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SHAFTED

I knew he could come back. It was always a possibility. I…but 4 months! I had, in all honesty, expected him to be back after one month. But one month became two and two months became three, then four. I thought this is my team, my team. We were finally started to get into a groove of working well together. Tim and Ziva were finally beginning to accept me as their leader, to accept Gibbs was NOT coming back and to give me the respect I deserved.

All the hard work I had put in. All the pain, snide remarks, all the times they all said that ‘this is not the way Gibbs would do it.’ That was all behind us. We were finally becoming a team. Then it happened. He came back.

He came back, and it was like everybody let out a collective sigh of relief. It was like all that I had worked for, all I had achieved was just thrown away. I was back to second banana, back to being treated like I didn’t matter. I mean I wasn’t even important enough in the chain of command to be told Gibbs was returning. I got to find out that morning. I walked into the bullpen and there he was, sitting there at his old desk. He had cleaned my stuff out and just dumped it, unceremoniously onto my old desk. And, of course, Tim was more than happy to move back to his old desk, Gibbs was back.

Gibbs was the worst though. He acted as though he had never left. He couldn’t understand my upset. He couldn’t understand how I felt, or he chose not to, I don’t know which. I just faded into the back ground, like I was supposed to, to reassume my role of good little solider. I was to follow orders given and to do so with enthusiasm. First of all, I was and am not a Marine, and secondly, I was severely lacking in the enthusiasm.

The pseudo-respect, I have come to realize that that was what it was. I was getting from Tim and Ziva was gone. I was back to being the stupid, computer-illiterate, SFA clown, in Tim’s eyes. I was back to being the goofy, slacker, immature frat-boy SFA in Ziva’s eyes. I hadn’t realized the pseudo-respect for what it was. It took a little time. I thought Tim and Ziva were working, doing their jobs because of something I was doing, because, I was such a good leader. But it was a rouse. They did their job, true. It had the side effect of making me look good. But they really did their jobs well because they wanted Gibbs to be proud when he came back. So that Gibbs could see that they could ‘put up’ with me as leader until he returned.

I felt betrayed, by all of them. Between Abby having pictures of Gibbs up everywhere, she even had a Gibbs screen saver, Ducky reminding me that I didn’t do things the way Gibbs did, and Tim and Ziva ‘pretending’ to respect me. I did one hell of a pseudo-good job as Team Leader.

 

Then, of course, there was Jenny. I felt special to be offered the job in Rota, Spain. I was very surprised. I turned it down though, for reasons I thought, at the time, were good ones. I knew Gibbs was not up to par. I knew his memory was not 100%. I thought he needed me to help him with that. In retrospect, ANY of the rest of them could have helped him. They wanted him back so much they would have done anything to get him back, if only for fear of having me as Team Leader again. I wonder, sometimes, if my mistake had been staying and not taking the job. I never told anyone about the job and I asked Jenny to respect my wishes, and as far as I know she never told anyone. I think she was the only one who recognized my potential and my skills and abilities. That only makes it sadder and more pathetic though because she is the one who actually has known me the shortest amount of time.

It used to make me wonder what I was doing wrong, and then I realized, it was them. I haven’t changed. I’ve been the same person all the way through this. I have always goofed off and joked around. It was just that they were not interested in finding out about the person beneath all that. Or, when I did show a little of myself I got teased. I got almost…attacked. I then let the mask slide back into place. What was I supposed to do, let them continue to kick me when I was down? I learned, from those rare occurrences, to not let people see the real me. I learned all people wanted to do when you leave yourself open like that is hurt you.

 

I went to see Gibbs after he had been back for about a month. He and I had not talked about how he had returned to NCIS and I wanted to talk to him about it. The conversation did not go well.

I made my way to the basement. Things had not changed since he left. I had expected them to be a little different. He was different. But nothing had changed. The house, the basement, looked exactly the same.

I sat down on the bottom steps for several moments, choosing my words carefully. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I paused. “You could have called.” I started.

Gibbs stopped sanding the rib he was working on. “Tell you what?”

I stared at him for a moment. “Tell me you were coming back.”

“My team, DiNozzo.” I could tell he was getting angry, but he kept his voice even. “I was coming back to MY team.”

“Yes.” I agreed. “It was your team, you put me in charge.” I said, keeping my voice low and controlled.

“I decided I wanted to come back.” Gibbs said simply, as if that explained it all.

“Yes.” I nodded. “I understand that. I…I would have appreciated a phone call.”

