"We are finished here, Tony, why don't you just spend some time with your father." Gibbs said after hearing all of the information that DiNozzo had learned about his father being broke.
"Hey, Boss. . .what exactly did you and my father talk about during your "tour"?" DiNozzo asked with a nervous laugh.
Gibbs looked him over and did not answer.
"Boss?" DiNozzo asked again.
"You." Gibbs said directly. DiNozzo laughed nervously. Gibbs smiled and looked him over.
"What did he tell you?" DiNozzo asked.
"Why don't you come over to my place after you spend some time with your father?" Gibbs said.
"Rule 18, Tony, you do understand how that one works, right?" Gibbs asked.
"It's better to seek forgiveness than ask permission." DiNozzo repeated. "Yeah, Boss."
"If you ever want to be benched again, you ask me directly." Gibbs ordered sharply, as he turned to face him directly.
"I am sorry, Boss." DiNozzo said.
"Don't apologize. You just tell me when you need to be benched." Gibbs said.
"I have never asked that before, so I didn't know how to." DiNozzo said.
"I know, and I have never had to do it before." Gibbs said.
"When was the last time you saw him, anyway?" Gibbs asked.
"Ugh, I think . . .yeah it was 2001. It was right before I joined NCIS, and I had just quit Baltimore. I took a trip to New York to see my dad to tell him I was engaged." DiNozzo said.
"2001? Yeah. . .?" Gibbs prompted him.
"Yeah, it didn't go to well. He wasn't real supportive of the idea of me marrying my high school music teacher." DiNozzo said. "And, he flat out told me then that he would not attend the wedding. That always got me because here he was married to someone half his age at the time. I had my stepmother's support. . .but. . ." DiNozzo trailed off.
"So what, you stopped talking to each other after that?" Gibbs asked.
"No, we talked over the phone, but I haven't been back to New York since then. And, he hasn't been here." DiNozzo became agitated from the questions. Even after guzzling down the rest of the beer, he could not relax.
"All right." Gibbs tried to say in a soothing voice, noticing the behavior changes. "That should change now, right?"
"I guess." DiNozzo said.
"Hey, . . .what's the matter?" Gibbs asked.
"It was nice to see him, sure, but I would prefer. . .just the phone calls." DiNozzo admitted.
"No you don't." Gibbs said, looking him over. "you would just prefer that he was the one to initiate the contact."
DiNozzo turned in surprised and looked at Gibbs.
"How do you do that?" DiNozzo asked in shock.
"Well, he dumped you off in boarding schools. You could have been to New York any time, but you haven't. You did not even tell your father that you were sick with the plague." Gibbs said.
"He would have come to see you for that one, if you had told him."
"What? How did you. . .? I never told you about that." DiNozzo said. "Is that something that you talked about with him during the tour?"
"When you were in the hospital and I had your cellphone, I asked you if I could call him for you." Gibbs said. "You said you wanted to handle that call yourself. You never called him, did you?"
"He was in the Caribbean at the time. I called him after I got out of the hospital." DiNozzo said.
"What else did you talk about?"
"Tony." Gibbs said sharply. "There needs to be a little effort on your part too. Otherwise, he will think that you don't want to have contact with him. You said yourself that you departed on bad terms back in 2001."
"Yes Boss." DiNozzo said looking down. Gibbs shook his head.
"Hey, I just don't want you to go as long as I did." Gibbs said. Gibbs watched DiNozzo's reaction. He nodded. Then, he seemed withdrawn and lost in his own thoughts. After a long silence, Gibbs turned to look at him again, he was staring blankly at the television.
"Tony?" Gibbs said softly. He stared at him for a moment.
"I am sorry, Boss. What did you ask me?" DiNozzo said a bit flustered.
"I didn't ask anything." Gibbs said.
"Boss?" DiNozzo said.
"Your whole personality is different. You are really quiet and withdrawn. You haven't said anything funny or silly. Why are still so distracted, he went home?" Gibbs said. DiNozzo laughed nervously.
"I thought Ducky was the one with the psychology degree." DiNozzo said with a nervous laugh.
"When are you finally going to relax, Tony? That was your second beer now." Gibbs said. "Just relax."
"I am relaxed." DiNozzo said defensively.
"Something is bothering you. What is it?" Gibbs asked.
"I don't know. I was just thinking how he didn't tell me that he was broke and what he had planned. I was just thinking about. . .how my dad said he got divorced. He didn't tell me about that. He was married the last time that I talked to him. Then he apparently got married again, but he never shared that with me. Then he got divorced again. He didn't tell me."
"Yeah?" Gibbs said. "I would have a problem with that too."
"I don't know what bothers me more. He got married and divorced without feeling I needed to know that. Or, that I never even met one of my stepmothers." DiNozzo said.
Gibbs did not know how to respond to the comment. He could see that DiNozzo was upset and the he was becoming increasingly upset the more that he spoke about this.
"You need to talk to him a little more, Tony." Gibbs said gently. "I don't think he would try to keep this information from you. Would he?"
". . .no. . .I don't think so. . .no." DiNozzo said, lacking confidence in his tone.
"So, what do you want to watch? You pick." Gibbs said handing over the remote, trying to redirect the conversation.
"Oh, no thanks, Boss. I would have picked this. This is fine." DiNozzo said with a light laugh.
After the two sat quietly watching television for some time, DiNozzo stood up.
"I think I am going to head home, Boss. Thanks for having me over for dinner." DiNozzo said.
Gibbs stood up and looked him over.
"Thanks for listening." DiNozzo added. Gibbs nodded and followed him to the door.
"Are you okay?" Gibbs asked.
"I am . . .I will be. I will see you tomorrow, Boss." DiNozzo said before exiting the door.
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