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.
Chapter 2: 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…?”
“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.”
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!!!
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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!”
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.
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.”
“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.”
“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?”
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
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.
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.
“I can’t have a team leader who doesn’t have a team, Gibbs.” Leon told Gibbs at their early morning meeting.
“What are you talking about? Just because Tony left and we can’t find a…?”
“We? You were about to say we can’t find a replacement. I know that that is what you were going to say. The fact is, Gibbs, YOU need to stop chasing perfectly good agents away!” Vance fired back. “And I stopped sending you agents for that reason.”
“I just need the right person.” Gibbs responded.
“They were all the right people, Gibbs. You kept chasing them off.” Vance said. “Now, with McGee in Cyberville….”
“McGee…Cyberville…?” Gibbs stammered. He was totally blindsided. “What?”
“Timothy McGee is now officially working in Cyberville. McGee gave me the transfer request a week ago. I approved it.. He’s just working out his notice.” Vance told Gibbs, realizing the man had no clue he was about to lose yet another agent from his team.
“Why…Why, the hell, didn’t he tell me?” Gibbs asked, still stunned.
“Given how you…reacted when DiNozzo left….” Vance said, leaving the sentence hanging.
“Why is he…? What did he tell you?” Gibbs asked.
“Since Tony left, you ‘ve turned into a….”
“Monster.” Gibbs said, finishing the sentence.
“In the G-rated version, yes.” Vance paused. “The new you is making the second B in Gibbs look like a choir boy.”
“You terrorized agents. You made Agent Perez cry, Gibbs.” Vance reminded him. “The woman is in therapy. THAT is all on you. Some of the other ‘free’ agents no longer want to work for NCIS on the off chance they will be assigned to this office and have to work for you. Right now, you are a greater liability than an asset.”
Gibbs sighed. "Ziva’s leaving?” He said it more as a statement of fact.
Leon nodded. “She’s reached out to Homeland Security.”
“Tony was the best asset I had. And I made him miserable.”
Leon didn’t say anything.
“And, now that he’s gone, I’ve made….” Gibbs sighed and shook his head.
“You have some decisions to make, Gibbs.” Vance started. “As I said, I cannot have a team leader without a team. Every member of our available agent pool has requested not to be assigned to you. Those requests are usually ignored because they are typically based on personality conflicts and/or misunderstandings or miscommunications that can be worked out. However, in this particular situation, things cannot be worked out. YOUR whole, entire attitude needs to be adjusted and that would not be a fast or an easy fix. And frankly, Agent Gibbs. I’m done. I’ve give you several chances. You have turned away or frightened away several very qualified candidates. And that cannot happen. The reputation of this agency will not be tainted by a cantankerous old Marine on a power-trip. I have let you slide on the insubordination. That will no longer happen. I could have already fired you, for that alone. So, here is how things are going to go. I give you two choices. You pick one. You can give up field work and become a paper pusher, or you can retire.”
“What?” Gibbs asked. “I’m a field agent, Director Vance, I can’t…!”
“This is not up for debate, Agent Gibbs. I’ll give you time to think about it. But, I need your answer by tomorrow.”
Gibbs stood and blew out a breath. He realized what it all meant now. He finally got what he had done. He wanted to be angry at Tony and Tim and Ziva. But, they were not the ones at fault. They were reacting, doing what they could to get out of a bad situation. He just never realized, until this moment, that HE was the bad situation.
The fact that Abby’s attitude seemed to have changed had not affected Gibbs a great deal. He attributed it to the fact that she and Tony had been close. Gibbs figured if he gave her enough time she would eventually return to her normal self. But, that had not happened. Abby had actually stopped calling him her silver-haired fox. HE had not liked it, really. But, now that she no longer called him that, he kind of missed it. She just seemed to be angry at him. Like she really wanted to tell him off, but she just couldn’t, for some reason. Also, she had stopped accepting, and had actually stopped drinking her Caf-Pows.
Abby had had a few weeks to notice the changes around the office since Tony had gone. Her conversations with Ducky and Jimmy had caused her to see Gibbs as he truly was. She had come to realize her part in Tony’s leaving, and Ziva’s and Tim’s parts also.
Abby had been glad and grateful that Tony would talk to her. Her conversation with Tony had been pleasant and short. She would not call back. She would keep her word and wait on him. She needed him to know that she could, at least, keep her word.