Gibbs put his hand tool down and turned his full attention on me. “YOU would have appreciated a phone call?” Gibbs than began to pace. “My team and YOU would have appreciated a phone call!” Gibbs shook his head. “Unreal!”

“I…” I started.

Gibbs then walked up to the stairs. “MY team!” He began to rant. “I give you, handed you my team and I need to ask permission to take it back!”

“That is not…That’s not what I meant.” I explained. I was a little surprised and disturbed by the amount of anger and hostility.

“That… is my team!” Gibbs fumed. “I created it from nothing. I handpicked the members.” Gibbs said, pointing at himself. “I made a damn good team.” Gibbs said, emphasizing the word ‘I’ each time.

“I…We worked hard. It was hard, keeping the team together.” I explained. “They all missed you. They had a hard time accepting me.”

Gibbs shook his head. “You were their leader. They accept you as leader because you are leader. There is no taking time to accept you, you’re leader. It’s automatic.”

“For you, maybe…” I said. “For me….”

“That’s bullshit, DiNozzo.” Gibbs asserted. “Maybe I should have….”

Gibbs didn’t have to finish the sentence. I completed the thought for him in my mind. It surprised me a little how deeply it hurt. How much those words wounded me. How much Gibbs opinion of me really meant. Thinking now, I was not able to do the job. That he would have passed me over and put McGee in charge. That he would have done anything besides what he did. It…it was devastating for me to think he thought he had made a mistake. It didn’t surprise me though when the tears came to my eyes. I stood up on the bottom stair and stared at him for a moment.

“Yeah, maybe you should have.” I said before I turned and started up the stairs. I continued up, shaking his hand off my arm and turning a deaf ear to his words. I left the house, got in my car, and drove off.

THE END

 

Virginia Beach, VA

My phone started ringing almost as soon as I pulled out of Gibbs' driveway into the roadway. I turned the ringer off and threw it onto the seat beside me.

It was Friday and I was glad. I had planned to talk to Gibbs on a Friday, a Friday of a weekend we were not on call. That was in case our conversation went bad, which it obviously had. I wiped my eyes and just drove.

I ended up in Virginia Beach. I checked into one of the small, somewhat seedy ocean-side hotels, grateful I, at least, had my gun. I soon realized, upon check-in, that that was the only thing I had brought with me.

I left the hotel/motel and spend a couple hours at the small strip mall across the street buying clothing and toiletries. I then came back, stashed it all in my room, and took off for the beach. It was warm for a February day, but the beach was deserted, except for a couple of dedicated beach combers. I pulled the jacket I had on around me to block the wind and walked the shore. I came to a small outcropping of rock and climbed upon it. I drew my legs up to my chest and stared out at sea for what seemed like hours.

The tears came back, probably the effect of the salt water in the air. At least that's what I told myself. I wiped my eyes and wrapped my arms around my legs. There was always something calming about the sea. I don't know if it is the color blue, a known calming color or if it is the fact you can see forever. It never ends.

It's nice to know that some things never end, because in life others always do. Circumstances change, people move on, people die, people change. Of all those things, people changing is probably the hardest to deal with. Things change because, well, they just do. People move on for a variety of reasons: new job, marriage, kids, etc. And people dying is just as much a part of life as women giving birth. But people are not supposed to change, not as much as he did, not as to become unrecognizable.

I understand he had amnesia. I get that but Gibbs is Gibbs is Gibbs. That is how it is. Or, at least, how it was. I...the one I always trusted to believe in me, to trust me to be able to do the job and to do it well. To hear he no longer thought that way was...well devastating. I realize his reactions, his words may have been out of anger. I have taken that into account. I know that the time in Mexico he probably needed. He was facing some skeletons and some demons he probably thought he had locked away forever. I can understand and sympathize with that. I have no problem there. I guess...I just wanted to be recognized. A 'nice job' would have sufficed. I didn't need much.

I sighed and stared out at the ocean again. It was beginning to get dark so I climbed down off the rocks and walked the short distance back to the motel. My mind still reeling, thinking about my conversation with Gibbs. A typical 'Gibbs reaction' would be to ask me why I expected to be thanked for doing my job? Why I expected anything more than was due me?

It was true, I was doing my job as Team Leader. But that job had been thrust upon me in the most unusual manner and I was left to deal with the fallout of Gibbs rapid and dramatic departure. I was left to deal with people who were just as devastated by his departure as I was. I was left to pick up those pieces, deal with emotional reactions and attitudes. And, in my mind, the expectation was, to keep up the solve rate to pre-Gibbs departure levels. A hell of a lot to do and sure as hell more than, just my job.

