After having a delicious pancake breakfast with the family, he borrowed Gibbs' cell to call his dad. While he doubted Senior would care much about his injury, he thought it might make him upset if he heard it from the school instead of Tony. He went into the unoccupied family room and dialed the number, already wary of the oncoming conversation. He waited anxiously as it rang twice, hoping that Senior would answer so he could get this over with as soon as possible.
"Hello?" he heard his father's slightly annoyed voice ask. Great, I'm already off to a bad start.
"Uh, hi, dad. It's me." he greeted timidly.
"Junior, what are you doing calling me during my business meeting? I already told you I couldn't come for spring break. I gave you two thousand dollars for goodness sake!"
"Well, yeah, and I went to California. I saw a burning house and I-" Tony would have continued, but was cut off by his angry dad.
"Tell me you did not go inside!" he yelled and Tony winced at his furious tone.
"Well, yeah, I did go inside. I got a little girl out, but I broke my arm." His dad could be rather frightening at times, and he was presently forcing himself not to stutter with great strength.
"Anthony! What are you going to do at school now?"
"I'll get a short leave, then attend everything I normally would at school without participating."
"Anthony, did you even think before you went inside that house?!"
"Yeah, I actually did, dad. I thought about how someone inside was in danger."
"You'll never get anywhere in life if you think like that," Senior said harshly. "We'll talk about this later. I have a meeting." With that he hung up, leaving a very frustrated Tony on a disconnected line. He sighed and balled his hands into fits, working himself up as he thought about everything that Senior had done in the past years. Wrath took control of Tony, and he stood up, drawing his arm back to punch the wall. He was about to release the power of his arm, but before he could, he felt a strong hand grab his bicep, preventing him from moving his arm. He closed his eyes and took a couple deep breathes before turning around to face who he knew was Gibbs.
"Sorry, I-" he began.
"Rule 6, Tony. Never apologize, it's a sign of weakness." Gibbs told him with an unreadable expression.
"What?" he asked. He had heard just fine, but he was confused. No, at this point it would be better put as shocked.
"Rule 6 is to never apologize," he repeated slowly.
"Okay," Tony said, drawing out the word, once again internally remarking on how Gibbs was truly an enigma.
"I heard the conversation, Tony."
"Mmmm. My dad isn't the greatest." he stated vaguely.
"Was he really upset that you helped us?" Gibbs inquired, his disbelief evident on his face.
"Well, yeah, but-"
"But what Tony?" he growled as his grip on Tony's arm increased to be almost painful. He glanced at it, and Gibbs immediately let go, looking as if he hadn't realized he had still been holding him.
"My dad just probably thought the fire was minor or something."
"Are you convincing me or yourself?" Gibbs accused.
"Gibbs, my father's just-"
"Don't make excuses for him. " Gibbs said and shook his head. "C'mon, Kelly wants to show you something she made." Gibbs led Tony into the other room where Kelly was proudly holding up her crayon drawing of Tony. He was wearing a cape, and below him in large, messy letters hero was scrawled. Tony beamed and walked over to Kelly.
"Thank you!" he said as she handed him the drawing.
"You're welcome," Kelly said before drawing him into a tight hug. Eventually Shannon and Gibbs left the room, allowing Tony to play with Kelly. She had managed to get him to agree to color with him, so they sat drawing in too small chairs for his liking. Kelly happily talked enough for both of them, her topic of conversation changing so fast it was hard to keep up with. One minute she was describing her favorite movie, The Little Mermaid, and the next she was explaining how her daddy was a hero.
"What's the coolest thing your dad's ever done?" he asked out of curiosity.
"Well, one time, when my daddy was at work, he saved five people from the bad guys. That's all he would tell me, but that's really cool, right?"
"Totally." he agreed.
"Have you ever seen seen Brave?" she asked without looking up from her self declared masterpiece of a butterfly.
"Of course! You've got to love Merida." Tony smiled at Kelly.
"Mmmmm. I like the bear." Tony tried his hardest to not laugh, he loved Kelly. You had to truly be special to forget about the main character and instead like the bear.
"Everyone likes the bears," Tony told Kelly, his face still red from restraining his laughter. Kelly laughed, and Tony noticed Gibbs was watching them for the first time. He was smiling in the corner, looking as if he had expected Tony would like Kelly.
"Hey, Kelly, I'm going to go to talk to your dad." he told her gently.
"Okay," she told him contentedly, turning back to her drawing. Tony stood up and stretched his cramped legs before joining Gibbs in the corner.
"Gibbs spring break ends tomorrow. Could you drive me to the hotel and airport tonight?"
