By Arress

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story is not betaed, all mistakes are mine and mine alone.

Summary: Tony took the promotion and left for Spain. What does Gibbs think about that? Spoilers for "Hiatus", "Escaped", "Singled Out", and "Faking It". This story is slash, Gibbs/DiNozzo, but there is nothing explicit. Rated for a couple of swear words.


I knew something was wrong the minute I walked into the bullpen. Tony's desk was clean; not just cleared of all paperwork, but completely empty except for the computer monitors and keyboard. My first thought was that maybe he'd been fired, but I knew that couldn't be true. Even Jenny wouldn't do something like that without talking with me first.

I checked my desk for a note, but there wasn't one. I couldn't believe that Tony could just leave without at least discussing it with me, but then I thought that, yes, he could. Since my return from Mexico, I'd treated him shabbily, even by my standards. In my attempt to make things like they were before I left, Tony had been the one who suffered. The conversation I overheard between Tony and McGee was just one example.

I tried to console myself with the fact that I had talked to Tim about that, but I had only addressed the probie part of their conversation and ignored the fact that Tim had basically told Tony that he didn't rate his own team.

I have exceptionally good hearing, and I had overheard a lot of conversations that I should have put a stop to. Ziva and McGee never let an opportunity pass them by to belittle, berate and undermine Tony. And Tony never said anything back to them. He just took it, like he expected it, like he maybe even deserved it.

I took the stairs to the director's office to find out what happened to my senior field agent, and I was informed that he had accepted a promotion to be lead agent at the NCIS office in Rota, Spain. I was shocked to say the least. I was worried that he finally had enough and quit or that he transferred to another team here at the DC office, but Spain was a long way to go to get away from the team, to get away from me.

I informed Jenny that I would be taking the day off. I needed some time to think, and I didn't want to do it with Ziva and McGee around. They were the ones who had driven Tony away, after all.

Once I was in my basement working on my boat, I had to admit to myself that Ziva and McGee hadn't been the only ones to drive Tony away. They had a lot of help, mainly from me. I thought about how I had taken my old job back without bothering to inform Tony. I could try and excuse my actions and tell myself that Jenny should have told him, she was the director after all. But that was a cop out. I was the one who took Tony's job and it should have been me to tell him, instead of letting him find out the hard way, by coming into the office that day to find me sitting at his desk.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the only unforgivable thing I'd done to Tony since the whole mess with the explosion and my subsequent amnesia. I'd left him the team, saying only, 'you'll do'. I should have said, 'you've earned it' and 'I know you'll do a good job', and I should have told Ziva and McGee to follow his orders. I told McGee he was a good agent, but I didn't bother to tell Tony that.

I heard again the words Jenny said to me as we watched Tony and Ziva in interrogation; how Tony had done a good job while I was gone and I should tell him that. I couldn't help but think if only I hadn't been so stubborn and just said a few simple words of praise to Tony back then, he would still be here now.

If that had been all I'd done to Tony, that would have been bad enough, but when I returned to NCIS several weeks ago, I acted like there had been no relationship between Tony and me except that of boss and subordinate. I pretended that I couldn't remember the more intimate relationship we shared before the explosion.

I figured it would be easier that way, but then I had to ask myself, 'easier for whom?' It certainly wasn't easier for Tony. He was getting hit from all sides. McGee and Ziva were outright disrespectful to him, most of the time in front of an audience, and in my efforts to get things back to the way they were before I left, I hadn't treated Tony any better.

And if all that wasn't bad enough, when I found out it had been my old boss, Mike Franks, who had knocked Tony out, I hadn't done a damn thing about it. Being team leader meant I had certain responsibilities to the members of my team, and doing nothing when one of them was hurt wasn't part of the job description.

Mike had played me like a fiddle and I let him get away with it, and I let him get away with hurting Tony. I owed Mike, but I owed Tony more. I should have done something when he hurt Tony. I couldn't blame every one of my bad decisions on the explosion. That excuse was getting old, even to me.

It was a revelation to me how I could miss Tony so much when he'd only been gone a short while. It was time I admitted to myself that I love Tony and want to spend as much time as possible with him. I missed his smile and his sense of humor. I even missed all the movie references he made. I missed sharing a meal with him and then a bed. I missed watching movies with him and his ongoing commentaries while we did so.

As I continued to sand my boat, I tried to think of the reasons I gave myself to deny what I felt for Tony. All those reasons seemed stupid to me now that he wasn't around any longer; like it was against regulations, it was breaking rule number twelve, I didn't want to complicate our lives any more than necessary, or the fact that it could ruin both of our careers if we were ever found out.

I had thought that as long as Tony was there sitting at his desk or watching my six in the field, that would be enough, that I didn't need or want any more than that.

But I was through lying to myself. It was time to be proactive. Tony was everything to me and I should tell him that. It was time to get my head out of my ass and do something right for a change. I called Jenny and told her I was taking an indefinite leave of absence, hanging up on her when she protested. I went to my bedroom and packed a suitcase. I then booted up my laptop and used my dubious computer skills to book the first available flight to Rota, Spain.