AUTHOR: Ashleigh Anpilova
CHARACTERS: Gibbs, Ducky, DiNozzo, Abby, McGee, Ziva, Palmer, Vance
PAIRING: Anthony DiNozzo/Ziva David
SUMMARY: A sequel to Earned It. Tony surprises the team.
WORD COUNT: 1,805
SPOILERS: Nothing specific.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 1: This sequel was meant to be fully team gen to follow on from its prequel. However, my bunny had other ideas *sigh* and decided to throw a small bit of Tony/Ziva into it. It then went on to spawn the final scene which in turn has led to another sequel (Gibbs/Ducky). And it has a few more ideas for team gen stories.
AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: Thanks to curly_the_sue for her help with a small part of this.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.
The party began to come to an end as one by one all the NCIS staff began to drift away until only 'Team Gibbs' remained - which, in Gibbs's mind, was how it should be.
Now they stood not really talking, just waiting for the moment DiNozzo took his leave of them. Again, from where he perched on the edge of the desk next to Ducky who was once again sitting more comfortably in Gibbs's chair, Gibbs noticed that Ziva was slightly apart from the rest of the team. He'd also noticed she'd been quieter than usual, and detached, distant - almost as she had been in the very early days.
Finally, DiNozzo seemed to realize that if he didn’t go, they'd just all go on sitting there all night. Gibbs watched him swallow hard, toss back the last drop of beer, put the bottle down on the table and straighten his jacket.
He turned to Abby first. "Abbs," he said, opening his arms and letting her fling herself into them.
"I'll miss you, Tony. You make sure you email me every day. Every day, okay?"
DiNozzo kissed her forehead. "Sure, Abbs," he said.
She let him go and Gibbs watched her dash the back of her hand over her eyes.
DiNozzo moved to McGee. "Tim."
For a second Gibbs saw them both hesitate. Then the next moment as one they met in an embrace. "Don't you break my Mighty Mouse stapler," he heard DiNozzo say to McGee.
"I won't. And, Tony . . ."
"Watch your six."
"I will." They broke the embrace.
"Don't be too hard on McGeek. He's still a bit green."
Gibbs watched her force a smile. "Take care of yourself."
"You know me."
"Yes, I do."
Gibbs watched as they still just stood and looked at one another. Ziva seemed to be backing away without moving and DiNozzo seemed not to know whether to embrace her or offer his hand. Finally he opted for the first option and tugged a slightly hesitant, stilted Ziva into his arms. It took several seconds before she returned the embrace.
They said nothing else and after less time than he'd hugged McGee for, DiNozzo let her go.
Next he moved to Palmer. This time he did hold out his hand, but at the same time he clapped Palmer on the shoulder with his other hand.
"Thanks, Palmer." At least that's what Gibbs thought DiNozzo had said. His voice was so low, it might have been anything.
Palmer's response was equally quiet. But whatever DiNozzo had said was acknowledged. Gibbs glanced at Ducky and raised an eyebrow, but to his surprise Ducky shook his head once and gave a half shrug.
Before they could continue their silent conversation, DiNozzo was in front of them. Ducky stood up and without giving DiNozzo the choice, embraced him briefly, before taking his hand between both of his and solemnly shaking it and holding it. "You will do a first class job, Anthony," he said. "I know you will. You will be a credit to us all."
DiNozzo blushed slightly. "Thanks, Ducky. You take care, okay? And keep your eye on Gibbs."
Ducky chuckled softly. "I will." It was Ducky who let go of DiNozzo's hand.
Now only Gibbs was left and DiNozzo was in front of him. "Boss."
"I . . ."
"Yeah, DiNozzo. I know." Gibbs held out his hand, briefly echoing DiNozzo's own gesture when he'd said goodbye to Palmer, by squeezing DiNozzo's shoulder with his other hand. "Try not to forget everything I taught you," he said.
"I won't. Boss . . ."
Gibbs nodded and let go of DiNozzo's hand.
"Well, guess I'd better be going. It's a long way to San Diego. I'll call you." And with that DiNozzo turned, grabbed a box filled with gifts the team had given him and strode across the room.
Suddenly he stopped and turned back around. He put the box down on a desk and strode back across the room heading for Ziva. "Come with me, Ziva," he said, catching both of her hands.
Her eyes widened and she backed away slightly. "Tony?"
"Come with me. Marry me."
"But, Tony. I . . . We . . . We have not even -"
"Ziva, we've worked together for four years. Hell, in effect we've lived together for four years. We've been undercover together. We've been partners. We've looked out for one another. We've - Oh, Ziva, just come with me."
"I cannot. My duty . . . My father . . . Mossad. I . . . I have to stay."
DiNozzo shook his head. "No, Ziva. No, you don't. I told you once now you have a choice. And you do, Ziva. You have a choice. You can choose."
