: A Hundred MomentsAuthor
: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own NCIS. One other fandom makes one drabble appearance and is listed at the end.Genre
: Gen, Gibbs & Tony -centric, No Pairings, No SlashTimeline
: Pre-Series thru 05x18 Judgment DayWord Count
: 100 x 100 (aka 10,000)Challenge
: ncisdrabble100; Challenge #100 - Hundreds (and every past challenge)Note
: This is 100 drabbles that alternate between Gibbs and Tony's POV (with one slip up) and each drabble has the theme for 'hundreds' in it as well as one of the 99 other drabble prompts from the comm. More notes are at the end.
There were a hundred reasons why he could have told Gibbs that the Secret Service Agent wasn’t worth considering as a new NCIS Agent, but he couldn’t bring himself to say anything. He knew in the long run that anything he said against Kate Todd joining their team would seem childish and petty. He’d had Gibbs to himself since the day Viv was sent packing and he had enjoyed every minute of it. Instead of saying that they made a great team with just the two of them, he quietly watched as his boss brought an unknown into the mix.
He hated Christmas. He actually couldn’t stand any holiday, but Christmas and Father’s Day were the worst. Since the last divorce, he would spend Christmas Eve with the boat and a bottle of bourbon and, with luck, sleep through the next day. So when a package arrived with DiNozzo’s scrawl across it, a hundred ideas about how to get rid of it came to mind before he decided to actually open the damn thing. Once he was holding the box of Honey Dust in his hands, he couldn’t decide if he wanted to laugh or throw it against the wall.
She was dead. He could still feel the hundreds of little droplets of her warm blood splattered across his face. The actual blood was long gone, but the feeling was still there. Nothing was right. Gibbs was not himself; he was being nice. McGee was shaken. Ducky was hardly talking. Everything was wrong and if he closed his eyes for one moment, he could see her body lying on the roof with the blood pooled around her. Then he remembered Abby. He rushed to the lab only to stop short at the sight that greeted him. They were both lost.
Dinner and a movie; or that’s what Abby and DiNozzo had told him when they showed up in the basement with matching expressions that said they wouldn’t take no for an answer. Apparently they thought he was brooding too much over the fiasco in Spain with Blackadder. He still didn’t understand how watching some movie was supposed to fix that, especially one that DiNozzo said he had seen a hundred times. But the fact that it was new to him was all that mattered to the two. He pretended to enjoy it even though he enjoyed seeing them smile more.
“Hey bro!” he said cheerfully into the phone. “No man, not sure I can make it this year,” he said wistfully. “Yeah, the Boss keeps me on a short leash.” He listened for a moment before snorting, “Ha! You’re one to talk. I bet you a hundred dollars that that wife of yours is trying to keep you from going. At least I can go home to get away from him; you’re stuck with her. Hey, I have to go, I’m being glared at. If I can break away I’ll give you a call. Can’t leave my frat brother hanging.”
Chocolate was good for many things, or so he had learned over the course of all his failed marriages. He never really enjoyed it himself, but he knew he could reel others in by giving it to them. He could manipulate them by giving them such a small thing. It was just one thing in his arsenal of the hundreds of ways he had to get people to do what he wanted. Slip Abby some and she would process his evidence first. Slip DiNozzo some and he would stay awake all night and find the clue to solving the case.Have you ever made a mistake, Tony? Could anyone make you feel better?
Gibbs’ words kept ringing through his mind as he tossed around on the uncomfortable bed in Gibbs’ guest room. He wanted to talk to Kate, to reassure her everyone in law enforcement, military or otherwise, made mistakes at one time or another. He had hundreds of his own mistakes that haunted him every day. But he knew she would never listen to him, she wouldn’t take him seriously. Instead he continued to stare at the ceiling knowing all too well the kinds of thoughts Kate was having.
It was his sanctuary. It was the one place he felt safe, secure and at home. The smells comforted him. The sound of the sandpaper eased the tension from a long case. He could stay silent for hours on end and the one he was with never complained. He had built their relationship over hundreds of days spent shaping their future goals. One day, they would set sail on the open waters of the ocean and find the bliss that was a sunset at sea. For now he would settle for the basement and the sound of sandpaper over wood.
It never failed, even if he lived to be a hundred, his old man could return him to a state of childhood panic. He always felt like a failure after getting off the phone with the man. ‘You’re wasting your life. Wouldn’t you be happier working for the family business? Why haven’t you married yet?’ One phone call and his will to do what was right was shot to hell. But this time it was different. This was the first time that he was with Gibbs when the call had come. The slap to the head kept him from panic.
When someone you care about is falsely accused and sitting in a holding cell with no way to help himself, a hundred things cross your mind in an attempt to cheer him up and give him hope. But none of them are right. He found himself shaking his head as he picked up the pizza; pepperoni, sausage and extra cheese, just the way Tony liked it. It wasn’t the best of the hundred or so ideas, but it was the quickest to implement. Plus, he knew Tony wouldn’t think about food while trying to figure out who was behind it.
He couldn’t relate to children. It wasn’t that he disliked being around them; it was more that they made him uneasy. Anytime he saw some kid who was obviously loved by their parents, a kid who had innocence shining in their eyes, a kid that got to run around with their friends and actually be a kid, it made him jealous. For all the hundreds of thousands of dollars he had grown up around, he never had a childhood. He was instructed how to behave, when to talk and when not to be visible. Being around a child was hard.
