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Calmer Seas Ahead
by: taylorgibbs (Send Feedback)
Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 1062
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Character Study, Episode Related
Episode(s): 1-06 High Seas
Summary: After meeting Stan Burley, Tony is feeling very insecure about his new bond with Gibbs. Part of the Julia Knows Best series.
Author Notes: Thanks to Anna for the beta. Written for NavyNcisFF episode challenge.
Calmer Seas Ahead
Tony sat in a coffee shop in Arlington, playing with his cup nervously. He’d asked her to meet him at a neutral place, but what he had to discuss was pretty sensitive for this busy shop. Maybe he could get her to go for a walk or something. Even though the weather was cooling off, it was a brightly sunny day.
“Tony!” Julia swept in and gave him a big hug. He stood, returning her hug warmly, nodding as she broke away and drifted to the counter to get her own coffee.
He and Julia had formed a bond over the past couple of months. They spoke a couple of times a week and planned to go out for dinner sometime soon. She was making “Thanksgiving” sounds. Since her husband and son were at war, she was really lonely and it sounded as if she traditionally made enough food to feed all the troops anyway. He was half convinced he was going to take her up on the offer.
That was until this last week. And Stan Burley. Tony usually enjoyed the cases that took them away from DC. The USS Enterprise was in the Med. It should have been great. But the specter of Stan Burley had reared its smug little head. With all Gibbs and Tony had been through, the hand job, the kiss, the connection Tony was sure he hadn’t missed, it was a slap in the face. His dreams of spending more time with Gibbs had been pushed aside, jealousy crowding forward. While Gibbs only tolerated him, he was affectionate with Burley, proud.
Tony was sure Gibbs and Burley had been involved and he was just the next in some odd line of succession. Burley’s comments that Gibbs must really like him had taken the sting away, but not the suspicion. He almost went to Abby to talk through his jealousy, but instead, his first step was to discuss it with Julia.
If Tony wasn’t mistaken, she was a big fan of him getting together with Gibbs.
“What’s on your mind, Sunshine Boy?” Julia asked, sipping the foam from her drink. “You look glum.”
Tony glanced at the door. “Want to go for a walk. Don’t really want this overheard.”
Julia’s expression turned serious and concerned, but she nodded. “Are you okay, Tony?”
“Not sure,” he admitted. They wandered around the shopping area before finding a library, which was closed. A bench was outside and Tony settled on it, patting the seat beside him.
“I have a question for you, and I think I can trust you to keep this between us. Can I?”
“Of course, Tony. We’ve become friends independent of Jethro.”
“Funny, you knew it was going to be about him.” Tony’s mouth twisted up in a wry smile. “Julia, do you know Stan Burley?”
“Stan?” She frowned, deep in thought. “No…should I? Is he someone Jethro served with?”
Tony couldn’t stop the grin that appeared on his face at that. “No, NCIS agent. Apparently everyone’s golden boy. Worked with Gibbs for like five years or something. Former congressional aide.” He shrugged, a little embarrassed by the speed the words had come out at.
Julia tapped her chin. “I know he worked with a Steve…Steve someone. Seemed to like him okay, I suppose. But he isn’t you, Tony.”
“Steve,” Tony echoed softly. “Same guy. I thought he was…special… You know, special to the boss.” He knew he sounded much younger than his years and winced at the needy sound in his voice.
“No,” Julia turned very serious. “Tony, forgive me if I’m overstepping. Sometimes Jethro needs a boot in the backside.” She paused, taking a long drink of her coffee and Tony waited, keeping quiet, sensing she had something important to tell him.
“My brother in law was deeply in love with Shannon. You wouldn’t have recognized him. He was happy, he teased those girls mercilessly. There was something very little boy about him. When they passed away, the life went out of his eyes. My boys and I tried to pull him out of the depression and so did his wives, but it wasn’t the same. He never regained that spark. Until you.”
“You,” Julia affirmed, squeezing Tony’s arm. “You challenge him in a different way. You drive him crazy sometimes, but you also make him feel more alive than I’ve seen in many years. I don’t know where this relationship between you guys will lead, but I’m all for it.”
“I am, Tony. You make him happy. He smiles around you. He’s happy and proud when he talks about you.”
“And you don’t care that it could get…” Tony trailed off, knowing she could connect the dots.
“No. I want him happy. I don’t care who makes him happy. I hope it is you. I like you, Tony. You’re so much like Jethro when he and Shannon were married. It makes me feel like he may finally realize what he needs isn’t another redhead.”
They fell into a companionable silence, Tony tipping his head up to the bright fall sunlight, absorbing all that Julia had told him.
“Should my ears be burning?”
Tony’s eyes snapped open. “Gibbs! What’re you doing here?”
“Driving by. Saw you two.” A twinkle in his eye made Tony wonder if Julia hadn’t called Gibbs before she’d gone to meet him. “Julia? You want to come over. I’m gonna give DiNozzo a woodworking lesson and maybe later he’ll cook us some authentic Italian food.”
“You are?” Tony knew he was wide eyed and little boy.
“I am,” Gibbs affirmed, a small smile beginning to emerge.
“No, Jethro. I need to get some Thanksgiving packages together for the boys. Tony, I hope you had a good time.” She gave him a wink and a significant look. Tony stood as Julia started to get up and gave her a hug.
“No thanks needed. Just keep doing what you’re doing, Tony.” As she slipped away, Tony turned to Gibbs.
“When do we start?”
“Right now, DiNozzo. Right now.”
As Tony fell into step with Gibbs, he had the sense that calmer seas were ahead.
MTAC - NCIS Fic