Disclaimer: I'm not Bellesario or CBS, so I don't claim to own them.
Warnings: Mention of Canon Minor Character Death
Word Count: 1,546
Written For: silvertales's April 2013 Prompt
Author's Note: This is an AU to Season 10. I have only watched 3-4 episodes from the first half of the season and therefore have only picked up snippets of the season.
Summary: In the midst of federal agency cleanups, Tony is offered a job that will change everything.
Following the death of his wife and an extended bereavement leave, Leon Vance had decided it would be best if he stepped down. The life insurance would more than cover his and his children's needs. Several colleges had offered the kids scholarships as well. His mind was no longer focused on NCIS and his children were going to be his number one priority.
Meetings were held and the Secretary of the Navy and the heads of the FBI and CIA. Apparently, the incident that resulted in Jackie's death was just the tip of the iceberg. An in depth multi-agency investigation had revealed that NCIS, the FBI and the CIA had plants within themselves and there had been a massive amount of domestic corruption from drugs to human trafficking occurring. Needless to say, sweeping changes were taking place across the board, most notably at NCIS.
"Mr. Secretary," Tony greeted with caution in his voice. The fallout of the past few months was no secret and he had been waiting for the hammer to drop on their team.
"Agent DiNozzo," the SecNav returned. "As you are aware, rocks have been turned over within the entire agency."
Tony just nodded. He had heard that Vance was stepping down to take care of his kids. The grapevine also carried rumors that several of the assistant directors and a few of the team leads outside of the DC area were corrupt.
"Most of it has traced back to Shepard's days as Director. Her own vendetta aside, she was lax in monitoring personnel within the agency outside of Agent Gibbs' team and you. It was an oversight on my predecessor's part and Director Morrow's that she was given the position. By the time of her death and Leon taking over, things had been established well enough that it didn't hit our radar."
Tony still wasn't sure what this was leading to. He just hoped that he wasn't being accused of anything again. He'd taken enough shit the last few years that quitting and taking a job as a gym teacher sounded appealing.
"Don't worry, I'm not here to accuse you of anything, Agent DiNozzo," the SecNav said with a little humor. "I could see the look in your eyes. If anything, I should be apologizing to you for how things have been handled around you. Frankly, the list is too long from the reports I've gone through and I'm surprised you haven't left yet."
Tony could see he was searching for the reason he had stayed this long.
"I don't trust anyone else to keep Gibbs alive," he answered honestly. There was more to it than that, but he needed alcohol to get through that particular speech.
"Figured it something like that," the SecNav said with a knowing look. "Hypothetically, if there was a position that would keep you in the DC office, would you take it?"
"That all depends on the position, Sir. If Gibbs was retiring, I would take the lead like I did before. But I don't see that happening any time soon, just like I don't see a new team being formed to work in conjunction with Gibbs."
"How about Director?"
Tony felt his heart stop. "Sir?"
"Director of NCIS," the SecNav confirmed. "The only office that didn't contain any type of corruption small or large was the DC office. Right now, the only ones I can fully trust are stationed there. With Vance stepping down, that leaves you and Agent Gibbs as the most senior of those I can trust."
"And Gibbs isn't built for being Director," Tony added with a smirk. "How do you know I am?"
"Because I've read all your files, going back to that military academy you went to. Until you joined NCIS, you were always a leader in some way. Team captain in various sports, class president, president of your fraternity, top of your class at the Police Academy and FLETC... The list goes on and on. The way I see it, your long tenure as Gibbs' Senior Field Agent has actually held you back."
Logically, Tony knew that. But the only way he could be around Gibbs was by remaining his second in command. Without that, he didn't have Gibbs.
"If it's not you, I'll have to look outside the agency and I'd rather not do that. I can give you a week to think about it and to read the offer thoroughly," he added as he tossed a thick folder on the table in front of Tony.
"I'll seriously consider it and thanks for the offer, Sir," Tony said and then grabbed the folder before heading back downstairs.
When he arrived at his desk, he secured the folder and got back to the background check he'd been running. He ignored the looks of curiosity he could feel McGee and Ziva sending his direction. He was honestly surprised they had started speculating that he was latest agent to be fired by the SecNav. However, it was Gibbs' glare that was most pressing on him mind.
At five, Gibbs sent Ziva and McGee home and then gave Tony a sharp, "My place at 1900," before stalking up the stairs.
Tony snorted. He grabbed his bag, the folder and headed for the elevator.
At exactly seven, he walked in Gibbs' front door, carrying the folder and a six-pack of beer. He could already smell the steaks that Gibbs was working on at the fireplace and the anxiety of his decision seemed to fade.
"Hey, Boss," he said in greeting. "Got the beer you like."
"What's in the folder?" Gibbs cut right to the chase.
"Figured the SecNav told you," Tony said as he popped the tops off two beers and passed one to Gibbs.
"Said it was up to you to tell me," Gibbs said and Tony could tell that it was annoying him not knowing.
"He offered me a job," Tony said dismissively. Tony was shocked when Gibbs dropped a steak in the fire.
It took a minute for Gibbs to fumble the steak out of the logs and was going to toss it when Tony told him to just rinse it off and put it back on the fire.
"You gonna take it?" Gibbs asked gruffly and Tony thought the man sounded upset.
"Don't know yet. He gave me a week to think it over. Kind of depends on several things actually." Tony slid the folder across the coffee table to Gibbs.
Something really had the other man on edge because Tony could easily read the surprise, pride and for some reason sadness on Gibbs' face as he read through the offer.
"You deserve it," Gibbs said softly when he was done reading. He pulled the steaks off the fire and passed Tony his plate.
"Not sure I should take it," Tony admitted several minutes later.
"Always figured I would take over for you when they forced you out. Plus," and Tony took a deep breath before his next words. "Who's going to watch your six? Not sure I trust McGee and Ziva for the job."
"That why you hadn't left before? I know you've had other offers on the table. Figured I was going to lose you years ago."
Going for broke, Tony took a deep breath. "I wanted to stay close to you, Jethro. If I'd taken another position, I never would have seen or talked to you. You are your job and nothing else matters. If I was part of the job, then I was part of you."
Tony kept his head down, not daring to look at Gibbs' face. He figured if Gibbs threw him out on his ass, he would take the position and then hire an assistant to deal with Gibbs' team. Out of sight, out of mind or something like that.
When he felt a calloused hand on his face, he almost jerked back. But the hand gave a light, hesitant caress before tilting his chin upward. Tony found himself looking into Gibbs' eyes and he could not recall them being that blue before.
"Boss?" he asked softly.
"Liked it when you called me Jethro," Gibbs said. "And I wanted you to stay close, too. About killed me when Vance sent you to the ship. When I saw that folder in your hand today, I figured I was going to lose you."
"I'm taking the job," Tony said with confidence. "But first I want to take you upstairs to a bed and do all the things I've been thinking about since Baltimore. Did you know I got hard after I tackled you? Until we found you were really a fed I hated myself for lusting after a suspected bad guy."
"Haul ass upstairs, Tony," Gibbs ordered. "Maybe if you're lucky, I'll let you tackle and cuff me again."
"Then I'll do a thorough strip search to confirm you are who you say you are. Although, with a name like Leroy Jethro it might take a lot to convince me you're a fed," Tony said with a twinkle in his eye.
"I'll convince you," and with a smirk Gibbs added, "Boss."
"I think I'll like my new job," Tony said as he pulled Gibbs against him for their first but definitely not last kiss.