Disclaimer: I do not any percentage of CBS, NCIS, the NCIS characters (unless I've made them up), and so on and so forth...

Gibbs downed the rest of this bourbon as he watched Secretary Davenport climb the basement steps and disappear upstairs. God, how he hated the politics.

"Why do they hafta be so difficult?" he wondered aloud as he replaced his empty glass with a rough-up piece of sand paper. He walked back over to his boat and ran his hand over the edgy wood, all the while ignoring the redhead silhouette leaing on the beams on the other side of the boat.

"You never liked the politics, Jethro," Jenny commented. "Not even when I was there to do all of the ass-kissing."

Gibbs smiled. "At least you weren't as bad as the Puppet Master."

"Oh, is that what you call Leon? The 'Puppet Master'?"

"Eh, it stuck after--Well, never mind." Gibbs blew some sawdust into the air, turning his face away. "Politics is politics. I'll never accept it like you."

Jenny smiled. "And why not? Too civilized?"

"Just the opposite, actually."

Jenny remained where she was, watching him expectantly. "Care to elaborate?"

Gibbs shrugged. "The secrets, the lies, the negotiating--all because of our inability to 'police our own backyard', as Leon put it."

"Go on."

Gibbs lifted his head up to look at her. "The thing they all question is the addition you made to my team as the NCIS Director."



"You don't trust her?"

"Hell, you know I do, Jen, but lately she's been slipping away." He shook his head. "His name's Rickin. Michael Rivkin. Ever meet him?"

"Can't say that I have."

"Guy's a bastard."

"Don't be quick to judge, Jethro."

"Can't take a hint, that guy."

"And what're you gonna do about it?"

"I have Tony on it. He'll keep an eye out on him and Ziva."

"And if that doesn't work?"

"I'll personally go up to her apartment, knock down the door, and drag his ass to the airport."

Jenny smiled, shaking her head. "It won't work, Jethro. Trust me, I know."

"In fact, I'll do it tomorrow, regardless of what happens." Gibbs threw her a smug look just as the phone rang. Yes, he would take Tony and McGee with him tomorrow, and get rid of Ricking; take him out of Ziva's life for now. It'd be simple. No gunshots, no poilitics, no violence--maybe a pair of cuffs, but that was it.

Jenny disappeared into thin air as Gibbs snatched up his phone. "Yeah? Gibbs."


"What, McGee?"

"It's Tony. Tony shot Michael Rivkin."