Chapter 11: Memorial
Vance began the memorial by handing the microphone over to Tony's father who had flown in from Monte Carlo for the occasion.
Senior looked at the photo display, his eyes fell over the collages before finally resting on the main photo of his son amongst a display of candles. He took a breath and looked up to the large crowd of people who had come from all over to say goodbye to Tony. Senior even noticed a few relatives who had flown in from Italy.
He cleared his throat and began. "I never imagined I would be in this situation. I never imagined I would have to say farewell to my son." He took a deep breath. "Anthony was such a bright and lively person, he always felt the need to be social which often got him into a bit of trouble."
The crowd hummed a short laugh.
"We're all here today because Anthony came into our lives and turned our world around."
Senior saw a few heads nod in agreement.
"He… he gave us the strength to put ourselves out into the world and not care what people would say. And when we were with him, even for five minutes, our day would be much better. He always had something positive to say, something to make us laugh or roll our eyes and shake our heads."
Another hum of laughter came from the crowd.
"I regret not knowing my son better and I am thankful he had all of you in his life. I want to thank you all for coming today. It's comforting to know Anthony had so many people who loved him." Senior's eyes fell onto Tony's team. "Everyone here today, Anthony considered you all his family." His eyes fell to Mechal, "And I know you all felt the same way about him. " More heads nodded. "I..." Senior caught himself as his tears started to flow. He looked to Gibbs and nodded. "I'm going to hand you over to a great importance in Tony's life. Thank you all for coming."
Gibbs stood and walked around the outside
The crowd applauded as Senior stood away from the microphone. Gibbs put a hand on seniors shoulder as they passed. He stepped behind the microphone and quickly glanced the photos quickly before starting his speech.
"For everyone who doesn't know me my name is Special Agent Jethro Gibbs. I've been Tony's boss for the past nine years. I first met Tony in two-thousand and two when he was working for Baltimore Police Department as a Homicide Detective. We crossed paths when a case forced the joint effort Baltimore and NCIS. He, much like myself, was a team leader. We both had our own teams and both had unusual ways of running them."
Ziva leaned over to McGee, "I did not know Tony used to have his own team."
McGee nodded in agreement.
Gibbs smiled, "One of the things he would do was pull his team into a huddle that he called a camp fire. Something he did with our team when he was left in charge while I went a way for a while."
"Ooh." Abby, Ziva and McGee sighed, now understanding why he did the camp fire.
"He showed qualities of leader ship, understanding and being quick on his feet and mind. He connected dots and put two and two together a lot faster than any one I'd ever worked with. And when in dangerous situations, his improvised plans turned out to have a higher success rate than plans that normally took hours to come up with." Gibbs took a breath. "After the case was closed I spoke to him quietly about coming over to NCIS and working for me. The following week I was interviewing him for the job. Tony has been the best Agent I have ever had the privilege of working with and over the years I've gotten to know Tony very well. As I'm sure you're all aware, he is a remarkable person. First impressions don't generally count with him."
Few members of the crowd nodded.
"We should tell him," Abby whispered to McGee.
"No, we shouldn't." McGee whispered back then saw Vance sitting a few seats down beside Abby. His face grew stern.
Abby saw the change of expression and followed McGee's gaze. She took a breath when she saw Vance and exchanged a concerned look with McGee.
Gibbs concluded his speech by extending his condolences to the NCIS Agents among the crowd and extending NCIS's condolences to Senior and Tony's family, although he didn't know which Tony's family was but he made a mental note to seek out at least one of Tony's relatives other than his father.
Mechal stood up next and gave a quick speech about how close he and Tony were and how losing Tony was the equivalent to what it must be like to lose a real brother. He expressed how alike they were and explained how after being mistaken so many times as being brothers that they both finally started introducing themselves as brothers and then only later would explain they weren't actually related. Mechal spoke briefly of Tony's musical past and how Tony would often put his thoughts and messages into his lyrics.
"He's my brother," Mechal said, coming to the end of his speech. "And I'll be honest I'll probably go home, drink a bit and get really upset over losing him. But Tony wants us to celebrate him, not mourn and that's what we'll do. That's what today is all about. We're going to meet the important people in Tony's life, share our favorite moments and laugh about stupid he could be."
The crowd laughed above a hum this time.
"And once all the formal stuff Is done I'm going to run back to my car, find a CD with some of Tony's recorded songs on them and play for you all, because I know he'd hate that."
Mechal laughed and stepped away from the microphone. Pleased to leave the crowd with smiles on their faces.
The formal speeches ended with a man reciting a quick pray in Italian for the non-English speaking attendees. The man then rested a rosary amongst the candles in front of Tony's framed photo.
To the side of the memorial service was a three long tables lines in a U shape with food covering every inch of the white table cloth. People stood from the chairs and started to gather food and return to their small groups. Many did make an effort to introduce themselves to someone they didn't know and many strangers began groups and got to know each other through Tony.
As McGee stood and walked towards the tables, Vance stood from his chair and stopped him.
"Agent McGee, may I have a word?"
McGee nodded and the two stepped out of the way of people.
Abby and Ziva noticed and shot McGee cautious looks but continued to the tables with Gibbs.
"Yes, Director?" McGee asked, trying to keep calm and speak as if he had no idea why Vance had pulled him over.
