This is my second NCIS story - for readers of my first 'The Lost Boys', it will be updated soon, I promise!
Synopsis - Gibbs investigates a secret part of Shannon's past, and learns a thing or two about his own Senior Agent in the process...
This story is an AU, and a sci fi, so if that's not your thing, then don't read lol! I can't explain too much about what's going to happen yet, but I'm hoping you'll all like it! And it's a father/son story, not slash :)
SPOILER ALERT FOR SEASON 8 - All episodes aired so far!
This story will feature Gibbs as he is in season 8 - more open, less gruff, so in this first chapter at least he may seem a little out of sorts. Don't worry he'll soo be back to his head-slapping, glaring best!
"Perfect," Tony smiled as he walked away from his iPod dock and the sound of Bach's Sonata no. 3 began to play.
Tony picked up a book from his coffee table and flicked it open to where he'd left off, depositing the bookmark Abby had made for him on the table.
This is what Tony loved best. Sitting with a good book and listening to classical music, not that any of his team (besides Abby, Jimmy and Ducky) would actually believe that fact. He'd loved classical music his entire life, and that love had come from his mother. One of many things he'd inherited from her.
Tony was only mildly surprised when his door chimed, as Jimmy had mentioned he might be round later with a Vincenzo Natali movie boxset for him. He hadn't wanted to tell the kid that horror wasn't his favourite genre, so he merely yelled, "It's open!" and stuck a smile on his face.
As he replaced the bookmark and left the book on the table he heard the door creak open.
"So what one do you want to watch? All-out gore with Cube, or bestiality with Splice?"
"What?" came a voice that was definitely not Jimmy's.
Tony blinked and looked up, "Oh, hey boss…Uh, what are you doing here?"
"Uhm…It's in a movie, Splice. They make this creature out of human DNA and animal DNA and in the end it sleeps with one of the scientists…Jimmy just got the movie on DVD…And what are you doing here?"
"You asked that already," Gibbs said quietly, and for the first time Tony really looked at his boss.
"Everything okay Boss?" he said with worry and concern, "That bastard Alejandro get out?"
"What? No…Everything's fine. I guess."
"Then why are you here?"
"That's three times," Gibbs smiled waggling a finger at his senior field agent before setting a six pack down on the table and sitting abruptly and heavily on Tony's chocolate brown leather sofa.
"Actually it isn't. The first two times I said 'what are you doing here', and that time I said 'why are you here'," Tony smiled.
"DiNozzo," Gibbs cut him off, "Sit. Have a beer."
Tony scrutinised his boss a little further before sitting down in his recliner. Both men opened their beers and took a gulp and sat in silence for a few moments before Gibbs began to speak.
"Have you ever been at a moment in your life Tony, where you were at a crossroads, and you thought that once you were through those crossroads, you'd be able to move on, but you can't?"
Tony eyed Gibbs with concern - something definitely wasn't right.
"I might have," he replied.
Gibbs nodded absent-mindedly, his eyes fixating on Tony's DVD cabinet for a few moments.
"Boss…You know you can talk to me about whatever's bugging you and it'll never leave this room."
"I know Tony, otherwise I wouldn't be here."
Tony allowed himself a small smile at that comment and there was another moment of silence before Gibbs talked again.
"I just find all this, I don't know, talking about stuff, difficult."
Tony remained silent, hoping Gibbs would get to the point soon as he was getting worried.
"You know, it was actually Shannon's fault that both Ginger and Stephanie left me."
Okay, Tony hadn't been expecting that.
"You hear all this crap about married couples sharing everything…No secrets…Well I had secrets I liked to keep, and stuff I couldn't tell them from both NCIS and the Corps and they didn't like it…It didn't bother Diane because she lied to me about plenty of stuff, but it really got to Ginger and Stephanie. They wanted to know everything about everything. They knew about Shannon and Kelly, but I didn't tell them for a while, and I still couldn't really open up to either of them, and when Stephanie miscarried, alone in Moscow with no friends or family and with me on an undercover op, I still couldn't do it."
Tony's eyes widened. The wives, Shannon, Kelly and a miscarriage all in the one sentence. What was wrong with his boss? Was he sick? Tony opted to play it cool for the moment.
"I'm sorry to hear that boss…But how was it Shannon's fault?"
Gibbs took another gulp of his drink before continuing, "She never insisted we tell each other everything…And she had a lot of secrets."
Tony screwed up his face slightly, trying to understand Gibbs' logic. He went to open his mouth when Gibbs took the conversation on another tangent.
"Shannon was only sixteen first time I ever saw her…I was fifteen. Thought she was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen. She never looked at me twice though…I was this mute, angry moron that was always getting the crap kicked out of him, and she was not only beautiful, but damn smart. Started college at sixteen. She spent most of the year in New York at Columbia studying linguistics, and I'd only ever see her between semesters when she came back to Stillwater to help Joanne with their family's store…Didn't work up the courage to talk to her until the day I left Stillwater for the Marines. She told me to stop fighting, and I did…For the most part," he smirked.
Tony smiled at the image of a teenage girl telling Leroy Jethro Gibbs to stop fighting with the other kids.
"After that, we saw each other as often as we could, but I was always away stationed someplace or other, and she was always away at seminars and conferences and out doing field work, and then she did her Masters and I didn't see her for virtually two years. We would have been about 23, 24 by the time we finally managed to move in together. 25 when we got married, 26 when Kelly came along. But I didn't even really get to see her a lot of the time, even when I wasn't deployed…Because she was keeping secrets from me."
Gibbs looked over at Tony who was staring at him strangely.
"Did you ever find out what she was hiding?"
Gibbs regarded the worried and quizzical expression on his agent's face and elaborated, "She was a linguist, an excellent one by all accounts. Taught me a few languages when she could…But she specialised in ancient, dead languages, ancient Mayan languages to be exact."
