Tony never knew that two words could hurt so much. Not until now, anyway. The look on that face, still not quite healed from the explosion, was enough to make him feel completely broken. He wasn't used to seeing that look. When he'd heard that Gibbs' memories had started to come back, he had dared to hope, dared to think that maybe his lover would remember him, remember them, and he could stop having to be the strong one for once. He had wanted to break down, he had wanted to scream, shout, cry, hit people, and do whatever else people did when they broke down. Tony wouldn't know, he hadn't let himself break down since he was six years old and sitting locked in a closet with only the darkness and the steady drip of his blood as it seeped from the many wounds his father had made for company.
As soon as he'd gotten back from the hospital, he'd been avoiding questions, dodging the people who actually cared about him so much they would ask how he was, how Gibbs was, and staying completely professional at all times. Anything to keep his mind off it, off the fact that the man he loved was in hospital with no idea who he was or what they had together. He'd thrown himself into his work, into finding the guy who planted the bomb in the first place, to the point where McGee had said he was being Gibbs. Tony didn't know whether to feel proud about that, Gibbs was probably the best agent in the whole of NCIS, or annoyed that all he could do was act like Gibbs. He wasn't Gibbs, he never would be Gibbs, but he hoped he could actually be an agent on par with Gibbs if he really tried his hardest.
He had tried not to let it get to him when Jenny had come back from the hospital. Gibbs had remembered the fact that he and Jen had had a fling when they were undercover, but he couldn't remember his partner of two years? Jenny had been apologetic, and Tony had waved her off, ignored her, trying not to think about it. Jethro had spent weeks convincing Tony that he had no romantic interest in Jenny, when she'd first come to NCIS, and this really wasn't reinforcing that. Tony knew he was being stupid, and immature, but he couldn't help himself. He was insecure, he had commitment issues, abandonment issues, and a whole bundle of other problems that he should probably get checked out by a shrink, but they'd never been a problem before until now.
And then Gibbs had remembered Ziva, Ziva of all people, and things had come flooding back, but he still didn't seem to remember anything about Tony that wasn't work related. Was he really that unimportant to Jethro that he could just slip his mind, that his brain didn't see their relationship as something he really should remember. Tony had been all for the idea of bringing Mike Franks to see Gibbs, anything to help him, but he wasn't expecting Mike to take Gibbs off to Mexico.
Therein lies the other problem. Gibbs couldn't go to Mexico, he was Gibbs, he was supposed to be at NCIS with Tony, catching the bad guys with Tony, solving the cases with Tony. He wasn't supposed to be in Mexico without Tony. It wasn't what he did. If Gibbs went to Mexico, there was a large chance that Tony wouldn't see him again, and Tony didn't think he could handle that without breaking down. If Gibbs stayed, he might get his memories back completely, he might remember Tony and their relationship. If he left, he wouldn't see Tony, so he'd have nothing to jog the memories, and he'd be off relaxing in Mexico, while Tony would be back at NCIS, trying desperately not to break down.
Or maybe Gibbs did remember his and Tony's relationship, but he just didn't want to. Maybe he'd been wanting out for a while now, and this was his ticket. It was possible; Tony had been waiting for the day when that amazing man realised he could have just about anyone he wanted and left him. It was inevitable, really. Everyone always left him, he was used to it by now. But he had really thought that maybe, just maybe, Gibbs would be the one person in his life to stay. But as he watched the man who had been such a huge part of his life for two years walk away from him and step into that elevator, he realised just how stupid he'd been.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and flinched, turning. "Tony..." McGee started, but Tony shrugged him off.
"Don't, McGee. Just don't," he said hoarsely. And as Tony walked away, he didn't dare blink in case the tears started to fall, didn't dare breathe in case the sob worked its way up his throat, didn't dare open his mouth in case the scream burst free. And once he was alone, sitting in the interrogation room, surrounded by memories of Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo did something he'd promised himself he would never do again.
He broke down.