Title: First Indications of Tony 'doormat' DiNozzo
Rating: 15 at the moment
Warnings: Slash, Anti-Ziva, Anti-team (will change as Tibbs story)
Summary: Tony is tired of being treated like a doormat so he takes control both personally and professionally. It also annoys him when Gibbs can ignore his own rules, but head slaps Tony when he breaks them. What can he do to help make things improve, or is it time for him to move on?
Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with NCIS. I am not making any money from this, it is just for fun.
N/B I took a vote on my wereleopard58 page, twitter ( wereleopard58) and created two polls on my Tibbs Facebook page, to see what story I should write next. This was the winner. It is also AU as I have mixed the timelines up, and Ziva is still a liaison and never became an agent. You'll obviously see all the other changes to the timeline as the story goes on.
I would like to thank Bobdog54 for helping with this chapter. Any errors are purely mine after I had changed some things.
Tony saw it grow day by day. It stopped being a laugh. The once friendly banter had become cruel. The people he had believed were once not just friends, but a family and he had once believed in them, but that had changed. They were no longer family, barely co-workers. They had become the enemy and a very hostile one at that. How long could he manage to stay with their words and actions slowly destroying him? Would there be anything left of the man he once was, or would there be just an empty shell. Tony didn't want to be worn away to nothing, but what could he do, who could he talk to? What person would believe him when he said that the legendary supervisory agent, the Mossad assassin, NCIS techno wizard, and the genius Goth were destroying his soul?
Tony used to love coming into work. He enjoyed spending time with the people around him. As time went on that changed. There was nothing for him here, but what else could he do? It was something he would need to look into. Being at NCIS was slowly killing him, and one day one of his co-workers might be a little distracted and that would be it. Ducky would be doing his autopsy. He hated to think this way, but they had done it before when they turned off the radio. How the hell was looking for a terrorist considered a safe ? Tony once believed Gibbs would've had his back, but that man didn't seemed to exist anymore. He had barely made it to his desk before they pounced. Today was going to be a very long day indeed, and he'd only just arrived.
'Whose bed did you just crawl out of?' Ziva's eyes flashed with amusement.
'Did you even get a name?' McGee added.
'DiNozzo you better not have been messing around with someone when you should be working.' Gibbs growled, and head slapped him as he walked past to get to his desk.
'Actually a pregnant woman collapsed and I helped her.
'Making sure your unborn child was born?' Ziva sneered.
'Jesus, why don't you all shut the help up? I put in more hours than the two of you,you; the only person who does more is Gibbs. I know part of this attitude you have is my fault, but for fucks sake let it go. I have to take this down to Ducky.' Tony grabbed a file and stormed off ignoring the looks from the other agents in the room.
'DiNozzo?' Gibbs yelled and watched as his 2IC carried on walking and never even glanced back. What the hell was wrong with him?
Ziva shrugged her shoulders and went back to work it no longer mattered to her. McGee glanced and could clearly see a worried look on Gibbs' face. There was something clearly bothering him, but what was it?
Ducky looked up as the door to autopsy opened. 'Ah Anthony, thank you for the file my boy.' He paused for a moment. 'Is there something wrong?'
'You got a phone call from one of the others, right?'
'Yes, Jethro called down. He seems very concerned about you.'
'Yeah, of course he does. Gibbs doesn't want to be a man down.'
The elderly man watched his young friend closely. 'It's more than that, he does care about you.'
'The others maybe,' he took a deep breath. 'I'm just tired of it all.'
This sounded a lot more serious than Ducky had first thought. 'You aren't thinking of doing anything rash are you?' His hand was on the handset of the phone ready to call for help.
'You mean suicide, no. I am thinking that it's time to move on.'
'But why? I always believed you loved it here?'
'Not for a long time, I've never felt this alone in a room that's full of people, especially my own team.' He moved so he was leaning on one of the cupboards and slid to the floor.
'What's changed?' Ducky asked as he went to sit by Tony, he winced as pain shot through his kneecaps. He would definitely need help back up again.
'I was a little late this morning Ziva and McGee though it was a one night stand. Gibbs head slapped me before he even knew what had happened.'
'Why were you late?'
'A pregnant woman collapsed just outside the coffee shop I normally go to and I was helping her. Then Ziva joked around that it was mine. When did I become the clown? I know I bring some of it on myself, but I always thought that they saw the real me. Gibbs did once upon a time; I don't know what he sees now. Even Kate thought I was shallow and she was damn profiler. Unless I have to take control no one treats me as if I'm the senior field agent. Hell, Gibbs doesn't, he still makes me do the crappy probie jobs like getting the van, and then there are the arguments about who gets front seat. When did I suddenly become a caricature of myself? When I give some insight on a caseon a case Ziva and McGee look surprised for fucks sake. It's like they think I don't contribute anything. Out of the three of us I'm the only one whose been trained in investigation outside of NCIS!'
'It seems you have a lot bottled up. Let me just call Jethro and tell him you're staying here for a bit. They can do without you.' Ducky winced at his phrasing.
'Yeah they can do without me permanently.'
'Tony will be staying down here with me for a bit.' He paused. 'No, I don't think it's a good idea for you to come down. Please Jethro trust me on this, if any of you come down or Abby comes in— it could do a lot more harm than good. I will let you know when he is on his way up. No, I won't tell you what we're talking about, it's a private discussion between me and Anthony and I hope you all respect that. Yes, I will keep you updated.'
'Ducky you're busy, I'd better go.' Tony went to leave but the older man stopped him.
'I'm just going through some paperwork; I have time for you and Mr Palmer has the day off. So please continue.' Ducky was afraid that if he didn't help his friend with this, then soon NCIS would be without one of its best investigators.
'What is Ziva even doing on this team? She has no experience in this area. When did we start giving a security clearance, visa and gun to someone whose only qualification is that they are friends with Jenny? She lies to us all the time. Before the meal at the Director's house, Ziva knew her father had killed the marine. If she had owned up to it, Vance wouldn't have had Eli in his house and Jackie would be still alive.'
'Are you sure about her knowing?'
'Yes, Ducky I am. She has pushed the boundaries of the rules. Between her and McGee I am surprised cases are not kicked out. Yes, I know I've done some questionable things with cases. Gibbs should be stopping it not encouraging it. He's following the same root. How many people has he killed, or helped kill. Those men should have been arrested, what gave Gibbs the right to be judge, jury and executioner. He seems to be doing it more and more. I'm losing the man I…'
'You love, I already knew that. I do have eyes, but don't panic I think that I am the only one who has guessed. Do you really think that Gibbs is becoming that different?'
'He's colder; I used to spend a lot of time with him at his home. Now, I rarely see him outside of work. It could be, of course, that he's sick of me.'
'I doubt he is sick of you.' Ducky laughed.
'He used to be such an honourable man, what happened?'
'I truly don't know, but I will keep a closer eye on him. Not that I think you are lying, but I do hope you are wrong. If you aren't, then what kind of friend am I that I didn't notice?'
'I think glaring and head slapping makes things look normal for him.'
'That could be true Tony; I assume you have things to say about the others as well. Please let me know if I've done something to hurt you?'
'Nah you haven't,' Tony sighed as Ducky continued to stare at him. 'Fine, it was just one thing when Gibbs retired.. You were so angry at him. Every time I came in here you would rant. With the others on my back I really needed support.'
'I am so sorry.'
'I know, you were dealing with your own feelings, and I did have Palmer helping me. He was a lifesaver.'
'If I do something like that againagain, tell me. I am after all, merely human.'
'I will Ducky; I guess you want me to carry on?' He waited for the ME's nod. 'McGee, he likes to brag about his education, I have no problem with that because he should be proud of it. What he does do is rub my nose in my physical education degree.'
'He does realise that you were an exceptional athlete. You were one of the few that had the ability to turn professional, until the unfortunate incident with Dr Pitt.'
'I don't think it matters to him, I didn't turn pro, and hey, I was only a jock.'
'Do you have anything to say about his works of fiction?'
Tony laughed and rubbed his jaw. 'He keeps telling us it's not based on us, but he never told us about it. He kept it a secret. The way he portrays me in that novel is such a clichéd kind of character. When I mention something like beer pong, you could see he wanted me to physically do it so he could put it in his book. '"Even though it's not based on me.' Does he take us all for complete and utter idiots? Well okay, he thinks I am. That brings us to Abby, I love her like a sister, but she gets so much her own way. Now she automatically assumes it's going to happen. What really hurt me was when I was in charge; she wanted me to be Gibbs. To act, to talk, to walk like him and arrive when one of her machines pinged carrying a Caf-Pow. She doesn't ask that of anyone else, what's wrong with Tony DiNozzo? Why aren't I good enough to be just me?
'Don't get me wrong, I've wound people up, played tricks on them, given sarcastic replies, acted like a flake and the class clown. I kept poking and prodding at McGee because he was so quiet. You remember when he first stared out he was so quiet some of our suspects would have eaten him alive. I may have gone the wrong way about it, but it worked. When McGee told me he never thought I deserved my own team I always wondered if it was the heat of the moment or something he truly believed. I think Gibbs wants McGee as his SFA. He gave him the lead on a case. If it was to help McGee learn the ropes I wouldn't mind, but he never said anything. I think Gibbs has lost trust in me. I wonder if it's because I let Jenny die?'
'You didn't let her die, it wasn't your fault. You weren't even there.'
'Exactly I wasn't and I should have been. If I was it could have made a difference and she might have… I don't know.'
'Jennifer went out there to die; she didn't want the disease to kill her. She wanted to go out her own way. Is Ziva beating herself up about this?
'If it isn't about her I don't think she cares.' Tony winced. 'Sorry that was uncalled for, she and Jenny were friends.'
'You were friends with our lovely director as well, weren't you?'
'I thought we were until that damn unsanctioned op. She never once took the blame when it went wrong, when you all thought I was dead. It doesn't matter anymore, does it?'
'Do you feel any better?' Ducky's voice was soft and soothing.
'Not really, it makes me more determined to go.'
'Please don't do anything rash, come and talk to me first.'
Tony just shrugged his shoulders. 'Fine, if that's what you want. I doubt if it's going to make any difference. What are you going to tell Gibbs?'
'Well, what we talked about is private, but I do need to find some way of telling him that he is losing you.'
'You can tell him Ducky, I really don't think it's going to make a difference.'
Just then the phone in autopsy rang. 'Yes, hello,, Jethro. He's still here.'
Tony reached out and took the receiver. 'Yes Gibbs.' He winced as he pulled it away from his ear
'Why the hell aren't you answering your phone? You know to never been unreachable.' Gibbs shout could clearly be heard. 'Get the hell back up here.' Then sudden silence as Gibbs had closed the connection. Tony held out his hand to pull the older man off the floor. He then turned and walked away.
Ducky rubbed his forehead as he watched Tony leave, that call could not have come at a worse moment.
'DiNozzo, what the hell took you so long?'
'I needed to talk to Ducky.' Tony crossed his arms over his chest defensively.
'And it had to be now?'
'When I went down there we didn't have a case.' He argued.
'If you were reachable you would have known.' Gibbs slapped him on the back of the head again.
Tony watched as Ziva and McGee laughed. He'd really just had enough today. He went to move past Gibbs to get to his desk.
'You'd better hurry Tony.' Ziva joked.
'We're in no hurry;, Tony has to get the van ready.' Gibbs jangled the keys.
'No, actually, he isn't.' DiNozzo replied.
'What do you mean no?' Gibbs grabbed hold of SFA's shoulder.
'Remove your hand Gibbs, I'm warning you.'
