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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:31 pm 
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Measure Up
by channelD



written for: taylorgibbs, as a Haiti Relief ficlet. Thanks for your donation!
rating: FR13
characters: Tony, Gibbs (non-slash)
genre: drama
set in: season 1
prompt: taylorgibbs requested a Gibbs-Tony father/son story with an unexpected hobby. I hope this works.

- - - - -

Tony waved and ran for the sedan as it pulled into the puddle of streetlight light, opening the passenger door before it had come to a complete stop. “Thanks for coming, boss! I thought I’d have to be here until morning.”

“What are you doing out here at this time of night, Tony? This is 70 miles from DC.” Gibbs grunted, his voice a little raspy. Only for one of his team members, who’d sounded desperate on the phone, would Gibbs leave his bed at 2:30 a.m. in the middle of the work week.

“I was, uh…my car broke down. I was able to limp it to the service station across the street, and they’ll look at it in the morning. But I didn’t have enough cash to pay for a cab home, and the local cab company doesn’t take credit cards, and they say it’s five miles to the closest ATM…”

Gibbs noticed the fact that Tony still hadn’t said why he was out here in western Maryland, so late at night. He only said to him, “Do you want to go home, or to NCIS? It’ll be close to 5 by the time we get back to DC.”

“I guess so,” Tony sighed. “I have a change of clothes there…will that be an inconvenience to you, boss?” he added.

“Nah. I’m set with fresh clothes there, too.” He noticed that Tony carried a briefcase. “Don’t think I’ve ever seen you with that, before.”

A streetlight shone on them as they passed by, and to Gibbs, Tony looked a little embarrassed. “It’s uh, it’s got my hobby inside,” Tony said, clutching the handle tightly. “Uh, you probably want to know what it is.”

“If you want to tell me.”

“Well, uh, it’s like this…” Tony started, and then clammed up.

“Tony, you’ve been acting a little squirrely since we got back from the Enterprise. Did Stan Burley say something—”

“No,” Tony said swiftly. “He’s an okay guy.”

Gibbs couldn’t stand it any longer. “Tony, if you’ve got a problem, you need to tell me. I can’t have your personal life affecting the team, and I can’t help you if I don’t know what it is.”

There was silence for awhile. Then Tony sighed. “All right. It is Stan.”

“What? What is Stan?”

“He’s perfect. You must have been sad when he left your team, boss. He’s like a model agent.”

“Well…”

“And not only that, but he’s accomplished in sports and, well…everything.”

Gibbs waited.

“I just thought…” Tony said. “…thought that if I was good at something, anything…”

“What’s in the briefcase, Tony?”

“Well, it started when I was a kid. When my mother was still alive. We took a trip somewhere, and at a museum, I saw one of those machines that make pressed pennies. You know, you feed it a quarter and a penny, and turn a crank, and it’ll flatten the penny and stamp a design on it?”

“Yep. Seen ’em.”

“I was fascinated. And I started collecting these, everywhere I went. I sought out other collectors and started swapping with them. I have now a collection of over 5,000 coins.”

“Worth anything?”

Tony hung his head. “A little. I dunno. I hadn’t thought much about it for a couple of years, and then I met Burley, and…”

“You were out here tonight to meet another collector, is that it?”

“Yeah. Only, he didn’t show. People can be flakey. He said he had a penny from the 1893 Columbian Exposition, in Chicago. That was where pressed pennies originated. I’ve always wanted one of those.”

“Did you want to impress someone?” Gibbs ventured.

“Maybe.” Tony sighed. “You. Or Kate. Stupid, I know.”

“You didn’t try calling Kate before you called me?”

“No. I can imagine what she’d say: ‘You’re drunk, DiNozzo.’ And she’d hang up on me.”

They both laughed.

“Why do you think you need to impress us, Tony? Or me, anyway?”

Tony looked haunted, under the light of a stoplight. “Because I can’t think of a way that I can measure up to Burley, boss. I never can. But maybe if I had something else going for me…”

Gibbs pulled the car off the highway and stopped it. “Tony, what I care about is you doing a good job, and you do that…better than good. No, you’re not Stan Burley; but you’re your own man. Stan had his quirks…” Gibbs noticed that Tony perked up at that, but he wasn’t going to give him details. “…and his good points, too. I liked you, and appreciated you, before we met up with Stan. And I still like you and appreciate you. You don’t need to show off a hobby. Just be yourself.”

Tony smiled. “Thanks.” The world seemed a lot better now.

“Oh, by the way, I can’t drive you back to get your car today. Maybe Kate can.”

