I own nothing from NCIS and make no money from this story! If I did own NCIS there would be some wicked story lines! LOL! But for now I shall merely play with them and return them very sated!
Many, many thanks go to my most wonderful Beta- AmyH for all her hard work. SHe makes this look all pretty!
Tony sits at the bar waiting for Fornell to arrive sipping his scotch. Beer just isn't going to cut it tonight, he is drained both emotionally and physically. Sighing heavily and rolling his neck back and forth, he tries to relieve the tension that has built up.
Looking up he sees Fornell walk through the doors he waves to him. "What's your poison tonight, TC?"
Fornell looks at Tony's drink and raises an eyebrow. "Bad day, Tonio?"
Tony nods. "More like the usual these days."
Fornell orders his drink and they head to a back booth. Fornell places an order for food; at least he can make sure that Tony eats something. He thinks back on the time when they became friends; a fact that very few people knew and they both liked it that way.
"Tonio, you have to stop taking this all on yourself. It's been too long and it's taking its toll on you. Remember what I first told you when we became friends?"
Tony nods allowing a small smile to grace his tired face. "That you would hog tie me and smuggle me out of NCIS if I stopped taking care of myself and continued to remain silent, carrying the weight of the team's needs and perceptions on my shoulders."
Narrowing his eyes Fornell leans in. "So what do you call this? Jethro has been back for nearly a year and you haven't been the same since. And don't bother with the argument that it takes time; you've given that to him, hell, you have given them all enough time. When is it your time? When do you get to matter? And when do you get to just be?"
Tony gives him a light glare back. "I've accepted that Jethro either doesn't remember us being together or that he chooses not to. Hell, maybe I was only his fuck buddy, I get it. I have let go of the hope that he'll remember or that we could be together as something more. As for the team, the only thing I can say is that I'm tired."
Fornell takes a swig of his drink. "I know and trust me I'm not happy with the way the bastard has been acting either. I never suspected he'd be a coward but right now that's all I see." He holds his hand up to stop Tony from interrupting. "I know, I know, he may not remember, but you deserve better than that. We've been friends for a while now and just like I told you when Sheppard sent you on that Frog shit, I have your back."
"Hell, you had mine when that Mob Op went south. We take care of each other. You need to come down to the Agency. They are constantly trying to get me to recruit you. It's not just me Tonio, this comes from higher up."
Tony sighs. "I always saw myself as leading the MCRT after Gibbs retires, I never saw myself anyplace else."
Fornell nods. "I get that, but you've changed and they haven't. McGee still can't see past you belonging to a Frat at OSU and Ziva still believes that being a former Mossad makes her a greater asset. Time for you to lay out all your cards and show them what you've got, you have nothing to lose."
"Ducky and Abby would be thrilled to see you step out of the shadows. Been too long, and frankly, what the fuck kind of investigators are they if they didn't bother to look at you? Jesus, Tonio, they are worse than blind."
Tony chuckles humorously. "I know, they only see what they want to see as it suits their needs." He looks up and meets Fornell's eyes. "Ok, you win TC. I'll come over to the Hoover Building and see what they have to say."
Fornell sits back with a huge smile on his face. "That's the best news I had in weeks! Trust me, I'm not leading you down the garden path here, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. I'll tell them to expect you at 9:00am. You sneaking over or heading over in plain sight?"
Tony shrugs. "I already have tomorrow off, I needed time away. Don't plan on telling anyone anything right now anyway, at least not until I know something. You free for lunch tomorrow? I can tell you what they offered me." Tony wags his eyebrows up and down.
Fornell laughs. "Yes, I can lunch with you, but more because I want to see the look on your face." He smirks at Tony. "I already know what they want to offer you I just want to hear what you have to say about the whole thing."
Tony narrows his eyes as he looks at Fornell. "Not gonna give me a hint?"
Fornell just smiles and shakes his head. Saved from further speculation when the server drops off their food, Fornell can hardly wait to see the surprised look on Tony's face when he hears what they want to offer him. But he was more than excited to see the faces on Tony's team when he tells them. He was going to make damn sure he was there for that.
Fornell smiles as he watches Tony eat; their friendship was one that had grown strong in a fairly short period of time. He knew that if he ever needed anything Tony would be first in line to help and that was something he didn't take for granted. Emily loved her Uncle Tonio, that's why he started calling him that. Her eyes lit up every time she heard the name.
