Disclaimer: I own only Benicio DiNozzo, none of the others and none of the universes involved. No money made, no copyright infringement intended. I got my definition from dictionary.com
Summary: A response to cheysulinight’s Watcher’s Secrets challenge. *Cringe* I followed 5 out of the 6 directives, sorry. Desert(2)–verb. To leave (a person, place, etc.) without intending to return, esp. in violation of a duty, promise, or the like.
Spoilers: Season three and the first two episodes of Season Four of NCIS, Chosen for Buffy.
Anthony DiNozzo tossed his NCIS baseball cap on the black leather couch and sighed. Gibbs was back to stay. The team was how it was supposed to be, altogether. Gibbs hadn’t changed; nothing had changed. It was as it had been before.
Tony rubbed the back of his neck and glanced around his quiet bachelor’s pad. He had changed. He had been team leader while Gibbs was gone and, after a few false starts, had been a damn good leader. He wasn’t sure he could go back to following Gibbs. He wasn’t sure he should
go back to how things had been. He and Gibbs had been saying the exact same things at the exact same time on the last case. It was like dancing with a girl that kept trying to lead –awkward. Gibbs was watching him, waiting to see if he’d adapt or… or what? What was his other option?
Tony jumped a mile high and turned to face one of the two people who would use that name. “Geez! Dad! You nearly gave me a heart attack!”
Benicio DiNozzo stood talk in the doorway. He was a tall, striking man, proud of his Italian heritage. He waited patiently for his son to get over his dramatics.
“Dad! How did you get in here? Why are you here?”
Another elder gentleman stepped beside Benicio, he was cleaning his glasses. Tony’s father motioned to him. “Giles got us in.”
Tony growled as he passed by his father and guest on his way to the kitchen. He really couldn’t deal with his father today. “Dad, will you please leave? I had a rough day of work and...”
“That doesn’t have to be the case,” Benicio said.
“I know, I know.” Tony could repeat the frequent argument by heart. “If only I had studied history and became a teacher or a college professor, or studied a language like Latin. If only I had decided to be anything but a cop.” Tony stopped in the doorway of his kitchen and his jaw dropped. A beautiful brunette stood there staring back at him. She was young –twenty or so- and she was assessing him like Gibbs had been assessing him as of late.
Suddenly she grinned. “I like him, Giles. I’ll keep him.”
“Director, Agent DiNozzo to see you.”
“Send him in.”
Jen smiled up at the younger agent. He returned it with a nervous smile of his own and Jen knew she wasn’t going to like this meeting. “DiNozzo?”
He shrugged silently and handed her a folder. It was his wordlessness that warned her, DiNozzo normally talked way too much. She squared her shoulders and opened the folder. Inside was a very nicely worded letter of resignation. “Agent DiNozzo, Tony. You don’t need to do this.”
“I think I do.” Tony shrugged again. “Gibbs is better than me.”
“You learn fast, Tony. You just keep getting better.”
Tony’s lips quirked in a wry smile. “Gibbs is my glass-ceiling.”
“Gibbs approached me about having you lead your own team sometime soon,” Jen hinted. She was asking him to wait. She watched as he considered the idea, watched as he realized that McGee and Ziva would remain with Gibbs and he would have to start with all new people. She watched as he mentally went through the different teams currently being run through NCIS. None of them were without a leader; none of them would be without a leader soon. It would have to be a whole new team, built from the ground up.
“It’s not in the budget, is it?” he guessed.
Jen agreed. Such smarts, there was a reason why she and Gibbs thought that Tony would be a great team leader. “Not yet, but we’re pretty sure that we can get it in for next year. We are definitely running enough cases to warrant a new team.”
Tony was tempted and proud to be considered, but in the end he shook his head. “No. I think I have to go.”
“Is there any way I can talk you out of it?” she asked.
Tony slowly shook his head; wicked and completely inappropriate ideas twinkled in his eyes before he sobered. “No. I have to go.”
Jen nodded. She closed the file he had given her and put on top of one of her piles. “It will be our great loss.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
“Do you have plans?”
“Yes’m, it looks like I’m going to England.” He turned to go but paused. “Ma’am, thank you for supporting and encouraging me to lead while Gibbs was gone. Your faith in me meant a lot.”
“I knew you could do the job, Tony. And you did an excellent job leading the team. If you ever need anything in the future, call Gibbs, we’ll help if we can.”
