Title: Of a Broken Home
Word Count: 1951
Warnings: It's slash, but you won't see that here
Disclaimer: They're not mine, pretty as I find them. Go to the producers if you want to talk money.
Summary: AU but following canon events: For Gibbs, it was over once he'd said 'Semper Fi' and entered the elevator. What about for those who he left behind?
It was Tony who broke the silence that filled the bullpen after the elevator doors closed behind Gibbs and Ducky.
“He doesn't remember,” he said softly, but the words still rang clearly through the room. He finally pulled his eyes from the doors, long closed, and looked down at the gun and badge in his hands. Over five years of loyal service and all he gets are a gun, a badge, and a 'you'll do'? There was no way Gibbs remembered more than that he was Senior Field Agent.
“He remembers,” Jen said firmly, looking sad and diminished standing on the landing of the stairs, leaning heavily against the railing. “He knew what happened on that boat, what would happen on the Cape Fear.”
“No,” Tony corrected her. “There is a difference between remembering a few events and really remembering his life, his friends.” No alpha would walk away from his pack if he remembered, but Tony couldn't say that aloud.
“He remembers me,” Ziva insisted. “He remembered what happened with Ari.” Her voice broke on her brother's name, confirming for Tony just what had happened that night nine months ago. Tony had seen the crime scene report, considered the angles and the photos. Gibbs hadn't killed that bastard, Ziva had. Her own brother. He still wondered what Ari had been stupid enough to say to so disillusion his own sister. But he'd never ask.
“So he knows why he trusts you,” Tony countered. “That doesn't mean he remembers really getting to know you.”
“Tony's right,” Tim interjected. “He called Tony McGee, and he just wasn't acting like himself. Gibbs in his right mind would never leave like that.” Ah, McGeek. Somehow he understood, though he'd never put it into words. It was a small comfort, but a comfort none the less in a world that had just turned on its head.
“Thank you, Tim,” Tony said gently, sending the man a faint smile. “Don't accept his resignation, Director. Not yet.” He turned to the stairs where Jen still stood, wearily staring down at them all.
“Tony, if he wants to leave ...” she began.
“But he doesn't,” Abby interrupted. “Tony and Tim are right. Gibbs isn't in his right mind. He just got blown up and came out of a coma. He shouldn't be making decisions now. He needs time to sort things out. When he remembers, he'll want to come back.” She turned her pout eyes on Tony. “He'll come back, won't he, Tony?”
Tony melted under her look. She could manipulate the whole team with that look, even Ziva. “He will,” Tony replied firmly. He had to. Tony wasn't ready to accept that he had just lost his boss, his alpha, and his mate in one fell swoop.
“He may not,” Jen insisted again. “He's been through a lot. Bad enough to forget so much, but to have the events of fifteen years ago feel so recent ...” She trailed off when the whole team fixed confused and curious eyes on her. Even Ziva, though Tony thought she also looked like she understood.
“What happened fifteen years ago?” Abby asked hesitantly. She had been slinking across the room slowly for several minutes, but now she was in reach and plastered herself to Tony's side. He slipped a comforting arm around her, his free hand still holding out Gibbs badge and gun.
“His first wife and eight-year-old daughter were killed shortly before the first explosion in Kuwait,” Jen admitted hesitantly.
Abby's jaw dropped, her eyes wide with tears. Tim looked equally flabbergasted as he leaned heavily onto his desk. Ziva only nodded sadly. Tony was frozen, completely numb. How had his mate never told him he'd once had a daughter?
“Is that why we never hear about wife number one?” Abby asked sadly.
“No, that is why he never admits he was married four times,” Ziva said softly. “I found out for my dossier for Ari, but it wasn't easy. The records are fairly well buried.”
“I had to dive into his military records,” Jen admitted. “I was originally looking for someone he knew back then, someone who could talk to him and help him remember.”
“And instead you blew the lid off a secret he's been hiding for the last fifteen years,” Tony said darkly, disapprovingly. He was struggling with anger and self-loathing, but also a sense of invasion on Gibbs' part. Why wasn't he good enough for Gibbs to tell him the truth? Sure, they'd only been mates for nine months, but they'd also worked together for almost five years. And yet, how dare the Director dig through his mate's past without his approval? If he wasn't good enough to know, no way she was.
But that wasn't the most important thing right now. “Abby?” he said, turning and pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “Give him a few days. Please? I'll talk to him once he's had a chance to thing, but if we push now he'll just freeze us out.”
“All right,” Abby said softly, sadly. “But you make him apologize soon.”
“Will do.” He turned to Tim and Ziva and received nods of agreement from them. It would be hard, but he could give the boss some space. In the meantime, he'd follow orders. He'd take care of the team.
“Tony, can I see you upstairs?” Jen asked.
