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Tony struggles after a hard case , Gibbs sends him on a vacation hoping to help . Meeting Eliot Tony learns even more about himself and what he wants and with Eliot's help he gets it. 

This is a Dinozzo/Eliot Spencer pairing.




Tony sits there, knowing that the answers that he needs are not going to be found at the bottom of a bottle, if he even knew the answers he was looking for. But right now he just didn’t give a damn. The case was hell and he had a need to simply be numb for a while, even if it’s only temporary.

About the only good thing that can be said about the case is that they solved it, too late for the family who lost their son, but the family can at least have some measure of closure. Everyone labeled it a hate crime and in a roundabout way it was. The murderer hated himself in this case and not the Petty Officer. Hated his inability to control the deeper desire and need for his victim beyond just sex.

It wasn’t even that the guy didn’t know he was Bi-sexual, apparently he’s acted on it for years. But for some reason the deeper emotions and need that he had for the Petty Officer threw him off kilter and he couldn’t accept that and thought by removing the object that caused his turmoil he would be freed from it.

Looks like he never considered the fact that he could fall for another man, after all he just used them for sexual release and not an emotional connection. It was all so senseless and stupid, just plain stupid.

But for Tony, the case brought up too many emotions and they were all swirling around generating their own havoc. Was he like the murderer? Was he equally afraid of that type of emotional attachment?

He’s known he was interested in men, as well as women since he learned about sex. Tony always considered that it gave him twice as many opportunities for sex. He finds men equally attractive and sexy as women just never advertised it because of his chosen field. He’d seen too many hate crimes and the prejudices that come from lack of understanding and though DADT may be gone, the stigma remains.

So he plays his part of a womanizer well, He tells exaggerated stories about ‘sexcapades’ , which in truth no one should believe. And though some are true, to a point, he knowingly omitted several crucial and telling details. Any real relationship he has, he never mentions anyway, male or female.

Tony takes another swig out of the bottle hoping that soon the numbness will set in. He’s just plain tired, tired of having to hide half of himself away, tired of playing the game and tired of being alone. He doesn’t feel like Tony anymore and is just not sure what to do about that.

What would happen if he stopped pretending, if he stopped playing a part and instead let Tony in fact be Tony? It’s not like he believes that the world would come to an end or anything that drastic. But how would the team react to a more serious, introspective and intelligent SFA? How would they take the news that the seemingly straight DiNozzo is a lot more bent than anyone knows? 

Tony sits back against the back of the couch and thinks about their possible reactions. Let’s start with the easiest ones first; Abby, Ducky and Jimmy.

Abby…it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to find out she already knew. She’d definitely be hurt that he hadn’t confided in her earlier and then the next second would be pestering him for all the details and telling him she had friends that would be perfect for him.

Ducky, that man is more astute than anyone realizes. Tony imagines he’s put together all the pieces of the puzzle that is Tony and has come out with a complete picture that shows all the aspects of who he is. Ducky would be proud that Tony was finally ready to stop pretending and supportive of him no matter what.

Jimmy already knows due to a drunken night after Gibbs was on his Mexican sojourn and Tony was feeling decidedly unprepared for the lack of support from the team. Jimmy and Tony had become close and he knows him better than most and when he starts to get dragged down gives Tony his own version of a Gibbsslap.

The other three are the unknowns in this scenario. Still, Tony can’t believe that Gibbs would have any issues at all. Gibbs is well aware of his education and on many occasions given Tony flack for not bringing it up to the team. The only reason Gibbs has not spoken up is the simple fact that he believes that it’s Tony’s story to tell and not his. He doesn’t agree with my actions, but does respect them.

Tony has absolutely no reason Gibbs would have a problem with his sexuality, he’s never shown himself to be homophobic in any way shape or form. The hesitation mostly stems from reactions that have been received from his own father when Tony told him. Suffice it to say, it did not go well and he didn’t want a repeat and manage to alienate the one man he’s looked up to, respected and considered to be more like a father than his own flesh and blood.

Now McGee, Tony didn’t see as having a real issue with the sexuality part, but the foundation that McGee has based his worth in relation to the MRCT will be shaken to the core. Tony doesn’t doubt that McGee sees that Tony has intelligence, but he’s built the image of Tony around his own insecurities and hasn’t allowed himself to look deeper. Once McGee reconciles the facts in his head and has some time to adjust, Tony has every confidence that their own relationship will grow with the changes.

Ziva is a real wildcard in this scenario. Tony has never really been quite sure where he stood with her. She plays him hot and cold and he’s never sure which it’s going to be at any given time. In the scheme of things, if she’s the one negative possibility Tony can deal with that.

