AN: I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed and put this story on alert or in their favorites. I'd also like to again thank, liljanie, who wrote the awesome sex scene in Chapter 6. She did a really good job.
Gibbs and Tony lay silently together following their lovemaking, both of them trying to get their emotions under control. Gibbs finally said, "Tony, that was just…" He paused, unable to express the deep emotions he felt, then said, "I don't have the words. Thank you."
"You never have to thank me for loving you, Jet. All you have to do is love me back," Tony's voice catching towards the end as he remembered how close he'd come to losing his partner.
Gibbs leaned over and kissed the younger man, and said, "I do love you, and I'm not going anywhere, at least not without you."
"Well, if you had left, I'd have chased your ass down."
"Only my ass?" Gibbs laughed.
Tony reached over and slapped Gibbs' arm lightly, and said, "You know when I meant."
"Yeah, I know, and I'd have done the same if our positions were reversed."
"Good to know," Tony said.
They lay silently for a few more minutes, then Gibbs said, "I don't think I can go back, Tony."
Tony didn't have to ask what Gibbs was talking about. They both remembered what happened earlier in MTAC and how senseless it had all been. He trailed a lazy finger over his lover's chest and asked, "Why not?"
"I can't work with someone I can't trust."
Tony started to get up, hurt by Gibbs' words. Gibbs wrapped his arms around him to stop Tony leaving, then he gave him a pretty hard head slap and said, "I wasn't talking about you, Tony."
Tony rubbed the back of his head for a minute and then settled back on Gibbs' chest in relief and said, "Who were you talking about then?"
"Why do you think you can't you trust her?" Tony asked, knowing instinctively that Gibbs needed to voice his concerns out loud.
"She's the director of a federal agency," Gibbs explained. "She could have, should have, done something. She just stood there and didn't say a word." Gibbs still couldn't believe how she had failed to back him up; had just stood there in silence as the decision was made for 19 men to lose their lives needlessly.
"I think you're right," Tony said. "She sure didn't show much backbone."
"She really has changed since she became director, and not for the better."
After a few more minutes of silence, Tony asked, "What will you do then?"
"I'm not sure." Gibbs looked into Tony's eyes. "I guess that depends on what you want to do."
"I do have something I need to tell you," Tony said, somewhat sheepishly.
"After you left, Jenny said a few things, then I said a few things. To make a long story short, I turned in my badge and gun, too."
"But you'd make a good team leader. You should have more confidence in yourself," Gibbs said, as he remembered his never ending battle with Tony's insecurities.
"I do, mostly thanks to you. And it's not that I don't think I can do it, or that the director doesn't think I can do it, and she made is perfectly clear that she doesn't think I can," Tony said. "I only trust you to watch my six. If you leave, I don't want to stay either. And frankly after what happened today, I don't have any more faith in Shepard than you do."
"What about Ziva and McGee?" Gibbs asked. "You know they'd watch your back."
"McGee's still pretty green, and I know you trust Ziva, but I don't."
"She just seems to have a hidden agenda," Tony said, not meeting Gibbs' eyes.
This was news to Gibbs. After a rocky start, he'd thought that Tony trusted Ziva, at least as far as he could remember. Obviously, some things had happened that he hadn't been made aware of. "Has she said or done anything to make you feel that way?"
"Nothing I can really put my finger on," Tony replied. "One minute she's like a sex kitten, acting like she wants me in bed, and the next she says or does something so cruel that it's all I can do to not run crying from the room."
Gibbs got angry about that. Ziva would know how to push Tony's buttons, having done a dossier on him for her brother, Ari Haswari, the man who had killed their teammate, Kate Todd. He asked incredulously, "She's come on to you, knowing you and I are together? You should have told me about that, Tony."
"I know she saved your life and you trust her. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt."
"I don't trust her now as much as I used to," Gibbs said. "Tony, you still should have told me."
"It doesn't really matter now, Jet. If you leave NCIS, I'm not staying," Tony said.
"It's your decision, Tony. Don't let my decision to leave ruin your career."
"Jet, if Shepard has anything to say about it, after the things I said to her earlier, I no longer have a career at NCIS anyway."
"What did you say to her? More importantly, what did she say to you?" Gibbs asked.
"You don't want to know, but in my own defense, she started it."
Gibbs chuckled at Tony's childish words, then said, "I'll just get Abby to tell me later."
"Good idea. She can tell you the story much better than I can. And she had a ring side seat," Tony said and then changed the subject. "So, if we both leave, what will we do?"
"I'm gonna officially retire, and if you quit, maybe we can do some traveling. Maybe we can even finish the boat and actually take this one out on the water."
"That sounds really good, but I'm too young to retire," Tony said. "And will we be okay financially if both of us quit? We both know boat building isn't cheap."
"Between my retirement benefits from NCIS and the Corps, the interest you have coming in from the trust fund your mother left you, plus what we have in savings, we'll have more than enough."
"What about McGee and Ziva?" Tony asked. "Neither of them can be team leader. Ziva isn't even officially an NCIS agent."
"They'll have to be assigned to other teams and a new MCRT will have to be formed. They'll be fine. Abby and Ducky don't work for our team exclusively, so they'll be fine, too," Gibbs assured Tony. "And just because we don't work at NCIS any longer, doesn't mean we'll never see any of them again."
"So it's settled then," Tony said. "You retire, I quit, and then we travel, for reasons other than work for a change."
"Yep," Gibbs said. "Tomorrow we'll go to NCIS headquarters and make it official and talk to the others." He was very glad that he and Tony were on the same page with this decision. He would have supported Tony if he wanted to stay at NCIS, but he would have worried endlessly about him working there as long as Shepard was the director.
"And when we both get bored, which you know we will sooner or later, we'll figure something else out, but it'll be just the two of us, together," Tony said, very happy with the decision they had made.
Gibbs kissed Tony again and then vowed, "Forever, I promise."