Author's Notes: I allowed Kate to live. I wanted her to stick around a little longer. The characters (Special Agents) Russ Golden, Tim Winston, Shelly Craig, Carlton Marlon, and Amanda Jacobson are mine. They are purely my creation.

"So what did the director tell you?" Abby asked. She had just gotten the word fresh off the rumor mill and had to call Tony as soon as she got home to confirm. "What did she say?"

"She gave me two options. I could have my own team, here." Tony paused. "I would just have to wait a year or two until Russ Golden retires."

Abby shook her head. "Russ is never going to retire. He says every year he is and then he changes his mind."

"Yeah, I know. But that is the only one coming up in this office that the director knows of." Tony paused again. "Then there's option two..."

"Which is ...?" Abby inquired.

"Also, my own team, position is now open." Tony stated.

"Sounds great…" Abby said. "…but..."

"But, it's in Miami, Florida."

"Miami!" Abby said, so excited she was yelling. "Miami, Florida is too far away! I hope you said no!"

Tony sighed. "I told her I would think about it."

"What is there to think about, Tony? It is too far away from your best friend, Abby!" Abby paused, mid-rant to catch her breath. "There is nothing to think about!"

"It's time, Abby."

"I know, Tony." Abby said. "But...I was just hoping that the director could find your own team a little closer to home."

"Well," Tony said. "She did present me with a third option..." Tony paused. "...but I would never even THINK about taking it."

"What? What is it?"

"Amanda Jacobson..." Tony started. "...I don't want to start rumors here, Abby.

"Okay, if not ON her team." Abby said, warily. "Than 'what?'" Abby paused. "Oh, I'm sorry, Tony. She is such a ... I feel sorry for anyone who has any dealings with her at all. Who quit this time?" Abby paused. "Does that mean she's out?" Abby asked, loving the intrigue.

"Tim Winston...and that means I can't say, and you can't repeat, what I can't say. Got it!"

"Got it." Abby repeated, happy to get a little bit of juicy office gossip before anyone else." "Tim had only been there 2 weeks." Abby recalled.

"Yeah, I know. He took a job at a security company as a night watchman."

"Why haven't Carlton and Shelly left?" Abby asked. "They have both been there longer than anybody else. It's actually been a few months."

"They would have to leave NCIS, like Winston did, to find work." Tony explained.

"Why not just fire Jacobson? I mean her solve rate has never been high. She has a higher turn-over rate than a fast- food restaurant."

Tony sighed. "I think she has a brother, who knows somebody, who works for somebody. Who knows?"

Abby sighed. "Well Tony, how long is the director going to let you 'think about it? She has to know how eager Fornell is to have you with the FBI."

"She didn't give me a deadline, Abby." Tony paused. "I can't work for that man. He can't even say my name correctly. The little bald-headed bastard."

Tony could hear Abby laughing on the other end.

"Where the HELL is there a T anywhere in my name? DiNotezo." Tony shook his head even though Abby couldn't see him. "The man needs to get Hooked on Phonics and I would tell him so if I didn't think Gibbs would head-slap me into the middle of next week."

Abby chuckled. "Gibbs sure would do that." She agreed. "Did you call Fornell a bald-headed bastard in front of the director?"

"No, but I think she would have loved it."

Abby said. "I love you, Tony. Take care of yourself."

"I love you too, Abby."

"Goodnight, DiNotezo." Abby said.

"Not funny, Abby. NOT FUNNY." Tony said. He could hear her laughing just before she hung up.


With a capable agent TO run her team Director Shepard made the decision to fire Special Agent Amanda Jacobson. Agent Jacobson did not go without a fight though. She threatened to file a class action suit, though there were no grounds, whatsoever for a class action. She threatened to file a discrimination suit; there were also no grounds for that either. She accused her team of making accusations and complaints against her, which they had and did, almost of a daily basis. Amanda just had not known about them until now.

The remaining team members Special Agent Carlton Marlon and Special Agent Shelly Craig were thrilled to find out Amanda was leaving. But, they were more than a little apprehensive about Anthony DiNozzo being their Team Leader. They knew him by reputation only, and that reputation was that he was unfocused and talked incessantly. They were not sure he would be any better than Amanda in a lot of ways. They were not sure they would be able to follow someone who could not or would not take their job seriously.

Then Tim Winston found out Amanda had been fired, he was thrilled. He applied to have his old job back and he got it since that very position was the one Director Shepard had told Tony about only days before. Tony had politely refused the position. The director knew why. She herself had had some unpleasant run-ends with Amanda and knew they would have to get a rookie agent in, someone who knew nothing about Agent Jacobson to even consider being on the team.

Director Shepard smiled as Tony entered her door and took a seat. "What do you think about your team?" Jenny asked noticing the 3 folders under his arm.