Gibbs kept emotions and personal stuff out of the job and was right to do so. I tried to do the same. But the problem was Gibbs' leaving was personal. He was everybody's rock at work. But when that rock got 'broken' it caused a ripple effect. When you are insecure in one part of your life, it cannot help but effect other parts, even if the effects are subtle ones. We all got emotional. It was hard not to, even for me.

I unlocked the door to my room, undressed and headed for the shower. I then laid down on the bed and flipped on the TV. I needed the back ground noise. I began to drift back. I felt attacked when Abby told me I was not Gibbs. When Ducky kept reminding me that Gibbs didn't do things that way. But most especially when McGee and Ziva were slow to follow my order, kept questioning my orders and when then voiced their opinions on our 'campfire' sessions.

I may, thought, have to take responsibility for some of that. I did start out acting like Mini-Gibbs, but I soon realized that had been the wrong approach. That was why I then started the campfire, and why I changed my approach with all of them. And that, too, of course, brought about complaints. Now that I look back on it, I don't see how we got any work done.

 

It was 3:17 a.m. when I looked at the clock on the bedside table. I was not sure if the noise was inside or outside the room, having just been woken from a sound sleep. I reached slowly and carefully under the pillow and brought out my gun.

The light from the outside neon sign shown through the slit. The opening I had left in the curtains. I quickly realized, after looking around the room, that the noise, what I realized were police sirens, was actually outside the room. Curiosity got the best of me, though at no-tell motels like this I'm sure that police visits are fairly frequent, I looked out the window. I was very surprised to see a familiar face. I pulled jeans and a jacket on over the boxers and t-shirt I had worn to bed and head out the door. I run my fingers through my hair to at least TRY to make myself look presentable.

I opened the door and looked out, wanting to make sure I actually recognized the cop whose face was only illuminated by a street light.

I heard someone say. "Sir! Please stay in your room! This area is a crime scene!"

"Detective Gregory Hamilton." I called out. I moved closer. "It's been a long time."

Greg looked puzzled, then he smiled when he saw me come closer and he recognized me. "Detective Anthony DiNozzo...excuse me...Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo." We shook hands.

I stood and surveyed the scene as Greg spoke.

"Good to see you, Tony." Greg then pointed to the young man beside him. "This is Detective Andy Crawley."

Crawley smiled and extended his hand. " Andy. And it's nice to finally meet the famous 'DiNozzo.'"

"'The DiNozzo?'" I asked smiling.

"According to Greg here, you're Superman with a badge." Andy stated.

I smiled and shook my head. "So, your victim here."

Greg sighed. "It's a common sight, unfortunately. A pimp puts an end to one of his whores, for God only knows what reason, then makes a hasty exit."

I nodded. The woman was lying half in, half out of room 23. She had a blue face and a rope or some sort of cord around her neck. "The John...?"

Andy shook his head. "The manager said two women rented the room. Most Johns aren't that...ambitious."

Greg nodded. "We're just waiting for the CSI and the coroner. Sent Andy to talk to the residents here. Nobody would open the door, not in this neighborhood, even to a cop." Greg sighed. "We'll be back in a few hours. Catch these people checking out, maybe get a little more information, not too hopeful though."

I nodded. I was suddenly very tired. I scrubbed my hand over my face and yawned. "Gotta get some sleep." I muttered.

Greg smiled. "Come to the diner across the street, about 9 a.m., we'll have breakfast. I'm buying."

I nodded, turned and headed back to my room. I then turned and looked at him. "Actually, could we make it around noon, and you buy lunch."

Greg nodded. "Agreed, 11 a.m. and lunch is on me." The coroner and the CSI entered the parking lot as he finished his sentence and he waved the crews over to the body.

I nodded then headed back to my room. Moments later I had pulled off my jeans and jacket, and threw them on a chair. I crawled back into bed and was asleep in moments.

 

Hammond's Diner

AN: For this section, this was written before the 'Baltimore' episode.

 

When I opened my eyes, the sun was streaming in through the slit in the curtains. I got up, put on my jeans and jacket, and headed for the beach. I needed to run. It was about 9 a.m. so I had plenty of time to get my run in. I could hang out at the beach for a little while, too before I had to go back to the room. I would need to shower and change before I headed over to the diner.

