The next morning, Gibbs was about to hit the up button on the lift, when Jenny Shepard entered as well.
"Good Morning," She said, in her normally enthusiastic tone and smile.
"Morning," Gibbs responded, emotionless.
"So how is Tony doing? I heard what happened last night. Is he okay?" She asked.
"He told me he is fine." Gibbs answered, in an unconvincing manner. Jenny looked at him, curiously, but Gibbs avoided her gaze.
"Doesn't sound like you believe that, Jethro?" She turned to look at him and asked.
"He seems fine." Gibbs quickly answered, so that Jenny would turn away from him. "But, he is acting so differently than the DiNozzo I know, that I honestly can't say for sure that he is fine."
"What?" Jenny mouthed the word, looking straight at him, amused.
"That is ironic." Jenny said with a snicker. Gibbs looked at her, and then turned to face her in curiosity.
"You two are so much a like." Jenny stated. Gibbs was totally lost now and just kept staring at her, waiting for an explanation.
"He was worried about you, and now you are worried about him." Jenny said with a playful smile. Gibbs hit the emergency stop and gave her a really strong stare to show he was irritated.
Jenny stopped teasing and looked seriously at Gibbs. "Did Tony ever tell you about his job promotion?"
"He doesn't tell me anything any more. And, I wonder, if I have you to thank for that." Gibbs shot back at her. Knowing that she had gone too far teasing Gibbs, she simply ignored his last statement.
"The same week, that you decided to come back permanently from retirement, Tony was offered his own team." Jenny started to explain.
"Why didn't he take it?" Gibbs responded, completely taken aback.
"I believe his explanation was because you had a mustache." Jenny said in amusement.
"Are you telling me, that Tony, turned down a promotion just a few months ago because he was worried about me?" Gibbs asked in confusion. Jenny smile and nodded. Then she flipped the emergency stop button, and the elevator doors were about to open.
". . .it was because of your mustache. And, now you shaved it off, so there is nothing to be worried about." Jenny said, once again teasing Gibbs. Gibbs kept giving her a sideway glare to indicate his irritation from her finding this so amusing. The elevator doors opened on the top level near Jenny's office. She started to exit, but turned to face him. "There is nothing to worry about." Jenny said in a serious and caring tone.
"Where was he going to be assigned? . . .if he had taken it? Gibbs asked.
"Rota, Spain." Jenny answered and headed for her office. Gibbs then headed down the stairs.
He could hear Tony and Ziva joking about the price of McGee's new jacket, as he approached. Gibbs looked over at Tony, who really did seem fine today.
Then the new case started, Lt. Saunders walked in, "Dead-Man Walking", asking the team to investigate, his own murder. Gibbs assigned Ziva to protection detail, McGee to Saunders' background search, and Tony to accompany him to Lt. Saunders' work. As Gibbs and Tony were driving to Lt. Saunders' work, Gibbs turned to look at Tony.
"You all right?" Gibbs asked, referring to the case they had just finished and about Carson.
"Yeah." Tony answered with a sigh, feeling that this question was becoming very redundant lately.
"What do you have against Rota, Spain?" Gibbs asked, turning to watch Tony's strong reaction.
Tony's eyes shot wide open, but he continued to face forward. He could sense Gibbs was staring at him, waiting for a response.
"Nothing, Boss, nice place." Tony stated casually, worrying where this discussion was going.
"You really did turn down an opportunity to lead your own team then because I had a mustache!? Gibbs ended the question, shouting. Tony snickered, when those words come from Gibbs.
"Well, it wasn't actually because of the. . .mustache." Tony chuckled. Then looked over at the all-serious and irritated stare that Gibbs was giving him.
"I never expected you to hear about this, Boss." Tony answered with a smile and another nervous chuckle. Gibbs gave him a sideways glare.
"That wasn't the real reason." Tony repeated. "Though, I was worried about you. . .at the time. The mustache was just sort of part of the package." Tony said with another nervous laugh. Gibbs continued to look at him, though his expression softened.
"No kidding." Gibbs retorted.
"And then there was the part--that no one ever asked me, if I even would be interested in leading my own team." Tony answered, truthfully. "I never wanted it." Gibbs squinted at him in confusion.
"Never?" Gibbs asked. "How about when I retired?" This question made Tony freeze. He hadn't expected Gibbs to make that connection.
"Uh, that was. . .different, Boss." Tony answered and winced.
"Always knew you would come back." Tony answered more as a question and with a big smile. Gibbs gave a warning look.
"Wasn't happy about it--no, but at least McGee and Ziva were still there. You were the only one gone. I was relieved when you came back though. Very relieved." Tony admitted to Gibbs. Gibbs nodded in understanding and was happy that Tony had finally opened up to him.
"Here I thought you enjoyed imitating me." Gibbs tried to act insulted.
"Next time, I plan to retire." Gibbs started to say, now amused by this, as he parked the car. "I'll ask you first." Gibbs said with a smile.
"Just don't retire, okay?" Tony added sarcastically. Tony looked at him and laughed, then got serious.
"Just a little warning, in both cases, actually, would have been. . . nice." Tony said slowly. Gibbs nodded in understanding.
As they pulled up at the entrance of the Saunders' work, Gibbs looked over at Tony, smiled, and shook his head. Tony was staring in awe of the red Ferrari that they had just parked next to.
"Tony?" Gibbs finally said firmly.
"Yeah Boss." Tony jolted and got out of the car. As Gibbs opened the door to get out, he let out a grunt. Jenny was right. . .about "everything." And Ziva, too. Ah, if that isn't irritating? Gibbs thought as he got out.
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