Disclaimer: I don't own NCIS or the characters portrayed on television. The story is mine.

A/N: Betaed by the fantastic NCISmom.

A/N: There are 7 chapters to this story. I posted the wrong chapter 3. Thank you NCIS-fan10802 for making me aware of the mistake. Sorry about the confusion folks.

A/N: Thank you to everyone who has read this story and a special thank you to those who've left reviews. I think I answered all of them, but I don't know for sure since I'm not receiving any emails from FFnet. So if I missed anyone thank you!

Talks With Friends

Tony strode into autopsy looking for Ducky and Jimmy who he found in deep discussion as they were looked at an open file. He figured it was for his former case that now belonged to Balboa. No matter, that wasn't why he'd come to see the two men before him.

The ME's head turned as the younger man approached them. "Anthony, what can I do for you? I understand that this poor fellow is no longer your case. Has that changed my boy?"

Tony sighed. "No. Something important has come up. Do the two of you have time to come with me to Abby's lab? I need to tell all of you something and I only want to do it once."

DiNozzo didn't miss the concerned look Ducky and Jimmy shared before the older man answered for both men. "We can finish going over this information later, Anthony. Mr. Palmer and I just need a moment to wash our hands and we shall come with you."

The three men entered Abby's lab a few moments later. Tony moved to Abby's stereo, turning it off.

Abby whirled around, her irritation turning into coldness when she recognized her guests. "Hey! Oh, it's you Tony. You don't have a case right now, so why are you here?" Her tone changed when Ducky and Palmer entered the lab. "Something's wrong, what is it? Is it Gibbs? He's okay right? He's coming back isn't he? Did someone get…?"

"ABBY!" Tony growled, prompting Abby to close her mouth quickly. "Gibbs is fine. As far as I know he's not coming back unless it's to visit. This has to do with David."

Abby started in again. "Is she okay? Was she injured? What happened? Why are you calling her David? Her name…"

Ducky interrupted this time. "Abigail, you will not get any answers if you do not give Anthony a chance to talk. What is the problem with Ziva, my boy?"

DiNozzo noticed how Abby looked at Ducky strangely. It wasn't often that the man raised his voice.

Taking a deep breath, he answered, "Ziva David is no longer part of MCRT."

He thought briefly that the scientist looked like a goldfish, her eyes were wide and her mouth was opening and closing. "WHAT!" she exclaimed, throwing her arms up in the air. "How could you do that Tony! You don't have the right to break up Gibbs' team! Wait, I get it. He's gone so you can do whatever you want, right? Maybe you're jealous because Ziva has all those ninja skills that you don't. Now you've gone on some kind of power trip. Gibbs will be back and expect his team to be waiting for him!"

Ducky's strident and unusually harsh tone caused Tony and Jimmy to jump and shocked Abby into silence. "Abigail Sciuto! How can you say such things about Anthony without even knowing why Officer David has been removed from his team? Make no mistake Abigail; it is now Anthony's team. Jethro retired and left his team to Anthony."

It didn't take long for Abby to find her voice. "But Gibbs will be back! And Gibbs created the team; it's his team, not Tony's. When he returns he'll expect his team to be the same. Now everything's ruined and Gibbs won't want to come back and it's ALL Tony's fault."

DiNozzo couldn't help but flinch at Abby's words; it was an action that didn't go unnoticed by the ME. Tony was taken back as the ME retorted scathingly in Scottish slang, "*Haud yer wheesht! Yer bum's oot the windae!"

The Scott visibly reigned himself in so he could continue mostly in English. "You should be ashamed of your behavior! This young man was hand-picked by Jethro to be his Senior Field Agent and eventual replacement. *Mo caraid had despaired of finding someone who he could train to take his place as team lead just as Mike Franks did with him. As soon as the case in Baltimore was finished, our young friend here was offered a place on the MCRT by Gibbs personally. Nonetheless, ignorance of the motives behind Anthony's recruitment does not excuse your appalling behavior young lady. Jethro cares too much about Anthony to take away a well deserved promotion."