Hell, Diane even loved Tony and agreed that if anything should happen to both her and Fornell that Tony was to be Emily's legal guardian. Tony was blown away, surprised, and honored and he took that role very seriously. Fornell chuckles to himself; that would shock the shit out of Jethro.
They finish up their food; continue with lighter banter, enjoying the rest of their evening.
Getting up to leave Fornell looks down and smiles at Tony, his eyes twinkling with mischief. "Call me when you're done with the meeting, should be near lunch time by then." Tony just looks at him questioningly. What the hell could take several hours to discuss with him?
Fornell pats Tony on the back. "You'll see my friend! Get some sleep and I'll talk to you tomorrow." He heads to take care of the bill leaving a bemused Tony behind.
Shaking his head Tony grabs his coat and leaves, his mind running in circles trying to guess what the hell he was walking into tomorrow.
Tony arrives at the Hoover Building at 8:45 and double checks his appearance in the reflection of the glass. He dressed this morning with great care, sensing that this was a turning point. He's chosen his charcoal Armani with a light grey silk shirt and a darker grey tie. Squaring his shoulders and standing tall he heads inside to reception to check in.
Checking his gun and badge and given a visitors badge he is escorted to the conference room on the fourth floor. Surprised that he isn't meeting in an office his curiosity goes up a notch; this is nothing compared to the surprise he receives when the door opens and the two men walk in.
He stands as they walk into the room closing the door behind them. He knows them from sight and for the life of him cannot figure out why they want to meet with him.
They walk over and the first gentleman extends his hand. "Agent Anthony DiNozzo, it's very good to finally meet the man we've been trying to bring to our side for years. I'm Director Robert Mueller." Tony grasps his hand and they shake.
"Tony, please. It's very nice to meet you Director Mueller."
The man standing beside him steps forward and takes Tony's extended hand. "Hello, Agent DiNozzo. I'm Sean Joyce Deputy Director. Been looking forward to getting you in our doors from quite some time, it's very nice to meet you finally."
Tony smiles that famous DiNozzo smile. "Thank you. Tony, please."
Director Mueller waves his hand at the table. "Sit down please. And let's dismiss with the titles, it will be easier to talk that way."
Director Mueller chuckles. "No sir, here. Please feel free to call me Bob and my cohort over there Sean." He smiles at Tony. "I'm sure you're wondering why you're meeting with the two of us."
Tony nods. "That has crossed my mind. I am a bit surprised. Agent Fornell didn't really give me any information to go on, just that the FBI was interested in bringing me over."
Director Mueller nods. "We are very interested, but for something quite different. Let's talk."
Tony sits in the conference room after the other two men depart, in shock at what has just transpired. He is pretty sure that there was a better word than shocked, but right now his brain is stunned. He barely hears the door open as Fornell enters.
Fornell looks at Tony's face and grins while he hands him a cup of coffee. "So….?"
Tony chuckles. "You gave me no warning, TC. You knew what they were going to ask me, they said you suggested me for the position."
Fornell nods. "I did. You actually exceed all of their qualifications for the position in every way; your service record, closure record, education, commendations, and awards you never speak of. You were the youngest cop ever to earn a Gold Shield, you had the highest solve rate at the BPD. You more than earned this offer."
Tony smiles affectionately at Fornell. "Thank you." Words so simple, but full of everything that Tony was thankful for and he doesn't know any other way to express that.
"So…tell me, are you going to take it or do I need to take you to the mats."
Tony snickers at that. "I gave them my answer already." He blasts his megawatt smile. "I accepted the offer; I would be a fool not to."
Fornell releases a breath that he was holding. "Yes! Well let's head over to NCIS and tell them the news." Fornell stands up and grabs Tony's arm. "No sense in wasting any time. Vance first?"
Tony out and out laughs. "Excited much?"
He continues dragging Tony out the door. "About this, hell yes!"
Exiting the building they head to Tony's car and over to NCIS.
The drive over is silent, Fornell is not surprised; Tony's taking it all in and getting his thoughts together. This is big and he's getting in the mind set he'll need. Tony parks in his usual spot and they head inside the building.
During the elevator ride, Fornell pats Tony on the back. "I'm proud of you Tonio."
Tony sighs. "Thanks, TC that means a lot."
The door opens at the bullpen. Ziva looks up and sees Tony with Fornell. "Tony, have you been accused of murder again?" She smirks. Taken aback by the glare Fornell gives her, she tries again. "You were off today, no? Did your date cancel?"
