Hi. I'm new.

This seems to be the thing to do, so:

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

This first chapter doesn't have much Tony, but the ones to follow look to have him in abundance.

I welcome your comments! Especially on formatting, until I get the hang of this software.

Chapter 1.

"No way."


"No. Way. Get someone else, Leon." Gibbs raised his coffee to take a fortifying drink and found it disturbingly empty. He scowled at the cup, then scowled at the man across from him.

"I need another agent, one who carries some weight. You've gone into similar situations before. Give me one reason why you're not my best choice right now. Other than 'I don't want to'."

"I'll make your life a living hell for the duration."

"That…" Vance leaned back in his chair and eyed the overly self-assured pain. He wasn't sure which tactic to take. He spent far too much time thinking about how to appear he was in control of Gibbs as it was. "That might work this time. I don't have the time to handle you on this trip."

Gibbs let out a surprised snort of laughter. "You handle me a lot, Leon? Let me know if I can do anything to make things easier on you."

Now it was Vance's turn to scowl across the desk. "Who exactly do you propose to send in your place? I don't have a lot of options at my fingertips."

Gibbs shrugged and slowly turned the coffee cup in his hand, gaze unfocused. He wasn't sure he particularly cared for the idea that had just occurred to him. He thought it over while the Director unnecessarily began listing off well-respected agents and the reasons they could not go.

On the one hand, he'd have a quieter week. And a situation that – if he spent any time thinking about it – made him irrationally angry may finally be cleared up. On the other hand, that same situation could get significantly worse. And his temper was always shorter whenever –

"Take DiNozzo."

Vance trailed off his recital and blinked. His mind completely blanked. What an inconceivably awful suggestion.

"DiNozzo? Thanks for the laugh Gibbs. If you wanted me to stop talking you could have just walked out like you normally do."

Gibbs shrugged again, face blank. "He's been in similar situations. Even in a lead position when I was on vacation a few years back. He's a good investigator. You won't find a better schmoozer. Could come in handy."

"You're really serious?" Vance's voice came out a little higher pitched than he intended.

"Sure." Gibbs smiled.

Suddenly Vance worried there was an ulterior motive in this suggestion.

"I'll find someone else. Thanks for the helpful talk."

"Anytime, Leon." Gibbs left. Must get coffee.

An hour later, Gibbs and his crew were all seated at their desks, working a cold case while they waited for something new to come in. Gibbs' desk phone rang.

"Yeah, Gibbs." He listed for a moment, then hung up. All was silent for a moment while the three younger agents pretended not to stare at him. Honestly, sometimes he wondered how they functioned as investigators.


"Yes, boss!" Tony shot to his feet. Sometimes cold cases were good. Sometimes you wanted the challenge of an old mystery, one you had to really sink in to and let stew in your brain juice. But today he was itching to move about. Anywhere.

"Go home and pack a bag. You can add in a couple of your fancy suits this time."


"You're going to a security conference. With Director Vance." Gibbs finally looked over at his senior field agent. "Try to behave yourself."

Ziva laughed.

Tony grabbed his backpack and started towards the elevator. Maybe not anywhere, exactly. Hoping to go anywhere at all was pretty stupid, really. Especially if you didn't consider the company you'd be keeping.


He looked back at Gibbs.

"I mean it."

Tony smiled a big DiNozzo smile. "Sure thing, boss."

As he left the room, Gibbs dialed the extension for Vance's secretary. "Make sure DiNozzo and the director aren't seated next to each other on the plane."