Tony laid the folders on the director's desk. "It looks like a good bunch. Tim has police experience and background. He has been with NCIS such a short time. I'm not sure how much of the forensics he knows. Shelly is a former CSI with the Virginia Crime Lab, so at least I know of her forensic skills. I have a few friends there. I inquired about her, informally, of course. I am a little worried about her weapons abilities though. She had passed her firearms test, but just barely. From what I have seen though, I think the things she has having problems with are easily corrected. I will work with her and see what I can do. Carlton seems to have a good balance between the two. He was a Marine for two tours of duty. He was in a total of 10 years. He has been with NCIS for 5 years. I think I'll make him my Senior Field Agent."

Jenny said nothing. She was just smiling at him.

"What?" Tony asked, confused by her expression.

"You are just proving to me I made a good choice promoting you."

Tony smiled. "Well, I'm glad to hear that." Tony paused. "I do have a question though."

Jenny nodded for him to continue.

"Why didn't Agent Marlon step up and ask to be Team Leader when he found out about Amanda?"

Jenny sighed. "He doesn't' want to have to deal with Team Leader bullshit. He said he had enough of that being 'in charge' in the Marines. Those were his exact words."

"Understood." Tony said as he began to stand.

"Agent DiNozzo/Tony," Director Shepard paused. " is Jethro taking it?

Tony was to the door when he turned and looked at her. "Not well. He told me he would personally see that I got a raise if I stayed."

"He is really, really going to miss you."

Tony shook his head. "I know, but it's time. He knows it. I know it."

Jenny nodded. "He is VERY proud of you. He would never tell you that, but he is."

"I know." Tony said smiling as he exited Jenny's office.


Tony strolled into the NCIS building 45 minutes early on this particular Monday morning. It was his first morning with his new team. Tony had wanted to unpack his backpack, familiarize himself with his new work area, and get caught up on the cases they were currently working on.

Tony sat down at his new desk and looked around at the other now-empty desks, His Team. He looked across the room at his old desk, just about 3 cubicles away. He didn't know if he would be able to do this. He missed Team Gibbs. He knew he would still have regular contact with Abby, Ducky, and Jimmy, by nature of the job. And it helped, tremendously. His very own team, he was trilled and terrified all at the same time. He began to unpack his back scratcher, his supply of t-shirts and button-down shirts, his toiletries, his American Pie coffee mug, his Mighty Mouse stapler, his letter opener and a few other odds and ends that he had decided he needed at work.

Tony then stood up and took a short tour of his work area seeing where office supplies were kept. Where info on current case files were things like that.

He was half way through the 3 of their 4 active cases when Agent Canton Marlon walked in. Agent Marlon was 40 years old with blond hair that had been left in a buzz cut. He was 5'9" and had trim, muscular build. He had blue eyes. He was handsome, in a rugged sort of way. Marlon stopped and stared for just a second. He had been so used to seeing Amanda sitting in that seat, he had thought for a moment he had entered the wrong set of cubicles. "Agent DiNozzo." Carlton said, walking over to Amanda...Tony's desk and put out his hand.

Tony stood and the two men shook hands. "Agent Marlon, nice to finally meet you, I have heard of your by reputation only. You can call me Tony, or DiNozzo, or Agent DiNozzo, by the way, whichever you prefer."

"Thank you, I'll stick with Agent DiNozzo for right now." Carlton replied. He hadn't realized Agent DiNozzo was so tall. Canton was not bothered by height, though he was what some would call short, for a man. He just knew taller men were viewed differently.

Tony nodded.

Canton then turned and retreated to his desk, which was in the same position Tony's desk at Team Gibbs had been. Carlton's was right across from Tony's, which was in the same position as Kate's desk. Theirs were the first two you pass when you enter the cubicle from the main elevators. Shelly Craig arrived next. She was 27 years old, had green eyes and long brown hair which she usually kept in a pony tail or in a sort of a bun. Tony was not sure what the style was called. She was 5'6" and had an athletic build. Tony had noticed in her personnel file she participated in mini-marathons in and around Washington, D.C. She too almost did a double take when she entered the team cubicle. She stopped cold for just a second until she realized that Anthony DiNozzo was now their Team Leader.

This should be interesting. Shelly thought as she walked past Tony and Canton's desks and put her purse and coat down. Her desk was in the same position as Gibb's desk. She then turned and walked over the Tony's desk. She stuck out her hand and introduced herself.

Tony stood and greeted her, shaking her hand. "Nice to meet you Agent Craig, I have heard a lot of nice things about you."

"Nice to meet you, too, Agent DiNozzo. Shelly said as Tony stood up. She too had not realized that Tony was so tall. She, for the first time, noticed his deep green eyes. She also noticed the patch of dark chest hair peeking out from where he had left the top three buttons of his dress shirt unbuttoned. Oh god, I'm in trouble. I had no idea he was so good looking. Why had I not noticed it before?

