Previously on NCIS
S6's Agent Afloat
DiNozzo: "Reassigned to D.C. effective immediately."
Gibbs returned to his desk as he watched his newly reunited team leave in the elevator. He looked up again to the stairs to see Vance peering down at him. As Vance continued down the stairs, Gibbs sighed and returned both a suspicious and angry glare at him.
"What are you doing, Leon?" Gibbs asked, as Vance approached his desk.
"You know, if you had actually looked in those agents' files, this. . ." Vance started to say with a mischievous grin.
"What was DiNozzo's mission? If it wasn't punishment, then what was the reason? There is no way you could have anticipated what happened on the Seahawk today." Gibbs said.
"You're right." Vance answered quickly and coolly. "There was no secret mission for DiNozzo, while he was afloat." Vance finally offered as he continued to feel the radiated Gibbs' stare. Gibbs could not hide his surprised and confused look from that confession.
"You asked me if I thought -- DiNozzo screwed the pooch in L.A." Vance's expression softened as he looked at Gibbs. "Do you think he did, Gibbs?" Vance asked directly.
"What!" Gibbs barked angrily. "I was the one fighting you to get him back. . ."
"Time for you to have a heart to heart with DiNozzo, then." Vance said quickly.
"I already told DiNozzo it wasn't his fault." Gibbs staring into Vance's eyes and closing the gap between them.
After an uncomfortable silence, Vance's expression softened again. "I sent him to sea, to avoid losing him as an agent."
Gibbs expression did not change, as he continued to stare at Vance.
"He blames himself. Nothing that is said will ever change that." Vance offered. The Gibbs' stare lightened for a moment as Gibbs looked down nodding in agreement.
"He resigned didn't he?" Gibbs looked at Vance with a surprised and irritated look.
"I told him if he wanted to quit. He would have to go to you to quit." Vance said. Gibbs's eyes widened in surprised.
"So you sent him to sea. . .?" Gibbs asked still in surprise. ". . .how did you think that complete isolation would help?"
"Well, he didn't quit, did he?" Vance responded somewhat nervously as he continued to receive the Gibbs' stare.
"It was for over four months. That was a punishment. He'll see it as a punishment." Gibbs shot back at Vance. Vance returned an angry glare as he started to edge away.
"A few good headslaps would have worked so much better, right?" Vance shot back as he walked away.