“Be right there, ma'am,” Tony replied. He kept an eye on her progress up the stairs and called Tim over with a look and a jerk of his chin. It took a moment to pry Abby off him, but she went fairly willingly to her fellow geek.
“I'll get her home,” Tim promised. Tony just nodded and turned to Ziva. A jerk of his chin and a nod to the doors had her scampering to gather her things and head out. Only once they were all behind the closed elevator doors did he follow Jen up the stairs in into her office.
“What can I do for you, ma'am?” he asked, closing her office door behind him.
“You shouldn't be giving your team false hope,” Jen said firmly, her confidence back now that she was ensconced behind her desk.
“After the last few days, they could use a little hope,” Tony replied flatly, resisting the urge to throw himself down onto a chair or the couch. He was exhausted and only just starting to realize how much.
Jen sighed. “If you insist. I'll be putting Jethro down as being on leave, but when that runs out there's nothing I can do but file his retirement package.”
“Thank you, ma'am,” Tony said. He was grateful, but she didn't have to sound like she was doing such a grudging favor.
“I hope you realize that Gibbs handing you his badge does not make you team leader,” Jen continued, her tone as scathing as it had been when he tried to confront her about maintaining control of the last case.
Tony looked at her thoughtfully. She'd been playing him then; maybe she was again. “I don't suppose you know how Gibbs got his own team?” he asked playfully, having a feeling about the answer.
Jen actually grinned. “Actually, from what I heard, Mike Franks did almost the same thing Jethro just did.”
Tony tucked that bit of information away for further contemplation. He didn't know Mike Franks, way before his time, but something told him that a bit of research would not go amiss. “Sounds like there's previous examples of this agency doing just that, then,” he said with a slight shrug.
Jen sighed, sounding put upon, but there was still a twinkle in her eyes. “I'll put you down as temporary team leader while Jethro is on leave. After that, we'll reevaluate based on your performance.”
“Thank you, Director,” Tony said honestly. He might have been able to manage to take care of the team even with a new leader, but that would have made them, and him, even crankier. This would just be easier all around. Well, maybe not. He didn't care for the way they grumbled at him for his barking at them. One would think the familiar Gibbs style of leadership would make it easier, smooth rough edges—it felt that way in his mind. But he had a bad feeling it wasn't going to be that easy. They were pack, but they weren't shifters. They might never really understand. Jen certainly wouldn't.
“This isn't going to be easy, Tony,” Jen said seriously. “They've all been through a big shock. They're going to test you.”
“I'm expecting that, ma'am,” Tony replied.
“You know, you don't have to call me ma'am all the time,” Jen offered gently, cajoling.
Tony wasn't quite sure what to make of that, not yet, but he smiled and nodded politely.
“So you're going to talk to Jethro in a few days,” she continued in that same tone, and Tony bit back a feral grin. Ah, she wanted something. “Are you sure you're the best one to talk to him? Maybe I should go. I know that he remembers a good bit of our time together.”
“But not everything,” Tony said certainly. “No more than he remembers everything of his time with the team ...”
“Or you. After all, he did call you McGee,” she said pointedly.
“True,” he conceded, but that was all he intended to concede. He was going to be the one to talk to his mate. “But like you know a few things about Gibbs that aren't known by the general public, so do I. Don't underestimate me. There are reasons I've stuck around NCIS for so long, and he's at the center of a lot of them.”
“I'm not sure what you're implying, Tony,” Jen said, her eyes tightening with a look of disapproval.
“I'm not implying anything, just asking that you let me handle this. I'm Gibbs' second for a reason.” He left the exact meaning of that hanging. If she understood, he'd see it, but she didn't. He wasn't going to explain more. She'd just have to live with it. And she'd better not go pressing his mate. Tony had seen the hint of discomfort in his eyes when Gibbs was around her this evening. That feeling would not encourage the older man to stay.
“All right,” Jen said as if she were making a great concession. “Good luck. For now, go home and get some sleep. It’s been a rough couple of days.”
You have no idea, he wanted to snarl at her, but he resisted. “Thank you, Jenny,” he said instead, taking her at her word on the matter of informality. Thinking about it, that was more proof she didn't know what he was. No alpha would suggest informality with their second. He and Gibbs might be mates, but pack ranking still held true. Gibbs was boss, always was, even in bed. There might be more give and take under certain circumstances, but when push came to shove it would always be Gibbs leading the way.
With a soft sigh, Tony plastered a smile on his face and left. This wasn't the place for those thoughts. He wasn't sure where was really, not now, but this definitely wasn't it. He'd go home, rest, eat, hell,watch a movie, anything that wasn't work. Tomorrow he'd be back bright and early to try and clean up the mess that Gibbs left him. Those were his orders. That was his job.
But for now, he'd curl up on the couch and sleep as a wolf. Having hands to answer late night calls that wouldn't come was the least of his worries.