"You are welcome to call me Tony, if you'd prefer." Tony offered.

"Thank you, but right now I will stick with Agent DiNozzo."

Tony nodded. "Fair enough." Tony said, before sitting back down and getting back to reviewing the case file in front of him.

Tim Winston came in 5 minutes later. He had brown hair and blue eyes. He was handsome in a boy-next-door way. He looked much younger than his 32 years. He was also very athletic. He played on the NCIS sponsored baseball and basketball teams and was a regular in the weekend pickup games that Tony always seemed to get involved in. That was actually how they had met 4 years ago. Tim didn't pause before entering the team cubicle. He went right over to Tony's desk and stuck out his hand. "I'm glad to see you, Tony." Tim said, smiling. "You have NO idea."

Tony stood and smiled, taking Tim's hand. "Tim, come on. Jacobson wasn't that bad, was she?"

"Horrible." Tim said, nodding. "She isn't still here, is she?" Tim said, looking around the squad room hoping NOT to see her pop up anywhere.

"She's gone." Tony replied.

"Thank God." Carlton and Shelly both said, letting out a long sigh.

"Well, since you are all now here. We will get down to business. I have gone over your personnel files and I have some questions for each of you. Tim, I'll see first in Conference Room #2." Tony smiled, seeing the expressions on their faces. "It's not anything bad. I would just like to get to know the people I am going to be working with a little better, that's all."

Tim followed Tony into the conference room and they both took a seat at the conference table.

Tony was the first to speak. "First of all, I just wanted to tell you, it is really nice to have somebody on the team who already knows me. I am not sure Agent Craig knows WHAT to think of me and Agent Marlon is not at all impressed. But anyway, I wanted to talk to you about your forensics background. I know you good with weapons. I have looked at your scores on the shooting range. But I was really unsure of the forensics part. I see you have only been with NCIS for a short time."

Tim nodded. "I was only here for 2 or 3 weeks before I quit, because of Amanda. I have taken courses and I have gotten a certificate or two. I followed Shelly a lot. She had taught me a great deal about forensics."

"Is she a good teacher?" Tony asked.

Tim nodded. "How did you learn the forensics? You came from a police background too."

Tony nodded. "I took some classes. I have friends at the Virginia Crime Lab. I followed them around for while when I first thought about joining NCIS. I have always been interested in it though."

Tim nodded. He had always been interested in forensics, too.

"As long as Agent Craig is OK with the arrangement, continue to follow her around. I will help you too. Keep on with the classes. They can only help." Tony paused. "I think we are finished here. Could you send, Agent Craig in?"

Tim nodded and stood up.

Shelly came in minutes later and took a seat at the conference table. "Agent DiNozzo."

"Agent Craig, as I said out there..." Tony said, pointing to the door. "I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions. I wanted to talk to you specifically about your weapons training. I have seen your firearms tests and you have passed them, but just barely."

Shelly nodded. She and Amanda had talked about the same thing. Amanda had threatened to fire her if her score didn't improve by the next field test date.

"Relax, Agent Craig, the problem I suspect you are having can be easily corrected. I will give you a manual to study that shows you some basics." Tony pushed a firearms manual across the table to her. "Please don't be insulted, Agent Craig. I was on the force for couple of years before someone pointed my problems out to me. I had been taught some bad habits in the police academy. Once they were corrected, my scores shot up. I feel the same thing will happen for you." Tony patted the book that lay on the table between them. "Study this. I'll give you a week. Then we'll go out on the range and run through the test like you would if it counted. I think between what the book and I teach you, you will be very surprised at how much you score will improve."

Shelly nodded and reached for the book, grateful she had not been fired.

"Also, Tim tells me you have been helping him with the forensics part of the job." Tony paused. "Do you mind doing that? Has it been a problem for you?"

"No." Shelly shook her head. "I don't mind at all. Tim is a fast learner. He is a really good student. And I like him as a person."

Tony nodded. "Good, I was hoping that would be the case. I will be helping him too. Between the two of us he will master this in no time." Tony paused and Shelly stood up, book in hand, sensing the meeting had ended. "Thank you, Agent Craig. Send Agent Marlon in, please."

Agent Craig nodded and left the room.

Agent Marlon appeared in the doorway a few moments later.

"Agent Marlon, please have a seat?" Tony invited and Carlton took the chair Shelly and Tim had sat in. "I read your personnel file, Agent Marlon. I was very impressed with both your law enforcement and your forensics background. I think you a great combination of the two elements. I can't understand why Amanda didn't offer Senior Field Agent to you." Tony shook his head. "But, anyway, I am offering you the position and I hope you will accept it."

