AN: This is a little different kind of story for me. I really missed Tony and Gibbs’ father/son relationship. That is just not there anymore. Here’s my reason why that may be the case.
Tony didn’t need the attention anymore. That’s not to say he didn’t like it. That’s not to say he hadn’t appreciated it, but things were…different now. He was not the same person he had been a decade ago. And it was funny, he hadn’t really noticed it at first. Tony had not stopped visiting; really it was just that the visits were not nearly as often. And he didn’t seem to stay as long.
Gibbs had been there for Tony when Tony had needed him, no doubt. He had been there in his own quiet way. But their relationship was different now. Better in a lot of ways, but most definitely different. Gibbs would always be there for Tony. Tony knew that. If, for some reason, things changed and somehow things went back to the way they had been years earlier; Gibbs would open his home to him. Gibbs would allow him to take over his spare room again, and he would allow Tony to keep a toothbrush in his downstairs bathroom.
Tony hadn’t really changed a great deal. It was just that people knew things about him that he had not been comfortable opening up about, the most important being, in his mind, Wendy and the Baltimore fire. Tony was not the immature playboy that he allowed people to think him to be. He knew how it looked, to everybody, to date college girls. But he was on a mission to protect his heart. He had been hurt much, much too badly to risk that type of pain again. And he knew that college girls weren’t interested in his heart. They were interested in his looks and his car. And that was fine with him. And when Wendy returned, a kid, a failed marriage and several years later, Tony knew he had been right to not meet Wendy for diner. Tony had proposed and Wendy had ran out on him. He had done one of the most mature things that people did in their lives. He had committed his life to another person. But that other person had not been so very committed.
Baltimore had been a fateful decision. Tony had had no plans of being a hero as he walked down the street that fateful night. He had to save the little boy he had managed to rescue. And he stood in that hot hall, with fire all around him, for the longest seconds of his life, debating what to do. Tony knew the girl was in her bedroom. He knew the way was blocked. And he was almost 100% sure that they would have all lost their lives if he had tried to save her, too. Tony did the only thing he felt he could do. He would save two lives that night, his and the life of a little boy. It broke his heart as the boy screamed and cried for his sister. Tony had tried to explain, but he knew the boy didn’t understand. Tony didn’t really understand. How could anybody be forced to make a decision like that? There was nothing ‘right’ about it. Either way people died. But that night had gone a long way in helping Tony decide what he wanted to do with his life. It had told him he had courage that he didn’t know he possessed. It made him feel like he could do something worthwhile with his life.
Tony had not told Gibbs about Wendy or Baltimore. He had had no reason to, one way or the other. It’s not like he and Gibbs had heartfelt conversations or anything. This was Leroy Jethro Gibbs after all. But Tony had told Gibbs a few personal things, over the years that they had known each other. And it was not like Gibbs was forthcoming either. Tony was not sure anybody would have ever known about Shannon and Kelly if Director Shepard had not ‘spilled the beans.’
Tony though knew he would be forever grateful to Gibbs for being there when the Baltimore gig ran its course. Tony knew Danny Price, his then BPD partner, had gotten caught up in something bad. And maybe in the beginning it had not been bad. Maybe in the beginning Danny had felt he would be strong enough to get out when he needed to, when he wanted to. But Tony just couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t deal with being duped by his friend. He felt like an idiot, he had not seen what was happening right under his nose. It scared him a little to think about what would have happened had he stayed. Would he have gotten caught up in it too?
Tony had needed somebody to trust when he went to NCIS. Gibbs had been a person Tony just knew, instinctively that he could trust. He didn’t have to second guess the Marine’s motives, he didn’t have any. Gibbs had hired him to work for him on his team. All Gibbs wanted out of his was the best he could do. Gibbs had seen the Baltimore cop in action. And he just knew that the Baltimore cop would make an excellent field agent, if given the chance.
Between, Wendy, Danny and his Baltimore career ending, he needed something with no strings attached. He needed there to be nothing else required of him but to do a job, and NCIS fit the bill. Plus, he had the huge distraction of a gothic lab tech and a Scottish long-winded Medical Examiner. It was perfect.
Forensic Scientist Abby Scuito had been a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively. Between her hugs and her innocence, she gave Tony new faith in humanity. It gave him hope. There actually were people out there who had not been jaded by life’s experiences.
Medical Examiner, Dr. Donald Mallard could only be called a unique individual. He’s the combination of a favorite uncle and a wise, old elder. Ducky has a way of looking at people and seeing into that person. He can see past all the…stuff and into the very soul. He has such a great way, with his stories, of drawing people in and also putting them at ease.
All these two wanted in return was friendship. It was something Tony could give, something that he was happy to give. He still wondered, in the back of his mind, if there was something more. But what helped all that was the fact that Gibbs trusted them. He had been working with both Abby and Ducky for a very long time. They knew him well. And they had tried, their best, to warn Tony, just a little about Gibbs and his moods. But nobody could really be prepared for Gibbs when he’s in a mood.
But Tony did have weapons. He knew how to diffuse Gibbs’ anger and Tony knew how to make the man smile. And the fact that Tony had that power, that he had used it and, in fact, had honed it over the years only served to irritate Gibbs more.
Tony had learned the fine art of patience at NCIS. Probably from one of the most outwardly patient person he knew. Gibbs could wait, indefinitely, for something, if it was worth it. Tony had also learned that he was a pretty good teacher and trainer. He had taught Kate, Tim, Ziva, and now was teaching newcomer Ellie Bishop the fine points of the job.
What does all this have to do with Tony’s and Gibbs’ relationship? It was the fact that the relationship had changed, that Tony had become more independent. Probably the most simple reason is that most relationships change. The reason most relationships need to change, the people in them change, either by maturity, sheer passage of time, or life experience. Either the relationship can stand the growth, its strong enough to last. Or, in some cases, the relationship is temporary, and it needed to end. It had ran its course. The reason it was formed no longer exists.
Tony’s relationship with his own father was better. His confidence in himself, his self-esteem was where it should have been all along. Gibbs was probably one of the only people in Tony’s life to actually believe in him. Gibbs was there when Tony needed him, and Tony knew Gibbs would be there for him again, if he ever needed him.