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It's a three-hour train ride from DC to New York - plenty of time to ruminate over the events of the last two days. He wishes now that he hadn't called that cab; it might've been nice to have Junior drive him to the station, so they could spend a bit more time together. And no, Gibbs, that has nothing to do with your in-my-face pop psychology lesson.
Anthony DiNozzo Sr. is used to being in control of things, but just lately his life has been one disaster after another.
First, there's the money issue – although it seems that may be about to resolve itself, thanks to the open-ended plane ticket nestled in his breast pocket. He can't help feeling a little smug about that. The DiNozzo charm has stood him in good stead over the years, and he's made some valuable friendships. Others, more cynical than he, might simply call them 'alliances', but Anthony knows better. He's been friends with Al since Sayif was just a gangly teenager. You don't have that kind of relationship with mere business associates.
During the good times, Anthony's always tried to lend a hand (strategically, of course) whenever a business acquaintance needed it. You never know when you might need to call in those favors. But Al is a Saudi Prince; what could Anthony possibly do for him? It's completely one-sided, but for whatever reason, it's endured for over ten years. He doesn't bother analyzing it any further, and it wouldn't do him any good anyway. He can't fathom that Prince Omar might actually think of him merely as a pal, without wanting anything from him. The day will come, Anthony's convinced, when the chips will be called in, and he just hopes he's in a position to make good when that time comes. Let it never be said that Anthony DiNozzo Sr. doesn't pay his debts.
He's been down on his luck before, and he's always managed to pull out of it. He sees no reason why this time should be any different. Putting deals together is his forté, and there are deals a-plenty to be made in Monte Carlo. Yes, the money problems are all but a distant memory, as he takes a sip of his scotch and gazes out the window at the snow-covered trees whizzing by.
The thing that's really thrown him for a loop though, are the revelations about his son that have come crashing down on him over the past two days. As the amber liquid hits the back of his throat, Tony's words ring in his ears.
"You've always been disappointed I became a cop." "We never talked." "I needed a closer relationship." Junior has never talked to him this way before. He's never heard these accusations until now. Surely it has to work both ways? But then, the boy was only eight years old when Anthony put up that wall, so that isn't really fair. Kids learn by example, and given that fact, it amazes him that Tony's turned out to be such a fine young man. Just because Senior doesn't like to advertise his failures, doesn't mean he's not acutely aware of them, despite what Gibbs might think.
He was never cut out to be a father. He'd never been any good with kids, and he was the youngest of his family, so he'd never really been exposed to them much. That didn't mean he didn't love his son, or that he wasn't proud of him. Quite the contrary – when Tony was first born, his father had produced photo after photo of the child to anyone who would pay attention. Once the kid could talk, though, he'd suddenly found himself out of his depth.
Oh, he'd tried – and on occasion, succeeded. That fishing trip when they'd actually connected and had a real conversation is a treasured memory. He was just starting to find his footing as a dad, when Elizabeth had died. Suddenly his whole world had come crashing down around him. The business had started going south, demanding more and more of his attention. His son had been confused and inconsolable, and he'd had no idea how to comfort him because he was too busy wallowing in his own grief. Most importantly, he'd been terrified of screwing the kid up. What if he did something wrong? What if he couldn't control his own anger, and disciplined the child too harshly? Would he scar him for life?
Best to leave it to the experts. That had been his rationale. It was the hardest decision he'd ever had to make, although he's certain Tony would never believe that. Sending the boy away had been the only way to ensure he had a proper upbringing. Boarding school would surely give him the structure and nurturing Anthony felt incapable of providing. He'd done it out of love. But it had been the wrong decision, clearly.
The years of neglect have done more damage than he realized. How could Tony come within inches of losing his life, and not send for his father? Or failing that, at the very least tell him about it after the danger had passed? Anthony had already been reeling after learning how Tony really felt about his parenting skills (or lack thereof). Now to learn that he hadn't even wanted his father's love and support when he was facing death...that's something else again. And learning it from Gibbs of all people...well, that had been just plain humiliating and infuriating.
"I get the feeling there's a lot about your life that you don't share." The remark makes his blood boil, even now. Not the words themselves, but what's behind them. Tony hasn't exactly made a secret of the fact that he thinks Gibbs walks on water. That's supposed to be a father's role in his son's life, and it leaves a bitter taste in Anthony's mouth to realize that he's almost lost his boy completely to that arrogant SOB.
His biggest fear is that Tony will push him out of his life completely. Until today he'd had no idea their relationship was on such shaky ground. He wonders whether his parting words will be believed. "I love you" can be such a hollow, meaningless expression – the string of failed marriages he's left behind him is proof enough of that. Was he sincere enough? Will it sink in? Can he redeem himself in his son's eyes?
He downs the last of his scotch, and beckons the steward for another. Grand Central is still over an hour away – plenty of time to drown his sorrows.