Summary: This is set between S8 & S9, when the team is figuring out that Tony has an assignment. Gibbs and the team also start to see DiNozzo Senior's true colors. This is a continuation of the Pandora's Box/Resealing of Pandora's Box storyline.
Author Note: This fanfiction was a challenge to write because of the way Nature of the Beast was edited. I apologize if the timeline seems a little off. I watched, and re-watched scenes from that episode trying to establish the timeline for these missing scenes. However, I hope this story flows as close to correctly as possible.
The Transition Period: Tony's Pandora's Box
Flashback from 2001
Baltimore Police Department
"Major?" DiNozzo approached his Baltimore supervisor. "I need to take some time off, sir."
"First Price, now you?" Raimey said.
"Danny. . .is taking time off?" DiNozzo asked. "Honestly, sir, I think it would be if I just resigned."
"What? Are you serious? May I ask why, Anthony?" Raimey asked. "Does this have something to do with this Lieutenant Ian Floyd case that you just finished?"
"Yes sir." DiNozzo stated, but he did not elaborate. Raimey nodded.
DiNozzo left the Baltimore Police Department that morning and drove to the Baltimore Mansion where his grandmother lived.
"Good morning, Grandma." DiNozzo said as he entered her dining room.
"Anthony, what brings you by this early?" She asked sipping her coffee at the table. "I did not need you to drive me anywhere today."
"I need to talk to you about something." DiNozzo sat down next to her and prepared his statement carefully. "I might need to leave the Baltimore Police Department, and I might be leaving. . .moving away from the Baltimore area altogether."
"Oh no, you are not going anywhere, Anthony. Your father and I like you working right here in Baltimore." She yelled in a condescending tone.
"I had a job offer already in. . ." DiNozzo tried to explain. The look that the old lady gave warned him he should stop protesting.
"Yes, Ma'am." DiNozzo said. "Wendy and I will see you this weekend."
"Your father and I wish you would come to your senses about that woman. She was your high school music teacher. She should not be dating one of her former students." She yelled.
"Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that too. See, we have taken our relationship to the next level, and we. . ." DiNozzo continued.
"Oh no, do not tell me that the two of you are actually going to live together or God-forbid get married." She continued to yell at Tony. "There is no way in h*ll we will allow that to happen. That tramp better look out because she has me to deal with. If your mother were here, she would never approve of this relationship."
"Ugh, okay Grandma, I can see this is a bad time. I will see you again. . ."
"Don't bring her by her Anthony. You come alone." She ordered. DiNozzo stood up.
"Please, we need to talk to you about. . ." DiNozzo tried to say, before his grandmother stood up and gave him a sharp, slap across the cheek.
"Yes, Ma'am." DiNozzo said in a somber tone.
Set soon after episode 8X22 Baltimore and the events of Pandora's Box and Resealing Pandora's Box
Recap of last scene from Resealing Pandora's Box
"You saw her didn't you?" DiNozzo finally asked. Gibbs glared at him for a moment.
"I had to." Gibbs finally admitted. DiNozzo looked down both ashamed and shocked.
"Your grandmother agreed with you. It was a misunderstanding. You did not try to commit suicide. You had a reaction to the painkillers, and you had to be hospitalized. The painkillers interacted with the antihistamines that you were already taking." Gibbs explained. DiNozzo continued to look down and listen.
"Your grandmother said that your father was purposely enrolling you in boarding schools and summer camps to prevent them from seeing you. She said that even when you were allowed to see them, that your father would sign you up for so many sports. You would be attending games and going to practice, so you could not see them then either." Gibbs explained looking him over for some type of reaction. "When you had that reaction with the painkillers, she used that against your father. But, you were so depressed and took the whole situation so hard that she tried to fix the situation after that. That juvenile record should have been destroyed. You should never have been charged with an attempted suicide."
