Disclaimer: I don't own them, just like to write about them.
Auther's Note: YEA! Another chapter! :) Kept re-writing this one and finally decided to just go ahead and post it. There's only one more chapter to go and that will be posted in the next day or two. If I haven't said it before, thanks to everyone who has reviewed and encouraged me with this story.
The elevator ride was a short one, when the doors opened to the garage Tony looked at Gibbs questioningly. "Coffee" was all that his boss said as he stepped off the elevator and walked away. As the doors slid close Tony decided that it was now or never and hit the button for autopsy. When the elevator started moving he gave a small smile and shook his head as he realized that Gibbs knew him better than he had thought, sneaky bastard.
As he exited the elevator and headed towards autopsy his steps slowed until he came to a complete stop just outside the doors sensors. He wanted to make sure that he was alone; for this he did not want an audience. Taking a couple of steps forward the doors swooshed open and Tony walked through but he came to a quick stop as the enormity of what he was about to do hit him. Taking a deep breath to try and calm him self he jumped when the doors behind him suddenly closed.
'Get a grip' he thought before walking over to look at the clipboard that would tell him where his father was. Most of the lights were turned off but he didn't bother to switch any more on as he turned and headed over to the wall of drawers, stopping when he reached the one that held his fathers body. Tony grabbed the handle and quickly opened the door. When he reached in to pull out the drawer he saw that his hand was shaking slightly. "C'mon DiNozzo" he whispered, "You can do this." It's not like this is the first body you've seen he mentally chided himself.
Tony didn't pull the drawer out very far, only a couple of feet or so. He closed his eyes as he took another deep breath then reached over and pulled the sheet back just far enough to show his fathers face. He couldn't help but grimace slightly as he got his first look at his father. He hadn't seen him in years and didn't really expect him to look the same but Tony didn't think he would look so…well…old.
He stood there silently for a while, hands in his pants pockets as he tried to gather his thoughts, not really sure what to say.
"Hello Father" Tony finally whispered. He cleared his throat and continued, his voice a little stronger.
"So, my boss said I should come here" he paused "To say good bye, I guess" Among other things he thought.
"Who would of thought it would take you dying for us to finally get together." He then scoffed "Pretty much anyone who knows you." Sighing he continued, "I really thought I'd have more time. That's why I kept putting this off, didn't want to deal with it I guess."
Tony shifted uncomfortably running a hand through his hair before he continued.
"What do you say to someone you haven't missed, that you thought was out of your life for good? I figured we were done. Finished. And I had accepted that."
"But now?" he said as he shook his head slightly "I realize I was lying to myself. I did miss you. You were my father, my only living parent. How could I not miss you?"
Tony blinked his eyes rapidly at the unexpected tears. Leaning back against the wall he crossed his arms while he tried to gain control over his emotions. He wouldn't do this. Even dead, he would not cry in front of his father. After a couple of minutes and a couple of deep breaths he continued.
"But you didn't miss me, did you? You never wanted me around because I didn't live up to your expectations. I was nothing to you, worthless, a failure. Even if you hadn't shown me by your actions, you sure as hell told me that often enough."
As images from his childhood flashed thru his mind Tony struggled with the emotions that came with them. From disappointment to fear then shame and a sense of worthlessness ending with hurt and anger. Before he could stop himself Tony turned and slammed his fist into one of the metal drawers leaving a small dent behind. Sagging against the wall of drawers he rested his forehead against the cool metal as he dragged air into his lungs and tried to compose himself. He stayed like that for a while before he finally turned back towards his father.
"You know, I grew up thinking that there was nothing wrong with what you did. That I must have done something to make you treat me the way that you did." His voice was barely above a whisper. "And after I became a cop, with all the training and experience I had received in dealing with domestic violence, I never really applied that to myself. Those people were victims and I was no victim." Tony paused for a moment then continued, "The last few days have made me look at things differently, brought up memories that had been long forgotten or so I thought. But it also made me remember something that I had read somewhere, not even sure I know where."
"In order for me to move on with my life and not let my past influence my future, I need to forgive you. And as crazy as it sounds I understand that, I get it. But I'm doing this for me not you; I just wish I had realized this sooner. That I could have done this while you were still alive." The corner of Tony's mouth lifted in a almost smile, "Pretty deep for someone who you thought was an idiot and would never amount to anything."
Tony reached over to pull the sheet up to cover his father's face and whispered, "I forgive you Father. Whether or not anyone thinks you deserve it, I forgive you."
After covering his father, pushing the drawer in and closing the door Tony sagged against the wall as he felt a peace settle over him. He also felt the exhaustion, both physical and emotional, as he slid down to sit on the floor. With his elbows resting on his knees Tony pressed the palms of his hands against his eyes as he tried to prevent the tears from escaping.
Back up in the bullpen Gibbs had come back from getting his coffee and was sitting at his desk looking as if he was busy doing paperwork. What he was really doing was just shuffling papers back and forth while his mind was on Tony. He agreed with Ducky that Tony needed to see his father's body but a part of him was wondering if he had made the right decision in not going with him. Glancing at the clock Gibbs was surprised at how late it was. He had already sent McGee and Ziva home even though they had protested somewhat. They had been concerned when Gibbs had come back to the office without Tony but he had assured them that everything was fine. Truth was he had just stared at them and then ordered them to go home, telling them "DiNozzo was fine", trying to let them know with a look that he would take care of him.
Gibbs decided he would go down to autopsy and check on Tony and if he was still saying goodbye or whatever he would just leave; making sure that he was OK first, of course. He took the elevator instead of the stairs wanting the few extra seconds that route would take to come up with something to say, some words of comfort should the need arise. He knew that his verbal skills when it came to dealing with emotions were severely lacking, just ask any of his ex-wives, but Gibbs was hoping that the parental feelings that he had towards Tony would be enough to get them through this.
Exiting the elevator Gibbs quietly made his way to autopsy careful to stay out of range of the doors sensors. As he looked through the glass the room appeared to be empty and most of the lights were off. He was just about to leave and go in search of his missing agent when something caught his eye. When he looked closer he spotted Tony sitting on the floor half hid in the darkness. Gibbs could make out the disheveled hair but couldn't see his face; it was hidden behind his hands. But what had him concerned was the slump of Tony's shoulders.
"Aw, hell" he muttered just before he stepped forward.