Valentine’s Day was a joke of a holiday, but he could recall a time when he had been lured in with the rest of the people in love around the country. With his ex-wives, he simply gave them a flower or some piece of jewelry, but with Shannon and Kelly it had been a hundred times different. He went out of his way to show both how much he loved them. He could still remember Shannon’s deep blush when she opened the box with the red negligee and then his own rush of blood as she modeled it for him.
He knew Kate believed he had hundreds of exes scattered through his past. It was true that there were hundreds he had a good night with and not just sex. He loved going out, living his life. But for all of those hundreds, there had only been a scant few that he had a real relationship with and the last one had been at Ohio State. He had been in love with Jess, but it turned out she didn’t love him in return. The day he broke his knee and lost a chance at going pro, he lost her too.
The day Abby Sciuto started at NCIS was the day he decided to add another language to his hundreds of items long list of things to learn. They had a case with a dead wife of a Staff Sergeant and the only witness was the ten-year-old daughter who was deaf. He was sitting in the bullpen trying to find someone who could use sign language when Abby had bounced in the room and introduced herself. He found himself smiling as he watched the unlikely lab technician silently communicate with the frightened girl. “My parents are deaf,” she told him later.525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes, how do you measure, measure a year?
The daylight makes the things he sees on the job less ominous, but they always linger in the back of his mind. As the sun set that night and he continued to comb the surrounding buildings, he tried not to think of Kate lying in autopsy. He preferred working after midnight when he was alone and no one was around. He had learned early that a Gibbs with no coffee was a bad thing. He laughed, he cried, he lived and loved; just another year.
“So what can we do while we wait for them to get the power back up?” he asked as he slumped down on the floor. He was answered with a head slap from above and he mentally marked the moment as the hundredth head slap he had received from Gibbs. “I know!” Abby’s perky voice came from the side. “Truth or Dare!” He stifled a groan when he realized that not even Gibbs could stop Abby when she got an idea in her head. “Boss? Do you have your coffee? I don’t remember seeing it,” he said out of fear.
Hundreds of tiny flakes floated down around him, but he hardly noticed them or the cold that surrounded him. Instead, his concentration was centered on the two headstones capped with white that jutted out from the ground in front of him. He dropped to his knees, ignoring the moisture that soaked through his pants from the melted snow beneath him. He traced his fingers over the name on the first stone before moving to mimic the motion on the second. It was hard for him to visit them, but he made a point of going once a year at Christmas.
For all of his posturing, he never felt pride in himself. He tried not to let it show around people and probably overcompensated greatly for it. He knew it stemmed from his childhood and any of the hundreds of little incidents where his father degraded him and told him he was no good. He knew that he should probably get therapy one day; but if he did, it could cost him his job. Instead he let Gibbs be his pseudo therapist. Every little “Good job DiNozzo” or slap to the head went a long way in healing his wounded soul.
He watched with a hidden smirk as Tony once again pulled a quick one on McGee. As a boss, he was supposed to discourage the kind of antics that his agents (especially DiNozzo) carried out, but he wasn’t that kind of boss. He knew when push came to shove, they would back each other up in the field. He knew that it was like sibling rivalry and helped bring them closer together. He would keep an eye out and if any of the hundred of things Tony did to McGee went too far, he would be there to stop it.
He talked about his past, but not in a way that the others would ever understand. He had hundreds of little stories he could say that never actually meant anything. Unless someone took the time to put all the pieces of those stories together. In the past, no one looked closely enough at him to do it, until he met Leroy Jethro Gibbs, second ‘b’ for bastard. The older man had seen through his carefully concocted stories about his childhood. Gibbs never said a word to him, but he was grateful of the fact that Gibbs was there for him.
One harmless looking letter containing hundreds of particles of dust had left DiNozzo in the state he was now in; so sick, that he was on death’s doorstep. When he arrived in the isolation unit and saw the blue-lit area protected by plastic, he wanted to rush inside and run away at the same time. This wasn’t a criminal he could hunt down and either arrest or kill. He felt helpless knowing that Tony was in there fighting for breath. He vowed that he would make sure Tony beat this Medieval disease. He vowed he would get his agent back.
The last few weeks had shown him a side of his boss that he never knew existed. Some part of him always knew that Gibbs cared for him even if hundreds of things he said or did indicated otherwise. However, since he had beaten death and survived the plague, Gibbs was nothing short of a mother hen. He hadn’t been allowed to go back to his apartment yet because Gibbs was keeping him practically tied to the guestroom bed. Every time he saw the worry shining behind Gibbs’ blue eyes, he was glad that his boss was there for him.
Lies. He could usually see them a hundred miles away, but since that explosion he had been off his game. He hadn’t noticed the change in Tony. He hadn’t noticed the time he spent with Jen. He hadn’t noticed until it was too late to step in and interfere. Even then, he should have said something to Tony; anything would have been better than practically shutting him out. They continued to get the job done, but it seemed bridges had been burned. Then Tony’s car had exploded and he believed he had lost his only chance to fix their friendship.
He loved going undercover. It was a way to forget his own life for just a little bit and pretend to be one of a hundred different personalities he created when he wanted an escape. The time he went on the run with Jeffrey White, he flourished with the rush of pretending to be an escapee. However, when Jeffrey started talking about his childhood and his abuse, he found his persona slipping away and some of his own experiences crawling out when he had worked so hard to forget them. Even though it was hard, he still liked to forget.
