Disclaimer – If they were mine I would be much richer than this and there might actually be some point in suing me.

AN – This is my first NCIS fic and I'm very new to the series. Here in England us terrestrial TV people are only on season one. For the rest I have to rely on episode guides. So constructive criticism is welcome but please be kind. I wouldn't have written it, except it just wouldn't leave me alone!

From the moment Tony had flung himself out of bed that morning he had known this wasn't going to be a good day. A quick shower, a shave and only the barest nod in the direction of his usual thirty-minute grooming routine left him vulnerable to Kate's smirk as hair askew and a good twenty minutes late he edged warily out of the elevator.

"What did she do, DiNozzio? Hide your hair mousse?"

"Hair mousse?" He blinked, momentarily distracted, before running a self-conscious hand through his hair. "Bad?"

The shifting of her expression warned him that Gibbs had walked up behind him, seconds before his Boss spoke. "Something wrong with your alarm clock DiNozzio?"

"No, Boss," DiNozzio squared his shoulders and turned to face him. He knew from experience that with Gibbs honesty was always the best policy. Not least because the man always seemed to know when he was lying. "My alarm clock was working perfectly. I just slept through it."

"You slept through it?" Gibbs gaze narrowed.

"Yes, Boss."

Behind him Tony was acutely aware of Kate pretending to work on her computer as she waited to see how Gibbs would react to his admission. No doubt half hoping that he would ream him out right there and then. Frankly Tony might have preferred that to the way that Gibbs was looking at him, as if he could practically see through him.

"You're late tomorrow and you're fired," Gibb informed him curtly. "Now, see if you can pull up something on our current case. I'm going to see what Abby has."

"I'm on it, Boss."

"That's it?" Kate burst out, as soon as Gibbs was safely in the elevator. "What the hell happened to the second B?"

"What can I say?" Tony quipped, despite the hollow feeling in his stomach, because he knew she expected it. "He keeps me around for my dazzling personality."

Anyone with hearing less acute than his probably wouldn't have picked up her muttered retort. So, for once, he felt at liberty to ignore it. Besides, he had more important things to worry about. Like proving to a certain ex-marine gunnery sergeant that hiring him had indeed been a good idea at the time.

Nine hours later he was beginning to revise his own assessment. His mind really wasn't on the job and in his distraction he had spent the day lurching from one screw up to another, almost shrinking in his seat as Gibbs' jaw clenched tighter and tighter at each rookie mistake. And the worst part was he didn't smack him on the head. Not once.

Which was how Tony knew he was really in trouble.

"Alright, everyone, go home." Gibbs ordered at last. The case was closed and the reports were in. They could all enjoy some downtime until the next case arose.

With a collective murmur of relief everyone began turning off their computers and collecting together their bags, as they moved towards the elevator. Kate got there first, simply because her desk was the closest, although that didn't stop her tossing a gloating look over her shoulder at her colleagues.

"Not you DiNozzio."

At Gibbs terse command Kate's face twisted into a semi sympathetic smile, like a sibling who knew that someone else was gonna get it but was as glad as hell it wasn't them. Dropping his backpack and turning to face his Boss DiNozzio waited for the storm to break.

"Alright, what's going on?"

The tone was brusque and the blue eyes that fixed him in place told him he'd better have a dammed good reason for being such a liability today. Tony mentally winced and briefly calculated the wisdom of saying that everything was just fine. Except, he knew that Gibbs knew that he usually didn't have any problem checking his private issues at the door.

"I um," he hesitated. Why was this so dammed hard? "I need a personal day, Boss."

"You sick, DiNozzio?"

The tone was brusque, but the eyes were flecked with concern.

"Um, no, I, um, have to go to a funeral."

Gibbs expression didn't change, but his posture altered slightly as he pushed back from the desk a little and nodded at the chair to his right.


"What am I? A dog?" Dinozzio muttered under his breath, even as he instinctively obeyed. But he couldn't meet Gibbs eyes as the man perused him closely.

