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Moving Forward

by: ksl (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 030 Word Count: 111544
Rating: ADULT
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Alternate Universe
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo
Episode(s): 4-03 Singled Out
Summary: An AU where Tony accepts the position in Rota, Spain when Shepard offered it in season four.

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30

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Tony hated bombs.

Not that anyone in their right mind liked bombs, but he absolutely hated them. It wasn't just the destructive potential or the inherent danger that spawned his antipathy, it was the fact that bombs and their deadly force had been the catalyst in the past two years to some fundamental changes in his life. His nearly been blown up not long after Tony had recovered from he plague, and Kate had died shortly there after. The two were inexorably linked in his mind forever, so while Kate wasn't killed by a bomb, he still thought of her as dying because of one. Gibbs had gotten blown up and lost his memories, robbing Tony of not only his place in Gibbs' life, but ultimately his place on the team. A bomb hadn't actually sent him to Rota, but like with Kate's death, the two were forever linked in his mind.

Tony shook his head. None of that really mattered now. He had a case to work on, whether he liked the details of it or not wasn't really important.

He walked confidently toward his team. He nodded in passing to the local police that he'd been getting to secure the area and keep the lookie lous back while his people started working. He would have preferred to not have the locals anywhere near the crime scene, but he didn't have enough manpower to work the case and secure the area. It was better to work with the Spanish authorities. This way they were a part of the case rather than a hindrance to it. And they preferred to take suggestions, always suggestions never orders, from someone they thought of as being in charge. It still felt a bit odd to Tony to realize that meant him, but he was getting used to it.

"What have we got Miri?"

"One hell of a lot of luck is what we got, Sir," she pointed to the debris field around the playground used predominantly by families of American military personnel living off the base. "No one was hurt when this damn thing went off."

"Small mercies." Tony muttered, grateful they wouldn't have to remove little bodies or parts of little bodies.

"Amen." She grimaced. "If the numb nuts that planted this thing had known what they were doing, this could have been really ugly."

Tony arched an eyebrow. "Misfire or incompetence?"

Mouse shook his head. "We're not sure yet."

He gestured toward an area just to the east of what appeared to be the epicenter of the blast. It was not far from the bleachers that would allow spectators to watch children playing on the ball field. A game had been scheduled for later in the day.

"We found what looks like the timer, and several bits and pieces from the bomb there. I'm guessing, but I'd say the original plan had been for the bomb to detonate sometime during the game. Given that it went off well before then, while the playground was empty, I'd say someone didn't wire it correctly, there was a faulty trigger or the explosives used were more sensitive than our bombers realized and something other than the timer set it off."

Tony pursed his lips. "All right, I'll shoot and sketch. Mouse, you bag and tag. We'll need to get as much of this back to Caleb as quickly as possible. Miri, take one of the local cops with you and canvass the neighborhood. See if anyone saw or heard anything in the last few days that might give some idea of who planted this thing."

"Will do, Sir."

Tony didn't like sending any of his people off on their own. Miri was capable, and she likely wouldn't need back up, but he wanted her to have it just the same. Taking one of the local cops was the best Tony could do on short notice. Miri just nodded, accepting the order without batting an eye. She knew it wasn't a reflection of her abilities.

"Check in every half hour."

"Roger that."

He and Mouse worked the scene, marking and recording, bagging and tagging at a steady pace with little need for conversation. Mouse didn't talk much when working a scene, forcing himself to focus on the task at hand and completing it. Any other time, he could talk someone's ears off, words flying with dizzying speeds complete with hand gestures and pantomime if Mouse felt they were needed to make his point. Tony found he didn't mind the smaller man's silence when in the field. He'd grown accustomed to working with him, and found it easy to stifle any idle chatter that might prove distracting for both of them.

Miri had checked in three times, reporting that few people noticed anything out of the ordinary. So far the only suspicious activity anyone had noticed was a landscaping grew working in the area yesterday. Typically the landscapers who maintain the grounds only show up every two weeks. She was trying to find out who they were and what they were doing in the playground but hadn't made much progress as yet.

"Mouse, take what we've got back to Caleb. I'll do one final walk through to make sure we got everything and then I'll pick up Miri."

"Will do, Sir." Mouse tossed off a crisp salute that Tony had told him repeatedly was unnecessary. Tony wasn't an officer, had never been one and likely never would be. He shot the other man a dirty look and got an unrepentant grin for his trouble.

"Asshole."

"Ah you love me and you know it."

Tony snorted. "Not the word I'd use for it."

Mouse batted his eyelashes playfully. "Bet it means the same thing."