I arrived back at the motel room chilled to the bone. I had ran for a couple miles along the shore doubling back several times. By the time I got back to my room my sweaty t-shirt, which was stuck to me was causing me to feel like I had no shirt on at all. I stepped into the room. I quickly stripped off the sweaty clothing, showered and arrived at the diner with minutes to spare.

Greg was already sitting at a booth and had a hot cup of coffee waiting on me. I nodded, thanking him for ordering it and took the seat opposite. I wrapped my hands around the mug and sipped.

"We weren't partners long. But I could tell you're going through some stuff, Tony." Greg opened.

"Didn't realize I was so transparent." I said looking into the depths of my coffee mug.

Greg leaned back in the booth and smiled. "You're not. I've just learned how to see into the cracks in the mask."

I just stared at him. I almost knew he was aware of the mask, now I was sure.

"Laughter can hide a lot of heartache."

"It's funny, you don't look like Dr. Phil." I remarked. And he truly didn't. Greg was blond-haired, blue-eyed and was an avid runner.

Greg smiled. "The same old 'avoidance' routine."

"I gotta go with my strengths, there, Greg."

"Talk to me, Tony. I've seen you upset. I've seen you hurting. But I've never seen you...broken."

I sighed and looked up at him. I really didn't want to go into details. "I think it's time for me to move on."

"But...?" Greg prompted.

"But...things are different." I started. I was trying to explain something I didn't fully understand myself. "Gibbs...."

"Your boss, Gibbs."

I couldn't help but be surprised.

Greg smiled. "Kept an eye on you. Not often a beat cop makes Fed. I was, and am really, really proud."

I smiled, unable to help myself.

"Andy was exaggerating, wasn't he? Superman with a badge?" I asked.

Greg smiled. The waitress approached and he and I gave the waitress out food orders. He answered only after the waitress had walked away. “Some, but not much.”

“You talk about me a lot to Andy?” I asked a little surprised.

Gregory nodded. “The best cop I ever knew. I have a great deal of respect for you, Tony. I always admired how you didn’t back down from people. I admired how you didn’t let things slide, like so many other cops did.”

“I made myself a moving target, Greg.”

“You flushed out a lot of bad cops. You helped clean up the department.”

I sighed, but didn’t speak until the waitress had served our food and walked away. “I pissed off a lot of powerful people.”

Greg didn’t speak for a moment. He appeared to be studying me. “Do you regret what you did?”

I smiled and shook my head. “No, I just wish sometimes…I could have bypassed all the…complications it caused.”

Greg nodded. He had seen first-hand the ridicule I had received from cops whose partners and friends I had gotten fired. “Can’t please everybody.”

“You didn’t receive death threats.” I said simply. I had never told him about that, unsure if he would not rethink his position as my partner.

“Death threats!” Greg’s eyes got wide.

I smiled, though the situation had not been funny then and it was not funny now. “Nothing overt, just things like ‘I better never catch you without your partner.’ ‘Sleep with one eye open.’ Things like that.”

“Tony!”

“I didn’t want to tell you, Greg. I didn’t want you to rethink your position as my partner.” I paused. “I had to take them seriously, though.”

“So you left…?” Greg asked.

I nodded. “I didn’t want to put you in danger. Plus, I was beginning to feel like the black sheep, the red-headed stepchild.”

We ate in silence for several minutes. I was thinking back to those not-so-good old days. I looked up at Greg, I couldn’t tell what he was thinking.

“So,” Greg asked. “…is that what is going on here, you feel like the black sheep, the red-headed step child?”

“Not exactly…” I said, shaking my head. “…I almost expected that reaction from those guys. I knew I had done something to provoke it. I feel…now…I just feel betrayed.” I paused trying to put the words together. “I feel like, I know, I did my job. I did it to the best of my ability. But it wasn’t appreciated, it wasn’t…recognized.”

“Being a cop is a thankless….” Greg started.

I shook my head, stopping him. “Not that type of recognition, not awards, not media coverage, just a nice, simple, Thank you, Tony. Good job, Tony.” I shook my head again. “But that is only part of it. I was made Team Leader.” I decided just to tell Greg the whole story, the abbreviated version, of course. “Gibbs had retired after an accident where he got amnesia. I wasn’t sure he was coming back and as time went on I thought he wasn’t. Then after 4 months, I walk into work and there he is sitting at his old desk, just like he had never left. Just cleaned my stuff out and dumped it back on my old desk.”

