AUTHOR'S NOTES: Another story that was inspired by a cartoon over at DeviantArt. The cartoon in question was done by Saisoto and titled 'What's this?'.
STORY SUMMARY: Tony screws up and two friends pay the price. So he has to make thing right.
NCIS: The Right Thing
There are moments you wish that—more than anything in the world—you could take back.
Days you'd give your life to be able to go back and do over.
But the he was thinking of wasn't one of them.
In the driveway of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo sat in his car for almost an hour, trying to build up the courage to go in and talk to his boss.
The rain pelted the windshield, but Tony didn't care. He was here and somehow he had to make things right.
Of course, that was got him here in the first place.
2 Days Ago
Tony didn't know what had happened. For the life of him, he couldn't remember anything except being in a bar, drinking away bad memories. That night, it had been the one year anniversary of the murders of Special Agents Timothy McGee and Caitlin Todd. The two agents had been shot by Ari Haswari—a rouge Mossad spy turned terrorist—while Tony and Gibbs had been standing there on the rooftop of an abandoned warehouse.
Blinking, Tony looked around as he heard beeping. Okay, he was in a hospital. And judging by the pain in his body, he had a dislocated shoulder, one or more broken ribs, and internal injuries of some degree. His face hurt as well, and reaching up his good hand he felt a bandage on his left cheek and what seemed to be a very nasty bruise on his right.
Groaning as he sat up, Tony wondered why no one was with him. Surely, Gibbs would be checking on him. Or Abby, or…
Tony could remember two women with him at the bar. Closing his eyes, he tried to bring up the memories of the previous night. Opening his eyes after a moment, he felt his face drain of color. Oh, God… Abby Scuito and Ziva David had been with him as he stumbled towards his car, drunk off his ass.
It all came flooding back.
Ziva insisting on driving… Abby in the passenger seat… And Tony passed out in the backseat.
Tony didn't even remember the crash. Didn't remember the paramedics or the ambulance or the emergency room, or anything that had happened in the last 24 hours.
Looking up, Tony was surprised to find an attractive brunette standing in the doorway to his room. "Who are you?" Tony asked, looking confused. Had she been another car involved in the crash? He didn't think so, since she didn't have a scratch on her.
"Ruby," the young woman said, as she stepped into the room. "My boyfriend, Sam, was in the other car."
Tony sat up, wincing at the pain in his abdomen, and gave Ruby an apologetic look. "I'm sorry."
"I'm not here for an apology," Ruby replied, quickly. "I'm here to help you."
Gibbs looked through the window into the ICU room where Abby lay unconscious. When he heard about the accident, he raced to the hospital and found that while Abby and Ziva were alive, they were in critical condition.
Abby had massive internal injuries and a shattered elbow along with a severe concussion. The doctors weren't holding out a lot of hope that she'd regain consciousness.
Ziva had been driving and hadn't fared much better: four broken ribs—one of which had punctured a lung—her left leg had been crushed, and her back had been broken in 4 places. According to the operating surgeons, Ziva's chances of walking again were practically nonexistent.
And then there had been Tony, who had two cracked ribs, some minor internal bleeding, a dislocated shoulder, and some cuts and bruises.
Gibbs hadn't wanted to see his senior agent yet. Not until he knew that he could reign in the anger he felt right now. "Damnit, DiNozzo," Gibbs muttered, praying that somehow this was all a horrible dream.
"You can fix Abby and Ziva up?" Tony asked Ruby, still hesitant to believe her.
"Well, not me, personally," Ruby corrected with a smile. "But I've got friends who can do it, no problem. They'll be good as new in less than a week."
Tony didn't even have to think twice. "Please. It's my fault—I have to fix it."
"Okay," Ruby agreed with a slightly twisted smile. "Just give me an hour."
Tony knew that he would give anything to be the only one hurt in the accident.
But he wouldn't take back making that deal.
10 years before he'd die in exchange for Abby and Ziva to live happy, full lives?
He'd done stupider things.
Getting out of the car before reaching into the passenger seat and grabbing the bottle of bourbon he'd bought on the way here, Tony tried to brace himself for what was to come.
When Gibbs had found out what Tony had done, the older NCIS agent had gone silent, not saying anything as he listened to Tony's report on the deal.
But the silent treatment was a million times worse than if Gibbs had shouted. Because shouting meant that Tony could be forgiven. That Gibbs would be fine once he got his fury out of his system. Silence meant that this would be something he would remember forever.
For the first time he could remember, Tony rang the doorbell of Gibbs' house, waiting with trepidation until the door finally opened.
Gibbs was wearing jeans and an old USMC t-shirt. The sawdust on the shirt was a clear indication that he'd been working on his boat when he heard the doorbell.
"Hey, boss," Tony said, brushing his wet hair out of his eyes. "I, uh… I was passing by and I thought we could have a drink. Maybe talk?" He held up the bottle of bourbon as he spoke, but felt his heart sink when he saw Gibbs' stony expression. "Or not…" he said, quietly.
Gibbs has been surprised that Tony was asking for an invitation instead of just barging in like always. "Why'd you ring the bell?" Gibbs asked, curiously.
Tony's look was solemn and his eyes were filled with remorse. "I had the feeling that… this time I needed permission to come in," he said, hopefully. But Gibbs just stared at him and Tony looked away, feeling dejected. "But I guess I don't have it," he sighed. "Look, it's late and I know you're probably tired. I know I am." Tony wordlessly handed over the liquor bottle, knowing that if he held on to it, he'd down the whole thing in his car.
As he walked away, Tony looked over his shoulder and saw Gibbs still standing there. "I know how you feel about apologies, boss, but I really am sorry." After a moment, he turned and added, "For what it's worth, I thought I was doing the right thing. Rule 45, you know." Without another word, Tony went back to his car and got behind the wheel, pulling out of the driveway and heading down the street.
"And round and round and round it goes," said a smooth, English accented voice.
Gibbs turned to see the self-titled King of the Crossroads standing behind him. "What do you want?"
Crowley let out a dry laugh and said, "You sold your soul to me to save him last year, remember? Now your agent has done the same thing to help the two ladies. I just find it oddly poetic." When Gibbs said nothing, Crowley shrugged. "Don't worry. I'll let myself out. Take care of yourself, Gibbs. I don't want to see you at my door before your time's up."
Gibbs shut the front door and headed back down to the basement. He went to his workbench and poured himself a drink, wondering once more if he'd done the right thing last year.