Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS. And I speak very little Italian, so please forgive me if the Italian phrases I use are incorrect.
Author's Note: So, one of my loyal readers asked me to do a story about Tony's emotions after his break-up with Jeanne. If you don't remember who she was, she was the daughter of an international arms dealer named Rene Benoit also known as La Grenouille. The late Director Jenny Shepard sent Tony undercover to fake a relationship with Jeanne to get closer to her father. Tony actually fell in love with Jeanne thus making his undercover mission more complicated.
This one shot follows Season 5, Episode 14 "Internal Affairs".
So, here we go…
TREAT THE GIRLS RIGHT
"The director thought enough of you to personally select you for an extended undercover assignment." FBI Agent Fornell told Tony.
"Yup, she played matchmaker." Tony said nonchalantly, as he ate a few potato chips.
"How did you get so close to La Grenouille's daughter?" Fornell asked, as he sat across from him in the interrogation room.
Tony smirked. He thought it was ridiculous that he was the one being interrogated in his own interrogation room. How the FBI could just waltz into NCIS headquarters and shut them down and treat them as suspects was beyond him. They really had some nerve.
The professional side of him kind of understood why this had to be treated as an investigation. The FBI had found La Grenouille's body floating in the bay with a gunshot to the head.
But the personal side of him was nervous and sympathetic about the news. Even though Rene was an international criminal, he was still someone's father. Tony could only imagine how Jeanne was feeling.
He looked over at Agent Fornell and saw him staring, so he quickly gathered his composure and decided to be his own charming and sarcastic self.
"I see where you're going with this. You'd like to know a few pick up tricks huh? I wish I could tell ya, but it's kind of a family secret. And I took an oath. Sorry." He said, not really meaning it. "Chip?" He offered Fornell.
Fornell smiled at him. He knew Tony was pretending not to care. "Nah." He declined the potato chips. "So you reported back to the director about the girl?"
"Jeanne? Yes, well her father was an international arms dealer, a threat to the country, the world really. So yeah, I did what I was told."
"Did the director order you to sleep with her?" Fornell asked in an accusatory tone.
That made Tony speechless. He set his bag of chips on the table and sat up straight. He quickly had flashbacks of the times he and Jeanne were happy. Most of them included him smiling and Jeanne laughing without a care in the world. "I wouldn't call it an order."
"You didn't have any problem developing that kind of relationship with her?"
"No, not at all." Tony answered simply.
"But you developed feelings for her. That wasn't very professional Tony. How'd that happen?" Fornell prodded.
Tony took a deep breath. "Gradually." He replied before slipping into more flashbacks. These flashbacks included him going out of his way to make Jeanne feel special. He planned picnics on her lunch break, he bought her flowers, took her out to the bar for drinks, and they made mad passionate love.
Tony snapped back to reality. He really had to get his emotions in check. "And then all of a sudden…" He cut himself off. He wanted to say after all of the things he and Jeanne shared, all of a sudden it was gone. After his undercover assignment was over, it didn't mean anything anymore.
"Did the director tell you to break the girl's heart? What'd that feel like?"
Tony narrowed his eyes at him. He wasn't going to let Fornell get to him. He played it off with a laugh. "This is more like a therapy session than an interrogation." He straightened his suit. Sitting there in that chair was wrinkling his $500 dollar suit jacket. "Why are you so interested in my feelings?" Tony asked.
"Because you had them." Fornell smirked as he antagonized him. He knew the reputation of Tony DiNozzo. He had more escapades and one night stands than Fornell had gray hairs. And Fornell had a lot of gray hair.
"Jeanne must be going through hell." He told Tony as he paced around the room, trying to make him squirm.
"I didn't mean to hurt her." Tony said in a sorrowful voice.
"What other option was there? I mean she was in love with you too right?"
Tony began shaking his head and stuttering. "I…I don't know."
Fornell locked his eyes on the suspect. "Come on Tony, you're a better liar than that."
He had a flashback to where he stood at Jeanne's front door, weighed down by pain and regret. Tears streamed down his face as he uttered the words that Jeanne was dying to hear. I love you. He was in too deep.
Tony brought himself back to reality once again. He threw on a smile to mask his pain. "You're right Agent Fornell. I'm lying." He crossed his arms like a stubborn child. "Everything I did with her was a lie. Just by recalling those lies, I believe that I am lying now. It's a cacophony of lies really. Are you getting all of this?! Cause it's good stuff!" He yelled to whoever was watching him behind the observation window. The frustration was coming out in his voice now.
Fornell stared Tony down to send him a silent message that he was going to get to the bottom of this; no matter how difficult Tony wanted to be. And of course he was being difficult on purpose.
Tony sighed. It was no use in keeping up the charade anymore. He was prepared to answer any question. He just wanted to get out of this damn interrogation room.
"Yeah, she was in love with me. We were in love. What else do you want to know?"
"How was it supposed to end Tony? I mean there was never going to be a happily ever after."
Tony pushed the heel of his hands into his eyes, desperately trying to escape another flashback.
