Chapter Content: OOC Gibbs
Chapter Note: I am warning for OOC Gibbs because I want to make it clear that I realize this is not the Gibbs of norm. I have deliberately twisted certain parts of his personality to make them worse than normal. Mostly because I found it am interesting “what if”. This is mostly the last bit from the NCIS side of things for this story. If things go to plan, though, we will see more of them in future installments.
Chapter Summary: Gibbs has a meeting with Vance that does not stick to the norm. Things are changin’ at NCIS, and Gibbs may find himself on the wrong side of the Director’s ire. Then, Tony finally touches base with Ducky. Things start off well, but when a moment from the past comes up, how does the elderly ME react?
Chapter Eight: Someone’s Not Afraid of the Big Bad Gibbs & Fences Not So Mended
Gibbs grunted unhappily as he walked past Cynthia without stopping, and entered Vance’s office. He didn’t know what this meeting was about, but he had better things to do. Hopefully the dumbass would have some kind of explanation on why he sent McGee to wherever he ran off to without consulting him first. Gibbs couldn’t undo all of DiNozzo’s meddling if the kid wasn’t in the office.
“What do you want, Vance?” Gibbs asked surprised to see Vance sitting at the table with some files in front of him.
“Sit, Special Agent Gibbs,” Vance ordered, and Gibbs glared, but obeyed.
“Some things have been brought to my attention. You and I are therefore going to have what my Grandmother would have called ‘A Comin’ to Jesus’ meeting. I am going to talk. You are going to keep your mouth shut. You’ve done enough damage, and frankly, I am currently of the opinion that it wouldn’t be as much of a hardship as I believed to just fire your ass.”
When Gibbs started to speak, Vance glared and cut him off. “I wasn’t kidding Gibbs. Open your mouth before I give you permission, and I will advise SecNav that you and I couldn’t reach an understanding. While he would be most displeased, he’s already given me the authorization to do what needs to be done. Of course, he doesn’t really have much choice. DiNozzo, it seems, has friends in high places.”
Gibbs gritted his teeth but kept his mouth shut. If DiNozzo had run his mouth, the little bastard wouldn’t be safe anywhere. He was more than willing to get out his sniper rifle and put it to good use.
“It has come to my attention that there was a relationship going on between you and Former Special Agent DiNozzo that violates NCIS fraternization policies. Not only that, but I was advised that it was less of a romantic relationship, and more of some twisted power play on your part.”
Gibbs clenched his fists and glared angrily at the Director, but the man seemed to be unphased. “Now, before you form some bullshit denial, you should know that I have confirmation from reliable sources that you often play these games with unsuspecting and vulnerable younger men who you believe you can manipulate and string along.
“Unfortunately, no one can confirm that you’ve played them with NCIS employees before. If they could, then you would be out on your ass automatically. You’re a dinosaur Gibbs. You refuse to keep up with technology, or even join this decade. You do more bellowing at your direct agents than you do leading, and you cause more headaches with other agencies than I like having to deal with. Now I find out that you’ve been playing sexual power/mind games with other men, and one of them was your former SFA? What the hell were you thinking, Gibbs? No, don’t answer that. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck!”
“I have already discussed this with SecNav. The only thing keeping you employed, and not sent out to pasture, is because Morrow and SecDef want you on this damned fiasco that’s developing with the Cade assignment fallout. They both question if SecNav is wrapped up in something that’s not quite on the up and up. Even if it’s unknowingly. So, you are being moved to a two person team. It will be you and Liaison David only.
“Special Agent McGee has quit in protest over the bullshit you pulled on Tony. Thanks to you, this agency has lost two huge parts of its future. Liaison David’s application for agent status is being denied. Eli has agreed to let her continue as a liaison on Mossad’s behalf for the moment. It seems that he is concerned that something big is brewing, also. Her access to NCIS information though is being reduced to only what is needed for this assignment. After this is over, NCIS will be done with her. Go on and release your bullshit before your head explodes all over my office.”
