AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
PAIRING: Anthony DiNozzo/Maddie Tyler
CHARACTERS: DiNozzo, Maddie
SUMMARY: Tony finds Maddie crying and makes a decision he never thought he'd make.
CHALLENGE Amnesty 2008 - 'Relativity'
WORD COUNT: 534
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
"Talk to me, Maddie." Tony crouched down by the side of her chair and brushed her long hair from her face. "Tell me what's wrong." As she continued to sob, he gathered her into his arms and just held her, trying to calm her, stroking her hair and kissing her head.
Gradually her sobs quietened, until finally they ceased altogether. She looked at him. "Oh, Tony," she said, her voice still shaky. Her eyes were red, her cheeks and nose wet, her lips sore from where she must have bit them. "They're going to kill him."
He blinked and instantly went into Special Agent mode. He gripped her a little more tightly than he'd intended and his voice was harsher. "Who, Maddie? Who's going to kill who? Tell me!"
Just for a second she looked almost afraid of him and then she gave a half watery smile and touched his face. "I'm sorry, Tony. I should have said they're going to put him down. It's Ashton, the horse I ride."
He felt the relief flood through him and then instantly felt bad about that. He knew how much she loved the horse; he didn't really understand it, after all it didn't have wheels or a steering wheel, but she loved it and he loved her so he tried to understand. "Oh, Maddie," he pulled her nearer to him. "Why?"
"Because he's damaged his foot and it won't get better, not properly. He'd be fine if someone only rode him once a day, but that's not enough for them to justify keeping him. I wish –" She broke off and bit her lip, glancing away from him.
Tony sat back on his heels and looked at her; despite her tears she still looked beautiful to him, even though her nose was now running. He pulled out his handkerchief, wiped her eyes and then handed it to her. "I'll buy him for you," he said, his tone firm, his voice low.
Her eyes widened. "Tony, you can't. They may be about to put him down, but he'll cost a lot of money and then there's the –"
He silenced her with a kiss. "Yes, Maddie," he said several moments later. "I can. And I will. Now go and wash your face and I'll buy you a pizza. Go on," he said, when she didn't move. "Or shall I go and get a pizza without you? I know I'll get your favorite toppings and I'll sit and eat it in front of you and I won't –"
"Beast!" she said, her eyes now shining with happiness.
He watched her run off to the other room. What had he done? He'd just offered to buy a horse and that meant one thing: he'd have to call his father and ask for the money. He'd made a vow he'd never do that, because the cost would be so great. But now the cost didn't matter, because it was for Maddie and for Maddie he'd do anything – even face his father.
He pulled out his cell and pushed a button and listened to the rings. One, two, thre – "Dad," he said. "It's Tony. There's something I need to ask you."