The saddest part of all, she realized, was that what she had called a family had only worked well when one certain piece of the puzzle was there. With Tony gone, things fell apart. Gibbs went of the deep end. And from there it was like watching dominos topple.
Abby suddenly realized that she was not alone. She turned to see Gibbs standing in her doorway. She turned back to the table again to continue her work.
“Abby.” Gibbs said, still standing in the doorway.
Abby didn’t turn again.
“Abby, I…I just want to say goodbye. Please!”
Abby spun around and stared.
“Vance gave me a choice. I could stay and be a desk jockey…or, I could retire.”
Abby didn’t say anything. She just hugged him.
Gibbs stepped back. “Once she’s sea worthy. Kelly and I will see you in South Beach.”
Abby wiped her tears. “I am gonna miss you around here. And I was expecting Mexico.”
Gibbs shook his head. “Mike’s got Mexico. And, I’ve always wanted to live in Florida.”
Tony was brooding. He had been for a few days. He had tried not to let it affect work. And it hadn’t. But, Sally cold not help but notice something was no right with him.
“Sir…Di…Tony.” Sally was still having trouble calling Tony by his first name. She had gotten up from her desk and went over to where Tony stood, looking out the window. “It’s none of my business.”
“But, I’m gonna ask anyway.” Sally stated. “Something’s wrong. What’s going on?”
“Things are happening back where I used to work.” Tony explained. “My leaving had a ripple effect that I was not expecting.”
“It happens. You were pretty important to a lot of people in D.C.” Sally stated.
Tony stared at her for a moment.
“I always check out the people I work for and with.” She explained.
“Plus….” Shelly had something to add. She was not sure how Tony would react.
“Plus, what?” Tony asked, slipping into detective mode.
Sally sighed. “I meant one of your…former coworkers…a particular gothic….”
“Abby?!” Tony replied. “You know Abby?”
Sally nodded. “I met her at a forensic science convention about 5 years ago. We paled around all weekend. It was a great time. She’s a sweet gal.”
Tony nodded. “…she tell you about her coffin?”
Sally shook her head. “Her coffin?”
Tony grinned. “She uses it as a coffee table. But, if a drunk friend stays over….”
Sally chuckled. She was trying to get a mental picture.
“Didn’t happen.” Tony said. “Too tall…I fell out and ended up on the floor.”
Sally burst into laughter at that point.
Tony grinned, again, at the memory. “Abby and I had a great time together.”
“Had?” Sally stared at her boss.
“My boss could do no wrong, in her eyes. I had problems with my boss, so….”
“So, you were wrong.”
“She didn’t strike me as someone who would be like that.”
“You…don’t know Gibbs. He had Abby had a very strong relationship. It’s just ….” Tony shook his head.
“Abby talked about you a lot.” Sally admitted. “You were….”
Tony interrupted. “When was the last time you talked to Abby?”
“Usually every month or so she or I will pick up the phone.” Sally stated. “I talked to her a month ago. I told her I was transferring to a new location. They gave me a couple of choices. I hadn’t really decided yet.”
“So, you couldn’t tell her who you would be working with.” Tony surmised.
“I was told I made my decision before you made yours.” Sally replied.
“You probably did. I wanted to the very last minute of the deadline Vance gave me.” Tony replied.
“Why? It sounds like you knew you were leaving.”
Tony nodded. “I did. But, it was a huge shocker to the rest of the team. I just didn’t want to deal with it all.”
Sally opened her mouth and then closed it. She had gotten a nice going-away party. People had shed tears, and they gave her gifts. She got the feeling had people known Tony was leaving, he wouldn’t have gotten that.
“I don’t mean to bring up things. It’s…sorry about that.” Sally stated.
NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS
Tony was not sure he should have been so open with Sally. He was not ashamed of what had happened at NCIS or anywhere else. He just was not sure how she might take what she’d learned.
Tony didn’t want to have to deal with the ridicule or the judgement. He didn’t want these agents to act the same way towards him that David and McGee had. He was good enough to have his won team. His former team members were finally seeing that. Tim had seen it, with him wanting to reach out, same thing with Abby. Jimmy, Ducky, and Vance had already seen it. And they were so glad that Tony had stepped up and taken on new responsibility. Ziva would never see anything, beyond the image she had set in her mind. And Gibbs…. Well, Gibbs was another matter, altogether. Tony had no idea where his former bosses’ head was these days. And, he was rapidly finding that he did not care. Tony had finally grown tired of being Gibbs’ lapdog. But, he had been in too deep to realize that that was what he had become.
