Warning: Spoilers for S8's Baltimore, Broken Arrow, and Recruited. Spoilers also for S7's Inside Man, Man Walks into a Bar, and Flesh and Blood. Also, references to S5's Corporal Punishment and to S6's South by Southwest. Additional Spoilers include S6's Agent Afloat, S3's Untouchable, and S5's Judgment Day. This continues the plot established in parts I and II Pandora's Box.
This is the Sequel to Pandora's Box
Gibbs approached Vance's office. He could sense that DiNozzo was still with him, but he slowed up as they approached Vance's office. Gibbs held the unsealed criminal record in his hand, as he turned the knob for Vance's door.
"Tony?" Gibbs said softly. "Come on."
Vance quickly finished up his phone conversation with his wife as he saw Gibbs enter. He stood up at his desk, as Gibbs had to wave a reluctant DiNozzo into the office. From the second he walked into the office, DiNozzo could not look up at either of the men. Gibbs exchanged a glance with Vance before they refocused their attention back on DiNozzo.
"Gibbs?" Vance said.
"Here it is Leon." Gibbs stated. He held the unsealed document. They both looked over at DiNozzo as Gibbs handed it over to Vance. Vance was looking at them both suspiciously now. He quickly glanced at the document and looked up.
"What happened?" Vance asked curiously. DiNozzo stiffened at the direct question. Gibbs saw him tense up, so he answered the question for him.
"DiNozzo unsealed that for us. He was charged with an attempted suicide. He was on prescription pain killers. He accidently overdosed, had to be hospitalized, then he was charged with an attempted suicide. Raimey knew about this."
"What do you think Raimey's motivation behind this was?" Vance asked. Gibbs shook his head unable to identify a reason.
"Agent DiNozzo?" Vance said trying to break him from his trance. Even saying his name did not cause him to look up. He still waited for an answer.
"Tony?" Gibbs prompted. "Come on." Gibbs encouraged him again.
"I really do not know, sir." DiNozzo said in a low tone, shaking his head.
"Well, Agent McGee is scheduled to have another polygraph. You are being added to that list too, DiNozzo." Vance stated. As he looked at how distressed DiNozzo was, Vance resented the fact that he had made the order. Gibbs recognized Vance's uncertainness, but showed his support of the decision.
"Yes, sir." DiNozzo said softly, still not looking up at either of them.
"Agent Grady will be in touch." Vance stated. Vance and Gibbs still watched a motionless DiNozzo, who had not even looked up at them since he entered the office.
DiNozzo stepped backwards but was prevented from making a discreet exit. Vance wanted more answers and was not ready for him to leave the room yet.
"DiNozzo." Vance said. "Hang on a minute. Have a seat." Vance said approaching his table. Gibbs could tell how much Tony wanted to bolt out that door. He had become noticeably agitated from the discussion they had together in the conference room. Now, DiNozzo appeared completely overwhelmed with the fact that both Vance and Gibbs wanted to talk with him about this.
Gibbs stepped sideways over to DiNozzo and grabbed his arm to guide him over to the table. As the three men sat down at the table, Gibbs looked DiNozzo over in concern. He was not sure how much Vance would push DiNozzo on this issue. He also thought that DiNozzo may have reached his limit, as far as being able to discuss this topic.
"Is there more to this DiNozzo?" Vance asked. "If Raimey is trying to discredit you with something, this criminal record won't do that. Yeah, I would have preferred a vandalism charge or maybe a trespassing charge. . .whatever else that kids do when they are just being stupid." Vance said. Gibbs nodded with a small smile.
"I don't like surprises. Is there more to this? Were you treated for an addiction problem or substance abuse problem?" Vance asked getting straight to the point. Gibbs shot Vance a warning glare.
"No." DiNozzo answered. Gibbs watched DiNozzo closely not expecting him to be able to handle a direct question so well. He had not expected DiNozzo to answer the question honestly either without even a hint of sarcasm or humor.
"You overdosed on pain medication, and you were charged for an unintentional suicide attempt. There had to be more to this. Otherwise, Raimey wouldn't have mailed this to me." Vance pointed out. Gibbs bit his tongue forcing himself to not intervene. He wanted to know the answer, but he could see how uncomfortable DiNozzo was with the very specific and personal questions.
