Ziva, McGee, and Gibbs stood there as the director walked off.
"You two go home." Gibbs said, as he hurried to catch up with the director. After his short discussion with her, Gibbs was ready to go home. When he stopped at his desk, he heard the elevator doors open again.
"Tony?" Gibbs said much louder than he planned. "What are you doing here? I thought you were long gone." Gibbs didn't hide his surprise.
Tony had visibly jumped from Gibbs's voice. Tony looked back at him in surprise, as he slowly made his way toward his own desk.
"I forgot my cell phone." Tony pointed at it as he answered the question.
"Got big plans tonight?" Gibbs asked with a grin. Tony turned to look at him, surprised that the question was coming from Gibbs.
"No." Tony answered unenthusiastically as he looked down at a spot on the floor. "There's a Magnum P.I. marathon on, though." Tony said as he looked back up.
"Uh-huh." Gibbs shook his head and slightly laughed at that. "Come over and help me tonight." Gibbs made the offer, which sounded more like an order.
"Awe Boss." Tony laughed. "I thought you ordered me to never pick up another piece of sand paper or a power tool again."
"I am about to burn this one, Tony." Gibbs smiled. "I doubt you can cause much more damage to the boat than that." Tony tilted his head and nodded, still surprised by the offer.
In the basement, Gibbs cleared off his worktable, starting to wonder if his offer actually scared Tony off. The basement door then opened and Tony walked in carrying a pizza box.
"Pizza?" Tony asked, when he set it down.
"I started to wonder if you were still coming." Gibbs turned to study him.
"Sorry, Boss. I ordered this thing right before I went back to the office for my cell." Tony explained as he grabbed his first piece. He turned to face the boat.
"So, you really burn the boats, after you make them?" Tony asked in a much lighter tone. Gibbs looked at him and nodded.
"You know, this reminds me of that movie. . ." Tony started to say but then trailed off when he saw Gibbs' reaction.
"So what do you need me to do?" Tony asked. Gibbs handed him a paintbrush.
"Boss, why bother to decorate it, if you are just going to burn it?" Tony asked. He found this entertaining. Gibbs gave a look that indicated that Tony should already know the answer. Tony then got quiet as he headed for the unpainted part of the boat.
After a few minutes of silence, Gibbs looked over at Tony, as he replayed the events of the day in his head.
"So. . . where was the director going to send you this time? If you had taken it?" Gibbs asked. He watched Tony as he visibly jolted backwards in surprise. He stopped what he was doing and looked at Gibbs.
"How do you find these things out?" Tony asked slightly irritated. He shook his head and squinted at him.
"Where?" Gibbs asked, looking away from him a moment.
"Wouldn't have had to leave D.C. this time." Tony answered as he focused on painting. Gibbs looked over at him in total shock. Gibbs had to ask the burning question.
"Why didn't you take it? Why didn't you even consider taking it?" Gibbs asked, slightly snapping at Tony. Tony lifted his shoulders, making an "I don't know" gesture.
"Not ready." Tony finally answered, without looking at Gibbs. Gibbs continued to stare at him. The hell you are not. Gibbs thought and shook his head, as he continued to watch him.
"Boss, have you ever considered putting on racing stripes?" Tony asked, trying to change the subject.
"No." Gibbs said firmly with a slight smile. He turned to face Tony again.
"Did you know I had a talk with Jeanne, today?" Gibbs asked, waiting for Tony's reaction, which was about as he had suspected. Tony stopped, slowly stood up to face him with a worried look on his face.
"Really?" Tony sighed. He then looked at Gibbs nervously.
"She was the witness in the case, so I went to talk to her about The Frog." Gibbs stated.
"You know, Tony, up to this point, I had thought you were actually still dating her --somehow." Gibbs shared indicating that he was somewhat puzzled. "You don't flirt anymore, and you don't even seem to notice women anymore."
"Weeeell." Tony said slowly with a slight laugh. "There is a reason for that." Tony looked at him painfully. Gibbs looked at him waiting for the answer. Tony swallowed hard.
"I haven't been dating." Tony stated and then quickly squatted back down to paint, avoiding Gibbs' shocked stare.
"Tony." Gibbs said not knowing if he should pursue this any further. This conversation was getting too personal, and he did not want Tony to think he was being like Fornell.
". . .just not ready, Boss." Tony offered before Gibbs could ask. He looked away as he said it.
"Like you're not ready to lead a team?" Gibbs asked sarcastically, as he watched Tony. He had tried to stop himself, but the investigator side of him would not let him.
"Yeah." Tony answered emotionless and then finally looked at him. Tony then stood up and walked over to him. He leaned against the table, grabbing a slice a pizza. He let out a sigh.
"I know. You all have become to expect me to act in a certain way." Tony said in a slightly irritated tone, almost taunting Gibbs. Gibbs just stood there, speechless as Tony made the statement.
"That isn't DiNozzo-like enough!" Tony said loudly. "Try again!"
"DiNozzo?" Gibbs finally said forcefully. Tony turned to look at him.
"Do I need to head slap you?" Gibbs asked forcefully.
"Probably, Boss." Tony answered in a guilty tone. Tony looked at him confused, when he didn't do it though. Gibbs started to walk away.
"What?" Gibbs turned around to look at him. "You expected me to actually do it?" Gibbs said, with a grin, which made Tony laugh.
"You know, this is a nice boat, Boss." Tony said in an almost apologetic manner.
"You sure you don't want to like burn the house down, instead? So, you know, you can get the boat out." Tony teased. Gibbs grinned and gave him a questioning look. Tony then walked back over with his paintbrush.
Gibbs knew he should stop. However, since Tony hadn't bolted yet, there was one other question that Gibbs wanted Tony to answer. He stopped and faced Tony.
"Yeah, Boss?" Tony looked nervously at him wondering what he was planning to say or ask now.
"Do you think Trent Kort really killed La Grenouille?" Gibbs asked watching Tony's reaction. Tony tried very hard not to react at all, since he was looking directly at Gibbs.
"He is capable of it." Tony answered as he swallowed hard.
"Yeah, but do you think he did it?" Gibbs asked again, getting slightly irritated that Tony wasn't really answering the question.
"If Kort said he did, then I believe him." Tony said then looked down, as he went for more paint. Gibbs continued to stare at him curiously. Why can't you answer me? Just a yes or no, Tony. Gibbs thought as he continued to watch him.
Gibbs first wondered if the vague response was because Tony knew who the killer was and was ordered to keep it a secret. He then considered that the vague response was because Tony had a theory, much like Ziva's, of what had happened. You are holding something back, Tony. Gibbs thought as he gave him another questioning look, but Gibbs chose to let it go for now.
Gibbs then stopped trying to investigate and refocused on the boat. He noticed that Tony was almost done, so Gibbs started to look around for something for him to do next. Gibbs noticed, that once Tony had finally gotten here, he seemed to really perk up. Therefore, he didn't want Tony to just go home to watch endless hours of Magnum trying to distract himself from what happened today.
Tony started laughing. Gibbs stopped, stood straight up, and looked over at him in confusion.
"Tony?" Gibbs asked as he gave him a puzzled look.
"Oh, did you hear about what Palmer and Agent Lee were caught doing today, while we were all locked up?" Tony started to say, but he could not stop laughing.
The End, There might be more, when Season 6 starts.
Thank you for all your feedback. It was very helpful!