Finished! This is the last chapter everyone :( I'm going to miss writing this story... Oh well... Hope you enjoy the final chapter!
Disclaimer-I do not own NCIS (:
"Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor's mind toward some resolution which it may never find."
― Robert Anderson
Chapter 12- Ending
Gibbs sat in his basement, listening to the grinding sound made as he continued to sand his boat.
"You know, burglars could walk in and out of this place no problem if you don't start locking your door."
"Burglars don't come around here." Gibbs told his senior field agent as he paused to watch the younger man descend down the steps into the basement.
"What if someone wanted to hurt you?" Tony challenged "they could just walk right on in."
"Have a gun DiNozzo." Gibbs shrugged "used it a couple times too." he added and Tony rolled his eyes, leaning against the wall, obviously not satisfied with the answer.
"Just take an unlocked door for what it is." Gibbs sighed and Tony raised an eyebrow as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"And that is...?" he prompted.
"An open one."
"Oh." Tony blinked and Gibbs smirked slightly before returning to his boat and continued standing. From the corner of his eye he saw his SFA lean further into the wall, making no move to speak or sit down. Finally Gibbs yanked a chair out and pushed him into it.
"Speak." he told him and Tony looked slightly surprised at the demanding tone used.
"About what?" he asked and Gibbs paused in his sanding and gave the younger man a long look. When he didn't get a response Gibbs groaned slightly and dragged another chair up, plopping himself into it and glaring.
"About what?" he repeated slowly "I didn't think I had to spell it all out for you DiNozzo. Should we start with the terrorist cousin? Or perhaps the fact you were targeted by a terrorist group? Or maybe we should just skip to the grand finale and get to the abuse." Tony gave him a startled look and Gibbs instantly cursed his lack of tact. He never did know how to handle these conversations. He was just so frustrated and slightly overwhelmed by the whole thing- the fact that Tony had not talked to him about it made him a little upset.
"I'm fine." Tony told him, his face completely closed off and Gibbs felt the need to bang his head against something.
"DiNozzo, if that is the truth than we have a serious problem." he told him and immediately the closed off face disappeared into a mask of something that was almost anger.
"What does it matter Gibbs? It isn't your business anyways!" came the clipped reply and the agent began to push himself up before Gibbs grabbed his shoulder and forced him back into the chair.
"You are my business." he said simply, thinking that would be the end of it.
"No. I am my own business."
"Funny thing is...Doesn't work like that. You're on my team. Makes you my agent. Makes it my business."
"What the hell Gibbs?" Tony hissed, his face slowly getting redder by the word. "You don't own me!" Gibbs raised an eyebrow at the comment and reached forward to grasp Tony's wrist, forcing him back down after the third attempt to get up and leave.
"You're my agent." was the only thing he said and then waited for him to speak.
Nothing. Gibbs knew it was part of his agent's defiance. Trying to prove his own little point by refusing to talk. Finally, after several minutes of tense silence, Gibbs clenched his hands and spoke in a flat tone.
"This is an order DiNozzo. Talk." for a moment his eyes flashed up at him with a mixture of anger and slight amusement at the order. Surely, it would have never been foreseen that Leroy Jethro Gibbs would have to actually order Anthony DiNozzo Jr. to talk.
"I don't really want to Boss." Tony replied, his voice cool.
"Then why did you come?"
"I...I just needed...I wanted" he corrected himself, obviously not likeing the fact he could ever need anything. "to just have some company without too many questions. I wasn't in the mood to talk, I just wanted to have someone else there." towards the end of the sentence his face grew slightly heated, as though it was almost a shameful thing to get lonely from time to time. Gibbs sighed and shook his head.
"It isn't healthy to keep these things to yourself. Why didn't you tell me about Mia?"
"This coming from you! That's rich! Why didn't you tell me about Shannon and Kelly?" Ouch. That was a low blow and they both knew it. Gibbs fought the anger that was now rising up his throat and tried to keep his thoughts rational. Tony was in a lot of pain. A blow out like this was to be expected. He couldn't kill the man...Yet...As much as that comment made his blood boil.
Not to mention...They kid had a bit of a point. Not that he would admit it.
"You know now."
"Oh yeah. After you left. After I had to go through hell, thinking you were dead. I had to find out after you got god damn amnesia and abandoned us all."
"I had just relived my family's death!" Gibbs spoke sharply at the accusation.