Agent Marlon stuck out his hand. "I would be honored." He and Tony shook hands. "And Agent Jacobson DID offer me the position, several times. I declined. I knew she had treated her others so badly they had quit NCIS or transferred to other positions or offices. I didn't want to go through that."

Tony nodded. He stood and motioned for Marlon to stand also. Agent Marlon followed Tony out of the room and back to their cubicle.

"Agent Craig, Agent Winston, I just wanted to let you know. I have offered Agent Marlon the position of Senior Field Agent and he has accepted. He is to act for me when I cannot lead the team, for whatever reason. I felt he was the most qualified for the job and I hope you will give him the respect the title deserves." Tony concluded his speech and the rest of the day was spent straightening out the multitude of messes Amanda Jacobson had created in her time as Team Leader. Tony had been to the director's office several times. He had passed by Team Gibbs each time. Twice they had not been there. One time only McGee had been there, but he had not looked up when Tony had walked by. Tony had passed Gibbs once on the way to the director's office also. Gibbs stopped him and they talked a few moments before each continued on his way.

Shelly, Carlton and Tim spent the rest of their day working on old field reports and bringing Tony up to date on their thoughts on the cases they were currently working.

Day two was pretty much a continuation of day one. Ducky had called Tony down to autopsy about the body Team Jacobson, now Team DiNozzo had found. But that was just pretense really, what Ducky told him was already in the autopsy report Ducky had faxed up. Ducky really wanted to know how the 'first-day-on-the-job' went.

Tony gave him the abbreviated version and then decided to find Abby and tell her before she found him.

Tony peeked into the lab minutes later. The music was blasting and Tony walked right up behind Abby and stood there for two minutes before she noticed.

"Hello DiNozzo." Abby said finally turning to face him.

Tony just looked at her for a moment.

"You cannot sneak up on me in hard soled shoes." Abby said looking at the dress shoes on Tony's feet. She paused. "So, how was it?"

"It was good." Tony said, leaning against her one of her lab tables. "It was not at all what I expected."

"What did you expect?" Abby asked, intrigued.

"I don't know. I guess I just thought they might miss Amanda, even though they admittedly didn't like her too well.


"But, they were glad to see her go. Tim Winston came back this morning." Tony said smiling.

"But didn't he quit and go to work at a security company?"

Tony nodded. "The director COULDN'T fill his position. So when he heard that Amanda had been fired he immediately applied and the director hired him back, knowing why he had quit in the first place. It had been his position that Jenny had offered me."

"Ohhh," Abby said, poking Tony gently in the ribs. "Team Leader now in good and tight with the director. Boy, we sure are moving up in the world, aren't we?"

"She's just a sucker for tall men with green eyes and chest hair." Tony said, flashing Abby one of his sweet smiles.

"Is that right, Agent DiNozzo?" Director Shepard asked, standing in the doorway of Abby's lab.

"That's what I heard, Ma'am." Tony looked at his watch on the pretense of being late for something. "Gotta go, Abby. I will see you later, Director Shepard."

"Actually Tony. You are the one I'm needing to see." The director said waiting for Tony to join her at the door. "Good to see you again, Abby." The director said as she and Tony left the lab.

The director didn't speak again until she and Tony got into the elevator and the doors closed. "As it turns out, Amanda Jacobson left a bigger mess than any of us imagined."

"What do you mean?" Tony asked, thoroughly confused.

"She was covertly selling personal information about US Marines and Naval Personnel and NCIS employees to the highest bidder." Director Shepard informed Tony.

"Who specifically?" Tony asked.

"We don't have one agency or group we are dealing with here. That was her downfall. Had she been more selective and more careful, she would not have been caught." Jenny explained.

"So her firing...?"

"She quit, unofficially, to save herself from a slew of federal charges and possibly from life in prison." Jenny paused. "She also agreed to name her accomplice." Jenny gave Tony a moment to absorb what she was saying. "Someone...someone on my team, you're saying. Who!" Tony asked.

"She won't say until she gets a deal. Nobody wants to make a deal until they can verify what, exactly, she compromised and what it could mean to the military and to NCIS."

"So.. what now?"

"Jacobson is being held. Whoever it is on your team has no idea what is going on besides the official statement that she was fired for 'uncooperative attitude' and 'mishandling of agency resources.'" Jenny hit the stop button as soon as the elevator reached the desired floor.

"Such 'politically correct' terminology..." Tony stated. " say she was bitchy and abusive to her team."

Jenny nodded in agreement.

"So I am to...what exactly?" Tony asked.

"Just business as usual." The director stated. "I will let you know who she names as soon as I know."

"I really don't know them that well yet, except for Tim Winston. But I find it hard to believe it would be anyone on my team." Tony said, shaking his head.

