'I can explain!' – Chapter 2
Gibbs was pacing the waiting room, clear lines of worry creasing his face.
All was silent apart from the low beeping of heart-monitors in nearby rooms.
Not another soul could be seen... Well, not until an interesting assortment of seven stormed through the swing-doors of the A&E waiting room.
Fornell, Ducky, Palmer, Ziva, McGee, Abby and even Director Shepherd herself came to a halt in an odd sort of 'V' formation which reminded Gibbs of one of the many superhero films he had watched with Tony as a child.
Fornell was standing at the very front of the group, his pale grey suit now adorned with several smears of ash; presumably from the explosion.
To his left and right stood Ziva and Tim, both still in their full NCIS uniform - bullet-proof vests n' all.
Behind them again stood Ducky and Palmer dressed in their Blue Autopsy Jumpsuits, Ducky still wearing his customary rimmed-hat while his red bow-tie was just visible above the top button of the jumpsuit.
The last in the group were Abby and Jen, their outfits drastically contrasting with Abby in her usual short-skirt, black platforms and un-tidy pigtails while the Director stood to he left in a smart but still relatively casual knee-length navy blue dress and a matching purse.
''We came as soon as we could'' Said Ducky.
''I had a meeting with The Sec-Nav but I escaped as soon as I heard the news!'' followed on Jenny.
"I hitched a lift with the Director...'' whispered Abby softly.
There was a pause before Abby could not bear it anymore and barrelled towards Gibbs as fast as her heel-clad feet would carry her.
"Oh BossMan! What happened? I just got a call from Tim saying Tony had been involved in an accident and to meet them at Bethesda ASAP! He didn't even give me any details! Not any!" She babbled, not once releasing Gibbs from the vice-like grip she had on his shoulders.
"The building at the crime scene collapsed with Tony still inside. He got out in time but... he wasn't in a good way and he collapsed in my arms." The end of his sentence was reduced to barely a whisper, "There's no news as of yet."
"I'll go and see what I can find out for you Jethro" Said Ducky warmly, hurrying past Gibbs with an encouraging pat to his shoulder as he went.
McGee cleared his throat loudly.
"You, er, missed a bit out there boss – a pretty important bit actually!" He muttered.
"Yeah," Ziva piped up, "Like – why you called Tony 'son' and why he answered back 'Father'. 'Cuz you know – I think that needs a little clearing up!"
Abby's eyes almost popped out of her skull.
"You did WHAT now!" She yelled, "You have some serious explaining to do here mister!" she ranted on.
Gibbs put a comforting hand on her upper arm.
"I agree. I owe you all one heck of an explanation, but I have conditions," He paused and looked around for everyone's nod of approval, "You have to let me tell the story, the whole story, without interruptions. There'll be a whole load of time for questions later but right now I need to tell you everything un-interrupted..."
Uncertainty rippled through the small gathering like a ribbon on a stick.
"I think that's a perfectly reasonable condition considering what he's about to confess to you all!" Fornell said firmly, leaving no invitation for objection.
"You might all want to sit down," Mumbled Gibbs, "It's a long story... A very long story"
And so they sat, scattered between the uncomfortable plastic chairs and cushioned, worn-out couches.
"I guess I should start with the main question, Is Tony my Biological child, with yes. Yes, he's mine. And Shannon was his mother. Kelly was his older sister, almost three years older – she'd be about thirty now."
Gibbs paused, pondering on how wise it was to divulge this much personal information to these people.
'It's too late to go back now!' He thought, 'and anyway, these 'people' are my family now...'
"We had a picturesque family life. Just before Tony was born, I left the marines to join NIS. White picket fence house, great neighbourhood, my wonderful wife and two perfect children... What more could I ask for? But then when Shannon and Kelly were killed they, Social Services, they deemed me unfit to parent Tony due to my 'vision being clouded by grief'"
Gibbs laughed humourlessly.
"They took him away. They took away my boy, only six, after I'd already lost my wife and my little princess...''
The marine allowed a single tear to meander down his cheek at the memory.
"It was all too much at the time and for 10 months, hell – the best part of a year, I allowed myself to wallow in self pity, to drink myself to sleep each night, to allow myself at many points to consider ending it all and believe you me, there were many nights where I came so very close"
Gibbs' voice was filled with such self-hatred that the others were almost surprised he had managed to live so long with these thoughts buzzing around his head.
"And then I got my act together. I needed to find my boy, to let him know he still had a family that cared, a real family. It took me a while but I came across the first clues to tracking him down around 18months after the accident. It was a picture, a photo in a business magazine with the caption 'Anthony DiNozzo senior and his son Junior at the opening of his new firm in Manhattan'. He was thinner, unhappier and looked completely different in his pin-striped suit, but Anthony DiNozzo was most definitely my boy.'
Gibbs took a deep breath and braced himself for the next part of his story. By now Abby was sniffling quietly into McGee's shoulder but Gibbs did not stop, for he knew if he did – he would never be able to re-start again.
'And so began the painful process of tracking him down. I followed his movements, tracked his progress, I was unable to do anything more as I had been informed that there was no legal way of me getting in touch with Tony until he was of legal age to make his own decisions. So I waited. I hacked into his schools' databases to see his grades; I went to his graduation to get pictures for myself. I dedicated my whole life to making sure I never lost contact with my son, however one-sided that contact might be. Sure, it was hard; why wouldn't it be, watching a stranger send your only child away, neglect him and only put on a show when it suited him. To watch your son be used as publicity. To be used as nothing other than for a strange-man's image. When he was twelve. That was when I started to discover the hospital records. The freak accidents that varied from mild concussions and bruising to broken bones. I knew what that bastard was doing to my son, but I had no proof so had to stand by and watch him subjected to years of abuse."
He smiled, finally reaching the happier parts in his son's life.
"He was 18 when I first approached him. It was tough at first, I hardly expected him to welcome me with open arms! But we worked through it, we talked – exchanged stories and slowly I regained his trust. I supported him on his climb up the ladder of crime-fighting. I could have easily pulled some strings and got him a decent job straight away but he insisted I leave him to make his own way. We lived together up until he started at NCIS, but all the way through his other jobs he kept the name 'DiNozzo'. He didn't want to be given special treatment because of his family background; he wanted to become successful by his own talent and not people's expectations of him. He met Tobias on a case in Baltimore; I got a call late one night from him saying he'd found a new-kid..."
He grinned slightly at Fornell,
"Cocky as shit, I called him, but that he'd do well on Gibbs' team at NCIS" said Tobias.
"So I came down, looked him up, and discovered I'd just been recommended my own son by an FBI agent! So we kinda had to tell him the story then – that's how Fornell knows now."
"When Tony transferred to my team at NCIS, Ducky noticed something off at once. He confronted me and after a rather... heated discussion, he managed to get the truth out of me. He promised to keep it a secret so don't you all go after him for not telling you. We got Tony his own flat then, when he started aged 23, so there would be no awkward questions of anybody found out we lived together. He started his more independent life back then, but we still had 'cowboy steaks' every Friday for tradition...'
"And that brings us up to now, just about... You have to promise to take it easy on Tony. It's important to him to be his own man and not be 'The Boss's Son' at work. Everything he's achieved since he left Ohio State is off his own steam, I've not leant him a hand even in his darkest moments. He's gonna take it hard, this confession thingy, but he'll come around to it. As long as you do too"
A/N: So that's it for this chapter! I tried to make it a bit longer to make up for the gaps between my postings! If anyone has any ideas for questions and queries the team has, feel free to let me know! Thanks for reading!