Gibbs watched as Tony took a sip of his beer, his eyes serious and returning his stare. Gibbs couldn't figure out why Tony looked so concerned so he continued his story.
"She would spend most of her time out in the field in Guatemala, looking at temples and pyramids, deciphering the glyphs, but she would never tell me specifics. She stopped doing that sort of field work when we got engaged, but one day when Kelly would have been about three, she seemed a bit depressed, and then she told me she needed to go back to field work. I told her that I knew how much she loved her work, and how much she missed it, but that they could find someone else. That's when she told me what was really going on, and that she didn't have a choice.
"She was working for a highly classified government programme, called Project Antigua, as a linguist. She couldn't tell me any specifics - it was 'need-to-know'…She shouldn't even have told me the name of the project."
"Wow," Tony said, listening to every word. The SFA seemed to be thinking some things over, "You don't think the government took stock in all this 2012 nonsense and sent her down there to find out if the world was going to end, do you?"
Gibbs allowed himself a small smile, "Your guess is as good as mines DiNozzo."
The pair sat in silence for a few moments and Gibbs could feel Tony's eyes burning a hole in the side of his head.
"Boss. Why are you telling me all this?"
Gibbs sighed, staring down at his drink.
"When you all found out what I'd done to Hernandez…When you all…well I know none of you could ever be happy with, or condone what I'd done, but…It was like this great weight was just lifted from me, y'know? And thinking about Shannon and Kelly had already started to become easier…The happy memories were coming back.
"After we got Paloma, and put Alejandro behind bars I actually began to believe that I was finally going to be able to put everything that had happened behind me and move on…But I haven't. I still needed closure.
"Kelly and Maddie buried a time-capsule in the back yard just a few days before I shipped out to Desert Storm. When Maddie told me about the capsule, I dug it up, but I never opened it…I wasn't ready for that closure, and as long as that time-capsule remained sealed…It was as if there was something about Kelly I was still to find out…One final surprise, I guess. So I buried it where I'd found it, and tried not to think about it."
"Makes sense," Tony said softly, and Gibbs could feel the younger man's uneasiness at his boss' candidness.
After another sip of beer Gibbs spoke up, "I dug that time-capsule up and opened it two weeks ago."
Tony's eyebrows shot up in surprise, "You really are trying to move on…What was in it if you don't mind my asking."
Gibbs smiled, "Some of her toys, couple of drawings, things like that.
"After I opened it, I thought that would be it, I'd move on, but I didn't…I began to think and I realised I still hadn't found out exactly what Shannon was doing in Guatemala."
"You want to find out what she was doing, to find closure?"
Gibbs nodded wordlessly.
"You're gonna need to call in favours with everyone that owes you boss."
"I know…but I…I have to know, Tony...I have to find out, and that's why I came to see you…I uh," he fumbled, "I need your help Tony…help me find out what Project Antigua was.
"Is that Bach?" Gibbs said abruptly before Tony had a chance to answer him.
"Didn't know you liked that sort of music."
"What's not to like?" Tony said defensively, earning a smirk from Gibbs.
After a moment Tony turned to Gibbs, "I don't know how you expect me to help you find out what Shannon was up to boss, and I really think you'd have been better asking Abby or McGee with their computer smarts, or Ziva with all that classified knowledge she's gleaned over the years, or Ducky or Fornell with their contacts…I don't think I'll be much use to you, but I'll try."
"I came to you because I wanted you to help…I can only really trust you and Ducky not to gossip, and Ducky would try and talk me out of it…tell me it was classified for a reason, and that she didn't know what I was doing when I'd be called away to take out a mark…And he'd probably give me a lecture on trust being a two-way street, and that I should trust Shannon."
Tony smiled softly, "Sounds just like Ducky…So you came to me, your St. Bernard who'll have a barrel of bourbon at the ready for you when you get snowed under with all the red tape?"
Gibbs actually managed a chuckle, "something like that."
Tony chuckled back, and then he went into his own little world for a few moments. Gibbs recognised the behaviour instantly.
"What do you got DiNozzo?"
Tony smiled, "I may be no computer genius, but my mother taught anthropology at Columbia for a while…might be able to use that connected to get into their student records system…I could say I was wanting to look up a student my mother befriended, or something similar…Federal Agent politely looking for information on his late mother's friend? They might cave."
"If she taught anthropology she might well have known Shannon," Gibbs smiled.
"Who knows?" Tony smiled, "I'll also do some digging online for you."
I appreciate that Tony, and I'm going to take one of your suggestions…Director Morrow owed me big time at NCIS, and I've never collected the favour."
"Homeland security? Good place to start asking questions…Good place to get into a whole heap of trouble as well."
"Perhaps," Gibbs grinned, "Going to annoy Fornell too."
"You should still ask McGee to help," Tony smiled, "We both know he can hack just about anything."
Gibbs took one final swig of his beer and indicated towards Tony's now empty bottle. Wordlessly Tony handed him the bottle and Gibbs quickly disposed of them.
"I'm gonna head home…Maybe call Fornell tonight about all of this," Gibbs said quietly as he headed for the door.
"Sure thing Boss."
Gibbs give his friend a warm smiled and opened the door as Tony came up to see him out.
"And Tony, thank you for listening."
"Anytime boss…Always got your six."
Gibbs smiled before walking out and heading for the stairs - Tony's elevator was always out of order.
Tony locked the door as soon as Gibbs left and leaned heavily on it for a moment. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose before walking over and picking up his phone. He quickly keyed in the number and waited for the other person to pick up. After a moment his friend answered and Tony sighed heavily, a cold feeling of betrayal seeping into his heart.
"Yeah It's DiNozzo…I think we have a problem."