Tony sat Jeanne down on a park bench, trying to keep her from panicking. His cover was already blown, so he decided to tell her the truth.
"Tony, what's happening?" Jeanne asked frantically. Her whole body was shaking, she was so scared.
He grabbed her hands to focus her attention. "Tell me you that love me. Tell me." He stared deep into her eyes.
"I do, it's just…everything that's happening. I don't know what's happening. And you…it's like you're someone else. Someone I don't know." When she said that, Tony looked away. She snatched her hands out of his. "You are aren't you? Someone else? Who? Who are you?"
"I'm a federal agent; I'm not a film professor. My name is not Tony DiNardo, it's Anthony DiNozzo. I work for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service."
"This has all been a lie." Jeanne realized.
"Jeanne listen to me, not all of it, not everything, just some things, not the important things." He was desperately trying to explain to her.
"Why? Just tell me why it is that you do this? Tell me what it is that I was supposed to have done. Tell me! TELL ME!" She screamed at him.
"It's not you Jeanne. It's your father. My job was to investigate your father."
She gave him a look of pure hate and disgust. Without another word, she walked away.
After the CIA stepped forward claiming that they were sanctioned to eliminate La Grenouille, the FBI released Tony and the rest of the NCIS agents. When he walked into the squad room, he saw Jeanne waiting for the elevator. His heart stopped. He hadn't seen her since the day she walked away from him. Now, here she was at his job. The same place that set up the undercover mission that ruined her life. He decided to at least say something to her before she disappeared out of his life forever.
As he approached her, he saw the anguish written all over face. He couldn't believe how bad he hurt her.
"I'm sorry you got caught in the middle of all this."
"Was any of it real Tony?" She was holding on to a little piece of hope that maybe he did love her.
"No." He lied to her. He couldn't hurt her anymore. He knew it was his fault for leading her on and falling so deeply in love with her when he wasn't supposed to. He would rather have her hate him and move on than to be stuck on him and feel miserable. He lied to give her closure.
When the elevator arrived, she stepped in; her eyes were misty as she tried to keep the tears from falling. "I wish I never met you." She said as her bottom lip quivered. As the elevator doors closed, she shed a tear.
Tony stood there dumbfounded. His feet felt like lead and he felt a hole burning in his heart. The guilt was tearing him up inside. How could you hurt someone you love? And he hurt Jeanne profusely. Her heart taking a beating like that will forever be on his conscience.
After finally convincing his feet to move, he ended up in the break room. He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat at one of the tables. He felt so ashamed about what happened. He put his head in his hands and began to reflect on all of the bad decisions he made in his life. Out of everything he has done, this Jeanne situation kept nagging at him. And he knew why. It was because his mother would have been disappointed.
"Here you are." Ziva said as she walked in and sat at the table with him. "McGee and I have been looking for you everywhere. How long have you been here?" She asked him.
Tony put his hand around his coffee cup. "Apparently long enough for my coffee to get cold."
Ziva gave him a strange look. "But you don't drink coffee."
"Yeah well, I don't keep promises either, so maybe I should just start other bad habits."
Ziva sighed. "Why are you being so hard on yourself Tony? You were only doing your job."
Tony slouched in his chair.
"I remember when my mom and dad took me to the carnival for a weekend. I had to be about six years old. I had tons of cotton candy. I was finally tall enough to ride the big kids rides, and I had the coolest face painting if I do say so myself." Tony laughed a little
"It sounds like you had fun." Ziva smiled.
Tony shook his head. "It was one of the worst days of my life."
Ziva quirked her eyebrows at him. "I do not understand?"
"Each ride I got on, I would look over to my parents so they could see me. I even shouted their names and threw my hands in the air to show them how much fun I was having. But, they never saw me. They were too busy arguing and fighting with each other."
Ziva knew the feeling. Her parents had been the same way. She stayed silent as Tony vented.
"I must have ridden a dozen rides. And we rarely did family activities so I thought this one was special. Hell, it wasn't even my birthday." He gave a sarcastic laugh. "Do you know why we went to the carnival that day?" He asked Ziva.
"Well, I was too young to understand at the time, but my dad was cheating on my mom. Senior and the woman agreed to meet each other at the carnival. She was there with her husband and children and my dad was there with me and my mom. They were sneaking off together doing god knows what. Somehow my mom found out and that's why they started arguing. After I got off the last ride, my mom grabbed my hand and we walked fast to the car while my dad was shouting for us not to go. I looked out the back window as we drove away and I saw that woman standing next to my father and he was clutching the stuffed giraffe that I won."
Without thinking about it, Ziva reached across the table to hold his hand. She could hear the hurt in his voice.
"Later that night at home, I was pretending to sleep while my mom yelled at my dad over the phone. I sneaked out of my bed and hid behind the doorway to the living room to watch her. I learned so many different curse words that night. Mom was really creative when she was mad." Tony laughed a little, but quickly changed to a somber expression.
"After she was done talking to my father, she cried. It was the first time I had ever seen her cry. She was so upset."
