“It’s over, Duck,” Gibbs told his lover as he walked into Ducky’s home, closed and locked the door behind him.
“My dear?” Ducky gently inquired studying his lover of thirty years.
“The unfinished business from Paris has been concluded,” Gibbs explained as he pulled Ducky into his arms. “Jenny’s mistake goes to the grave with her.”
“I’m sorry, Jethro,” Ducky said. “I’m sorry I couldn’t confide in you concerning her illness.”
“It’s alright, Duck,” the silver haired special agent reassured his lover. “She asked you not to and I respect that.”
“Come then,” Ducky ordered. “Let’s get you cleaned up.” He had caught a whiff of smoke. It clung to Gibbs’ clothes and Ducky knew without being told that Gibbs had performed one final act of friendship for Jennifer Sheppard.
Gibbs sat on the bed and watched Ducky get ready for Jenny’s memorial service. It would be a somber day for both of them since they had decided to inform the children that they were retiring from NCIS.
“Do you think they will think we are abandoning them?” he inquired as Ducky took his hand and gently pulled him from the bed.
“Jethro,” Ducky sighed. “It’s time for you to stop being everybody’s savior. It’s time for the children to stand on their feet.”
Gibbs nodded and escorted Ducky downstairs and to the car.
“So you see,” Ducky said finishing his explanation. “We will be around if you need us, but it is time for a change.”
Gibbs watched the children accept their news with something akin to stoic resolve. It warmed his heart to know that these people would still be apart of his life no matter where they ventured.
But that warm feeling was soon dispatched when Leon Vance called them up to his office.
“Office David,” Vance began without preamble. “The liaison between NCIS and MOSSAD has been terminated. You are going home.”
Ziva smiled. She had known this time was coming and with Ducky’s help she had prepared for it by obtaining her citizenship. She had a job waiting for her in Miami. She unclipped her badge and gun from her belt and placed them on Vance’s desk. “Thank you, sir,” she said. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to have worked with NCIS.”
With a nod to Gibbs, she returned to the bullpen.
Vance took Ziva’s news in stride, and continued with his issuing of new assignments. “McGee, I’m transferring you to Cyber Crimes affective immediately.”
McGee sucked in a breath and for the first time didn’t stammer or stutter as he told Vance, “As much as I would like that, sir, I am resigning affective immediately since I will be reporting with Ms. Scuito to Quantico in the morning.” He placed his badge and gun on Vance’s desk along with Abby’s letter of resignation. He left the office returning to the bullpen.
Vance directed a quizzical eyebrow in Gibbs’ direction and Gibbs shrugged his shoulder as if to say he didn’t know what was going on.
Vance took a deep breath before continuing. “Agent DiNozzo pack your bags. You are being assigned to the USS Ronald Regan as special agent afloat.”
Tony smirked. “With all due respect, sir, you can take that assignment and…”
“DiNozzo,” Gibbs growled in warning.
“Right, boss,” Tony said visibly chastised. He placed his gun and badge on Vance’s desk. “Thanks for the assignment, but I found a better job in New York.” He, too, returned to the bullpen.
As the door clicked shut behind Tony, Vance glared at Gibbs. “You put them up to that,” he declared.
“No, Leon, I didn’t,” Gibbs calmly replied. “They saw the writing on the wall and made up their own minds to be part of something else since Dr. Mallard and I are retiring.”
“You can’t retire, Gibbs,” Vance declared vehemently. If Gibbs retired, it would ruin all his plans to make the senior agent Jennifer Sheppard’s scapegoat. "It isn't in your nature."
“Watch me, Leon,” Gibbs said with deadly seriousness. He added his badge, gun and Ducky’s letter of resignation to the pile on Vance’s desk. He looked at the man and shook his head. “Have a nice life, Leon.”
Gibbs returned to the bullpen where the kids and Ducky were waiting for him. They gathered their personal belongings and left the building.