Disclaimer: Not mine.

Summary: After being sent to serve as Agent Afloat, Tony decides to take his career in a different direction. Enter the NYPD Crime Lab.

Pairings: Tony/Mac, Danny/Don, mentioned past Tony/Gibbs

Author's Note: These chapters will flow, but probably not well. I've been working on this story for almost ten months. Some of the chapters will make sense, others will not. It's still a work in progress. I'll try to explain as it goes on. I just wanted to see if someone wanted to read it besides me before I spend more time on it.

Previously Misguided
by: JnnLuvsU

Chapter 1: New Direction
Chapter Summary: Tony decides to leave NCIS and calls up Mac Taylor. They meet.

Tony watched as his team filed out of Vance's office, still in shock. He looked at Vance, "Agent afloat?" he repeated.

Vance raised his eyebrows, "Yes, Agent DiNozzo. Most agents do their tour on a boat in their first or second year. It's been put off long enough. I have my reasons, Agent DiNozzo."

Tony continued to stare at him, "I...I understand that, Sir, but wouldn't my expertise be put to better use here, in DC? I've established a...life here."

"It's only for six months, Agent DiNozzo." Vance was confused. "You'll be back before you know it." He took a deep breath, "It was your recommended duty change."

Tony frowned, "Recommended? By who?" If it wasn't Vance who wanted to send him away, who was it?

Vance frowned, handing Tony his file, "See for yourself."

Tony scanned his file, his eyes finding the note at the end. In handwriting Tony knew as well as his own a single line was written. Two words. Two words that ended Tony's life as he knew it. Agent Afloat. He looked back up at Vance, "Gibbs?"

Vance gave him a look, "I need to give Agent Gibbs a new team. But I wasn't going to give all of you new assignments without consulting your supervisor. He made all the recommendations, save for Officer David's. That one wasn't my call. Her father demanded her home." He took a deep breath at the complete betrayal on the young man's face in front of him, "But your new assignment? Agent McGee's new assignment? Those were direct recommendations from Agent Gibbs."

Tony managed to nod, "Thank you, Sir." He handed the file back to Vance and left the office in complete shock. He made it back down to his desk, more angry now than anything else. Gibbs was working nonchalantly at his desk, nothing on his face to give away that he'd just sent his lover of two years away. And that, more than anything, made up Tony's mind for him. He pulled out his phone at the same time as he opened his email. He had that phone number somewhere. There it was. He dialed it as he pulled up another website.

Mac picked up his ringing desk phone, "Taylor."

"Dectective Taylor," Tony greeted, glancing around to see if there was anyone watching him. He was pleased to see Gibbs no longer in the bullpen. Ziva was on a phone call of her own and Tim was methodically packing up his desk. "It's Anthony DiNozzo."

Mac sat up straight, gripping the phone to his ear. "Yes, Agent DiNozzo. Hi."

Tony took a deep breath, "I was wondering if the job offer was still available." He perused flights to New York, clicking when he found one that left in an hour. It would be pushing it, but he'd found that his badge got him through security pretty fast.

Mac was flustered. He'd been offering Tony a job at least once every two or three months for almost five years. Tony'd always turned him down. Always with a smile. And usually before he'd even finished asking. "Of course, Agent DiNozzo. When can you get up here?" He wanted to know why Tony was suddenly interested, but knew it wasn't his place to ask.

"Flight leaves at 3:00. I should arrive at LaGuardia around 4:30. Is that too soon?" Tony quickly paid for the flight; knowing his credit card number by heart. He hit print as he pulled his jacket off the chair behind him.

Mac smiled unconsciously, "No, of course not. I'll pick you up myself. Four-Thirty at La Guardia."

"Thank you Detective Taylor," Tony whispered, grabbing his boarding pass as he shut down his computer.

"I'll see you in a few hours, Agent DiNozzo," Mac stated, hanging up the phone.

Tony left the navy yard without a goodbye. Without so much as a backward glance.

"Agent DiNozzo," Mac greeted the man leaving the gate. He held out his hand, "How are you?"

Tony smiled at him, "Detective Taylor," he returned, gripping the older man's hand tightly, "I'm fine. You?"

"Can't complain," Mac returned. "When's your flight back?" He asked as they headed outside.

"9:00," Tony returned. He could see Mac's raised eyebrows, "I need to take care of this today."

Mac nodded slowly, "That's fine. But in that case, what say we get dinner around here? We can talk about the job. But getting to the lab at this time would take almost two hours. And since it's Friday night, it would probably take about as long to get back."

Tony nodded, "That sounds great." He looked down, "How serious is the job offering?"

Mac grinned at him, "As far as I'm concerned, this is merely a formality. Been waiting five years for your phone call."

"Thanks, Detective," Tony whispered.

Over dinner, they talked of many things. Tony's qualifications, the actual job expectations, the hours, the pay. They touched on everything except why Tony had picked now to quit NCIS. Mac didn't pry, just considered himself lucky that Tony had thought of them first.

"So, what do you say?" Mac asked as dinner was winding down.

Tony bit his lip. Leaving NCIS was a big step. He pulled out his cell phone, checking to see if he'd missed any calls. None. It broke Tony's heart that he'd been missing for almost five hours and no one had noticed. That Gibbs hadn't noticed. He was supposed to be leaving tomorrow. And apparently no one really cared. And that helped Tony make up his mind easily. He smiled at Mac, "When do I start?"

Mac grinned, "When can you start?"

"Tomorrow," Tony's answer was instantaneous.

Mac laughed, "How about next Monday? Give you a chance to find an apartment, move, things like that." He pulled papers out of his briefcase, "I was hoping you'd say yes, so I took the liberty of locating you some apartments near the lab." He handed the papers to Tony.

Tony accepted them, smiling, "Thanks. These will come in handy."

Mac looked at his watch, "We'd better head back to the airport. Give you plenty of time to get through security." He signaled for the check.

Anyone else interested in reading more?