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Fallen Under His Protection

Chapter Text

Title: Fallen Under His Protection

Pairing: Tibbs

Rating: Adult

Spoilers: All of NCIS

Disclaimer: I don't own anything to do with NCIS

Summary: Tony is tired of everything. He's trying to be the best leader he can be, its never enough. Director Shepperd is trying to force him undercover. It is time he left before the job destroys him. One man steps forward and makes sure Tony is taken care of.

Feedback: Yes please

Chapter One

Tony stood in front of Jenny's desk. He reached over and handed her a plain white envelope. She just stared at him, and then finally grabbed it when he didn't say anything.

'What is it?'

'My resignation.' He replied simply.

Jenny's mouth fell open in shock. 'Your resignation?' She paused as she gathered her thoughts together. 'I'm afraid Agent DiNozzo I am unable to accept your resignation at this time.' She needed him for her undercover op. He was the best choice. Tony was charming, and an excellent agent with great undercover skills. With him in the op there was no way it could fail. If she sent anyone else Jenny knew she would have doubts, and would be checking all the time.

'Well madam director.' He watched her scowl at the title. 'It's not up to you to accept my resignation or not. I have sent a copy to HR as well as SecNav with the reasons why. I've left out your op for now, but if you continue to block my resignation he will find out about it.'

'Fine.' Jenny snapped and then slammed the envelope on her desk. 'You may leave after your resignation period.'

'I've actually been to HR, and because of the time I have on the books, and we aren't currently working a case I'll be leaving now.' Tony would've normally helped whoever was going to replace him. No one thought he was good enough to be team lead so there was no point on passing what he knew on.

'Today? We need you to train up your replacement.' Jenny argued she wanted him around so she could work on him.

'You don't need me. I've heard you and Ziva talking.' Tony grinned as she paled. 'The only reason you kept me on as the team leader was because of your op. You thought it would make me more agreeable. You should have told McGee and Ziva to actually do their jobs, and not to question me all the time. I know you also want Gibbs back, not only at NCIS, but also in your bed.'

Red splotched appeared on her face as she tried to control her anger. 'Make sure you leave your ID, weapon, and cell phone when security escourts you out of the building.' With that she looked down at the open file and began to read.

As soon as he walked out and the door closed behind him he took a deep breath.

'Tony, are you okay?' Cynthia watched him with concern.

'I'm fine.' Tony smiled and winked at her. 'Take care of yourself Cynthia, and don't work too hard. Make sure you have a life outside of this place.'

'Take care of myself? Are you going somewhere Tony?'

'I'm leaving today actually. I just handed in my resignation. There is no longer a very special Agent named Anthony DiNozzo.'

Cynthia couldn't hide the shock and sadness on her face. 'I'm going to miss you Tony. You always made me smile, and made me feel good about myself. I know things had been difficult for you since Gibbs retired. I wish I could have done something to help.'

'I appreciate the thought Cynthia and I'm glad that I could make you feel better.' Tony gave her one more smile and then turned and walked away.

Cynthia watched sadly as one of the most loyal and caring man had been driven out. She had actually started to hate working here. She sighed and then carried on with her job. It could be time to start looking for a new one.

XXXXX

McGee watched as Tony walked towards his desk with a box in his hands, and a security guard next to him.

'What's going on Tony?' Ziva watched him as he packed away his desk. 'Have you been demoted or transferred?'

'None of your business, no and no.' Tony started to place his personal items into the box. The only person that he had told he was leaving was Jimmy. He'd left letter for Ducky, Abby, McGee and Gibbs if he ever came back.

'Goodbye McGee.' Tony smiled sadly at him. He missed that young agent that was so eager to learn.

'Aren't you going to say goodbye to me Tony. I know you'll miss me. I know what you true feelings for me are. You're in love with me.' Ziva whispered seductively.

Tony just laughed at her. 'You're going to crash and burn. Your skills as an investigator aren't great. You also think about yourself. You only care about your needs.' He paused for a moment. 'How I feel about you? You're delusional, because there is no way I would ever love you. I'm not even attracted to you now. So please get over yourself.' Tony then turned to McGee. 'Watch your own back, with no one else on the team you don't have anyone. Don't count on her.'

Tim just stared at them, not saying anything. He didn't want to be dragged into the middle of this. Tony finally headed towards the elevator. He could feel Ziva's glare. It made him chuckle. The security guard looked at him strangely, he then watched as Tony struggled to balance the box. The guard reached out and pressed the button to call it to their floor.

'So you're leaving then?' Balboa asked as soon as he reached Tony.

'Yeah, I am.'

'I don't blame you. I tried to talk to them, all of them. I wanted them to see how they were treating you. I know the only one doing it on purpose was Ziva. I also brought it up with the director.' Balboa turned to Tony when he laughed. 'Yep it was obvious that she wasn't going to do anything. It seemed as if she wanted you to feel alone.'

'She did.' Tony smiled at him. 'Thanks for trying though, and for all the lunches and dinners. They really helped.'

'I wish I could've done more. They're going to realise what you actually do, and the skills you have.' He passed over a card to the former NCIS agent. 'Keep in touch, and let me know how you're doing?'

'I will.' The elevator doors opened and in walked Tony and his shadow. 'See you around Balboa.'

Balboa hoped that this would be looked into. Shepperd and David shouldn't be allowed to get away with what happened. The harassment to make Tony feel alone was disgusting. It was so clear what Ziva was doing. Tony had admitted that the director was doing it on purpose.

Once the other agencies found out that he was a free agent there was going to be a feeding frenzy. A lot of people would be offering some great opportunities to him there was no doubt about that. What Tony needed at the moment was a friend, someone he could rely on. Balboa grinned when he thought of the perfect person.

He pulled out his cell, and pressed speed dial.

'Hey Fornell, it's Balboa. It's about DiNozzo.'

TBC

Chapter Text

N/B I couldn't resist yes Director Skinner is Walter Skinner from the x-files.

XXXXX

Ever since Gibbs had left, and they had cases with the F.B.I, Balboa had seen how concerned Fornell was about Tony. He had done his best to help while they had been teamed up. Fornell had seen how things had become worse, and told Tony to call him if he needed anything at all. It seemed as if they F.B.I agent knew that things were going to explode at some point. Balboa hoped that Fornell could actually help DiNozzo.

XXXXX

Tony walked into his apartment and dropped the box onto the table. All of his years at N.C.I.S fitted into it. As he looked up he glanced around at where he lived. It looked like it was from a magazine. It didn't scream out Tony DiNozzo. There was no movie memorabilia, nothing. It fitted with the image he portrayed. When had he become that person altogether? Why had he hidden elements of himself? Instead, he came across as vain, and a joke. It worked when dealing with criminal elements they always believed that they could play him. He shouldn't have needed to do it with friends and team-mates.

Tony chuckled bitterly. 'What friends?'

The change of clothing all happened after Danny and Wendy. He used clothes as armour against other people. It portrayed am image. The not settling down, that was all about Wendy, he never wanted to be hurt like that again. The joke was on him though, the person he had fallen in love with was a man. A man, who had left and broken is heart, smashed it actually. It hurt more than it did when Wendy left. It wasn't Gibbs' fault he never knew how Tony felt. It didn't matter now though. He had been blind when it came to Danny, and he wasn't good enough for Wendy. Why would other people think differently? Tony shook his head, now was not the time to be thinking about this. The negativity was not helping.

His apartment didn't feel like home, it was just a place he slept. He rarely invited people over and definitely not the people he slept with. The only place that felt like home was Gibbs'. Tony loved staying there. He guessed it was more to do with the man himself than the actual building. He needed to make huge changes in his life. He couldn't keep living like this.

Tony sighed when he heard a knock on the door. He'd hoped that he would get a little time to himself. He wanted to figure out where he could get away for a while so he could figure out his future. It couldn't be somewhere obvious. That would have to be put on hold while he dealt with whoever wanted to talk to him. Tony walked over to the door and looked through the peephole.

'I'm seeing things.' Tony muttered. 'This can't be good.' He was sure that Jenny didn't put out anything to have him arrested. He finally opened the door as that was the only way he was going to find out. 'What the hell are you doing here?' Tony glared suspiciously at his visitor. 'You're not here to arrest me for murder again or any other reason?'

Fornell snorted. 'No, I'm not, Balboa called me. I did do my best to help you kid, but working in another agency there is only so much I could actually do.'

'I know.' Tony had noticed that Fornell insisted that the two of them worked as a team. He listened to Tony's ideas without any attitude or jokes. Fornell also praised him in front of the others. 'I did notice. I never thanked you for that. I'm sorry it's taken so long. Fornell thank you for everything you did to try and help me. Thank you for making my life a little easier when you could.'

'Don't worry about it. You had enough on your plate as it was. All the thanks I needed was the relief and a smile on your face.' Fornell suddenly started to laugh. 'I bet Shepperd hated the calls from my director?'

'What calls?' Tony had no idea what he was talking about.

'Son of a bitch, with everything going on and what I picked up I should have known she wouldn't tell you.' Fornell hated her more and more.

'Tell me what?'

'My director called her and complimented you. He told her how lucky and proud she must have been with an agent like you.'

'Really, why would he do that?' Tony blushed; it had been a long time since someone of a higher rank had praised him.

'It wasn't just me kid. On the cases we worked with you, you had been the one that figured out the missing piece, no one else. The other agents with me also noticed how you were being treated, and how professional you were. Whatever was said you carried on. If it weren't for you, we would still be stuck on that last case, and that little girl Laura might have died. Her father is good friends with the director, after he met you he told him that you had the whole package to go far in the business.' Fornell held up his hands to stop the sudden barrage of questions. 'Director Skinner called me in and asked me about you. What were my opinions and thoughts about you? He'd also heard things about Shepperd; she's not been as quiet as she thought. He wanted to offer you a job. At the time, I said you wouldn't leave NCIS. Let's just say I spoke to him before I came here and mentioned things might have changed. Let's get you rested up and then you can decide what is best for you.'

'So you're not here to offer me a job?' Tony asked he was really confused now.

'No, I'm not; there is one if you want it. I'm here to take you away and hide you until you're ready to see anyone and to make your own decision about your future. Now go and pack what you actually need and let's get the hell out of here before someone comes looking for you. It won't be long before other agencies find out and will come looking for you.'

'Job offers?' Tony questioned as he headed towards his bedroom.

'What the hell has everyone done to you? I could kill Gibbs; the closed mouth son-of-a-bitch. The other agencies only stopped offering you jobs because they realised you would keep turning them down. You have an amazing skillset.'

'Where are we going?'

'I'll tell you in the car. Will your neighbours say anything?' Fornell had wanted a little time before he was bombarded with queries.

'No, everyone on this floor is at work this time of day, and unless they are physically at the door they don't notice anything.'

'Is there a way out you can go without camera's picking you up?'

'Yeah, there is a door out the back. It has a numerical lock, I do happen to know the number. The front entrance has a camera. That is the only place so far they are slowly adding the upgrades so no one gets bothered by non-stop noise.'

'The number still works then?'

Tony turned and grinned at him. 'I check on a regular basis, you never know when it might come in handy.'

'I'll head out back the front alone.' Fornell handed him a piece of paper. 'Go straight to this address, they're expecting you. I'm going to wait here for a bit to mess up any timeline if people come looking. I'll then head to the office and tell update the director that I did make a general job offer to you. I'm not actually sure what he wants to offer you.'

'Tobias Fornell, has anyone mentioned that you're very sneaky?'

Fornell chuckled. 'It has been mentioned.' The smile suddenly vanished from his face. 'Don't worry DiNozzo, you're not alone. Whatever you need I'll do what I can to help.'

'Thank you Fornell.' Tony gave him a small, honest smile. He was amazed what the older man was doing to help him.

'It's Tobias, Tony. That's what my friends call me.' He answered gruffly.

XXXXX

Tony had hitched; taxied, bused and finally made it to the address he'd been given. Before he had arrived home, he had drawn out a large amount of cash from the bank. Until he was ready, he wasn't going to use things that could trace him. He had no phone as it was NCIS property, his car was back at the apartment, no one had seen him leave and with all the alleyways, and ducking through different buildings he wasn't followed.

Tobias had stayed in his building for a little longer making it look like Tony was still there. Tony had no idea how long the F.B.I agent would wait for. He'd ask when he saw him next.

Tony walked towards the house that he had been sent to. He had no idea what to expect. His draw dropped open after he had knocked on the door and it had opened.

'You're here to help me, why?'

TBC

Chapter Text

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

XXXXX

'Why don't you come in first and then I'll answer all your questions.' The woman smiled at him, as she led him into the building.

Look Mrs…..' Tony paused for a moment. 'What are you going by now? I don't mean to be rude, but….' He shrugged his shoulders as he stopped talking.

'I'm still using the name Sterling, but I am seeing Tobias again. We've decided to give it another go.'

'I guess that explains why you're helping me.' Tony laughed. His body released more of the tension it had held onto. 'Why are you being so kind to me? I mean the last few times we've met you've been….' He waved his hand around.

Diane just chuckled for a moment, and then looked at him thoughtfully. 'You've been through a lot. I'm giving you a break.' She smiled suddenly. 'When you are back in top form, I'll be back to the bitch you know and love.'

Tony laughed. 'Thank you.' He told her seriously. 'I don't know what I was going to do if Tobias hadn't turned up. I had thought about just packing up and leaving, never to come back. I'm just so very tired.' Tony whispered wearily.

'No one is going to think of looking for you here at my house. You can stay as long as you need to. Once you are rested and are ready we'll be here to help you figure out what you want to do next.' Diane promised him.

Tony had been made so many promises, and most of them had been broken. He'd stopped believing in people for a while now. Being here in this house, with this woman, he actually believed her.

'Tobias told me about the F.B.I wanting to hire me.' He felt as if he should seriously consider it.

'Well, it is one option, maybe more will appear. Don't say yes just for Tobias, he wouldn't want that. Not with everything you've already been through. Just forget about it for now and get some rest. Your room is this way.' Diane watched as Tony stumbled slightly. She could see the fatigue in his slouched frame, pale skin and the huge bags under his eyes. She reached out and helped to steady him.

'Sorry.' He apologised as he tripped again. His body had been on alert for so long, and now that he felt safe he suddenly never felt so tired.

'It's okay.' Diane went upstairs and opened one of the doors. 'Here you go, this is your room.'

Tony walked inside the warm and homely looking room. 'My room.' He whispered.

'Get some sleep and come down when you're ready.' Diane told him.

'What about Emily?' He asked.

'She's at a friend's house tonight. She knows that you're going to be here. No matter what time you wake up there will be a plate of food waiting for you downstairs, all you'll need to do is just heat it up.'

'So this is more for just tonight then?'

Diane noticed the change in Tony's voice and attitude. He suddenly seemed like a lost little boy who was afraid he was going to be thrown out. She wanted to go and hurt all the people that had made him feel like this.

'This is your room for as long as you need it.' Diane promised him. 'I'll see you when you get up.' She watched Tony nod, and then she left him alone shutting the door behind her.

Tony looked around the room again. He couldn't believe who the two people that had come through for him were. He collapsed on the bed and fell asleep immediately.

XXXXX

'That poor boy.' Diane whispered as Tobias walked in.

'He's not really a boy Diane.' He held her tightly, but he couldn't believe how bad things had become for that young man.

'You didn't see him earlier. He came across as a lost little boy ready to be thrown out at any minute. He thought that he would only be here for a night and we wouldn't help anymore. That's how it seemed to me. What kind of childhood did he have?'

'I don't know, but if he can take the shit that Jethro throws at him, and stayed it couldn't have been pretty.' Fornell answered.

'Talking of Jethro, are you going to call him?'

'Not yet, I want him to be in a lot better shape before anything like that happens.' He was going to make sure Tony got the rest he needed.

XXXXX

Jenny had given it a couple of days before she tried to contact Tony. She had hoped that he would have cleared his mind and be thinking straight. She also wanted him to be in a better mood, one to which meant he would agree to the undercover op.

When he hadn't gotten in contact with her asking for his job back, Jenny had gone to his place. There had been no answer when she knocked, so she had no choice but to pick the lock. It was useful to keep some skills sharp. He wasn't there. The mail had built up at the door. When she entered the bedroom, the dresser drawers were open as were the wardrobe doors. Tony had apparently packed some things and left. Before she left Jenny went down and grabbed the security tape for the front door. Jenny had explained to the apartment manager that it seemed as if he was missing, and they needed to find out if he had any visitors.

Once she had arrived back at the office, Jenny did a little investigating herself. He had drawn out a large sum of money as soon as he had left the office. Apart from that there had been no other movement on his account. His cell phone was property of NCIS so it was still here and wouldn't be any help. When she checked out the location of his car, it was still at Tony's apartment.

Jenny sat at her desk and forwarded through the tapes. She watched and pressed stop as Tony arrived at the building. She looked down at her notes. He evidently had gone to the bank and then went straight home. Jenny was glad it was a slow day for her, well as slow as they could be. This was important, so she had told Cynthia not to disturb her unless it was an emergency. She pressed forward and watched as numerous unknown people walked in and out of the building. That was when her mouth fell open, and she paused the tape again. Tobias Fornell had just gone in.

'Why's he visiting DiNozzo?' She muttered to herself.

He had stayed there for an hour, and then he left alone. Tony never went out the front entrance after that. Jenny knew that he was gone. So when had that happened? He could have been hiding out in someone else's apartment in the same building. If not how had he left? If there was another door, did it have any cameras?

First things first she really needed to find out why the F.B.I needed to talk to Tony, or was it a personal visit? Had Jethro sent him? Had either of them already heard about him quitting? Well, Jenny knew that she could find the answer to at least one of those questions. She grabbed the phone and called the director of the F.B.I Walter Skinner.

XXXXX

Fornell grinned as he put the phone down. He wanted to call Diane and tell her what had happened. That was so she could pass it onto Tony, but he wouldn't. They could talk tonight. He wasn't going to do anything that would make anyone suspicious. There was no way anyone would be able to figure out Tony's hiding place, not until he was ready. It seemed as if Jenny still hadn't given up on him. Whatever she wanted Tony to do was something serious and probably very dangerous. Fornell that Tony was up to telling him. It might help things in the long run.

XXXXX

Jenny couldn't believe that they had actually offered him a job, with all his antics, and at times childish behaviour they still wanted him. She still wanted him as well. He had the skills she needed, and if he didn't come out alive, well that was life. Their jobs were dangerous after all.