Tony smiled, the DiNozzo ‘everything’s-going-to-be-all-right’ smile. “Thank you, ma’am. Good-bye.”
“Good-bye, Agent DiNozzo.”
Tony grinned as he watched Abby be-bop with the music. She was so happy, her joy that Gibbs was back permanently just bubbled out of her and permeated the lab. Part of him agreed with her assessment, NCIS lacked something without Gibbs. He was an integral part of life in this building; Tony was not.
“Tony!” she greeted him cheerfully.
“Hey Abbs.” He handed her the Caff-Pow peace offering.
She took it warily. “I’m not working on a case for you yet.”
Tony didn’t meet her eyes.
Abby worried. “Tony, what is it?”
“Quit? Quit what?”
“I had too.”
“No, you didn’t!”
Tony finally looked Abby in the eyes. “Yes, I did.”
Abby shoved the huge container of pop back into Tony’s hands. “I don’t want it. You’re supposed to stay. Gibbs is supposed to stay, you’re supposed to stay.”
“And do what?” he asked.
“Solve cases together,” she answered back stubbornly.
Tony tried to explain the problem. “Abby, we’ve been stepping on each other’s toes since he’s been back.”
“Well, then stop it!” Abby ordered.
“You can’t leave.”
“I just handed in my papers to the Director. It’s done. I’d best leave now while the old cases are closed and before any new ones show up.”
Abby refused to accept it. She pushed him toward the elevator. “No. It’s not done. Go talk to her, get the papers back. Tell her you changed you mind. She’ll take you back. Gibbs’ll make her.”
Tony dug in his heels. “No, I haven’t changed my mind.”
Abby started to cry. “But why?”
Tony gently wiped her tears away. “My father… explained some things to me. He asked me to do… something for the family. I understand… some things now that I didn’t before.”
Abby pouted. “I don’t like your dad.”
Tony finally smiled at her. “Join the club.”
“Will you be back?”
“For visits once in a while.”
Abby crossed her arms in protest. “But not to NCIS.”
Tony shook his head. “No, it’s a long term job he wants me to do.”
Abby was instantly suspicious. “It’s not in the mob, is it?”
Tony actually laughed. “No. No mob.”
“Hmmm,” Abby wasn’t convinced. She turned to her computer and started typing. “Maybe we should set you up with a code word you can e-mail or call me so that I know that you’re in trouble and I can send you Gibbs and the rest of the cavalry.”
“Abby, it has nothing to do with the mob.”
“That you know of,” Abby corrected. She snagged the Caff-Pow out of his hands and took a gulp. “So who are you going to be working for?”
“It’s a security company based out of England.”
“Calender Enterprises.” Tony pressed a kiss to Abby’s hair. “So no reason to worry. I’ll e-mail you when I’m in town. Bye Abby.”
“Your code word’s ‘coffin’
! I’ll be watching for it!”
Abby didn’t turn around to watch him leave. She kept pounding away at her keyboard, trying to make sure that Tony’s new job was on the up-n-up. She sniffled and worked on. For a break, she flipped through the pictures she had of Tony stored on her hard drive. She giggled a little when she found the picture she had made for Kate, the one that had Tony posed as an S&M model. It would serve Tony right if she used it to remember her friend who had precipitated change. Abby hated change.
She found a nice picture of Tony flirting with some girl off camera and used it as her background for her spare computers.
Abby returned to her search for Calender Enterprises. “Well, Daddy DiNozzo, you better not have pushed my Tony into a dangerous job.”
Tony DiNozzo shook hands goodbye with McGee and Gibbs, the former extremely surprised by his decision, the latter was not. Ziva was confused. She didn’t understand why anyone would leave the protection of Gibbs for the unknown. Tony didn’t try to explain his reasoning. Instead, he french-kissed Ziva for all that he was worth. She swung at him playfully, but Tony saw a hint of respect there for him too. Smugly, he knew that he was a good kisser and Ziva had appreciated his expertise.
He cleaned out his desk and left NCIS. He cleaned out his apartment and left the United States.
He e-mailed Abby periodically, but quickly became one of those ‘who had worked with Gibbs and survived.’
Tony settled into England and into his Watcher training classes, oddly enough, in a seat beside his father who wished to join the research department. First every weekend, and then every other week and then every other month, he and Faith would hop a plane to various corners of the world as troubleshooters.
They were damn good troubleshooters, but then, no one expected anything less.