Title: When
Author: amejisuto
Fandom: NCIS/CSI: NY
Summary: Tony finally has enough.
Pairing: Tony DiNozzo/Don Flack
Prompt on Table: Table 8, Time. Prompt: Childhood.
Written for: 10prompts
Rating: R for Language.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. No harm, no foul, no money made.
Warnings: Some language, but that's about it.
Word Count: 3603
Beta'd by the wonderful suki_blue. Thank you for helping me with this and sharing the Tony!love darlin! You rock!
Notes: Yeah, the episodes Boxed In and Faking It are why I have a hard time writing Tony/Gibbs. Not that I don't love reading it, I do. I just wish Tony would tell the team to stick it up their collective asses sometimes. So this was written. This is a total AU, unless CBS is pulling some weird crap with their character back stories that I don't know about. While part of my [info]10promts challenge, it's not Tony/Ian. It's something new! Enjoy!

The first thing Tony really paid attention to that night after leaving the office was that he was almost out of gas. It was only when he pulled over into the rest area that he realized he was in the wilds of West Virginia. He laughed hollowly. Great. It wasn't bad enough that he was having the crappy day to end all crappy days and his team mates were treating him like shit, he had to go and drive while in a fugue. Tony was just glad the interstates were nearly empty this late at night.

He used his debit card to pay for the gas, wincing at the price, and then moved away from the pumps and parked by the door. Inside he splurged on a thermos and bought four cappuccinos from the machine. It might be cheap powered crap but it tasted okay and was filled with sugar and caffeine. He put them on the counter and then proceeded to grab several Snickers, Carmellos and packages of Reese Cups along with a travel size of Advil and No Doze. A few minutes later he was armed with more caffeine than Abby consumed in an entire week. Well, maybe not. Still it would be enough to get Tony back to DC.

Of course he hadn't planned to go anywhere, other than dodge Ziva and her attempt at cooking him dinner. At the moment the way he felt he'd pour whatever it was over her head, take her gun from her and shoot her with it. Tony shook his head. It was a pretty picture but with the way his life was going right now he'd give himself third degree burns and Ziva would end up shooting him instead.

Tony took out his cell phone and looked at the display. Two, no – three missed calls. Without even looking he knew that it would be Ziva, Gibbs and then Abby. Unless Gibbs called twice. Tony couldn't even remember hearing it ring. He ignored them all, and hit the speed dial for the number he was calling more and more often of late.

It rang four times before a disgruntled voice with a strong Queens accent answered the phone. "I'm off for two days, so fuck off Mac. Find another pet detective."

Any other time Tony would have joked and called the other man Ace Ventura but not now. "Donnie?"

"Tony?" There was some rustling and he could tell that Don was sitting up and coming awake. "What's wrong, babe?" Tony hesitated too long and the voice snapped at him. "Tony! Answer me, damn it!"


"Are you fucking drunk? Now."

Tony got in his car and leaned forward, hunching over the steering wheel. "Not when as in time, but when as in enough. Regarding Henry, 1991. Harrison Ford and Annette Bening. After he's shot, one of the first things Henry re-learns is how to say when. Near the end of the movie when he quits his secretary asks him what's wrong and Henry says: 'Well, I had enough. So I said when.' I've had enough, Donnie. I'm saying when."

He could hear Don swearing under his breath. "Goddamn it. Where the fuck are you?"

"West Virginia. Somewhere." He was not going to admit to his friend that he didn't remember driving that far.

"Are you okay? Physically, I mean?"

"I damn well hurt all over, I'm hungry, I was locked in a metal shipping container all day and my so-called partner tried to shoot her way of out it, which of course ricocheted and either the bullet got me or a shard of one of the packing crates splintered and got my arm. I've got a long gash that some paramedics bandaged up but I didn't go to the ER." Mainly he hadn't gone because he'd wanted to do paperwork and get the hell out of dodge. Now that he'd driven gods knew how long with it untreated for the most part, Tony was wishing he'd gone in.

"Damn it, do you not have any sense? You stay right there, I'm coming to get you. You got a GPS? What's your coordinates?"

"Don, I'm fine. I just tanked up on coffee and chocolate. And I don't want to leave my car out in the middle of Hicksville, I'd never get the smell out."

"You're lying."