He settled into the soft chair beside his bed and turned the lamp on before picking up his reading glasses and the book. He snorted when he saw the author’s name; Thom E. Gemcity wasn’t hiding anything. A hundred pages in, he found himself shaking his head at the storyline about Agents Tibbs, Tommy and McGregor and Officer Lisa and Amy. He did laugh when reading about Pimmy Jalmer and his “fantasies”. When he finally closed the book, he found himself hoping, for McGee’s sake, that the others never learned about this little literary endeavor. The others wouldn’t hold back.
He watched the Olympics for the first time on the small television set up in the kitchen for Marta, the family’s cook. She usually let him sit at the counter and watch while she puttered around fixing meals for the family. He was mesmerized watching the athletes from hundreds of countries all competing for the gold medal. He wanted to get a medal someday. He wanted to have everyone know that he had been the best at whatever he had done. Maybe one day he would have a collection of medals to call his very own. He could always dream.
Franks had told him the head slap to the back of the head was meant to be a wake up call. He had believed him then and after he met Detective Tony DiNozzo, he finally understood why Franks had given him hundreds over the years they worked together. The young detective was good, but he had so much energy it was hard to keep it focused on the task at hand. A well-timed slap went a long way to keeping DiNozzo on task and helping to solve the case. If it bothered Tony, the younger man never said a word.
His sports of choice were basketball and football, but a good game of baseball was never turned down, especially if it was for a good cause. He would never let the others know about the weekends he spent during the summer working with various youth groups for troubled kids. He started what seemed like a hundred years ago back in Columbus and he continued it in every city he moved to. This weekend the sport of choice was baseball and he was working with a young boy who had never held a ball in his hand. Sometimes children were okay.
He would be a liar if he said he had never committed one of the seven deadly sins. He would be a damn liar if he said he had only committed one. The early Christians created the list hundreds of years ago, and it was impossible to expect a human being to avoid committing any of them. His worse offenses likely fell under the wrath category. Every time he had to tell a family that their loved one was dead because of some senseless act of violence, anger settled in his heart. The world they lived in was so harsh.
Politics was a game he learned very early in life. He hadn’t been very good at it when he stood up against his father’s wishes, but he had felt halfway victorious. There were hundreds of moments since that day that he wondered if there had been another way to play it, a way to keep in touch with what was left of his family. Then he had started at NCIS and as timed passed, those thoughtful moments were few and far between. He didn’t need the family he had left behind due to politics when he had a new one.
Father’s Day always hit him hard. Back when Shannon and Kelly had been alive, the day would start with him waking up to a breakfast tray of pancakes and coffee and little note in crayon saying, “I love you Daddy.” The rest of the day would be spent with just the two of them doing hundreds of different things together, while Shannon “disappeared” for the day. No matter what they spent the day doing, it always ended the same, them together in the basement working on the boat. Now that she was gone, he only had memories of those times.
The first time he had been allowed to touch the farting hippo was when Abby let him use it for a pillow. He didn’t understand how the offer of stuffed toy could make him feel a hundred times better than he had in weeks, but now he did. The day that Vance split the team and gave him orders to be an Agent Afloat, he realized that he would be leaving his family, a family that cared enough to give him bits of comfort when he was hurt. He smiled when Abby gave him Bert to take to the Reagan.
He reached up and ran his fingers through his shortly cropped hair. He felt like he had aged a hundred years since he brought Shannon to the hospital seven hours before. His mind kept telling him that it was too early for the baby to be arriving, but he had to hope that the doctors could fix whatever had gone wrong. Finally a nurse arrived and he looked up nervously, unsure what to expect. “Mr. Gibbs? Your wife and daughter are both doing well and I can take you to see them if you are ready.” “A daughter?” he asked.
He could still feel her blood on his face. He knew that it had been wiped away hours ago, but the sticky, warm feel of it still haunted him. He knew without a doubt that it would haunt him the rest of his life. He tried to figure out how everything had gone so wrong, how she had ended up with the bullet in her head. He played a hundred different scenarios in his head where either him or Gibbs did or said something different that changed that one split second. But nothing would bring her back from the dead.
He figured he could have a hundred cups a day and still function like normal. Coffee was like water to him, it gave him life and kept him going. Anyone who worked with him longer than a day learned that to keep him somewhat happy they needed to supply him coffee on a regular basis. Tony was a quick learner in that regard. The first few years, there was never a day that there wasn’t a cup of coffee waiting on his desk when he arrived in the morning. It was always fresh, steaming and made to his exact taste.
Her death was his fault and no one could convince him otherwise. He would carry the guilt with him no matter where he was sent to work. He had known something was not right when Jen had ordered him and Ziva to stay away. He should have followed Ziva’s lead and followed her, but he didn’t. The Director had hurt him a hundred times over with the whole La Grenouille case and he hadn’t wanted to become entangled in any more of her personal vendettas. Even knowing she had been terminally ill didn’t ease the guilt that overwhelmed his thoughts.