Angela DiNozzo slammed the phone down on the table and plopped down on the recliner. She put her head in her hands. Six-year old Tony stood by the door as he watched his mother. The wood in the fireplace continued to burn as the fire created a glow that cascaded over her. Tony thought she looked like an angel.
It wasn't until he heard a strange sobbing sound that Tony noticed that his mother was crying. He slowly walked over to her; half afraid that he would get in trouble for not being in his bed. He lightly touched her knee.
"Bambino, what are you doing out of bed?" Angela asked her son. Her eyes were rimmed red.
"What's wrong mamma?" Tony asked as his little hands wiped at the tears on his mother's face.
"Nothing mio amore (my love). Mamma is just very tired."
Tony just stared at her. Her eyes were red, she was sniffling, and her entire body was shaking. He'd never seen her so broken. It hurt his little heart. All he knew was that he wanted to make his mom feel better, so without hesitation Tony embraced her in a hug.
"I love you mamma." His little voice spoke into the night.
He couldn't tell but Angela was smiling slightly over his shoulder. In her moment of despair, she had never felt more proud. She was sure that she was raising her son right. He was loyal, compassionate, noble, loving and caring. If only he could teach his father to be that way.
"I love you too." She replied.
After the hug was over, Angela sat Tony on her lap and faced him toward her. "You are very special to me. Do you know that?"
Tony nodded with a smile.
"I am very blessed to have you Anthony. You are the best thing in my life. I need you to do something for me."
Tony's ears perked up at that. He would do anything for his mother and that's exactly what he told her. "Anything."
She looked him in his eyes. "You are getting older. You are becoming a wonderful young man and I am so proud of you. I want you to be a nice person. I want you to respect yourself and everyone around you. I want you to always say what's on your mind and stand up for what you believe in. Always be a gentleman and always right your wrongs. Bring peace in the midst of chaos. If you love someone, tell them so. I don't want you to ever lie but if you must, know that the truth is never far away."
Tony listened intently to his mother's words. At the time, he didn't know what some of them meant but he knew he would never forget.
"And if you forget all of the things I have said…" She said as if she was reading his mind. "I want you to make a promise to me that you shall never forget.
Always treat the girls right."
Tony gave her a confused look. At six-years old, girls were still yucky and they had cooties.
"Promise me." Angela told him.
"I promise to always treat the girls right."
"She had gotten sick a little after that and she died two years later." Tony finished telling his story. He had a haunted look in his eyes.
He hadn't noticed but Ziva had been crying silently. All of her Mossad training was useless when it came to her partner. And Tony always had a way of tugging at her heart strings, whether he knew it or not.
She quickly pulled herself together when Tony sat up straight in his chair and looked at her.
"I know that over the years I've built up a certain approach to women. Me and the women that I am with at the time, we know what we are getting ourselves into. We both agree to follow certain rules. We agree not to get emotionally attached. It's strictly physical. No feelings are involved and we both walk away. Or in my case, the sheets on my bed is crumpled and she's gone in the morning. It's not the most stable or noble thing to do but I'm honest."
Ziva let him continue to speak.
"But with Jeanne, I put my heart into that relationship. We both did. I knew it was wrong for me to get emotionally attached because it was just an undercover assignment. But I couldn't help it. My mind was screaming what are you doing, but my heart just kept opening up. And the worst part is that Jeanne was up front about her feelings for me. She was in love with me and at the end I broke her heart. I broke my mamma's promise." Tony choked out a sob as tears that he tried so hard to keep inside, began to fall.
"I swear I didn't mean to! Mi dispiace mamma (I'm sorry mom)." Tony said, speaking more to himself than to Ziva.
Ziva hated to see her partner like this. He had always told her that DiNozzo men don't cry, but she was sure that was nonsense his father had made him believe. Although, it was a bit refreshing to see this human side of him. Crying didn't make you weak, it made you stronger. She made it her duty from now on to show him how strong she believed he was.
"Tony, I believe your mother knows how you feel in your heart. She knows that you would not purposefully hurt someone; especially someone that you love."
Tony had calmed down as he listened to Ziva. He was hoping with every fiber of his being that she was right.
"Tony, she forgives you." She told him.
With that being said, Tony got out of his seat and walked to where Ziva was. She got up too and he embraced her in a deep hug. Ziva was glad that he trusted her enough to share his feelings with her; especially about his mother. She could feel the weight lifting from his shoulders as she was sure that he could also. She put her arms around him and let herself be his safe haven.
"Thank you so much Zi." Tony told her as he pulled back.
"No problem Tony. I am always here for you. Do not ever forget that."
They decided to sit in the break room for a few minutes, just enjoying the moment before they had to get back to work.
"By the way, what was it?" Ziva asked with a smile.
Tony gave her a confused look. "What was what?"
"Your face painting?"
He smiled. "It was a tiger."
This was something I wrote while I was in a standstill with the writing for my other stories. My creativity is back, hopefully. So, updates will be coming soon.