Thank you to beautybells for being my beta for this story. I really do appreciate your help.
Gibbs saw Brad as he headed to Tony's room.
"How is he doing?" Gibbs asked.
"What is going on in the murder case?" Brad countered.
"It's over and the charges have been dropped. When can Tony go home?" Gibbs said.
"If he stays with someone, and he is resting, we can release him today. Ducky will have to keep a close eye on his broken ribs and his back." Brad informed the NCIS Agent.
"He will stay with me and I will make sure that he is resting. I know that Duck will look after him," Gibbs nodded.
"If Tony develops a small fever that is okay: treat it with Tylenol. If it hits 101 degrees, bring him back in," the doctor said.
Gibbs nodded and walked into Tony's room while Brad went to start his discharge. Palmer and Tony were talking while Ducky watched them from the chair.
"I have great news and even better news. Which do you want first?" Gibbs asked Tony.
"The even better news," Tony said as if the choice was obvious.
"The charges have been dropped. You didn't kill your father. You were right he was sick. It was cancer. He was supposed to start chemotherapy when he decided to come here instead. We believe that he put the arsenic inside the Scotch bottle," Gibbs said. He knew the information could be difficult to process.
"That seems too easy; too simple. Are you sure it's over?" Tony questioned.
"The FBI can't prove intent. The only prints on the Scotch bottle were yours, because the bottle had been wiped clean, which is why we think that Senior put the arsenic in and then wiped the bottle. Secondly, if it went to trial, Tobias would have to testify and I don't think he wants to go up against Allison with such flimsy evidence."
Tony didn't want to talk about it anymore so he decided to change the subject. "What is the great news?"
"Brad started your discharge. You will be staying with me. Ducky can look after your injuries,"Gibbs said.
"Of course I will," Tony said in a slightly disgruntled tone. Gibbs mimed a head slap, to wich Tony mimed ducking. "Sorry, Boss."
3 weeks later
Tony was still staying at Gibbs' house. His back had completely healed; his ribs were on the mend.
"How's Tony doing?" Abby asked as she enteed Gibbs' house for the barbeque.
"He's resting in his room," Gibbs said.
"But he will come down when the barbeque starts, right?"
"I don't know; these past 3 weeks have been very ** him. He won't talk about his father and what had happened. Every time I bring it up, he changes the subject or shuts down completely. You know how Tony can talk for hours and never actually say anything?" Gibbs beginan
"Now he hardly talks. It is like we changed roles and he has become the mute one."
"He will be alright, right Bossman?" Abby pleaded. Tony, mute? Gibbs, talkative?
"I really don't know. The physical damage is healing, but I'm sure the emotional damage has yet to start. I don't know if it will ever heal."
Tony put the book was he reading down and walked up to the window. He could see McGee at the grill. He knew that he was guest of honor at this barbeque, and he wanted to put his mask back on and pretend that this last month hadn't happened. Why couldn't his father just have stayed away?
"Well, I might as well take a shower and go down. The sooner I go down the sooner they can all leave me alone," the agent muttered to himself.
Tony was standing in the shower when the events of the last month hit him like a train wreck and, for the first time in a very long time, he began to cry. Gibbs, who had been coming up to check on Tony, e heard the sobbing. The special agent opened the door carefully to find Tony sitting in the bathtub as the water still came down on him, crying his heart out. Gibbs was torn. He was happy to see Tony finally letting go of all that emotions he has kept bottled up, but the sight was breaking his heart. Gibbs walked over to the bathtub and turned off the water and he grabed the towel to cover Tony.
"It is okay. Let it all out," Gibbs urged as he sat down on the floor next to Tony, even though Tony was still in the tub. Gibbs kept one hand on Tony's shoulder and the other one on his back.
To Gibbs, it seemed like an eternity before Tony finally stopped.
"You ready to get out of the tub?" Gibbs asked gently.
Tony nodded, standing up slowly and wrapping the towel around his waist as he stood up. Gibbs helped him step out of the tub and brought him back to his room.
"You feel better now?" Gibbs asked from the hall. There was no response. Once Tony was dressed, Gibbs entered the room to see Tony sitting on the bed. Gibbs sat next to him.
"I always knew he hated me. I just don't know what it is that I did that was so wrong. Actually that is not true; I know what I did. I was born; that alone was enough of a reason," Tony said to the carpet.
"Tony, that isn't true. A lot of people are glad to know you and you know it. I have never regretted bringing you here from Baltimore PD. You are an incredible person and wonderful investigator. Your father is the loser. He never gave himself the chance to see how wonderful you are. Even today I still see how much potential you have; you are the best agent I have ever worked with." Gibbs answered. The gooshy words kind of creeped the older man out, but Tony needed to hear it. And Abby wasn't around.
"I don't know who I am. I can't just put up the mask and pretend that this never happened," Tony said uncertainly, also a little concerned about Gibbs' mental status. Gibbs was being nice!
"Then don't put up your mask and let your friends help you. We are all here for you and that is never going to change. You deal with this however you have to," the mentor said.
Tony nodded and let Gibbs lead him downstairs to his friends. They all gathered in a group hug. Tony would have started to cry again, except he was all cried out. But for the first time in a long time he was truly happy.
Tony returned to work, desk duty. There were moments where he was joking and laughing. Other moments he was quiet and withdrawn. This was the new Tony, a combination of his mask half on and half off. The team decideed that they can live with this Tony as long as he was healing emotionally. Gibbs knew that it would take a long time before he was completely healed emotionally; but he was on the road to recovery and for that Gibbs was grateful.