Nearly two weeks had passed, Gibbs spent those two weeks observing his team and watching Tony closely, who seemed to be covering his tracks much better. Meanwhile, Gibbs had finally convinced Ziva that she did not need to worry about Tony, and that no one on her team was seriously ill. In those two weeks, Tony had only disappeared for a short period of time, once. Ever since Gibbs had the talk with Tony, Gibbs wondered if a talk with the director was still even necessary.
The team had a new assignment to focus on, when Mossad contacted Ziva regarding the arms dealer, Goliath. His location was in the Washington D.C. area. During the apprehension of Goliath, Gibbs managed to have some lighthearted conversations with Tony on the plane, which seemed to be the first time in a long time that the two had done that. Just as Gibbs hoped that he would get somewhere in finding out what was going on with Tony, this serious, new national security threat was presented by Goliath. As Gibbs had McGee and Abby investigated the validity of Goliath's threat, the plane that they were on landed in Washington D. C.
As Gibbs, McGee, and Ziva identified a person of interest, named Charles Harrow, Gibbs ordered DiNozzo and Ziva to bring him into headquarters. However, Ziva had noticed that Tony had once again disappeared and pointed that out to Gibbs. Ziva believed that--whatever was going on with Tony, needed to be addressed by Gibbs, the team leader. As McGee went with Ziva instead, Gibbs searched for where Tony had run off to. After checking the bathroom, he found Tony around the corner, whispering into his cell phone. As he approached, he heard some of what Tony was saying.
"My heart is throbbing. I've done a self diagnosis here, and uh… it's not good. I need some relief from the good doctor." Tony said into his cell phone, but then senses that Gibbs is behind him. He turns, face filled with shock.
"I gotta go." Tony made that one last statement into his cell phone before hanging up.
"I was just uh… um… I've got to get back to work." Many expressions seemed to be coloring Tony's face, which seemed to be a combination of shock, worry, and embarrassment. Gibbs just stood there letting Tony lead, but Tony ran off rather than trying to explain. Gibbs watched and waited for Tony to give something away, but he ran off so quickly, which seemed to leave Gibbs in even more confusion. Tony was talking to a doctor. Why was he talking to a doctor? Is he really sick? Forget about asking him "that" question, though! Why is Tony being so secretive? Gibbs wondered once again, as he watched Tony walk away.
Tony made it as far as his desk but froze noticing that McGee and Ziva were gone. He looked around the bullpen in confusion. Gibbs came up behind him and noticed Tony's confusion.
"They went to pick up Charles Harrow, the designer of ARES." Gibbs stated as he walked past Tony, but then Gibbs turned to be directly facing him. He arched his eye browns as he gave Tony a very concerned look.
"Tony?" Gibbs started.
"Yeah, Boss?" Tony answered, started to squirm from the stare Gibbs was giving him. Tony knew that Gibbs heard at least some of that phone conversation. The very thought that he would once again end up on Ducky's table being examined was only adding to the frustration. Tony had been keeping so many secrets from the team for so long that he had just become so overwhelmed with guilt.
Tony noticed Gibbs sigh, as he was about to turn and head for his desk. Then Tony finally blurted out a clue that would hopefully satisfy Gibbs.
"I am dating a doctor, Boss!" Tony blurted out quickly, and then gave a pained look on his face. "I am sorry for keeping this from you." Gibbs just looked at Tony, showing no real visible reaction.
However, Gibbs was so relieved and, at the same time, so amused at what Tony had just told him that he forced himself not to laugh. A doctor, Tony? All this time that Ziva and I thought you had been sick and here you have been dating a doctor? What is so different about this girlfriend that you haven't broken it off like you usually do? Is there a reason why you are being so secretive about this? A committed relationship--what changed? Gibbs continued to wonder and connect the dots, but he didn't pursue it any further. After processing what Tony had just confessed to him, he was about to head toward his desk but stopped, when it looked like Tony actually had more to add to the confession.
"I am giving a serious relationship a try." Tony nodded as he told Gibbs. Gibbs had remembered that Tony had told Ducky the same thing.
"And, you felt that needed to be kept secret?" Gibbs wasn't going to pursue this, but since Tony seemed to want to share, he went ahead and asked.
"I didn't want this to end up being the main plot of McAuthor's next book." Tony barked.
"It's fiction!" Gibbs shot back.
"Yeah?" Tony started to say. "Tell that to my father!" Gibbs laughed at how frustrated Tony was pretending to be. Tony just looked down at the floor. Then Gibbs stopped laughing, taking in Tony's body language.
"You're serious?" Gibbs got right into his face and thought to himself. You can't be serious! That is why you have kept this a secret--because of McGee's novel!?
Tony looked at him a second and then started to snicker.
"If Agent Tommy had a serious relationship, it wouldn't make a best selling novel. That is for sure." Tony jokingly waved off Gibbs' concern, as he tried to escape the corner that he trapped himself into.
Gibbs looked back over at Tony, who had now sat down at his desk and was trying to refocus on their case. Gibbs let out a chuckle, after remembering how Tony just blurted it out, after all this time and effort trying to keep it a secret.