"You can, Ziva. Come with me. I -" He broke off and Gibbs watched him. "I love you, Ziva," he said. "Ziva David, I love you." He said the words as if he had only just truly realized them.
"But I cannot stay here in the United States unless I am working for NCIS."
"Or you marry a US citizen. Well?"
"Tony, I cannot make this kind of decision so -"
"Why not? Ziva, you told me in your world you had to grow up fast. You've also said how the chances of your surviving are not that great. You've had to make decisions quickly. And this one isn't quick, is it?"
She lowered her gaze. "I -"
"Okay. I can't make you come. Last chance, Ziva. Come with me or stay here." He spoke firmly, flatly and waited.
He let go of her hands, bent forward and brushed his lips over her cheek, before turning away and re-crossing the room.
"Ziva!" Abby almost squeaked the word.
Somehow it must have penetrated Ziva as she shook herself and called. "Wait. Tony, wait."
Gibbs watched as DiNozzo stopped. But for a moment he didn't turn back around. And then he did. He locked gazes with Ziva and for a moment they just stood there.
Then Ziva broke eye contact, whirled around and with a speed that surprised Gibbs moved from Abby to McGee to Palmer briefly hugging them all and saying words Gibbs couldn't catch.
Then she moved to Ducky who as with DiNozzo took her into his arms. "Shalom, Dr. Mallard," she said formally.
"Shalom, my dear Officer David." He pulled back and reached up and kissed her forehead and then each cheek. "Please write to us, my dear girl," he said. "And do take care of Anthony."
She smiled. "I will. Gibbs." She turned to him.
"Thank you for . . ." She trailed off but her now tear filled gaze said the rest as she stared at Gibbs.
He nodded, accepted what she said and offered his own silent response. "As Duck said, keep your eye on him," he said, putting his arm around her and giving her a brief half hug.
And with that she turned back, moved quickly to her desk, grabbed her bag and coat, paused long enough to put her NCIS badge and Sig down on her desk, before pulling on her coat and crossing to where DiNozzo stood - just watching her. The look on his face told Gibbs that he hadn't been certain she would go with him - he hadn't been at all certain.
"I will not sit at home all day waiting for you to either come home or be killed."
"Never thought you would."
"I do not want children immediately."
"Nor do I."
"I will be the one to make sure our home is properly secure."
"That's fine by me."
"You will not be unfaithful to me."
"No, Ziva. I won't." And with that quiet, sincere, deeply meant sentiment, DiNozzo pulled her into his arms and kissed her.
Vance stood on the floor above the squad room, far enough back from the rail so he wouldn't be seen, but close enough to be able to monitor what was going on.
As DiNozzo took David's hand and walked with her to the elevators, Vance smiled to himself. It had worked out even better than he'd anticipated. Not only had he gotten rid of one member of 'Team Gibbs' he'd, in effect, gotten rid of two. After all if he hadn't agreed to Gibbs's suggestion that it was time to promote Agent DiNozzo, Officer David wouldn't have left. He doubted her father would be overly pleased by the development, but Vance certainly was.
Gibbs would have not just one new member of his team, but two. Vance already approved of Gibbs's first choice; Dwayne Wilson was very much Vance's type of agent - more a McGee than a DiNozzo; more a Vance than a Gibbs. And whoever else joined Gibbs's team, he or she would not have the loyalty to Gibbs that DiNozzo, David and McGee had.
And as for McGee . . . Well, Vance felt certain that without the other two, he wouldn't find it that hard to influence McGee from time to time, to make his shift his loyalty somewhat. Unlike Gibbs, Vance wasn't technophobic and he knew how much McGee appreciated anyone who could talk his language. No, he was certain McGee could become 'his' in due course. Which would mean the entire field team would be less Gibbs devoted, centered and loyal.
Talking of being Gibbs devoted, centered and loyal . . . Now Vance's gaze shifted to Dr. Mallard; yes, he was the next obvious choice. His devotion to Gibbs was second to none; his was even greater than that of Gibbs's old field team; he was the most important person to Gibbs. Without him around Gibbs would be even more isolated, and it wouldn't be that long before Palmer qualified and he might be loyal to Gibbs, but he was also terrified of him. And Vance could use that, he could make Palmer focus on him rather than Gibbs; he could make himself appear far less terrifying than Gibbs.
Of course there was still Sciuto, like Dr. Mallard she too was utterly devoted to Gibbs. But she could wait; she while being Gibbs's favorite of the younger members of his remaining team, wasn't quite as important to Gibbs as Dr. Mallard was. Her time would come, but for now he would concentrate of getting rid of the current ME.
It was time he really studied Dr. Mallard's file and paid particular attention to his age. Retirement would be logical, sensible, practical, lawful - even Gibbs wouldn't be able to argue with all of those things.
With one final look at NCIS's current ME, Vance headed back into this office.