"Who died?"

"Not my father." The words came out as a hollow laugh, knowing that was what Gibbs was thinking. Ironic really. If it had been his father they were burying then at least he wouldn't have had to worry about facing him at the service. "Its his sister. My Aunt Teresa."

"The one who took you to pro games and introduced you to classic movies?" Gibbs gaze sharpened.

Tony nodded silently. After his mother had died his Aunt Teresa had done what she could to ease the growing tension between him and his father and afterwards when his father had sliced him out of his will and his life and his heart, he'd once, during a particularly harrying case involving child neglect, admitted to Gibbs that that she had been his lifeline to something approaching normal life.

"When's the funeral?" Gibbs interrupted his thoughts.

"Um, Thursday. In Las Vegas."

"Alright." Gibbs nodded.


"You can have your personal day. Leave it with me, I'll square it with the Director."

"Right, thanks, Boss."

As DiNozzio lifted himself out of the chair and made his way towards the elevator and reached up to press the button he wondered why he felt oddly disappointed. He had got what he wanted, hadn't he?

Early the next morning he was woken from a not so restful sleep by the incessant ringing of his cell phone. Torn from his bad dreams he fumbled blearily for the hand set on his side table, before bringing it to his ear.


"Pack a bag," Gibbs curt tones informed him. "I'll be by to pick you up in twenty minutes. Don't be late."

"Not another road trip, Boss," he groaned. "Didn't you sign that requisition I put in for a private jet?"

"Thirty-six cents a mile." Gibbs reminded him, before he hung up.

Eighteen minutes later he came out onto the sidewalk just as Gibbs screeched to a halt.

"Trying to beat your best time again, Boss?" He quipped, hoping to distract Gibbs from the dark circles under his eyes. It was a good job he used an electric razor, otherwise he had no doubt he would also be sporting a nick on his chin from shaving with shaking hands.

"Not trying. Succeeding," Gibbs gave him a cursory glance before turning his attention back to the road. "Sleep well?"

So much for distraction.

"If by well, you meaning tossing and turning all night whist being tortured by nightmares I can't remember, then yeah Boss, I slept very well, thanks for asking." Tony didn't see any point in lying about the obvious.

"You sure?" Gibbs asked, as he took the corner sharply, tipping the car onto two wheels.

"Yeah, pretty sure," Tony nodded fervently. "Um, about what exactly?"

"That you can't remember." Gibbs asked, not taking his eyes off the road.

"Nothing that would stand up in court," Tony rubbed at the bridge of his nose and changed the subject. "So, where are we going?"

"Here." Gibbs reached over into the back seat and snagged a folder, which he dropped into Tony's lap.

Opening the folder, he expected to see details of their latest case, instead his eyes widened as a pair of conference brochures full into his lap.

"Aw Boss, not another training seminar. Didn't we just do one of these things with Human Resources?"

"According to the Director the problem was we didn't actually do it."

"Hey, it said all agents not working active cases," Tony read the subject of the seminar. "Um, Boss. This thing is about advances in security technology."

"Don't say anything, DiNozzio." Gibbs growled.

"I wasn't going to," Tony assured him, all too familiar with Gibbs dislike of technology. "I was just thinking it."

"Well don't."

"You know," DiNozzio speculated. "We should really get a geek to deal with this kinda thing."

"I'll send the Director a memo," Gibbs agreed. "In the meantime, we're going."

"Um, Boss," DiNozzio bit his lip as he read further down the page. "It says here that this thing runs from Wednesday through Friday."

"You have a problem with that DiNozzio?"

Tony gave him a sharp look, wondering if going to the seminar with a bored and pissed off Gibbs was some kind of punishment for his recent screw-ups. But he had never known Gibbs to go back on his word and Gibbs had said he would square it, so he looked more closely at the seminar information. And swallowed hard.

"Vegas?" His head snapped up, just as Gibbs signalled for the turnoff for the airport. "We're going to Vegas? Together?"