Tony stood, staring out the window of their offices. They had a great view of the beach, and he could stand and watch the waves for hours. He was also finding he was getting tanned and toned in Hawaii. Tony liked to run on the beach in the morning. The cool air and the water lapping up onto his feet and legs as he ran…. And, he loved their gym. He worked out in the evenings right after work, on Mondays and Tuesdays. There was never a lot of people there at that time.
NCIS NCIS NCIS NCIS
Harley and BJ were sitting at their desks working. They had heard snippets of conversation. But, Tony didn’t have to worry. They all had done their research on their new leader. Stuff happens. They had heard of the infamous Leroy Jethro Gibbs. They had been surprised that Toy had lasted on his team as long as he had.
The Lead Agent that they saw was competent, tenacious, and loyal to his team. They knew of Tony’s past. But, they all had a past. They all had things that they shouldn’t or wouldn’t have done, had they known better. They each genuinely liked Tony for Tony. They were glad he was their leader. They enjoyed the levity. Crime scenes were horrendous, on their best day. They needed something to take that edge off. Tony’s humor was just what was needed.
“Let’s roll, Boys and Girls.” Tony said as he hung up the phone. He smiled as he watched His Team get ready to go out into the field.
It had been almost a month. But, it still gave him a little rush to give the order to ‘his’ team. He smiled as they all jumped into action and followed him out the door.
Their M.E., Dr. Hilary Michelle Kingston-Gray, was a mixture of Ducky and the M.E. on Bones. She was in her early 40’s. She was stocky. She had some tats, and she looked as if she would be more comfortable on the back of a Harley then in a morgue. She was also the wife of a cop, Officer Theodore Allan Gray, who just happened to be a Harley enthusiast. Like Ducky, Hil’s stories are long, but instead of childhood memories and life stories, they were full of the cases she’s worked. Never anything current and never any identifying information. But, she included every gruesome detail.
Hilary walked onto the scene. She sighed as she looked at the body, as if she was hoping that was not the case.
Tony looked up at her and then grinned and shook his head.
“What?” Hilary asked as she bent down beside Tony. “I didn’t used to be a ghoul, you know. I used to deal with live patients.”
“I didn’t say anything.” Tony said, replying in his mind what he may have said to cause her to think that.
“Your…team seems to think that I enjoy my job way, way too much.” Hilary explained.
Tony grinned and shock his head. “You’re a contradiction in terms, Hil. You look like a Hells Angel and you speak as if you have a medical dictionary coming out of your mouth. It’s safe to say they have never met anyone like you.” He paused. “I have never met anyone like you.”
Hilary nodded. “I can see that. The people I talk to usually don’t care what I say or how long I talk about it.”
“Speaking of which,” Tony said, the conversation reminding him. “I’ll talk to Jimmy if you’re interested. I don’t think he wants to stay in D.C. anymore. Actually, I think the only thing keeping him there is Ducky. After Ducky retires, he’ll probably quit.”
The doctor thought about it for a moment. “It would be great to have an assistant.”
“I talk to him regularly. I’m sure he will be glad to email a resume.” The agent replied.
Hilary nodded. “Have him do that.”
END NOTES: I am not sure how many more chapters I have to go. But, I think the next chapter will be Gibbs and Tony. I am finally ready to write it. Sorry it took so long, it just took me longer to think it all through this time. Thanks for your patience, JL
“Hello, Tony.” Gibbs said into the phone. He had heard Tony’s voice and had hesitated before he spoke. He had almost wanted Tony to hang up on his and put him out of his misery.
For the first time in his life, Leroy Jethro Gibbs didn’t know what he could or would say. But, he knew that this call needed to be made, probably before now. These past two months had changed Gibbs’ life dramatically. It had changed lots of people’s lives. He was now living in South Florida on his boat and loving it. But, he missed a big part of his life. He missed Tony. He missed his job, despite what had happened in the end, he missed being an agent.
Tony sighed. “Agent Gibbs.” He replied coolly. He had expected Gibbs to call. But, he had not thought about what he would say when the time came. He had honestly thought HE would have to be the one to reach out, if it happened at all. Tony was sure Gibbs’ pride would not allow him to reach out, to admit he was wrong. And he still may not be admitting wrong Tony realized as he answered back.
“I just…I wanted….” Gibbs stumbled along.
“You…with nothing to say. Wow!” Tony stated. “I saw the video, Gibbs. You had plenty to say a couple of months ago.”