“Just like that…” Greg asked. “…no phone call, no heads up.”

I shook my head and continued. “Meanwhile, everybody, including me was trying to deal with his sudden departure. He just decided to leave, gave no notice, nothing. So anyway, I am trying to run the team and I get nothing but complaints. I don’t do things like Gibbs. I don’t follow procedures the same way Gibbs did. I had a lab tech who had pictures of Gibbs up in her lab. I had two junior field agents who questioned my orders at every turn. And I had an ME who, unwittingly and unknowingly, I’m sure, was also questioning my every move.”

“Tony!” Greg paused, trying to process. “Man, I‘m sorry. I…I don’t know what to say to that. How do you deal with something like that? How long has Gibbs been back?”

“It’s been two weeks. And it just…it just seemed like, Greg...when he came back everybody just relaxed. It took them no time to revert to how it was before he left. It was like, like what I had done, it was ignored. It was just a glitch in the software, a blip on the map.” I then sipped my coffee, waiting for Greg to answer.

“You talked to him…I hope.” Greg stated.

“I tried, Friday night. I got here Friday night. That should tell you how well it went.” I replied.

Greg shook his head. “You’re too good to give up, Tony. You’re too good to walk away.”

“The director praised me. Said I did a good job. She offered me a Team Leader position…in Rota, Spain.”

Greg just looked at me for a second. “But…you don’t want to leave here. You don’t want to leave the states, and you don’t want to leave your friends.”

“You should set up a booth at carnivals and read fortunes.” I stated. It was scary how perceptive he was sometimes.

Greg smiled. “You deserved a pat on the back. You deserve recognition. You stepped to do a job you had never done, with little or no guidance at a very difficult time.”

I just smiled, glad he understood.

“Most people get a few weeks of…training to go into any job. And it’s difficult, even when everything else at work is going well. It sounds like you were made captain of a ship no one was sure would stay afloat.” Greg said.

“Naval reference, N-C-I-S, I appreciate it.” I said, smiling.

Greg nodded. “I knew you would.” He paused long enough to sip his coffee. “Go back, demand the respect and the recognition you deserve! You worked hard, Tony. I know you. I know you wouldn’t give anything less than 100%.”

We both had finished out meals. I stood up and Greg did too. The waitress had laid the check on the table earlier. Greg paid the bill, I left the tip and we walked out together.

We stood on the sidewalk for a brief moment before Greg pulled my into a quick hug. “It was so good to see you again, Tony. If you ever decide to leave NCIS, the VAPD sure could use you.”

I smiled, hugging Greg back. “I’ll consider it, if I ever leave NCIS.” I pulled back. “Thank you...and by the way, you would make one butt-ugly cheerleader. But I appreciate the pep talk.”

I headed back to the hotel and Greg got into his patrol car.

TBC

 

 

Back in D.C.

I packed up and headed back to D.C. late Sunday afternoon. I had spent Saturday night and Sunday morning watching various movie marathons and thinking about my next course of action.

I arrived back at my apartment in the early evening, giving me enough time to wash some clothes and relax a little before going back to work Monday morning. I had not touched my phone since I had turned it off and threw it onto the seat beside me when I left Friday afternoon. I picked it up and put it in my pocket and brought it into my apartment. I fell onto my couch and turned the phone on. I saw that my mailbox was full and that I had had many missed calls. All, I was sure, were from Gibbs and I had not intension of answering them.

I arrived at work Monday with minutes to spare. I had arrived later than usual on purpose. I didn’t want a ‘scene’ with Gibbs the first thing in the morning. I didn’t want to have to explain why I was ‘unreachable’ over the weekend. But mostly, I just wanted to put it off as long as possible. I was dreading the talk, whenever we had it, and I was sure, judging from Friday night, it would not turn out good.

I sat down at my desk and made myself look busy, avoiding Gibbs gaze.

“DiNozzo! Elevator! Now!” Gibbs said as he walked past my desk to the elevator.

I got up, obediently and followed him. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I almost expected to be fired.

I followed Gibbs on. He allowed the doors to close and flipped the switch before he spoke.

“I have been trying to call you all weekend.” Gibb started.

“I know.” I said.

“You were avoiding taking your Team Leader’s calls?” Gibbs asked.

“No, I am avoiding Leroy Jethro Gibbs’s calls.” I stated. “There’s a difference.”

Gibbs just waited, staring at me.

