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Chapter Six: New Responsibilities, New Beginnings
It was Monday Morning. Tony was standing in his son’s bedroom doorway watching him as he slept. His head rested on the wooden doorframe, and TJ lay snuggled up almost completely under his blankets. The tip top of both his head and Orso’s, his blue fuzzy stuffed bear, were just barely visible above the blanket top. Tony had given up trying to keep the blanket from riding so high. He knew that if he went in and pulled it down that his son would just scoot down on the bed until he was almost completely covered by the blanket again.
As he stood there, he considered all of the reasons why he did the job that he did. None though, were stronger than his son, and the little girl that he’d had to hear screaming as she burned to death when he was in college. Getting justice for the innocent, even if they were part of the problem, was his number one priority. People like Luke Harris left him conflicted. He felt no less driven, though, to get justice for a boy twisted by a sociopath into shooting someone who had only tried to help him, when everyone else said he was beyond hope. Even Tony had felt that Gibbs was just setting himself up for a letdown with that boy, but he’d never imagined that the kid would shoot his boss.
Men like Daniel Budd were an evil that Tony wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to fully wrap his head around. Luke Harris was little more than a child let down by the world. Whoever was the real head of this organization was going to go down. Tony would not stop until they were behind bars, and there wasn’t anywhere or anything they could hide behind to escape justice.
Monday afternoon found him scanning himself into MTAC with their retinal scanner. He’d considered asking Ellie to join him, but for fuck sake, he had a Ph.D. in Computer Science. He surely could run the controls enough to accept a video call. He wasn’t playing the dumb jock here, but it was so hard to drop the act. It had been a part of his personality for so long at NCIS that he was having trouble unearthing the intelligent part of his personality.
He’d planned on bringing Emily with him, but their SIS Liaison had been delayed by a meeting with his Director, M Tony reminded himself. “They call Gareth Mallory M.” He guessed that it was not only a ‘what you can and can’t share’ meeting, but also an explanation of Tony’s spot in the family in relation to Ashcroft and Edward. Tony really wanted all of this to go well, and suddenly he was feeling the pressure of living up to his own expectations on top of the trust and faith that the Director was putting in him.
Heading into the room, Tony went to the board and put in the necessary information to auto-accept the video chat with the Director when it came through. Taking a deep breath, he moved to stand in front of the screen and waited for the chat to come online. Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait long before Leon Vance’s familiar face appeared in front of him.
“Supervisory Special Agent DiNozzo,” Vance greeted smiling. “It’s nice to see you. How are things going? Did you get all settled in?”
“Yes, sir,” Tony greeted smiling in return. “TJ and I are settled into our townhouse with a nanny. I reconnected with my Mother’s side of the family that lives here in and around London, and they recommended someone. The Morgans have been working with the Paddingtons for generations, and one of the girls was ready to move onto a charge of her own. Fortunately, she and TJ clicked almost immediately.”
Tony gave another smile thinking of his son who was excited for the playground adventure he was going on that afternoon. “As for work, we are also almost completely set up here as well, and our SIS Liaison just arrived as I was coming up to meet with you, sir. I am excited to get to know him. I appreciate you approving the position. I think he will be an asset to the team.”
Leon smiled crossing his arms behind his back. “My pleasure, Tony, and I think you can call me something other than sir, don’t you?”
“Yes, sir, Director Vance,” Tony replied cheekily getting a chuckle in return. The older man shook his head smiling before replying.
“I agree that Special Agent Trevelyan will be a great asset to the team. He has a great deal of experience in international affairs and speaks enough languages that your team should be covered for at least the major countries you will be working in. Before we move onto case things, I thought I would fill you in on what is happening with your old team.”
Tony nodded shortly twisting his fingers together behind his back as the director continued. “Gibbs and Ducky have both accepted retirement. Gibbs failed his psychological exam as expected. Palmer has accepted the position of Head ME. SSA Balboa has moved up to lead the MCRT with McGee remaining, once he returns from FLETC.”
Vance sighed and shook his head. “He will be retaking some of the ethics courses, and a few other things I felt he needed to revisit. When he returns, he will be closely monitored for a period of six months. His SFA aspirations are off the table once more, and I told him that he’s going to have to prove that he deserves a second chance. He informed me that you and he cleared the air before you left for London?”
Tony nodded before explaining. “Yes, Director. I still don’t see that I would be able to have the same brother-like friendship as I had with him before, but as I told him, I am not ruling out us working together someday, again. I am willing to give him a second chance, but he has to earn it. And, I told him as much. He’s also going to have to do it all on his own this time. I plan on being hands off and don’t honestly even intend to monitor the situation. If something changes here, I will see if Special Agent McGee is a fit at that time, and not before.”
Vance nodded putting a toothpick in his mouth. “I think that is the perfect way to go about it, DiNozzo. You each need time to gain some perspective and give yourselves a chance at a fresh start. If it’s meant to happen, then it will in its own time.
“Forensics Technician Sciuto put in for some time off following the incident at your apartment, which Agent McGee reported to me, and Gibbs retirement. I have a feeling that we’re going to be losing her, and as much of a value she is to this agency, I am not sure it’s a bad thing. She has three weeks, and then she is going to come back and advise me what her plans are. Now, onto case things…”
Tony nodded smiling and pulled out his small notebook to write down important information as he listened. “As you know, you will be working on finishing up the investigation into The Calling, and making sure this time we have the head of that group in custody. I also have an investigation at the Naval Air Station Sigonella I need you to handle. There was an incident between a Petty Officer and two of the Italian Military personnel. One of the Italian Military men later ended up dead, and they’re pointing the finger at our Petty Officer. I need your team to investigate and find out what happened.”
Tony nodded seriously as he made notes. “Yes, sir. You have my word we will get to the truth.”
“I didn’t expect anything else, SSA DiNozzo,” Vance assured. “Now, lastly, I got a request from SIS Director Mallory about an off the books investigation into your Cousin? Are you comfortable with this?”
Tony sighed and shrugged. “I won’t be handling it myself, sir. I have already spoken to both Emily and Eliot, who would be working the investigation together. They each advised that they’re fine with it. To be honest, the request came from Crispin’s younger brother, yes, but he’s also the Quartermaster over at SIS. Frankly, he doesn’t strike me as the type to use his position for underhanded nonsense. He seems genuinely concerned and truly believes that Crispin is doing something illegal that affects not just the UK, but possibly the US, also. So, Emily is going to do her thing, and see if she can discover if his concerns are founded or if it’s just jealousy.”
“Very good then,” Vance said nodding once. “You have my approval then. Just make sure you stay out of it in case she does uncover something, and keep me up to date on all three investigations. I’d say good luck, DiNozzo, but you don’t need it. So, instead, I will say prove me right.”
Tony nodded smiling, and after saying his goodbyes walked over and ended the conversation. Taking a moment, he closed his eyes, and let out a deep sigh to center himself before heading out to meet his new liaison.