"She also said that those two DUI charges against your mother should have been cleared as well. Raimey thinks he is above the law. He accepts payouts from criminals, and he sets up innocent people too. He might have had a crush on your mother. They went to high school together, and she continued to reject him. Your mother did not abuse alcohol either. That was him setting her up. You were used, when you overdosed by your grandmother and by Raimey. Raimey wanted revenge back then. Now you arrested Raimey, so he is lashing out again."
"Thanks Boss." DiNozzo finally said, still looking down and withdrawn.
"Your grandmother would really like to see you, Tony." Gibbs said forcefully. Tony still had not looked back up, but he was processing the information. Gibbs placed the statement on the table from his grandmother. Gibbs continued to look him over as they sat in silence. "If you would prefer, I will go with you."
"Tony?" Gibbs tried to get him to look up.
"I can't Boss." DiNozzo said. Gibbs looked him over surprised by the reaction. He continued to look at DiNozzo critically trying to understand his behavior. The panic was gone, but withdrawn Tony had returned.
Pandora's Box Reopened
"I want to hear your version, Tony." Gibbs said, looking him over and trying to understand what DiNozzo was thinking. DiNozzo opened his mouth but nothing came out. He struggled with the words and with what he felt comfortable telling Gibbs.
"Hey, you need to answer me. How much of that was true?" Gibbs asked. He reached over at DiNozzo and lifted his chin.
"A lot of that is true." DiNozzo answered. "I guess."
"Which parts exactly, Tony?" Gibbs said looking hard at DiNozzo, who shifted nervously under his gaze. Then Gibbs tried to read the confusing flood of emotions and body language that overcame DiNozzo. After a long silence, Gibbs tried again.
"Look at me, Tony." Gibbs ordered softly. Although it was a struggle, DiNozzo obediently turned to look at Gibbs. "Are you scared of her?" He asked.
"Nah, nooo. That is crazy." DiNozzo said with a laugh waving him off. Sensing by DiNozzo's strong reaction that there might be truth to that, Gibbs leaned in closer to him. As he was being examined, DiNozzo shook his head again trying to deny it, but he quickly looked away not helping his case.
"Don't lie." Gibbs said sternly. Gibbs became even more concerned with DiNozzo's inability to even produce a wisecrack or distracting comment.
"I am not. . ." DiNozzo complained, stopping himself. He saw Gibbs turn his head to the side and raise his eyebrow from DiNozzo's effort to deny the accusation. "She was just very controlling, and she used to hit me a lot. . .just like my dad." Gibbs inhaled from his brief confession.
"So what, you have been hiding from her since?" Gibbs asked forcefully. "You are hiding from a 90 something year old woman?" DiNozzo gave a nervous little laugh after hearing Gibbs' say that.
"It's complicated." DiNozzo said.
"Then un-complicate it for me." Gibbs ordered. DiNozzo became very unreadable.
"Why, Tony?" Gibbs asked. "What did I miss here?" DiNozzo again tried to casually wave Gibbs off. Gibbs leaned forward again getting his eye contact back with DiNozzo. Gibbs tried to rest his arm on DiNozzo's shoulder, but unlike his normal reaction DiNozzo flinched and dodged the simple contact from Gibbs.
"You didn't want me to talk to her. Why?" Gibbs asked forcefully.
"You already believe everything she says, anyway." DiNozzo tried to ignite an argument as a distraction tactic.
"I did? Is that what your gut is telling you DiNozzo?" Gibbs responded angrily.
"Hey, what is going on in your head right now?" Gibbs added fighting the urge to head slap DiNozzo. DiNozzo had nearly dodged every question that Gibbs presented to him.
"Boss, I can't. . ." DiNozzo said. "This just isn't important."
Preventing himself from engaging in this argument that DiNozzo initiated, Gibbs reached over and gave him a light pat on the back. "I said I would go with you to see her." He said.
"NCIS is protected from the statement you got from her. That is all that matters." DiNozzo complained. "Can I go now?" DiNozzo looked to Gibbs almost begging, as he got up to leave the room.
