Relationship: Tony DiNozzo/Colby Granger, Background Deeks/Kensi, Background Sam/Michelle
Characters: Tony DiNozzo, Hetty Lange, Owen Granger, Sam Hanna, Marty Deeks, Kensi Blye, Colby Granger
Content: Tony Leaves Team Gibbs, AU for Ziva’s Return to NCIS Post Somalia, AU for NCIS LA Timeline (Granger and Nell), Slight Hetty Bashing, AU Timeline for Numb3rs, Slight Gibbs Bashing, Ziva Bashing
Word Count: 3,340
Notes: I have slightly altered the NCIS:LA timeline for Nell and Granger’s introductions putting them there from the beginning instead of when they actually joined the show. I did this as a freewriting to jump start the muse. So, I am sure there are plot holes, but honestly I don’t really care. Let’s just chalk it up to this is how it is in my world, ok?
Summary: When Tony was booted off Team Gibbs when Ziva demanded it upon her return to NCIS, the last thing he expected was a promotion. He certainly didn’t expect to find the family he always wanted, and what very well could be the love of his life.
Finding Family and Forever in LA
Tony lay on a blanket on the desert floor behind the remains of an abandoned vehicle that he was using as a shelter from the wind that would pick up that evening. The sun was setting, which would drop the temperature enough that he had on a sweater and a coat in preparation for the cold that was coming. He was watching Kensi and Deeks as they talked from the spot that they’d chosen. Occasionally, the wind would carry their quiet laughter his way making an ache in his heart that he’d been trying to ignore.
There were a few cars abandoned in this area, and he wondered if the locals used it as some kind of dumping ground. Things weren’t the greatest. None of them had expected the overnight stay, but shit happened and there they were readying for an overnight stay before heading out in the morning. They should reach the compound of the Mexican drug lord that they were after sometime early in the afternoon if they set off right at sun up.
Hearing the sound of Sam’s own snort of laughter, Tony turned his attention to the former SEAL and found himself smiling slightly despite himself. The connection between himself and Sam wasn’t an easy one. The bigger man didn’t easily let people in and could be as hard to get close to as Callen was despite what people would believe. He admitted that sometimes it bugged him, and the first time the man had tested him like he did Deeks at times, Tony put a quick and firm stop to it. Unlike Deeks, Tony had been a Federal Agent for a decade and didn’t need Sam Hanna’s approval on anything. Whatever issue he had was his own, and Tony wasn’t about to jump through hoops for anyone.
Not after the harsh lessons learned at the hands of Gibbs and his newest daughter, one Miss Ziva David. Not that Tony was bitter about it. At least that’s what he told anyone who even thought about approaching the subject of his exit from Team Gibbs upon Ziva’s return to the flock after her rescue. She’d taken all of 24 hours before she’d said that she wouldn’t work with him, and unlike Israel, this time Gibbs gave in. And Tony….
Well, Tony had let him.
The offer of a spot with the Office of Special Projects in LA had been a surprise. He was had been sure Hetty hated him and expected Leon to ship him off to an Afloat position somewhere. Instead, he’d gotten a promotion and a spot with the agency’s new undercover team as some position between Callen’s Team Leader and Hetty’s Operations Manager. The team seemed to have been surprised by the move as it seems they all assumed Hetty was grooming Nell to take her spot, which…. Well it was a little unrealistic.
While she had potential, and Tony was completely on board with the notion that someday Nell Jones would be kickass, she wasn’t even trained as a field agent yet. One of the first things Hetty had assigned him after they got the whole you got the Director killed the last time you were here talk out of the way, was putting him in charge of her training.
The initial talk with him and Hetty had been… interesting. Had he been in a different headspace he might have handled it differently. He might have let it roll off his back with a mental head tilt of submission as Gibbs had done his best to train him to do. The thing was that he’d just been horribly betrayed, and he was all too familiar with the respect between Hetty and his former Boss. The last thing he was willing to do was put up with another decade of being treated like shit.