“What the fuck do you mean McGee quit! That wasn’t the agreement I made with DiNozzo! I don’t know how you can believe whatever bullshit lies he’s made up, Leon, but I am not gonna just sit by and let him ruin my team! I won’t allow you to move me into some bullshit pat on the head position. MCRT is mine, and I will be damned if I am letting you take it away from me!” Gibbs snarled pounding on the table.
Director Vance quietly lifted an eyebrow, then got up and opened his office door. “In case you forgot how leaving works, Gibbs, you just have to walk through here.”
As the man walked back to the table, Gibbs gladly got up to leave sure that the man had seen to reason. However, before he could pass Cynthia’s desk Vance called out, “Cynthia, please file Special Agent Gibbs’ termination papers, please.”
Unable to believe what he was hearing, Gibbs turned and started bellowing before he even got in the office. Vance just held up a hand to shut him up. “I think you are under some misconceptions here, Special Agent Gibbs. So, let me remind you of your place.
“You are not SecNav. You aren’t the Director or even an Assistant Director. You frankly aren’t all that important other than being the most tenured Agent in Charge in this office. You don’t make decisions for NCIS. You don’t have support in this building, or frankly outside of it. Those people I talked about who backed up the DiNozzo story… Tom Morrow, Tobias Fornell, and Dr. Donald Mallard.” Vance leaned back, and grabbing a bottle of water he’d set on the table earlier took a drink before continuing.
“You have no allies other than a Mossad liaison who is on the outs with her own agency, and a lab tech who acts like a 3-year-old playing Halloween year around. You are all expendable. Hell if you did quit, we might be able to get DiNozzo and McGee back. So, please Gibbs, leave. Stomp out like a child.”
Aggravated, Gibbs drained the paper cup of coffee that was almost permanently attached to his hand. He would have gotten up and thrown it away, but he was becoming unsure as to his ability to get his way in this situation. DiNozzo was not going to live long enough to gloat over his victory if he had any say in the matter. When Vance continued, he just glowered at the irritating man.
“If you stay, though, you are playing by my rules. The first of which will be a two-week suspension for your actions, whether I can prove them or not. I am making it a condition of your continued employment. Frankly, you just pissed me off enough that I don’t care anymore. Second, you will be required to pass a psychological screening before you can continue. You will be going directly to your evaluation once we are done with this meeting. That goes for David and Sciuto, also. Their escorts removed them from the building to take them there the second our meeting began. Your doctor will not be Dr. Mallard, and it will not be your little girlfriend Rachel Cranston. Morrow has already loaned me some people from Homeland who specialize in breaking terrorists. Your bullshit will be a walk in the park.”
Gibbs’ hands clenched into fists. The little bastard ran his mouth about Rachel and sealed his own doom. He was going to make the fucker’s head explode like a watermelon at a Gallagher show.
“Further, you will have ZERO contact with either Agent in Charge, soon to be Unit Chief, Anthony DiNozzo Junior, or Technical Analyst Timothy McGee both of the FBI and currently assigned to Unit Chief Tobias Fornell. There has been some question about your actions following this meeting, and if former SFA DiNozzo and Agent McGee will be in danger. So, your movements will be monitored.
You will be fitted with an electronic monitoring device during your evaluation interview. This is also a condition of your further employment. Should you choose to just quit, you will be considered an immediate threat, and SecDef has already received authorization from the AG to consider you a threat to federal agents. I am sure you are aware of the consequences of that.”
Gibbs was seething with rage. The little coward was reasonably afraid he’d get what was coming to him was he? Well, Gibbs was the master at this game. He had all the patience in the world. Eventually, they’d drop their guards, and once they did the little prick would be dead.
“The no going near DiNozzo and McGee and the electronic monitoring restrictions by the way also go for Liaison David and Ms. Sciuto. Both Tony and McGee are about a hair’s breadth away from requesting restraining orders on Ms. Sciuto as it is. If that happens, she will be immediately terminated.