Abby and the others had hundreds of songs on the digital music boxes she had purchased for everyone, but he didn’t need any. He only had five songs he listened to and there were on five cassette tapes he had treasured since the day he received them overseas. Each tape had Shannon and Kelly talking to him, telling him about their lives while he was away. At the end, Kelly would sit at the piano and play the latest song she had learned in her lessons. Those songs were the only music he ever wanted to spend time listening to.
When he was a kid, the furniture his mother decorated his room with had prompted his first nightmares. The candelabras and the canopy bed mingling with movies he shouldn’t have seen caused visions of vampires to appear in the middle of the night. He always woke up just before they sank their teeth in. Over the years, the vampires had disappeared, but they were replaced with scenes from hundreds of different random acts of violence he had witnessed. Sometimes, staying up and working on a cold case was better than falling asleep. Closing his eyes only brought about more nightmares.
He never felt the heat of the blast or the sting of the hundreds of pieces of shrapnel that hit his body. The only thing he recalled was a flash of light and seeing Shannon and Kelly. Then he had been trapped in the nightmare of reliving the days he had learned of their death, the days he spent hunting down their killer in the heat of Mexico. He could remember that heat. He remembered the sweat that poured down his face as he tracked the killer and targeted him with the sniper rifle. He wished he hadn’t felt that.
His parents had insisted he learn Italian so they could show him off to their high society friends as their talented multi-lingual son. They hadn’t been pleased when they discovered he learned Spanish, especially that he learned it from the help. Tony loved the times he spent in the kitchen with Marta and how she had first taught him to count to a hundred before teaching him more Spanish. By the time he was twelve, they could carry out a whole conversation without him asking for help. He cherished those moments and thought of them anytime he used his Spanish.
Over the years of working with DiNozzo, he had heard the younger man go on and on about so many different movie titles that he usually tuned most of it out. But he was grateful for that one movie out of the hundreds he had heard the day Tony saved him and the roomful of kids from the bomb. Had he been in Tony’s place, the idea of looping the recording never would have occurred to him. Tony had proven himself that day to everyone around him. He hadn’t needed proof, he had known all along that Tony was good.
As his feet pounded against the pavement it felt like time slowed. Every second that slipped past as he made his way to edge of the pier was a second against the ticking clock for Gibbs and Maddie’s lives. He dove headfirst into the water without a second thought. As he forced his way down to the sunken car, he ignored the hundreds of pinpricks he could feel in his burning lungs. Time was slipping away from him and he had to work fast to save them. When he saw Gibbs’ closed eyes on that second dive, his heart sunk.
He never took vacations, yet he suddenly found himself hiking through the woods with DiNozzo trailing just behind him rambling on about some movie. Abby had somehow convinced him that they both needed the trip after the last case they had worked. The case had dragged on over hundreds of hours and no leads. Tony had gone undercover in the end and it hadn’t gone smoothly. He could tell that the younger agent had almost lost himself in the cover. He had taken it as his job to help DiNozzo find himself again while they camped for the next week.
He usually worked the holidays. He told himself it was to give the guys who had families a chance to spend time with those families. In reality, it was actually to keep himself busy so he wouldn’t think about the fact he didn’t have any family. Over the years he had received offers from hundreds of people to spend various holidays with them, but he always turned the offers down. He didn’t want to see examples in front of him of something he had never had. So that first New Year’s Eve at NCIS, he smiled when Gibbs joined him.
He had told Fornell a hundred times that Diane would leave him and take the house, but the man didn’t listen to him. Granted, had he listened then Emily wouldn’t have come be. In some ways he was jealous of Tobias because the other man got a daughter when he still had deal with the fact he had lost his own. So when Tobias had asked for his help when the escaped convict had threatened Emily, he stayed in DC instead of returning to Mexico. Jealousy wouldn’t stop him from keeping Emily safe when he wasn’t able to save Kelly.
He paced as Gibbs read over the information he had gathered one late night several months before. He wasn’t sure yet how the FBI had managed to connect him to that brief encounter with Dean Winchester, but he wasn’t going to let Gibbs fight on his behalf without knowing the full score. Anyone with eyes could tell that Agent Henricksen was so set on capturing the Winchesters that he would break a hundred regulations to bring them in. Finally Gibbs looked up from the information Tony had compiled and raised an eyebrow. “That’s what I thought too, Boss,” he said.
He could tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wore. He knew that Abby had hundreds of various types in her closet, probably one pair per outfit. They showed her personality and that she wore what made her comfortable despite what others thought. McGee only had one type of shoe, even though he probably had several pairs. They weren’t highly expensive, but they worked to make him look professional. Tony had two styles. The first was expensive and showy and worn when he wasn't feeling confident. Gibbs loved the days he saw the well-worn tennis shoes present.
Tattoos had always intrigued him. The day he met Abby, he was fascinated by her body art. Seeing the hundreds of inky lines that wrapped around her body was like looking into her soul. He had held back a laugh when he learned that McGee had indeed gotten a tattoo, especially on his butt. He had never learned where Kate’s tattoo was located or what it was exactly, but he couldn’t bring himself to find out after she died. His own was embarrassing. Having the letters of your frat on the inside of your thigh was nothing to brag about.
He prided himself on being a man of action. When others froze at the first sign of danger, he was there to pick up the slack. But hearing Tony’s slurred words on the other end of the phone and the sound of the phone and Tony falling to the ground caused him to age a hundred years in a second. He froze with the phone in his hand. He wasn’t there to protect Tony, to save him from whatever had happened at that bar. Then his brain kicked in gear and he said to anyone that was listening, “I’m coming.”