Tony informed Gibbs that McGee's computer had found possible connections to arms dealers and Charles Harrow. He kept watching Tony intently, but the hit on Trent Kort, who was on the FBI watch list seemed to get a very unusual reaction from Tony.
"Trent Thomas Kort, thirty-seven years old. British National. Believed to have recently joined…" Tony started to read off of McGee's computer search. Gibbs turned to see why he had stopped reading. When he turned, he saw that Tony was intensely staring at the Plasma and at the picture of Trent Kort. Gibbs noted the haunted expression that seemed to cover Tony's face. What is it Tony? You are all full of surprises, today. This has something to do with the director now, doesn't it? Gibbs continued to wonder.
After watching Tony for a moment, Gibbs finally asked. "Hey, do you know this guy?"
"No, I've never seen him before. Those Hawaiian shirts…." Tony answered and then started reading the brief bio notes on file. Gibbs was so shocked that Tony had lied to him and kept trying to read Tony's body language as Tony continued to read the bio. Tony just lied to me. Why? Gibbs asked himself. Tony finished reading, and then noticed that Gibbs was still staring at him. Tony gave out a cough, and then held his stomach.
"That breakfast burrito I had this morning isn't agreeing with me after that flight, Boss, you'll have to excuse me." Gibbs noted the second lie and watched as Tony then made his way for the bathroom. Gibbs never let his eyes off of him. Not a good idea to play the "I feel sick" card right now, Tony.
When Tony was out of site, Gibbs finally sat at his own desk to type his own briefing paper. Gibbs then stopped and wondered if he was just becoming too suspicious of Tony. Gibbs knew Tony wasn't there, but he got up to check the men's room, anyway. When he found that Tony was not there, like he had suspected, he headed straight for the director's office. In normal Gibbs' style, he barged right in to find Jenny Shepard asking Cynthia to contact Agent Gibbs, as Tony was sitting on the edge of her desk right next to her.
After an infuriating and quick interaction with Jenny Shepard, Gibbs found himself being followed into the bathroom by none other than, Tony. I thought I was following you. Gibbs laughed to himself. Tony started his apology now for keeping his undercover work a secret. Gibbs was internally shaking his head in amusement. Well, you wouldn't be in the position you are in right now, if you weren't keeping so many secrets, DiNozzo! Gibbs thought.
"Yeah. The point is, I owe you everything. You taught me how to do this job. I never wanted to lie to you." Tony continued to give a truly sincere apology that even Gibbs appreciated. Wow, that just came out of Tony's mouth?
"Hell, DiNozzo, you were following orders. I would have done the same thing." Gibbs added, seeing how hard Tony was trying to make his apology stick, with a guy who doesn't accept apologies.
"Would you?" Tony asked.
"Yeah." Gibbs answered slightly irritated at the question.
"You would have lied to Mike Franks?" Tony asked, but Gibbs instead threw paper in the garbage can and left. Gibbs headed back to his desk, quickly, as he mentally answered the question. No, first of all DiNozzo, I have known Jenny Shepard a long time, and I would not have kept one of her secrets from Mike Franks. Although Gibbs could see how guilt ridden Tony was and he had given Gibbs an apology that he could accept, Tony had Ziva and him really worried, for weeks. Gibbs could accept the apology, but he couldn't accept the reasoning.
As he sat at his desk, Gibbs finally froze at the realization of what little Jenny Shepard had told him.
"When you left on your margarita safari… New operations were put in motion. One sent Tony undercover." Gibbs opened his mouth wide open, first looking up, and then dropping his head into his hands. The whole time. . .the whole time I have been back, Tony has been working undercover. Gibbs kept his head between his hands in frustration. And, I missed this!? Gibbs shot his head back up angrily. Gibbs shook his head back and forth.
If Ziva hadn't. . . Gibbs thought, but didn't finish when he saw Tony heading back to his desk, as the phone rang. Ziva had called to tell him that Charles Harrow was dead. After getting that phone call, the rest of the day was a roller coaster ride learning about Jenny Shepard's' personal vendetta against La Grenouille.
Trent Kort, Charles Harrow, the CIA, undercover work" well I got my answer as to what Jenny has been having Tony work on. Wonder if Ziva picked up on any of this, also?
Gibbs got into his car. As he just sat there, he continued to wonder how it came to be that Jenny was using her position as director to go after an arms dealer, whom she has a personal vendetta against. Was Tony ordered or did he volunteer to become a part of this? Can I even speculate what Tony would do anymore?
As Gibbs continued to stare out his car window, he thought back to when he first returned to NCIS from Mexico, back when Tony was literally imitating Gibbs as team leader. Gibbs gave a partial smile and shook his head at that. He then squinted as he remembered back to their real first case, since his return that didn't involve Mike Franks or Ziva being accused. When the team was waiting for the search warrant to investigate the property of the serial killer, Tony had disappeared for over two hours. To run errands!? Then, all the supposed "doctor's appointments" started, after that.
Gibbs continued to stare straight ahead as he sat in his car at the end of this difficult day. If a head slap stops him from acting like DiNozzo, what should be done to make him act like DiNozzo?