Author's Note: This is set during Season 6, sometime after the episode Cloak. Although this contains no true spoilers, there are some minor details from Season 4, Agent Afloat and Collateral Damage. But, honestly, I got the ideas for this from reading the episode summary for the upcoming episode Bounce and from the casting call information for the new NCIS spinoff. (total speculation here--most likely way off too)

S6 Cloak

Secretary of the Navy to Director Vance: When the vacancy was created at the top of your agency, you induced me to give you this post. The deal was quite simple. Get your house in order.

Gibbs set his coffee down on his desk, as he waited for his team to arrive that morning. Since they did not have a case yet this week, Gibbs wondered if it was a good opportunity to attempt reading his emails again.

"Wow! Two-hundred, seventy-eight!" Gibbs cursed to himself. Gibbs gave a sigh of relief, when his cell-phone rang.

"I need to see you." Vance said.

"On my way." Gibbs turned off his monitor and went to the director's office. Gibbs hesitated, when entering the office. There were agent files stacked all over Vance's desk. The memory of how Gibbs' team was split up had suddenly flooded his mind.

Vance sat down as Gibbs made his way over to the covered desk. He gave Gibbs a slightly pained smile as the both of them looked at the huge stacks.

"SecNav wants a new team created. I can't get into details just yet. However, I have been going through all the agents' files to select potential candidates." Vance explained, as he gestured for Gibbs to have a seat.

". . .including your agents." Vance then added as he waited to see how Gibbs would respond to that. Gibbs' face hardened, and he tried to completely shelter his brewing anger, as he let Vance continue.

"But, don't worry, Gibbs. Your team will remain intact." Vance added. "Your evaluations are due on each of your team members, though, I might add." Gibbs closed his eyes in relief, but he still tried to remain unaffected by the conversation. Vance started to shift uncomfortably in his chair. Gibbs could sense either anger and irritation radiating off of the director.

"Gibbs." Vance said roughly. Gibbs watched as Vance struggled to present his comments. "When I was appointed as director, SecNav gave me an immediate standing order. That specific order has been to "clean house", to make sure that this agency runs as effectively as possible." Vance continued. Gibbs nodded, but was becoming increasingly confused as to where Vance was going with this.

Vance stood up abruptly and began to yell. "Do you have any idea what these teams and their leaders have in common? ----Rota, Spain's Agent Stile; Pentagon's Agent Jefferson which was formally lead by Paula Cassidy; Cartagena, Columbia's Agent Anderson; and now Agent Callen of this new team that I am creating. . ."

Gibbs watched Vance curiously as he became louder and angrier as he listed off the agents' names. Gibbs mused over Vance's words, and he just could not make a relevant connection to the names. Gibbs finally shook his head in resignation.

"Aside from them being NCIS team leaders, I don't know what they have in common, especially, when you added the late Paula Cassidy to the list." Gibbs answered then stood watching as Vance paced the room. After a long silence, Gibbs finally asked.

"Well, are you planning to tell me what these agents or teams have in common? You're the one that called me in here. You obviously need something from me."

"The fact that you do not recognize a connection. . .shows me that this person never even spoke with you. . ." Vance was so enraged that he could not even relay a complete thought.

"These teams were all offered to someone else first. And, that same person has turned down a leadership opportunity, each and every time it has been offered!" Vance stated angrily, as he began to pace again.

Vance was now receiving the strong, Gibbs' stare. Gibbs was becoming increasingly angry by the minute, as he did not know where this discussion was going and could not figure out what person Vance was referring to.

"SecNav is not pleased!" Vance continued to ramble angrily as he paced. "We have an agent that is identified as having the most potential and that person rejects every offer. And every one of these offers –any other agent would kill for!" Vance finished his rant and turned to face Gibbs. Gibbs stared back angrily, saying nothing in return. He did not like long, drawn out explanations, especially ones that provided little relevant information to him.

"I want you to find out for me if your Agent DiNozzo has any intentions of ever taking one of these offers some day or if he plans to maintain his false comedian persona that he likes to rely on."

Gibbs smirked, shaking his head in disbelief. "You're talking about, D I N O Z Z O." Gibbs replied still trying to process all the details. He shook his head in disbelief and irritation. Vance started to relax himself, after observing Gibbs' angry reaction to his comments.

"Look Gibbs. I guess you weren't aware of any of this." Vance said as he watched Gibbs try to wrap his mind around this. It was very unusual to see Gibbs so surprised and taken so off guard.

"He has never mentioned any of this." Gibbs finally said to Vance in an almost hurt tone. "Never even given a clue. . .Why wouldn't he mention it--brag about it?" Gibbs stopped when he realized that he was actually looking somewhat vulnerable in front of Vance. He stopped and looked back up at Vance.

"I just need you to find out for me what the problem is." Vance said in a much calmer tone than before.

"Did he give reasons to you at all?" Gibbs had completely refocused and asked in his determined investigator tone.

"Jenny Shepard stated the reason in his file for why he didn't take the Rota, Spain team leader position, as "because Gibbs has a mustache." Vance said, as he could not contain a smirk and quiet giggle. Gibbs allowed a brief smile from that, then indicated that he wanted to know more.

"The Cartagena position was offered to him around the time of Shepard's death. It just wasn't an appropriate time. . ." Vance stopped after offering his last statement.

"This last one though is really what angered SecNav. I need to know if he just is not ready or not interested at all. Otherwise, SecNav will stop asking all together. As far as I can tell, he just needs a kick in the butt. Does he just plan on remaining as your number two the rest of his career?" Vance stated as he watched how Gibbs would react.

"I will look into it." Gibbs assured Vance. He stated this in a totally stone-cold manner, not revealing any of the emotions that were consuming him. Gibbs left Vance's office, nearly circling his own path. He found himself walking toward the elevator, as he tried to plan a course of action. Gibbs was not sure how he could provide these answers for Vance.

The elevator doors opened. Gibbs realized that he had set the elevator to arrive at autopsy. Gibbs entered to find Ducky sitting at his desk alone in the autopsy room.

"Gibbs!" Ducky turned and said in surprise. "What are you doing here? I don't have anything to report."