Tony knew that things needed to change, that he needs to reconcile himself to the changes that he feels coming, the need to stop the act and to find a balance. He can see and feel that he’s closing himself off more and more from the team and not really participating in anything.

Maybe he needs to get away, gain some perspective and find out what it is that he wants. This is nothing like before, when Tony left other departments, this is more along the lines of running to something and not away. Time to recharge, regroup and put all the pieces together.

Tony rubs his hands down his face and can’t help the sigh that escapes, now what? He hears a knock at the door and grabs his gun as he looks over at the clock. Who the hell would stop by at this hour?

Looking through the peephole he sees Gibbs. Fuck! This he doesn’t need, he’s too tired to think clearly and right now is not the time for a social call.

Tony opens the door and gives him a questioning look. “Boss?” Moving aside to let him in.

Gibbs looks around and sees the open bottle of Jack on the coffee table, then looks at Tony raising one eyebrow.

“What? It’s one drink.”

“Ya’ gonna share?” Gibbs asks.

Tony closes the door, resting his head against it for a second before heading in the kitchen for two glasses.

“Sit, Boss. Why are you here?” Tony asks as he pours their drinks handing Gibbs one.

Gibbs swirls it in his glass for a moment then takes a sip. “Something has been eating at you for a while and I’m concerned.”

“Just tired Boss, still able to doing my job, no worries.” Tony hoped he didn’t look as panicked as he felt.

‘DiNozzo, I never said I was concerned about you doing your job, I’m concerned about you.  I can tell this case hit you in a different place.” He looked over at Tony reassuringly. “Everyone has a breaking point. Hell, you’ve lived through one of mine. Why do you think I had to go to Mexico? It wasn’t just the memory loss or my getting my memories back and having to relive my girls deaths. It was also my breaking point, when I had to take a step back end re-evaluate.”

Tony looked at Gibbs in shock, not sure if it was because he opened up to him or because he spoke so many words at one time. He rendered Tony speechless.

Gibbs chuckled reading the expression on Tony’s face. “I can and do sometimes put whole sentences together. I share when it’s needed and with people I trust. I don’t like seeing my family hurting, and you are.”

Tony stared into his glass, trying to find the right words to say, and debating whether he should lay himself bare or not. Sighing, realizing that there’s no one he trusts more than Gibbs, they’ve had each other sixes and been through more together than most people. “Don’t know quite how to explain it. It feels like someone else is living my life.” Tony tried to explain.

“Not sure how or even if all the pieces can be brought together to make me whole. All the roles that have been played for so long over the years, how do you get anyone to see past that, and accept that there is more to me? How do you put the puzzle pieces together and make a whole picture?” Tony sighed and then continued in a whisper as his fears came to the surface. “What if they don’t like the whole Tony or can’t accept him? You know my family history with the DiNozzo’s, this team became my family. How do you keep that from changing?”

“Tony, people change and grow all the time, that’s life. I don’t think any of our family will see any part of you as unlikeable. Christ, I’ve changed over the years and you still put up with me.”

Tony looked up at Gibbs. “But what if you can’t? They can’t?” Tony so wanted to believe that Gibbs was right and that nothing would really change, but it seemed too hard to believe that.

“I know for a fact there is nothing you could tell me that would change the way I see you. Period. Now, I put in for you  to use some vacation time.” Gibbs held his hand up to stop any argument Tony had. “You’ve earned the time and you need a break. We’ve been working non-stop for months and it will do us all some good. Ziva and McGee are out for two weeks and you for a month.”

“Boss-“Tony started.

‘Tony, you need it. Get out of here for a while, go someplace you’ve always wanted to go. Just keep in touch with Abby and me or we’ll worry. When you’re ready to talk, call, I’m ready to listen.” He stood up and ruffled my hair. “One month Tony, understood?”

Tony felt some tension in him loosen up at Gibbs’ words. “Yes, Boss.” He walked Gibbs to the door and closed it and for the first time tonight he felt like it might all work out.

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Tony put away the bottle and the glasses and sat back down on the couch thinking about the visit. On the one hand he wanted to be pissed that Gibbs arranged this time off for him without consent, but then the other part realized that Gibbs did it because he cared. Gibbs saw that Tony was having trouble and had his six.

Now all he needed to do was decide where to go. He didn’t want a spring break type of vacation, which would most certainly surprise a great many people, but what he wanted was a place to regroup, relax and think. 

Pulling on sweats and a t-shirt he decided to ring up Abby and see if she had any ideas and…well just talk to her and let her know he was alright. Gibbs message wasn’t lost on him, it was obvious Abby had talked to Gibbs as well.

