A/N: first of all, I gotta thank dear tansysam for her great idea! I hope she likes this story! :)
And then, this one is again more of an angst story! There won't be really a case there. Please tell me if you find the characters too OOC. I've tried, but you know that in the world of fictions, it's impossible to keep everyone completely in character! I just hope it's not too bad.
* Again, all mistakes are mine; this story is un-beta-ed! I'll try to find my lovely Beta-Reader and see if she can help me with this story! :)
It happens in season 9, but I don't think there are any major spoilers.
Your reviews will help me, so please let me know what you think! ;)
. The Costs You Pay .
"You think I enjoy it?" Tony said exasperatedly.
"Well, to me it doesn't look like you loath it." McGee shrugged.
"Yes, you keep doing it. We are a team but that does not mean anything to you, no?"
Tony looked at Gibbs, expecting him to understand his reasoning; expecting some sort of help from his boss. "I was under direct orders, what else could I do?" he said dejectedly when Gibbs didn't try to help him in any ways.
"You could've told me." Gibbs hissed. "You wanna keep doing this, DiNozzo, you can leave my team. I don't need a part-time senior field agent."
Funny, Gibbs only remembered him as the SFA when he wanted to belittle him. The hurt in Tony's eyes was nothing he could hide, but he didn't let it slip into his voice. "I was NOT a part-time agent for you. I've worked like crazy the past three months to keep up my work here and finish the other mission and you know it perfectly. Your problem is not with me doing a part-time job for you. You just can't accept the fact that you've been kept out of the loop."
"I'm the lead agent here and I should know what the hell is going on with my agents. You're working for me; you'll let me know when you're leading another life in the meantime. You could've got someone killed." Gibbs wasn't exactly yelling, but the anger in his voice was palpable.
"Not more than any one of you. I was focused." Tony hissed. "I don't get it, I should be the one feeling angry and tired, instead I have to stand here and defend myself. Well, thank you for caring and being worried, I'm fine. The operation went just well last night. You've any further problem, talk to the director. I'd be glad if you could make him understand that I DO NOT like these stealthy shitty undercover jobs. He wants me for something he should let me decide who to trust." Tony said what he needed to and left the bullpen.
By this time, McGee and Ziva had both fell silent. They weren't used to see Tony and Gibbs arguing so openly in the middle of the bullpen and if they wanted to be honest, their problem actually was what Tony had mentioned.
They didn't like the idea of being left out. They somehow knew that it wasn't Tony's fault. But they couldn't walk up the stairs and pour out all their anger on the director. Tony was the only available target. As usual.
But that wasn't all; they probably wouldn't have that much problems if the director or the SecNav would've chosen them for a secret mission every now and then. But no; it was always Tony. It felt like Tony was a better agent, and even though deep down they knew it was true and knew that Tony was far more experienced, they couldn't suppress the jealousy. And what better way to get rid of it than demean and belittle the said fellow agent?
Gibbs' story was slightly different. Other than being pissed for being kept out of the loop, he was extremely worried. He hated to show it and that was why he was standing there berating his best agent in public.
Oh, he would give the director a piece of his mind, he wasn't afraid of Vance. But right now, he was too busy imagining several different scenarios of how last night's operation could've gone wrong.
Tony didn't have the backup Gibbs would approve and he didn't like the idea of losing Tony because of a stupid secret operation.
The mission had been important, all right. And man, Tony had once again excelled at it; but why couldn't the director trust him to know about it? He could've have had Tony's six the way he liked.
And dammit, why Tony was so good at undercover jobs? Or hiding the truth, for that matter. He'd been hiding the truth from them for nearly three months again and none of them had gotten even suspicious this time.
Put all these little points together and you'd understand why a man like Leroy Jethro Gibbs was so angry.
Tony couldn't understand any of those reasons, though. He didn't even know about them. All he felt was being chastised unfairly for doing his job and he was tired and sick of it.
The whole morning they hadn't uttered a word to him. Dirty looks were all he'd been receiving. Even Abby was ignoring him, although in her case Tony could feel it was merely an anger being fed by anxiety. She'd come to him once she calmed down.
Ducky, and well Palmer, were the only ones understanding him and they weren't the one working with him directly.
Tony was tired and couldn't get why they were so angry or why they kept treating him like crap. He just realized that he couldn't care anymore, he'd done nothing wrong and if they wanted to stay mad at him, it was their choice.
He already had a killing headache; he didn't need anything else to add to the agonizing pain. If Gibbs wanted him off the team he could go and talk to the director. Tony didn't care anymore.
The ring tone of his smartphone brought him back to the present, answering it he received two simple phrases that Gibbs growled, sarcastically, before hanging up. "We've got a case, get your ass down here if you're free."
The rest of the day didn't go much better; they were all ignoring Tony most of the times. Gibbs would growl his orders and the others would just come up with snide remarks once in a while.
Tony, to their annoyance seemed totally oblivious. He wouldn't even bother to reply to their comments. It was like he'd given up; he was just doing his job like a robot. Ducky was getting worried. He realized that this time he couldn't step aside and let them work out their problems; so when Gibbs went down to ask about his findings, he cornered the lead agent.
"How long are you going to act like a child, Jethro?"
"What are you talking about?" Gibbs wanted to avoid the topic as long as possible.
"You know what I mean. The way you're treating Anthony and ignoring your other team members' rather hurtful comments toward our dear lad. It's not right; don't do something you might regret later."
"What do you have for me, Duck?"
"Jethro." Ducky sounded angry. "Enough with your ridiculous pride. It's about to cost you a good friendship and cause Anthony another great pain. You were worried and I understand it, but this is not the right way to show it. You'll regret it later, I know you."
"Duck." Gibbs warned.
"No, Jethro. Not this time. You're angry with director Vance? Go and let him know. Putting down Anthony constantly won't do anyone any good. I'm afraid, it seems like that Timothy and Ziva are following in your tracks. They think it's alright to treat their teammate like yesterday's garbage. Have you looked at Anthony lately? I mean really look at him. Does he seem alright to you? He looks spent; we don't know much about his operation, it couldn't have been easy. The boy is hurting already; he doesn't need you to add to his pain. How longer do you think he'll take your shits? Everyone has their limits, even Anthony can reach them and to me, it doesn't seem long before it happens. Stop it while you have the time."
Gibbs remained silent. He knew Ducky was right, unlike what Ducky thought, he had looked at Tony. He had seen how exhausted his agent looked, he just didn't know how to approach him and he wasn't quite ready to let go of his anger.
Ducky just shook his head and hoped that his words would have some effects on his old stubborn friend. He wanted to talk to Tony himself, but he thought that he should give Gibbs the time and let him do it first.
... TBC ...
A/N: So, what do you think?