'What the hell is wrong with you?' Gibbs went to jerk him back.
Tony spun around and hit him hard in the jaw. Gibbs staggered back onto Ziva's desk, his blue eyes wide open.
'You don't need to worry about me breaking one of your holy rules; there is no way in hell I'm going to apologise.'
'Tony, we h..h..have a case.' McGee stuttered.
'No, you have a case. I need to see the director.' Tony ran up the stairs and headed to the Director's office. He never even turned back to enjoy the look of shock on the rest of his teams face.
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.
"I need to see the Director." Tony told Cynthia, the urgency clear in his voice, as he walked straight into the office.
Vance looked up as his door opened. "Are you taking lessons from Gibbs, Agent DiNozzo?"
Tony shut the door, took a deep breath and turned around. "I need to talk to you."
Leon could see that this was going to be serious. What had happened for this easy going man to rush in here?
"Okay." He indicated for Tony to sit down. He clicked the intercom on his desk. "Cynthia don't disturb me, I'm in a meeting with Agent DiNozzo."
"Agent Gibbs has asked you to call him." Cynthia's voice came through tinny on the machine.
Tony shook his head as soon as he heard his boss's name.
"I'll call him later." The young man in front of him had been the only one to be able to deal with Gibbs for years. He was now really worried about what had gone on.
"He says they have a case and he wants Agent DiNozzo back down there now."
Even Vance could hear that there would be repercussions. He was shocked to see the normally mischievous green eyes harden like emeralds.
"Tell Agent Gibbs to go ahead and leave. I'm in the middle of a meeting with him." He turned off the intercom. 'What's going on Tony?"
"I think it's time I moved on."
"Why? I thought you were happy here? What's changed?"
Tony laughed bitterly. "It actually sounds as if you would like me to stay. I assumed you'd be thrilled to see me go."
"Tony, you and I might not see eye to eye on some things. I wish you'd be a little more serious, and you need to learn more about computers, but you are one of the best investigators we have. You leaving would be a loss to NCIS."
"Forgive my scepticism." He replied doubtfully.
"It's clear that you don't believe me. I am truly sorry that I made you feel that way. It was never my intention. Am I... the way I made you feel is that the reason you're leaving?" Vance really hoped that wasn't the case. His job as director was to support his agents, and not knock them down to make them feel worthless.
"No, it's not just you. It's a build-up of a lot of things. I also finally had enough of Gibbs. He grabbed my shoulder, I told him to let go. He pulled me around and I hit him. I never, ever thought that I would get to the stage of raising my hand to a man I admired more than anyone. When did I stop believing and trusting the people and the agency I worked for and with?"
Leon was at a loss. "Why don't you trust us anymore? What happened to create that?" If he knew maybe he could do something, and also make sure it never occurred again.
"Ziva and McGee telling me that they were sick of my voice when we were looking for the terrorist, so they turned off the radio. They thought it was a great joke. Gibbs doesn't rein them in, he likes playing us off against each other. The only time he treats me like an SFA is when he has to leave me in charge. Oh apart from when I made a mistake in a case and I had to fix it. Jenny and that damn op. I truly don't think it would have bothered her in the long run if I had died in the car bomb, as long as her op was still in play. You sending me away, out of sight, out of mind. I was the only one you didn't think could help with looking for the spy. I don't think you wanted me back, and then there was Israel. Ziva never seems to get punished. I have to take one for the team. I did nothing wrong. I tried to be there for a team-mate, and I should have been brought back up. What if I hadn't managed to get Eli to admit that Rivkin was under his control would you have left me there?"
"No, of course not." Vance replied quickly.
"Then was the point in taking me there?"
"I don't think she ever forgave me, Ziva I mean. McGee follows her like a little sheep. If something happened to me would you and Gibbs protect her?"
"We wouldn't do that." Leon sounded horrified.
"Take a look at the people she's killed. How many of them were legal? How many times has she lied? What information was passed across to Rivkin as pillow talk?" Tony wasn't sure if he should say anything else.
"What else is it you want to say? You've started this please continue." Leon knew he wasn't going to like it, but he was sure he needed to hear it.
Tony bit at the inside of his lip, this was a lot harder. This was going to really affect the director. "Before that meal…" He watched as Vance tensed up and nodded for him to continue. "We had an image of the man that killed the marine. Ziva recognised him, it was her father. Would you have still had him to dinner?"
"No, I wouldn't have." He replied coolly.
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to hurt you and bring up those awful memories. My point is she looks out for number one. She has you all fooled and wrapped around her little finger. If Ziva hadn't given Gibbs an ultimatum. If she had just asked, I don't think he would have picked me. Between talking to Ducky, you, Gibbs and give the others attitudes. I know I made mistakes; I acted the clown a little too much. I made a bed and have to lie in it. I think it's time I left; maybe I could start somewhere fresh. Just be the real me. If I try and change now, I'll just get jokes from the others. I'll be in tomorrow with my notice. I have a lot of time on the books…"
"I'm not Shepard, if you leave I'm not going to let you walk back in." Vance warned.
"I'm not coming back. We've all made too many mistakes with each other. I don't believe McGee and Ziva will have my back, they've already proved that. I trusted them to keep me safe during the search for the terrorist and they failed."
"You don't need to work off your time. Why don't you go to your desk and write your resignation. I will send security with a box, and they will escort you out. There's no need for you to make an extra trip back here."
Tony laughed bitterly, that just proved his point. "Very well."
Vance frowned at the icy tone. He reviewed what he had just said and winced. "DiNozzo, Tony I didn't mean…"
Ducky watched as Ziva and McGee made jokes about Tony.
"He's just having a temper tantrum." McGee smirked at Ziva.
"He's jealous." She replied.
Gibbs would talk to Tony when he got back. The younger man would tell him what was wrong, and why he has this attitude problem. He didn't have time for childish temper tantrums. "Stop gossiping and get back to work."
"Anthony has nothing to be jealous off. Did any of you think that he had the right to be angry? Did you care? Did any of you ask?" Ducky's voice had a hard edge to it.
"Ducky…" McGee started to answer.
Just then a cell ran, and the ME answered it. "Dr Mallard speaking." There was a pause. "Yes, I understand my boy." He could see where Tony was coming from. "Please stay in touch with me, goodbye."
Gibbs' gut screamed at him. "Important call Duck?"
"It's a private call, let's get on Mr Palmer."
"Yes, Dr Mallard." The young man replied and followed his mentor faithfully.
Fornell was about to walk into NCIS when he noticed DiNozzo.
"You going somewhere?" He asked as he looked into the box the agent was holding. He was sure it was things that had been on his desk. Where were the others? Did they even try and stop him?
"I've left NCIS, I quit."
Fornell just stared at him. Those were words he'd never thought he would ever hear from Anthony DiNozzo.
N/B Sorry this hasn't been beta'd, but there has been some unforeseen circumstances that have popped up. Instead of you waiting any longer I've gone through it again and posted it. Those who have offered to beta, I will get in touch with you. Just been a little busy lol. I hope you all enjoy this chapter.
"I'm sorry, I must have misheard you?"
"No, you didn't." Tony continued to walk towards his car, Fornell hot on his heels.
"DiNozzo, hold up." He grabbed hold of Tony's shoulder.
"Let go." He asked coolly, the FBI agent released him straight away. "At least you listened; maybe you can teach Gibbs how to do that?"
"I never thought his shadow would ever leave him?"
"Loyalty has its limits and when they get pushed past that it's time to go before the collateral damage becomes too much." DiNozzo looked back at the Navy Yard sadly. "It also helps to leave when you can't trust those who are supposedly watching your back."
Fornell frowned. "I thought…" There was something more going on, if the cool look Tony gave him was any indication. As much as he wanted to snap the younger agent up, it was clear that this would be the wrong time to do it. "Here, take my card."
"Why?" Tony wanted to know as he took the little piece of cardboard.
"Maybe you'll come and work for me. That is an offer by the way. I'm there if you need a friend as well. Just call about either." Fornell turned and headed back towards the building, leaving a bemused and confused DiNozzo behind him.
Gibbs walked back into the office crankier than usual. Everything had gone smoothly at the crime scene, it was an easy case. He was grateful for that, his two team members there would have struggled alone with anything more difficult. He definitely wasn't in the mood for hand holding. A couple of things had already put him on edge, no DiNozzo and Ducky giving them the cold shoulder or throwing dark looks their way. The ME would talk about the case, but anything else he would clam up. There were no stories of what something reminded him off, it was all wrong. As much as he stopped the stories, it was weirder not to hear any at all.
"Do you think he's getting too old to work here?" Ziva suddenly spoke up.
"What?" McGee face creased and his nose crinkled.
"Ducky, he's been acting odd. Do you think it's because of his age? Should he think about retiring?"
Gibbs snorted how his old friend acting was on purpose. He just didn't know what had brought it on. Well, he had an idea. DiNozzo. What the hell had they talked about? He also needed to find out why his SFA snapped and hit him.
"What the hell are you doing here Fornell?" That was when he noticed that the older man was sitting at Tony's desk. His very bare desk. "Where's DiNozzo?" He watched as Ziva and McGee smirked.
"Maybe he was fired?" Ziva added hopefully.
"I believe the Director wants to see you." Fornell nodded towards them mezzanine. If this was only just a glimpse of what Tony had to put up with no wonder he left. That young man definitely needed a break. He still wanted to lure him to the FBI, but his gut was right about this not being the correct time to push that. Agents like Sacks didn't help. Tony needed something different where there would be people who didn't dislike him before he even walked in the room, or had heard rumours about him. Most of which were exaggerated because of people like McGee and Ziva. Fornell was going to help in whatever way he could.
The more that Vance thought about what Tony had said, the more he realised how true it was. The elements concerning him anyway. He still had no idea what to do with the information with Ziva and Eli. He did need to apologise to his agent, his ex-agent. The reason his tone had been harsh was that he'd been angry and took it out on Tony, just like Gibbs did. That was the last straw that finally drove him away from NCIS. Jackie would be so angry at him, if she were alive. His door flew open so hard it slammed against the wall.
"Where the hell is DiNozzo?" Gibbs yelled ready to battle his boss if he'd done anything to his SFA.
Vance eyed him coolly. "Sit down and I guess this is one of the personality traits of yours that helped to drive him away."
"Tony quit, he explained why. He definitely had a list of valid reasons. Here." Vance handed over the resignation letter that explained everything in great detail.
Gibbs read it and then dropped heavily into a chair. "He never told me about the radio, Leon about the photo I –."
"We need to change things." He interrupted he couldn't discuss that, not now anyway. "We lost an excellent agent to our blindness. I am not going to sit around discussing things to death. We're going to do our best to make sure it doesn't happen again, which means…"
Gibbs looked down at the pieces of paper. "Rein myself and my team in. Make sure they understand the chain of command. I don't want to stop their interaction completely, but the nasty, snide little comments will stop. I need to talk to Tony; I have to tell him…" He shrugged his shoulders, words were not his thing, but Gibbs knew he had to try. "McGee and Ziva are just confirming alibi's at the moment. Balboa is down there if anything comes up, if you can get him to keep an eye on them?"
"Go Gibbs and really listen to him, no yelling it won't help. Can you tell him I need to talk to him, its fine by phone if that is the way he wants it. I need to talk to him personally; it's not something that can be passed via someone else."
"I'll pass the message on to him." Gibbs looked at the Director. "Thanks Leon."
"I'm going to have to let everyone know. A lot of people saw him leave. I wanted to talk to you privately. The email is ready to go."
"I'll let him know. Tony deserves better than he got here, from all of us." He knew that Tony wouldn't come back.
