Actions

Work Header

The Last Straw

Chapter Text

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.

“What?”

“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.”

Tony nodded.

“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.”

 

TBC

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.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

 

Tony headed home. This would be his last night in his Washington, D.C. apartment and he wanted to enjoy it. He had loved this place, and he remembered his first night as if it had not happened a mere 12 years ago.

Tony had actually found the apartment while he was working on the Baltimore P.D. It had always been recommended that officers not live in the areas they worked or patrolled. It made it too easy for officers to become targets of the criminals that they hunted. Tony did it one better. He elected not to even live in the same state. It was a bit of a nightmare at tax time. But, it insured his safety. He had moved in a few short weeks after coming to Baltimore. He didn’t mind the drive, it was a small price to pay to know that the criminals he chased during the day could never find him at night. Over the years, he had made improvements. He had paid for kitchen upgrades and painting. Tony wanted to choose the color. In exchange, Tony turned in the invoices and got to live ‘rent free’ for a few months, depending on the amount on the invoice.

Tony had never been one to really care what was in his apartment. While working for the various police departments, he worked more than he stayed home. His apartment was just a place sleep, change clothes and take a shower. He didn’t care how it was furnished or if it was furnished. It wasn’t until he started with NCIS that he began to feel he could have more than just a bachelor’s pad. He never invited his women friends over. It was his place, his sanctuary. And, after finding himself working more regular hours, he started to care where he lived and how it looked. He started to take pride in his little slice of heaven. And now, it was all he could do to turn and walk away. He had not expected to become so attached to something that was not even his.

Tony smiled when he thought about the times that Kate had said she would not want to see Tony’s apartment. The frat-boy bachelor pad, she had imagined in her head. She would have been floored to see the real thing. The baby grand in the corner, the nice furnishings and the modern, updated kitchen.

Tony sunk down into his sofa and put his feet up on his coffee table as he called Ducky.

“Anthony, I am surprised to hear from you, Dear Boy.” Ducky responded. “It’s usually Jethro who calls me back to NCIS.”

“This is not about NCIS.” Tony paused. “Well, actually it is. But, not that way.” He paused again. “I…It’s just….”

“Have you spoken to Director Vance?”

“I have.” Tony replied. “I understand the two of you, and Palmer have discussed…my situation.”

“We have.” Ducky admitted.

“What conclusion did you come to?” Tony asked. He really, honestly wanted the ME’s opinion.

“I never took your situation lightly, Anthony. I saw things, and I heard things. But…but, it was not my place to interfere.”

Tony nodded, even though Ducky could not see him. “I understand, Ducky. And I don’t blame you. You’re right. I would have resented what I would have termed interference. I would not have seen it.” He sighed. “So, Jimmy feels the same way?”

“Actually, Mr. Palmer was the first to kind of put things together. He just happened to be around when more of the nastier comments were made. The banter, he said, just got more and more toxic, it seemed, at every crime scene. Jethro never said anything. And, of course, they were petulant around you. But, there was much you didn’t hear. And, Mr. Palmer and I were so sure Jethro would speak up. When that didn’t happen, we figured it was because he was waiting for you to handle things, yourself. He was waiting for you to say something.”

“Well, I’m handling things.”

“I’m glad.” Ducky admitted. “What exactly is going to happen Monday?”

“Leroy Jethro Gibbs is going to blow his stack in Washington, D.C. while I am getting adjusted to my new team in Honolulu, Hawaii.”

“That is marvelous, Anthony. Are you picking your team?” The M.E. asked.

“It is a new team in construction. I will be the first team leader for their first team.” Tony said. And he found he was actually getting excited at the prospect of having his very own team.

“That is quite remarkable, my Dear Boy. I know you will do well. It will be a blow for everyone. But, we will survive. And, I just may have to feign illness on Monday. I am not sure. But, at any rate, we will keep in touch. I will keep your location a secret, until you tell me otherwise. Mr. Palmer will do the same. I just hope you have a guest room or a cottage to accommodate long-term guests.”

“I have seen pictures. And I was told the house has 3 bedrooms. So, I’m sure I can find room for you and the Palmer family.”

“I will start planning my visit.” Ducky said. “Oh, and Anthony, Tony…Thank you.”

Tony was not expecting that. He didn’t know what to say.

“Thank you for taking an interest in tales of an old Scottsman. Thanks for being such a generous and compassionate person. And thanks for being such a good friend. I will miss having you so close to home.”

Tony nodded and his voice broke, just a little. “Same here, Ducky, same here.”

 

NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS

 

“Daddy! It’s Uncle Tony.” Victoria said. She always made it to the phone first these days. And, it made her feel like a big girl when she got to say, ‘Hello, this is the Palmer residence.’

“Thank you, Tori.” Jimmy said, taking the phone from his daughter. “Go play with your dolls, Honey. I need to talk to Uncle Tony for a little bit, okay.”

Tori nodded and headed off to her playroom.

“Wow,” Tony said as soon as he heard Jimmy come on the phone. “She was just a little baby not too long ago.”

“I know.” Jimmy nodded. “Now she thinks she’s all grown up because we let her answer the phone every once in a while.” He sighed. “You sound like a man who’s made a decision.”

“I have. But, wait! How did you know about today?”

“I came upstairs to deliver something to Gibbs, so he would have it Monday morning. I saw everybody’s stuff was gone, except yours. Then I heard you and the director and Caryn talking as you all were waiting for the elevator. Given the conversations Dr. Mallard and I have had with the director….”

“Well, that’s why I called. I wanted to say thank you. It was so much easier talking to Vance because he knew what was happening. And, I just wanted to thank you for being my friend, when I didn’t feel like I had a friend in the world. Thanks for looking after me and speaking to Vance on my behalf. It just took me so long to see what was happening. I did see it, I guess. I was just in denial, hoping it would get better. But, of course, it never did.”

