Bye, Bye, Love
"Uh, Tony . . . I'm not sure . . . ."
Not the first words you want to hear from the man to whom you just declared your love. The pole-axed look on Gibbs's face was a pretty clear indicator that all those signals I'd thought he'd been giving off had actually been my own wishful thinking. Dammit. What the hell had possessed me to think he'd want someone like me in the first place? I should have known better. I DID know better. I'd just let Abby's enthusiasm and my own stupid hopes cloud my better judgment. And now I'd just blown it in a big, bad way.
"No, Boss. I'm sorry. I thought . . . well, never mind what I thought. How about we just forget this conversation ever happened, huh?" Smiling my most winning smile, I prayed he'd just agree and allow me to crawl back home and wallow in my mortification. The confusion and discomfort on his face signaled that wouldn't be the case, though. Sighing inwardly, I waited for his reaction.
"I'm not certain that's possible. This is . . a pretty significant conversation, don't you think?"
"Not really. I mean, nothing has really changed between us, right? It's not like we've decided to embark on a relationship or anything. You're still the boss and I'm still your favorite field agent. The rest we can just write off as the wine talking." Please, oh, please - agree with me so this nightmare can come to an end. I wasn't sure how much longer I could sit here pleasantly before I started howling in pain. 'Foolish, foolish, DiNozzo. You never stick your neck out unless you either A) are certain it won't get chopped off or B) don't really care if it does. When you forget the rules, you certainly do so in the grandest of styles. Dammit.'
"Tony, I just don't think that's the case. How could things not be different between us? You just told me. . ." Gibbs looked around nervously and lowered his voice. "You just told me that you're in love with me. How can that NOT change our working relationship?"
"Look, Gibbs, the feelings quite obviously aren't mutual, so nothing more needs to come of this. I'm sorry for shocking or disgusting you; that was never my intent."
"I'm not disgusted, DiNozzo. You should know I don't have problems with homosexual relationships so long as everything is consensual. It's just . . . unexpected." The cornered expression he wore belied his assertion. Homosexual lust was one thing in the abstract; it was entirely another when it was directed at you personally.
"I am sorry, Boss. Is there going to be any way for us to get past this?" If not, I wasn't certain what I would do. Seeing him everyday was the one bright spot in my life. If I no longer had that, my existence would once again be as bleak as it had been back in Baltimore. My fear must have showed on my face because Gibbs's expression suddenly cleared and he nodded his head decisively.
"You're right, DiNozzo. Nothing has to change; I have faith we can be adults and continue to work together." Gibbs paused and exhaled a long breath. "I'm sorry the evening didn't work out like you had hoped, DiNozzo."
Christ, the last thing I wanted from him was pity. 'Poor Tony, stupid enough to believe for a minute that a decent guy like Jethro Gibbs could ever love a loser like you. So sad, living in such a delusion.' Yeah, I was already clear on that; I really didn't need external confirmation from the man I loved, albeit unrequitedly.
"Hey, no prob, Boss. Like the Stones said - you can't always get what you want." Shrugging as nonchalantly as I could under the circumstances, I avoided eye contact with Gibbs and reached for the check laying next to my plate on the table. "I'll go ahead and take care of the tab, Boss. You don't have to stick around."
"No, Tony. Let me pay my half." Pulling out his wallet, Gibbs quickly threw down some bills on the table. "Uh, the meal was very good. If you don't mind, I think I will head out. Tomorrow's an early day; I've got a meeting with the Director first thing."
So, he didn't even want me to buy his dinner. Too much like a date, I supposed. And Gibbs obviously needed to make it perfectly clear to me that this was NOT that. "Sure. Sorry to have taken up so much of your evening, actually. I didn't realize it was so late already." Handing my credit card to the waiter who had just appeared at the table, I again looked anywhere but at Gibbs. "See you tomorrow, then."
"Yeah. I'll see you, DiNozzo." And with that, Gibbs pushed away from the table and hurried from the building. Watching him go, I knew that nothing between us would ever be the same. I could only hope that we were still able to work together. But I wasn't going to count on that. First thing tomorrow, I would dust off my resume and start looking for my next gig, just in case. As much as I wanted to stay, I seriously doubted it would be possible. I certainly knew how to fuck up a good thing. Guess my father was right after all.