Ducky read the email that told everyone the resignation of one Anthony DiNozzo Jr. He could read the regret from the director in the words and phrases used. It looked like Tony had told him everything, even though they had lost a dear friend and excellent agent, things could be learnt from this.
"I'm going to miss him, was he the one that called you earlier, at the scene?" Palmer asked.
"I'm going to miss him too. Yes, he was the one that called to say goodbye. I do plan to keep in touch with him. I've known him too many years to let him just vanish from my life." Ducky sighed sadly. "Let's get back to work; we need to find out what happened to our poor petty officer here."
"Yes, Dr Mallard." Palmer grabbed hold of the file and opened it.
McGee and Ziva glanced at each other as soon as they received the email. They both laughed not noticing the other looks they received from fellow agents. Everyone had received the email at the same time and Tony's former team were the only ones that seemed happy about it.
"Get back to work and check those alibis." Balboa growled.
"Don't talk to me like that." Ziva snapped.
"I'm in charge of you until Gibbs gets back. If you don't like it, make a complaint." Balboa just stood there and waited.
"Ziva…" McGee shook his head and indicated for her not to push things. "We'll talk at lunch." He waited for her nod, and they both settled down to work.
"Ducky, I can't believe that Tony quit. Why would he do that? We're his family." Abby pouted.
"Are we?" Ducky held up his hand. "Tony spoke to me before he quit. No, I won't tell you what it was about. I will not betray his confidence. I will say he's been unhappy for a while and it's only become worse. He's not felt like part of this family for a long time."
"And that's our fault?" Abby snapped she hated change and Tony knew that, but he still did this.
"It's all of our faults, including Tony's and he recognises that. I've heard things today that proved his point to me. Go and sit with Timothy and Ziva. Just listen to them. I know you care about them, but pretend you don't know them. I hope you can be honest enough with yourself and see where I and Tony are coming from."
"I don't like this Ducky, but I'll try. I can't promise that I'll hear what you want me to, I do care about them."
"Do you care about them more than Tony? Don't you owe him the chance to see things his way? To understand why he had to go? At least when you see him I am hoping you will be open minded. He knows he made mistakes and that some of that attitude he brought onto himself, but it's not all on him. I think that he leaving was the healthiest thing for him to do. He can now move on and work somewhere he can be respected."
Abby walked back into her lab, but her mind still on what Ducky had said. Then sitting there waiting for her was a very happy Timothy McGee.
"Did you get a break in the case?" She asked hopefully, the only other reason would be Tony and that would mean that Ducky was right about everything.
"Nope, just good news. Ziva and I are going to lunch to celebrate. Do you want to join us?"
Abby nodded she was going to keep her promise to Ducky, but any appetite she had vanished as soon as Tim had spoken. As she listened to him now, she knew how things could go. She could of course jump to a conclusion; maybe they had received another email. Abby knew that she was lying to herself.
The apartment door opened.
"Gibbs?" Tony queried suspiciously.
"Vance told me that you quit. I also read your resignation letter. He wants to talk to you." Gibbs handed a card with the Director's number on it.
"Thanks I'll call him later. What are you doing here Gibbs? You won't change my mind."
"I know, I…" The older man ran a hand through his hair. He was sure that it would all come to him as soon as he saw the younger man, but there was nothing. The only thing that ran through his mind was the mistakes that he had made over the years. All the chances he had missed to grow closer, to become more than team mates and friends. How did he apologise for everything, and make sure that Tony understood this time he meant it?
"Did you want to talk to me?" Tony was starting to get worried; there was obviously something on Gibbs' mind. He may not talk a lot, but he was never a loss for words.
"Yes, I wanted to talk, but now I am here I don't know what to say. I thought it would come to me, but it hasn't. I know this may come out wrong, and I'm not trying to put any blame on you, so please listen?" Gibbs waited until the other man nodded. "First of all, you should have told me about the radio incident. Whether it was a joke or not, a person's safety is not something that should be treated like one, especially not yours. I am so pissed at them, but I don't know what I can do about it now. I should have stopped those remarks as soon as they stopped being banter and becoming cruel. I never realised how it affected you, all their comments seem to slide off you. I should've treated you as more as an SFA. The crappier jobs like gassing the truck should've been passed to either McGee or Ziva. I never had a team that hung around long enough and I didn't trust Stan completely. I took advantage of you; I loved the attention I got." Gibbs sighed in disgust. "That's so pathetic."
"Thank you for coming Gibbs, and being honest with me…"
"You really not coming back are you?" Blue eyes wide with fear. It truly hit him that he was no longer going to see this gorgeous face, bright green eyes and incandescent smile. He was also losing his second in command and the best young agent he ever worked with. Another agency was going to end up with all his experience and talent.
"No I'm not, I can't. I need to take care of myself for a while."
"Could we up meet up, I wondered if you might go out with me sometime?" He stuttered like a teenager.
"God, if you said this to me a month ago I would have jumped at the chance. I need to be away from you for a while. How do I know you won't treat me the same in a more personal setting. We both need to change, and we need to see that has happened."
"I promise I'll change, I'll make sure McGee and Ziva are reigned in, that we all are." Gibbs walked towards the door followed by Tony. He turned quickly and gave him a peck on the lips. "I promise."
Tony watched him leave. "I hope you do." But deep down he was afraid that his heart was going to be broken.
A/N Remember this is AU. Thank you all for your patience and I hope you enjoy. Thank you to Syn for beta'ing and to all of those who gave me their opinion on one part of this chapter I wasn't sure about.
Tony looked around at his apartment; the clean white sterile look had do personality. It looked like something from a magazine; none of it screamed Tony DiNozzo. There were no cases full of DVDs, they were hidden away. The movie posters he once had were rolled up carefully and stored. It was time for more than just a change in job; his whole life needed an overhaul. He had enough money saved that he didn't need to work straight away. His apartment was in a well sought after area. If he brought something cheaper then he really could take his time and decide on what was going to do. He grabbed his laptop and sat down on a large comfy chair. He needed to figure out what kind of place he wanted first. Tony needed to make sure there were properties around before he tried to sell this one.
"Uhh boss." McGee walked over to the desk and stared at him as he waited for some kind of acknowledgment.
When nothing more came Gibbs looked up. "What is it McGee?"
"I was thinking with Tony leaving and before we get a new probie that I should be made the senior field agent. It will make things run more smoothly if it's sorted out first."
Gibbs had tried to figure out what to say when McGee was told he wasn't going to be promoted. He thought he'd have a little more time, obviously not. "You think you're going to be my SFA?"
"Uhh," Tim looked over at Ziva who had just joined them. She'd been the one to push for it; she smiled as she showed him support. "Well, I am the one with the most experience at the moment. I mean Tony had that position–."
"Stop right there before you even start on how Tony didn't do anything, he only has a degree in physical education. I don't want to hear that crap. He was a police officer; he became a detective in homicide at a young age. He had experience in running an investigation even before he got here. You don't, Tony and I were the ones training you. Yes, I've heard you both run your mouths off about him, saying he doesn't do anything. Well, he leaves you both in the dust when he doesn't joke around. He gets his reports in before both of you and he also has SFA paperwork to do. You're not going to be promoted in this team and I don't think Vance would promote you in any other one either. I could be wrong, so go ahead and ask him."
"Why? How about the fact you turned off your radio and left a team member without back up. Don't smirk Ziva, Leon knows that you recognised your father in that photo. If you had said something that meal would not have happened and his wife and your father could both be alive today." Gibbs knew he sounded harsh, but this had to stop. "Who would want to work with either of you when all you think about are yourselves? Everyone here saw how happy you were when that email came out and told us that Tony had quit. You didn't care why, you didn't know the circumstances. It might have been his lungs after the plague, but that never even occurred to either of you did it?"
"Gibbs we weren't happy about Tony leaving, Ziva and I–."
"You're actually going to try and come up with an excuse? We all got the email at the same time, that would be a remarkable coincidence that the two of you happened to have something else come in at that exact time. I don't want to hear any crap. Things around here are going to change, welcome to the new world order. There will be no snide back talk back to my new SFA whoever that turns out to be. If you do, it goes straight on report. There will be no going off the reservation, which means that any criminals we deal with whether it is on a case or something personal will be arrested. Killing them will be the last choice, and if any do die it will be looked at very closely. If I have any doubt there will be repercussions." He watched Ziva carefully. "Vance will be keeping an eye on me as well. Any paperwork that doesn't need to be done by me or my SFA will be handed down to you two. Things like gassing the truck and making sure it is stocked will be down to you two as well. There will be no arguments in who gets to sit in the front; it will go down in seniority. Me, my second in command, McGee and then you David."
"Why didn't Tony get this extra work?" McGee argued.
"Have you listened to anything I just said? I told you he managed to get his reports and his SFA paperwork in before you two did. Who did you think did it? It wasn't me so who, the paperwork fairy? McGee when Tony had the plague you checked the footage, apart from me he worked the most hours. You can check again if you want to, it hasn't changed. Any attitude towards any new team member will be reported. What happened with DiNozzo will not happen again." He held up his hand to stop any questions. "This is not up for debate, if you don't like this new regime ask for a transfer. You two will be partnered together until I can trust that you will have every team members back. If I see an improvement I will start to trust you more. This is not a game, it's not a test; this is the start of your new lives here at NCIS." Gibbs caught Balboa give him a grin and a thumbs up as he walked past.
"It's Tony's fault, somehow he talked to Gibbs and sabotaged me. He was always jealous because I would get further than him."
"Go away Timmy." Abby rubbed her weary eyes.
"You did this to yourselves. I haven't even spoken to Tony and when I listened to the two of you at lunch it made me feel sick. I had to leave, I couldn't stomach being with you. After I talked to him, I could see we were all to blame."
"So Tony blamed everything on us, typical."
"Actually no, he says we're all at fault including himself. He knows that he's made mistakes. You on the other had are blaming him." Abby didn't need him to agree she knew what the answer was. "Gibbs is right; we all need to change a little. If you can't or won't do that then I can't see us remaining as friends. Until I see something change you can only come here if you have a case. You don't now, so please leave my lab."
"Who's going to see this mystical change of yours?" Tim snapped, he'd better little Miss Perfect here would stay the same.
"I've asked Ducky and Gibbs. They also going to talk to the agents I interact with. We've all gotten away with so much. We felt that we had a right to, but no one does. I'm glad this is happening now. I hate to imagine how much worse it could've become." Abby's mind back to the terrorist case where Tony could've died because of his team-mates arrogance.
McGee opened his mouth to argue his point, but Abby had already turned away from him. He knew that if he pushed it would make her very angry and that was the last thing needed to happen. He walked out of the lab and never saw his ex-girlfriend wipe tears from her eyes.
9 Months later
Tony sat at his desk and glanced around at his new home. The time had passed quickly since he had left NCIS. He'd sold his showy apartment and had fallen in love with this house as soon as he had seen it. It still needed work done. It wasn't in a busy area and it had a huge shed type building that could fit cars and a boat. It made him think of Gibbs as soon as he saw it. He'd sat down with Fornell, of all people, and tried to work out what to do next. The FBI agent had really been there for him and was now considered a friend. Toy really didn't want to join another agency as he would still have the same reputation, which was when being a consultant came up. He dealt with new and cold cases and had contracts with Metro PD, FBI, and Homeland Security. Tony even had worked some cases for the CIA. He and Trent actually got on and had become friendly, which was weird all on its own. As of yet he hadn't worked for NCIS, but he did have a contract with them, he'd spoken to Gibbs a couple of times. He felt it was better that he sorted out his own life, and Gibbs could make the changes he needed. Then one day, they could become friends for real, or something more.
