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Family First

by: silverfoxfiles (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 003 Word Count: 10014
Rating: TEEN
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Caitlyn (Kate) Todd, Tobias Fornell
Category(ies): Episode Related, Angst/Drama, Established Relationship, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo, Abby/Kate, Gibbs/Fornell
Summary: When Fornell is forced to investigate Tony for The Frog's death, they both stand to lose everything.

Author Notes: Special Thanks: Anna, who inspired and understands our twisted minds. Thanks for the idea and the beta!
Disclaimer: Not ours. If so, they'd always be unclothed and in bed ;)

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3

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Ch 1


Tobias Fornell sat in his car for almost a half hour before gathering the strength to deal with what he’d find behind those doors. He’d violated every rule of his relationship—family first. He could lose everything.

Tobias held the folder securely and walked to the door, turning the knob and finding resistance. This was not good. When any of them were home, the door stayed unlocked. He tried his key but it wouldn’t fit.

Had they changed the locks? This was not good at all. Just as he was preparing to knock, his cell phone rang. “Diane?”

“Tobias. I have Emily with me. She wasn’t feeling well. She’ll be with me through the weekend. Feel free to come over then. That nice assistant of yours brought her home.”

Assistant? He didn’t have an assistant! “Let me say hello, Diane.”

“Daddy?” Emily sounded a little subdued but fine.

“Everything okay, honey? Who brought you to your mom?”

“Superman and Batman, Daddy. Batman was really sad and he hugged me real tight.”

It was all making sense now, and not in a good way. “Okay, honey. I’ll call you later. I’ll tell the superheroes you said hi. We love you, Em.”

If they were talking to him, and that was a big if. They’d changed the locks, sent Emily away. He had to face this but it wasn’t going to be pleasant. He knocked on the door a few times.

“Toby. Wondered when we’d see you. I brought Emily to her mother’s. She doesn’t need to see this.”

He’d expected Jethro to be upset but he was unprepared for the coldness and the sarcastic bite to the other man’s words. “Jethro. Where is he?” Jethro had planted himself in the doorway, but Tobias brushed by him, barely stopping even when Jethro jolted him against the wall.

“What makes you think I’m ever going to let you get near him again, Tobias? After what you pulled today.”

Tobias threw the folder Jethro had been asking about all day on the side table. “Because we’re family, Jethro.”

“Yeah, family first, Toby. How dare you? How dare you put Tony through that? I knew you could be a bastard sometimes, but this beats all.”

“I don’t owe you an explanation, Jethro. I owe one to Tony.”

“Who is packing. He’s leaving, Fornell. Ya happy about that? We’re losing him. Do you hear me? After five years, he’s leaving us because of what you put him though. He’s leaving me too. Not just you. Me, and Emily. How is she going to live without Batman, Toby? Was your precious job worth it? Your investigation worth the collateral damage of Tony’s heart? Emily’s?”

“Jethro, berate me all you want, but later. Right now, I need to speak with Tony. Look at your damn file. Maybe it’ll make sense.” With one shove, he moved past Gibbs and up the stairs, into their bedroom. Tony’s back was to him and he could tell from the other man’s posture that he wasn’t doing well. He hesitated for only a moment, before squeezing Tony’s shoulder.

“Please don’t leave, Tony. Hear me out first.”

“You said everything that I wanted to hear back at NCIS. What else do you think I’ve done that requires me sitting and listening to you? Have I left the toilet seat up? Left socks a foot from the laundry hamper? Maybe I broke Em’s teacups and since we all know that’s a federal offense, it would give you the right to grill me again.”

Every word hurt, and yet from Toby’s perspective, Tony was completely justified. “I don’t want to grill you, Tony.”

Tony whipped around, furious that he was the one being put on trial once again. “Maybe if you ask nicely Jet will build you an interrogation room, with the one way mirror so you can have your little feebs over to watch you interrogate me again of something stupid. Oh wait, you can do that at will at work. You fucking knew I didn’t kill the Frog. I was with you and Jet the whole damn night, but you had me taken into custody anyway. So what else do I need to hear from you? Your actions have spoken loud and clear.”

“How about that I love you, Tony? How about that everything that went on there was being watched by Vance and my superiors, who want to take the three of us down? Don’t think I liked or wanted to do that. I never doubted you for a minute and I’d hoped you could see the truth in my eyes. I had no better way to convey it. If I had, I would have done anything to spare you the pain of that.”

“A heads up would have been nice, a nod or letting Gibbs stay while you accused me of murder. I get it, you aren’t a nice guy at work, but you sent away my only support system.”