"Why do things have to change? Things were good before Gibbs left. Now everything's wrong," Abby's whined.

Tony spoke up wanting to force Abby to see the truth and not a fantasy. "I can guarantee that if David stayed on MY team, things wouldn't stay the same even if Gibbs planned to return. Ducky, Jimmy, Tim or I would more than likely be hurt or killed before he came back." Abby's expression was a mixture of shock and incomprehension as he continued to elaborate.

"Yesterday, Officer David thought it was perfectly okay to stay in the NCIS truck leaving me and Tim to process a crime scene alone. A Marine had been brutally murdered and the killer could've been nearby and killed us before Mizz Mossad could react. We were very lucky nothing happened. We were able to get the work done fairly quickly because Jimmy was kind enough to help by taking photos so McGee and I could concentrate on evidence gathering and getting witness statements. He did a good job too."

Jimmy blushed at the compliment. "I just wanted to help."

Ducky praised his assistant, "And you did an admiral job, Mr. Palmer." The ME turned his focus back to the forensic scientist. "You should realize that Officer David displayed a level of insubordination that should see her fired. If she was still in Israel and shirked her duty, she would be facing charges of dereliction of duty and most likely jail time. Jethro would not hesitate to fire her. I can only speculate that she is still here because Anthony is much more forgiving than many especially our mutual friend."

Abby blinked at Ducky clearly still in shock. "No, no, Gibbs wouldn't need to fire her because she'd follow his orders. Tony is just a bad leader."

Out of the corner of his eye Tony noticed Jimmy scowling before the normally quiet and shy man spoke with passion. "How can you say that about Tony, Abby? Agent Gibbs respects Tony or he wouldn't have been his Senior Field Agent and Second in Command for so long. Doesn't Gibbs' opinion mean anything to you? I heard no one lasts on the MCRT if they can't pass muster. What about the chain of command Abby? It shouldn't matter what personal feelings Officer David has about Tony, he's the Team Lead. The Team Leader should be obeyed. If she didn't like it, she should have requested a transfer."

"Quite right Mr. Palmer," Ducky conceded. "Jethro would never allow anyone to stay on his team who was unable to perform to his exacting standards. Do you not recall the numerous agents that have come and gone from team Gibbs before and after Anthony joined NCIS? His choice of Senior Field Agent was an excellent one; Anthony has been a very good leader despite what Officer David may think. Mr. Palmer had a very good point about the chain of command here at NCIS."

"Despite what Ziva may believe Anthony is her superior, always has been and therefore should be obeyed regardless of personal feelings. If she has a problem with her Team Leader she should have requested a transfer. Instead Officer David chose to act in a most unprofessional manner. Her behavior has been completely unacceptable and there is no reason that anyone should have to put up with it. Have you not seen or heard the arguments or the terrible things that Officer David has said to this young or about him behind his back?" The ME waved a hand in DiNozzo's direction.

Tony snorted, looking at Ducky as he spoke. "Doubt it. David didn't argue much in front of Abby. Not sure why she kept her peace here because she certainly didn't hesitate in the bullpen or at a crime scene. It probably wouldn't matter if the woman had shown her true colors in front of our resident forensic scientist. Abby's too absorbed in her own little pity party because Gibbs left us, I mean left her. He left her, nobody else's feelings matter. Her only comment to me has been I'm 'Not Gibbs'. Maybe the two of them are working together to get me to quit."

Tony ignored the look of hurt that flashed across her face. She'd done far worse to him and he wasn't in the mood to be so forgiving. He continued, "Ducky did you know that I had to complete David's reports because she refused to do them? That lasted a couple of weeks, after that I let the reports go to Director Shepard with a note stating I'm no longer going to do someone else's job for them. Officer David will have to explain her actions to the Director once she's completed her two week suspension. What happened yesterday was much more serious than incomplete paperwork."

