Chapter 11

AN: I have included my take on Gibbs's whole 'apology' thing in this chapter. I hope you like it. Gibbs makes a M*A*S*H reference.

This is the last chapter. I hope I ended the story in a good way.

Thanks to all those of you who have supported this story. Thanks to those of you who asked for this story, Gibbs's POV, to be written. It has been an interesting ride.

Tony stood up and followed me as I left Autopsy.

"So, what now?" Tony asked.

"You be the best damned Team Leader you can be, or I'll kick your ass." I replied, grinning.

Tony looked at me and laughed. "On it, Boss."

We walked in silence to the elevator.

"The head slaps…since I'm Team Leader?" Tony asked.

Tony exited the elevator and walked to the bullpen rubbing the back of his head in answer to his question.

Tim and Ziva were seated. They made a point of ignoring him as he walked in and Tony waited for me to go to my desk and sit down before he began speaking.

"What happened downstairs should NEVER have had to happen. I shouldn't have to prove myself to people who should know better." Tony said. "And just so you know, I will make good on my threat. There are PLENTY of computer geeks at M.I.T. and I am sure Eli David can spare another Mossad officer. The kind of insubordination I experienced at your hands will not happen again. I have the power and authority, as Team Leader, to reprimand you, and to fire you…at my discretion."

"You're not…." Tim began.

"He is Team Leader." I interjected. "And he has the full powers of Team Leader." I added, just so there would be no more argument.

Tim opened his mouth, again, to speak.

Tony went over to Tim's desk and bent down so that he was right in Tim's face. "So, this is how you want to play this, do you Timmy? Well, fine. But every mark you have against you looks bad on your bid for the directorship." Tony paused. "Vance could pass you over for someone who is not so…obstinate… pertinacious." He paused again. "Some Harvard words for you, look 'em up!"

Tony waited for Tim to speak, when he didn't, Tony straightened up again. "This time around you are going to do it right. This is a do-over, as they say." Tony walked around the bullpen. "Do it right, you get to keep your job…."

"Gibbs…" Ziva turned and looked at me. "…he can't threaten…."

"Didn't sound like a threat to me. It sounded like a promise." I stated. "And I back him on this. If you had done this to me, you would be fired. You BOTH know that. You've seen the goofball side of Tony. And he is a joker, he likes to clown around a lot. But he has never let either one of you down. He has always had your sixes. He will always have your sixes. He is deadly serious at his job and he deserves to be respected for the skill, expertise and experience he brings to it. He deserves to be respected because he taught both of you, especially you, Tim, how to be agents. You owe that to him. You didn't learn any of that from me. I don't have the patience or the time to both run the team and to teach you those things. That is why team leaders have senior field agents, to shoulder some of that responsibility." I paused. "I heard what happened down in Autopsy. I know the things Tony presented to you. I've seen them. I read them. It is a sad commentary he had to produce documentation to prove himself to you. It bothers me that he had to do it, and that you two are STILL acting the way you are."

I turned and looked at Tony. "I…I feel partially responsible, Tony. I, myself, have not treated you in the most professional manner and I am truly sorry for that. I had no idea they would take my lead. You deserved more respect from your leader." I paused. "I know, more than anybody, what you are capable of…."

There were three people, six eyeballs, just staring at me in disbelief. It made me a little uncomfortable. But, I couldn't let this go by and NOT be said. Tony deserved better from his team.

"I don't know what else to say, or if there is anything else I can say. But I am truly sorry." I said to Tony.

And for the record, just so you know, the apology thing is not to ever say you're sorry. It is never say you're sorry to strangers. They are not likely to believe you anyway. Never say you're sorry when you don't mean it. People know when you're insincere. They may never say so, but they know. Sorry's are meant for people who matter and for the times that are important. Tony means a hell of a lot to me and the timing, right now, is critical.

