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Looks can be deceiving

by: Haruka89 (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 3986
Rating: TEEN
Warning(s): Character Death
Character(s): Tony DiNozzo, Ari Haswari
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Challenge, Romance
Pairing(s): Tony/Ari
Summary: Tony doesn't do relationships, right?

Author Notes: That the first story that was purely inspired by one of the prompts. It's also the first story I finished in English, if you don't count the time it took to get betaed, even if it's the third I started. And the pairing shouldn't scare you away, I myself am a Gibbs/Tony shipper and I managed to write this, so... Additionally I would like to say that this story had its own mind like always and didn't quite turn out like I'd intended. For example the last part wasn't planned in the beginning but I think the story's good as it is.
Written for the slash_100 challenge on LJ.

Chapters: 1

Beta: Kris
Prompt: #80 Redemption
Word Count: 3.807
Warning: Slash, a little angst
Spoiler: mainly the episodes with Ari Haswari, nothing else really
Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.


I met him for the first time when I was a college freshman for about a month. I had just managed to flee the influence of my father and was in the process of building a life of my own, but I had problems adapting to college life. Of course I made some friends, but they were few.

My family spent the first ten years of my life with moving from city to city, so I learned not to get too close to people; it had hurt too much the first few times.

And then I saw him in this club. He sat alone at his table surrounded by clusters of people, which only furthered the impression of loneliness I got when I looked into his eyes. But by the time I had worked up the courage to go to him he had already left. It took me another two weeks before I finally approached him.

~*~*~

The conditions were ideal. His table was the only one with free seats in his vicinity, which gave me the opportunity to talk to him.

"Is this seat taken?" I asked as I stepped up to his table. He seemed surprised to be spoken to, but responded nonetheless: "Now it is." I don't think he knew what his smile did to me.

"I'm Tony", I introduced myself after a few moments of silence.

"Ari."

"Sounds eastern." I really wanted to get to know him. At that time I didn't know why and even today I'm not quite sure why I felt I had to. I only know that something called to me, whatever it was. My comment just caused him to raise his left eyebrow.

"Oh, uh, a girl in my class in primary school had a family member with the same name, her family came from Israel I believe", I answered his unvoiced question, which earned me another smile.

~*~*~

We didn't talk much after that, but in the months to come we learned much about each other. We talked about our pasts, our families, our lives. I told him that I ran from my father's control, he told me he had ‘to take a vacation' from his own father. I think this was a new experience for both of us, to trust someone that fast. Only later did I know that he left a great deal out of his accounts.

After becoming friends so quickly, we became lovers even faster. It was rather funny: the only reason we eventually ended up in my bed together was alcohol; my relationship to him was probably the only good thing in my life that came out of alcohol, considering I wouldn't have acted upon my feelings while sober.

After only a month of knowing him I already had been convinced that what I felt for him was love, even though it was the first time I had felt something like this. Around the time we came together I had fallen so deep, that I couldn't have stopped loving him if I'd wanted to; just seeing him brightened my day and being close to him always made me deliriously happy.

Ari had so easily found his way into my heart; not even half a year after I met him I couldn't imagine life without him, as if without him a part of me would be missing. Which made it all the more painful when he suddenly vanished.

We hadn't seen each other the whole day and the week before we'd had no time for ourselves, because we both didn't have the time, but we had planned to spend the whole evening and night together, so it was very disturbing to come home to an empty apartment.

When he also didn't appear the next day, I began to worry. Then I noticed that his most important belongings were missing with him.

I was devastated. Everything in our relationship seemed to be so perfect. Of course we had a few fights, but nothing too serious, and nothing in the recent past. There was nothing to explain why he just disappeared without leaving at least a message. During the following weeks I threw myself into my studies to drown the pain. When that didn't work I tried to forget with the help of sex, no matter the gender, just sex.

Finally I settled on running. That seemed to be the only way to forget the pain he had caused. I ran miles on end, often until my legs just collapsed under me, without caring for what happened around me, only focusing on making one step after another.