"Like I said, Agent DiNozzo, business as usual." The director restated. "Just let us work on her. You take care of your team. It looks like you're off to a good start with them. Keep it up."

Tony nodded his understanding and the director flipped the switch to resume regular elevator operation. She and Tony both then stepped out on the 3rd floor.

Gibbs had been watching Tony and his team for a few weeks, since Tony became Team Leader. He was doing such a good job. Gibbs was proud. Gibbs had watched Tony return to his team and the director approach.

"How is he?" Gibbs asked, before Jenny could even say hello.

"Hello to you too, Agent Gibbs and he's fine. He is doing well. The team really likes him. He has been helping Agent Craig with her weapons training and her scores have gone up tremendously. He has helped Tim with his forensic knowledge. They all gave him great reviews last week. Tony is a great Team Leader."

Gibbs nodded. "He deserves people who treat him well."

Jenny nodded and they all watched Tony and his team from their cubicles before Jenny went back up to her office and Gibbs and his team set about working their current case.


"I won't go to jail for this, Tony." Agent Michelle Craig said, her gun trained on her Team Leader. "I can't." Her hands were shaking. "Do you know what they do to WOMEN cops in jail?"

As it turned out Agent Craig had been Jacobson's accomplice on Team DiNozzo. She had needed the money and had been drawn in by the talk of making lots of money quickly, in and out. No one gets caught. No one gets hurt, no harm no foul. Except now, Agent Craig was standing in an NCIS elevator with a gun trained on her Team Leader, a man whom she had truly come to like and respect but one who was too good of an investigator for his own good.

Tony put both of his hands up. He was backed against the wall, which was not hard to do in the small confines of the NCIS elevator. "Agent Craig...Shelly look, we'll talk to Director Shepard. She will be glad to cut you a deal in exchange for what you know."

"That's just it, Tony." Shelly said, hands shaking. "I don't' know anything. It was on a need to know basis, and apparently there was not a whole lot I needed to know."

Tony took a step forward and her hands stopped shaking. "I will use this, Tony. I don't want to, but I will."

Tony stopped moving. "What will you get out of shooting me? These walls are thin." Tony said, referring to the elevator walls. "Someone will hear the shot. Then you get to go to jail for the rest of your life for killing a federal agent."

"Not going to happen, Tony." Shelly said as she started to put the gun to her head.

Tony, realizing what she was about to do, lunged the short distance between them. He knocked Shelly to the floor and the gun out of her hand, but not before it went off. Tony groaned once. He put his hand to his chest, unsure of what had happened to him. He rolled over onto his back and promptly passed out as Shelly scrambled to get herself out from under him. She backed herself up against the wall and stayed there, her legs drawn up to her chest.

The elevator doors opened seconds later to a bloody scene.

Special Agent Shelly Craig sat motionless against the wall of the elevator, nearly catatonic, her hands and clothes bloody. Her boss, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo lay just inches away from her, unconscious and bleeding from a belly wound. Blood was spreading rapidly across his chest, turning his white dress shirt maroon. Blood had begun, also, to pool under his body and to flow from the corner of his mouth.

The shot seemed to have been heard throughout the building, Team Gibbs, namely Kate, was the first to respond. She pulled her weapon and cautiously approached the doors of the now open, elevator. It took her a second to realize who was involved as she surveyed the scene before her. By this time the rest of Team Gibbs and Team DiNozzo had converged on the elevator. Their guns all trained on Agent Craig.

Agent Todd was the first to speak. "Agent Craig." Kate said, trying desperately to fight the urge to run in and offer aid to Tony. She knew this had to be done by the book. Step one is to remove the immediate threat, namely Agent Craig. Step two was to secure the threat. Step three was to provide aid.

"Agent Craig!" Kate repeated, louder and with more force.

That seemed to bring Shelly around. She looked at her hands, noticing for the first time the blood on them. She then made a move to touch Tony.

Kate's voice sounded again. "Agent Craig, I need you to stand up and step clear of the elevator."

Shelly obeyed the command. She pushed up with her legs, her back against the wall until she was in a standing position. She then moved away from Tony, but she never took her eyes off his motionless body.

"I killed him! Oh, god, I killed him!" Shelly cried as Gibbs and McGee waited outside the elevator to cuff her and to take her away from the crime scene.

Kate re-holstered her weapon and the action seemed to return to normal speed as she starred at her former partner lying motionless on the elevator floor. Gibbs and Tim took Shelly away and the next thing she knew Carlton and Tim Winston were being restrained to keep them from entering the elevator by other agents who also worked on the floor. Almost before she could even register it, Jimmy and Ducky were rushing into the elevator and were kneeling down beside Tony. Jimmy was unbuttoning Tony's shirt and pressing gauze to the wound to stop the bleeding. Ducky checked for a pulse and checked for other injuries, talking to Tony the whole time. Telling him, from what Kate could hear, about his youth in Edinburgh.

