Chapter Summary: McGee finally tracks down Tony at the last place he expected him at, and ends up finding himself a new home. Then, Tony has one final meeting with Director Vance. The director finds a much more honest DiNozzo than he’s used to, and Tony finds respect in a place he hadn’t expected it. Even if it’s given somewhat grudgingly.
Chapter Seven: Groveling McGeeks & Closing Chapters
When Tony got back from Montana, he was much more relaxed than when he’d left. He was excited to get the rest of his team built. He was happy to have new friendships starting to build, and hoped this time when the trust tree grew it would resemble a redwood. His plan was to go to Toby’s house and start going through files for prospective agents to plunder. So, the last thing he expected when he walked in was to see Tim sitting on the couch.
When he glared at Tobias, the older man just held up his hands. “He just showed up, Tony, but I’ve heard what he has to say. I think you should listen to him.”
Sighing, Tony took off his jacket, and after hanging it on the back of one of the chairs, he settled in to hear what Tim had to say. As he spoke and explained how he hadn’t felt right about the story Gibbs gave Friday, Abby’s bullshit excuse Monday, and quitting NCIS later that same day, it became more and more apparent to Tony that something had changed with his Probie. When the younger man grew silent, Tony studied him for several moments before speaking.
“What changed, McGee? Because to be honest, I wasn’t sure you even liked me.” Tony admitted and watched Tim blush.
“I’m sorry about that. After Gibbs gave that stupid excuse Friday, I had all weekend to think about things. I realized that I’ve been a jerk, and I wasn’t happy about it. Then after I talked to Sciuto well… I got pissed. I mean, you don’t open yourself like that often, and for her to just… basically, laugh in your face and call bullshit…”
Tim scowled, and Tony watched him shake his head. “That’s not someone I wanna work with. I owe you a lot, Tony. I know that. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. Hell, I wouldn’t have lasted on Gibbs’ team without you. I am honored to be your probie, and I want to show you that I have your six. No matter how directly or indirectly that is. I’m not willing to work for an agency that has people like that.”
“I don’t know what to say, McGee. I didn’t expect it from you, to be honest, but… it means a lot to me. I wish I had a spot for you on my team but…”
Tim shook his head fast. “I totally understand. At first, I was hoping you would, but then Tobias was telling me how you need experienced undercover people. That’s not me.”
Tobias cleared his throat drawing their attention. “Actually I have a thought. I had a talk with one of the guys on my team today. His name is Chin Ho Kelly. He is a hell of a tech guy but has done undercover work. He started out at Honolulu PD, but they had a dumbass attack and fired him for suspected theft of monetary evidence. Which I might add, they had no evidence he did it, and I couldn’t find anything to indicate he did it. I think he would be perfect for your team. I say you take Chin, and I hire McGee for my team. That way when Gibbs has his hissy fit he’ll be mad at me and not you…. Hopefully.”
Tim and Tony looked at each other and then snorted. “Good luck with that.”
Tony shrugged and leaned back in his chair yawning. “I’m game if you don’t mind McGee. I may still want to use his mad skills every now and then if you don’t mind Tobs. Hey! That will mean I now have TWO people for my team!”
Tim smiled big. “That’s awesome, Tony!”
Tobias nodded. “Good job, DiNozzo. I suggest you decide on your SIC next. Word must have gotten out that Elijah Mundo was on the short list because Section Chief Avery Ryan is looking for you. She’s his current boss.”
Tony sighed and shook his head. “Not today. Today, I sleep. Tomorrow I pillage and plunder the FBI’s finest.”
Tony parked his car in Director Vance’s driveway and turned off the ignition. He wasn’t sure about this meeting. He didn’t quite understand what he was doing there, or why Vance requested it. He’d only come because Tobs had told him it couldn’t hurt. “Never burn a bridge if it isn’t necessary, kid.”
So, here he was at his former director’s home. Getting ready to play nice to a man he knew he didn’t respect and wasn’t sure if he even liked.
Walking up the walkway he considered all the possible outcomes one more time. Once he’d reached the house he rang the doorbell. When Jared answered the door excitedly spewing a series of basketball questions, Tony just smiled and answered them all. Vance may be a dick, but he had good kids. Tony had spent some time with Jared after his mom died, mostly playing ball at the Y.
As he followed Jared into his father’s study, Tony was explaining why even if you could shoot like Stephen Curry, you still had to be good at defense, too. When he was done, he saw the indulgent and somewhat surprised look on Vance’s face. Did he think Tony would tell the kid to fuck off? Seriously, what the hell was he doing here?
Finally, Leon sent his son away, and Tony selected a seat away from the desk. He was goddamned if he was gonna give the man a position of power when he didn’t even have to be there. He heard Leon snort, but he got up and came around the desk to sit in the chair opposite Tony’s.
“When I took over for Director Sheppard, Tom Morrow called me within 24 hours to wish me congratulations. Once he was done with that he told me to make sure my agents knew I was not their friend, but not to be an asshole for no reason. The second thing he told me to do was to pull your real file, including the material that was sealed. Unfortunately, I didn’t do either, until recently.”
Vance sighed and rubbed a hand over the top of his head. “Bottom line, DiNozzo, is that I fucked up. I didn’t follow the advice of a predecessor because I thought I knew better. I was an arrogant jackass, and now two of my best two agents are gone. For what it’s worth, I think you’ll do a great job at the FBI, and I will be happy to work with you in the future.”
When the director stopped talking, Tony sat watching him, waiting for more to come out of his mouth. When nothing was else was said, he was a little confused.
“Umm, to be honest, sir, I don’t know what to say. I’m not trying to be rude, but we could have had this conversation over the phone. You aren’t my favorite person, but as someone who will be in a higher up position within the FBI, I’m not willing to tell you to fuck off. To be honest, I’m pretty over all of it. I have a dream job with an agency I am pretty sure that I should never have left. I don’t want to fight with you sir, but I don’t want to have a love fest.”
Tony shrugged and stared across the room a moment before continuing. “If you can keep Gibbs, Ziva, and Abby the hell away from me I will consider us even. I’m just… I’m done, sir.” Vance nods and leaning forward in his own chair holds a hand out to Tony. “It wasn’t always a pleasure to work with you, DiNozzo, but it was always interesting. NCIS will not be the same without you.”
Tony couldn’t help the smirk that crossed his lips, and he nodded. “It’s not always been a pleasure on my side either, sir, but I appreciate everything NCIS has done for me, and I look forward to assisting any part of NCIS that doesn’t involve Gibbs, Abby, or Ziva. Hell, I think OSP and my team would be natural counterparts.”
“I agree. Good luck, DiNozzo. Know that NCIS is proud to say you were ours first.”