“You’re very welcome.” Palmer asked. “Will you be here in D.C. or…?”

“Honolulu.”

“Wow! Hawaii…that’s…! I’m happy for you, Tony. I know it will be a great opportunity.

“You, Brianna and Tori are welcome anytime. Ducky is already planning his trip.”

Jimmy couldn’t help but chuckle at that one.

“We will keep in touch, Palmer. I promise.” Tony replied.

“I know we will.”

 

TBC

END NOTES: I know the timeline will be off for how old Tori is. Please take it as AU, slap a literary license label on it and go about your day. JL
Get ready…. Here comes Gibbs!!!

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

 

He already knew it. It was not going to be a good day. Something was off. Something, someone was not where they should be. Gibbs looked around the bullpen. Then he figured it out. Tony’s desk was a lot cleaner than he had ever seen it. In fact, DiNozzo’s desk was completely clean. He discovered, much to his dismay, after frantically opening and closing several drawers.

Tim and Ziva came in just in time to see Gibbs mumbling to himself and frantically going through his senior field agent’s desk. It made them a little concerned for his mental health.

“Where is DiNozzo?! Where the HELL is DiNozzo!?“ Gibbs kept repeating over and over again.

Once more he opened a few drawers. This time concentrating on the file cabinet. Not finding what he expected to find. He slammed the drawers shut and spun around to confront Tim and Ziva.

“Have you seen him?!” Gibbs demanded. “Well?”

“Gibbs who, what are you talking about?” Tim asked he passed by his boss and put his backpack on the floor beside his desk.

“What is gong on?” Ziva asked.

“DiNozzo! DiNozzo is gone!” Gibbs said, frantic now. His voice rising as he irritation increased. “His things are gone. EVERYTHING is gone! Where the HELL is DINOZZO!!??”

Tim and Ziva looked at one another in shock. They then looked at their boss. They were just as clueless as to what had happened as Gibbs was.

“Boss, we…I haven’t seen him. He didn’t say anything about any trip. I don’t.” Tim replied.

Gibbs was huffing out breaths now. He got in Tim’s face. “Find HIM!” Gibbs breathed.

“Friday was….” Ziva started.

“Find him! FIND him! FIND HIM!!” Gibbs paced the floor, running his fingers through his hair. “I don’t care about FRIDAY! I don’t gave a DAMN about Friday. I am concerned about now, RIGHT NOW! And I want somebody to answer my DAMNED question!!”

NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS

It had to be quite the spectacle. Many agents were just showing up to work. They could hear Gibbs shouting and cursing in the elevator. And, when the elevator stopped in the 4th floor it took a moment for one brave agent to poke his head out of the door to see what was going on. Knowing they were far enough away to not be a part of the fiasco or possible bloodshed, the agents quickly and quietly exited the elevator. They made their way to their desks and put their things away. They then grabbed their cellphones and began recording the happenings in the bullpen. Or the Lion’s Den as many called it. They had all expected this to happen. And, in fact many polls had been made and bet on concerning the MCRT. But, the bets had always been on the cubs, not the lion himself.

Gibbs had no idea and no thoughts of the scene he was making. He was furious that he had been duped. Anthony DiNozzo had a lot of explaining to do. Gibbs thought as he left the bullpen and started up the stairs to the director’s office.

Gibbs stopped when he saw the director coming down the stairs to meet him.

“Where. Is. DiNozzo?” Gibbs demanded, barely able to hold back his rage. He planted he feet on the step and glared up at the director.

Inside, Vance was loving what he was seeing. He had heard the early-morning commotion and had come out of his office and to catch a little of the show. He could not deny the small amount of glee he felt. He then schooled his expression and prepared himself to handle his irate agent.

Vance sighed and looked at his watch. “I imagine right now he’s going to bed. Getting ready for his first day of work with his team.”

Gibbs, Tim and Ziva all stared for a moment.

“Team? DiNozzo doesn’t have a team! He’s a part of my team.” Gibbs retorted. “And, he’s not here. His…his desk is cleaned out.”

Vance nodded. “That’s right. He no longer works from this office.”

“Well, then,” Gibbs hissed. “Which…OFFICE does he work from?”

“Tony’s team?” Tim sneered. “Yeah, right!”

“Tony?’ His own team?” Ziva scoffed.

“I offered DiNozzo a job promotion and relocation. And, he took it.” The director stated.

“You can’t just take my agents and….” Gibbs started.

“You are my agent, Agent Gibbs. EVERY agent in this building is MY agent.” Vance said, keeping his cool, despite the erupting volcano he had in front of him.

Tim and Ziva were still in disbelief.

“Agent DiNozzo has requested an adjustment period.” Vance explained.

“DiNozzo with his own team. That….” Tim started, shaking his head.

Ziva shook her head, also. “There is no way….”

“I don’ give a damn what DiNozzo…requested!” Gibbs fired back, not getting the answers he wanted. “He is MY agent! He’s on MY team! And I need to know where he is. I need to know…!”

Vance took a deep breath and blew it out slowly in order to calm himself. “What you NEED to know, Agent Gibbs…is what I tell you, you need to know. Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Jr. has been promoted to Team Leader. I offered him that position with the choice of three different locations. He came to me Friday with his choice. He is now getting accustomed to his new job and his new surroundings. That, Agent Gibbs is ALL you NEED to know.” He paused. “Oh, and Agent Gibbs. This is your first…and only warning. You were allowed an indulgence here. I understand, to some extent, your upset and concern. But, if you ever, EVER, address me in that manner again, you are gone! I don’t care how long you’ve been here, or who you have in your back pocket! Am I understood?”

Gibbs nodded. He had calmed down a little and had realized that his tirade had drawn onlookers. He was actually too embarrassed to speak. And, he still did not understand DiNozzo’s actions.

