While in the car, Tony continued to stare out the window, as he did on the way back to the navy base from the motel. After driving in silence for about a half hour, Gibbs reached over and placed a hand on Tony's shoulder. As he did so, Tony's reaction was just as he expected; he jumped.
"Tony, I want to know what's been going through your mind lately," Gibbs finally spoke. "And don't tell me that nothing is bothering you. You're jumpy, nervous, and you haven't been sleeping. Instead, you've been busying yourself with work or maybe visiting the bars to drink in order to avoid going home. What are you hiding from us?"
"It's nothing, Boss, Tony answered. "I'm fine, really. It's just that for some reason I'm not sleeping too well and I'd rather work than just stare at my ceiling all night. And I'm not drinking either; much. I'm not going to crash and I won't let you guys down.
Gibbs replied, "I'm not worried about you letting us down, Tony. I am just worried about you. Something is obviously troubling you. You know you can talk to me. Is this about what happened in Mexico?"
Tony looked over at Gibbs for the first time and responded, "No, Gibbs. Is that what you think this is about? No, believe me, I understand why you did what you did. Reynosa kidnapped your father, and nearly killed him. If it were my dad, I would have killed her too. You were protecting your family."
"So, the fact that I shot her in the head after I had disarmed her didn't bother you at all," Gibbs asked?
"I promise you that I am perfectly fine with you killing her like that, Boss," Tony answered. "Besides, I killed Detective Rivera. That was pretty cold on my part. You didn't have to ask me to keep the truth from Director Vance or the rest of the team. I would have anyway and I'm fine with doing so."
"You're a good man, Tony," Gibbs said. "Which is why I care about your wellbeing. Please talk to me. If it isn't Mexico, than what is it?"
Tony turned his head back toward the window and responded, "It's just that the team has been under a lot of strain lately. First, because of Jenny's death and getting split up, then, the thing with Michael Rivkin and Ziva being dead for three months, and finally with the whole Mexico ordeal. Most of these mistakes are mine. We are very lucky to still be a team. Part of me just wonders if I deserve to be a part of it. That's all."
Gibbs pulled the car over to the side of the road and turned to look Tony right in eyes as he replied, "Tony, I want you to listen to me. None of those things was your fault and by the way, Mexico was mine. Our team is still together because you, Ziva, and Tim are the best three agents we have in NCIS. Director Vance knows that, which is why he has stuck up for us every time something makes us look bad. You are the best agent I have, which is why you are my lead agent. I trust you with my life. Are you sure that this is all that is bothering you?"
"I'm sure," Tony lied. "Thank you for the high praise, Gibbs. It means a lot."
Gibbs started up the car and they drove off once again toward their destination. He was still unsure if Tony was telling him the whole truth. Tony was still quiet and seemed to be very deep in thought.
Gibbs was angry with himself for allowing Tony to feel that the crap their team has been through in the last few years was his fault. He never meant for the pressure and heat to build up on him and he should have noticed the weight that his lead agent was feeling. He was too preoccupied with his own problems.
Tony was a sensitive kid because of all the neglect he received from his own father. He tried hard not to show it by acting like a clown and all of the movie quotes that he annoys the others with. He just wanted to know that he was appreciated. Tony used to only be able to stay at his previous jobs for the most of two years. However, he's been with NCIS now for over ten years. Gibbs knew how important his job and this team meant to him and he was not going to let anyone or anything cause him to lose it.
Several hours later…
Gibbs and Tony both walked up to the door at Roger Timmons' home in Maryland. The door opened to reveal a short man dressed in a suit. They both figured that this man was Timmons' butler. Rich and fancy men usually had one and Roger was obviously rich from the size of his home and the car that was parked out front.
After Gibbs introduced himself and Tony as special agents from NICS, the butler tried to tell them that his boss was not accepting any visitors, whether they are cops or the press. He told them that Timmons had nothing to say to anyone and tried to close the door on them. However, Gibbs stopped him and pushed his way into the house. Tony followed right behind him.
The butler stepped in front of them and guided them to a room just in from the entryway. The man asked them to wait there while he went to go talk with his boss. Gibbs just stood still and waited, while Tony walked around the room to look at all of the paintings and furnishings.
"This stuff is ridiculously expensive," Tony said. "Between the size of the house, the car, and all of this; it's no wonder this guy can afford strippers. He's loaded. My dad used to own things like this; actually I think he still does. Despite being broke, the man won't sell any of the things that make him look like he is an important man. Instead, he cons people out of their money. Image is everything to him. It's sickening. Am I like going to be like this one day? I mean, I already love the expensive shoes and fancy cars."
"You aren't him, DiNozzo," Gibbs replied. "He's a fool and a con man. You're not."
Tony nodded his head as Roger Timmons walked in the room. The man was dressed in a fancy suit and wore shoes that were even more expensive than Tony ever wore. He looked angry for being interrupted from whatever he was working on.
He was the first to speak saying, "I am afraid, gentlemen, that I am not in the mood to talk to anyone at the moment. I am very busy with the election coming up. It is a lot of work, as I am sure you know. I will have the butler show you out."
Gibbs glared at the man and responded, "Roger Timmons, my name is Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs and this is my partner, Special Agent Tony DiNozzo from NICS. I think you know why we're here."
"I made calls to your superiors, Agent Gibbs," Timmons replied. "They assured me that no one would question me about my involvement with the woman at the motel. That is my business; no one else's."
"You're right," Tony answered. "You're affair with a stripper is not any of our business, but the body of a petty officer in the Navy is. We want to know if you knew who that man was and why he was in your room. The stripper wasn't very helpful, as I am sure you can imagine."
"I know nothing about the man you found dead in my room," Roger said. "My guess is that someone may have found out that I was having an affair and put the body in my room to solve problems in my career. I don't know how, but I swear to you that I know nothing. Now, if you will please excuse me, I have things to do."
Tony walked up behind Gibbs and as the candidate walked out of the room said, "He is hiding something, Boss, but I don't think that he had anything to do with our navy officer."
Gibbs replied, "I think you're right. I'll tell you this, if I lived here in Maryland, I certainly wouldn't vote for the guy. He's too smug."