Thinking back to the conversation, he turned his gaze toward the vast expanse of sand in front of him not really seeing any of it.
“I think you’re mistaken, Ms. Lange,” Tony corrected settling more comfortably as he took a sip of the tea in his hands. It was quite a good quality, and he thought that maybe if they got this bullshit worked out he’d ask her where she got her tea from. His strong relationship with his Paddington relatives had allowed many summers spent in the family estate after his mother died, and taught him the importance of a good cuppa.
“How so, Mr. DiNozzo,” she prodded as she sat her own cup down frowning. “You got Director Sheppard murdered on your watch.”
“I realize that you’re of the same belief as Gibbs is that orders don’t apply to you,” Tony shot back calmly and coldly draining his cup and setting it on her desk. “I suppose after all the things the two of you have done for this country over the years that you believe that you have earned the right. Maybe you’re some kind of real-life superhero and such minor details like orders don’t apply to you, I don’t know. However, for us mere mortals who have to follow rules or get canned and blacklisted as being incompetent, when your boss’ boss gives you a direct order to leave her the fuck alone because she wants some personal time, you don’t have much choice but to listen. I also believe that if I was dying of a horrible incurable brain disease that would leave me a prisoner in my own body, I would want to go out how I damned well pleased. To be clear, that wouldn’t be by being tortured with pain knowing I’d left some things unresolved.”
Hetty narrowed her eyes and opened her mouth to argue, but Tony wasn’t finished and certainly wasn’t going to be polite when she was just being a bitch. Granted she was hiding it behind a veil of politeness that she expected would force him to ignore her bitchiness, but she was still being a bitch. Thanks to those summers at Paddington Castle, he knew when to play along and tear someone apart behind the veil of politeness, and when to just speak plainly if you will and fuck the niceties.
“Frankly, you weren’t there. I don’t really give a flying crap what you think about what went down. You weren’t even employed with NCIS at the time and any interactions you had with the woman were professional encounters during your time with another agency. You have no idea what it was like working for her as her mind deteriorated. You can only speculate how I felt about the woman who with one hand supported me while Gibbs was drinking margaritas on a beach in Mexico, and manipulating me with the other into an unsanctioned, unauthorized, unethical undercover mission that hurt an innocent woman and almost fucking got me killed because she burned years of work of two other American Intelligence Agencies. Were we close at one point? I suppose, yes. Did I respect her at the end, not really? Did I want to see her dead? Fuck no. Did I argue with her about us leaving? Yes, I questioned the decision and she made it very clear that she wanted some time to herself. At that point, I knew I had no other choice but to follow orders.
“The woman essentially went on a suicide mission with Franks as her back up because she saw him as expendable. I can only take that to mean that despite our rocky relationship that she saw Ziva and myself as vital to the future of NCIS. What I really find objectionable though is the inability of people like yourself to put the blame for the situation where it belongs. You don’t want to believe that a dying woman made the decision to end her life and take out a target that she should have killed years ago, but didn’t. So, instead, you blame me because I have a certain reputation and you know jack shit about me outside of that. Well, I guess you’ll have plenty of time to learn who I am now. I’m not going anywhere, Ms. Lange. I know this is going to be hard for you to accept, but tough shit buttercup. You’re going to have to suck it up and accept me as the Assistant Operations Manager. I’m not going to make this easy for you by walking off or quitting.”