Moments later, Kate was left staring at an empty elevator. The ambulance arrived in record time. Tony was carted away with Carlton riding along. Agent Craig had been personally escorted by Gibbs and McGee to one of the holding cells in the building. Kate came to her senses as Gibbs came up to her and asked her where Tony was being taken.

"Bethesda." Kate said without thinking. She had heard Jimmy ask the EMTs and had remembered. Kate turned and walked, almost robotically to her desk. She sat down and put her head in her hands as she listened to Ducky brief Gibbs, McGee and Tim Winston on Tony's condition.

"How did this happen?" Kate asked no one in particular. "What the hell happened in that elevator?"

By this time Director Shepard had heard there had been a shooting. She had been in MTAC and was in conference when the shooting occurred. She didn't know who was involved and asked Ducky. The first person she came in contact with.

The director looked at the scene before her. Gibbs and McGee were taking someone off the floor in handcuffs. The end of a stretcher was disappearing into the elevator with, she presumed, one of her agents on it. "What is going on here!"

"Anthony…Anthony was shot by Agent Craig."

"DiNozzo! She found out! How did she find out?" The director asked pacing as Team Gibbs and Tim Winston looked at her in confusion. She then addressed Ducky again. "Tony…How bad is Tony injured Dr. Mallard?" Jenny asked.

"How did who find out what?" Gibbs asked.

"Agent Craig, Agent Gibbs." Jenny said addressing Gibbs. Then she turned to Ducky. "But first, Dr. Mallard, how is Tony?"

"Anthony lost a significant amount of blood, which is common with belly wounds, Director. Belly wounds also host their own special set of problems like infection, organ damage, and peritonitis. He will be OK as long as the blood loss is not too severe and infection does not set in." Ducky began to ramble. "Back at university we had a lad who..."

"Shelly liked Tony." Tim Winston said, reasoning out this set of totally unreasonable events. "Why would she shot him?"

The director sighed. She knew that the news would be out to the entire Navy yard and indeed the entire US Military by the end of the week. So she felt her people should have a heads-up before the barrage of questions came. Everyone was shocked to her what she had to say. "Former Special Agent Michelle Craig had been in on a scam with Agent Jacobson. Jacobson was selling information about the military and personal information about military personnel and NCIS agents to the highest bidder."

Ducky quickly left telling the team he and Jimmy would inform Abby about what had happened to Tony. Then they both made their way down to the lab.

The director nodded than waited until they had walked away before she continued. Anyway, Amanda was caught quite by accident. Tony and I had been trying to clean up some of the mess she had left for Tony when I stumbled upon a list of numbers, which looked like account numbers, that lead to bank accounts containing more money than Jacobson would make here in 2 years. She was confronted, confessed and told us she would name her accomplice here at NCIS for a reduction in her sentence. Once she got her deal, Jacobson sang like a canary. She wouldn't shut up, in fact. She said she was relieved she had been caught, the money was great, but having to constantly watch her back was giving her ulcers and she was losing sleep at night."

"Poor Amanda." Kate said, unsympathetically.

"The accomplice was Shelly Craig. That's what you're saying." Gibbs questioned, asking for clarification. "Tony knew?"

Jenny nodded. "Tony was in the loop before Jacobson gave us the name. He needed to act as though all was normal, but keep his eyes open, also."

"How did Shelly find out? Tony wouldn't have confronted her by himself. That would have been too dangerous." Tim Winston reasoned.

They all nodded agreement.

"Which is why I'm going to talk to Tony as soon as he wakes up, so he can tell me what happened." The director stated. She looked at Tim Winston and nodded. "Go, Tim. You and Carlton stay with Tony as long as you need to. Take the rest of the day off."

Tim smiled, thanking the director. He grabbed his coat from his desk and started for the elevator. He stood at the doors of the elevator for just a moment before opting to take the stairs. The area was declared a crime scene only until Agent Craig's gun could be secured. After that the building maintenance crew moved in and cleaned and disinfected the whole elevator. By the time they finished, you would never have known anything bloody had happened there.

The director then turned her attention to Gibbs and McGee. "Did Craig say anything to you as you were taking her out of here?"

McGee nodded. "She wouldn't shut up. She said over and over how sorry she was she had hurt Tony. She said Tony had showed her nothing but kindness. She said he had spent a lot of extra time, his own personal time, away from work, teaching her how to improve her scores on the firing range. She said he was a really good leader and that he was a very good caring man. She apologized profusely."

Gibbs nodded his agreement to what McGee had said.