Gibbs swallowed. He suppressed the urge to yell. That would not help anything now. “I was out of line.”
“Ya think?” Tony snapped back. Then he cringed, realizing he had used a phrase Gibbs said fairly often.
Gibbs bit his tongue again. He deserved this. He needed to remember that. He was no longer Tony’s boss. “I just wanted to apologize for…for how...what happened.”
“Okay.” Tony replied, waiting.
Gibbs sighed. “I don’t say the words….”
Tony was getting irritated. He had better things to do than to try to have a long-distance conversation with a Functional Mute.
“That was and is the problem, Agent Gibbs. You don’t talk.”
“I’m trying here, Tony.” Gibbs said, letting his irritation show.
“Try harder!” Tony paused. “And, it’s DiNozzo to you!” He could hear Gibbs irritation coming through.
Gibbs swallowed and took a moment to try to start again. It hurt more then he thought it would to have Tony speak to him like he was. Gibbs had hoped to maybe get back some sort of relationship. But, if things were this bad, maybe he should just hang up and forget it.
Gibbs cleared his throat to start again. “I am sorry for…for how I treated you when Kate died. I’m sorry I didn’t allow you to grieve.”
Tony was sitting, opened mouthed’ as Gibbs continued. He finally found his voice. “I still miss her.”
“I know. I also know that Ziva came along too quickly for all of us.” Gibbs admitted. “I wasn’t myself, or Ziva wouldn’t have taken over Kate’s desk so fast, or without me checking her out myself. Kate was like a sister to you. But, besides that, we needed time, and we didn’t get it.”
Tony didn’t’ say anything.
“I’m sorry for not stepping in all the times I should have when Ziva overstepped her bounds.”
Tony made a noise on the other end.
“I had assumed you two were handing things.” Gibbs explained. “I thought she was angry all the time because you were setting her straight. So, I didn’t need to interfere.”
“She never listened to me. She was the most pig-headed woman….”
Gibbs nodded, though Tony could not see him. “I’m sorry she was put onto the team without your consent. I should have challenged Jenny’s decision. But, I didn’t I trusted Jenny. I had no idea she had even been in the running for director. I was beyond shocked to see her in that position.”
Tony was shocked. He had never heard Gibbs apologize like this. He was not sure what to make of it.
Gibbs had poured his heart out. It was the only way he knew to let Tony know how sincere he was.
Tony was still speechless. He had not expected anything like this from his former boss.
"Gibbs, I...." Tony stammered.
"I broke my most important rule, Tony. I wasted good, and I was too blind to realize it."
Tony was glad Gibbs had finally realized it. But, in a lot of ways, it was too late.
"I just...I don't know what to say."
Tony heard chuckling on the other end of the line. "That is my first time, since I met you, you didn't have a ready comeback."
Gibbs was right. Tony had not felt the need to be ‘at the ready’ anymore. These people treated him with respect. No jabs about his 'gym teacher education' or his beat-cop beginnings. Here he was NCIS Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, Team Leader, Honolulu, Hawaii Field Office.
"What I did was wrong." Gibbs conceded. "My reaction to your decision to leave was just...."
"Extreme. Childish. Appalling...need I say more?"
Gibbs shook his head, even though Tony couldn't see him. "No, those were quite...accurate."
There were a few moments of silence between them.
"I'm not sure what you want from me, Gibbs."
Gibbs sighed. "I'm not sure either. I wished you would have talked to me first." He paused. "And, before you start, I know that things wouldn't have gone well. But, I was blindsided."
"I was done, Gibbs." Tony answered. "It was gradual. After Jenny, was when it started. You resented that Shepard offered me my own team. You resented the fact I had done so well at your job."
"No, Tony I didn't resent you. I was not sure Jenny would take me back." Gibbs admitted. "I was not 100% yet."
“Yeah, well, she took you back and you went back to being the lead. I went back to being the comic relief." Tony stated. "Why would I have a problem with that? You treat me like shit, and they followed your lead."
"You didn't speak up, you didn't demand...."
"I couldn't DEMAND you. And they wouldn't listen." Tony retorted. "Then, of course, the frog op came to light and everybody got their noses bent out of joint because they were not in on it." He paused. "I wasn't even 'in on it.' By the time I found out what Jenny was really up to, it was way too late for me to get out."