"Yeah. I get that. The thing is this: If any of would have known, we could have helped you. If we would have known, it wouldn't have made it twice as bad to get over the shock that you left."
"This isn't about me."
There was a pause. Tony's hands were clenched by his sides as he gave the floor a nasty look. His face has turned into a washed out sheet, and his jaw was clenched. Gibbs noticed that during the arguement Tony had managed to snag himself a glass of bourbon, pouring it to the back of his throat at a speed Gibbs wasn't for sure was entirely healthy.
"What the hell do you want me to say?" he finally asked his breathing uneven "It hurt ok? Is that what you want to hear? Mia was my cousin. She was always there-always. When my mom had too much to drink? Mia would take me and watch movies with me in my room. When my Dad decided I would be a good punching bag? She would sit there and wipe the blood away. She was the only constant thing in my life. I needed her more than anything else in the world. So would you like me to sit here and explain to you that hurt to have her stab me in the back like that? To see her pointing a gun at me- after all those times she had said she would never hurt me? Should I sit here and tell you that, yes, it freaking sucks having her lying on a god damn autopsy table after I shot her? Me?" there was a long pause in which Tony took a shaky breath and suddenly grabbed the bottle of bourbon and refilled his glass, taking a quick gulp.
"I killed her. That's the other thing. I killed her. After everything she did for me... After all the times she sat there and took care of me... I killed her." Tony closed his eyes and leaned back taking another long drink from the glass of bourbon, this time his tongue coming a little looser as he began to refill the cup for the third time.
"You want to hear about Daddy dearest? Fine. He hit me. It wasn't like you hear on those sob stories, where the kid was beaten to a bloody pulp and never saw the light of day. He only knocked me unconscious twice. It wasn't a daily thing either. More like every other week. It was never the same either. A punch in the stomach sometimes...Or perhaps I got the belt...Or maybe if I was lucky I would just get backhanded. I never really considered it abuse. That's such a strong term. The worst I can remember it ever being was when he hit me for a little while and ended with by breaking a bottle of whiskey on my head...Had a concussion and twelve stitches. Told everyone that I tried to go bungee jumping off my house and landed into a glass porch table... That version always seemed more fun to tell."
Gibbs sat there, absorbing the words as they came out, getting more and more slurred as Tony chugged down more glasses of alcohol. He only knocked me unconscious twice. That just wasn't right. He only knocked me unconscious twice? Only? That word shouldn't be in that sentence. God, it was sick. Gibbs didn't exactly know what to think. He had always mentally prepared himself for when a day like this would come- for when his agent would finally admit abuse but... He just never imagined it would be like...like this. It was all so twisted and just plain wrong.
Tony reached for his now sixth or maybe seventh glass of bourbon when Gibbs grabbed his wrist. Hauling him up to his feet and letting the younger man fall onto him.
"Hey." Tony objected "Let me go!" he said and weakly attempted to throw Gibbs off, but in his drunken state was unable to. Not that he had much chance sober either.
"Come on DiNozzo." Gibbs said and began to drag him upstairs. He could only imagine how the conversation in the morning would go.
Morning DiNozzo. Nice to see you're awake after I hauled your drunk ass upstairs last night. God, he really sucked at these heart-to-heart chats. Perhaps he should have left Anthony to Abby. She was so much better at this then he was.
"Hey...Boss? Hey..." Tony said, using his free hand to wave in front of Gibbs' face as he was lowered onto the guest bed.
"Can you...Can you...Can you not tell McZiva about this?" Tony yawned and fell back into the bed, still slurring his words "Or Abby or Ducky...Or Vance or Palmer or anybody? Because it is all secret and secret and stuff like that. So we can't really tell anyone. Don't tell McGee or Ziva though. Cause they aren't supposed to know. I have to be happy around them and it is hard to be happy when you are like, not happy and stuff. So we can't tell them. Ok?" the whole speech wasn't very clear, but the point was made.
"I won't say a word DiNozzo." he said and Tony smiled.
"Semper Fi." he yawned and Gibbs froze, a smile touching his face for the first time all night.
"Semper Fi?" he asked and Tony nodded his eyes fluttering as he voiced the Marine's motto.
"Means...Always faithful, right?" Tony asked, his voice slurring more and more together as he fell deeper into the bed "Thanks Gibbs." he finally added before falling asleep for good.
Anthony DiNozzo had a problem. A very serious problem.
He was at Gibbs house. Not really for sure how he got there...or when...or why really. All he knew was that he was hung-over. Like...Really hung-over. In which, that required the one and only DiNozzo Defibrillator.