She couldn't spend any more time on this. Not without something new to go on. She finally had told Cynthia she was available again. Jenny had to now think of someone else who could be used in the undercover op.

'Damn you DiNozzo.' She muttered.

Jenny looked up at she heard a tap on her office door. As she looked up, Cynthia walked in with an armful of paperwork.

'Agent Burley is here to see you.'

The director smiled, Burley would do nicely for this op. He wasn't as good as DiNozzo would have been, but he would do.

'Thank you Cynthia.' She watched as her P.A. placed the paperwork on her desk. That was all the job seemed to be. Sometimes she missed being an agent, but she loved the power she wielded now, and no one was going to take it away. 'Please send Agent Burley in.'

'Of course director.' Cynthia replied, turned and walked away.

Jenny watched as the other woman left. Something was wrong. There was usually a warm sound to Cynthia's face. That had all changed recently, everything her P.A did was polite and correct, but there was a slight coldness to it. She thought back to when it turned and groaned. It had been straight after DiNozzo had resigned. It was probably all over the yard by now. Jenny hadn't even thought about his absence had said. It had evidently become more widely known if the F.B.I had already offered him a job. They had stopped asking because they knew that he would never leave Gibbs. For agencies that hated to work together, and pass information when needed, they did like to gossip. She didn't mind when it worked in her favour. This time it didn't. It wouldn't be long before the calls started to come in. Jenny remembered stories that Morrow told her about how people kept enquiring after Tony.

Jenny had to get her mind back onto the task at hand. Stan Burley. She knew exactly what to offer, and how to flatter him to get exactly what she wanted. This is how gossip worked in her favour. Morrow once again had been full of information when it came to Gibbs and the people that worked for him.

Stan's feelings for his ex-team leader were something she could definitely take advantage off. Her office door opened and in he walked. She must have missed it when he knocked.

'Director, thank you for seeing me.' Burley walked over to her.

'Please have a seat Agent Burley, and how can I help you?'

XXXXX

It had been a couple of weeks since Burley had been in charge. No one had heard or seen anything of Tony. Ziva didn't have time to, and didn't even care enough to worry about her missing ex-partner. She had run to her apartment and grabbed what she needed. She wouldn't be back until this misunderstanding had been sorted out. It wasn't her fault that he'd died of natural causes. Just because she had a certain skillset it didn't mean that she always used it. It was only used when she deemed it necessary.

Ziva thought about going to Burley, after all he was her team leader. She couldn't, no she wouldn't do that as he would be a complete waste of time. Burley didn't have an opinion of his own, whatever Jenny wanted, or what her opinion was it became his. If she said jump, he would just do it. It wouldn't occur to him to even ask how high. Ziva knew that she could play him if she wanted to. In this instance that wasn't a good thing, Burley didn't have the mentality to do what was needed as she would. There was only one man that did.

That man was Gibbs. He really was the only one she could call. The man who wouldn't be able to say now as he owed her something, Ziva needed Gibbs to help her.

XXXXX

'Gibbs.' He answered brusquely. It had been weird hearing his phone ring. Jenny had insisted that he keep it in case they needed to call him about any previous cases. If they did, they really hoped his memory would've completely come back. When it rang, a pair of amused green eyes flashed into his mind. Tony. He had been disappointed when he heard a feminine voice. 'Yes Ziva. Why don't you speak to Tony, he's your team leader.' He suddenly stood up and the chair he'd been sat on fell backwards. 'What do you mean DiNozzo quit? You don't know? Do you seriously expect me to believe that? Yeah, okay I'll come.'

Gibbs put down the cell and turned to Mike.

'So you're going to rush in and save the Mossad chick? How did she ever manage without you?'

'I'm going to see exactly what the trouble is. I haven't decided if I'm going to help her yet. What I am going to do is find out why the hell DiNozzo quit, and how Burley ended up in charge.'

'Burley,' Franks mumbled. 'Wait, wasn't he the guy that was your SFA before DiNozzo? Didn't he have the hots for you?'

'Yeah, that was Burley. What the hell's going on Tony?' Gibbs whispered.

'When you do find out what happened to your boy, and when you see him how about you fucking tell him how you feel about him. Then take the stud for a ride.' Franks chuckled.

Gibbs glared at his mentor, who just laughed harder, and then started to cough. He wasn't going to do anything at the moment. He had to find out what the hell was going on.

TBC

Chapter Text

Stan grinned as he watched McGee work. It felt good to be back and to also be in charge of a team, and not just any team but the lead MCRT. He also got to go undercover for the director. That would show Gibbs what kind of man he was and then maybe they could be together in their personal lives. After all, they would both be, when he came back, team leaders. Gibbs, of course, would be given another team as this one was his and he had earned it.

The smile faded when he looked over at Ziva's desk. What the hell had happened and where was she now? The FBI are now involved in this. All the whispers he kept hearing would mention DiNozzo's name. This would never have happened if he were still here. No one seems to think that he measures up. Well, they don't know everything he does. Jenny had told him how he was actually doing a better job. Since he had stepped up he had kept the team together. Stan had told them what he thought about Anthony DiNozzo Jr and now people avoided talking to him, or they just glared as he walked past. How that joke of an agent had not only made so many friends but fooled them all. It seemed that he was exactly like his father, a con man. Jenny had also mentioned that Tony had spent more time making friends and flirting than he did working. Stan was glad that the director felt comfortable with him to be able to talk about such things.

The day actually got worse Fornell had arrived to talk about Ziva, but he had mentioned that he saw Tony the day he disappeared. The FBI agent, had actually offered him a job, and it had been sent straight from their director himself. It seemed they had hopped it might entice the now ex NCIS agent to join the FBI. It seemed that Tony had nothing but recommendations from the majority of people that had worked with him. Burley had smirked and told him that not everyone liked him. Abby laughed at that and said it was only Sacks as if he wasn't that important. Fornell had to add that their director had also sent a personal message to Jenny letting her know how impressed he'd been. For someone unknown reason, McGee paled and had to rush off to the bathroom. Ducky and Abby hadn't heard about this either. Stan wanted to shout at them all that Gibbs' golden boy hadn't been able to hack being in charge, he wasn't up to doing undercover work and had quit. He'd run away like a coward, and then he hid where no one could find him. Jenny had told him so much about DiNozzo things that no one else knew, not even Gibbs. He had been shocked during one of these conversations she had mentioned that if he continued the way he was, one day he could be a director of NCIS. She had said that he had the complete package.

The thing that had actually helped Stan and made him happy was that after their work relationship had grown into more of a friendship thing. Jenny had implied that Gibbs did have feelings for him. It was mentioned when they discussed him coming back, and that she would have no problem with the two of them starting a relationship. Stan loved the fact that she understood him so well.

XXXXX

Jenny read over the reports from the MCRT. She couldn't help but smile, Stan was so easily played. She hoped that he would be meeting with Rene Benoit soon, as the solve rate under the new leadership was falling. She would only be able to keep Stan as team lead for a short time before people started to ask why he was still there. He wasn't anywhere near the same league as Gibbs or DiNozzo.

She was still angry at the fact that no one knew where Tony had gone. He was completely off the grid. What Jenny needed was for Gibbs to be back soon so she could hand the team back to him, and it will be one last thing she would have to worry about. Stan actually did believe that Gibbs would be interested in him. Tom had told her in confidence that if he hadn't requested the move, that he was on the verge of being transferred out.

There had been a few problems, but things were definitely going her way. Once she had revenge on Benoit, she just needed to get together with Jethro. Everything else could be dealt with easy enough. Then her world would be perfect.

Gibbs would be upset about DiNozzo after all he had found him as a detective in Baltimore. He was the one that had brought the younger man to NCIS. They did work very well together. They were so much alike in some ways but completely different in others. They were also the two best investigators NCIS had.

DiNozzo's leaving could be explained at how he'd been treated, by people he considered family. She would play it up saying that Tony had tried to protect them, and the others never said anything. Jenny would make it understood that if she had known she would have corrected the situation. It was her word against the people who did actually turn against him. Stan wouldn't say anything not if he wanted to stay in her good books. She did hope that he would stay gone and wouldn't suddenly reappear when Gibbs came back.

If he appeared before, Gibbs came back and tried to out her on the undercover op she would have to deal with him. Jenny needed to deal with him anyway. Tony DiNozzo knew too much that could bring her down. He was also a trusted agent; anything he said would be taken seriously.

XXXXX

Jimmy had the envelopes in his hand. He knew that as soon as the recipients read then they would be very upset, and angry at themselves. Well, he hoped they would be. In one way, he was thankful that they had treated Tony badly, and that was because the two of them had become friends. He would give it all up if it meant that Tony hadn't been hurt by those he cared most about.

He couldn't change things, all he could do was to help and be there for him. It really was weird sneaking around like spies. Tony wanted to make sure that no one could find him, not at the moment anyway. There was a burner phone in his pocket so he could keep in contact with Tony and Fornell. They both had one as well.

Jimmy hoped things changed for the better when Gibbs came back. Everyone seemed so sure that he would be back. He took a deep breath and walked into Abby's lab. She was going to be angry at Tony for, not contacting her. Then when she finds out why, he hoped that she really would take a look at herself and sees how she had acted towards him. When she realised that she would be devastated, and Abby would be very upset with herself.

Dr Mallard and Tim were both with her. They were doing everything they could to find Ziva. From what he had heard was that a man had died in her custody, he was being transferred into the hands of the FBI. It seemed that this man had information on a terrorist attack. It's obvious that they need to find out if Ziva knew anything about this attack and was that why she killed him? After the body had been found, Ziva had vanished. Agent Burley was up with the director updating her with what is going on. It was more than that thought; Gibbs and Tony had never spent that much time there. Burley had also made little comments, it was clear that more was going on than just a general update. It was amazing what you could hear when people forgot you were around.

Since it was just the three of them, it was the perfect time to give them the letters that Tony had written. There wasn't anyone who seemed to understand why he hadn't contacted them. Tim always appeared to look a little more nervous. He definitely knew why but hadn't mentioned the reason to anyone. Jimmy never understood why Tim made the comments he did, it had been probably to impress Ziva. Tony had some nights at the office to complete the work they hadn't done. The director had let them leave, so it wasn't as if he could mention it to her. Tony had told him that he thought Jenny wanted him to be isolated, and tired so they he would be more willing to her wishes. Every time she came to autopsy he had to bite his tongue. He had promised not to say anything.

'Jimmy.' Abby turned and spotted him standing there.

'Hey Abby.' He mumbled and took a deep breath. He was doing this for Tony. 'I have letters for all of you.' The plain envelopes clutched tightly in his hand.

'Who are they from Mr Palmer?' Ducky reached out and took the one with his name written cleanly across the front.

'Tony.'

McGee paled; his hand shook as he reached out and took his.

'Where is he? Why won't he contact us, but he will you? Not that there's anything wrong with you Jimmy. I just don't see why he would choose you out of all of us.' Abby continued to ramble until Ducky placed a hand on her shoulder.

'Read your letters and please don't ask me to give you his whereabouts. I won't do it. I promised him.' Palmer turned away and walked off not giving any of them a chance to ask any questions. Ducky, McGee and Abby just looked at each other.

XXXXX

Abby waited until Ducky and Tim left so they could read their own letters privately. She nibbled at her lower lip; she was worried about what was written. It had to be something bad otherwise Tony would be talking to them in person. Then it hit her, there hadn't been one for Ziva, it could have been in Jimmy's pocket she guessed. Deep down, she knew that there wasn't one.

XXXXX

Jimmy hoped that they understood where Tony was coming from. If they did, it meant that there was a possibility of working things out. They may never be the way it once was though; too much had happened for that to be a possibility. He only had one more letter to deliver and it was to Gibbs.

XXXXX

'Thank you for coming Gibbs.' Ziva's voice floated up from the basement as he walked down the wooden steps.

He'd guessed that she would have been here waiting for him. 'What's going on Ziva? Why did Tony quit?' Gibbs demanded. He saw the flash of anger on her face before it was pushed behind a more pleasing mask. There was definitely a lot going on here, more than what she had briefly mentioned on the phone.

'Do we really need to talk about Tony? There's a lot more important things to discuss, I need your help to get me out of a difficult situation.'

'There's nothing more important than him.' He walked over to the sawhorse that was still there and sat down. He had a feeling that whatever she said wasn't going to be completely honest. As much as he liked Ziva, he never forgot where she had come from.

'Fine.' Ziva snapped. 'Tony wasn't the team leader you expected. You would have been so disappointed in him. He couldn't cope with all the responsibility or the pressure.' She looked at him sadly, a slight pout on her lips. 'He was also jealous because I had started to see someone. Tony didn't like the fact that I wasn't interested in him. He had become very unprofessional.'

Gibbs could see an amused gleam in her eye. He didn't believe anything that she had just told him. It wasn't the Tony that he knew. There was no way he would fail at being a team leader; it was something he had done on numerous occasions. In fact, he should have had his own team years ago, but he had decided to stay with Gibbs. As for his feelings for Ziva, which he doubted, there was no way that Tony would let that any feelings get in the way. The younger man was stubbornly single-minded when he wanted to be. Gibbs also doubted that Ziva wasn't interested in DiNozzo. 'Really that's what happened?' His disbelief could be clearly heard in his tone. When there wasn't an answer straight away, he crossed his arms over his chest, crossed his legs at his ankles as he sat on the sawhorse and stared at her.

Ziva fidgeted under the intense gaze. There was something about the way he stared at you that made you want to confess everything. That was something she couldn't do. 'Yes it is, now back to the most important thing, me.'

'I told you what was important to me, and it isn't you and your problem. I'm not going to help with anything until you tell me what the hell is going on, and this time it better be the truth.'

TBC

Chapter Text

Ziva crossed her arms over her chest and just stared at him. 'It IS the truth.' She spat out.

Gibbs nodded up towards the basement door. 'It's time for you to go. I'll think about helping you, when I find out what the real truth is, and not what you want it to be.'

She opened and closed her mouth a few times. She'd almost blurt out what she thought about in anger. Ziva turned and stormed up the stairs. Her feet are banging heavily on the wooden slates as she made her way up. She had to give him some time. He'd just arrived, after all. She would come back and see him another day. All of this was taking longer than she thought, but there wasn't anything else she could do. When she did come back, it was time to play the one card that he couldn't refuse. He owed her, and she was going to collect.

XXXXX

Abby just stared at the letter. She couldn't believe what she had read.

Dear Abs,

It's weird writing this kind of letter to you. Out of everyone I always believed that you would want to make sure that I was okay. You never did; you were too concerned with your own feelings. I had never thought of you as a selfish person, but looking back at things Anthony DiNozzo Jr was never good enough for you. So it never mattered what he was going through, what I was going through.

You never noticed how much I was struggling. It never even occurred to you that I was in before you and left afterward you did. Did you never wonder why I was putting in so many hours? If I had a team wouldn't they be doing the same, but you went out with them some evenings. They even came down and said goodbye to you.

I know you missed him, but you weren't the only one. You and Ducky may have known him the longest, but I was the one who had spent the most time with him. We were either at work, or I was at his place. You lost a father figure; I lost my closest friend. I was hurting too.

Every time I came down to see you, the first thing you would do is yell at me for not doing enough to get Gibbs back. He's a fully functional adult, not a five-year-old runaway. What exactly did you think I could do to get him back, really? On top of that I never arrived when the machine beeped like Gibbs? Well, guess what between you, McGee, Ziva, the Director and Ducky I got that memo. I know I'm not him and never would be. This showed me that being plain old Tony was never going to be good enough. You never do this with anyone in our team or anyone else's, just me.

It would have been easier for me if I had a team who would work with me and not against me. You believed everything they said. I know you and McGee have an on and off again thing, but that doesn't mean he is automatically telling the truth.

I'd never felt so alone. I never thought you could be vindictive, but now I am not so sure. You want things a certain way, and it has to be like that. Well, guess what nothing stays the same. People change, and they grow. You should try acting more like an adult at times while at work. You get away with a lot, and a lot of places and people would not let you act the way you do.

I heard McGee and Ziva tell you that they did all the work, and you believed them. I came in, and you yelled at me for being selfish. If I were you, I would take a look in the mirror.

Don't get me wrong I can be self-centered at times, arrogant and an asshole, but so can everyone. When it comes to my job, I would never put myself before anyone else. I thought you knew that about me. Check the hour logs, and all the times they told you they were in, they weren't. McGee knew you wouldn't question him. It's not all his fault; he's changed since Ziva joined us and not for the better. He loved the attention that she gave him.

I mean it Abby don't through a strop, and check the logs. I want you to understand truly what I've been working and what they have. I have barely left the office. I had to start wearing layers of clothes because the amount of weight I've lost.

I would have managed if I had more support from people I once considered family. I guess I was wrong, and I don't know if I will feel that way again about any of you. I have no idea if that bothers you or not.

Do you know the only person to care about me? The only one that made sure I left and ate? It was Palmer, my little autopsy gremlin.

Do you know who kept an eye on me during the day when we were in the office? Palmer asked Balboa. He even helped with the team paperwork, when my own team couldn't be bothered.

I was barely hanging on, but what mattered to you? I never had a caf-pow with me when you wanted one just like Gibbs would.

Once again, I come back to why wasn't I good enough just being me? People wonder why I hide under the jokes and the frat boy image. You can't be hurt or let down. I let you in, and look at what you've done.

I'm not telling you where I am, just know I'm not alone, and I am being very well cared for. I can't come back to NCIS yet, I may never be able to do that. I don't know what my future holds, but I have to take care of myself first before I make any long term plans.

Even though you have hurt me you need to know that the Director is up to something, please don't get dragged into anything.

Goodbye

Tony.

Abby scrunched up the letter and threw it. 'How could he say those things?' She sat on the floor and started to cry. It was nothing but lies.

XXXXX

Ducky read the letter over and over again. When he looked back at things, he was ashamed of himself. He couldn't believe how he had treated his young friend. Tony had been let down by him and the others. The only one who hadn't was Mr Palmer. Where he was ashamed of himself, he had never been more proud of his assistant. Ducky only hoped that he would be forgiven and that he would be able to prove to Anthony how much he did care for him.

'Duck.' Gibbs stormed into autopsy. His body rigid with anger and his eyes seemed to flash like a burning blue flame. He suddenly stopped when he saw the sad look in his friend's eyes. He hoped that it wasn't to do with Tony. He prayed that he wasn't too late.

Ducky looked up in shock at hearing Jethro's voice. 'This feels like you had never left my friend. Are you back?' With everything that had happened he was no longer angry. He'd already lost one person he considered to be a member of his family.

