Gibbs sighed as his eyes turned upwards to where he knew his senior field agent was meeting with Jen in her office. He knew why he was there. After his conversation with Jen, when they had been observing Tony and Ziva in Interrogation, he had suspected something was up. Under strict orders not to discuss a word of it with anyone else, Gibbs had instructed McGee to investigate. McGee had performed his usual computer magic and what he had uncovered had surprised both men.
"What do you think he's going to do, boss?" asked Tim, who was also aware that Tony was in with the director.
"What is who going to do about what?" Ziva asked, a look of confusion on her face.
"McGee! What did I tell you?" Gibbs barked.
"To keep it between you and me," Tim replied as Gibbs rolled his eyes.
"What is this big secret?" Ziva asked, clearly perturbed. "Are we not a team? Am I not a member of this team?"
"Tony received a job offer to lead his own team in Rota, Spain," Tim said quickly.
"Sorry, boss," Tim said with a shrug. "I figured she would have found out anyhow."
"Yeah, because of your big mouth," Gibbs said, shaking his head in annoyance.
"Tony is leaving?" Ziva asked, trying to wrap her head around this new information.
"Looks like it," Tim nodded.
"We don't know that," Gibbs growled, suddenly very sorry that he hadn't just minded his own business.
"We don't?" Tim asked in surprise. "Why wouldn't he accept the position?"
"I..." Gibbs lost his train of thought as he saw his senior field agent walking back down the stairs. All three pairs of eyes tracked Tony as he made his way to his desk.
"You're all still here?" Tony asked. "Is something up? I was about to head on home," he sent a questioning look in Gibbs' direction.
'Nothing's up, Tony," Gibbs replied softly.
"Okaaaay..." Tony looking at the three agents in turn, all of whom were staring at him and making no attempt to hide it. "Uh..did I spill sauce on my tie or something?" he asked, glancing down with a nervous laugh, "because honestly, you're kind of creeping me out right now."
"Your tie is fine, Tony," Ziva stated, still not averting her gaze, "It's a very nice tie, in fact."
"Yeah and its the same one I've been wearing all day. Why are you all staring at me? Probie? Talk."
Tim glanced at Gibbs who just gave a slight shrug. "Okay, fine," Tim said. "We were just wondering what you decided to do about the team leader position in Rota."
"What?" Tony gave McGee a surprised look. "Jenny...the director said she wasn't going to tell anyone about that...how did you find out?"
"Why was it such a big secret, Tony?" Ziva asked. "If you are leaving, do we not have a right to know?"
"Well, yeah, if I was leaving I would have told you, Ziva, but I'm not leaving and frankly, it was my decision and not really anyone's business." By this point, Tony was pretty ticked off. "Now if it is all right with all of you, I'm going to go home." Without waiting for an answer, he grabbed his things and shot an angry glare at the members of his team before storming out of the bullpen.
Tony was stretched out on the couch as he nursed a beer. His shirt was unbuttoned at the top and his suit jacket and tie were draped over the back of the couch. He was starting to calm down now. It had just been a very long last three days. He had to admit that it was a bit difficult having Gibbs back. Not that he minded, he was glad to have him back, but he had gotten used to being the one in charge. He just needed to readjust to being the second in command again. He yawned as he placed his beer on the coffee table and pressed the button on the remote control, mindlessly scanning through the channels. He heard the first knock on the door, but ignored it, hoping whoever it was would just go away.
He heard the knocking again, louder and more persistent this time. "DiNozzo! I know you're in there!"
Damn, it was Gibbs. Tony scrambled off the couch and went to open the front door. "Hey boss, what are you doing here?"
"Thought you were going to leave me out in the hallway all night," Gibbs said as he brushed by Tony and entered his apartment.
"You want a beer?" Tony asked, watching as Gibbs settled himself on the living room couch.
"Sure." Gibbs nodded and Tony went into the kitchen then came back with a beer which he handed to Gibbs.
Tony stood for a few seconds, feeling awkward, then sat down on the couch, waiting for Gibbs to speak. Finally, after a few really long moments of silence, he did. "So...team leader in Rota...that's a pretty big opportunity Jen offered you..."
Tony nodded. "Yeah, I know."
"Why didn't you mention it to me, DiNozzo?
Tony shrugged as he picked up his beer bottle and started moving it back and forth in his hands.
"Come on. This was a big deal. You must have a reason..."
"Because...I knew you would have pushed me to take the job..."
Gibbs looked at the younger man with a puzzled expression on his face. There was something going on with Tony that he wasn't quite getting. "Well... you don't get offers like that every day, but its not like I would have forced you into it..."
"Wouldn't you have?" Tony met Gibbs' eyes with an almost stricken look then dropped his gaze quickly.
"No. Of course I wouldn't have...why would you even think that?"
"I know I've been annoying you since you've been back, boss. Sometimes I slip and tell the others what to do...I can see its been bugging you," Tony said softly. "I figured maybe you'd like it better if I wasn't around...This would have been an easy way to get rid of me..."
Gibbs gave Tony a shocked look. "Get rid of you? How could you even think that, DiNozzo? I would never try to get rid of you."
"You sure about that, boss?"
"Of course I'm sure. I would never stand in your way of a promotion, but I'm not about to kick my best agent out the door either...And I can understand how you might slip back into your leadership role. That isn't any big deal." Gibbs thought back to his earlier discussion with Jen and what she had been saying to him. She had wanted him to talk to Tony. He knew Tony looked up to him, sometimes more than Gibbs felt comfortable with. He was nobody's role model. However, he really needed to tell him how he felt. "I know you did a great job running the team when I wasn't here," he began. "Jen said you excelled, that you really held the team together. I couldn't be more proud of you, Anthony. I just...I would never want to stand in the way of your career...I would understand if you wanted to accept the position, but I wouldn't be happy to see you go..."
Tony nodded, feeling a little choked up by what Gibbs had just said. "Honestly...I just didn't feel it was the right choice for me right now. I...I'm really happy with the way things are..."
"As long as you're sure..."
"Yeah...I'm very sure, boss." If he hadn't been one hundred percent sure before, he was now. This wasn't just a job. Gibbs and the rest of the team were like family to him. He couldn't imagine leaving them, not at this point in his life.
"Okay then, what do you say we order a pizza?" Gibbs made a motion as if he was going to head slap his agent, but instead playfully ruffled his hair leaving Tony with a surprised but pleased look on his face.
"A pizza sounds great, boss," he said with a grin.