Character(s): Gibbs, DiNozzo
Summary: Gibbs talks and Tony listens following the events in the bar in 'Dead Man Talking'.
Spoilers: Dead Man Talking.
Disclaimer: NCIS characters belong to Bellisario, CBS and Paramount. No copyright infringement intended.
Beta(s): csigeekfan and Will.
A/N: No. 3 in the 'Behind closed doors' series of one-shots.
“Kate, McGee, go ahead,” Gibbs motioned for the two agents to leave as the elevator doors opened. “I need to have a word with Tony.”
Kate cast a knowing smirk at her co-worker whilst McGee couldn’t get out of the car quick enough.
Gibbs pinned Tony with a steely blue glare as the doors closed and then turned to press the button for the basement. He let the car travel a little longer than usual. Between the first and second floors should do it, he thought. The lights turned low and the low hum of the elevator ceased with a clunk as he flipped the emergency stop button.
He hadn’t wanted to ream his agent out in front of a crowded bar. A bar full of people who had just witnessed the death, by federal agent, of a man... no... a woman. After all, all outward appearances indicated she was a woman. She had fooled the people in the bar, fooled him, and fooled DiNozzo in more ways than one.
He had made sure DiNozzo knew he was angry back at the bar. A concerned glare and a curt ‘Call it in. We’ll talk about this later’ was all that was needed at the time. Now was that time. Turning to face DiNozzo, he silenced the agent - whose mouth was already beginning to open - with a step forward and a raise of his eyebrows. He stared into the green eyes of the junior agent, injecting them with his own blue truth serum and waited.
He’d admired the guy’s gall.
‘I had an opening. It was a clear field. I had to go for it.’
That was DiNozzo. It was one of the reasons he’d hired the guy. It was also one of the traits that infuriated him so much. Gibbs had served with many men whose split second decisions had worked out; attended the funerals of those whose decisions hadn’t.
He just wasn’t sure how ‘informed’ Tony’s decision had been and how much it had really had to do with the stirring in his pants.
The small twitching in Tony’s facial muscles dampened and his jaw set tight. His eyes were pricked; full of fight and justification for his actions back at the stakeout. Gibbs knew DiNozzo wouldn’t budge.
“I wanted Voss alive.”
“No. Don’t want excuses, Tony.” Gibbs took a half step towards his agent. “You saw Pacci. Saw what she did to him.” Anger laced his voice, the spit coating DiNozzo’s shirt and jacket as the words flew out.
“You did see that, DiNozzo. God, Tony. You can’t block that out like you can everything else.”
“Wasn’t trying to.”
“Hey! You just don’t get it do you.”
“Get what, Gibbs. That I messed up... again; that Voss didn’t have to die. That we could have brought Voss in before... all this...”
“No, bonehead. Can’t you just listen for once?”
“Listen all the time. I’m just good at multitasking. Eyes, ears... mouth...”
“DiNozzo! Shut up!”
His junior agent stilled and Gibbs inched closer, backing DiNozzo further against the wall of the elevator. He’d had his fill of DiNozzo’s rather weak attempt at deflection through humour. “Want me to start calling you Probie? You went in blind today, Tony. No one was in danger. I said watch and wait. There was no reason to go in alone.”
“I got more intel.”
“So did Abby. Intel that meant we could have picked up Amanda, Voss, without resorting to suicide by federal agent.”
“Don’t have to remind me about...”
“Think I do, DiNozzo.”
Gibbs saw the pained expression fleet across Tony’s face and hoped he’d understand why he was being harsh. It was true. Things could have ended differently and they both knew it. They could have picked up Amanda at her apartment where it would have been on their terms. No crowded bar; reduced risk of collateral damage. As it was, Amanda – Voss - was dead; lying on a slab down in Autopsy, and Tony had been cracked over the head with a bottle.
It could also have been a lot worse.
He let DiNozzo take in the silence before relaxing his expression and speaking somewhat softly.
“Don’t want anyone else ending up like Pacci. Especially not one of my team.” He left out the words, ‘Especially not you’. He couldn’t physically say them; hoping instead that Tony would glean the inherent message.
His hopes were confirmed when Tony eyes briefly flicked away from his and his second swallowed before looking him squarely in the eye.
“I get it. I hear you.”
Gibbs nodded, turned to face the doors and flicked the emergency stop button. The elevator jumped into life and he squinted as the lights above them flickered and then bathed the car’s interior with a warm glow. “Need your report ASAP,” he shot over his shoulder. “IA are gonna be chasing statements too.”
Tony nodded. “ASAP.”
The elevator continued its descent until it reached the basement. The doors parted but neither man moved. Gibbs turned and gestured to Tony to leave. When the younger man looked at him with a puzzled expression and still didn’t make any attempt to move Gibbs sighed. “Go see Ducky. Get some ice; painkillers for that skull of yours.”
Tony visibly relaxed and slipped past Gibbs. As the doors began to close, the agent turned back to face him and caught the door with his hand.
“Gibbs,” DiNozzo paused before continuing. “Just so you know. I don’t block anything out. I seal it in plastic evidence bags and file it away.”