'Nope, Ziva called and asked for my help. It seems as if she's in trouble. She also told me that DiNozzo quit. What the hell is going on?'

'Well, I can't tell you about Ziva except that a man in her custody was killed and that she ran. The man was involved in a terrorist plot. The F.B.I needs to find out what happened and if he said anything. They have every agency, apart from ours searching for her.' Ducky sighed as he thought about Anthony, and then he glanced at the letter in his hand. 'She is right about our young man quitting. He has indeed gone.'

'Why the hell would Tony quit? He loves this job and all of you.'

'Jethro, a lot has happened since you left. We, no, I never realised what was going on until Mr Palmer spoke to us and gave us these letters.' Ducky waved some pieces of paper he had held onto. 'I'd been so lost in my anger towards you I never saw how lost Tony was. I never noticed how he was struggling. He was helping everyone else, but we were too selfish to return the favour. He had no one. Every time I spoke to him, I kept on about how angry I was with you my dear friend. I would then move straight onto the case. I never once asked how he was managing. I am so ashamed of my behaviour. Anthony walked out of this building over two weeks ago, and no one has seen or heard from him.'

'Two weeks ago, why didn't anyone contact me?' Gibbs growled.

'Why would we, you left us and made it clear that you didn't want any contact with us.'

Gibbs rubbed his eyes tiredly. 'So he had no one?' Where did he start his search if he had no witnesses or now friends to talk to?

'Okay, when I said no one that isn't quite correct. Mr Balboa kept an eye on him and helped as much as he could. Then, of course, there is Mr Palmer, who arrived today with letters for myself, McGee and Abigail. These letters are from Anthony.'

'So Palmer is in contact with DiNozzo?' Gibbs muttered in disbelief.

'It seems as if he was the only one that was there for him. I assume the other letters contain the same sort of thing. How Anthony felt, how he wished, I could have been there for him, there is also a mention of us to be wary of Director Shepperd.

'Dr Mallard?' Jimmy asked as he walked into autopsy. 'I just wanted to…' He froze as he noticed that the ME was not alone.

'Ahhh Mr Palmer look who has come to visit, and as luck would have it we were just talking about you.'

'Palmer, where's DiNozzo?' He growled.

'I, uuhhhh, can't tell you that, but I do have a letter for you.' Palmer pulled out the envelope from his pocket and held it out, his hands shaking. 'Dr Mallard, I just wondered if you wanted to reply to your letter and I could get it back to Tony for you.'

'What a wonderful idea. I will certainly want to express my deepest regrets for my actions or non-actions as it were. Why don't you go and ask Abby and Timothy if they wish to reply to theirs as well.'

'Of course, I will do it straight away.' Jimmy turned around ready to rush out of autopsy.

'Palmer?' Gibbs called out and waited for the younger man to turn to him.

'Yes, Agent Gibbs?'

'How is Tony doing really?'

'He's exhausted both physically and mentally. When he was here, he rarely slept or ate. I did what I could. He had started to layer his clothes, so he didn't look so thin. He's being taken care of now though. The letter will explain better than I can.' Palmer waited for a moment longer to see if there was anything else.

'Thank you for being there for him.'

'Tony's my friend Agent Gibbs; I couldn't just stand by and watch.' With that Palmer left.

'Jethro go home and read the letter. I must warn you though, that if it is anything like mine it will be hard to read. We've all let him down, but you….'

'Yeah Duck I know, I've hurt him more than anyone else.' He wanted to throw the envelope and the contents away. Gibbs knew that he wouldn't do that. He had to find out what drove Tony finally to leave a job he loved and to disappear. There was also the question of why Ziva was lying. She had to have known what was going on and to be a part of the problem. Gibbs felt sick at the thought that Tony was in love with Ziva. He hoped that it wasn't true. What else had he missed? Gibbs glanced over at Ducky's sympathetic face and then walked away. He had a letter to read, and he knew it was something he wanted to do in private.

XXXXX

Tony sighed as he put the burner phone down, and then he turned to look at Diane and Tobias.

'Gibbs is back and looking for me. Jimmy gave him the letter.'

Fornell chuckled and then realised with the looks he was getting he'd better explain. 'Jimmy obviously cares about you. I was just imagining him standing there in front of an angry Leroy Jethro Gibbs and handing over that letter. He then is also refusing to give any details about where you are. That young man has definitely gone up in my estimation.'

Tony and Diane both laughed at that scene. It wasn't easy to stand up to a man like that. Tony had no doubt that Jimmy wouldn't give out any information that could give him away. He had no idea where he would have been without his autopsy gremlin.

'Jimmy's a good guy. He did everything he could to help me.'

Fornell could still hear the sadness in his tone. Tony looked a lot better with getting a decent amount of sleep and eating properly. It was a good thing that Diane had a small exercise room set up. If she hadn't, DiNozzo would have gone insane already. 'How are you really doing Tonio?' This was something he asked on a daily basis. He wanted Tony to know that he did care.

'With the news about Gibbs being back and looking for me, I don't know.'

Fornell was glad that he was being honest, and, of course, this news had thrown him for a loop.

Diane, at the time, especially when she heard Tony's screams from the nightmare's he was having she wanted to go and murder her ex-husband. Some part of her would always love Leroy Jethro Gibbs. He was a truly amazing man, but that didn't stop him from being a bastard. Tony had been treated like shit, by him and because of him and Diane truly and deeply hated that.

The two weeks he'd been here she had grown to care for him. He was now part of her family, and no matter what happened after this he would always be welcome in her home. Every time they had asked him to join in with a family thing, he looked shell-shocked that they wanted him to. Diane had to add his family, especially his father to the list of people she was starting to hate.

Emily totally adored him. She'd heard the odd little bit about his family history and with what was going on. She also knew that she wasn't allowed to tell anyone about him being there, especially Uncle Jethro. She had no problem with this seeing how ill he looked when he first joined them.

She had started to call him Uncle Tonio; Emily had wanted to show him that he was a part of her family. She also wanted it to be something different with no history to it. She had asked him, and he had told her that no one called him that, not that he could remember. So the name Tonio had been born. All three of them called him that now. At first he was a little embarrassed and would blush every single time. Now, though he had become used to it. When Emily found out that he could actually play the piano and play it will her adoration for him grew.

'Uncle Tonio, are you going to come and give me this piano lesson or not?'' Emily yelled out.

No matter how long it took, Tony was a very patient teacher. He would keep going over things calmly until she had it. Emily loved playing the piano, but she didn't have a natural gift for it. She had to work hard at it. She had hated the lessons when her teachers tone would start to get a little impatient. Diane was livid at how upset it made her daughter and already had a few words with the school. The teacher had apologised, but the damage had been done. Emily only started to go again because of Tony.

Tony smiled as he went out to start the lesson. Emily seemed to be able to read him quite well. If, at any time, she felt that he was sad. She would go over and hug him. The four of them had truly become a family. The parents and their daughter would make sure that their Tonio would never feel alone again.

'He's in love with Jethro isn't he?' Diane whispered when Tony left them to join Emily. She had wanted to mention it for a while, but wasn't sure how to randomly mention it. She wanted to make sure that it didn't have a negative effect on the young man. Tonight with the letter incident gave her the perfect opportunity to mention it.

'Yeah, he is.' Fornell shook his head; the weird thing was that Tony knew about the good and bad about Gibbs. They had already made a working relationship that survived, kind of? If anyone could make it work in the personal arena with that stubborn bastard, it would be Tonio.

'If he does anything to hurt that young man, on purpose, I mean, I will make him suffer. You and he thought I was a bitch before. That's nothing compared to what I'll become if Tonio is hurt.' Diane threatened quietly. She knew how people saw her. Sometimes it hurt, but other times it had been earned. She meant every word though. Tony truly had been through enough, and if anyone hurt him it would be at their own peril.

Fornell laughed and kissed her softly. 'He does get under your skin doesn't he?'

'Yes, he does.' Diane held out her hand, and as soon as Tobias took it they walked through to the other room to see how the piano lessons were coming.

XXXXX

Gibbs headed straight down the stairs to the basement as soon as he had arrived home. He grabbed a jar and emptied the nails from it. He then blew out any dust and grabbed the bottle bourbon, and poured a healthy slug or two. Tonight he was definitely going to need alcohol. His gaze landed on the stairs. They looked so bare without Tony sitting on them. He could still hear Tony's voice soothing him as he chatted away while Gibbs worked.

So many things had changed since they had first met in Baltimore. One of, if not the biggest changes had been his feelings towards the younger man. It had started off as respect, which grew into friendship and then somewhere along the lines it had become love. That had scared the hell out of him, so what did he do? What he did best, he became more of a bastard to Tony and tried to drive him away. Then he found out that nothing drove the younger man away from the job and the people he loved, until now. Everyone has their breaking point, and whatever had gone on had been Tony's. The only way he was going to get any more information was to read the damn letter, and they reply to it.

He had to find out where Tony was and to make sure that he was actually okay. Then he would deal with Ziva and then her problem. Well, he might not help. It did depend on what he finds out. Gibbs knew that she would be back before then and even more impatient for his help. He didn't care about her at the moment; she was the least of his worries. He wasn't going to get dragged into whatever mistake she had made without knowing the facts, especially now since Ziva continued to lie to him about Tony. She also had the F.B.I searching for her, how could she kill someone with such important information unless she was involved in this plot? The next thing he would do was to contact Fornell and see what he knew about this situation. Gibbs took another healthy swig of his drink and stared at the envelope with his name clearly written on it, in Tony's handwriting. He reached out and grabbed it, he opened it up and pulled out the paper and started to read.

XXXXX

Jenny looked up at the door and glared at it. She'd heard that Jethro was in the building, but he hadn't come to see her. She should have been the first person that he contacted when he arrived back. Jenny didn't want to call around. It would be embarrassing to show that she had no idea where Gibbs was.

She had been told that he was looking for DiNozzo thought. That meant he had found out about his protégé leaving. Tony had not been the one to be in contact with him. That had left Ziva; after all she was in trouble, serious trouble. Jenny was still trying to find more Intel about that situation.

If she moved the correct pieces around the human chessboard called NCIS then everything would end up the way she wanted it to. Jethro would be hers, DiNozzo would be gone and Rene Benoit would pay for his crimes against her father. Jenny smiled at the thought of her very own happy ending. She then shook her head to clear her mind. This was not the time to daydream. Gibbs being here meant that the timetable to find Tony would have to be accelerated.

She needed to find him and to make sure that he never talked, permanently. When he was gone, that would also give her more time with Jethro. All that time occupied by DiNozzo would have vanished. Jenny knew it was time to call in some of her favours that were owed to her by some of her less savoury contacts. She had built these up over years, and she was owed a lot. If they didn't come through she would start yanking out some of the skeletons that had been hidden away. Other people's secrets were a great currency to get things done the way you wanted them to.

Jenny picked up the phone. It was time to bring her plans up to speed. She didn't care if she ruined these people's lives if they didn't help. Her only concern was that it never came back on her, and she would make sure of that. She would use every tool at her disposal to get what she wanted.

TBC

Chapter Text

N/B I am just finishing up a notebook so I can pack it away. It had just over a chapter and a bit written in it, so I decided to type it up. That mean the notebook can be packed away lol.

XXXXX

'Hello, it's Jennifer Shepperd.' She smiled to herself at the sudden silence. It was good to know that they remembered her.

'What do you want?' The undistinctive male voice asked.

'I'm about to collect on one of the many favours you owe me.'

'Where do you want to meet?' The voice finally wanted to know.

Things were definitely going her way. Jenny was going to get what she wanted; she could feel it.

XXXXX

Trent Kort frowned as he moved to the side of the vehicle. He casually glanced back at the man who was putting their bags into the back of the car. The man turned and smiled at him. Images invaded Kort's mind, and then it hit him; he knew where he'd seen him before. The baggage handler was an NCIS agent. His name would come to him.

The reason this man stood out to Kort was because of a few things. Firstly he was or had at least been one of Gibbs's team. That was when he almost laughed out aloud. He remembered those longing looks the young man would send across to the old bastard. He never could understand someone who was an okay agent worked with Gibbs and was actually his SFA.

Kort knew that there was something about Gibbs that drew people to him. There was no doubt that he was an attractive man. If they hadn't been who they were and they had just met in a bar, he would have asked him out.

Stan, Stan Burley. The name of that agent suddenly hit him. He'd been the one before DiNozzo. Now Anthony DiNozzo was a pain in the ass there was no doubt about that. He was also one of the best agents out there; he was also one of the most attractive.

The C.I.A agent frowned as he climbed into the vehicle. What was NCIS doing here? Something was going on, and he was going to find out what that was. The agency had spent years getting all of this setup. This play didn't feel like a Gibbs thing; the main reason is that he wouldn't have sent Burley in. That was when he remembered that the older agent had retired. It did have Jenny Shepperd's dainty little fingerprints all over it.

XXXXX

Abby wiped away the tears that had kept falling. She had read Tony's letter over and over again. She still couldn't believe the things that he had said. It wasn't true. The Goth sat and tried to formulate a reply, but she couldn't. Abby decided that she needed to talk to someone, and the ideal person would be Ducky. She wanted to know what Tony had written in his and if it was all lies as well.

XXXXX

Ducky closed the envelope which contained his sincerest apologies and hoped that Anthony would find it in his heart to forgive him. He looked up as a black whirlwind arrived, one that seemed to be full of righteous anger. He had seen this look in her eyes before. What else had happened for her to feel like this?

Abby waved her letter around as she paced around autopsy. 'How could he say those things about me? About McGee and Ziva? Who the hell does he think he is? Was your letter full of lies as well?' She turned to Ducky and demanded an answer.

The elder ME's mouth fell open. He was shocked at her attitude. 'No, my letter contained the truth. I have asked for Anthony's forgiveness. Should he see fit to give it to me I will prove to him that it was the right thing to do. I would take a step back and re-read that letter my dear girl; there may be more truth to his words than you think. We did let him down, all of us.'

'I can't believe it. Tony just likes to think he does all the work…'

Ducky interrupted her before she got any further. 'He did, McGee, Ziva and yourself would come down and say goodbye. I would now and again go up, and Tony was in fact still working. I should have realised then he was putting in too many hours, especially when he was the first one in as well.'

'But McGee and Ziva told me.' Abby pouted a little.

'So you automatically believed them over a friend you've had for a lot longer? I would investigate the claims before you call him a liar. It is, after all, one of Gibbs' rules. Don't believe what you're told, double check.'

XXXXX

Gibbs just stared at the letter; he couldn't believe that he had missed so much.

Gibbs,

I will be amazed if you ever get to read this letter, but it's always best to be thorough. If you are reading it I have left NCIS, and you are back. So much has changed since you left, but it had started to happen before then as well. I guess things started to back when Kate joined us, I still miss her.

You never managed to show that I was the SFA; they all thought that I was at the same level, and at times that was my fault. You still gave me shitty jobs that should have been handed down. As much as I loved Kate as a sister, she wasn't a very good profiler. She only saw me as the image I portrayed and thought there was nothing else there.

You always hit me on the back of the head while the others got away with more. Why was I the one that was singled out more? I rarely got any positive feedback, you always pointed out when something was wrong, but nothing when it was correct.

When Ziva joined things changed even more, the atmosphere became more suspicious. Where there had once been painful banter became an excuse for verbal abuse, mainly towards me and yet let it go. There was no boundary that wasn't crossed. Ziva left me out of a few things showing that she had no respect for me. The team meal that everyone went to including Palmer, I never even got an invite. McGee followed what you and she would do, so he thought it was acceptable as well. When we were looking for the terrorist group, and I was out getting voice prints. I came back and was told that they hadn't heard me because they had turned off the radio as a joke. I was never sure if they joked they turned it off or turning it off was the joke either way it wasn't funny. I may have played jokes on them, but never at the expense of their safety. I never told you because I thought that you would let it pass. It was a joke, after all. I wasn't sure if I could handle the cavalier attitude you might have had towards the safety of my life, so I let it go.

We use to spend so much time together outside of work, and then that stopped. When I would come around you would make me feel I was no longer welcome. I didn't want to intrude, so I stopped doing that, and you never seemed to notice.

The 'you'll do' thing before you left made it seem as if there was no one else. As per usual McGee followed your lead. After you had left things became difficult, and I had no support. The director wanted me to do an undercover op which I refused. There were too many things that didn't make sense to me. Ziva and McGee came in did the minimal they needed to, and hit the hours they had to work, and that was it. I couldn't say anything because they did what they had to, and Ziva was a friend of the director.

Ducky was angry about being kept in the dark about your past, and how you left. Every time I went to autopsy it was all about you or the case. He didn't notice how much weight I had lost, how big the bags under my eyes were. I know you love Abby, and this is probably not going to across well, but hey I don't work at NCIS. That means you can't make my life any more difficult; she had become even more self-involved. I could never be just Tony; I had to be a Gibbs duplicate as if being myself wasn't good enough. She kept on and on about getting you back. What exactly was I supposed to do? You're an adult, and you retired. How was I supposed to get you back if you didn't want to? She also took McGee's and Ziva's words over mine about working. I was doing my job, the SFA and some of their work as they didn't always complete things on time. Yes, I did go to the director, but because of my refusal of this op she wasn't really interested in making my life easier. Abby had yelled at me and called me selfish because I wasn't doing what she wanted me to, and she believed them over me. I told her to check the logs and hours worked.

If Jimmy didn't make sure I was fed at least once a day and that I went home, I would probably be in the hospital now. He also made sure that Balboa knew; you can ask him if you don't believe me. Balboa helped me where he could that included the paperwork. He was a lifesaver, and when we worked cases with the F.B.I Fornell was amazing as well. I was so shocked at how much he tried to help. He always made sure that we were teamed together. I can see why you are friends with him, he's a good guy.

So you can see I had many reasons to leave that had built up since the day Kate joined us. I was glad she did and will always be thankful for knowing her. Your attitude towards Abby has meant that she feels that she has a right to dictate what we should do. McGee, he doesn't have a strong personality and with the interest Ziva showed him he just followed her. He needs to stop that. Otherwise, he's going to get into a lot of trouble. Ziva there are so many things I don't trust about her, she only looks out for number one. I have no idea why you have so much trust in her, but please be careful. The director is also up to no good so be wary there as well.

I will never regret meeting or getting to work with you, but I can't be that faithful St Bernard anymore. It's killing me inside. I am fine and being cared for. I am not sure if we'll ever met again so let this be goodbye. I hope you find everything you are looking for.

