Hi all, I know that I have a few other stories that need to be worked on, but I was watching episodes from season three, and something in episode "Model Behavior" caught my attention. Something started to form in my head and I just had to get it on paper. So this is just a little piece, with references to the scene at the end of the episode where Tony asks Gibbs about wanting his award. This particular short fic takes place roughly early in season 7, due to the fact that Vance is still fairly new to the team. Anyhow, hope you enjoy this little tidbit, I might write a few more really short fics like this when something pops out at me in an episode. Thanks all for your support and reviews on my other works, I really do appreciate it. I'll try to work harder on keeping up, but my book is so close to completion….but I'll do my best. Thanks again all. Love you lots. Smiles!

1

In Good Hands

Leon Vance grabbed his coat as he hurried out of his office. He had hoped to catch Gibbs before he left for the night. It had been one hell of a day and to top it all off, his leading agent blew him off again, this time publicly. The case had been difficult and tested his agents emotionally and physically. It had also tried his patience. Then to have Gibbs blow him off and not show for a very important meeting for the entire building just rubbed him the wrong way.

He started down the stairs and could just make out Gibbs coattails as the agent stepped into the elevator to leave. He had missed him by seconds. Director Vance slammed his hand on the stair railing, taking his frustration out on the cold, steel support.

He glanced into the bullpen, taking in the scene below. The rest of the team was conversing amicably, laughing and joking freely with each other. They said their good nights minutes later and he watched as two of the team made their way to the elevator to leave for home. All accept one Agent Anthony DiNozzo.

He watched as Gibbs' Senior Field Agent reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small, black and gold box. Vance's eyes went wide when he realized what he was looking at. The young man was holding in his hand the award that was meant for Agent Gibbs to receive during the meeting held earlier that day. It had been an awards ceremony of sorts. It was the very award for Meritorious Service that Agent DiNozzo had accepted for Gibbs at that ceremony. It was that very ceremony that Agent Gibbs had decided to blow off, making Director Vance look foolish in front of the entire agency.

Leon's anger boiled to the surface again. It seemed that Gibbs never did receive his award. Well, if he couldn't reprimand Gibbs, then DiNozzo was the next best thing.

Tony, completely oblivious to his surroundings, odd yes; opened the award and looked at it. He touched the metal and picked a piece of lint off the velvet inlay. As Leon rounded the corner, he caught the looked of pride and admiration on Tony's face. The young man always did worship the ground Gibbs walked on, but then why steal from him? It was apparent that Vance had completely misread him.

He waited a moment and moved slightly closer when the agent pulled a set of keys out of his pocket. DiNozzo opened his bottom drawer and inside was a steel box. After unlocking it, he gave the award one more look and then added it to the contents inside. Stepping closer and leaning over the computer on the desk, he stumbled slightly, completely shocked. Inside the metal box were over a dozen awards. The boy had been stealing awards?

"DiNozzo!"

Tony jumped, completely taken by surprise. He turned to see Director Vance hovering over his desk. He was never happy to see the man, but he wasn't about to let it ruin his night. He would listen to whatever it was he had to say and make his way home, where he could finally relax. He gave Leon a bright, toothy smile and leaned back in his chair, the award still in his hand.

"Director Vance…practicing your impersonation of the Bossman? Its very good, by the way…I didn't even hear you coming."

"Funny man. Mind telling me what you think you're doing, Agent DiNozzo?"

"Nothing much, just finishing up some paperwork, cleaning up my desk. I was about to leave for the night. Was there something you needed, Director?"

"You have any idea how much trouble you're in?"

Stunned at the director's question, he sat upright in his chair, dropping the award into the drawer, completely forgotten in that moment.

"Trouble? What kind of trouble? I haven't done anything, I swear."

"Looks like you have quite a lot there, DiNozzo. How long have you been stealing awards?"

Tony did a double take. He looked at Vance, then glanced at the drawer and then back at Vance again. "What?"

"They all Gibbs' or do you take them from other agents as well?"