"I had a lot of sports related injuries over the years, sir." DiNozzo quickly answered in a smug manner, looking up at Vance. "I have been on pain killers many times."
"You didn't answer my question." Vance stated in an equally smug manner. Gibbs glared at both of them.
"DiNozzo, if Raimey is using this to try and discredit you, is there something else?" Gibbs argued. "Why would Raimey pick this then?" Gibbs asked.
"I don't know." DiNozzo said softly looking away from them again.
"I want you to answer my question from before." Vance said repeated.
"I was never enrolled in a drug treatment program, and I never overdosed on purpose, sir." DiNozzo answered in a monotone. He said this glancing quickly at Gibbs.
"How about alcohol?" Vance looked at DiNozzo suspiciously, when he rephrased his question.
"No." DiNozzo answered quickly.
"Have you ever mixed the two?" Vance questioned DiNozzo further.
"No." DiNozzo answered shaking his head avoiding eye contacted. His voice was filled with exhaustion and frustration. DiNozzo looked over at Gibbs, worried about what he was thinking.
"Leon. This is becoming an interrogation. Besides, he can handle his alcohol." Gibbs intervened getting a little disgusted with Vance's questioning.
"But he has abused alcohol before." Vance restated arguing with Gibbs.
"When?" Gibbs snapped at Vance. DiNozzo looked up at Gibbs. The look in his eyes pleaded to not engage in this conversation.
"Tony?" Gibbs looked at DiNozzo strongly wanting to know more about this.
"The USS Ronald Reagan." Vance finally answered for him. DiNozzo quickly looked down away from Gibbs, when the director answered. Vance's words nearly stung Gibbs. Gibbs had not realized that DiNozzo felt so responsible about Director Shepard's death that he had become self-destructive during those months they were apart.
The room got very quiet. Gibbs continued to stare at DiNozzo, who had not looked back up from the table since Vance made the comment.
"DiNozzo, I just want to anticipate what Raimey has planned here." Vance finally said standing up. "If you two can figure this out, let me know." He added. DiNozzo stood up and finally saw his opportunity to leave. Gibbs got up and quickly followed him. Following DiNozzo to the elevator, Gibbs grabbed his arm and pulled him into the elevator. As soon as they entered the elevator, Gibbs flipped the emergency stop. Still holding his arm, Gibbs slowly got closer to DiNozzo, looking him over. DiNozzo felt himself being examined in the motionless and sealed elevator.
"Boss, I am sorry." DiNozzo said. Gibbs nodded but already wanting him to stop. "I am sorry about the criminal record. . .and about not telling you . . ."
"Hey, you stop now." Gibbs ordered softly. "And, if there is any possibility that you have abused alcohol, then I am guilty of the same."
Gibbs reached back behind DiNozzo's head. DiNozzo braced himself for a Gibbs headslap, but he received a light finger tap on the back of the head instead. "Vance is just protecting this agency because Raimey appears to be making some sort of threat against you right now."
"The overdose." Gibbs redirect the conversation back to the criminal record. DiNozzo gasped from hearing the word again. "What was your grandmother like?"
"Sh—she was a grandmother." DiNozzo answered a bit frantically as he was lost for words. He stuttered and hoped Gibbs would not pursue this further.
"Yeah, what was she like, Tony?" Gibbs asked carefully seeing how uncomfortable DiNozzo still was right now. "You overdosed accidentally while staying with her."
"She was an extremely domineering and manipulative woman." DiNozzo answered. "She really wanted nothing to do with me, but she liked to control people. My father couldn't even win a fight with her."
"How about your mother, Tony?" Gibbs asked even more cautiously. DiNozzo was taken aback by that question as well.
"I hardly had a chance to know her." DiNozzo answered without even a trace of humor. Though, the story of how his mother drank his sea monkeys came to Gibbs' mind.
"Did they have any connection to Raimey?" Gibbs asked. DiNozzo shook his head and then he shrugged his shoulders not able to give Gibbs a truly accurate answer.
"All right." Gibbs said softly deciding to stop there.
"You stick around, so that you can take that polygraph." Gibbs ordered. "But, then I want you to go home."
"Yes Boss." DiNozzo said in a lifeless tone. Gibbs gave him a light push off of the elevator as they approached the squad room. He watched DiNozzo's demeanor and became even more concerned.