Tony wouldn’t look at Tobias; he couldn’t let his guard down, not again. “I’m sorry if I wasn’t looking for the truth while I was trying to defend myself. I was a bit busy, but you should have known that. Things were going along just fine, until you decided to pin another murder on me. I don’t care about Vance or your superiors. I care about you. Or at least I did.”

Toby moved closer but stopped when Tony gave him a hate-filled look.

“Not my decision about Gibbs, Tony. Not my decision, none of this was my decision. I know who did it, we both do. Someone higher up than us schmucks made the decision to try to deflect suspicion off Madame Director. Jethro’s got the file, Tony. It implicated you both, and that is just the beginning. If he hadn’t shown up with Kort, he would have been the next one in custody. And I couldn’t protect you both. I know you couldn’t tell, but I was trying to be as gentle as I could be, for as long as I could be, without handing you over like a sacrificial lamb.”

Tony grabbed Toby’s shirt before thrusting him away. “That’s bullshit, and you know it. You weren’t being gentle, you were playing into what ever plan the higher ups had. Did you ever think that what you were trying to protect they already knew about?”

The thought of the federal government knowing about his complex relationship scared the hell out of Tony. They were as careful as they possibly could be, but it wasn’t a perfect world. “Fornell, you were set up and you went for it hook, line and sinker. You let them manipulate you, and you went right on along with them.”

“I did what I had to do, with many sets of eyes watching my every move and hoping desperately that I’d fail and they’d get in our way. It wasn’t easy and I’m so sorry. I’m sorry, Tony.”

He reached over to touch Tony and then pulled back, stopping, hesitating.

“I get it. You’re sorry. I am too, Toby. Sorry that you did what you did, I’m not sure I can forgive you and I know I can’t forget. I need time. Can you at least understand that?”

“Of course, I can. It’s just that in our business, you and I know we shouldn’t leave anything unsaid.”

Tobias sat on the edge of the bed. “Vance wants to take you and Gibbs down. Soon. How can I protect the two of you if I refused to investigate? I wasn’t asked; I was told, handed the file, informed that if I didn’t accept it, my pension would kick in when I turned sixty and to clean out my desk. I was with agents from that moment onward, even when I went to the bathroom. Jethro’s got the file, Tony, and my report and findings.”

He paused for a long moment rubbing a hand over his face. “I’m not doing this any more. It was my last case. I’ve resigned effective immediately. If protecting you by hurting you means that I lost you, I understand. But I will never be put in that position again.”

“Great, so you attempt to ruin my career before giving yours up? That makes no sense. You weren’t there to help me Toby, you sure as hell didn’t do me any favors. I was hung out to dry, and you were there giving me a push into the wind.”

“I was trying to do everything I could to protect you, Tony. It may not seem that way but they put the screws to all of us.” And he’d gladly given up his career and his pension—which had been part of the deal—to keep Tony and Gibbs’ relationship safe. “Someone had to go down and it wasn’t going to be you.”

“Not this second, but they’re going to come back after me. And you and Jet too, give them a chance. Come on, you can’t imagine that this is really over just because you say it is. If they want to take any of us down, they won’t stop until we’re all gone.”

“Not me, Tony. I cut a deal. They bury what they know about you guys for ten years, they get my pension.” It was all he’d had to offer to protect them both. “It gets Jethro his pension and gives us time to figure out something to do with your career.”

“You gave up everything, to turn around and torment me? It makes no sense to me. What the fuck was in that file that has you walking away from a lifetime career in the FBI, leaving your pension behind?”

“I gave everything up afterward, Tony. I tried…I tried it their way. Sometimes the sum is greater than the parts.” And he was not going to allow the pictures, the audio, the video, to be plastered all over every government and law enforcement website.

“You and Jethro and me…That night, we’d been drinking. The car… Pictures. They have pictures of everything, Tony. Every x-rated thing we did under the cover of night was monitored. And that is just one set of pictures they have of us. Audio tapes, even video when we had that getaway. A lot of our…events. Things in Jethro’s and my past. Diane…we could all lose Emily.”

“And they’re using this murder to out us? I still don’t get why. We’re the good guys, sure some of the things we do are illegal in some southern states, but we catch the bad guys and actually keep them off the streets. What does it matter what we do behind closed doors? Or even in a car on a back road. Don’t they have bigger fish to fry? You know the sort of fish that live in caves and blow up buildings?”