Tony

Gibbs looked back over the years, and the mistakes he had made came at him like a tsunami. Tony had been the best young agent he had ever worked with. He remembered telling it to Senior, but never to his son and it looked like the father never passed the message on either. What he considered friendly banter had turned to abuse. He thought that he knew his team better than that; he was obviously wrong. Gibbs had always believed that he treated everyone fairly in his team, but he didn't. Tony was the one that got head-slapped more than anyone else, and to gas the truck and do other menial tasks. No wonder he left, Gibbs wondered why on earth he had stayed so long after being treated like crap. Deep down he knew why Tony was treated differently; it was because of the feelings he had for the younger man. Gibbs always believed Tony would do great things in NCIS, and he never wanted people to think it was because of how he felt, that he gave his SFA an easier ride.

The thing about this op that the director wanted Tony to do worried him. He would have to talk to Stan. Jenny must have been desperate for her to place him in as team lead, and the rumours he had heard was that Stan was involved in an op as well. Gibbs knew it would have to be the same one that Tony turned down. Stan had never been exceptional as a senior agent. So unless he had changed over the years, which of course was a possibility, of course, there was more going on here. Gibbs gut, and what people had told him when he went to NCIS told him that Stan hadn't changed. So Jenny needed to have someone in place ASAP. No one else seemed to know about this op which was something else that worried him.

Gibbs had been bombarded by people when he went to NCIS. They were worried about Tony. They also told him they had heard comments from Ziva, Tim and even Stan that had been beyond insulting about DiNozzo. Jenny never pulled them up on it. It showed how much truth there was to Tony's letter, not that he needed any proof he already believed everything that had been written. Stan seemed to think he was better because of this op and tried to rub Tony's face in it, his attitude had been cocky, and he wanted to rub the other man's face in it. It also showed you that Stan wasn't very good at undercover because no one was supposed to know about it.

His mind went back to Tim and Ziva. Gibbs didn't understand where this attitude came from. They weren't better than Tony; it was the complete opposite. She had no investigative skills, and Tim instead of learning from one of the best agents NCIS had he has started to follow her around. Gibbs guesses that she had somehow managed to play him. Ziva had found out what she needed to do to make him follow her.

Gibbs felt sick to his stomach, not only did he not do anything about this, sometimes he joined in with the laughter and the jokes. He should have made it clear how much he respected Tony, and that the younger man was his senior field agent and should have been respected. There was so much he would have done differently, so many things he wanted to say to Tony. Now he may never be able to. Tony had quit and no one, but Palmer knew where he was. If DiNozzo wanted to go out and vanish again, there was nothing he could do about it.

Gibbs had to sort things out. He knew that Tony was safe and still contactable through Jimmy. He was next going to tackle Stan. This op could be very dangerous, and Stan might not be the only one to get hurt. He needed to find out more about it. He didn't want to go to Jenny just yet. He would invite Stan out for a drink. He would have to make sure that it didn't sound like a date. Gibbs had hoped that, after all, these years that Stan had moved on.

He had no intention of ever being involved with Stan. He felt no attraction towards the other man at all. When he closed his eyes and thought of someone, it was always the same gorgeous face with mischievous green eyes and a heart-stopping smile. Tony was the man that Gibbs wanted to change his rules for. He had broken so many over the years, why not break one that could actually make him happy? He didn't remember a time he had been attracted to the other man. When he had been blown up, and he lost fifteen years, he had no choice but to leave. In his mind, he had just lost his wife and daughter. On top of that he had been attracted to this young man, his senior field agent. Everything had come at him all at once. His world was collapsing around him. Gibbs had to leave before he drowned in his memories, and his feelings.

As his memory had started to come back, he had managed to start to pull his life back together again. While that had happened his team, his family at NCIS had fallen apart. He still didn't know if he was going to go back to work or not. None of that mattered at the moment. Gibbs's only concern was finding Tony, and making sure that he was okay. A sudden stray scene ran across his mind of him and Tony in Mexico together. If he didn't stay, and things worked out okay with DiNozzo, would Tony go back to Mexico with him?

TBC

Chapter Text

N/B Tomorrow, uh today I will be catching up with replying to reviews.

XXXXX

Stan arrived at the bar early so he could find some good seats. He wanted to make sure they had some privacy. He walked around and finally managed to snag the back booth that would do perfectly. He could feel his hands get sweat in excitement and his heart started to race. He'd heard that Gibbs, no Jethro had been at the yard today. Stan had been upset that the older man hadn't come by to see him, to see him as the MCRT team leader. The phone call and the invitation to meet up, just the two of them had made up for it though. Spending time alone would mean that they could talk freely. Stan was thrilled that he didn't have to see Jeanne tonight. It was nice to have a break, and be with someone he actually wanted to be with.

'Burley.' Gibbs sat down and shook his head at what the other man was wearing. No matter what he had said on the phone, Stan had taken it the way he wanted it to be. A date. The new team leader had dressed up. Anyone who knew Gibbs understood that he didn't care about clothes. It was different with Tony, because that was how he dressed during the day. It was armour for him. He also liked the way the fitted clothes hugged his muscular body, particularly his ass, not that he was going to tell anyone.

He understood that this wasn't one of his best ideas, but he didn't have any choice in the matter. Jenny wouldn't tell him anything even if he asked. She liked playing games a little too much. She would only tell him what she wanted, if there were something in it for her. Jenny definitely wanted more from him, just like Stan did, and that was something he wasn't willing to give to either of them. There was only one person, one man that he would be willing to give more to, and that was Tony.

'Hello Jethro, thank you for inviting me out.' Stan smiled at him.

Gibbs shook his head. 'I need to talk to you.'

'We can talk about anything you want.'

'Firstly it's Gibbs, don't call me Jethro. You don't have the right to do that. Secondly don't act like this is a date. I told you on the phone that it was going to be a work situation, which is what this is, and only that. Lastly, the real reason I'm here, and not what you've concocted in your mind, what does Jenny have you doing?' Gibbs knew not to bring up DiNozzo straight away. He'd heard all the negative things that Stan had been saying around the yard. He would get to that as well.

Stan's eyes narrowed. 'I have no idea what you're talking about. Jenny promoted to me to team lead after DiNozzo quit. It wasn't my fault he couldn't hack it.' He tried to sound convincing, but Gibbs always called see right through him.

'How is being the team lead going?' Gibbs had been told numerous times that the solve rate had fallen since Tony had left. Before that it had been the same as it had been under him.

'It's going well actually.' His voice was now full of confidence.

'You think so?' Gibbs frowned; Stan had to see that they weren't solving cases.

'What do you mean by that?' The younger man demanded.

'You have to notice that you aren't solving any cases.'

'Jenny explained that to me. She'd said it had been like that since you'd left.'

Gibbs couldn't help but laugh at that. 'She really has your number, doesn't she? Talk about being completely snowed. I never thought that you would fall for such an easy set-up such as false praise.'

Stan straightened up, and he bristled at that comment. He glared at Gibbs indignantly. 'The director and I have a very good working relationship.'

'Stan,' Gibbs sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. 'The solve rate has fallen quickly since you took over. When Tony was in charged, it had stayed the same as when I was there.' He held up his hand to stop any interruption. 'When I left there were no current cases open. If you don't believe me, check. It's obvious that Jenny asked Tony to do something, and he refused. Knowing the director the way I do she kept pushing. I guess that was the final nail in the coffin, and he resigned. She then needed someone to replace him, and in you walked. An easily played NCIS agent ripe for the picking, and from her point of view perfect timing.'

Stan hated the fact he was always being compared to that overgrown juvenile delinquent. It wasn't fair that DiNozzo came after him, but he seemed always to be the one chasing, and never managing to meet up to his standards. When it came to DiNozzo, Stan always came out wanting, especially in the eyes of Gibbs. 'If DiNozzo did such a great job why McGee didn't are Ziva do what he ordered them to?' Stan asked snidely. He was ignoring the fact that Gibbs saw him as just a replacement because of timing, and a poor replacement at that.

'I will find out why they did that, don't worry. I will be having in-depth discussions with all of those who caused him problems.' Gibbs vowed and then smirked at Stan. 'If they trust you so much why did Ziva call me to come back here and help her?'

'You've spoken to Ziva? When? What the hell is going on?' Stan had almost shouted, and then his mouth clicked shut when he realised what the other man had said.

'You're the brilliant team leader, the one they follow, shouldn't you know?' It was time Stan listened to a few home truths, and he'd better listen. Gibbs was almost polite for him. He still needed information.

'How dare you judge me like that? You have no idea about what is going on. Everything you've been told hasn't come from me, so don't assume it's the truth.'

'Just like you judged DiNozzo by what others told you?'

'It's not the same Gibbs.' Stan argued this was not how he expected the evening to go. He'd wanted a lot more romance, less talk about work and DiNozzo.

'Stan, listen to me, I'm going to ask you one more time and this time you'd better start talking. What does Jenny have you doing, apart from being team lead? I know that there is something. You like to show off when you've been singled out. Everyone knows that because you've been showing off, and throwing out breadcrumbs. Being the team lead for the MCRT wasn't good enough for you, was it? Now tell me.' Gibbs ordered.

Stan hated when he received that icy glare. It made him want to squirm and hide away. The look wasn't full-force. No wonder people gave up information to him in interrogation.

'I'm working undercover to charm a woman. She's the daughter of an arms dealer.' He desperately hoped that this wouldn't get back to the director. If it did, he hoped that she would understand. It was Gibbs after all.

Gibbs shook his head; now it was clear why she wanted Tony. He could charm almost anyone; even those you thought would be immune. It had worked on him. The problem now was that he couldn't see why Tony had refused. It seemed straight forward so far. It was obvious that the daughter had a connection to the father's illegal dealings, didn't she?

'The daughter is linked to the father's arms dealings right?'

Stan frowned; he wasn't sure why Gibbs wanted to know that. 'I don't know. It doesn't look like it at the moment; she's a doctor.'

'So Jenny has asked you to seduce, or get involved with a currently innocent woman, for what? So at some point in the future you get to meet him as the prospective son-in-law, and then you get close to him?' Gibbs was now getting very angry.

He hated the arms dealer, but the thought of them using his daughter disgusted him. It turns out that the father wasn't using her, but Jenny planned to. It was clear now why DiNozzo refused.

'I guess so?' Stan stuttered he still didn't see a problem.

'You don't get it, do you?' Gibbs shook his head in disgust. There was disappointment clearly written on his face. 'This isn't a sanctioned op.'

'Of course it is.' Stan replied quickly.

'You're using an innocent woman to get to her father. There is no evidence that she's involved in the arms business. You have nothing on her; no one would approve this not without actual evidence. You remember evidence, right? It's something that is used to help get convictions.' Gibbs took a deep breath to calm himself a little. He hadn't talked this much in such a long time. 'Do you know why DiNozzo's always picked ahead of you? He's a better agent than you because he's a better investigator, his mind connects things others miss, and that includes mine. Tony is also a good, caring and fair man. He's also brilliant at undercover work. I saw this years ago in Baltimore. That was why I wanted him in NCIS and on my team. He has never, ever let me down. Tony, on the other hand, has been let down by a lot of people he considered family, and yes that includes me. He is the best young agent I have ever worked with.' Gibbs moved so he was standing up. 'Stan just so you know, the two of us, we once worked together and nothing more. We aren't even friends. So you wanting more between us, that is never going to happen.'

'Are you friends with him?' Stan's voice was tinged with desperation.

'Yeah, we were and when I find him I'll hope he'll forgive me and we can be again.'

Stan hated DiNozzo even more. He wanted Gibbs to worry and care about him. He wanted to be the best agent. He knew that he could be that, and prove it. Gibbs was wrong about the undercover op; he didn't have all the information to hand like Jenny did. She was, after all, the director of NCIS; she wouldn't allow an unsanctioned op. Gibbs was just guessing all because DiNozzo had taken the cowardly way out and left.

Gibbs turned and walked away. At least now he knew why Tony had quit, between the director hassling him and getting no support he didn't have an alternative. He was sure Jenny had a hand in the no team support as well. She wanted Tony to feel like he had no one, and then she would be the one to be there for him. The only person he had was Palmer. No wonder he got the hell out of dodge.

That was when something hit him. 'Fuck.' He muttered Jenny could control Stan, which now meant Tony was an outsider. An outsider who knew about an unauthorised op. Tony was in trouble, deadly trouble. He had to find DiNozzo now, before it was too late. He had to talk to Palmer, to either tell him where Tony was, or to pass on information on how much danger he was in.

XXXXX

Kort couldn't believe what he had found out. Something was going down. He glanced down at his watch and noticed the time.

'Fuck.' He growled, Kort knew he had a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in. There was so much he had to sort out.

XXXXX

McGee had never felt so guilty before. He was sick to the stomach as he looked back at how he'd followed Ziva. She was beautiful, and a few well-placed compliments, and she managed to play him. Tim was disgusted with himself at how disrespectful they were. They could have gotten him killed. It wasn't just Ziva, if he had to be honest with himself. He was jealous. Tony was brilliant, charming, good-looking, and an amazing investigator. He wasn't smart in the way Tim was; he wasn't stupid either. Tony was good with the human equation, the ex-cop who was a wild-card whose thought process lived outside of the box.

Things had started to change for him when Stan became the team leader, and it showed how good both Gibbs and Tony were. There was so much he wished he could have done differently. He had thought about going to the director, but as he looked back she had encouraged them to not listen to him. At the time, and how she had gone about it nothing seemed wrong, but not now.

Now Tony had vanished. They had done everything they could to try and trace him, but nothing. Ziva had then killed a man in their custody. She then disappeared as well. Stan had been stretching himself. He wasn't a good team lead to start off with, and now with doing the undercover work with the director it was even worse. Tim had felt so much better when Gibbs had turned up. To be honest, he was more worried about Tony than he was Ziva. He hoped one day to make up for all of this. He had said all of it in the letter to Tony. He was bluntly honest and didn't make any excuses, because there weren't any. He picked up the letter and headed down to see Palmer to give it to him.

XXXXX

Jimmy had been amazed that when he had got into work there were four letters waiting for him to take to Tony. The one from Gibbs had completely shocked him. He was thankful that Dr Mallard had let him leave early. He'd take the route he'd been taught, that would lose people if he were followed. Well, he was told it was. He wouldn't know if he'd been followed unless it were really obvious.

XXXXX

Tony was so very, very bored. For an active man, this was torture. He'd always be thankful for Tobias and Diane for helping him, but he couldn't wait to get out. One of the reasons he was so antsy was the call from Palmer to let him know about the letters heading his way.

He was thrilled and terrified that they had decided to write back. It would either mean they could try and work something out or that it was over.

XXXXX

'Gibbs?' Ziva called out softly as she made her way down to the basement.

He had been waiting for her to return. He could still help her if she started to tell him the truth, but, to be honest, that was doubtful. Gibbs couldn't forgive the way she had treated Tony, and all the lying to him about it.

'Yes, Ziva.' He continued to sand. 'Have you come to tell me the real reason DiNozzo left?'

Ziva sighed she'd hoped that he would have moved on from this by now. She didn't want to talk about Tony at all. Tony wasn't worth her time. She wanted to talk about her, and how he could help her. It was time to pull out the ace that she still held.

XXXXX

Jenny smirked at she put down the phone. It had been set in motion. Anthony DiNozzo Jr would soon no longer be a problem. Now that had been dealt with she could move onto other matters. These matters included Rene Benoit, possibly his daughter, Stan, Ziva, and Jethro.

XXXXX

'Gibbs, I need your help. Just like years ago I helped you.' Ziva looked around the basement. 'It happened right here. I killed my brother, Ari, to save you.'

'So you expect something in return.' Gibbs never looked at her, he just continued to sand.

She frowned he wasn't supposed to ask that. He should've asked her what he could do to help. 'You would be dead if it weren't for me.' Ziva started to get angry at the lack of attention she was getting.

'So all the times I saved your life while at work is not included. I have to save yours in our personal lives, or do I have to kill a family member to become even with you? What about DiNozzo shouldn't he have earned your respect with everything he's done for you? Do you just remember the things that benefit you and discard them when they become too much trouble or don't serve your purpose in any way?' His eyes remained looking down.

'Is this about Tony?' Ziva spat out his name as if it were distasteful. 'He could not handle the responsibility. So instead of fighting like a man, he ran away like the coward he truly is.'

'What I did could be considered as running away. Do you consider me a coward?' He looked from the corner of his eye and waited for her to shake her head. 'So you want help from this coward? Once again, you have contradicted yourself. You use the things that suit you, and ignore everything else.'

'Damn you Gibbs look at me. I won't be ignored.' Ziva shouted at him.

He finally looked up. His gaze was so very cold. She had never known him to look at her like that before. This Gibbs was no longer a man that could be considered a father figure. Instead, he was a man, a very dangerous and attractive one. The power within him was intoxicating. Ziva felt a little weak in the knees. She had never felt this sudden attraction or desperate need before, and nothing like this had been aimed at Gibbs before. Then it hit her; there was another way to get to him. After all he was still a man, a man who had needs. She sauntered across to him, an extra sway in her hips as she walked. It had always worked before. As Ziva reached him, she placed her arms around his neck. It was clear to see he was confused by this attitude change.

'Ziva.' Gibbs warned her.

'Maybe it's time we took our personal relationship in a new direction.' With that, she pulled him into a kiss.

TBC

Chapter Text

N/B Sorry about not updating or even being online. My chronic pain became so bad I couldn't do anything; it has been a real struggle. On top of that with having a new laptop, FF resent me every review since before Xmas. I know I owe a lot of replies, but it seems as if I am going to have to start from now. Any questions, etc. please ask. Now onto the story (chapter 7 -10 handwritten).

XXXXXX

Gibbs shoved Ziva away from him. His face was full of disgust as he wiped his hand across his mouth. He wanted to get rid of all remnants of her kiss. He wished that he could do the same thing to his mind and get rid of these memories.

'What the fuck do you think you're doing?'

Ziva stumbled backwards as she was shoved away. She couldn't believe that he didn't want her. She knew that men found her attractive. Seduction was just one of the tools of her trade. Sex was something she had become very good at. Ziva had used it many, many times before. Men also fell in love with her, men like Tony DiNozzo. It was true no matter how many times he denied it.

'You want me.' Ziva whispered huskily. 'Let me show you how good we could be together. I can make you forget everything; I could even make you forget all about Shannon. I'll fill up all your senses as you push inside of me.'

