Spoilers: 3x23 'Hiatus, Part 1', 3x24 'Hiatus, Part 2', slight spoilers to 1x07 'Sub Rosa'

Jennifer Shepard stared down at the two files on her desk one more time before leaning back and rubbing her face tiredly. The past few days had been horrible and emotionally draining and just when she thought that things were starting to look up Gibbs had abruptly quit. All Jen wanted to do was go home, and maybe have a lot of bourbon before bed, and to wake up the next day to find out that the events of the past twelve hours were nothing more than a horrible dream. Unfortunately it was not a dream and no amount of wishing would make it so. Resigned to the reality before her now she let her eyes land on Anthony DiNozzo's file, as director she had the power to promote him to position of team leader or she could reassign him and Tim McGee to another team. Ziva was a liaison officer so she had no power to reassign her that was up to Mossad.


"Jethro annoying you already, Jen?" asked Tom Morrow in a teasing tone after he picked up.

Jen smiled thinly, yes, Gibbs had been on a seemingly one man mission to annoy her as much as possible this week but he was not the reason why she had called. "Well, Gibbs is partly the reason for my phone call but I actually wanted to talk to you about Anthony DiNozzo."

"I was wondering when I'd get a phone call about him," Tom replied chuckling a bit.


"DiNozzo is a bit of an acquired taste, Jen," he replied.

Jen nodded even though Tom could not see her over the phone. Yes, Anthony DiNozzo took some getting used to, the man often acted more like a typical frat boy than like a federal agent. After the first week she had stopped counting how many times she had caught him goofing off while his co-workers were hard at work. "You've got that right, Tom," she replied with a sigh. "I need to know, is he competent, can he do the job?"

"Jen," Tom said seriously, all joking now aside, "you've worked under Gibbs for a time, you of all people should know that he does not suffer fools gladly. If DiNozzo was not good at his job, do you really think that he would have lasted nearly four years on Gibbs' team?"


Tom, of course, had been right; she knew all too well about Gibbs' extremely low tolerance for fools and incompetency. After their conversation she reviewed DiNozzo's file and saw that Gibbs had been the one to recommend and then request DiNozzo after he had completed FLETC training. Obviously he had seen something in the then Baltimore detective that he liked. Afterwards she took more time to observe the MCRT and specifically what, if anything, Anthony DiNozzo had to contribute to the team and its dynamic. Needless to say she was shocked to find that DiNozzo actually contributed a lot and was frequently the one to help piece together the seemingly random pieces of information they often times came across. Coming to that realization was not easy, however, because Tony did not make it easy. For some unfathomable reason the man was content with playing the clown and downplaying nearly all helpful contributions he made so when it turned out that what he had suggested or the suspect he had pegged turned out to be right everyone but Gibbs was always surprised. Decision made she reached over and pressed the intercom button.

"Cynthia, please call Agent DiNozzo and tell him that I want to see him immediately." Less than ten minutes later she heard a knock on her door. "Come in."

Tony DiNozzo walked into her office with the air of a defeated man and given the events of the past day Jen really couldn't blame him, Gibbs had been his mentor and then he had left so abruptly and the only show of support that he had gotten was a 'you'll do'.

"Please, have a seat," she said indicating the conference table across from her desk. Once Tony had seated himself she joined him and then laid out the two files on the table between them. She saw him immediately straighten once he recognized his and McGee's file. "I suppose you know why I've called you up here," she said, getting straight to the point, there was no use beating around the bush. Tony nodded but did not say anything. "I've read over your file, Tony, and I must say, I am impressed. Despite unorthodox methods and a penchant for playing the fool you've proven yourself to be an excellent, capable and intelligent investigator over the years."

"Thank you, Director."

"Given past performance reviews and comments by previous supervisors I feel confident in promoting you to the position of team leader for the MCRT, congratulations."

"Thank you, Director," he said giving her a small smile.

She smiled back at him, she supposed that this was not how he pictured being promoted, it was hardly an ideal situation and no one would really want to celebrate his promotion given the circumstances. "You've earned it, Tony," she replied smiling at him before turning her attention to McGee's file. "As team leader it's your job to recommend a senior field agent and I will sign off on your recommendation as long as there are no serious doubts, so what I need to know is do you think that McGee has gained enough experience to be the acting senior field agent or would you prefer that I assign you a more experienced agent as your senior field agent?"


A personnel file was plopped down on Gibbs' desk and he looked up to see his senior field agent staring back at him.

"Special Agent Tim McGee's file," he said in answer to the questioning eyebrow.

"You read it?" asked Gibbs holding the file at arm's length.

"Skimmed it." Gibbs smiled, DiNozzo may say that he skimmed it but Gibbs knew for a fact that he had read the whole thing.


"He's green, only a few months out of FLETC but he's also smart and a computer whiz to boot, given his educational background he's well suited for the cyber crimes unit," his senior field agent rattled off.


"Says here that he wants to be a field agent, name me one person who would give this kid anything more than a simple fraternization case given how green he is. In a few years he could make for a fine field agent but that's not gonna happen if nobody gives him a chance."

"Could use a computer expert, especially one with knowledge of computer forensics," Gibbs said as he looked through the file after giving in and retrieving his reading glasses.

"It'd be nice," Tony said in agreement.

Gibbs snorted. "Tired of having to do the brunt of the computer work, DiNozzo?" he asked in a teasing tone.

"Just saying that it would be nice to have a guy who knew what he was doing with all those searches and programs, that's all, Boss."

"This won't be like training Kate, he's almost completely green, it'll be like training a rookie fresh out of the academy," he said reminding his agent.

"I know."

"It's been a while since you've help train a complete rookie, DiNozzo, think you can handle it?"


Tony stared at Director Shepard. McGee had grown a lot since joining their team permanently, he was a good agent but he still lacked a lot of experience, still worried Tony a bit out in the field but there was no doubt that he wanted McGee as his senior field agent.

"In my opinion, Special Agent Tim McGee is a smart and a capable agent and I want him to be the senior field agent for the MCRT." He would just have to step up his training and teaching of his probie so that he would not worry about him in the field when he was senior field agent, that's all.

"Are you sure?"

"It's been a while since you've help train a complete rookie, DiNozzo, think you can handle it?"


"Very well," Jen said before signing her name on two forms, "please sign here," she said pointing to a line below her signature on each form.

Tony took the pen and hoped that he would not look back at this moment and realize that he had made a huge mistake.