“Director,” Tony squeaked out, taking another sip from his tea. “Got any lunch plans?”
“DiNozzo?” Director Walter Skinner asked, disbelief and hope evident in his voice. “Georgia Brown’s, 1pm,” he continued without missing a beat.
“Thanks,” Tony replied, hanging up. He had about 5 minutes before he needed to head out to see Brad at his private office. Thankfully, when he called to make the request, Brad didn’t mind the change in location. After hearing about the goings on at work all the time from their many meetings, it wasn’t exactly a surprise that Tony needed to keep his private stuff private.
Stepping into the office, Tony winced at the look Brad was giving him. “Tony, what the hell did you do to yourself this time?”
“Ah, Brad,” he croaked. Dr. Pitt just held up a hand while bringing out tongue depressor and then a flashlight to see why his friend was making such horrible sounds.
“Just open up and stay silent, Tony. You can write out why you sound like that in a moment.” Brad was horrified at the redness he was seeing already, nevermind how dark it got the further back, also the more damage he saw the further back he went. He took out the laryngoscope and peered down at the vocal chords only to want to cry at the damage he could see. Backing out he sat on his desk staring at his friend with a sad look on his face.
“Tony, I know we all joke about how much you like to talk, but I also know you are fully capable of being quiet and mature. I am aware that most of that clowning around crap is just an act you put on to annoy and fool your coworkers. So I am going to hand you my keyboard here and you are going to quickly type out how your vocal chords and throat came to look like you gargled with shards of glass and sand.”
Brad handed over the keyboard and turned his monitor around to face Tony. As he read over Tony’s shoulder he grew increasingly upset, enough that he had to walk away a few times to take some deep breaths to calm down and not blow up at his friend by mistake. Finally Tony sat back and took a deep breath of his own, as every time he thought over everything that had happened not just this time, but everything over the years, he became angry and depressed.
“That place–” Brad stopped himself from blurting out something that would get Tony’s back up. He didn’t want Tony going on the defensive out of habit. It had begun to gall him over the years how Tony had worshiped Gibbs like he could do no wrong. Tony picked up the keyboard again and started typing.
“Don’t worry, I don’t be going to bat for Gibbs again,” he wrote.
“Well good,” Brad said in relief. “You need to get the fuck out of there and stay out of there. In fact,” he continued as he rounded his desk, “from the way you look and the way you sound compounded with your mental state – and don’t give me that look, I’m a doctor, I know things — I’m officially recommending that you move to a warmer and drier climate. I really hope that you don’t fight me on this, Tony.”
“I won’t,” he typed into the machine. “Now how about some stuff to help my throat heal and official letters for my director? I already told him that I resign, but he said he needs something so he can let me go for my two weeks with sick leave and all that.”
“No problem, let me write all that up, we’ll fax that over, and then we can go together to pick up your meds and shop for some fancy new iPad or something so you can keep typing. You, my good man, are not allowed to speak for a while until you heal some. Doctor’s orders!”
“I hate you.”