McGee neurotically pressed the elevator button a hundred times over.
Whoever kept hitting the emergency break was driving him crazy.
He swore and continued the mechanical abuse.
"What are you stressing out about over there Probie?"
"TONY?" Tim spun around to see the senior field agent at his desk working. "What are you doing here? I haven't seen you since Tuesday,"
He walked over to him.
Tony looked a little sheepish, "Took a few days off, no big deal."
"You're kidding. Have you slept at all?" The tech geek noticed dark circles underneath his eyes.
"Pillow. Night Night Tony."
The other agent swiveled in his chair, putting files away, "No then I haven't slept at all."
McGee frowned, "Do you wanna talk about it?"
Silence. Then, "I feel we just did."
The elevator doors finally opened and Tim spun around again, "Oh thank G#d!"
Special Agents Todd and Gibbs stepped out.
They looked pretty serious.
He stopped and stared, trying to figure out what had happened.
"What are you doing just standing there McGee? Get to work." Gibbs ordered as he walked past.
"I..I was just about to take some stuff down to Abby..Boss." Tim stammered.
Kate approached him.
"What was that all about?" He asked her.
"...We were just talking about Agent Dinozzo," she told him.
McGee gave another frown, "Have you talked TO Tony?"
She laughed. (No joke. She actually laughed.)
"You won't get anything from him if you just ASK, McGee."
"Seems to me you're just avoiding the issue."
"Trust me," Kate affirmed. "It's being handled."
"By who? By Gibbs?" Tim's eyebrows raised.
"Believe it or not the man knows what he's doing."
McGee gave it a second before he said, "Alright..."
"What were you going to take down to Abby?"
"Um, some evidence from our John Doe case."
"Lead the way."
McGee gave her a strange look, "Okay.."
They got back in the elevator.
* * * * * * * * * *
"MCGEE!" Abby bowled him over. "How's Tony?"
Got right to the point.
"Umm," Tim wasn't quite sure how to answer tat question.
Kate supplied it for him, "He's feeling a little better."
"That's good! Everyone said he had a nasty case of the flu," she danced around nervously as she said this.
Like she wasn't quite sure if it was true.
McGee suddenly had an idea. "Abby...do you think there's anyway we could act into someone's psych evaluation?"
The goth scientist smiled mischievously, "I don't know McGee...it depends. Whose are we hacking into?"
Kate looked surprised, "Are you sure we can do it without Gibbs finding out?"
"Just leave it to Doctor Abby," her eyes glittered.
* * * * * * * * * *
Tony walked down to Abby's lab to see where everybody had gone.
He heard laughter.
He found Kate, McGee and Abby huddled around one of her computers.
There was some light swearing involved.
"Oh. My. G#D! TONY!" Abby swiveled around in her chair to meet Tony's gaze.
HOW she knew he was there he had no idea.
"I thought you said you were a jock!"
He glanced around nervously, "...I was."
Kate's eyebrows raised, she was smirking. "Oh really? How do you explain this then?"
Tony looked at the photo in question.
His face paled.
Oh no...no no no.
The other NCIS agents laughed.
It was a picture of him in the 9th grade.
Wearing a chained choke collar, black clothing and dark eye make up.
It was Goth Tony.
How the f##k did they get their hands on it?
"No need to swear," Abby tutted.
Had he said that out loud?
Today was NOT his day.
"So Tony...what do have to say for yourself?" The forensic scientist asked.
"It was a passing phase Abby!" He exploded. "Very passing!"
"-So is your job DiNozzo." Gibbs walked in.
"Boss! I was just.." Tony folded at the older man's piercing gaze.
He couldn't finish so, blushing a deep red, he quickly walked out of the lab.
"Boss!" McGee stood up. "There was something I needed to ask you."
"Ask me WHAT McGee?"
The younger agent tried not to stammer, "It's about Tony."
No reply so he continued, "He's...been acting weird. And...I'm concerned about him."
Jethro looked at the computer, "Yeah, I can see that."
"That was...never mind. I just needed to talk to you about...talking to Tony."
"I have it handled McGee," he tried to leave.
Tim spoke up, "DO YOU have it handled?" When his boss whipped around and gave him the famous "Gibbs Glare Version 1" he nearly wet his pants. "I-I mean...Boss?"
"Get it together, McGee," Gibbs whispered.
"Right," to be honest he felt a little green. "Let me talk to him. I think I could provide a little support."