Balboa had been in contact and told him that things had started to change, Gibbs especially. He interacted with his team was differently, there was less of a bastard in control. He didn't play them against each other, they worked as a team. His new SFA was respected and didn't do any of the crappy jobs. Abby it seemed had also made an effort; she was no longer completely self-absorbed. She treated everyone with respect and didn't have temper tantrums if things didn't go her way. She also never asked Gibbs to step in if there was a mistake. Abby would own up to it and sort it out.
Tony opened the file that had been delivered. Vance had called him and asked if he would help with a case. It was a current one with the MCRT. It would be the first time that he saw them, well apart from Ducky and Jimmy; they'd always supported him and met up often. When the director spoke to him, he had thanked Tony for being honest and pointed out places where NCIS could improve. It should never have become that bad and because of it they had lost an excellent investigator. Vance was just happy that he would still consult with them.
Tim and Ziva hadn't changed much; they of course, believed they hadn't done anything wrong. The two of them had felt things were fine just the way they had been and that nothing had needed to change. Jimmy had told him they'd both been written up a couple of times and they had no choice but to follow the new rules or at least pretend to.
It was going to be weird seeing them all again. He had no regrets leaving that job. He loved being a consultant and being able to work with different agencies, it was a lot of fun. His security clearance was ridiculously high so he could go from one to another. He also had log in's to their separate computer systems. It made things easier on him.
Tim was an arrogant little shit that he could deal with. Ziva was a killer one that believed the world she revolve around her. She was a nasty piece of work and with the death of Michael and her father she seemed to just blame him for everything. Tony grabbed another file; it was one that Trent had given him, just in case Ziva gave him problems. The CIA agent also promised to take her out if something happened. The contents of the file had been a shock, but it did explain why Michael Rivkin was drunk. It never made much sense that a man who had so many people after him decided to get drunk. If only Tony had never come that night everything would have been different the next day. Ziva might have killed Michael and her father for what they had done. Tony pulled out the emails between Eli and Rivkin. They already knew Eli had told Michael to get together with Ziva. Things, it seemed changed when she came back to NCIS. Michael was tired of hearing her complain about everything and especially Tony. The two men were lonely and become closer then one day, they became lovers. He didn't know how exactly they ended up having sex and Tony felt like he was going to be on Jerry Springer with this. The reason Michael was drunk was that he planned to tell Ziva it was over and that he was going to be with her father. He had fallen out love with Ziva David and had fallen in love with her father, Eli.
Tony stared down at the file in his hand. He'd just closed a cold case for Metro PD and had just finished up the paperwork. He looked up as he heard someone knock on his door. Tony glanced over at the security monitor and smiled at the image of Kort. It was still a shock at how they'd become friends. There was a lot of security due to the fact of not trusting Ziva or Mossad. His safety wasn't a joke, not to him anyway. Tony walked to the front of the house and opened the door.
"Tony, my friend, here's more information on Ziva and Eli."
"I'm going to assume it's something I need to look at?" He grinned at the glare he received. "Fine, I'll take a look."
Tony grabbed them both a beer and sat down to read. There were lots of emails and telephone transcripts that showed Ziva knew about the people and agents Michael murdered. She was upset that he would kill others but not Tony. She believed that things would be easier for her without him around, McGee was easy to manipulate. There were others between Ziva and Eli after the death of Rivkin. He tried to push his daughter to get rid of DiNozzo whether it be an accident or maybe she could arrive a little too late to save him. Tony had no idea if she'd attempted anything.
"You okay?" Kort asked.
"I'm just glad that I managed to get Eli to admit that Michael was working for him. I hope that eased the homicide rage a little."
"So instead little miss psycho tried to get Gibbs to kick you off his team."
Tony laughed. "She honestly believed that he'd pick her."
"You thought that as well, didn't you?"
"They had a connection. I've never seen him like that with anyone else. It might have been with Abby or Ducky, but I knew them all after. Ziva could and did get away with so many things."
"He's not the same without you. I've had to be in a couple of meetings with him, and he was miserable. I did ask where his faithful shadow was." Kort laughed at Tony's facial expression. "I do love getting that Gibbs glare."
"You need psychiatric help; you know that right?"
"You're lying; you like me just the way I am."
Tony just laughed.
Gibbs sighed as he glanced over at his new SFA. He missed DiNozzo, not just the amazing agent that he was, but the man himself. He suddenly felt eyes on him, so he glanced around and saw McGee glare at him briefly before the vulnerability came across his face and he looked away. If the young computer expert didn't grow up and check his attitude, Gibbs was going to kill him. A brand new team had started to sound like a brilliant idea.
"I'm going to see Abby." McGee waited for Gibbs to nod and headed off to the labs. No matter what he did, she wouldn't forgive him. There were no dates, which is something he still hoped for and they couldn't seem to be friends either. He had tried to say sorry, but he didn't believe that he'd done anything wrong. They were better off without Tony.
She sighed as Tim's voice echoed around her. Abby knew that tone; he was going to whine at how badly people acted around him. In his mind 'Timothy McGee' was better than anyone else and should be treated like that.
"I don't have any cases of yours at the moment." She hoped to cut him off before he started.
"I know I just needed to get away from Gibbs. He glared at the new SFA today. If he doesn't like the guy, he should just replace him with me." Tim sulked.
"He wasn't glaring McGee, he was remembering."
"Tony, the former SFA they that use to sit in that very seat. The excellent agent, the man you left unguarded during the terrorist case and who you and Ziva belittled every chance you got. Is any of this coming back to you?" She snapped.
"McGee if the next words out of your mouth are 'it's not our fault' or any variation on that theme I am going to murder you."
"After everything we were to each other, I still can't believe you took his side." He pouted.
"Well, hopefully, one day when you're not the hero of every event you are involved in, you'll see what you've done. Not just to Tony, but how you treat others. I changed and finally grew up. You should try it sometime."
"I came here to talk, not to be lectured."
"Tim, you want someone to agree with you, to hang onto your every word especially when it comes to Tony and how he ruined your life. You want that go and talk to Ziva. No one else wants to know."
"Fine." He spat out. "If he had as much work as I do, he would've left. I get all this extra paperwork, and I wasn't even promoted." Tim turned and glared at Abby as she started to laugh. "What?"
"You're doing the typical amount of paperwork. Tony had done it before, and that's not including the SFA work." She saw the disbelief on his face. "Don't believe me talk to Balboa's team, hell you can talk to any team. The reason you didn't get promoted is you aren't good enough, you have a lousy attitude, and you suck as a team player. You don't see the whole picture; the only thing that matters to you is you. As long as you're the star, you're happy. Then you have Ziva, you follow her like a sheep, do her bidding, and she is lower than you in the chain of command and not even an NCIS agent."
"You're just jealous of my relationship with her," Tim smirked.
"Out of everything I just said the only thing you got was thinking I was jealous over you." Abby sighed. "Tim I cared for the man you once were. I hate and am disgusted with the man you've become. When I looked at myself nine months ago, I was felt the same about myself. Ducky made me see things how they were. I hope to build a better and stronger friendship with Tony. Just like Gibbs I need to show him how different I am."
"You're doing all this for DiNozzo?"
"No, I'm doing it for me. I want to be a better person, I'll still make mistakes, but that's human nature."
"There was nothing with how you were. I miss that Abby who would joke with us."
"You and Ziva didn't joke, you belittled." She could see that nothing had got through. "Goodbye Agent McGee, please only come back when you have a case. If you don't, I will make a complaint."
Tim just stared at her; she had changed so much. Her Goth style had matured, which was covered by a white lab coat. The machines could be heard as there was no longer ear splitting music. It wasn't just her; everything seemed to have changed since Tony had left. There was still a lot of anger that Director Vance hadn't forced Gibbs to promote him. He could have transferred him or even been given his team. It still confused him why Tony leaving had affected everyone so much.
It was time to find Ziva; she was the only one that understood.
Tony smiled and had a brief conversation with security as he headed into NCIS. This was the first time back since he'd quit and was nervous about seeing everyone. He walked out into the bull pen.
"Yo DiNozzo," Balboa called out and walked over. "It's good to see you, heard great things about your consultant business. Can I uh pick your brain later? I was going to give you a call and see if we could work something out."
"Just because it's you, I'll take a look. Send me what you have." Tony handed him his card. Balboa had been a great support and did everything he could to help during some of his most difficult times.
"Tony," Gibbs called out.
DiNozzo could feel the warmth in that voice. He'd missed Gibbs so very much, but the time apart, the need to change and to grow was something that had to happen.
"It's good to see you, Gibbs."
"It's Jethro; you no longer work for me."
"Okay, Jethro it is." He could feel the cold stares from Ziva and McGee, but he no longer cared about their opinions. "I understand you have a case that needs a little help?"
"We don't need any help" McGee muttered.
"Especially not his," Ziva added snidely.
Gibbs turned and glared at them. "Do you have leads, any at all?" He waited for them to both shake their heads. "You don't; well then, yes we do need his help. If you ever get your own team and at the moment that's doubtful, you can then decide what you do or don't need."
"I need to go and check in with Vance, then with Ducky and Abby. I'll be back after that."
"Aren't you supposed to be working the case?" McGee asked with a smirk.
"I will be I'm going to ask them their thoughts, just like I did when I worked here. Not everything is written in a file; don't discount people's feelings and ideas."
"Good idea, I'll sort out a desk for you." Gibbs watched Tony smile, how he had missed that and watched as their new consultant headed up the stairs to see the director. He turned to look at his team. "As for you two, I don't want to hear any nasty, sarcastic or so called teasing remarks coming from either of you. If you do or say anything to cause an embarrassment, Vance will hear all about it. From now Mr. DiNozzo is someone new to both of you. He's here to consult, so treat him with the utmost respect."
"You mean we can't be friendly to him." Ziva smiled as she spoke.
"You have never been friendly to him. Just try and be professional. I hope that is something you can manage or wasn't that part of your Mossad training." Gibbs wanted to show Tony how much he'd changed and how he worked.
"Yes, I can be professional." She snapped.
"Of course I can."
"Good. Webster, I'll introduce you to him. You might be able to get some pointers on being my SFA."
"Thanks, boss, I'd like to be able to talk to him." Webster knew he could learn a lot and there were things he wanted to ask.
Gibbs hoped things would run smoothly. If McGee and Ziva did anything to mess this up, they would pay for it. He wasn't going to lose Tony because of their egos.
A/N thank you to my wonderful beta for her help. I am slowly going through reviews, but it's difficult. I have handwritten this entire story out. If it stays the same when typed then there will be total of 9 chapters.
The Director looked up and smiled. "It's good to see you, Tony, you look well."
"Thank you sir, you too."
"Call me Leon; you're no longer one of my agents. You here is a consultant; I'd say that puts us more on an equal footing." He paused for a moment. "I want to thank you for accepting a contract with us. It would've been understandable if you refused."
"I may have had problems here, but NCIS meant and still means a lot to me, as does the reason why it exists. Thank you for reaching out to me, I'm glad that pride didn't get in the way on either of our sides."
"After everything you'd been through, pride had no place. We were in the wrong, and I wasn't going to deprive NCIS the best consultant it could get." Vance smiled at the shocked look on the younger man's face. "Your reputation precedes you. There was no doubt in mind you would do well, you're a born investigator."
"I appreciate that…Leon." It still felt weird for him to say. "I've also heard things about NCIS, the changes that have been made around here."