“If any of you so much as THINK about bothering them you will ALL be unemployed. Not just the one who did it, but all three of you. So, get your little brat in line, Gibbs. Shit is gonna change around here, and frankly, I could give two flying fucks if you like it or not. Now, get your ass out of my office. You have 48 minutes to get to your appointment. Here is the address, and room number. They are already expecting you. If they don’t hear from you in that time frame, your termination papers will be automatically filed 49 minutes from now. Keep in mind, I am not Jenny Sheppard. I actually do want you gone.”
Snatching the paper from the arrogant jackass who thought he was the boss, Gibbs stormed out slamming the door behind him. Somehow, some way DiNozzo would end up dead, and it would be at his hand.
“Vengeance is mine.”
Tony was walking through the market near Ducky’s townhouse trying to decide what to cook the older man for dinner. He’d finally reached out to the elderly ME and asked if he could come over and cook for him so that they could talk. He’d put it off too long already, and even though it had been just under two weeks he missed the man.
Ducky was one of the truly beautiful souls in the often dark and dreary world that he spent so much time chasing criminals in. Tony loved to hear the man’s stories when they weren’t in the middle of a case. Sometimes, he went down for a tale if they were stuck and his own methods for finding inspiration weren’t working.
The Scotsman’s stories were similar to his movie references. If you listened all the way to the end, the solution or at least a thread leading to the solution would often appear. There was a wisdom in the man that came only with age and experience. It was a resource and a personal treasure that Tony didn’t want to lose.
Deciding on a baked eggplant rollatini that he’d been working on perfecting, Tony gathered the ingredients for it, some frozen self-bake French Baguettes, salad ingredients with a fresh Caesar dressing, and for dessert a fresh strawberry Panna Cotta. After gathering up everything that he needed and flirting with the checkout girl as she rang up his groceries, Tony headed to wait for his friend. He still had awhile before their agreed-upon meeting time, but Tony was nervous. He wanted to make sure he was there when Ducky got home.
There was, in his opinion, a valid reason to be worried. Despite the blip when Gibbs had his amnesia, Ducky and his former boss and flame had a long and strong friendship. While Tony felt that the older man liked him well enough, he was under no misconception that their friendship came anywhere close to the one he shared with Gibbs. Then there was, of course, the narcissist comment made only a few years back.
That hurt more than anything Ducky had ever said or done. Even the months when Gibbs had amnesia, and Ducky was too wrapped up in himself to lend aid to a struggling new team leader. Nothing stays quiet forever in the Navy Yard, especially when your lover makes sure that you know.
When Gibbs told him about it, he’d been so shocked that he’d actually pulled the security footage to see if it was the truth. Then, when he heard it with his own two ears, he’d spent all night researching it and trying to hide the hurt.
Eventually, he’d had to take a weekend to go see Brian, one of his frat brothers, who was a highly successful psychologist. It had taken all weekend, but by Sunday his friend convinced him that Ducky was wrong. Along with that he suggested that if the ME truly believed that Tony was a narcissist, then possibly he should not be doing Psychological Forensics.
Brian advised that while three of the 7 most common signs could be interpreted as traits Tony had, the other 4 clearly didn’t apply to him. There were other much more likely explanations for those three traits, such as being the victim of emotional, verbal, and/or physical abuse as a child at the hands of an alcoholic and frequently absent father.
That had been hard to move past, but eventually, he had. If anything, Tony was an expert at accepting people despite the pain they’d caused him. Maybe possibly though he would mention it while they were airing things out. If Ducky truly thought that he had a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then maybe the friendship should die with the one he’d cast aside with Sciuto. Maybe possibly it was time that he demanded better for himself from the people who wanted a place in his life.
Tony was sitting on the top step of Ducky’s townhouse when the familiar Morgan pulled into its assigned parking spot in front. Leaving the bag of food where it sat, he descended the steps to wait nervously at the bottom. He’d lost Gibbs. He’d lost Sciuto. His friendship with McGee was on shaky grounds. He wasn’t sure that he could lose Ducky and not fall apart, again. Trent was back overseas, and Fornell just didn’t have the same history to make up for another blow to the trust tree.