The director's cell phone rang at about that time. She answered it on the second ring. "Director Shepard." Jenny stated. "Hello, Agent Marlon. She listened for a moment and then started repeating what she was hearing so that Team Gibbs would know what was going on. "DiNozzo just went into surgery. He has lost a lot of blood, but the internal organ damage didn't seem too severe. They estimate the surgery to last about 3 hours." Jenny nodded. "Okay, thank you Carlton. You and Tim stay at the hospital as long as you need to. Just keep me updated." Jenny said.

"With all due respect, ma'am." Carlton said. "I am in charge now. In charge of this case. Working with Tony all this time, I know that is what he would want, too."

Director Shepard nodded. "Agreed. I will ask Dr. Mallard to allow Jimmy to stay with Tony."

"Thank you, Director." Carlton said and he and Tim headed back to NCIS.


Tony woke up right on schedule, approximately one hour after surgery. The anesthesia, however, made him really sick. He was kept in recovery about 2 hours for fear all the dry heaving he was doing would pull his stitches and reopen his wound.

Despite the fact the he was no longer on Gibbs' team, Gibbs' face was the first thing Tony saw when he woke up. Gibbs tried to ignore the IV's and the oxygen cannula hooked up to Tony. He tried, also, to ignore the huge bandage that covered the lower part of Tony's chest. But the fact that Tony WAS so still and SO quiet kept his attention glued to Tony. He didn't want to miss the moment when Tony opened his eyes.

Actually he and Jimmy had been tag-teaming Tony to make sure someone was with him when he woke up.

Tony moaned. He opened his eyes and turned his head when he heard movement coming from the right side of the bed.

Gibbs stood up and stretched when he heard Tony moan. He moved to the side of the bed, and he took hold of Tony's hand.

Tony attempted to speak, but Gibbs stopped him. "You will have plenty of time to talk later. Rest."

Tony tried again, but soon gave up. He was so weak. His chest was hurting. He looked around him and saw the morphine pump. He was so glad the morphine was beginning to kick in. He smiled at Gibbs to let Gibbs know he understood what Gibbs was saying. He was out again in moments.

It was another two days before Tony was able to stay awake and felt good enough to actually hold a conversation. During that time Team Gibbs and Team DiNozzo had been by his side fairly constantly. Ducky and Abby stopped by regularly. Director Shepard had even come and sat with Tony a couple of times. She had not, as yet asked him what had happened in the elevator. Dr. Pitt has also been checking up on Tony's progress because the bullet has nicked Tony's left lung. Nurse Emma even managed to get herself assigned to Tony's care for a shift or two.


"De Javu." Tony said, looking up at Gibbs.

"What!" Gibbs asked.

"Movie…" Tony said weakly. "…Bill Murray keeps reliving the same day over and over again, called Groundhog Day. …should see it."

Gibbs smiled, but didn't speak.

"Don't you have a team to run?" Tony asked. "…not your responsibility anymore."

"No," Gibbs said. "…you're not. But you are my friend."

"No more head-slaps?" Tony asked.

"I'll try and refrain."

Tony smiled brightly.

"Screwed up…" Tony shook his head. "…Shelly…."

"Shelly did this to herself. All you did was find out what she was doing."

"In the elevator…." Tony began.

"Save it, Tony." Gibbs said. He let go of Tony's hand. He then pulled the chair around so that he was facing Tony and sat down. "Jenny wants to talk to you about that. I would like to be here, if that is ok with you."

Tony nodded.

"Good. She said she would give you a few days to rest." Gibbs said. "She wants you to get better before she talks to you."

"Carlton…Tim…." Tony started.

"They are back at NCIS, hard at work. They are trying to help Jenny figure out the damage Shelly and Amanda did." Gibbs explained.

Tony just nodded again.

"They are both good agents, Tony." Gibbs paused. "They think a lot of you."

"Yeah," Tony sighed. "…two out of three ain't bad."

"Shelly was very upset over what happened. She kept telling us how good you had been to her. How kind it was of you to spend so much extra time with her so that she could pass her test."

"If that is not some damn irony for ya... Good to know she is such a great shot." Tony said. "Just my luck."


"I know, Gibbs. I know."

"Rest, Tony." Gibbs said, getting up from his chair and heading towards the door. "Jenny will be in to see you sometimes this evening or tomorrow morning. Get some sleep."


"Causing trouble again, I see." Dr. Brad Pitt said strolling into Tony's room, again, a couple days after Tony left the recovery room. Jimmy had fallen sleep at Tony's beside, but woke as soon as Brad entered. He and Brad shook hands and exchanged greetings.

"Nurse Carrie tell on me?" Tony asked, weakly.

Brad nodded.

"I just asked for a sponge bath." Tony said smiling.

"She said you already had one."

"Yeah, from Nurse Nancy, she's built like a brick shithouse. I was hoping for a 'more feminine' touch."