"Gibbs, Abby, Ducky and myself we made a promise to make the changes that were desperately needed. I am sorry to say that McGee and Ziva have had a few problems with this. They don't seem to understand why and I don't think they ever will."
"It's a shame that they can't see beyond their wants and needs, but what happens to them means little to me. What does mean a lot to me is what the rest of you have done. After that McGee and Ziva can say whatever they like, it's taken a while, but I moved on."
Leon laughed. "I bet Gibbs is making sure that they don't do or say anything that could possible upset you. He's changed, and that's a good thing, but he no longer seems happy."
"You know what I mean. This job means everything to him, but now there is something or someone missing."
Tony tried not to read too much into that statement. "I'll talk to him and see how he's doing."
"Thank you; I'd appreciate that. Here's the file, have a look through it before you head down. If there are any problems or you need anything come back and see me."
Tony smiled and nodded. He reached out took the file and sat down.
The first place he went was to autopsy.
"Tony, my boy how wonderful to see you." Ducky said as he pulled him into a hug.
"It's good to see you too Ducky. Hey, there's my little autopsy gremlin." Tony laughed, and as Jimmy just shook his head. "I can't use it in front of anyone else if they don't get it."
"While it is good to see you, NCIS or work isn't the same without you here."
"I appreciate that, I just thought I would pop in and say hi before getting down to work."
"Maybe we could have dinner one evening?"
"I'd love to Ducky, just let me know when is best for you. I'm my own boss, and things have settled down. I've got a decent list of clients so that I can take some time for myself. I don't quite have to work all the hours under the sun now."
"It's understandable you had a quite a few changes in such a short time. You moved home and started your own business. I have heard wonderful things about your new venture, and I am thrilled it is working out."
"It feels like this is what I was meant to do. I get to pick my cases some old and some new. Working with different agencies and Police Departments means there is a variety type of cases."
"You are a born investigator, and it's your time to shine." Just then autopsy phone rang. "I guess it's time to get back to work."
"I'll talk to you both later. I'm off to see Abby now."
"She'd be thrilled to see you, Abby has missed you desperately, and she isn't the only one." Ducky smiled secretively.
Tony shook his head, was this another comment aimed at Gibbs? He hoped that Abby wanted to see him; they hadn't spoken since before he quit. There had been some emails, but seeing someone face to face was completely different.
Tony looked around; it was so weird it being silent. He walked into the lab, the very quiet lab, since there was no ear-splitting music. Abby was working hard, and she looked amazing.
Abby spun around there was the biggest smile on her face and ran into his arms. She pulled back with a small frown. "Is this okay?"
"Of course it is." He pulled her back against his body and wrapped his arms around her and held tightly. "You're looking good." He whispered into her ear.
"Thanks, I needed to make some changes to grow up. I have missed you so very much." Abby pulled out of his arms and just stared at him.
"I missed you too, so how are things?"
"They're going well." She sighed at the look he gave her. "Okay, things are going really well except I'm not talking to Tim or Ziva."
"I'm sorry about that." He hadn't meant to ruin any friendships or whatever was between her and McGee.
Abby slapped his chest gently. "You have nothing to apologise for. It's their fault they don't see or don't care what was going on. It's their self-centredness that ruined our friendships. I'm glad you left, I mean because we needed to change. You also needed to leave for your sanity." She bit her lip. "I was hoping that now you've seen how I've changed that we can start hanging out together."
"I'd like that. I didn't stop seeing you because you hadn't changed; I needed to work on me too. I've heard wonderful things about how you've all worked hard to change."
"If you need me for anything work or friendship just call me. If you need an escape while you're here my lab is at your disposal." Abby grinned at him.
"I might need to take you up on that. I can't imagine things are going to run smoothly with McGee or Ziva." He laughed as she nodded in agreement. "I'd better get back up there and earn my fee."
"Go on and show them what a real investigator looks like."
Tony leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead. "See you soon."
"Bye." Abby bounced on her toes, happy to be in his life again.
Tony settled down at the desk just behind Gibbs and ignored the looks that Ziva and McGee kept throwing his way. The case was about some Marines that had possibly been stealing and selling military grade weapons.
"I don't see why a consultant is needed. We are perfectly capable of investigating this case ourselves." Ziva spoke as soon as Gibbs left to get a coffee refill.
"We have enough experience," McGee added.
Tony shook his head at how he still followed Ziva like a little puppy. However, their words no longer meant anything to him. He knew what he was good at and nothing they said would change that.
"Stop right now." Alex Webster suddenly spoke out. He'd put them on report before and would again. "Mr DiNozzo is here as a consultant to help us with a case we haven't found any leads on. You are to treat him with respect. If you don't, I will write you up, again."
"Thank you, and please call me Tony."
"Very well Tony, I'm Alex. I want to thank you for agreeing to help us. It couldn't have been easy coming back here." He glanced over at his two agents.
Tony smiled as he glanced around. "There are some things I would rather forget, but there are a lot of good memories as well. NCIS will always be important to me. If my help is ever needed, I will do everything I can to help."
"Is there a possibility I could pick your brain about being Gibbs' SFA." He smiled which immediately fell from his face as he turned to look at Ziva.
Tony knew that she'd been about to say something about it and it wasn't going to be flattering. He decided to ignore her. "Of course, Gibbs is the best to work for; it's not always easy, but worth it. I wouldn't change the experience for anything." He pulled out a card from his pocket, and Alex walked over and took it from him. "McGee, pull up everything on the plasma. We can go through and see what theories any of you have."
The plasma lit up as the photos from the crime scene flashed up on the screen.
"Maybe they did it; they could have argued?" Ziva explained as she looked at the photos
"You think they killed each other? Where are the murder weapons?" Tony looked over at her doubtfully.
"It might have been some customers?" McGee added.
"Tony?" Gibbs questioned, no one had noticed that he was back.
"It doesn't sound right. There are too many holes, and the scene was too clean. Some elements were planned, but there is something off."
"What does it matter if things feel off if the evidence points to them?" McGee complained, with Ziva nodding.
"Unless you find the murder weapons and actual physical evidence that puts the guns in their hands, it matters. It doesn't all fit."
"I agree with you Tony; there are too many inconsistencies." Alex agreed it had frustrated him about this case, where you found evidence and followed it to a dead end.
"Someone's trying too hard to place the blame on these guys."
Gibbs looked at the plasma then to his team and Tony. "We need to figure out if they are guilty and if not who's trying to set them up."
A/N Thanks again to my wonderful beta. This story has been entirely handwritten, and I am just typing it up. If it still works out there are 9 chapters in total.
Tony sat going through the numbers from the marine's cell numbers. Trying to find a connection, then he stopped and stared at one. It seemed very familiar; he just couldn't figure out from where. Just then his cell pinged, he checked it, and there was an email from Metro PD thanking him for his help.
"Fuck." Tony knew where he'd seen the number and dove for his bag and pulled out the file that he was going to send back to Metro.
"What is it, Tony?" Gibbs just watched him; it was something obviously important.
"Let me just check something first." He pulled out the piece of paper he was looking for, and there was the number. "It's a burner phone. It's been logged in as evidence. How the hell did they get it?"
"Let's see if we can find a link between the PD, or the original case and the marines."
"Yes, boss." Alex, Ziva, and McGee called out.
Tony just nodded and started to read through the file again.
The others began to check through the movements and see if there is anyway their suspects had any connection to the Police Department itself or someone who worked there.
Gibbs turned to look at Tony. It was good to have him here; he'd missed the other man so very much. There was no way he'd come back to NCIS, but hopefully, they could be at least friends or maybe something more outside of their careers. There were a lot of things that the two of them needed to talk about.
Tony's gut screamed at him. It was sending out danger signs, but he didn't know why.
Balboa walked over to Gibbs with a piece of paper. "Anonymous tip for your case.
"Thanks. McGee get any information on this address."
"Yes, boss." He took the paper and went back to his desk. "It's just a warehouse, on the water's edge. There's a dock nearby and some other abandoned buildings." McGee called out.
"Webster, take McGee and Ziva to check it out."
"I'd like to go as well."
"Are you sure?" Gibbs didn't want anything to happen.
Tony smiled at the concern in his voice. "It's okay Jethro; I am armed."
"Okay, go with them."
"Thanks." Tony brushed his hand over Gibbs' shoulder and felt the slight shudder under his fingers. This was something they needed to look deeper into, later on, and in a more private location.
As soon as Tony got out of the car, he looked around. He could see the warehouse, and it just sat away from the other buildings and right on the water's edge. His gut may not be Gibbs', but something wasn't right. It was overgrown and had barely been used.
"Alex," Tony called out and waited for the other man to join him. "You're in charge, but I need to tell you that something doesn't feel right."
"What feels off to you?"
"Things don't match up. We have marines with no link to the weapons. They're shot, but the murder weapon isn't there. We have a burner phone from a Metro case and, once again, no link to the marines. Look around this place hasn't been used in a long time. The dock is in such bad repair so boats won't be able to use it, the grass is overgrown if any kind of vehicle had been parked here, and there would be evidence."
Alex turned and looked around. "I agree, let's get satellite footage going back and see if there are any movement human or mechanical."
"Good idea." Tony smiled, it was nice that he listened to other opinions and didn't always have to be right. The safety of his team was obviously important.
"I'll call in some guys to keep watch over the warehouse while we research. It will be a good experience for probies. I'll make sure they understand not to go near the buildings."
"Why, because Tony said so?" Ziva sneered.
He glared at her. "No, because I said so. I'm going to call Gibbs to update him. McGee, Ziva take some photos, but stay away from the buildings."
Tony followed him because he knew Jethro would want to talk to him as well and ask his opinion.
Ziva leaned closer to McGee. "He's become a coward; there's no danger here." She whispered.
"He is right about things not adding up."
"Of course they don't, we're still investigating. That building could be all the evidence we need. I'm going in."
"Ziva." McGee placed a hand on her arm.
She pulled away sharply and glared at him. "I'm better at everything than he is. I know what I'm doing." With a quick look around she ran towards the warehouse.
Tony turned, his mouth falling open as he watches Ziva running towards the building. "Damn," he says, taking off after her, Webster following close on his heels.
McGee stood frozen not knowing what to do.
Ziva turned as she reached her destination and sent a nasty smirk Tony's way. She moved past the boarded-up door when her foot knocked against something.
Tony suddenly experiences heat that brushes against the front of him, before he is thrown back landing heavily on his back. He lays there for a moment, his ears ringing before he sits up cataloguing his body making sure nothing is broken.
"McGee," Alex called out as he rushed over to his agent.
Tony glances briefly back at McGee and Webster making sure they are not too injured before he looks back towards the warehouse that was on fire, smoke curling up towards the sky. He catches the sight of Ziva's unconscious body disappearing quickly under the water as the dock collapses.
Quickly standing up, ignoring the pain he is in, he sheds off his jacket and runs towards the shoreline finding a good spot mostly clear of debris; he dives in cutting cleanly through the small waves.
Once Alex and Tim reached the water's edge, Alex looked around for any sign of disturbance so he could go in and help. He, however, did not witness where Tony and Ziva went under at while he was checking on McGee.
A few panicked moments went by before they spotted Tony breaking the surface, taking few deep gasping breaths while Ziva was still unconscious and cold in his arms.
Alex dived in and swam over to help. He took Ziva and started to swim back. He wasted no time diving in and swimming over to help, taking Ziva out of Tony's arms he began swimming back towards the shoreline.
McGee turned when he heard the sirens; in the background, Gibbs must have called them when he heard the commotion over the phone. His cell began to ring; there was only one person it could be.