He looked up when Fornell walked into the interrogation room. “So, what’s the FBI got planned next? Booking me for the Kennedy assassination?” Fornell just stayed quiet and Tony began to fidget. “You know I didn’t do it right? Gibbs would kill me if I even thought about doing something like that. There are hundreds of explanations for why it all points to me. Right?” Fornell finally came forward and frowned. “We have to secure you for now. I’m putting you in a holding cell with no one else around. I’m giving Gibbs time to work,” the old man said.
Sometimes it was hard to keep track of DiNozzo and make sure the younger man at something other than a candy bar. He never understood how the kid had stayed alive at all the previous jobs he had. Maybe there was someone like him at each of the other cities that took it upon themselves to make sure the kid stayed healthy enough to function. He grimaced when he looked over and saw Tony taking a bite out of something sugar based for what seemed the hundredth time that day. “DiNozzo!” he barked. “Go get us lunch!” “On it Boss!”
Tony fidgeted with the tie that seemed too tight around his throat. He hated these things. In reality, it was only the fourth one he had been to, but it seemed like the hundredth. Every time he turned around, his father was getting a divorce and marrying some new blond that was younger than the last one. This one was only five years older than him and it made him sick to think that she would be his stepmother. At least school started back in two short weeks and he wouldn’t have to see another marriage go down the tube.
He knew he was being grumpier than usual, but he wasn’t about to calm down until he knew that Tony was back in the DC area. The younger man had been gone for a week on some type of college reunion road trip with a few of his frat brothers. While he was glad that Tony was getting a break from the hundreds of horrible things they saw everyday, but he wanted to know that the man was safe and somewhere he could be reached if needed. He ignored McGee’s wince as he hit the younger man harder than normal.
Gibbs was gone. He was still trying to wrap his mind around that fact a month later when the Director had assigned a new probie to his team. His team
. Never in a hundred years would he have thought about being the team lead and Gibbs not being there to keep him in line. The thought both scared and excited him. He was now directly responsible for the decisions that could mean life or death for those under his command. He was the one who called the shots. He had to be Gibbs. That thought scared him more than anything.
He stood in the doorway and watched the easy way that Abby interacted with Tony and couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealously that she could show Tony how she felt. He never hesitated in showing Abby his affections, he had hundreds of ways to do that. It was easy with her and she knew he thought of her as a daughter. But he could never express himself in the same way to Tony. He knew the head slaps weren’t enough, but they would have to do until he could find the courage to say what he wanted to.Semper Fi
. Before NCIS, that phrase had just been something he had heard in a movie. He never really thought to apply it in his own life until he met Leroy Jethro Gibbs. After that, he learned by example to live that phrase every day. He had seen hundreds of Marines all stand up for their fellow soldier. They supported each other in their darkest hours. So the moment he woke up in the dark, damp sewer with the half-dead missing Marine, he took it on himself to stand up for the man. Even after he learned the whole truth.
He tried not to think of them, but they always found their way into his thoughts. Everyone had regrets and he was no exception. His just tended to be darker than some people ever had to deal with. There were times he wondered if he had never joined the Marines if Shannon and Kelly would still be alive. Hundreds of scenarios played out around that thought, but it never worked out right in head. He couldn’t regret his time in the service because it had lead to his current job. Regretting that would negate the many lives he had saved.
December was just another month to him. As a kid, he had spent the holidays dressed in what his mother ordered (usually the horrid sailor suit) and was paraded around to their friends at lavish parties. Presents were few and far between and generally only came from the “help”. As he grew up, he almost turned bitter as he heard the hundreds of stories his friends told about Christmas and the presents they got each year. He always made it a point to keep busy at Christmas so he didn’t have time to let his mind wander to the past.
He didn’t allow distractions. Distractions could cost him the life of someone he was in charge of protecting. But the fact that someone had made it into his territory and hurt those that were in his protection distracted him. It distracted him in way he hadn’t been since he learned of Shannon and Kelly’s deaths. He pictured killing the unknown man in a hundred different ways as he watched the facial recognition program. But those thoughts never satisfied him. He didn’t realize how far he had slipped until Tony called him on it by throwing Moby Dick
in his face.
The female form always tempted him. It didn’t really matter what the hair color was or the height, he would flirt. Most of his flirting was just that; he never intended to follow through. Gibbs had actually seen it as a tool and would have him talk to female witnesses or other women he wanted information from. Nine times out of ten, he would come through for his boss. The bad thing with temptation was when it bit you in the ass. He had been one hundred percent sure that Voss was a woman, but he had been so wrong.
Trying to remember the hundreds of thousands of things he had forgotten since the explosion had him at a loss. He could clearly remember Shannon’s smile and Kelly’s laughter as if it were yesterday, but he was lost when he tried to think about his current team and how he had met each one. He had left for Mexico for two reasons. The first was the hurt over the powers that be not listening to his Intel. The second was the fact that he didn’t want to see the hurt on his team’s faces when he couldn’t recall their names.
Kate called him an X-rated Peter Pan, but she only thought that because he let her see what he wanted her to see. He had perfected hundreds of different ways to present himself to people over the years. The majority never looked past what he let them see. To his frat brothers, he was a suave rich boy who could have any girl he wanted. To Abby he was a fun loving guy who would pick her up from a party if she called. But he was never able to fool Gibbs. The older man saw past all his masks.