“Kate?” Tony groaned.

“Charm her, Tony. Show her some attractive pressed pennies.” They both grinned as Gibbs pulled back onto the highway.


-END-

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:38 pm 
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Yea! The squashed pennies! ;D I love that! ;D It's fun that Tony was meeting with a guy about a valuable squashed penny...and Tony's insecurity about Stan. Very nice.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 11:49 pm 
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And thank you, Teri, for the suggestion of pressed penny collecting as an unusual hobby. ;D

Despite Stan's kind words to Tony at the end of High Seas, I think Tony would still come away from the Enterprise feeling a little insecure. One thing Tony is not, deep down, is secure.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:52 am 
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Awww. Wouldn't you love to see Gibbs actually open up like that on the show and tell Tony (and McGee) how much he really appreciates them?

Nice, Pam.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:55 am 
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It would be nice if Gibbs did that. He's more of a man of actions than words, as we know. But when he does express himself...it's all the sweeter. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:33 am 
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This is charming, Pam! And it manages to handle Tony's serious feelings of insecurity, too--I'm sure you're right, that at this point in his life, he wakes up in the middle of the night thinking, "I'll never be as good as Stan Burley." Even though he shouldn't worry. For all his joking around, Tony really is driven to do well. He wants to be a good agent and he wants Gibbs' approval more than anything.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:45 am 
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That's how I feel. Going into that episode, Tony was suddenly almost slapped in the face by this legendary Stan Burley...whom Abby and Ducky remembered with great fondness. When Gibbs makes a crack about Tony's hiring (I think he said, "It seemed like a good idea at the time,"), Tony has to feel uncomfortable.

One thing I do like about Tony is he really does have a tremendous potential. He's really good at doing the field work, and Jenny saw a lot of promise in him as a team leader. If he didn't act like a goofball so much of the time, he probably would have advanced sooner. But he is who he is, and his insecurities are part of that.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:17 am 
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Great story!

Ton always does feel the need to be special, like at the end of missing. Where Gibbs says he is irreplaceable. Poor baby.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:03 am 
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:wavingyellow: Loved the story, Gibbs showing appreciation to someone. Sometimes I wonder if, he doesn't do that more often because of his issue with his father, and because he was a "big tough marine."

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:47 am 
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Thanks, Tamara! No matter how long Tony is with NCIS, he'll always have some insecurity, I think.

Good point, Pat! Some leaders make a point of telling their people how valued they are; others rarely will. We know which camp Gibbs is in. His relationship with his father may well have had a lot to do with that. Being in the Marines may have been a way of resolving to stay tough.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:00 pm 
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This is absolutely wonderful! I love the hobby and the camaraderie between Gibbs and Tony. You show us a Tony whose insecurities are raw, but who is brave enough to open up to Gibbs.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:15 pm 
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I'm glad you like it! :)

I see Tony as admiring Gibbs tremendously...and, now that we've met Tony's dad, it's easy to see why Tony would look upon Gibbs as the supportive father-figure that he never had growing up. Tony needs Gibbs' reassurance, and probably at no time more than after meeting Stan Burley. Gibbs is wise enough to support him. And as you say, Tony is brave enough...and trusting enough...to confide in Gibbs.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:57 pm 
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Oh, I liked this! I like seeing Tony being doubtful of himself (much more than when he's cocky and so sure of himself :P ). Lovely little friendship piece :yes:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:10 pm 
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Tony is at his best when he's honest about his feelings. He hasn't learned this yet, and so still feels the need to strut and pump himself up, most of the time. But yeah, an honest Tony is a pleasure. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Lovely exploration of Very Special Agent Dozzo’s insecurities! Great bit of bonding with the Boss Man too...and it was fun to see the ‘old team’and a wonderful ‘guest’ in a ficlet!!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm 
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If I could work Stan Burley into every fic, I think I would. ;D He came to me when I needed inspiration for this one. That's our multi-talented Stan (now, don't be envious, Tony).

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:17 pm 
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Aww, great Tony-Gibbs conversation. I do think Tony has a lot of insecurities, but most of the time he tends to take it out on other people (especially people with the initials T.M. - :ranting: bad Tony), so it’s nice whenever he doesn’t do that and lets himself be vulnerable, be it with Gibbs or somebody else.

And it’s been ages since I’ve seen High Seas, but I remember liking Stan. :smitten: They should bring him back.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:19 pm 
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Glad you liked it, Sam! I really like Stan Burley and wold love to see him back. High Seas was a wonderful episode...so well-written.

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