Feeling a hand touch his shoulder, Tony looked up to see Assistant Director Granger standing there with a very thinly disguised look of amusement on his face and a short red-headed and wide-eyed young woman standing next to him. “Assistant Operations Manager DiNozzo, why don’t you go with Technical Analyst Jones? She’s going to show you to your new work area. We’ve placed you near the team. I apologize for the smallness of the space, but things are a little cramped around here, and I would like you within hearing and speaking distance of the team while still having an illusion of privacy. Once you two have things arranged to your satisfaction, she’ll take you up to my office, and you and I will chat about the expectations the Director and myself for your new position. Since I don’t bother with bullshit like pretending I didn’t eavesdrop, let me be clear…”
Because he was looking up at him, Tony could see the man’s eyes harden slightly as Granger continued to look at Hetty. He was glad though that he hadn’t looked away because it helped him get a feel for the AD, whom he’d always heard mixed reviews of. “Director Vance and I are satisfied as to your actions when the Former Director Sheppard died. As you said, you followed the orders you were given. Jenny made it very clear in the information she left behind that she’d sent you away deliberately because she had no intention of walking out of that scene alive. If anyone else has a problem with your ability to follow an order, even the ones you don’t like or agree with, then that’s their problem. I will talk to you shortly.”
Having gotten up and left at that point as he recognized a dismissal when he heard it, he didn’t know what happened between Granger and Hetty after that. He did know that they had quite the history, but that didn’t seem to prevent Granger from raking the diminutive woman over the coals when needed. He also knew that while she never outright apologized, her attitude toward him did thaw after that, and his private tea stash at OSP was kept stocked with his favorites. She’d seemed much more willing to give him a chance since then, and over the years since that day, they’d managed to create a close relationship. She didn’t let him get away with falling too far into his masks that hid the real him, and he didn’t let her get away with the manipulative or secretive tendencies she’d developed during her time as a Cold War spy.
Seeing movement out of the corner of his eye, Tony turned his gaze away from the desert to see Colby Granger settling down at his legs. When Tony moved to sit up and let the FBI agent sit on the blanket he was stretched out on, the former Army Ranger motioned for him to remain where he was. “I’m good, man.”
One of the things that Tony had made sure of when he was assigned the position was to make sure that their operations didn’t step on the toes of other agency’s active undercover ops when it could be avoided. If there was one thing that the La Grenouille fiasco taught him was to not tread in sandboxes that others were already playing in. He wasn’t about to lose any of his agents or burn a bridge because they’d needlessly pissed off another Intelligent Agency by destroying years of work when it could be helped. He’d found that as a result, the other agencies were much more understanding when it couldn’t be helped and therefore more willing to work with them. The current situation was a perfect example.
The FBI had been working on this particular scumbag for a few years and had a large amount of time and manpower invested in it. However, Tony’s team had two missing Petty Officers. They had very good intelligence suggesting the two women had stumbled upon something and were being held inside the compound. Because both women were not only beautiful, but also personality wise fit the Drug Lord’s preferences, they believed there was a good chance that they were still alive. There hadn’t been any question as to OSP going after them, and the FBI while being resigned that they would probably have to start from scratch, had sent Colby along to see if that could be prevented.
When Tony got his reassignment to Los Angeles, one of the last things he’d done before leaving town had been to stop to see Tobias Fornell at his home. He respected the older man and knew he would miss having a reliable contact at the FBI. Being light on resources on the West Coast, he’d hoped the man could help him with someone that he could actually trust out there. Fortunately, after the expected ribbing and mangling of his last name, Tobias had recommended Special Agent Don Eppes as being someone that he could trust. He’d even placed a call to the man to ease the way, which Tony had appreciated. It was through Don that he’d met Colby Granger, and found maybe his favorite thing about the West Coast.
While Tony liked all of Don’s team, Colby was definitely his favorite. The two of them had been carrying on a casual relationship for a couple years now, as both of them at the beginning had been hesitant to start something serious. Lately though, Tony had been wanting something more serious, but he wasn’t sure how Colby would react.
As his eyes drifted back to Kensi and Deeks, who didn’t even try to hide their relationship or did a really bad job of it if they were trying, he felt a familiar pang of jealousy as he watched them. He wanted that kind of love and affection and thought that maybe if he and Colby let their whatever they had going on grow beyond the no strings thing they’d been doing that it could be everything he hoped and more. So far, the team had stayed out of it outside of some good-natured teasing here and there. Mostly though he figured that was because of the two that he was closest to, being Deeks and Callen, knew as little about love and relationships as he did. They both also understood and respected his need to keep his personal life and private life separate. He was just thinking that he was going to have to man up and broach the subject when Colby spoke.