He never thought he would come to Hawaii if it didn’t involve a case. Although, in a way, this meeting was part of a case, it just wasn’t an official NCIS case. He sat in the shaded area of the café and watched the hundreds of tourists pass him by. Then he heard a familiar voice that he had missed hearing every day. “Hey Boss. Enjoying the scenery?” He smiled at the greeting and nudged the other chair out with his foot. “How’s the Reagan treating you?” he asked to cover his emotions over seeing the other man in person.
They had watched his car explode in MTAC. He had almost asked for a copy of the tape out of morbid curiosity, but decided against it when he remember what it had sounded like in the limo during the explosion. He didn’t need to watch his car blow into a hundred pieces when he had felt it down to his bones. It was the second time they had thought they had lost him because of an exploding car, but this one had been much closer than that trap Ari had planted. It scared him that he would have been killed.
Looking over his team as they each slept at their desks, he felt a moment of calm when he should be focused on Ari’s next move. He let them believe they were watching and protecting him when in truth it was the other way around. He would give his life a hundred times over to keep his team safe from harm. He wasn’t sure how things with Ari would go down, but he knew there would be blood in the end. He just hoped that he could keep it confined to himself and Ari, the bastard that threatened his team.
Pitt kept saying that it was impossible. The nurses murmured when they thought he was asleep that it was impossible. Everyone had said it was impossible that he survived the plague. However, they didn’t know why he had done the impossible. His boss had given him and order and he’d damned if he disobeyed that order. He knew that Gibbs would have dragged him back from the afterlife just to kill him had he died in that isolation unit. Each day, he felt a hundred times better than he had when Gibbs had whispered the order for him to live.
He was creating resolutions for himself. Resolutions he would implement the moment he got his team back from the places Vance had scattered them to. He would tell them when they did a good job. He would talk with them outside of the office. He would be there for them when they needed him. He would let them be there for him when he needed them. Getting them back was taking time, but he would give up no matter how many hundreds of hoops Vance forced him to jump through. They would be a team again. He’d never give up.
He’d never held much faith in people before NCIS and there were times he even lost his faith in them. It had hurt more than the bullet burn when he learned Ziva had invited them all to her place. He had been left out intentionally and the others had teased him about it. The teasing from Gibbs and Abby and cut him worse than anything. It felt like his heart was being shredded into hundreds of tiny pieces. He had felt they were closer than a normal team, but evidently he was wrong. It was the story of his life.
He hated being interrupted. He hated being interrupted during an interrogation even more. He wondered if he had been wrong about DiNozzo when the kid walked into the interrogation room without hesitation and flipped a chair around to straddle it as he smiled at the suspect. Gibbs was about to drag him from the room when DiNozzo tossed a plastic bag with a hundred dollar bill inside on the table. The suspect’s face drained of color and they soon had a confession. Once outside the room, he smacked DiNozzo sharply on the back of the head before saying, “Good job.”
He knew that the hundreds of masks he used every day were a way of escaping the reality that was his life. He knew that he should probably talk to someone one day and go into the whole sordid story that was his childhood. Instead, he built more masks and kept them layered one on top of the other so when one was peeled away the others were there to take its place. As long as he got the job done and didn’t get someone killed in the process he figured a little escape was not such a bad thing.
He hated taking detours. He preferred the direct route to get somewhere that he needed to be and nothing else was acceptable. However, sometimes the direct route wasn’t the best way to go. When he hired DiNozzo, he thought the younger man would shape up or he would ship him out. It wasn’t long before he found himself hooked by the man’s charm and innocence. He knew he could never tell Tony directly that he cared for him like a son. Instead, he found hundreds of little detours to get his message across. But it didn’t always work as intended.
The scar on his knee was a reminder that he couldn’t always get what he wanted or dreamed about. In high school he had wanted two things, money and a chance to escape his father. Sports were the way he saw to achieve both goals. He worked hard to make the university team and ensure the hundreds of professional scouts that frequented the games noticed him. One injury in his final season ended it all. The scar from the surgery was still there, a visible reminder of what he lost. But sometimes he felt he had gained so much more.
There was a heart shaped locket that he kept in his bedroom and would pull out once in a while to hold in his hand. Two pictures were contained inside, but he never opened it up to look at them. All he needed to do was close his eyes and he could picture them both in front of him. He longed to reach out and touch them, but he was unable to touch something that wasn’t there. Instead he settle for letting the hundreds of little links in the gold chain run through his fingers as he thought about them.
He worked hard to keep his body in shape. His job was physically demanding when it came to that crucial moment of chasing down a criminal. He ran every morning that he could and sometimes in the evenings too. It always felt good to feel his blood pumping and his heart racing as he kept a steady pace over the quiet streets. Then he caught the plague and his routine had been shot to hell. It was hard to run when he had to struggle for each breath. The hundreds of coughing fits discouraged him to no end. It hurt.
He looked out over the blue waters and sighed. He had been at Mike’s shack overlooking the ocean for a month and he wasn’t any better than the day he arrived. He remembered things, but never enough to keep him satisfied. The more he remembered, the more he also felt torn about leaving. He had been close to his current even if he had never told them that, Abby and Tony especially. He had just left them behind with no explanation. He thought a hundred a hundred times about calling them, but he could never bring himself to do it.
