A/N: My deepest thanks and appreciation to all who have taken the time to read and comment on this story. You have made this an amazing experience for me.
35 The Watchtowers of Rota
These three things are the constants of Leroy Jethro Gibbs's life: Crime, people who talk too much, and Leon Vance's puckish sense of humor. Knowing that Gibbs cares nothing about the Gulfstream and would in fact be happier in a canvas seat on a cargo plane, he has arranged for Gibbs to fly home in solitary splendor on the Navy's fanciest toy.
Gibbs has no interest in the electronic thingies, but the minibar is nice and the view unobstructed. From the air Rota is flat and undistinguished, a jumble of low narrow buildings and twisting streets. But the base is recognizable for its airstrip and docks and the string of silver-grey ships unspooling from its bay. He remembers again his impression of Rota Naval Station, the harmony underlying the appearance of disorder, the coordination necessary to keep the great machinery running, the meshing of disparate parts, the predictability of the result of all those great efforts.
Gibbs of course is not given to sentiment. But even steely men have their sentimental moments and sentimental men have their steeliness, and without both, there would be no way to keep the machinery going, no mounting the watchtowers so that the Rotas of the world might go on dozing. Not that Gibbs would put it that way. He does think it's a fine sight.
Even without the presence of chips and beer in the DiNozzo household, OSU trounces Michigan. For once, Ziva enjoys gameday: she watches The Sound of Music on the iPad. No one notices her singing.
On Monday Tony goes back to work, ignoring the both the one-more-week-off and the two-weeks-of-halfdays prescriptions. He writes a letter for Sarah Cosgrove. The content makes Vance chomp his toothpick in two, but Vance sees to it that no charges are filed against Sarah, and she is allowed to resign from NCIS in exchange for her testimony.
Going through the chop shop photos, Tony notices—as a result of his frequent, longing perusal of BMW literature, whatever its language—that Werke is misspelled as Worke and concludes that the equipment is probably counterfeit from the clandestine factories around Naples. NCIS Naples is able to give the Rota office some assistance, and eventually they track the carjacking ring to a new location in Gibraltar. The case is turned over to civilian authorities, and it's NCIS Rota's last act in the matter.
Strangely, Ziva does not take this as a sign that Tony should have a BMW. But the little red clown car is in the NCIS Navy Yard lockup, along with Tony's belt-buckle knife, his favorite loafers, and his Tag Heuer, and no one in the David-DiNozzo household wants the clown car back. They compromise on a Jetta. At least Tony can get into it with fewer contortions.
Life in the office and at home settles down into everydayness. Ziva buys Tony an iPad so that he'll stop "borrowing" Becks's, and he uses that to display her photographs. Ziva sends the spare digital frame to Gibbs.
One day Tony opens his locked drawer and realizes his spare shirts and socks are gone. It amuses him to think of his cashmere socks and his pima cotton polo and his Prada pinstripe dress shirt now in some hamper in Arlington, in the company of Walmart T-shirts. He knows Jethro would have come anyway.