“I want that.”
Startled at the comment, Tony turned to look at Colby as he tried to turn his mind away from the case to figure out what the man was talking about. Following his gaze to see the FBI Agent watching Kensi and Deeks, he felt a bit more hope build inside of him. “Oh yeah?”
“Yeah,” Colby confirmed as he turned his attention away from the not so stealthy couple and toward Tony himself. “I know we said we were going to keep this casual with a no strings kind of thing going on, but…”
“No, I agree,” Tony interrupted quickly, and felt a flutter in his stomach when he recognized the hope he’d been feeling echoed in the other man’s eyes. “I’ve been meaning to bring it up, I just… I wasn’t sure how.”
“Move in with me?” Colby asked as his hand settled on Tony’s ankle with his thumb running over the exposed flesh it found. “Or, I’ll move in with you? Or, we’ll find a place together or… something?”
Finally, it was his turn to laugh happily, and for a moment forgot where he was as he sat up and half knelt in front of Colby, so he could put his arms around the man. “I like the sound of something,” he said softly in the other man’s ear before his mouth was captured in a kiss. They were brought back to reality at the sound of the catcalls and whistles from the rest of the team.
“Please tell me this means you two have decided to man up,” Deeks called only to be called out by Sam of all people.
“Deeks, I think you and Kensi are the last to talk about the glacial pace of someone else’s relationship.”
Tony snorted and moved to settle back on the blanket this time relaxing against Colby as Deeks tried to deny what was so very obvious to everyone else. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. Kensi and I are…”
“Shagging like bunnies,” Colby threw out making even Callen laugh as Kensi frowned. “Seriously, everyone knows you two are a thing. Hell, my team isn’t even in the same agency and we know. Give it up already.”
“Whatever,” Kensi huffed speaking for the first time, and Tony didn’t even try and stop from rolling his eyes.
“Great comeback, Princess,” Tony threw out with a snort. “Seriously, even Granger knows, much to his displeasure. At least Colby and I never tried to pretend we didn’t have something going on.”
“So, does this mean you two are finally doing something adult-like with your relationship?” Sam asked, and Tony nodded after glancing at Colby to make sure he was still onboard.
“We’re getting a place together,” Tony confirmed smiling. “And I expect you all to help us move once we find something. We have two households to move and combine.”
“If it means you finally have a real relationship, DiNozzo, I’ll even bring Michelle,” Sam promised, and Tony wondered if it was really happiness for him that he was seeing in the SEAL. From the squeeze of his hand that he got from Colby, he guessed that it was. His now partner knew how much the barriers Sam refused to take down between them bothered Tony, and he hoped that maybe finally they were gone. Or at least they were low enough that Tony could see over them.
“You better,” Tony shot back with a grin. “There has to be someone there that knows what the hell they’re doing. It certainly won’t be you, Hanna.”
“Whatever, DiNozzo,” Sam shot back with a startled laugh as things devolved from there. Settling more comfortably into Colby, Tony found himself relaxing and enjoying the company of his new team. It was odd. He’d spent years in DC with people trying to shove down his throat how much of family they were. Yet, in the end, he was determined to be expendable and his fears of not being good enough were confirmed. However, the LA team never even spoke the words family but acted more like one than Team Gibbs ever had.
He remembered back to his days at Ohio State, and one night he’d been in the Coach’s office talking when his father came up. Tony had told the older man that he had no idea what a family was supposed to be. Coach had been a gruff guy with a personality similar to Gibbs or Granger. He’d told him that he’d know family when he felt it. “If someone has to tell you that you’re a family, DiNozzo, then you ain’t one. Family doesn’t have to be labeled. It just is. When you finally have one then you’ll know it. You better call me when that happens, because I wanna meet these people. No one deserves it more than you, Kid.”
He’d have to call Coach when they got back and see when he could come out to LA. He had a family to introduce.