My social life, which had increased with Ari's presence, suffered greatly. I didn't hang out with my friends anymore and in general did nothing that involved other people unless it couldn't be avoided; I was almost constantly depressed and therefore never in the mood to deal with people. No one seemed to know or understand just what was behind my change in behaviour.

It was almost nine weeks after his disappearance that I received a message from him, apologizing for leaving, telling me he hadn't wanted to, telling me to meet him during Spring Break in Miami. He didn't write any specifics - actually he wrote barely enough for me to figure out what he wanted to tell me - so apart from me no one would really know who wrote the letter or what it said exactly, given the unlikely case someone other than me did read it.

I didn't know what to think about it, but I knew instantly that I would go to meet him. The whole time after he left I asked myself why he did it, if I wasn't enough, if it was my fault, if I did something to drive him away. I wanted at least an explanation, even if this was all I got out of this meeting.

~*~*~

When it was finally time I waited for him to find me. My frat brothers and I had planned this trip since the start of term and Ari had known about it. He would know where to look for me, so I tried to enjoy myself for the time being.

After three days in Miami - I was already starting to lose hope - I was pulled into a dark alley on my way back to the hotel. My first instinct was to fight back, until a moment later I recognised the arms surrounding me and the body I was pressed against and I relaxed into Ari's embrace relishing in his strongly missed presence.

When a few minutes had passed and neither of us had said anything, I finally moved to speak. But before I could make any noise he clasped one of his hands over my mouth and whispered into my ear to stay silent, to only wait a little more till we would be at a safe place to talk.

At that time I found his behaviour odd and didn't understand why Ari was so secretive, but my trust in him hadn't wavered despite his disappearing act. So I obeyed and stayed silent.

I thought him paranoid when we strolled through the city seemingly without a destination in search of a place he would call ‘safe'. Eventually we arrived at a club which was practically overflowing with young people partying. We found seats on the gallery inside from where Ari could overlook everything.

"How are you?" he asked me finally, smiling his smile that I love so much and it hurt me to see him acting as if he hadn't been gone for months.

"Don't, Ari, please don't. Just tell me why you left." And he must've seen the pain in my eyes, because his expression softened and he looked remorseful.

"What I now tell you must not be repeated, I shouldn't even tell you; it can get both of us killed. And please don't interrupt me. It wasn't my choice. You remember what I told you about my parents? Well, what I didn't tell you is that my father is with the Mossad and planned my whole life for me to join them, too." He took a look around to make sure no one was paying us any attention.

"His plans for me didn't match my own plans, so after I was finished with my education I fled and ended up in the USA. Of course I knew he would find me and force me back, but the few months of freedom I earned were worth it. You made them worth it."

He sighed. "He found me the week before I left and originally he wanted me to come with him immediately. We yelled at each other for at least an hour, before he agreed to give me a week; I used the time to make my later return easier. I couldn't tell you, because we were being observed, they wouldn't have let us have a moment to talk safely. All, I could do, was obey, not endanger you and ensure that I could come back to you", Ari explained, taking my hands in his.

"You know, from everyone else I would just think they have a very vivid imagination, but from you this story actually sounds believable. But that doesn't change how much you hurt me. It'll take time before I can trust you again like before", I told him after I processed his words. It was true; I always could see the truth in his eyes, and what he felt, so I knew he wasn't lying. He didn't comment my words, just looked at me with understanding in his eyes.

I sighed. "What happens now?"

"That depends on you."

"How?"

"I'm on vacation, so to speak, and you're hopefully the only one who knows I'm here. I have three days before I need to leave which means you have three days to decide." Ari took a deep breath, apparently now came the difficult part. "My father wants me to work undercover with whatever terrorists piss him off the most at the moment; my parentage is ideal for that. The possibility of me ending up dead is big and you could be in danger, too, if someone was to know about us." I would be lying, if I said I wasn't shocked, but it was the idea of him dying that was terrifying me: losing him once nearly shattered me, the second time would shatter me.

