered that his father's refusal to help him out financially with College had had much less to do with 'time to stand on your own two feet Junior," and more to do with his father's disapproval that he hadn't chosen to go into business. Now it occurred to him that maybe the well had begun to run dry, the widows weren't as wealthy, the investments not as blue chip and the elder DiNozzo simply hadn't had the funds to support him.
Even so, the investigator in him suspected that his father's present concerns were rather less for his predicament and rather more than he had hoped to convince his son to use those funds to float his new resort.
"No, I already took care of Crispin," Tony assured him. "With a little help from Gibbs."
"Special Agent Gibbs has that kind of money?" DiNozzo Snr looked hopeful.
"Don't even think about it, Dad," Tony read his mind. "Gibbs isn't going to be interested in investing in your resort. For a start, he hasn't got any actual money. He gave me a place to live and he persuaded Crispin that it wasn't in his best interests to screw over his own flesh and blood."
"Likes to stick his nose in your business, does he?" DiNozzo Snr's expression turned disapproving.
"He's a good man, Dad," Tony was quick to defend the former marine. "He's been a great, Boss, taught me a whole lot, but more than that he's been the best partner I've ever had. Whatever I've needed he has always had my six."
"Sounds like you have him on a bit of a pedestal," DiNozzo Snr mocked slightly. "The man wears black shoes with brown pants. And don't even get me started on his hair."
"I know his faults," Tony might enjoy psyching out new recruits with the idea that Gibbs was pretty much invincible but he did know better. Still, that didn't mean he was going to lay his faults bare to this man. He was too loyal to the former marine for that. But he equally he didn't want his father to think that he was blind to a person's failings. "Gibbs might not be perfect but when it counts, he has always come through for me. He's kept my head on straight when I've had to deal with some pretty bad stuff. He's taken care of me when I was sick or hurting. And he's never let me get away being anything less than my best. He has always always my six."
DiNozzo Snr blinked slightly.
He couldn't remember a time when his son had spoken with such heartfelt conviction. In his memories Junior had always been courting his approval, his eyes shining with the hope that his Dad would show up at some event or other to give him a proud smile or a pat on the back, the idea that this Special Agent Gibbs had overtaken that role in his son's life rankled slightly. But in his heart of hearts it was also something of a relief that he was no longer the sole focus for his son's emotional needs. He did have the grace to feel slightly ashamed about that. But it was no less true.
"Well, I sure am glad you have someone looking out for you."
As he turned on his heel and walked away, Tony's face twisted into a mixture of resignation and disappointment. Believing himself to be unobserved the hurt that in many ways his father was almost pleased to be relieved of his parental responsibilities was writ clear across his face. Watching from the shadows Gibbs' heart ached for the younger man. Didn't DiNozzo Snr have the least idea what he was throwing away?
If Kelly had lived, Gibbs swallowed hard, as he thought of stilling having his precious daughter to raise and teach and love, DiNozzo Snr might have a good business mind but in the former marine's book he was a damned idiot if he didn't make the effort to connect with his son before it was too late. Looking at the defeated expression on his senior field agent's face Gibbs decided he had had enough of keeping his distance from Daddy DiNozzo.
Tony had said he always had his six.
It was time to live up to that.
It was time for a little chat.