Tony rolled his eyes, smiling in spite of himself. "We are going to have to talk about getting you a decent dictionary. These sorts of misconceptions would be easier to clear up for you."

He waved his hand to toward the car Mouse and Miri had driven to the crime scene. "Go. Back to the office. Have something for me when I get there."

"I'll do my best, Sir."

Tony scanned the area, slowly going over ground they'd already covered and then broadening his search again just in case. He didn't think they'd missed anything, but he wanted to be certain. No one had gotten hurt in this bomb blast, which would likely make who'd ever set the thing eager to try again. The only solid link they had to who made the bomb were the pieces of it. He didn't want to miss anything that might keep whoever did this from succeeding in killing a lot of people the next time.

Tony found himself wishing the case had been just another mugging or a bar fight. Those didn't involve children or genuine fanatics, at least not most of the time.

Tony stopped to speak with the local police. He thanked them for their time and assistance and asked them to continue to secure the area for at least another day. He doubted that they would, and Tony would have to send some Marines from the base to make sure it got done, but being polite never hurt.

And speaking with them whenever necessary gave him a chance to improve his Castilian Spanish. Even after five months in Spain he tended to speak Spanish like a Cuban. Most of the staff who'd worked for his father were Cuban refugees and they were the ones who'd taught him the language. His accent was improving, but he was not as good as he'd like to be. At least no one laughed at his efforts any more. Although, playing the fool and being the butt of a few jokes had been useful establishing a rapport with the locals.

Tony called Miri. "Are you done?"

"Unfortunately, yes."

"Nothing else to go on then?"

"Nada." She sighed heavily. "Things going on in the playground aren't a high priority for most people unless their kids are there. Anything done at night was likely overlooked or ignored. Most of the time, when they are at the playground they are watching out for their kids. So they might be on the lookout for a pedophile, bully, or a skinned knee, but not someone planting a bomb. Other than our landscapers who may or may not be legit nothing stands out. No security cameras either."

Tony didn't have to see her to know Miri was running a hand through her hair in frustration. "Would it be too much to ask for someone to have just seen something, anything at all?"

"Probably." Tony shrugged even though she couldn't see him. "That would make this far too easy."

"I like easy."

Tony smiled. He did too, but it rarely worked out that way.

"I'll be by to pick you up in two."

"I'll be waiting." Miri terminated the call.

Tony had made a point of not hanging up on his people, but waiting for them to cut the connection. It had always seemed so rude when Gibbs just hung up, not giving the other person a chance to finish or any signal at all that the conversation was over.

He drove his car over to where Miri was. She waved good-bye to the officer who'd been with her, smiling brightly at him. The young man's smile was shy. He was blushing too.

"Callahan are you flirting with the locals again?"

"Yep." She grinned. Miri might prefer women, but she still liked men. And she liked to flirt with anyone willing to flirt back.

"He's cute. Kind of like a lost puppy."

Tony smirked. "Just don't let him follow you home, and for god sake don't feed him."

"I know better than that." She chuckled, a low and throaty sound. "I don't want to keep them, I just want play with them awhile."

Some times Miri reminded him a lot of Paula Cassidy. They were both rather open minded with regard to sex, but still had rules and were careful about who they played around with. One of the reasons Miri didn't flirt with Franco, despite his being a decent looking guy and obviously interested in her, was because he was looking for something serious. Miri wasn't interested in being someone's wife. She didn't flirt or play with people who might want or expect more. She said it wasn't fair to them when she couldn't give them what they needed.

"You know, you should really--"

"Don't go there." Tony shot her a hard look, making sure she got the point. Miri thought he needed to relax more. She thought going out and getting laid would be good for him. Her interest in his social life, or lack thereof, was something they argued about on a regular basis.

He'd make the mistake of letting it slip his last relationship had ended badly and that was part of the reason he'd come to Spain. He hadn't mentioned who his relationship was with. Admitting he'd fucked and been fucked over by his boss wasn't something he felt comfortable doing. And he was relieved when Miri hadn't pressed for details. He hadn't wanted to lie to her, but he wasn't sure he could tell her the truth.

Miri didn't see him as heartbroken. A little damaged maybe, battered and bruised, but not broken. Tony wasn't sure what heartbroken should feel like, so he was willing to go with her assessment. Mostly what he felt was stupid for thinking he mattered more to Gibbs than he had, for assuming the sex they'd had was more than just a physical reaction and that there were deeper emotions at play than just lust.

He should have known better. It wasn't like they'd made any sort of declarations or promises to one another. Gibbs had never said 'I love you' and even hinted at establishing something more long term. And for that matter neither had Tony.