"I was angry at Jenny. She took advantage of the situation. She took advantage of us both. Had I been here, that op would have never happened. I knew of her obsession with her father's death. I would have connected the dots. She knew that." Gibbs explained. "She knew you didn't know anything. She used that. It was all on her."
"Then, when she died...."
"Her death was not your fault. You were following orders." Gibbs interjected.
"We didn't talk about it. You never said anything." Tony replied. "I thought you were blaming me."
"I know you were. I was angry. She wasn't there to yell at." Gibbs paused and sighed. "...not a good reason, but there it is."
"What...what am I supposed to do with that?"
"Forgive me so that we can get past this." Gibbs offered.
"I need time."
"Understood." Gibbs replied.
"I deserved to be treated a hell of a lot better than I was."
"You say it, Gibbs." Tony replied. "I'm just not sure you mean it."
The ball was in Gibbs’ court and he knew it. He was not sure what to say, and he was afraid if he waited too long, Tony would hang up on him. It had taken Gibbs days to work up the nerve to call Tony. He was not sure he could put himself through that again if Tony hung up right now.
“I’ve had the time to think about things and to realize a few things, since you left.” Gibbs admitted.
Tony waited patiently as Gibbs continued.
“I got used to you being there. You were always there…As kind of an excuse for me. I could act the way I wanted because you always came behind me and cleaned up the mess and smoothed things over.” He sighed. “I got to depend on that. I…I used you as my PR person, not as a Senior Field Agent.”
Tony had not really thought of it that way before. But, it was so true. Tony had to go behind Gibbs many times when the Team Lead had ruffled feathers and try to calm things down. He was the one who would make the peace and get done what Gibbs wanted. But, it got to a point, Tony was tired of his boss acting like an ass and him having to go behind and clean up the fallout. It was exhausting, annoying, and, not in any shape nor form, written in his job description.
“I knew things…how to push your buttons.” Gibbs added. “So, when you’d do something I didn’t like, I knew just exactly what to do to get back at you.” He paused. “I knew what to say, what would hurt, and what would piss you off. And, I used those things, shamelessly.”
Tony nodded. “Yes, you did!”
“I had to keep control of my team. You deserved your own team, long ago. But, you never applied for the position, that I knew of. I just…I assumed you weren’t interested. And I didn’t encourage you. I didn’t want you to leave. I have so much time and energy invested in….”
“…in your lap dog.”
Gibbs shook his head this time. “That is not what I was going to say.”
“Doesn’t make it any less true.” Tony replied. “You stopped utilizing me as an agent. “You sent Tim and Ziva out together. Yeah, they had been here for a little while. But, still, they were junior NCIS agents. Why…?”
Gibbs swallowed before answering. He could feel himself getting angry. He still didn’t like his decisions questioned. Even if they were former decisions. “I don’t….” He stopped, clearing his throat. “McGee needed field time.”
“He got plenty, Gibbs. I counted the hours.” Tony said. “We all got the required number of hours, usually just working the crime scenes. All the rest was extra.”
Gibbs bit his lip. He felt a flash of anger. He really was not liking this line of questioning.
“This is another reason, Gibbs. This right there.” Tony stated. “You’re pissed off because I dared question your decision. I was not the computer person, Gibbs. Tim was. WHY leave me to do computer work when you had Tim? Why is that an unreasonable question?” Tony paused for a second. “It’s not an unreasonable question! It’s the fact that I DARED to question you.”
Tony could hear Gibs breathing on the other end.
“Even when you no longer still HAVE a team, you’re still….” Tony chuckled. “I was never in the Marines, Gibbs. I never wanted to be a Marine. I never thought about being a Marine. But, I got trained for this job as if I was, which I get, kinda. You acted as if you could do now wrong, and every decision you made was correct and just. But, that was not always the case, Gibbs. You made illegal and deadly decisions, and still acted as if you had the perfect right to do so.”
Tony paused as if waiting for Gibbs to speak.
“Things like Karma, God’s justice, plain old fashion revenge, those things happen in their own time. You played with that a little, speeding some things up, slowing others down. Burying evidence, and people, hiding evidence, things like that.“ Tony said. “It’s your turn now. You’re lost friends, family and a job.”
“So have you!” Gibbs shot back. He was still a little angry. But, Tony was right.
“I chose to leave a job situation that was becoming toxic for me. I lost a coworker who was also toxic. But, I have retained most of my family and my friends.”
“I was toxic?”
“You said it.” Tony replied. “I didn’t want to come to work anymore.”