Gibbs forced back the vomit he felt, and then started to laugh. It had to be a joke; no one could think that much of themselves. Then he realised that she did, Ziva had always had the best jobs and was given more credit than she deserved because of who her father was.

'Wow, you really think a lot of yourself. You are not my type, and the only way I will forget Shannon or Kelly is if I am dead. Now that you've tried to whore yourself out for help as payment, I'm not going to.' Gibbs just stared at her 'If it was just an accident why are you running? Why don't you just hand yourself into the F.B.I? You can tell them what happened, and let them know if he told you anything.'

'Do you really think they will believe me? If you don't back me up, they aren't going to trust me.' Ziva turned to walk away; she glanced briefly once more at Gibbs then she rushed out. Once outside she moved to the shadows. Ziva ran her tongue across her lips. She could still taste him. It was one brief touch of their lips, but it made her wet. Gibbs had such a powerful aura. She could just imagine all that intensity in bed. It had been a long time since she had wanted a man this much. Somehow, someday Ziva was going to have him in her bed and inside of her. Right at this moment she needed another plan.

XXXXX

Trent made his way to the small out of the way coffee shop. He could see Fornell sitting by himself. Fornell looked up and nearly spat out his coffee when he saw who it was.

'Kort what the hell are you doing here?'

'We need to talk privately.' Kort turned and walked away, not even waiting to see if he was being followed. He knew that Fornell would want to know why they needed to talk.

As he reached his car, he opened the door and climbed in. It wasn't long before Fornell was sitting next to him. Trent reached out and flicked a switch. He smiled at the F.B.I agent's obvious confusion.

'It stops anyone from overhearing us, and the tinted windows means they can't see in.'

'You said we needed to talk, so talk.' Fornell ordered he wasn't going to sit around and play spy games with a CIA agent.

'DiNozzo's in danger.'

'What the hell are you talking about?' Tobias spluttered.

'We don't have time for me to get into how I know these things. As much as you hate it, you're going to have to trust me on this. I know you, and your ex-wife are helping him. Things are a lot worse than you think. I don't know if DiNozzo has told you anything about the op that Shepperd wanted him to do?'

'No, he hasn't. I know that he's conflicted about what to do over it.'

'From what I found out she wanted someone to go undercover and romance or seduce an arms dealer's daughter. So far we have found no evidence that she knows anything about her father's illegal business.'

Fornell frowned. 'How did she get this op approved?'

'She didn't. We have an op already going on. It has been in place for years. Shepperd could ruin a big takedown. The only reason I realised something was going on was because I saw Burley. He was playing at being undercover and not doing a very good job of it.'

'What does this have to do with Tony?'

'He obviously refused knowing it wasn't sanctioned. DiNozzo now knows this about her, and no longer works for NCIS. Gibbs is also back, and she wants him in her bed. DiNozzo could be used as a witness against her. She also believes that he is the only thing in the way of her getting Gibbs.'

'That's nuts.' Fornell muttered, but he knew that he had to get Tony away from here.

Trent nodded in agreement. 'Maybe so, but as I looked into it, I found out she's taken a hit out on your boy wonder. Whoever this killer is they are getting close. DiNozzo hasn't left your ex-wife's house. It makes them a target as well.' He fished out a card from his pocket and handed it over. 'Get him to call me. I can get him to safety.'

'Why would you do that?' Fornell asked suspiciously last time he checked they didn't like each other.

'I may not have many scruples, but he doesn't deserve this. He's also going to be needed to help take her down legally if that is possible.'

'And if it isn't possible?' Fornell could see that Shepperd had stepped on a lot of people's toes with this op, on both sides of the law. This in a weird way actually helped Tony.

'If it can't be done through the legal system with a satisfying conclusion, then there are other ways she can be dealt with.' Trent smirked. 'Get DiNozzo to call me. I'll help him disappear. The shit is going to hit the fan on this one. Burley isn't great at undercover work, and a lot of people have guessed that he isn't what he seems. Shepperd has already ruined one part of our op, but it did help with my cover.'

'Why is she doing this? It's obviously personal.'

'She blames Rene Benoit for her father's death. She's out to get revenge.'

'What if people ask about this meeting?' Fornell waved a hand between them.

The CIA operative laughed. 'I threatened you, so you had to come with me. The glared you had helped when you got into the car. You're the one that told me about this op that Shepperd has planned. Everyone knows you have close ties with NCIS.'

Fornell nodded. 'I know you aren't going to answer this, but I need to ask. Do you know anything about Ziva and the man that died in her custody?'

'I could play around, and annoy you, but we don't have the time. I haven't heard anything, why?'

'The man in her custody had possible information about a terrorist plot.' Fornell sighed; he had known it was a long shot. 'I'll go and explain things to Tony.'

'Fornell I don't know how close the killer is exactly. It could happen any day. If he doesn't want, my help move him and your family. They're in danger as well.'

He couldn't believe the games Shepperd was playing, and because of her the people he cared about were in danger. He angrily climbed out of the car and slammed the door shut. He then stormed off. Fornell needed to get rid of some of this anger before he talked to Tony.

Trent laughed; Fornell had managed to keep up their charade. He had a couple of things to do to be ready for the urgent trip. Benoit had decided that they all should go their separate ways until Shepperd is off his back.

XXXXX

'Tonio?' Fornell yelled out urgently as he walked into the house.

Tony and Diane both came running, they didn't like the fear they heard in his voice.

'What is it Tobias?' Diane demanded her heart pounds as he saw the worry on his face.

'Pack some bags for you and Emily; you're coming with me to the F.B.I.'

'What for?'

'Diane, not now, just please do what I ask.' Fornell cupped her face as he pleaded with her.

'Okay, what about Tonio?'

'There are things I need to discuss with him.'

Tony waited for Diane to disappear. 'What's going on?'

'Call this number and he will help you.'

Tony looked at the card, and he thought it was a joke when he saw the name. 'You have to be kidding me…'

Fornell interrupted him before he could say give away any information. 'Don't say anything. Shepperd is after you because you know about her unsanctioned op. Burley was sent in your place, people guessed that he wasn't who he said he was. She wants to make sure you can't talk, and also so that she can make a play for Gibbs.'

'How do you know…?' Tony stopped as Fornell indicated the card. Kort had been the one to supply him with the information and the warning. He didn't have a lot of choices. Tony wasn't going to stay here and risk innocent people's lives. Then the last part of Fornell's sentence hit him. 'Why would she think I'm in the way if she wants to make a play for Gibbs?'

'Tonio, I know how you feel about him.'

'Fine, but that's how I feel, not Gibbs.'

'For an observant man you can be utterly blind. It's obvious he feels the same way about you and Shepperd knows it.'

'I really can't think about that now.' Tony hugged Fornell tightly. 'Thank you for everything.'

'Any time, just take care of yourself. We'll see you when you can come back.'

'Don't forget you guys are going to help me house hunt.' Tony smiled as he went to pack some clothes before leaving.

XXXXX

Burley stood next to Jeanne, his arm around her waist. Even though they weren't serious, her father still wanted to meet him. He hated the fact that he hadn't been able to make her fall in love with him. There was a voice that kept repeating that DiNozzo would've managed it.

'Hello, you must be Stan Barkley?' Rene Benoit grabbed him by the shoulders and kissed each cheek. 'I just have to talk to a colleague and then we can leave.'

'What about the business you had?' Jeanne asked her father.

'Oh, that had to be cancelled as there were some unforeseen problems. It's with someone I have a history with. Some people just can't let go.' His gaze remained on Stan. He could see the younger man start to twitch.

'I know how that feels.' Jeanne replied as she thought about her ex. She walked over to her father and hugged him.

Stan just wanted to turn and run away. It was clear to him that Rene knew that he was there under Shepperd's orders. He hears a car arrive behind him; he wants to turn and look, but his body is frozen in fear. He hears doors open and close, and then Jeanne's reaction shows that she finds one of these newcomers attractive. She runs a hand through her hair and straightens her clothes. This makes him finally turn, angry at her attitude, and then he just stares. He's glad that he is facing away from Benoit as Stan knew his face would give him away.

It was Tony 'fucking' DiNozzo.

With just one look he got more of a reaction from Jeanne then he did after all this time. Then it hit him, he now had something to tell the Director.

'So you still plan on taking a break, my friend?' Rene smiled at Kort and eyed the man at his side. He wouldn't mind bedding him, maybe they could share him.

'I do, at least I have some company.' Kort wrapped an arm around Tony's waist as they made their way over to the trio.

Kort had pre-warned Tony that they had to pretend that they were lovers. That on its own was disturbing enough, but the way Rene Benoit eyed him made his skin crawl.

'Maybe we should go away together?' Rene offered.

Trent could feel Tony tense under his hand. 'You know I'm not one for sharing, especially when they are this sexy.' With that, he turned and pulled DiNozzo into a passionate kiss.

TBC

Chapter Text

N/B This is a longer update as I have lots of notes for this story, I know some of my others have been shorter. I have now updated them all. This is a longer update as I have lots of notes for this story. For some of you this will make you happy, my next update after this one is going to be 'Behavioural Analysis'.

XXXXX

Benoit sigh was full of regret; he knew that he wouldn't be able to change his friends mind. Hopefully this thing between them wouldn't last long, and he could step in as a replacement. Jeanne glared jealousy, she had wanted this stranger to be hers, and maybe if she talked to her father he could make it happen for the both of them. This hadn't been the first time they had wanted the same man. It was also fun to play them, trying to get them to decide between father and daughter. Once they chose they dumped him. There was something different about this gorgeous man; her father would let her have him first. If it turned out to be more, like a loving parent he would step back. He would do anything to make her happy.

Jeanne turned and glanced at her boyfriend, it was weird how her father had wanted to meet him. They weren't serious, and she doubted that they ever would be. Something odd was going on, and she was going to find out what it was.

Stan tried to stop his body from shaking. He couldn't believe how he was surrounded, and on top of that DiNozzo was kissing this guy. Well, that was one good thing about this. The wonder kid wasn't so wonderful. It was obvious that he was dirty and had played at being an NCIS agent, until his cover was blown. Gibbs would be upset when he found out, but Stan would comfort him. Then there relationship would move forward. He looked forward to when they moved in together and started a proper life. Did Gibbs want more kids? The older man could be a stay at home father, why he ran the MCRT until he worked his way to director.

Tony pulled away from Kort, his tongue swiped over his lips the taste of the other man still clung to them. THE C.I.A agent was an excellent kisser, and that was probably one of the, if not the weirdest thoughts that he'd ever had. His eyes remained on Kort. He avoided the gazes of father and daughter. The similar want in their eyes was disturbing, and the way they had looked at each other before he was kissed made him shudder. They'd clearly been attracted to the same person before. That was a Springer episode waiting to happen. Arms dealer and daughter, fight over ex-NCIS agent. Do they go to war, or share him? Tony shook his head mentally; his overactive imagination was not his friend at times.

'Well, we're heading of Rene, take care of yourself? I'll see you when I get back.' Kort called out as he pulled Tony away from them.

'Can you get some kind of warning to Stan that he's in danger? Even from that brief meeting he's obviously lying. His whole body language screams undercover work.' Tony shook his head in disgust that was who Jenny used to replace him. What an embarrassment.

'After everything you want to help him?' Kort gave up arguing when bright green eyes turned to stare at him intently. 'Fine, I can't promise anything, but I will see what I can do. My job is to keep you safe.'

'Thank you.' Tony waited until they sat down on the private jet. 'I know you're doing it to bring Jenny down, but you made sure Fornell's family were safe.'

'Well an angry and revenge full F.B.I agent would make my life a little more difficult. You know me; I always look after number one.' Trent smirked as he closed his eyes and settled down to sleep. 'Get some rest it's a long flight.'

Tony just shook his head in amusement. It was weird how his life had turned out.

XXXXX

Jenny was going to kill Stan; she glared at the message on her desk. She had no idea who sent it, but to let her know that his cover was blown already. It was supposed to be an op that went on a little longer than this. It was not supposed to happen this way. She had made her plans, now she was going to have to change things. What the hell happened? Jenny looked up as her office door walked in and a smug Stan Burley walked in. It made her angrier, how dare he look like that when everything was falling apart.

'Care to tell me why I have a message from an unknown source letting me know that you undercover op has been compromised?' Jenny spat out angrily.

Stan had known that he had been found out, but he hoped that it would've been later down the line. That was when it hit him, he had the perfect solution. 'It must have been DiNozzo. He turned up at a meeting between me, Jeanne and her father. I was just about to have an in with Rene when he turned up. He was with Trent Kort, and they seemed pretty cosy if you get my drift. I think someone should tell Agent Gibbs, I'll let him know.'

Jenny watched him carefully, it was clear he was lying, but about what? Was everything he said a fabrication or just some of it. Not that it mattered, she could work with it. 'No, I'll tell him.' She raised an eyebrow and stared at him coolly it was clear he was about to argue.

'Of course, you are the director after all.' For no he added silently in his head. He now knew that he could do such a better job than she could.

'Thank you for remembering. You're dismissed.' Jenny watched him leave. He was begging to become a problem, but he could wait for now. There were more important things that she had to deal with.

XXXXX

Fornell looked up as his door opened. He tried to keep his anger in check. He had no idea what Burley or Shepperd were playing. These lies about DiNozzo secretly working for an arms dealer was ridiculous. He told Director Skinner what had happened, and they both agreed that when it came down to it the FBI would protect Tony. Kort was right about the fact that to bring down the Director of NCIS they were going to need the younger agent.

'Gibbs what are you doing here?'

'You were helping Tony when you worked cases together. How did he seem?'

'Why do you want to know? You want to rub his nose in being a failure? You want to let the other's verbally abuse him while you laugh along with it?'

'I want to find him so I can make sure he's safe, and to apologise. I've been more of bastard than I thought possible. He may never forgive me, but I need to try.'

Fornell watched him carefully. 'How do I know you're not in this ridiculous plan that you ex bed warmer, and your ex-SFA have cooked up?'

'What are you talking about Tobias?'

'They're spreading the rumour that Tony is actually working for an arms dealer name Rene Benoit, and that he was undercover for him when he joined NCIS.'

'They're saying what?' Gibbs shouted.

'Calm down, do you want to get thrown out. I guess by that reaction you had no idea. Don't worry we don't believe it. Tom Morrow won't either, and I'm pretty sure that the CIA won't either.'

'Why wouldn't the CIA believe this?' It was the only one that really didn't fit.

'Kort came to me. He knew Tony was in danger. DiNozzo's safety is now in the hands of our favourite agent Trent Kort.'

TBC

Chapter Text

I would like to thank Bobdog54 for helping with this chapter. Holly you get your bday pressie in May. Gina this is a belated birthday pressie for you.

xxxxx

'Can we somehow get a message out telling everyone that DiNozzo's not working for an arms dealer?' Gibbs' legs planted wide, his arm muscles flexed at the thought that people would believe that the younger man was working for the wrong side of the law. Tony would not do that.

'And exactly what are we going to do today without giving up the CIA op and Kort?' Tobias asked as his eyebrow rose. 'I know you don't care about him, but he is the one keeping DiNozzo's butt safe. It will all be sorted out when he gets back.'

'Okay, what exactly is going on? Start at the beginning' Gibbs ran a hand through his hair and then rubbed the back of his neck.

'It seems that your lovely director and ex-flame.' Tobias grinned as Gibbs' lips pressed into a white slash, the muscle in his jaw pulsed as he clenched his teeth. The smile faded quickly as he thought about what Tonio had been through. 'She wanted to use DiNozzo in an unsanctioned op. He refused and without any support…'

'Apart from Palmer he really had no one. I had hoped that it wasn't the case. I always had thought the team was closer than co-workers, they were like a family.' Gibbs nostrils flared, his hands clenched and unclenched at the thought of how his team had let Tony down.

'Balboa did what he could, including complain. As you can guess nothing came of it. I did what I could when we had to work together. Kort saw Burley as he tried and failed to work undercover. The CIA has had an op going for a few years now. Kort has managed to get close to Rene Benoit, the arms dealer.' Tobias grinned as he noticed the confusion on Gibbs' face. 'I have my own contacts.'

'What does any of this have to do with NCIS?' It had been one of the questions that had crossed his mind when Burley had told him about the op.

'Absolutely nothing and I wanted to make sure that I had all the information at hand so I could help Tony. You know her father committed suicide right?' Fornell waited for him to nod. 'Well it seems that she feels Benoit was somehow involved. I am not sure if it was what he was accused of, or that he helped with the suicide aspect.'

'So she's using NCIS for a personal vendetta?'

'DiNozzo knows all about it so she has a hit out on him. Kort told me that. It's also why he's taken him. If Shepard is going to be taken down legally they're going to need him. Burley will give her up as soon as this all comes to light. He'll be watching his own ass.'

'I tried to tell Burley that this op wasn't sanctioned, but he wouldn't listen to me. He's been easily bought by compliments and she's practically given him his wish list for the future.'

'You mean like you?' Fornell laughed. 'We all knew he had a thing for you it was so obvious. You couldn't wait for him to be gone. NCIS has been nothing but a pain in my ass, especially with this whole David thing.'

'What exactly happened? She called me to come back, which is when I found out Tony had left. Ziva than came to visit a few times, but I wouldn't help her because she kept lying about why he quit.'

Fornell's mouth fell open; an incredulous look appeared on his face. 'You've spoken and seen her more than once?'

'As she called to say that she needed help, I told her to go to Tony. That was when Ziva told me he quit. I knew he wouldn't do it without a hell of a reason. I mean, come on, he worked under me for years when pretty much no one else could.'

'So you came back for Tonio then?'

'I was worried that something had happened to him.' Gibbs crossed his arms over his chest, and just stared at the other man.

'Look before we go back to the Ziva situation there is something you should know. Tonio has become very important to me. He's become part of my family.' Tobias paused for a moment. 'You know he loves you, right?'

'Yeah, it really hit me when my memory came back. I guess I was just ignoring it before.' He admitted.

'And do you love him?'

'I do, is that what you wanted to hear?'

'It's not about what I want, but what the truth is. I want to make sure that you don't destroy him. You're the only one that could.'

'Jesus, Tobias, I wouldn't…I know I've hurt him too many times. I want to make it up to him if I can, if he'll let me. I know I will never make up for everything. I've done too much over the years.'

'You'd better mean that. If you do anything to hurt him on purpose it's not me you have to be careful of, it's Diane and Emily. They've both grown to love him as well. Okay enough of this emotional shit and back to Ziva.'

'What's she done?'