Tony had never said 'I love you' to any one. He'd come closest with Gibbs, nearly saying it several times, but had never uttered the words uncertain of how Gibbs might react if he did. Given everything that happened, he was glad he'd kept his mouth shut. It was one less regret he had to deal with.

Miri thought Tony needed to get out more and urged him to get back into dating. Tony wasn't so sure. He'd thought about dating, trying to have a one night stand or two, get back into the game so to speak. Maybe it would get him over Gibbs. But every time he gave it serious thought, he just couldn't do it. He hadn't had sex with another person since Gibbs left for Mexico. His right hand was seeing more action than it had when he was fourteen and discovered the joys of masturbation for the first time. It was depressing when he thought about it, so Tony tried not to think about it.

"Abstinence isn't healthy, no matter what the Catholic Church would have you believe."

"I'm not exactly what anyone would call a good Catholic, Miri."

"You keep going like you are and someone might well mistake you for one." She gave him a pointed look. "You're damn near a monk."

"I am not."

"You don't do anything but work."

"Not true," Tony protested. "I go out."

"Yeah, with us." She pointed a finger at him. "You go rock climbing with me. You surf with Mouse. Movie night is with us and Caleb. And for the record, Caleb is never allowed to pick the movie ever again. Mouse and I both agree on that."

Tony fought down a smile. Caleb had picked a French film that had left them all confused as to what the plot was. It was more fun to just make up the dialog than to actually read it. He still had no clear idea what the film had been about.

"It wasn't that bad."

"Yes, yes it was." Miri grimaced. "Don't change the subject."

"I didn't."

"No you just let me do it." She lightly slapped his arm as a reprimand. Tony didn't mind taking the occasional hit from her. He liked that she expressed herself physically as well as verbally. And really, it wasn't like she hit him hard enough to hurt. Not like Kate used to with her pointy elbows. Or Gibbs did with his head slaps. Miri's were more playful, affectionate than anything else.

"My point is, all your non work stuff is with your team when we can convince you to do it. That's not exactly a social life, DiNozzo, and you know it."

He enjoyed spending time with his teammates. It was nice to be included in their plans. But he didn't always say yes to their invitations, not wanting to wear out his welcome or infringe overly much on them. It seemed like a bad idea to be too familiar with his subordinates.

He didn't try to maintain the same sort of distance Gibbs had with his team, but he was doing his best not to confide as much in them as he had his old team. His old team had repeatedly accused him of over sharing---so Tony was trying not to do as much of that. He was in charge and he needed them to have at least some modicum of respect for him; them knowing too much about him could hinder that. Although, they continued to press the issue, deepening the connection almost on a daily basis whether he liked it or not. And Tony liked it, a lot, not that he'd told them. It seemed too much like a Sally Field and award acceptance speech moment.

Tony didn't think it mattered that he had no friends in Spain outside of his teammates, or that he didn't have many people he regularly communicated with. He traded e-mails with Palmer, and checked up on Lee now and again, and talked to a few buddies he had in other agencies, but that was it.

He'd sent one e-mail to McGee, Ziva and Abby a week after he'd been in Spain, not bothering to send one to Gibbs knowing he wouldn't read it anyway and not knowing what to say to him. None of them had responded. He assumed they were either pissed over the way he'd left or relieved he was gone. Either way he didn't send anything else. There was no point is pouring salt in his own wounds by trying to maintain some sort of friendship they obviously weren't interested in having.

He and his frat buddies hadn't talked to one another regularly even before he'd moved to Spain. Even before Gibbs, none of his girlfriends had lasted more than a few weeks. And once he stopped dating, it wasn't like he was any less social in Spain than he'd been in DC. It really wasn't that much different. Not really.

"It's enough, Miri. You guys are all I need."

Miri smiled warmly at him. "I love that you think so, Sir, but really, you know better."

"What I know is we've got some whack job on the loose who planted a bomb. We need to focus on that."

"I can focus on your dismal social life and the whack job. I multi task well."

"Callahan." Tony's tone and use of her last name made it clear the subject was closed.

"Yeah, okay."

Tony didn't think for a minute the topic had been tabled for good. It would no doubt come up again. But it helped that Miri was willing to let it go when he'd had enough. She didn't harp incessantly. She was just--well--persistent in her effort to make him happy. She was his very own Pollyanna---without the supporting cast and sappy music.

"Mouse and Caleb should have something when we get back."

"Your lips to God's ear." Tony murmured.

"You got a bad feeling about this one?"

"Yeah."

"Me too." Miri sighed. "I hate bombs."

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