Vance then turned his attention to Tim and Ziva. “I find it astonishing, Agent McGee and Agent David…. You had worked with DiNozzo for how many years? And yet you didn’t know your coworker. When I was a field agent. I read up on every person on my team. I even knew their brothers’, sisters’, and parents’ names. You never bothered to get to know Tony. You have no idea who you tossed aside. And, I feel sorry for you for that. You were the ones who missed out.”

Vance then addressed the room. “Okay, everyone back to work.” He then turned and headed back, up to his office.

The director looked up from his paperwork a couple of hours later. The bullpen had been subdued since the morning’s outburst. Leon had been listening. He had taken Team Gibbs off rotation for the rest of the week.

“I’ll not put up with a repeat of this morning, Gibbs.” Vance said before looking at his papers once again.

Gibbs didn’t say anything for a moment. He just took a seat in front of Vance’s desk. “Tony left because of me.”

Vance looked at Gibbs for a moment, formulating his answer. “DiNozzo left for a lot of reasons, Agent Gibbs. But, yes, you were in the top three.”

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

AN: There is no way I can reply to you all. I am posting on 2 different archives. And, the story is getting lots of attention, which is awesome, thank you. But, that also means, as I said, I cannot reply to you all. I just want you to know how very appreciative I am of your comments/reviews, alerts/kudos. I am so glad you all are enjoying the ride. JL

 

“No, it’s not true!” Abby said, backing away from Ducky and Jimmy. She looked to her office. If she could get in there, she could close the door and….”

Ducky followed her gaze and quickly blocked her path.

“Tony wouldn’t leave! He wouldn’t break up the family. He wouldn’t! He wouldn’t do that!” Abby insisted.

Abby refused to believe what she was being told. But, she knew something was up when Ducky and Jimmy showed up in her lab at 9 a.m. Ducky was usually not in until noon.

“And, Gibbs…Gibbs would never do what…. Tony’s wrong. He’s wrong about Gibbs. My Gibbs would never…. And Tim and Ziva…. He’s just wrong. Everybody was not against him. He just….” Abby continued to say.

Ducky shook his head. “Abigail. Listen to me. Anthony has…this has been going on for a while. It did not just start last week. This has been going on since Director Shepard….”

“Since Tony lied about being on a secret mission.” Abby retorted.

Palmer spoke up. “Since Tony was lied to and mislead about the director’s original reason for the mission.”

“According to Tony.”

“According to Director Vance, who then told Jethro. Well, Jethro put it together.” Ducky stated.

Abby shook her head. “But, why….”

“Gibbs blames Tony for Shepard’s death.” Palmer answered. He knew the question. “Tony and I talked about a lot of things.”

“Gibbs loves Tony. He would never.” Abby said.

“Ziva became Gibbs’ adopted daughter, Abigail.” Ducky replied. “Jethro did not lose a son, My Dear. He lost a daughter.”

She continued to deny what she was being told. “Tony was wrong. He left the family. He lied about Ziva and Tim, too. They didn’t treat him like that. They couldn’t have.”

Ducky sighed. “We were in the field with them, Abigail. We saw it with our own two eyes.”

Abby stood for a moment, as the reality of the situation hit her. “Tony’s gone. He’s really gone.”

 

TBC

 

END NOTES: I realize that this is a short chapter. But, I didn’t feel I needed as much to get the point across to Abby.

I think the next part will be about Gibbs.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

AN: Actually, this chapter will not be about Gibbs. I think I need to get to Tony and see how he and his new job are going.

DiNozzo didn’t know if there was a state beyond nervous. But, he was there. He was so firmly there that he was feeling a little light headed. He had to lean on something to balance himself.

He had no idea what these agents thought of him. He had no idea if news of his D.C. antics had reached these agents and they were expecting to see a clown. He had no idea. And the uncertainty was getting to him. So was the fact that when he got to the island he had only been given time to shower and change. Then he was whisked off to the field office that was being created for him. None of the contractors were familiar with how to outfit a building that would be used for law enforcement. They needed help on pretty much every aspect of the job, except doing the actual work.

Tony had no idea he would be so involved in this aspect of building NCIS. But, he loved the challenge. He spent days trying to pick the best colors for the rooms. He laid out the arrangement of the desks in his bullpen. He even got to plan the layout of other offices and conference rooms.

But, at this point he was tired. Tony had been running on nervous energy and coffee for the past three days. He was in serious need of a break, a couple of days at the beach, something. He only slept a few hours each night. Sometimes making it back to his house. But, most of the time, just laying down on the couch in the lounge/breakroom he had created. His fatigue was beginning to show. But, Tony knew that the first of his agents were due to start tomorrow. And he wanted it all to be ready for them so that they could hit the ground running.

Tony had studied his agent’s files. They all had impressive law enforcement careers. Sally Winters was from Buffalo, New York. She was 35-years-old. She divorced, after a 10-year marriage to an NYPD officer. She had worked at the FBI for much of her career, jumping departments a couple of times. But, her longest stint anywhere, thus far, had been with NCIS, giving her nearly 15 years of law enforcement experience. She had no children. She was a very attractive woman. With chestnut brown hair and blue eyes. She was tall, standing 6 feet. And she had a black belt in Karate.

Harley Christian was from Miami, Florida. He was younger than Tony and Sally, at only 25 years of age. He was blonde haired and blue eyed. He had a couple years as a beat cop. He had worked a couple of vice cases. He had become a detective in a couple of years, which explained being allowed to work vice. Plus, he had amassed an impressive amount of computer knowledge. And, judging from his file picture, no one in their right mind would mistake him for a cop. He had a steady girlfriend. And, Tony knew, he liked this kid already.

