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: Made a couple of minor changes to chapters three and four. No need to reread unless you want to of course.
Guest: Okay, I stand corrected on the English/Scottish slang. Wasn't thinking, it happens more often than not so I'll be going back and fixing that. If your review was deleted, it wasn't me. I want people to tell me if I have something wrong, but I can be stubborn so it can take a bat (cricket or baseball) to the head to get me to see sense. If you created an account and left a review that way I would reply directly. I like to at least acknowledge someone who takes the time to reply, even if I don't agree with them right away. So thank you for being persistent in getting your point across. I am happy you have enjoyed the story despite my pigheadedness!
Endings and New Beginnings
Gibbs had to leave the lab. It was too difficult to stand there and watch the young woman cry. The fatherly part of him wanted to comfort her and tell her everything would be okay, but he knew that Abby had burned her bridges and needed to accept responsibility for her actions. She'd hurt Tony and he couldn't condone that no matter who did it.
Now it was time to have a talk with David. Fortunately, the Liaison Officer was in the Navy Yard today completing paperwork. The Marine shook his head ruefully. It was ironic really. Because the private man found talking about his feelings difficult he didn't do it when it was important. He was making the effort now because his son was worth it. Gibbs just wished he'd done this before the explosion. If he had, maybe his former team wouldn't have fallen apart. He stopped that line of thinking, he was responsible for his own actions, and he refused to take any blame for David's shortcomings.
Gibbs pulled out his phone.
"Is David here yet?"
"Yes she is. Her guards are expecting you."
"Thanks Jen." Gibbs hung up.
Tony had just left Jenny's office when her door was opened again. She opened her mouth as she looked up to berate whoever had just walked in without being announced only to stare mouth open.
Gibbs smirked at his former Probie's shock. It wasn't often that she was caught off-guard. "Morning, Jen."
Jenny got over her surprise; getting up, she moved to give Gibbs a hug. "Jethro! It's good to see you."
"You too, Jen," Gibbs said, returning her hug.
She pulled back to look at him closely. "You're looking better. Tony says that you're doing better."
Gibbs sat down in one of her chairs as she sat down next to him. "I am. Going to Mexico was the right thing for me to do."
Shepard smiled slyly. "And I'm sure Tony had nothing to do with your recovery."
The older man snorted. This woman knew him a little too well. "DiNozzo did help; actually he helped the most all along. I was glad to see him but wish his visit hadn't been because of David." He continued, with one purpose in mind. "I need to talk to her. Where is she?"
The Director replied quickly. "David will be in the Navy Yard today. After Tony went on vacation, I decided that she would have to complete all of the paperwork that she didn't do since you left. Her two week suspension ended last week so she'll start the paperwork today. She'll be here until the work is finished."
"I'll call when I'm ready to see her. I'm going to see Ducky. I'll see Abby after Tony has had time to talk to her. He plans to see if she's come around since he last spoke to her."
Jenny stood up heading for her desk. "Let me see what room David's going to be working in. Cynthia set it up for me." She checked her email, finding the information she needed. "Conference room four has been set up for her today. There will be two guards to make sure that there aren't any problems. I'll let the guards know you'll be stopping by sometime today. You can see her whenever you're ready."
Gibbs stood up. "Thanks Jen."
"Jethro, before you go I have something to ask you."
Gibbs stopped by Tony's desk before heading to see the former liaison.
"Hey Boss;" Tony greeted quietly when Gibbs approached his desk. McGee was helping Balboa doing some computer search for the other agent's newest case.
"DiNozzo. I'm going to talk to David if you want to join me."
Tony sat back looking at the ceiling in what the older man considered his friend's thinking pose, "No. I've had my say and don't have any interest in anything else she has to say. You've already told me how you feel about me as a person and an agent; I don't need anything else. Besides, you need to tell her what you think and I really don't need to see you eviscerate her. Plausible deniability."
Gibbs grinned. Good, his son was gaining confidence and losing some of his insecurities. "I'll see you tonight. DiNozzo."
The younger man stood up. He walked up to Gibbs, placing a hand on the older man's shoulder. "Don't lose it in there, Boss. I don't want to have to hide the body."