Damn it. Don was a damn good detective and he just knew him too well. There was no way he didn't know that Tony was mentally and physically exhausted. "Yeah, well, I still don't want to leave my precious Mustang in the middle of nowhere. If you had a high class ride instead of that Japanese toy, you'd realize a thing like that."

"Hey, my Toyota Avalon isn't a toy, you bastard. And I thought muscle cars like Mustangs were Sorry About Your Penis Cars. I know you're older than me, but I didn't know you needed that kind of help yet, Sex Machine."

Tony's black mood started to lift at the familiar banter. "Brat."

At the ripe old age of twelve, Tony's father had left him behind. Again. This time though, he'd been left in the middle of Manhattan. It had been one of those 'you'd better keep up or I'm leaving you here' deals but Tony at that point hadn't cared and had been glad to see his father take off in a snit. Usually the old man would leave him at the hotel or in the middle of some park where they'd been doing a Civil War reenactment. This time though, Tony was close to Central Park and he wanted to ride the carousel he always heard about but had never gotten to see.

Of course at the time, Tony had never really explored before, never mind figuring out the pathways and directions of Central Park. He ended up lost and started to look for someone to help him. He'd' been hoping for a parent type person because at the time, his father did not approve of police so Tony hadn't really trusted them.

What Tony found, was a six-year-old boy with blue eyes, dimples and floppy hair. Before Tony knew what was happening, the little boy had gotten his story out of him, promised that his Daddy could help him and had dragged Tony over to an off-duty but still in uniform cop.

At the time Tony had been terrified. To his father, all cops were 'pigs who stuck their nose in everyone's business'. Looking back on it as an adult, he realized that the police had visited more than once, to either stop his father from beating the crap out of his mother, or when one of the 'maids' had appeared in public with a black eye. Of course back then, unless the women pressed charges nothing happened. His mother never sobered up enough to stand up for herself, and the maids would either keep their mouths shut or find themselves back in whatever third-world country they had come from.

His rescuer hadn't noticed Tony's fear. All little Donnie Flack Jr. knew was that he had a new friend who needed help and his Daddy was good at that sort of thing.

That was how it had been ever since. Don leading the way and Tony following, despite the fact that Tony was the elder. For five months he had stayed with the Flacks as a foster child, and it was Donnie who had brought Tony out of his shell. It was Donnie who taught Tony how normal kids acted, and Donnie who had shown him how to play catch and Donnie who had dragged him to sit down in front of a magical box to watch Sesame Street.

Up until that point, he'd never seen television. His mother had been convinced it was too lowbrow for someone of their position. If it had been up to her, Tony would have been the perfect aristocratic prince, and things like playing football and baseball were for the lower classes. The sailor suits were just the tip of the embarrassing iceberg in his closet. Every year for his birthday Tony had been fitted for a new Morning Suit, complete with tailcoat, silk ascot and top hat. He had owned spats.

When she died, his father had destroyed all of his clothes, stating they were part of the problem with Tony being a sissy-boy. Of course the main reason he had to call Tony that was the fact that Tony had actually cried at her funeral. Emotions were something his enemies in the courtroom would use against him and made him weak.

The Flacks knew the signs of emotional abuse, and tried to help but Don Sr. was working extra hours at the time and Donnie's mom had been pregnant with baby Samantha, who had been just as troublesome in the womb as she was out of it. Looking back on it, Tony saw that they'd been ecstatic that eleven-year old Tony had been just as fascinated with little Donnie as Donnie had been with him. It gave them a babysitter and kept both boys out from under their feet. He and Donnie had stayed in touch, even when Tony was sent to boarding school in another state. Some of his dorm mates had made fun of him for writing to a seven year old kid, but Tony ignored them. No matter where Tony was, Donnie was an important part of his life.

"Yo, Tony! You didn't fall asleep on me, didya?"

Tony had to grit his teeth a moment to keep from yawning. All this talk of being tired was making him notice just how exhausted he was. "Nah, just remembering you taking me home, Donnie. Other kids take home stray dogs and cats, maybe turtles, but not you, you had to be different."

"That just goes to show how wonderful I am. Now, you're gonna put your cell on hands free and get in the car. I'll talk to you and make sure you don't fall asleep while you drive home. Knowing the way you drive, it'll probably be just a couple of hours, depending on where you are."