“Oh my dear boy,” Ducky said the second he was close enough to be heard. Trying not to hope after only four words, Tony shoved his hands into his pockets. For once, he left the mask in its box, and let the ME see his hurt and nerves. This new world he was in deserved a more open Tony. If people couldn’t accept the fact that he had a right to his feelings, then they didn’t deserve a branch on the new trust tree.
“I am not sure that I have the words to express how deeply I regret not seeing what was happening to you, Anthony.”
“You believe me then?” Tony asked hesitantly needing to hear the actual words before he would consider that it was alright to hope.
“I do,” Ducky assured immediately.
“Let us go into my home where we can discuss this in private. All day I have been looking forward to our talk, and whatever delectable delight that you are creating for us this evening.
“I think that’s a good idea, Ducky,” Tony agreed, and followed the older man up the stairs and then inside picking up the grocery bags on the way in.
Tony headed to the kitchen, while Ducky excused himself to go upstairs and change. Although he knew from experience that change really just meant putting his hat up, taking off the bow tie, unbuttoning the top button on his shirt, and rolling up his sleeves. There certainly were none of the sweats and ratty t-shirts that made up Tony’s around the home attire.
He was in the process of putting the dessert together when Ducky came into the kitchen. The eggplant was already cut up, salted, and in a colander to drain off some of the bitter liquid.
“Is there anything that you require my assistance with, Anthony?”
“Nope! I have it all under control cooking wise, but my nerves would appreciate it if we finished the conversation that we started out front.”
He saw his friend nod as he settled on a stool at the island Tony was working at. “I am ashamed that I have been aware of Jethro’s ‘Bedroom Games’, I believe they are referred to as, for quite some time now. I am not sure that it says many positive things about my character to know that I always overlooked what he was doing to those poor young men just because I did not know them. I reasoned that because I did not know any of the individuals, and he was not hunting his pretty here within the Navy Yard that it was none of my business.
Looking back at the whole ordeal, while I am not sure what could have been done to end it, I realize now that I had a moral obligation to make you and young Timothy aware of the danger he posed to your psyche. I also should have informed the director due to the potential risk it posed to the image of the agency should his activities ever come to light in the public eye.
Ducky sighed, and Tony put on the teapot for his friend as he listened. “Had I done so, you certainly would not have been so unjustly injured after being caught in his web of deceit and lies. I can assure you that I most certainly believe your version of the events. I also confessed my knowledge of past acts to the director and advised Jethro that I cannot continue to turn a blind eye to his actions. I further informed him that in my professional opinion he needs to take advantage of the required counseling and get the help that it is apparent he so desperately needs.”
“That must have gone over well,” Tony muttered. When the tea kettle whistled, he took it to the island, then retrieved a tea cup and Ducky’s favorite Earl’s Gray that he had imported from a shop in London.
“Unfortunately, you are correct. Jethro did not take the suggestion well. Nor did Abigail, who I also gave a strong talking to. Her belief that Jethro is some near-perfect hero without flaws is both foolish and beyond juvenile. Even should she be reluctant to believe your reciting of the events, she should have observed enough of his uncouth behavior on a daily basis that she should not need to be educated by either you or myself that he is not the hero of perfection that she views him as being.
“Strike two?” Tony asked putting their dessert in the refrigerator to set before moving onto the salad as the eggplant was not quite yet done sweating.
“Yes, again, unfortunately, you are correct. She most assuredly did not take the dressing down well. Therefore I was forced to relay that conversation to the director, and recommend some serious changes to bring her booted feet back down to the ground.
“While you have not mentioned her, I feel that I should mention that Ms. David’s position within NCIS is being re-evaluated. All of the other team leaders within the Navy Yard refused to accept her onto their teams until she has at a bare minimum completed full FLETC training as another new hire would, and has undergone a full security risk assessment by the Department of Justice due to her ties to Mossad. Then there is the open knowledge of her sending NCIS information to her father during her years in the liaison position.”