Tony calmly looks at her. "As a matter of fact, it went surprisingly well. Now if you'll forgive me I need to go speak to Vance." He heads up the stairs feeling the gaze of Gibbs, Tim, and Ziva.
Fornell sits at Tony's desk and smiles.
Gibbs stands in front of him his arms crossed. "What the hell is this about?" Gibbs growls.
"Tsk, tsk Jethro. Is that anyway to talk to a friend?" Fornell smirks.
Tim watches the play between the men.
Gibbs glares at Fornell. "What do you want with my Agent?'
"Not for me to say, you'll have to wait till he's done with Vance." Placing his feet on the corner of Tony's desk, waiting for the show to start and speak up if necessary. He can see the wheels turning in the three Agents heads, wondering what Tony did. He can't help shaking his head in disappointment.
Gibbs still standing by Tony's desk sees the head shake. "What?"
Fornell gestures to the three of them. "You three. Ziva simply assumes he must be in trouble or on a date, McGee can't see a clue if its right in front of his face and you. You just growl and act all territorial, it's really sad."
At that moment, Tony comes down the stairs followed by Vance. Vance looks at Tony with question and Tony simply smiles and gestures to the floor.
Vance looks at Gibbs. "Your team is on cold cases until we can get a TAD or when we can find one who'll transfer permanently to your team since you will be short an agent." Gibbs looks puzzled then looks at Tony.
"Agent DiNozzo", Vance smirks than starts again after seeing the raised eyebrow from Tony. "I'm sorry, Tony, is no longer an NCIS employee. He was going to give his two weeks, but with all the time he has on the books combined with the fact that you are not working anything I opted to forgo the two weeks. He's already going to be getting a hefty check for all his unused time as it is."
Gibbs interrupts. "Why, Tony?" Tony starts to answer, but Ziva put in her two cents.
"Did Vance trade you for a favor to Fornell?" Vance and Fornell both glared at Ziva.
"Agent David, I suggest you keep your mouth closed about things you have no knowledge of. DO I make myself clear?" Vance orders.
Ziva, surprised by the tone of his voice and the looks that she is receiving, silently nods. Tim wisely stays silent; his only thought is that now he will get to be Gibbs' SFA, a position with his education he should have had instead of Tony.
Tony stands silent, looking at the people that were once his team and sighs. Gibbs he understands. He hasn't been quite the same since the explosion and never, even in his most difficult moods ever made Tony feel inferior. No Tony's issue with Gibbs is purely personal, but Ziva and Tim that is a different story.
No matter what he did, they simply never looked past the OSU bobble head sitting on his desk and what it stood for. Even after the countless times he befriended Tim, saved his ass, or helped him at the range. And Ziva, even after she threatened to kill him after Rivkin, he still risked his life and career to bring her home; he is nothing more than what she has had read.
But it was ok, he isn't leaving because of any of that, for once he is doing something simply for himself. He was offered a great position because of his education, skills, and record, because of whom he is and that was fine by him.
Vance decides it is time to set a few records straight and put a couple of arrogant agents in their places. He never thought that Agent McGee would take his words of encouragement and belief in technology to this level, and Agent David was not all that she thought herself to be. They are going to be in for a couple of shocks.
One, when they find out what Tony was recruited for at the FBI and why. And two, when they have to work without Tony on the team; they had no true idea of what Tony contributed and actually accomplished. These were agents on the best team?
"I had planned on coming down here and announcing Tony's new position. I'm sorry to see him leave NCIS and his loss will be felt greatly, but the opportunity that was given to him was too great to pass up. He turns to Agent McGee.
Tim jumps as the director's attention was focused on him.
"Make no mistake about it; Tony was sought after for this position by the Director of the FBI. He did not apply for it. They would have done everything in their power to bring him over."
Tim swallows nervously.
"Agent Fornell, since there seems to be a lack of knowledge about their former co-worker would you care to enlighten them?" Vance holds up his hand as Tony started to speak. "It's time."
Fornell stands up to address Ziva and McGee, smiling as he notices the small crowd gathering.
"Agent McGee, what would you think of a man with an MBA from Harvard along with a secondary study in Linguistics, BA in Phys. Ed, BA in Criminology, and by the way those earned consecutively after he is injured? Then when he becomes a cop, he decides to go back for Forensic Psychology, while he is working. All his grades are in the top 5% of his class. Top of his class at FLETC and consistently has the highest rank on the gun range?" Fornell stops and stands in front of McGee's desk.