It started out as a job and it morphed into something else entirely. He knew he could get close to a woman and it not mean anything; it’s all he ever did. This time was different. This time he let himself get too close and he lost track of where Tony DiNardo ended and Tony DiNozzo began. He hated lying to her every day he saw her. Hundreds of little things he said that she had taken at face value. Telling her he had been undercover had been the hardest thing he had ever done. He hated himself for it.
There were times it was hard not to pull the trigger and claim it was a justified shooting. Seeing people hurt and kill others on a regular basis tore at his soul. He wanted nothing more than to carry out the justice he thought they deserved for their crimes. There were hundreds of little things he had done in the past to “assist” in justice being achieved, but he couldn’t always do that. It was hard to keep himself restrained, especially when it was his team that suffered. When he found the woman behind that letter, he almost lost it.
Red. The color of blood. He hated that color. Right after Kate’s death, a flash of red would send him back to that rooftop and the blood on his face. It faded over time, but it was there in the background when he least expected it. Then came the day Paula dove through that hidden door. There hadn’t been much left for Ducky, just hundreds of pieces of remains to be catalogued. He hadn’t helped that day. Gibbs had sent him home. Instead, he found himself at Jeanne’s looking for comfort. He didn’t let himself think about her red lips.
Kelly had named his horse Blue. He never understood why, but she had very solemnly looked into the horse’s eye before saying he wanted to be known Blue. He had just gone along with it and enjoyed the time the three of them spent riding along the beach. Kelly had Spitfire, Shannon had Gem and he had Blue. After they were gone, he tried a hundred times to sell the horses but could never bring himself to do it. Instead he loaned them out to the stables for the classes they held, but he never rode Blue without Kelly there.
He never thought he would like a girl in black, but Abby was hard not to like. She was not afraid to be herself and she could make him smile even when he didn’t fell like it. She always knew when he needed a hug and that made him grateful. She went out of her way hundreds of times to show him that he was loved and that she cared for him. So as he had her wrapped in his arms after Kate’s death and the bullet shattered the lab’s only window, he wanted nothing more than to kill Ari.
He never thought he would see the day that Abby would be in white and have blond hair, but she made it look good. He smirked at the way she had DiNozzo and McGee wrapped around her finger without even trying. He couldn’t blame the other two men much, because he wasn’t far behind them. He was thankful that Abby only did that once a year or nothing would get done at NCIS. He would have to spend all his time beating the hundreds of guys off her with a baseball bat; starting with his two drooling agents beside her.
First crushes were supposed to be difficult, but difficult didn’t even begin to describe his. He had been sixteen when his father had married for the fifth time. The new wife had only been nineteen. It was a disaster in the making. His father was always gone on business and he was trapped at the house with his new stepmother for the entire summer. He avoided the pool when he caught a glimpse of her in a bikini. He counted down the days until he was back at school and hundreds of miles away from his father’s pretty blond wife.
He liked to play games with his agents. He loved pitting them against one another in order to see who came out on top. When it had just been him and Tony working together, he didn’t have the chance to do it. But as the team grew, he found hundreds of opportunities. It almost took him too long to catch on that the competition was hurting his best agent. Tony never said a thing, but Gibbs started catching a look in the younger man’s eyes. It was hard to balance and sometimes he slipped, but he kept Tony from leaving.
He realized his hearing was better when he overheard things in his house that he wasn’t supposed to know. He realized his eyesight was better the day read the license plate of the car that cause the wreck that killed his mother. He didn’t know about his sense of smell being better he caught a whiff of that perfume and pegged the other person in the house. Each of his senses helped him be a better agent. However, there were times he wished he could forget any of the hundreds of things he had overheard his father say about him.
He didn’t like to be surprised. His team knew this, so he couldn’t understand how Abby had thought that a surprise birthday party in his house had been a great idea. He settled for slapping Tony on the head because he couldn’t slap Abby. Tony should have known better. He had walked into the house and known something was off. Within a hundredth of a second he had his gun drawn just as the lights came on and they shouted, “Surprise!” Once everyone had calmed down, things went okay. At least Abby promised never to surprise him like that again.
As they walked out of Vance’s office, he knew it was too late to protest or complain. He had two choices; accept the assignment or resign. No matter how much had gone wrong over the past two years, he wasn’t going to resign. He had always run at the first sign of trouble and he wanted to stop that tradition. Time crawled to a stop as he thought about the hundreds of things he needed to arrange before he shipped out. He almost didn’t hear Gibbs talking to him. It took a slap to the head to get him listening.
His hand stung as he pulled it back from Tony’s head, but at least the many was listening to him. “This isn’t over until I say it, DiNozzo,” he growled quietly. “Vance is up to something and I’m not about to sit back and let him win. We’ll play along for now, but we are still a team.” He watched as Tony nodded his head and felt partly satisfied. He started making hundreds of mental notes about what needed to be done to find out Vance’s agenda and get his team back. First he was going to help Tony out.
He had known from the start that he wouldn’t have a future with Jeanne, but somewhere along the way he lost that knowledge. When it had all crashed down around him he was lost, alone and confused. He had loved her, but now he couldn’t tell if it was DiNardo that loved her or DiNozzo. The letter she left him hurt even more. To have her, he couldn’t have his real life. Part of him wanted to just walk away, but then he thought of Gibbs and the others. They were his family a hundred times more than Jeanne was.