Jimmy spoke up when Tony paused. "I really don't understand how she could act that way. I thought she was your friend."

Tony scoffed. "As the saying goes, with friends like that, who needs enemies? I'm not her boss so she doesn't have to do what I say. Nothing new really, she never showed me respect when I was just the Senior Field Agent. It just got worse after I was promoted. David thinks that Gibbs still had a few loose screws when he handed me the team." The lead agent reached out and grabbed one of the pictures Abby had of her Silver Fox hanging on her computer desk. "I guess Miss Sciuto agrees with her. She put a tag on my jacket that said 'Training'. I don't know what gave her the right to decide if I was still in training or not." Tony turned glaring at Abby. "I'm not a Probationary Agent any more: I was only one for six months. How long have I worked here Sciuto?"

Abby looked down, refusing to look Tony in the eye and remaining silent.

"Well? Are you going to answer me?" Tony demanded.

Abby let the tears fall as she avoided answering him.

Too angry to be swayed by her tears he continued, "The tears won't work this time. I'm way past the point where your tears garner any sympathy from me. I've been here five years. I was a cop for six years. I'm not a rookie when it comes to law enforcement or investigations, yet you decided I was still in need of training."

"It wasn't about my experience was it? It was another way to remind me that I'm not Gibbs. Right? Never claimed to be him. Use his methods until I found my own way, absolutely. Getting back to David, how would you feel if one of us got hurt because of her refusal to follow orders? I just can't trust her anymore. I won't work with people I can't trust; it's a one way ticket to lying on Ducky's table. If you don't like my decision Miss Sciuto, maybe you should accept one of those offers you get every year and leave NCIS."

Tony turned to leave the lab, pausing as he reached the door. He glanced over his shoulder and said, "By the way, I talked to Gibbs and he agrees with my decision to remove her from my team. His exact words were "I'd kick her ass back to Israel for doing that to you, DiNozzo". I'm a little more forgiving than Gibbs; she's being reassigned to a job that will suit her talents better instead of being fired. Things change, life goes on. Deal with it or leave." Tony dropped Gibbs picture in the trash as he left Abby's lab.

Jimmy stared at Abby with a mixture of disbelief and annoyance, "How selfish can you be Abby? You hurt a great guy just so your little world doesn't get messed up. I think you just messed it up all by yourself. Do you really think that Tony will consider you a friend now? I know I can't be friends with you; you might turn on me the day Dr. Mallard retires and leaves me in charge."

"Gibbs may have a soft spot for you but Tony DiNozzo's special to him too; even I can see it and I don't interact with them as much as you do. Officer David has been horrible and her disrespect could get Tim or Tony killed. You should consider his suggestion to leave NCIS." Jimmy turned to Dr. Mallard as he continued. "I'm going to find Tony and tell him that I'm behind him all the way before getting back to work. I won't be long Dr. Mallard." Jimmy left Abby's lab to find Tony.

Ducky answered as his assistant was leaving, "Certainly Mr. Palmer, I will be along shortly myself." Ducky refocused on a downcast Abby. "I am afraid that Anthony was correct. You have been so absorbed in your own feelings forgetting that others miss Jethro as well. Did you forget that our young friend found a reliable mentor and father figure and that he might feel abandoned by Jethro's leaving?"

More tears streamed down Abby's face as Ducky continued trying to drive his point home. Even if it was too late to repair the relationship between the two young people, he needed to make this young woman understand what she had done. "I have to agree with Mr. Palmer's assessment about your friendship with Anthony. Even as forgiving as he can be, your friendship is over. Well my dear, I believe you have some thinking to do. Dare I say some growing up to do as well?"

In the reflection of the glass door before it swished open, he saw Abby collapse onto her stool as she continued to cry. The ME felt some sympathy for the young woman, but she needed to grow up and recognize things change and that she needed to accept it.

TBC

*Haud yer wheesht: hold your tongue, be quiet
*Yer bum's oot the windae:
You're talking rubbish!
*Mo auld caraid: my old friend