Byron James Hooper, B.J., was from Tallahatchie, Georgia. He was 29 years old. He was 5’ 7’. And had black hair and blue eyes. He retained his crew cut from his military days. He had one child. A little boy, who was now 12 years old, with an old girlfriend in high school. He had also been married, to a cocktail waitress at one of the hotels he’d worked it. It has been on a bet and the marriage had lasted all of three days. His law enforcement experience included U.S. Marine deployment, with two tours in Iraq. He had 6 years of military duty with the past 5 years being in the private sector. He had been night guard at a couple local hotels in the area.

Tony could not help but grin. He loved the diversity of his group. He knew he and Harley would get along. He was sure B.J. would have some great stories to tell. And he loved a good story. His concern was Sally. They were close in age. So, that was a plus. But, what if she had heard about his reputation? Young men like Harley and BJ really didn’t care about such things. But, he was afraid that Sally would. He was afraid she could not or would not respect him.

Actually, Tony would not have his have his full team for his first week. Harley needed extra time to wrap up his active cases in Miami. Plus, he had family issues to take of before moving so far away.

Tony had not chosen his Senior Field Agent, yet. He had enough info to do it from the files, for sure. And he was leaning towards Sally. But, he needed to know personalities, too. He needed somebody he could tell things to that he knew could and would keep a secret.. He had to have a special kind of trust. And, no, that trust would not be automatic. It would take time. But he, at least, had to know that he had the right candidate to being the process.

Tony arrived early his first day. He knew that he would be down a man. But, he still had to get his other two agents acclimated to the new office and surroundings. Agent Christian would just have to catch up.

Tony walked around his newly-renovated building before anyone else arrived. He really liked how things turned out. He had chosen a green that was a shade between green grass and olive green. He didn’t want to orange of the D.C office. That was too much of a reminder. Plus, he had not really been a fan of the color. But, the green was soothing, organic. His bullpen looked like Gibbs’. That had been the best, most practical, arrangement. But, it would NOT be ran anything like Gibbs’. He would not be like the second B in Gibbs. He would not chase people away who only been loyal to him for years. He wouldn’t….

Tony shook his head. That part of his life was over, and he was moving on. He needed to let it go. All of it, except Ducky and Jimmy, of course. And maybe even Abby, after she has calmed down and had time to think things over. And, of course, he as a part of his job would be keeping up with Vance, and Vance with him. But, there was another level of respect and friendship there that Tony was coming to really appreciate.

Tony had talked to both Ducky and Jimmy, at length, about Abby and her reaction to his leaving. They had each called Tony and had told him their observations of what was happening on the team. And Vance had called in a couple times to let him know what he saw with Gibbs and the team. And, of course, Leon wanted to know how things were progressing with the new Honolulu field office.

“Does Agent McGee have a stuttering problem?” Vance asked on one of his ‘checking in’ calls. “I never noticed it before.”

Tony chuckled. “Wow, things are bad for Tim to be stuttering again.”

“What do you mean?”

“McGee’s not a stutterer. But, in the beginning, Gibbs intimidated him so much he would stutter. Then he got used to Gibbs and his ways. Plus, I was there to deflect, and the stuttering went away.” Tony explained. “Full-on Gibbs is not easy to take.”

Vance chuckled. “McGee’s come to me twice already complaining about Gibbs, about the work load. Gibbs came to me complaining that McGee is slacking off on his duties. Apparently, you did your work, plus most of Gibbs’. Ziva has come complaining that Gibbs is a tyrant. David and McGee are both complaining about the new SFA and the fact that neither got the position. They don’t understand how you could get it, and they couldn’t. I took the liberty of making them each a copy and highlighting the relevant portions for each of them.” Vance sighed. “Ziva refused to accept the truth. Tim wanted me to show him your personnel file.” Leon paused and chuckled. “Next week I am going to call them both into the office so I can show them the requirements for a Team Lead.”

Tony laughter heartedly. “Thank you, Director. I needed that.”

“It’s a pleasure. Call me Leon. And, you are going to do well. The people you have under you understand what it means to follow an order, Tony. They will respect you, just show them you deserve it. Be good to them, DNozzo.”

 

TBC

 

END NOTES: Well, it was sort of about Gibbs. But, the next chapter will probably be totally Tony and his team. I definitely need to write that. Also, just FYI the part about the 2 years of Gibbs and Tony being a two-man team, for two years, is true. It was mentioned in the pilot episode. Most people forget that when they calculate Tony and Gibbs time together.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

Tony stood enjoying the view when he heard noises behind him. He smiled, it was his first day as Honolulu’s first NCIS Team Leader. He was ready to meet his team and get on with his day.

Tony turned and smiled. “Good Morning, Agent Winters.”

Sally shook Tony’s hand. His picture had not done him justice. He was much more handsome in person. “Good Moring, Agent DiNozzo.”

“You can call me DiNozzo or Tony.” Tony replied. “Despite who we represent, I’m not terribly military. No Boss or Sir.” He grinned when he realized she was still standing. “And no assigned seating. Take whichever desk suits you.” He could not stand to have his agents call him Boss. It brought back memories of people and places he wanted to forget. And he just didn’t like ‘Sir,’ it was too formal.

Tony lapsed back into thought as Sally took her seat and got comfortable. She took the desk directly across from his. Tony had laid a stack of papers on each agent’s desk, and a copy of the NCIS Field Agents Manual. He knew the reading and signing alone would take hours. But, that would give him a little time to make some decisions he had to make about his leadership. Namely, who was going to be his second.

Logically, his second would be Sally. She had the most experience and seemed the most suited. But, he was not sure. Very few male team leaders had female senior field agents. It was just grist for the rumor mill, and Tony didn’t want to take a chance on ruining her reputation. Especially since his old rep with female agents was less then stellar. But, of course, if she was as good an agent as she seemed on paper, she would have already done her research on him. So, maybe….

BJ Hooper strolled into the office at 8:58 a.m. He walked over to Tony’s desk and held out his hand. “Agent DiNozzo.”