Brad smiled. "I'm sure Nancy will love your description of her. And she IS a woman."

"With the hands of a 300 lb. construction worker named Bubba." Tony paused. "I don't do well with 'man-hands.'"

Brad laughed. "Just be nice to the staff." Brad paused. "Oh, and the real reason I came in here. Your lungs are going to heal just fine, little or no scarring. The nick was easily repaired."

"Good to know." Tony replied.

"I told Dr. Mallard and I am sure Jimmy will keep him updated, also."

"Yes, I will." Jimmy agreed.

"Good." Brad said, as he turned to leave. "And Jimmy, keep him out of trouble."

"That's a full-time job, Brad."

"Don't I know it." Brad said as he exited the room.


"Agent DiNozzo."

Tony opened his eyes to the sound of the Director's voice. "Yes, Ma'am." He looked around, noticing his team and all of Team Gibbs in the room.

Jenny had one hand in his and her other hand on his shoulder. "Do you feel like talking today?" Jenny asked. "I hope you don't mind an audience."

Tony nodded. "Yes, Ma'am and I don't mind."

"Good." Jenny smiled and nodded. "Well then, lets get down to business, Tony. What happened in the elevator?"

"I don't know how she knew we were on to her. She said she won't go to jail for this, She asked me if I knew what they do to WOMEN cops in jail? She had her gun pointed at me, but her hands were shaking." Tony paused. "I could tell she really didn't want to use it. She wasn't planning on using it on me. She just felt she was out of options. I tried to reason with her. I told her you would be glad to cut her a deal in exchange for what she knew." Tony said, looking at the director. "But she told me, that was just it, she don't' know anything. It was on a need to know basis, and apparently there was not a whole lot she needed to know. I asked her what would she get out of shooting me? The walls were thin. Someone would hear the shot. Then she would get to go to jail for the rest of her life for killing a federal agent." Tony paused. "She told me that that was not going to happen. She then put the gun to her head. I couldn't let her do it. I lunged for her and knocked her to the floor. The gun flew out of her hand. I don't know when it went off. I felt pain. I put my hand to my chest. That's all I remember."

Director Shepard nodded. "I will write it up. I think, too, you deserve a commendation. I will put you in for one."

"Shelly." Tony asked. "Is she…?"

"Shelly actually got a reduced sentence. She really didn't know anything about how Amanda got her information. She had no part in getting the information. She was just involved in trying to cover up the trail. She got 10 years with 5 suspended and 5 years probation."

Tony nodded. He was getting tired. "Carlton. Tim." Tony said to his team members. "I need to talk to you two for a moment."

Carlton and Tim came up to the bed side. "I hear from Director Shepard, you two solved the case." Tony stated.

They both nodded.

"I'm proud of you both. You've done well. I'm very blessed to have you on my team." Tony then looked at the director. "I would like Carlton and Tim to interview Shelly's replacement, if that's OK. Narrow down the pool a little."

Jenny nodded. "I have no problem with that, DiNozzo." She thought for a moment. "As a matter of fact, I have several candidates who immediately spring to mind."

Carlton and Tim began to follow the director out of the room, but then looked back to Tony for direction.

Tony nodded. "Go. I'll be fine."

Tim and Kate, glad to see Tony was OK, said their goodbyes and headed back to NCIS.

"Uh, oh," Tony said, smiling. "...I feel a Hallmark moment coming on. If you shed a tear, I will still respect you in the morning."

Gibbs smiled and fought the urge to deliver a much-earned head slap. "I'm proud of you, Tony. I knew you could lead your own team, and you've proven it."

"I'm fortunate to have good people." Tony stated.

"Yeah," Gibbs nodded. "I know what you mean." Gibbs said, speaking about Tony, but also McGee and Kate.

"You ever decide you want decreased salary, decreased power and influence and increased work..." Gibb paused. " know where to find me."

"As appealing as you make that sound..." Tony replied, smiling. "...I think I'll have to pass. I'm where I need to be right now."

Gibbs got ready to leave. "Oh, and don't be mad at Abby, but thanks for not taking that position in Florida."

Tony was surprised, but only for a second. Gibbs knew, but, of course Gibbs knew. Gibbs knew everything.

Tony nodded and closed his eyes. He was asleep seconds after Gibbs left.


END NOTES: Thank you to KatelynGibbs for the heads up in her review. 'DiNotezo' is actually the correct pronounciation for DiNozzo. As I explained to her in a PM , I read a fan fic on this site that used the word pizza to illustrate the correct pronounciation of DiNozzo's name. ( I don't recall the name of the story or the author.) I used it here as comic relief. I am sure I am not the only who thought Fornell had it wrong. Though I did always wonder why Tony never corrected him.