“You’ve talked to Tim?” Gibbs asked, trying to change the subject. Plus the fact he really wanted to know. Ducky and Abby talked to him on occasion. But, he had not gotten any info on McGee or David.
“I haven’ heard from him, no. But, he will probably call me, once he’s had some time to sort things out.”
“What about Ziva?”
“She’s that toxic coworker I was talking about.” Tony said.
Gibbs nodded. “And you’ve talked to Abby?”
“I have.” Tony replied. He was not going to offer more. He had answered his former bosses’ question.
“And?” Gibbs probed, trying to get him to open up and tell him more.
“And, it was a pleasant conversation.”
“It doesn’t work over the phone. Actually, it doesn’t’ work anymore, period!” Tony replied. “You want to know how Abby is…talk to Abby!”
“She won’t talk to me.” Gibbs admitted, quietly.
“Her silver fox is a bit tarnished.”
“She’s disillusioned.” Tony stated.
Gibbs sighed. “That’s worse. I’d rather she be angry at me.”
“Like I said, Karma is a Grade A, Number 1, Bitch!”
“Where does that leave us?” Gibbs asked sincerely.
Tony didn’t answer immediately. But what he finally said gave Gibbs some hope. “You show in up Honolulu in a few months. We’ll talk about it.”
“You don’t play fair, DiNoteso!” Fornell started in as son as Tony picked up the phone. “But, on the other hand, you’ve made Gibbs an Internet sensation. Last I looked he had over 350K views.”
“I could have wooed you to the FBI, if I had more time.”
“Never, Fornell.” Tony replied. “That never would have happened.” He chuckled.
“I’m a better boss than Gibbs.”
“I’m not sure that that would be such a great feat.” Tony replied.
Fornell laughed. “Yeah, I think that you’re right.”
“Plus, I like being boss so much better.” Tony added.
Tobias nodded, even though Tony could not see him. “I’ve heard.”
“Yeah, I called for my monthly check in, and he gave me the news you had left. Then he sent me an email with ah link to the YouTube video.” Fornell paused. “He didn’t tell me what I would be seeing. It was….”
“Hilarious and horrifying…all at the same time?” Tony suggested.
Tobias nodded. “Yeah, that’s about right.” He paused again. “How are things going, by the way?”
“Really well. We are all getting along. The building is brand new. It’s great. I’m still getting used to Hawaii. The bugs grow big here.”
“What kind of house did they get you?”
“Well, it’s huge. I had my choice of two, actually. Both were seized from some white-collar criminals. But, I chose the one I did for the pool and the detached guest cottage and the outdoor kitchen. It has 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, fireplaces in all the bedrooms, a huge kitchen, and a home theater.” Tony replied. “I’ve had my team over twice already for a barbeque and for a movie night.”
“A detached cottage, huh?”
“I’m putting Gibbs out there when he visits.” Tony told him.
“He might never leave.”
“Hadn’t thought about that.” Tony admitted. “I’ll make him my pool boy. That’ll get him out of there.”
Both Tony and Tobias laughed.
“I’m glad things are going so well for you, DiNoteso.” Fornell said, sincerely.
“Gibbs hasn’t contacted you?” Tony asked. He was surprised that Fornell didn’t know things as they happened at NCIS. The FBI seemed to have the whole building bugged at times, considering how much they knew about NCIS business.
“He did. After he was fired and was on his way to Florida. Fornell said. “He even asked me to look after his house until it was sold. Somebody just put a contract down on it last week.”
“Fired? I thought….”
Tobias sighed. “It was quit for be fired. Either way, it looks bad on your record. And anyway, I thought he would have tried to talk to you first.”
Tony chuckled. “It took him a month to call me.”
“Wow! …never, ever expected that.”
“I thought sure he would be blowing up my phone on my way out of town that day. Never got a call.” Tony said. “Not a one, from anybody. That, that was probably the worst. I had already talked to Ducky and Jimmy, but….”
“Abby was being Abby? Tim was not seeing what was right in front of him? And Ziva was in denial?” Fornall stated.
“You sure you guys didn’t bug our bullpen?”
“No, I worked with you guys long enough and close enough to see a lot.” Tobias admitted. “And I’m glad you left. I’m not glad you’re not with the FBI. But, I am glad you got out while you could. Vance was not the only one who could see how unhappy you were.”
Tony smiled. “Thanks for looking out of me.”
“Absolutely, and you know, if you ever change your mind….”