Tony nodded knowing that he wouldn’t even consider her on his own team without both things, as well as required electronic monitoring of every keystroke she made on her PC. Not that he’d ever allow her onto his team. She had neither the personality he was looking for nor the willingness to work as a team that he required. Ziva would always think of herself first, Mossad second, and everything else far, far down the line.
“While we have the heavy things on the table, Ducky. There is something that I need to know.”
Putting the chopped up romaine, tomatoes, sliced black olives, and the feta and shaved parmesan in a bowl, he looked up at the older man. “Do you really believe that I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Because I have to tell you that has to be the most hurtful thing someone I trusted has said about me in quite a while. It took my frat brother, who is a big named psychiatrist, a full weekend to talk me down from that one.”
The shock could be easily seen on the ME’s face, but the cause for it, he wasn’t sure of. The first words out of his mouth did not in any way help the older man’s cause. “Anthony, I can assure you that you were never meant to be made aware of that conversation.”
“Wow,” Tony let out, feeling more than a little amount of disbelief.
“So that makes it ok? Because you don’t have the courage to call me a narcissist to my face it’s alright in Dr. Mallard’s book? Jesus, what am I doing here? This was obviously a mistake.”
Not even caring about the food, Tony turned away and headed toward the door intending to leave. The scrape of the stool across the wood floor of the kitchen signaled that he was being followed. He’d almost made it to the entranceway where his coat was when the elderly man finally spoke.
“Anthony, please give me a moment to explain!”
Grabbing the garment from the hook it was hanging on, Tony turned to glare angrier and more hurt than he’d started out. “Talk fast, Dr. Mallard.”
“That conversation should never have happened,” Ducky admitted anxiously.
“I allowed myself to be lured into a conversation that was both unkind to you as well as a complete misinterpretation of your character. When Jethro made the comment in jest that he was familiar with the disorder, I knew that it was you whom he was referring to. He had been focused on you negatively all throughout the case.
“Like a coward, instead of telling him that he was wrong to malign your character so, and point out how many more of his own personality traits fit the disorder than yours do, I joked along with him. I buckled because I didn’t want to risk fouling one of his rare good moods with the truth. It was inexcusable, and another poor showing of my disposition. I in no way believe such a horrid thing about you. Please, tell me how I may rectify this faux pas.”
Tony sighed and finished putting his coat on. “Time, Ducky. You’ll have to give me time for the edge to wear down on the hurt. I’ll get over it eventually. I just… Things will need to be different in the future. I have an opportunity for a fresh start, and I am taking it. One of my personal new rules for myself is that I expect the people in my life to treat me better. I’m not going to just roll over and show my belly every time they treat me bad. I’m tired of it being expected that it’s ok for my friends to hurt me, and I should just suck it up.”
Taking a deep breath, he rolled his neck and tried to see past his hurt. “If you ever run your mouth about me in such a manner again, I won’t just look past it the next time. That being said, I value your friendship and guidance. I do need a favor, though. If you have some or know of where I can get some good high-quality lapsang souchong tea I would appreciate it. One of my team members favors it, and I’d like to keep some on hand for him in my office.
The doctor nodded quickly, and Tony almost felt bad for the pain he saw on his face. But, as Ducky rushed off he reminded himself that his pain was important, too. It was a new day, a new mindset, and a new path he was walking.
When his host rushed back with a tin, Tony took it offering his thanks. “I promise that this isn’t forever, Ducky. Just for now. I will call you when I am ready. You have my word.”
Ducky nodded unhappily. “I will trust in your word, and remain patient for your signal that you are ready for me to make amends, Anthony. You have my word as a gentleman that such a transgression will never happen again.”
Tony smiled weakly, and then after explaining what to do with the eggplant, left to find a pizza. He would need some sausage and extra cheese to soothe them. He was discovering that putting yourself first didn’t prevent the pain. He just hoped that there was some reward on the back end of the whole thing.