"What the hell happened? Are they both okay? McGee make sure DiNozzo gets looked at and tell them him about his lungs. If you don't my boot is going to be so far up your…good. I'll meet you at the hospital. You know where they need to take him." Gibbs slammed his cell shut and grabbed his gear. What was going on? He needed to know if it had been planned then whoever did it would pay.
Tony sighed as he relaxed on his couch. They had checked him out but found nothing wrong. They'd given him a course of antibiotics, and if he were to start coughing or his chest started to hurt, he was to see someone straight away.
Just to take his mind off things he looked at Balboa's case and found a few things they could follow up on. He immediately glanced over at the monitor as soon as he heard the knock on the door. It was Gibbs. Tony smiled; he should've known that he would get a visit. It was also the first time the older man had ever been to his new home. A groan escaped him as he stood, walked to the front door and opened it.
"Jethro, is everything okay?"
"I just wanted to see how you were."
"I'm fine. No matter what happened in the past between Ziva and me, there's no way I would've let her die."
"I know, she would've. You've always been a better person."
As they walked back to the lounge, Tony indicated for the other man to sit. The couch was left free so that he could stretch out.
"This is a beautiful place, definitely more you." Gibbs smiled as he looked at the shelves of DVDs and books. The framed classic movie posters screamed out who this place belonged to. "I see there are still things that need to be done."
"I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. I had enough done so that I could move in. I wanted it to be comfortable. I made sure I put in the best security system I could find." Tony watched as Gibbs frowned. It was clear that there was more to the story. "I found out things about Ziva and Eli. Before he died, they both wanted me dead."
"Why? What did you find out?"
He reached out and picked up a file from the table and handed it to Gibbs. "Here."
"Where did you get this?"
"A friend, he wanted me to know. It was so I know who and why I could potentially be in danger. Ziva's alive; Eli and Rivkin could have people that could still come after me. You'd better read it all."
Gibbs placed the folder onto his lap. He read through it all, and there was a lot to take in, but there was something that truly surprised him. "Eli and Rivkin?"
"It shocked the hell out of me too."
"Ziva obviously doesn't know. This is something she couldn't hide; she isn't that good an actress. It's always about how she and Rivkin were meant to be together, the love of her life. She thought that she was the love of his as well."
"We know it wasn't true in his case. It seemed the person he loved was her father and that still makes me shudder. If Ziva ever found out how many people could've died for her revenge. This was one family squabble I never wanted to get involved in." Tony sighed.
"It wasn't your fault."
"If only I waited until the next day. He might still be dead, but by her hand. What other things might have changed?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"Rivkin was drunk; it was one of the things that confused me. He had people after him if someone turned up; running would've been his only option. What if he needed a little alcoholic help to tell Ziva that he was leaving her? No idea if he was going to admit the part about her father?"
"Ziva would've killed him. I definitely can't trust her now. She'd been sending files to her father, knew about their murders. The one thing I can never forgive is her trying to get Rivkin to kill you. What about this seduction thing?"
Tony shuddered. "I try not to think about that; it makes me feel sick." He saw the way Gibbs looked at him. "It was while you were in LA. I was getting too close. To keep me occupied or, to be honest, I have no idea what her thought process was. She came to my flat and tried to seduce me. Ziva obviously thinks highly of her skills in the bedroom, which I am glad to say I have no experience of. It was the most unsexy, uncomfortable thing I had ever witnessed. She then became angry when I had no interest in 'sampling her delights,' her words not mine. I insisted she gets dressed and leave immediately. It still gives me nightmares; everything about her was and still is such a turn-off."
"I'm glad you no longer work at NCIS. I hate to think how bad it could've become."
"It's been a difficult journey, but I believe we're all in a better place. Well, those of us who wanted to change."
"I don't know where I would've been if you hadn't been brave enough to stand up to it all. I still find it hard to trust myself when I let so many things slide. I kept thinking that the end justified the means. It didn't though, how you get there is important."
"I agree, I've learned so much from you, but I also lost a lot of myself in the role I created. It got to a point when I looked in the mirror I saw the court jester, not a trained investigator. My new business, the contracts are flying in. It showed me that a lot of people still saw my skills. The only ones that didn't and still don't are Ziva, McGee, and Sacks." Tony laughed suddenly. "Did I tell you my lovely two former teammates sent me a commiseration card 'on the failure of my business?" I framed it to show why I left. I bet it's killing them that I'm succeeding."
"I can't believe them, but I had no doubt. Their egos are the real joke. I'm still surprised they listen to me and not think they could do it better themselves."
"I don't think that'll ever happen; they want to make you proud. You're a tough man to please; you expectations are very high, it's addicting getting a good word from you. They just don't get that they way they are acting now is one way 'not' to win your approval."
"I don't think when it comes to you, what I think matters to them. To McGee and Ziva the most important things to them are…themselves." Gibbs felt even guiltier and needed to move on from this conversation. He looked around again. "It really is a nice place. When this is all over, if you want, I could help with some of the home improvements and maybe a…date?" He looked everywhere but at Tony.
Tony smiled; he'd never seen Gibbs look so uncomfortable. He had kept those promises to change all those months ago. There was only one way to find out if there could be anything more between them and if they could treat each other as equals. "Okay, after this case is cleared up I would love to go on a date with you. You could even teach me about home improvements if you're interested."
Gibbs smiled at him looking years younger. "That's great; we'll talk about it in more details later."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Well, I'd uhh better go. If you need me for anything just give me a call." He was still concerned about the possible danger to Tony because of the situation with Ziva, Eli, and Rivkin.
"I will, I promise." He stood and walked towards the door.
Gibbs was right behind him, and before he left, he leaned forward and gave Tony a soft kiss on the cheek. He turned and walked away, a slight blush covered his cheeks.
Tony just stood with a stupid smile on his face. He reached up and touched the spot where he'd been kissed. It was so sweet and a promise of so much more.
Tony awoke from a dream and shot to a sitting position on the couch. He grabbed the paperwork and looked through it. He wanted to make sure it made sense. It was the only thing that did, as ridiculous as it sounded in his head. He needed to talk to Gibbs and Vance.
"I think I know what's going on," Tony told them as soon as he walked into the Director's office.
"You've worked out what's going on overnight?" Gibbs had a proud smile on his face.
"Well, the marines are innocent. The main crime was aimed at it being picked up by NCIS and the MCRT. I don't know if it's the agency or team specific. They wanted us, you there. The warehouse was meant to catch all of the team. Usually, everyone would surround the building. Ziva was alone because she was trying to prove something. We had nothing, but suddenly we get a tip? The trap naturally took time to set up and whoever arranged it needed to make sure it was someone from NCIS who would turn up. I spoke to Balboa who mentioned that this 'mysterious benefactor' said it had to come to the MCRT and he would call back with more info. It still could be about the agency, and they think taking out the team would cause problems."
"It seems to be a bit of a coincidence that it happens now after you received emails and transcripts. It still could've been a trap to draw you in. You have contracts with Metro and us."
Vance looked at the two men. "What emails and transcripts?" He was able to follow the rest, but this he needed more information on.
"I did think about that, and I was going to hand it over to NCIS anyway. I just had to confirm there wasn't any more to come. I think it's best if you read them, Leon." Tony pulled out a file and handed it over.
Vance finally flipped over the last page and looked up. "Eli and Rivkin?"
"I had the same reaction when I read it. What are we going to do about Ziva? Do we think Tim has helped her in any way?"
"Let's do something about what we can prove, and that's her sending files from NCIS to Mossad. We obviously can't have McGee looking into this, but there is another one I use from Cyber Crimes. I'm also going to take a look at Tony's injuries after she joined."
"That's going to take some time; I've been injured a lot."
"I don't care, if she's a danger to one agent, it's one too many. I will make sure every case you worked on after she arrived is looked at if I have to. I'll deal with that; you need to find out if we're being targeted and by who."
Gibbs and Tony both nodded; there were a plethora of things going on.
"You're not to be alone with either of them. You and I are a team until this is solved."
Ziva lay in her hospital bed stewing. They were keeping her for observation and Gibbs insisted, with how he looked at her, she knew not to refuse. She was furious with what had happened. Out of everyone it had to be that joke that rescued her. This embarrassment was never going to be lived down. Just then the door opened, and she prayed it wasn't Tony.
It definitely wasn't him.
A/N Thanks to y wonderful beta and remember this is an AU so timelines may not follow the exact same way.
"Sergei?" Ziva whispered it had been a long time since she'd seen Ari's half-brother. They had a unique family tree.
"I came to apologise Ziva."
"About what?" She frowned at him, what on earth he could need to say sorry about.
"You are injured because of me. I am so full of anger. I never even thought about you being a part of NCIS." He took a deep breath. "I want to get revenge on those who killed our brother."
Ziva easily kept any emotions of her face, after all the death of Ari was at her hands. The director of Mossad had made that order, and just like a good soldier and daughter, she followed through. Sergei's feelings were something that she understood revenge was something that needed to be dished out when required. That was when it hit her, Sergei could get his revenge, or think he did and Ziva could get hers.
"You have done nothing that needs forgiveness from me. We both want him to be avenged. I've tried, but I am too close and would be a suspect. He is also a coward who runs at the first opportunity."
"Who is this man you speak off?" Sergei demanded.
"The man who murdered our beloved brother in cold blood is Anthony DiNozzo Jr."
"There is no evidence that this person was involved."
"Of course there isn't, the information had 'disappeared.' He is, after all, Gibbs' favourite." Ziva spat out the words, she is more important than him and should be treated like so. "The Director helped, no one would go against those two men, and they are both highly respected. But like the weak man he is, Tony allowed them to do this."
"How did you find out about this?" He observed her intently, things seemed a little off, but why would Ziva lie? She wouldn't protect the killer, would she?
"My teammate and friend Timothy McGee, he knew how upset I was over the cold-blooded murder of Ari. He looked into it for me; his skills are very impressive when it comes to computers. Some files had been missed, and it explained what had truly happened. Tony came and shot him in the back; there was no reason why that I can see. Gibbs and Ari seemed just to be having a civilised conversation. One of Mossad's enemies may have hired him. He does have very expensive tastes."
McGee glanced up as Ziva sat down. "How are you feeling?"
"Better, thank you, McGee." She glanced around and noticed that they were alone. "Where is Gibbs?"
"He and Tony went back to the warehouse." He froze suddenly remembering that Gibbs told him not to say anything.
"Alone, without backup?"
"They have each other; we've all gone out in pairs before." He had no idea why Ziva wasn't allowed to know; they were teammates after all.
She grabbed her cell and typed a message to Sergei letting him know where DiNozzo was. Ziva looked up and noticed his questioning look. "A neighbour was worried about me. I was just letting her know I was released from the hospital."
"I'm glad you have friends outside of work."
"As am I McGee."
Gibbs knelt down to look at fragments of what could be part of the bomb. Something felt off and then he heard the sound of feet breaking twigs. He stood, turned with his gun in hand and fired. Tony's body hit the ground with a thud.
"DiNozzo?" He called out, panic in his voice. His eyes never left the shooter who was also still on the ground as he reached out to check for a pulse. He sighed with relief as he felt one.
Slowly he stood and made his way over to the other body. Gibbs grabbed the gun and then checked for a pulse on him. There was one; hopefully, that meant they could find out what the hell was going on. He pulled out his cell and called for ambulances and then to Vance to update him. Were they watching or did they have a spy within NCIS?
Gibbs sat with Tony until the doctor finally kicked him out. It still bothered him how someone knew they were there. He headed to Balboa who was in charge of the prisoner, so there wouldn't be any conflict. They needed answers; he had to make sure that Tony was going to be safe, so it had to end.