That was the problem. The man did now own hot sauce! Or lemons! How in the name of Warner Brothers was he supposed to make his hangover remedy without two of the key ingredients? Needless to say it was a very serious problem.
"You're up early." Tony glanced up and saw Gibbs leaning against the doorframe. At second glance Tony saw the clock reading 0500 which was pretty early for a Sunday to say the least.
"Uh..." Tony said unsure how to reply "You wouldn't happen to have any hot sauce would you?" he asked, peeking up from the fridge. His boss snorted and brought out a bottle of Advil and water, stuffing it into his hand.
"That crap can't really work." he said and Tony looked up alarmed.
"Yes it does! It has been passed down-"
"Six generations. I've heard DiNozzo." Gibbs muttered, rolling his eyes and Tony sniffed at the older man's ignorance to hangovers as he studied over the pills.
"Uh...I'll pass on the meds boss. Don't really feel like going loopy again especially after last night...What happened last night?" he asked and Gibbs gave him a glare that told him he better listen.
"Take the pills." he said flatly and as Tony opened his mouth to argue Gibbs snatched the bottle and waved it threateningly at him. "Will I have to force feed these to you?" he asked and Tony grabbed the bottle back, downing the pills before any other comment could be made. "Thought so." Gibbs muttered and grabbed his arm, pulling him to his couch in which he promptly dumped there.
"You remember anything yet?"
"Um...Well...I kind of yelled at you... A lot." Tony admitted anxiously as the fuzzy details began to work their way into focus. "I um...mentioned my Dad and Mia I think... Listen Boss, I'm really sor- OW!" Tony yelped as Gibbs reached forward and slapped the back of his head- mixed with an already pounding head? Not fun.
"Unless it is between friends." Tony countered.
"Don't apologize when you've done nothing wrong." Gibbs stated calmly and sighed at the look Tony gave him.
"Listen...Anthony." he said slowly and Tony bit his lip at the use of his full name. It was a rare thing for anyone aside from Ducky to call him Anthony, and it wasn't something he was still entirely comfortable with. The only time he had heard Gibbs heard it was when he was completely serious about something with him. Other than that it was always DiNozzo or occasionally Tony.
"Don't." he cut him off "I know what you are about to say. And you're wrong." Gibbs raised an eyebrow and said nothing waiting for him to continue. "It all happened a long time ago. The stuff with my father I mean. I can barely remember it. I don't want pity or anything like that. It's over and done with just like it is with Mia. Sure, we were close but it's over now. I get that if I didn't pull the trigger she might have done some serious damage so I can't really hate myself that much. It was just a lot to take in...A lot. But I'm fine now and I don't want to be treated any differently." Tony paused as he took another deep breath and looked over at his mentor. To his surprise Gibbs merely relaxed slightly at his words, a small smile playing at his lips as he shook his head.
"I just want you to know that you could and still can talk to me. If not me than there's Duck or Abs. Just try not to bottle it up so much ok?" Tony smiled at the words warily and nodded.
"Ok." he agreed "and...I really am sorry about bringing up Kelly and Shannon. I shouldn't have gone there." Gibbs thought about just ignoring the apology and letting the whole thing drop- but something was still edging on his mind from last night.
"You're still mad about me leaving." he stated- deliberately making sure the younger man met his eyes.
"A bit." Tony admitted "I get why you left. I just hated the way you did it...and the way you came back."
"You didn't want me back?"
"No!" Tony yelped, as though the very idea was horrid to begin with "It was just a bit of a shock. I mean, you just kind of shoved me out of the way. I wasn't expecting you to say anything but...A little fair warning would have been nice." he said and Tony sighed and buried his face into his hands "Those couple months were really difficult." he admitted quietly. Gibbs gave him a questioning look and Tony considered dropping the conversation. As his eyes fell onto the books a few feet away from him however, the agent allowed himself to begin letting the words fall out of his mouth a little faster then intended.