"You told your dad you could get a short leave." Gibbs reminded him without giving him an answer.
"I can, but I need to clear it with the school in person." he explained, not looking or feeling very happy about it.
"Okay. I'll be able to take you tonight. You have tickets all worked out?"
"Of course. I'll be able to be back in Rhode Island before school starts with plenty of time to unpack, as long as I can be there at six."
"I can get you there, but Kelly and Shannon won't be happy you're leaving."
"I think I might be insulted if they weren't." Tony joked, his usual default mechanism in uncomfortable situations. Gibbs huffed, his own way to express his amusement.
"Think you'll visit next year?" Gibbs asked while studying Tony.
"I can sure as heck try," he promised. Gibbs gave him his usual slimmer of a smile before disappearing into the other room, presumedly to explain what Tony had just told him to Shannon.
The day passed quickly. Shannon and Gibbs talked about what they were going to do now with the house, and Tony and Kelly watched movies and colored. They got take out for lunch, and soon, much sooner than Tony would have liked, he was getting ready to leave.
"Don't go," Kelly pleaded while jumping onto him and hugging his midsection.
"Sorry, Kelly, but I really have to." he told her while gently prying her off of him.
Next was Shannon. She embraced him too, whispering "Thank you for everything." He nodded back, but honestly didn't really feel like he done that much. He knew his dad's words had gotten to him and were currently screwing with his head. Even thousands of miles away Senior was still able to unsettle him.
"Goodbye, I'll see you next year hopefully. Thank you for your hospitality," he said in farewell before joining Gibbs in the car. They drove in a companionable silence to the hotel where Tony promptly got out followed by Gibbs.
"Gibbs, you can stay in the car. I don't need help."
"Tony, you need to be able to accept help sometimes." Gibbs told him before walking into the hotel, leaving Tony confused and alone in the parking lot. By the time he had the sense to catch up, Gibbs was already getting the key to his room from the front desk. He was holding up his badge and totally scaring the young man, who looked like he might be a drug addict. Embarrassed, he quickly ran up to Gibbs and starting pushing him away mid-sentence.
"Sorry," Tony quickly told the worker before walking out of earshot of the employee. "Seriously? You couldn't have waited for me to use my key?" he asked Gibbs who looked surprisingly cool for just being shoved by a seventeen year old.
"You were taking too long," he replied simply before plucking the heavy metal key from Tony's hand. He made his way to the room with Tony in tow, who was unsure of what current emotions he was feeling towards Gibbs. When they entered the room Gibbs looked around, taking in the cheap, peeling wallpaper, old and stained bed, and filthy bathroom.
"How long did you plan on staying here?" Gibbs asked sounding upset, which just served to confuse him further.
"The amount of time I spent with you guys," he replied hoping that was the right answer seeing how Gibbs acted like there was one.
It was instantly glaringly obvious that it was the wrong one.
"And your dad just let you? And encouraged it? It's not even legal for you to get a hotel room." It technically wasn't illegal for a minor to rent a hotel room, that is if you went through the right channels, got the right signatures, and gave the extra cash. Seeing as how Tony had failed to do so however, it was true he was staying there against numerous rules.
"My dad didn't know where I was staying," he defended indignantly.
"But he did know that it's virtually impossible and illegal for a seventeen year old to get a hotel." Gibbs pointed out and Tony hesitated to reply, knowing that Gibbs was right.
"Whatever, Gibbs. Lets just get the stuff and get to the airport," he said sounding deflated even to his own ears. He grabbed his backpack and suitcase, and left the dinghy room and headed to the car, preparing for an awkward drive.
He was unfortunately correct, the short road-trip covered in a heavy blanket of silence making it seem excruciatingly long. When the car drew to a stop in the parking lot he practically jumping out and went to get his stuff. He had survived the hard part, but now he had to say goodbye, which might prove to be even more challenging.
He found himself facing Gibbs and opened his mouth to say something, but closed it again when he saw Gibbs extended arm with a box in his hand. Tony reluctantly took the plain black box and opened it, surprised to see a small, sharp knife.
"Rule nine. Always carry a knife. I know you can't take it with you on your flight so I'll mail it to you."
A smile lit up his face and he sincerely told Gibbs, "Thank you."
Gibbs nodded with his own smile then took the box back and returned it to his pocket. "You should get going. If anyone ever bothers you, all you have to do is call."
"I'll keep that in mind," Tony promised before shaking Gibbs' hand.
Thanks for reading! I really love reviews and they make my day!
You can PM me and tell me what you would like to happen next in the next chapter. I was thinking of maybe like 'in three years' sort of thing?