Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Spoilers: thru 05x18 Judgment Day
Word Count: 5 x 100
Challenge: ncis_drabble; Past Challenge #102 - Secrets
Crossposted: ncis_drabble; ncisfanfic; tonydinozzo; ncis_haven
Summary: Secrets surrounded his life from the time he was a kid.
“This will be kept a secret boy.” Those stern words echoed in his head every time he got the slightest urge to tell someone what his father would do after just the right number of drinks. He was creative at school when he tried to explain the bruises away. The other kids were in awe of the stunts he claimed to have performed at his house. His father’s warning followed him through college and into adulthood. Even as he helped victims of domestic violence to come forward, he kept his own childhood experiences secure in the recesses of his mind.
He didn’t actively keep his reason for leaving Philly a secret, but it usually worked out that way. In Baltimore, no one asked why he had left. He had a recommendation from his former lieutenant and that’s all he needed. When Gibbs hired him, he knew that the older man had checked out his background and likely knew. But the former marine never asked. After that, it was just easier to say extenuating circumstances and leave it at that. His happy-go-lucky, frat boy persona kept the likes of Kate and McGee from digging any deeper. It was for the best.
Learning that Gibbs had a family before all the exes hurt in a way he never would have expected. Logically, he knew his boss had many secrets, but he never thought a murdered wife and daughter would be among them. With that new knowledge, many things about Gibbs suddenly clicked into place. He could understand why Gibbs took each case personally, why he was so intense when the case involved children, why he was so closed off to everyone around him. He wished he knew a way to make Gibbs open up, but now the man didn’t even remember him.
It started out easy. It was just short stints on the weekend when the others weren’t on-call. There was nothing to lie about, no secrets to keep from the team. He just let them believe what they wanted about his time out of the office. Then the Director stepped up her involvement in the life of the arms dealer and he found himself entangled in a mass of secrets and lies. When he started “dating” Jeanne, it only got worse. Not only was he dodging his team and then Gibbs at every turn, but he had to dodge Jeanne too.
Inevitably, it all blew up in his face and his punishment was the promotion to being Agent Afloat aboard the Reagan. Too many secrets had landed him in the position he was in, but he found himself lumped with more secrets. The commanding officer of the Reagan had bluntly asked him how he was assigned. Apparently, Stan Burley was suppose to be the Agent Afloat and had been bumped at the last minute. He just shook his head and said extenuating circumstances. Now he was fielding cryptic messages from Gibbs and McGee in regards to finally getting to go home.