Tony grinned as he set his phone to the loudspeaker and put it on the holder he'd attached to his dashboard for just this purpose. Donnie was always taking care of him and after the day he'd had, it was a damn good feeling. "Sounds good, Don. As soon as I see a road sign I'll tell you where I'm at."

Tony chuckled and pulled out onto the highway. After the crap he'd gone through today, it was good to talk with someone who was honestly his friend, no matter how big of an asshole he could be at times. Because Tony could admit that sometimes his whole frat boy persona could be annoying, and it was damn hard to turn off.

Donnie would just flash him those baby blues and a disappointed look and Tony would shut up. The younger man just didn't know how much power he had over Tony and for the most part, that made Tony glad.

Only part of him though, not all of him.

There was the sound of cloth rustling and Tony could just picture Donnie laying back and getting comfortable. "Good. They way you're sounding I'm surprised you didn't drive through Virginia asleep and hit somebody. Now get started and I'll tell you about the time me and Burn had to investigate what killed a construction worker. It was a crappy situation, lemme tell you ..."

Tony settled in for the rest of his drive and listened to his friend’s voice. He was going back to DC but just being on the phone with Donnie made him feel like he was home.


In the end, Tony figured he was a glutton for punishment. He'd swallowed his pride and gone back to NCIS. Well, not right away. First he'd driven home, only to be met by an irate Irish-Italian New Yorker who had been driving the entire time they were talking. Donnie all but dragged him out of his Mustang and shoved him in his toy and dragged him to the ER.

Donnie had ended up staying four days, even though Tony only missed one day of work. He was fed, dragged around town during his off hours and Donnie had even visited the Navy Yard to snap and snarl at his team mates.

Tony had loved every minute of it.

Gibbs, of course, had been less than happy. He hated it when other agencies came sniffing around his people, and started acting like even more of a bastard. Finding out that Tony had over two decades worth of friendship with Don only made it worse.

Of course Donnie calling in for him and cussing Gibbs out that first day hadn't helped. Or the fact that Donnie came in to drag Tony out for lunch the other three days. Or the fact that Donnie had somehow, and Tony still wasn't sure just how, gotten to know Ducky and told him the entire sordid story about Tony getting shot.

Ducky had not been pleased with the rest of the team. And an angry Scot was a sight to behold.

Yeah, with the exception of Ducky, none of his team seemed to like Donnie. Even Abby had gotten snarky one day.

'If he's such a great friend, where was he when you had the plague?"

"In intensive care, after being caught in an explosion and nearly having his chest blown off. We talked on the phone a lot. Well, gasped on the phone a lot."

" ... oh."

Still, after Donnie went home they all seemed to put the discomfort they felt around him behind them. Oh, they'd all apologized for leaving Tony out – except for Gibbs of course – but they had been pissed that Tony had told an "outsider" about it. It was the elephant in the room that everyone ignored.

Still, Tony didn't let that bother him. He wasn't sticking around because he had nowhere else to go, he was staying because for the most part he enjoyed the job at NCIS. Most metropolitan police departments had specialized - robbery, vice, homicide, bunko squad, missing persons. Here at NCIS there was a variety that kept Tony from going out of his head. Two years in Baltimore Homicide under Capt. Gaffney and Tony had jumped at the chance to leave. It was either that or buy into Lewis' bar The Waterfront just so he could feel better about turning into a drunk.

And it wasn't like he was lonely. If anything his social calendar was busier than ever. He stopped putting in late night hours at NCIS when he was at loose ends and spent time on his rare long weekends in New York no matter what Gibbs wanted. Donnie came down to DC on his days off, sometimes alone and sometimes with his buddies from New York. When baseball's opening weekend rolled around they all met in Baltimore to watch the Orioles beat the crap out of the Yankees, much to Tony's and his buddies from the Charm City's amusement.

He spent a lot of time on the phone with Donnie on weeks they couldn't meet up. Which was, as Martha Stewart would say, a very good thing.

"Tell me somethin', Tony, if you're bi and I'm bi ... how come we never hooked up as kids?"

"Because I was older and your dad made me promise to wait ‘til you came onto me if it ever happened. He's still hoping for a Donnie Flack the Third you know, even sent me a belt sander for Christmas once and told me to offer to help with Gibbs' boat."