"How's Tony?" Balboa asked as soon as Gibbs walked in.
"The doctor's with him now."
"Hopefully, he'll be okay."
"The coward should die for what he has done." A voice growled from the hospital bed.
"Who are you?" Gibbs needed to know who this man was.
It meant nothing to either of the agents.
"What exactly do you think he's done?" .
"You know what happened; you helped cover it up."
Balboa looked for clarification, and Gibbs just shrugged his shoulders. He had no idea what the hell was going on.
"Maybe you could tell me if there was a cover-up, it's something I should know." Balboa cajoled.
"He killed my brother." Sergei looked at the two men if this was known maybe more of those involved could be taken down. He had nothing to lose in passing information on.
"And your brother is?" Gibbs demanded.
"You don't even remember his name. You were there when your agent shot him in the back, in your home."
"Wait, are you talking about Ari?" He needed to clarify things first.
"Yes, my beloved half-brother."
Balboa looked confused about what the hell was going on.
"DiNozzo didn't kill Ari. He wasn't even there; I don't know who told you that he was."
"You would say that."
"Who told you..?" It suddenly made sense, McGee must have told Ziva where they had gone and then she passed it on. "Ziva told you didn't she?"
"She wanted revenge, just as I did."
Gibbs sighed. "She wants revenge all right, but it had nothing to do with Ari. Ziva was the one that killed your half-brother."
"I don't believe you." Sergei spat out, but then the anger faded from his face. All those doubts from the conversation he had with her came flooding back. The reason things felt off was because she had lied to him. "I…"
"What is it?" Balboa could see he'd thought of something.
"I had a conversation with Eli; we talked on and off, mainly passing information. He seemed troubled, and when I asked what was wrong, he told me that he needed to make a great sacrifice. Mossad needed someone on the inside. It was not long after this that Ari was murdered." Ziva had betrayed him, used him for her own reasons.
Gibbs just stared at him. He felt sick to the stomach. Ziva had killed a family member on orders from her father. All to get into NCIS, it had nothing to do with saving him. It was to gain his trust. Everyone knew what kind of man he was and if he trusted her, others would. "Ziva wanted revenge. DiNozzo killed Michael Rivkin; he attacked first. My agent defended himself. She never forgave him for killing the man she loved."
"I thought they had separated." Sergei glanced at the two men. "He was seeing someone else."
"Eli." Gibbs supplied. "How did you find out?"
"I caught them in a compromising position once. Eli wanted me to understand how they loved each other. They were going to tell Ziva about their feelings. He was sure that being his daughter that she would forgive them. But then Michael died and finally Eli passed from this world."
Balboa managed to keep the surprise off his face. He'd never been involved in such a soap opera type case.
"When DiNozzo arrived Rivkin seemed to be drunk. We think he planned on telling her that night. He died before he could do that. Ziva still thinks that he loved her and wanted to spend his life with her."
"If she had only told me about Ari, I would've understood there was no reason to lie. I understand duty."
"She didn't do it to spare your feelings. Ziva made that story up to use you. If you killed DiNozzo, her revenge was complete and Ari's death was the reason you did it." He ran a hand through his short silver hair.
"It would be okay with her if I was arrested or died." Sergei now understood how she'd played him. It was evident nothing matter to Ziva apart from her own wants and needs. He could still get his revenge on her and for Ari all in one swoop.
"Yes it would've been she doesn't care about anyone else. Ziva is only in things for herself." Gibbs was still angry at himself for how he was played. DiNozzo nearly died because of his stupidity.
Sergei looked over at them. "How can I help?"
"A full confession and agree to be a witness against Ziva. We'll see what we can do to help you."
"I doubt there is much you can do; there are many crimes in my past that will come forward. I have one condition."
"What's the condition?" Balboa asked.
Sergei smiled. "I want to be the one to tell Ziva about her father and Michael."
Gibbs chuckled. "I think we can arrange that."
He knew he would face prison in this or another country, which was if he arrived there alive. Sergei had many enemies that would love to see him dead and some of those were men in power.
Gibbs and Balboa stood outside Sergei's room.
"We need to have guards in and outside. His name can't be anywhere. McGee can't know and Ziva isn't allowed to catch a glimpse of him. Balboa you pick agents you trust and put them on radio silence. Nothing gets back to anyone until we want them to."
"I know just the agents."
"I'm going to check on Tony and then see Vance. He needs to know what's going on and to approve it."
"I'll start to organise things."
"As soon as I get the go ahead I'll let you know."
"How's Tony?" Vance asked immediately.
"He's okay; it's a through and through. Tony hit his head hard when he landed on the ground, which was what knocked him out."
"Do we know what happened?"
"Ziva." He watched as Vance sighed.
"Tell me everything."
"She told Ari's half-brother that Tony killed him and we covered it up."
"He believed you when you explained what she did."
"Sergei had a conversation with Eli before Ziva joined us. He was told that a huge sacrifice was needed to get Mossad inside."
"Wait, Ziva killed her half-brother, ordered by her father to get her a position here. To earn our trust." The Director looked disgusted that a family would do that.
"He's willing to do anything to take Ziva down after he found how she used him. He does have one condition."
"He wants to be the one to tell Ziva about her boyfriend and her father."
"I think we can manage that, as long as there is enough security."
"I thought you might. I've got Balboa setting things up. I do have a plan on how we can set them up."
"Walk me through this plan before I agree to anything."
Gibbs rubbed his forehead as he joined his team.
"Are you okay boss?"
"Where's Tony?" Ziva hoped things had worked out the way she planned.
"He's confirming some statements."
Her face fell at the fact her plan had failed.
"Statements from whom?" She had to know what happened to Sergei and if she had to deal with him.
"We were attacked at the warehouse; Tony was quicker but…"
"But what?" Ziva demanded.
Thanks to my wonderful beta who suffers through numerous fandoms and stories. I hope you enjoyed this story. I do have the first chapter of an A/B/O fic, so far the people who have pre-read it have liked the start. I am thinking about posting it.
"There was something off about Tony. It was…I didn't recognise him. I'm…" Gibbs turned and started to walk away.
"You need some air." Ziva smiled at him, she knew people could not resist her for she drew people in like moths to a flame. It was not something she could help, her father told her numerous times it was a skill that came naturally to her and that the Mossad capitalized on that particular skill frequently.
Once they made their way outside, Ziva showed Gibbs to a quieter area where they could talk and not be interrupted and sat down on a bench.
Finally Gibbs broke the silence. "He was so angry, I didn't recognise him. Tony acted so much like…"
"I…" She realized the time had come to get Gibbs into her corner; after all he was just a man. Ziva pushed out her lip a little and let it start to tremble as she forced tears to start flowing. Gibbs managed not to roll his eyes at how thick she was laying it on. All he needed to do was to wait and see what Ziva was going to do next.
"I understand what you mean; I've seen him act like that before. I…I didn't say anything because he'd scared me so much. I didn't think anyone would believe me."
He couldn't get over her arrogance. Did Ziva really believe that he would fall for this act? But Gibbs had to carry on with this charade. He reached over and placed his hand over hers. "What did he do to you?"
"Tony said he would help me fit in. We would watch movies together. I trusted him, so I agreed."
"What happened next?" Gibbs asked gently even though he knew where this was going; he had to lull Ziva into a false security. As he listened to her use a horror that some had lived through and continue to live through the aftermath to continue the web spun of lies and betrayal he felt physically ill. Ziva was the most selfish and ignorant woman he'd ever met, using a horror such as this to sway Gibbs to turn on Tony. He was thankful for the amount of arrogance Ziva showed right now.
"I can't, please don't make me tell you anymore. He used his position, his friendship to hurt me."
Gibbs pulled her into his arms so he could hide his face and the anger he was feeling. "It's okay." He gently stroked her back; hopefully she believed he was this much of a sucker.
"I was so afraid that no one would believe me. I have this image of being so tough."
"I'm sorry this happened to you. No one deserves for something like this to happen to them." This was something he truly believed. There were so many monsters out there and here with him now. He remembered a time when he completely trusted her, so much lies and betrayal had happened since then.
Ziva smiled as she looked over his shoulder. Gibbs was an amazing man, but still just a man and was under her spell just like all the others.
"I'm frightened off him, especially after what you've said. He's dangerous."
"I'm not sure about that." He knew that if he agreed straight away she would suspect something was off. "I think we should go and see him first, I know it's going to be difficult for you. You don't have to come."
"No, I'll I go with you." She added a little too quickly, after taking a few deep breaths she hoped that he hadn't noticed. "I need to face him, it's important to me. I don't like feeling weak."
Gibbs nearly snorted at that comment. "If you're sure I wouldn't want to put you in a situation that makes you uncomfortable."
"Okay, let's go."
Ziva smirked as she walked behind him. This was going even better than the original plan. She would enjoy watching Tony's face when the man he admires most ends his life. There was no doubt Tony was going to push things. Gibbs saw her as a daughter and after what happened to his he was protective to women he cared about.
They walked into Tony's hospital room. The man himself unconscious on the bed with an IV line inserted in his left arm. It made Gibbs' heart stop even though he knew it wasn't real. Just the idea of the man he loved ending up like this terrified him.
He felt Ziva place a hand under his coat and pulled out his gun. She had carried on with how much of a monster Tony had become while they were in the car. How she wouldn't feel safe with him around, how others were in danger as well, like Abby. Would Gibbs put her at risk? What would he do to protect Shannon and Kelly?
"We need to end this Gibbs; he's a danger to everyone." She whispered as she placed the gun in his hand. It wasn't the first time she'd done this and it wouldn't be the last. It was amazing what men would do if they believed someone they loved was in danger.
Gibbs raised his arm and stopped. "I can't kill him, he's unarmed and unconscious."
Tony wasn't going to get away with ruining her life. He took Michael from her and then her father died. She wasn't going to let him turn Gibbs against her, there would be no one left. Ziva grabbed the gun, knocked Gibbs down and fired.
It just clicked.
Ziva turned and glared at a smug Gibbs.
"Do you really think you could get a gun away from me that easily? I still can't believe you think I would fall for that crap you were spouting? Oh and how exactly were you going to explain why I killed Tony?" He asked as he patted her down.
"I'm sure she would have come up with something. She is a creative liar and I hate to tell you this Gibbs, but it doesn't look like you were her first." Tony answered from the bed.
"He killed Sergei, he also killed Michael. It was obviously jealousy. He can't have me and doesn't want anyone else to either." Ziva yelled.
Tony couldn't stop the laughter that followed that incredibly inaccurate statement. "Wow, you really think highly of yourself don't you? Trust me sweetheart I don't find you attractive, in fact the more time I spent in your presence the more repulsed I became."
"You're lying, I know you want me. All men do."
As Gibbs handcuffed her he leaned forward and whispered. "Sergei's alive and told us everything."
"I don't believe you, I demand to see him."
"You have no right to demand anything, but we will let you see him." Blue eyes shone with anger.
Ziva's face became full of confusion at how easy that was. "What–"
"Take her back to NCIS." Gibbs ordered.
"Of course." Balboa grabbed hold of her arm and pulled her away.
Once they were alone Tony could see that something was wrong. "Jethro?"
"I know it was fake, but seeing you lying there…Ziva could have succeeded and killed you. I would've been so lost without you. I know we're taking this slow, but I need you to know that I love you. I can't remember when my feelings for you changed. I kept them buried so deep, the anger and frustration kept surfacing and I kept taking it out on you, the person I care for most."
"I love you too Jethro, you weren't the only one that buried their feelings. People knew that I admired you, but they never found out how much I truly cared."