"I mean, it mainly sucked 'cause you were gone. It took forever to get used to that. Then there was the whole thing with me being the team leader... God Gibbs, I swear if you ever leave again I'm just going to quit. I liked leading, don't get me wrong. The thing was Ziva, McGee, and Abby. I felt like they hated me. At first, I just kind of dealt with it, because they were upset. I got it. But after a while, I started hearing every five minutes 'You're not Gibbs. You're not Gibbs' and I thought my head was going to explode. I was so scared that Ziva or McGee weren't going to listen to me out in the field and end up getting hurt. They probably thought I was incompetent or something- I don't know maybe I am...It sucked. It wasn't like they were my friends anymore, no matter how hard I tried. I was suddenly an enemy and no matter how much easier I tried to make it for them it somehow made it worse." Tony took another deep breath and then suddenly glared "Then you came back. I thought that would be the end of it. Done. Gone. Everything normal again. But it wasn't. It got worse. You were treating me like I had just tried to kill you and they just all went along with it. Then Jen died and I got sent away and..." Tony suddenly felt himself drained of energy. The words were out before he had really thought about everything he had just said. Looking up, he saw flickers of emotions in his leader's normally stoic face.
Truth be told Gibbs was horrified. Hearing about everything Tony's family had done to him in the past had really been awful for Gibbs. He hated not being able to protect his team like that...but...hearing about how he hurt him? Normally, if Gibbs did anything hurtful towards Tony it was always looking in the man's best interest, even when he couldn't see it. This though...This was different. He had caused so much pain and it had hurt not only his Senior Field Agent, but his relationship with his team mates. Part of him wondered why Ziva, McGee, and...Did he mention Abby? Why would they do this? Gibbs had noticed some tension between the three of them when he first returned but he always figured it was because of his abrupt and Tony not wanting to hand over his leadership.
That wasn't the case though. Gibbs realized that he had broken rule number 3: Never assume...But had it been wrong of him to assume that his team was capable enough to take care of each other? No, a voice in the back of his head answered for him It was wrong of you to assume that there wouldn't be any problems. Gibbs sighed and rubbed his temples. Why? Just why? The whole thing all seemed too painful and almost surreal. This wasn't supposed to happen.
"Look, none of it was your fault." he said and Gibbs paused for a moment struggling for the right words. He had never been too fond of giving speeches or even talking for that much of the matter, but he had forgotten just how hard it was to find the right words to say.
"I don't know why Ziva and McGee bailed on you. I sure as hell don't understand why Abby would even consider hurting you, even unintentionally. It is my fault probably and I am sorry for that Tony." as he was speaking it occurred to Gibbs just how long the two men had been together. In fact... Tony may have been the person he had known the longest. Excluding Shannon and his father of course. Aside from anyone else...He couldn't really think of anyone he knew longer. Jenny or Franks maybe, but he was away from them so much of the time he didn't really know if that counted. It was then that Gibbs realized that Tony was the one person on this planet he knew better than perhaps anyone else in the world. The thought fell on him like a heap of bricks, making the older man wonder how on Earth he had allowed things to get this out of hand.
"God Tony...I'm so sorry." he finally got out and Tony blinked at not only Gibbs apologizing for the second time, but just the amount of sincerity put into the words.
"It's not ok." Gibbs snapped at him and ran his hands through his hair "It isn't ok that any of this happened. We're supposed to be a team. You're supposed to have been able to tell us about Mia, your Dad...Everything! But you didn't. And that's all because you didn't trust us. It isn't ok that I sat here, when I knew something wasn't right and just let it go...It isn't ok that I left and then just came back and hurt you!" the words came out so fast it was almost barely understandable, Gibbs was really just wanting the conversation to be over at this point.
"You can't blame yourself." Tony finally said "You didn't know what was going to happen. It just did. As for the whole trust thing? I do trust you guys with my life...Just not the personal stuff too much. That is maybe because you don't trust me with yours."
"What? When have I-"
"The Reynosas? Domino? Ringing any bells yet?" Tony sighed and shook his head.
"That wasn't a matter of trust." Gibbs said carefully, not wanting to get into the real reason of why DiNozzo was left out of the loop.
"I wondered." Tony smiled lightly. "Look... I know that between Ziva, Abby, Ducky, Palmer, McGee, you, and I...We kind of make up this little mutant, dysfunctional family kind of thing. You have to remember though...I was a cop long before you guys. Hell, I'm a well-seasoned agent now. Sometimes you might need to back off and just let me do my job... Even if it can be a little dangerous." Gibbs frowned for a moment, trying to decide between feeling unbelievably frustrated or proud.
"I can try." Gibbs shrugged for a moment "But you kind of have to remember the Reynosas already took my first family...Did you really think I would give them a chance with...you guys?" he asked, trying to avoid the word 'family' to describe the team, even if he referred to it like that in his mind. A small smile tugged at his senior agent's lips and he nodded vaguely before leaning back a little more into the couch.