"That bastard. He never told me that. I owe Pops a kick in the nuts."

"Donnie! That's your dad!"

"So! He shouldn't be keeping shit like that from me. We've wasted years 'cause I was thinking you considered me your bratty younger brother. By the way, consider yourself approached."

Not that Tony watched Martha Stewart all that much. Well, except for on Saturday Night Live.

Still, Tony had known a fall was coming. He finally had a personal life that was going damn good, despite the fact they were in separate cities, and after a few bumps, his work life was finally getting on an even keel. Gibbs even trusted him enough to let himself be taken hostage in a brave, yet boneheaded move and despite Ziva and the Director and half of DC's alphabet soup on his back he managed to catch the bad guys and keep the kids in the middle of everything alive. Everything was going good, work was getting better and every other weekend he and Donnie managed to find some time together.

So Tony had been halfway braced for his life to fall apart. Murphy's Law hated him though and instead of his life getting slammed, it was Gibbs who was caught in an explosion. Gibbs who was the one in the hospital this time.

Gibbs who lost fifteen years of his life.

Tony had hated it for Gibbs, and wanted to be there for the man. But just like when he had the plague and Gibbs had to stay on the job, Tony forced himself to stay and at least try to figure out what Pula had been up to. Of course not even Gibbs' memory returning somewhat had saved the Cape Fear.

What a total circle jerk that had been. Part of him didn't blame Gibbs a bit for turning in his badge and gun. Tony had been halfway tempted to as well. He hated it when politics took precedent over people's lives.

After that, things went downhill. Oh, not his personal life. Tony didn't know what he would have done if he didn't have Donnie there to talk things over with, and once he'd even gone to his friend Stella to help him figure out just what the hell Madame Director was really thinking and he'd been hoping a female point of view would help. Not like he trusted Zee-vah, with her sniping and bitching about how he wasn't Gibbs.

Hell, for that matter, Tony didn't want to be Gibbs. And despite what the others thought, he had despised being in charge. Especially since McKiss Up and the so-called Mossad Ninja fought him nearly every step of the way.

Ziva wasn't as good as she thought she was anyway. Hell, Tony had been on a crossover case once while working in Philly with the New Orleans police and there had been a pretty blonde forensic scientist who could have out-wrestled, out-investigated and most definitely out-shot Ziva David any day of the week. He remembered his time in the shipping container and still couldn't believe she'd been stupid enough to try to shoot her way out. Any idiot who'd watched Star Wars would have known the bullet would ricochet.

And now Gibbs was back and just dumped Tony's crap on his desk and picked up just like he hadn't spent the last few months getting drunk in Mexico and growing a pornstash.

Not that being in charge really mattered. After all, Ziva and Tim would probably argue the sky was purple just to push his buttons at the moment. Madame Director was pissed at him too, had been ever since he'd told her no to her grand idea of Tony sleeping with some girl to get info on her daddy.

What kind of bad guy had a name like The Frog anyways? And why the hell did half the NCIS agents he knew have their own personal crusades? Gibbs had Ari, Sheppard had La Grenouille.

Mike Franks had Arkady Kobach.

It all came to a head with Mike Franks dealing out his own personal justice. that night, after Ziva had bitched about picking through puke and Tony took the ribbing about being hit on the head again and wasn't it lucky it was mostly empty to begin with, he realized something. Over and over again, people kept on telling him how he wasn't Gibbs. It had seemed like an insult, but now it was a lifeline.

Tony didn't want to be Gibbs. He didn't want to be along with nothing but a boat to go home to. He didn't want to get so used to stretching the rules that he didn't even blink when his mentor killed a man in cold blood. He didn't want to have an obsession, his very own Moby Dick, that kept him up nights and drove him insane.

What Tony wanted was pretty much what he’d wanted for years. To help people who couldn't help themselves. Like Donnie and his Dad had done for him all those years ago. To catch bad guys and make it stick like the cops could never seem to do with Father Dearest.

To be the kind of person Donnie could be proud of. Because while he might have had a good case of lust for Gibbs at one point in time -- and what sane bisexual person didn't? -- Tony had belonged to Donnie ever since the first time the smaller boy had taken him by the hand.

So as his finished his report, Tony opened up an email and sent Don a one word message to get the ball rolling and get his resume to the personnel office at One PP in New York.