Tim flinched as the ex-marine gave him a once over.
"Stick to computers McGee, it's what you're good at." This time he did leave.
"WOW MCGEE!" Abby cheered. "You totally faced down Gibbs!"
Kate agreed, "You actually grew a pair."
He leaned over, sweating, "I'm gonna throw up."
"Oo! Bucket! Bucket!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * ** *
At the end of the day, when the case was over, McGee juggled his keys heading for the elevator. Tony was still at his desk typing. Everyone else had gone home.
"Hey...Tony..." he tried to think about what to say.
"McGee.." the other agent never looked up.
"You going home or..."
"Give me a second Tim and I'll head out with you."
Wow. TIM. His eyebrows shot up.
Tony logged out of his computer and grabbed his gear.
They walked side by side.
The elevator doors closed.
Neither of them spoke.
McGee reached out and hit the emergency break.
"Tony, there's something I have to get off my chest."
"As long as it's not your shirt Probie."
"Tony," McGee sighed.
"That IS my name, try not to wear it out."
"What happened that day in the gym?" Tim burst out.
The ex-cop exhaled carefully, his green eyes expressive. "Nothing."
McGee looked like he'd been slapped. "NOTHING?' You expect me to believe THAT was 'NOTHING?"
"Your hearing's not as good as you think McNosy."
That made him feel exasperated, "STOP."
"Stop WHAT?" Tony snapped.
He grabbed Tony's wrist as he reached for the switch.
The SFA stared at him, extremely offended. "Let go of my arm...PROBIE."
It was a warning.
Something he usually didn't hear in the man.
McGee still didn't release him.
He saw stars as Tony suddenly slammed him into the elevator wall. He managed to say, "I don't want to fight you Tony."
"Good. It's not a fight if you can't keep up Probie."
Tim struggled as Tony peeled him off the wall so he could slam him into the floor.
McGee snaked a leg around the other agent's before he could and they both went down.
He had trouble breathing.
Tony punched him.
He kneed him in the nuts.
Tony wheezed and elbowed McGee in the sternum.
Who responded by slapping him.
Tony blinked, stunned.
"...Did you just slap me McGee?"
"...Yes...it's a common first line of defense, okay?"
"Maybe for a woman."
"Hey!" Tim let out a puff of air, do to DiNozzo currently being on top of him. "I've known plenty of women who can deliver a mean right hook."
The younger man kicked him in the stomach.
Tony cried out in pain and rolled off.
McGee jumped up and waited for him to stand, who was still red in the face.
"WHAT?!" Tony finally snapped. "WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY MCGEE?!"
He took a daring step forwards, "What happened?"
Tony looked at him in wild disbelief.
"WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?!"
"I DON'T KNOW! MAYBE BECAUSE YOU'RE MY PARTNER!"
"WE AREN'T PARTNERS TIM!"
"YES, WE ARE!"
"FORGET IT!" Tony screamed.
He doesn't know how he did it, but the Probie somehow managed to put him in a headlock.
Tony felt a rise of panic in his throat.
His entire frame trembled.
"Get the f##k off me Pr--" he couldn't breathe.
"You have to calm down Tony."
"Gah! You can--" dots invaded his vision.
He saw flashes of blonde hair. Laughter. A warm smile. Tony went limp.
He saw his mother.
He tried to listen to the memory, "I-I-I l-love yo-ou Tony-y." The sounds he was hearing became more focused, "I LOVE YOU."
Another flash of her hair.
("Tony!" McGee tried)
He saw her die.
He remembered the day it happened.
They watched movies together in her hospital room. TO CATCH A THIEF was the last one she ever saw.
Little Anthony DiNozzo had fallen asleep next to when he was awoken by alarms blaring.
He remembered screaming.
Screaming as the nurses dragged him away and he never saw her again.
He remembered how heartbroken his father was. To the point of driving him over the edge.
Senior held him down, beating him with his belt.
Tony felt the memory. Arms pulled behind him, face in his mattress as
Senior punished him for destroying his white Armani snow jacket.
He HATED Halloween.
Tony's eyes closed as tears tracked down his cheeks.
He dropped to the floor on his knees.
Tim followed, still holding a loose arm around his neck.
The beating he got for that was the most attention he had ever gotten from the man.
Tony crumpled against McGee and cried.
"It's okay Tony...you're okay."
Author's Chapter Notes:
McGee talks to Tony