“Welcome and Good Morning to you, Agent Hooper.” Tony said, standing. “And it’s either DiNozzo or Tony. I do not answer to Boss or Sir. Go ahead and choose the desk you want and Agent Christian will get the last one.”

Tony then addressed both agent. “You have hours of paperwork ahead of you. So, I will go ahead and show you where the restrooms and the breakroom are. We also have a locker room with showers, and a gym. But, we will get to those later. I promise you will have the full tour by the end of the day. So, go ahead and get started. Then we’ll take a break, and I will show you around.”

Tony took the agents to the break room. There was a regular coffee machine and an expresso machine. He had bought donuts and Danish for each of them. He had sat out some fresh fruit also.

“Grab a plate and eat up. This will not be a daily occurrence.” Tony said as they all got their plates and their coffee and took it back to their desks. Then after they finish their food, they dug into the paperwork.

A couple of hours later Sally was finished with her paperwork. She stood and stretched. BJ was ready for a break. He also stood. He left his desk and headed over to the windows. They were in the city. But they still had a great view of the ocean.

Sally sat back down at her desk. She had friends who had worked in D.C. And Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo was infamous. She had heard story upon story of this womanizing, pain-in-the-ass, blabber mouth. But, she was seeing nothing of that description. She, if anything, saw sorrow and pain behind those expressive green eyes of his. She had, then, made sure she had read up on the agent. She wanted to be sure she would not regret her decision to move. She figured everybody deserved a second change. She was leaving an unhealthy relationship. She needed to give him that chance, just as she had been given one.

What Sally read had surprised her, though. It was as if the agent on paper and the agent in real life were two totally different people. This guy on paper was a totally professional, decorated, dedicated cop, detective, then agent. Sally decided she would reserve judgment. She had made snap judgements on other occasions and things had not worked out well. She was on the Hawaiian Islands. She didn’t have the money to go back on her own. Plus, she was in freakin’ Hawaii. She got up and joined BJ at the windows.

“What does BJ stand for?” Sally asked her coworker.

“I read up on you Agent Winters, very impressive.” BJ stated. “And I really, really hate my first name.” He eyed her. “But you know what my name is…you read my file, just as I have read your file.”

“I like to meet people first, if at all possible, then read the files. Sometimes…the file is not always the best way to get to know a person.” Sally said.

BJ nodded. “Yeah, I was expecting Party Central when I got here this morning, just from the rumors, you know. I could not understand Director Vance personally recommending DiNozzo for this position if there was not more to him. In DiNozzo’s case, it was best to read the file first.”

 

“That was Vance’s problem with me, Agents.” Tony said. He had looked up from his desk to find both his agents had taken a break. “He believed the hype. So much so that he didn’t want to read my file. He was positive he wouldn’t find anything to change his mind.”

BJ started. “I’m sorry. I….”

Tony shook his head. “Reputations follow you, for good or for bad. I won’t go into it. But, I left a less-than-ideal situation in D.C. to come here.”

They both nodded at that.

“What do you know?” Tony asked.

“Gibbs was living up to the second B.” Sally said. “Especially on the Monday you left.”

Tony was shocked. “What? Is this on YouTube?”

BJ grinned. “Actually,” He went back to his desk. Sally and Tony followed. He pressed a few buttons and a thumbnail of an irate Gibbs showed up. He pressed the video icon called ‘Lion’s Den Lunacy!’, submitted by ib4ncis.

“I know an agent on Balboa’s team. I don’t know if he took the video. But, from what he said, several agents were using their camera phones.” BJ explained before he hit the play button.

Tony looked at Sally.

Sally sighed. “I have a friend in the accounting department. She was upstairs when Gibbs when ‘ape-shit crazy’ as she called it. She called her co-workers to come upstairs. Then she started recording. I don’t know who put this on YouTube. But I’m sure others have. It’s much too good to…” She looked at Tony’s face and cleared her throat.

Tony grinned. “It’s okay. Vance told me about it. But, I’ve been too busy trying to get the office up and running. I would love to see this.”

BJ and Sally looked at one another.

“It’s okay. I do really, really want to see this.” Tony replied.

 

“I have no idea who this person is who submitted this.” BJ said. “And I never googled to see how many videos are out there. But, this is...epic.”

Sally and Tony watched in a sort of stunned silence. Tony absolutely loved Vance’s speech to Gibbs at the end.

“Wow!” Sally replies. “I thought he was going to pop a vein in his forehead or something.” She shook her head as she grinned.

Tony started to laugh. “That was awesome. That was Freakin’awesome.” He chuckled.

BJ grinned. “It’s just as funny, every time I see it. And I just ran across it. I think, the day after it happened. I didn’t connect it to you. I wasn’t even thinking about those connections. I was too busy trying to get things finalized and getting moved. When I read your file and I saw pictures of Gibbs, and McGee and David. It just…things fell into place.”

“I had not seen it before. My friend just mentioned it as a part of the ongoing office gossip. She said she was too far away for good video. She said she got the voices okay, when Gibbs was yelling. But, it didn’t pick up Vance’s voice that well.” Shelly stated.

“If you were to ever find out who that is, let me know.” Tony replied. “I want to send them a Thank You card.”

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

 

AN: Have you ever written or read an idea that was just…delicious? That is the only way that I can describe this chapter. I had had n idea of including this character in this story in the beginning. No offense to the character or the actor, he just doesn’t tend to make it into my stories a lot. But, this was just so much fun to rite. And it was delicious…a literary hot fudge sundae, with all the good feeling and taste and none of the calories. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. JL

FYI: DiNozzo is spelling wrong here intentionally to mimic how the character says it.

 

Two weeks had passed since Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Jr. had left Washington D.C. and the MCRT behind. And everybody in the office was feeling the change.

Gibbs had sent an unveiled threat out to the various people who had posted his ‘freak-out’ on the Internet. He said he was going to contact YouTube and have his videos removed. Of course, those in the agency who were knowledgeable of the Internet, which was basically EVERYBODY else in the agency, just chuckled. That only made Gibbs madder and more determined.