Tony headed out to the living room to grab his phone and call.

“Tony! I was thinking about you. You must be psychic. It would be really cool if you were, think of all the crimes you would solve. But then you already solve them, so it doesn’t matter, and you never had this ability before. But sometimes people just get it, so you may have. But you haven’t hit your head lately so I don’t know.”

“Not psychic, Abs. Just wanted to talk to you. And what kind of thoughts were you having of me my Gothic Goddess?”

She laughed. “Not those kind Tony! I’ve just been worried about you.” She paused. “Did Gibbs talk to you?”

‘Yes he did, and it’s ok. He told me about the time off and though it may have been a bit underhanded, I’m actually glad. I need it. I just don’t know where I want to go.”

Tony could hear her relax. “Well, where is someplace you have never been? Or is there someplace you may have seen pictures of and you’d like to see. A month is a lot of time T-Man and you could go to several places if you wanted. Or even out of the country.”

“I don’t feel like traveling overseas right now, maybe next time. I always wanted to go to Texas, I’ve never been there.”

“It’s always bigger in Texas! You could find out if that’s true. You could see Dallas, Austin, Houston or some small towns. Or down by the Gulf of Mexico, maybe Galveston.” She laughed. “Get yourself a big cowboy hat and boots and charm the pants off everybody!”

Tony had to chuckle at her vision. “Hopefully not everybody Abs. I do have standards to maintain!”

“But you’d be nameless there, free to explore everything and enjoy it!” Abby hesitated. “I just want you to have fun and totally be yourself.”

“Working on that part Abs, just have to figure it all out. I’m hoping after this trip to have a better grip on things, my life and what I want.”

“I just want you happy and smiling again. I miss that famous DiNozzo smile. It’s been awhile. You need this, so go forth and relax, see what happens, what you find. And know that no matter what I love you. Got that Mister?”

“Yes, oh Mistress of the Dark! I hear and obey! I love you to Abs. I’ll keep in touch with you and Gibbs so no worrying.”

“I’ll try not to. Get some sleep. Night, Tony.”

“Night, Abs.” Tony hung the phone up and headed off to bed. Not surprised when big cowboy hats and boots invade his dreams.

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

Tony woke up early and instead of trying to return to sleep, deciding he may as well get up and start his day. After taking care of morning business he went to the kitchen to have coffee and start making plans to get away. Deciding to listen to his dreams, and though he may not wear a hat or boots as large as the ones in them, he does decide that Texas is where he’s heading.

Grabbing his coffee and Laptop he starts the searching and planning process, deciding first to fly out, rent a car and stay at a Hotel near the beach. He starts with Hotels and looks to see what’s out there, available and nice. Perusing all over  the coastal areas, he decides on Galveston Island. There’s a lot to see and do and the ocean to ease his weary spirit.

Looking over all the options, he settles on renting a condo, more space, a kitchen, some privacy and if he makes acquaintances it’s a place to hang out. Looking through all the options, he finds the one that stands out. Gulf Stream Condominiums, it’s a bit pricey, but he can only blame himself for, as he decides to go with the Pent House. Gibbs is right, it’s time to do something for himself.

That determined, he makes the reservations happy to find that it’s available for the duration of his stay. That left plane tickets and car rental, piece of cake. He would fly out tomorrow morning and have a Jeep Wrangler reserved.

Tony gives Abby and Gibbs a quick call, letting them know all the pertinent information and beg off on them taking him to the airport, but compromising by letting them pick him up when he comes home.  He starts to get excited thinking about all the possibilities this trip could offer up.

Closing down the laptop and grabbing another cup of coffee, he heads to the bedroom to start packing. Mentally making a list of things that needed to be done today; stop the mail, empty the fridge, pack and straighten up so there’s no mess when he comes home. For the first time in a long while it feels like the weight of the world is off his shoulders and he smiles.

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Tony makes quick work of packing already deciding what he doesn’t have he’ll buy there. He’d rather travel light and ship anything he buys back home and the airline can’t lose carryon luggage. He makes short work of the things needed to be done.

Ordering some dinner so there’s no mess and no leftovers, he sits back and relaxes. Turning on the laptop looking to see what’s around the condo .He’d already made up his mind that he would not plot and plan his time out there, but rather just let things happen and see where it leads. Nonetheless he wanted to see what was around the area.

Finishing up dinner and closing down the laptop, Tony looks around to make sure that everything is ready for the morning and heads off to the bedroom to get some sleep.

The traffic to the airport is fairly quiet that’s one of the advantages to an early morning flight. And considering DC traffic, he’ll take it. He makes it to the airport with plenty of time to grab coffee and breakfast.

