One Way Ticket

 

By Anna

 

EMAIL: Anna

 

 

Finding myself at a loss for words

and the funny thing is it’s ok

 

 

 

Any other time, NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo would have rather loudly and incessantly proclaimed his hatred for priority flights.  He would have extolled the virtues of commercial airline travel – especially first class – to any and all who would listen.  And even to those who didn’t want to hear it.  To those who would have made a rule against talking about it just to shut him up.  Not this time.

 

This time he walked to the plane with an almost military gait to his stride, dark sunglasses perched on his nose effectively hiding most of his face.  What could be seen was expressionless, blank, like a mask.  He boarded the transport jet and, with a minute amount of work, stowed his gear and then moved to a vacant jump seat, lowering himself into the contraption. 

 

It would be a long flight out to California and then he wasn’t sure how long he’d have to wait before catching transport to the Reagan.  She wasn’t that far out in the ocean but she’d had a few days head start on him.  Playing catch up already…he hoped this didn’t indicate what the next six months of his life would be like. 

 

He remained quiet but very aware of each person that boarded after him.  Carefully studying their movements and where they sat had been a habit ingrained in him since shortly after joining NCIS.  These young men – and didn’t that seem strange for him to consider them young men – these men were being shipped out.  Anyone could tell that just from looking at the seriousness of their expressions.  He knew how incredibly crass it would sound, but there was a part of him that was glad the flight was something serious and not just a training mission.  He really was in no mood to be personable and he wouldn’t need to attempt to be his normal boisterous self with this group.  All Tony really wanted was to sit and think about the last month or so of his life and how far-reaching the after-effects would be. 

 

He let himself sink deeper into the seat netting as he heard the engines rev and felt the bulky transport shake and shudder as the pilots steered their machine down the runway.  Before he had time to dwell on the thought, they were airborne and climbing.  Tony found himself being absurdly grateful that there were no windows close by for him to stare out of.  He didn’t want to feel himself haunted by images of his old life as he jetted off to his new one. 

 

Yet no matter how hard he tried, Tony could not quite stop himself from second guessing many of his decisions over the last year and a half.  It would have been so easy for him to just place the blame on Gibbs and his departure to Mexico for everything that had happened. But Tony had never been one to pass the buck when it really mattered.  Over the small stuff?  Sure he would and usually as quick as possible. Yet when whatever went wrong affected a case or one of his friends, Tony did the right thing for the most part, owning up to whatever his involvement was. 

 

Gibbs had told him more than once that the whole debacle with Jeanne had not been his fault but Tony could not get the thought that he had betrayed Gibbs out of his mind.  He’d screwed up so badly with Jeanne and her father, failed Jen, lied to Gibbs – more than once.  He’d been so sure he’d lost everything when the op had gone to hell in a hand basket.  Finding out that the Frog knew exactly who he was instead of who he pretended to be had him wondering whether the paperwork for his life insurance policy was updated and in order.  Being ordered in the limousine with Jeanne and her father – Tony could have sworn they could hear his heart beating out of his chest.  And then his car had exploded.

 

Learning later that the team had seen the explosion on traffic cameras and had thought he’d been driving, discovering that Gibbs had refused to let another team process the scene of his ‘death’ and hearing from most of those who had been in MTAC with the team had both warmed Tony’s heart and broken it.  He never again wanted to be the one to cause so much pain to those he cared for.

 

Letting Jenny go off unprotected in California was not something he’d be able to work through easily.  He’d already had too much to drink on more than one occasion and it still hadn’t helped to wipe the picture of the diner from his mind.  Her body should never have been allowed to get so broken.  No one deserved to die the way she had and he couldn’t wrap his head around what they’d been told in debriefing and in his private chats with Ducky.  He should have gone along with what Ziva wanted rather than insisting that they follow orders.  Hell!  When had he ever been an order-following type guy? 

 

Nope he had royally screwed up and his team, his friends, his family was paying the price.  He should have had the guts to talk to Vance and accept responsibility for shirking his duties.  Maybe then he might have saved Gibbs from losing the whole team and saved Ziva from being shipped back and McGee from geekland – no matter how much fun he thought it would all be.  If he had been upfront and mature about the whole situation, maybe he alone would have been shipped off.

 

He stared down at the floor, wishing he’d thought to grab the small flask he’d packed for situations like this.  He was bored with too much time on his hands and he needed a drink.  God that made him sound so pathetic!  Even to his own ears.  What would Gibbs…

 

No!  Gibbs wasn’t there anymore.  Tony was on his own in the big bad world.  He had a one way ticket to prove it.  He was no longer NCIS Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, senior field agent to Leroy Jethro Gibbs.  He was Special Agent DiNozzo, Agent Afloat for the USS Reagan for at least the next six months.