Gibbs got up and blocked his pathway to the door. "You sit." He said firmly. He redirected DiNozzo to the chair. Gibbs would not allow DiNozzo to distract him again from the real issue here by baiting him into an argument.
DiNozzo's body stiffened and tensed, as he looked straight forward trying to avoid eye contact with Gibbs. Gibbs leaned in very closely to DiNozzo, in his intimidating, tough Marine manner. DiNozzo felt as if he was a suspect in the interrogation room. The pressure that Gibbs was now putting on DiNozzo was too great for DiNozzo to avoid every question that Gibbs was posing.
"I still want an answer to all my questions." Gibbs whispered into his ear. DiNozzo swallowed hard as he could even hear and feel Gibbs' breathing. He came in so close to DiNozzo's ear.
"I think she is responsible for giving the juvy record to Raimey. I think this was all her doing." DiNozzo blurted out.
"Why?" Gibbs asked.
"My grandmother didn't want me to leave Baltimore. She never knew that I worked at NCIS in D.C., until now." DiNozzo said. Gibbs grinned slightly acknowledging a real answer.
"All right, Tony, I still want to ask you about all of these sports related injuries you had. Did these injuries mostly occur when you were staying with your grandmother?" Gibbs asked suspiciously. Despite the fact that DiNozzo was becoming increasingly agitated by the question, Gibbs-the-investigator could not stop himself from questioning DiNozzo.
"What! No. No!" DiNozzo answered flustered. "Sometimes. Not always. I got hurt in college, too, Boss." DiNozzo said quickly. He struggled with how Gibbs was looking at him and pushing questions.
"Did you get hurt a lot, Tony?" Gibbs continued to push. DiNozzo nodded slightly still looking away, worried about what Gibbs was thinking.
"How did your father fit into all of this?" Gibbs asked watching him closely as he leaned in whispering into his ear. "Was that the true part?"
"Sort of." DiNozzo said. Gibbs once again had to resist the urge to head slap him. He was frustrated that this conversation was going nowhere. Gibbs was still getting no real answers out of DiNozzo, and the information he did get did not explain anything.
"What does sort of mean, DiNozzo?" Gibbs said angrily. DiNozzo shook his head and looked down.
"Why are you pushing me so hard on this? It just doesn't matter, Boss. The problem is solved. This isn't case-related; it is personal business. You don't normally want to know this stuff or at least you yell at me for talking about this type of stuff while working on a case. Why is this even relevant now though?" DiNozzo said intensely. "Can't you smack me on the back of the head and walk away instead?" DiNozzo said trying to make a jump for the door.
"Hey, you sit." Gibbs said grabbing hold of his arm. "You sit." He repeated in a much softer tone, getting him to sit back in the chair. "The stuff I don't want to hear is the old stuff I just don't want to keep hearing over again, Tony."
"This became case-related and work-related anyway, when that juvenile record was delivered to NCIS." Gibbs said. "This is the only case we have right now, and you are in the center of it." Gibbs saw a trace of his real DiNozzo, when he saw DiNozzo shut his eyes grimacing and looking down from Gibbs. He could see that DiNozzo did not want to be difficult. That did not change the fact that he was being so resistant.
Gibbs could not help but place his hand on the back of Tony's head giving him a single, soft stroke. Expecting a head slap, DiNozzo froze from the sensation he did receive. He did not know how he was supposed to react from such a gesture from Gibbs, when he had just asked for a head slap a moment before and was basically picking a fight with him.
"I want to know what your father has to do with this, Tony." Gibbs said casually sitting down next to him.
"The two used to almost gang up on me at times, but most of the time they just fought with each other. The whole family is very good at that. . .Both sides, especially when they are all together." DiNozzo said looking sincerely at him. Gibbs nodded. He then stood up shaking his head.
"What, that is it, Tony? That is all that you are giving me? Someday. . ." Gibbs emphasized. "I want an answer to all the questions that I just asked you." He said as he stood up.
"Come on." Gibbs said. "Let's get out of here." DiNozzo jumped up with newly found energy from the surprise of being able to leave.