Landing in Houston Tony grabs his carryon and quickly heads over to pick up the car at the rental office heading out to the Island. It’s a beautiful day so he takes the soft top off and absorbs the rays. He can almost hear Abby’s voice telling him that it meant he was in the place he was supposed to be, so the sun was smiling down on him.

Smiling at that thought, because really, who wouldn’t smile at the stuff that can come out of Abby’s mouth. All he does know, is that he feel s really good right now and is looking forward to just being.

The drive to the Condo isn’t long and pulling up to it, he grabs his bag and heads inside.  Retrieving the key from the caretaker, she hands over a packet of information of things to do and places to go around the area and mentions that there is a small grocery store just a couple of blocks down. Thanking her for the information, Tony heads up to the penthouse to begin his vacation.

Closing the door, he makes quick work of unpacking his bag and getting settled. He has every intention of utilizing the small grocery store that was mentioned in the future just not for the initial shopping. He wanted to fully stock the kitchen and then be able to walk to the store and pick up a few things.

One of the reasons he picked the penthouse was for the kitchen, it’s not a well-known fact but he loves to cook and is seriously looking forward to making use of that kitchen. The kitchen in his apartment is not really geared for the way he likes to cook. It’s not the first time that he’s considered finding a different place, that’s not even including the fact that the elevator never seems to work or the boiler always goes out.

Maybe it’s time to make that change, move somewhere that is more suited to my needs. Huh…here for barely an hour and already deciding to make changes, very aggravating when Abby and Gibbs are right. Speaking of the two soothsayers, he needed to give them a call, tell them he’d arrived, and he may as well do that before checking out the kitchen and see what all needs to be purchased. Foods a given, but there may be other stuff as well.

Picking up my phone, he decided to call Abby first, mostly because she will be the first to worry if he waits too long.

“HI, Tony! How was your flight? How’s the Penthouse? Have you seen anything cool yet?” She stops to get a breath and Tony jumps in really quickly, years of talking to her you learn a few tricks.

“Hey Abs. Flight was fine, no excitement and I’m guessing at that altitude that’s a good thing.” He hears her giggle at that, “Penthouse is great, drooled over the kitchen and haven’t really had a chance to see anything yet.”

“But you will! I’m glad you arrived safely, I had your voodoo doll in a safe place in order to protect you. I just want you to enjoy yourself while you’re there. No stress and lots of fun, even if it’s quiet fun. Understand mister?”

Tony laughs. “I hear and obey oh Mistress of the Dark! Plan on having fun and relaxing, and promise to keep in touch while I’m out here. I’ve got my laptop so I can send pictures to you as well, and of course video chat.”

“You’d better. I want pictures, and if you meet people I’m always willing to share stories about you over a webcam! I may not have naked Tony as a baby on a bear skin rug, but I can improvise.”

“Nobody better have any naked pictures of Tony at any age! We’ll see about chatting with people I meet no promises! I know that’s just your sneaky way of making sure that I’m putting myself out there missy, don’t think I don’t know that.

He hears her sigh. “You know me to well, but in my defense it’s only because I love you. It’s been a long time and you’re ready. You never know what can happen while you’re there, as long as it’s not bad or scary. So no getting kidnapped or taking candy from strangers! Now go have fun! Love you!”

“Love you too Abs!” With practiced ease, he ends that call and hits the number that will connect me to the next.

“Gibbs.”

“DiNozzo, reporting as directed sir!”

“Smart ass! Give yourself a head slap.”

Tony laughed. “Don’t think so Boss, I’m too far away for that to work!”

“Don’t count on that, I know people everywhere.”

Thinking about that for a moment, it wouldn’t surprise him a bit. “Ok, ok…consider myself slapped. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve arrived and caused no problems on the plane.”

He snickered. “Good to hear. Glad you made it and checked in. Now go. Just keep in touch and stay out of trouble.”

Tony smiles at the insinuation. “I’ll try. Bye Boss.”

That taken care of Tony heads to the kitchen to see what he has to work with, knowing that the condo included a lot of the basics, they had sent him a list of what  accoutrements were supplied when he made the reservations. He wouldn’t have to worry about dishes, glasses, silverware and the basic pots and pans, but wanted to know if there was anything that might be lacking.

Tony started making a list of everything he wanted to pick up and food stuffs needed. The food was easy, he needed everything. He’d noticed a large grocery and liquor store on the drive in so the list made he picked up his keys and heads out.

It took a few hours, but he managed picked up everything on the list and a few things that weren’t and bring it back home to put it all away. 



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December 2012

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