"Tony, you will have to decide now what happens with us. If you want to continue this relationship, you have to understand that it won't be easy. There will be times, when you won't know how I am or if I'm even alive. I'll try to be with you as often as possible, but it won't be as often as we both would like. This will be strenuous for us both and if you think you won't be able to bear it we should end it before it hurts even more. If you want us to break up I'll leave and you'll probably never see me again. You have to be sure!" he explained.

"You can't just leave them, can you?" I asked, already knowing the answer, but having to ask anyway. He shook his head.

"What if I move while you're away?"

"I'll find you." I needed think.

"Can I go home now?" I wanted to know tiredly.

"Of course, but I want you to know one more thing. If you choose to continue our relationship I won't expect you to be exclusive. What you do with this is your decision and I won't think any less of you either way." He raised his hand to my cheek and stroked it softly. "I know how much these last months have cost you and the time we can't be together will probably be similar. I'll feel better when I know that you can handle my prolonged absence with whatever will help; as long as you won't loose yourself."

Years later Ari told me that the only reason, he survived the hell his father made for him, was the knowledge, that he had something to come back to; the forced separation every time was as bad for him as for me. Around the same time he told me that, he confessed for the first time his feelings for me, that he loved me.

~*~*~

That night he brought me back to the hotel. Again he was very careful, made sure that nobody was following us, but now I knew that he had every reason to be this cautious.

During the next two days Ari left me alone to think. It was no easy decision. This relationship would bring so much heartache, I knew this, but a life totally without him wasn't really an option either – after all, who could live without the other part of his soul?

What I felt for Ari I'd never felt before for someone and the probability of it happening again with someone different was very small. I would never get around to not asking myself again and again if this relationship actually could have worked. I needed to at least try.

So after two days I contacted him the way he told me to; two hours later I received a note that told me to go back to the club. There I waited a few minutes until I saw him in an alley on the other side of the street; I made sure no one was looking at me and went to him.

I didn't wait for him to say anything; instead I grabbed his arm and pulled him deeper into the alley 'til I was certain that we were sufficiently hidden by the shadows. Then I kissed him, thoroughly, with everything I had. He understood at once what I wanted to tell him and responded with the same enthusiasm.

After a few minutes Ari broke the kiss leaving both of us breathless. But I didn't want to lose contact again so soon; I wound my arms around his waist and buried my face in his neck.

He nuzzled my hair before murmuring: "We should go somewhere more private." I agreed and half an hour later we reached the hotel in which he had stayed. Once we were in his room I got straight to the point.

"I agree to continue our relationship under one condition. At least every two or three months you will send me a note, stating you are alive! I can't go through that again!" At that moment I didn't care that I sounded desperate.

"I'll try."

"Good enough for me." For some time no one said anything

"With this out of the way I think we have much catching up to do!" I finally remarked with a wicked grin. At that moment he looked very much like the cat who was about to eat the canary.

It took more than a whole day for me to return to my own hotel again.

~*~*~

The first few years were the worst. I never knew when, or even if, I would see Ari again and after roughly one and a half months I usually was nearing a breakdown. Around this time I always threw myself into work - I studied more, worked more shifts and trained more - and when it was really bad I went clubbing almost every night.

In hindsight it probably had a good influence on my life. To distract me I took more classes than I had to for my degree and these classes later determined my going into police work. Ari's own fight for peace had already inspired me to do something myself to make this world into a better place, when he came for a visit after his first assignment, but were I ended up eventually was decided by my injury and what classes I had taken.

With time I gradually got used to not seeing him for a long time and I learned to cherish the time I had with him. Whenever he had time to spare he would drop by even for just a night and with every visit he taught me a little bit about his job; how to blend in with the crowd and to shake off pursuers. How to observe people without them noticing, to at least understand other languages if not to properly use them and even to fight with and without weapons.

It was often just basics, for more was only rarely the time, but overall it was enough. When I asked why he taught me all this, Ari told me he wanted me to be prepared in case somebody was able to tie me to him. He wanted me to have an edge that no one would know of.