"That's impressive and near impossible-"Fornell holds up his hand stopping McGee from finishing, walking over to Ziva, stares her in the eye.
"Agent David, anything to add?" Ziva shakes her head not sure what to think of anything she has just heard.
Vance smiles. "Tony, you have certainly made NCIS proud and I am sorry to see you go, but I expect to hear great things from you and maybe gain a better working relationship between the agencies."
Tony chuckles. "I'll see what I can do about that. Thank you, sir."
Tim speaks up. "So you're an FBI Agent now?"
Tony shakes his head. "No."
Ziva looks puzzled. "You work for them now, correct?"
Tony nods. "I do."
Vance looks over at his three Agents. "Meet the new Associate Deputy Director of the FBI, Tony DiNozzo."
McGee is shocked. "Seriously?"
Tony cocks an eyebrow. "Yes, Tim, seriously. I just finished meeting with the Director and Deputy Director before coming here."
Fornell looks at McGee. "The highly educated man is Tony."
McGee sputters. "But he only ever talks about Frat parties and OSU. You went to Harvard?" Looking at Tony, "Why don't you talk about it? I would."
Tony shrugs. "That's why; it's only a small part of who I am. Anyone who wants to know me needs to look deeper and ask. It's not rocket science, Tim. There were clues all over the place, hell you've even seen my Harvard Alumni Letters. You simply stopped looking, I simply stopped sharing."
Fornell looks over at Gibbs who is being more silent than usual and sees that he's deep in thought.
Gibbs sighs. "Congratulations, Tony. Can't say I blame you for leaving, for a lot of reasons." He looks at Tony. "I'm gonna say this just once. I'm sorry. I should have seen the way those two were acting and stopped it. It may not have stopped this from happening and considering that they were determined to have you, I doubt it. But, it would have stopped other things."
Tony, shocked at the apology still finds his voice. "Not your fault, Boss. I could have said something; I chose to let it continue."
Gibbs huffs. "Not your Boss anymore, Tony."
Tony smiles a real smile. "You'll always be Boss to me, doesn't matter."
Gibbs chuckles. "Abby and Ducky know?"
Tony nods. "Called them from Vance's office. Guarantee Abs had the cameras on to watch the show. They're ok, it's not like I'm leaving DC." Tony smiles and chuckles. "Abs has already set up our next movie night and Ducky requested I cook again."
Gibbs looks at Tony, like he's missing a vital clue, and it's just out of reach. Fornell watches and wonders if maybe Gibbs doesn't remember everything.
McGee jumps in. "You cook?"
"I do. I play the piano and can bathe myself as well. It's amazing how far I've progressed from Neanderthal in past years."
McGee shakes his head. "No, that's not what I meant. It's just you always go for junk food."
Tony shrugs. "Not always time to cook. I do it when I can."
Fornell laughs. "Man makes a mean Chicken Marsala and Emily loves her Uncle Tonio's stuffed Ravioli."
Tony smiles. "Tell Miss Emily that I can cook for her tomorrow night if you're both free."
Tony looks around at the stunned group clearly finding humor in their expressions. Grabbing an empty box from beside the filing cabinet, he begins to clean out his desk. He comes to the drawer with Gibbs medals in it.
Fornell watches the expressions fly over Tony's face as he struggles to maintain his composure. They are a part of Gibbs and Tony is proud of the actions Gibbs performed that garnered those medals.
Gibbs looks over and sees the box. His gut is churning, he needs Tony to keep those, he can't explain why; he just knows that he does.
Gibbs goes over and picks them up, placing them in the box. "Keep them for me. Please."
Tony smiles a small tremulous smile and nods. Taking a deep breath he stands, this is it.
Tony walks over to Vance. "Thank you, for everything."
Vance nods. "If you need anything let me know. You're going to do a great job, of that I have no doubt."
Tony smiles and looks over at Ziva. "Keep practicing your English my little Ninja." Moving his gaze over to Tim, "Don't take yourself so seriously, life is too short."
He moves to stand in front of Gibbs, wanting to keep the door slightly ajar, just in case Gibbs ever wants to walk through it. "Maybe we can get together for cowboy steaks sometime soon."
Gibbs smiles. "Maybe we can see what you can cook next time." Blue eyes meet green.
"I suppose I can do that, Boss."
Fornell grabs the box of Tony's things and heads for the elevator.
Tony enters the elevator, turning to face the bullpen for the last time. Gibbs and Tony's eyes meet across the vastness and never loose contact, until the elevator door closes on Tony for the last time.