Gibbs smiled as he head slapped his protégé, "There wouldn't be anything left to hide, DiNozzo."
"Of course not, Boss. Don't know what I was thinking thinking," he snickered as he returned to his seat.
Gibbs laughed quietly as he headed towards his next confrontation. Only difference was he was looking forward to this one. When he reached the conference room, he nodded at the first guard. "She still in there?"
"Yes, Agent Gibbs. Do you want some privacy for this?"
The retired agent nodded. "Pull the other guard out without telling David that I'm here."
The guard smiled before opening the door and poking his head in the room. "Jack, I need to hit the head, can you stand out here for a minute?" The guard stepped back to let his partner come out.
Jack stepped out noticing the older man standing there. He nodded respectfully to the former agent. Both Gibbs and DiNozzo were respected by those who'd been at NCIS for any length of time. Both guards were wishing they could be a fly on the wall when David got what she deserved.
The Marine nodded back before stepping into the conference room and slammed the door.
David looked up startled. It took a moment for her to recover. "Gibbs!"
Before he could do more than glare, Ziva continued. "I am glad you have returned Gibbs. I can stop wasting my time on this ridiculous paper and get back to work." Ziva stood up, ready to grab her bag.
Gibbs harsh stare increased in intensity as he pointed at her seat growling. "Sit!"
Ziva seemed to be oblivious to Gibbs rage. She wasn't, but she was over confident that Gibbs would help her since she had killed Ari to protect him. She tried speaking again. "Gibbs, what…"
Gibbs barked, "Sit down Officer David! I'm not interested in hearing you speak!" He saw the fear flash in her eyes before she sat down. Good. She should be afraid.
"I'm not returning to the MCRT. I might return to NCIS and a new team, but I would never work with you again, not after what you did to DiNozzo." He could see the realization that he wasn't going to "rescue" her from her own folly.
"I do not understand. You are here, therefore you are returning to NCIS and taking the team away from Tony. He should not have been left in charge. I would still be working where I belong, after all I am a valuable member of your team. Why would you not want me?" She was clearly puzzled.
Gibbs decided it was time to enlighten Ziva, since she seemed to be suffering from the misconception that she was better than she really was. "What gave you the right to question DiNozzo's right to lead the team? Why would you question my choice of DiNozzo as my Senior Field Agent and eventual replacement as lead agent? My former Second in Command is one of the best agents I have ever worked with. It's one of the many reasons I chose him to be my Senior Field Agent."
"I know you were told that there were other agents available at the time, some who were already Senior Field Agents wanting to move to the D.C. office. All of them were good agents. Wasn't interested in them, I had the man I wanted for the job. I know that Director Shepard informed you that DiNozzo has been my choice to take over the MCRT since I recruited him. Why are you still having trouble believing what you were told Officer David? Didn't the portfolios you put together tell you about his extensive education and experience?" Gibbs waited for a response, when he didn't get one he prompted her. "I'm waiting for an answer."
Ziva swallowed hard before reluctantly replying, "I did know of his education. His education and grades were paid for by DiNozzo Senior, therefore hold no value. DiNozzo is not intelligent enough to complete those degrees without help."
Gibbs stared at Ziva until she shifted uncomfortably.
"You brag about your Mossad training and skills. You are a good assassin but you lack or never learned how to read people, something that is a necessity for an agent. You never saw beyond the mask that DiNozzo wears to keep people from seeing who he really is. Your information gathering needs a lot of work too. DiNozzo Senior disowned his own flesh and blood when he was twelve because he didn't want to follow in Senior's footsteps. Senior wanted his son to get a degree in business or law, giving up sports. DiNozzo refused because he wanted to go pro then enter law enforcement when he retired from sports. He had to pay his own way through school. Fortunately he was good enough to receive sports scholarships to help supplement what he earned doing odd jobs. He played two sports, while earning a double major and still maintained a 3.9 GPA. His Bachelor Degrees are in Phys. Ed. and criminology. Not bad for a dumb jock. Make no mistake; DiNozzo earned his degrees through hard work."