Gibbs had then gone directly over Vance’s head to the Sec Nav. But, Gibbs got no sympathy there either. It seems Vance’s secretary Caryn had been busy that morning emailing camera footage to people whom she thought might want to see it. People like: Honolulu MCRT Team Leader Anthony DiNozzo, Homeland Security Agent Tom Morrow, the SecNav, and FBI Agent Tobias Fornell. And, of course, she made copies for herself and for Director Vance.

The day after Tony found the video in his email, he called a couple of the local D.C. shops and had a dozen roses and a basket of muffins, doughnuts, and other assorted goodies delivered to Caryn, at the office. She set him a picture of her deliveries and a very appreciative email.

Tobias, being the smart FBI agent that he was, Steered clear of Gibbs as much as possible during this time. Tobias was angry, too. But, for a different reason, he had been trying to get Tony away from NCIS for years. Now, he knew that that was not possible. Tony was not going to leave Hawaii to come back to work for him in D.C. Tobias was taking his loss hard. He was angry at Tony for not staying long enough for him to make that amazing irresistible offer. He was angry at himself for not pushing harder when he had talked to DiNozzo. And he was angry at Gibbs for pushing the young, talented agent away.

“I don’t think you want my opinion right now, Gibbs!” Tobias said, he had only come to the office to talk to Vance. But, now, Gibbs had trapped him in the elevator.

Gibbs opened his mouth to speak.

Fornell started again before Gibbs could. “You know that ‘rule’ you have? That rule about not wasting good?” He was getting angry, and he wanted Gibbs to know it. “You don’t even know how to follow your own ‘precious’ rules you claim to care so much about. Because if you did, DiNoteso would still be here!”

“What…what are you so upset about? He wasn’t your agent!” Gibbs replied.

“You are a Grade A moron sometimes, Gibbs.” Fornell said. “Tony’s been getting offers for years. All the alphabet agencies, Homeland Security…and others.”

Gibbs seemed genuinely surprised. “He never….”

“No, of course, he never…. He would never leave you or D.C. before now. But you, being the bastard that you are, chased him away. Now that leaves none of us getting the chance to woo him. And you get to see what life if like without your faithful lap dog by your side.”

Gibbs shook his head.

“He idolized you, Gibbs! You were his freakin’ father figure.” Tobias paused. “You know how screwed up his childhood was. And you…you treat him like something you scrap off the bottom of your shoe.”

Gibbs started to shake his head again.

“No, oh no! Don’t say that that is not true. We all saw how things changed after Shepard. We all saw it! Vance even said he saw in change in you. And he only knew you by reputation before that.” Fornell explained. “You confused the kid! You TOLD him that it was okay. But, you stopped relying on him. You stopped seeking his advice. You stopped depending on him to do his job. And with the whole frog thing, and then Rivkin. Your coming back from Mexico and just taking over.”

“Just taking over?” Gibbs said, latching onto the last statement. “It was my team, How did I…?”

Fornell put his hand up. “Not the point here, Gibbs!”

Gibbs huffed and puffed. But, he kept silent.

“You stopped relying on the wealth of knowledge and experience at your fingertips. You started sidelining Tony. You made him stay back and run computer searches. Really, Gibbs? You have a compute geek, and you pick Tony to run computer searches? Even I can see the problems with that logic.”

“Tony has computer skills. He did all that stuff, before….”

“Again, Gibbs, not the point.” Tobias sighed. “DiNoteso’s title was not Senior Computer Geek. It was Senior FIELD Agent, Gibbs, FIELD Agent.”

“I know that.” Gibbs snapped, getting more irritated. He started to pus the button to resume elevator function.

“We’re not done here, Gibbs!” Tobias practically growled. “You stopped the elevator to talk. Let’s talk! It’s not all about YOU! What YOU have to say! What YOU want!”

“Tony didn’t….”

Tobias shook his head. “Now you’re blaming Tony that you treated him like shit. That’s rich.”

“He left without giving me the chance to….” Gibbs started.

“To what? Treat him worse?” The FBI agent shook his head, again. “Nothing was going to change. You know it. I know it. And don’t say Tony could have come and talked to you about it.” He paused. “That was not going to happen, Gibbs. You have a very effective, pointed, vicious method of counter-attack that leaves your victims speechless, wounded, and bleeding. So, don’t you dare tell me that that conversation would have gone well.”

Fornell was right, Gibbs realized. Though he would not, could not admit it. Gibbs knew he would not have talked with Tony about it. He would have gotten angry at Tony for the mere suggestion. And in reality, Gibbs probably would have found a way to treat the SFA even worse for suggesting such a thing.

“You wanted good, Gibbs. You wasted it. And it was damn good. And then, you…you pissed it off so much that it left the continental United States!” Tobias told him. “Those rules that you claim mean so much to you, that you wanted all your agent to know and follow…!”

Tobias could tell that Gibbs was getting angrier and angrier.

“I don’t care how angry you get, Gibbs!” Fornell paused. “Those rules don’t mean jack! You can’t tell Tony he’s good and then just cast him aside because he doesn’t do what YOU think he ought to be doing.”

“We’re done here, Fornell!” Gibbs said, pushing the resume button with far more force than necessary.

“Yes, we are!” Fornell stated.

The elevator doors opened and Fornell got off. He turned back and looked at Gibbs. “Go ahead, blame them. Blame us all, Jethro. But, this is you…some McGee and David. But, the vast majority…is you.”

Gibbs made no effort to move for a moment. He was just glaring at Fornell and clenching and unclenching his fists.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

Director Vance was coming down the stairs to the fourth floor when he saw the strangest sight. His first thought was, Don’t they realize that they are not all going to fit on the elevator.