“We’re mavericks. They’d love to have something like this over us,” Jethro put in. “They’ve started trying to divide us, break us from within. And it’s working. Ya gonna run too, Tobias?” Jethro asked at the door. “Both of you run away, leave Emily with questions I can’t answer. Thought family came first. Didn’t see that today, Toby. Not seeing that now, boys.”

Jethro crossed the room, physically removing Toby’s hand from Tony’s shoulder, squeezing the other man’s hand to the point of pain. “What happens now is up to Tony, but if you ever hurt him again—and I don’t care about your reasoning—it will be the last thing you do. Ten years together be damned, Tobias. Nobody hurts ours, even each other.”

Jethro leaned against Tony, just brushing his body in a gentle caress. “I’ll live by any decision you make, Tony. The folder is downstairs. I looked at it and I’m taking Vance down soon. That is my battle, not yours and sure as hell not Fornell’s. Vance has been after me for a lot of years. But nobody is going to fuck with your career if I can help it. Not on my watch.”

“You’re the one who saved my career. You proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I didn’t do it. Apparently being home on the couch with an FBI agent and a NCIS Agent isn’t enough. It’s not like I could bring Emily in to vouch for me. How does one explain that I was hanging out with the kid of the man who was accusing me of murder. I wouldn’t do that to Em, she doesn’t need to know her father is a jackass.”

“But, if you want…” Jethro lowered his voice. “He’s still our jackass. But only if you want, Tony.”

“I really don’t know. I’m mad, I need to think it out, Jet.” Could he let go of Tobias and Emily? They had become major fixtures in his life. “I’m so furious, I don’t think that right now is the time for me to decide. I don’t want him here this second, but I don’t know that I want him gone forever.”

Jethro tipped Tony’s head up. “I’m always here, whatever your decision and whatever you need. Don’t worry about losing me or disappointing me or whatever else is going through your head right now. And by God, Tony, Emily is here for you too. She’d be incomplete without Batman. Whatever happens, you have me and Em, as long as you want us.”

Jethro paused, his hand running through Tony’s hair. “You want some time alone or some time with him?”

“I don’t know what I need right now. Maybe I should head back to my place for a little while. I knew there was a reason I was keeping my apartment still, besides the fact I haven’t been able to convince you to let me move my flat-screen plasma in here.” Tony allowed the gentle caresses, knowing that he may not get another chance at this.

“I don’t want to go, but I’m not sure I can handle this right now. If I take off out of town, even though you cleared my name, it will look bad. But here, I can’t stay. You two, you two need to work out your own issues, without me involved.”

Jethro nodded his head, making the only decision he could to protect Tony. “Fornell, you need to go. Now. Immediately. Get lost. It’s over, understand me? I’ll pack up Em’s things, talk to Diane about us continuing to see her. I am her godfather after all.”

He lifted his chin, staring right at Toby. “I’m choosing Tony, Fornell. I’ll get you a storage locker and have your stuff dumped there. Leave the file here but you go. You’re not welcome in our home or our family any more. Good riddance.”

He heard Toby’s pained gasp but by that juncture he’d already turned back to Tony and refused to react. “Here. You have to stay. I need you, Tony. And you need not to be alone.” He pulled the younger man into his arms, hanging on tightly. “Stay, for me.”

Tobias knew Jethro could be heartless, even brutal, but this was the most cutting he’d ever been. Tears blurring his vision, Toby stumbled out of their bedroom and down the stairs, unlocking the gun cabinet and grabbing his personal gun. He had nothing left except this. He just had to figure out where to do it.

“Don’t make him leave. He’s lived here longer than I have, this is his house almost more then it is mine.” Tony didn’t want to be the reason why a long-term relationship imploded. “You’re mad, but you know you don’t want to do this. I’ll stay, just not in here. I’ll stay in Em’s room, she’s going to be with Diane for the next few days at least. Maybe by then, we’ll have figured something out. None of us can be out there on our own right now. Someone is gunning for us, and they’ll pick us off one by one. We can’t make it easy for them.”

Jethro had rarely been so furious, and never before at a lover. “I chose you, Tony. I chose you, babe. I don’t want him here and he can go to hell. He’s FBI; he can defend himself. He can deal with it. But Tony, if he stays here, I’m going to beat the crap out of him, or take him hard and I don’t want to do that. You want him back, you’ve got to call him and be the barrier between us and this is about you and not my anger. I won’t do that to you. I can’t be that much of a bastard.”

Jethro started to speak again, but two gunshots rang out, echoing in the air. “Toby!” Oh god, he hadn’t… “TOBY!”

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Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3

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