Tony looked at me and nodded in appreciation. He then turned his attention to Tim and Ziva. "It's really simple. You have two options. You can get with the program. Or, you can get out." Tony said. "And at this point, I don't really give a damn what you do!" Tony said before leaving the bullpen.


Both Tim and Ziva looked at me. I just stared at my computer screen as I opened my email and started to read.

They were still staring when I looked up seconds later. "Look, he IS in charge. We have not treated him right. He deserve better from all of us. I'm going to do my part. I'm going to be his senior field agent. I am going to do his job, hopefully as well as he does it. And if you stay…."

"If…!" Tim and Ziva said in unison. I think still a little surprised I had not told Tony he was out of line. Especially with the last thing he said.

I nodded. "IF you decide to stay, we…he will be your boss for these 8 months. I…" I looked at their expressions and I was suddenly angry. They still didn't seem to get it. "…look I don't expect you to like it. I don't care if you like it. But, that's how it is."

The mood had changed when Tony returned. I guess Tim and Ziva did really want to keep their jobs after all because things seemed to get better after that talk. Tony seemed to notice. He sat down at his desk and opened a folder. He did his part of the paperwork. What couldn't be completed by his team and then he passed the folders on to me. Soon I was knee deep in work, even with passing my, the SFA work, onto Tim and Ziva.

I didn't remember the SFA paperwork being so monotonous and mind-numbingly boring. I didn't realize I have forgotten so much of that stuff. It had not been that long since I filled it out on a regular basis…had it? I tried to think back. But I couldn't remember how long it had been. But what I did remember was Mike Franks being little or no help on it. I remember the papers being sent back to me full of comments and red marks. I never even so that much red on papers I had made F's on in school. I was astounded. And I was even more astounded by the sheer number of questions Tim and Ziva asked. I was not sure I was going to make it through those 8 months. Those two seemed to ask the same questions over and over again. Once, twice, three times, maybe, are understandable. But when it gets to 10, on forms they filled out Every Single Day! I was almost at my breaking point.

My only consolation and it was not really a consolation, was that Tony was absolutely, thoroughly, and unashamedly enjoying my misery. I knew by the looks he would throw me every once and a while. I knew when he leaned WAY back in his chair and put his hands behind his head and watched me, watched me work. And he had absolutely nothing to do. His desk was clean. The smile he had on his face just about killed me.

The team leader me, would have walked over and head-slapped the look off his face. The SFA me, had to just sit there and glare back at him, it was not nearly as affective and one time he even laughed. That only made me mad, which he also took great joy in.

Utilizing Tim and Ziva as runners for Abby and Ducky had been great for them. They fell into it quickly and easily. It had freed them up to get more done. It had showed them how much time they spent doing things that, essentially, were not part of their main jobs. And both of them admitted to me, in confidence, that they would be sad to lose their help when the 8 months were up.

I, however, personally was ready to go back to things as normal after a month. I got tired of checking and rechecking evidence logs to make sure all evidence was present and accounted for. I got tired of checking behind Tim and Ziva to make sure forms were filled out and done correctly. I remembered a line from a TV show. I can't quote it correctly because I don't remember it exactly. But it was from M*A*S*H. Radar was talking to Colonel Blake. Radar was saying something about Blake signing the form to get the form to order more forms. And after all this, I had a new appreciation for what Tony did, besides his field work.


Tony came down the stairs and sat down on his accustomed step. There was a look of pure amusement on his face.

"I had no idea what I was getting myself into." I admitted after a few moments of comfortable silence.

"There is a shit-load of paperwork with my job." Tony said.

"You aren't kidding."

"You should have let Tim do it all." I said. "That would have taught him. He wouldn't have had time to bitch and moan."

"I wouldn't have had time to be Team Leader." Tony countered. "I would have been teaching him how to do my job."

I nodded. "But it would have shut him up."

"We will be ok again, Gibbs. It's just…It's going to take some time."

I nodded. "I know."

Tony got up and started upstairs.

"Your toothbrush is where you left it." I said smiling at Tony's retreating back.



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