A/N: The idea for this little ficlet came before I saw Hiatus Part 2. Everything that happens in the episode happens in this story, except Gibbs doesn't resign. Since we never saw the Director or Ducky tell the rest of the team about Shannon and Kelly, I'm going to assume they don't know yet. I plan on addressing that in a future story. Thanks go out to my beta, Rinkle, who gives me lovely feedback and corrects my punctuation.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and unfortunately don't make money from my writing. This story is for entertainment purposes only, no copyright infringement is intended.Time to Cut Losses, by Tweeter
"You're not Gibbs, Tony."
Abby's words stung. She was one person he thought would support him. He knew he wasn't Gibbs, but he wasn't exactly inexperienced. He missed Gibbs, too. He wouldn't admit worrying, though, that would mean doubting the Boss and his ability to bounce back. Doubting Gibbs would send his entire world askew and he couldn't afford that right now. There was a terrorist to catch, an unknown plot to derail. Gibbs would be okay. He would wake from his coma in time to save the day. He was Gibbs, after all. The quiet hero. The Man with no Name. He always comes through in the end.
Tony came from behind Gibbs' desk. "You're right, acting like Gibbs doesn't make me the boss, being senior agent does. So if drinking coffee, staring or whacking the back of your head helps me lead this team...live with it." Tony pushed his way past Ziva and Abby and left the squadroom.
Gibbs has amnesia. He doesn't remember them. Tony's heart sank, not just for the case and their chance of getting information on the terrorist plot, but because his mentor doesn't remember him. It was Gibbs' silent support and leadership by example that helped mold Tony into the exceptional agent he is today. If Gibbs doesn't remember him, does that capable agent still exist?
Logically, Tony knew that was crazy thinking, but emotionally, he doesn't know what he'd do if he didn't get the subtle signs of approval, the trust, from his boss. The others follow Tony's orders, but they do it because of what he said. He's the Senior Field Agent, he's in charge, therefore they must do what he says, no matter what they think of him. And they don't trust him or respect him the way they do Gibbs. He really doesn't blame them... much. It's not as if Tony has the air of a consummate agent, a true professional. But he was a good agent, damn it, more than good. Gibbs wouldn't have tolerated anything less than an excellent agent as his Senior Field Agent, they should know that and respect that.
Respect. That's what was missing. They don't see past his immature, fratboy persona. They don't see the agent who always had the answers Gibbs needed, when he needed them. The investigator who could see a connection in a number of seemingly random facts. The man who cared deeply for his teammates, even as he drove them crazy with his teasing and pranks.
Tony sighed. He was alone in the squad room. The Cape Fear had been blown up, taking along anyone and anything near it. Over a dozen civilian and Navy personnel, dead. For what? To save the government embarrassment if civilians witnessed a botched boarding. To keep the news that a terrorist was able to obtain a position on a civilian vessel carrying arms to Navy ships in the Middle East.
Ducky had driven Gibbs home. The Senior Agent was tired, physically and emotionally. The anger and frustration over the callousness of the powers that be had taken its toll, but knowing him, he'd back at work in the morning.
It had been a stressful, draining few days. He should probably wait a few days, let his head clear and his emotions settle down, but the facts were irrefutable. He was never going to be a leader to the others on the team, and if they didn't think he was good enough to lead them, he would never be the solid second for Gibbs. Gibbs deserved to have someone he could trust to take over an investigation when necessary; someone who inspired the trust and loyalty that Gibbs inspired, nothing less. Not people who only followed him because they knew the real leader would be returning.
Feeling as if he had a hundred pound weight on his shoulders, Tony printed off the resignation letter he always had waiting in the wings. Briefly, he thought about waiting until Gibbs had had a chance to get back into the swing of things before giving it to him, but he thought it was better just to leave. No muss, no fuss.
Sighing, Tony shut down his computer and turned off his desk lamp. Picking up his pack, he walked slowly to the elevator. He really loved it here, more than any other job he had. He felt he had found a family, good friends. But he needed to be more than that. To the rest of the team, he wasn't.