Tired didn’t even begin to describe how he felt. It had been a week since Tony had gotten out of the hospital and he spent every night in the chair beside the bed in case Tony had a coughing fit during the night. They were gradually lessening, but each time it sounded as if Tony would stop breathing all together. It was hard to watch the young, athletic man fight for every breath as hundreds of beads of sweat poured down his face. He kept watch over the man and let him know that someone was watching out for him.
It had been hard to walk into the little room where the explosion had been centered. There were still tiny fires around the scattered debris as they rushed around the corner. He could smell the burned flesh that mingled with the other smells and he almost threw up in the hallway. He steeled himself for what they would find in the room. When he saw Gibbs relatively intact and not in a hundred pieces, he almost collapsed with relief. He knew they weren’t out of the woods, but there was hope that Gibbs would recover. That was better than nothing.
The water was like hundreds of ice shards poking him as he watched Tony carry Maddie towards the surface. He tried in vain to free himself from the car, but it seemed it was his time to go. At least he could go knowing that Maddie was safe, knowing Tony would make sure everyone else was taken care. He closed his eyes and welcomed death. He didn’t feel the tug as Tony pulled him free. He didn’t feel anything as Tony pleaded with him not to die. Instead he focused on the vision of Shannon and Kelly standing beside him.
Working for Gibbs was both heaven and hell. He would be the first to admit that the older man had taught him hundreds of things over the years they had worked together. He would also readily tell anyone that the man really was a bastard. Not many could work with him. Viv hadn’t lasted long and Abby told him stories of others that came and went before he had started. Now as he shipped out for the Reagan he felt partly sorry for the ones that would be stuck with Gibbs. They had no idea what they were walking into.
When Tony couldn’t produce an alibi for the FBI, he wished that Tony had said he had been at the house with him. Tony should have known that he would back him in a heartbeat. He knew that Tony wasn’t responsible for the pair of legs that started the whole mess, but everything they found dug Tony’s hole deeper. He’d worked hundreds of cases before where the evidence wasn’t as solid and they had gotten a conviction. If they couldn’t produce the real killer, there would be nothing to save Tony. He couldn’t let things get that far for Tony.
He had never been shot until he received that bullet burn in the storage container. He found it funny that bad guys had shot at him over the years, but his first bullet wound came from someone who was suppose to be on his side. Sometimes it was hard to tell with Ziva whose side she was really on. He had hundreds of theories about her and why she left him out that party, but he couldn’t figure out what was really true. Instead he settled for accepting Abby’s apology when she had shown up at his apartment that night.
Abby called it magic, but he just called it his gut. There were times when he knew things without really knowing why. He had learned to follow that instinct because it was almost a hundred percent accurate. The only times it was off was when it came DiNozzo. He had reluctantly gone to Ziva’s the night she had the dinner party and had been angry with DiNozzo for skipping out. It wasn’t until they were back safely and DiNozzo had left after the teasing that he put two and two together and got five. He’d need magic to fix things.
He loved the electricity between him and Kate. It kept him on his toes and did the same for her. As much as she complained about the hundreds of ways he had to annoy her, he knew she liked having him around. The night she staying in the isolation unit with him said more to him than words ever would. Looking back, he was glad he had those moments, as bad as they had been. He could always remember her as someone willing to risk her own life so that he wouldn’t have to be alone. He had loved her.
He didn’t have a degree like Kate, but he could profile people than she ever could. He found himself doing it without thinking. Ducky appeared to be gentle and caring, but inside he would go to great lengths to protect his friends and family. Abby gave the appearance of a wild girl, but in reality she had a kind heart and wanted to help everyone. McGee was timid on the outside, but he could stand and fight if needed. Tony was the hardest to see. It had taken him years and he was still working to figure the man out.
When he had been twelve, he had met a police officer at school. The officer had been giving a talk about drugs and at the end he had walked up and asked if he could tell him something. The officer had knelt down and listened as he tried to tell about how his father had left him in a hotel room in Hawaii and how his father hit him once in a while when he was drunk. His heart deflated when the officer asked if there was anyone who had witnessed these things. He told him, “No there wasn’t, Officer.”
He hated gossip in any form. It only served to spread rumors that were usually not true. He preferred to hear the truth straight from the source; otherwise he didn’t care. So when Tony didn’t show up to work and Abby came rushing up to and asked if he had heard the news, he bit back a groan. Then Abby had said something that worried him. It seemed Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. had passed away. As he practically flew to Tony’s apartment he thought of hundreds of things to say to the younger man, but nothing sounded right in his head.
Hundreds of people had passed through his life, but only one actually made him feel like he had accomplished something. His father had always called him worthless, but Gibbs taught him otherwise. Gibbs never came out and said anything directly, but he understood the messages Gibbs passed with his actions. From the head slaps to the glares, everything Gibbs did told him he was cared for. He knew deep down that if he ever needed help, he could go to Gibbs and wouldn’t be turned away. Life had given him a shitty father, but getting Gibbs made up for that.
#40 Free Week = #14 Foreign Language
#50 Free Week = #45 Fornell
#58 Free Week = #02 December Holidays
#46 Crossovers = Supernatural (owned by Kripke and The CW) It also connects to my previous NCIS/Supernatural story: Most Wanted