Ziva stared at Gibbs before shaking her head saying, "Not possible. Tony is childish, unprofessional and chases anything in a skirt even when he's supposed to be working a case! He cannot have earned his degrees; he is a braggart and would have hammered incessantly about having more education than McGee."
Gibbs leaned over the table placing both hands on the table for balance, "DiNozzo was right about you, it was easier to believe you were a better agent and person if he was an immature Frat Boy. In the end, none of that matters. DiNozzo was promoted to Lead Agent by me and Director Shepard. He should have been obeyed because he was and is your superior in the chain of command. That is why you're no longer a part of the MCRT."
Ziva refused to believe him. "Not true. Tony…he did not let me do my job. He gave orders that made no sense. He wanted me to do work that was beneath my skills."
Gibbs leaned into her personal space actually intimidating her; when had he gotten so close? "The work has to be done David and the low man or woman on the team gets to do them. So skills or not, you were given orders by your Supervisory Special Agent and ignored them. Would your superiors at Mossad put up with that? Did you think that I would? Never! I can see you're not about to admit you're wrong. I'm going to recommend that you be sent back Mossad instead of wasting agency time and money to send you through FLETC."
"You would not do that. I saved your life, I killed Ari."
"And I'm still grateful. Doesn't mean I'll allow you to put any NCIS agent at risk because of it. By disobeying DiNozzo in the field, you put your fellow teammates in danger. Chain of command is there for a reason and you ignored it. If DiNozzo, Ducky, McGee, or Palmer had been hurt while you sat on your ass in the NCIS van, no one would've found your body." Gibbs stalked out of the conference room; he couldn't take her attitude anymore.
Ziva stared at the closed door stunned. It finally occurred to her that she never understood Tony's place in Gibbs life or in NCIS. It is a misunderstanding that she would never be able to put right.
Tony was watching the sunset contemplating the changes his life had undergone in the last two years. Ziva David had been sent back to Israel where Eli David assured Jenny Shepard that his daughter would learn the error of her ways or would not be part of Mossad. He had personally apologized to Tony for his daughter's deplorable and embarrassing behavior. Tony accepted the apology graciously, understanding the difficult position Ziva had put Director David in due to her actions. She was his daughter and had acted inappropriately. He would not want to be in his position, or hers for that matter, if the gleam he saw in Eli David's eyes was anything to go by. Tony never heard anything about Ziva or how she made out back at Mossad. He found he didn't really care either.
As for NCIS, Tony's team was now complete with Tim, Sara (Agent Hawkins) and Probationary Agent Ned Dorneget. Tim was doing well as Tony's Senior Field Agent and enjoying having his own "Probie". The MCRT under Tony's leadership was maintaining its high solve rate.
Abby had finally come around and apologized to Tony. He had accepted the apology but didn't let Abby back in as a friend; she would stay a work colleague only. Tony knew that the Goth had thought with her apology they could be best friends again, but she wouldn't be allowed past his walls again. She'd hurt him too much.
When things didn't go the way Abby Sciuto thought they should, she had tried to push, demand, and beg Tony to be her friend again. She really hadn't learned anything; she was still acting like a child. He'd finally put his foot down and told her to stop her childish behavior; it's what broke their friendship and certainly wouldn't repair it. If she couldn't accept that Tony only wanted a coworker relationship only with her, then she should leave NCIS. Abby finally realized that her stubbornness over Ziva and Gibbs cost her Tony's friendship and she had no one to blame but herself.
Gibbs had decided to remain semi-retired and worked as a consultant for NCIS. It had allowed him more time to work on his boat which the two friends were currently sailing south along the Atlantic Coast. Tony smiled remembering when Gibbs unveiled the boat's name. Gibbs wouldn't allow Tony to see the boat while he was painting on the name, said he wanted it to be a surprise.
Tony had returned from work to find Gibbs waiting for him.
"Come with me DiNozzo." Gibbs turns heading for the basement.
Tony bounced as he followed the older man eagerly. "She's done? Will I get to learn how you get her out of the basement now?"
Gibbs laughed at Tony's exuberance turning to point a finger warningly at Tony. "As long as you promise not to tell anyone."
"Of course not, Boss. I like being the only other person in on the secret," Tony replied cheekily.