'NCIS picked up a guy, it was a separate case. It turns out he has info on a possible terrorist plot. She was supposed to deliver him into our hands, alive. Ziva and McGee picked him up no problems. The next thing we know McGee went to get coffees, the prisoner is dead and she's vanished. We need to know if he said anything to her, and if she or Mossad have anything to do with this plot.'

'Okay, how can I help?'

'You really want to help Jethro? You're not going to let her get away with any of this are you?' Fornell rolled his eyes as Gibbs face grew red, his eyes hardened. 'Come on, it's not like she hasn't played you before. Do I need to mention Tony again?'

Gibbs sighed. 'I know I didn't do anything when she, when they, treated him like crap. I honestly thought it was just the way they were. Tony gave as good as he got. It wasn't until I thought back on it that I realised that the tone was completely different. His was jokey, and theirs wasn't. I promise you I won't help her again that Ziva has gone too far.'

'Are there any other reasons?'

'You mean apart from trying to emotionally blackmail me and when that didn't work she tried seduction.'

'Wait, Ziva tried to seduce you? I thought you had more of a father/daughter thing going.'

'She kissed me and offered sex, I assume she doesn't see me as a father figure.' Gibbs' nose wrinkled as he thought about it. 'I really hope that she doesn't.'

Fornell nodded. 'We've closed off as many routes for getting out of the country as we can. What if we somehow get her back to you?'

'I don't know if she will respond, but I can call her.' Gibbs suddenly grinned.

'I don't like that look.'

'What if we use the Tony rumour, about him working with an arms dealer? I can call her and tell her I've heard things about him and that's making me wonder if he didn't leave on purpose.'

'You could also mention him kissing a man, and make it look like it's an actual relationship.'

Gibbs growled he took a step towards Fornell. His hands clenched at his side. 'Who kissed him? It was fucking Kort wasn't it?'

'It was to keep cover; to be able to get Tonio out, so calm down. You can use that right, without this jealous rage?'

'Yeah, I can use that.' He replied sullenly.

'Okay, it's not just the best shot we have, but the only one we have.'

'We'd better get everything set up before I call her. Ziva will watch the place for a bit after I phone. There's a house a few doors down on the other side of the road that's empty. If you can find the owners you could ask them to use it.'

'We could pretend to be new people moving in.' Fornell handed him a pad and pen. 'Write down the address.'

'Send your agent around who are going to fix up my basement with video and sound equipment, and then call me when everything else is in place.'

'Will do.' Fornell watched as Gibbs left. He wasn't sure if he wanted Tonio to forgive him a chance or to move on and possibly find someone knew. That was the one man that could really hurt someone he cared about, but it wasn't his decision.

XXXXX

Gibbs sat in his basement and waited. Everything had been setup and Ziva was on her way. To be honest she had probably been here awhile making sure the coast was clear. It never seemed to occur to her that he would set up her. Well, he hoped that it didn't at any rate.

He heard his front door open close; his eyes remained on the piece of wood he was working on. Next the basement door opened, and the wooden steps creaked as she walked down them.

'Gibbs.' She said in greeting and looked around the basement to see if there was anything hidden. She moved slowly and cautiously towards him.

'Ziva, thank you for coming. I didn't know if you would after everything I said.'

'Why did you want to see me? You never believed a word I said about Tony.' She spat out his name.

He forced any emotion he truly felt towards his face. It took every last piece of undercover skill he had to manage it. All he wanted to do was take out his gun and shoot her for hurting the man he loved.

'I recently found out some information about…Tony.' He took a deep breath.

Ziva watched as Gibbs calmed himself. She had to make sure that this was all real. As soon as he'd called she'd come straight over and watched the house for hours. There was nothing out of the ordinary. It seemed that the empty house, that was across the road and a few doors away had finally been brought by a young couple, the woman was clearly pregnant.

'Jethro, I am here for you. What did you find out?' How bad was it? What had Tony done? Whatever it was, it was going to work out in her best interest.

'Ton…DiNozzo's been hiding who he really is. I can't believe I didn't see it. All these years and I thought we were a team, friends, family.'

'What did you miss?' She prodded.

'He was seen with an arms dealer, and was being intimate with one of his male associates. I really thought he'd been driven away and he needed me.'

'I'm sorry that he betrayed you.' Ziva was thrilled to find out there was more to Tony. He'd always ignored her advances, and now she knew why. It wasn't anything to do with her; he was purely interested in men. He'd obviously used women that he could deceive. Tony knew he would never be able to pull one over on her. She moved a little closed to Gibbs and went up onto her toes. Her hand wrapped around his neck and she pulled him into a kiss. Ziva felt strong arms wrap around her body, and pulled her even closer to his muscular body.

Gibbs made it look like he was forcing himself to push her away. 'I'm sorry Ziva, I can't, not now and not like this.' He ran a finger gently down her cheek. 'I care too much about you to use you like that.'

Those words from his mouth washed away any lingering doubts that she had. If he had been using her they would have ended up in bed. Sex was one of the best weapons that people had. It could be used to wring out every little secret if done correctly. That was what Mossad had taught her, and she had no doubt that Gibbs knew what to do in bed.

'Yes, you are right. We'll have plenty of time when my little problem is sorted out.'

'I'm sorry I betrayed your trust when I tried to help Tony. Is there anything I can do for you?'

Ziva's eyes ran up and down his body, her tongue slid across her lips at the thought of what he could to her. There would be time enough later.

'There was this man in our, my custody. There was information that we needed from him. He died. I need to leave this country, just for a little while to get myself sorted out. It will all be cleared up soon enough.'

'What information did he have? Was it for NCIS?'

'It doesn't matter my love. I just need to leave.' She paused for a moment. 'Come with me, there is nothing left for you here.' Ziva knew that she would be so much safer with him at her side. When they were far enough away they could spend all their time making love, exploring each other's bodies to their hearts' content.

Gibbs knew her, and there would be no more information from her. He took a step back and stared at the woman he once thought he knew.

Ziva felt the change in him. Those beautiful blue eyes turned glacial.

'I can't. It's over.' Those were the code words. He knew that once she had walked into the house the FBI had moved so they were outside his front door.

The thunder of footsteps echoed. Ziva looked up at the basement door and there was Fornell with an army of men behind him.

'Hello Ziva, we've been looking for you. Take her away.'

'Gibbs you betrayed me.' She screamed. Strong arms stopped her from attacking the man she trusted and believed in.

'No, you betrayed Tony first.'

'But you said that he…. All of it was lies. You picked him over me again.'

'It seems I haven't lost the knack for undercover work.' He smirked.

'Thanks.' Fornell nodded and followed his men who had a still struggling fugitive.

'Shepard wanted this.' She yelled.

'What else have been up to Jenny?' Gibbs muttered to himself. He knew that Ziva had been following orders. He hadn't been sure if it had been Shepard's or Eli's and now he knew.

XXXXX

Jenny looked up as Tobias walked in. 'Agent Fornell, please have a seat. How can I help you today?'

'We've finally managed to capture Ziva.' He watched closely as she paled at the news.

'I'm glad that the chase is over. I can't believe that she'd been keeping secrets from me. I had thought that we were friends. Has she told you anything yet?'

'She said that she was working under your orders.'

She couldn't believe that Ziva had sold her out. 'I'm sorry to say Agent Fornell that she is lying. The only thing I ordered her to do was to hand the prisoner over to you. I assumed that she knew he had to be alive as well. It was my mistake in not making that clear. I thought she had put her past behind her when it came to murder.'

Fornell knew she was lying, and it was clever to bring up Ziva's past and what she would have done for Mossad.

'I thought that might be the case, but I needed to check with you first. Thank you for your time Director.'

'Anytime, and please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further assistance to you or the FBI.' Her eyes narrowed as the door closed behind him. Fornell didn't give up that easily. He had another plan. She needed to start and clean up her loose ends and Ziva David had just ended up on that list, right at the top. She shared first place with Anthony DiNozzo Jr. It was good that Ziva had a past that could be used against her. Who would believe a spy, an assassin, over the Director of NCIS? It wouldn't be a problem to create some evidence that supported the lie. Jenny would deal with Eli later. She'd explain how his daughter had been the betrayed. Ziva would be dead by then and wouldn't be able to contradict the story. She grabbed her cell and dialled.

'Well,' Jenny snapped, there would be only one reason she called. 'What the hell do you mean DiNozzo's vanished? Find him, and do it now. Once you do- kill him.'

How the hell did a man who liked to be the centre of attention managed to disappear without a trace? She remembered what Stan had told her, had Benoit helped him? Who was the man he'd been kissing? It was starting to unravel too quickly. This situation needed to end and soon. Then she would be able to concentrate on the man who caused her father's death. She could help save the country and become one of the most powerful women. SecNav would be her next job, but it wouldn't be the last. She had her eyes set higher than that. With each climb up the ladder Jethro would be beside her, helping and supporting every step of the way.

XXXXX

Ziva stared down at the little recorder as Shepard denied everything. She had known it hadn't been an NCIS op. Just like her father, the older woman had used her.

'I will tell you everything if I can make one phone call to my father.'

'Why?' Fornell demanded he wasn't going to allow any little codes to be passed so that daddy dearest could come to the rescue.

'I want him to know that the Director betrayed me, and that she will use him and Mossad until she no longer needs anything. She will pay by your hands or by my family's. My father will see to that.' Ziva replied simply. 'You may be in the room and can cut me off at any time.'

He knew it was a risk, but having Mossad on Shepard's back appealed to him. They had to find out what she knew and this was the only way it was going to happen.

'Very well, tell us what you know first.' If anything happened to Ziva, he had no doubt Jenny would be after her, they needed that information.

Ziva hated to trust him, but she knew that if she said nothing the phone call to her father would never happen. There was no doubt once he found out that his daughter had been treated like this by the Director of NCIS would pay, and would pay dearly.

'I agree, he did not tell me much. Just that it was a friend in Baltimore that held the information. It was a man called Denby. The director wanted to know all this so NCIS and mostly her she could come to the rescue. She has decided her current position is not enough power for her. The next step is to become SecNav. Jenny believes that saving everyone from attack would ensure that it would happen.'

'Get the phone.' Fornell ordered any extra pressure on Shepard would help Tonio out.

XXXXX

Eli had put the phone down and started to pace. He couldn't believe the nerve of that woman using his daughter. It was amusing that she was trying to play their game. Did Shepard really think that she could win against him? She was an amateur. The lovely director would soon find out how outmatched she was when she went against the experts.

No one used his family apart from him. It was time to gather Intel on the Director of NCIS and find out exactly what she was up to.

XXXXX

Tony looked around him. He was on a small Greek island, in a beautiful private villa. This would have been a dream holiday accept he was being hunted and his life was in the hand of a CIA agent. He was really worried about Tobias, Diane and Emily. He really hoped that they were safe. What would Jenny do to them if she found out that they had helped him?

'Here.' Kort called out, he'd noticed that Tony was getting more and more worried. It was time to take his mind off things.

Tony looked up and caught a box, when he opened it there were a lot of DVDs all classic films. Wait they were all his from his apartment.

'These all region one.'

Kort nodded at the DVD player. 'It's a multi-region one. Put on a film and we'll watch it.' He'd never expected to actually like DiNozzo. Once getting past the first few awkward days it turned out they got on.

Tony settled himself down next to the other man and smiled brightly at him. They both turned as the film started.

XXXXX

'You're a complete and utter bastard.' Diane shouted as she walked up to him.

'Why this time?' He slipped his hands into his pockets, and cleared his throat.

'Tonio. How the hell could you treat him the way you did?'

'I…' He shrugged his shoulders. 'I don't have an excuse, I am a bastard. Nothing I can say or do will ever make up for how I treated him.'

Diane stared at her ex-husband. He had never apologised to her for anything, which was when it hit her. 'You're in love with him Jethro.' It didn't need to be a question everything he had said proved it.

He wanted to deny it, but it wouldn't be fair to the younger man. He could start making it up by being honest with people that cared about him.

'Yes I am. I don't deserve him and I wouldn't blame Tony if he wanted nothing to do with me.'

'Damn you Jethro, the tin man finally got a heart.' She pulled him into a hug. 'You know he's a forgiving man, if you break his heart I will make you pay.'

Gibbs wrapped his arms around her. 'I'm glad he has you, Fornell and Emily to support him. He needs people who care about him around.'

'Great, just great.' Fornell muttered as he walked towards them.

Diane and Gibbs pulled away from each other and looked at him.

'What's wrong?' Gibbs asked.

'We found this Denby character that David mentioned.'

'Well, that's a good thing right?' Her eyes flitted between her two ex-husbands.

'Yes it is, but he's had a lot of issues with law enforcement, Baltimore PD to be exact, and he doesn't trust the FBI. There is only one person he will talk to, the man who had helped him in Baltimore.

Gibbs rubbed his eyes this was the last thing they needed. 'Anthony DiNozzo Jr, right?'

'Exactly.' Fornell replied which meant they had to bring Tonio back here to get information on a possible terrorist attack. It was also the place where his life was in danger. He had no doubt as soon as the younger man found out he would be on his way back here. He would never pick his life over innocent people. Somehow they still had to keep him safe.

TBC

Chapter Text

I would like to thank Bobdog54 for helping with this chapter. You also may notice the change from using '' to "". There is a publisher who is interested in my novel and this is what they prefer. So, I am changing it. I will go back through and alter them when I can.

XXXXX

Trent couldn't believe how much he enjoyed spending time with Tony. When he'd come up with this idea, the only thought had been that he couldn't kill the other man. In fact when this was all over he was going to miss him. Not that he planned on saying anything, to anyone, ever. If this got out it would ruin his reputation and potentially used against him. Trent knew that he must never allow anyone to see any weaknesses. He exploited others' weaknesses.

In some ways Tony's sense of humour was very close to his. He'd never watched so many films before. Some he enjoyed and others were utter crap, but it helped to pass the time. He grabbed his cell and dialled his messaging service. Call him paranoid, but he wasn't one for giving out his contact details. His rare, relaxed smile fell away. If Fornell gave this number to Gibbs something had to have happened. He hated surprises because he had never had one that enhanced his outlook on life.

"Gibbs, he's fine…what?" Kort turned so he could face the swimming pool and watched as Tony completed lap after lap. You couldn't take away the athlete in some people. "His life's in danger if he goes back. I'll talk to him, but you'd better make sure that he's as safe as you can make him. If you don't I can promise you he isn't going anywhere, even if I have to drug him and lock him away until it's over." Once Tony heard what was happening there was no doubt that he would insist on going back. "Call back and leave a message when it's all been sorted."

Dropping the cell on the table, he walked through the open sliding doors. Tony had changed since being here, there wasn't that fear in his eyes, he was tanned and he had gained needed weight and muscle mass. Trent laughed to himself; it could be the first time in a long while that he was actually a safe harbour for someone. Gibbs and his merry band of do-gooders had better come through. His threat was very real, if something did happen to Tony then many, many people would pay for putting him in that situation.

XXXXX

"I spoke to Kort." Gibbs started talking as he walked into Fornell's, messy office, without knocking. "I still don't understand how you can find anything in that pile of crap?" The files were piled so high that they were almost toppling over, every surface was covered with a folder, or random scraps of paper. The only thing that sat on a clear part of the desk was a picture of Emily.

"This is an organised mess."

"You mean like the FBI?" Gibbs grinned at the glare that was thrown his way. The smile faded as he got back to the reason he was here. "He'll talk to Tony and bring him back, on the condition that we make everything as protected and safe as possible." It wasn't something he needed to be told. If it came down to it he would watch the man he cared for 24/7. He would risk his own life; give up everything for the younger man. "We need to set up a safe house for him. Kort won't bring him back until everything is in place."

"We'll that's something we all can agree on. Do you want us to…?"

"We'll make a list of everything we need, and plan it all, but it needs to go through the FBI." Gibbs did not feel comfortable leaving this in anyone else's hands, even if it was Fornell.

"Are you sure about this? If she finds out…"

"I'm sure Tobias, I need to do this. We need to do this, to show Tony we care and worry about him. Don't worry I will only let the others help if I am sure that they aren't going to stab any of us in the back. If I have the smallest doubt I will hand it back to you. I'm not going to risk it, risk him. He is my priority; no one takes priority over him, no one."

"Very well." Fornell sighed eventually. He only hoped that this didn't blow up in their faces.

XXXXX

Gibbs had already spoken to Ducky, Palmer and Abby. They had all agreed to have lunch with him. He was now on his way to see McGee.

"Jethro." Jenny called out.

"Director, what do you need?"

"Oh I don't need anything I just wondered if you had heard from Agent DiNozzo."

"He longer works here remember, and no I haven't." He sighed he was telling the truth. He hadn't actually spoken to Tony yet.

"Oh did you hear about Ziva?" Jenny watched his face carefully. She hated the fact that it was still hard to read him.

"What about her?"

"The FBI has her now."

"Do you know what happened? Why she ran?" Gibbs waited to see what she would come up with.

"I've no idea, but she did tell Fornell that it was an NCIS case, and that I had given her the order." She decided to relay the information. It was easier than trying to make something else up at this late date.

"And did you?"

"Of course I didn't. It has nothing to do with us. Our entire job was to hand him over to the FBI and nothing more."

"Well it's out of your hands now."

"What are you doing here? Did you come to see me?" She held her breath and leaned towards him.

"No, I came to see Ducky and the others. I haven't seen much of them so I thought going to lunch would be a good idea."

Jenny waited for a few moments and started to fuss with her clothes. The invitation she desperately wanted never came. The silence became uncomfortable. "Enjoy yourselves." A bitter smile appeared on her face as she turned and walked away.

He stood and watched as she walked up the stairs, and turned to go to her office. Once out of sight he finally turned to McGee.

McGee fidgeted as Gibbs walked over to him.

"I want an honest answer and I'll know if you're lying."

"Very well boss." McGee gulped.

"Not your boss anymore."

"You'll always be boss to me." The young man smiled at him.

"DiNozzo."

"I…it sounds like I am blaming Ziva, but I'm not. She fed my ego. I've always been the top of my class. Tony always seemed to joke around. I had no idea why you kept him around. I thought that you did all the work. When the two of us spoke about it, we thought that you must have owed Tony something. When you left I was sure that it would prove what a mistake it was to make him team lead." McGee laughed at himself. "Then Stan came in, and I thought things would be different, and they were. He showed us how good you and Tony were both as agents and leaders. He made it look so easy. I wish I could've told him how sorry I am."

"Would you like to make it up to him?"

"I wish I could, but he's gone."

"McGee, he needs our help. But, I promise you this, if you do anything to hurt him…" Gibbs threatened.

