Title: Beyond the End
Author: Lizabeth S Tucker
Genre: Missing Scene
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: None
Summary: A confrontation between Tony and Madame Director.
Warnings: None
Spoilers: Hiatus, Part II
Disclaimer: Of course I don't own 'em, Uncle Sam (and DPB, et al) does. Although the government owns me as well, so maybe Tony and I could be cubicle buddies? (NCIS)

Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo watched as his boss, his mentor, his friend left with Ducky, his heart in his throat. His thumb rubbed absently on the soft leather identification wallet, frozen in place with the other members of Jethro Gibbs' team. He continued watching as the silver elevator doors closed, unconsciously biting his lower lip.

"DiNozzo, let me have those." Director Jenny Shepard held his hand out for the items given to DiNozzo's care.

Unconsciously taking a step back, Tony clutched the wallet tightly in his grip. "No, ma'am."

"Excuse me, Agent DiNozzo?"

"I said no, ma'am." Tony gritted his teeth in an effort to contain his swirling emotions. "I'll just keep these until Special Agent Gibbs returns."

"DiNozzo…Tony, he quit. And after that scene in MTAC, he'll be lucky he has a decent departure review."

Tony sensed the approach of both Tim McGee and Ziva David and shook his head slightly. He didn't want them involved in the confrontation to come. "Ma'am, with all due respect, Gibbs is in no condition to be making any life-changing decisions. As Senior agent, I will be preparing his time sheets to show him out on sick leave. He would've been entitled to at least two to four weeks based on the injuries he incurred. In addition, he has more than enough annual leave and accrued comp time to be gone six months. And that's what his time will be reported under."

"You're making a habit of overriding my orders, Agent DiNozzo," the Director stated coldly.

"Yes, ma'am, it does seem that way. But as I've already said, you're not a fool. Only a fool would allow Gibbs to make a decision like this and take him up on it."

"And if I said that you'd be put on report, possibly suspension for your insubordination?"

Tony shrugged. "Wouldn't be the first time, Madame Director. Doubt it'll be the last."

They glared at each other, both stubbornly sticking to their position. Tony had no plans to back off on this, even if it led to his firing. He would protect his boss' job, no matter what it took.

But the Director was equally determined, aware that losing this fight could demean her position with the other members of NCIS. She could see other agents appearing to watch, all carefully staying back out of the line of fire. Except for Gibbs' remaining team members, now joined by a glaring Abigail Sciuto.

Forced into a corner she didn't care to be in, Shepard nodded. "Fine, DiNozzo. Agent Gibbs will remain on sick leave until such time as a written resignation notice is received or his leave is exhausted."

"Sick and annual, ma'am," Tony corrected.

"Don't push me, DiNozzo."

"Sick and annual, Madame Director."

Grimacing, Shepard nodded again. "Fine, until all his leave is exhausted." She turned on her heel to leave the bull pen, the other agents moving out of her way as she passed. As she reached the elevator, she turned. "Don't disobey me again, Agent DiNozzo. Next time you'll be suspended."

"Of course, ma'am."

"And stop calling me ma'am!" She stalked into open elevator, avoiding making eye contact with her audience.

After the doors of the elevator closed, Tony seemed to come awake, noticing that there was a crowd hovering around their area. "Okay, okay, the show's over. Don't you people have something to do?"

As everyone began to leave, Tony gentled his grip on Gibbs' effects, taking them to his desk to lock up in the bottom drawer. He tapped the wallet with his forefinger before looking at the others.

"McGee, Ziva, Abby, you should all go home, get some sleep. Gibbs might be temporarily gone, but our work continues."

McGee smiled at Tony. "You were really something, Tony."

"Was I?" Tony sighed deeply. "I'll pay for it, believe me."

"I could talk to her, Tony, if…" Ziva offered.

"No!" he snapped, then gentled his voice. "No, thanks, Ziva, but no. I can take whatever comes."

"But, Tony," Abby said, "she might suspend you."

"Or fire you," McGee commented.

Their friend and coworker shrugged. "Maybe it's time I moved on. I've been here longer than any other job."

"You'd leave us?" Abby threw herself into Tony's arms.

Kissing her softly on the cheek, Tony denied it. "Not willingly, Abs. But it's always a possibility. I've made a serious enemy, one that could hurt all our careers. I don't mind so much, but you guys have to back away from me. Especially you, Tim. You're destined for bigger and better things. I'll never be more than a Special Agent, maybe a Team Leader, and that's fine for me. But you…"

"Geez, Tony, thanks."

Tony grinned. "I'm delirious, not enough sleep if I'm saying things like that to you, in front of everyone. So, go! Go home. Come back tomorrow and we'll see what happens."

Tim and Abby walked out arm in arm, their heads close to each other. Tony watched them leave with a fond smile.

"Tony, that was a very brave thing you did. I don't think Madame Director will be pleased with you over this."

"Nope, Ziva, I don't think she will be. But that's the breaks. I'm not letting them force Gibbs out. As long as I can, I'm going to protect his job."

"You're a good friend, Tony." Ziva gave him a quick hug, grabbed her bag and ran out of the bull pen, leaving the building by way of the stairs.

Alone, Tony walked to Gibbs' desk, sitting down in his boss' chair. He spun around and looked at the pictures pinned to the bulletin board. He smiled as he saw a group shot of the team, back when Kate was still alive. They were all dressed up, even Gibbs. He remembered the night clearly. It had been an award dinner, one of which was given to former Secret Service Agent Caitlin Todd for services rendered before being forced out and joining NCIS.

"You'll be back, boss. You have to come back. I…I need you. I haven't learned everything I can from you yet. And I need you to…to keep me sane."

Tony reached over and snapped Gibbs desk light off, then got his own bag and walked out, never looking back.

May 2006