Chapter 12

AN: Thanks, for everything. I have enjoyed this story, very much.

Abby had been devastated after Vance made the announcement. She had tried to call Gibbs. She had wanted desperately to talk to him. To ask him why he had made the choices he had. Why would he have chosen Ziva over Tony in the first place? It had made no sense to her. What misguided loyalty did Gibbs think he owed to Ziva?

Abby had been angry at Tony, in the beginning. But that was when she had thought that Tony had just abandoned them all. But then when she found out Vance was behind it. He had force Tony out. She came around she asked and received Tony's forgiveness. She then set about trying to find out the truth.

Abby had almost started to like Vance, but after this…she hated the man, with a passion. She knew the only reason Tony was out was because Vance wanted him out. And now she no longer respected the man she had grown so fond of. She couldn't understand what Gibbs had done and why he had done it. Why and how had Gibbs not stood up for Tony? That seemed inconceivable to her. She hadn't wanted to believe it when Tony had told them what had happened in Vance's office. How, when and why had Tony become so dispensable...and all for Ziva? And, in Abby's mind, if Tony was dispensable, the rest of them didn't stand a chance.

Abby decided what she needed to do. She picked up her phone and dialed the number of FBI Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo.


Tim had tried not the let his emotions cloud his thinking. He had sat and listened to all the director had said. And Vance was basically repeating what he had told Gibbs. Vance added the part about Eli wanting Ziva to score brownie points with Gibbs. Vance had known that Gibbs would figure that one out on his own, pretty quickly, which Gibbs did. Vance wanted them to know it all, if he had to be the one telling it. He didn't mince words. .

Tim left the director's office with his confidence shaken, in Gibbs and in his job. He couldn't believe Gibbs's famous 'gut' hadn't picked up on Ziva's deception. Or worse than that, it had and Gibbs chose to ignore it? What else had he 'chosen' to ignore? Would he 'ignore' something that could cause Tim his life? Tim didn't want to think it. But his mind went there…he hadn't had Tony's six. Would Gibbs have his…when it mattered?

And that, the whole Tony thing, that mystified him. How could Gibbs not open his mouth, not even once to defend Tony, especially against the horrible things that had been said? How could Gibbs just stand there and let that happen? Tim had to wonder, too, would Gibbs be there for him, when he needed him. And that part that scared Tim was that he thought he knew the answer. And finally, the pieces all fit together, but the resulting picture made no sense.

Tim picked up his phone and called a friend at the FBI.


"You have 15 minutes." Tony said as he sat down on the bench beside Gibbs.

"Thanks for meeting me." Gibbs replied.

"I didn't do it for you."

Gibbs nodded. "I know. I just…I appreciate it."

"All I want to know is why. Why did you hang me out to dry?" Tony asked. "Why did you choose her?"

"She saved my life." Gibbs said, simply.

"That's it?" Tony asked, disbelieving. "She saves your life in the first few weeks she'd been here, and…?" He shook his head.

"I thought she was proving her loyalty…to me…to NCIS." Gibbs explained.

"So…let me get this straight…Ziva's one moment of fake loyalty was worth more than me having your back, for real…for years?" Tony couldn't believe what Gibbs had just admitted. "Really?"

"She killed her brother to save me, Tony." Gibbs shook his head. "I just…I believed the lie. I'm sorry…for everything."

Tony stared at Gibbs, for just a moment before he spoke. "You know, before all this happened, that would have been all you would have had to say to me. That would have been it. I would have forgiven you, without question. But, Gibbs…it's not enough. I'm tired of waiting for scraps from the master's table. I deserve more. I just…I'm over it, Gibbs."

"I can't undo what I've done, Tony." Gibbs replied. "But I…can I have a second chance?"

Tony didn't speak for a second. "I begged you to back me. I pleaded with you. That, Agent Gibbs, was your second chance. You had the opportunity, numerous times, to come to my rescue. But you didn't…you didn't and I…" Tony shook his head. "…you don't know what that did to me. I couldn't put it into words, I still can't." Tony stood to leave. "The answer is no, Gibbs. I won't put myself through that again."

"Would you ever consider coming back to NCIS?" Gibbs asked.

Tony turned and looked at Gibbs.

"Tim and Abby are…." Gibbs began sadly. He was finally realizing all that he had really lost. Tim and Abby had made their decisions. Gibbs sighed. "And Ducky said Jimmy was looking…." He shook his head. Ducky's comment replayed in his head. The tiny stone he had dropped had, indeed, caused a tidal wave.

Tony nodded. "I know. Tim's interviewed with Tobias. Abby's asked me to check into openings for her. We actually have a couple."

"They would all come back if you…." Gibbs replied.

Tony nodded. "I know. And I would love to have Tim on my team."

"Your team?" Gibbs asked, confused.

"That would be one of my conditions to return to NCIS. If I had any plans to. I only have two conditions." Tony replied. "The other would be for Vance to leave."

"You'd come back then?" Gibbs asked, looking hopeful.

Tony shook his head. "I've found a place at the FBI. I'm…let's face it, Vance isn't leaving any time soon, Gibbs. And I just can't…."

"You can't trust me." Gibbs said, finishing Tony's sentence.

"You made your choice, Gibbs." Tony replied. "I just wished you'd have chosen me." He then turned and walked away.


END NOTES: Thank you. Your support has been overwhelming throughout my writing of this story. I didn't have Tony and Gibbs reconcile because, to me, it just wouldn't happen. As badly and as deeply as Tony was hurt by Gibbs's rejection, I just can't see Tony being too easy to forgive, period.

BUT, having said that I really can't see this happening, at all. Gibbs would not be stupid enough to get rid of Tony. Tony is too good an agent and their friendship/family bond is too strong. But it was fun to explore. Glad you enjoyed, and…YOU GUYS ROCK!

Thanks for all your support!