Gibbs smacked the younger man lightly on the back of his head before heading down to the basement. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs turning to his son, shifting a little in discomfort. "Close your eyes Tony."
Tony's eyebrows shot up in surprise but complied when he noticed Gibbs' nervousness. "Sure, Jethro." He closed his eyes when he reached the bottom step, he didn't want to fall. He felt Gibbs take his arm gently leading him to the end of the boat.
The Marine stopped, before turning Tony to face the end of the boat. "You can open your eyes now."
Tony opened his eyes to see the end of the boat right in front of him. He stared completely blown away when he saw the name on the boat. He stretched out his right hand touching the name almost reverently. He traced the letters slowly... KELLY. "She's beautiful, Jethro. Just like her namesake."
Gibbs' nervousness disappeared with a soft smile. He knew his son would appreciate the name. He strode over to his workbench grabbing two jars and filled with a measure of Bourbon, handing one to Tony.
Tony took his holding it up to make a toast. "To the Kelly.
May the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that*"
The two men clinked glasses then took a drink.
"Thank you, Tony. That was…perfect." Gibbs cleared his throat.
Tony smiled softly. "You're welcome. I wanted to find something special for, uh well blessing this boat…I mean The Kelly. I knew she'd be special."
Tony put his jar down before heading for the stairs; he felt both men needed a breather from the heavy emotion of the moment. "I pulled the lasagna I made out of the freezer and I need to get it in the oven if we want to eat tonight. I know I have some nice wine to go with it to celebrate the boats completion."
Gibbs sat next to Tony. "You okay Tony? Thinking about Ziva and Abby?"
Tony looked at his friend smiling. Gibbs knew him too well. "Yeah I was. I'm still a little sad about what happened with Abby, but I've moved on. I have a great team to work with and we've been able to help a lot of people. I've had an awesome mentor for the last six years or so who's taught me everything I know about being an agent and a man. I have a great home with a man who's been more of a Dad than my own father ever was or will probably ever be to me. This vacation has been great. I've always wanted to go sailing on the ocean and I'm doing it with family. What could be better than that? All in all, I'm great. What about you?" By the time Tony was finished, his smile was blinding.
Gibbs' expression matched Tony's and his eyes were suspiciously wet. "Good. I'm glad I came back from Mexico. Being a consultant has been good for me. I can still help solve crimes but it gives me time to do other things. It's been rewarding watching my former Senior Field Agent excel as a Supervisory Agent. He's become the agent I knew he could become the day I met him. I'm glad that my son in all but blood moved in and made my house a home again. It's been too long since I took a family vacation. Thank you Tony, you helped me to find my way to becoming a better man than the one who ran to Mexico."
Tony swallowed thickly. "For a functional mute, you sure can talk when you want to. Couldn't have done it without you Boss." Tony surreptitiously wiped a tear from his eye. Time to lighten the mood. "We'll be in port soon. You gonna join me on the beach?"
Gibbs smirked. "You sure you want me to come? Can you stand the competition?"
Tony laughed. The last stop more girls had hit on Gibbs than they did on him. "Of course. I need to learn from the master." Tony gestured grandly towards Gibbs with his right arm.
Gibbs laughed heartily. Tony was happy to note that the older man had been smiling and laughing more since returning from Mexico. "DiNozzo, when you've got it you've got it. You can't learn it."
Tony laughed with delight. There was a time he wouldn't have been sure if Gibbs was teasing or being serious. Two years of living in the same house and spending non work time together, long talks, airing out grievances, and miscommunications had allowed Tony the confidence to be teased and not agonize over a perceived failing. His insecurities weren't gone, but thanks to Gibbs they popped up less frequently than they once did.
Both men were happy with the way their lives were going now. It had been hard and painful at times, but worth it in the end.
Tony held out his beer bottle towards Gibbs. "To family." Gibbs smiled clicking his bottle with Tony's before both men took a drink. They turned to see the brilliant colors created by the last glimpse of the sun for the day.
*Poem Blessing the Boats by Lucille Clifton
A/N: Thank you all for reading, making it a favorite, and following this story. I hope you enjoyed it.