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Title: Forgiven, Not Forgotten
Summary: Tony forgives, but forgetting's another matter.
They were all there, was all Tony could think as he exited the elevator into the garage. Gibbs, Abby, McGee, Palmer. And if Gibbs and Abby were there, it's for damn sure Ducky was. Maybe even Gerald.
Ziva had parked on the far side of the garage, had to, thanks to her newbie status in the agency. About three-quarters of the way there, he angled towards the stairs that led to the outside world.
"Hey! Tony! Where are you going?"
Tony stopped and faced her, then said simply, "I'm not hungry and I don't appreciate your company right now, so I'll catch a cab."
It didn't surprise him that she looked surprised by his statement.
"What are you talking about?"
But there was no way he was going to reveal how hurt he was; both by her exclusion and by everyone's collusion. He looked at her for a long minute, searching for what to say that wouldn't actually go into hurt feelings. Tony finally settled on, "I don't want to be around someone who doesn't want me around. I'll see you at work tomorrow, Officer David," and started walking.
"Tony, at least let me call Abby or Gibbs to give you a ride," Ziva called after him.
Glaring back at her, he snapped, "What makes you think they don't fall into the same fucking category that you do, right now?"
Tony hissed at himself for revealing that much, but didn't dwell on it. He turned back to the stairs and walked away from her, his stride matching the pulse in his injured arm. If he hadn't had a stick, Tony would've just driven himself home anyhow. As it was, he was going to have a bitch of a time getting a cab.
Reaching the first floor, he pulled out his cell and awkwardly dialed information, then waited to be connected to a cab company. It would be twenty minutes before a cab could get there, unfortunately, so Tony settled down on the bottom stair to wait on the cold concrete.
"You're going to catch pneumonia sitting out here," Gibbs observed about five minutes later.
Tony didn't bother turning around. He didn't even move from his almost comfortable spot against the wall. Gibbs' presence was right at his back, but Tony knew there would be no smack to the head forthcoming. If there was, his resignation would be on Gibbs' desk and then he would catch a cab out.
Swallowing against a tight throat, Tony shrugged and didn't answer. He was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to without betraying just how upset he was.
Gibbs sighed and tried again, "It was stupid and mean and wrong, and I'm sorry, Tony. We shouldn't have excluded you like that."
Tony took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. He stood and faced the other man, but as usual, Gibbs was inscrutable. If he was truly sorry, it wasn't showing on his face. "If I wanted to be excluded and made fun of, I would go home for the holidays. Or I would've stayed in Philly. Jesus, Gibbs, what made you think that I would just lie down and take this, this kind of insult?"
"Are you going to resign?"
"Is there a reason for me to stay?"
Gibbs actually grimaced at that and looked away. "You know we want you here, Tony. I want you here."
"You've got a real funny way of showing it," Tony told him, swallowing again to maintain control. He cleared his throat and finished, "You know, Gibbs. You know I can't just take this."
"Yeah," Gibbs sighed. "I do. What are you going to do?"
It was Tony's turn to look away, his gaze taking in the mostly empty parking lot and the guard booth with its lone inhabitant. The air was bitterly cold with no weak winter sun to warm it. Tony wanted to think that it matched his heart just then, but the truth was only the hottest, wettest thunderstorm would do that. That was his problem and always had been; he was too emotional, too quick to trust, too passionate in more ways than just the sex.
He finally looked back at Gibbs to find the other man exactly as he'd been before. There was no hint as to what the ex-Marine was thinking, which of course was part of the problem. Tony shrugged, in the end, and said, "I'll be in to do my reports tomorrow. Just...if you do this again, I better not find out about it."
"It won't happen again," Gibbs stated flatly.
Tony nodded slowly, having no choice but to trust him.
"You want a lift?"
This time, Tony shook his head. "I've got a cab coming."
Forgiven, not forgotten.
Gibbs nodded slowly, taking his unspoken words and replied, "I'll see you tomorrow."
The cab honked out in the parking lot and Tony left without saying goodbye. He felt Gibbs' gaze on him the whole walk there and, when he glanced back at the parking structure, could just about make out the man's silhouette from the shadows.
They were going to be a long time recovering from this one, no doubt about it.
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