Tony squinted, narrowing his eyes at the man in front of him. Annoyance got the better of him and he suddenly understood what was happening. It was obvious what was going on. Vance was still pissed about earlier and evidently misinterpreted Tony's intentions.

"Director Vance, I never stole anything. They are all Gibbs awards and to answer your original question, since my second year."

Impossible. Since his second year? How could no one have caught him before now? That would mean that Tony had been stealing Gibbs awards for eight years straight. Didn't Gibbs care?

"Here I thought you worshiped the man. Stealing from your boss is rather bold. You have just made my day, DiNozzo. Stealing, on top of your past misconducts and reprimands, this takes the cake," Leon smiled a devilish grin, "Start packing your desk…"

Tony's annoyance turned to anger in a flash. He stood abruptly, his office chair hitting the cubicle wall behind him. Vance stepped back, slightly unnerved by Tony's sudden outburst.

"You don't know anything! How could you possibly know? You stand around all day, watching us work with that snide look on your face, chewing your toothpick impatiently like you're waiting for one of us to screw up any minute! You must really hate us, huh Director?"

"Agent DiNozzo…"

"Okay, maybe not the whole team. You love McGee. Probie certainly has your approval and Ziva is the daughter of your personal buddy, Director David…so can't have any complaints there can you. But I know you can't stand Gibbs, and you definitely hate me with a passion. But just so you know, Director, I never stole from anyone. I would never steal from any agent in this building, let alone someone from my own team. Not that you care about the truth or anything!"

"Are you done?"

"Not by a long shot," Tony shouted. If he was gonna get fired, he was going to give the director a legitimate reason to do so. "I have all the Boss's awards, Director, because Gibbs does not believe in receiving rewards for doing his job, no matter how heroic the deed, how above and beyond the call or how wounded he gets. Gibbs doesn't do this job for recognition. I happen to admire that about him. He has taught us many things, and this particular lesson has rubbed off on the entire team. I have been with the team the longest and therefore, I have certain rights. I asked him, just so you know, if he wanted this award. And I knew, like all the others before this, that the answer was no. He told me to dispose of it. I keep them all because I am proud of him and because they remind me of the kind of person I strive every damn day to be. Sir."

"Be that as it may, you withheld those awards and stole Gibbs achievements."

"Director Vance, not everything is black and white. Don't you dare stand there and pretend that you know anything about me or Gibbs."

"I don't, and I don't care either."

There was silence, the pair of them staring at each other. Tony was on the verge of lashing out even more, almost letting every vile and poisonous thought spill out of his mouth. Leon looked on the brink of snapping his toothpick in half as he ground his teeth together angrily.

"Give me those awards, DiNozzo. I'll see that they get to Agent Gibbs. You're finished."

"I don't think so, Leon."

Gibbs walked into the bullpen. He had turned around, realizing he forgot his gloves when he stumbled upon their confrontation. He got into Vance's personal space, now nose to nose with the man.

"Threatening my Senior Field Agent and taking things that don't belong to you…is not the best way to get in my good graces." Gibbs warned.

Vance, completely unimpressed by Gibbs intimidation, returned the warning, "I don't need to be in your good graces, Agent Gibbs. You need to be in mine. And I never threatened DiNozzo."

"No?"

"No."

"Telling DiNozzo to pack his desk…sounds like a threat to me."

Vance said nothing, though he wanted to. Pushing Gibbs would get him no where. He had only been Director for a year and Gibbs still had more pull and influence with the higher ups than he did, no matter who sat in the Director's chair.

"Tony has done nothing wrong, Leon. He accepts awards for me, just as he always has. I don't put much stock into receiving awards for doing my job. It's what I'm supposed to do, that's why I get paid. He asks, every time, if I want them, even though he already knows the answer. When I say no, he stores them in his bottom desk drawer."

"You know, boss?"

"Have since the second or third award, DiNozzo."

"Why, Gibbs?" Vance asked, completely bewildered.

"It's where they belong."

Gibbs looked at his Senior Field Agent and best friend. He smiled and received a warm smile in return.

"Yep, right where they belong."