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Glory Box

by: Dana Woods (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 001 Word Count: 917
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo
Category(ies): Angst/Drama, Episode Related
Pairing(s): - No Pairing -
Summary: post-Angel of Death. Tony shows up at Gibbs' and tries to sort himself out.

Author Notes: I'm so tired of playing - Portishead's Glory Box

Chapters: 1

Glory Boxy

It happens after Gibbs stops expecting it to, which is why Hollis is with him. For weeks he either avoided ending their evenings late, or told her flat out that he was on call for work.

She hadn't liked it. He hadn't cared. Gibbs thinks that's been the story of his life. And marriages.

"Is that Tony's car?" Hollis asks.

Gibbs has just helped her out of his own car. He's already noticed Tony's and has called and been put on hold by a local cab company. He nods, ends the call, and offers her his keys. "Take my car."

Hollis isn't a fool and the fact that she recognizes Tony's vehicle is proof enough of that. She takes the keys and stares hard at Gibbs. "Did you leave your door unlocked?"

"No." Gibbs isn't a fool either but he is a self-confessed bastard. "Tony has a set of keys."

She dodges his kiss and slams the car door so hard that the entire thing rattles.

*

Inside, every single light on the first floor is lit and Tony is in the living room, slumped on Gibbs' sofa.

"Where the hell have you been, DiNozzo?" Gibbs shouts when he walks in. He slams the front door closed behind him with enough force that the house rattles. He's not blind to the irony, he simply chooses to ignore it.

"You already know," Tony answers. He sounds too flat and broken for Gibbs' peace of mind. "You always know."

Gibbs pauses and then nods slowly. "Yeah. I do."

After his final debriefing with half a dozen different agencies, Tony had gone to ground at his family estate for several weeks. That was troubling to learn, since Tony's relationship with his family was strained at the best of times. But Gibbs understands the need to remind oneself of reality, even if it isn't ideal. Maybe especially.

Tony's laugh is definitely a little bitter and maybe a tad bit grateful. "Boss--"

Gibbs waits but Tony doesn't say anything else, so he turns off some of the lights and strips off his coat. "Drink?"

Tony reaches over the arm of the sofa and produces an empty bottle of bourbon. "All out."

Gibbs lifts his brows and heads for the basement. "You underestimate me, DiNozzo."

Tony's faint voice follows him: "Maybe once, but not anymore."

*

There are bottles of bourbon, whiskey and scotch on Gibbs' coffee table: his hidden basement stash.

Tony's just decided to mix all three together and Gibbs goes over his mental blueprint of the house this morning to reassure himself that the path to the first floor bathroom is clear.

"I thought it would be easier," Tony says. He hasn't actually drunk the concoction yet, he's just staring down at his glass blankly. "I didn't know."

Gibbs leaves his chair and sits next to Tony on the sofa. He grabs the bottle of bourbon and chugs a decent amount before taking a breath. "Everyone thinks they know until they're in it."

Tony tips his head back and turns towards Gibbs. "Even when I started to get a clue, I still didn't realize just how--" He takes a breath that shakes and trembles, but when he speaks again his voice is steady. "It was part time, you know? Most of my life...it was the same as ever. Giving McGee crap, teasing Ziva--" And if he doesn't know about Ziva's feelings for him, Gibbs isn't telling; he's got enough to deal with. "--getting crap from you." He gestures with the hand holding his drink and spills liquor on his wrist. "It was like the rest of it--like Jeanne--was..."

Gibbs nods and watches Tony's eyes squeeze shut. There's not much he can say, except, "Yeah, I know."

Tony does, too, even if he's only now just realizing it. He's spent most of his life playing a role, finding comfort in a layered lie that filled in the crevices and padded a somewhat stark reality.

And, God, Gibbs wants to strangle Jenn for this. There are a lot of reasons he never set DiNozzo on this path, and they all come back to this moment right here: DiNozzo cracked open and made hollow by the loss of a filling lie. But the blame, Gibbs knows, is his alone. The groundwork for this was laid during his brief retirement when DiNozzo was on his own and listening to Jenn's pretty recruitment speeches.

"I'm staying here," Tony says abruptly.

Gibbs nods immediately; the guest room's been ready for weeks. "As long as you want."

Tony's lips curl at the corners. "Want, not need?"

"Yeah."

Tony makes a noise at the back of his throat and frowns at the ceiling. "Someone's feeling guilty."

"That would be a waste of energy," Gibbs says sharply. Tony laughs, low and quick, and more liquor spills onto his wrist. "You gonna drink that or wear it?"

Tony looks from his drink to Gibbs, then lifts it to his mouth and downs it. He smirks at Gibbs, already worn at the edges by the booze and the conversation. "This stuff is going to fuck me up," he confides.

"Probably." Gibbs catches his eye. "That's how it works: you start out feeling fine, you get really fucked up and toss your cookies, and then you recover."

Tony's laugh this time is more genuine, a sound that Gibbs almost recognizes. "And here I thought you couldn't do metaphors, Boss."

Gibbs smiles, relieved. He forgets sometimes how resilient Tony is. "Shut up and drink."

.End

Chapters: 1

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