Some things, Tony mused, never changed.
There had been this horrible case, and to solve it, they needed Harry. Harry Potter was currently serving a life sentence and had agreed to help out on the condition he was allowed to be out of prison for ten days. He didn't care about the where, when, and how.. even if the whole Secret Service came to guard him.. he wanted to be allowed to live normally for ten days.
He had ended up staying at Gibbs' place, with an ankle bracelet that would alert both Gibbs and NCIS when he moved out of range. It was set at twenty-five yards from both the center of Gibbs' house and the NCIS building. Gibbs had to call NCIS before Gibbs brought Harry to work, and when he brought Harry back.
Tony wasn't sure what, exactly, had transpired during those ten days between the two of them, but since then, Gibbs took six days off every year. These dates were the solstices and equinoxes (meaning roughly every three months, give or take a day) and the last days of July and October. Tony was well aware that these were both Harry's birthday and the day his parents died.
Harry, himself, was polite, likable, and interested in whatever anyone told him. Not at all what you'd expect from someone who evaded Death Row only because he was seventeen at the time of the crimes, and an orphan who'd grown up with abusive relatives. There was also the matter of the George Cross the Queen of England had given him only a few months before committing the crimes.. one the Royal Family refused to strip, saying that Harry had provided services that were beyond what anyone should have been expected to do.
Harry wasn't reluctant to help (and he was enormously helpful); instead, he admitted he would have helped even if he hadn't been allowed out, but he really just wanted to pretend to be normal for a few days, and smell the fresh air again. When Tony had commented that being tied to two locations wasn't all that normal, Harry had just shrugged. "Been that way all my life. It's nice, like this. Freedom."
That was.. Harry had said it so matter-of-factly, without a hint of exaggeration or self-pity in his voice. Nor did he sound resigned; there only was acceptance in his voice. With a start, Tony realized that when Harry was talking about all his life, he was actually talking about the seventeen years he'd had before being imprisoned. That was.. infinitely sad, somehow.
When Tony asked Harry why he'd committed the crimes he had, Harry had been silent for nearly a minute before answering. "I received a George Cross because I surrendered myself to a terrorist.. in return, the terrorist promised to give a school full of people, some as young as sixteen, one chance to surrender instead of killing them outright. I came, unarmed, and he nearly killed me, because my heart had stopped, and it wouldn't have restarted by itself. I gave my life for justice, then. I did so again when I killed the people the system wouldn't convict."
It was heartbreaking, in a way, and it impressed the hell out of Tony, most of all for the way Harry said it. He didn't claim innocence, nor that it had been the right thing to do. Instead, he had been willing to pay the price of justice.
He could see why Gibbs liked him.
And so, whatever changed, some things always remained.
Ducky retired, settling down with a kind lady nearly twenty years younger than him. Abby transferred, but stayed in Washington, DC. Ziva transferred to the Middle East field office in Bahrain, and McGee moved to a White Collar task force.. one that both collected the data, and made the arrests. It suited McGee perfectly. And they all kept in contact, coming to Gibbs' house for dinner whenever Ziva was in town – because she was the farthest away, dinner parties always coincided with her visits (which happened around five times a year). Eventually, Ziva moved to Virginia and started a family, which was something she'd always wanted to have. Team dinners then moved to roughly every two or three months.
Tony declined all offers to transfer or lead his own team, instead working to make Team Gibbs one of the best teams in the agency. Ziva and McGee were replaced, of course, although their replacements were never as good. Still, Tony and Gibbs kept the team intact.
No one in the agency knew what Gibbs did on those six days he took off.. no one on the team, even, besides Tony. Tony had a suspicion that it was just something Directors (because Shepard died, and Vance left, and so did his successors each after four years or so, which was the usual time for a NCIS director to be in office) passed on to each other: "here is your office, these are your teams, and that is Agent Gibbs, who has those days off every year. And over there is Agent DiNozzo, who has been with Gibbs ever since he started working at NCIS.. we offer him his own team every few months, but he always declines."
Gibbs retired at sixty-nine, handing over leadership of the team to Tony, even though he continued consulting on an unofficial basis. And he continued visiting Harry six times a year.
Leroy Jethro Gibbs died on the twelfth of May of the year 2037, at the age of 78. With him when he died were Harry and Tony. At Gibbs' request (and a few strings pulled by friends in high places), custody of Harry had been transferred to Tony for those days. Harry also was present at his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors.
During the funeral service, tears trailed down Harry's cheeks, as they did down Tony's, and Abby's and Ziva's, and McGee's. Ducky had passed away some years earlier.
And so, at the twentieth of June of the year 2037, Anthony DiNozzo, having taken the day off, found himself standing at the entrance of a prison in Virginia.
"Which inmate are you here to see?" the bored officer at the check-in desk asked.
"Harry James Potter," Tony stated as he handed the officer his ID.