Then Leon heard shouting, voices. He looked around the floor but pretty much everyone working on the floor was at the elevator, listening. Vance grinned. He recognized both voices. The agents noticed the director and started to disperse. But, Vance shook his head. He was going to enjoy this. They should get a little enjoyment out of it, also. Plus, he wanted Gibbs to suffer the embarrassment of another public scene. Maybe if Gibbs was embarrassed enough, he would stop.

The door began to open suddenly and the agents began to scatter. Vance stepped back and watched, by the stairs, as the scene unfolded. Fornell walked out of the elevator first. But, then he turned and made one final pronouncement before heading to the stairwell beside the elevator.

Gibbs didn’t speak in the wake of Fornell’s pronouncement. He did not come out of the elevator either.

“Gibbs!” The director said. “My office!”

Gibbs waited for the doors to close and then hit the button for the 5th floor. He then bypassed Caryn and headed on in through the open office doors.

“What was Fornell doing up here?” Gibbs demanded.

“Fornell IS our FBI liaison, Gibbs.” Vance replied. He was seated and had prepared himself to deal with Gibbs’ anger. “And, believe it or not, Gibbs, there are things that happen in this office and in this agency that do not concern YOU and are absolutely none of YOUR business.”

“If you’re talking about DiNozzo….” Gibbs hissed.

“Then, we were talking about DiNozzo.” The director paused. “DiNozzo WAS on your team. He’s not anymore. That’s…he’s not coming back.”

Gibbs just seemed to deflate when Vance said that. His anger left him and he just fell into the chair.

“I have to talk to him. I need to talk to him.” Gibbs stated. He bowed his head and for the first time in the director’s memory, looked defeated.

“He’s not coming back.”

Gibbs nodded. “I know. I just…nobody will tell me where he is. I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t know.”

Leon shook his head. “DiNozzo only wanted a few people to know where he was transferred. He requested that. When he tells me he wants to let people know, then they will know.”

“Fornell knows. He said Tony left the continental U.S.”

“He thinks he knows where. I’m sure he thinks Tony want to Italy.” Leon admitted. “I never confirmed or denied that assumption. But, I am glad you brought up Fornell. It seems you two had a conversation, a very loud one, in the elevator.”

“Fornell was way out of line.”

“I heard the conversation, Gibbs. Everybody on the fourth floor heard the conversation.”

All Gibbs could do was sigh and shake his head. “Tony was just…. Things are so different now. I want to just…I need to speak to him.” Gibbs sighed again. “I know I can’t get him back. I just…I just want to….”

“I’m not telling you where he is, Gibbs.” Vance stated. “He’s got your number.”

“What if he never calls?” Gibbs replied.

Vance shrugged his shoulders. “That’s Tony’s choice. And, it’s my choice not to fire you right now! I warned you about that attitude, Gibbs. YOU don’t come into my office demanding answers about anything. I don’t have to run anything PAST YOU! You may want to file that bit of information away for the next time you feel the need to charge into my office and make an ass of yourself!” He paused. “You can go now! And just so you know, if I had any candidates, at all, for your position, you would be gone! And, as of now, you’re off field work for two weeks.”

Gibbs opened his mouth to protest.

“You want to make it three?” Vance glared, not waiting for a response. “Goodbye, Gibbs.”

 

NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS

 

“That’s hilarious.” Tony said, as he leaned back against his sofa. He could not help but laugh. “I knew there was a reason I liked Toby.”

“He laid Gibbs out.” Vance said. “There was no video this time. But, I think every agent on the fourth floor heard it. So, by the end of the day the whole building knew.”

“HA!” Tony laughed. ”It can’t get no better than that.”

“Actually….”

“What…?” Tony asked, he could hardly believe that there was more.

“I called him up to the office. And he came in huffing and puffing and demanding to know what Fornell was doing up here.” Vance replied.

Tony was speechless for just a second. “He didn’t….”

“Oh yeah he did!” the director confirmed.

“Did you fire him? Oh, please tell me you fired him!” Tony said.

“I don’t have a Team Leader available right now. And, I don’t have any other teams open to place McGee and David.” Vance considered. “Though I could send McGee to Cyberville. But, honestly, I think the best punishment for the three of them is to keep them together.”

“Three! What…?” Tony started.

“There have been 4 agents. They all left, the longest lasting was 1 week. The others were just days. They then took all the other open positions.”

Tony could not help himself, he burst out laughing. He had to take a moment or 2 to try and get his laughter under control.

“…could not have happened to a more deserving bunch.” Tony managed to say after his laughing fit had ended. “Thanks for letting me know.”

“Oh, um…Abby’s been…. She seems to have changed her attitude.” Leon informed him.

Tony remained silent.

“She seems to be able to see Gibbs’ flaws now.” Vance said. “Jimmy will tell you more. She’s been talking to Palmer and Dr. Mallard a lot.”

“I need to think on it a little.”

Leon nodded, though Tony could not see him. “I told Dr. Mallard that that would probably be what you would say.” He paused. “You won’t believe it. But, Gibbs practically pleaded with me to tell him where you were.”

“Really? Wow!”

“Yeah, a shocker to me too. But, as I said, DiNozzo. This is all on your time. I can wait him out as long as you need.”

“Why hasn’t he just had Tim try and find me?” Tony asked.

“He has. But, there are firewalls and passwords in place. All your travel info is protected. He can’t even find out which rental car company is providing you with a car right now. Plus, there’s the fact that you’re beyond McGee’s clearance.” Vance replied. “And, in all his fury and anger, Gibbs has yet to realize that particular wrinkle. He will figure it out, eventually. But, as of yet, no one is standing in line to tell him.”

Tony chuckled. He was loving it.

“So, now, to get to the real reason I called. How is your crew?” The Director asked. “How are things going?”

