THE LAST STRAW
Author’s Note: This is just another DiNozzo leaving Team Gibbs story. I haven’t written on in a while, so I’m due. Thank you to Gryffindors and Imill123 for being my grammar police. I so appreciate the help. Thanks to Acrwdof1 for setting me straight on the facts of layovers and flights to Hawaii. And I will tweak my story to reflect this new information. Thanks again for your help.
He couldn’t take it anymore. All of it. It was way, way too much. Today would be his last day. And only two people know it, he and Director Vance. The good Director had mentioned several team leader position openings to Tony. Leon had come to really like and respect the young agent, despite his first impressions. And, he recognized the signs of restlessness and dissatisfaction when he saw them.
Leon had seen the signs of discord in the MCRT when he first came on the scene as director. It was at the time that Jenny Shepard passed. Gibbs blamed Tony for Jenny’s death. Tony hadn’t had her six. Jenny had ordered Tony and Ziva away, and Tony had followed that order. But, Gibbs had always thought Tony and Ziva should have stayed with her. Though, in Gibbs’ mind, Tony was more at fault. He was the senior field agent. And, while Leon had not seen outright blame. He had seen a shift in Gibbs. Gibbs started to depend more on the other members of his team. Teaming them up together even, when it would have been smarter for either of them to have been teamed up with a seasoned agent. He and Tony stopped teaming up as much. Gibbs didn’t ask for Tony’s input as much. He stopped relying on the expertise of one of his greatest resources.
Granted, Vance had not been close to the team when Director Shepard had been at the helm. But, he knew what a well-functioning team looked like. He had been on one, and he could feel when things were off. That was part of the reason he had made it to the directorship. He was good at reading people.
But, in this case, it had taken a great deal of time and observation for Leon Vance to reach any conclusion where Agent DiNozzo was concerned. Vance, at first, had been resistant to seeing the good. Plus, he had not really sat down and read Tony’s file. And when he did, it changed his mind. The director, as many others before him, had underestimated and undervalued the special agent’s intelligence and skills. But, that was no more, and Vance could not stand to see his agents miserable. So, he had given Tony a few options for his next career step. Vance just needed to know what Tony wanted to do and where he wanted to go.
Vance was looking at this clock when Tony strolled in. Tony had come up after the rest of the team had gone home. He had paused at Caryn’s desk as he slid her a piece of paper. She knew what it was and nodded as he proceeded into Vance’s office. She got to work. She had some arrangements to make.
Vance sighed. “Your week is up, 5 p.m. today.”
Tony nodded and took a seat in front of the desk.
“Which will it be?”
Tony shook his head. “Italy, New York or Honolulu. I kept going over the pros and cons of each one. That week you gave me was too long. I almost wish you would have made me make a decision on the spot.”
“I couldn’t do that. You know federal government paperwork. You will already be working for a couple weeks before your personnel file reached you as it is, wherever you eneded up.” The director sated. “The two weeks….”
“I am not doing the two-week notice. You’re known for two weeks. That’s good enough. Though, I do feel kinda bad for you having to deal with Gibbs come Monday morning.” Tony said, grinning.
“You must not feel too bad.” Leon replied, noting DiNozzo’s expression.
“No, really. I do feel bad, for you. And for all the people in this building, come Monday morning. But, it’s just…Gibbs is not going to get his way.” Tony stated. “That needs to happen a lot more often than it does.”
Both men smiled.
“You’re packed and ready to go?” Vance asked.
Tony nodded. “Movers come and got the big stuff a week and a half ago. I’m leaving most of my furniture. Which has been good, I would have had nothing to sit on. It’s good for my landlord, too. Since I’m leaving so much, he is turning my former apartment into a corporate apartment. It will be the only one in the building. He will be charging twice as much rent. I did send my grandma’s Baby Grand, on. I just couldn’t part with it. That had to go to the new place.”
“I need to know, DiNozzo.” The director said. “I have to know where. I have plane tickets to purchase. I have to approve travel vouchers, moving costs…all that stuff.” He finished, just as Caryn appeared in the doorway.
“Director.” She addressed her boss, then Tony. “Agent DiNozzo, your one-way ticket to Honolulu is waiting for you at the gate. You will have a couple of layovers one in Chicago, then in Denver. Unfortunately, you are at the mercy of the airlines with your belongings. They will make it to Hawaii, eventually. Ground transport then air transport with the unloading and the reloading…it’s a mess. A friend stationed in Hawaii never got her things until a month later. The real estate agent will be waiting to let you in the house. You’ll pick up your car, the address, and a map at the airport. Oh, and check out the website listed here.” Caryn said, handing Tony a couple slips of paper. “There are pictures of the house. The interior and exterior of the property. It is fully-furnished, from the silverware in the kitchen and down to the towels and shampoo in the bathroom.”
“Thanks, Caryn.” Tony replied.
Caryn nodded and left the room.
Vance smiled. “Good choice. Jackie and I had our honeymoon there. It was incredible.”
Tony didn’t speak for a moment. He just looked at the papers Caryn had given him.
“Tony….” Vance started.
“I am sorry about Gibbs. But, I…I don’t want to do this to Abby, and Duck and Jimmy. I feel like I’m abandoning them. I just…I owe them an explanation.”
Leon leaned back in his chair and smiled.
“Ducky and Jimmy have been waiting for you to see it, DiNozzo.” The director admitted. “The good doctor and I have had several…discussions on the subject. Even Mr. Palmer.”
Tony ducked his head. “Why didn’t anybody tell me?”
Vance took a deep breath and let it out. “You were not in a place where you were ready to hear it.”
Tony nodded his head. That was most definitely true. “But, what about Abby? She’s never gonna believe….”
Vance shook his head. “You should call Ducky and Jimmy tonight. They will probably be glad to hear it. Wait before you talk to Abby. Ducky and Jimmy are going to talk to her, too. She’ll understand, eventually. And, that way, if you’re in the air when you call her, you won’t have her or Gibbs banging down your door when you’re trying to leave.”
“Still though, Gibbs is….” Tony stated.
“As you said, Gibbs has had this coming. And, it IS long, long overdue.” Vance paused. “We will all be fine. And, I understand about you not wanting to work out your transfer notice. The three of them would put you through hell. And it’s just not worth it, for anybody. It’s on your record that you gave a two-week notice.”
“I thought that Tim was your golden boy.” Tony replied, knowing of Vance’s fondness for the young agent.
“He has skills. But, the attitude can be a bit much.”
“Well, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo,” Vance said, standing and extending his hand. “It’s been a pleasure working with you, in this office. And, I do not say that lightly. We both have come a long way since those first impressions. And, you have taught me some valuable lessons, believe it or not.”
Tony looked at him, very surprised.
“I’ve learned that good agents, great agents, come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve learned to never underestimate those in my command. And, I’ve learned friendships can happen when you least expect them.” Leon stated.
Tony was a little emotional. He didn’t know what to say. He just stuck out his hand and they shook.
“Now, that doesn’t mean if I see problems, I won’t call you on them. I am still your boss. And, I will be checking in.” The director smiled. “But, I don’t expect any problems.”
“Not until Gibbs comes in on Monday morning.”
Vance sighed and nodded. “Right. Not until Gibbs comes in on Monday morning.”
END NOTES: As always, if you see mistakes, let me know. This chapter has been freshly proofed, again. But, if you still find things, please PM or comment. Thanks.