Written by: Dragonheart
Tony had been released from the hospital two days prior and while he had been given permission to travel by Dr Pitt to attend the funeral of his friend and mentor, he wasn’t yet cleared to return to work and he was thanking God for small favors. He didn’t think he could take any more of the blame filled stares thrown his way when they didn’t think he was looking.
To honor their friend and fellow agent NCIS was holding a wake at the Navy Yard, it was open to all agents and to the public, and anyone wishing to pay their respects was invited to attend. And, while he had all the respect in the world for Gibbs, no way in hell was Tony going to that, he barely made it through the funeral yesterday.
Gibb’s funeral was a private affair held in Stillwater and attended only by close friends and family. It was sad that less than twenty people were there, but it was what Jackson wanted and no one had the heart to argue with the old man. Tony thought it was only fitting that he was laid to rest beside Shannon, Kelly and his mother. And while Jackson had nothing but kind words and embraces for Tony, he could see the blame and anger shining in his tear filled eyes. It was clear to Tony that Jackson blamed him just as everyone else did. The lips may lie but the eyes never do. That was something Gibbs had taught him and it had served him well him in the past. No sense disregarding it now.
Tony was on his third bourbon of the evening when he heard the lock on his front door being picked. He laughed humorously to himself as he knew she would come when he was a no show at the wake.
“Come on in Officer David. Make yourself at home, why don’t cha?” Tony was surprised to hear the slur in his words; perhaps he should cut back off a bit on the bourbon.
Ziva moved through the dark room and turned on the table lamp. Tony was impressed at the feat as she had only been inside his apartment one other time and with the blinds closed it was pretty dark in there. Her rating on the ninja scale inched up.
“We were worried about you when you did not come to the wake.”
Tony smirked “We? I see only you. Who is this we you speak of?”
Ziva winced inwardly before replying “McGee took Abby home, she is not feeling well and he thought it best to stay with her tonight”
“She sick?” questioned Tony concern seeping past the bourbon haze
Ziva looked down at her hands and replied “She is having a hard time with Gibb’s death, just as we all are. But you know Abby, she feels things deeper sometimes. This is one of those times”
That struck Tony hard and he reached for the bourbon bottle to pour himself another drink. Even though she wasn’t looking directly at him, Ziva knew his intent and she grabbed the bottle before he did.
“Tony, please. I think you have had enough”
Tony looked at her as if she had grown a second head and replied “I don’t think you get to say when enough is enough for me Officer David. Don’t you think I know you blame me for his death? You and everyone else. I can see it in your eyes and hear it beneath your pretty words of comfort. It’s my fault. I know it. You know it. McGee knows it. Abby knows it. Jenny knows it. Ducky and Palmer know it too. You can’t even look at me and say his name at the same time”
Ziva placed the bottle on the table and grasped both of Tony’s hands and pulled him just slightly forward in his chair and spoke softly “Tony, please do not take our grief for Gibbs and turn it into blame for you. No one blames you. We do not hold you responsible for his dying. It could have been myself or McGee there that day and it would not have changed the outcome. It is no one’s fault. Sometimes these things just happen”
“I wish I could believe that Ziva, but I don’t. I can see the blame in your eyes even now”
“The only thing you are seeing in my eyes is concern for my partner and my friend.”
He wanted to believe her, and something in his gut told him that she spoke the truth. He wasn’t to blame. He leaned his head back to rest his eyes and to gather his thoughts. The next thing he knows it is morning and he is waking in his bed with the smell of coffee wafting into his bedroom.
After a quick stop in the bathroom to wash his face and brush his teeth, he walked into his kitchen to find Ziva sitting at his table reading an old People magazine, sipping a cup of coffee and eating a piece of dry toast. He is surprised that she could even scrounge that up in his nearly empty cabinets.
“You stayed. Why?” he questioned as he walked to the coffee pot to pour himself a cup. He saw several pieces of toast sitting on a napkin so he grabbed one.
“I need to talk to you about something” answered Ziva.
The look on her face didn’t bode well for a light conversation and he wasn’t exactly in the mood for anything heavy. He vowed to pour the rest of the bourbon down the sink later today, just as soon as his hangover passed.
“I think you got your point across last night. You don’t blame me. No one does. The only blame is coming from me. It’s something I need to work through on my own. I don’t think more talking is needed at this point”
Ziva sat her cup down and pushed it away “it is about Gibbs”
Tony wasn’t expecting that and sat down quickly “What about Gibbs?”
“Jenny told me that he was off the grid the morning he died and she thinks he was investigating something or someone on his own”
“And this matters now?”
“It seems to matter to Davenport”
“Why is SecNav involved?”
“She does not know. She is not even sure that Gibbs was working on something. All she knows is that Gibbs was unreachable all that morning, right up until the time he called you for back up and that Davenport is eager to learn of his whereabouts”
“Is NCIS going to officially investigate Gibbs?” asked a bewildered Tony
“No” answered Ziva looking at her watch “but we are”
No sooner were the words out of her mouth than Tony heard a soft knock at his door. Ziva rose to answer it as she was obviously expecting someone. She opened the door to reveal McGee and Abby standing on the other side.
Tony looked from one face to the other and asked “Why are we doing this again?”
His three friends looked at each other and then all three looked at him, McGee was the one to speak “Because we think that Gibb’s was working on something classified when he died”
Tony saw Abby’s lip begin to quiver as she looked from Tony to Ziva to McGee and said “I think someone killed him”
The three agents answered in unison “What?”
Chapter One by proseac
Chapter Two by merzibelle
Chapter Three by ncischick09