 

TBC

END NOTES: As always, if you see errors…. The next chapter will be about Tony’s team. I don’t know how many more chapters this will be. And I am planning an Abby chapter. I just don’t’ know how things will turn out, yet. Thanks, as always, for your comments, alerts, kudos, faves, etc. Glad you enjoyed, JL

Chapter Text

Abby had not been happy since she came to her most recent revelation. Her silver fox was no longer her silver fox. He was forever tarnished in her eyes. She could not understand how he could be two such different people. The man she had come to know and love in her lab. And then the cantankerous, mean, old slave driver that she was being told existed just up 4 floors from her.

But now, she realized, Tony had been right when he had told her how Gibbs acted. She had thought that Tony was just upset and was exaggerating Gibbs’ actions because he didn’t like Gibbs’ punishment. She had no clue the man acted just as much the ass when everything was going well.

She had not talked to Tony since he had left. And now she didn’t imagine he would want to hear from her. But, she felt she owed him something. Tony had thought of her in all this. He had sent Ducky and Palmer to break the news to her so that she would not hear it first through the rumor mill.

She finally understood why Tony had not called her. He was giving her time to deal with it all. And, in all honesty, he probably thought he had lost her friendship. She had to let him know that that was not the case.

“Hello!” Tony said, grabbing up the phone. He was in a towel drying his hair and he was running on time for once.

Tony always tried to get to the office earlier then anyone else. But, since he had made Sally his SFA, she seemed to take initiative. She was making it just as he pulled into the parking lot, or she would come into the office just minutes later. It didn’t really give him time to prepare for the day. Not that there was much to do. He made the coffee. He checked to make sure their breakroom was cleaned. He had set up a schedule for them all to take care it. Clean the fridge out on occasion, clean off the counters, etc. He found his time as filled with those mundane tasks as he did working cases. He kept a stack of cold cases handy, just in case nothing came in that day. But, they usually were working an active case. Actually, they tried to work a couple cases, taking on a cold case or two. If there was time to devote to the ‘old-school sleuthing,’ as Tony called it.

Harley had shown up two days after Sally and BJ. He caught up quickly with the paperwork and took the initiative showing himself around the place one morning when he had arrived early and not one was in the bullpen yet. He loved the set up and he was anxious to do some training and to workout in their full-equipped gym.

They all seemed to have accepted their leader. And they all were still getting to know one another. Tony had facilitated things as much as he could. He had invited them and their friends and family over to his house for a barbeque. The evening had gone well. Sally brought a new boyfriend. Harley brought a girl he had met by the pool in his apartment complex. BJ came alone. And Tony invited the next door neighbor who would have invited herself anyway, had he not extended the invite. She had talked to the realtor at length when she discovered the house was finally being rented. And she nearly wet herself when she finally met him. She quickly babbled an excuse to leave and rapidly fled the scene of the social awkwardness. And, ever since that moment, she had been trying to find a way to talk to him again and not make a complete and utter ass of herself. She thought she might have a chance if she was in with a group of people. So, when she saw Tony was preparing food, she had inquired, and he had told her about his barbeque. She offered to help him out. She told him she would bring her world famous potato salad. Tony smiled and nodded. She showed up. And actually, the potato salad was pretty damn good.

 

NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS

 

“Hello!” Tony said. He had not looked at the number before he picked up the phone. He had no idea who was calling him. And he was about to hang up until he finally heard a voice.

“Team Leader, Anthony DiNozzo.”

“Forensic Scientist, Abby Sciuto.”

There was a long pause, Tony was beginning to think that she might have just hung up. “I didn’t see it.”

Tony sighed. “I’m not sure you were supposed to.”

Another pause. “What does that mean?”

“You’ve known him longer than any of the rest of us. Well, except Ducky.”

“Meaning I’ve had the blinders on for years.” Abby finally admitted.

“Well, at least they are off now.” Tony responded.

“Yeah, my silver fox is forever tarnished.” She sighed.

“Better to see the real man behind the illusion.”

“Which movie is that a quote from?”

Tony didn’t answer. He hadn’t used that approach with his team. He still used the information he gleaned. He just never voiced his love of movies to them. He was not quite sure why. Well, no that wasn’t right. He did know why. McGee and David had accused him of being unable of having an original thought. They had jokingly, or maybe not so jokingly, said he got all his investigative skills from the movies he watched. Tony had not appreciated the slam to his intelligence or his investigative skills. He did, after all, have a photographic memory. And there were other talents he possessed that, in no way, shape, or form, had ANYTHING to do with the fact he loved movies. Abby’s question just started a small pick at the old scab.

“What?” Abby had no idea what she had said wrong. It was a game that they used to play all the time when they had movie marathon night.

“McGee and David…”

“Yeah, those two. All they do these days is come to me and Ducky and Jimmy and complain about Gibbs.” Abby said. “I turned the lights off, locked the door and worked by lamplight a couple days this week because of them. They would not leave me alone. Gibbs sends them out of the bullpen and they end up in my lab. They get in my way and they touch things. I don’t like them touching things.”

Tony could not help but laugh.

“Don’t laugh Major Mass Spec has not worked at all right since Ziva was down there pushing his buttons.”

Tony chuckled again.

Neither spoke for a moment to two.

“I have not right to ask, Tony. But, I just…I’m gong to. Ducky and Jimmy made me…. They opened my eyes to some things I couldn’t see. That I didn’t want to see. I could not understand. And still don’t understand how someone I loved so much could treat other people I love so badly.” She sighed. “I will never feel the same about Gibbs. And, I treated you badly in all this. And I take all the blame for that. I just…I am sorry. That’s all I can offer is my sincerest apology. I hope you can forgive me.”

“I have a lot….”

“I know, moving, your own team, a new house.” Abby paused. “I’ll wait Tony, you’re worth it.

 

TBC

END NOTES: It was time to tackle Abby. But, I didn’t want to wrap it all up nice and pretty. I love those angsty jagged edges.