"No, I wouldn't."

"Okay, we're meeting the others for lunch. Let's go they'll be waiting."

XXXXX

Ducky rubbed his forehead, and Jimmy just glared at Abby.

"Ahhh Jethro you're here, glad you could join us Timothy." Ducky replied he pressed his hands to his eyes. If it had been any longer he would've had to stop Mr Palmer from attacking Abby. He wouldn't have blamed his assistant in the least. He felt his hands itching to slap her for the idiotic things she was saying.

They had taken seats in a back corner so they could have some privacy.

"Hi Gibbs." She was sure this meant that he had forgiven her. She was his favourite after all.

"We're here to talk about DiNozzo."

"I can't believe he lied to us all. He was working with an arms dealer of all things. I would've never thought of him doing anything like that." She twirled her pigtail as she spoke, in a world of her own, and totally missing the glares that were being sent her way. "The lies that were in those letters. He's always been jealous of how close we are Gibbs. How you treat me like family, like a daughter. I've helped you fill a gap that you thought was lost."

Ducky's eyes flew to his oldest friend. It had not been that long since he had to relive that loss.

Gibbs eyes hardened. "What I feel for Tony is completely different from how I feel about everyone else. I'm in love with him." He had to make sure everyone knew how he felt, how important Tony was. I do love you Abby, I loved who you once were, and yes as a part of my family. But you're not my daughter, I've only had one and she died. Remember I had to go through that all again recently and you have the nerve to act like it's nothing. I won't betray her memory."

"But Gibbs, I bet Tony told you lies about me…"

Tim sighed he'd been one of those that had treated Tony the worst. He'd always believed that Abby would have been the first to feel guilty. That was not happening.

"Abby shut the fuck up." Tim finally snapped as she opened her mouth to start again. "All of us, apart from Jimmy, hurt Tony. Sorry Ducky."

"No need my dear boy, you are right. I, myself, hurt him as well, and for that I am deeply sorry. I hope that one day I can make it up to him."

"Tony never deserved anything he got from us. His letter to me was all true."

Gibbs and Ducky both nodded in agreement.

"Timmy." Abby whispered her green eyes full of betrayal.

"Abby, I want to; no I need to help Tony. When I get the chance I am going to say sorry, and hopefully, one day he can forgive me."

"Good job McGee." Gibbs placed a hand on his shoulder.

"But…" She looked around and could see that no one was going to stand up for her. They always had before. It wasn't fair. Abby stood and walked away, they would come around soon.

Gibbs waited for her to walk out of the door before he bent his head closer to the others, and lowered his voice.

"The undercover op that Burley was involved in was unsanctioned. Tony knows all about it." Gibbs paused. "Jenny has put a hit out on his life. Kort noticed Burley. He did some investigating and found out about Tony's life being in danger."

"Trent Kort, the CIA agent?" Tim's eyes blinked rapidly as he tried to make sense of what he'd just heard.

"Fornell helped Tony; Kort knew that and told him about the hit."

"Where is Anthony now is he safe?" Ducky asked.

"I don't know where he is, the only one that does is Kort." Gibbs hated the fact that he wasn't the one protecting the man he loved. "He needs to come back here; it's all linked into the whole Ziva situation."

"What happened there?" McGee asked. "I had to sign some paperwork and he was fine. The next thing I hear he's dead and Ziva was on the run."

"She's in FBI custody. It seems that Jenny used her. Our illustrious leader wants to move up in the world. Her eyes are on the SecNav position. She wanted Ziva to get the information about the possible terrorist plot. Then she and NCIS would come and save the day. Everyone would owe her. I don't think that her ambition stops there. Jenny's left her to fend for herself. When Ziva realised that she wasn't going to get any help from her she made a deal. One phone call to her father for the information."

"Fornell agreed to this?" Palmer asked.

"He was allowed to listen in on the call. Ziva told Eli that she'd been betrayed by Shepard. She told Fornell about another man in Baltimore, he's the one that has the information. He's not big on authority figures, except for one." Gibbs smiled.

"Tony." Tim added.

"We really do need him here." Jimmy would rather that Tony stayed where he was until this was all sorted out, but that wasn't going to happen.

"I know you want him safe Palmer, Jimmy." Gibbs patted him on the back. He almost laughed at the shocked look that appeared on his face. "Tony would be pissed at us if we didn't tell him. He would demand that we help. If we didn't he would do it on his own."

McGee grabbed his laptop, but Gibbs stopped him and handed him pen and paper. "We do it old school."

"Okay, let's make sure we think of everything. Tony has to be safe."

XXXXX

Kort laid his cell on the table; it seemed as if Gibbs and his band of merry men had managed to make Tony as safe as possible. There were only a few select individuals that knew what was going on in Washington. Tony looked up from the lounger, his smile faded as soon as he saw the look on Kort's face. The CIA agent bent his head and pulled the younger man into a passionate kiss.

"What's going on?" Tony asked once the kiss had finished.

"I think this is the last time I'm going to be able to kiss you." It had only been the second, but it wouldn't take long before he had his life back. "Remember Tony that we've become friends, no matter if we come up against each other. If you ever need me call."

"I take this to mean that I am going back and that everything has been sorted out?"

"No, but they need you. There's a possible terrorist threat. A man from Baltimore called Denby, and he'll only talk to you."

"Denby was a small time crook; some of the others treated him like crap. He wasn't a bad guy, just ended up in a bad situation."

"Gibbs and the others have made sure your safety is their top concern. If you're worried don't be, Fornell went through everything as well. I was told to tell you Gibbs, Ducky, Palmer and McGee. Three of them want to apologise in person."

"What about Ziva?" Tony asked. It was clear that Abby still thought he was at fault. He wanted to know if little Miss Mossad and backstabber had been found.

"The FBI are holding her. She's in a lot of trouble. Shepard has left her to rot. Gibbs is doing everything he can to stop the assassin coming for you. He has a plan."

"How? The only way would be, fuck, he's going to kill her. I won't let him do that not for me."

"You might not get a chance to stop him Tony."

"Watch me; get me back to Washington as soon as you can. Don't let anyone know otherwise Gibbs might speed up his plan to off the psychotic director."

"I was going to get you there under the radar anyway." Trent promised him.

Tony was going to miss this. He loved the villa and the few locals he met were so kind to him. It seemed that Kort had saved them, and then kept this place safe. The thing that surprised him most was that he was going to miss his companion. If it hadn't been for his feelings for Gibbs he would have been tempted to take things further. He could pay the other back if he ever needed back up with this Benoit thing, Tony now had a cover. He laughed at the thought of telling his ex-boss that he was going undercover as Trent's lover. That would go down really well. He was hoping that this meant McGee had seen the light, and, well, he had no idea where things were with Gibbs.

XXXXX

Stan had popped down to see Abby; she had been worried about Ziva so he kept an eye on her when he could. He had hoped that she had seen Gibbs, but when he got there no one had seen her since lunch, and it seemed McGee had vanished as well. Stan would check in with the director first. When he held that position he would make sure the MCRT team leader was kept up to date.

Abby may not be on his team officially, but he was an important person, Jenny had admitted that to him. She was reluctant at first, but she had needed his help. When Gibbs realised what he meant to NCIS things would change between them.

XXXXX

Shepard managed to hide her annoyance from Burley. He seemed to think that he should be in the know about everything. She had never met someone who you could give a few compliments to and suddenly they think they are the most important person in the world. When this was over, if he still had a job, she was going to transfer him far, far away. Benoit could be useful and take care of this little problem, well his organisation anyway. She would have to make a note to let his undercover work slip to the right, well the wrong people.

"Agent Burley, what can I do for you?"

"Do you know where Abby or McGee are?"

"Well Abby seemed to be having a breakdown; you know how high-strung she is. I couldn't get a word out of her. She did keep mumbling about seeing the nuns, maybe something happened to one of them? McGee, Dr Mallard and Mr Palmer all went to lunch with Gibbs." She still hated the fact that he hadn't invited her.

"Gibbs had lunch with them and never invited me?" Burley pouted.

"It seemed to be a private party. I received word from SecNav that they were working on something." She hated to be out of the loop when she held that position, almost nothing would be kept from her. All that knowledge, all that power. Jenny needed to get things back under control here- this thing with Ziva, and now a top secret mission that she knew nothing about. Then of course, no one knew where DiNozzo was.

"So I'll have to look for Ziva on my own." Stan sighed as if he had to do everything anyway.

"Wait, you don't know?" Jenny smirked; she had to get her pleasures where she could.

"Know what?"

"The FBI has her in custody." That was when it hit her, if they carried on about it being an NCIS mission she could blame it on Burley. He was her team-leader after all.

"Why wasn't I told?" He snapped.

"Don't talk to me like that, I'm your boss remember that Agent Burley." Jenny replied hotly. "You would need to talk to Agent Fornell as to why he never contacted you. Go through cold cases since you are on your own. When's your next meeting with the Benoit girl?"

"I don't know she hasn't answered my calls or texts since we saw DiNozzo."

Jenny sighed had Burley or DiNozzo fucked this up for her. She had to get to Rene. He had to pay for everything he'd done.

"Well keep trying, send some flowers or something." Jenny replied dismissively.

XXXXX

Gibbs walked through the safe-house. Kort had called and said that he would have the place checked out one more time. He had better do it otherwise; the other man might stop Tony from coming.

He frowned when he noticed a sliver of light from under one of the bedroom doors. Gibbs pulled out the gun. SecNav had been furious when he'd been told what was going on, and had hired him back, secretly of course. It was a good thing now that he could be armed. The door hadn't been closed completely. Gibbs pushed it open and nearly dropped the gun. It had seemed like years since he'd last seen him. There curled up on the bed asleep was Tony.

Kort moved to stand by him. "You break his heart, or hurt him on purpose, I'll kill you. He deserves better than you." With that the CIA agent and weird guardian angel walked away. Tony's life and his heart were now in the hands of one Leroy Jethro Gibbs.

TBC

Chapter Text

Tony slowly began to wake. The first thing he noticed was the bedroom door was completely open, not slightly ajar as he had left it. He's eyes glanced around the room as he looked for danger. Then his gaze fell upon the figure that was slouched uncomfortably in a chair. Tony couldn't help the smile that appeared on his face. Things, to him, seemed to be just a little bit better with Gibbs nearby. He realised that home for him was wherever the older man was. Trent had told him time and time again that the grouchy bastard loved him back. He really hoped that was true. The first thing that he really needed to concentrate on was this insane plan of offing Shepard. Tony didn't care if she lived or died, but he wanted a future with this caffeine addicted nut-job, and for that to happen he needed to be around.

Slowly a pair of blue eyes started to blink open. The most amazing smiled appeared, as he noticed the wide awake figure on the bed. At one point he was sure it had been a dream. He'd had a lot of those since Tony had left.

"Tony." He took a large breath, and licked his lips. Gibbs moved from the chair his hand reached out as he walked over to the bed. He cupped Tony's face, his thumb brushing across his cheekbone.

"Gibbs." Tony leaned into the touch; he loved the feel of those large calloused hands.

Gibbs suddenly blinked as a thought occurred to him. "What are you doing here?" He snapped, Tony was supposed to remain safe by being away from her while he took care of their little problem. "You're not supposed to be here until…"

"Until you take out Shepard?" He smirked at the dark look that was thrown his way. "I know you; I can't let you kill her."

"Watch me. I'll do whatever I have to. I'm going to protect you, I love you." He winced when he realised what he'd admitted.

"Gibbs, Jethro, she needs to pay, but you has to stop taking the law into your own hands. Every time you do, I feel a little part of that good man vanish. I love you too and I want you in my life. Shepard will be taken down, but it will be legally."

"You love me?"

"Of course I do, you idiot, but with everything that's happened I need things to go slowly between us. There's still a lot of hurt on my side."

"Anything you want Tony." Gibbs replied simply. "Can I kiss you or is it too soon?" He asked cheekily.

Tony shook his head in amusement. "I think we can manage a kiss." Tony wrapped his arms around the man he loved and pulled him into a kiss. It was just a soft touch of the lips, a gentle connecting of the two men.

"I missed you." Gibbs' mouth snapped shut and he buried his face against Tony's neck as he tried to control the emotions charging through him.

XXXXX

McGee walked into the house quickly. He'd gone through one of the many secret entrances. His heart pounded, he knew Tony was here. Actually he was standing there in front of him.

"McGee." Tony wasn't going to make the first move, not like he always did before.

"I'm sorry Tony. I know it's not nearly enough. Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it?" His voice shook, and beads of perspiration appeared on his forehead.

"I honestly don't know what or if anything can make it better. I can't think about it now, there's too much going on. I do know that I can't trust you at the moment, and we can't be friends, too much has happened. Things might change one day, let's just get through this disaster."

McGee nodded his shoulders drooped, he rubbed the heel of his palm against his chest. He wished that he could've done something, but Tony was right. There was too much going on right now, and a lot had happened. He still had to show the other man that he meant he wanted to work things out.

"Anthony, my dear boy, I've missed you. I hope I managed to convey my deepest apologies in my replying letter?" Ducky walked over and hugged him.

"You did Ducky, and Jimmy also told me how much you'd been appalled by your action and the pain it caused me. I missed you too."

Ducky turned and smiled at his assistant. "You are a credit to me Mr Palmer. I'm very proud of them man you are today, and the brilliant ME you'll be in the future."

Palmer blushed he never thought that he'd done anything special. He'd just helped out a friend who needed it. "Thank you Dr Mallard, a lot of who I am is down to you and your teachings."

"Nonsense, it was already there. All you needed was little confidence and I believe our Anthony helped with that as well."

"He's right Jimmy, not about me though, thank you for being the best friend I could ask for. You went beyond anything I could've hoped for."

"I want to also add my thanks for being there for him." Gibbs walked over and wrapped his arm around Tony's waist. "You were there for him when none of us were."

Ducky and Jimmy just smiled, they were glad that something positive came out of this whole mess. McGee's eyes widened, but he kept his mouth shut.

"It is good that you two found your way to each other, and it will be good to see you finally happy my old friend." The older ME's face brightened. "Now we must make sure that everything else is dealt with so we can all get on with our lives."

"I put the take out in the kitchen." Palmer turned and walked towards the room he mentioned. The only thing that stopped this from being a completely happy occasion was the way Abby had acted. She was one of his closest friends and he'd thought better of her. He still had hope that she would change her mind and her attitude, but would it be too late by then? Would she have already lost the ones she considered family. If Abby did it would be her own fault. Those here had obviously picked Tony, and that was one decision he would gladly make time and time again.

"How did you all get in here?" Tony was sure all these random people coming into this house would garner a look or two.

"We picked this house as it has a few secret entrances. I guess the original owner might have had some secrets, or watched way too many films. Seems like your kind of person Tony." McGee grinned. "They are all monitored, and with an advance warning system. No one will get in without us knowing, and we'll be able to get you out quickly if needed."

Tony smiled and gave him a brief nod.

XXXXX

SecNav couldn't believe what Shepard had been up to. He was shocked to find she'd been using NCIS for her own gain. Leon Vance had been brought in to investigate things quietly. It was weird to actually be working willingly with the CIA. The enemy of my enemy and so forth.

He did feel sorry for DiNozzo. An agent who had refused to do her bidding, who was driven out from a job he loved and was good at. Then to have a hitman on his tail because of him not letting go in his belief of what was right. It was a very good thing that he had a few friends to help him; otherwise this would and still could be a much more serious situation. The death of an agent was not something he wanted to think about.

Hopefully, NCIS would recover and become a stronger unit. Team work and having each other's backs will need to be at the top of what the new director had to push forward. This could not happen again. Leon would need to go through every promotion, and mission that Shepard had arranged to make sure it wasn't used for her agenda. Some cases that she took an interest in would need to be checked out. Then there was Agent Stan Burley. There was no way he should have been promoted. How deep was his involvement in all of this?

It was a mess; they would need good me like Gibbs and DiNozzo leading the way forward. There was obviously something going on, or would be going on between these two agents. Gibbs reaction was too extreme for it to be otherwise. They could give DiNozzo his own team; he had earnt it many times over. They needed two teams to work the same shifts now as there was more crime not just against the navy and marines, but perpetrated by them as well. What was the world coming to? He was hoping that they could convince the younger man to stay, but before they could deal with any of that they had to sort out this mess.

XXXXX

Denby was sitting in the FBI headquarters, in a room. It was a weird situation for him. If this had been Baltimore, well they wouldn't have believed him and treated him like shit. There was also one too many dirty cops at that PD. With the information he had, which purely only happened by accident, he had to be careful. Tony had been one of the good ones, and he was now a fed, or was one? He wasn't quite sure on that.

He'd heard all the stories about the FBI, but so far they had been very nice. It was as weird as fuck. The door opened and in walked the man he had waited for. There were a few extra lines on his handsome face, but it was still the same cop.

"DiNozzo."

"Hey Denby, I understand you have something to tell me?"

"I can't trust anyone at Baltimore; you know some of them are dirty. I knew if I told you, and you would know who to trust."

"Thank you for trusting me. I know who you can trust in the FBI, can I have him brought in?" Tony asked and waited for Denby to finally nod. "Fornell." He called out.

"Hi Mr Denby, my name is Tobias Fornell. I'm also a friend of Tony's." He came in and sat down on the spare chair.

"You can trust him. I trust Agent Fornell with my life."

Fornell reached out and pressed the record button and the petty criminal started to talk and tell them everything he knew. How he'd been in the wrong place, at the wrong time and heard the plot. It was then he realised that there was only one person in the law that he could trust.

XXXXX

Tony lay in bed next to Gibbs. "It's amazing how some people are overlooked; others think they'd be too scared to say anything. This is going to make Tobias' career."

Gibbs turned to look at the man next to him. "He deserves it. I wish him all the best because he was the one that was there for you."

"I'll be glad when I know Diane and Emily are safe. They all got dragged in because they helped me."

"I can't believe the two of them are trying again. I hope it works out for them this time."

"So do I, Diane's been amazing. I can see why you had feelings for her."

"She was what I needed at that time in my life. I just could never be what she wanted or needed. Fornell is a much better fit. I found the person I need and want." Gibbs eyes roamed over Tony's face trying to memorise every little detail. "I can't wait for this to be over and we can start to plan our future together. First thing will be a holiday."

"Well that future will happen as long as you don't go lone wolf on me and assassinate the director."

"I can't do that you're here now, and I don't trust anyone else to protect you as you very well know. It is why you came back early."