“I worked very hard to keep the team together.” I said. “They all felt abandoned…by you. But you weren’t here, so they took it out on me.” I paused. “It wasn’t fair to me, but that was how it was. I had to deal with it. And NO Gibbs, respect is not automatic, it must be earned. I had been their Senior Field Agent, but not their Team Leader. I had to earn their respect by doing the job correctly. I did that, but the respect didn’t come. They were not interested in the job I was doing. They weren’t interested in how well or how badly I was doing it. They were ONLY interested in when YOU were coming back. I did the job as best I could, because I would do no less. But I didn’t get their respect, Gibbs.” I paused. “I didn’t get their respect because of you. It was like they all were holding their breaths waiting for you to return. Waiting for you to come back and make things RIGHT, make them like they used to be.”

Gibbs remarkably didn’t speak. He just waited for me to continue.

“You solidified for me how little my contribution meant when you came back, unannounced, and just dumped my things back on my desk. It was like you were telling me what they all were. I can put up with this joker, this wanna-be until Gibbs gets back. Gibbs. Gibbs. Gibbs. That’s all I heard.” I paused again, my anger lessening. “And to answer your question…as Team Leader and former probie you should have understood the pressure I was under to prove myself and to do my job. But Leroy Jethro Gibbs, with the famous second “b”, he got all hot under the collar wondering how DARE I have the balls to even suggest HE should call me and let me know he was coming back. How DARE I suggest he should ask for his team back. HE created it from the ground up. HE hand-picked the members. It is HIS team.” I said throwing Friday night’s conversation back in his face. “The Team Leader respects me, but Leroy Jethro Gibbs does not.” I concluded. “And you made a very PUBLIC and very damning display of it when you dumped my things back on my old desk and then acted as though you had never left. That the last 4 months of my blood, sweat and tears had not existed, and therefore, didn’t matter. They all got it, and they took your lead. You had never left. Things had never changed, so what the hell was my problem? Why couldn’t I just get over it and move on?”

Gibbs just stood his arms crossed over his chest. “Are you finished, DiNozzo?”

I just looked at him, surprised by this reaction. I expected him to chew me out, to launch into a tirade. But he just looked at me, staring almost. It’s a little unnerving and I flinched involuntarily. I finally nodded my head.

“I told no one I was coming back. I didn’t know. I just…I got up that morning and I came here. I saw my old desk and sat down. I started looking for my things, and finding yours. I…I decided then, Tony, split-second decision, I swear.” Gibbs paused and looked at me for a moment. My expression must have told everything I was feeling, because when he spoke again. “I know how good you are, Tony. I know you. I never, ever meant to do anything to undermine that. I never meant to do anything to make you doubt yourself. Given what I know about your past, I…I am very careful about that. I try to be. I was way, far, out of line Friday night. I know that. I wanted to tell you that for the past two days. I have filled up your voice mailbox and I am sure you have about 200 missed calls. My actions and my reactions towards you were inexcusable as you boss and as your friend.”

It was my turn to stand and stare this time. This was so weird. He was too nice. I didn’t like it.

“I hope you can forgive me. I just thought you seeing me, sitting at my old desk. It would mean…I WAS back. I was ready to go and that I was ready to lead the team again. NOT that I was throwing all you did away. I would not have had a team to come back to, if it hadn’t been for you. I know that, believe me, I know that. I wanted it to be back to the old times, too, but in a good way.”

I was smiling. I couldn’t help myself. “You’re breaking one of your own rules.”

“It’s okay to apologize when it’s among friends.” Gibbs replied.

“This doesn’t automatically fix things.” I explained.

“I know.” Gibbs offered

“I still should have gotten a phone call.”

“Agreed.” Gibbs stated.

“Next time you leave, you take me with you.” I said smiling. “I suggest Hawaii. Surf, sand, hot, tanned, Hawaiian babes….” I said, letting my mind wander for a second.

“Absolutely not.” Gibbs grinned.

Gibbs and I both turned to face the elevator doors when he flipped the switch.

I glared at him and rubbed the back of my head as we stepped off the elevator. “You just had to remember EVERY damn thing didn’t you.”

THE END

 

End Notes:
I am sorry for the sweet, sappy ending if that’s not your thing. I like Tony’s and Gibbs’s relationship dynamic so much, for the most part, that I think these ending are very appropriate. I didn’t address the lack of disrespect of the other team members for Tony the way I had planned. But I think allowing Tony to vent his feelings, first to Greg then to Gibbs made up for it, a little.