Gibbs walked over to Tony's side, took hold of his hand and then bent down and gave him a soft kiss on the lips.
"You're going to wait until they release me, right? Considering all the hate she has sent my way I want to be there when she gets told the whole truth."
"I can wait; you were going to be released today anyway. We just kept you here for this plan and too make sure you were 100%."
Vance glanced over at Gibbs and DiNozzo. "Are we recording?" They were all in the conference room, with it all being recorded and with all the extra security it was much easier this way.
"Everything's set up." Tony replied.
Sergei was in the chair that was furthest from the door, two agents each side of him. There were another four stationed near the door, while Vance, Gibbs and DiNozzo were in the middle of the room. The door opened and Ziva arrived with two guards.
"Sergei, my friend I am so glad to see you alive. They–."
"Ziva, be quiet. Why do you want revenge for Michael?" Sergei didn't want to play around or drag this out.
"Michael and I loved each other. We were going to be together, but he," she spat at Tony's direction, "stole that happiness from me."
Sergei can't help himself, but starts to laugh. Ziva glared at him getting more and more enraged that he found her pain amusing.
"Did you never wonder why he was drinking that night? He was on the run after all, why stay with all the danger he was in? Do you think it was because there was something he needed to tell you?"
"Of course he had some drinks. He was clearly nervous about what I would say, but deep down he knew what my answer would be."
"What did you think he was going to ask you?" Sergei wanted to make sure what he was thinking was in fact correct.
"He was going to ask me to marry him."
"Ziva, he was not going to propose to you, he was in fact leaving you for someone else."
"You're lying; they've said something to you." Ziva yelled and struggled with her guards.
The other agents in the room slowly moved their hands to their weapons. Vance shook his head for them to hold at the moment.
"I am not; ask anyone with spies in Mossad, or even within the organisation they will tell you that it's true. I even caught him with his lover myself." He sighed this was such a waste all those lies caused such hatred and it was all aimed at the wrong person.
Tony handed over copies of the transcripts and emails to Gibbs, so he in turn could give them to Ziva. There was no way anyone was letting him get near the woman that hated him so much she tried to kill him.
Her face became paler as she read page after page. "It's not true, Michael loved me, and he wanted to marry me." She whispered her voice wavering, the conviction she once had faded. "No more lies."
"This is no lie. Why did you think you father was so angry that he wanted Mr DiNozzo dead for the death of Michael. It wasn't because he loved him like a son; it was because he was in love with the man."
Vance nodded to the two agents, who took hold of her arms and escorted Ziva out. It wouldn't be long before the anger came, she was in shock for now.
Vance glanced over at Gibbs. "Time to deal with McGee and the fact he told Ziva where you were when he was ordered not to. You both could've easily been killed."
"He was a good kid, but his attitude changed so much. He thought he was better than everyone. Ziva played into that and hooked him." Gibbs sighed.
McGee waited for the first edit of his next novel to come back. He'd finally got people to believe that they weren't based on people he knew. Ziva was right at how some were complete idiots. It wasn't their faults; of course, he was that much smarter than they were after all. He was also very lucky that they'd had a really interesting case and it was perfect to make his character shine and to take the lead.
"Maybe I could kill Tommy off in the next one." He muttered to himself. It was a minor character that no one really cared about after all.
Vance glanced up as a tall, dark haired man walked into his office.
"Thank you for seeing me Director Vance."
"That's quite all right Mr Sommers, what is it you needed to tell me about Agent McGee?"
"The Carrigan case, that is still active, correct?"
"Yes," Vance leaned forward, "why?"
"I'm editing Agent McGee's new book. I am one of the few people that know who the author really is."
"What exactly does this have to do with NCIS or the Carrigan case?"
"He's used the case as the main storyline in his next book. I only know what I have seen on the news, but he's put things in there that haven't been released that I know off. It also has a different feel from his others. I'm afraid he may have used actually real life elements. I mentioned it to his publisher and she's asked that someone here read it and see if it gives away true life events."
"Very well, do you have a number I can contact the publisher after I have read it." The Director grabbed the novel and the small card with contact details. "Thank you Mr Sommers I appreciate you coming to me with this."
"I didn't want anyone to get off with this horrible crime due to greed and fame."
Vance rubbed his head; it seemed Ziva's arrogance had rubbed off on the other agent. The two of them caused him to have a never ending headache. He grabbed the manuscript and started to read.
McGee walked into the Directors office and sat down in one of the chairs. "If this is about Ziva, I felt she should know where her team leader was. We didn't trust Tony to have his back. I think she should be given a warning and then join the team again. We work well together." He was sure that Vance would take his advice.
"She tried to shoot DiNozzo." Vance uttered incredulously.
"But it was empty."
"She didn't know that. Ziva would have killed an innocent unarmed and unconscious man."
"But nothing actually happened to him?"
Vance was going to try again, but realised it wouldn't be worth the effort as McGee didn't actually care about Tony. If it had been his sister or someone he cared about, there would be a completely different reaction.
"Miss David is going to jail, the evidence speaks for itself." He wasn't going to go into details because he couldn't trust the young man in front of him. It wasn't just the fact that she tried to kill someone, even though that was at the top of his list. She'd also sent files to Mossad. Ziva would be spending the rest of her life behind bars. "She isn't the reason that you were called in here."
"Oh." McGee suddenly smiled cockily. "So Webster has no idea what to do now and you want me to step in? Don't worry as SFA I'll make sure that all probies will be trained to a very high standard."
"You're not getting promoted."
"I'm not? Then why am I here?"
"Firstly you were told not to tell Ziva due to the fact she was under suspension for spying for Mossad. Now this on its own would be put on your file and any other problem would be cause for you to be fired."
"But she's a team-mate. I thought–."
"You were ordered not to tell her anything. Sergei could have killed both Gibbs and DiNozzo. There is also the thing about your next novel. Is there something you would like to tell me?" Vance stared at him coldly.
Tim sighed, "I thought this had been dealt with, the characters are not based on anyone here, or who I know. I wish Tony would stop lying about that…maybe I should sue him?"
"Do you honestly think that people believe you about that? Their names are barely changed; let's not get into the caricature you created of Tony. I am amazed that you work in an investigative team. You can't even come up with original storylines. In case you're wondering what I'm talking about, the Carrigan case. Does that ring any bells with you?"
"My novel is only loosely based on it; scripts do it all the time. We closed the case; I don't see what the problem is."
"Loosely based, are you kidding me? I read the script; your story follows everything exactly as it happened. In case it escaped your notice, it hasn't gone to trial yet. Your publisher said that this was the only edit you have before it gets published. It would've come out during the trial, or was that your plan along? Did you want to get more people to read it? No matter what it might have done to the case? You also have a contract with us which prohibits you discussing cases outside of NCIS. I can promise you putting it into a novel is definitely breaking the contract. All your other ones were based around cases outside of us, this is the first time you've used one of ours. Do you think that you're too important that ignoring orders or writing this damn novel that the consequences don't apply to you?" Vance shook his head and took a deep breath to try and calm down.
"No, I don't want to hear it. When you first started with the MCRT under Gibbs and DiNozzo you grew as an agent and there was a possibility you could do well for yourself. Then Ziva joined, and then you became an author and that's when the arrogance appeared. I've talked to Sec Nav and because of the times you have now been written up by Gibbs and Webster, ignoring orders and now this book we have no choice but to let you go. You're lucky we're not taking things any further. As of now you are no longer an NCIS agent. Please leave your gun and badge with me. There is a security guard at your desk. Once you have finished packing he will escort out of the building."
Tim watched as the Director concentrated on some files. He turned and left the room in a daze. He was no longer an agent, but there was still his writing. It was something that would keep him going. The novel just needed a new story. It was time to go and see his publisher, maybe it was time to change what he wrote about.
Abby pouted. "Why won't you let me kill her?"
"It's over and done with." Tony pulled her into a hug.
"Could we meet up for a movie night sometime?" She asked hopefully.
"I think that sounds like a great idea." He held her a little tighter.
"Thank you for giving me a chance to be a better friend to you."
"Well, you showed me that it meant something to you. You changed; I couldn't ask more than that."
"It should've never have got that far. You shouldn't have had to leave to make us realise a change was necessary."
"We can't change the past; we can just look forward to a better future."
"I won't treat you like that ever again, pinkie swear." She held out her little finger.
Tony linked his with hers. "Pinkie swear. I'm sorry about McGee; I know the two of you were close."
"There's nothing you need to be sorry for. I didn't like the person he became. It would've never worked out between us. Hopefully both he and Ziva will grow from this experience." She paused for a moment, "but I doubt it."
Tim slammed his apartment door behind him, walked over to his favourite chair and collapsed into it. This was the worst day he's ever had. His publisher wanted nothing to do with him. He'd broken their contract as well, because he worked at NCIS they made sure he wouldn't use any cases that he'd worked on.
Before he arrived home, he'd made so many phone calls to other publishers, but it seemed word travelled quickly and no one wanted anything to do with him. Tim had tried to call Abby and Gibbs, but they never returned his calls. Ziva had been arrested so she wouldn't be any help. It was all Tony's fault, since he came back his life was a mess. He still had to tell his family about what had happened. It wouldn't take them long to hear about it. Tonight though, what he needed was alcohol and a lot of it. Tim just wanted to pretend that none of this had happened.
Gibbs was back at Tony's house and they were cuddling on the couch.
"I'm going to retire."
Tony's head shot around in shock. "Why? You're a great agent, one of the best. You love your job."
"So many things have happened. Look at what I became, what I missed and what I let people get away with. I don't trust myself to train a new agent. It won't be the same anyway."
"What are you going to do with all that spare time? You're not a man who'll sit around and do nothing."
"Spend as much as I can with you, do some work around this place." Gibbs glanced around. "When I spoke to Vance he wants me to do some training for probies. I could also help you with the odd case if you want?"
"If that's what you really want to do, then I will support you. I would love to get your eyes on some of my cases. We'll need to get you security clearance, but I don't think that will be much of a problem."
"I do mean only the odd case. I want us to be able to sit like this and tell each other about our days. Plan weekends away, making this into the home you always dreamed off. I could see myself living here one day; if that's something you would be interested in."
"Maybe one day I'll say yes and then you'll know if I'm interested in having you around on a more permanent basis."
Gibbs grabbed Tony's hand, turned it over and placed a kiss on the palm. "I love you Tony."
"I love you too Jethro."
"I see you have a fire?"
"Well it's a good thing I have steaks in the fridge then."
"Cowboy steaks it is."
The two men looked at each other and laughed. For the first time in years they both felt free of their pasts and had a future together to look forward to.
Ziva had tried to call in all the favours owed to her, but no one would help. They also told her about Michael and her father, they had both betrayed her. But there was one man whom all her anger was aimed at Tony DiNozzo. If he hadn't come back none of this would've happened. If he'd died her dreams wouldn't have been shattered and she wouldn't have been left alone in prison.
Why had all the people she loved treated her this way, none of it was her fault? Why did the blame land at her feet? All Ziva had left was anger and with everything in her she prayed that all those who turned on her would suffer. Most of all she wanted Tony to have the most miserable life he could.
The two men lay cuddled on the couch as 'The Quiet Man' played on the TV. The food, as always, was perfect.
Tony couldn't be any happier than he was right at this moment. When he left NCIS all those months ago he truly believed that he would be forgotten. He didn't think anyone would change for him. But they did and Tony ended up with the man he had loved for years. He couldn't wait to see what the future would bring him. He was going to film when Gibbs found out one his closest friends was Trent Kort, it would be too funny not to.