Sadly there was one thing that worried me more and more as time went on. Year after year Ari grew more bitter and more resigned, attributes that didn't apply to him when we first met. Around the time of 9/11 it became even worse, I had more and more trouble cheering him up and distracting him. I even thought that he sometimes showed somewhat suicidal tendencies and I knew I would be unable to do anything about it. It was his job and as much as he might hate it, he wouldn't just give it up, even if he could; what he did was too important to him.

With my job at NCIS I had more intel on what happened in secret behind the scenes and I began to understand his feelings about the international situation; how horrible it must be for him, seeing it all first-hand.

I always feared that Ari would finally end up on our most wanted list and when it eventually happened I began for the first time to be scared for our future. I knew that our time together would be cut short. He seemed to feel that as well, because his visits were more frequent which was a huge risk for both of us.

Shortly before he shot Kate and thus started the events that led to his own death he spent a whole two weeks with me, for which he had to completely drop off everyone's radar. I instantly knew that this would most likely be the last time we would meet like that.

As we learned that Ari was to kill Gibbs I realized that this would be it, that Ari would die during the next few days and that I could possibly be witness to this; something I wouldn't have imagined when we started our relationship. With killing Kate he almost brought me to hate him, but in the end it would have hurt even more than just losing him to a war that some people didn't even know was being fought.

I not only had to bury one of my best friends, but my lover as well. I took the last week of my medical leave after Kate's funeral to properly say goodbye to him which was one of the best ideas I've had in my life, because one day after the funeral I received one final message from him explaining this whole disaster and apologizing for what he did. I had the worst breakdown of my life; I cried, I screamed, I raged. I thought I would die of grief.

In the end I buried my feelings deep inside, which I knew was nothing good, but I had a job to do and the time I would need to cope with his death wasn't available; what I told Paula was true, I just didn't think about it.

Of course Ziva David's presence didn't help matters; she had too many similarities with her half-brother (for a long time she didn't guess that I was aware of her relationship to Ari) and her talking Hebrew never failed to remind me of my lessons with him.

I never told anyone voluntarily, and only a few guessed, what really happened between us – I really have no clue how Paula of all people came to this conclusion - and I never again found someone for whom I had feelings as strong as those I had for Ari.

~*~*~

Tony,

When you read this my plan worked and I died not long ago. I realize that you already will guess my motives for what I did, but I think I owe you an apology and a proper explanation anyway. During the last years I repeatedly caught myself taking on their way of thinking even after I'd left. It became harder to shed my terrorist persona when I was away from them again and I only became truly myself while I was with you. My father pressured me more and more and only contributed to my change.

It finally became bad enough that I questioned my relationship with you one time; I was horrified, my job should have no influence on my life with you. By then I knew that I had to end it soon, if I didn't want to become that which I fight, and I had to do it before it destroyed us; neither of us could have endured that.

When I learned what my next assignment was to be I knew that this would be my chance to finish this. Gibbs is one of the few people I knew would to be able to kill me.

The decision of who I would kill was one of the hardest of my life, because I knew it would hurt you, no matter who of your team would die. I eventually settled on either McGee or Kate; Gibbs had to be the one to hunt me and he could hold you all together, Abby's death would have devastated you even more and Ducky is almost impossible to get to. You weren't even an option.

I'm so sorry I had to hurt you so much, but it was the only way to finish my job. Be assured, whether Kate or McGee, they didn't die for nothing; I will have the information I will have been able to gather up to this point delivered to where they are the most useful.

One last thing before I say goodbye. Never doubt that I loved you with all that I am! You were the best thing that happened to me all my life and my love for you was never tarnished. Before I met you I wasn't sure I was able to love someone like I did you, but you showed me that I was capable of these emotions and for that I'll be forever grateful. You were the one thing that kept me sane through my life in hell and I hope you'll be able to eventually forgive me the crimes I committed, even if god doesn't.

Forever yours

Ari

Chapters: 1

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