Vance studied him for a moment, confirming his thoughts. He nodded, "I know you know."
McGee shifted his weight and tightened his eye brows. "Sir?"
"DiNozzo, I know you know he's not really dead." Vance said quietly, lowering his voice even more at the last words.
"Agent DiNozzo was killed four days, sir. That is why we are all here today."
"Yes. But I know you've seen him since then."
McGee stayed quiet. He couldn't think of anything to say. Shit! Did Vance know Tony was at his apartment?
Vance took the silence as defeat. "He needs to be in my care."
"He's fine." McGee snapped.
Vance grinned, liking the reaction he was getting from McGee. It confirmed his thoughts and now he knew for sure where Tony was. "When he left our facility his body stopped the transition but it will begin again and when that happens he needs to be in my care."
"Thanks for the advise." McGee said sarcastically and went to walk away.
Vance caught his arm.
"Don't cause a scene, Director." McGee warned.
They were still standing among the crowd, just off to the side in the less populated area and everyone around seemed content in their small conversations.
Vance let go of McGee a beat later. "You have my number."
McGee walked off a second later and joined his group. Vance looked to the back of the park to where the cars a few people were. Elijah stood there looking at Vance. Vance nodded to him and he nodded back and drifted his eyes to McGee for a moment before back away, crossing the road to his car and driving off.
Vance turned back to the crowd and redressed himself as the Director of a Federal Agency who was attending the memorial of a fallen Agent.
"Does he know?" Abby whispered when McGee re joined her.
McGee nodded. "All he wants is Tony back." McGee whispered back.
They collected their food and stood near the photo display, away from the crowd.
"He said, Tony's body stopped the transition when he left the facility and that it would start up again and when that happened he should be with Vance. It's all bullshit, Abby."
"I know," Abby looked down.
"Hey guys." Mechal walked over to the pair.
"Hi, uh, Mechal… right?" McGee greeted.
Mechal smiled. "That's me. Tim, right? And Abby?"
They both nodded.
"Yeah, Tony talked about you guys. A lot! Especially Ziva, which one is she again?" Mechal said as he turned hs head back to the crowd.
Abby gestured to Ziva who standing beside Gibbs in amongst a few other people. "She's wearing the cream sweater, with her hair down."
"Wow, she is beautiful." Mechal said then turned his back to them both. "So, were you guys with Tony when he… you know?"
McGee shook his head. "No. Guy came out of nowhere when Tony was walking to his car."
Mechal sighed and looked down. "You know I didn't even know he was dead. I came to NCIS this morning hoping to force him to pull a sickie. Then the desk clerk told me and Jimmy…" he took a breath. "I haven't had time to wrap my head around it."
Abby rubbed his arm. "How come we're only meet you now?"
"I live in Los Angeles. Tony and I talk… talked on the phone all the time but we'd only ever see each other once every couple months and that was normally in Miami or when we rocked up for no reason, like I did today." Mechal answered.
Mechal looked at McGee, who had been staring at him. "You ok?"
McGee shock himself out of his gaze. "Oh, I'm sorry. I just can't get over how much you look like him."
Mechal gave a half smile. "Yeah, makes you wonder doesn't it? What if we were separated at birth or something?" Mechal laughed.
"Well if you were, they did a crappy job at keeping you apart." McGee added.
Mechal smiled and turned his body left incline. "I'm going to go say hi to Ziva. It was good meeting you guys, finally."
"You too." Abby said and McGee nodded.
Mechal left and walked up to Ziva, drawing her attention away from the group by gently touching her back and introducing himself once she turned around.
Once the memorial was over, McGee drove Abby and Ziva home. The drive had been a good chance for the trio to update each other on what they got out of the memorial. McGee told Ziva about his chat with Vance, Ziva shrugged it off and before she left the car, she had asked McGee to not let Tony call her and that she would call him when she was ready.
When it came time to drop Abby off, she had urged McGee to call her if anything happened. McGee had assured her everything would be fine.
But when McGee reached home, his confidence was non–existent.
Tony was sitting against the wall across from the bookshelf with his knees to his chest and his hands gripping his head tightly. All the lights were off and there was furniture against the windows, keeping the curtain pinned to the wall so as little light possible could only seep through.
McGee hesitantly walked around to the couch, so he could see Tony from a safe distance. "Tony?"
Tony groaned and pushed his head back against the wall. He was grinding his teeth together and his eyes were tightly shut. The pain shooting through Tony was more excruciating then before, so much that his ability to think and control himself was numbed.
McGee hurried to his aid and dropped to the floor in front of him. He reached a hand out to Tony's arm but didn't move it. He knew a glass of water wouldn't work this time. He knew what he had to do and he hated himself for it.
"Hold on, Tony. You're going to be ok. Just hold on." McGee reassured as he dug his hand into his pocket. He dialed a number and put the phone to his ear.
"I'll tell you where he is, as long as you agree to my one condition." McGee interrupted.
"What's the condition?" Vance asked.
"He stays with me. You don't take him, you don't kill him. You help him then leave him alone."
After a moment Vance spoke again. "Agreed. An associate of mine is on their way."
McGee hung up and dropped the phone back in his pocket. "You'll be ok, Tony. You'll be ok."