"So what had you dashing from our drinks last week?" Gibbs asked not even bothering to look up from his boat. He didn't need to as the aftershave Fornell wore was distinctive enough and could override the smell of sawdust.
Fornell watched as Gibbs continued to sand his boat, but wasn't surprised by the lack of attention. It was probably some misguided promise to Diane that kept him coming back some weeks. The man had sunk deeper into his apathy and grief since Tony had left the agency. He didn't see the point in being coy with the details, but he wasn't going to hand over everything he knew immediately. "I had a case of agent stupidity that I was asked to deal with in Philadelphia."
"What did you do?" Gibbs asked, finally putting the sandpaper down and pouring a glass of his favourite spirit to hand to his old friend.
Fornell snorted but accepted the drink of moonshine. He could admit that he enjoyed making Sack's move, but had been surprised that he wasn't making it permanent. He would have, but the man had finally come to the realisation that DiNozzo was not the big bad wolf hiding in sheep's clothing. "I sent Sacks to Alaska."
Gibbs snorted, "Now there is a name I haven't heard in a while."
Fornell smirked and kept on sipping his drink. He asked what he knew was a loaded question, but he was too interested in seeing the reaction. "Yeah, I know. Do you know how your boy is doing?"
Gibbs could have denied the question, but while he might be stubborn, he tried not to be obtuse on top. "Tony hasn't been my boy in a long time." He kept his face shuttered so you couldn't guess what he was thinking but that in itself was an answer.
"And who's fault would that be?" Fornell challenged him. When Tony had left NCIS, it was safe to say that things had ended badly. Gibbs had clung onto his role but had been forced to rebuild his team from the ground up.
Gibbs shrugged because he was a great believer in that you lived life, the good and the bad, and once you made a decision, you had to live with the consequences. He tried to keep any bitterness out of his voice. "He's gone to Homeland and is now Morrow's blue-eyed boy."
Fornell shrugged because it was widely acknowledged that DiNozzo's star was once more in the ascendancy now he had stepped out of Gibbs's shadow. Fornell didn't pull any punches, "He's happy if you care to know, and still gives organised crimes kittens, but they can't deny whose side he is on any longer."
"How would you know?" Gibbs asked dismissively. It wasn't like Fornell and DiNozzo were close when he worked at NCIS, so he doubted they would be close now that he was at Homeland.
"The Sacks issue involved the Mancuso family," Fornell replied, knowing it would strike a nerve. In truth, he was hoping he could use this whole affair to jolt his friend back to reality.
Gibbs sneered, "There is no way that DiNozzo went down to Philly voluntarily."
It had been one of the most intriguing aspects to his protege, but Tony had always been adamant that he wouldn't go to Philly. It wasn't for reasons that others would have assumed, but it was a temptation that Tony would have struggled to resist, and he wanted to keep his career.
Fornell smirked, "You would be wrong. It turns out his adoptive mother will mean he would make nice with the devil himself if it ensured her safety."
"That was stupid to make such an attachment known, especially with mob families," Gibbs replied, thinking about how badly Shannon and Kelly still affected him now.
Fornell had to love the way he was preaching on things he had a passing understanding about, and yet Tony lived it. "You do know that DiNozzo is the Mancuso Butcher , right?"
Gibbs snorted because Tony had admitted to the nickname in their first year working together, but he'd dismissed it considering Tony was a giant golden retriever in human form. "Fancy footwork to gain him credit and an in with the family."
Fornell couldn't hold back his laughter. "Wow, you are so far off base. Did you ever read his file?"
Gibbs shook his head and felt like he needed to offer a reason. "He was too good as showing his boss an image that he wanted to project."
Fornell was snickering because wow, Tony had played him so thoroughly. "Yeah, something you brought hook, line and sinker."
Gibbs glared at Fornell because it was evident that his friend was dying to tell him something and was just stringing this out, and he was done playing. "You may as well tell me. I can tell you are dying to tell me everything."
Fornell was back to teasing him, "I think you mistake me for my gossiping daughter."
Gibbs snorted but could tell he was taking the wrong approach himself and pulled back on the sarcasm. "You know you are a gossipy drunk."
"And you're a morose one." Fornell finished if they were doing the introspective spiel.
"Why are we friends?" Gibbs asked with a wry tone.
Fornell shrugged because it was a question he asked himself at least once a month. "I think you need someone who doesn't want to shoot you on sight."
"Are you saying DiNozzo is one of them?" Gibbs asked sharply because he knew their friendship had ended over the Ari and Jenny debacle, but he didn't think it was that bad.
Tobias shook his head because he knew that Tony didn't much care anymore, which was perhaps more damning. "Not Tony, but I would stay clear of the Mancuso family and SSA Agent Rossi."
Gibbs wasn't getting it. "Why would a profiler care about DiNozzo?"
Fornell rolled his eyes. "Well, in that case, I will spell it out for you... When two people love each other very much. They may choose to take vows and show their commitment to each in others. Do you remember that routine? You've done it a few times so I assume you can remember?"
"I am not going senile."
Fornell couldn't resist, "I noticed you never said anything about old?"
Gibbs didn't try and lie to himself if he could help it. "So you're telling me that Tony is getting married to a guy?"
Fornell smirked. "You know what they fit, and he didn't blink about Tony's mob affiliation and considering their little trip solved a serial killer case and took down a mob family ... The FBI is also happy with their relationship considering their results. It will be an interesting wedding day considering the whole of the BAU, and I are invited to the big day alongside the adopted family."
It was a little harder to deny the truth of it when other agents had been invited. "Good for DiNozzo, I wish I could see McGee and Ziva's face when they find out."
Fornell wasn't going to say anything because he was not going to touch that verbal landmine. Although a thought struck him about an ideal gift because Gibbs wasn't wrong - it would make an awesome video. He was well aware of the legendary tech skills of the BAU analyst. He would head and see the vivacious woman and get a head start on a rather excellent but unique gift for the happy couple.