The Choice

A/N I will be getting back to Issues but I really felt compelled to write this one shot. I felt there were a lot of great little moments unspoken or not in Aliyah. Love to know your thoughts.

Gibbs could hear the rustling of feet. It was easier to do these days without the sounds of his hand against the grain. Gibbs left his eyes on the stairs at the approaching form of his senior agent. Still dressed in his suit, rumpled from 12 hour flights and loss, he looked forlorn and stepped lightly on the steps with trepidation. Gibbs put down his mug of bourbon and waited. Tony locked eyes with his mentor and sat cautiously on the steps barely breathing.

"I lied."

Gibbs flinched a bit at the omission but said nothing to retort the statement.

"I lied to you and to myself"

Tony watched the flicker of doubt go through his boss's eyes.


"I was jealous. .I wanted him out of her life."

He kept his eyes steady, his gaze unwavering.

"I didn't go over there to kill him. I thought he would have left by then. I mean he was told to leave the country several time. I want to talk to Ziva, yes. I wanted to get her to see the truth…truth about Rivkin, how he was playing her, lying to her. "

He lowered his eyes ashamed at his next choice of words. "The truth about me."

Gibbs leaned forward in his chair. "What truth, Tony?"

"I care about her…more than I should. Rule 12 Boss, the only thing that stopped me."

Gibbs swallowed hard. Damn Rule 12.

"I know, Tony. I know."

Tony turned to Gibbs, his eyes glistening. Memories of familiar words in a different setting coursed through him.

"You always know."

Gibbs tried to smirk, but found his self lacking the effort to pull it off.

Tony paused again, as if seeking the courage he needed to get the next set of words out.

"Gibbs, I need to know. If things had been ….different with Ziva. If her loyalty wasn't in question…."

"It wasn't."

Tony's eyes narrowed.

"It was her decision, DiNozzo."

Tony scoffed. "So I heard. But my question is this. If this whole …fiasco of withholding information wasn't apparent, who would….."

He suddenly found himself at a loss for words. The word choose lingered at the tip of his tongue warm and ready but terrified to leave its nestled cocoon.

Gibbs nodded and leaned back in his chair taking in the words of the younger man looking so forlorn and lost.

"I mean, Ziva has definitely become an excellent investigator."

Gibbs nodded. "Yep."

Tony cleared his throat. "She's quick and strong and has kick ass ninja skills…"

His voice trailed off as he saw Gibbs taking a sip of bourbon. Tony dropped his shoulders in defeat.

"You telling me you would have chosen Ziva over you?"

Tony shrugged. "Think about it, Boss…"

"I am," Gibbs interrupted.

Tony ignored the comment and continued on hands waving frantically about.

"Look at me, Boss. I'm a screw-up. I have been accused of murder what now? Two times?"

Gibbs interjected. "Three."

Tony glared at his boss." I don't count Renny since I had an alibi. Anyway….I mean trouble follows me all the time. Ziva could avoid trouble using her secret Mossad skills."

Gibbs shrugged. "Maybe she just hid it better."

Tony looked hurt thinking Gibbs was implying something else entirely. "I don't complain much Boss. I mean I might a little bit to get attention but…"

Gibbs shook his head. "Not what I mean. Maybe she hid her trouble from prying eyes for other reason unbeknownst to us."

Tony didn't know what to make of that. He could sense Gibbs didn't either. Silence echoed around them. There was nothing to separate the honesty. The boat that once loomed as an interception, a conversation piece was gone, a part of another past Gibbs didn't want to remember. Tony's heart hung heavy. He was a part of that pain.

Gibbs waited, watching the young man rub his hands together deep in thought. He took in his stance, full of pain both mentally and physically taking it all in stride. He was broken in more ways than one.

"So that's your argument?"

Tony's head shot up green meeting blue head on.

"Yeah, yeah it is."

Gibbs snorted. "Lousy argument. Good thing you never became a lawyer."

Gibbs stood up and began to rummage through his worktable.

Tony felt the sting of the words and was about to retort when he realized the essence of them, the part he was not seeing because he could no longer see the situation for what it was.

"What you said was true. Ziva has become an excellent investigator with...what was it…kick ass ninja skills?" Tony mused over that sheepishly.

"She was all those things and still is. What she was honest with me, this team, or herself."

Tony forced a laugh to escape." I know but if she wasn't those things …"

"What DiNozzo?"

Tony stands and stares directly into the blue eyes before him.

"Who would you chose?"

Gibbs turned back to his work bench and grinned when he found what he had been searching for. He emptied the jar and blew cool air to erase the remaining sawdust from it before pouring the warm bourbon. He pushed the jar gently into his agent's chest careful not to touch his wounded arm.

"I thought the answer would have been obvious."

Tony's eyes brightened in hope as he caught the concerned look flicker through his boss's eyes.


Gibbs cocked his head. "Why does that shock you? You have been with me for 8 years. You have never lied to me…"

Tony was about to interrupt with the Jeanne fiasco, but was stopped by a calloused hand in his face.

"I'm not talking about Jeanne. You were following orders." He stopped.

"Come to think of it, you always follow orders…." Smiling to himself reminding him how much DiNozzo reminded him of his younger days. " or your gut."

Tony lent a small smile to his friend. He knew that even though he felt his gut had failed him concerning Rivkin, Gibbs saw it as taking charge, doing what was best for your team.


"It would always be you, Tony."

Even though they were whispered, words mean to blend in with his previous statement; he knew the words were meant for his ears and his ears only. Tony looked at the amber liquid and held up his jar in gesture to friends he had and the ones he had lost.

"Semper Fi."

Gibbs clanged his mug against Tony's with a smile. "Ooh rah."

Thoughts? Please review. I'd love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for reading!