"I thought it could be a possibility, and it worked." Tony sighed and snugged closer. "Trent is a good guy, kind of. He's a great person to vacation with." The younger man laughed as Gibbs growled in jealousy.

"Stop trying to make me jealous and go to sleep. It seems like it's been forever since I managed to do that."

"Me too. I think we'll sleep perfectly when we're in each other's arms."

XXXXX

Trent watched a little weasel of a man. So this was who Shepard had hired? This was the person out to kill Tony? Well, he couldn't let that happen and know he knew that the other man was safe in the arms of his ex-marine, he could deal with this.

TBC

Chapter Text

I would like to thank Bobdog54 for helping with this last chapter.

XXXXX

"So you're the one that Shepard contacted?" Trent smirked as the man jumped in surprise.

"I don't know what you're talking about?" Damn that woman to hell. She'd caused this, she knew someone was coming and he was told to keep an eye out.

"I don't care about you. I want her. I'll be willing to make a deal and after this is all done, well, Shepard won't be in a position to cause anyone any trouble. She'll be too busy watching her own back." Trent's voice became soft and seductive; the sounds of safety and security fell from his lips.

The little weasel of a man gave a blackened, toothy smile, and turned completely to this stranger. This man who was quickly becoming his new best friend and worthy of all confidence. "What do you need me to do?"

Kort had originally wanted to wait and see what would play out, as long as Tony had been safe. Then he had found out what Gibbs had planned to do and he knew that he wouldn't be able to keep the younger man away. He had to step in, now Tony was safe. It was a bit of a let-down; he didn't get to kill or torture anyone, which was a disappointment. He had been ready to let hell rain down on this man's head for even thinking about hurting Tony. Now, it had been rather an anti-climactic finish.

Shepard managed to stay where she was because of her skill in learning where all the secrets and a few bodies were buried. Now, all of those people were to going to get payback for being forced into doing things for her. He was planning on a slow, painful fall from grace, the more public the better.

XXXXX

Stan had a vague sense that something was going on. There was no recognition from anyone that he was the lead agent of the top MCRT unit in the city. But, enough of that, he knew things were changing and he was certain that his move to the big office was getting closer and closer. As soon as he walked into the office he could see that things were definitely different. No sign that Director Shepard had ever occupied the office and SecNav Clayton Jarvis was at her desk. This could be it, they had finally noticed that he had honed his skills and was the only clear choice to replace Shepard. A quick glance around the room brought DiNozzo and Gibbs to his attention and it didn't look like a piece of paper would fit between them. He did not like that at all.

"Agent Burley, please take a seat." Jarvis indicated an empty chair with a nod of his head.

"Yes sir."

Just then the door opened and another man walked in.

"Sorry I'm late."

"That's okay Leon we needed to make sure everything was in place."

"Gibbs, Tony." Vance nodded to the two men and walked over to the desk.

Burley just stared at him; he had no idea who this 'Leon' was. The smart grey suit and the white shirt made his skin a richer brown and power and confidence fit him as well as the custom tailored suit. The man stared at him, getting a read on who he was and how much he was pretending to have a clue. Burley wanted to hide from that intense gaze. It wasn't the same as Gibbs, it was more judgmental and he knew that he had been found wanting without anyone saying a word.

"This is Leon Vance; the new director of NCIS." Clayton announced as he watched the shocked and scared look of Burley.

Stan didn't like the sound of this. Why did they have a new director so quickly? Was Shepard okay? Had she done something?

"What's going on sir? Where's Director Shepard?" Stan's voice waivered as he spoke, his fingers playing with the material of his pants.

"Jennifer Shepard has been removed from her position." Leon replied.

"Why?" Stan wanted to demand why he hadn't been told. He'd been her right hand, the person she relied on. But, not knowing what had happened, he didn't want to throw himself into the possibility of losing his job.

"Didn't you ever wonder why you were asked to romance a doctor? One who seemingly had no ties to her father's illegal activities?" Clayton demanded?

"I'm a good agent; I did what I was told to, unlike some." His eyes flitted across to DiNozzo.

"Agent DiNozzo knew that something was wrong with the op. He was then hounded by his teammates. He understood that his life was in danger and he left. The FBI put him under their protection." SecNav's voice was cold.

Tony gently nudged Gibbs. He knew the older man would be feeling guilty.

"You can believe that. I saw him with an arms dealer." Burley almost shouted.

"Agent Burley, we are not at liberty to comment about what you did or didn't see." Leon jumped in.

"I have top clearance. I was on an undercover mission when I saw him. I am also the lead of MCRT."

"Yes about your undercover mission. You were picked up by a CIA agent, during your numerous outings shadowing Ms. Jeanne Benoit and then becoming involved with her. He clocked you straight away. They all knew who you were apart from the daughter. You're lucky to still be alive. To be honest they could have asked anyone here. You're subtle boasting about a secret undercover op. How much of a secret was it when you mentioned it to everyone in passing? And about the MCRT's closure rates, have you noticed how they've fallen since you've taken charge of the team? The former director picked you due to time restraints, and the fact that DiNozzo had just quit." Clayton had planned to be more diplomatic, but he got a sense that the sugar coated way would not work with this man.

"No, she picked me because I was the best choice."

Clayton and Leon glanced at each other. It was clear he was never going to understand. The new director took the lead.

"Shepard will have charges placed against her for what she has done. You will need to give an exact account of your dealings with her. In no circumstances are you to talk about this to anyone. If you do you will be charged, am I making myself clear?" Leon glared at him.

"I can keep a secret." Stan pouted.

"I have yet to see evidence of that. There is an agent in interrogation room 2 waiting to talk to you." Leon held up his hand to the stop the interruption. "We need it all recorded."

"What about him?" Stan nodded towards Tony.

"That is none of your concern. You are dismissed."

Stan stood, looked around and before walking out of the office glared at Tony, and shot a longing glance towards Gibbs.

After the door had closed Clayton shook his head in disbelief. "He really thinks he was doing exceptionally well. How could he ignore all the evidence?"

"Shepard played him really well." Tony remarked.

"You didn't fall for it." Clayton replied curiously.

"I was disowned at 12 years old by the biggest conman. He still tries it on. I know when I'm being played. I learnt from a very young age."

"Tony is Stan's weakness, his Achilles heel." Gibbs added.

"Me?"

"Yeah, most agents have to follow the steps of the one before. In this case it was the agent after. He hated the fact that I found Tony, and wanted him on my team. That I remembered his name and how people commented on what an excellent agent his was." Gibbs explained.

"I'm sure the crush he has on you didn't help." Leon's voice was full of amusement.

Gibbs laughed. "Neither did me telling him that Tony's the best young agent I've ever worked with."

Leon turned to look at Tony and the humour died. "I'm sorry about everything you went through. Are there any charges you would like to make?"

"Ziva's with the FBI, McGee finally came through. He does need some kind of consequences, though. As much as he made the right choice in the end. It has to be shown that this kind of thing won't be accepted within NCIS."

"I agree," Gibbs added. "Abby also needs to be dealt with. She's gotten away with so much; it seems she feels she has a right to do anything. I think that the lab should follow procedure exactly clothes, music…everything. I know she's brilliant, but…"

"I agree that was one of the areas I was going to tighten up. I've had reports of people not being able to get hold of her via the telephone. When they've gone down, her music was so loud nothing could be heard." Leon nodded in agreement.

"Are you sure she won't be able to get you to try and help her?" Tony asked Gibbs.

"Tony, the way she treated you stopped any kind of help I would've given her. She went way too far."

"Now, we need to talk about the two of you." Vance smiled as the two men glanced at each other. "Shepard never put the paperwork through on either of you. I guess she hoped that Tony could be, uhhh, talked into helping her, and you Gibbs, well she wanted you back. I want you both back, but you wouldn't be able to work on the same team. It's clear that something personal has happened between you. I have no problem with it, but we needed to sort things out."

"He deserves to be promoted to a team lead. It should've happened long ago." Gibbs replied simply.

"Well," Leon glanced at Jarvis and then turned back to them. "We've been looking to add a second MCRT on the same shift rotation. There's been an increase in crimes concerning Naval and Marine personnel, both victims and perpetrators. You would also be on the same shift rotations we're doing it on the shift opposite yours as well."

Tony glanced over at the man next to him. Gibbs nodded in agreement. Things would be different now, and this was better than they could have ever hoped.

"Thank you director, sir." Tony nodded towards Leon and Clayton. "I'd be honoured to accept a job as team lead for the second MCRT."

"I'll come back as well."

"What about McGee?" Vance asked.

"I'll keep him on my team for now, but only as an agent. He's not ready for SFA. I do believe he's sorry for what happened. I'll let his actions speak for him and they'll tell me if he's truly changed."

Tony knew Gibbs felt guilty for letting things get as far as they did. It was clear the older man wanted to try and rectify that mistake with McGee.

XXXXX

"Ziva." Eli watched as he daughter walked towards him. She had finally made it back to Israel. It had been proven that she had not killed the man. He'd had a rare, congenital heart condition it could not be confirmed that Ziva's actions brought about the heart attack. A deal had been struck so that Shepard would pay for her actions in the courts of America.

"Hello father." She had no idea what to expect.

"Shepard has been taken care off."

"She is dead then."

"Oh no my daughter she lives." Eli laughed.

"I don't understand?"

"You do not need to. We must talk about you and what you did."

"I kept in good with the director," Ziva explained.

"You turned your back on your teammate. Your arrogance got the better of you. You were not thinking about anyone but yourself when you helped her."

"Let me explain father–"

"Silence!" Eli's voice boomed. "You have always had too much pride. In that you take after your mother, God rest her soul. We have a problem which you have caused. People here will not work with you. They do not believe that you will 'have their back', that is the correct term, yes?"

"It is the correct term. I can make them trust me again. I promise you."

"You can make them trust you? Let's ignore the fact that you cannot in fact stay here. I have to take you home. It is a deal I made with the FBI. Even if you could stay here, you cannot MAKE people trust you, not after what you have done. You have to earn it. Even now your tone and your face tells me that you believe you are better than anyone else. You have no idea who would have been in this mythical team and yet you assume you would be better."

"What are you going to do with me then?"

"You will be retrained–"

"But father I will be laughed at, mocked."

"If you do not do this you will no longer be Mossad."

"And after my retraining?" Ziva snapped.

"Be careful of your tone, my daughter." Eli's voice was deceptively calm.

"I'm sorry." Ziva bowed her head so he could not see the fury in her eyes.

He could feel the anger flowing off her, but he still had to give her a chance. "Once you complete your training, we will send you on appropriate missions. Solo missions."

"Yes father." Ziva replied immediately. She knew that there was no other choice. When her father remained silent, it was clear she was dismissed from his presence.

XXXXX

Abby stared down at the paperwork in her hand stating the changes that were going to happen in the lab. She looked up as Gibbs, Tony and McGee walked into the room. They were laughing as they walked in.

"Gibbs, you have to do something." She yelled, as she waved the bundle of paper around, and ignored the other two men.

"About what?" Even though he had good idea what it was about.

"This," she waved the sheets of paper again. "They're telling me I have to dress appropriately, no music, no food or drinks in the lab. You have to go and tell them to change it now."

"Abby, I can't and I don't tell the director what to do. I also happen to agree with him." He waited for the temper tantrum to happen.

"You what?" She screeched and then stumbled back and sat down heavily on her stool. She couldn't believe what he had just said. "It's all your fault." She pointed accusingly at Tony.

"No Abby, this is your fault." Tim replied softly.

"But Timmy…" She had hoped that he would've changed his mind, or that she would've changed it for him. Abby had always managed to 'persuade' him before.

"McGee's right. You've become so use to getting things your own way. When you don't you become spoilt and a nasty piece of work. You're brilliant at what you do, but you aren't the only one of your kind. It's up to you if you stay here. I hope the old Abby Scuito; the loving and caring one is in there somewhere. Don't blame Tony; he was the one that was forced into a horrible and dangerous situation."

"What does it matter neither of you work here." She added snidely.

"We're both back and Tony's been promoted."

"What about Tim, he actually stayed and didn't run away like some."

"I did a lot of things wrong. I'm lucky to still have a job and that is thanks to them." Tim looked at his two companions. "I'm also still on Gibbs' team. I have a long way to go and hope I can earn back their trust."

Tony smiled at Tim and then turned to Abby. "I once thought of you like a sister. With my family luck I should have known it was going to turn out badly. I was hurt when you turned your back on me so easily. That's over - now; I will work with you and be polite. Any disrespect, any at all and it will get reported. I'm never going to let myself be put in that position again. We don't have to like each other to pass information."

"Vance is very aware of what Tony's been through. He won't let you or anyone take advantage. It's your choice." Gibbs gave her one last look before he turned and walked away. Tony and Tim followed him.

Abby looked around at her cold, quiet, and very lonely lab.

XXXXX

Jenny sighed; once again, she had been stopped. Here she was again in the infirmary. She couldn't understand why people kept saving her. All she wanted was to die, but everyone managed to step in so she couldn't kill herself. The cancer was slowly doing it, but she wanted a quick and painless death.

"This is your hell Shepard." One of the nurses whispered. "First he wanted you dead, but then he found out about the cancer you had. How very painful it would become, how your mind would slowly keep you from being you. This is a present from Eli David. He's going to make sure that you live a long time, and suffer for as long as your body can hold out. It's amazing how resilient a body can be. This is payback for betraying his daughter."

Tears fell; she knew why she was always being watched. It must be a first in prison to be told to leave someone alone, to make sure they are safe and that they live. The days in front of her seemed never ending and there was no one she could turn to for support. Jenny had tried to contact Jethro, but only received a thank you note in return. It was thank you for getting a chance to love and be loved by DiNozzo. There was no one else. She had used so many people over the years, and they all enjoyed the payback.

XXXXX

McGee picked up the new contract from his publishers that he had not yet signed, and the first 50 pages of his new novel. He walked over the large metal wastepaper basket he had and put the wad of paper in there. He struck a match, dropped it in and smiled as he watched it burn. McGee had told his agent that he'd retired. He was getting another chance at NCIS, he wasn't going to blow it and maybe he would end up with a better, a closer relationship with Gibbs and Tony at the end. He could only try. Tomorrow was new day and he was going to make the best of it.

XXXXX

Eli glanced down at the memo he'd been given. Tears fell from his dull, pain riddled eyes. His only child was now dead, due to that arrogance he had warned her about. Ziva had decided to complete a mission she'd been denied. Her skillset was not the correct one for the job. She, of course, knew better. She had taken everything she needed and vanished into the night. Eli knew it could've been because she was failing her training courses. Ziva believed they were beneath her and did not try her hardest. Her attitude was also causing problems with the other recruits. Some had started to doubt their decision to become part of Mossad. If this was how the daughter of the director behaved, how did everyone else?

Ziva had been caught quickly as she didn't understand the technical side of things. She was not an expert on computers or hacking. That was the only area he believed that would have gotten her caught. She must have set off a silent alarm; Eli believed that if she had heard the alarm she would've made her escape. Once captured, she had been tortured and finally killed. Her body was evidence of what had been done to her. The scars from whips and knives, the bruises, so many broken bones, and marks from electric shock. He would not demand retribution as she was not supposed to have gone. Eli would mourn his daughter, and leave them alone for a while. It was too soon for another attack; they would be waiting. Like the deaths of the others he cared about he would carry on. He had no other choice, and no one left who loved him.

XXXXX

Kort sat and stared at Tony. The younger man was so handsome. It was clear that he was eating and sleeping well. Gibbs had done everything he could to make sure Tony was happy. He'd had people watching. The new team seemed to be working well; they liked and respected their new boss. McGee was someone else he watched just in case he turned again, but the young agent had concentrated on his job and becoming the man and he once was. He and Tony went out for the odd drink. It wasn't the same as before clearly, but it was better than it had been. Abby still sulked, but carried on with her work. She hadn't seen the nuns in a while, it seems that they didn't agree with how her past behaviours and her present attitudes were not an improvement. The young forensic scientist stormed out of the lab and into her tiny office. She closed the door behind her. Wishing she could slam it, but it was completely made from glass.. Abby still believed she hadn't done anything wrong.

"Are you just going to keep staring at me, or are we going to have a conversation. Jethro has started to teach me sign, we can gossip that way if you prefer?" Tony smirked.

"You really are a smartass aren't you? How does anyone put up with you?" Kort gripped.

"I'm charming, sexy and smart. I'm just plain hot clearly." Tony joked.

Kort couldn't argue with any of that, so a change of subject was in order. "How are things with you?" He knew, but he wanted to hear it from Tony.

DiNozzo gave him a knowing look. He knew that Trent had kept an eye on him. After everything that happened, he loved the fact that someone cared enough to keep checking on in him.

"I'm doing good. Jethro has been amazing, he's caring and loving. He's made the effort to change. His team is good, Tim has really changed. They all work well together. My team is better." Tony laughed. "It's been great growing together, making them understand that I will be there for them. They can tell me anything and I will do what I can."

"And Abby?"

"She still blames everyone else. I don't understand why she's still at NCIS. Abby's polite, but cold. Tim had tried to talk to her. She had tried to uhhh, persuade him sexually to support her. He refused. After everything with Ziva; he's not going down that route again. He did find out that she distanced herself from the nuns as well. They didn't agree with her attitude and tried to make her see. I don't know what's going to happen with her. She tried to cause trouble, and contacted Vance. Abby told him I had been disrespectful, the usual. He told her to bring evidence. She, of course, didn't have any."

"Vance?"

"He's been great especially when bigots have tried to cause problems because of mine and Jethro's relationship. He stopped things straight away. Tobias is happy; he's the star of the FBI. He and Diane are getting married again. I know things aren't always going to be like this and there will be problems, but at the moment I am enjoying the good times."

As much as Kort wished things were different, but he was so glad that Tony was happy.

XXXXX

Tony and Gibbs had tangled themselves around each other as they lay in bed.

"How's Kort?" Gibbs still disliked the CIA agent, but he respected the way he took care of Tony. It was also clear that the other man had feelings for his lover. Gibbs couldn't blame him. He found the younger man so easy to love.

"He's fine, just checking up to make sure you are all behaving and treating me the way I deserve."

"What did you tell him?" Gibbs asked curiously.

"I happier than I've ever been, my life is exactly how I want it. I know we'll have arguments, but I know we'll work through them."

"I love you Tony."

"I love you too Jethro." He snuggled into his lovers arms, this was his favourite time. Just being here and being held. Being here made up for everything that happened. He still wished that it had happened a different way, but he had ended up where he was meant to be.

The End