"Alright... Though I think we reached our limit for the year."
"Yeah. On all the feelings and crap. We both know we have out limit. I think we about reached it." he informed him with a completely serious face.
"Huh. I thought I was the only one who put a tab on that kind of stuff."
"Nope. Now we have to wait another five or six months until we can go at it again."
"I can deal with that."
"Good... Can we eat now? Oh, and maybe can we go pick up some hot sauce at the store. Your pills suck."
"You are not making that damn thing in my house."
"It has been proven to work for six generations... Why don't you believe me?"
"Oh I believe you...I just worry you are going to kill yourself with that stuff. I prefer Ziva's Jasmine tea with lime."
"What? That is disgusting!"
"Only for you DiNozzo."
"Gross... Can we at least go get some steak then?" Gibbs snorted and hit Tony upside the head.
Maybe...Just maybe, things might be able to work themselves out after all.
Everything was silent. Tony inhaled slowly, allowing the cool air to run into his lungs as he walked across the dew kissed grass. His hand was clutching a piece of paper tightly as he continued he journey across the cemetery eyes locked on two gravestones in the distance.
Tony honestly wasn't for sure what to think when he found out his cousin had asked to be buried next to his mother. He considered not honoring the request, hell, she was the reason his mother had a grave at all. The letter Tony was currently holding though, made him reconsider.
If you are reading this…Then I guess I'm dead. Weird huh? Reading a dead person's words? I never really thought about it until now…
I'm sitting here in Italy right now as I write this. I've just been given my most recent mission of getting a flash drive from you and to be honest, I don't really know if I'm going to come back alive.
If you are reading this, then chances are you know everything. You know that I came back to get the flash drive from you and the reason I volunteered for this mission was to protect you.
I'm sorry. God, I'm sorry. I never meant to put you any amount of pain. I never wanted to hurt you. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I'm so sorry. I don't know if you could ever forgive me for the things I've done…and I have done awful things. I've stolen, cheated, lied, and killed innocent people- innocent people that had something more to live for like your mom. I took away most of your childhood by allowing her to be killed- not that you had much of one before anyway.
I really just want you to know that despite everything I've done… I love you. You are my baby cousin and I've looked after you for a long time. You mean a lot to me Tony and despite everything you went through, you are still a good person with a heart of gold. You're smart, funny, handsome, and almost everything good. I'm proud to be related to you. I'm proud of you.
So now I have to go catch my plane to America and it is time to bring this letter to a close. To sum it up, if you are reading this, know that everything I just wrote is true and I'm sorry it had to be this way.
Also, for my final request… I know I don't deserve it but…Could you make sure I'm buried next to Aunt Robyn? I understand if you don't want to but…It would mean the world to me if you did.
Lots of Love,
Tony closed his eyes, kneeling towards the gravestones, allowing his fingers to fun over the cold, grey stone.
The funeral had been small and short. Barely consisting of a few people. Never the less, Tony was sure Mia would have been happy for it either way. He had agreed to her request and was now sitting across from his mother and cousin's identical graves.
Robyn Ellen DiNozzo
Loving Mother and Husband
"If there's one thing I've learned over the eons, it's that you can't give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it."
Next to it...
Mia Gema DiNozzo
Loving Daughter, Cousin, and Friend
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."
With a sigh Tony ran his hand over the stone before putting the letter down on his cousin's grave.
"Well Mia…I'm here. I read your letter again. Just so you know... I forgive you." He paused before turning slightly and looking at the other grave. "Sorry about that Mom…I still forgive her though…I miss you." He added quietly and sighed, listening to the wind howling loudly.
He had been through a lot of crap in his life. Tony knew that much. His childhood wasn't normal and neither was his family. He'd lost a lot and many people wouldn't recover from that much pain...But he did. And it was something that he was proud of too. That he went through hell and came back. That he not only came back, but he made it back genially happy. With a family- even if they were a little screwed up. He made it back as a good person. He hadn't lost himself along the way and Anthony DiNozzo was damn proud of that. True, it wasn't over yet. He still had a hell of a long way to go but... It could only get better from this point.
And he sure had something worth living for.
So...What did you think? Any good? lol Well that is it for now folks...Hope you enjoyed my first story here. Don't forget to review and all that jazz- Hopefully I'll be back with a new story too- though first I want to add a couple more chapter to my one-shot "Emotions" first. Thanks for reading!